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Alzrius's page

Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber. Pathfinder Society Member. 2,042 posts. 70 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist.


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So it's been confirmed that Supernatural will not only have a season 12, but a season 13 as well, with Jared and Jensen both signing on for both upcoming seasons. Moreover, "The CW president even admitted that he is an avid fan of the show and will continue to renew the series as long as the lead actors will reprise their roles."

Looking forward to it! (Even if this last week's episode was utterly forgettable.)


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Aaron Whitley wrote:
Saldiven wrote:
Aaron Bitman wrote:
Um... I'll give you the sword, but the phoenix didn't fight the basilisk directly. He brought Harry the sword, and when Harry got injured and poisoned in the battle, the phoenix played cleric by saving him. But only Harry did the actual fighting, IIRC.
Fawkes blinded the Basilisk by pecking out its eyes.
Which had the added benefit of removing its ability to turn someone to stone. So at that point the basilisk is essentially a giant venomous snake.

And even then, it was still able to take Harry out (even if it was taken out in the process); he was dying before Fawkes cried on his wound. That's further grist for the "low-level characters" mill.


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And so it begins...

EPIC POETRY BATTLES OF PATHFINDER!


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On the issue of gaming in the Potterverse, a blog that I like wrote up a two-part series of articles about this. The first deals with the setting's basic assumptions about the magic-using population, while the second deals with how magic works in that setting.


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Orfamay Quest summed it up pretty well. I'd also add that class-level based systems tend to be bad for character conversions anyway, because the segregation of various powers among certain classes at certain levels can wreak havoc on attempting to build a reasonable facsimile of a character that wasn't originally made with those class levels in mind. You'll usually end up with some powers being missing, while other powers that don't reflect the source material end up being part of the build anyway.

The result usually ends up as a character conversion that's only somewhat recognizable, and quite often is sub-par compared to a character of similar level that was made by working with the system, rather than having to fight it to get what you want.


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I quite enjoyed this poem, and this thread reminds me of the quote from Wayne Gerard Trotman, “It is impossible to be truly artistic without the risk of offending someone somewhere.”

EDIT: I also think that this poem is actually satirizing Seoni as a character, rather than making a comment about women. There's a reason why the "saucy sorceress" in this poem never once casts a spell. (That and, you know, the entire last stanza.)


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Adjule wrote:
And while I thank you for the link to the 3.0 SRD, Alzrius, that has to be the most atrocious thing I have ever seen. But thank you nonetheless. But if you are looking for a more readable one, this one looks better.

It does indeed. Thanks for finding that, I was pretty sick of relying on those cumbersome .rtf files. They're good for personal archiving, but not so much for quick reference.


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Adjule wrote:
Is there a 3.0 SRD out there somewhere?

Yes, there is.


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Another winner! You really have a talent for these!


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rabindranath72 wrote:

You have a good point about the shifting of policy from adventures to rules. I say "shifting" because I recall the main motivation which convinced my group to move to 3e, was Peter Adkison stating that "there won't be any additional rules beyond the three core books, but only setting and adventures"; his idea was essentially to return to the early 1e days. We know that the late 1e stuff was published essentially to save TSR's bacon; and similarly, although the introduction of 3.5, (as stated by Monte Cook) was planned from the start only to fix errata, it actually became a big overhaul (and with all the subtle changes, it's difficult NOT to think they did it to get people to buy the books all over again.)

When Adkison left WotC, apparently the people who took the reins didn't quite agree with his view.

They didn't, but Adkison and co. honestly thought that they would, as said by someone who was there at the time.


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rabindranath72 wrote:
The unbeatable encounter in the module drives home the point that not every monster encounter should be solved with violence, and that fleeing IS an option. Looking at the encounter distribution table in the DMG we also learn that most of the encounters should be challenging, not cakewalks; so the idea of "balance", meaning that all encounters should be beatable, is NOT really part of the game.

There's a great article about encounter design in Third Edition that talks about this - including noting this very encounter - over at The Alexandrian.


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Hubba Hubba Zoot Zoot!


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Dragon78 wrote:
I would like to see a Rarity episode that has nothing to do with her store, fashion, crushes, or social climbing.

Wasn't that what we got in Rarity Investigates! (and for that matter, her role in Gift of the Maud Pie)?


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WOOT! Amazon Japan has just put the tenth volume of Overlord up for pre-order! The book finally releases as of May 30th!


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TaliaKirana wrote:

Talk about things I thought would never happen.

Official MLP tabletop RPG announced.

Okay, so I watched the video in the link that Talia posted up above - or rather, I watched the part that was about the MLP RPG (starting at about 42:00 in the video, and going for about a half-hour) - and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how much the designers seemed to know about the series, and by some of what they let slip about how the game will be made. It was enough to turn me from being nervous about this to being excited for it.

