Regarding the Bravely Second sidequest changes

Another sort-of-addendum to the old post about ethical choices in videogames, where I talked about the Bravely Second sidequests. You probably remember that Bravely Second‘s release in the west was met with some backlash due to several localisation changes. One job outfit was changed to avoid racist stereotyping, a few other outfits were slightly modified to show less skin, but most importantly: the way that the sidequests worked was amended.

Spoilers!

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Chrono Trigger: thoughts on a certain yes/no choice …

Remember when I wrote something about ethical choices in videogames? Uh, I won’t blame you if you don’t, it was a long time ago. Back then I said that there was a specific choice in Chrono Trigger that I wanted to write about in more detail. And then … erh, I didn’t do it. Months passed! But it’s been nagging at me all this time!!!

So I’ll write about it on this fine, sunny day! Spoilers for Chrono Trigger will follow, and I recommend you play this game, because it’s vey good.

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The fun I had last week – Sunday wrap-up

I’m forcing myself to write these posts even if I haven’t managed to write a proper blog post all week. I was kind of busy wih real-life stuff, and … videogames, haha. I’ve been focusing on Dragon Quest VII lately, and made considerable progress. Perhaps I will manage to finish the game before Ever Oasis comes out?

Playing DQ7 put me in a Chrono Trigger mood, because it’s a JRPG, it has Toriyama designs and it involves time travel! I don’t feel like replaying Chrono Trigger at the moment, but I do like to listen to its music and think about its plot and characters.

Square Enix announced a new game by Tokyo RPG Factory, the guys who made I Am Setsuna (another game I’ve yet to complete). Lost Sphear looks a lot like I Am Setsuna, and the trailer suggests that it’s also going to have a melancholic feeling. But the settings aren’t exclusively snowy and the soundtrack isn’t piano-only, so I’m thinking that this game is probably going to have a more open and adventury feel? The plot sounds kind of like The Neverending Story, which isn’t a bad thing, of course. That book will always be special to me.

I’ve decided to quit visiting The Mary Sue. It’s something I’d mostly been doing out of boredom and because I don’t really know any other websites of that type. But since I don’t care for Marvel, superhero movies and Star Wars all that much, most of their content is boring and irrelevant to me anyway. I also think this narrow focus on the biggest franchises is not compatible with the website’s supposed feminist ideals. Most of their resources go towards promoting multi-billion dollar corporations, instead of more obscure stories and creators that don’t get much attention from mainstream platforms. I have a similar problem with AnimeFeminist, who focus a lot on current moe anime available via Crunchyroll, and who have neglected to talk about a couple of manga that should be right up their ally as far as “feminism” is concerned … But anyway, that’s not a fair comparison because AniFem is just a bit disappointing, while TheMarySue is actually loathesome in their hypocrisy and disdain for their readership. The PR disaster surrounding the Geekosystem merger is a great example. For something more recent, try this article, an ad for an unpaid internship at TheMarySue. After commenters criticize the website for not paying their interns, the article is quietly edited to remove any mentioning of unpayment. Which is a bit dishonest already, but to top it all off, a TMS writer goes around the comments smugly telling everyone “Where does it say it’s unpaid?”, which is just incredible disrespectful and insulting and dishonest and so many adjectives more. Basically, this website has no credibility left. I don’t consider it a feminist website at all. I’m not saying that the individual writers and editors aren’t feminists; but the website itself, the way it is organized, financed and run, makes it a very bad platform for actual feminist thought.

I really hate that fandom has been taken over by all these shitty enterprises that try to cash in on pop culture hypes, usually exploiting young, aspiring writers who are naive enough to believe that writing clickbait listicles is going to count as “experience in journalism” and help their future career. A few months ago someone offered me the ~amazing opportunity to work for him for free and get “exposure” – in retrospect, I should have been much less polite. I genuinely hope that all of these websites fail and disappear. Remember: if someone is going to be making money with your work, you deserve to be paid for it; if your business model hinges on unpaid labour, your business deserves to go down.

