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Blebs Mar 25, 2015 12:01 AM
Also I saw Zac Bertschy's tweet about Steins;Gate's 'bad direction'. Kiinda stupid considering that there were 2-3 directors working on the show anyway, and I'd argue that Hamasaki's personally storyboarded/directed episodes were the most impressive out of all of them.

The fact that he brings up TerraFormars is also kind of stupid since it was hardly the direction that was the problem--it may have been Hamasaki's weakest delivery yet, but that was more due to the ridiculous production issues plaguing the show than anything else.

And I guess the last thing that's even more stupid is how he reviewed the first DVD for Texhnolyze all those years ago, going on and on about how great it was and how it was so ambitious and experimental; the closest thing anime could get to art or whatever.
Blebs Mar 11, 2015 12:07 AM
Sorry for the ultra late response now, I think I've broken a record. I'd written out like half of this post shortly after I got your reply before shelving it for some stupid reason but now I'm finally finished with like two essential cop-out paragraphs that don't really do any of your responses justice...

I tend to share the same thoughts on the Shigurui manga, there's the baboon thing in the basement like you mentioned, but I was kind of dumbstruck with that toad guy, the (dick)girl and that spear-wielding guy—the manga gave those characters a lot of chapters (I don't remember what happens with the penis girl though) and seemed to be hyping up their appearances in the daimyo's tournament but nothing ever really happens with them. While they're not exactly important in the long run it's just odd that the manga paid so much attention to these characters only to say 'nah whatever!' in the end and just leave it at that. It definitely lost the intensity/focus that it had when it was all about the Kogan school/Irako/Fujiki with only some slight sprinkling in of rival clans and other antagonists (baldie with the Spanish sword was an exceptionally cool episode/chapter, sad that we didn't see more foreign opponents and the like)—it almost seems like the author couldn't really find anything interesting or lasting enough to fill the void, so to speak. Alternatively he just wanted to pile on more grotesque shit to pad out the rest of the series or something.

The last chapter was really impressive though—I was stupid enough to be fooled into thinking that there'd be a happy ending for some odd reason—and I think the anime staff would have done wonders with that. I learned rather recently that Kawajiri storyboarded that last episode of the anime so he would have knocked it out of the park if he was once again given that position in adapting the last chapter of the manga. I don't think I would've even minded all that much if they cut out all the unresolved subplots/characters for a (not happening) second/concluding season.

I need to hurry up and watch everything else Konaka has worked on—just starting up Mononoke which is just gorgeous and I'm excited for the stretch of episodes that he wrote. He seems to have become a real recluse, and I'm surprised he hasn't even resurfaced to say anything about Despera now that it's apparently back on track. For some reason it took me a very long time to actually understand how much Lovecraft influences his work—I'd only really thought of that D-Reaper thing from Digimon Tamers since that was the most obvious kind of eldritch abomination-type creature that I could immediately link to Lovecraft, but I think somebody like Sakimura from Texhnolyze really embodies the type of mentally/psychologically scarred characters that you tend to see in a lot of Lovecraft stories (despite having a big anthology book I actually haven't got through more than half of his work and apparently can't cite any story in particular, maybe Dagon or something since that's the easiest one to think of). Are there any specific cyberpunk works that Konaka has drawn upon heavily?

Also, Konaka seems to be back to writing for anime after like eight years if you don't count Despera, this time he's helping adapt what's essentially 2chan copypasta so that's gonna be cool!

And since you mentioned Ghost Hound I got through Kino's Journey pretty recently and I'm kind of puzzled as to why people put it on such a high pedestal; I've also seen a lot of people going on about how much better it was compared to Mushishi, and more rarely, Texhnolyze. I didn't find Nakamura's direction to be really inspired save for a few choice scenes—I've heard that it's far better in Ghost Hound, especially with the sound design as you and Yanqui have mentioned before, and it was for sure better in lain, and on the whole it was really kinda ugly, 'early 2000s digital anime ghetto' considered, though the OVA/movie produced by SHAFT looked okay (produced like 4 years later, admittedly). Not really sure why a lot of people are instantly ready to jump on Texhnolyze for being ugly or having no animation/'budget'—though this tends to be the case for anything Hamasaki directs—when it honestly looks a lot better than most of its contemporaries, Kino included. I'm curious to hear your exact thoughts on Kino if you can recall any of it. At least the OP and ED were pretty nice!

I don't think Ichise's voice actor had done anything before Texhnolyze, and definitely hasn't come back for any anime. It's a bit odd to see him not even having extra roles, but I think he's one of those TV guys that pops in to do an anime series or two and stays mainly in the live action/dubbing realm. That seems to have been the case for a lot of the characters in Texhnolyze, though a fair number of them at least had other anime roles before vanishing completely. It's a real shame. His profile thingy is still active on his agency's site, it's a bit amusing to hear him do advertisements and assume the role of a butler or something.

I've probably said this before, but while Yoshii is definitely a good character it's true that he seems to get way too much attention. It's actually kind of impossible when discussing Texhnolyze to get any solid discussion on Kano—from my experiences on /a/, at least, people simply go "yeah he was insane" or "he was a shitty villain" and just leave it at that. It's incredibly disappointing, but I guess that's just a byproduct of Yoshii being a much more immediately intriguing/'fun' character—especially factoring in the very commonly maligned early stretch of episodes that people deem to be too slow—whereas Kano is more inscrutable (for all the reasons we've described earlier) and less active in the way that Yoshii is, and by the time he's really involved in the plot it's definitely picked up and moving a lot faster.

Thanks for the points on Sommers—it's true how she seems to have appeared out of nowhere to appeal to the contrarian crowd. On the whole GG thing as a whole I just read an article that was really helpful and along with what you've said, I think puts a lot of things into some much-needed perspective.

Stupidly brief thoughts on DeS that aren't really worthy of all the stuff you wrote:

I heard the healing was a problem in DeS and the healing gem gluttony is terrible in DaS2, I'm surprised it was so easy to stock up on them. Really hope BloodBorne does it properly.

I'm actually surprised at how the atmosphere in DeS seems to outstrip DaS in terms of being creepy/unnerving, definitely makes me want to play it more—a shame I haven't touched a console since like, the early days of the Wii. Maybe I'll hit up a few playthroughs/videos of DeS just to check out some of the areas you've mentioned.

Luckily I really don't know anything about DeS or the 5-3 boss fight so all of that text you wrote wasn't in vain, apart from my lack of anything really cool to say in response, other than that I'm a lot more interested in DeS now.

From what you've written it does seem like DeS is a lot less accessible, especially with the lore and the world itself being more ambiguous and unsettling. It might also be because DaS is basically what FROM are known for now.

I don't know why I feel the need to end on this note but I think Hamasaki had to deal with some health problems after working on Terra Formars (sort of comes to me as no surprise since the production/scheduling was a complete disaster, and just with how shitty anime directors/people working in that industry have it) just based on some tweets that I tried to discern with my terrible Japanese and the built-in translator... I hope he's alright.
jackmace_ryo Mar 3, 2015 7:26 PM
Addendum: I finished replaying the first Edgeworth game (AAI from here) to complete the cycle, and well...

I remember the first time I played it I liked it after the disappointment that is AJ but it's really not good in the opposite way AJ did.

AJ's main weakness is the lead characters and its strength is the themes it wanted to bring up, while AAI's strength is the lead characters and its weakness that it has no theme to speak of.

