Thursday, October 29, 2009

Naruto 469

Hey, I feel like talking about this week's Naruto chapter!

So, Danzou's crew pulls one over on the Byakugan-mist guy following them and I hope that's not the end of him, because I liked the guy for fucking up Danzou's plans. The Raikage's appointed leader of the shinobi alliance, because he appears to have cooled his head a bit, and the only one still recalcitrant is the Tsuchikage, who apparently fought Madara. Want some backstory on that. So now we have a solid 4-village alliance, the only outlier being, funnily enough, the leaf village. Given that it's highly unlikely Danzou will be able to influence Gaara or Kakashi, and that Konoha has an able stable (heh) of Byakugan users, I suspect that the leaf, under the leadership of a new Hokage, will be part of the alliance. Danzou and Root will most likely go rogue. Maybe that's where Madara will get some of his cannon fodder? Root?

On to quote "important" stuff /endquote. Sakura confesses to Naruto. She lies through her teeth about not liking Sasuke anymore, and that she's got a bunch of reasons to like Naruto now...while she rolls decently on bluff, Naruto, who has most likely put points into Wisdom as he's leveled up, rolls well on Sense motive and calls her B.S. End chapter.

So, I liked the political end here- we've got a solid alliance that could prove to be real grounds for an overarcing peace come the end of the problem with Madara...without Naruto having to do a thing! Though, much like the real world, it'd probably degenerate once peace broke out. So it goes. I was pulling for Gaara, but I'm a hopeless Gaara fanboy.

On the shipping front, I am very glad that Naruto called Sakura out. The impression I got with regards to what Sai told her and her subsequent reaction is that she felt really, really guilty for what she saw as leading Naruto on this whole time and taking advantage of his good nature. She still does love Sasuke (why, I couldn't tell you. He's a tool, but you knew that already.) but she's trying to be nice and say all the right things to Naruto to help him and prevent him from going off to stop everyone trying to kill Sasuke. You could really tell- and I must give some credit to Kishimoto here, the art expresses this very well-that her heart isn't in this, and Naruto realized that. Major points to him for realizing that this was all fake and not putting up with it.

Now, here's the real question. What does Naruto feel about Sakura, particularly in light of Hinata's confession to him? Before Hinata's move, it was fairly well-established that Naruto still harbored a crush on Sakura. When he still had a wisdom penalty, he was constantly bugging her and asking her out on dates. Has he really done that since the timeskip? Has he recognized that this girl was absolutely dedicated to Sasuke (once again, inexplicably...maybe not seeing as how Naruto himself is so dedicated), and given up? It'd help that Hinata let him realize that there are other girls out there, including cute kunoichi with long black hair and white eyes who've pined for him for ages...sorry. Shipping preferences showing. Anyways, I'm curious as to how this'll be resolved.

In other news, Rick Castle just uttered "Bam Said the lady" in the episode of Castle I'm watching. I believe that Nathan Fillion just threw in a shoutout to his ODST role as Sgt. Buck. Now more than ever am I convinced that Mr. Fillion is a God among men.

Edit: Upon further viewing of TV Tropes and subsequent searching of Nathan Fillion's facebook page, Bam Said the lady is in fact Nathan Fillion's own catchphrase. Which is just as awesome.

Edit the second: And upon further use of my internet-fu skills, apparently Mr. Fillion got Bam Said the lady from ODST. So I was right the first time. Yay.

Checking In...

I'm just throwing this up because I feel like I should have something up. Schoolwork's been heavy of late, so I really haven't been watching/reading/doing anything worth talking about. Still, there's a few things to share.

This is something quite cool. The chick doing the singing in that song, as well as the others on her channel, is Cristina Valenzuela. Obviously, judging by that and the fact that she was apparently discovered at an Anime con a few years back, she's something of an anime fan. She's gone on to voice, among others, Nanoha, and I am currently absolutely addicted to her version of Super Driver I linked. She's got one hell of a fangirl's dream going on, so more power to her.

Bleach has been pretty boring as of late, so there's not much to say there. I'm just so damn sick of the Karakura fight and still boggled by how the pacing got screwed up. I mean, where do you fucking GO from here? Once this fight is over, that's it, innit? The manga's done.

At least it makes Naruto look better.

Naruto is good- Kisame vs. Killer Bee! Fuck yeah! Madara has an absolutely stupid plan for world domination...well, it's not stupid in its execution, just ridiculous. I mean, a 10-tailed beast (as I've said many a time, it should be the 45-tailed beast for maximum lulz), mass brainwashing, the fucking moon? It's a Saturday morning cartoon villain plan, and since I reduced Naruto to that in my mind, I've been able to enjoy just about every single aspect of it.

Negima...need more info before making judgment calls.

Need to catch up on Umineko.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Have Found The Magical Formula

...unfortunately, it's what lets me study. That combination is hot tea, cold temperatures, late nights, and anime music. I mention this here because I don't particularly feel like parading that around my Facebook account.

Examples Of What I'm Listening To.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Haven't done THAT in a while.

