Monthly Archives: September 2015

Anime Weekend Atlanta 2015: Wrap

Jotting some stuff down before I forget:

food vendor #2

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DereSute States, Week 3

First impression aside, here are some possibly useful links:

  1. UI translation screencaps. This page has some mistakes in the description text but the translations should be sufficient for people not familiar with the language.
  2. JP Wiki. Some guys started something similar but mostly use the game news?
  3. Level spreadsheet (via Starlight Stage reddit) but this is kind of not important
  4. Translated idol skills spreadsheet this is very important. Note “perfect lock” is a misnomer. DereSute, in other words, allows for full combo with even Nice notes, if certain skills proc on Nice.
  5. Charts and videos.

With the first event on the horizon (I like Ponkutsu Android!), here are some more macro observations and detailed observations.

A very newbie tip, but do the panel missions, they are very helpful. Took me a day or two but it unlocks some pretty easy songs.

Gasha envelope graphics. This can lie to you in that you can get a SSR out of a SR envelope, which lead to some confusion early on. But if you got a SSR envelope you know you scored.

You can pull SRs out of the Friend Point gasha. People often take this for granted but I’ve already seen it happen to 3 people I know.

Latency calibration is useful on Android, not so much on iOS unless you use bluetooth audio. In addition, device lag is a real problem for this game, along with battery and possible heat issues, so playing on 2D seems like a must. I haven’t tested with Apple TV or Android screen casting, but I ought to.

Turning off sound effects on hit is also a good move to reduce lag. I guess it will depend on your preference, but DereSute sounded very loud even with the slider all the way down to 1 or 2, so I just turned it off.

You probably already know this but you can adjust the scroll speed in the menu before starting a Live.

Turn on orientation lock in the features, this is a new functionality. On the same token flipping your phone is one way to hit the pause button if you are not locked.

Your PRP is solely based on the score you get in the song. Naturally, playing at a higher difficulty will score you more points and longer the combo gets you more points. Still, you could get a S on a song and still get more PRP if you get a better S (for example a FC versus not), is what I’m saying. Skills of your cards moderates the rest.

To that end, if you are not great at rhythm games, build a health team in order to unlock the higher difficulties or the MV mode. During a live, you do not regenerate health by default, so fielding at least one of these characters will go a long way to prevent failing a song. Check the translated list above. You can use not only characters that regen, but also “armor” characters that prevent health loss on proc or even the NewGene SSRs (if you have any) to rely on what LLSIF calls “fortify.”

Star Lessons: They are a waste. In the early goings when you are hurting to level up cards, forget Star Lesson on N cards and just feed your dupes instead. What is important to know is that card rarity dictates max Star Level. N=5, R=10, etc. Eventually you want a level 10 R. Keeping a level 5 N for now is nice but you only need 1 anyway. God knows what it will take to get 10+ of same SRs. I’m going to assume down the road, different SR of the same character can be Star Lessoned together.

It’s a minor detail, but when you get cards from Lives, they typically come with some levels already. So stick your lower level cards into the Lesson grinder to feed ones that are already at a higher level. Same applies to Star Lesson.

More minor details but important: Your max friend points is 10000, and you can only have max of 10 energy drinks per type. Any more goes to waste. Since most items in your mailbox expire in 2 weeks, it’s probably safe to say to feel free to use pots as needed (to bump into a new producer level or something). And as far as I can tell there are no reasons to hoard FPs.

My favorite pointless detail in DereSute is how affection/bond points are distributed intelligently so as few as possible are wasted. If you field a team with all but one idol at max, no matter where you put that idol all the affection points will go to that idol.

Different idols behave differently while interacting with the same item in The Room. There is a reason why I have like 6 lamps in my room.

Slide notes and hold notes are actually more forgiving than normal notes. However slide notes are weird in that you may have to move in an exaggerated way to get your phone to think you are sliding over certain notes. If you’ve seen the tweets on the last part of Legne then, yeah.

On migration: I actually created a new JP BNID to facilitate migrating my migration from Android to iOS (and then back to Android again). I can say for sure:

  1. You will lose all your Star Jewels, both free ones and paid ones
  2. You will not lose any Star Jewels in your present box, so don’t take them out if you are about to migrate! Actually you don’t seem to lose anything else, stamina or whatever. Just note that the present box items usually also have an expiry time.

In version 1.2, the ability to disassociate a DereSute account from BNID was created, which basically is super helpful and would solve my problem from a couple weeks ago. But what that mean is you can delete your re-rolls and associate your BNID to your “main” account to facilitate device transfers. Since I have not tried it I don’t know what happens to the account that you disassociated with.

