Animini: Natsume Book of Friends – Episode 5 – Heart Colored Ticket

The Heck is a Heart Coloured Ticket…?!  I thought I would know after this episode but no! I still don’t know! There is a ticket.. and there is love.. but I do not agree with this title. I would have called it Bootleg Totoro and the Fish..  but then again that might be disrespectful! I don’t mean it like that though.. but it really is about a Totoro thing that is not Totoro … and a fish! I kind of loved it!

The Summary

The episode begins with Natsume roaming in a box of his grandmothers stuff, each time he runs a name he gets part of her memories and he is curious about her life.. or so he claims.. from a Library book she forgot to return drops a train ticket.. leading to a now out of use station. Natsume decides to investigate the ticket the next day. That day Natsume’s classmates fight on how to eat something which I think is chicken.. I have no idea but they call it Kitsune.. I don’t think they are eating fox but well.. they don’t see eye to eye on how to eat this meal thing and decide to separate and never be friends again. Sasada then comes poking her nose into Natsume’s business! What is that ticket? What are you going to do with it? Can I come?!  I wanna see one?!  Stuff like that. Natsume doesn’t want to get the girl that wants to spend time with him around.. so he is super glad the priest’s son distracts her long enough so he can sneak away from her on the bus. (Kind of a dickish bus driver). I kind of want Natsume to like this girl! I like having her positive energy around!

Sasada gets left behind though and Natsume travels to an abandoned station where he finds Santo.. a big furry hippo like Yokai that walks on two legs and dances around and reminds me a lot of Totoro.  Just.. more vocal and less eloquent.  Santo is a friendly Yokai who waits on this station because he got in an argument with a friend once who told them to leave and never return. Reiko met Santo and he gave him her name.. which we find out caused the conflict between the two. Santo gets his name returned and Natsume finds out through her memories that she promised Santo to take him to go see his friend Mikuri the next day. She never delivered on the promises though so Natsume takes Santo to do so. However since years have passed now.. Mikuri became bitter and possessed by Earth Spirits, enlarging his negativity. As a result the forest tries to stop their approach. Mikuri corrupted a huge catfish and Madara fights him  while Natsume and Santo yell at Mikuri to stop! Then the fish possessed by rage tries to steal the book.. but Santo protects it!  A combination of both seemed to work and the still quite angry Mikuri is reunited with his friend.  While Natsume tries to settle their fight he realizes they already settled their fight and are just arguing because they are friends. The next day in school his two classmates are all buddy buddy again and Sasada asks him what happened.  The priest’s son whose name I completely am blacking out on.. gets thanked for the help the day before leaving Sasda clueless still.

The Positives

I really liked Santo and Mikuri , once again the design and flavouring of these Yokai is done very nicely and satisfyingly. The whole  super dumb anime character might be a trope I do not always enjoy, Santo brings so much innocence to it.. but also a form of challenge. He knows what he wants to say .. but he is just too dim witted to express himself leaving Natsume without some valuable much needed information. So he must find a way to work around that. Thus the humor of this episode is actually in service of the story and I am very fond of that type of design. Do not build in jokes because you need a funny moment, make moments you need to tell funny. It offers a lot more charm. Santo being one of the most innocent things you have ever seen is also a nice contrast with the Yokai we have seen normally here. No harm from others befalls upon him.. there is no evil spirit or priest causing him pain. Santo’s worst enemy is Santo himself.. and the promises he made. He never went to look for Mikuri because he promised Reiko  to wait for her and because Mikuri said he could not come anymore. That’s just the type of guy he is and he is in his own way.

I also really like the whole premise of Natsume wanting to dig deeper into his relatives’ past and using a box of memories along with the book that apparently is also filled with memories  is an interesting way to do this. It gives a few puzzle elements and I have been wondering how Reiko was a person. I for now think she was a pretty bad person but Natsume seems to refuse to believe this. She completely forgot about poor Santo though!  I am curious to see where this will go and in fairness the show so far has not done much in terms of establishing an overarching narrative. This could be the first step towards that and if so I am quite on board with this.

The Negatives

I did not like how Natsume ignored Sasada in the last episode, and I do not like here either.  It’s a nice girl that is interested in you and believes in you.. she wants that connection my guy and you have shown to want that sort of connection as well.  I always have trouble with characters that go through self imposed misery and feel depressed for being alone.. but then when  a person wants to be their friend they ignore them.. While Natsume isn’t nearly hypocritical enough for me to actually dislike it.. I see enough of this self imposed negativity to enjoy it less then when Sasada would have played a bigger part. I think her positive behaviour is a welcome addition to Natsume’s more down behaviour.  At the same time though Natsume doing this alone lets the Yokai shine a lot as he doesn’t have a strong personality.. so the spirits always take the spotlight! That has value as well.

The second gripe I had with this episode is in its resolution. The Catfish versus Cat fight  felt a bit sloppy. Tentacles were bitten and pulled..  Elongated cat demon gets snared but transforms.. then bites the fish again.. but then it looks like the fish also bites him.. but maybe its not because suddenly the fish goes poof! ?I had no real idea what was going on there. Natsume was quite badly animated while  wrapped by a tentacle as well. It all just felt a bit muddy and thrown in for some action. I honestly preferred the fight with the earth spirit and the mysterious fog on the tracks. One bad fight scene however does not ruin an episode. Especially when it’s so short.  I would have liked to see more Santo protecting the book though. That might have been the trigger what caused Mikuri to be healed but it at least wasn’t fully clear to me.

The Score

While not a perfect score episode I really had a lot of fun with this episode.  Santo is an adorable character and even Mikuri in his original form is quite adorable. The evil forest chase was very entertaining and.. just Santo being Santo , eating poisoned berries and all it just made me smile. It had little impact all in all but I was still very entertained. It just had a few scenes for me personally that did not resolve in a way I would have preferred. It’s a silver or bronze type situation instead of gold. Still a winner though.

My biggest peeve here is how Sasada was offsided here, and I am afraid I will see a fair bit more of that in the future. I just do not like the lonely character wallowing in their loneliness by shutting off good people.  It really irks me and I have little sympathy for them. As long as this show doesn’t try to invoke sympathy for him being so alone.. I will not have much of a problem , other than just being a bit bitter here and there.. but if they do and try to invoke sympathy while he shuts people out.. that will be a sure fire for me to grow and dislike him as a character. Nothing wrong yet just reporting some symptoms for now. Great episode with just a few concerns. Like.. how was that ticket heart-coloured?

Animini: Hikaru no Go – Episode 25 – Fear and Impatience

Steaming Springs and Sprockets! This anime is just so good! This episode is quite amazing. My dear Island guests I am super happy I started Hikaru no Go.. it is such a humble show.. with such real problems.. it should be boring me to tears because I still don’t understand Go that well.. but I am truly fascinated.  I loved how this episode brought us a conflict that wasn’t really set up…yet makes so much sense in the context of where the journey is going currently! It’s amazing!

The Summary

Hikaru is stuck against a wall again. He has mostly been getting losses recently and isn’t progressing anymore. His chart does show a few wins  but things aren’t going that smoothly. Waya notices this and invites him to join a game session with his masters and some pro’s. Hikaru thinks this is boring but Sai forces him to do so. While waiting for their first session to begin.. Hikaru encounters Ogata in the main lobby when he gets cold feet to join the pro’s.  This leads Hikaru to be invited to the pro-workshop of Meiji Touya where Akira also will be. Hikaru refuses this.. he does not want to train with Akira.. but FOR Akira. Sai cries as Hikaru refuses.. but then Waya steps in , takes them to  meet his teacher and Hikaru feels quite overwhelmed and uncomfortable.  We also get talk of some tournament.. where young pro’s fight Insei! Hikaru wishes to participate and face Akira…but he then finds out he has to become number 16 of class one to even participate.. the pressure is on.

We cut to Hikaru losing a lot of matches and dropping all the way to the bottom of class two again. Dejected we see him get a Soda while listening to another Insei.. much older than him giving up hope to become a pro!  Seeing this inspires Hikaru to try harder… but victories aren’t coming to him. Sai knows why! It is because Hikaru is facing off against an opponent as strong as Sai.. he  punishes every mistake.. and because of that Hikaru has taken a much too defensive playstyle.. He doesn’t risk anything and because of that he can be countered and beaten rather easily! He needs courage in his moves again. Sai trains this in Hikaru and we see the boy perform better and better in the workshop! One day his old teacher, who is part of the workshop , challenges Hikaru to a match! Hikaru now fights with more courage as he goes in for the attack.

The Positives

It has been a while but Sai really comes in clutch for this episode. We finally see him again in the capacity of Hikaru’s teacher, which before was mostly implied to happen offscreen instead.  I am happy we finally see us get some mileage out of Sai as well. It even got some nice set up with the topic of teachers being discussed, thus once again the show slides into its subject matter in a very organic way. The lesson we learn today feels like it’s fits.. because we build up to it. Even though Hikaru’s wall is a completely new obstacle and mostly used as a narrative crutch to probably let him become a lot stronger a lot faster.. the show makes it feel earned. Hikaru training with Sai to master a new step of mastery of the game feels satisfying on all levels. We also see Akira is not bothered by his loss… also showing he has grown!  He handled losses poorly in the past… REALLY poorly yet here we see a much more complex Akira, one that is much more following his own path. He doesn’t care about Oza, he cares about staying ahead of those currently behind him. Losses don’t matter because Akira’s goal lies behind him. Hikaru experiences the reverse. losses matter because his goal lies in front of him.

The last episode I complained about not using any metaphorical visuals.. which can make scenes a bit bland and sterile.. and lo and behold this episode uses visual metaphors. We see Hikaru and Sai battle with Katana’s on that neon version of the Go Board that signifies important matches. THANK YOU that is all I wanted from last week’s episode. This episode is visually so much more interesting than the previous one.  We get less subtle references.. but there is also much less at stake here.. but we get a lot more colour, interesting set pieces, visual metaphors and just all kinds of goodness to keep us with the action. The cast this episode also has a bit more oomph and flavor..  they are more definable to me as.. moustachio man that writes stuff.  The presentation is up by a lot.

The Negatives

Not really any negatives for me this week, just pointers that could have made this episode even better. The first element they could have done is .. not have Sai cry when Hikaru refused to play with Meijn and Akira.Sai lives in Hikaru’s head .. he should know how Hikaru feels , plus there was never really any sense of loss, he would still see pro’s play games.  It is just not THE pro. With Sai realising that Hikaru’s current level has stagnated I feel like he should be smart enough to realise this and him crying once again played for comedy.  I know the man is excited about the sports.. but he is also fascinated by all levels of it.. this felt a bit..ungrateful or something. Nothing too bad, it doesn’t feel like the same Sai we see for the rest of the episode. 

