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; East Coast Summer

Y’know, after you’ve worked through the dark of winter and managed to nab some vacation during summer, it all feels so good. Nevertheless, four weeks off from work goes by so very fast. Even when there will be days when you hope to get back to the work bench and burn yourself five times over just to get shit done properly. Sacrificing your skin for perfection that was not asked for, but dammit I do wish to do work well enough to be satisfied at my handiwork.

I think I had an idea for a solid plan what to do for this summer’s long-form post, but I guess that whisky I drank washed it all away. Not that I can keep up with my plans anyway at this point, life’s getting a bit busier again for no good reason. At least I have plums to eat. If you wonder what the hell am I talking about, I had a tradition to write one longer post about a topic, like a read through of Kimi ga Nozomu Eien Latest Edition or Themes of Godzilla, which will get that sequel post at some point with Shin Godzilla. I’ll just have to take my time with that, because a part of the discussion will be about whether or not it rips of Kami no Kemono tl. as Beast of God, a 1992 giant monster comic by Tomoe Keisuke. It’s pretty damn well illustrated and written. Just look ho w spiffy the cover is.

Yes, the official English title is Ogre: The Geo-Monster. We don’t talk about the English title much

While I could’ve used some Internet resources to skim over what are and what aren’t, I find it much easier just to get the original material in hand and see myself what’s on the paper. I don’t need to rely on second hand information or translation guesses from or rumours. Remember how Mega Man fandom used to discuss how Sergess was confirmed as Dr. Wily in Rockman X2 comic? Never happened, I had to make a live-reading of the comic years back to confirm the rumour false.

I can’t recall all that clearly if I ever write about the difference of being influenced, ripping off or just subconsciously inserting sources of inspirations into your work properly, but I did make a post how Muv-Luv Alternative Total Eclipse is a sum of multiple sources of inspiration to the point of basically each episode serving few new more or less apparent additions. Like how Cui Yifei is effectively Shampoo from Ranma ½. Things like that. Hatsuke Miku isn’t exactly her main source, though that probably got changed around after she got the nickname ‘Chinese Miku’. Probably would be worthwhile to make a whole post on how much MLA TE just “recycles” inspiration into itself.

The whole story really is Top Gun mixed with Gundam 0083 with a good dash of Macross Plus in MLA setting, so that’s always something to the show. ML overall is like an otaku dreamhouse, filled with references and jokes left and right. Kinda like Gekisatsu! Uchuuken just not as overt and direct about it, and far less IP infringing.

I’ll also take some liberties and might skip a post during the upcoming four weeks or so if it looks like there’s something else I could spend my time on. Be it washing the carpets I have or screwing around with people I know, I’m going to treat this summer as a possibility to take a break of the routine I’ve been having for a good while now. A chance to get back to promised projects, like getting a gallery of CGs via emulation or scanning stuff I’ve promised. If I get time for that. Knowing the usual way vacations and such go, you end up being busier than during work. Maybe I just suck at scheduling.

Before I call quits on this post, I’d still like to touch a bit on the whole games streaming services. Yes, I’ve pretty much beaten that horse to the ground and given it few good kicks, but the more time passes the more I see some people doubting its success. Thus far it has not been a success as such, but very few tech steps like this are during their decade. People often forget how big VR was in the early 90’s with gaming. 3D boom came and went. Streaming games to players hasn’t been exactly a smooth experience thus far, but perhaps Google can make it a mainstream success during 2020’s. We are moving towards media experience where the consumer has no control over the media itself after all. Google making the console experience effectively just the controller is more or less natural simplification of the whole concept technology allows. I’m not their target audience, but their current setup seems to be aimed to shallow Red Ocean market. Whether or not it will work as intended, and even if it doesn’t, we’ll have to sit and wait to see if it’ll become mass market success.

Music of the Month; Megalomania

It has been a rather stressful last month or so. I didn’t even notice when summer months turned around, and that I could’ve set this post last week, or earlier. Things just flow at a rapid pace, with summer heat being a pest. Even my plan to attend a convention to have a presentation was shot down by car breaking down on me and the spare part might cost up to a grand with some luck. There has also been a death in the family, so excuse me if this post will end up being rather short and anemic.