FWIW playing Starlight Stage on an iPad was delightful, but really not optimal. My iPad is a Mini 2 and it didn’t even run the game very well. Worse than my Moto X 3rd gen. I guess if you are looking for new hardware to double down on DereSute, consider buying a iPhone 6S or a GS6 or something in that range. Ironically at the Google Play stage event for DereSute at TGS last weekend they rocked a pair of iPhone 6 for their score match games, and it ran quite nicely.

I don’t remember the formula that translate stamina used for a song to the number of experience points you get, but it’s about 3x and gets a little better at higher difficulties.

Still to be figured out is how exactly you can skill up. It happens on occasion when a lot of XP is gained for a card?

The highest ranked/leveled player on my friend’s list is over level 72 and is A rank, last checked. Since the first event begins in a couple days, this is a moot point, but, spending 50 jewels to restore stamina is a smart, long-game play, over rolling away for high draws. As it is with LLSIF, on that note. Just think, for 100-200 jewels you can get a level, assuming you have the time to grind it. That’s way worth it after your first so many SRs. At the same time there’s a really slow curve to max stamina growth that may not be worth as much as we’d think. Look at the spreadsheet I guess.

But outside of events, everyone should be focused on unlocking the character stories by awakening Ns, Rs, etc. There is 25 star jewels for each N and 50 jewels for each R, so that’s quite a few cards right there out of the initial 100 or so cards. At least a couple pulls if you are diligent (or save it for events, it’s more than enough). That said, doing one 10 pull as soon as possible is probably going to save you a lot of time and effort because being able to field Rs is way better than having just a couple Rs in a mostly N team.

At first I thought DereSute is harder than LLSIF. I think that’s wrong; it’s about as hard…for some people. What is hard in LLSIF is hitting the notes. What is hard in Deresute is hitting the notes on time. The funny thing is DereSute uses Shiny Festa’s hitbox, so it’s easy to get perfects. If you have good coordination, DereSute might actually be easier. If you don’t have rhythm, LLSIF will be the easier game. But, as aforementioned, neither game is that hard on a more absolute scale. I personally could use some guides, of the horizontal kind… I am having definitely a harder time in DereSute to FC than I did in LLSIF, on M@STER/Pro.

To end it on this one…when you do a 10 draw and drew 4 Mayu, or keep on getting Mayu over the course of a few days from FP and daily 60 draws… it’s an element of humor I suppose.

Eventers’ Flower Girl

Shibuya Rin in the ongoing Cinderella Girls anime gets paired with flowers. I remember vividly still the first episode as she gets her first look at Uzuki’s smile. Director Kouno’s transformative climax paired with blossomed plant reproductive organs is not at any odds with the fact that Rin’s family run a flower shop and at times she adorns the shop’s front door.

The initial telegraph during episode one has Rin, Uzuki and Mio run into each other at a live event, each handling one behind-the-scene aspect. This flower girl Rin is, in a very literal sense, just like our flower girl, if you belonged to the growing number of fans who purchased flower stands for events. In retrospect that these flower stands got prominently showcased in the Dereani concert scenes should come as no surprise. It’s nice to imagine that behind every expensive order we put in for a live, there’s some Shibuya Rin putting the wreath together and hauling it to the venue.

Flowers from fans are, perhaps, a vain exercise, but it is nice. In the big picture, perhaps Rin’s existence isn’t so different. Both she and her fans hope, at least, the flowers will match her.

Comparing young women to flowers is the easiest thing.

Glass Slippers.

Sometimes I watch Cinderella Girls from an agency point of view. By agency I mean via the character’s point of view of self-realization and self-empowerment. It’s a fitting term, isn’t it? In this sense, the Producer is an agent for exactly this, in order to further the idols’ careers. An agent for change? How does TakeP’s character bring it about? And will the change be the kind I am looking for? For better or for worse? From whose perspective?

Thinking back to season one, when the police mistook Producer for a creeper, it gave the Dekoration girls an opportunity to do something, even if it is to right what may be called a wrong (it may not be). And there are other instances of this, where agency is cloaked in some form of a challenge, like giving Cat and Rock the same unit song and to work out their differences, or just giving Minami a lead role as the eldest. But aren’t these challenges just normal tasks? It seems by giving them mundane idol work the Producer produces. In fact Mio’s big scene in the first half revolved around the most ordinary thing ever, although it might not be fair to trivialize the challenges that Mio overcame.

