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Alzrius's page

Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber. Pathfinder Society Member. 1,725 posts. 72 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist.


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Damon Griffin wrote:
Oct. 7th

Booyah! Thanks!


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Do we know the air date for the season eleven premiere yet?


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Krensky wrote:
Which in the context of medieval high fantasy is different than the modern concept of genocide.

I disagree.


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Krensky wrote:
The implication given is that the humans are just as bad from the monster's perspective and he was protecting his own. Considering what the villains do throughout the series, it fits well.

That's implied, but never really followed up on. It was frustrating to see him called out on this, only for his explanation to be cutoff before it could be given, since this was by far the most interesting aspect of his character.

Quote:
Also, I don't think genocide is really a good term for what's presented in either the manga or anime.

It's been a few months since I've watched this, but I disagree. They may have thrown terms around like "secure a place for us," (e.g. lebensraum) but it seemed pretty intuitive that the war was to the death. I certainly don't recall anything suggesting that quarter was given or that there were any large-scale attempts to take prisoners.


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Every so often, you come across a series that's so unexpectedly good you wonder just how in the heck you hadn't heard of it up until now. That's how I felt when I watched The Devil Is a Part-Timer! ("Hataraku Mao-sama!"), a thirteen-episode action-comedy series.

The premise of the series is that, on the world of Enta Isla, the demon king Satan led an army of monsters bent on the complete genocide of humans. After years of war, a group of heroes managed to gain enough power to challenge Satan himself. Defeating him in battle, Satan and his last surviving general managed to escape to another dimension, vowing to return and enact their revenge someday.

Of course, that dimension is modern-day Earth.

Unable to replenish their reserves of magic on Earth, and with most of the magic they have left rendered non-functional or seriously depowered in this dimension as well, Satan and Alciel (Satan's loyal general) are forced to live as ordinary humans, with Satan working as a part-timer employee at "McRonald's" while Alciel plays housekeeper in their crappy apartment.

This setup alone should tell you where the series gets most of its material, but the cherry on this particular sundae is Satan's character. Specifically, that he's actually a very upstanding, morally-conscious person. Throughout the series, he's a diligent and responsible worker, is kind and courteous to everyone around him, and even goes out of his way to do periodic acts of kindness, such as giving his umbrella to a young lady that he sees get caught in the rain. It's not a façade either, as the series shows that he's quite genuine in how he treats others.

While the premise is good, the execution is what makes this series work. The action scenes, for instance, are shockingly high-octane, presenting intense and destructive battles that work very well because the show is extremely reluctant to interrupt their pacing with flashbacks, monologues, or the combatants taking long pauses to stare at each other. Instead, the fights keep moving at a rapid clip, allowing them to build up a great sense of tension and energy.

Even better is that the show smartly segregates the action from the comedy, allowing each to function on their own instead of trying to blend them together (something that I don't think works very well, in most cases).

Not only does this abet the action, but it's very good for the comedy as well. The laughs in The Devil Is a Part-Timer! are entirely based around "fish out of water" humor, as Satan and the others - who are used to dealing with issues of world-shaking importance - deal with things like the deep fryer breaking down or trying to summon a cab.

While it's an exaggeration to call this sort of humor "high-brow," it is by far a welcome change from the slapstick (or "outrageous overreaction") humor that so much anime seems to avail itself of. How the characters act here feels more like something you'd see in a sitcom than in a "cartoon," with the jokes having an almost Seinfeldian quality to them.

If the show has a weakness, it's that it's not able to cover everything it needs to in the course of only thirteen episodes. Remember how I mentioned that Satan originally led a genocidal war, but that he's also a very moral person? The show never addresses this apparent contradiction...or rather, it tries to - one character even points it out directly, demanding an explanation from Satan - but the scene is interrupted, and never followed up on.

This extends past that single point, as the show has a deeper theme that it works around. By the time the series concludes, it's clearly dealing with messages regarding the uselessness of labels when passing judgment on others, since the people who are on "your side" may very well turn out to be worse than the "evil" people you're fighting. But even though the latter half of the series turns on this point, it's never able to expound on it in much detail, which feels vaguely unsatisfying.

I say "vaguely" because I can't lament too hard over what's not here when what is here is so freaking good. The setup, the action, and the comedy are all so much fun that I simply can't help but forgive the series for its altogether minor faults.

The Devil Is a Part-Timer is a show that delivers full-time enjoyment.


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Everyone seems to have forgotten the contact other plane spell.

If you look in the Core Rulebook, on the table that accompanies that spell, there's an asterisk there that notes that all of the deities in the Core Rulebook (the main twenty, in other words) are all intermediate deities. This isn't reproduced either on the PRD or the d20PFSRD; it's just in the Core Rulebook.

So the major deities - Asmodeus, Pharasma, Desna, Shelyn, etc. - are all intermediate deities. Paizo says so.