Some highlights from that interview are as follows:

  • The RPG will be called "Tails of Equestria."
  • It will be released as a hardcover book, not a boxed set.
  • It will not make use of miniatures (that is, this won't require miniatures to play).
  • The character sheets will be for earth ponies, unicorns, pegasi, and "draw your own." Each character sheet will have a space to draw a picture of your character (the three pony races will have a basic image to embellish, and the "draw your own" will have a blank space), as well as a second space to draw your cutie mark.
  • Characters will have the option of starting as a pony that's already obtained their cutie mark, or as a blank flank and discovering their cutie mark during the course of the game.
  • "Nobody can start as an alicorn."
  • Characters will have three stats: Body, Mind, and Charm.
  • As part of character creation, you have a d4 and a d6; you pick which of these are associated with your Body and Mind stats (they didn't say what determines Charm).
  • There's no "class" for characters; what you are is determined by your race and your special talent.
  • Your level of talent is determined by the size of the die you roll. An ordinary unicorn has a d6 for Telekinesis; Twilight Sparkle is described as having "a d12 or d20."
  • Similarly, pegasi automatically receive a d6 in the Fly talent, while earth ponies automatically have their Body die increased to the next die size.
  • Each character chooses a personal talent, as well as a personal flaw.
  • Your Body stat will determine your Stamina points, which are the game's version of hit points.
  • Making an action that's opposed by another creature (e.g. hoof-wrestling) is determined by opposed rolls. Trying to accomplish a task against a situation (e.g. kick down a door) is made by rolling to equal or exceed a target number.
  • The game uses an "exploding dice" mechanic. More specifically, if you roll the maximum value on a die, you may then roll the next larger die, and keep whichever result is better. This can happen cumulatively, so if you roll a 4 on a d4, and then roll a 6 on a d6, you can go ahead and roll a d8, keeping that value if it's higher than your 6 from the d6.
  • The game will include stats for personalities from the show, including the Mane Six, Princess Celestia, and Princess Luna.
  • The game will include an introductory adventure; adventuring will include being sent on missions by the Cutie Map.
  • Supplementary materials will include things such as character sheets and a GM screen.
  • The designers mention that they're willing to receive proposals from RPG writers who want to submit other supplements for publication.

I think this sounds like a lot of fun, and I can't wait to see the finished product!


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Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:

How does that saying go again?

"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem."

-Eldridge Cleaver (thank you Google!)

"If you're not with us, you're against us" goes back much further than that, and has been said in many forms by many people.

"Each man must choose between joining our side or the other side. Any attempt to avoid taking sides in this issue must end in fiasco."

-Vladimir Lenin


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Also ported from that thread:

thejeff wrote:
Except that of course in most of the described cases there is no "accused". There is no named individual. There is no accused asserting the accuser is a liar. These are not in any meaningful sense "particular accusations". There is no person being punished with social opprobrium. How do we punish the "balding, middle-aged man behind the counter", when that's all we know?

Presuming that we're still discussing that particular Tumblr blog, there is indeed an accused; however, they're kept anonymous so as to accuse the larger sub-section of a particular community as a whole. It's not that "there are the occasional jerk in gaming (just like everywhere else)" it's that "gaming has a white male terrorism problem."

This simply moves the accused from an individual to an entire community, which is indeed then held accountable with social opprobrium. There are reasons why people still think poorly of gamers.

Quote:
They are stories of things that have happened to various women. The only accusation is that this is common enough in the gaming community to be a real problem.

Which indicts the whole for the actions of less than the whole. This is worse than accusing a particular individual, since it maintains that everyone is a particular demographic is part of the problem unless they can put forth that they're somehow exempt from this (which usually invites contempt, as Rysky's post shows).


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Chris Lambertz wrote:
Removed a series of folks.

The excised content...IS PEOPLE!


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So I started watching Erased ("Boku Dake ga Inai Machi") last night. I only planned on watching one or two episodes, but the series hooked me so hard that I ended up watching the entire thing in one sitting. It was just that good.


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Orfamay Quest wrote:
Klaus van der Kroft wrote:
as a business owner myself I cannot in good conscience celebrate another being brought down due to legal costs (there's always people, families, years of work and sweat, and dreams involved),
I dunno; in my opinion, it would depend on the business. If your business model hinges on unjustifiably destroying other people's health, happiness, and well-being, then I don't particularly care about your work, sweat, and dreams.

"Any contractor working on that Death Star knew the risks involved."


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So the jury has just handed down the punitive damages in this case, bringing the total amount that Gawker has to pay to $140.1 million.


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Aranna wrote:
I feel the need to express my disappointment in a couple things in Gundam Iron Blodded Orphans. First was their unnecessary advertisement for polygamy.

