Are the BETA a form of life?

In my post Artificial Intelligence in Muv-Luv from a few years back I introduced the idea of the BETA to be a superintelligence, an artificial intelligence construct that is superior in speed and processing power to general intelligence, or human level AI. The stance that the BETA is a biological equivalent of human build machinery in practice stems from the Visual Novel itself, though Yoshimune Koki has mentioned in one of the streams âge does that the BETA on Earth were somehow faulty in their action. However, this post will ignore this, as author intent can change at any moment and what we know of BETA via official materials does not corroborate this to any significant measure. The closest thing we have is their homing sense towards silicon chips, which wouldn’t really do well if the Siliconians were present. Why would you create excavation units to violently home towards your own kind? This post will cross some topics covered with the post linked previously, but the core of the topic is very much different.

The BETA do not consider themselves a form of life, which must be a pre-programmed state. This is because the BETA can be assumed to be constructs of the Siliconians similar to how humans construct vehicles and other machinery, including computers. Each individual BETA outside the Superordinate have tool AI. They are akin to chess computer Deep Blue in that they are able to execute decisions based on pre-established patterns and motions. The BETA on Earth are mostly excavation tools, and pretty much everything in their path is matter to be collected and transformed in order to produce more BETA or to be sent back to the home planetary system in a transformed form.

The BETA, or rather the Superordinate, is an equivalent of Deep Blue’s staff who go over information gathered from the rest of the BETA and able to device new plans and actions. The best example for its creative thinking is its early rollout of Laser Class BETA as anti-air against planes, which gave the BETA an effective air superiority without flying units. The Laser Class most likely was never intended to be used as a warfare unit, but the particle beam it emits could be used an effective fly swatter of sorts. Later on, we’d see the Laser Fort Class, which was modified to ignore other BETA in its line of fire. Whether or not the BETA on Earth had a databank of warfare units and Laser Fort Class is something Superordinate pulled out, or if it was a new unit built based on existing unit data combined to make a haphazard combat unit, is unknown.

Each BETA thus has to have some equivalent of the brain inside them, but outside the Superordinate, are designed not to be creative thinkers. Hence the automaton comparison, and deduction that the BETA are not alive. In the modern era, we do not consider machines to be alive. They fulfil no requirements we set for life in this sense. They perceive themselves not to be alive constructs. Whatever the BETA definition of life, or their creators’, ultimately is, it does include the ability to revive from an inert state. The example for this is towards the end of Muv-Luv Alternative, where the Superordinate requires a proof that mankind is a form of life, producing a ripped body and demanding it be returned to the state to activation.

We can infer from this that the BETA, and by this extension the Siliconians, consider the ability to boot oneself into an active state from the inert state as one determining measure for life. This is analogous how computers can be powered on and off, something that can’t be done for either BETA or humans. In this sense, the 00 Unit is a paradox for the BETA, where her nature as a silicon-based lifeform due to her android status via full-body prosthesis still requires her to be fully active at all times, as running out of power leads to total scale failure of the full brain emulation 00 Units employ. 00 Units, despite their machine nature, can’t be rebooted from what we’ve seen, and death is as permanent as with humans and BETA.

The view that the BETA are not alive is a view from the Siliconians have installed in their constructs. Nevertheless, from the human point of view, the BETA can be considered a form of life. The classical view of being a physical entity with biological processes fits their bill, and the BETA actions can be described in animalistic senses, where human-level reasoning is lacking in both intelligence and creative thinking, but still work similarly to animals. For example, the Tank Class, or the Red Little Bastards, behave almost like ants when confronting humans or Tactical Surface Fighters. They tend to cover whatever large object they have with large numbers and begin to rip in. Other BETA have similar animals equivalences, though that can be put for storytelling and meta reasons rather than in-universe explanations, with few exceptions that clearly exhibit Earth-born characteristics the Superordinate has adopted for whatever reasons.

Due to multiple ways life can be defined, the BETA can nevertheless be viewed to be alive even in case of accepting them to be artificial constructs. Humanity perceived the BETA as a form of life, an invading alien force, due to their behaviour. On the surface, the BETA showcase all the necessary points to be considered alive, even if they are smart, and perhaps not even properly sentient. However, just there is a split in the scientific community whether or not viruses constitute a life form, the same goes for the BETA. The individual BETA strains do not seem to be able to reproduce autonomously and require to be built as they don’t manifest all the functions that definition covers.

This is one of the sticking points where the BETA do not fulfill the requirements for biological life. The BETA don’t adapt either to their environments, but rather they are adapted by intelligent design. From what we’ve seen, all BETA strains are of same size and same form, which would hint that the BETA are manufactured, or birthed, in their full form. Perhaps the BETA are formed in a type of artificial abiogenesis, overseen by the Superordinate rather than being born in any fashion. There is no growth for BETA as such, but they are able to be repaired to some extent. Some of the Destroyer Class BETA showcase different patterns on their shells, which indicate areas that have healed from damage. Whether or not this repair is from BETA’s own self-repair function or there is an unseen strain that functions are a medic of sorts is unknown, but I assume Destroyer Class’ shield would indicate self-repair, though just like with Earth-born lifeforms, this self-repair system can easily be overcome.

The BETA can be considered as artificial life, automatons that have processes which resemble or are designed based on biological processes. This is what they essentially are, whether or not it is by coincidence, as constructs. This is mostly engineer speak though, as in common parlance A-Life is mostly a marketing term used to describe things like AI toys and such, like Sony’s Aibo line of products. While we can say that the robot dog toy isn’t alive, we still tend to reflect towards it as if it were. There are numerous companions toys that are designed to just do this, like Hasbro’s Joy for All robotic cat that is intended to act like a very friendly cat to alleviate loneliness people, especially the elderly, experience. While these A-Life toys have been designed to exhibit how real animals may act, so do BETA, at least from the human perspective even if comprehending their core intention eludes.

We could say that the BETA clearly exhibit biological functions that other Earthborn creatures do. This would very much a human perspective, which is in conflict how the Siliconians see the matter. Nevertheless, mankind’s tendency to see life where there is none, like in cars and electrical outlet, puts all the above in question. This is because it is all about perspective and how we want to regard things. For example, some people already consider cars as if they were alive, with them having their own quirks and little things they do that set them apart from other cars. They behave in a certain manner. The same applies to computers, which use an extensive library of different kinds of tool AI to assist the user. They too have different behaviours that might be exhibited throughout their span of life, some of which are completely unique to one specific computer. You often find people talking to machines like they were alive. While nowadays we don’t consider the run-of-the-mill computer to be alive, this might not be the case in the future.

The future generations will live in more information spread world than what we do now. This will require more various kinds of AIs to be used across the board, which will turn machines to be more personable. Assistants like Siri already make phones sound like you’re talking to a person and their sophisticated AI routines aim to make this feel even more real down the line. At some point, there will be a generation that will consider computers to be alive in some sense. Perhaps not wholly scientific, but the definition of life has already changed and expanded multiple times. Sure, we could already say that computers are artificial life, even if they lack any sort of mimicry of biological life. They might be alien cars, trucks and mining machines for the aliens, but that doesn’t keep mankind from extending the same personifications towards the BETA in the exact same manner you talk to your computer. (Chances are you more often speak to the screen, which is effectively “the face” of your computer.)

On the surface, the BETA do exhibit necessary functions to be called their own form of life among others. Even when taking into notion that they are artificial constructs, they exhibit similar functions to terrestrial life overall. Whatever their method of reproduction is, be it literal construction from raw materials or some kind of multiuse womb they are quickly grown to full maturity, BETA are no of natural origin. I can’t overstate enough that while mankind regards the BETA as a form of life based on history and perspective, the Siliconians are in the opposite. If we extend the comparison of the BETA being nothing but biological machines, Siliconans probably would be about as surprised to find how a random connections of carbons have managed to form something that resemblances sentience, and even weirder, managed to construct life forms with limited sentience. In the end, whether or not the BETA are a form of life still ends up being a matter of opinion and viewpoint, depending on which side of the argument convinces you the most.

Music of the Month; Flash

Flash is dead, long live Flash. You might not remember the time when websites were blinky hells filled with animated .gifs and midis put on automatic blast. That’s not Flash, Flash hells were similar, but worse, with multiple elements of a site built from different pieces of flash and stuck together. Stopping all those scripts and different Flash elements became one of the many reasons why you wanted to block scripts on a site. Not only did it make the site loading faster, but also safer. Plus, much fewer ads to go around. Flash became less and less relevant in the teens, and now with the change of the decade, it’s support has been ended. HTML5 and whatnot have taken its place as the annoying fuck on the Internet that makes the otherwise pleasurable browsing such a bitch and a chore. Nevertheless, in the late 1990s and early in the New Millennium we had a golden era of Flash Animation, something that brought marvellous spectacles from every corner of the modern world to the trash tier TV-shows. Experimentation lead into some shows down the line being fully animated in Flash, and its janky and terrible looking animations became somewhat a standard. Even before Flash, we had Shockwave, but I guess only some people remember the Shockwave game sites, which were pretty much the same thing in Flash game sites. Just different platforms. Flash archives will keep all these products of the early century’s Internet culture at anyone’s hand, and people interested to see how… interesting it all was at the time. Play it once more, Jack.