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Rednal wrote:

We're getting Lala - they announced a voice actor (Ai Kakuma) for her.

Draco, Kii, and Lilith were also announced.

I hadn't heard that. Woot!


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Rednal wrote:
Thaaaaat... is entirely possible. It looks like the side of a dice with two pips for me, immediately to the left of the search field, but I'm not sure what the Wii U interface looks like.

So I checked after getting home, just to be sure, and it looks like that "random" option isn't available for Crunchyroll when using the Wii U.

That's a bit of a shame.


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Krensky wrote:
You're analysing porn way to much.

I disagree.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Alzrius wrote:
I'd say it's a tie (see what I did there?) between her and Centorea.
I can't wait for Lala to arrive.

You know, I'm honestly not sure if we're going to get to see that. Even if this series gets twenty-six episodes (instead of thirteen, which is what I'm expecting), I'd be surprised if it got that far along.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Also, Rachnera is win.

I'd say it's a tie (see what I did there?) between her and Centorea.


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Freehold DM wrote:
Even though they used the same character designs for ranba ral and his wife, the same storyline(okay, similar storyline), and numerous other characters/tropes from gundam?

I think you're making more of that than is there. There are a lot of characters that have some resemblance - sometimes even a very high degree of resemblance - to other characters across various series, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's more than a visual homage (if not an outright coincidence).

Likewise, the thing about tropes is that they tend to transcend being (necessarily) indicative of a particular series. While there are series in which they originate - as well as series that popularize them, even if they didn't invent them - at some point they become common enough that you can see them as being indicative of quite a few other series, and all of those interpretations would be correct to some degree.

In this case, I think that Eureka Seven was drawing on the narrative tropes that Evangelion popularized more than it was from Gundam. But that's just my take on it.


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thejeff wrote:
Krensky wrote:
You must have watched some other show because that's not Eureka Seven.
I'm just wondering why he watched 50 episodes of something he disliked so much. That's what, 25 hours? Damn. I have a hard enough time getting through 50 episodes of something I like.

Because I prefer to finish that which I start (if for no other reason than so I can honestly say "I know what I'm talking about" when I put it on blast on the internet ;-p).


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Krensky wrote:
You must have watched some other show because that's not Eureka Seven.

I disagree.

Quote:

Dude.

Eureka seven is a weird take/update/trope of the original mobile suit gundam.
Much of it was aimed at that specific audience and their children.
If you don't know gundam at all, it's not going to make much sense.

Presuming I'm understanding you correctly, then I likewise don't agree here either. There are shared tropes between shows of the same genre - in this case, mecha anime - to be sure, and while Gundam is one of the original (or a least a seminal) work with regard to those tropes, I really don't think that you need to have seen/know about Gundam in order to understand/appreciate Eureka Seven.

That said, I think that Eureka Seven is treading on the heels of Neon Genesis Evangelion far and away more than it is Gundam. It's largely unconcerned with the technical aspects of the mecha it operates, while at the same time utilizes several tropes that Evangelion popularized, such as "the living mecha," "the emotionless girl (with a connection to said mecha)," and "using technology to mass-produce an individual girl," among others.


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So several months ago, I sat down and watched all fifty episodes of Eureka Seven, and I have to say that doing so very nearly broke me. I ended up taking a break from anime for quite a few weeks in order to recover from making myself sit through this series.

Yeah, I didn't like this particular show at all.

Set in a future on a world where a heavy concentration of "trapars" (a type of particle) in the atmosphere allow for "lifting" (surfing through the air), Eureka Seven follows the exploits of a boy named Renton Thurston as he meets Eureka, a member of the counterculture/rebellion group "Gekkostate," with whom Renton throws in.

I found very little to appreciate about Eureka Seven. The series doesn't break any new ground; indeed, with regards to originality (which, to be fair, is something I think of as being an overstated virtue, sometimes vastly so), the series is notable only for how much fidelity it shows to the "serious sci-fi anime" playbook. It has its own category of mecha, one of which is special for its connection to a world-changing power, which can only be fully unlocked with the help of an emotionally-subdued young girl. There's nothing here you haven't seen before.

Perhaps it's because of this that the show keeps throwing technical jargon at us, not bothering to define them until later on...if it ever does at all. We keep hearing about "trapars," "Coralians," "the Vodarac," etc., but for many of these, context is the only definition we ever receive. Heck, I still don't know what "the Seven Swell Effect" is, and we see it in the second episode!

But this is all a minor complaint compared to the show's greatest sin, which is how utterly unlikable the characters are. The tries very hard to push its characters first and foremost - literally, its entire first half ignores plot progression in favor of showcasing its cast - and in doing so makes them seem like an all-around group of awful people.

To be fair, a large part of this seems to be deliberate. We're clearly meant to see how fallible, flawed, and immature the cast is during the beginning of the series. But the show drives these points home so long and so hard that it became impossible for me to care about them.