I do still think that the show has too many characters to juggle around. Ogata pushing the rivalry between Hikaru and Akira seems a bit strange but somewhat fascinating.. but now we get Waya’s teacher and his group and we have Mejin’s  workshop click as well, along with the girl Insei now showing up more regularly.. and that boy that really looks like Weevil Underwood from Insei class. It really helps the world of Go feeling large but it also really invokes.. “Wait who is that again”.. and the moment you start thinking you move out of the episode a bit.  Maybe a flashback here or there for the viewer could have come in handy.  This will probably be less of an issue if you binge this show a bit.. but since there usually is a week before I watch these ( I tend to watch them on Saturdays unless I have no time)   if someone doesn’t show up for a couple of weeks all is kind of vague.  A name sign appearing or a flashback could really benefit this cast.. even add some details like rank and stuff. Great info would make the show a bit easier to follow.

The Score

Episode 25 of Hikaru no Go once again gets my highest grade.  Despite Sai crying is a weak scene, I can not say anything but positive about the rest of the episode. It offers a new obstacle.. a new element in the Go puzzle! Emotion! Hikaru must not just play with his head but also with his heart. Otherwise he will get ruled by fear.. and while I do not understand it in terms of Go .. I do know lots of gamers both analogue as digital who are held back by fear who I can wash because I dare to take risks. They play games a lot better than me but because they play the meta.. they become predictable and that can be punished. So I am happy to see the show also addresses this aspect of the game. It makes sense Hikaru becomes super careful from facing superiority all the time. 

There is also yet another subtle reference in this. Akira has his father as a teacher, he  trains the same way Hikaru trains.. but Sai acknowledges that Akira does not share the same flaw as Hikaru. This establishes that Akira still is pretty far ahead..  Because the Insei Akira they faced in the first episode… or at least in the rematch.. was already past this point.  In a way Hikaru is at least one year of Akira’s pace development away from Akira himself. This episode does show that he grows faster though..They will come to clash.. a sense of inevitability is established in this episode.. but when it happens will all depend on if Hikaru can make his current deadline .. adding tension for the future!

Harry Potter and The Piece of Junk : Abigail (2019) Review

I have kind of built up a reputation as a person who reviews weird or bad movies. However in the land of SteamPunk.. I do not have that many options… there is one.. and it will follow soon enough but for most of these I go in blind. Still you have heard me burn movies to the ground but also talk about movies that are so bad that it’s good!  Abigail is NOT so bad that it’s good. It is BAD … yet despite that it’s bad I just REALLY like it. 

The Engine of this Movie

Abigail is the title of a 2019 Russian movie directed by Aleksandr Boguslavskiy. It’s a movie that stars Eddie Marsan, whom you may know from Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2, Sherlock Holmes : A game of Shadows or V for Vendetta.  He plays the father of the title character Abigail who is played by Tinatin Dalkaishvili who played in movies.. whose title I can’t read. But one of them seems to be called 3BE3(The Letter A.. but it Melted)a.  She has a supporting cast of Gleb Bochkove, Artyom Tkachenko and  Rinal Mukametov and some others whose name I can’t  spell without looking at it a billion times. It currently holds a  4,9 score on IMDB based on 2766 reviews and a 40% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 25 reviews. Not exactly high scores and overall I would have to agree with the 5 out of 10 score.. if I review the separate elements.. but I had a lot of fun with this movie! 

The plot of the movie is fairly spoilery in itself. After all the plot is not really revealed for the first 20 minutes so if you are the no spoiler type of person look away now and pick up at the next paragraph. That being said, if you are a person of sound mind the plot will not hold surprises for you long as it is written for the young adults..early adolescent teens and preteens. If you are still here let’s discuss the basic plot. Abigail lives in a city that is closed off and ruled by a tyrannical government no one is allowed to cross “the boundary” because a disease roams there. This disease has also found its way inside their city walls..  when her father gets taken Abigail now grows up into a much harsher and insecure life.. however when she has come to age she learns the truth.. there is no disease. Magic exists and the government has fabricated all these lies to keep the mages out of the city. So the supreme leader is the only one that can do magic and can rule over all in a city of weak people to control! Abigail of course turns out to have magic and discovers a group of magical rebels..With them.. she might have a chance to save her father. In a weird way this movie very much feels like Steampunk Harry Potter (the movies, not the books) .

It’s Junk!

So normally I begin my reviews with naming the positives, however with this review I will get the negatives out of the way. When objectively critiquing a movie one might think to judge points like, Story, Acting, Effects/Looks and Direction and maybe Sound?  Either way this movie drops the ball on all of these aspects. Let’s begin with the Story. While the story of this movie isn’t all that bad the storytelling is horrendous. The story is cut together so rough it at times doesn’t even make sense. We barely know what is going on. Characters suddenly gain motivation at locations we aren’t even sure of what it is or have found themselves rather altered. Somewhere late in the movie Abigail goes to search a location with a theme of people.. literally one second later, they say they searched the entire place and that what they were looking for is not there and that is one of the more subtle cuts this movie makes. 

Characters gain crucial information on screen non stop, random characters are grabbed from the street and acted upon as if they are someone familiar. Even the part where Abigail is taught about Magic is kind of cut.. and this is a movie about her becoming a wizard. There is a lot of exposition about all the forms of magic though! Mages in this world do not use wands, they use junk like containers.. that work as a focus. Depending on if it’s a circle, a square or a triangle.. it does different things. Like square things are used for conjuration.. like summoning a wall of ice or rock , round things are used for evocation and basically are your main weapon and triangle things are used for alteration.. so to use wind to fly higher and stuff like that.. or at least I think it’s like that. It’s always kind of hard to see what kind of things they hold and I don’t think it’s that constantly used. Still there is some pretty interesting world building but.. we do not see the full story here..it feels more like a summary that misses some details.. and I mean that feeling is VERY strong.

This same behaviour is reflected in the direction, it is sometimes.. rather directionless. Shots are muddy and hold still on the wrong person. For example when there is a fight and one person is about to get a kill..the tension is in if they get the kill yet the shot cuts off to someone trying to stop them.. You don’t do that, you want them to fall over and then pan out to the person doing the shooting, it is much more dramatic that way. We get action shots of people walking into a sky fortress but instead of a sweeping overhead shot showing how big this place is.. we just walk in with the characters, we see the enemies with their backs turn.. not only would it not make sense for these guards to have their backs turned to your only entrance.. it also looks boring. First shot of the sky fortress and all we see is blacks and greys.  It kind of feels as if you are watching a soap opera instead of an epic fantasy movie.

That Soap Opera feeling is reflected through by FAR the worst thing this movie does.. it SOUNDS abysmal! This movie is shot entirely in Russia and done by russians but it got released mainly in English! I am not even sure there is a russian spoken version.. I assume there is but IMDB says there is not!  How did those russians speak english?! They got dubbed. The dub is bad… really really bad.. at least from our main character. It’s not that she is hard to understand.. but the delivery feels like she is reading her lines as a bedtime story to her kid… all the time! It feels like one of those older Tales of English Dubs. There is acting.. but it is all said so ridiculously audible that it sounds as if she is doing speech exercises.. It just feels so fake..  kind of like how germans dub things. Everything is so buttery smooth, there is no room tone, never a distortion or a broken line… all the sound is so clean no matter where they stand of if there are engines howling.

This hinders the acting as well, because we get this dissonant. We hear a character speak in a different emotion than we see on her face. Both the voice and the physical acting is overly expressive. Physically there is a lot of soap opera acting.. or how you see actors act on stage. It has something unnatural.. not that it is acting physically bad.. but more so.. this is not how a human would act in a certain situation. Characters that get slapped get the dramatic back of the hand slap so it looks more dramatic on camera or on stage and it doesn’t always match up with the acting we HEAR which amplifies both to look even weirder. At times I had a feeling I was watching a live action Cartoon or a live action anime even.. they are that dramatic as real people.. and that just looks weird.

Speaking of cartoons, some of the special effects look like they got rendered 20 years ago and thus have an incredibly cartoony feeling as well. The way magic works kind of looks cool, but you have no sense what is going on. But the airship, the fantastical creatures and some look like something you see on the SyFy Channel.. you know movies that are usually called Giant Terror Death Crab or  Terrible Terror Octopus.  It just looks too bright, as if shadows are missing or reflections and stuff.  I watch a lot of Corridor Crew videos and they told me how to trick their eyes into making cgi seem like part of the  experience.. this .. while it doesn’t look ugly does not do any blending at all.. it feels as if someone in photoshop is moving these things around. 

It’s Magic

And yet despite all of that, I had a wonderful time with this movie, which is weird because every single part of this movie kind of sucks. Yet that is the thing.. it just kind of sucks.  The story while it skips so much that is hard to follow is quite unique.  Magicians in a Steampunk world.. not being able to be killed because magic will always move on to the next person.. as energies can’t quell.. So instead the government has to find a way to get them all out? That is quite a neat idea. A government who strives for equality versus all versus a rebel group that strives for equality versus all is very interesting. These groups essentially have the same goal yet they are on opposite sites because one pursues no magic, while the other wants magic for everyone.. or no inequality for those who are magic at least. There are some really interesting concepts here. The way how magic works in this world following the principles of alchemy in a way.. is a very neat concept and it’s nice how subtle the references are at times! 

While the magic kind of looks awkward and you don’t really get what is going on.. the way of casting is quite unique.. It has this Harry Potter spell duel vibe.. but it feels much thicker.. less colour coded.. there is a lot of black and a lot of red in there.. but is it a fireball or is it arcane energy.. it isn’t exactly all that clear.  Yet that also makes it completely unique in it’s own way.. the fairy might look ugly but it is this movie fairy it doesn’t do that standard thing it is it’s own thing. The way it uses steampunk elements to work with casting.. not only in the devices but also in some magitech later on.. it’s charmingly unique in it’s very core.  It has something video-gamey .. or tabletop rpg like, with a major battle taking place with mages having their abilities nullified.. and the fight being on two fronts.. one with a very VERY videogamy puzzle and on the other hand a steampunk sword and crossbow fight that feels quite disney. .. if directed by a intern…

Even that super fake voice over at one point really kept me entertained.. not persé as a movie product but because it made me feel like I was playing an old timey rpg, or maybe listening to a fairytale audiobook or some youtuber do their own fanfiction  thing.  It felt cheap but in all the right ways… I did not enjoy it because it’s bad.. but it’s like seeing this helpless creature .. like a turtle on its back struggle! You just go N’awwww Abigail and you flip the turtle back up and you watch it hobble on for a bit still charmed by how klutzy that was. I always said I liked Pokémon that feel to clunky to be fully functional.. things  like Wobuffet, or Stunfisk or Dunsparce. This movie is a Dunsparce.  For those who don’t know Pokémon, I guess this movie feels like Krillin from Dragon Ball and subsequent stories.. mostly Z or Super Krillin… The movie is several steps behind the pack and gets blown away by just about everyone… but you can not help but care for the little thing!