To elaborate, I like Edgeworth a lot as the lead. He's definitely my favorite as a lead in the AA series. I also like Kay's personality and her chemistry with Edgeworth. But then again, the game itself doesn't give both of them much development. Edgeworth's character is pretty much the same from the beginning to the end as implied by the original trilogy, while Kay's arc didn't have any emotional core beyond the beginning (the flashback 4th case). It doesn't help that she doesn't have much involvement (introduced in 3rd case then straight to finale with the 5th case).

The same could be said for Long. His character could have some potential, but he's as underdeveloped as Kay due to low involvement. Even the reason he don't like prosecutors which could give him an emotional core ends up simply being narrated by someone else and then swept under the rug. The other side characters also don't fare any better. The 1st, 2nd, 3rd and even the 5th case lacks any emotional core from the culprit-victim-defendant due to trying to make it all connected. The only decent side character is Detective Badd.

It also has no theme to speak of. Oh, there's some hint of 'going beyond the law to convict a criminal', but that's immediately swept under the rug. The seemingly large dilemma to use illegally-obtained evidence in the last case turns out doesn't matter at all.

To sum it up, I like the gameplay, the music, and maybe some parts of the flashback 4th case. That's pretty much it.

I don't want to oversell it, but the second Edgeworth game is better in pretty much every aspect compared to the first one. On retrospect, overall it may be my favorite game in the series. Once again, I don't think its highs didn't quite reach any of the original trilogy's highs (1-4, 1-5, 2-2, 2-4, 3-5), perhaps because it's trying too hard to make all the cases connected (added with other aspects I mentioned before), but it's still pretty good, added with it has superior graphics and gameplay and my favorite lead-assistant pair in the series.
jackmace_ryo Feb 19, 2015 5:23 PM
I played quite a lot of JRPG and I have to say that most of them really feels like underwritten anime, and that it usually suffers from a lot of unnecessary bloat and sidequests. I definitely enjoyed Trigger for reasons that you mentioned much more than say, its contemporary Tales of Phantasia which now becomes the template of modern JRPG. Not surprising, since the Tales series appeals most through its 'characters' (not actual character writing, but in the same way a typical moe anime does its appeal). I think this is why my favorite modern JRPG series is Etrian Odyssey, which have a really bare bones story to speak of.

Speaking about the music, I think Chrono Trigger's soundtrack, while definitely good, didn't leave much impression to me because I've played Chrono Cross before it. And its soundtrack is personally one of the best video game soundtrack ever. I don't recommend anyone to actually play it though. There are a few interesting ideas where it's related to Trigger, but for the most part the story and characters are a total mess. The gameplay, while unique, aren't exactly well-crafted either.

Ok, so I've finished AJ and... Whoo man, there's a lot to unravel here.

So the reason why I didn't like it in the first place is rather typical: lack of closure for the original cast. But recently I heard something that make me appreciate it more for what it currently is: Just think of this Phoenix Wright as not necessarily the same Phoenix, but Phoenix the never-losing ace attorney who didn't grow close to Edgeworth and Maya. Well, this isn't actually the case, but I'll tackle the ideas on how to give closure so we didn't have to think it that way in the details.

That still doesn't mean it's good though. The filler cases are unsatisfying and the main case, though has a compelling theme and underlying story, is not particularly well told.

Ok, so let's begin the details:

4-1: This in itself a great case. The tone is definitely less humoric than the original trilogy but considering the bigger themes it want to tackle, it's approriate. Apollo's way more overshadowed by Kristoph and Phoenix than Phoenix himself and Mia in their introductory case, but it's still excusable here.

4-2 and 4-3: Now we're setting the players with Apollo, Trucy, Klavier, and Ema. Historically, case 2 and 3 usually are just filler with a wee bit of development, but considering its larger ambition and its weight to establish a new protagonist, I think there should be much more development of the aforementioned characters in these two cases.

Klavier definitely should be the focus in these two cases (primary in 2, secondary to the Gramaryes in 3). The development he already got is decent, but not quite enough. I would give some room for his relationship with Kristoph, and also some tension with Apollo and Trucy. Considering he should be established as someone who upholds justice and truth over victory, I think it would be approriate that he has a negative opinion of Kristoph who admitted to murder, but at the same time he is wary of the possibility of a forged evidence in Kristoph's verdict. This would create some tension with Apollo who is Phoenix's 'disciple' and explain why he becomes so antagonistic towards Apollo even though they both upholds justice. I'm a bit of a loss in how to handle Trucy's relationship with Klavier though. While I don't like the fangirling that she did in the actual story, I don't know if having her antagonistic towards him would work either. Having both Apollo, Trucy, and Klavier antagonistic towards each other wouldn't quite work either.

On the cases itself though, I personally feel the pacing and the unpacking of the mystery are a bit 'off' compared to the original trilogy. This is not quite apparent in 2, but 3 is probably the worst in the franchise. Disregarding the obvious holes (which 3 has like a swiss cheese), firstly there's what I feel is the lack of emotional connection with the defendant. You never have a good talk with them in the first day so you didn't come to the trial with the feeling 'I will prove my client isn't guilty'. Second, there is a more overt intentional withholding of information. This is related to the first point so that a big chunk of the first day of trial is just trying to find out who the defendant is and why is he convicted. I also feel that the prosecution has significantly more information and more frustratingly divulges them only bit by bit, even those that should be beneficial to the prosecution. Lastly, I feel that Apollo is more stupid, or perhaps lacks confidence. I feel like he's giving up and getting the stupid monkey shockface too fast with a simple misdirection. Like in the final part of 2 when Klavier has to give him a bone to add two and two why is Alita 'hiding' in the noodle stand after she got attacked.

On the revision of the cases itself, for 2 I like your idea of introducing the rival family. This may necessitate a change of culprit and motivation, but having a family who tries to go clean and a family that still do not hesitate to use police connections would make an interesting contrast and also give Klavier more impression as someone who upholds fairness more.

For 3, well I mentioned above how this one is perhaps the worst case. It needs a seriously drastic overhaul. I agree that definitely the Gramaryes should have a more active role in the case, giving most development to Trucy. Valant should be at least a witness, or even the defendant or (this is probably only possible if Maya is involved later) the victim.

4-4: All right, now we're getting to the meat of the story.
The story itself is compelling, but the big problem with this case is the MASON system (for the reasons you mentioned) and the anticlimactic final trial.

I agree that this should be split into two cases like Trials and Tribulations. The original prologue is pretty short and concise, so I don't think we can afford an investigation portion here (btw, Phoenix also did a solo investigation in 3-5. Franziska accompanies him for only a third of it). Well, added or not, Thalassa's accident definitely should be brought out on the trial itself. And then after the trial Phoenix should meet up with Maya, Pearl, and Edgeworth.

I'm still rather confused about the necessity of the implementation of the jurist system though. Even with Magnifi's death case, it's not like the jurists can make out who's really guilty between Zak or Valant. Kristoph is already founded guilty before it got set up, and Kristoph's trap for the Mishams are unpredictable in their setting off. When did Phoenix started working for the implementation of jurist system anyway? I think this should be delved more deeply with the imagined conversation between Phoenix and Edgeworth. Perhaps even 1-5 could be specifically referenced here since that case also has Edgeworth skirting with allegations of forged evidence, while also giving information of their connection with Ema.

Maya and Pearl perhaps a bit more brief, simply for informing their connection with Phoenix and their power. Perhaps we can give some reason why they can't help Phoenix much, maybe some family intrigue and whatnot. And then they promise to help Phoenix once Maya becomes the official master and head of Kurain, which for convenience's sake will be timed 7 years later.

Add kid Trucy and her adoption as the final scene and all the relevant past MASON information is conveyed. Zak's trick for escaping isn't particularly relevant anyway. And what Phoenix learned from the Mishams (that it's actually Vera who's the forger and the client is Kristoph) can be learned during the present.