Renton, for example, is a hideously naïve idiot. True, that's a characteristic of most fourteen year-old boys (and, to be fair, it's not hard to figure out that he's looking for a surrogate family), but the sheer degree to which he allows himself to be the butt of Gekkostate's behavior - which ranges from lack of consideration to outright abuse, with only the rare scraps of kindness - make him seem pitiable. That pity eventually gravitated into antipathy, as I wondered when he'd stand up and tell this collection of jerks what awful people they were.

And make no mistake, they're awful people. Gekkostate's leader, Holland, is moody and standoffish guy in his late 20's. He resents Renton's connection to Eureka from day one (despite the fact that Eureka is Renton's age, as well as that he (Holland) already has a girlfriend), and this manifests in him beating the crap out of Renton on several occasions. It's not even for major offenses, either; he'll just lash out and knock Renton off his feat simply because the kid says or does something that pisses him off. The rest of the crew will see this and just shrug with an apparent air of "that's our captain," and go back to playing pranks on Renton because he's enough of a dumbass to fall for them.

Even when the show does go back to the main plot, it's so trite as to be boring. Hey look, an alien life form that we can't communicate with. The military industrial complex is stating that they're a menace that needs to be destroyed, but we're sure that we can communicate with them and coexist in peace. Oh, and attain the power to potentially remake the world. Again, originality isn't everything, but when the show doesn't even try to put its own spin on the minor details, it's hard to get invested in it.

With its combination of paint-by-numbers setting/plot and its unpalatable array of characters, Eureka Seven was a show that felt interminable to watch. This is one of the few series I've seen where I honestly can't bring myself to recommend it to anyone.


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Greylurker wrote:

If you are just starting on Crunchyroll, at the top of the page you will see a symbol that looks like a d6.

Push that and you get a random 1st episode. It's fun to give it a whirl if you can't make up your mind on what to watch next. Sometimes you strike gold, sometime you get dung, but it's worth the gamble

Hm, this seems to depend on what device you use to access Crunchyroll. I'm getting it on my Wii U, and I can't find that option.


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So thanks to a friend of mine giving me a temporary Premium pass to Crunchyroll, I've been watching a lot more anime lately (and yeah, I'm probably going to end up subscribing now, darn it). One of the very first shows I watched was a thirteen-episode series called Campione!

...man did I ever choose poorly.

An action-harem show set in modern-day Earth, Campione's background is that the old gods from mythology - apparently every mythology - are real, and that every so often some among them will get upset with the status quo and try and change things to suit themselves, which usually causes massive disasters with tremendous loss of life for anyone in the surrounding area. When these "rogue gods" begin a rampage, there are people who are called on to stop them.

The "campione" are the foremost among these. Called "god-slayers," they can kill these old gods and take their powers for their own. The series follows a young man named Godou Kusanagi as he inadvertently becomes one of these campione, being the tale of the misadventures he (and the girls who chase after him) go through.

If that sounds like an interesting premise, then I agree that it is. The problem with the show isn't so much the premise as it is the execution. Watching Campione was like an object lesson in what happens if you cut too many corners: the entire thing becomes unable to support itself.

I'm tempted to blame this on the thirteen-episode format, but it's unclear to me that the show necessarily did so badly because it was pressed for time. As it stands, the show has an interesting dynamic for things like how, exactly, Godou fights various deities, and why he gets tangled up with so many women, but the presentation regarding why things work that way ends up being rushed. This, in turn, makes it seem like the plot is progressing in a way that only sort of makes sense.

For example, despite the power he gains in the show's debut, Godou's ability to fight deities is directly proportional to the "Words of Power" that he can invoke against them. This is apparently related to knowing the mythological development that a given deity has experienced over the ages, e.g. how their names, portfolios, and relationships have changed across time and cultures. He'll recite this when fighting an enemy god, and then just sort of smack them down. But it's never made entirely clear why his knowing that means that whatever deity he's fighting is suddenly so weakened. It just happens.

Moreover, you'd think that - since knowledge is literally power for Godou - he'd hit the books quite a lot (for whatever gods are local, at the very least), since his life tends to depend on what he knows when he gets into these fights. Except that's not the case; he instead relies on a cadre of women (most of whom belong to various organizations, and are trying to recruit him) who literally kiss the information into him...the explanation there being that campione are apparently immune to magic unless said magic is administered internally, so they'll use a "teaching spell" to imbue him with the requisite knowledge via a kiss.

Oh, and Godou will resurrect in about twelve hours or so if he's ever killed. I think that gets a one-line explanation tossed out at some point, but apparently it's not a big deal.

It's for these reasons that Campione wasn't a very engaging show. It's internal logic was never made entirely clear, and because of that it became hard to become invested in the show's action. While the idea of relying on the actual mythology of deities as being key to defeating them could have been cool, the show faltered with regard how that knowledge is useful in a fight, which is the most important aspect.