It’s Fun

Using logic this thing.. it should not work.. this should not be as fun as it was to me.. and given that it’s only getting a 5 out of 10  by everyone else.. or even a 4 shows that.. but I argue that it is a 5 out of 10 movie because it is a 1 out of 10 movie and a 9 out of ten movie combined.  It has the charm that we can look past it’s flaws and say… sure little guy I had an okay time with you.  After bad dubbing, bad special effects, a cut up story and bad, bad direction (which I don’t have any justification for unlike the rest) what remains is still a movie that is okay. So in a way everything we can not quantify, anything that would be like the movies “feel” , the “spirit” it’s “emotional experience”  that is done so well that it makes this movie “watchable”. If we tally everything up.. we get a movie that is just watchable! This seems to be the consensus with movie goers that reviewed this as well… yet it reacts almost unlike anything else.

Nowadays when something scores a 7.0 it’s reviewed as if it is not worth watching, there is better stuff out there. Something that scores as 6 isn’t even talked about.. and yet it is this thing that people also mostly review for a 5.. that everyone says… yeah it did enough, it’s a bad movie but I was entertained and that is fine for once.That is what makes this movie so special. It has cute costume design. ..even though that also feels a bit over designed..but I will remember a few of these characters.. from a 5 out of 10 movie. It really has that Harry Potter charm (written by Daniel Radcliffe that series is)   infused in its DNA. Even though it sucks… ..in every way … it’s fun.. not because of the fact that is sucks but despite of the fact.. and that makes this movie special to me. I should rate this one Okiwi but because it is that.. it’s so special it even gets an upgrade.

Animini: Revolutionary Girl Utena – Episode 2 – For Whom the Rose Smiles

How delightful to re-acquaint ourselves again , my dear Island Guests. The first episode of the absolute classic Utena , did not float my boat all that much. I had fun watching it for sure, but it was a bit direct in it’s themes and I did not have much fun with world building yet. Look and behold the second episode did way better for me! This episode pleased me quite a bit and I now look forward to see more! Not only did I got to understand the world a bit more! I was also introduced to one of my favourite anime pets yet!

The Summary

Utena is picking up her normal school life again when she is reassigned to a new dorm..or people are assigned dorms.. I am not sure , because they had school before.. would it not make sense to get a dorm room before you start school?! Regardless.. Utena is send to a dorm that her bestie tells her has been out of use for years. Which is quite strange, while her bestie glomps on to her Utena walks both of them to where they have to part ways for now.. moving into her own dorm it looks quite cozy.. until she opens the door that is supposed to lead to her room, which turns out is a mouse infected hellhole. Utena closes the door quite shocked and waits for a bit, just to find out Anthy has since almost cleaned the entire room and it is livable for them to live together. Utena is amazed by the coincidence of them living together and Anthy explains to her there is no coincidence.. since Utena has won the Rose bride.. They are now engaged and have to live together according to the rules of the student council.  Utena doesn’t want anything to do with this engagement and Anthy is being quite vague with her.. until she introduces Utena to her pet Chuchu!

Chuchu is like a mini-monkey mouse thing. It looks mostly like a monkey but it is mouse sized and seems to have mouse ears. It loves sweet things and it is just adorable! Utena much like me takes a shine to the little creature and gets  to be lucky enough to befriend it. Anthy explains that others who wield the rose signet will come to challenge her to be engaged to Anhy, while  the student council president reveals they want the power of Anthy to start a revolution. The latter happens in a cutaway of course. Every student council member neatly coded by the colour of their hair. Saionji wants to dominate Anthy again so he comes to visit to challenge Utena to a duel and asks Anthy to go into submission.. he should own her.. Anhty refuses and Saionji steps on Chuchu and treats it badly, he challenges Utena to a rematch and she agrees , planning to lose it to be done with this weird duel stuff. The dark skinned woman seems upset but she can not disagree with Utena and tells her to do what she wants. The duelist fought on the same location again and now for the first time Utena pulls out Dios.. even though she still plans to lose with it.. during her fight she seems to become possessed by the spirit of the prince and finds new zeal.. defeating the green haired vice president in a duel . Having shown a new power.. the actual president becomes intrigued by the girl. Back at the dorm when Anthy asks why Utena won. The pink haired woman in a male school uniform informs her she did not want Chuchu to be bullied so she had to win. Anthy then smiles and the episode ends.

The Positives

This episode was soooo much better than the first. Utena isn’t drooling all over Anthy now and clearly takes a colder stance towards her.. mostly because she is so much more than she bargained for.. this makes Utena feel much more human. I also like how cold she reacts to the whole engagement thing. It isn’t real to her, which makes sense since she doesn’t understand how this new world really works. It does wonders for how the plot goes and  makes it all a bit more subtle. She is much more a sweet human being now rather than a carbon copy of a fairy tale trope. Anthy also isn’t as “submissive”  while she still really is in service of Utena; the girl doesn’t speak out some feelings or answers. She hides her thoughts a bit but we as the audience get to see there is more going around her head. Which gives her a lot more depth and at least shows me she can think for herself. The duel is also a bit more interesting, because Utena plans to lose I can wonder, does she indeed plan to lose but regret and come back later, does she find a reason to win?  Even knowing the show’s premise a bit from the opening.. with this episode I feel like it can go several ways. It keeps the plot more engaging. The mystery in the end made me want to see more.

Now.. let’s dedicate an entire paragraph to Chuchu!  I love it!  It doesn’t speak so it’s less annoying than Kon, it has loads of personality and its finally something that has nothing to do with roses. If the pet would have been a bee.. or a humming bird or something that goes for flowers, I would have found it all a bit stale.. but no this shook that up for me.  I did not expect I needed to see a monkey mouse fall into a piece of cake today.. but I did!  It is really good! I also like that Chuchu becomes the center of Utena’s affection…for now, once more it’s very humane that you bond with a creature  at least a bit faster than with a human.  I have an easier time to believe a girl who knows another girl  for a day or so would have an easier time finding zeal and passion in protecting a pet from being kicked as keeping up an engagement you may or may not be invested in. Utena probably does have those feelings toward women.. but she needs to grow into such a bond. While with something as cute as Chuchu such a bond can be instantaneous. No I don’t believe in love at first sight.. so Chuchu really is a great engine for character motivations for me now.

The Negatives

I have very little negative to say. From a story perspective a few things do not make sense to me yet, such as the meaning of the castle in the sky, what the location is the student council meets and why none of them have chosen to talk to Utena yet on how she got that ring.  Yet this episode showed me we will ease into it and it is a mystery that we will probably solve alongside Utena.. so while I at times feel lost and some elements feel disconnected, I think this show aims for it to be that way. It wants us to wonder what is going and and slowly link these things that make no sense together..  together.. I did notice that the prince came from the upside down castle. Could Utena be from the upside down world. Utena and Anthy almost feel like inversed names of each ofther as well.. but not really.. just kinda. Anyway there is still a lot of ideas floating up there.. but I don’t dislike that as much as i did in episode 1.

If there is one thing I disliked it’s the music. The version I am watching has those chorus songs translate as well and they just seem so random.  The whole Utena walks up the staircase footage while talking  about the Apocalypse and Shangri-la already was weird but then during the fight scene we get a chorus droning all sorts of fossils.  Trilobite Ammonite.. etc. The heck?! If this is because they are fighting in a school I think this is really forced. It’s kinda funny and random but seeing Trilobite randomly pop up in my screen as a weird really distracted me and pulled me out of the fight. I could do without those. Also Utena walking up a stairs is not as interesting as a magical girl transformation so I would like if they don’t stock footage that to often.. but I am probably out of luck there! I am not even sure how I call this flaw.. over stylised maybe?! Kabutops, Meowth Magnmite.. Mudkip Lairon Meditite…. See I told you that kind of thing was distracting.

The Score

Chuchu and a much more human Utena push this episode much much higher up then the previous one. This was very good! I like the improvements they took and I adore how the world is coming together but the characters do not just blindly accept their faith ,,they are human above all and that will pay off later. When characters fall in love I will like it better because it feels as if a human becomes in love.. when someone gets hurt or is lost, I will cry because a human is lost. In this second episode Utena shed off that skin of a character that makes things happen.. and Anthy kind of broke the exposition dump trope.. saying something have to reveal themselves. With more and more magic and mysticism bleeding in I also am becoming more intrigued to how his is followed up.

The  odd choice on what to turn into stock footage and the bizarre music choices do knock it down a peg for me though. Storywise I think the show is on a very good track to become more a show I can get into! I do feel this might be a slow burner for me and I will not be sucked in right away and it might take me a bit to give these odd choices a place but hey if the episodes stay like this by episode 5 there is no way way I am dropping it early so that is one Distortion World of a change. Very very good episode that took away many many doubts I had after episode 1. 

Kawaii Mini Blimp takes down Mean Trains 20x it’s size! Steel Empire Review

16-Geared Greetings for a 16-bit Game! My dear Island guests for SteamPunk month we are playing a few interesting Steampunk games. I am still working my way through Dishonored, as I am not very good at sneaking games! I lack the patience and  can’t exactly tell how not to be spotted. I am MUCH better at Retro games and I fairly quickly adapt to old timey side scrolling shooters. So when I found a Steampunk one I was pretty happy!  After I played this game I still was pretty happy!  Though I may have punched my table in anger as well.

One Blimp to Rule them all!

Steel Empire came out early 1992 for Sega Genesis and has since seen several re-releases such as for Gameboy Advanced, Nintendo 3DS and even Steam. Created by Hot.B which at the time allegedly was a one man studio, and published by Flying Edge in the west, this game is a quite overlooked gem that still has a pretty loyal fanbase.  Steel Empire was published in Europe under the name Empire of Steel which from what I have seen has also a few minor colour variations when it comes to enemies.  Though that might be my imagination! This review is based on my own playthrough of Empire of Steel as well as a Let’s play of the American version of the game. I did this to get some insight in how to play this game, as I wanted to see as much content of the game as possible without having to study patterns for days on end. 