The same is true for Rin’s eventual change of mind in the recent episodes, or what Mio decided to do. But to what ends? And are the changes good? I think this is the real talk part of the show. Imagine if the idols give up something to become one. No dating the boys (or even girls?) that they like, for example. Leaving their familial responsibilities or betraying their parental expectations to pursuit what they dream of doing, to make a career out of it, outside of the entertainment industry context, can be framed as noble and sympathetic things. Being chased down by a tall, stoic dude trying to hand you some business cards is a weird turn-on-head approach to career guidance. Basically, a lot of these challenges in Cinderella Girls may be silly, but the show treats them no less real than the “real talk” items of the seedy underbelly of the Japanese idol biz. It’s as if we were handed placeholders for these things, even if we didn’t quite address them head-on.

This is probably why I always thought Rin as “the” Cinderella Girls character. Once I look beyond the intercharacter relationship Rin has on NewGen and see it as Rin’s personal struggle as a Millennial, anyway. I mean, to spell out what I think is obvious, if we think of Cinderella the fairy tale as a story where someone grew true to her potential with Theatrics, help of a magical godmother, and a mean adoptive family, then IDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls takes this time-honed adage and time-honored, little-girl-marketing mechanism and spin it into Japanese idol regurgitate targeting otaku bros. This is a little weird, but also a little bit the most strangely gender-fair approach: Do boys like Cinderella like girls do? I mean, who doesn’t enjoy this generic kind of coming-of-age spin? This is way better than making a male-twist version on the same story. It’s like we are re-making a cake, using the old cake as the original material.

Is TakeP’s Producer the real pivot as our Fairy Godfather, whose CV was formerly just 17 years old?

Maybe I’m looking at this from the perspective of someone who has been through the wave of otaku material in the 00s when Japan occasionally addresses its outcasts with encouraging messages such as “Don’t be a hikkikomori, there is hope” and such? Or is that way too subtle?

Anyway, all I want to say is if Rin blossomed, it’s only because she was born to do it. It’s natural for a character of her nature to do so. The response of seeing it is either admiration and awe, and/or a desire to have what she has. This is where Cinderella Girls get interesting, in terms of that and the setup it has to trigger whatever expressions from its viewers, both reactions engineered and not so much.

Power Fantasy? Overlord Is Overpowering

Battle Maids or w/e

The question is, as stated:

Considering how much people bitched about the JSDF exercising overwhelming force against armies of chumps with swords, and how many viewers argued Kirito was overpowered in Sword Art Online, I wouldn’t have expected Momonga to get a pass. He’s constantly overestimating the abilities of his enemies and dismantling them with embarrassing ease despite handicapping himself time and again, yet nobody seems to have any qualms about that. My theory is that it’s because he’s really tall and speaks (externally, anyway) with an authoritative voice. That and being a big skeleton guy. I’m pretty sure Tony Robbins had a chapter on that.

The answer? Overlord differs by spinning the narrative towards what I call “world building.” Momonga’s unmatched prowess is not rooted in a sense of vulnerability. SAO and others are criticized because their narratives leverage their powerful protagonists through lenses in which mere mortals like me can sympathize with. (The fact that there is a damsel in distress and not some equally badass level one billion demon to pair with Kirito is all you need to address the feminist critique, although on those grounds Overlord fares poorly as well.) Momon, on the other hand, is a thorough lich, complete with all the leanings and quirks we have come to expect a lich who plays as a guy trapped from another world. At any given time throughout these first 9-10 episodes, he has no real skin in the game. Pun aside, Overlord stresses this by actually ignoring the “he’s trapped in another world and can’t escape” part.

Instead, we are invited by Overlord to learn about this strange new world ala Log Horizon’s styles. (Which, by the way, should share the same scrutiny about power fantasies.) It becomes world building as we learn with Momo-Boney-Goals or whatever he calls himself. We go on adventures with as much attachment as I do with my FFXIV character (who has been sitting in neglect for over a year). In other words, not that much. In that sense, we don’t really feel both the vulnerabilities or share in the same kind of delight of Momonga, as he crushes the truly worthless things beneath his left pinky toe bone. I guess in a way we are invited to take delight when scrubs are put down by something legitimate, but I think the schtik of Overlord is to exaggerate that gap so it becomes disfigured from what we’re used to: it becomes world building, to explain how things work.

GATE, in contrast, invite us to enjoy, celebrate, and watch it for precisely that gap. I would raise my hands when asked if a modern army machine-gunning 12th century footmen and knights on horses is a major reason why I watch the show.