Even the show's harem aspect wasn't very interesting. There's supposed to be a sub-plot regarding whether or not the leading lady is trying to seduce him into working for her organization's goals or whether she genuinely cares about him, but the show fumbles this as well, since other than the main character's initial suspicions there's nothing to suggest that her motivations are done out of anything other than honest affection. The secondary female characters are supposed to have similar motivations - adding a layer of intrigue to the show's background - but again, this angle is never developed. Even as eye-candy the series fails to deliver, since the show keeps even the most soft-core fan-service hidden via camera angles.

Overall, Campione! is a series that desperately needed some divine intervention, but whose prayers were never answered.


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Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
If I enjoyed watching Attack on Titan, Hellsing, and Black Lagoon, what else might I enjoy?

Madoka Magica.

No, really.


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Cairen Weiss wrote:

Long time lurking, but I felt I had to share this. It's a like action fan film for Dragon Ball Z and it's pretty sweet. It claims to be a pilot episode of a series telling the history of Trunks. I'm hoping for more.

Dragon Ball Z: Light of Hope

It's awesome what fan-made live-action series can do these days. I'm really hoping that K & K Productions can get permission to do a live-action DBZ web-series. Their live-action Saiyan Saga trailer was excellent, and they've teased a similar trailer for the Freeza Saga, which unfortunately seems to be on hold unless they get permission from Toei to do more.


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havoc xiii wrote:
Soooo.....my wife just had me watch Grave of the Fireflies for the first time ....... Hmmm ..... yep I have sunk to the lowest depressiony depression that ever depressed [Expletive Deleted].

We had to watch that in college, as part of a course on modern Japan and cinema.

I watched it alone, rather than as part of the class viewing, and I'm glad I did. At least then I was able to sob in private - I'm told that when the class came out of the viewing room, some of the library staff were rather shocked to see a bunch of crying students leaving.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
That's okay, I'm not into Gundam that much either.

I've never been a fan of any "giant robot" anime - those few that I've watched, I've done so because there's a case to be made that the robots are secondary to what the series is actually about. (e.g. I watched Macross Frontier for the singing.)


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So I'm pretty sure there's been no announcement yet, but I wanted to ask just in case I missed something:

Do we know the premiere date for season five (I mean beyond "Spring 2015")?


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kevin_video wrote:
How's the Sisters of Rapture: Beauties & Beasts coming along? I did a Google search today and couldn't find anything as of yet.

It's currently stalled, though not cancelled.


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Grancrest is a Japanese RPG that's set in a fantasy world, where you play heroes attempting to hold back the forces of Chaos. It seems less complex than Pathfinder, so it might be a good one to check out.


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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
The upcoming comic about his origins may or may not reveal more.

I dunno, the comics seem to have done a pretty good job of declaring themselves non-canon, based on what I've heard about them so far.


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ChaoticAngel97 wrote:
I would like to respectively disagree, as a long time player of a couple very very well put together d20 conversions of shounen style anime, I've found d20 can work just fine for fights like this, you simply need to go about it the correct way. Is it harder to make that style fit into d20? Certainly, but I find that there in lies the fun of making it, it's challenging. As well, d20 tends to be one of the systems most people are really familiar with, so it is often the most easy to homebrew something for.

I'm not saying I don't think it can be done - I've converted Pyrrha using a d20 sourcebook that allowed for point-buy character generation - just that I don't think that fast-paced, cinematic combat is one of the d20 System's natural strengths.

You can bend it that way, to be certain (particularly if you go under the proverbial hood and start tinkering with the system itself), but my suspicion is that you'll be better served with something that has less mechanical baggage.


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I'm a fan of RWBY, and a big fan of the d20 System, but I honestly don't think that the two are a good fit.

Simply put, an RPG system that attempts to closely regulate issues regarding the exact number of attacks that can be performed, how movement is handled at the tactical level, and standardizes what special abilities or other "tricks" can be performed, is going to have a very hard time modeling the fighting in RWBY; trying to measure everything that in a typical RWBY fight will strain such a system to its breaking point.

A far better approach would be a game where combat statistics are comparatively light, where PCs have some sort of limited "pool of points" mechanic that allows for players to spend points to assert some sort of narrative-control over the context of the fight (especially if other characters, including major NPCs, can also spend points to counter-narrate a quick reversal of fortune in the flow of combat).


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I always felt that Dead Fantasy was Monty's best work, myself.

Insofar as RWBY goes...I like it, but I always felt like I enjoyed the series in spite of itself, rather than because of it. There are a lot of details about the show that seem to get in the way of my enjoying it.


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Caineach wrote:
I just noticed RWBY on Netflix last night.

I saw that too. They've (very cogently) made each "volume" of the first season into a single episode - meaning that they're essentially presented as two movie-length features.