I’ve come to a point where I can safely say that I won’t be planning the future of the blog. It was certainly fun to plan stuff out when and how I’d make certain posts, but that’s just not all that possible if I want to spend any time off the computer screen. That’s not to say I’ll just abandon every long-running posts I have, but as you’ve noticed during the last year and a half (or most likely, have not) is that all plans have mostly gone to shit. Time is of the essence, and that is something I would like to spend elsewhere at times as well.

To cover some topics quickly, the gaming disorder has now been officially been recognised as a disease by the WHO. I’ve covered this topic myself few times over, and the arguments and sources linked in them still apply. WHO is not exactly the most popular organisation going around, and I hope this will be redacted or made far more accurate than what its current for is, as now its determinants really fucking everywhere. You could apply the main forms of it to any enthusiast in a given hobby. A healthy obsession for a hobby is a thing, but hey, a person who appreciates their hobby to a high point should now be considered mentally ill. What a load of shit. Niche Gamer has an opinion piece why WHO is flawed classification, echoing some of the stuff I’ve already written, but also going into deeper and wider look. Ryan Pearson’s article touches on proper points, but leaves the whole political aspect out. Maybe for the better, outside some of the internal leaks that commented on certain nations pushing this classification there is no solid evidence for it.

There’s a new Godzilla out there, and I honestly have no want to see it. The 2014 Godzilla was a disappointment at best, extremely boring at worst. As a movie, it was extremely kitch, safe and resorted on failing consumer expectations. I might go to see Godzilla II (I do love how overseas market gets a number before King of the Monsters in an era where too few movies are numbered anymore) and do a short first impression review, but I’d need to kick myself into the theater and get someone to go with me. Not a tall order, but this is also a good time to rewatch Shin Godzilla and add its themes to the Themes of Godzilla post I have floating around. That’s a post that should get expanded, but with what time?

Here’s the beef I’ve always had with Godzilla, and technically with any other franchise that does the same thing Robocop; it gets dumbed down for the kids. Not just in story, but also in production values and themes. Those movies that are aimed for children audience mainly have the short end of the stick in every regard from story to special effects. The VS Godzilla did find a good balance between adult themes and kid friendly Godzilla, but at the same time looking at the series in perspective it is clear how run out of worthy ideas and resorted on their catalog of popular monsters, setting the whole theme of reusing and revamping old monsters in new guises for the future. Godzilla stopped pushing the envelope well into the 60’s, yet the VS series didn’t even try. Space Godzilla? Evil Mothra? Plant Godzilla? Another Mechanical giant monster based on previous monster? I do love the VS series of movies, but goddamn do they look meek when you take the nostalgia goggles off. Ever since I found out the Gamera trilogy, I’ve been going back to those movies ever since, and its influences are very, very strong in these new millennium American Godzilla movies. Maybe I should just cut this rant short for now. There is room for a serious Godzilla movie every now and then, but the rest will colour the cultural perception. It’s just that very few want to make a good Godzilla that took itself and its themes seriously. No, let’s just drop an Oxygen Destroyer as a missile and call it a day. Let’s not even consider its ramifications.

E3 is around the corner again, I honestly couldn’t give jack shit at the moment. I know I used to make posts about it, but with the lack of time (there’s that again, I’m repeating myself far too often) I’d rather not spend three days of watching direct advertisement meant to sell me games I probably don’t want anyway. Less reason to get angry, more reason to enjoy whatever sunshine and wasps this summer offers. Sure, I’ll probably end up writing a post or two if something interesting pops up in the news sites that warrant speeding the videos over after the fact, but otherwise, I really have to question the hype surrounding E3 when it is world’s most expensive marketing event. Hatebait click articles of course would make money, but that’s not how we roll here.

How we roll is with tea heated in the microwave, added sugar and drinking while the spoon is still in the mug. Just remember to sharpen those knives of yours, that makes cooking safer.

And oh yeah, R-Type Final 2 has some 50h left in its Kickstarter, throw some money at it if you want to fund a resurrection of one of the genre defining franchises.