In the story of Overlord we are not asked to pity or sympathize with Momonga, but more his allies, like the people who were slain ruthlessly after trying to befriend him. Or his pet hamster. If Momonga is God, then Overlord reincarnates him as a Coke bottle in subcontinental Africa; we watch it for the cast of characters around him and await what happens at the end. Or maybe Momonga is like the Mars Rover Curiosity and his foes are like rocks in front of a vaporizing laser? I’m grasping here.

PS. Hara is great in this, but I see where he’s coming from.

PPS. So-bin is good stuff.


War never changes.

The mobile free-to-play rhythm game IDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls Starlight Stage (Deresute or SS for short for now) launched a couple days ago, but with a lot of leading-up. People who pre-reigstered for the Android version can redeem a code for in-game currency. Since the iOS version isn’t out yet, you can still pre-register for that and get the same deal when that version launches. Go to the link up there.

The hot take? Deresute largely riffs on LLSIF (the link takes you to a beginner’s guide in English), which is the short hand I will use to explain how the game works. Instead of love gems, you have star jewels or whatever you call it. It translates to about 50 star jewels per love gem, to give you an idea on the prices. 2500 heart jewels for a 10-pull, but all the 10-pulls have a guarantee SR or better.

Cards in SS break out similar to the original Mobamas game, N, R, SR, SSR. You “awaken” cards by maxing out the affection on the card, then awaken it via using certain items required by that card for awakening. Awakening increases the card’s max affection and levels.

And besides that Deresute is a rhythm game based on consuming stamina to do “lives,” actually the similarity with LLSIF ends there. The rest of the game is the logical extension of marrying a F2P Rhythm Game with Mobamas.

BIG DISCLAIMER: This game has not yet have its first event yet, and events are what all these F2P games are about. So this hot take is definitely incomplete and only for novelty.

What I really want to point out are first, how Deresute improves on the LLSIF formula, and where Deresute actually is not like LLSIF and more like Cinderella Girls the original mobage. And I’m going to compare a 2-day old F2P platform with a 2-year old one.

  • Deresute has notification support…mainly for level timers in the chibi room and stamina full. Where’s LLSIF’s?
  • Deresute guarantee SR pull is always available. LLSIF not so much, although it has more variety of pulls now, like the ability to get URs directly.
  • Deresute improves on the Mobamas formula again by keeping affection but removing the 2-card kakusei rule, adding another layer of gameplay.
  • Deresute SSRs have real background artwork. And SRs. Blows the crap out of LLSIF in this department.

Shibuya Rin @ Shibuya Scramble Crossing

Moroboshi Kirari

  • The chibi floor. Or whatever it’s called.
  • I think even the graphics in the 2D live mode blows LLSIF away, to say nothing of the 3D mode. The 3D mode is definitely neat but mostly  eyecandy only.
  • Uses BNID for porting your game, so you can actually play on multiple systems. There are some downsides to this but the upside outright wins for anyone who’s lost a LLSIF account…
  • Does LLSIF story mode have autoplay? Access to audio in the log? Deresute does.
  • Deresute has skippable tutorial. It’s a dumb, minor point, only relevant to re-rollers.
  • Everyone is equal (minus the few unvoiced idols in this game) as far as their representation in the game goes. This actually means each idol have a much more developed story once you unlock their individual ones. The fact that LLSIF is tiered and focuses on the core 9 is not a plus or minus, but there isn’t much to say about everyone else in that game. It’s a content thing. Of course there is more pure content in LLSIF given its age now, but I wonder by how much really.

I think none of this is really special? LLSIF is 2 years old but that game feels dated even back in 2014. The overhaul helped but that clock has kept on ticking. Now we’re just finally getting something similar to compare with as to what things ought to be like.

Of course there are also downsides to this game compared to LLSIF. The player base, the large number of cards you could possibly get (and good luck! You will need unlimited amounts of that!) now compared to somewhere north of 200 in SS. There are more songs, by far. There are more modes of play, even outside of events. But then we consider one game is 2 days old, it all seems like here we have a game that will catch up and surpass LLSIF in probably another 6 months.

The real test, I think, is how Deresute is still JP only. Will it get ported? It’s entirely likely given that trademark file, and doubly so if Scamco want to copy LLSIF’s plan for success. I would think anyone who paid attention to what IM@S things has happened oversea would guess this will eventually make it out of Japan.

And I think they have a winner on their hands; as long as they don’t screw it up, anyway.