I'm going to break my own rule about not commenting on shows that I haven't watched, but I sincerely doubt that the series was "advertising" polygamy. That operates under the presumption that the show is making a deliberate effort to influence the attitudes and opinions of its viewers, which I sincerely doubt that it is.

Quote:
This isn't something that should be painted as wonderful.

It's real-world domestic abuse, be it physical, sexual, emotional, or in any other regard, that should never be "painted as wonderful." While polygamy can be used as a fig leaf for that, the two are not inherently related, and it's irresponsible to conflate them as being intrinsically linked, which I believe is what you're implying here.

People who are in healthy, fulfilling relationships with more than one partner already face enough discrimination for living in an alternative lifestyle, to say nothing of facing continual denial of legal coverage for having multiple simultaneous marriages. Openly espousing opposition to how they're living their lives only serves to pour more acrimony on people who are already marginalized.

Moreover, it's worth reiterating (once again) the difference between heinous acts in the real world and what happens in a work of self-evident fiction. Insofar as crafting such a work goes, any topic is ripe for use in any manner that the creator(s) see fit, since self-evident fiction is not an "advertisement" for anything.

Quote:
Also while I know horrors of war is a bit of a Gundam theme it seems like they are going out of their way to make child warriors seem heroic not tragic... It should stay tragic when used, these kids will never know the joys of childhood.

Again, I haven't seen the series, but I don't think that they're presenting this in terms of "child soldiers are/can be heroes." Rather, I think that this is simply an issue of a series wanting to have protagonists in an action/adventure series that just happen to be young. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, since there's no moral duty that self-evident fiction maintain fidelity to reality, nor try to advance the public morals.


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As someone with strong opinions on both free speech and privacy, I think that this case came to the just conclusion. Gawker has long been the cancer of the internet.

I haven't heard anything about Gawker "expecting" to lose the initial case, but insofar as their appeal goes, Gawker is noting that "the jury was unable to see key evidence and hear testimony from the most important witness." However, this has some complications to it:

Quote:

That was an apparent reference to Mr. Clem. According to documents unsealed on Friday, the radio host initially told federal investigators that Mr. Bollea was aware that his tryst with Mrs. Clem was being recorded. But he later changed that account after Mr. Bollea sued him, saying the former wrestler did not know a camera was present.

Apparently fearing that if he testified in the trial he could be subject to prosecution for giving differing accounts of the events, Mr. Clem invoked his right to not incriminate himself and was not called as a witness.

The plaintiff’s legal team issued its own statement, saying that during the three and a half years since the lawsuit was filed, Mr. Clem had testified only once under oath and had “confirmed that Terry Bollea had no knowledge of being filmed or anything to do with it.”

If that's the central argument that Gawker is using to appeal, I have to wonder how successful they'll be. As a (very general) rule, getting a ruling overturned is more difficult than avoiding the initial conviction, because now you have to demonstrate why another court case was incorrect in how it turned out.


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So back in late 2013, Sony was apparently looking into meeting with "aggressive" litigation counsel to "evaluate [their] alternatives and strategize" if Bill Murray "again declines to engage on “Ghostbusters”."

Now, I have no idea if they actually went ahead and threatened him with litigation or not, but this certainly puts his cameo in the current film in a whole new light.


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I am absolutely banging my head against a wall after the last episode of Utawarerumono: The False Faces.

Except for one notable scene...

Spoiler:
where we see a glimpse of Kuon's previously-hinted true power

...this entire episode could have had the Benny Hill chase music played over it. This was the literal depiction of the narrative rut that the series has so often found itself stuck in: things went round and round, and nothing was resolved.

And of course, the characters were once again completely stupid for no reason whatsoever, such as with Rurutie's nonsensical conflict with what everyone was doing, or Haku's eventually coming up with a plan for evading capture...not to mention the criminal underuse of the twin priestesses that he has at his disposal (whom we know have enough power to defend against a transformed, rampaging Vurai).

I swear, this series is amazing in its capacity to keep being a disappointment.


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Lemmy wrote:
Watch Utawarerumono - Itsuwari no Kamen... You could literally skip episodes 3~12 and not miss a thing!

And there'd still be problems with the pacing.


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No way, that scary clown can go hug himself!


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Honestly, if this fails it will be near-totally due to the word not getting out. I only heard about this in the last few days. But at least I was in time to pledge my support!


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Apparently one of the San Bernardino killers had an iPhone 5c, which the FBI now wants to access. Because the encryption key for this phone isn't stored by Apple, that means that the only way in is brute-forcing the password (e.g. trying every possible combination). But the security features on the phone are such that, after ten wrong password entries in a row are entered, it will delete all of its data.