Music of the Month; Harmony

It may not come as any kind of surprise, but I like three things about ‘koto.’ I’ve always found the music played with the instrument rather relaxing, though something that I do not listen very often. Very rarely, if we’re completely honest about this, it’s something that works best in certain rare moods. Secondly, I really like the colour that carries its name. Koto was a name given to a certain shade of natural light wood brown lacquer, which I extensively used back in the day when I had the chance to do woodwork on the side of learning how to handle steel. Thirdly, I simply like the sound of it as a name, much like how Hibiki resonates with me. The two purposes this choice then reflects are the fact I really need to relax more and not overwork myself (It has shown itself rather harshly at times in overt tiredness and leaving all personal projects aside) and that the new era of Reiwa has begun on Japan. Perhaps this makes the blog seem like weeb garbage, but these monthly openers are one of those posts that don’t need to follow any cohesive line for the blog.

So, what does the music represent for the month? Even I have no clear rhyme or reason for that outside that I mostly likely have to drop few posts in order to make time for projects that have been on ice or waiting to get done for quite literal years now. They’re not massive, just extremely boring and time consuming. Most of these are scanning projects, one of them is writing a book, and the rest are assortment of things like finishing some personal design work, changing the blog’s outlook and things like that. You might consider most of these trivial and fast things to do, but striving for quality takes time. For example, the quality in scanning I try to aim takes time. A book takes a whole day of dealing with, from unbinding to scanning and correcting the pages. While not hard, it is tedious and errors are bound to be made.

While I usually do some sort of coverage regarding what’s been popular on the blog on a yearly basis, I’ll have to make a special mention on the slight rising popularity of the Guilty Gear character design comparisons., which is also why they got their own dedicated page at the top of the page bar. They’ve been making around a bit more than usual, which is positive direction and does give me some faith that this little hobby might end up being entertaining or maybe even slightly informative for someone. I’m not surprised that most popular posts are also the ones that take the most time to make. I did plan to drop the amount of posts I make in order to make longer ones, but that plan kinda backfired on me thanks to the whole overworking myself thing.

In the same manner, I’ve have started the next Fighter elements in TSFs post, but due to lack of certain resources on my part and the sheer burnout I had with Muv-Luv, it’s been sitting in my top item in Illustrator for some time. Yes, the one franchise this blog probably made biggest rounds with at a point sort of burned me through rather badly, and it has been rather gruesome task to slowly but surely to reacquaint myself with all of it again. I’ll introducing the franchise to an audience at a con this summer (their English page is strangely lacking in any sort of programme description) in respect of a friend’s request, so it’s a good chance to revisit things. If things go as intended, I hope to spin things off from that and do something of the kind every year, covering TSFs and such as we go by. Then again, none of this should be any surprise to anyone who follows this blogs or whatever shit I throw at the small amount of social media I use under guise. To tell you the truth, a lot of things regarding Muv-Luv were out of obligation, and I intended to carry those to the end. I just hope it won’t burn the throughout and leave me distanced from the series altogether. If your whole world is just tasty chocolate and strawberries, those two will become the most mundane and repetitive taste there is. I guess the same can be applied to those those Guilty Gear posts I mentioned before. At first they were a riot to make, but with lack of time and constantly trying to read the lore and musical reference turned something interesting into tedium.

Speaking of stuff that I’ve taken a small break from, there has been a significant lack of Iczer-1 stuff as of late from me, so those production materials that I threw up last weekend are there to keep things up on that front. That Iczer-3 radiocassette drama coverage will come through one of these days, but its in the backburner way behind the ML stuff I have to go through first.

Didn’t really mean to turn this post into complaining or opening my mind with this stuff. This day is International Worker’s Day, and you should be having a day off and relaxing. Take things easy, sit back and a sip from the mug whatever you have in it.

Music of the Month; 3-2-1 Let’ Go

So, here we are, more than a decade since the last proper R-Type game that wasn’t driven by plot and tactics, and R-Type Final 2 has been announced. Seeing that there are a whole generation who seem to have missed the franchise as a whole, I’ll be giving it a similar short introduction post in the same manner I did for Aleste. The death of the shooting genre might be two decades old, but when a venerable name like this steps back into the field, a name that once wrestled in the same class as Super Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, Gradius, 1984,  and other heavy hitters, it should be noted. R-Type returns to its roots, even if for one title. More can’t be asked for. More on that when the post proper gets made.