4-5: The first day of trial can be pretty much unchanged, but after that definitely Apollo should be investigating instead of Phoenix in the MASON system.

What 'Shadi' said during what happened in the first case could be conveyed by Phoenix. Brushel could be safely interrogated by Apollo. Confronting Kristoph with Apollo also provides more development for both of them. Perhaps Apollo can also meets Edgeworth to discuss how the jurist system comes about. I would also give Ema a bigger role in actively helping Apollo here, maybe even a development that she recently helped Phoenix secretly (I'm really disappointed in her development since the badge on Phoenix's hat, which is the same model as what she used to wear in her lab coat, didn't mean anything).

Now, one point I'm rather confused is where to put Maya here. She definitely should have a role as a wildcard with her channeling powers, but thinking about it, all the relevant information concerning solving the case itself is already enough from the living. All that's left is the revelation that Apollo and Trucy are siblings and Thalassa is still alive. Oh, maybe at first place Apollo have a dead end on who's Zak's original defense attorney who possibly forges the evidence since there's no official record. Then Phoenix says "just ask the client" where he directs them to Maya. Only after we get Kristoph's name from Zak that Apollo visits Kristoph's cell and found the two obvious links (the letter and the nail polish). Though if we're having Maya channel Zak, there's the question how should it be revealed to Trucy that Shadi is Zak...

Anyway, this is getting too much details, so wrapping things up, by shifting the focus to Apollo and Trucy this should change the final trials considerably for it to be more satisfying.

Lastly, for the after-finale, the thing I would definitely change is Phoenix and Ema's attitude from 'duh, whatever' to more optimistic like you said.

Uh, I guess I didn't add much? Sorry, kinda hard to talk much since in general I agree with your revisions and some parts are in need of a really serious overhaul if we're going to go much further than that.

On a related topic, I still think the second Edgeworth game is better than Apollo Justice. It provides a real closure to Edgeworth’s character. I feel that in the original trilogy, there is still a lot of confusion in himself as to what's his role in law, not in small part due to his father's legacy which isn't touched much after 1-4. I'm trying to be vague here, but while the complaints I've said before still stands, it touches his father's legacy and the corruption in prosecutor's office all for a satisfying finale where he determines to become the Chief Prosecutor. Where it really falls short though, is the last villain, which isn't half as compelling as Manfred von Karma, Damon Gant, Dahlia Hawthorne, Godot, or Kristoph Gavin. To be a bit more specific, it would've fit much more with the conclusion if the final villain is not modeled as an unrepentant evil mastermind like Engarde, but more as a selfish avenger that you can still somewhat sympathize like Acro.

About Igarashi's Little Forest, it's simply a catalogue of various food and dishes (and how to preserve food and cutting paddies and butchering chicken, stuff like that). There's an underlying background of the narrator-protagonist who stays in the village because she can't find a place in the city or something like that, but it's barely mentioned.
jackmace_ryo Feb 1, 2015 3:43 AM
You haven't found them yet? For downloading manga I usually went directly to the scanlator's site, but if their site/links are dead/IRC-only, I usually wait for it to be uploaded into BakaBT and download it from there (if you don't know that site, it's a semi-private tracker where you have to maintain a good seeder's ratio or they'll ban you.). I believe TWiM is already uploaded there.

Yeah I've played Chrono Trigger, but I think I'm a little too late to play it when I did. I found to be very well-crafted and inventive in pretty much every aspect but didn't find it very emotionally resonant. I think it's a problem where I heard too much of it before started playing it and already played many later RPGs which took inspiration from it. I can imagine how mind-blown I would be if I were to play it in the SNES or at least PS1 era.

Uh, about the AJ rambling, I'll get back to you when I replayed it. I finished replaying the original trilogy back in December and haven't got back to AJ again. I currently don't have any means to play DD though. Still have 4 months left on this remote place. Don't worry about the rambling though, in fact I'm kinda down that my English (a secondary language for me) writing is still not good enough to write a rambling like that in an hour.

Really want to play Demon's Soul, but I don't know if I want to buy a console just for it. My PC's already due for an upgrade and I feel like saving for a next-gen console if there's some left. Maybe if I can get a good secondhand deal.

Well, if you have to buy Thermae Romae to read it, I don't know if I would recommend it (I borrowed it from a friend). I definitely enjoyed it a lot but it's not something I would buy a premium edition for.

Anyway, from what I've recently read I also recommend Terrarium in Drawer. I think it's one of the most creative short story comics collection that I've read. Ryouko Kui (the author) definitely is someone to watch for in the future.

I also read Daisuke Igarashi's Little Forest which I mentioned earlier. It's not quite what I expect. Rather than some fantastical story, it's a cooking manga about fresh produce, wild plants, and solitary farming life in general. But if most of it is drawn from Igarashi's actual experience, I can see why his drawings can really portrays nature.

Hitoshi Iwaaki's Sound of Bones is a typical 'early works short story collection' so much of it is rather rough and unpolished... I already kinda forget most of it. Snow Ridge Sword Dance is pretty good though. It's a period piece with very similar atmosphere as Historie and his drawings are already polished enough here (in particular his wide shots of battlefield and armies always amazes me).
jackmace_ryo Dec 24, 2014 1:10 AM
Another friendly reminder: The last volume of The World is Mine is already out.
jackmace_ryo Dec 19, 2014 5:53 PM
Ugh, that music... now I will remember it as one of the things that can make me spontaneously burst into tears. On other points about Ghost Trick there's pretty much no disagreement from me.

Your take on AJ almost seems rather... positive. Most fans cite the cynicism in that installment as to why they dislike it (myself included, but I'll reserve further judgment until I replay it).
I take it you like the concept and issues it brings up but don't feel like the writing is strong enough to hammer it.

I think what makes the finale cases that much more satisfying is because the constraints of a video game difficulty progression. The last battle will really stretches your logic and bring the stakes into the limit, but the first few battles are softened, which can be detrimental to the narrative impact. 1-2, for example, feels rather unsatisfying even though it deals with a very important plot point in the canon because despite all his swagger and supposed influence, Redd White falls faster than a wet paperbag.
This is much more of a problem in the first game though, the second and third's filler cases are reasonably difficult enough. For combined overall experience, I like 2 the best. 2-1 for making me laugh out loud the most (the funniest thing in AA games for me is when your player character says something absurdly illogical with a straight face or bluffing with absolute confidence. "Because he likes bananas" total non-sequiter is my favorite line in this case). 2-2 for Maya. 2-3 I'm kinda ambivalent with, due to it has two of the most annoying characters (Regina, Ben&Trilo), but on the other hand Acro is a one of the best villain, a tragic avenger that stays calm through the end and acknowledges his defeat gracefully when finally cornered, instead of falling to a mental breakdown with a scream. 2-4 (also my favorite case of all) because it really explores what it means for Phoenix to be a defense attorney.

Demon's Souls eh? I really want to play that one, but my circumstances now don't allow it (I'm currently stationed in a remote area with very limited electricity and internet access). Don't know how comparable the mage build in it and Dark Souls, but I generally really like making glasscannon builds. I really like the tension that you're almost always only one step towards death, and in these type of games in particular, it really forces you to learn enemy movements.