In this game you play a talented but nameless pilot of the Silverhead Empire in the age of 18XX which might tell a story about an alternate course of events… OR  is set more than 1800 years in the future where all resources have depleted. Sources are contradicting each other on that. The world is fully dependent on the power of steam.. except  for your Silverhead Empire which even has the power of coldfusion.  However you live an isolated life (Wakanda Forever) in the antarctic.  The rest of the world is dominated by the evil Sauron (yes.. that’s his official name)  who has vast armies as he marches on the Silverhead army to obtain their ultimate weapon, the Imamio Thunder.. also known as “The Lightning Bomb”. If Sauron gets his hand on this weapon he will surely dominate the world.. so you can board a tiny plane or a tiny blimp to stop him! But it will take you seven stages to do so. Now I must admit Sauron is the Japanese name of the guy.. because it kind of brought associations with them.. but let’s be honest.. I rather say I took lord Sauron down with a Blimp.. wouldn’t you?!  Plus calling him Styron in Europe and the USA is like having two Richards in the group.. so you call one of them Dick.. It’s still short for Richard.

Red Hot Action

This game, for the most part,  plays like a horizontal space shooter like Gradius, Pariodius and of course Chou Aniki (Something Something) plus like one third of the games on Action 52.  It does follow some classical genre tropes like harsh difficulty,  near bullet hell gameplay and upgrading your weapons and obtaining limited screen clearing attacks.  If you played Gradius or R-Type you know what to expect here!  Tiny ships about your size that blow up in a single hit on your way to a boss.. and then a boss that is like 1000x times your size and shoots from every of its many openings.  With spaceships this always kind of made sense to me.. you know.. there are always several classes of ships .. gradius is Just a story about an X-wing taking down dreadnoughts.  With the Steel Empire however.. everything is steampunk flavoured so we get a Blimp that is ..”regular  sprite sized”   fighting a train.. that doesn’t even fit in the screen. Not even half!   So  this is a train that is roughly three times high as a blimp.. and 40 x as long.. if not more!   That is one big train! But I kind of imagine it is just one really tiny blimp! Which is just a guy sitting in it.. and that’s all the space he has! Held afloat by some hydrogen just!. I always chuckle imagining that.

Where this game differs a bit from its peers is that you can shoot to the front and back. While Silver Surfer on NES also has this function for example this game  uses the Sega’s three button system to make it feel a lot more natural and a lot more effective.  We have one button to shoot forward, one to shoot backwards and one to release a screen clearing Lighting Bomb should we have them.  The arrows control which direction you go.. and that is all she wrote gameplay wise.. .or is it?! Steel Empire, like most other games, relies on killing enemies to drop weapon upgrades. However in this game it’s not just weapon upgrades. It’s an experience! By gathering 3  experience tokens your ship levels up, which might make weapons more powerful, it might make it a bit faster or it might give it more health. What is even cooler.. dying does not affect our weapon level (as long as you don’t play it on the GBA and for the love of all that is sacred .. do NOT play this on GBA). So as long as you have lives left.. you may be better equipped to fight the boss next time.. because you can level up.  Each of the seven stages is divided in two sections. At the end of section A you always fight a midboss and at the end of section B you fight the final boss of that stage.

Empire of Steel as I should call it has a fairly strong narrative. EAch is delivered through a flickering cutscene that looks as if you are watching one of those old war time movies. Maybe even before.. The missions you get are quite diverse and fun, with some stages more dependent on your fighting skills while others rely more on your flying skills.  As a rule use the blimp for the odd numbered stages which are more combat focussed and the plane for the even numbered stages. This isn’t a hardset rule and you can play this game as you like.. but it seems to work out the best. For example Stage 1 is a straight up clone of regular R-Type gameplay.. where you face a train at the end, while stage 2 is flying through a collapsing cave at high speeds. Stage 3 has you assault an enemy base.. while in Stage 4 you take on a flying fortress.. that means you have to maneuver in a lot of tight corners.  Stage 7 feels more like a double Boss Rush in space.. that’s right! In this game you do go into space.. and you can be a BLIMP in space! Just for that alone this game is worth playing! The action is fun and the patterns are challenging as so cheers to Hot.B

Red Hot Air

Unfortunately this game also falls in a LOT of pitfalls of the genre, which.. if you like this type of games may or may not be a problem to you. It happens in almost every single game in the genre.. so I can’t really blame it for doing the same.. but some things are quite annoying. The most obvious would be the bosses. While you face seven stages you expect to fight seven bosses.. and seven minibosses.. but in reality you face either more or less depending on how you look at this.  In stage one you fight a train as a final boss, and on stage 5 your fight another train.. sprite swapped.. with only slightly different attack patterns.. when I say slightly different attack patterns I mean it shouts either bigger pellets or faster .. or both..  In stage three and six or  you fight the same boss as well.. though one time the ship is green the other time it’s red!  To make it more annoying.. the second time you face it.. you don’t have to kill it once but you have to kill it twice.. and as such the game really feels padded out for gameplay time in places.. which isn’t needed because this game is kind of too long as it is. I would have preferred five stages with more diverse bosses. The minibosses also get repeated so in the end we only effectively fight 6 ish enemies in a grant total of 14 fights.  

However like I said that is super common, what is less common is the way boss fights work, which makes them both unique .. but also a bit weak at times.  Though this mostly applies to sub bosses. They work by having several hitboxes and you need to destroy them all. Which is fine.. it really makes utilizing the shooting back and forth function more viable and fun.  The issue however is that these bosses  most of the time don’t fit the screen and you are moved from front to back  at regular intervals.  Your aircraft can not move the edge of the screen that happens based on time… so say you are fighting a battlecruiser and have destroyed everything in the front.. you can only start moving to the back when the screen wants you too.. and if you don’t go fast enough from there it will send you back to the front again where you might not have anything left to destroy.. it basically just lowers your guard  and allows the game to sneak in a few cheap hits by killing your attention. One enemy is super frustrating because he can only be hit by your secondary weapon as you can never shoot straight down or up..so some fights can get a bit tedious.

This doesn’t really ruin the space shooty fun.. but does have a chance to ruin your fun is the continue system. You get relatively few continues and will never EVER be able to make it to the end in a single playthrough. Using all your continues gives you a game over and sends you back to the beginning. Classic arcade rules and another way to pad out time. There is however a level select code.. which unfortunately is useless.  If you need to start at stage 5, 6 or 7 again using level select codes brings your weapon power back to level 1 .. with that amount of health  and fire power there is no way to beat the game.. so the cheat code is pretty useless.. unless you also cheat in weapon upgrades.. and that requires a second genesis controller..which you won’t always have laying about playing single player games.  So cheating to skip levels.. doesn’t do anything. This is kind of annoying considering that some strategies you might not discover on your first playthrough because the game can change its own rules. For example in the final battle there are asteroids on the battlefield which just exist to hinder you.. the boss can shoot right through them.. however in his final phase he gets a huge powered solar sail and fire’s screen filling  fire eye at you.. wait how ISN”T this sauron?  The only way to stay safe is to hide behind the asteroids.. which goes against all previous rules so you will never guess it first try and will gameover here.

Solid as Steel

Like I said most of these things are gripes that come with the entire genre so I don’t think it is completely fair for me to judge the game on those.. it’s just elements of why I like  vertical space shooters a bit more.. They tend to be a tad more straightforward.  Stage 6 of this game however is super frustrating. You decent underground  dodging sky forts down in a small way. you have to blow up bridges fast enough or know   how a fort looks .. to dodge it properly.. thuus you need to have played it before.. When I game overed in this stage I nearly quit out of anger.. and I punched my table.. yet after taking a few breaths I realised I was having fun and I wanted to try again. That is where this game really shines. It is not fair, it is not easy and it is designed to make you at least fail one.. perhaps even twice. Yet that is how these things work.. it’s like a crane game where you push that Plushies closer and closer to the edge.. you can’t stop investing in it. 

So now that I decided not to weigh it’s genre errors against it .. is there anything left to critique ?  Yes there is! The music is incredibly inconsistent! Some tracks are absolute zingers and remind me of the classic Sega tracks while others are really bad and lack that Sega.. Grayish sound. With Gray sound I mean that metally.. industrial sound that Sega has compared to Nintendo.. if Nintendo makes a track for say .. F-Zero it would sound Blue.. Red and Potentially Gold.. If Sega would do it it would be Brown/Copper, Silver/Grey and Navy. That’s how it is supposed to be.. but here.. we get way to tranquil music.. almost pastel colour like at times which do not fit this game at all. There are a few very good tracks in the game that sound Sega.. but in a Steampunk game it should have been more.

Weirdly one of the biggest issues the game has.. to me kind of became a strength. This game has a lot of lag/slowdown when a lot of stuff is being shot at you. But because of the difficulty I welcomed it.. it allowed me to skillfully dodge these shots as the controller reacts perfectly in unison with the lag.. as it almost was a form of Bullet time. It wasn’t but trough this lag I could learn so many patterns.  There is a lot of stuff happening on screen.. but in a way we get at least a bit of time to analyse what is happening here!. The gameplay is simple enough and the sea of bullets is dense enough to look impressive but never as big to cause dispair.. due to the slowdown I kind of ended up feeling like a major badass perfectly steering trough.. even when the game did not lag as much those earlier moments training with it made me just so much better. This is finally a horizontal shooter I can beat, and it is one with a unique setting and nice mission structure too. 

The game has a lot of issues.. but it is also a game that keeps being fun despite of its issues and that is what makes a good game, at least in the retro department. Is it a classic? No.. but if you want a Steampunk game for an evening you can do a lot worse than this!  It’s charming to be a Zeppelin that takes down huge trains!  It has a unique and fun presentation, and the blimp is just cute! Especially in the later stages when everything is bigger than you.. but you have leveled up so much that you can decimate the screen easily. It’s super weird yet it’s also super iconic  and this retro game walks a good line between unique enough and classic enough to be fun in this day and age! A very solid game..maybe not the way Scott calls his games solid.. but 7 out of 10 solid!

Animini: That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime – Episode 20 – Yuuki Kagurazaka

Steamless Salutations, my dear island guests! That is right.. we are out of coals and for the moment are without steam.. This is all a very convoluted way to say that this show itself, for me personally, is quickly running out of steam as well. As this show has since the defeat of the Orc-lord for me personally quickly devolved from a series I really love and have fun with.. to just a series I dislike that I don’t like it enough! While the potential is still there.. and the set up is still great.. I feel the writing talent is really lacking.