By this point I assume most of Muv-Luv fans out there have already geeked out when it comes to Project MIKHAIL’s Pre-Alpha footage. While it only shows very early footage, it’s showcasing symptoms of doujinshi jank, a topic few posts back. There are some visual cues that have been taken from games like Guilty Gear Xrd with how hits pause the action for an effect. There are loads of effects on the screen as well, obfuscating the action to a large degree. Perhaps the screen is zoomed in for whatever reason, but that’s whole other issue. There’s also lots of glow and bloom in the glowy bits, which plays into the whole overt amounts of effects in play. Sure, TSFs have sources of light on them, but this is more an issue of modern design of having armour bits and shapes include nonsensical glowing parts, lines and bits that make no sense. Even if they make sense, they’re far too bright or constantly on. Granted, this is pre-alpha, so maybe all that stopping-effects is just the engine struggling, though I have some doubts on that. Then again, if this is going to be a mobile game, I’ll clock out early on.

The ultimate TSF action-game is still far away, as it would be a modified version of Virtual-On for massive arenas, freedom of combos and weaponry combined with thousands upon thousands of enemies coming at you at once. After all, TSF and Valgern-On controls are an expy of VO. I must admit that if I were to have a word in this development, I’d make a clear difference between standard TSF OS and XM3 upgraded ones. The main difference between the two were that XM3 allowed motions to be buffered and ignored certain safety regulations with the TSF, whereas the standard OS only accepted inputs after it had finished the previous action and had returned to a safe position. Meaning that an old TSF ace knew how to string and time his actions never to have the TSF stop moving, whereas XM3’s input buffering allows the pilot to bypass the restriction. The learning computer TSF OS has as a part of it comes into play here, as its AI was taught how the pilot would act and would anticipate the motions done in what circumstance, further taking down the movement lag between inputs. While this would be somewhat difficult to implement in-game, perhaps introducing some sort of smoothness of function to the action would be representable. After all, TSFs require their pilots to train in the sims in order to function as smoothly as possible, while a raw TSF would control like a frozen truck under a load of cement. Probably never going to happen, but it’d introduce an RPG-like mechanics to the player avatar growth as well as require periodical visits to the simulators, especially when gaining a new unit.

I won’t be discussing this year’s plans, as we’re hitting a 10-year anniversary relatively soon. We’ll discuss what comes after we’ve crossed the rubicon. For now, remember to sharpen your knives. After Christmas, they’re probably in even worse condition. A sharp knife is much more safer tool in the kitchen than a dull one.

Music of the Month; Dare ni demo aru ashita

It’s been some time I last sat down to type things down, but all things must come to an end and other things begin from it. The month’s break came in good use, I would’ve otherwise found myself a kind of nervous wreck you see some people being, burning themselves down for no good reason. I know too many people who have taken the world’s burden unto themselves, and when their strength hasn’t been enough and they’ve exahusted themselves, burning the sheer will to go on with anything, it’ll only hurt them and everyone around them. Purchasing my own place to live in, moving all the furniture and collections, then trying to arrange them into their proper places all the while purchasing necessities (like a new bed because the old one literally blew itself apart when I loosened some screws) and then living more than two months on a razor’s edge regarding my job, something that in earnest is still a thing, I’m sure you can tell that I didn’t need any extra weight on my back. We’re not going to back to normal schedule just yet, however, as I’ll have to prioritise work and things with this new-old house, both of which are delivering constant headaches. There are no plans, but I have some ideas and seedlings that I want to type about, but hopefully, our favourite Digimon blogger A9, or The Doc, will get his promised Star Trek post done at some point to cover my ass a little bit.

 

As for what’s been happening with the month, there hasn’t really been any time for me to keep up with events. However, I did notice that Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, or Rumbling Hearts, Visual Novel has been confirmed for an English language release. While I’d like to say I have been waiting for this VN to be translated like the rising moon, I have to admit that the time has passed for me. My currently longest, and one of the oldest, post is all about one specific route of the VN, the one that is probably “canon.” I put quotes there, as it’s really best to think KGNE as its own thing from Muv-Luv despite the two sharing overall continuity and were designed to be counterparts. Alas, their history is not exactly that. The two work are very different and the strings the play and the beats they hit are very different, and ultimately I would argue that their audiences are different. Sure, VN fans will eat anything semi-decent they’ll get their hands on, but KGNE is in its own league. It’s often cited to coin the term tsundere, though that’s not exactly correct. The reviews and articles of the time did call it the first nakige for ‘crying game’. KGNE‘s story beats hit points where you find yourself for numerous reasons, tearing up. Be it because something lovely and touching is happening, or because or something massively horrifying hit your way. From what I’ve read, it was also one of the first numbers of VN titles that, in its own way, legitimised the format for the common consumers. Sure, VNs had seen ports to home consoles well before KGNE hit the scene. yet this one didn’t just get ported to Dreamcast and Playstation 2, but also probably is still one of the handful few VNs that have properly well made animated adaptation. The now-busted podcast we had in Muv-Luv Kickstarter’s wake had a special episode just for KGNE and it’s one of the few things I would recommend anyone to listen to just because there are three other guys that aren’t me discussing the series. The show wasn’t just a hit in Japan, it was for a time a popular culture landmark and the work that defined âge as a development studio as well as setting them a benchmark all of their works would be compared to in the future, whatever they may be. It’s a work âge can’t surpass with Muv-Luv. They would need to create something new, something that wouldn’t have the baggage and expectations of a whole franchise and do it as if their life depended on it. Muv-Luv Alternative is damn close to this. I’ve heard that thematically Leaf’s White Album 2 has similar overall thematics, and to quote anon late 2014 It does Kimi ga Nozomu Eien better. Dunno, would be good Japanese practise, I’d guess.

 

I don’t know how many VN companies would do board games based on a family restaurant and side-characters working in said restaurant. I’d really want that Sky Temple tea set though, it exists out there somewhere

Anyway, KGNE is one of those titles that probably will feel old to VN readers due to its age. The medium has changed in subtle ways since 2001. Many things it does in writing probably will be seen archaic and somewhat driven to the ground, but that’s where perspective has to play a part. This is a thing that I had a discussion with few friends recently, with some of them being VN readers. A point was raised that even taking into ML‘s Kickstarter into account, translating KGNE now is rather late. It being removed from its frame of time will necessitate the aforementioned perspective, but most people won’t do that. They’ll go in expecting something grand and world-shaking. If you come from ML or numerous other hard-hitting VNs, there’s bound to be something to disappoint you. It’s very nature as a grounded slice of life, or This is true life as one of the taglines for the English anime release went, isn’t exactly something that seems popular or wanted nowadays. It has no fantastical elements to it to speak of. In business sense, KGNE doesn’t lend itself for sequels or franchising, which is really a plus from an individual point of view. It’s a single work that tops what it does. You don’t need anything more. The story starts and ends here, and that’s great.

Timing has never been âge’s strengths, and they’ve often kept pushing titles back due to delays of some kind, which ultimately kills interest, even among fans. The core build-in audience âge has, of course, is their main audience, with people who are nostalgic for the anime in the Western front being their second target. I can’t keep track how many times I’ve seen someone mentioning they’ve watched the show ages ago when they were a kid or something similar, showcasing interest to explore that original work.  While âge fans will know how KGNE is tied to Muv-Luv, I would consider it a misstep if that was the main point in the advertisement. Sure, that’s probably the easiest way go with it, yet that’ll build the image that these being tied tightly together means you can’t really enjoy one without the other. Separation is needed to deliver the best possible impact between the two IPs. A triple combo of presenting KGNE VN as a defining work of the company and massively classic piece of work in the medium would be the first hit, followed by striking nostalgia people feel toward the anime still by pulling in some recognisable bits and bobs, then followed by connecting it to Muv-Luv indirectly. KGNE has to be allowed to breathe by itself. I just hope it’s not too late. âge knows how to heat the flames in the forge when it comes to the fans, but the steel tends to cool down or burn out in the forge if left unattended, ultimately flame itself burning through all that coal.