Interesting about your obsession cycle. In fact, I never thought of you as a gamer during my active (lurking) years at ANN forums. I'm pretty different in that I'm pretty much set in stone that my obsession is comics and video games for a multitude of reasons. I can enjoy good movies and TV series (including anime), but I found that I like to be able to control my pacing, hence comics and video games. I want to read novels more than I do now, but I found that I'm really lacking in the ability to imagine places through description, hence comics. (So about that Johnny novel, no, I haven't even read much Neil Gaiman and I really like his comics work)

Gotta agree that it's really hard to keep up with mature manga. Many of the pretty good things popular in the recent years are more of a mixture of shounen and seinen sensibilities (Attack on Titan, Tokyo Ghoul, Terra Formars, Kingdom, Ajin, One Punch Man, Seven Deadly Sins). Some formerly mature/artsy manga artist went more mainstream (can't blame them, as they found more success there) like Tsutomu Nihei and Usamaru Furuya. And there's not much people/scan groups to curate the rest. I'm somewhat able to keep up because I read a shit ton of manga, but I haven't really seen any notable new talent in the mature manga market if you exclude the shounen/seinen mix above. One trend that's interesting though is that some of the best BL authors are moving to make seinen/josei manga like est em, Tomoko Yamashita, and Nakamura Asumiko.

That said, there is a LOT of good manga that didn't receive much, if any, attention in the English-speaking world. If you see my plan-to-read titles, those are actually reminders for want-to-read titles, titles that are recommended from Japanese manga awards from the past few years. Very few of them (that does not get an anime adaptation) got much, if any, attention from the scanlation community (and the one that does are the type that you can expect, well-done shounen/shoujo titles and action seinen with shounen sensibilities). And it would be a bad business decision, or at the very best a gamble, for official licencors to license many of them (Taiyo Matsumoto's Sunny does seemingly becomes a good official license, but he has a some semblance of brand recognition for Tekkon Kinkreet and Ping Pong which are made into anime).

I'm not planning on downloading The World is Mine before they release the last volume, so sorry, can't help you with that yet.

Anyway, after literally reading hundreds of manga here are some of the better things I would actually recommend to you:

- Rose of Versailles: INSANE melodrama, with a not-inaccurate portrayal of the French Revolution.

- Yonensei/Gonensei: It's an earlier work of Kio Shimoku (Genshiken). It's about the uncertainty of youth (finding a job, establishing a relationship, considering marriage) during the last year of college. I think it has one of the most realistic adult romance in manga, ever (none of the teenager love thing that even Genshiken has some semblance of). If the 'growing up' part of Genshiken without any of the otaku nonsense sounds interesting, do give it a try.

- Ashita no Joe: I'm a bit ambivalent on this recommendation as a lot of it is archetypical shonen of an aimless boy finding a purpose in life in the form of boxing (to be fair, this is one of the pivotal works that builds the archetype itself) . But from a point it becomes how this purpose ultimately envelops his life, leading him to the path of self-destruction, and finally, the ending. THAT ending. I finally know why that last scene is referenced so many times in later works. Very worth a read if you want to see a piece of manga history whose influence still felt to this day and still quite held up unlike some of Tezuka's earlier works.

- Thermae Romae: I think you've already know the premise of this one. There's not much more to it than the premise (it is a comedy manga after all) but it's still really funny and unique due to it's something that only someone like the author, a Japanese married to an Italian living in both sides of world, can think of.

- Getenrou: A collection of seemingly unrelated strange short stories that amazingly ties together at the end. Explaining more that that is kinda hard, I suggest to just try it, it's only one volume after all.

- Alexandros: A historical manga about Alexander. I'll just let Hox explains the rest :http://hoxtranslations.blogspot.kr/2013/07/alexandros-dream-for-world-conquest.html

- Nickelodeon: I'm at a loss trying to explain this. It's a collection of really (and I mean really) bizarre short stories, usually from a typical genre concept given a dark or bizarre twist. The artwork can be loosely described as "What if Mike Mignola draw manga?". Try reading a few of them and see if you find it interesting.

-Spirits Flying in the Sky and Hanashippanashi: Daisuke Igarashi does fantasy like no one else does. That said, this two is a collection of its earliest works so it's rather rough if you compare it to his later works.

-Kabu no Isaki: I don't think I need to explain YKK's appeal here? Their appeal is pretty much the same. That said, YKK is still the better one because Kabu no Isaki does not have a character as charming as Alpha as the anchor and window to the world.

-From my to-read list, some more earlier works by Daisuke Igarashi and Hitoshi Iwaaki.
https://www.mangaupdates.com/series.html?id=19505
https://www.mangaupdates.com/series.html?id=111880
https://www.mangaupdates.com/series.html?id=19857
https://www.mangaupdates.com/series.html?id=28869

I think that's pretty much it. I read too many mediocre manga.

Oh, and I see you've read Umibe no Onnanoko. I'm still collecting my thoughts of it but suffice to say my impression of it is rather typical Asano of bleak reality with a shred of optimism in the end.
In particular, what do you think of Isobe's "transformation" in the second to last chapter. I think it's pretty clear that his depression is because he wasn't able to help his brother. Can we say he reaches some sort of catharsis by punishing his brother's bullies? That interpretation seems a bit too convenient for Asano's work. Did he rejects Koume because he realizes how shallow and toxic their relationship is, or did he actually loves her but didn't want to bring her grief because he is likely to be arrested for assault? Who is his tears for? I'm also still confused by the role of the titular 'Girl by the Sea' that Isobe mentions in the end though.
And what is the meaning of the kiss in the fourth last page? It's never clear who they are, but in this story a kiss is a significant thing that signifies a real relationship that Koume and Isobe never have? Is it Koume's imagination of things that could have been?
Blebs Dec 16, 2014 2:37 AM
Yeah I'd heard about the Steamworks migration--I ought to get on that at some point. I kinda start feeling jealous with all the PVP you've described--without a controller I feel like I'm missing out, though it's probably just some sort of ridiculous psychological barrier and I simply need to get over it. Go ahead and send the screenshots if you like!

Can't actually find the exact episode director for 20--and it turns out I was wrong about Ohta being the storyboarder of 19, as he was the episode director--but it was Koujirou Tsuruoka storyboarding episodes 19 and 20 (was apparently the director of the OP and an assistant director)who went on to work on a bunch of other good Madhouse works, Monster, Shigurui and Aoi Bungaku among them. Surprised and a bit disappointed to see that he's not done too much apart from that.

(But since I brought up Shigurui I never mentioned that I finished the manga recently and would enjoy discussing it with you!)

I also didn't realize that Haibane's director also did NieA_7 (a role which he seems to have shared with Takuya Sato who's done stuff like Ichigo Mashimaro, Steins;Gate and WiXoss more recently) and it's definitely amusing to see that a lot of these guys have worked on 2010~ stuff. They're probably really damn good at adapting to different genres and shifting markets--although Hamasaki seems to be strictly relegated to 'darker' shows, or in the case of Steins;Gate, episodes. Still funny to see people mouthing off about the visual presentation of Terra Formars (grain, filters, less colours, etc.,) when they seemed to be absolutely fine with it for S;G--granted, he had less of a role in that than anything else he's worked (recently) on apart from Blade&Soul, but it's still stupid.

That's a really good point about Konaka and his characters acting in accordance to the theme or plot. As for the whole sex thing, yeah, it's interesting--I think you wrote something similar back in that bookclub thread about how it tends to be pretty sterile and dispassionate (i.e, Ichise and the 'escort' in the first episode), but when it's not really explicitly shown (Yoshii and the abused/disfigured woman) it somehow carries more emotional weight to it... but I'm not sure if I'm getting it right here. I don't think I've watched much else where he's dealt with sexual stuff so I'm not sure if I can comment further. Did Ghost Hound or Mononoke have more of that in it? I know those 'lain's diary entries' that I mentioned for the lain video game had a few entries where lain first encountered porn on the Wired (she was creeped out about it, go figure). In any case, go for it if you wanna elaborate!

