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Alzrius's page

Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber. Pathfinder Society Member. 1,708 posts. 72 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist.


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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: 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."


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Tobin's Spirit Guide.


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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.

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 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.


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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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I'm fairly comfortable with using WordPress as my blog of choice; they're free, and the various applications seem fairly easy to understand - like you, I'm not interested in prettying things up too much, so the bare-bones layout works fine for me.

That said, some of the greater stylistic options are apparently behind a pay-wall, so it's somewhat irritating that I can't make bullet points look like anything but small arrows, for instance.

The only piece of advice I can offer is to treat your blog like a fun pasttime, rather than a chore. Don't think of blogging as something that you have to do on a set schedule - do it when the spirit moves you, even if that means that it doesn't update for weeks, or even months.

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thejeff wrote:

That's the debate we're having.

There were plenty of arguments about whether racism was "moral corruption" or just the natural way of things.

No, it's not. That's the manner in which you're attempting to frame it, but I believe that's fundamentally misguided. No way is mentioning anything about "just the natural way of things" here; rather, this is a debate about whether or not people should feel ashamed to create/enjoy the stories that they enjoy, because they don't live up to the moral dogma of other people.

thejeff wrote:
You disagree and think there's nothing wrong with it, therefore you're opposed to there being any shame attached.

I disagree because I don't believe that the terms you're attempting to impose apply here. This isn't about racism; it's about moral authoritarianism.

thejeff wrote:
In cases where you do think a thing is seriously morally wrong, do you have a problem with using shame and social scorn?

Yes, I do. All that you're proposing here is "the ends justify the means," because you believe that what you're trying to achieve is "right" and therefore it doesn't matter if you damage the people who don't believe as you do.

That's not a reason - it's an excuse, and a poor one at that.

thejeff wrote:
Can't promise I won't fail a save against a new post in a couple days and jump back in though. :)

I'm ready when you are. ;)

Seriously, I think that debate is good, so long as it doesn't descend into acrimony, and we've all been pretty good about that.

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thejeff wrote:
Because as we all know racism in media and society was stopped without anybody ever saying it was bad to be racist.

Because as we all know, a sexy female character in a story (even if it "doesn't make sense" - whatever that means) has the same moral corruption as racism in media and society.

And if such a thing was ever said, that was itself the real problem, because any such accusation is a horrible thing to do to people.

That's why we need to continue to speak out against the evils of communism, Elvis, and Dungeons & Dragons, and not allow people to convince us that such things aren't bad when we know that they put real bad thoughts into real people.

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thejeff wrote:

That's nonsensical splitting of hairs.

Yes. I first used the term, but in reference to your description of the statues. You brought it up. I used a short term which I assumed that you would understand from context rather than repeat the entire bit about statues and Shakespeare every time.

I brought up the fact that one can find erotic appreciation of artwork that also is appreciable on other levels, and that its ability to be appreciated on multiple levels at once is a virtue, rather than a vice. If you wanted to use a short term to encapsulate that, you could have just said "art" rather than "high art" which adds the "high" qualifier, suggesting that it needs to reach some sort of lofty pinnacle to achieve that level of recognition.

thejeff wrote:

Your argument here pretty much boils down to, "I don't agree with the distinction you're drawing, so I'll just ignore it and assume you mean everything - and then use examples that you obviously didn't mean".

Completely disingenuous misrepresentation.

This is a strawman, as you've misrepresented my position here and then responded to your misrepresentation, rather than me.

It's more correct to say that my argument boils down to dispelling the points that Aranna labelled as being objective problems with fan-service, while pointing out that her qualifier of "objectifying except when it makes sense" is a sop due to her inability to objectively categorize "when it makes sense," and pointing out that her standard of "if you want to view objectifying fan-service, go watch hentai" is not only disingenuous for her pernicious insistence that fiction can cause objectification, but would also run afoul of quite a bit of other artwork that is stronger, rather than lesser, for its inclusion of erotic content that presumably "wouldn't make sense" (and I say presumably here simply because she can't make that quantitative).

thejeff wrote:

Like racist stereotype characters.

Or for that matter female stereotype characters.

Both areas in which there has been vast improvement over decades, due at least partly to the exact strategies you suggest.