 

If you’ve never seen AyuMayu Theatre, I would urge you to track it down and watch it

Coming Soon? I doubt, unless 2030 is soon for you

I’m glad KGNE is finally getting that English translation. It is a work I do think should be available for everyone. In the same breath, I must mention that I do consider every single sex scene in the work to be of importance. It’s part of the way the story is structured, and one of or two truly feel like traditional VN design where porn was a must. I do think the same way about Muv-Luv‘s scenes, mind you, though only a handful of them are truly necessary and highly important. Funny that really, all of them involve Sumika. Nevertheless. the translation also has to impeccible, but knowing how much love is involved with everything, I’ll show faith in proper handling of the work.

 

With âge intending to remake Kimi ga Nozomu Eien sometime in the future, I can’t help but I have to consider this to be the right step. Re-introduce the work to the Western audience, maybe try to get some kind of deal with whoever has the English license at the moment to release the Blu-Ray pack to strike gold with that nostalgia even more. With Sayori of Nekopara fame working on the KGNE Remake, I have to admit having no interest in it at the moment. Kimi ga Nozomu Eien Latest Edition was an expansion of the original for modern hardware all the while including new routes from Kimi ga Nozomu Eien Special Fandisc. Even after the Remake/Reboot, whichever they want to call in the end, Latest Edition will stay the definitive version of the original Kimi ga Nozomu Eien and should be considered as. âge doing the reboot means they have an insanely difficult task to surpass the original in every possible way, something I can’t believe they would be able to do. Perhaps a miracle will happen and I’ll be applauding it the finest piece of âge’s history. That’ll remain to be seen.

Latest, the most definitive, Edition

 

 

Music of the Month; Zoolook

In honestly had no music chosen for the month because nothing really has popped up that would colour the idea the starting the autumn season and getting back to work. Maybe there is, now that I think of it.

If you’re wondering where you’ve heard this song, it was largely sampled into Captain Blood‘s intro sequence. Just be sure to listen to the end

 

Before you get into the whole nitty gritty and draggin yourself back into the wheel that is work, eat, sleep repeat, remember to sharper your knives. Makes making those dinners etc faster and more safer than withaa dull knife, assuming you won’t avert your attention from the news.

With the previous post, the Hori Mini Pad for Switch review, was the first time I gave Wordress’ Block editor a go. It’s a system where you grab and drag blocks around, each blocking having their own stuff about them. Well, that turned out to be a disaster in itself. The system is unintuitive and hampers your workflow if you just want to sit down and type down something rather than create a whole new page. At some point I will end up changing the theme for the blog, but that’s something that’ll happen sometime next year. So, apologies for double messages, if people got ’em. Should not happen again, as I’d rather fuck off to another blogging site rather than use Block editor again. The reason the post went online on Saturday rather than Sunday was because my yearly leave ended on Sunday and I wanted to spent that day without thinking much about the blog.

In more relevant matters, Muv-Luv photonmeldies is now on Steam. If you missed the Kickstarter few years back, this is the last bit, before we forage into more unknown lands. With the Kickstarter and both Total Eclipse and Schwarzesmarken TV-adaptations localised, the Western fandom has expanded and found content providers more worthwhile on tackling various subjects and covering the franchise overall. While I still intend to continue with the TSF -plane comparisons at a later date (the issue still is with the lack of visual materials for some of the TFS I really would like to cover) as well as cover topics and themes that don’t get discussed too often, like with the Artificial Intelligence posts (can be found in the âge related posts, link above), I must admit that I have found myself falling into out from this niche. To say, some Youtubers and the other bloggers have taken the torch and ran with it. I don’t exactly mind it, I have no want to capitalise on something, even if it would probably bring in more readers or such. The question is of course When? and I honestly have no answer to it. I’ll have to regain that drive to cover those at some point, but at this moment I am still trying to excavate old magazines to archive.

Have I ever told you this is my single favourite piece made for ML? I probably have, but it’s still neat as well.

As for the blog overall, with further inspection and consideration, I’ll be letting more Wednesday’s posts go by. Certain necessities have risen up recently that will take my attention away about every other day as well as the need to continue a certain scanning project that is sorely late, dismissing one of the two weekly posts if necessary is a sacrifice I’m willing to make. However, as said, this happens if it is only necessary. On the other hand, Wednesday’s post should probably be considered as the Weekday posts, as it probably is better just to make one when I have the time for it, and a good idea. We can discuss if I ever had good ideas and have botched any decent ones I’ve had.

 

Artificial Intelligence’s self-awareness in Muv-Luv

The one topic I missed in my two previous posts about Artificial Intelligence in Muv-Luv is the question about personal perception of the AI. This was mostly because we have solid proof what kind of nature 00 Unit has as an AI, but the rest are less clear. The question can be asked relating to ourselves; do you consider yourself to be a mind driving the body, or do you consider yourself as one whole, mind and body together? It might do well to read the previous two, because I am going to use the same terminology as in them.

00 Unit as super intelligence was build on the personality of BETAverse’s Kagami Sumika. It works on the basis of emulating an existing persona and intelligence. If we take this 00 Unit as a standard model, 00 Units in general would require a replicated body for them to function properly. This is to avoid psychological issues, such as alienation of oneself. This is the same reason why Alex Murphy of Robocop still retains his face; in order not fracture the psyche inside the cyborg’s body. The super intelligence running 00 Unit bodies would effectively be emulated humans and could not be changed easily into another form of body. We can see Kagami Sumika’s psyche being completely broken and catatonic in its new body, partially due to complete sensory deprivation, Post-traumatic stress disorder and probably from her identity crisis. The 00 Unit body the intelligence inhabits is, after all, very different from the BETA violated one she last remembered being dissected. While the body was modelled after the original body, it most definitely was the idealised body Sumika’s memories had of herself. 00 Unit doesn’t become her “self” until she can resynthesize her broken ego, thus fixing her identity separation. 00 Unit Kagami Sumika may be technification of herself, but in the end the recuperated psyche is the same Kagami Sumika as before the original brain was destroyed for emulation. Ultimately, there is continuity between the pre-death and post-death consciousness without any separation or alienation between human Sumika and 00 Unit Sumika, which would indicate that outside physical matters, the ‘soul’ or self is the same.

Sometimes a fractured psyche can be healed with a help from an outsider. Sometimes with dicking involved, apparently

In principle it should be possible to overcome this psychological issue on the long run and allow 00 Unit to change bodies as long as the artificial brain can be kept running during the transfer, but the nature of human psyche would always mean that the mind and the body are considered to be one whole. The fact you could discard the body for a better one might take some preparations and not something to be done out cold.

We don’t really have much to go with the BETA. On the surface it might seem that they too seem to follow this pattern, but we don’t really know. Considering the BETA don’t consider themselves as a form of life, perhaps their AI considers itself as the driver of these biological machines rather than being a whole. Imagine their bodies to be cars that the AI drives. It’d be safe to assume that all different strains have a strain specific version of the BETA AI that’s “installed” during creation process. We’ve yet to see this process, but it’s easy to assume BETA are as they are from the moment they come online. Perhaps some of the BETA are birthed in specific chambers combined or even via Reactors, maybe some are specifically constructed. The Superordinate could be argued to be at least aware as a being, which would imply that it considers its body part of its whole.

These are very human-specific angles. In reality, we wouldn’t know how a general intelligence or super intelligence would think itself as. We can make some assumptions based on human psyche if we use brain emulation, but true machine intelligence would be a complete mystery, especially if it would be spontaneous. We should be able to control how AI considers its own personality, but at the same time a super intelligence should be able to decide this for itself.

In case of alien created AI we have even less basis to go by. The BETA might as well have intelligence to view their bodies as disposable ones that they inhabit but are not necessary part of their self. Perhaps a destroyed BETA with intact brains gets its brain reused as-is rather than needing to go through the recycling process that humans and other carbon based lifeforms have. Perhaps there’s a general psychic link that governs all strain-specific BETA units but acts on per individual level. BETA, when low on energy, do seek the closest Reactor automatically. How they recognise where the closest one is has been left unanswered, but let’s assume it is similar shared network that exists between Hives and Reactors. This would imply that the link is not physical, and we could assume that it has something to do with the psychic link the Superordinate could establish with Yashiro Kasumi, similar to what 00 Unit Kagami Sumika unwillingly and unknowingly shared with the Reactors. While there is no proof, the idea of a semi-universal artificial hive intelligence coordinating some BETA strains is an interesting thought. However, it is more probable that each BETA unit had their own intelligence in order to keep the whole point of reference with computer equipment and the TSFs.