I was always struggling with a lot of the stuff in Gabe, but his being a bit less transparent with Yoshii makes a lot of sense. It's interesting to consider with later developments of the series when he decides to act--and force everybody else to act--upon on Ran's apocalyptic vision, since there are a few similarities between what Yoshii and Kano want to achieve, even if they end up going to some extremely different consequences/endgames.

Since you mentioned Ichise, I dug around regarding his voice actor and found him doing narration for Pocari Sweat advertisements of all things, in 2012 and 2013 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XZNKxif-sU). G-glad to see he's still doing stuff, I guess? He seems to have only been in TV roles prior to doing Texhnolyze and seemed to have gone back to it afterward (some tokusatsu series and apparently the Japanese dub of Desperate Housewives). Would definitely like it if he went back to anime; Despera, maybe? I also feel like Hamasaki would've tried his hardest to get him to do a role in Terra Formars if he could've.

As for fan favourites, don't forget Yoshii! As much as I liked him, it's slightly annoying to see a lot of discussion about the show centering only on him (he was the real hero/the only good character in the show and it went to shit after he died) even now. So whenever there's a thread on /a/ or something I try pretty hard to bring Kano or other details into the forefront but it seldom amounts to much..

In regards to the article, if it's only been 2-3% in such a short span then that's pretty remarkable. I guess focus has only been given to the most egregious/outspoken of the sort.

I can see where you're coming from with Sommers' whole deal with the 'boys will be boys' thingy but I honestly liked what she had to say with these two videos (http://youtu.be/9MxqSwzFy5w) (http://youtu.be/5RVlCvBd21w) and this recent interview (http://apgnation.com/archives/2014/12/05/10969/interview-dr-christina-hoff-sommers)--apologies for all the linking and such--since she seems to sum up my stance on it pretty well, but I've never known much about the AEI or where she clearly stands politically.

Really alarming to see Baldwin trying to push the whole 'fuck the Leftist propaganda' thing. While I was pretty sure that he'd come into this from a purely political standpoint... man. I dunno. A bit too politically-charged.

With the whole thing regarding nerd culture being conservative--yeah, I can definitely see that. I doubt we would've had this huge blowout in the first place (or any of the reactions from 'long-time gamers who were discriminated against' now that gaming has become widespread etc.,), but with series like Firefly and Joss Whedon stuff in general--or any type of really popular western series, I guess--tends to attract more liberal/progressive types so I guess I should've specified a bit more with that.

It's definitely the case with otaku as well. I mean, didn't otaku boycott Sakurasou because the anime staff, in a daring deviation from the source material, dared to show a Korean dish rather than a traditional Japanese dish? And there are series like Mahouka--with the ridiculous Japanese nationalism and 'chink slaughter--that's just obliterating the competition in LN sales. I'd just chalk people thinking it's a bastion of progressiveness and social liberation to them just being stupid weeaboos or something.

I should've linked the Leigh Alexander article a lot earlier: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/224400/Gamers_dont_have_to_be_your_audience_Gamers_are_over.php

But yeah I didn't really specify about the treatment of women--I found it iffy that she went straight for the GamerGate stuff (and I don't recall that the death threats to Quinn, Brianna Wu or Sarkeesian were definitively linked to GamerGate, which Alexander seems to be doing with the last link) rather than citing anything else. Good points about the 'smarter' companies that we've mentioned, I guess I was trying to speak to how those genres of games tended to be a bit harder to 'break into' for women (that's reading a bit uncomfortably for me so I hope you get what I mean) so it's remarkable that they don't seem to have really encountered much trouble there, but you could just as easily chalk it up to the people in those companies being intelligent, sensible and level-headed people.

As for Instig8ive's videos--yeah I doubt he was trying to be neutral, I think that's just how he does those videos. My beef with Sarkeesian (and perhaps most of the journalists or whatever that I seem to find disagreeable) at the end of the day might just come down to rhetoric or something, I dunno. As I said before, maybe we all just need to grow some thicker skin.

But really, I appreciate that you took a lot of time to respond to the whole GG thing that I ultimately stirred up--you've given me a lot of insight. I know you've said that you get burned out on it and I can't fault you at all for that, especially when I've given a lot of vague answers and opinions (I don't think I handled myself very decently at all in this exchange, as is the case when I try to articulate any sort of stance at all or just write for too long) but it was good for me to get a more balanced perspective! I'm totally fine with dropping the GG thing at this point as well since I think we've spoken enough about it.

Anyway, I can't comment all that much on Demon's Souls but I've heard that it's got a central hub area and a less organic world design in general vs DaS--Dark Souls II does the hub area as well but from what I hear it pales in comparison to Demon's Souls (as it does for other things, like the cheap/plentiful healing items etc.,). I'm actually surprised to hear that the aesthetic is more grimy/bleaker--that might just be from my shitty toaster running Dark Souls and making most visuals look like poop, or just all the footage I've seen of Demon's Souls; it always seemed to look a lot cleaner to me for some reason. Maybe that's just 'cause the videos were all fuzzy and I only saw the 'neater' areas.

Are weapons and the like any different? And how different is magic with the spell bar rather than charges/usages, apart from being more OP? Also interested to see how the lore compares to DaS since I've little to no knowledge of that.

I also wish Bloodborne would come to PC, god damn.
Blebs Dec 14, 2014 2:33 AM
That's pretty priceless. Nice to see that people are still willing to go along with silly stuff like that, I imagine it must have been amazing once everybody realized what you wanted to start up (and the subsequent divesting of everybody's gear).

And damn that looks really fucking impressive. I really need to get a new computer at some point.

For "Spleen", you hear a very stripped down guitar and vocals only mix of the song when Doc confronts Saginuma iin episode 19 about the Raffia supply dwindling and the like (http://youtu.be/J8spCicd1pc?t=15m38s). As for other ones you have that "When Reason Fails" song that's done completely in English, and you only hear a version without lyrics that seems to be mixed with "Blue Darkness - A Sleepless Town" near the end of episode 2 just before Ichise gets picked up by Doc (http://youtu.be/CnPv6MoVb8Q#t=18m53s) -- there are probably a few more lurking around that I can't immediately recall, but songs like "Fantasia", "To An End of the World" and many more off of both CDs seem to be completely absent from the rest of the series...

Good point about the last two episodes, and apparently I didn't think to check for the specific screenwriters for 19 and 20 -- interestingly, Konaka seems to have been credited with 20/Hades, and Noboru Takagi (the DRRR/Baccano anime guy, I think, which is cool) for 19/Heavenward. Also find it a bit amusing that Masahiko Ohta, who has directed a lot of good comedies, slice of life and cute girls doing cute things series in his recent years, storyboarded episode 19.

Ultimately though, I don't really think Konaka could've handled the final two any better. He just did a wonderful job with them. Guess I really do need to watch everything else that he's worked on to get a better sense of his qualities/flaws in his writing.

On the questions you're thinking of raising I especially like the one on the Gabe Elder--I've always felt there were a few ambiguities/inconsistencies regarding everything he was saying about Ran's precognition.