Here's where things get tricky. Apparently the FBI has taken Apple to court to order them to build special firmware that will disable this security feature, making the phone accept any number of wrong passwords without deleting anything. Apple isn't willing to do this, pointing out that this could be used to disable that setting on all current and older iPhone models, and so represent a serious security threat.

Yesterday, a federal judge sided with the government, ordering Apple to build the firmware. Apple's Tim Cook has vowed to fight the decision.

Here's a CNN article for those who want more information.


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Freehold DM wrote:
Didn't we already talk about is it wrong to pick up girls in a dungeon in this thread? We had to, this was how I heard about it.

I suspect we might have, since the anime premiered something like six months ago, and so was likely mentioned here then. That said, I felt it was worth mentioning again (and certainly the Sword Oratoria spin-off deserved a shout-out!).


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For adventure anime set in a fantasy world, you don't always need to have the main character start in the real world. A recent good example of this is Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? ("Danjon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darō ka"), a thirteen-episode anime that I looked at based purely on the "WTF factor" of its name. I'm slightly chagrined to admit that I almost judged the anime by its title; I'm glad I didn't, because I confess that I found the series to be quite a bit of fun.

Before I go any further, I have to take a moment to talk about the series' name. I read Japanese moderately well, and so I couldn't help but notice that whenever I saw the title in its original language (ダンジョンに出会いを求めるのは間違っているだろうか), that the kanji for "girls" wasn't present. That's because the whole "try to pick up girls" part of the title ("deai o motomeru") is literally translated as "want to have an encounter." Were I translating this into English, as a compromise between accuracy and localization, I'd have called the series "Is It Wrong to Try and Get a Date While in a Dungeon?"

Leaving the semantics aside, Danmachi (as it's known in Japan) is the story of a young adventurer named Bell Cranel. Having come to the city of Orario, where the infamous Labyrinth - a dungeon of unknown depths that continuously spawns monsters - is located, Bell is keen to follow the words of his late grandfather and become a successful adventurer for that most important of reasons: to gain a harem!

Specifically, Bell is intent on rescuing a female adventurer from the clutches of imminent peril, which will - according to his grandfather's wisdom - make her fall hopelessly in love with him. The irony here is that, at the very beginning of the series, Bell immediately charges into the dungeon, immediately gets in over his head, and is saved by a beautiful female adventurer named Aiz Wallenstein, for whom Bell immediately falls head-over-heels. From that point on, Bell has eyes for no other girl, instead being intent on improving himself so that he can be recognized by Aiz. (Of course, this doesn't mean that no other girls have their eyes on him...)

A brief series, Danmachi is fun because of how it's earnest without losing its comparative lightheartedness. The show's tenor is set by its main character, who never loses his fundamentally optimistic outlook; in contrast to this, the series isn't afraid to challenge that outlook of his, putting Bell in situations where he has to overcome fear, shame, and betrayals in order to gain power without losing his innocence in the process. That he's able to do so is what makes his story interesting to read.

Danmachi began as a light novel series, which is currently being officially translated into English, and also has a manga adaptation which is similarly being officially released as well. Like the manga, the anime is based directly on the light novels, with each medium telling the same story.

...except that there's another story, connected to but separate from the main Danmachi series. Sword Oratoria is a spin-off light novel series (licensed for official English release, but with no volumes released so far), with a manga adaptation (with English translations by the fan community), that tells the story of the same sequence of events, but focusing on Aiz Wallenstein rather than Bell.

I need to take a moment to impress that, if you're a fan of Danmachi, you owe it to yourself to read Sword Oratoria. Not only does this series reveal more to Aiz's character (such as why she seems drawn to Bell in the first place), but also shows a great deal of "behind the scenes" machinations going on during Bell's adventures. For example, during the main series there's a very brief, almost throwaway, line about...

Spoiler:
Aiz reaching level 6.

By contrast, this is a fairly major plot point in Sword Oratoria, with a lot of build-up leading to the event in question, followed by a fair amount of resolution leading off from this. We also get quite a few new insights into things like who runs the adventurer's guild, how magic works in that world, new enemies, and quite a bit more. It's also quite interesting to see where it connects to the main series, since we get several instances of "while that was happening over there, this was happening over here."

Insofar as fantasy adventure series go, both Danmachi and Sword Oratoria are very much worth checking out.


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Alzrius wrote:
Another in a series of web novels that's being translated by the fan community is Master of Monsters.

How embarrassing. I forgot to parenthetically note the title's original Japanese name: ("Monster no Goshujin-sama").


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Another in a series of web novels that's being translated by the fan community is Master of Monsters. While it's not a reincarnation story like the last few I've mentioned, the greater difference is the story's tone.