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Orthos wrote:
My favorite of the original three films is Jedi, whereas almost very fan I've spoken to says it's the worst of the three and Empire - my least favorite - is the best.

"Which do you like better, Empire or Jedi?"

"Empire. Jedi was all muppets."

"Blasphemy."


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Tobin's Spirit Guide.

;D


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Tequila Sunrise wrote:
I was rather naively hoping that, despite your vociferous criticism of the other side of the fanservice issue, you might be willing to put yourself in another’s shoes to at least understand why others see a problem.

I do understand why others see a problem. I simply don't find their points to have much validity, for reasons that I've discussed previously.

My hope is that any future responses you make will address those reasons, rather than the one making them.

Quote:
Sorry for the mistake; it won’t happen again.

Good; perhaps then you can move on to talking about the topic rather than the people who don't believe as you do.


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Cmh wrote:

I understand, as for the changes, I'm a perfectionist so I'm always willing to improve.

And here is your Pony with changes.

And if you or anybody else wants something done let me know.

Thank you very much for this!


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Cmh wrote:
Glad you like it, and if your interested I can put it on my shop on shapeways. and you could order it.

Thanks for the offer. I'm currently in a round of belt-tightening at the moment, but maybe when things aren't quite so austere I can pick it up.

EDIT: Actually, I was a bit too self-conscious to ask for any changes before, despite your generous offer. It seemed too pompous to ask someone to make changes to art that they'd made for you for free. That said, I'm trying to not be quite so timid, and so I wanted to mention a few changes, if that's alright.

Specifically, his harness is currently going around his neck; as I thought of it as a bandolier, I'd envisioned it going under one of his forelegs. Likewise, while I did specify that the pouches were holding gemstones, I think it'd look better if the pouches were closed, and their contents unable to be seen.

Also, his eyes, mane, and tail seem closer to black than brown. I may have over-emphasized how dark they are. The base of his horn, too, seems silvery rather than the same gray as his body.


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I've expanded on my above thoughts over on my blog. That will probably be the last I have to say with regards to Monty's passing, as I seem to have reached the limit for how much solace I can find in talking about it.


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Cmh wrote:
Your welcome and here is my take on your Pony let me know if you want any changes.

Thank you very much!


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
The link to zerochan gives me an notice to use the share links instead. I was able to find it with a Google search however.

Okay, I've copied the picture and I'm hoping that it it can be more easily viewed from here.


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Tels wrote:
Your Kairi picture doesn't work because the website blocks direct links unless you use the provided 'share link'.

I'm slightly confused. Do you mean the picture on DA of the RWBY cast (the one you quoted), or the link to the picture of Kairi on a different website?

I've double-checked both, and they seem to be working for me. Can anybody confirm that the pictures aren't loading for them?


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Grab a tissue and join me here.

When I saw the tribute art of the RWBY characters looking upwards, and realized that the sun and the birds were Monty's symbol...that did it. I had to close the door to my office, because I couldn't keep my composure any longer. All the moreso when I read the quote from him at the end.

I'm honestly shocked that I'm taking this so hard. While it's one thing to intellectually realize that you can be moved by the loss of someone you never met in person, it's another thing to actually feel it.

I wish that I had some better way of honoring Monty. I wish that I could draw a picture in tribute to the man. But I can't - I have no artistic talent, in terms of pictures or music, whatsoever. All I have is some modest skill at writing, and that doesn't seem like enough.

It's funny now, in a morbid way; last Sunday night, before I heard about Monty's passing, I had tentatively decided to participate in NaNoWriMo this year for the first time - now, knowing that he's gone, and his family's statement that the best way to remember him is to do something creative, that decision seems much more poignant, and important. It's very little, but I feel like I owe him that much.

I didn't post this before, because it seemed self-aggrandizing at the time - thinking on it more, when someone dies, it's natural to talk about what they meant with regards to you personally; I feel like I need to share this.

I once corresponded with Monty. It wasn't very much - a single email response to my having emailed him back in July, 2008 along with a donation as a belated birthday gift (I'd also donate to him the following year, though we didn't converse then).

I had been posting on his DeviantArt page for some time at that point, in a series of fan-articles that critiqued and analyzed his Dead Fantasy series that I called "Dead Fantasizing." I was also pushing for a change to one of his not-officially-announced plans for a future episode of the series. (All of these posts can still be found as comments on his page, though it'd require going back through years of posts by everyone.)

Monty had recently posted this image on his DA page (it's since been removed, as he had some trouble with DA several years ago - the linked picture is from another website where someone reposted it). To make a long story short - the picture very clearly implied that Kairi's episode would have her face Sonia, whom was clearly meant to be the character in the background-left (Ninja Gaiden II for the Xbox was just about to come out when he made that picture).

