Monthly Archives: February 2012

Fate/Extra

There was a reason why I am really behind on my Haikasoru reading. Or at least one of them being Fate/Extra. It is also the first Japanese RPG-type game that I finished to some degree of completion since Valkyria Chronicles 1, which was a long time ago.

Lamenting on lack of time and interests aside, one of the biggest draw for Aksys’s localized version of the thing is (aside from being translated) hearing Tange Sakura as Saber Extra. The Red Saber. The Saber with see-thru skirt. Whatever. I kind of enjoyed that a lot, despite PSP’s built in size limitation in terms of how much voiceover it can possibly hold.

I went for Rin in my only playthrough, on the other hand, and they really need to give her more lines.

The only lure left is to play through the game again using Caster, with Saito Chiwa. I mean, right? I don’t think they were beating around the bush at seiyuu selection.

There’s a little bit of me inside wanting to play it through again just so I can get to Ryogi Shiki, but that would be a spoiler–well, not exactly. She’s one of those optional unlock bosses you can find in the New Game+ scenario.

There are a lot of interesting things to Fate/Extra that nobody talks about. Probably because it really is not important, and those who would probably can’t withstand the tedium of playing rock paper scissors so many times.

I wonder if it sold well enough to warrant Fate/Extra CCC, or at least so I can download it by the time I end up with a Vita (which I assure you is not likely this year). On that note, I should say something about my SIGNIFICANT DISAPPOINTMENT with GameStop with their preorder program. It happened that I preordered the game before I moved, and I forgot to change my address on my preorder when I did. Eventually it came up with GS by the time they wanted to bill me, so there was a back-and-forth. When the issue was resolved with GameStop CS they decided to not ship me the preorder bonus with the game. I sent an email and they said they will ship it to me, except it has not yet happened. And this is about 3 months ago now. Because I totally would not have bought the game physically (or even with them) otherwise!

As for Red Saber, I think her story is kind of sound although I have a hard time buying in. It seems to mimic reality a lot better than normal Saber’s plea to genderswap, which somehow made it easier to question the details?

I guess the only angle I have on Red Saber’s legacy is one that is like Guilty Crown’s Hare’s First Love. Not that it’s like how history paints it. And here ends with answering one spoiler with another. It’s unfortunate that I’m doing a cop-out here, since all the interesting stuff are probably spoiler of some sort.

Speaking of not-spoiler material, at one point in the game I realized there are actually only so many R/P/S patterns to memorize, and they don’t even all show up on the same level. It worked great because you get to run each level of the dungeon maybe 2-3 times per game-week. All I had to do is go through the fights once and it’ll come to mind which moves to guess when it comes down to guessing. It also helped that Saber was very error-tolerant.

Well, it’s a fun diversion, if it took a little longer than I wanted. I probably didn’t have to grind so much near the end. Is it worth it? Only if you like Type-Moon and the voice cast/moe/otaku nature of it. But you probably didn’t need me to tell you that. What you probably didn’t know is, unlike some possible kusoge, the system is smooth and doesn’t try to get in your way. As long as you remember that the square key teleports you and the triangle key skips the dialog, it’s a good time.

I mean if “omg Omo finished a JRPG! It can’t be good” makes sense to you, well, you should be happy that this reaffirms the same.


The Idle Master

Can I go on a blogging hiatus and go play some iM@S 2 for the PS3?

Meanwhile you can nag this guy about just what is so special about iM@S. I was this close to picking up a copy of Dearly Stars over the weekend. It was in my grasp (as in, the copy of the game was in my hand). Maybe I should have. Maybe I should not have. Maybe I should not have started playing the game a week ago. But it’s too late now. (Maybe I should hold out for a copy of iM@S SP Perfect Sun…).

There is a strange “one more turn”-itis going on with iM@S2, similar to what I experience in those 4X games. I’ve already mastered the rock-paper-scissors thing. I can, I guess, read lips. Telling seiyuu apart is harder than it sounds but it is something I’ve had some training for years, to say the least. Even when it is just by voice. (The concerts are something else, I assure you.) I still can’t read Japanese, which is what really counts in the end. Not knowing Japanese, or not knowing anything else for that matter, doesn’t present itself as enough of a stopping block, when you have websites like this. Truly we live in the information age.

[I guess Steve Jobs’s contribution to import gaming was enable that Sakura Taisen experience that I had many years ago, when going through the game on the PC (actually it was my Dreamcast hooked up to a TV card) on one side of the screen and the translation on the other, but using a tablet or smartphone instead.]