The Summary

After turning the Megalodons that accompanied Charbdis into sushi and other amazing foods the town of Rimuru has a great party to celebrate their victory over Charybdis. Or I guess over the Megalodons because Mlim just one shot the monster that is supposed to rival a demon lord.. of course the government officials don’t partake in drinking and show off their boobs in a hot-tub again instead. Rimuru asks Milim why she became a demon lord and tells she can’t remember.. while three episodes before she proclaimed it was to perpetually fight strong people. Maybe it is her being more genuine here.. maybe it is inconsistent writing.. but the scene doesn’t go anywhere. Milim suddenly remembers she has to work.. changes into clothes as the group claps for her and she zooms off. Everyone wishes for her to return soon, though Rimuru is kind of okay she is gone for now or so it seems. That night Rimuru has a nightmare of sorts.. a vision that shows Shizu wants him to train the children she was training. Feeling compelled to do so Rimuru leaves the town of Rimuru behind for a bit and goes to the realms capital to find the school that Shizu worked on. 

Now I am pretty sure that this doesn’t make much sense timewise. Rimuru apparently has been in the other world for two years now and I think Shizu trained these kids way before Rimuru came here. But I might have misinterpreted a line or two.. it felt weird to me that these kids were still 10 year old.  From what I gathered kids are summoned to this world around the age of 10.. to become powerful warriors but because their body can not hold the power it explodes at one point.. no longer than five years after they arrived. So how are these kids all 10 year olds..still if Shizu thought them 2 years ago?! I am not sure.  Regardless Rimuru first visits the headmaster of the school.. who is the kid that taught Shizu the line about Slime.. he is an other-worlder as well.. The two get acquainted, Rimuru makes him some Manga from Memory and the two weeb out for a moment. He then offers Rimuru the job to teach these children to do right by Shizu. The moment Rimuru walks in the classroom he is almost killed by an ultimate attack wondering why these dying kids have so much energy.

The Positives

Milim not being a permanent addition to the group and her going to do her own thing was a welcome change, even though she got adopted into the village it is nice to see that there is at least some form of consistency in the fact that Mlim still is a demon lord and has her tasks to do.  In a way it is also nice to see Rimuru leave the village.. even though the building of the city is what at this point had me most invested in this show, the change of scenery to a more urban setting works nice and the machinations of the huge city are compelling, fun and creative. The show is pretty good at world creation.. not world building.. but world creation,  as in coming up with new interesting elements to create a fantastical world filled with diverse places.. they don’t connect all that well.. but as far as imagination goes this show really does well. I also like the idea that the concept of Isekai is rather common in this world and there are two ways to do this. It in a way spoofs how many Isekai shows there are and shows how likely it is that you end up in such a world. I personally would have loved to see this concept be taken a bit further as all Other-worlders now come from earth and I would have liked to see them draw people from other worlds as well.. especially since earthlings explode at a certain age.. but I still admire the creativity poured in it all.  I also like seeing Rimuru excited about something simple as Glass.. though this is later a bit negated. It makes him feel a bit normal again.

I also very much liked the level of geekism on display. Rimuru and Yuuki , the headmaster person thingy  really geek out and they discuss real life geeky things. No Snoka Koala and Peepsie .. Yuuki flat out asks Rimuru how many Final Fantasy Games there are now.. to which he replies.. 19.. which makes me wonder.. does he live in the future or does he kind X2 and 13, 2 and 3.. if so he has to count Crisis core as well to reach 19 but why would you call crisis core?!  Or does he count Final Fantasy IV the After years?!  Who knows! At one point there even is a Salt Bae Meme I think. The show does know who it’s audience is and pleases them, the people that matter in this world think like us and act like us and that adds a lot of relatability to this episode and gives it some much needed charm.

The Negatives

The writing though… isn’t good! It isn’t good at all. The Milim thing seems like one of the easiest contradictions but like I said.. I don’t get how these kids fit in the timeline of Shizu. With the stories Eren told before it doesn’t seem likely these kids are 10 still? Or is it that they are brought here when they are five and explode around the age of 10?! It could be.. because that is certainly implied at the end.. but Shizu is a summon as well, and she did not die.  The logic is that if you are transported to the new world you are given a new body that gathers power.. and eventually it becomes to much and says “pop”  sort of speak.. but then why would someone as powerful as a Demon Lord summon Shizu and stuff an Efreet down her body.. would that not make matters worse? If the Demon Lord knows putting a demon in them helps.. why would the countries not know this?! It’s not like they care for the humans they summon, they are intended as weapons so how would that cross a line?! I don’t see it make any sense.

This bad writing also applies to Rimuru in this episode. Does he have a photographic memory now that he can produce all these Manga’s he has ever read? If he has had that perfect memory due to great Sage.. why does he not ask Great Sage why he does not ask school books he read, or maybe to put a documentary he saw on making things to paper.  He could ask Great Sage how people in manga would take down a monster like the one he is facing to get a strategy.. it just feels like something he could have used. If he is this impressed by glass.. why doesn’t he make it inside himself.. all he needs is sand. Rimuru gets past a checkpoint showing his ID while masked, which also doesn’t make too much sense. He has a reference from Veldt sure.. but wasn’t it established those types of mask were worn by Majin? Would you really let someone walk through like that? Must have been one hell of a reference. Finally I find it kind of weird that teaching kids, will be the arc you will end season 1 on.  Should season one not just be about making the village.. as much as I hated the Charybdis arc… I think it would have been much better if the final four episodes were spend on fleshing that out more. Also what happened to that whole just a helpful slime rumor plotline?! It seems completely overwritten by the fake ID thing.

The Score

While I do see an improvement from the last few episodes I think this show is written super poorly, this arc should have happened before Charbdis at the very least,  Probably even before the Orc-Lord arc.. Now so much things so not make sense to me. Even if we say normally these kids die at around of the age of 10, the Shizu arc happend early in RImuru’s time here.. so I will assume.. maybe an half year in or so.  That means 1,5 years have passed which is at least a third of the time these kids have spend in this world.. How can they still remember Shizu so fondly, even at best she has been dead for a good year. These are small kids..their first reaction would not be.. this person kind of looks like Shizu. Had they been raised properly I could kind of understand but they are shown to be kind of childish otherwise..so it all just fits together really poorly.

In the end we got is like an artwork of a hobby painter trying to mimic a Picasso. It’s not a masterpiece.. but it is something interesting to look at.. it just does not make a beaverdam lick of sense if you look closer.  I will admit I have fun with slime.. sortoff.. during my watch but as soon as the episode passed I feel like.. wait.. but this.. and this.. and this.  So perhaps I am watching this show wrongly.. perhaps it is a show to bing a couple of episodes and when you are tired you just go to bed. However I have fallen out of love with this show hard… I feel like the Mangaka really tries to mimic how Oda builds his worlds in One Piece, with stuff happening everywhere in the world .. showing there is more to the world than just our heroes. For what it is worth he shows in this episode he can create interesting locations and interesting elements.. however.. when you pivot them all around the main character.. it doesn’t feel like a living world anymore. Oda’s villlains will act DESPITE  of Luffy’s existence and that is why that amazng world building works..once more this episode introduces a new interesting element.. but by letting it revolve around Rimuru it doesn’t stand on it’s own.. and it feels like a way to pad out your Manga,, and that is why this episode is sub-par for me.

Animini: Samurai Flamenco – Episode 21 – Teaching Love

Noooooooooo Moe-chaaaaan! Please be safe! Stupid Hajii deserves to die for what he did to you my sweet blue spring flower!  He even scared me out of my Steampunk outfit because I am so worried about you! .. Where last week I nearly dropped the show.. two episodes before the end of the show, which shows up how messed up it was,  this week I absolutely am blown away…but if they make Masayoshi the actual villain here.. this entire review is null and void! In  fact.. if they go the stupid route.. this might be the first post I will ever delete.

The Summary

Episode 21 begins at Masayoshi’s hotel, we see him contemplate killing himself so that Hajii stops. He now seems a bit more certain that the boy is not in his brain.. but if there is no one for him to torment his friends are safe. He calls Mari and  warns her about Hajii. Mari does not seem worried but asks about Goto and if they have made up again.. this  does not happen. Too worried about her love interest and not happy about him missing his friend she misses the time to drink her coffee and they have to go on stage. Mizuki and Moe collapse.. their eyes totally white.. big foam on their lips.. my heart drops and I am about to chuck my laptop out of the window.. No one hurts my Moe! Luckily the pair seems to have survived.. their stomachs get pumped and now we have to wait and see.. and no it isn’t resolved this episode so I am not sure of my darlings fate! While Masayoshi watches the news report about the attack on MMM in relative silence.. he gets a call from the hospital. Joji is finally awake and he wishes to talk to Masayoshi.

Masayoshi and him have a heart to heart and the Mentor tells his pupil he saw the boy just before he got hit by the truck..He said to him “Give Samurai Flamenco my regards”. Thank you show! At least you have given him a distraction. Jojii tells Masayoshi to find out about love as it is the only way to defeat this foe. However Masayoshi being obsessed with being a hero has never known or experienced love.. or so he thinks. He doesn’t understand what love is. Here I am a bit afraid that Jojii wanted to speak to Masayoshi and say he saw him.. and that if he finds love in his heart he can stop doing terrible things.. but I really hope it is my over imaginative mind. Masayoshi talks to his agent who gives him a nice speech about love and gives us their cutest interaction yet.. I finally like her as a character a bit.. then she goes back to Tsundere all over Kono again and the admiration drops a bit again. Meanwhile Goto loses his phone at work.. he  finds a new one on the spot where his old one would be and gets a text from his girlfriend.. which turns out to be Hajii. Goto gets captured..which makes me afraid it is Masayoshi beating him.. because a young kid might not be able to do it.. although  there is a taser. The two talk about Hajii wanting to evolve Samurai Flamenco.. he pulls out a gun on Goto.. tells him he will see him tomorrow aims .. and pulls the trigger. The screen goes black in a huge cliffhanger.