I should mention up front that not very much of this particular story has been translated. While I've read that there are four web-novels of this particular story written so far (with no light novel or manga adaptation that I've been able to find, let alone an anime), less than two full volumes (of just under twenty chapters apiece) have been currently translated into English. If you hate not being able to finish a story that you've started, be warned.

The premise behind Master of Monsters is that, for unknown circumstances, an entire high school's worth of students have been transported en masse to an alternate world. In a twist from how such stories usually go, they find themselves in the middle of a dense forest, where there's nothing but trees and dangerous monsters in ever direction.

More notable is that a large segment - though not all - of the students have gained special powers as a result of the transfer. After making a provisional camp, most of the students with powers set out in an expedition to try and find some signs of civilization, while the remainder stay behind to watch over the students without powers.

However, the "stay home" group quickly devolves into Lord of the Flies. At some point, the remaining students with powers begin to openly terrorize their fellows, descending into an orgy of violence and murder, at which point the entire camp collapses as the remaining students flee for their lives into the wilderness. One of those students is Takahiro Mashima, who hides in a cave, only to find himself about to be eaten by a slime. Just as he loses consciousness, however, he realizes that he has a power after all: to bind monsters to himself as servants.

That's where the story begins.

I mentioned before that what sets Master of Monsters apart from other stories in this vein is its tone. Specifically, the story is far more interested in psychological drama among its main cast than it is in action or adventure. The actual plot, which involves Takahiro slowly building up a stable of monsters, figuring out where the expeditionary group went, and getting out of the forest, is quite clearly secondary to how the characters relate, not just to each other, but also to their present circumstances.

A large part of this is focused on the nature of Takahiro's relationships with the monsters he tames. In each case, they were creatures that were barely sentient before, but as a result of his power have been imbued with not only human-level intelligence, but have undergone a sort of psychic imprinting to feel deep, quasi-romantic affection for him. Between that, and that the monsters are all identifiably female with at least some humanoid characteristics, you'd expect this to be a typical harem setup. However, the story shies away from clichés in favor of expounding heavily on the characters' mentalities...usually in the form of quiet desperation, if not anguish.

Takahiro, for instance, is heavily traumatized by what happened at the camp, to the point where even imagining being vulnerable around another human causes crippling anxiety. Lily, the slime-girl, desperately wants to ease Takahiro's pain but has no idea how. Rose, a "wood doll" monster, is determined to stand between Takahiro and danger, even as she's convinced that her wooden body makes her unfit for any kind of deeper relationship, etc. The entire story is one of broken individuals, relying on each other to not only survive, but remain stable.

The result of this is that the story is one that's, while not quite "dark" per se, does have a far more grim presentation than stories with a similar premise. At the same time, however, the characters feel far and away more substantive, since we spend a considerable amount of time going over why they do what they do. I personally found that to be a very refreshing change of pace.


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Alzrius wrote:
Alzrius wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
yes. More please.

That's about the limit for anime based on eroge that I'm personally familiar with. That's mostly due to happenstance, but also because the series that pull this off with the greatest success sometimes develop a body of work that can require some commitment to fully get through.

The best example of that is the Fate/Stay Night anime (the original work in what eventually became the entire "Fate/" series). Other notable titles include Koihime Musou, Comic Party, To Heart, and Da Capo.

Krensky wrote:

Muv Luv and Baldr Force come to mind.

Then there's Kanon.

Add A Bridge to the Stary Skies ("Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi") and The Fruit of Grisaia ("Grisaia no Kajitsu") to the list of anime based on eroge as well.

(For completeness' sake, Shuffle! and the original Utawarerumono were also noted in earlier posts.)

One more: Tsukihime ("Moon Princess" - released in America under the title "Tsukihime, Lunar Legend").


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GM_Beernorg wrote:
Also, ummm, what the hell happened to the entire middle 1/3 of the story of the Chronicles, someone forget to tell the producers there were three books, and ALL of the plot is important.

The funny thing is that the Chronicles Trilogy itself overlooks a fair amount of the original material from DL1-14.


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Alzrius wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
yes. More please.

That's about the limit for anime based on eroge that I'm personally familiar with. That's mostly due to happenstance, but also because the series that pull this off with the greatest success sometimes develop a body of work that can require some commitment to fully get through.

The best example of that is the Fate/Stay Night anime (the original work in what eventually became the entire "Fate/" series). Other notable titles include Koihime Musou, Comic Party, To Heart, and Da Capo.

Krensky wrote:

Muv Luv and Baldr Force come to mind.

Then there's Kanon.

Add A Bridge to the Stary Skies ("Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi") and The Fruit of Grisaia ("Grisaia no Kajitsu") to the list of anime based on eroge as well.

(For completeness' sake, Shuffle! and the original Utawarerumono were also noted in earlier posts.)


