Animini: Cowboy Bebop – Episode 4 – Gateway Shuffle

Jolly good to see you all again steampunk people! Paradise’s week of anime concludes with an unexpectedly strange episode of Cowboy Bebop! I never expected monkeys to show up! While this episode to me may not be close to how amazing the third episode was , I had an amazing time and thus yet again the strength of the week was in the tailend of things. Join me as we see Faye join the Bebop crew in this fourth episode of an all time classic.

The Summary

Faye’s ship has run out of fuel and she is drifting in Orbit of a planet called Ganymede.. or well google shows it’s actually one of the moon’s of Jupiter. People mostly ignore her calls and pass her by.  When some debrief floats by however she spacewalks towards it hoping to loot some propellent but what she finds is much different. She finds a dying man who hands her a container with something unknown. Hoping it might be worth a lot, Faye goes back to begging for help! Breaking the man’s wishes to not look at the item. It is unknown however what exactly she has acquired.  A fun set up and I do love how Faye really fills the role of Femme Fatale including their classic shortcommings.  It really felt like I was reading or watching one of those classic noir scenes, where the tough woman finds herself in high water. Speaking of Water.. Spike and Jet are having breakfast… On Ganymede!  What are the chances! There they discover a potential bounty who orders some kind of sea creature.. in the rudest way possible. A few Eco-Terrorist lead by what looks like Josuke Higashikata (Jojo’s Part 4)  actual  mother..  a woman named Twinkle Maria Murdockc then murder him for it.

Jet realises the woman has a 25 million bounty and Spike takes her to his ship.  On their way into orbit to strike a deal they also happen to stumble across Faye Valentine and pick her up again! Two bounties?! That must be good to be true! And so it turns out to be.. while Spike tries to break open the container Faye has brought along, Jet discovers the bounty on Twinkle Maria has been lifted. Because she holds the planet hostage. She possesses a virus called monkey business.. a bio weapon that makes humans devolve back into a monkey like state… Super Mario Bros movie memories made this quite delightful.  Thus bounty hunters have to let the woman walk free… and since the government of Ganymede doesn’t follow her exact terms she launches a missile with Monkey Business towards them. The bounty now reinstated causes Spike and Faye to work together to stop the missile and capture miss Twinkle.  Going through a Hypergate thing when the missile goes off. The Ganymede people close the gate which would leave Spike and Faye trapped forever.  Dodging and trying to destroy the Monkey Missiles.. heroes barely manage to escape but not Miss Twinkle.. as she swears revenge.. the content of the container Faye was handed falls out of her pocket. Spike broke it earlier and saw her reaction and figured out what it must be.. thus leaving her to slowly turn into a monkey trapped in Hyperspace.

The Positives

I love how Bebop is a show that isn’t afraid to have fun with itself. Eco-Terrorists that try to turn humanity into monkeys? I really love the idea!  Faye Floating in her ship with just bags of chocolate, salt sugar.. and chicken with rice floating around seems so mundane yet funny at the same time.  Like it’s a joke on astronaut food, all in the most basic of brown bags. It makes this world feel so “lived in”. It’s sci-fi but it deals with the same trouble we have.. an overzealous PETA or .. whatever those guys from Whale Wars were called, car trouble and trying to flirt your way to being saved. It is quaint, just pushed into a hyper caricature of itself  by adding cyberpunk sci-fi elements to it. Added with a lot of Film-Noir tropes. I can not fully describe it but every scenario just feels so “right”.. like “this is the correct way to tell this tale for “this series’. The twists, the dysfunctionality it is like watching one of those youtube videos of seeing a machine cut playdough in super neat chunks.  I am just so intensely satisfied. Another big thing that is really catchy is that the main characters nearly always seem to have fun.. sure there are goals  they pursue for other reasons as well.. but they are also having fun and that emotion really carries over.   We have fun “WITH” them rather than having fun because we see them do stuff.

I really liked the animations in this episode as well, the way Spike charges up his little electrical beam, the way the missile splits into several pieces.. because Maria made a weapon that can defend against typical weaponry. There is a level of mechanicalness to it!  Beams charge up, gun turrets need to move into aim,  a missle detaches a lid before it splits up into tinier parts.  Yet that energy seems to come from somewhere, the move of the turret isn’t exactly fluid as it might not move from a neutral position but revolve back from a less fortunate position. There is  something really satisfying about seeing Spike and Faye lean onto their dashboard to make their vehicle go faster.. while of course it doesn’t make any difference. It all feels real and thought out and because of it you can really get into the action not just because it is epic but because it has impact as well. Motion not only serves the scene but is subject to the world and it really makes it seem more lively and believable.

The Negatives

The episode does not escape a few flaws, my main gripe is the whole.. “oh look at the chances we end up in the same place as Faye” thing. Lots of anime do this.. but  off alll the moons on Jupiter you just happen to go to the same one she is orbiting. And on  your way out of orbit you stumble across here? While earlier it is established she has been there for a while?! It’s a bit lazy and I know this show can do better. The whole convenience thing could have been solved with a single line like “It has been months since you escaped”  or  “We heard rumors you might be around here”  but instead they wonder how she could have spent all the money from last episode already. While this also signifies a passage of time it is not defined as a long time.. rather as a short time.. making the convenience feel more real. It is super common in anime or western media to see but in something as large as our solar system I would love to see at least some sort of explanation. 

I also think the eco-terrorists are a bit over designed. While they eat with Mamma Maria they have their faces revealed and it is the faces of people that fit the stereotypical eco terrorist. I am totally on board with that, however when they take out their guns and prepare to kill they have these weird seel helmets or whatever the creature is. That felt slightly too much for me . Twinkle Maria’s design is nice but doesn’t seem to eco-terroristy to me, to be fair she is ruling it more like a mob-boss and that she does look like but I would have loved to see a bit more of an eco-terrorist in her rather than just a money hungry mob-boss using eco-terrorists on her behalf. The way she steps up in the beginning to defend animals was fun.. but she lets go of that behaviour  later in the episode which I think is a bit of a shame. 

The Score

Cowboy Bebop is once again among the best episodes I have seen this week.  The plot may border on being  too silly, but for me it is something filled with nostalgia and a cheeky little charm, where the creator isn’t too afraid to have fun. The way Faye is reintroduced to the group requires you to suspend your disbelief quite hard.. but it is worth it to see how well see interacts with the group and how in her place she feels. The twist ending of the space fight feels like a bit of an afterthought.. with a fake out that doesn’t do anything but that comes as fast as it went and when push comes to shove we got a whole lot more positive things than negatives causing a high but not perfect score.