The Positives

These positives only apply if Masayoshi doesn’t turn out to be the bad guy.. but I really like it how this episode actually steers away from that idea!  I don’t mind AS much if Masayoshi imagined the entire thing and the show ends with the guy from the first episode having knocked his lights out or something… but making him the bad guy would kill the show for me.  So I do like that at least it SEEMS like Red Axe saw the guy as well.. it at least seems like Goto is captured by an actual guy and it seems unlikely that Masayoshi would steal Goto’s phone.. then replace it.. use the spelling of his probably dead girlfriend , then imagine himself being called with Goto’s phone to be baited for a final showdown.. that seems a bit much!  So if we judge it as an actual chain of events.. like I said last episode! I do like the Joker vibes.. from Haijii, I do like that I am super eager to find out what happend at the cliffhanger and I am more than eager to explore more!  i even like the idea that Masayoshi must learn to love to break that Super Hero cycle.. or a rivalry would never end.. that feels like a clever take on the genre. I like how they went with a concept where everyone is at danger.. so no matter who your favourite character in the show is.. you have stakes in this last episode. I must see that my Moe is safe.. and some might have to see if Goto survived. Others might have to check what the super angry Mari will do.

I weirdly kinda like that they left the door open to that stupid shitty ending that I really do not want to see. Goto never says “I should have believed him”  , Jojii never confirms he saw Haji just that he  saw who was standing behind him. It leaves options open.. but the same goes for Hajii being rule.. one might wonder how an 11 year old or however old he is survived by himself out there.. but right after his funeral his parents went missing, perhaps he killed them and took their money, perhaps they support his crazy goal someway somehow.. and went along with it out of their blind love. If Masayoshi is the one that poisoned Moe and Mizumi and pushed Kanede under a truck the show will be ruined for me.. because I feel it goes completely against the spirit of the show.. but at least I have a stake in this final episode. Kind of like seeing your favourite V-Tuber play russian roulette or something and if they fail.. they delete their channel. You will not like it if it goes bad.. but you sure have to be there to see that it doesn’t. I really want to watch this final episode badly!

The Negatives

I really felt nervous this episode and that is a super good thing, so my negatives are mostly hypothetical.. and I will not include those, but yes this was an amazing episode. I felt super engaged and excited so there is very little for me to complain about. However there was one scene that did not make ANY sense to me. At one point Lady Axe in the hospital waiting room asks if Green considered her offer to adopt him.. which he declines, Blue then gets upset and asks why he isn’t getting adopted and the answer he gets is.. You are too dumb.
Meanwhile Lady-Axe yells some petty things against Pink who suddenly holds a pair of divorce papers in her face. What the heck is up with that scene. If Masayoshi isn’t imagining what happens in the other room there.. this is just a really stupid scene. So either this is a very poor written scene or a sign on the wall that I will get a bad ending.. so it’s a negative alright.

There is also a lot of bad animation in this episode. Drawings that seem over-simplistic. Mostly around the hospital time. As long as a single character is in shot or two of them are in close up it is fine.. but if there are two or more full bodies it really shows in the animation. While I do not care for animation particularly this one feels so incidental and “not part of the same episode” as the rest that it REALLY took me out of the scene. When you look at the MMM concert you see a lot of love went into those shots. The shot from Mari laying there on the floor foaming from the mouth .. still haunts me.. and that scene in the ending with Hajii in Masyoshi’s apartment was done nice as well .. I truly felt the wind around that place. So it really felt as if the hospital bit did not matter.  I am also kind of upset that Masayoshi did not visit Moe and Mizumi.. they helped him out on numerous occasions. The lackluster animation kind of carries over in the scene with Masayoshi being thought about love from his agent.. but not as bad.  I don’t mind an episode with bad animation that much I guess.. I mind more when it’s fluctuating. It feels as if some parts lack love.

The Score 

I adored this episode.. like it really is on Star Fruit level for me.. I was super invested, super entertained and besides that one throw away scene I really love what happened here.  It was really good! Yet because the previous episode was SO bad .. I can’t fully enjoy it until I have seen the last episode! I will most likely not be able to wait a week before I watch this…. but never had a show been this high stakes going into the final episodes and it’s weirdly fantastical. I will either laugh or cry when it’s over.. maybe even both. 

Knowing this show the final episode will be yet another surprise for me.. so the two endings I suspect to happen will probably not even come to pass .. but  it has been a wild ride.. I am left with one big leap.. it is a scary one.. it can ruin a show I hold very dear..or it can make it even sweeter. This episode gave me hope again! Lots of it!  Yet the show has also run its course it’s time for this to end.. but as a ramp up to the finale this is one of the best episodes a girl can wish for!

Steampowerd Pokéballs : Creating my own Steampunk Pokémon Game

Fancy meeting you her lads and ladies, it is Steampunk month and Pokémon.. is not something you can immediately connect to that sort of thing.  While there may be a steampunk Romhack out there that I am not familiar with.. I have found nothing of the sorts just set.. so I decided to create a concept of my own. Including a few new regional variants.. and if I decide to make Steampunk Pokémon from scratch this will be the game they will be featured in! So let’s take a look at my Steampunk game.

NOT a Mainline game

To determine how my game will look like I first needed to decide what type of game it would be!  Would it be a mainline RPG adventure or would it be something of a spin off game. Like Pokémon Conquest or Pokémon Mystery Dungeon. I have decided against creating an entire new mainline game! Why?! Because I would need a new region.. and we have a perfectly good region to create a Steampunk game. Galar  already has a fair few Steampunk elements in it..it just got modernised. Steampunk games tend to have a more dystopian vibe as well. So I decided to combine the Galar region with the game series that already has this vibe..albeit in a more cyberpunk like setting. The Pokémon Colosseum series. In this series you get equipped with an artificial arm…. (that’s a big thing)  and go capture Shadow Pokémon… by just making a few tweaks to the formula we can adapt this into a new game.

The Player Character

The artificial arm that is so important to this series is called the snag machine. Playing a character with a mechanical arm is very steampunk.. so it fits like a glove. A snag machine allows you to steal Pokémon from other trainers, which the main heroes need to steal so called Shadow Pokémon, a Pokémon that an evil organisation has tried to power up by closing their hearts and making them all about battles.. turning them into weapons. Again this is a trope that works pretty well in a Steampunk setting, but technology has come to  far. So instead of being a sequel to Pokémon XD Gale of Darkness it will be a prequel to Pokémon Coliseum.  But there is a problem.. in those early days the technology to make Shadow Pokémon did not exist. After all, Cipher did not exist yet. So we are going to need a new evil team.

The Evil Team

Like the Colosseum games, this game will be all about fighting the evil team and the big villains would be Team Tesla. What makes this organisation different from the others ..but remarkably close to team Cipher is that they HATE weak Pokémon. A weak Pokémon is a useless Pokémon in their eyes so if a Pokémon loses.. it is weak and they try to modify it it. Which leaves us with a counterpart to shadow Pokémon. This Pokémon Steampunk game will feature “Augmented” Pokémon. These are Pokémon that have been captured by Team Tesla for being weak and given augmentations. Like metal parts, exoskeletons, weapons and different things. However these Pokémon are too weak to just flat out remove it. You have to make sure these Pokémon can be strong enough to undo the augmentations.  In  more ways than one mirroring how Shadow pokemon work. They will get augmented secondary typing.. and all augmented pokémon moves are super effective against other pokémon.. and they work just like shadow pokémon work.. however instead of rampaging causing damage these devices overheat damaging the pokémon if you use augment attacks too much.  You can cool them down by having them rest for a turn or vent steam.

Tesla Grunt with an Augmented Snorlax

Team Tesla would have also been the ones who “actually” discovered the snag technology, using it to steal Pokémon from trainers they have defeated. You in this game start off as a member of Team Tesla.

Steel Type Eeveelution

In a tutorial you are given a rental pokémon and forced to steal a Pokémon of a person. A young boy with two Eevee. You steal one of them and then are forced to hand it over to Team Tesla for augmentation. Let’s say the leader of the team is your father.. Thaddeus Tesla. You are his daughter (because the last two games you played a male) while Eevee is undergoing augmentations you get regrets and decide to rescue it. However it turns out your eevee is special and it evolved into a steel type eeveelution.  A new Pokémon in the game. You find yourself overwhelmed but the young boy shows up again with a Flareon and helps you escape.

The boy tells you he saw you weren’t all that evil and knew you would do the right thing. He shows you how to properly catch normal Pokémon and allows you to keep the Eevee as he believes the bond you had with Eevee allowed it to achieve this special Eeveelution.. but in return you have to help him stop Team Tesla. He then introduces himself as Samuel Magnolia. What follows is a plot where Team Tesla.. who has their claws deep inside the Pokémon Foundation and the Galar government is trying to organise lots of tournaments.. to steal all the weak Pokémon and make them stronger. With these stronger Pokémon they wish to engage with the Kalos region in a new war.. so Pokémon and humanity will  fight forever more and grow infinitely stronger. With their elites somewhat based on the four horsemen.. but of course being pokéfied. Your father of course represents War and is their leader, but there would also be an elite trying to infect creatures of a certain arena with the original form of Pokérus.. to cause pokémon to grow faster..but make them sick as well.  One town would be ruled by a leader who creates food shortage in his village.. giving food only to the strongest and since death does not exist.. one leader.. who wishes everything to turn into ghost pokémon…because that is totally fine!

Team Tesla Logo and it’s boss.. your Father Thaddeus Tesla

The Pokémon

Samuel Magnolia , the aspiring Pokémon Professor

You will join Samuel Magnolia, in the resistance and fight against Team Tesla. Equipped with their own Snag device you can steal their augmented Pokémon and bring them to Pokémon technicians James and Thomas.  James can use his machines to  use steam to “sweat” off the parts the pokémon have put on them… because all those parts are just “glued”  on of course. We have to make this child friendly..but they have to be strong enough to resist the heat.. or the moisture. So you have to train them up. With all the parts that fall off, Thomas will build you machines to progress through the game. A motor for your bike.. a Balloon so you for your bike so you can float across those mountains and more. It would be similar to how your bike got upgraded in XD Gale of Darkness.. or how you earn HM’s in the regular games. It would also force you to at least use Augmented Pokémon a bit. If that is too tedious we can always make the ones you need storywise already strong enough to proceed.

Ancient Galarian Drifblim

Besides from the steel type Eevee there would not be that much Pokémon.. but it will introduce a few “ancient” Galarian forms.  All the pokémon found will serve the Double Battle Format that is iconic to this series. For example we would get a Galarian Drifblim (and Drifloon). While in the original Drifloon is a Balloon, Drifblim.. is still a Balloon.. so now we can actually make it a blimp! Since once again that is very iconic in Steampunk settings.
So we would get a Flying Fire Type Pokémon that instead of an ability like Aftermath would get an ability like “Carry” which is an ability I just made up.. that makes its partner Immune to Ground type moves.  This would already be great since the Steel Eevee is weak to ground.