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Continuing with the series centered around the "reincarnated hero" trope, I just now finished reading the English fan-translation of Mushoku Tensei: Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu ("Jobless Reincarnation: I Will Seriously Try If I Go To Another World"). As with the previous series I mentioned, this was originally written as a series of web novels that are now receiving a light novel, and manga, adaptation. There's been no anime announced that I'm aware of (though once again I'd guess such a thing to be likely).

The first thing to mention about Mushoku Tensei is that it's not at all short. Even dedicating some time to reading it almost every day, it still took me over two weeks to finish the series, and it's not hard to see why. The main story composes two dozen novels that I'd wager collectively total somewhere between two hundred-fifty to three hundred chapters (with most of the chapters being divided into parts). There are also a few supplementary stories, some of which are still being translated. This is not something that can be read in an afternoon.

Mushoku Tensei is the story of a young man named (in his new life) Rudeus Greyrat. After living a worthless life on Earth, and dying while pushing a girl out of the way of an oncoming truck, he's reborn in a magical world. From there, the story can largely be divided into three major arcs: the first covers the early portions of Rudeus' new life, the second deals with a major disaster that devastates his hometown and separates his family, and the third is about his maneuvers and preparations for defeating the series' antagonist.

Now, that's a pretty general overview. Leaving aside my not wanting to give spoilers, the details of this story aren't anything particularly groundbreaking. In fact, Mushoku Tensei epitomizes what I've said before about quality not relying on ingenuity; this series exemplifies the paradigms you'd associate with a story like this, rather than trying to break them. (In fact, given that this story began in late 2012 and became such a hit, I have to wonder just how much it's responsible for the recent spate of "reincarnated hero" stories.) Rudeus is extremely gifted with magic, becomes a famous hero, and ends up having relationships with multiple women at once.

The series' length ends up working both for and against it. The unhurried pace that the story sets can feel frustrating at times - the entire middle section of the story is dedicated to a journey that takes literally years to accomplish, for instance - but at the same time the story's refusal to rush things means that it can spend a lot of time fleshing other aspects out, not just in terms of events but particularly with regards to its extensive cast of characters. This is a series that works far better if you're willing to let it unfold at its own pace, rather than wanting the major aspects of the plot to push forward quickly.

In terms of the overall tone of the story, it dances back and forth between serious and not-so-serious. A great deal of the humor comes from Rudeus being both slightly thick-headed and rather lustful. At the same time, the story isn't afraid to step back from this, and while it never gets anywhere close to what I'd consider "dark," it does have plenty of times when it's not trying to be funny, and even a few instances of being genuinely moving.

Overall, Mushoku Tensei can very well be called the archetype for the (sub-)genre that it occupies, due to both its "dramedy"-style presentation and for how lengthy it is. Getting into this story is quite an investment of time, but if you enjoy shonen-style adventure tales, you probably won't even notice.


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So the recent notation about how "a person dies in the real world, then reincarnates with all of their memories in a fantasy world" is a popular trope now, got me thinking about a few other series that are currently using that idea. To that end, I wanted to post some quick thoughts on a few of those here as well.

This is slightly awkward, as most of the series that I'm familiar with aren't technically anime...at least, not yet. Rather, they're light novels (and were sometimes web novels first), virtually all of which have manga adaptations, but so far haven't had any sort of anime adaptation announced (though I suspect that this is, if not inevitable, then at least highly likely). I call this "awkward" simply because this thread is for anime per se. I'll just have to ask for everyone's lenience in my bending the rules regarding this thread topic.

With that said, I wanted to mention one of the more unusual series that uses the aforementioned trope: Re:Monster.

Re:Monster is the story of an individual from Earth's future, where space travel, aliens, and most notably espers - individuals with psychic powers - are par for the course. The protagonist has the power of absorption, where he can eat (at least part of) a creature and gain some of its powers. Having killed and eaten many alien creatures, he's gained a great deal of powers when the story begins.

...and then a stalker stabs him to death with a taser-knife as he's buying beer from the convenience store.

The story really begins when the protagonist - now named Rou (actually, "Rou" acts as a suffix, with the beginning part of his name being his race, so when he's a goblin he's "Goburou," when he becomes an ogre he's "Ogarou," etc.) - finds that he's been reincarnated as a goblin in a high-fantasy world. However, not only does he remember his human life completely, but he's retained his absorption power (though none of the other powers that he's absorbed previously). Re:Monster is the tale of his life in that other world.

I mentioned before that this series was unusual, and that's not so much with the premise, but with the execution. Each day of Rou's new life is recorded as its own entry; moreover, this is done in a quasi-epistolary format. That is, while this isn't technically him writing in a diary or anything, the presentation is very much in that vein. Each day is written from a first-person perspective, describing the events of that day. Moreover, each such entry is presented as a summary, which means that there's almost no actual dialogue to be found here; conversations and interactions are likewise summarized, rather than presented as they happened.