You do realize that "the exact strategies" that I suggest are to not use public shame and humiliation to somehow make things better for society, right? Because if you're saying that not using those tactics have played roles in making things better over the decades, then I agree completely.

Presuming that you meant the opposite, however, then your point is misapplied as an apples-to-oranges instance. The presumption that people like Aranna are making is that fan-service implants and reinforces negative ideas and beliefs, akin to the insanity of people who say that D&D causes Satanic self-sacrifice, rather than suggesting that such materials are too unpleasant to countenance (if they were, one questions why she's fine with them within the context of hentai anime).

That's leaving aside the counterproductive nature of shaming "bad people" to stop doing "bad things," partly because that drives such sentiment underground and breeds resentment rather than actually changing attitudes, and parly because it's very easy to do terrible harm that can't be undone. Just ask the families of the teenagers who committed suicide due to online bullying.

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thejeff wrote:
The approach is to change what the public wants, which is a harder and slower process.

All the moreso if you don't try to characterize something as being immoral just because it's not to your tastes, and by extension imply that anyone who likes said thing as being immoral themselves, and deserve to have shame and humiliation heaped upon them.

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thejeff wrote:
Fine. You understand. You just ignore.

Incorrect. I disagree.

Bringing up the high art makes that glaringly obvious.

I should point out that you were the one who specifically referenced "high" art to begin with. I was speaking to works of creative expression of all stripes.

thejeff wrote:
That wouldn't fall into the "type of fan service that objectifies women" category, so it's not relevant.

I don't recognize that category, as I don't believe that the depiction of fictitious characters within the context of a work of fiction at all dehumanizes real people, nor that it has any particular ability to modify the attitudes or beliefs of sane, rational adults.

thejeff wrote:

You don't find the distinction meaningful, so you write as if others aren't making the distinction either and want anything arousing to go away. Including things that make sense in context and things that reach the level of high art.

Which is a blatant misrepresentation.

It's not misrepresentation; I find her point about "X kinds of female fan-service is not objectification" to be disingenuous, as I've stated previously, due to the inherent subjectivity of her distinction undermining the morally-objective classification she makes about how "not-X kinds of female fan-service is objectification of women."

Since her qualifiers don't match the nature of her objection, and can't be meaningfully responded to anyway, since she's not quantifying how one judges "makes sense in the context of the scene" (since she can't), the only possible response must therefore overlook said qualifiers and respond to her overall point regarding the supposedly-objective charge of "fan-service objectifies women."

thejeff wrote:
Even in this post, where you say that you see the distinction you do away with it: Hentai is a place for such fanservice (where such refers to fanservice that objectifies women) leads immediately to "all such titillating qualities - at least with regards to female characters should be relegated to porn."

See above. When someone says "this thing is harmful to society, except for these instances that I don't think are so bad," it's not at all misrepresentative to overlook their exceptions, since they haven't quantified them, and debate their larger point.

thejeff wrote:
I won't speak for Aranna and I don't actually agree that the place for such things is Hentai, but I do have problems with fanservice and objectification in anime. Despite that I do see a big difference between a risque scene as part of the plot in a romance anime and upskirt shots in a fight scene in an action one. The first could easily be more arousing, but neither fanservice nor objectifying.

The more salient detail is if you think that such "objectification" is in any way morally corrupt, or has any kind of detrimental impact on society (or at least more detriment than worth, or even more detriment than any effort to remove it would generate).

thejeff wrote:
Drawing that line is of course difficult, as Sissyl mention, and I would oppose any kind of official ban or censorship, but that doesn't mean I don't want to see less of it. Especially when it's crammed into otherwise quite good shows.

Sure, that's your opinion. But you're not presenting your opinion as a fact, by making categorical statements that "fan-service reduces us to sextoys in the eyes of boys" the way Aranna is. I disagree with her, and I feel that she's spreading a negative message that does far more actual harm than what she's speaking out against, and so I speak out against that.

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thejeff wrote:
OTOH, it's a bit of a stretch to say that the usual pantie shots and towel scenes are really high art.

Is it? Note the linked statue of Venus, above. It's considered high art now, and it's a woman admiring her own butt. Shakespeare is full of naughty double-entendres, and it's considered high art now.

Saying that fan-service can't be considered high art - or art of any kind, for that matter - is far, far more of a stretch.