While in the large scale of the show I probably will not think about this episode a lot.. the inner workings of the show are very much shown are at it’s best here. Like an amazing tech demo telling me that the journey that will follow is absolutely amazing and I just had such a great time at watching things move,, seeing spaceships go  woosh and big beams go mmzzaappp! It’s like one of those Lego Technic bulldozers or cars. I do not care that much about the package as a whole.. it’s fine but kind of forgettable.. but if I stare at the loose parts and admire how everything works.. I can stare at it for hours and just be mesmerised and entertained..admiring how well everything is put together.

A Love Letter To My Favourite Steampunk Game: A Love Letter to Final Fantasy VI

Dearest Final Fantasy VI, you may not know who I am, you might not remember me. Many have coveted you, many have written about how amazing you are and I know you will long endure after I have gone!  Many will desire you, many will claim they love you as I do, and though I do not question their devotion to you! There is one thing you must know! You are by far my Favourite Final Fantasy game! While I may look at other games and even enjoy spending time with other games a tiny bit more.. Know that while I may prefer to play Chrono Trigger over you.. You would be the game I say I LOVE more.  And since It’s Steampunk month.. and you the correct setting.. I can write you this letter.

Omen

Dearest Final Fantasy VI, We have met so many times before! That time I rented you as a little kid, back when you were still called Final Fantasy III, that time I emulated you  to be able to finish you for the first time when I had no other means.  Back when you finally came out on GBA and I went through an ordeal to be reunited.. and when that Game Boy with your cartridge got stolen.. I downloaded you again  to complete the story one more time. Then I finally downloaded you on PC as well, hoping I could see some cutscenes to no avail. We have met many times, on many platforms.. but somehow we are star crossed lovers. Each time you get closer I tend to lose you again.. such was the case when my laptop screen cracked.  You are the game I had to restart so many times over.. I played the early areas of the game so often I can almost dream them. Yet I never felt any regret. Every battle we fought… every boss and every dungeon , no matter if I progress or not it is always a delight to be with you.

Having a caster as the game’s main character, was the breath of fresh air we needed in this series.. NAY!  In the genre! Little games mirrored this, always favouring the humble knight. Yet by offering us the amazing Terra Bradford you have offered me my favourite protagonist in an MMO.  Both in Gameplay and Story we can sense her progression in so much more than just damage numbers or her saving the world.  Yet you also introduce us to a concept that no other Final Fantasy ..or other game did AS well as you. You make this a story about the entire cast.. and we can even choose who we think is worthy to accompany us to the end!  Never felt so in control of my choices in a JRpg and few have rivalled you since! Your gameplay has been the most enjoyable in the franchise for me, every character feeling completely unique and I’ll even forgive you for Gau.  Your gameplay is challenging but fair, requiring player interaction that involves more than switching one’s role.. and pressing X in time.

You managed to shape your gameplay around the story you wished to tell.. as a prelude of what is to come. You manage to caption personalities through gameplay.. like making the fist fighter.. feel like a character from a fighting game, making the wise and old samurai patient waiting for the perfect chance to strike and making the thief feel wiley and clever. The fabulous king works best if he has plenty of treasure.. and even…that wild thing gets stronger by spending time in the wild.. but let’s forget about him!  Your narrative driven  combat system, as a sign for what’s to come.. when we learn something about a character because you tell us.. we know this is correct because you tell us through gameplay. We know what characters are like.. because we feel what they are like.

Under Martial Law

My dearest game, one can not talk about you, without talking about the Steampunk esthetics you have, your worldbuilding filled with these wonderful gadgets. Once more brilliantly used to enhance your story.  Where the level of technology offers us interesting abilities in Edgar’s class as a Machinist..  but also where the tech level offers us interesting dungeons and daring escapes.   We follow the Story of Terra who is the last known mage. Magic has died because mankind has tried to encapsulate it within the technology of Magitech.  To give us a feeling of grit and this technology you let us start the game with Terra enslaved by a crown that suppresses her free will.. powering a giant steampunk mech called Magitech armor. Without even playing as the real character yet.. we feel what type of world you are trying to build. The town of Narshe made of pipes and gears show us how this world is tied to the theme we are discussing this month. Enemies using hounds, shotguns and flying machines and these giant mechs do not only offer a great challenge that scales with us as we grow and let Terra join the resistance against the corrupted rulers of this land.

A journey that involves finding the spirits of the Espers.. an ancient race of powerful beings.. from another world close to the one we spend most of our time in begins.  We discover more on how Terra has gotten her amazing magic powers.. at a price..    Yet for all magic, there is a magitech, for all creatures we fight there is a robot or a magitech armor.. a steampunk soldier. For every forest there is a factory and we visit cities where everything is in balance.. but we also visit places that lean more into magic and places that fit more into Steampunk.. there is balance.. but by having a world in balance we can also feel it when the story makes that balance shift.  Our characters experience not a journey of just victories.. no Final Fantasy let’s us experience losses just as much.. maybe even more! In fact this game lets us experience the ultimate loss. This game let’s the bad guy win!  However.. just because the bad guy wins does not mean we have lost! We do not only win, we also lose. So in a single game you manage to pack both ends of the gaming experience.. winning and losing.. but unite them as one!

You truly create an oppressed world.. but also a world we can rebuild… a world where our heroes desire things that have nothing to do with the fate of the world.. accept they do.. Later in the game our heroes have to choose between their personal lives.. and the fate of the world.. and you as a player have to steer their destiny so sometimes both can be an option. And while I wish I could leave Gau out of the story even the character I really dislike.. is someone I care about!  I wish he wasn’t in the game.. I wish I did not have to care about him.. but yet I do!  In a master stroke you even manage to make it arguable who is the main character of the game.. luckily both of the characters are among the top 5 female Jprg characters. So you have done so well in telling their tale and making this insanely balanced world.

Aria De Mezzo Caraterre

Oh My hero, my beloved,
I truly love Celeste her Part
This Love Never goes away, forever it is day
The opera scene stole my heart.


I lived in darkness, you were my starlight
Shining brightly from afar

In my time of despair, thank Arceus you were there
Thank you my evening Star.