I had seen enough of the game to urge Monty to dump Sonia as a character, and instead go with Momiji (from Ninja Gaiden DS - she'd later appear in other games as well).

The point is, I was very pleasantly surprised when Monty emailed me back. He was very kind and casual, explaining that not only did he read the articles I'd been writing, but also took the time to explain some of the technical critiques I'd made of the series. He also expressed agreement with the idea that Sonia wasn't a good character, and that Momiji was a better fit. While it's likely that he would have made the change on his own, I like to think sometimes that I was his inspiration for why he has Momiji fighting in the unfinished Dead Fantasy VI episode unveiled a few years back.

I re-read that email last night...and it really rings true just what an incredible guy Monty was. He was eager to reassure me that he did enjoy feedback, even if he didn't always respond, that he appreciated critical analysis and wasn't too proud to explain his decisions, and even just shoot ideas back and forth with someone who enjoyed his work.

He took the time to write to me - just one fan out of so many - that meant something to me then, and even years later it still does now.

Starlight continues to shine long after the star itself has gone out. That's how I feel about Monty and his work.


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I'm devastated to hear that Monty is no longer with us.

I first heard about him when he released the first Dead Fantasy episode, and the more I learned about his work and his background, the more I came to admire him. He was a truly self-made man, and the story of his success was inspirational for myself and, I'm sure, so many others.

Goodbye Monty...you will be missed.


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Caineach wrote:
Currently, some other anime forums are expecting a season 3 in winter of 2016 or spring 2017, because of the rate that they are going through the material in the manga.

That'd be nice; the story felt unfinished, even if it came to a decent stopping point.

Caineach wrote:
Also, I felt like season 2 focused more on Aladdin and Alibaba was more or less forgotten about. Interesting how we came out with different perceptions.

Are those different perceptions? I thought that was basically what I said.


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Having recently finished The Familiar of Zero ("Zero no Tsukaima") after it was recommended earlier in the thread, I came away from it with a positive impression. While fairly shallow in what it wants to depict, the show never loses sight of the fact that it's meant to be lighthearted fun. Moreover, it was pleasantly surprising that it invested as much in the characters as it did.

To back things up for a moment, this series consists of four seasons, each consisting of twelve or thirteen episodes, for a grand total of fifty episodes altogether. For those interested in sitting down to watch the entire series, it's as follows: The Familiar of Zero (thirteen episodes), then The Familiar of Zero: Knight of the Twin Moons ("Futatsuki no Kishi") (twelve episodes), followed by The Familiar of Zero: Rondo of the Princess ("Princess no Rondo") (twelve episodes plus an OVA episode), and finally The Familiar of Zero F (twelve episodes).

The premise of the series is fairly straightforward: in a medieval alternate world of magic and monsters, Louise is a sorceress-in-training who's known as "Zero" among her classmates for her complete failure as a spellcaster (literally, every spell she tries to cast blows up in her face). When tasked to summon a familiar, Louise ends up summoning Saito Hiraga, a boy from contemporary Japan. Naturally, this is the beginning of a series of adventures that they and their friends wind up getting into. Of course, the nature of these adventures takes a backseat to the sexy hijinks going on.

The Familiar of Zero is quite unabashed of its status as a harem anime, and in this regard it's not concerned with trying to break any new ground. Louise - a walking bundle of insecurities due to her failure as a sorceress and her lack of notable curves - might as well have "tsundere" stamped on her forehead. Siesta fills in the role of the primary "other woman," serving as a foil by acting as Louise's complete opposite in both personality and measurements, etc.

What tickled me about the show is that, with fifty episodes to present itself, the majority of the characters do grow and change over time (though not necessarily very much) - the irony here being that such growth serves to eventually push them into various roles in the harem dynamic. It's quite incredible how much the show is willing to let this happen organically, letting the exposition take as long as it takes until the girls fall for Saito. Tabitha, for example, is a supporting cast member from the very first episode, but it's not until the end of the third season - almost three-fourths of the way through the show - that she develops feelings for him.

That's ultimately what the show is about. While there is a plot per se, it's typically secondary to the amusing interactions between the cast members and the often-ridiculous situations that they get into ("Oh no! A botched love potion is causing Louise and Jessica to make out!"). That said, when the show does put adventure front and center, it does a credible job of creating dramatic tension, making sure to keep the comedy segregated until the action is over.

It's worth noting that the show keeps things at a fairly "safe" level, in terms of fan-service. Indeed, you could very well call this "fan-service lite" for how much it shies away from anything really titillating. Panty-shots are incidental, when they happen at all, and while we do see some skin on occasion (e.g. the girls go to the beach, the girls disguise themselves as belly dancers, etc.), for the most part the clothes stay on. There's plenty of bouncing cleavage, to be sure, but nothing truly salacious.