I also like the one on Doc's cells/Ichise's arm, as I do recall halfadeckshort's theory that Doc's cells in Ichise's arm had some sort of connection to her lab (and that retinal scanner thingy) and being able to access some sort of power reserve within it. Something else to consider (and something I'd just literally thought of while typing this up) is a scene in episode 9 where Doc seems to be able to 'track' Ichise in her lab (https://i.imgur.com/4yNEjph.png) as he's passed out while in Onishi's car, so that's also a compelling angle to approach it from. Seeing as how prior to 'finishing' his arm in the beginning of episode 7 she's depressed/frustrated at being unable to find him--episode 6 seems to support this as she expresses relief once she seems to get a phone call, probably from Onishi, about Ichise encountering the Organo once more--the 'GPS' seems to be something she adds at the very end of the process, though I'm not entirely sure how this might relate to what happens in the last episode. I guess that also offers some additional context about how she's essentially his 'second mother'...

The question on the Class can expand into so many different directions, I love it.

Can't agree more with the assessment on the show's emotional depth. It's related to what I've bitched about at length before, but a lot of people's assessments of the ABe series tend to put Texhnolyze at the very bottom of the list (or it's tied at rock bottom NieA_7, which isn't too fair for NieA either). I really think people need to pay more attention or just think about the show more. Or perhaps it's the annoying and rather irrational hatred for male protagonists in anime these days, considering how many people dislike or ignore Ichise in comparison to the other ABe protagonists. I bet if he were a cute girl everbody would suddenly like Texhnolyze or something.

In regards to the article, was it sampling from a specific timeframe in terms of reviews/articles/editorials and the like? I feel like the insertion of those kinds of words/phrases seems to be something that's come to the forefront pretty recently, so a low percentage of it being in games journalism to date might be understandable with that being considered--but I'm not really sure.

Yeah I was probably going a bit too far with the 'TOXIC MASCULINITY' thing, I definitely have a sense that it's not just a thing paraded around to be man-hating since I've read about a lot of that hyper-masculine, machismo culture that's actually been a real problem. I mean, I've had issues about some of the recent videos uploaded by prominent pro-GG people where they just start going off the hook about 'pussy-whipped beta cuckolds' on the anti-GG side...so it's rather coincidental that we're discussing that now.

Good point about the conservatism side of things. A lot of the left-leaning pro-GGers seem to have been pretty outspoken about no longer being so afraid of 'the right', after all. The guy you linked also makes a lot of compelling points about anonymous culture and I read a lot of the other stuff he wrote on that site; it's interesting to hear from somebody who seems to have a lot of intimate knowledge on how chans work while being on the anti-GG side. Interestingly, as I've never liked /v/ or /pol/ it was amusing to me, and probably a lot of other people, to see all the outrage about the GG discussion being banned from 4chan and the 'mass exodus' to 8chan. I'll have to think about this more, though I'm wondering if he's addressed the involvement of TotalBiscuit or Christina Hoff Summers on the pro-GG side since I really think they did manage to produce some fruitful results.

In regards to Baldwin, go for it! I was having an interesting discussion with a friend about his whole involvement in this, since we typically associate 'nerd culture' and a show like Firefly with left-leaning people--so it's interesting that Baldwin is pretty passionately conservative.

As for that post, yeah, I think we can conclude that 'journalistic ethics' is at best, ostensibly related--it's kind of brought back every now and then because it's connected to journalists that people believe are crusading SJWs. The post does bring up a few interesting points, but I do have to point out that Leigh Alexander was also one of the authors of the many 'GAMERS ARE DEAD' articles which worries me, and her last point about women being harassed in the industry feels a bit iffy to me since she only references the GG issues--I obviously can't really speak for anybody but watching a lot of interviews, especially from some pretty prominent CRPG figures in the 80s and 90s like Robert Sirotek seem to suggest they were pretty in favour of women in the industry and actively attempted to support them as they did.

The Jack Thompson thing is kinda scary considering how adamant people have been about comparing Sarkeesian and Thompson--I'd actually not heard about that, though I've never really looked at that Sarkeesian Effect thing very favourably, and it seems bizarre that they'd bring Thompson on board (I think this guy made a lot of good points about Sarkeesian as a whole though, and both parts of the video being from 2012 seem to be a pretty good reflection of what GG really seems to be about, almost two years before it started (http://youtu.be/LpFk5F-S_hI).) It's interesting to see where the movement is heading as it's 'cooled down' a bit and more political groups seem to be jumping on the bandwagon--a lot of them seem to be pretty adamant about starting new journalism sites and the like, it could be an indication of people trying to cast off all the extra political 'baggage' that the movement's collected since the whole thing has started.

Unfortunately I've not touched a console for a long time now and I've never played Demon Souls so I'd probably have even less stuff to say about it than Dark Souls! I hear it's good though!
Blebs Dec 4, 2014 1:20 PM
Looks like there'll be a new Hosoda film in 2015!
Blebs Dec 3, 2014 6:52 AM
At the fisticuff bouts -- that's awesome. Nice rubbish. How were the winners decided, whoever got a backstab first? And holy crap your game looks nice.

Yeah I'd always wondered why the divorce happened even if it's a bit meaningless and terribly prying. The thing with the songs missing off both soundtracks has always felt bizarre to me; there are tracks on both discs that never even showed up in the actual series—or were HEAVILY remixed or edited, like "Spleen" off the first one—when they could've been replaced with songs like the one you described, or a whole slew of other incredibly memorable ones: any of the ambient tracks in Lux or the music in episode 19 when Doc, Ichise and Sakimura are walking on the surface and you get all the haunting scenery. A third CD, as was done with lain, would've been really appreciated. I would've expected as much since they had such an elaborate recording process.

It's definitely worth checking out the lain stuff, though I definitely agree with the assessment on multimedia projects (not sure if it's the same reason though) -- lain seriously feels a hell of a lot weaker without that content, and considering how people outside of Japan seemed to have gotten absolutely nothing in regards to that...

I do wonder if leaving details out on the Class was an intended thing or not. I've theorized that, based on the interview with ABe and Ueda on the DVDs where they talk about Konaka being late with the scripts for two of the later episodes, they were the two surface world ones, since they weren't broadcast. It's a huge stretch considering how great the episodes were but I wonder if there was anything left out, either as an oversight or time constraints.

If we ever get some translator to talk to Hamasaki through twitter, more clarification on the Class and the 'weird creepy pool people on the Hill' will definitely be huge things on a list of things to ask -- I feel like it's not too much wishful thinking these days. After following him around on Twitter for some time it still seems he's always willing to tweet or talk about Texhnolyze in some form, and even engage with foreign fans. I managed to encourage a guy--anonymously, on /a/ no less--to tweet him his fan-art of the ending and Hamasaki responded within an hour, which was really sweet and awesome (https://twitter.com/qtmouto/status/479883026986332160)

I think you'd be surprised about how people are (still) receiving Ichise and his whole arc, and I definitely think it's connected to what we were discussing earlier about how people just think Texhnolyze is a purely nihilistic exercise meant to explore INTERESTING FUTURISTIC CONCEPTS AND EXISTENTIAL NIHILISM or has no depth or complexity to its characters, especially 'cause of Ichise's relative silence in the series. I've bitched about that to Yanqui constantly, and still bitch to him about many things. He is probably very tired of it now. But thinking back to it now, it seems very odd to me that people complain about Texhnolyze being pretentious or too artsy and when you get that moment in the final episode with Ichise talking to Ran; it's as simple, direct and emotional as it can possibly be but people choose either to ignore it or not consider it at all.

The disconnect between 'journalistic ethics/integrity' and 'reacting to SJWs' has become a lot more pronounced. It's not like people weren't calling out all the positive review 'buying', IGN for giving away high scores to buggy, shitty games on release, or any of the discrepancies between the Metacritic user and professional critic review score 'scandals' on any recent Triple-A game for ages. I'd wager that you're 100% correct about the people complaining about ethics not really knowing how it works.