Nor of course did she say that anything "that's at all meant to be arousing or titillating" should be relegated to porn. Just "type of fan service that objectifies women".

Leaving aside the unsupported allegation that fan-service objectifies women, her saying that hentai anime was "a place" to see such fan-service implies that there's no place for it to be found anywhere else. Hence, she did indeed communicate that she believes that all such titillating qualities - at least with regards to female characters - should be relegated to porn.

You may not think she sees a difference, because you don't believe any of it "objectifies women" and thus can't see any distinction.

This is the same disingenuous "you only disagree because you don't understand; if you did understand, you'd agree" argument. I do see the distinction she's making - e.g. her idea that seeing any fan-service of women is only okay (in what I presume is a moral sense of what's okay and what isn't) if it makes sense within the context of the scene's presentation. I just don't find that distinction meaningful, or her overall point to be a valid one.

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Aranna wrote:
Oh there is a place for the type of fan service that objectifies women, under the hentai label. Where there is no question at all about what your going to see when you play it.

Aranna's point is worth underlining here, in that her call for segregating anything that's at all meant to be arousing or titillating for the audience to purely pornographic works is actually a call to lower standards of expectation.

The reason for this is that it's reasonably assumed that any work of creative expression is to be lauded for being able to be appreciated on multiple levels simultaneously. If we can find something appealing in more than one fashion, then we in turn recognize additional merit in that thing.

As an example, one can find a statue to be well-crafted, and so finds it appealing for the skill it conveys. Hence, the statue is appreciated on one level. By contrast, a statue of a historical personage, such as Gattamelata, can be appreciated both for the skill of the sculptor as well as the history that it evokes, being pleasing on two levels.

Likewise, something like the Venus Callipyge, can be appreciated for its skilled work, for its historical appreciation (as recalled in the Deipnosophists), and for its erotic appeal. As it can be appreciated on three different levels at once, it can therefore be enjoyed to a greater degree than the previous two examples.

As such, saying that "all erotic or titillating qualities should be confined purely to porn" is a disingenuous statement with regards to appreciating artwork in any form. It's a call to hold things to a lower standard, masquerading as a higher one.

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Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Sorry bro, but I don't argue with people who make so many offensive assumptions and misinterpretations of my words.

It's telling that you don't seem to recognize the difference between an argument and a debate. All the moreso that you characterize a difference of opinion of being "assumptions" and "misinterpretation" of your words, rather than understanding and finding fault with your points.

If you don't feel up to debating the issue, that's fine, but saying that the other person just can't understand what you're saying, and so it's a waste of your time, is simply disingenuous.

Good talk though. Maybe you'll figure it out someday on your own.

Maybe someday you'll figure out that I've already figured it out, and just disagree.

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So I finished watching My Little Monster ("Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun") yesterday, a thirteen-episode series that was great up until the end. That is, I liked it except for its ending.

A slice-of-life comedy-drama, My Little Monster is the story of two high-school students - Shizuku and Haru - falling in love with each other. Or rather, it's the story of them trying to learn how to deal with having fallen in love with each other.

The premise is based around the fact that both of them are highly unsociable, albeit for wildly different reasons. Shizuku is emotionally unavailable, being withdrawn to the point that she's lost all interest in the people around her, caring only about her grades. By contrast, Haru is emotionally volatile, instantly acting on his feelings without any sense of restraint or decorum.

The two of them end up becoming a couple almost by accident, when Shizuku delivers some schoolwork to Haru's home after he's suspended for fighting, and he misinterprets it as an act of friendship. Overwhelmed by the overbearing nature of his feelings, Shizuku responds in spite of herself, and from there the two of them start down an exceptionally rocky path to being in a relationship.

What makes the story work is that the two of them are so mismatched that they end up balancing each other out. Haru's raw, unfiltered emotions punch through Shizuku's detachment; likewise, Shizuku's withdrawn nature allows her to weather Haru's explosive nature. He winds her up, while she calms him down.

To put it another way, this isn't a story about two people falling in love, so much as it is them trying to figure out how to deal with being in love. Whereas most anime about a couple ends with them finally admitting their feelings to each other, that's where this anime begins - Haru tells Shizuku that he loves her by the end of the first episode, and at the end of the second episode, she tells him that she loves him too. The series is them trying to figure out how to make it work between them.