Anyway … I wonder if E3 is going to bring any videogame news that is relevant to my interests. I hope so. I actually have this dream fantasy that Square Enix is going to reveal Final Fantasy XVI and it will be a “back to roots” kind of thing that melds traditional Final Fantasy traditions with a unique graphics style and more modern elements that feel fresh and unique. I really appreciate all the non-FF titles that Square Enix has produced lately, but deep down inside, I just want to get excited about a Final Fantasy game again. I want to listen to the main theme and get chills of anticipation, I want to save crystals, ride chocobos, stuff like that!

What else? I promise that the next Kenshin post is going to come soon. It’s just such a good part of the manga, I don’t want to half-ass my commentary! I am also deeply in love with Wave, Listen To Me. I wish I was one of those influential bloggers so I could convince people to read it! Alas, I’m not.

 

The fun I had last week – Sunday wrap-up

I am in a race against time: Later this month, Ever Oasis and RPG Maker Fes will be coming out – on the same day, even! Since one of them is technically not a game, but a game creation engine (for noobs), I can easily play them at the same time without getting annoyed. But I still haven’t finished Dragon Quest VII. I haven’t been playing a lot of videogames lately. Some adults would consider this proof of their maturity, but I just feel like a failure.=P  I hate having unfinished games, and when it comes to Dragon Quest, it’s like I’m cursed. But I will finish this one.

So much manga, though. So little time. I am proud of my collection. It’s not especially large, but that’s the point: it’s only titles I actually consider worthwhile or interesting! There are so many Youtube videos where people show off their manga collections, and it’s all about how many books they have, like, the sheer numbers! Many people even say that they keep buying a series just to have it complete, even though they don’t enjoy it. I don’t get that. I wouldn’t have the space for this to begin with, but I don’t see the point of spending money on something you don’t care for.

I feel very disconnected to English-language manga fandom. That’s probably to be expected, because I’m not American and I rarely read manga in English. I speak French, so I buy French manga. The quality is better, the price is lower and there’s a greater choice of titles. But English is the language I’ve always used for my fandom activities, so I’m kind of stuck in my own personal corner!

While tidying up my manga shelf corner, I found a potted plant that I had put in that corner at one point, and then … forgotten. It’s a vriesea … in red, but I cut off (ripped off) the red leaf padle because it had completely dried up. Considering that this plant hadn’t been watered for a couple of weeks, or even months, it must be completely dried out anyway. But I can’t tell, the leaves are still completely green. Apparently this particular plant dries out without turning brown? Or it’s super-resilient. It’s also growing two or three sideways offshoots, which makes me excited about this plant again. The reason I forgot about it to begin with was that it always looked the same … Is there a manga about house plants? There must be.

I bought Dungeon Meshi vol. 1. In the USA it’s being released under its Engrish subtitle, Delicious in Dungeon, but I got the French version, which has the superior title: Gloutons et dragons. Admit it, that’s brilliant! One thing I’ve found surprising about the reception of this manga is that no one is mentioning how very many JRPGs contain a cooking feature. It’s been in some older titles, like Tales of the Abyss, but more recently it’s been in I Am Setsuna and in Breath of the Wild! Just to name some. The feature felt a bit out of place in I Am Setsuna, which really made me wonder when and why “cooking in jRPGs” even became a thing. This is an excellent opportunity to promote the blog Pixelated Provisions, which is dedicated to the worthy cause of recreating meals and food from videogames.

The weather is nice and I am feeling much more energetic than I’ve felt in a while! I’m a loser who’ll spend that energy on videogames, manga and hopefully on blogging.

Friday Ramble

I have been kind of low on morale lately, but Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been a cute, stres-free source of joy, and for this I am grateful. It’s funny because I originally dismissed the show, based on its trailer, as yet another comedy about an obnoxious manchild in a will-they/won’t-they relationship with an uptight female career woman. I was wrong! Sure, Jake’s a manchild, but he’s not disrespectful, inconsiderate or spiteful towards the other characters. And Amy is career-oriented, but far from a humourless killjoy. She’s an awkward weirdo in her own way. Brooklyn Nine-Nine even does the impossible: put Jake and Amy in a relationship – and it’s drama-free, just two grown-ups in a relationship, still being themselves. The weirdest thing. On top of that, B99 also has a great ensemble cast, is socially aware (kids these days call it “woke”, I guess) without being preachy, and it’s also really funny. And even when it’s not funny, it’s fun. It’s my feel-good show.