Perhaps ahogemmunication should’ve been tried first before microwaving mushrooms

We can say for certain that the tool AI used in Tactical Surface Fighters doesn’t have enough intelligence to have a sense of self. This is expected, as the whole learning computer element is very much something that exists in Mobile Suit Gundam and is about as explored as in that franchise. However, we don’t know whether or not future TSF will have more general AI in them, and whether or not they would be tied to a Fighter or the learning computer. It would make sense that it would it would be both, being able to adapt to the pilot’s style and something that could be transferred between machines. This kind of AI probably would require some simulation time to learn a new machine. With this approach, this theoretical general intelligence would be similar to Knight Rider‘s KITT or Full Metal Panic!’s AL, as both have been showcased to be able to be transferred to a new “body” without much problems in end-functionality. It’d be just there to help the pilot, as well as converse. Depending on how advanced the TSF AI ends up being, it should’t be impossible to write a romance story between a TSF AI and an artificial person. Silicon love.

I doubt the series will ever address what kind of self-awareness BETA AI has if any, but that’s not really an issue that the franchise wants to concentrate on. Perhaps a small spin-off in the future could be build around the ramifications of creating super intelligence based on human brains harvested by the BETA. While building a working 00 Unit during what can be argued to be the most crucial moment in the human-BETA war, afterwards the issue of super intelligence monopoly and the psychic power elements it brings with itself are as crucial as the issue of necessitating killing a person for brain to be emulated. Arguments can go anywhere between committing a murder to giving a new chance in proper life. 00 Unit method of brain emulation also side steps an issue, where an individuals consciousness could be stored and re-used from a default state time and time again, as it necessitates destruction of the original brain and the artificial brain can’t be powered down without total loss of data. The BETA don’t have any problems about recycling materials, so whatever ethical protocols govern their actions do not apply. After 00 unit, the series should apply itself to discuss the morals of destructive brain emulation, if future of the franchise will see more of them. Depending the source of the intelligence, the end result may be total breakdown of he psyche, from which recovery is impossible. If that would be the case, would it be ethical to simply cut the power from the emulation, still try to work with the psyche, or maybe even try to change the emulated target itself? In principle, with enough understanding of the technology and how the brains work, it should be possible to modify the emulated target to circumvent any issues regarding self-awareness, which again opens a whole new can-o-worms.

 

Broken Luv

One pastime I’ve seen Muv-Luv taking part in has been making up ways how the core story could be translated and adapted for animation. Everything from two cours (aka twenty-four episodes) to a series of movies, things have been explored a lot. However, very few of the discussions have been what I’d describe realistic. They’ve been best case scenarios after all. With the announcement of Muv-Luv Alternative in Animation, the issue has become less academical. I’ll be using that in Animation suffix when specifically speaking about the upcoming animation to make a clear difference. It’s not its official title or anything, but I like the sound of it. Sue me. Guesses are left and right what form the adaptation will take and how many episodes, what changes will be made, what studio will be working on it and how the air-intake hairs will survive. Looking at modern trends and the history of Muv-Luv in animation should give us some idea.

The main reason Muv-Luv  as a whole can’t be adapted for television or otherwise is because at its core the storytelling is broken. Fans know that Muv-Luv was originally supposed to be relatively contemporary piece to Kimi ga Nozomu Eien/Rumbling Hearts (which really should be Trembling but âge English is kinda like that.) It was not intended to be three-part sprawling venture, but as KGNE saw success, plans grew and bloated to the point where it had to be cut in half. Extra was meant to be its namesake, an extra chapter after you’ve managed to find the one true love that would prevent world from going to hell with The Day After, not a character-setting twelve hour comedy romp it became. Unlimited wasn’t supposed to be a thing on itself even, but more akin to different routes that lead to similar ending. After multiple read-through, perhaps needing to unlock all other endings or just few at first, you would be able to find the titular True Love route. With ML Alternative putting emphasis on Takeru being cycled over and over again with little to no memory all the while retaining physical attributes, the original core design of the Visual Novel was completely different what we got. Its scale was smaller, more focused and KGNE‘s running success changed that.  âge originally pushed back Muv-Luv to a 2002  release instead of its original 2001 as they revised its scale, but ultimately had to be pushed out in February 2003 due to the company running out on time and money. At that point, the story the original product was already split and broken. Alternative would definitely follow in 2004. It wouldn’t until February 2006, and in the meanwhile some smaller stopgags like Muv-Luv Supplement were pushed out.

Muv-Luv is often described as a trilogy, but in two titles. This still trips people up, which further shows that something went wrong at some point. Maybe making a difference between Unlimited and Extra was a mistake in itself and something better should’ve been implemented. Merch and spinoffs make good use of the labelling though, but only if you already know what’s what. There is no product separately sold as Muv-Luv Unlimited

Muv-Luv and Muv-Luv Alternative has been criticised for being badly paced, and that’s just one result of the work as a whole becoming so huge. The Genre Shift between Extra and Unlimited is a direct result of this as well, which has lead many people to dislike the now-first part of the three core stories. Multiple real-world events changed the plot-line here and there, like the 2005 London bombing. Certain event later in Alternative probably saw the most changes, as âge wanted to avoid accusations of portraying terrorism in a positive light. That wasn’t the only issue, during development âge always feared that their work would be be labelled as extremely right-wing, so the original version of MLA’s Imperial Japan went through revisions. Some hints to the original plotlines still exist in the final work, like having a tsunami at the end of Operation 21st, whereas originally it as supposed to devastate Niigata. 2004 Chuuetsu earthquake was the reason its results are largely glossed over rather than be a significant part of the story, where Kashiwagi was supposed to have a major role. Discussion whether or not real world events should be allowed to influence artistic integrity and vision like this may be relevant, but at the same time we also have to remember how Muv-Luv overall is a commercial product and companies have to be aware of how they depict things in order to avoid bad rap. It’s a careful balancing act, sometimes you have to sacrifice some of your vision for the sake of the product itself.

With numerous revisions that weren’t originally intended, bloat finding its way in with meandering bits here and there, it’s not hard to see where bloat sets in by itself (just like this post, amrite guys?). Things kind of just ran ahead of themselves as the scope grew, but deadlines are a bitch and you can’t delay a product indefinitely, no matter how âge would like to do so. All three parts suffer from spots where the story grinds to a halt. The VNs are somewhat infamous for halting the progress of the story to deliver information to reader in major sections as info dumps. Very few works have managed to drop an hour’s worth of info into the reader’s lap and expect the reader to absorb it, and Muv-Luv isn’t one of them. No matter how interested you’re into the characters and the world, being stuck in a literal school lesson for information that could have been worked in better is simply bad design. Lacrosse arc’s existence is literally just to foreshadow how the character dynamics will clash later in, and has an equivalent even later in the story, yet the arc itself is considered to be low point in the whole body of work. It’s dull and we already knew the character’s personalities at that point. It’s overly long and some people just skip it. Despite the story itself being damn well written at its core, the bloat shows itself here and there. Muv-Luv is at its best when it has a nice jogging pace with few moments to slow down here and there before the events hit a nitro boost. It likes to wallow in going on and on about things, especially during Alternative. Being invested into the characters is its saving grace, but that’s almost a coin toss.

If an animation would like to cover all of Muv-Luv as it stands now, from the very start of Extra to the very finish of Alternative, we’re too late for that. With the lack of success with Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse and near total disaster with Schwarzesmarken, I can assure you Muv-Luv Alternative‘s animation adaptation will not get more than one cours, twelve episodes. The IP may have been in a better in late 00’s when Akane Maniax was supposed to set Muv-Luv animation up, which never happened as the deal fell through, but now the IP is volatile at best, dangerous money waste at worst. âge has not produced anything that has made an impact since Alternative and I’d argue their most successful project after that was the Kickstarter. That of course attracted lot of attention and played large part in the future of âge. A million dollar crowdfunding from an internationally unknown company is bound to raise some attention. We know that something is always going on in the corporate background, and you can bet animation rights were discussed in the background at that time, culminating in in Animation. Avex’s obtaining âge from Acid and ixtl being terminated in favour of /restructured into aNCHOR are all results from âge’s media failures and Kickstarter’s success. We should put an emphasis on the Kickstarter, as it served as a cornerstone for âge’s real realisation that they got international fans and untapped market. Well, as untapped as you can get with Visual Novels, they’re not exactly a success in Japan either with handful of companies going bust each year. The media being sold as games harms it, as it does not represent its true nature as literature allowed by our digital age. In short; VN based IPs are pretty fucked at the moment, unless they can diversify themselves. âge’s both mobile games have failed and closed in about year after their launch, VNs sales have been lacking (mostly due to lack of products) and both television shows were effectively bust. âge might still have faith in the IP, but the surrounding companies will think twice or thrice before throwing their lot in.