So I was relaxing in my club's office this afternoon, idly surfing the net, and eventually planning to call up some friends to go hang out on a Friday night, you know? Well, that plan got changed rather swiftly. I was reading something, and it brought up Baba Yetu- the absolutely amazing opening song from Civilzation 4.

Now, when I was younger, back in high school, I was absolutely addicted to Civilization 3. My mom got it for me as a birthday gift (when I had wanted Age of Empires 2- shows how much I knew!) and I got hooked. I'd come home from school and play for hours and hours. But, I grew up and grew out of it, particularly when my mom would hide the discs and then just flat-out lose them.

So someone brought up the song, and I immediately got a massive bug to play the game. Now, I had left my copy of Civ 4 at home- I don't play much at all anymore, and my mac has some issues when it tries to run the game- so I was thinking that I wasn't going to get my fix, but I turned around and saw that the office computer had a copy ready and waiting. So I fired it up. My first game I went with the Japanese on Noble difficulty, and I was staying reasonably competitive. For some reason, Sulemain, the guy I was next to, was just blasting ahead scorewise, for reasons I could not fathom. I could see that if I was gonna win, it'd have to be a long haul, and I wasn't really up for that, so I quit and started over, knocking down the difficulty and playing the Celts. I had a very nice starting position- on the coast with some good land and resources. I explored west, and ran into Stalin. Lovely chap. He was right in the middle of my prime expansion space, so I built up 2 Chariots and 2 archers and killed him straight off. Moscow was a crazy city, in the middle of a shitton of floodplains, which meant that it'd be a population powerhouse. I planted some good core cities, and met 2 neighbors to the North. I had snagged Buddhism right off the bat, so that allowed me to get them on my good side pretty quick. I filled in a good chunk of land, then went to my usual strategy of sitting on my ass and building. I constructed several wonders in one city south of my capitol in particular, when I noticed that I was making a lot of culture. So I figured I'd use my capitol, the city to the south, and Moscow to go for a culture victory- you have to have 3 cities with 50,000 culture by the end of the game. That entailed a lot of temple-building, selective builds of Cathedrals, and spamming wonders. In the process, I got obscenely rich with good builds and wonders, and I pretty much just coasted. The entire world had a bad case of "peace"*- there was only 1 war that I know of after I wiped Stalin.

Fun times, and a weird relapse for me.

* Speaking of peace, President Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize! I'm a little skeptical, but Yay!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

So they're apparently making a movie of The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. Now, I have yet to bother to watch more than three episodes of the new Haruhi season- I couldn't be assed to keep up with the eight repetitions of Endless Eight, and Sighs never interested me, but this shit right here? I'm on it like white on rice.

And a sort of self-contained plot like this I think would do really well adapted into movie form. A 2-hour movie is roughly 5 episodes, which is plenty of time to cover the light novel in plenty of detail (and by plenty of detail I mean many, extensive shots of Yuki Nagato looking cute). This is not the sort of big-budget hollywood adaptation that would rape your childhood and destroy things in pursuit of money. Japanese studios know how not to piss off Otaku (they also know how to piss off Otaku, very ably, but...) . Really, they'd have to try very hard to screw this one up. Big budget+Haruhi-trolling=win. So I'm optimistic. But given what they did with Endless Eight...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Umineko No Naku Koro Ni+ Subaru Nakajima!

TOP EDIT: And a tribute to a good image that was taken down from TV Tropes and now needs a home. Subaru, you're ten times more badass than Lara Croft.

So I've been marathoning this show today (at the complete expense of any work, I might add), and I'm honestly really enjoying it, particularly since I have absolutely no idea what's going on. It's a novel experience, honestly. I can't even describe the damn premise, I don't get it myself. Ah, what the frak, here goes.

So back in 1986, a rich family showed up on their own personal island with some servants to conduct a business meeting with regards to the passing of their patriarch. There's a legend surrounding the family and the island with regards to an ancient witch who formed some sort of contract with the patriarch to get the family finances up, and now she's come to collect on the debt owed.

People start getting brutally murdered, and the whole thing's a mystery as to who did it. The real question is, is there actually something supernatural going on or not? I don't have a damn clue, and I'm just waiting to see how it ends. Go watch it yourself.

Edit: I caught up with the fansubs. Still hooked, still absolutely clueless as to how things are going to go down.

Roleplaying Talk

So I thought I'd talk about my various roleplaying games today. I've gotten involved in 3 real life games this semester at college (I'm a member of my school's gaming club, so there are a lot of folk running games. I'm also involved in 3 online games. It's interesting the differences in the characters I've created for these games.

So the game I've technically been involved in the longest is the first Naruto d20 game I got into on the GiantITP boards. It's a prequel game to the main Naruto setting, in a homebrewed village of Callos_deTerran's creation- Kagekure, the village of shadow, if I translate it correctly. The Naruto d20 ruleset we use is ridiculously overcomplicated. It's more than 900 pages long, and a good half of that at least is rules for the various jutsus and techniques you can use. In practice, the rules are actually pretty simple, since, just like how in in regular D&D you don't need to know every spell that can ever be cast.