My dearest Final Fantasy VI if I loved anything more about you then everything else it is your music. I never cry at music.. but when I heard Aria De Mezzo Caraterre be performed in front of me .. I was really happy I did not wear mascara. Celes Chere is a character that gives me goosebumps every time. We see her turn traitor to Emperor Gestahl when they treat her.. one of their generals as a sacrificial pawn. When Locke saves her.. she is empty..she doesn’t know who she is anymore so you decided.. to give her no musical theme. Every character has a musical theme.. but Celes has non.. and then during the Opera scene, where they are trying to draw the attention of an infamous sky pirate to be able to take the fight to Gestahl.. she has to sing about love.. an emotion she is not familiar with..but then her interactions with Locke.. make her find something in herself. After that is done Aria de Mezzo Caraterre becomes Celes, her theme is briljant Final Fantasy VI. I love you for it!

Yet I would not be AS in love with you if this was your only musical feat. After finding her theme Celes theme stays the same troughout her entire journey.. however everyone else theme changes.  Locke’s theme ..the thief is upbeat and screams, plucky adventurer.. but when he encounters a person from his path who has befallen a grim faith that same theme is being played as a sad ballad. When Terra loses control over her body and turns into a monster for a bit her theme becomes warped… her theme mixed with something else. Every character has music that changes.. because that is their journey.. yet you make Celes an exception.. she starts without a  theme and finds her sound along her journey.. she stays her course.. even if she has sad scenes.. the orginally version is a tragedy.. yet to celes it is also a song of strength.. so the song stays the same.. this is the best sound design I have seen in a video game.. I will admit you do not have my favourite theme of all time.. but you play with it the best. Even the music.. completely reflects the story.  Even if your player does not understand the complex story themes.. you will offer them at least an understanding of  the emotional load of a situation.. music bends to the narrative.. I love you for doing that.

Dancing Mad

The Black Mage, The Machinist, The Bard, The Samurai, the White Mage , The Thief and the Monk.. you would be one of the final games that brings so much class to these classes, while they are great in Final Fantasy Tactics and a realm reborn.. you are the game that gave these iconic classes a face. You to me are the pinnacle of what made the old games so great.. and what makes the story of  the newer games so compelling. The Locke, Celes romance is my favourite in any JRPG it felt so earned and genuine.. you would e xpect the male lead to end up with the female lead such as in basically every other narative Final Fantasy game.. but no.. you offer us a romance.. that fits the games narrative more.  And that is what I love about you so much.. you have interwoven everything in your story. You are not just a bunch of part, everything is at exactly the right place. Edgar would not be as interesting if you could reclass him, Terra’s theme would not be as amazing without it’s many reprises to reflect the story.. it never feels out of place. Nothing does. Not a single boss fight, not a single character that is not Gau.  Well there is Setzer!  But he is kinda cool as a person though.. just not as a character.  Of course I love taking Mog along because I can never have enough cute things, though you might be able to miss him… he is such a good fellow kupo!  

You are my pinnacle of Final Fantasy.. with only VII even coming remotely close.. and trust me.. when I say close.. it’s nowhere near still. I love the character designs.. except.. you know who.. I love your graphics.. even that weird cartoony pc look you also used for Mobile is oddly adorable.. and I love your villain. Kefka is such a great villain to top off a game that is already so amazing. His mania.. his evil.. .it hit so much more than say Sin, Sephiroth and Ultimecia combined.  I felt like a kid watching a puppet show going … ooooh you get away now from that river… when Kefka poisoned the waters of Doma.. when Cyan Garamonde held the corpses of his family I cried. The only other villian that made me cry was Sephiroth.. but that was because I was sad.. I lost the pinkest playable character and girl. Here I cried because the mean and cruel Kefka was … the pain that so many would feel.  His laughing sound….makes my skin crawl.. and not a single 16 bit game ever managed to do that. In fact.. .no game ever did this after…. in such a way.  That is also why I love you probably most of any JRPG , you are not my favourite game.

You are a rollercoaster. Everytime I see the Garamonde  family die I feel horrible, every time I have to get my party back.. I can not leave a single character behind because I love  them all. With Chrono Trigger.. I feel content unlocking whatever end I want.. yet with you.. I need to do it all.. everytime.. I feel obligated.. When I see Celes suffer my heart breaks a little. When Terra is sad I feel sad. Your world is hard and cold, the steel and the factories are unforgiving. The snow, the deserts, the treacherous rapids, you put on an amazing Steampunk world.. but one that like most steampunk it isn’t an easy world to experience. There are moments of laughter, moments of sadness and moments of anger.. you offer the full package.. you feel like a real world.. a world I love.. but for a casual bit of fun.. you are kind of too good! Never will a steampunk game ever take your place.. but who knows.. maybe during Steampunk month you will get some rivals.. I hope you do.. not because I want to see you detroned but I because I love you so.. and I want to experience that feeling once more.

Animini: Natsume Book of Friends – Episode 4 – Shigure and the Girl

Absolutely Joyous to be re-acquainted, my dear Island guests. Once more the strength of my anime week lies in the back. The fourth episode of Natsume was an absolute delight. Cute creatures, a ghostly setting.. Megane girls, even Madara, Nyanko turns into a girl! Oh what a delight! We even get a pretty heartwarming moment and I get to see a Kappa! I love Kappa!

The Summary

The episode begins on a hot summer day.. Natsume sees a Kappa dehydrating on the road.. so he pours his water bottle on it to refresh it!  Little does he know that he is being watched!  We then move to that trial of bravery that was discussed in the second episode and I get my favourite location in anime! Haunted houses! I got a great one in Flip Flappers.. and this one.. is not as good but Haunted House! Yay! It does not take long for spooky stuff to start happening. People get locked in, there is a person when the group is being divided and it doesn’t take long for students to go missing. All these events seem to connect to a guy who is looking at Natsume from behind an Umbrella. He almost gets taken by this presence when Sasada shows up and the presence vanishes. What follows next is an interesting series of mysteries. Who was that?!  Why did it scare from Sasada, where did the others go? What is it?! All these questions are neatly unwrapped.. but we also get something very important happening. Sasada asks Natsume…Can you see them?!  