All this, and the current trends, tells me that Muv-Luv Alternative will be a one cours show with about twelve episodes. We’ve already seen numerous redesigns of the characters in Exogularity books, and modern take on the characters is effectively required. The show and the story must be retooled to fit the modern age, both in its core structure and in designs. I’ll argue that the Tactical Surface Fighters are the best designs in the franchise, as they’ve been designed to be largely ageless. They don’t really look like mechas from the early and mid-00’s. Hell, if anything the visual flavour TSFs are in has become somewhat popular. Sure, you have the paper thin waist and some oddities here and there, but largely TSF designs are made well enough to still look fresh. The same can’t be said for the characters, who look like they’re stuck in the change of millennium. Anime style has dropped geometrical (and puffy) hair in favour of sleeker, flatter hair. I don’t find anything offensive about the characters despite being an old fart who still buys 1980’s comics like they were new, yet we can’t ignore how each era has its own visual flavour. The above are not the animation designs or anything related to the animation in itself, but this is the direction we’re going to some extent. âge is a trend follower rather than setter in this. Despite Ban being 10/10 in visual style and I would want him to be employed 24/7 with everything I love, you should expect something different still. Something that’s already tested the waters and that is massively successful. Maybe the guy who did Girls und Panzers or the LoveLive guy will do the redesigns for the anime. Those have been popular shows, and something people would recognise. Hell now I want to see Sugimori-style Muv-Luv content just for the kickers.

One cours adaptation might be able to fix Muv-Luv‘s pacing as much as it probably will completely destroy it. If it gets more than one cours, hey that’d be fine too. However, what Muv-Luv Alternative in Animation needs from the original work is its core intention. The original form of Muv-Luv is still there, under all that extended plotlines and content, all that bloat and info dumps, under all the sectioned and split parts. Let’s take it as face value and consider the title as true; it will be just the Alternative portion of the package. This would mean both Extra and Unlimited would be relegated to being flashbacks and references. The series would be build on mystery about this one guy who clearly knows something bad is going to happen if things aren’t done the right way, but at the same time he doesn’t belong here. There’s a crashed giant robot outside his home, but somehow that doesn’t really phase him. Familiar faces, familiar places, but it’s not his home. Muv-Luv Alternative in Animation would have to build itself on the last cycle of the original design, and on Alternative we got, relegating Extra and Unlimited as necessary flashbacks, maybe even visiting those events. You could start the series with one episode of showcasing everyday comedy in Extra setting, then move into an episode ending cliffhanger with the BETAverse. In between this, show Takeru dreaming of all the other possible routes and events, all the misery and death the world would know if he didn’t put the foreknowledge be obtained from repeated deaths into proper and immediate use. While the Visual Novels build on the reader becoming invested into the characters and even falling in love with them, that is the result of the whole product having been restructured. It has become the VNs main strength and weakness. If you’re dedicated and invested in these characters, you will stand through the bloat and bad pacing. Hell, you probably won’t notice them all that much, because you’re heart and soul is in it. If you’re not, the rest will probably kill your interest before you get to the main dish of the whole story. Muv-Luv Alternative in Animation has to focus on the core and leave all what we now consider as set-up as something a mystery. Other characters will get emphasised, lesser ones will be cut. The same applies to events, and some will see modified, rest assured. Twelve episodes is enough to adapt Alternative with some Extra and Unlimited trickled in, but as said, it’s a delicate surgeon’s job. It will be familiar to the fans, but at the same time, this show really needs to be a hit with the larger audience. At this point, a Muv-Luv Alternative animation can’t serve just a commercial vehicle for the Visual Novels, we’re about a decade too late for that.

While we’re at it, go watch Ayu Matu Theater

I have no data why âge’s 20th anniversary stream didn’t put anything solid down on development and releases outside Project MIKHAIL. All we got We’d like to do this and We don’ have budget set. At face value you could almost believe that âge doesn’t have the money to put projects into full development cycle and publish their products. Maybe that rumoured Kimi ga Nozomu Eien translation got stuck due to the same issue, maybe requiring crowdfunding down the line or be split into two products like Schwarzesmarken was. SM VN’s sales were terrible, mind you, splitting a whole product like that is never a good idea. Except they kind of did that with Muv-Luv already. Still, the lack of sales would indicate this for sure, but at the same time I have to question if the fans have been the only thing keeping âge alive? If the fandom wasn’t so solid and willing towards the company, would âge have gone the way of the dodo already? That Kimi ga Nozomu Eien remake has been in the works on some level for at least five years now, and Muv-Luv Integrate seems to take elements from Strike Frontier’s second season but I’ll get to that whenever I write about Integrate. A new The Day After probably will most like maybe be done. Everything’s vague, outside that we’re going to get that animation, and that’s probably a linchpin in all this. If this is the third time a Muv-Luv animation fails, they don’t have much material to work on anymore. The core story where everything else stems from has to hit the mark, there really aren’t any other options.

Just as a quick tangent, what can they hope to do with Kimi ga Nozomu Eien‘s Reboot? The story doesn’t need more elaboration on, it is a full package unto itself. The only worthwhile addition I can see it happening to it if they’d actually make it more an actual game, with scheduled events, character stat management and Adventure game styled options to interact with each scene. I don’t have faith that modern âge can add anything worthwhile to the package. If it’s going to end up being similar to Kimi ga Ita Kisetsu remake, aka worthless waste of everyone’s time, I can say I’m not interested. I may be be a fan, but I’m not one to blow money blindly on products that can’t make their original versions obsolete. Sure, modernise it with new style, tweak the story a bit here and there to fix some of its problems, maybe add a scenario or two, but what are they going to do in order to add unique value? Tie it more to Muv-Luv? I’d consider that a major misstep. Integrate may be a project to bring all that together, but Christ if everything just ends up being Muv-Luv in a way or another, I’d like to have that early 00’s struggling âge back in order to force them to work with smaller scale titles and even more limited budget and staff. It’d be the very opposite of diversifying your product line. KGNE Reboot has to have value on its own, something that will both obsolete the original product and its Latest Edition iteration, and make it stand alone on its own two feet without resorting to nostalgia and other IPs.

It’s both rather funny and disheartening to consider Kimi ga Nozomu Eien to be âge’s breakout title, but also the title that made the company name to be reckoned with. As much as Muv-Luv Alternative is talked to have influenced this and that, like Attack on Titan, it still had less an impact that KGNE. Hell, at the time I was reading Japanese magazines claiming the title solely created so-called nakege, titles intended for the consumer to cry over due to its emotionally hitting writing and topics. Tsundere is often coined for âge and KGNE as the originator, which isn’t exactly all that correct, but sure let’s just go with it. It was also KGNE animation that broke through to the general consensus and people who didn’t care for VNs at the time were reportedly picking up the PS2 version just to check the it out. The sheer success of that one property was never replicated in later works, and ultimately âge became almost obsessed solely to make Muv-Luv related products, dropping their other sub-brands completely and all other types of products they were making. I don’t see this as a healthy way of doing  business. Visual Novel companies never had million dollar budgets to throw around, especially now that they’re a slowly dying niche. It is a small miracle Muv-Luv and Alternative were even made with in their current form, especially by a company who often gets criticised for mishandling scheduling and budgets.

I’m not worrying over Muv-Luv Alternative in Animation. If it fails, nothing has changed and the course of the company will stay the same. If it succeeds, âge should have more resources under its belt to get something off the ground again. While you can live on your core fans to certain point, with remakes, localisations and sequels, expanding that base is required if you want to do more and expand your company. Maybe building a full-fledged strategy RPG could do the trick, or an action game similar to Virtual-On and Another Century’s Episode could do draw in some attention. The setting surely allows all this. Perhaps finally create something new and not rely on Muv-Luv as the only piece they have to offer.

I hope I’m not alone in thinking how Muv-Luv and Muv-Luv Alternative together make a great story, but the way the story is told in the Visual Novels is not exactly a class in masterclass prose. Perhaps the original intention was worse, maybe it was better. Maybe all those revisions, all the work that, blood and tears that went into making its final form, flawed and lacking as it may be, allowed the title to be the very best it could. It might have become somewhat impenetrable to some. Muv-Luv may not have become a pop-cultural juggernaut, but its impact on different sects of popular sub-cultures can’t be denied. If Muv-Luv were ever to get a full-on remake, I’d wish the originally intended form to be implemented, that its original intention would be realised  in full-scale. in Animation has all the chances to fix the spots where Alternative faulters. It’s going to be a tough job, especially all the while it has to be modernised for completely new audience that wasn’t there in the early and mid 00’s. Expectations are high. We’ll have to sit tight to wait and see.

Short synopsis on âge’s 20th Anniversary stream 2019.10.22

âge’s 20th Anniversary stream announcements were more or less what I expected. All of my three predictions were met, but let’s cover the what happened in the stream itself.