That having said, I do not understand the AVClub reviews of this show. I don’t really understand AVClub anymore, period. But this morning I was reading the review of the S4 finale and managed to pinpoint my issue: These reviews are anxiety-inducing. They have this undertone of doom, of future calamity. I just don’t have the energy to vague-worry about whether a 20-minutes-long sitcom episode took full advantage of the entire ensemble cast. Or if the cliffhanger’s stakes are believable enough. It’s a sitcom. I’m not saying don’t analyze it, but there’s this weird disconnect between what the show is and what some reviewers treat it as. But maybe that’s AVClub’s thing. The Elementary reviewer still complains about the show being so episodic. It’s a CBS crime procedural. Of course it’s episodic. Are there really no pop culture journalists who understand episodic television anymore?

What else? Videogames.  I’ve no idea why I’ve basically been stalling on Dragon Quest VII. It’s like I’m cursed never to finish a Dragon Quest game (except DQ9;  which – why?) and that’s awful! I am beginning to panic because next month will see the release of Ever Oasis and RPGMaker Fes. At once! I really need to finish DQ7 before I start another new game, but … I’ve not really been able to focus on RPGs at all.

I’ve been playing Pullblox (Pushmo in North America), though, and that’s been great. And the first 3DS game where enabling 3D actually makes sense! It makes it easier to play. I love puzzles.

I’ve also fallen behind on my manga blogging, which is dumb. Must. Find. Motivation. I actually have a half-finished post. Tomorrow.

And I’m currently wondering if I should just give up trying to find an English-language manga fandom. I read manga in French anyway, the French manga market is way better than the US one! But I’ve always done “fandom” in English, it’s what feels most natural. I just wish English-language manga fandom was more … interested in things beyond their horizon.

 

 

Itty bitty Thursday rant

The Blade of the Immortal live-action movie was shown at Cannes Film Festival, so there are a couple more reviews. At this point, I am 98% pessimistic about this movie. Nothing feeds this pessimism more than Rin being described as “prepubescent” and a “little girl” in several reviews. She is sixteen – or at least the manga character is; it’s true the movie character looks much younger. It’s a shame none of the reviewers seem to know the manga, so they can’t talk about the changes, and whether they work. It pains me to read The Hollywood Reporter‘s review, because it praises Takashi Miike and the film’s screenwriter for the story’s moral complexities but completely forgets to mention Hiroaki Samura, the person who actually came up with this stuff. I hate seeing mangaka underappreciated like this. Give credit where credit is due, and the things the article mentions were in the manga, not invented by the screenwriter or the director 20 years later.

Sometimes, I wonder if that’s an American thing, I mean, if it’s related to how the US comics industry is run. Specifically the big superhero franchises, which seem to rotate and change writers as they see fit, but the franchises and characters themselves are owned by corporations. In Japan, a mangaka has much more control over their own work, and the publisher can’t take the story away from them. I am almost certain a lot of people aren’t aware of that. I’ve come across so many garbage “rumour” articles claiming Shueisha was going to fire Yoshihiro Togashi and hire another artist to finish Hunter X Hunter. But that’s just an impression.

 

Why do book series go bad?

It‘s come to my attention that there is a new (seventh) book in the „James Asher“ series by Barbara Hambly. I registered this information with a sort of … grouchiness. This weird mix of disappointment, envy and schadenfreude that I feel towards TV shows and book series that I dropped. The truth is that I really didn‘t enjoy Darkness On His Bones (#6), and judging by the plot description of the new installment, it doesn‘t seem that this was a fluke. The things that vex me about this series are, in fact, intrinsic to its concept and „direction“, and won‘t go away. (Spoilers)

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