As for posts that should or should not be made, I know work is a constant and recurring excuse I give out on being either late or simply not having time to do proper research for the longer posts I was so keen to make, but I have to resort to that once more. Sadly (gladly?) our production got ramped up by a notch again, meaning work needs to be done and yours truly is there to meet the quota. Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise. Then again, I will have that full four weeks of summer vacation, all of which I can spend inside and write and scan stuff that I’ve missed. Like last week. Last weekend was a mess, as I was supposed to go out of town, but got sick thanks to cold nights with fever and all, and in the end couldn’t do jack shit. I’ll be doing double duty this weekend to balance things up, though I’m more and more convinced I’d need someone else on this blog to ensure content production keeps up in the schedule, but very few people are willing to do stuff like this out of joy of it all. Topics for those are already lined up, and interestingly both of them are shooting game related. Well, the above should give some strong hints on what the other will be.

I’ve put the third post about scanning on hold for now, as I need to track down some nice old games related magazine to scan, but it can’t really be any magazine. It needs to be from around the mid-90’s and of certain kind. A high-end publication won’t do, so I might try to find my old mag that covered Spaceworld 1996. I remember that being in a very busted condition and the overall paper quality being of semi-decent kind. It might be lost to time at this point, but I can always track down something else. Might be worth tracking down a random 90’s Japanese gaming magazine instead for record keeping. I’ve also asked a Youtube for his view on the matter for a third party view, and we’ll see if either of us remember to say about that when I get my hands on whatever magazine it ends up being.

Enjoy the music piece, and please remember to sharpen, hone and oil your knives now that a new month as kicked itself into a higher gear again. A sharper knife doesn’t just mean better cutting, but also safer cooking. A blunt knife slips and rips more easily, and is danger to all.

Music of the Month; Shubi-Beam Explosion

I recently managed to fuck up shoulder and neck muscles, preventing me to do a lot stuff I usually do. Work has been bit of a hell because of this, and sitting in front of a computer and typing something down just makes it worse. I’ll probably have to skip next week’s posts because of this, I don’t want this to get worse. This is a reminder for all of you that you should remember to stretch and warm up your muscles more often, especially if your work is in the office or requires heavy lifting or unusual working positions.

The music’s the for the month overall is PC-Engine. That’d be the console that became Turbografx-16 in the West. I recently obtained a PC-Engine Duo-R, modified with a region switch and RGB output. The seller pitched an Everdrive to the mix as well, which allows ROM files to be put on a SD Card. While I just discussed the nature of all the games on a single card, I’ve already made preparations and decisions on this. Just like with the Everdrive N8, which I have an old review up, the Everdrive won’t be an issue when it comes to collecting. It’ll just help me to keep the Hu-Cards in better condition. I just need to find some kind of solution to house the loose cards, either by creating a separate box for them, or custom make some sort of sleeve for a binder. Like trading cards.

While I’m still rooting for the previously planned stuff, that might have to take backseat until my shoulder’s in proper condition. This also means I’d rather do something easier and quick that doesn’t require me to sit in front of the computer and doing any graphical editing or whatnot.  However, doing stuff like reviewing the PC-E’s Avenue 3 controller I got with it should be doable, as most of the stuff is done away from the computer. Fiddling with the controller to take photos of the insides and seeing what makes it tick, all that relaxing stuff. I’d also like to take a look at the library of games PC-E had to offer, mostly some of the more famous titles. Well, I say famous but in reality I mean titles that have solidified themselves into the sub-cultural background of the console. Like how NES had Mega Man, the PC-E had Kaizou Choujin Shubibinman. Everybody knows about the shooting games, but there is a healthy amount of interesting titles of varied quality that more or less represent the best the console has to offer. Whether or not that is on the same level as its competitors of the time is another thing altogether, but seeing it came in third place in the sales race against Nintendo and Sega, you can probably guess how the quality overall was.