This shocks him and Madara/Nyanko knocks her out thinking she might be the Yokai in this house.. realising she is not. Nyanko goes out to investigate taking the shape of a girl.. who claims to have knocked out Sasada with a dodgeball for some weird excuse reason!  He does hint to Natsume.. for the guy to not be detected by someone as himself this spirt has to be very powerful. Sasada now left alone with Natsume again, once more asks him if he can see them.  Natsume avoids the question, clearly wanting to bond.. but not sure if she should tell her the truth. Sasada tells a story on how she once saw a Yokai in this place.. she lost her lucky charm that meant the world to her.. and this spirit helped her out. It was a spirit that saw itself as corrupted.. ever since she has been coming to this place so she could thank him for what he did for her.. but the spirit never appeared for her again.  Stuff happens.. that mostly involves Madara dragging Natsume to places and people reacting. Eventually Sasada begins to pry again into Natsume’s power which causes him to rush and confront this spirit. It does not want it name back as it just hates humanity.. but Madara does a glowing thing and Natsume sends Shigure away. Before the spirit fades away however it tells why it never showed before Sasada again.. he liked her and if she could say what she wanted to say she would not come again. She finally storms up on the roof and thanks the fading spirit.. just to be slightly patted on the head. The next day Natsume waters a Kappa again.

The Positives

I really liked this episode! While it did not hit me as hard as the little guy fading away, the arc between Sasada and Shigure was very satisfying. I am always a sucker for a person who sees themselves as something rotten while another sees something bright and good in them. I love stories that change in the eye of the beholder. I do not believe in good or evil persé, at least not in an absolute form. A guy can have claimed 18 students with his ghostly powers, but if you are not aware and only see the sweet thing he did for you he will be a good guy.  It is also a story that shows us that while something might seem small to someone, it can seem huge to someone else. The trinket Sasada loses seems like a generic lucky rabbits foot of sorts.. but it means more to her.. and to Shigure it is cursed.. he can’t touch a pure item.  So Sasada the effort to tell Shigure thanks for what he did seems small, she never stops or gets tired.. but in it Shigure found a form of fate. Even a simple question as “Natsume can you see them?” is subject to this. To Sasada it is a questions whose answer will give her hope.. but in Natsume’s eyes it is something that might bring her misery, put her in danger or maybe complicate things even further.  I really enjoy themes like that. They are very close to some big values of me and I love to see that other people sometimes see things my way as well. I really like Sasada as a character for that very same reason.

This is also an episode about things being different. Shigure is unlike every other Yokai.. his goals are different. He hates humans.. but Sasada is different. In the last episode we saw Natsume being desperate to find someone to talk to with his whole seeing spirits thing.. but when Sasada asks, things are different. It’s all down quite beautifully and the backdrop of an old school building that is about to be demolished gives it a sense of tragedy by putting it in the frame of a finite time.  Sasada has her goals.. some that really matter to her.. but she realises her time to do so is very finite. Her resources to do this are also limited. That is also why she sees hope in Natsume.. he may help her. Yet when he claims he can not see spirits.. she does not seem dejected. She still wishes to convey her gratitude regardless. I was very touched how they make this big event out of something so small. What in  the eyes of your regular beholder seems like nothing more than a courtesy is a deep plight for her and I hope people watching this are remembered about the value of little things.

The Negatives

So .. enough with the floaty, analytical stuff.. I can’t get too deep here or I will ruin my reputation, time to find some negatives .. and they are way way waaaay much more shallow than anything positive about this episode. First off all, the way the students go missing lacks a bit of impact.. it’s just like they poofed away like one of Naruto’s shadow clones.  There is no real fear from Sasada or Natsume, while not really knowing this spirit’s abilities. For all they know their friends could have been dragged into nothingness. While I do get Sasada not showing reaction.. because of her positive outlook on Shigure, I do think Natsume takes things a bit too lightly. He does talk about saving his classmates.. but at the time he did I am not sure he knew if they could be saved? I might have missed a line while taking a sip from my drink though. He also gets trapped by a door that I am pretty sure you can throw a chair through and get out.. a few funky things like that happen but it’s nothing too bad.

The second thing I question is why Madara is visible to others, I know he has more power  but if other students can hear the cat talk, would the monk from last episode not have seen a cat talk as well?  He literally shouted at Natsume at that moment for being stupid. Perhaps he did not hear it from shock but that also seems unlikely. I kind of miss an explanation here.  The way he interacts with the cat also seems like things people would react to .. but it doesn’t happen. So Madara is used a bit inconsistent here. While entertaining it feels like things don’t completely add up. Can they see him in his true form as well? If so then the priest of last episode should have definitely seen him. He just feels a bit off in this episode. I am sure it will be explained , or I will stop caring about it being inconsistent. I do hope this shapeshifting trick will be used once more.. It would be great if he tried to trick Natsume with it at one point.

The Score

This episode gets a Berry Good score from me. It misses out on the highest score because of the lack of creepy in a spooky setting. Almost as if the visual story they are trying to tell differs from the narrative one.  Shigure looks very creepy, the setting looks very ominous and it creates an expectation, an expectation that doesn’t deliver. While this really  works well with what the episode is trying to tell I can not help but to feel that I miss that little ghost hand reaching out through the wall..  That creepy shadow that doesn’t act like it’s supposed to or at least a little something of that nature. I don’t expect a lot of that.. because there was a lot of story to tell but I would have at least liked a scene. This kind feels like entering a ghosthouse to play the Pinata game in the middle of it. Sure there is candy and boy is it sweet.. yet somehow you also can not escape the thought.. it would have been really cool if we actually could have been on this ride!

That is just a side thought though,  what this episode does it does wonderfully well. I REALLY like Sasada’s build up , her design to not be super amazingly pretty and more mundane, the way she appreciates the little things and the value of a thank you. I love the themes in this episode and once again the Yokai design is sublime!  I also liked the Kappa a lot..because they look so clunky and awkward and have this duck-like estetic!  There are adorable little Kurbioh like guys as well. It’s amazing! I do know of a few Yokai but these designs seem quite unlike other interpretations I saw.. They have a really distinct style that I just adore and I loved little tweaks such as Yokai’s voice being warped because he talks through a bucket. It was super cute and adorable and I had a great time.

Animini: Hikaru no Go Episode 24: Akira Vs. The Oza

The Merriest of mornings to you my dear Island Guests.  My anime adventures this week have been.. lackluster, with a great start on Monday but after that it’s .. been .. okay. Luckily Hikaru no Go lifts the level with another amazing episode and I do mean amazing there is just so much to appreciate in this episode again. So many layers and subtle insinuations. I really love that a lot about this show and this episode might even take it to another level.