Unfortunately, where the series stumbles is that it never manages to present an answer to this question. While we watch them go through their misadventures, there's always a sense that they're slowly figuring out what it means to be with the other. But by the time the show ends, there's been no overall resolution. Even the final episode feels like just another tale of happenstance; nothing happens to satisfy the main plot, nor any of the sub-plots.

It's fairly ironic that, much like the main characters don't know what to do with each other when they realize their feelings, the anime doesn't know how to bring things to a conclusion when it runs out of episodes. That's a shame, because it's very heartfelt in its presentation; the characters are engaging for how they're a group of misfits learning not only how to open up to each other, but what it means to maintain a relationship after they've done so. The anime is quite mature in that it acknowledges that simply opening your heart and saying how you feel isn't enough - it takes work to learn how to share your life with someone else.

Overall, My Little Monster was a very good anime that didn't know what to do with itself, and so it doesn't end so much as it just stops. It's a shame, because by the time it does I really wanted to see if Haru and Shizuku were able to make it work between them. While the manga may answer that question, the anime is ultimately inconclusive.

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Tequila Sunrise wrote:
And the tragedy is that a role player such as yourself needs more expound-ment to see a problem with fanservice.

Here I'd have said that the tragedy was that you're objectively stating that something is a problem, rather than recognizing that this is simply an opinion.

Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Maybe the next time you watch a fanservice-heavy anime, role play an impressionable teenage girl with low self-esteem. And then imagine that you always have been and always will be that female anime fan until the day you die.

The sheer number of presumptions made in this example are staggering.

You've highlighted that she's already impressionable - which is either redundant if you accept that all children are this way, or a notable underlying condition if you don't think that all children are this way - and that she has low self-esteem to begin with.

Is it not worth asking why she has such low self-esteem to start with, let alone what can be done about that? Because you've condemned her to remain that way "until [she] die[s]."

One would think that the more worthwhile role-playing would be that girl engaging in some theraputic role-playing with a licensed mental health professional, since there's clearly some sort of reason that she has low self-esteem to begin with which will remain a problem whether or not she ever watches fan-service.

Tequila Sunrise wrote:
That'll be much more enlightening than spending hours and hours throwing every conceivable argument at some anonymous internet posters you feel compelled to argue with.

It's enlightening only to the extent that you don't seem to recognize that, even in the example you made up whole-cloth, the pre-existing low self-esteem is the issue.

thejeff wrote:
What does that have to do with anything?

It has to do with the fact that the example uses a flawed premise.

thejeff wrote:
Showing girls that, regardless of their other accomplishments, they have to be sexy and show off for men, has nothing at all to with "ANYONE being good at anything, being praised, being in good shape, doing anything that might be a problem in any situation, and so on. Is it okay to show elite sports?" Other than you jumping on the Low Self-esteem buzzword.

This presumes that fan-service necessarily encapulates (and flawlessly transmits) the message that "girls [...] have to be sexy and show off for men," which is far from certain.

Likewise, even if children are exposed to that message as an unintended consequence of interacting with the world, the burden is not on the world to stop sending anything that could possibly be interpreted that way. Rather, the onus is on those childrens' parents to make sure that such messages aren't internalized.

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havoc xiii wrote:

Sooooooo My wife and myself tried to watch Magi: The Magic Kingdom of course at the time I didn't realize it was the second season which explains the confusion at first, but someone here said no fanservice....** spoiler omitted **

So far completly uninterested maybe we will try the first season but unlikly we couldn't even finish the episode we were watching.

I suspect that you're referring to me. I should point out that I didn't say that it had no fan-service, but rather that there was almost none, but the occasional scene throughout the first season.

I didn't include mention of the scene(s) you indicated because, to my mind, that wasn't fan-service. Simply put, to me fan-service is meant to be erotic titillation; the scene you mentioned struck me as being purely comedic in nature. It's meant to make the audience laugh, rather than being arousing. As such, I discounted it.

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havoc xiii wrote:
I miss watching supernatural...I got lost somewhere after satan...I know ** spoiler omitted **...but it gets iffy around then.