So in this case, I thought up the most complicated backstory I've come up with to date. Here's a link to the actual character sheet, but the essence of it is that he's a Nara clan member who was framed for being a traitor by a deep-cover mole from the Hidden Stone (an enemy in the war), and he had to flee to Kagekure to get rid of the ANBU. This gives him a whole host of issues, which I really regret not being able to develop a bit further- the game had a lot of issues, mostly related to the fact that our GM joined the army and went to basic training with no access to a computer to post. So it goes, but it's picked up a bit more as of late.

The next-most-recent game is the most in-depth of my Play-by-post online games- Team Rin. I'm playing a character I originally based on Yuri Lowell from Tales of Vesperia (with the result that my build sucks total ass), but, based on various developments that have occured over the course of the game, has developed into a bit more of his own entity. The most important bit is how he (his name's Yuu Nagase, btw) got himself a demonic arm and is now contractually obliged to be revenge-focused. I've also been developing that the demonic arm gave him another occupant in his headspace, which I've been playing with at various times.

Most recently, there's a Modern NarutoD20 game where my character is...well, that's private. I will say that I am quite fond of the build for this guy, though. He's a bit lighter in the damage-dealing department, but he can counter that by being very good in the defense department (when he's going all out- that is, he's got his Byakugan and speed ranks up, he'll have an AC of 29, and a reflex save of +13, I think, with evasion) and he'll be hitting touch AC with something like a +12 to attack. So in that sense, I'm going to enjoy playing this character.

Now, as for my real-life games, the first one is your basic D&D campaign- we've only had 2 sessions, and the setting is fairly basic right now- we're exploring a city with something odd about it that's been cut off from its sister city across the river. I'm playing a swordsage (Tome of Battle class) and, for a change, it's a female. Fortunately the Swordsage class means I can play her fairly reserved and quiet, and the campaign's a lot more hack-and-slash anyways. It's a nice way to get into playing a female without worrying too much about roleplaying, since there isn't a lot. My character's been pretty effective- Swordsage is a good class, but her damage output is low right now (I'll get a feat next level that'll help). That meant that I was pretty much useless against a Wereboar we fought last session with DR 10/nothing I had, until I went and grappled it in a fight I was practically guaranteed to lose. That gave my other party members enough of a chance to kill him. Fun times.

Next is the Birthright game, the very roleplay-heavy political mod my friend's running. The setting is akin to that of pre-Norman England, and I'm embroiled in a war for control of a particular province. Basically, an older family got replaced by a newer one (that I'm a member of) and resisted rather violently. They lost, rather spectacularly, and were besieged in their capitol. The lord in charge of the seige was an absolute tool, and he's been doing a lot to get me killed, so I've pretty much set myself against him. I thought I had an absolutely flawless plan to bring him down, but someone's pointed out a flaw in the plan, and that really offends me. I'm not terribly good at improvisation, and for once, I'd like for something to go my way.

The last game is my Sunday game, which is about a group of ne'er do wells making money in a city of adventure type setting. We're all either True or Chaotic neutral, and unashamedly in it for the money. It's still one of the most unified and coherent groups I've been a part of, with a decent amout of surprisingly good roleplaying to go aloing with it. Lots of fun, and really simple.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Something Interesting I saw.

I'm posting this mainly because I don't think it actually warrants a post on the General Anime Discussion thread over at GiantITP.

So I saw this Article when I was perusing the NY Times, and I thought I'd share my thoughts on it.

It's very interesting how I'm getting all the way through the comments, and no one has mentioned visual novels in any way, shape or form. I've been getting absolutely enthralled with Seorin's Let's Play of Fate/Stay Night that I mentioned earlier- it's miles better than Tsukihime- makes more sense, easier to read, better characters, much cooler action, particularly as Unlimited Blade Works gets going, and I've also discovered that, with glasses as opposed to that blindfold she normally wears, Rider is smoking hot.

Anyways, there's a lot of talk about how this whole thing "will destroy reading" and cheapens its value, blah blah blah, because the imagination is apparently super-important and only comes through if one reads words printed on paper. It's always very interesting to look at this from the perspective of someone who is so ingrained into the types of entertainment that my laptop has pretty much become another appendage for me, and the resulting fact that I don't read nearly as often as I used to (When I was a kid, I absolutely always had my nose buried in a book.). But I don't think that my creativity or my imagination has been stifled by shifting my enthusiasm towards anime, video games, and the like. I mean, how the hell do you measure friggin' imagination? Playing pretend? I did that more for Power Rangers than any books I read. Creative Writing? Well, I don't do that, but look at all the friggin' fanfiction that exists out there. Once again, I'm asking just how the fuck you measure imagination. Are there tests?

Also, there's a lot of complaints about how kids today aren't focused, all A.D.D-like. Well, I haven't really seen that, and I don't think it's true of a lot of otaku culture- you've gotta have a pretty good attention span to buckle down and watch various shows, or read that 1,000,000-word fanfiction. So I think a lot of the people commenting on the article are, in fact, full of shit. It's in the storytelling that lets you dig into the characters and analyze them, it's the storytelling that makes a deep work of literature. That's true regardless of medium. It's just that movies, video games, and the like have other things they can fall back on when the story sucks- spectacle, gameplay, pretty music. Books don't have that luxury.

Thoughts, anyone?