The Summary

I have said before that I have trouble writing a summary but this one leaves me in quite a pickle. The entire episode is dedicated to the match between Akira and Oza and through clever dialogue , facial tics and looks  we can tell how the match is going. As someone who can not play Go and has no real idea how the territories work still I am quite amazed with how I can follow a match on so many levels. Not only do the students and pro’s following the match offer exposition we also get told about facial tics of Oza while we already know Akira’s!  Thus we constantly see a shift in balance. Akira and Oza are having a very close match while Hikaru tries to move through his own match to watch the spectacle himself. 

Hikaru soon wins his match but is kept in place.. by formalities. Meanwhile we see Akira make plays that challenge Hikaru to come closer as it were.. almost as if he is taunting him.  Hikaru finally walks into the specating room just in time to see one of the final taunts before the match balance begins to shift. Akira is put on the backfoot after dominating for a while. However  He is not satisfied anymore with just winning.. he wants to soar beyond Hikaru’s reach and begins to play super aggressively.  For a brief moment he seems to put Oza on the backfoot again. Yet as the onlookers are distracted by the fact that it is starting to snow outside..then  Oza strikes back.. and finishes off Akira.. forcing him to resign and now having been defeated by not just Sai but by Oza as well.. how he reacts happens off camera.

The Positives

This episode really did a lot for me! I loved this episode! It was so subtle in everything. Let’s begin with the way how the music alternates between its three main themes. The Heroic theme signalling how strong Akira is playing, the excitement team signalling he is losing ground and the sad theme to clarify the match has been fought.. but what was strongest was the end for me. No emotions no reactions, when the match is over.. we do not get tears.. we get no prolongation of the sad theme. We get silence.. with just a visual of snow falling in the background. It tells us how Akira will feel.. without showing us… without making us hear it from his mouth directly. The visual of the snow beginning to fall.. almost as the white stones Oza is using on the board almost seems like a omen.. of Akira’s defeat .. it makes sense and it puts levels in perspective. Akira has lost to one of the strongest players out there..but he did not get washed such as was the case against Sai.. leaving us with the notion that Akira IS not infallible and it keeps Hikaru’s dream alive and probably also keeps Akira from turning into a full on Antagonistic character.

What might be better is how subtle we are once again clued on Hikaru’s amazing progress.  He fought the same girl he had his first match against (I think)  the one he lost to pretty badly. Now he manages to win.. but that is not even it’s true strength. Hikaru plays this match very distracted yet he still won. He is SO good now that he  can beat the girl he lost to initially while being distracted, once again showing how insanely fast Hikaru progresses.  The way  he looks at Akira’s match.. wanting him to soar once again makes him a bit of a counterpart to Akira. Where Touya is shown to at least pretend to want to blow Hikaru completely out of the water and to  become unreachable , Hikaru wants Akira to do well.. yet we also see him kind of content.. not at first.. but we see him go outside and be a bit of a kid again. Almost as if we see him allow himself to take a bit of breath. I do really like how subtle everything is but also how there is such a sense of progress even when it’s not about our main character.. we still get that amazing measuring stick.

The Negatives

The show is super subtle it does tend to juggle with too many characters, Akiri, Mitani, Tsutsui all seem to have completely vanished.. and while I hope we will see some of them again, I do think a few of the new characters aren’t as strong. I still don’t know how that guy besides Waya is called. He is never referred to by his name except for maybe once or twice subtelly.  He has his own arc like thing though .. with his wish to be a pro and his time as an Insei coming to an end. Touya’s older friend is there as well.. but again I do not have a good idea of his name.. he is just there to spectate. There are many people active here.. and while it makes sense for so many to be interested in Akira and I do remember the characters but they have a bit of that “who the heck are these guys”  vibe.

While the visual references in this episode are great,  there is a bit of a lack of pisaz sort  of speak. The snow falls against a pitch black sky No details. We get very sterile and clean environments, and sometimes characters lack detail when there really is no need for them to lack such detail. I get it’s school and it will look clean.. but everything looks just a bit too clean. The match part between Akira and Oza is fine for a location where we spend almost half an episode I at least would like just a BIT more of “set dressing”  I get it from a manga panelling sense that lacks a whole lot more space but the backgrounds can be a bit bland. Add an interesting cat poster.. or  a ticking clock on the background.. a mani neko or heck even some transparent images of the match you are talking about. Saki and Beyblade are examples on how boring scenes can be made more interesting.. If people talk in imagery down in the stands we get these detailed still shots.. for example they say Akits is on the offense.. in Saki or Beyblade they would have depicted him as a Samurai running in for an attack. While it clashes with the subtle tone of the rest I don’t think it would be detrimental as the worlds already are spoken.. no need to be subtle about that. Offer us an interesting visual to break that monotony.

The Score 

While that last point might seem like a big negative.. it isn’t really. I enjoy the show thoroughly so that last point doesn’t keep this episode from getting my highest score. After all I deeply enjoyed this episode. It is simply a discourse between the genius moments in the show and the “regular” exposition. Like I said this show is very VERY good on  cinematic level..when something is going on… when LESS is going on the show can feel a bit… on a budget…and while it doesn’t make me enjoy the episode less I do  realise it has the potential to do better. Both itself and other shows not that much older show how it can be done. Cowboy Bebop which is even older has a lot of grey visuals as well but it just adds something in the picture so a background is always interesting, so it’s more that I want more of a good thing than I think this is bad.

I thoroughly like  the outcome of this match.. but like I said last week.. it has been set up to not really matter.. or so I thought..the implications for Hikaru made me enjoy this episode so much more! The clever little hints on what is going on really sing! When it began snowing I first felt like… awww shit Akira is going to lose.. and when the music stopped I was like .. Holy Arceus.. he really did lose!  Followed by.. Oh wait this is actually really good at Hikaru.. aww look at that he is so happy and Hikaru isn’t losing who he is just in this pursuit.. this was an important match! I am happy! This is a good episode.. This is better than a good episode. I hope this show can keep it up!

An Entertaining Invention With Too Many Parts: The Mortal Engines

Tophat with goggles of the mornin  to ya lads and ladies.  Steampunk inventions to me are defined by having superfluous designs. I do think they could work but it also feels like you could make it a lot more effective and less prone to breakage if you lose a few parts here and there.  The first movie I decided to watch for this series completely fits in that theme. This movie is SO steampunk that in it’s design it even is steampunk in it’s very direction and concept. A great movie to start off with! So with this post I will review the Mortal Engine.