 

For now, enjoy the music. I need to slap some Voltaren on my shoulder and take some pain killers.

Music of the Month; Ninjas

You know what we’re going to talk about again? That’s right, censorship.

For the last few days, Kenichiro Takaki’s interview on Inside Games have been making some rounds about the Internet. Pretty much everyone has covered this at some level, with Lewd Gamer having one and Censored Gaming having a video on the subject too. The topic that Takaki mentions is sort of side mention on the overall interview, but the core of it is as follows; the original idea for Senran Kagura 7EVEN would be impossible to release and the developers have to reconsider everything about the game itself due to the censorship policies Sony is currently employing. Furthermore, Takaki mentions that these regulations are trend that will spread further.

Imagine that, an entertainment many consider a form of art becoming censored to serve a view. The moment art has been perverted to serve a view by limiting what can contain within the art, it stops being art and becomes a vehicle for the ideology the censor upholds.

That is, if we consider electronic games as a form of art. Otherwise we might just have to face that the industry is a business where business sensibilities and winds of politics play extremely large role. I guess the late 2010’s and part of 2020’s will be remembered when Sony and Valve, and maybe some other corporations as well, begun to censor games harshly in moral panic about sexual depiction of fictional characters.

You may laugh at the whole thing, it is “only” Senran Kagura after all. Then let’s not forget all the titles Valve has banned from Steam, or the extensive censorship NISA employed within almost every title they publish (not to mention the sheer amount of bugs their localisations are known for, or the lacklustre as all hell translations they have going) or how Sony has effectively blocked titles from being published due to their risque nature. I’ve talked about these few times over. It’s not just a slippery slope we’re having here, it’s a no-friction glassy ice slope at 60-degree angle we’re trying to not to bust our tail bones on here, and we’ve got nothing but shitty shoes with hard plastic soles. The only way the consumer can effectively fight against this is by getting political and goddamn I know most of my readers hate that.

Thankfully, this time it’s easy. No reason to grab the flag of your political view and some Molotov cocktails, but simply to refuse to support or purchase any products from the offending companies, refuse to use their services and goods, and make sure that that they know it. Send ’em an email, go to a forum or whatever. Money talks more than empty promises or deeds gone cold. With the amount of entertainment and games out there, you will always have other options that will fill that niche. If that’s not the case, that’s a goddamn good time to start looking into alternatives that you didn’t know existed. Easier said that done, I know.

But why is that I keep talking about this titty ninja franchise? That’s something I had to ask myself when Takaki’s interview came out. Am I fan of the series? Do I just appreciate it? Despite the rather mediocre nature of majority of the games, what makes me coming back and revisiting the series time and time again? I’ve got no answer for you, and I can assure you its not not the front and back assets of the characters. I’ll be breaking some character as the blogger with this and rust up a post about how exactly I got involved with the franchise. It’s like that old ass Kimi ga Nozomu Eien post from years yonder (Jesus Christ I hope I’ve gotten better since then) but about a series that’s still relevant. No, I’m not going to put much trust in KGNE remake, especially now that Nekopara-style has vomited itself all over it.

Speaking of other posts for the month, or for the next two months depending how much I’m going to overwork myself, nothing definitive has planned outside the usual stuff I talked in January, but now you can add Iczer Robo’s visual history to that, where I cover some of the major illustrations and designs that the Iczer series’ mecha has seen. This’ll include some of the more obscure ones as well, namely the original comic version and its 1990’s counterpart, and the two animal themed mechas from Iczer-3 audio drama, because Iczer Dragon needs more love in general.

Both will take some time to finish. In the meantime, I’m to grab a bottle of whisky and celebrate my anniversary.

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.

Music of the Month: Rock the World

After spending good three days of building my new PC and troubleshooting things that have been popping up now and then, I completely forgot that I was supposed to write something for Sunday. That’s not the only thing I’ve forgotten lately, due to being so damn tired. Enough excuses, let’s get this on the roll.

