Letting Go of Worldly Desires en Route to The Nuclear Throne

I’m a competitive gamer. I play for fun first and foremost, but I also play to win. Always have.

I play games for fun, which is a good thing, because losing doesn’t frustrate me overmuch, and even if I get frustrated, I do not get angry, I do not go on tilt. This is a good thing, because even if I’m not entirely without talent in video-games, and my siblings and cousins would come to me now and then for aid with video games, I’m not exactly talented in those games either, certainly not mechanically. The progress I make in such games is usually through much trial and error, growing wiser in the way of the game, gaining game sense more than mastery over the mechanics themselves. It also means I tend to do better in games with manual dexterity plays less of a role, such as turn-based strategy games, or non-video games, such as miniature wargaming, or card-games.

Nuclear Throne wallpaper

Thrice over have I benefited from not going on tilt, from not getting overly frustrated when losses come (though some losses do frustrate me, I’ll make no lie, as that’s part of the competitive spirit). First and foremost, some of the fun is sucked away from the activity if it frustrates and angers you, and you’re certainly not happy at the moment. Second, in many games, you could have won, had you not gone on tilt, and so one loss leads to another, and that to another yet. Finally, since my skill came from playing those games many a time, or at least thinking of them, frustration would’ve had me play them less, and so I wouldn’t have gotten better. And I usually learned more from losses than from victories, which meant one has to be willing to tackle on their loss, not try to ignore it.

Continue reading

Dimension W Episode 5 – Jumbled Mysteries and The Past’s Revenge

Last episode of Dimension W wasn’t very good. I wrote some words about it here. The biggest problem beyond last week’s apparent lack of energy and care by the creators was how little sense the mystery made, who were the other collectors, what was going on, why, etc. But while this episode had some thematic depth which I’d get to in a moment, it utterly failed as a mystery, because it was built on such shaky and uncertain footing.

Dimension W anime Episode 5 - Mabuchi Kyouma and Yurizaki Mira philosophize

Isn’t this or the inverse almost always true?

“Who? What? Why?” We got some of it this episode, but other revelations such as Marisa being Enamori sort of came out of nowhere, the opposition collectors came and went with nary a whoosh. Sure, later they explained some things, such as how the author was the person who got it all starting, but it was more like an infodump at the end, rather than a mystery. A proper mystery requires you to have enough information to follow what is going on, even if you don’t have the answers. This would be as if we were watching Inception, or Vanilla Sky, but they just removed half of the opening act, and most of the mid-section. So it fell flat.

Continue reading

Winter 2016 Anime Overview – Week 4 (Anime Power Ranking)

Another week, and since proper subtitles for a show I was awaiting began appearing, and as my docket keeps dwindling, I actually checked out another show! This season’s “average” shows are falling behind, but the new show might be a keeper.

As always, the list is ordered by how much I liked the episodes, combined with how good I thought they were, in a descending order (first is best, last is worst).

1) Boku dake ga Inai Machi / ERASED Episode 4:

Boku dake ga Inai Machi / ERASED anime Episode 4 - Fujinuma Satorou awaits Hinazuki Kayo in the snow

I’m melting!

My main reaction after each episode of BokuMachi is the same – “Why do I have to wait a whole week for the next episode?” Yes, episode 1 ended with a massive cliffhanger, and so did this episode, and episode 3 ended with a sort of ominous foretelling that was a bit of a misdirection, but it’s not really about that, because in my memory, episode 3 ended after Kayo and Satoru went to the tree. And yet, what I want, what I need is more of this show.

Continue reading

Guide: How to Not Be an Annoying Source Material Fan

(Guy’s preamble: This was originally posted on my ask.fm, where a Fate/Stay Night fan asked what sort of behaviour I’m anticipating from F/SN fans that’d impact the fun out of non-fans’ viewing. I edited some of the specific references out or added others. And sad to say, all these things I predicted did indeed come to pass, and with double the vigor once full series/cour reviews had come out by people who were not True Fans. Of course, this is relevant in any season where a popular franchise is adapted, which is basically every season. I’d like to reiterate that this behaviour is understandable, and even I sometimes engage in it, but as always, we can strive to do better, especially if in our zeal to convince people to love our favourite shows as much as we do, we rob them of the opportunity to engage in it as we had.)