Rou's new life also defies a lot of narrative conventions regarding how you'd expect a story like this to go. There's no particular antagonist that he's working against, nor does he have any particular long-term goals that he wants to accomplish. Rather, his only motivation is to keep securing and enhancing his lot in life via the accumulation of new powers, more subordinates, more money, and greater influence. It's also worth noting that Rou is very much an amoral figure; he has no use for cruelty for the sake of cruelty, but doesn't hesitate to use, torture, or kill others if that's the best way to accomplish something. On the flipside of that, he recognizes that happy subordinates are the best subordinates, and acknowledges that his closest followers are important to him.

Given that, it's surprising that I found this story as engaging as I did, and it took some time to figure out why. The conclusion that I came to was that this story isn't so much an adventure tale as it is a sort of "sim"-style (or, for those who are familiar with this genre, a "raising"-style) tale, wherein you essentially follow along and watch as something great is built up little-by-little from something small; in this case, Rou's impact on the world around him.

In a canny move, the story helps to push this presentation by conspicuously calling out each time Rou gains a new ability. In fact, Rou even notes that these acquisitions appear in his mind as a sort of "psychic announcement." This isn't limited to gaining new powers either, as Rou also hears similar "pings" in his mind on the rare occasions when he ranks up; that's what it's called when monsters in this world, which can't use job classes the way humans can, hit their maximum level and evolve into a higher form. Rarely, he'll also hear these mental announcements when he's accomplished some sort of great deed (e.g. a quest clear). All of these help to punctuate new instances of accomplishment, and so highlight the story's unusual presentation.

So far there are three hundred some-odd days written, though only a little over two hundred-fifty or so have been translated to the point of making sense (the rest are in various stages of translation by the fan community). Most compose more than a few paragraphs, with the odd instance of an extremely long or an extremely short entry for a particular day. In addition to the novel, there's also a manga adaptation of the story (which is also being fan-translated into English).

While I've often said that innovation isn't that important with regards to how enjoyable a story is, Re:Monster serves as a good reminder that - presuming the story is still told well - doing something a little differently can yield great results.


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thejeff wrote:
It's not a matter of rather, but in addition to.

That doesn't make it right. Literature written by private entities has no particular responsibility to anyone. It doesn't need to offer affirmation to someone, and cannot reasonably be blamed for the fact that it doesn't.

Quote:
If what you see from the media in general reinforces the toxic nature of what you're getting from your immediate circles, that helps build the impression that they're right. That it's just how the world works.

The idea of "media reinforcement" isn't one that comes across as particularly compelling. Self-evident fiction doesn't have the power to reinforce any particular ideas, beliefs, or attitudes amongst rational-minded adults. Likewise, you have a rational basis for expecting your immediate circles to be invested in your emotional well-being; you have no such expectation for works created by people who don't know you, and have no particular reason to care about you.

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And of course, in many cases the only exposure to some of these concepts many of the parents, teachers and complete strangers may have is that same media.

That's not a good enough reason to suggest that self-evident fiction is somehow at fault for not promoting the general welfare.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
Saying you don't like something and then explaining why you don't like it isn't censorship. What kind of blind consumer are you that you're going to decry any criticism of a game's content?

It's more correct to say that we're decrying criticism of the moral character of the people who made it and the people who don't believe that it should be censored. We're decrying that particular attitude being so prevalent that it creates a climate of fear and discomfort. We're decrying the idea that self-evident fictional media has so much power that it needs to adhere to moral regulations.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
I'm not sure which is more bizarre, that you think media and culture are entirely divorced from each other or that you think telling a lesbian that she's going to grow out of her attraction to women isn't going to cause any psychological harm at all.

It's far more bizarre to think that pointing out media's role as being reflective of culture, rather than instructive, is somehow saying that it's entirely divorced from it. The same goes for thinking that a video game is able to cause psychological harm to a mentally-competent adult.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
I'm guessing you've never had to question your identity. If you had, then you would know that being told by everyone around you-your parents, your teachers, complete strangers that you overhear in passing-that what you feel isn't real and is only a phase you need to suppress until it's over is a pretty unpleasant feeling, and having those ideas affirmed by the literature you try to escape from it all with just rubs salt in the wound.

That's not the fault, nor the problem, of said literature, nor the people who wrote it. To blame them, rather than the parents, teachers, and strangers who are actually at fault is irresponsible and misguided.


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N. Jolly wrote:
The fact that the impact of media is being completely phased out in this argument makes me realize that we aren't even having the same conversation.