The Framework of  Movie

The Mortal Engines is a Steampunk movie that came out in 2018 with.. a bit of a buzz.. You know,  it’s not one of those movies you really put in your day planner but you remember the trailer for it thinking.. that might be interesting.  At least that was how it appeared to me. It’s a Universal Pictures movie.. that was produced by Wingnut films along with a few other studios. It stars Robert Sheehan as the male lead. A guy you might know from his role in the tv series Misfits.. or of the campy but strangely similar title.. the Mortal Instruments. He plays Tom Natsworthy.. a historian who once had the ambition to be an aviator.  The  female lead is played by Hera Hilmar, who played in Da Vinci’s demons and A LOT of movies where I don’t know how to make the special characters on my keyboard.  She plays Hester Shaw and to me at least was the most interesting character in this movie. The biggest name tied to this movie is Hugo Weaving who plays the role of Thaddeus Valentine.. and no that is not a spoiler.. that is shown in the first 10 minutes.  Plus he is called Thaddeus Valentine.. that’s like a dead giveaway for villainous intent.

The movie is directed by Christian Rivers whom I have never heard off but he directs a lot for Peter Jackson who also is involved for the Screenplay of this movie. It’s based on a book or book series but I haven’t read them so I will be honest I do not know if it follows the entire book series, the first book or is a reimagining.  Thus I will be critiquing any problems I have with the story , or things I love about it seperate from the book. I do not care if they had to follow a weak plot line because it is part of the book. I will review this as if it was a completely stand alone product and purely review it as a movie. Artemis Fowl has shown us how movies can be rewritten entirely to fit the silver screen, albeit poorly,  so no need to compare it to the book.  I will assume the book is better so if you dislike me critiquing points.. I am sure the book offers more context.. but that is not a valid argument here! I am the average movie audience here!

The Many Cylinders of the Plot

 The story of this movie is rather complex for a 128 minute movie. Because there are many plot points and they really tie into my opinion of this movie, consider this your spoiler warning. This will be one of those reviews where I dig in deep! Starting in the next section.. so you have until then to make up your mind.  The movie mostly follows Tom and Hester and their adventure together. The movie is set somewhere in the early 3000’s or the late 2000’s. Present day is described as being a thousand years ago!  Yet since that often can be used hyperbolically.. I will keep it that vague.  Tom is a historian working in the great city of London. To survive and get resources the city hunts smaller settlements and thus earns the title of Predator city.  Settlements that fall prey to this city.. do not  have their citizens killed.. but you are forced to live in London.. and this faith befalls Hesters village.. or so we think.  WShe actually snuck onto this city.. to get captured by London. Her goal is to kill Thadeus Valentine.. When Tom foils her assasination attempt to save the man he respects, their destinies become intertwined and a big conspiracy is soon to be revealed.

What follows is an interesting movie, that has tons and tons of cool action scenes.  Pursuits on conveyor belts, huge fight scenes, daring escapes from hard to escape AND access places.  We also get some very colourful and entertaining characters that really  seem like they jumped out of an interesting JRPG.  They are  very over the top but I mean that in a  very endearing way.  Tom and Hester really are very much opposites but their journey together is quite charming to watch even if it’s quite cliché.  Steampunk wise we are also good, we get lots of cool vehicles,  lot’s  gadgetty action and just a whole lot of fun!  This is an absolute popcorn flick of the highest level where they just cram in so much fun stuff.. it actually becomes a bit less fun.. and a whole lot more messy! 

It’s a true Jackson

Peter Jackson does what Peter Jackson does best in this movie and makes this movie a spectacular fantasy spectacle movie that features giant moving cities and insect like vehicles instead of Orcs and Dragons. We do not get Giant Apes.. but we  airships and undead.  It’s all brought to life in such a believable way. Peter Jackson however also does what Peter Jackson does worst.. and that is turning a fairly self contained story into a somewhat convoluted mess that has WAAAAAY too many things going on and WAAAAY too much world building for a two hour format. Jackson does not trim excess weight.. and there is a lot of it in this movie. 

Not only does Hester have to get back to London to kill Thaddeus Valentine for killing her mother, he is also building a mysterious weapon.. so that Tom the historian can come into play offering plenty of exposition. The boy dreams of being an aviator but after his parents died in a tragic accident he gave it up to take on their job to honour them.  Those parts all work in pretty great harmony! We got one girl that was raised with a thirst for vengeance traveling with a bookworm trying to be more. However Hester is also being chased by an undead man, Thaddeus Valentine has a daughter who is close friends with Tom and potentially even romantically interested.. while he gets ejected out of the city she starts her own investigation. There is a Terrorist  out there known as Anna Fang who actually is a sort of sky pirate.. operating from a floating city.. which works in an alliance with a non Migratory settlement of Buddhist Monks and Mongol like warriors who have built the next Shangrila and have resources aplenty.. trying to survive the tyranny of the predator cities. 

That already is a lot of balls being held up in the air.. but then the Undead guy has a subplot of being Hesters , surrogate father who wishes to turn her into an undead machinelike woman herself because after she lost her mom she closed off her heart. There is a guy who is interested in Thaddeus’ daughter.. who seems like he is built up like Tom’s rival for Katherines love.. but then Tom falls for Hester instead and Katherine also gives up on falling in love with Tom and tries to befriend a man named Bevis.. who is a working Joe who hates Katherine for who her father is.. the two seem to hit it off.. but the movie runs out of time so we don’t see that going anywhere. Oh and then of course there is this super secret weapon that Valentine is trying to obtain..but the secret is locked in Hesters path.. but she can’t remember it all because she closed off her heart .. so now her love .. and the undead named Shrike all play part in that as well.  Did I tell you there are also slavers and a faction that works with the slavers.. There are ancient rumors of secret passageways and a city overseer who gets sucked in by Thaddeus’ ploy .. evil scientist and there is a deeper connection between Valentine and Hester.. it is so much , and a lot of these plot points don’t go anywhere.  Especially with Katherine a lot of stories just fizzle a bit. 