Ancient Galarian Klang

I would also give Klink an Ancient Galarian Form, one that reveals this form might be the ancestor of current day Klink and Magnemite. Being a steel electric type it looks a bit more like old timey gears and rather than growing to a big one it becomes more gears as it evolves.  Possibly I would add some clock elements to it as well, this way it can feasibly learn abilities like “me first”  or give it an ability that can speed boost it’s partner pokémon by accelerating it in time… or the counterpart slowing down the opponent.  More Pokémon would be steampunk ified that way.. with abilities that focus on helping an ally! To make the double format more prevalent in the world. Pokémon like Toxicity who resemble an electric guitarist would not be found in this game, neither would Ditto , Porygon and of course Metwo.  For Legendaries, we would mostly stick to the Regi’s.. but there is a special spotlight for Volcanion and Magearna. 

I will save coming up with more unique Pokémon for a later post, but the trouble with Steampunk is mostly type diversity it is a world where there will be plenty of Steel and Fire types which means ground Pokémon will be a big problem.. which is why I will make Ancient Galarian Ludicolo an Electric Ground type. Why?! Because it is a Pokémon Colosseum game..  in it you face a man named Mirror B.. who constantly shows up and uses his Ludicolo to battle you! It is quite annoying! Of Course Mirror B would make his return.. but well since games plays out in ancient times.. we get his ancestor! Mirror A!  Ludicolo always had a tricky typing to deal with and this time it will not be different.. especially since it has drought.  Back in these times.. the Wildlands had a junkyard settlement where Mirror A and his gang used to live.. they are the second evil team.. the one that is more played for jokes.. so this Ludicolo starts as a Lotad that Mirror A finds from his Lombre and Stunfisk.
You beat his two Pokémon and they flee and all he is left with is an egg and he swears revenge on you!

The Characters

<In this Section I will use art of the original Sword and Shield characters as.. making art is a tad to specific.. just apply steampunk (and potential gender) modifiers on these descendant characters >

Sonia the Decedent of Samuel and the Player Character

Which brings me to the final part of this game set up for now.. as mechanically the game would almost be exactly like it’s older counterparts.. just with more modern Pokémon references it will still be a Pokémon Battle Double battle game with purification mechanics, tournaments and limited exploratory gameplay! This one is much more about battle tactics than the main series and would be quite a bit harder. The main character is a nameable female with orange hair. She would look a lot like Sonia from Pokémon Sword and Shield.
You will play a slightly older trainer than in the main line games, around the age of 15/16. The young boy you encounter, Samuel Magnolia, is clearly an ancient ancestor of professor Magnolia we encounter in the Gen VIII games?! “But wait?! Pinkie you just said we looked like Sonia.. isn’t she the granddaughter of Professor Magnolia?!” That’s right.. and this game is gonna show you where that side of the genepool comes from. 

Pierce and Marnie, future offspring of the Motostoke Spy!

Like I said this game is about double battles, but where it is different is that you will quite regularly battle alongside other members of the resistance. While you fight alone in tournaments, during a raid on a Tesla base you fight with partners. Every partner has a specific team preference. Samuel for example likes to use Grass and Fire pokémon and likes to set up the weather with Sunny Day. So if you bring Hail Pokémon.. your team work will suffer. Meanwhile other people might prefer the rain, or even the hail.. one might bring a Galarian Weezing that ignores abilities.. so it is up to you to balance your teams to fit your partners as well.  So you can train up several Pokémon.  The resistances members will resemble the gym leader families. For example one will be this almost alpine like.. large woman, who prefers to use Wooloo and other normal types along with grass types.. with her battle style relying on putting leech seed up and lower stats so you can focus on damage. She is connected to Milo. We also meet Marnie and Pierce’s ancestor who likes using the dark types.. whose battle strategy focuses on Confusion/Flinces  and single target damage. Then there is Raihan’s ancestor.. a fellow resistance member who desperately wants to be the hero himself.. his strategy is to knock you out along with his opponents so he can say he did all the work. 

Raihan , part of the family line of the Solo Aviator

Of course all would follow some steampunk archetypes as well. With Pierce and Marnie’s ancestor being the spy type, Raihan’s ancestor being a hotheaded aviator and Milo’s ancestor being a tradesperson. All having their own little quirk. Battling with Samuel a lot.. who battles using Eeveelutions.. Being a professor researching these strange events makes a little romance bloom.. that while only implied you can tell will have a good ending.. because you know how the Magnolia name descendants.. look a lot like that Tesla girl. I think it is a nice way to include a romance without including a romance..  and with everyone being both an archetype as well as an ancestor it can be quite neat to link everyone in this world to their modern day counterpart.. adding some fun to an already delightful format! Puzzles you would do reflect the characters as well. With the aviator you’ll infiltrate a skyfort having to deal with winds, with Samuel you’ll do sciency stuff, like align electric pokemon to power doors and with the Motostoke Spy you will find yourself sneaking past search lights and finding hidden entrances and such.

The Team Tesla Sky Fortress one of the Final Dungeons in the Game

And that would be my blueprint for a Steampunk pokemon game. I’ll be honest… I would LOVE to play a game like that.  It might be a bit hard to imagine if you haven’t played XD Gale of Darkness but there is so much that would work for a SteamPunk scenario. These wind puzzles, the sneak puzzles we have seen before in Pokémon games so making them an actual part of the plot could do so much. Forcing you to battle with a partner might not be something people look forward to but given how bringing extra tech by cleaning pokémon from their steampunky augmentations will allow you to power level.. it will give you a chance to learn some more advanced battle strategies. it could be so fun! So how would you do a steampunk Pokémon game? What Pokémon would you want to have an ancient Galarian form? Let me know and let’s talk Pokémon!

Animini: Digimon Adventure Episode 14: The Kings of Insects Clash

Steamy Salutations my readers… and yes I do mean steamy in strictly the vaporised water way! It has finally happened. After 14 episodes we finally see Kuwagamon. The classical first episode monster from the series now only rears its ugly head in episode 14 in yet another very good digimon episode. Yet little things for me held it back JUUUST a little.

The Summary

It’s an even numbered episode number so we change back to Taichi’s group and will most certainly see Tentomon evolve! The episodes do not even try to hide it.. and that is fine.. we are here to see how it happens. Which becomes obvious fairly quickly. The group has to navigate through a maze of canyons. Encountering all sorts of weird materials. Surrounding by the high and tall cliffs the group can not use their digivices to communicate because of blocked reception. While this has been built up I do kinda wonder.. how the group can communicate across different worlds.. but not through rocks.. but who knows they might be made of a special material.  While Mimi has a lot of fun with some mirror rocks.. because of course she likes mirrors, Koshiro’s laptop breaks down. No longer able to analyse anything he feels rather useless to the group, which becomes even worse when the group is ambushed by a pack of Kuwagamon.  The group suddenly struggles to fight a bunch of champion level digimon, which seems kind of odd.. when Koshiro realises.. these attack patterns are not random.. These monsters work as a team.  They are quickly overwhelmed and have to flee.. only to realise.. this was part of the Kuwagamon’s group hunting strategy.. they fall into the claws of the ultimate digimon Okuwamon, the evolution of Kuwagamon.

The group gets overwhelmed even more and separated in their fight with Okuwamon. Taichi and Mimi do not let their digimon go into their ultimate form… for some reason, I think because of the lack of space or a clear strategy..maybe from sheer confusion.. but either way Koshiro gets seperated.. now further away from the group with no idea where they were and no way to analyse a proper strategy. When Kabuterimon is about to be killed by Okuwamon .. after a lot of self doubt the digimon ensures his partner that Koshiro still has the tool that makes him the greatest.. His brain. Realising he used his laptop top much, Koshiro uses his tactical mind to get Kabuterimon out of a hairy situation.. freed from the negative thinking and with a sharp mind again, he is able to super-evolve Kabuterimon into Atlurkabuterimon (which is the Japanese name for Megakabuterimon). Using his knowledge of standard bug behaviour, the attack patterns so far and the layout of the battlefield Koshiro comes up with a strategy that allows Taichi the time to Super-evolve Agumon as well.. and while the leader takes down the Kuwagamon.. Atlurkabuterimon faces off against Okuwamon and comes out on top!  Koshiro saves the day and Mimi tells him she is proud to have him as a servant as the episode ends.

The Positives

Yet again this show really is good at establishing a good cause and effect chain.. Although admittedly not as well as the last episode, there is a perfect reason for Koshiro to face his trouble. Communications are out.. Koshiro’s tool is taken out of commision, he now finds himself in a tough spot. The idea of letting an enemy use a coordinated attack when the one normally coming up with the strategies is out of commision is a great way for Koshiro to tap into his own strengths! It really feels like a Koshiro episode  in it’s very core. From the enemies chosen, the hazards to overcome and a battlefield where he has the advantage.  His relationship with Tentomon has always been one of my favourites in the original show and that is not too different this time around. I enjoy their bond where Tentomon seems to really idolise Koshiro in his own way and that is brought up again here!  Using the battlefield to your advantage in battles is always a big plus for me as a D&D player who always looks for those kinds of things.

The second big thing this episode does very well is once more establishing all the chosen ones as someone unique. From the very first few moments where Mimi encounters a reflective rock all the three children see different things. Taichi sees a funhouse mirror and reminds him of fun times. Mimmi sees a mirror admires it for that.. something that reflects her and Palmon.. and while she also has fun with it.. it is much more from a vanity stance. Koshiro however sees the rock as something to analyse, an interesting anomaly. So even in little things these heroes feel so distinct from each other. Where the original story oftenly had the characters that were not Taichi and Yamato take a backseat. This constantly happens throughout the episode and other episodes as well. Such as Mimi instead of saying well done Koshiro.. saying “Great Job, That’s my Servant” because she still keeps up the Princess Mimi act. It just adds so much flavour. Of course bringing back the classic Kuwagamon is a strength as well. There is a lot of respect for the original as well, it just modernises it.. and speeds it up quite a bit!

The Negatives

The episode is not flawless though, more so than in other episodes this one takes a fair few conveniences. Like Greymon and Togemon not digivolving. I do get why Gremon doesn’t evolve.. they are fighting in cliffs of stone, his missiles could surely endanger them.. but Lillymon can fly and fight with kicks if she needs to.. so it would seem she would do well here.  Koshiro being separated from his friends as he did also did not seem to make a lot of sense. The show is smart enough to leave out what exactly happened but one moment he is with his friends, the next he is two minutes of flying away from them.. it’s odd to say the least and in an episode that is about logic, recognising patterns  and finding a way it all stands out. It never feels obnoxious but it feels as if information we needed was left out.. like important parts of the episode where cut.  Which ties in with my second gripe.