That may very well be the case, since the whole idea of "impact of media" isn't really one that's worth discussing. Violent video games do not cause violent. Homosexual characters do not make heterosexual people turn gay. Games with "offensive" content do not promote offensive behaviors.

Quote:
So as per the original point, NOA has the right to change (since I'm not even willing to consider it censoring at this point) the game to suit the market as they and many others have done in the past to fit the customer base of which they are targeting.

"Rights" are a question of legality, whereas this is a conversation about morality. The two are completely different discussions.

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They did it due to people's moral concerns including a negative portrayal that was harmful to the LGBT community, you don't appreciate things being changed to moral concerns. When something makes the world better for a minority group, I consider that a good change, regardless of the reason. So yeah, you can disagree with it all you want, it still happened and I'm still happy about it.

They did it to preemptively assuage people who would whip up outrage by making the claim that what goes on in a video game was somehow "harmful" to the gay community. No matter how righteous someone's indignation is, that doesn't mean that it's okay to label fiction as being "harmful," since that presumes that self-evident fiction has the power to harm in the first place.


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So I've watched the two episodes that are currently available for KONOSUBA -God's Blessing on This Wonderful World! ("Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!"), and I have mixed feelings about it so far. So far I like it, but I have some familiarity with this series, and I'm doubtful regarding its staying power.

KONOSUBA utilizes a trope that seems to be in vogue these days (or has always been popular and I've only recently noticed) wherein the hero is someone from this world who dies tragically, only to be reincarnated in a fantasy world with all of their memories of their previous life intact. In this case, the hero is one Kazuma Satou, who arrives in the afterlife after dying while saving a girl from being hit by a truck.

Of course, KONOSUBA is quick to make a mockery of this trope, as the goddess Aqua that Kazuma meets in the afterlife is quick to reveal the circumstances under which Kazuma actually died, and openly mocks him for it. After having a laugh at his expense, she explains that he can go to boring ol' Heaven, or be reincarnated in a fantasy world (at his current age, no less) with any one item or ability of his choosing. Angry at being made fun of, Kazuma chooses reincarnation, with Aqua as his "one thing," and the two of them now have to get along in an RPG-style fantasy world.

I mentioned that I was familiar with this particular series before I started watching the anime. That's because this (like so many anime nowadays) was originally a light novel series, with a manga adaptation, both of which have already had fan-translations, under the title "Gifting the Wonderful World with Blessings!" It's from having read these (though admittedly not that much, since the series couldn't hold my interest to get through all of the translated material) that I'm dubious about how much I'll enjoy the anime overall.

Simply put, KONOSUBA is a comedy series first and foremost. While it's technically an adventure-comedy, the adventure part is a very distant second to the comedy. Personally, I don't think that comedy, as a genre, stands very well on its own. There's a reason why it's usually partnered with some other genre (e.g. rom-coms, "dramedy," action-comedy, etc.), and when it does stand alone, it's usually confined to stand-alone movies or series where each individual episode is unrelated to the others. That's not a universal truism, of course, but the "relief" in "comedy relief" comes from the fact that comedy works best when it's letting us take a break from something more serious, rather than being its own sustained thing.

In KONOSUBA, the comedy comes from the fact that Kazuma, Aqua, and the comrades they gather are all incompetent. While they're able to accomplish the tasks they set out to do, it's an unending comedy of errors as we watch them eventually bungle their way across the finish line each time. The problem, at least for me, was that once you realize the show's formula, it gets old fairly quickly. The only question becomes what new way can Kazuma and company make complete asses of themselves while somehow managing to squeak out a win.

It's entirely possible that the series will graduate from this as it goes on; as I mentioned, I didn't read very far in the light novels that have been translated, and the manga hadn't advanced very far when I read it either. So maybe the hijinks will be tempered with a more serious foundation; alternately, the series might simply be short enough that the comedy won't wear out its welcome, simply being a short-and-sweet series that exits before it becomes boring.

Either one would serve the show well, and so far I'm resolved to stick with it and see what it does. The first few episodes are definitely the honeymoon period, when the series' hijinks still feel fresh and new. It's how long it tries to sustain itself on comedy alone that will determine the show's fate.


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As its own thing, I didn't think the novel was that bad. *ducks tomatoes*


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Arachnofiend wrote:
"It's bad, so we fixed it." I agree that it's not really the same, but only because the Soleil issue is much worse than shipping shoddy gameplay (I mean hey, they shipped the grind happy trashfire that was Awakening heyooo).

Except that the statement can more accurately be summarized as "other people think it's bad, so we 'fixed' it to make them go away." It's definitely not the same, since that can't really be considered worse than shoddy gameplay in any sense; one scene that people might not like (and might not even encounter) doesn't ruin the game nearly as much as the game having unbalanced mechanics.

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