Before the main event started, a fan of Muv-Luv Alternative Strike Frontier appeared on the stage alongside with âge’s staff to showcase his sequel idea. The game looked like a Diablo clone with RTS elements. Overall, it would make an interesting doujinshi game, or even a nice mobile phone game, something that wouldn’t take too much of your time. The game would consist of strategy phase and an action stage. Nothing much else was shown outside a small proof-of-concept gameplay, as he fan found making a video too gruesome.

The first real part really was covering the twenty years of âge, with jokes about how everything turned to Muv-Luv at the turn of the decade. Pretty much everything after Muv-Luv Alternative became just Muv-Luv and no new IPs were created. There’s nothing much to be said.

The whole chart be available later in their website

After this some lingering issues were covered. Mobile and tablet version of Kickstarted Muv-Luv is still in works, but they don’t have any dates set. The final The Day After still in works, Kouki jokes that it’ll never come out, but he wants to push it out, finalise it even if it means that it has no animations to speak of. Koki is also adamant on pushing out a new issue of Agekunohate, their official fan book for their fanclub, though it it will be digital only. I find this sad.

Some people really want this

What should be noted that Tororo, the producer of VN studio Circus, made a revelation by taking his shirt off, revealing âge’s shirt with the announcement that he enters âge as Muv-Luv’s general producer. Guessing he has been the guy in charge of having those numerous Da Capo and âge character visual cross overs we’ve got now and then.

 

We’ve known few years now that Kimi ga Nozomu Eien remake has been in works. We got further confirmation on it, though there is no set budget, date and even the showcased logo and subtitle Reboot are preliminary. What we should be expecting from it is expanded story, at least, and some other elements that wasn’t elaborated on.  This was my first bet, as it was a confirmed thing already.

 

The next long bit was the panelists and some visiting people giving their own history with âge and telling their story with the company and how it has impacted their lives. Hajime Isayama appeared via screen to retell how Muv-Luv Alternative impacted his  life and inspired Attack on Titan. He read it through in two days.

Both Koda Kumi and Hironoby Kageyama appeared after him. Koda Kumi told how much she appreciated working on Over the Top for Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse opening theme after she was getting back into music business, and Kageyama mentioned how working with âge further pushed them into the limelight with their collaborations. Similarly Granrodeo made their appearance and iterated much of the same points.

The next guess that hit my mark was some sort of spin-off title, mobage or similar. Currently titled as Project Mikhail would hit this mark, and was presented as straight up 3D action for Android and Steam. It would use subscription model, instead of pay-2-win or gacha. Rather than just describe it, have some footage they showcased.

Relatively simple, but there is potential. It will be released in Japanese, English and Chinese. Yoshiki Kashitani, the game’s director, has worked on such games as SD Gundam Gundam Wars, Final Fantasy XIII, Front Mission 4, Online and 5, Ogre Battle 64, Vagrant Story and numerous others. The game is intended for 2021 release.

 

My third guess was that we’d finally see a sequel to Muv-Luv Alternative that doesn’t take place in EXTRAverse. This has been hinted multiple times over, and both Exogularity books have hinted to what sort of direction it will be in.

 

The above screenshots are image boards, they are not representation of the final product or what will be in there, just the image, motifs, themes and intentions. Considering Yoshimune Kouki uses Turn A Gundam‘s Black Hisatory, the past Gundam series as sort of amalgamation timeline, as an example what he wants to do. I would assume him mentioning the multiple timelines that exist in Muv-Luv would be brought together, and considering Strike Frontier‘s unproduced second season intended to bring the BETA into the EXTRAverse, Muv-Luv Integrate would move toward that direction. If you look at some of the shots there, you can see people turned into BETA mutates, certain kind of fissures existing on the ground that are too smooth for natural ones. This is just me guessing the dark, maybe I’m far off. Probably am. There is no set date, things are still early in development and writing, and pretty much everything is mostly showcase of it could be like this. Don’t raise your hopes, yet.

What you should raise your hopes was something that was greenlit some time ago, that was showcased to the live audience and stream viewers could only hear sound of

Muv-Luv Alternative in Animation.

Images courtesy of Urahichi, yuganikoimas_hs and wizism.

If all goes well, we should be having more streams in the future as well as more Comiket stuff. Here’s for twenty more years.

You can watch the stream interpreted in English here in or in Japanese here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music of the Month; ななこSOS

Time to let out some steam. Month’s first post is, after all, a chance for random ramblings.

Unsurprisingly, due last week’s subject with sadpanda and the historical context of lolita complex in Japanese media history, few people asked if I had certain preferences, to put it diplomatically. Perhaps in the classical sense of having some infatuation with a cute character, but that’s more or less normal. People fall in love with inanimate objects almost as easily as they do in real people, or if life has shown that people are untrustworthy, the opposite seems to hold. In the modern, twisted sense? No. Then why would I spend any time on the subject than what I already have? It is solely historical interest. You know that one image macros, the one which shows how manly Japanese cartoons used to be, how adult and serious, and the Now shows nothing but cute stuff and shows with comparatively vapid content. Despite that image being a joke, it did launch an interest how true it really was. Reading history bit by bit via firsthand sources and consuming the media itself.

From someone who used to read history as a hobby, looking back at how consuming the media of old rather than just reading about it. Media can always be consumed, but events themselves can never be. However, much like when you’ve read enough history from multiple points of views, you begin to understand how everything tends to affects something, how events proceed from one to another. The similar effects can be said about media culture, where if you consume enough media of certain region, not just one kind but all kinds, you realise how much everything has worked in symbiosis, how cultural and historical trends in the media has raised its influential head here and there. It just has to be from relatively long period of time and understand the underlying trends. For example, just looking at the 1980’s anime scene with its OVAs and groundbreaking television shows is hard to understand without first without first looking at massive sub-cultural phenomena in the 1970’s like Captain Harlock, Mobile Suit Gundam and Urusei Yatsura. Those are major names, but only selected few with direct influences with 1980’s scene. Of course, the whole lolita complex, or culture of cute, should be taken into account as it was everywhere. If you go few posts back, I cover this a bit more there. Though I have raised myself a question that I have to find an answer to; where does Japan’s lolita complex, moe and culture of cute have original roots in? This requires some investigating.

To tell you the truth, I have been wanting to discuss this matter on the blog for a long, long time. However, due to difficulty and touchy nature of the subject due to its modern connotations, I have simply pushed it back and back again. I’ve talked about Comic Lemon People and series within in a lot, but never directly addressed it simply because there was never really a good angle to approach it with, and it seemed like time has made it ever touchier. However, Exhentai’s death (and rebirth) gave the perfect angle with archiving and its historical value, an angle I’ll probably stick with in the future when and if talking about the subject. On a side note, the alternative music just to continue with theme would’ve been this song.

In other news, Muv-Luv photonfloers* got released on Steam, so if you’re inclined to continue reading Muv-Luv related media in English, you might want to check it out. It is currently in sale at ~20 bucks, which isn’t a bad price overall when compared to the hundred bucks plus I paid for the PS3 limited edition. photonmelodies♮ is currently at works, and while we could discuss whether or not it was the right choice to call Before the Shimmering Time Ends as Alterd Fable, I should make note that the fandom kept calling the story by the collection’s name almost a solid decade, and âge themselves ultimately adopted that moniker for it as well. While I will keep referring it as Before the Shimmering Time Ends for the sake of accuracy and Altered Fable will refer to the collection. This really is like taking just Muv-Luv Unlimited from Muv-Luv and call it Muv-Luv. [5.8. Edit] I’ll be damned, the official title will be Altered Fable: A Shimmering Shard of Spacetime. I can live with that, and it caters to both people who simply use Altered Fable and autistic nitpickers like me. Sure, it may not be a direct translation, but keeps the original’s spirit with it as the first direct continuation to Final Extra.

Seeing this is port of the PS3 titles, I’d also urge you to get your hands on the original PC release to experience the minigames in their full, bloody glory as well as have the erotica included. I do still erotica in Muv-Luv to be relatively essential to characterisation and showing humane bonding between characters, but your taste probably varies and many VN enthusiasts would rather push a pillow in porn’s face. Then again, VNs themselves are a media slowly withering into a smaller and smaller niche with each passing year, so perhaps it doesn’t do all that well to forget one of the paramount aspects Japanese PC adventure gaming and Visual novels have carried with them. I’d hate to see a beloved media being reduced to mere pebbles, but the fandom could be proud that the things they love now has little to no smut. What a waste.