Junk Art

To explain this a bit more let me tell you the events off about ⅓ of the movie. Starting after Hester’s failed attempt to kill Valentine. Tom..  wanting to impress Katherine I think.. chases after the assassin Hester.. over a conveyor belt.. while huge chainsaws and buzzsaws chop up the small town both have dodge debries and of course being cut in half.  After that Tom catches up with Hester in the dustshoot of the city.. which she jumps off.. telling Tom that Valentine killed her mother.  The man shows up himself and once he found out Tom heard this information he pushes him off the city sending patrols to dispose of them. Hester steals Tom’s money so he decides to follower her around realising Thaddeus just tried to murder them. They have to try to board London again to get this resolved.. but Tom not used to the wild thinks he signals a traveling town… unknowingly actually flagging slavers down to his location.  They get chased by large parts of a city and Hester gets hurt by a harpoon. Just as they are about to get captured they are saved by an old guy and his centipede like tank vehicle.. but Hester is injured and needs a doctor.  It doesn’t take long to find out this old guy actually works for the slavers.. and Tom and Hester have to escape.. however since Hester is injured that is not possible. She tells Tom to leave her behind but he refuses.

Thus the two do not escape and make it to a slave market where they are about to be sold off separately.. when Anna Fang shows up to rescue Hester..Apparently her mother was a Freedom fighter as well and she asked Anna to find Hester. Which took her many many years.  Because Anna has a bounty on her head a fight between her and the slavers ensues using martial arts and steampunk guns to cause some serious damage. Just as the slaver town goes into driving mode.. the undead guy shows up and begins blasting and chasing Hester and Tom.. Anna saves Hester with an airship but Tom is to slow now  Hester has to decide if she sticks by her own code and saves Tom…this all happens in about 45 minutes or so so is about ⅓ of the movie.. and that ONLY deals with our main characters story.. We also see Thaddeus and Katherine do stuff still and get exposition from other historians. It is one heck of a messy ride.. but I sure did enjoy it.  It’s kind of watching kids decorate a christmas tree.

It’s like leftovers pizza where you just put everything you like on the pizza and then eat it. It’s nice and keeps you fed and you do like the taste.. but if you  let someone do a blind tasting they have no idea what’s on it.  The Shrike storyline … just kinda ends..  it DOES contribute.. in a way.. but I feel the story would have been cleaner without it. It feels like this would have been better as a plot for a sequel.. now that Hester is happy she has to keep an old promise and stop feeling.. but now she doesn’t want to any longer.. Shrike has the combat skill to do work as a movie long villian. There is a cuteness to the story with Hester’s heart being fixed and him recognising this.. but it just could have been done better.  Katherine’s plot literally just stops being relevant.. we do not even get to see her react to any of the big reveals. It’s like Red wine that is not decanted properly.  Sure you can get drunk and have one hell of a buzz if you finish the bottle.. just if you allowed it to breath more it would have been better.

On A Roll

Yet despite that it is movie messy there is such a charm to this movie. I can only  admit that it has this amazing geeky feeling. When the flyer pilots take on London , It feels like Gurren Lagann to me.. when they face Shrike in the Slaver city I got JRPG vibes on account of the plot jumps and the somewhat tacky but satisfying moral choices. There is a bit of Bioshock in there, a bit of fallout, it even has some disney vibes here and there.. there is a bit of Star Wars , if you are any kind of geek this movie will just have a form of magnetism.. I felt so much appeal throughout the entire two hours. I did not care that the movie was a sloppy mess.. I kinda more or less just knew but I did not really care.

The way the movie city is made, the costumes, the colours it all has a childish appeal to it. Not all effects are convincing.. but it still looks bad-ass. This movie feels very videogamey to me and I mean that in the best way possible. It has the same flaws as gaming as well but  the action is really nice and REALLy engaging almost as if you take part.  The acting is not always convincing but it has that JRPG charm. Hugo Weaving does a nice job playing the villain and Tom is a great character. Hester has a few mistakes for me.. especially when Shrike.. is written out of the movie she more or less feels like she just did the English voice over of a Tales of Game… but somehow I like that. It’s one of those movies  that has a charm.. like Batman and Robin .. but better.  It’s greatest strength is it’s charisma and I actually love that this is a movie that sits on that merrit. Steampunk to me has a form of charrisma and appeal.. it doesn’t always make sense..but when you look at it you can’t help but smile. If you can fall for a movies appeal instead of it’s merrits you will have a very great time.

Animini: Revolutionary Girl Utena – Episode 1- The Rose Bride

Many Geared Greetings to all visiting these islands! With Flip Flappers being finished we were given two suggestions for shows to watch one was Magical Girl Raising Project… suggested by Senpai Irina the other was Revolutionary Battle Girl Utena suggested by Mari I opted to watch the classic first.. I miss a lot of the fundamental shows here.. yet after one episode I am not sure yet if I made the right decision. I did enjoy myself, in a slightly, clinical, way. 

The Summary

Utena is introduced to us in a fairytale style animation that immediately reminded me of the stained glass scene from beauty and the beast it tells us the story about a princess that was once save by a prince that smelled like roses.. her parents died but she was save.. as a memento he have her a ring that would allow her to find him again. She was so impressed .. that she did not fall in love with him.. no she wanted to be a prince herself to save her own princess. This heads on approach is kept on throughout the episode as after we see our backstory we jump to present day. Where Utena is a girl at a pretty snooty looking school. She prides herself in wearing a boys uniform instead of a girl one..to the chagrin of one of the teachers.  In the gardens of her school Utena discovers a dark skinned beauty by the name of Anthy. She is being slapped around by some Bishounen boy Saionji , shocking Utena who feels drawn to Anthy. Utena’s peppy friend distracts her and provides the exposition on who is who and what their roles are.  All very straightforward and clear.

We cut to Sionji being part of some super elite School Council who seem to live in a castle up in the sky or close to one.. I could not really work that out yet.. and he is the owner of Anthy because he won the last duel.. whoever wins the duel owns Anthy who is better known as the Rose Bride. When the green haired pretty boy hands a love letter he got from Utena’s bestie to his friends so she can be mocked.. Utena in a fit of rage challenges the man to a Kendo match.. he notices she has a ring and instead duels her for the sake of Anthy’s ownership.. for  this cold water has to be splashed on her ring in some secret place and more secret locations are revealed.I will be honest that went a bit fast for me.. I am sure I will familiarise myself with that location sooner rather than later.. but I still had questions when this episode was done.  Bringing her Kendo sword Utena did not expect her new rival to draw a magical sword out of Anty .. the sword known as Dios gives up the sword to whoever owns the Rose Bride.. while her sword gets broken Utena still manages to win the match by knocking a rose out off her rivals chest pocket, while he had to do the same to her. Anthy then is reunited with Utena saying she is now her property.