A lot of it is down to the same sort of behaviour that is prevalent when any adaptation comes out, or when people read/view one part of an interconnected universe, or even when people read the first part of a series you’ve read the entirety of. It just happens that the more “hoops” you have to jump through in a specific work (in terms of word-count, how many interconnected series there are, etc.), or rather, how artificially high the barrier of entry to “true fandom” is, the more this behaviour is prevalent.

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun anime Episode 6 - Wakamatsu Hirotaka promises to stay out of Hori Masayuki's way

In a nutshell.

So, what to do or not do, right?

Continue reading

Winter 2016 Anime Overview – Week 3 (Anime Power Ranking)

Another week, and the number of shows I’m watching kept dwindling, so I actually checked out a new show! This season’s number of shows I’m watching is low, but the top end remains very high.

As always, the list is ordered by how much I liked the episodes, combined with how good I thought they were, in a descending order (first is best, last is worst).

1) Boku dake ga Inai Machi / ERASED Episode 3:

Boku dake ga Inai Machi / ERASED anime Episode 3 - Fujinuma Satorou and Hinazuki Kayo under the Christmas Tree

This episode was good, once more! I really felt the absolute need to watch the next episode right after this one ended, only to find out that it doesn’t yet exist. Interestingly enough, the last time this happened to me was with another show directed by Itou Tomohiko – when I caught up with Sword Art Online’s first season around episode 17. Well, this was really good, and the emotional scene was very tightly directed. The music is very restrained for a Yuki Kaijura soundtrack, and the pieces seem almost copy-pasted over from Madoka, but as Satoru left Jun’s place, you could feel the mounting tension in the music.

Continue reading

Winter 2016 Anime Overview – Week 2 (Anime Power Ranking)

Second week is here, so which shows got cut cause I can’t stomach more of their badness, and what did I think of the other episodes? Read on to find out!

As always, the list is ordered by how much I liked the episodes, combined with how good I thought they were, in a descending order (first is best, last is worst).

1) Boku dake ga Inai Machi / ERASED Episode 2:

Boku dake ga Inai Machi / ERASED anime Episode 2 Notes - Fujinuma Satorou and Hinazuki Kayo

This episode was really good. As good as the first one? Maybe it was, or the tiniest fraction lower, as this episode lacked the premiere’s “hook”, but had anything else. Strong direction and good shot composition were evident throughout, with many beautiful and/or impactful shows throughout. This was discussed somewhat back when Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resoannce) aired, but everything in an anime shot has to be drawn, someone has to consciously think of it, so seeing characters through metal bars as they speak is very much a conscious decision by the artists and director, even more than in a regular film where if you film outside, these things are usually present in the actual locale. So, a lot of thought went into this show.

Continue reading

Winter 2016 Week 1 – First Impressions

Well, the new season is here, and I’ve watched a bunch of premieres. It’s time to tell you what I thought of each of them. As I actually wrote something longer for each of these shows, I’ll keep it brief, and link to the lengthier impressions post.

As always, the list is ordered by how much I liked the episodes, combined with how good I thought they were, in a descending order (first is best, last is worst). I’m also going to give each premiere a couple of scores, “Premiere Score” for how well it did its job as a premiere (introducing characters, establishing situation, providing a “hook”), and “Episode Score”, for how well it worked as a regular episode. “Enjoyment Score” should be obvious.

1) Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju Episode 1:

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju anime Episode 1 overview - Yotaro's toothy smile in the performance

Anime humor usually fails for me. Japanese humor routines also usually leave me cold. I also don’t hold any particular interest for Japanese culture over other cultures (but I do find most cultures interesting), so while I had high hopes for this show, aimed at adults and directed by a director I appreciate, I really wasn’t expecting to also be interested in its cultural content, the Rakugo performance. Imagine my surprise and delight when the highlight of this double-length premiere was a 10 minute long Rakugo sequence, where I sat through the final 7 minutes with a smile on my face, and chuckled and laughed a number of times through the final 3.

Continue reading