Fundamentally, the game is the core user experience. The anime is mostly fluff, although you can enjoy fluff by itself. It’s akin to pouring whipped creme in to your pie hole directly. The anime does serve better as icing on the PS/Xbox/DS cake, so much so that I want to go back and re-watch it. This is notably different than most galge adaptations. I mean I can go and play Kanon or even Fate Stay Night and get most of it from the corresponding anime (at least the adopted arc), and vice versa. I might even want to revisit the anime after I am done (although it didn’t happen for either of them). But iM@S, given its arcade lineage, has so much “game” to it that it elevates the experience beyond just a flat read of the stereotypical visual novel presentation.

[Tho I wonder if there was the “Nayuki Minase” equivalent in iM@S anime–someone who gets the short end of the stick. I guess that is what fans debate after all. And speaking of which, I even want to go re-read what 2DT shipped. Knowing the characters better, would it make more or less sense in terms of his pairing?]

The mistake I made was trying to “get it out of my system” by playing it as much as possible. Ha, never again. The light at the end of the tunnel, however, is that like all the 4X games I have encountered, the novelty eventually wear thin given the repetitiveness of it all. No amount of pretty girls dancing (prettily) will reduce the fact that I’m just hitting the highest-general-appeal-scoring-button, infinite times, every time, all the time. Okay, occasionally it’s about timing your memory appeals, but once you figure it out, you just do the same thing every time. So the question is no longer “if” I could get out of the hole Yukiho dug for me, but how deep she has dug it.


Nisemonogatari Is All Fanservice, All the Time

Back in the day when I served Google ads on my own blog hosted elsewhere I wrote about the nature of pornography and at some point Google flagged me. Probably because there’s bots for those things. But if you read my posts from back then, I don’t do anything that the word implies on my writing here.

The same can be said of Nisioisin’s animated Nonexistent Youths in Nisemonogatari. Actually we should be talking about Bakemonogatari, because that show is also similar in that there’s all this porn. Maybe not all the time like Nise, but Bake has several moments where I have to wring my brow and consider what I was truly watching.

Unlike people who shy away from the source material, Nisioisin’s treatment of his characters is key to understanding what actually is going on in Bake and Nise from the perspective of the anime adaptation. Granted, all I had was a few books translated into English, but Nisio Isin is pretty much writing like the database animal was living on his sleeves. JP mentions that so far the scenarios and set pieces in Nise are all like what you would find in a doujinshi for Nise, and it’s painfully obvious once we reduce the scenes to what they really are. What you all should know is Nisioisin’s works are all like this, or at least every one that I have looked into. I think the naming scheme he has adopted for the whatever-monogatari stories says as much about the interchangable, mash-up set pieces of his works.

By focusing the plot on these well-understood scenarios, it allows the director to do whatever the hell he wants in the mean time. That allows the story to highlight these quirky characters that live like pixel-perfect, graphed conical equations sharply focuses on the stress points that these well-curated tropes–the word trope seems woefully inadequate here–and their intended effects. It is the difference between showing you a picture of a snake and showing you the word “snake” instead, but both the image and the word behave the same. It’s like, who cares about what the snake is actually? You know what it signifies and you know how it is in your mind, you just want to get to the money shot (which in this case, for readers of Nisioisin, the animated versions of their favorite things).

Oh wait, that’s an actual SHAFT trick isn’t it?

[Next up: SHAFT draws a shark and writes SAME a hundred times in a cut in the same episode.]

When Nadeko went full-frontal in Bake I was pretty uncomfortable. I understood all the stuff that was going on (perhaps too well). But when Shinobu enjoyed her bath with Koyomi I was nowhere nearly as queasy. I think I was suppose to react to it not unlike the way he harassed Hachikuchi. Am I suppose to react to it the same way when Kanbaru got naked and wrestled Araragi? Or when Nadeko tried to seduced the same? What does that say about Karen and Tsukihi?

Well, I don’t really think how we reacted to those things are important. It’s more important to note that we reacted to those things, and not to the fact that 4 episodes in we have barely started on the arc’s main story. To me it says nobody really cares exactly what those plot events are like (unless it accumulates into some awesome fight scene that SHAFT couldn’t animate in time), but we want to see Senjougahara tilt her head or Nadeko play Twister. So here we are, full of it in Nise. That is fanservice. And if you watched Nise episodes 1-4, every episode is full of fanservice, from start to finish. It’s by far the most fanservice-y thing on the air right now.

So when we talk about the discomfort some felt when Shinbo revisits one of his favorite subjects–the aged loli vampire–we have to take that into perspective. Is fanservice expected in a fanservice show? Is this fanservice somehow different than other fanservice? By what measuring sticks are you relying to make that distinction? Is that stick one that retracts or extend upon arousal? Do we even want to know? Can we couch our hard-ons with some, well, context? I really don’t want to go and read people’s valid objections and come away with “man these people are prudes and hypocrites.” Because that’s not who you really are.

I suppose there’s always a lack of dutch angle porn on the internet, and SHAFT works hard to remedy this.