Overall, the show does a good job of showing how something can be entertaining without having to be innovative. Similar to the rides at a theme park, you can tell exactly what it's going to be like before it begins, but that doesn't make it any less fun once you start. This is one of the better harem series out there, and if you like that genre, you'll definitely love The Familiar of Zero.


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So I initially wasn't going to post my thoughts on Magi: The Kingdom of Magic, as it's a continuation of Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, which I've already reviewed. However, after giving it some consideration, I have some further thoughts on Kingdom that I felt like sharing.

What struck me most about Kingdom of Magic is that this is where the show largely stops pussyfooting around with regards to whom the main character was. In the previous season, it seemed to be trying to portray both Aladdin and Alibaba as being the main characters - with Morgianna awkwardly added as a third wheel - in a sort of Merlin and Arthur (or perhaps Doc Brown and Marty) relationship. This was a presentation that the show never seemed completely comfortable with, as Alibaba kept vacillating between insecurity and incompetence; while the show was clearly trying to show us the "zero" side of a "zero-to-hero" arc, the "hero" part never materialized.

In Kingdom, the show dispenses with the pretense of multiple main characters altogether, and puts Aladdin front and center.

The main reason for this is that the three characters split up early in the season. While Alibaba is given a quick arc that frustratingly cuts away just as he starts to show some personal growth, and Morgianna is all but forgotten after a single episode devoted to her, Aladdin gets the lion's share of the series devoted to his exploits. He essentially hogs the spotlight all to himself.

This isn't to say that the show doesn't have a large cast. It does, but the vast majority of them are a wide array of new supporting characters that round out Aladdin's story. It almost feels like a different show, simply because of how much of the cast from the previous season is pushed to the back-burner.

That said, the show does retain its focus on machinations happening across the world stage. War is brewing, and we get quite a bit of intrigue regarding how its shaping up.

This is more interesting than it first appeared, because here the show draws more heavily on real-world politics to create diversity with regards to the motivations of various factions. This results in a surprisingly strong portrayal of a situation where most (though not all) of the world's power-players aren't evil for the sake of being evil, but instead all have noble goals that are being questionably implemented.

Nowhere is this more obvious than with the country of Magnoshtatt, which is very clearly meant to be analogous to contemporary Israel. Moreso than the cosmetic relationship that other countries have (e.g. Leam is the Roman Empire, and Kou is Imperial China), Magnoshtatt presents a small country that's declared itself to be a haven for wizards everywhere, after the previous government (which itself exploited the wizards horribly) was violently overthrown, and which now oppresses non-wizards (and as if to deliberately dispel all doubt about the inspiration for Magnoshtatt, the non-wizards are called "goi").

(While the state of Magnoshtatt is a core issue for this season, I don't think that the anime is trying to send any particular message about Israel, so much as it is drawing on it for inspiration.)

All of this sets the stage for a final conflict that, while it certainly has a greater narrative climax than the previous season, still felt lackluster to me. While it culminated in a flashy final battle against a major enemy, this largely served to side-step the underlying political tensions that had been brewing, rather than solving them. Moreover, the driving force behind the antagonists remained unresolved, even if they had been given more exposition.

Overall, Magi: The Kingdom of Magic was a credible sequel to the original series, and built on it rather well, but still felt like it didn't live up to its potential. There's so much going on that this season simply can't manage to show it all, and so various things - from Alibaba's personal growth to the resolutions between the various international actors to Morgianna altogether - get lost in the attempt.

Ultimately, there's (still) not enough room here to tell the story that the series wants to tell. It's unfortunate that it doesn't seem like there'll be a third series to let it continue to do so.


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Cmh wrote:

Hmm, I've never done a pony before sounds interesting.

I'll get to it as soon as I can.

Thanks!


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I had my pony character, Lex Legis, drawn by an artist from another thread here on these forums, so it seems appropriate to post it here.

While the link above contains a link to the character's stats and back-story, here's a direct link to them also, if anyone's interested.


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Cmh wrote:
Giving this a bump to see if anybody wants some art done.

If you don't mind, I'd like to request artwork of my original pony (a la My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic) character, Lex Legis.

I've written about him on my blog previously, and there's a picture by another talented artist in a later post, if some background would help.

That said, here are the salient visual points:

A unicorn stallion, Lex's coat is a slate-gray color. The base of his horn is the same color as his coat, but just above that it abruptly transitions into blood-red, due to his horn being a graft. Unlike the base of his horn, the red graft does not use the "concentric-spiral" formation of most unicorn horns. It points straight, except for the tip which is slightly curved back.

Lex's mane and tail are both a plain brown; his eyes are the same color, albeit a slightly lighter shade.

His cutie mark - the tattoo that appears on each flank, indicating a pony's natural talent - is a podium in front of an amphitheater.

He wears a single "bandolier" of pouches, carrying a combination of gemstones and scrolls. He also wears a plain, unadorned silver circlet on his head.