So, whatever plans I might’ve had are more or less out of the window thanks to people ordering more and more stuff from the place I work, meaning the speed and production amounts have been upped ever so slightly but enough to push the proverbial breaking point of the manufacturing process. Rather, I’ll have to approach things by case-by-case basis and hope that I don’t put things out too late. Well, I’ll be doing Mega Man 11 at some point.

As such, I’ll use this opportunity to comment on the previous post about Capcom’s IR materials. It’s a long post in comparison to most and has quite a lot of hot air, but something that needed to be covered. Rather than spouting what Capcom says, here’s my personal take what Capcom wants to do in the future; high-end games.

Monster Hunter World and Resident Evil 7 have been big hits, and Capcom seems to think it is thanks to the games having high production values across the board, especially in the graphics department. While the term artisanal design was thrown in there, it ultimately means very little if not expanded. Effectively it means master craftsmanship and how something is worked by hand to perfection, but how well that applies to Capcom’s titles is up to interpretation. They are infamous for dishing out game sequels after sequels, though this has been on the slower end as of late. Game development has gotten more expensive with each generation and they feel it. Each title has to be bigger and more successful than the previous. The two aforementioned titles fit the bill perfectly, something Resident Evil 2‘s remake and Devil May Cry 5 do too. While the games will have something the consumers will have to scratch their heads over with, Capcom is putting a lot of money and time into them, hoping to get return in their investment. MHW is regarded a cornerstone within the company in terms of success, and they want to replicate that.

Furthermore, Capcom is surprised by the success of Mega Man 11. Without a doubt it has come as a surprise, and the Man of Action Mega Man cartoon basically exists to drive brand recognition, especially among younger consumers who have no previous experience with the franchise. The initial sales have been very positive and the reception of the game has more or less followed the same pattern. Above all, Mega Man 11 is a PR victory for Capcom and does go against their set idea of high-end games, something consumers should be somewhat happy about. MM11 was relatively cheap to develop, which probably served more to its favour than most think. It also shows that games don’t need to be at their highest ends in order to make a mark. Capcom probably took notice of this, as they’re also noticed the good sales the Mega Man X collection was having.

This has lead them to consider reviving some of their old IPs and the upcoming Capcom Belt-Action Collection is probably is part of the whole deal to see what sticks to the wall. Sadly, Capcom doesn’t have the licensing rights to some of their best beat-em-ups, but at least the collection has the first ever home port of Battle Circuit, something long-time Capcom and CPSII fans have been waiting for. When’s Wazrard getting a proper home release? Does this mean fan favourite IPs will be revived? Naturally, no. First three people who I saw commenting on the post said Breath of Fire, but I don’t see that being very likely. Firs being that BoF was never a great seller and that they have better options to fill the RPG quota if they want to. However, the one thing that is in BoF‘s favour is that Capcom recognizes themselves relying on limited genres, with fighting games, action and horror taking the top spot. Capcom has to diversify its selection at some point, but that may go toward mobile gaming.

According to the materials, Capcom has been making loads of money in the smartphone market, but still don’t have much success in there. What does this mean, exactly? They’re not the top dog and despite the few titles they manage to get money out, the competition is making bigger bank. This is largely an Asian thing, as the mobile game market is absolutely bonkers huge there, eclipsing both console and PC market without any margins of error. It’s no wonder companies like Blizzard want to release a game into the market like they were horny teenagers with free access to the corest of hardest porn. We’ll get to Blizzard’s PR disaster with Diablo Immortal on Wednesday, it’s a damn good example how not to do consumer service. But this is Capcom, they don’t give a damn about the mobile market in the West, as Asia’s the gold mine and they don’t have the tools or skill to mine money. Maybe Capcom wants to see if they can do something else in the market, or maybe they’ll put more effort into expanding genre selection on consoles and PC. That’s why testing waters with cheap releases and collections is important to them. I’m not saying you should go buy MM11 or any of the collections in hopes to gain BoF Collection, you should always buy only what you think is the best value for your money. More RPG related stuff Capcom has been putting out might sway them more, or showcase how something similar makes good sells. Like most Japanese companies, Capcom seems to be data driven. Showcase them data and examples to support your claim or suggestion, and it has geometrically highest chances of getting through.