While I’m plugging titles with cute girls who get fucked, I might as well throw this Kickstarter in your face; Daily life with Konko, or as the devs decided to translate it, Your Waifu Foxgirl Konko. I’m not terrible keen on this translated title, as it tries too hard, almost trying to hit the Internet’s meme nerve. Why would I give a look at something like this? Truth to be told, I’d rather not say, but might as well; the Japanese version of the game helped get over few dark months earlier this year. While I won’t be getting into any details about that human relationship, having something that wasn’t cold and dead like the winter outside kept me floating. There’s a trial that run in a browser on there, though it does raise some issues with the translation. Teacher is left as Shisho, and whole stroking someone’s head isn’t really sexual, leaving the command as just Stroke does strike a bit hammy. The title really isn’t meant to be played hours on end, but little bit each day. Something to wind down a bit, let things slow down and your worries to fall out. The demo’s also lacking any music, and is far too short to give any proper idea how it works, but its something. It does pretty terrible works at depicting the actual gameplay really. Then again, don’t take my word for it. The Japanese fans funded Live2D version of the game on Campfire recently, with yours truly taking part in it as well via proxy, and Megamisoft didn’t just achieve its goal; they made five and half times as much money they aimed at. The Otaku crowd is crazy, sure. However, I do consider this title to be good therapy in the hectic lifestyle we have. Its good to stop, sit down, and a good cup of tea and pat a foxgirl’s head.

While I’m being straight with you, it wasn’t close that this post wasn’t made. Few days ago, I was more or less through with this. I intended to abandon the blog as is, but nevertheless came back to it. I’ll have to make some hard life choices pretty much right now, and most of it is about what I want to spend time on. Blogging takes surprisingly large amount of time, especially when I’m trying to follow multiple possibly interesting news and stories alongside what might happen with some franchises. It eats time, time that I could use for something else like being outside or practicing drawing. I have come to a point where blogging in itself doesn’t bring anything to the table anymore, unless I am to slightly change how I approach. Less commentary, news and popular culture discussion, more personal stuff and things surrounding them. Perhaps you’ve noticed that design comparisons and reviews have effectively stopped and that’s the reason; they just take so much time and are mentally exhausting. A Youtuber friend named Terry advised me to get a Patreon and see if that would give any reason to move forwards, but I haven’t made it public; I know it would yield no real funding to purchase a domain name or towards unique redesign of the and items to review. However, I’m not shutting that out from the equation, but I’d need a real reason to use it. As for the blog, I’ll still aim to continue for few more years despite the admitted drop in quality and content. Ten years isn’t far away at this point, and It’d be shame just to quite when a decade’s almost full.

By the time you’re reading this, my short vacation is over and I’ve returned to work. Sadly, I managed to get jack shit done during this time due to friends having their vacation at different times, so we had to juggle stuff a lot. Vacation seems to be busier and more hectic than work itself.

Music of the Month; Awakening After 1000 Years

I hope you had a good change of year, and that your first dream of the year was pleasant.

As I’ve mentioned each month for the past year, maintaining the blog in its current pace has become more difficult as life has taken its toll on it.  Thus, I’ve made the unpleasant choice to change how often the blog gets an entry; from now on, weekend (Sunday) posts are the only I can guarantee staying where they are, though the time they go online will go online will most likely fluctuate. Wednesday posts will be there if there is time to type them down, if there is interesting enough topics and if I have energy for it. In exchange, I’ll be looking more into long form posts when a subject so demands. This means the commentary posts will probably be shorter, but perhaps at the same time more to the point. In best case scenario, this means more shorter posts in bursts while I’m working on something else, but don’t count on this to any extent. The work I do is taxing on both physical and mental facilities. There are other projects elsewhere that I must give more attention to as well, namely continuing scanning of materials for archival, both donated and old materials that have been on the backburner for a long time. I’ve been asked to do an entry on scanning, and I’ll probably do that sometime this year.

I will also begin listing blog entries on Minds. While Twitter’s all nice and that, I intend to start updating things into Minds that don’t make a good blog, and probably will see more personal takes on things rather than from the blogger persona I utilise here.

Speaking of this year, I’ve come up some plans what to cover, though take all of what stands here with extremely small grain of salt. tl;dr version would be The blog’s post schedule will become more erratic and update schedules are thrown out of the window.

A Comic Lemon People retrospective has been in my mind for some, with examples and concentration on its golden era of the early and mid 1980’s, before the content changed in terms of quality , and then how ultimately the changes in the 1990’s landscape didn’t have enough room for it any further. While we are talking about a magazine that was drawn pornography in most cases, the stories, settings and cultural zeitgeist the magazine represented had an incredible impact on the Japanese popular culture to the point that the contents of Lemon People seem almost quaint nowadays as even the most standard evening show or comic aimed at teenage audience has rougher and more explicit content. While I have physical examples to take advantage, they can be used to infer events only so far. Actual research will be slow and painful, as there are very little English sources, and the few I’ve read throughout the years, have more or less died out due lack of maintenance. This one will take some time to get even started, and in the end might end up being just a showcase of what sort of magazine was rather than its publication history and difficulties.

The Themes of Godzilla post will get expanded. I’ve missed many chances to add Shin Godzilla at the end, but considering that post in itself was made to celebrate its upcoming original theatrical, it’d be only natural that it would be missing from there.  However, I wish to expand on the later entries as well, and make the post more robust overall, covering the movies in slightly more depth and expanding each entry rather than relying on few sentences to carry out what I’m trying to say. Personally, I consider that post to be relatively important, especially when we consider how much the Showa era directors put themselves into these movies and their thematic motifs. Well, at least before the late 1970’s. Antuarlly, this requires me to rewatch all of the movies again, so this project will be long-term and probably won’t be finished for some time.

If there’s going to be anything âge related this year is completely up to them. I haven’t been able to do some of the Tactical Surface Fighters comparisons thanks to lacking image materials, which in truth I have but not in a handy format, but the planned final entries from the original /m/ threads will be carried out. As for the rest, hell if I know if I’m being blunt. âge has not really said anything out in public about anything, but it’s clear that they’re working on something. That Kimi ga Nozomu Eien remake using Sayori of Nekopara fame as lead illustrator is coming up, which is something I have personally no interest in solely based on the style and visual design. It’ll be used as a comparison fodder down the line. However, considering âge has published nothing of worth for the last decade or so, with Total Eclipse enjoying marginal success at best and Schwarzesmarken being a total bombs with extreme lack of sales, it’s no surprise Avex managed to buy them from Acid and ixtl going through rebranding to become anchor. âge and ixtl have a history if mismanaging their projects, Muv-Luv and Muv-Luv Alternative being one of them, I’ve got little to no faith on whatever comes out.

âge held a poll aimed at the Japanese fans a month or two back, and it would seem that they are leaning on creating a new mobile game, which honestly doesn’t serve the franchise jack shit. The brand doesn’t lend itself well to the mobile game format, despite Strike Frontier attempting to solve the issue of every character in the BETAverse we cared about to a large extend being dead. A New Beginning from Exogularity magazines shows âge using clones to bring these characters back, which is a cop-out and shows how the staff is in a corner. All the new characters they’ve introduced in other works have been more or less unpopular, and as characters from side stories, they have no real base to stand on. While exploring the setting and expanding the history is all good and nice, it should have been clear that if they were to continue with the franchise, they should’ve continued onward with new characters in similar fashion how Muv-Luv continues off from Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, and how that continued off from Kimi ga Ita Kisetsu, by using the same setting and having some relation to the previous characters. Muv-Luv Alternative 2 could’ve showcased us a group that came after Valkyries, showcasing us  the impact their deed had, have certain major characters become a large part of the story in surprising ways and continue naturally from that. Bringing back Sumika, Meiya and the rest as clones or alternative universe selves is just bad form and lousy writing. Now, âge/anchor has lost their chances, the iron’s cold again. They need a popular animated series, a completely new entry into the franchise and shitloads of support to stay properly relevant. Be it as a VN corporation (which have gone down in numbers in recent years) or as a branch of Avex that push out Muv-Luv products to keep themselves from going the way of Hudson.

As the last thing, I’ve been interesting in seeing what makes the Senran Kagura series tick for me. While I still refuse to call myself a fan, you’ve seen the series pop in my Top 5 lists during these last few years, and considering I’ve been buying the games, I’m more and more interested to see for myself what it really is that keeps me with the franchise. No, it’s not the ninja tits. My first reaction to the game series was that it was nothing but titty service to the otaku masses, which it honestly is, but then somehow down the line the games’ play snatched me in. This Senran Kagura introspective will be small and relatively short, as I doubt people are interesting in reading what a personal view on the series is.

I’d also like to more controller reviews, but I haven’t come across many interesting ones as of late.

Enjoy your early year, by the time you’re reading this post I am already at work.