Lex is notably dour, scowling very often and smiling very rarely.


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Lemmy wrote:
Damn... What's the name of the anime where the girl uses paper to fight? I really liked that show, even though it was pretty short. The battle against the guy who inspired Son Goku is awesome! :D

Read Or Die.


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Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Afterward, Aranna said that she often finds that fanservice detracts from an anime, and that social awareness can and has led to improved entertainment.

Which carries the rather condescending connotation that anime with fan-service is somehow less "improved" than anime without it, to say nothing of the idea that a reduction in fan-service is in any way related to "social awareness."

Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Before Alzrius badgered him into leaving the thread, Tels said that he doesn't mind fanservice in general but doesn't like watermelon boobs.

A gross mischaracterization on your part, here. Debate, even spirited debate, is not badgering, even if the other person becomes upset. Likewise, if they choose to leave, they have not been talked "into" leaving the thread.

Tequila Sunrise wrote:
I understand a lot more than you think I do, and I think if you let yourself cool off a bit and consider the progression of this sub-topic, you'll see a different picture.

It's important to note the subtle dishonesty in the quoted passage, here. Even overlooking that it falls back on the old "you'd agree with me if only you really understood what I was saying; since you don't agree with me, therefore you simply fail to understand" cliche, it also posits that I'm somehow I'm worked up and need to "cool off" and that I haven't "consider[ed] the progression" of the thread.

All of which, obviously, is nonsense. As I mentioned above, engaging in a spirited discussion or debate is not indicative of losing one's cool. Likewise, I've considered the progression, and I find there to be no particular reason why I should consider the proverbial picture to be different.

Tequila Sunrise wrote:
And no, I'm not up for dissecting all these post-fragments with you; I'm back at school and don't have the time or the energy.

So you want to respond, but don't have the time or the energy to engage in the actual debate that's going on. That's fine, but it makes it rather hard to discuss the issue with you when you don't want to have the give-and-take that's at the core of a conversation.

That's leaving aside the attempts to mischaracterize my position as "you just don't understand the other side of it," of course.

Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Although I suspect that you're too preoccupied with being right to try this, I'll again suggest that you put on your roleplayer hat the next time you watch a fanservice-heavy show and try to look at the wider picture, rather than focussing on all these little debate points.

Again, disagreement does not indicate a lack of understanding. It's quite ironic that you don't seem to understand this.

Tequila Sunrise wrote:
...After you cool off for a while. Human empathy really benefits from a clear head.

Again, mischaracterizing that I somehow need to "cool off," as well as a new mischaracterization that I somehow haven't developed "human empathy."

Given that you've eschewed debating as taking too much time and energy, but have found the time and energy to try and paint a grossly-inaccurate picture regarding how I'm presenting my points, instead of what those points are, it's rather ironic that you'd position yourself as being in a position to talk about "human empathy."


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Here4daFreeSwag wrote:
Icyshadow wrote:
Guys, can't we just go back to talking about anime?

Sure thing...

The "non-fanservicey" hand giveth: Princess Nine, anime girls and baseball. The director was also responsible for the Giant Robo anime. The dubbed version, back in the day, helped to put ADV's voice talent stable on the dubbed anime fanbase map.

The "fanservicey" hand taketh away: The Familiar of Zero.

[...]

Happy now, everyone?

I strongly endorse this post, since it's pretty much what I've been trying to say all this time: make enough stuff to appeal to everyone so everyone can enjoy what they like, and don't need to hate on the stuff that they don't.

Here4daFreeSwag, you are the wind beneath my wings.


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I always liked Cyric for two reasons. The first was that he got stuff done.

Killing Leira was his opening act after he became a god. Then he created a major artifact that was a threat to all other gods, very nearly bringing about the apocalypse (due to the gods' reaction). He dealt a serious setback to Mask and absorbed part of his portfolio, and forced a rift between Mystra and Kelemvor. Then, he killed Mystra, which precipitated the Spellplague, at which point the other gods finally imprisoned him in his divine realm because he was just that effective.

As opposed to Bane, who did...what, exactly? His stint with moving Phlan and other cities underground accomplished crap-all, and he ended up getting himself and his conspirators killed when he caused the Time of Troubles. He got a new lease on life, certainly, but he's still done nothing with it so far.

Likewise, Cyric is interesting in terms of his character progression. He started off as a flawed mortal, and went through a fascinating arc where he eventually succumbed to his flaws, rather than rising above them. He was rewarded with godhood, where his worst qualities were magnified, and he eventually went insane (but in such a cool way!) only to come back from it thanks to his most devoted worshipper.

Bane, by contrast, has always been a stentorian "I am Evil and will CONQUER!"-style character that never actually conquered anything. He was like Lord Arklon from Beastmaster II, or a Saturday-morning cartoon villain; all bark and no bite.

To me, Cyric is cooler by far.

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