Whatever Capcom puts into production and announces within the next year will be based on the success and methods MHW and Mega Man 11 have laid out when it comes to consoles and PC. Mobile, well, we’ll have to sit tight and see.

Music of the Month; Queen in the Dark

Well, it’s that time of the year. Bats, pumpkins and other scary things like Russian bots telling The Last Jedi was a bad movie, Halloween’s around the corner and it won’t affect this blog one bit. I’m not sure if I’ve ever done anything seasonal outside the occasional Christmas and New Year’s greetings, but I’m not about to start. Unless I get a stroke or something else that forces me to stay at home for extended period of time.

The above music is from Rusty, a NEC PC-98 game that was heavily inspired by Castelvania. It got a translation few years back, which I recommend checking out if you’re into Castlevania and haven’t experienced much of the golden system of classic Japanese PC gaming. That’s a topic worth considering getting into, as classic Japanese PC gaming was a very much its own thing, which most people tend to ignore in favour of consoles of the era. The US had its Macs, UK had ZX Speccy, Finland had C64, France had Amstrad and Japan and NEC PC-88 series.

Anyway, the month came to an abrupt end. I didn’t have time to do that promised Integral Works and Codex comparisons for those who were looking for some new Muv-Luv stuff on the blog, but we’re getting there. Hopefully this month too, before I lose all the sunlight. The SNES controller comparative review was sort of a stop-gag while waiting for the Switch stand parts to arrive, though they should arrive within the next few weeks. For whatever reason the post has been extremely slow as of late. However, it did serve its purpose, considering these SNES-styled USB controllers are dime in the dozen. There are so many different kind of cheapo USB controllers out there that it has stopped being funny seven years ago. Far too often people spend some ten bucks on a controller and then complain that it is nothing but crap. No shit. There’s a magical point with controllers where any new controller above twenty euro tend to be of decent quality. The Hori controllers I’ve reviewed thus far have been relatively cheap and above that price point, for example. Numerous other controllers I own, like few USB Logitech ones, also go above this threshold. You could say that under twenty you get just trash, and proper budget tier range for controller is between 20-35€. From above that we’re getting to the mid-tier range well enough. There should be no reason to start going into why controllers are so expensive nowadays, with the materials and shit going into them and companies trying to gain certain revenue marks off them. A cheapo USB controller that costs a dollar to make will always be inferior to a controller that costs ten bucks to make. If you’re interested in how to calculate a product’s true production value, I have that in a blog post somewhere around here.

On the other side of things, I need to get a new computer. No, this is not trying to shill some sort of Patreon-like service to you, just giving you a notice that at some point I’ll most likely miss a post because I’ll be trouble shooting and testing stuff before fully having a system in use. While I’m not a hardcore computer upgrader or the like, I do like to take my sweet time to pick up all the parts and then go with something good, and then spend a week or so just to get things right before taking things into normal use. I’ll be going AMD route this time, as Intel politicised their company few years back and never looked back. I don’t exactly care about companies and brands getting into politics per se, but many consumers do. Personally I don’t really care if companies get political, unless it clearly begins to affect the quality of the product. Few times this blog has gone dangerously close of being about politics, but that’s never the intention. However, don’t expect to hear much about the computer in itself once it is in use, though there is something I’d like to say about picking new PC parts if you’re building your own rig. Things are just so much simpler if you don’t really give a damn and just get a pre-build set, or want to think differently and get a Mac. Considering they botched iPhone XS’s charging and nobody knows if its hardware or software issue, I’m not putting my trust into Apple’s care.

This being a whole new month, especially the season where some people cook and cut things more often thanks to Halloween, I duly recommend sharpening your knives and oiling them with mineral oil or similar. Sharper knives are safer to use, as blunt knives will not properly and most likely will slip and cut the user instead. A sharp knife is easy to control and handle. Oiling them will also extend their live and keep rust from collecting to any extent. Honing should be done each time a knife is used, if we want to go there, but sharpening once per month should be enough. he difference between sharpening and honing is that sharpening is removal of material to give it an edge, while honing is to fine tune the edge. Both are integral part of keeping your edged tools in good shape, and basic kitchen skills everybody should know.