On the differences in brain functions between humans, 00 Unit and the BETA

It’s more or less safe to say that Muv-Luv does not represent real sciences very well as a franchise. Yoshimune Kouki has mentioned in few occasions that because a lot of things are imaginary, like giant robots, it is impossible to come up certain reasons or numbers for them, like the maximum speed of as a Tactical Surface Fighter. What sort of material super carbon is another, but these are more or less things that don’t ultimately matter on the grand scale. They exist for the setting and requires the suspension of disbelief. However, there are number of things that simply don’t jive with. A personal favourite to point out is the use of Mohs hardness to describe how hard BETA shielding structures are. Mohs 15 indicates that the substance is loads harder than diamond in that diamond can’t scratch it, but it can scratch diamond. That’s all there is to it. It does not describe toughness, and in Mohs scale, and as an overall general rule, the harder something is, the more brittle it is. This is straight up screw up, especially considering Mohs is mostly used for minerals only. It would have served the setting better if something like Rockwell hardness scale would have been used.

Similarly, a major cornerstone in the story is parallel computing in order to create full-body prosthesis with whole brain emulation. WHB is an assumption due to how it practically works, but this sidesteps another issue with the fiction. The fiction assumes that human brains and a computer’s central processing unit work the same or very similar way. This is an assumption made by AI researchers like Alan Turing that still persist. In reality, human brain and any computer work wholly differently, and even assuming that the brain ‘computes’ would be wrong. The assumption is that the human brain does the same work as the computer in fewer steps because brain cells work in parallel. A computer may be able to calculate mathematical equations faster than the human mind, but it will take longer to recognize a picture of a cat, because it has to refer to a library of and compare against that. An idea is that if it takes brains only ten steps to do the work, computers can shorten the steps by paralleling the computing ten times. This doesn’t actually lower the amount of steps, it simply means those hundred steps are made in parallel. The comparison however is not apt.

At its base, human brain uses memories as its base. High-school biology already taught us how there are different levels of memory, from sensory memory all the way to procedural and episodic memories. We gain experience as we grow up, and our brains refer to the memories each time we act upon something. The more you catch a ball, the more memories of catching the ball you gain. However, you don’t catch the ball the same way every time, as the brain is plastic; it changes how your arm positions itself as the ball comes in different ways. It does not analyse the angle of the ball, the speed of it, or its change in position in relation to you in time, but it refers to the last time you caught a ball. The more memories, i.e. experience, you gain in catching the ball, the better the brain is able to predict how to catch the ball. This is the cornerstone in human intelligence, where the human brain is able to successfully predict reality based on memory and acts upon it.

While other animals are able to predict as well, the sheer structural difference between other animals and humans lays in the function of the neocortex, which has the most layers in the animal kingdom. While other animals are a cortex, only humans are able to predict to the amount of creating writing and language in an intelligent fashion and build structures that allow us to travel into space. There is no true central unit that processes a core bulk of the input the brain gets from the senses. The brain is extremely plastic, and no area in the brain wants to be left unused. A blind person’s brain uses the area that would otherwise be wired to sight to something else, like reading Braille. This plasticity also means that you could re-wire brain to different senses, and due to how the neocortex has a common key “code” how to handle the input, different sections of the brain could analyse different inputs we usually key to them. A famous example from 2001 is the blind climber climbing Mount Everest by using BrainPort, a device that allows blind people to see via their tongue. All the brain has to learn is to interpret the sensation on the tongue as images, and with brain’s plasticity, it can do just that. This is due to the brain working under patterns and recognising them. : – ) looks like a smiling face to us, despite being only a series of three different marks. However, we recognise the colon as the eyes, the hyphen as a nose and the bracket as a smile because the brain is trained memories to recognise faces in this pattern. It can vary wildly, but this is the core reason we see faces everywhere. The brain loves patterns, and this has allowed humanity to create systems such as language to prosper further.

How does this relate to Muv-Luv? In my previous post about artificial intelligence in Muv-Luv, I sidestepped the reality of issues altogether. It was more or less assuming and explaining how things might work within the setting rather than taking things at face value, as there is not much meat to them as they are. The G Material based artificial brain 00 Unit uses is rather directly a consequence of parallel computing, but there is no deeper explanation given how it works or how the donor brain was adapted or modelled. Fans can come up explanations and expand on the topics, like how I’ve mentioned the concept of 00 Unit’s brain being effectively whole brain emulation. However, this introduces a conflict; if the artificial brain is a physical one-to-one emulation of the donor brain, then why is there need for parallel computing? The idea does not work against the fiction as its laid out. It exists solely because the theory of computers being able to match human brain if they had parallel computing, and thus maybe give way to general or superintelligence. I could theorise that parallel computing was not used to create the artificial brain itself, but used elsewhere in 00 Unit’s artificial body in order to keep the signals body movements in accordance to the brain’s signals, but this fails on the account that computer hardware is superior to brain wiring already, has been for few decades now. What comes to humans naturally is incredibly hard for computers due to the sheer amount of coding required. As 00 Unit goes, the fiction shows that the artificial brain uses parallel computing in order to run Kagami Sumika’s personality and is required to be powered on all the time. Why this is the case is a good question, something that’s more for drama rather than practical reasons. Whether or not this plot point will be repeated in future, when more 00 Units exists, is an open question.

The main point of making a 00 Unit is to make a being with zero carbon marks, zero life signs as we determine them. 00 Unit has demonstrated full-scale human ability in being as plastic, something that the BETA are not.

The BETA function has biological computers. The fact that they are made of what seems like flesh is largely inconsequential. Because the fiction assumes the similarity between human brain and CPU, it should be safe to assume that the creators of BETA (Siliconians or The Creators, reader’s pick in naming) have naturally formed what resemble our CPUs as their brain. Hence, BETA being posed against all CPU carrying devices and recognising 00 Unit as life. To step into theory zone, this seems to indicate that the Creators themselves are no plastic beings and are extremely rigid. They may have superior speed in thought and solving problems, but they’re unable to conform in a way human mind can. If the assumption wasn’t that CPUs and brains have similar core function, it’d be safe to say that they lack the human intelligence to predict.

The BETA themselves are not life. They are machines in flesh, lacking anything that makes core functions of life. They do not have self-preservation and they do not breed, they are machines to be used and discarded when needed, and manufactured rather than bred and born. I would argue that no BETA is sentient. Outside the Superordinate, the BETA behaviour is completely mechanical. Superordinate too only follows its programming and is not plastic in its functions or behaviour, unable to change its programming without having a direct input from a silicon based life. The BETA have a central processing unit rather than a brain.

This should colour the nature of their behaviour in proper light. Just like a computer, the BETA follow coded functions given to them. They are rigid beings unable to change them. Only when in a situation where Superordinate has direct input, in case of being bombed to hell or gains silicon based information via the Reactor network or otherwise, it is capable of changing its own or the rest of BETA behaviour. However, it should be noted that what Superordinate has done is not plastic nor did it devise something new. The tactics the BETA used in Yokohama to flank the base’s defences was based on human tactics know to 00 Unit, and the creation of Super Heavy Laser Class is based on available BETA building blocks, though it is more probable that it existed as a concept already set in its programmed memory. The way it could learn a human language and communication again is based on information the Superordinate was able to gain from 00 Unit.

The Superordinate is classed as Heavy Brain Class and described as a biological quantum computer. It would be safe to assume that it has a far larger series of cortices than the human brain does, but laid out in a completely different manner. Despite being carbon based, the chances are that it is more similar to 00 Unit’s artificial G Materials based brain rather than human brain are high. As I’ve argued before, the BETA’s most dangerous weapon has always been their superintelligence in Superordinate, but the sheer rigidness BETA programming has prevented any extensive use of it, only showcasing some glimpses of it here and there, like rolling out Laser Class early in a Hive’s development to function as anti-air weaponry. If used to any significant degree, the BETA would have eradicated all life from Earth in far shorter time than anyone could have guessed. Just to reiterate, the BETA are presented to the reader as biological computers, which has been wrongly interpreted as an invading life form.

Muv-Luv is not a hard science fiction series. Some would even argue that it’s fantasy, much like how Star Wars is fantasy due to Force. The ideas and concepts discussed here are mostly for interest, with some criticism and argumentation throw in there. However, most of the concepts, like brain and CPU being alike, have dropped in favour within the last decade by large margins, which makes the story show its age. However, the story does sidestep most of the grudges by simply not expanding or explaining the matters in clear-cut manners, mostly due to there being no explanation overall. These can be, and probably should be, rectified at a later date, but that most likely won’t happen. A fan theorising and creating possible explanations for the authors like the I’ve been for two posts now does not really showcase where the story’s main emphasize is, and that’s in the characters. The rest surrounding them is more or less framework and setting in service of them.