I think the two are associated because a lot of the people that have been accused (a few of these were unfounded, I think) of engaging in corrupt practices/collusion and the like were also the same SJWs that the movement was rejecting -- this was something that I believe coincided with the whole leak of that mailing list connecting a bunch of game journalists from different publications and the earlier, simultaneous mass-publication of articles proclaiming the death of gamers from all the major sites. This had enough weight for Kotaku to at least adjust their stance and address some of the criticisms that had been raised (though I think the senior editor is still adamant on not needing to disclose personal relationships between reviewers and developers or something), and I believe it forced a few writers to admit that they had close/intimate personal relationships to developers whose games they'd previously given high scores or lots of publicity/positive press... though I don't think it's all that important in the grand scheme of things.

I definitely lean in the 'social issues' direction, though I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that I'm not opposed at all to social issues being covered or addressed in game journalism. I have a huge problem with the way a lot of people/journalists are approaching it though, as a lot of them have been ridiculously obnoxious and overly aggressive about it. There are a lot of reviews that don't really talk about the game for its merits as a game (alternatively they like the game but ultimately slam it because it's misogyny!), or there are people like Anita Sarkeesian whose criticisms can become incredibly reaching or go straight into 'TOXIC MASCULINITY man-hating' territory. I know there are tons of people who are pretty firmly left-wing when it comes down to it--and probably view things in the same way as a lot of 'SJWs'-- but are opposed to how a lot of reviewers/journalists/'academics' tend to vigorously and aggressively inject 'social justice' or gender politics into everything they write or make, and that kind of hardline attitude also seems to apply to anybody that disagrees, even if it's not venomous or hateful in how its presented -- it especially felt that way with Anita Sarkeesian. Brad Wardell, the CEO from Stardock has gotten so much shit recently because of this type of stuff and it was really painful to see his tweets and how he was being treated since he openly declared his support of GG -- I know he's on the conservative side but I've not really seen anything from him that was really disagreeable for me (I might be wrong here since). But yeah, that's kind of where I ultimately stand and I know a lot of this sounds a bit vague... maybe the solution for everybody is just to grow some thicker skin.

I basically agree with what you've said about Sarkeesian -- she can certainly make valid points even if they're not exactly new or eloquent (a lot of her videos seemed to have just stolen entries/titles from TV Tropes articles that tend to be a lot more informative and lack the kind of snide attitude that her content tends to come packaged with). It is unfortunate that none of the well-reasoned, respectful articles or people that have disagreed with her ever tend to be ignored by anybody talking about or publicizing her.

I think the GamerGate, being so amorphous a movement tends to attract a lot of hard-line conservatives or weird extremist elements -- it certainly hasn't stopped a lot of right-wing nutjobs from 'co-opting' it and saying that gay characters in video games should go die etc -- it kinda does in some weird way speak to how people all across the political spectrum are coming together for their vidya games when they'd probably passionately disagree with everything else. I honestly haven't looked into Adam Baldwin's whole deal but I always felt a bit iffy about him, but when I consider a lot of the conservative/right-wing people hopping on, it seems like GamerGate's been a pretty convenient springboard for those types to start a spirited push-back against 'progressive' politics. That being said I don't think they account for a majority of those in the movement even if he coined the hashtag and all that stuff.

But in the end I don't think GamerGate has ever been 100% about journalism ethics, it's more about being against the whole SJW thing which has been connected to ethics -- otherwise this would've started a long while ago without the whole Zoey Quinn thing to spark it off. Like you said it's been the perfect clusterfuck cocktail. I'm with you on distinguishing actual studies/academia on social awareness as opposed to the ridiculous tumblr or SJW shit, I would think (and hope) that people who share my view on the 'pro-GG' side make that distinction.

I totally agree with your last point about video game writing in general, that really seems to align with my view -- bad writing is just bad writing, SOCIAL ISSUES BEING ADDREESSED and MISOGYNY regardless.

Anyway, this has been a bit more scatterbrained than usual writing this late at night/early in the morning, and I don't think I presented some parts of this wall of text as well as I'd liked but it's more or less how I feel about things. But thank you very much for the response. It's really good to read your thoughts on it since being exposed to it anywhere else tends to just be the ridiculous extremes of either side, and your messages are always good reading for me.
jackmace_ryo Dec 2, 2014 4:05 AM
After talking about Ghost Trick I just recently replayed it and it's just as good, if not better than I remember it. I am rather surprised I got teary-eyed about Yomiel's backstory since he fits a lot into the "bitter immortal" trope. I think it's because of his relationship with Sissel which gives him the humanity most of those character types lack.

By comparison I also recently replayed the first AA game and the first three cases are rather underwhelming. The last case (not counting extra) with Edgeworth is still really satisfying though.

Well, I actually personally prefer STR build to DEX build. I like betting on a big strike more than the safe quick hit and run strategy. STR build's biggest downside is by far the weight though. The weapons and greatshields are really heavy and you really want at least moderate poise else your big swings are easily canceled by nibbles. If you're talking about reach and range though, the only thing better than the Zweihander is the Black Knight Greataxe. It's a class of its own with both fast swings and wide reach (horizontal with one hand, vertical with two hand). Greatclubs and Greataxes swings are more vertical; to do their best attack, horizontal slash(greataxe)/tremor attack(greatclub) you have to roll and attack, which can be hard to master.

I haven't played much PvP but yeah, for that offensive sorceries are pretty much useless against a good player. For normal enemies it makes most of them a joke though. Bosses can go down with three or four accessory boosted Soul Spear.

BTW you haven't read much new manga lately? Is it pretty much a convenience factor? Your plan to read titles are pretty much sitting there forever and you haven't listed some titles I imagine you would be interested in like Kabu no Isaki (Hitoshi Ashihano), Spirits Flying in the Sky (Daisuke Igarashi), or Umibe no Onnanoko (Inio Asano). Granted, it's not their best work (and you may be a bit disillusioned with Asano with Punpun), but still.
Blebs Nov 22, 2014 3:14 PM
I almost completely forgot about the plagiarism accusations, though I don't think I've listened to enough of her work to really comment on it apart from thinking that it was p. decent and I wouldn't mind hearing more I guess. I think my opinion might have also been coloured a fair bit by her relationship to based Hajime Mizoguchi who needs to do more anime work. Still need to get into Nujabes though...!

And speaking of soundtrack-related stuff I managed to get my hands on the scans of the English cover/booklet of the first Texhnolyze OST which has a bunch of great info (https://imgur.com/a/UBTs8). Learning that they recorded a lot of the songs in Rome underneath a fucking cathedral was awesome and I think there was definitely some architectural influence for Lux (well, mainly from that aqueduct thing in the center of the city surrounding the Obelisk) from being around there.

As for the accompanying material in lain, http://ain-and-lain.tumblr.com this site has a lot of good stuff if you ever have the time to check it out. It gives her more emotional dimensions (there's an age difference, as well as the difference in scenario that's presented in the game) that seems to be sorely lacking in the anime as I've described earlier. I think the translator also cited Ueda in saying that the game and the anime were kinda supposed to be taken hand-in-hand, which is a real shame since it's taken this long for anything in English to come to light! There are also translations for Despera-related material as well which is cool.

I think the translator, ain, also seems to be a pretty big fan of Texhnolyze so maybe we could get her to translate those booklets on Kano and the other additional information on Texhnolyze that you managed to get a hold of! It'd be awesome if it happened.

I know we talked about Ghost Hound before and I have it downloaded—Mononoke is something I constantly remind myself of and I still need to re-watch Tamers without all the editing that was shoved down by throat in the dub back when I was younger. I still remember though, even as a kid, that the series felt darker and a lot more mature than anything prior so I'm definitely interested in going through it again.