The knowledge Koshiro has while fighting his big battle seems a step or two , two big.  He knows how to distract the Kuwagamon, he knows where there are more of these shiny rocks besides the one they encountered. It feels like we miss a scene where Kuwagamon attacked a mirror instead of a chosen one.. and if it happened in the episode it was a blink and you miss it moment. That would be a great time to let him have a flashback.  Show us how he got to know this.. now it feels a tad Deus Ex machina.  Which isn’t helped by the fact that NOW Taichi can suddenly digivolve Greymon into Metalgreymon .. The episode feels, jittery.. as if I am watching a lagging stream. I have the idea I miss a few words or in another way do not get the full experience. The grey cliffs are also a bit boring compared to all the amazing things we have seen before.. and while they do make a good obstacle to overcome with logic it sometimes makes it hard to follow who is where exactly. 

The Score

On Crunchyroll this episode scores a 4.9 out of 5 based on 316 reviews. Which is already quite telling that this is not going to be a bad episode. However I do feel this episode is a bit less imaginative than the others. It delivers on fan-service, it delivers on it’s goal and it does even tell it’s story in a sublime way.. it just doesn’t have as much fun with it  as something like the last episode or the Weregarurumon episode did.  Taichi’s group is having the weaker episodes. Which is kind of weird because I do like that group more than the other. Maybe I am holding them to different standards? Just this episode to me lacks JUST that bit of soul to be as great as the other parties adventures.

Koshiro DOES have by far the best adventure of his group though. I did not like the Metalgreymon episode and the Lillymon episode just left me feeling rotten, despite being quite good. This episode does everything the amazing episodes do just a bit less. The music has less impact, the story is a bit less creative and the set up is a bit too straight forward. In that manner this episode is like a german car, or anything german really. It’s super solid, it works and it works well.. it works REALLY well. It might work the best of all the super evolution episodes i have seen so far even.. yet in the end I just wasn’t as excited.

The Paradise Weekly Gazette 4: 30 November to 6 December

The first month of Steampunk Month has already come and went by! While the animini’s did not change, the look of our website outside the reader certainly did! Let’s look back on this week and see what sorts of stuff we did and of course what is up next!  We will also discuss with you what is happening around the blogosphere!  So strap in for a ride through all our posts as we bring you our fourth ever Paradise Weekly Gazette.

The Animinis

We had an okay week of Anime this week, with a really strong Digimon episode, a super charming Natsume and a new show which I .. kinda liked in the form of Revolutionary Girl Utena. Not exactly new I know.. but a lot of you seem to really enjoy me watching classics and I lack a lot of them and I am having a lot of fun with them! Two shows I really like have entered “drop” quality for me though so let’s hope they pick up again soon! Luckily both are nearly finished as well!

Digimon Episode 13: Garudamon of the Crimson Wings

Samurai Flamenco Episode 20: Boy from the Past

That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 19: Charybdis

Revolutionary Girl Utena Episode 1: The Rode Bride

Hikaru no Go Episode 24: Akira vs The Oza

Natsume Book of Friends Episode 4: Shigure and The Girl

Cowboy Bebop Episode 4: Gateway Shuffle

My favourite watch actually was Digimon, though Hikaru no Go came super close! I just liked the voice of Fanbeemon so much,  and the colours and everything in Digimon that it really struck a chord that I really needed this week! My least favourite view is probably Slime.. though Samurai Flamenco really annoyed me as well.. the last one mostly hurts because they had a really good ending already and this is kind of wrecking it!

Pinkie’s Other Post

Of course we also had to create some Steampunk posts .. after all it is Steampunk month! 
On monday it was still november though so I had to pay my respects to my Senpai first! After that we could move ahead full steam.. that pun sounded way to corny I am so sorry! Here is the other stuff I did this week!

I made Irina into a Pokémon.. and also determined what type of trainer she would be!

I determined how my life would be had we lived in a Steampunk society!

I watched a city attack a wall and get beaten by a usb drive plus a million things!

I gushed about how amazing my favourite Final Fantasy game is in a love letter!

I wrote this post! So if you want you can click here to go to this post!

Camp Coconut Updates

No Kofi donations this week for me so no stories to tell about the Coconuts either.. they might be hibernating and saving their money for christmas.. I have been playing around with the idea of creating a Patreon.. with a few fun tiers but I need better reward for lurking people who don’t like to socialise and Pokémon Battle.  So this is a work in progress. I might ask an audience with king Coconut to see what would be good tiers! Hail the Wise King Coconut!

You can sprout a Coconut based on you by supporting our Kofi once.. but supporting it regularly your Coconut will get into several adventures that will be mentioned here..and your Coconut might start to look a bit fancier.. though I still need to update the Shy Coconut’s art.. I have since chosen a design element I want to add!  However we might change things up a bit when Patreon comes around.. so keep following the news or assure yourself of a coconut!

Posts that Impressed Pinkie

Now that we move from November into December, a lot of posts are summaries of the past month.. I will not share those.. I want you to explore these blogs for yourself. I just wish to wet your appetites.

I always like to include one activating shout out! Where you can participate in something.. or where a blogger is being celebrated. This week Amelia is starting her A Girl and Her Anime Awards and while I have seen virtually nothing on her list to vote for and was to lazy to figure out if Digimon was a Summer of Fall Anime.. so I backed out of voting. I am an old lady after all I watch past stuff! But for all you seasonal watchers out there! Vote on her amazing list so we can find the best anime out there!  If I actually send you there .. vote for me for most influential blogger! That we all win…but mostly me! .. Uhm I mean Amelia!

Lyn really really enjoyed the Promised Neverland and he pretty much sold me on it as well! I already heard good things.. but this made me want to watch it more.. In fact I think I will replace Samurai Flamenco with it on my watch list whenever I am done with that. So I will probably pick this up soon! I do not  like his post .. as in press the button. That often but that is because I usually read his reviews after he tweets them out.. on my phone .. and I am not logged in on WordPress there! I am waaaay behind stuff so I don’t read episode summaries of shows I want to see.. but seeing people enjoy shows I don’t like.. also gives me pleasure!  Make sure to check out his reviews if you haven’t already!

Ospreyshire is such a good guy! He reviews movies and anime that tend to fly a bit under the radar so you might not have heard of him , I know my friends on the Scott-Jon Spencer front follow him but he always deserves more. I am a bit of a different kind of blogger but there is so much I can find in his posts I can respect.. but who better to explain what he is all about then the man himself. In this post he describes why he writes and it is amazing!

My blogging friend Joy is one of the most unique personalities you’ll ever see. She’s kind of like .. part Vulcan , part genius inventor, and a whole lot of programmer. Her ramblings on life are unique , spirited and playful! I do not consider myself a dumb person but when I read her quote Dante, when I see her tell her stories in her own way.. I feel dwarfed..and slightly attracted. I might be a Sapio-Romantic?  Who knows! Joy discusses the heavy team of our own mortality and its implications.. but she does so in a very Joy way. The topic is something I am  quite familiar with but her visions and her revelations at the end make for an interesting read for anyone. So do visit Joy .. and follow her blog.. she will be the president one day.. and remember a vote for Joy is a vote for love! So I assume a Like for Joy is like liking love as well!

Pinkie Away from Keyboard

I have had my ups and downs this week and the down is mostly been in my energy levels. I do have this a lot but the weather shifting to being super cold is flooring me and making my energy levels next to non existent. That also means I have done next to no exciting stuff! I am playing Dishonored for a Steampunk Review later this month.. and I am having an .. okay time with that so far. Not exactly my game .. but the setting is a lot of fun! I have also been feeling the call to return to Pokémon Shield again, do some shiny hunting and complete the dlc!  But that will probably be something for a bit later. I really want to get my shiny Wooloo though! It will be fun to let Whippy the Allcreamie get a Giantamax form as well.   Just so many games to play.

Other than that I have had a good talk with my psych.. he did a good job but it did not help my fatigue. I had a good but heavy talk and that took me out of wednesday and a migraine crippled me a bit on thursday which reduced my ability to work ahead. Mind you working ahead does mean writing four posts per day so that might be asking a bit much on days like those but yes unless I find lots of energy today I might not be able to make that guest post for Irina’s blog I tried to make this week! Oh well I will find a way to make everything work.

On Saturday the 5th of December the Dutch and the Belgian people celebrate a tradition called Sinterklaas. It’s about a Saint Nick that comes bearing gifts! The modern western Santa is a mix between our Sinterklaas and the British Father Christmas. Though both outdate the tradition of Santa. Saint Nicolas will stuff your shoes with a present if you have been good.. or a bunch of twigs for corporal punishment if you were bad.. though of course concerned moms abolished those twigs called “de roe” a few years ago. Nowadays more of the tradition is being scrutinized.. for just enough reasons but the country is going made and being divided. So to celebrate the tradition this year I am going to visit my mom, we exchange gifts and share a meal together.  No large gifts we will do that around christmas.. but just a nice little gesture. I will go out to do so right after scheduling this post so I can’t tell you what my gift just yet .. but if I am fit enough .. I might update this..probably not though.

Next wednesday I am going to Amsterdam for two days, spend some time in a hotel and do some important stuff while I am there as well, health stuff, but also take my time and enjoy a change of setting for a night. I might not be able to travel back so just making  so booked a place to stay just in case and will make the next day an enjoyable one. We are going to eat some Tapas at the hotel, with some drinks at the hotel bar.. a friend is coming along to drive me and for support. And we will go to the Vondelpark or zoo depending the next day to relax a bit! Depending on how crowded the city is!

 Plans

Depending on my energy levels I might skip a daytime post or two so I can relieve my workload a bit  and work ahead a bit more.. if I am good with energy however, I do plan to bring you my interpretation of a Pokémon Steampunk Game. I want to talk about a Steampunk anime movie, and watch another Steampunk movie as well! I also managed to beat the super hard game Steel Empire for Americans.. but Empire of Steel for us Europeans so you can expect a review for that to drop soon as well!


Regardless of my energy levels the animini’s will at least keep coming! So that is seven posts of anime already! … As long as I don’t get murdered in Amsterdam at least! Who knows! Regardless on what happens I plan to make the next week a great one! And I hope you will do so to! Let me know how your week has been in the comments and onto the next! 2021 is drawing closer!