The entire series (not including the current season) is on Netflix, if you feel like catching up. It sounds like you're up to season 6 or so, which I quite enjoyed; one of the best episodes ever, to me, was "The French Mistake," which was the meta episode to end all meta episodes. Seriously, at one point you had:

Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles playing Sam and Dean Winchester playing Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles playing Sam and Dean Winchester!


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Werthead wrote:
As for the infighting, that is completely plausible. Even in the face of overwhelming threats, vested interests continue to fight one another.

I haven't read the books, but this simply sounds plausible, prima facie. If you consider that the various factions involved treat the Vong threat as a type of prisoner's dilemma, then it certainly makes sense.

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Caineach wrote:
Alzrius wrote:
Caineach wrote:
I thought I watched season 2 on netflix, but I may have gone somewhere else for it.
I'll check again. I'm using Netflix on my Wii U, which while it's great to be able to control it from a tablet-controller, the interface for searching related topics isn't as good as it is on other devices (that is, I can't seem to search by genre).
They change the name to Magi: The Kingdom of Magic, so that does change searches.

Well I'll be damned...that is on Netflix!

Thanks for the heads-up Caineach!

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Grimmy wrote:
If you could only afford Netflix or Hulu subscription and had to choose, which would you choose for anime?

Neither; go for Crunchyroll.

DM Under the Bridge wrote:

Yeah, it is good to be able to personally know more was said than what was subtitled. Tone and common Japanese sayings and how that relates to the context all can factor in.

Education - making anime better.

It was my enthusiasm for anime that led to my getting an undergraduate degree in Japanese Studies. So in my case, it was "anime - making education better."

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Aranna wrote:
I have spoken out against objectifying fantasy art too... I am sure that doesn't surprise anyone here. It was used to lure young boys into the hobby. "Hey look kid you could be adventuring next to that hottie!" And unless I am mistaken somehow... it worked. The same sort of art now is used to lure young boys toward video games.

The idea that "objectifying" art is being used to "lure" boys into the RPG and video game hobbies is fairly difficult to back up. While it's certainly true that the art is meant for the consideration of those viewing it, that's something that's true of all artwork.

Leaving aside the issue of fictitious characters somehow objectifying real people, however, is the issue that it's the artwork that's "luring" young boys into games. Any sort of historical context will inform you that this isn't true.

Jon Peterson, RPG historian and author of the excellent Playing at the World, writes in his article about the first female gamers:


It was Avalon Hill’s magazine The General that introduced the gaming community to itself. Like the War Game Digest, The General started small, with just seventy-two subscribers, though an intense promotion increased the tally to five hundred by the second issue, with steady gains following. The printed roster of subscribers in the first four issues of The General yields only three recognizably female names from a total well over six hundred: Mrs. E. H. Burford, Martha Finch, and then a co-subscription for Mr. and Mrs. James Lee Matthews. The initial audience for Avalon Hill’s games was overwhelming male and youthful, with an average age hovering around seventeen.


At the beginning of 1974, on the next iteration of the survey, Strategy & Tactics reported, “We asked how many female subscribers we have. The number is roughly one-half of 1%.” That article goes on to explain their survey methodology, which they believed reflected “over 10,000 different gamers,” a sum they credibly represented as the largest study group available to the industry.

That figure, that roughly one half of 1% of “gamers” were female, is borne out by other contemporary sources as well. The “Great Lakes Gamers Census” of January 1974, assembled by the Midwest Gaming Association, tabulates more than one thousand gamers in the Midwest. It contains five recognizably female names: Marie Cockrill, Anne Laumer, Denise Bonis, and then two couples: Mr. & Mrs. Linda Anderson, and Mr. and Mrs. Paul Pawlak. It was this overwhelmingly male community which was the target of contemporary periodicals branded for “gamers” like Gamers Guide. And it was this community of gamers which was the intended audience of Dungeons & Dragons.

To put it another way, the RPG hobby - even back when it was still the wargaming hobby - was always slanted towards a predominantly male audience; the artwork has had little to do with why boys are attracted to such types of games to begin with.

Likewise, even a brief review of the best-selling video games of all time will show that they're games for which titillating artwork is nowhere to be found (the top three are Tetris, Wii Sports, and Minecraft). So I find the idea that boys are playing video games because of "hotties" to be one that's somewhat dubious.

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