It's a good point about Texhnolyze. Very few people seem to consider Ichise's character development (I've seen a ton of people going 'B-BUT HE DIDN'T CHANGE!' and the like) or simply deny it outright, and they seem to refuse to acknowledge that there's a bit more happening than doom-and-gloom in the series, although I can definitely understand why they'd think otherwise. It's also concerning that people never seem to look at EVERYTHING that's presented in the series and consider it holistically before smashing their nihilism buzzword button, ignoring the ending scene/sequence and the like.

I suppose one day 'nihilism' will be thrown around as a bigger buzz-word than 'pretentious' considering how commonly it seems to be associated with Gen Urobuchi these days (oh right, gotta include 'DECONSTRUCTION' in there), or something.

The Gamergate thing is a real big mess. Bad things have gone on between both sides but I definitely had a problem with all the major publications declaring 'THE DEATH OF GAMERS'. I find that I tend to disagree heavily with people like Anita Sarkeesian—that thing she did on Hitman Absolution about 'desecrating' random female NPCs was especially cringeworthy. I don't know. It's really messy and I'm trying to keep an open mind. Interested to hear more of your thoughts on it—you can take it to PMs if you want to.

The point you made about the pendant, as well as the comment by Miyazaki make a ton of sense since it wasn't really something I thought about other than as a gameplay thing because seems to have become little more than a "haha it actually does NOTHING, get TRICKED'' meme these days.

I'll need to mull over everything else you've said there (I don't think it's rambling, at least) and think about it after re-playing DaS, so enjoy this complete cop-out response! I realize that there's a much better person to talk to about the game than me in these huge conversations regardless, haha.

And gotcha on the low-res thing, I seem to have forgotten that there are some nice options in mods these days, and I doubt my toaster could handle the better-looking textures very well.
jackmace_ryo Nov 20, 2014 9:22 PM
- I initially wasn't interested in Phoenix x Layton crossover, but hearing that Shu Takumi wrote it changed my mind. Still reluctant to pay full price for it though.

I've played the second Edgeworth game. IMO it's better than the first Edgeworth game and Apollo Justice but didn't quite reach the first AA trilogy's highs. I think a big part of it is because the limitations within the canon itself. The story itself tackled with the problem whether Edgeworth wants to continue being a prosecutor or following his father's footstep as a defense attorney while the gameplay itself primarily pushes his role as a quasi-attorney... and then at the end he decides to be a prosecutor, which doesn't quite follow. I also have a big problem with Kay's (the plucky sidekick) role later in the game which essentially turns her into a damsel-in-distress with little agency. It's also a bit too fanservicey, I think there's around 10 characters (aside from Edgeworth and Gumshoe) who previously appeared on the AA trilogy. The translation is adequate, I guess. I didn't find anything wrong with it but it obviously isn't quite as inspired as the officially-translated one especially with the jokes.

- I seriously needs to replay New Vegas. I think I focused too much on the gameplay back then and ignoring the nuances here and there, perhaps due to it's only the second open-world RPG I've played because I only managed to get my hands on a good PC around the time Fallout 3 came out. That my PC broke down before I get the chance to do a second playthrough is perhaps also a factor.

- Portal 2 was a lot of fun, but I agree on the story aspect that it's really unnecessary to make GLaDOS sympathetic.

Dark Souls:

Bosses aren't that much harder in level one run, but the hardest parts is where you're mobbed by fast, weak enemies like the chapel in New Londo because your weapon choice is severely limited, pretty much only light axes and clubs which biggest problem is the reach.

By cleric, you mean INT-focused with a little bit of STR? Because Moonlight Greatsword from Seath's tail is basically a mage's weapon (minmaxed with 40 INT and the minimum STR/DEX requirement).

That sword is my favorite weapon, second only to Obsidian Greatsword (from Kalameet's tail). It's very damaging due to its pure magic damage, even more than Magic-forged Claymore on 40 INT, and it has a projectile to boot. Obsidian is better mostly because you can enchant it.

That said, if you compare it to primarily DEX build with a bit of INT support I still prefer the latter because of its versatility. With DEX build your weapon and playstyle choice is simply amazing. You can use Dark Silver Tracer (Ciaran's weapon) with Hornet Ring for crazy riposte/backstab damage. You can use Falchion or Gold Tracer for quick hits. You can use spears for turtling strategy. You can use katanas for great damage/speed balance. You can use Balder Side Sword for great speed/reach combination. Bows now do good damage. And with a little extra on STR you can use scythes and Flamberge. Specific to this build also, the special attack from Ricard's Rapier with magic enchantment will take care most bosses easy.

With primarily INT build you're basically just finding an opening and spamming soul arrows/spears or softing them first with it then meleeing them for the finish.

Faith-based build is perhaps my least favorite build. There's no great weapon with primary faith base like the Moonlight Greatsword. The good ones, Grant and Dragonslayer Spear also have a high STR/DEX requirement. The lightning bolts are both weaker and less stocked per slot than soul arrows/spears. Weapon enchantment is stronger but much less stocked per slot. It's a bit more suited for online play as you can heal without Estus Flask (though not that big of a deal if you farm Humanities), you can use a very powerful spell that is still very useful even when you're fighting a human (Wrath of the God), and you can easily join the Sunbros.
jackmace_ryo Nov 19, 2014 6:33 AM
So a bit of a story on how I found out it got picked up: I was reading Doubutsu no Kuni (Animal Land) and in the final volume there's a double interview with Makoto Raiku (the author) and Hajime Isayama (Attack on Titan's author) where Isayama says: "It all came together at the end and turned into one story with 14 volumes. I had a shock when I read the end like when I read The World is Mine." That's the first time I've heard anyone other than you even mentions that title. I remember was really curious in reading it but discouraged because it wasn't fully scanlated, but hearing about it again I thought to check it. And lo and behold, it got picked up again no more than two months ago.

Anyway, some thoughts about some other titles you mention:
- Ghost Trick. My memory's already kinda fuzzy about the details, but in many ways I found it superior from Phoenix Wright. It's really a shame it didn't really caught on as that one did in both sides of the Pacific.
-Fallout New Vegas. I... honestly was surprised to see many people praise the story. I enjoyed it a lot yes, but I think my problem is with Bethesda's works is that I never feels fully immersed in their world. Something about it make me feels like seeing the strings in a doll theather
-Portal. When I first played it I didn't heard much of it aside from a few recommendations and I'm glad I did. I don't know if it will be as awesome if I heard "the cake is a lie" meme ad nauseum.
-Bioshock Infinite: The first few hours are awesome. I gave up a few hours after the shooting starts. Still sitting on my PC so maybe I'll finish it one day though.

About the level one run... Honestly I only went as far as a bit after defeating Ornstein and Smough (with only Solaire's help). It really isn't that much harder though unless you also went with no-pyromancy flame upgrade challenge. It is due to my tendency to greatly lost interest when I already feel like I've mastered the playstyle enough and getting the best possible equipment for that particular build, which is also why most of my characters never actually takes the final step and defeats Gwyn.

As for Priscilla, this is the cutest thing Dark Souls-related ever (spoilers: Priscilla singing Song of the Dragonborn from Skyrim) : bato.to/comic/_/comics/dark-souls-priscilla-doujinshi-r8256

Oh, and do read this too : bato.to/comic/_/comics/dark-souls-poka-poka-dark-souls-life-doujinshi-r8240 It's a 'playlog' comic about the first few hours of the game. Really funny in the way of 'Oh yeah, that happens to me too!'