The Positives

I like how modern this show is , even though it stems from 1997 it is pretty relevant with it’s themes to this day. We get a dark skinned romantic interest to a woman claiming herself to desire to be a prince and rescue her own princess. Utena clearly is into women and very much into Anthy. I want to watch a bit more Yuri shows so this does play into that agenda pretty well. While the visuals look a bit off by today’s comparison I do really like the colour use in this school. Lots of weight and regal colours give the show a sort of luxury and vibrancy that make a nice balance with the somewhat more somber, Hikaru no Go and More grey tinted Cowboy Bebop.  It even offers a nice change of pace from the very natural tones of Natsume. It does bring me back to that sailour moon vibe but it feels more “unique”  and since I do dream of a rich girl finding me.. I can dream away a bit of finding my own Utena. (I can’t tell if I am into Anthy as I have not seen enough) 

I really do like seeing the more classical style of battle as well, there is an impact to it, you don’t get as much in modern anime. Even though it is just slaps and punches for the most part here the hits really make a connection. Which helps immediately feel bad for Anthy who has the potential to be a super interesting character as well. Utena herself having pink hair is always a plus and even her basketball action is pretty entertaining in that same connecting way. I ADORE how petty she can be.. not wanting to play Basketball for a certain team afraid she might get boysweat on her. I can kind of relate.. and it seems that  we get a person that is very confident with the person who she is rather than the shy, reflective one or the bubbly happy go lucky girl that usually make up the dynamic in Yuri couples..There are the dramatic ones as well but so far I feel that Utena might become one of the most relatable for me.

The Negatives

I am not sure if this show is for me.. based on this episode. While there is much I admire about this show , so far there is much less I enjoyed. I find everything to be a bit too “on the nose”  The second Utena sees Anthy she immediately gets trusted into a situation where she might wonder Anthy’s relationship status, all the girls in school take turns into letting Utena take turns in using their towel and Utena says “sure it’s your turn”. Coming off a bit strong there..I knew she would be Yuri ..but to literally take turns into “what girls towel you use”  kind of feels gross to me. Doesn’t she have a towel of her own?! Why would the other girls take their towel to spectate a basketball match.. which is against guys by the way. We see Utena kick the boys asses, we see her stand up to the teacher about wanting to wear a boys uniform so she can feel like a prince….yet she wears short pants underneath…which kind of makes it NOT a uniform anymore and thus WOULD put her in violation of the rules unlike she claims.

I also feel uncomfortable with Anthy being the property of Utena and that doesn’t have anything to do with the pigment she has, I am generally a bit uncomfortable around characters that lack free will.. not persé the hypnotised once but characters who just accept their fate even if they are miserable. Utena owning a bride now again feels a bit too “in your face” Just like the rose theme is a bit overplayed, the school logo is a rose, her ring has a rose, Anthy likes roses, Utena remembers the smell of roses and Dios has a rose on the hilt.  I do not mind roses being the source of power.. but let the rose  be iconic to the school council.. not also the school, not also the ring.. AND the sword. It all feels a bit to obvious This I will acknowledge is probably a first episode problem though as puzzle pieces fall in place I most of the time will stop minding them..but I would have thought it was stronger if Utena remembered a eye colour or a look.. over the sense of a very specific rose. It all feels just a bit stiff..like a tutorial in a point and click game!

The Score

Some anime really need to get fired up and you will need to give it a few episodes before it gets going..maybe it will pick up.. but for some reason I feel a disconnect with this anime so far. I love that the hero really reflects me in a way.. though I probably would not walk the same path. She walks to the sound of her own drum and her own ideals and I very much respect that.. if that theme is highlighted I will  surely grow to like this show. Yet I am also a bit weary that she might beat up every boy with too much ease and become a bit of a Mary sue. I can relate to how her mind works so far..but it feels to me as if the show in the first scene tells you “yes she is gay” and the next scene.. “did you know our main character is gay?”  I kind of would like to grow into a character rather than one point of relatability becoming an hyperbole of itself. I can’t judge based on a single episode but this will be a show I will either hate or love and so far I am not convinced of either side.

Simply for existing, going this route and writing characters like this is already pretty amazing. Giving her pink hair makes it better and since I see no signs of a revolution yet I suspect a lot more will come into play. At least I assume she will take a stance against the system at one point.. rather then being revolutionary in the “you have never seen someone like this way”  I suspect her to be revolutionary in the sense of LeLouche or V rather than the newest Dyson Vacuum cleaner or latest Iphone. I am content with what I saw.. but this might very well be one of those ball gowns you see that looks amazing on other women..but you know on you it will just not work!  To be continued.. for now.. it was fine.

Reimagining My Life: The Steampunk Way

Steam Salutations, those who visit these mechanical isles!  It is the month of Steampunk on this blog, as per popular vote! We thank everyone for voting! However  it has left the manager with an extremely difficult task. She has to write a lifestyle post about Steampunk first! Not having the money for those expensive cosplay props the manager had to rethink what she could do.. and then as if inspired by Eddison and Watts..  an idea popped up! The Manager would reinterpret her life.. had she lived in a Steampunk society. How would my life be if instead of high tech gadgets.. everything was powered by junk, steam and gears.. what kind of person would I be?!

Recalibrating my body

First things first.. how would I look and be in Steampunk society. It’s a rather common event to replace some lesser functional limbs and parts with a mechanical counterpart.. however.. since I have issues with my muscles including my heart that would mean replacing a lot of me.. and I don’t want my biggest enemy to be a big magnet. I do love Tony Stark a lot though so I think I will replace my heart with a mechanical one.. preferably low on the steam! I doubt steam in my chest would be healthy! So I would like to replace my heart with a clock thingy we’d name .. “the Ticker” it would be a Cuckoo clock inspired thing that actually has a heart shaped Cuckoo bird coming out.. when I am in love.. or when  I am in heart trouble. I would occasionally need to wind it again and I would forget it every now and again so thank Steam-Powered-Arceus  I got a visual reminder.  I would love it to have all sorts of little things popping out of my ticker.. .. but we have to be a bit realistic.

I would probably be able to walk less well then I would now.. my medicine is keeping me a bit more agile.. and I feel that in a Steampunk Society they would just cut it off and replace it with a mechanical one.. I however love my shows too much so I would not want a mechanical leg. So I’d rather end up in a Steam powered wheelchair than with a big spider leg! I can probably walk bits and bobs a day .. so I would have a steam powered wheelchair and a steam powered cane to help me move about. Depending on how bad the day is and how cold the weather is and all that stuff. People  would constantly ask me to get my legs replaced but I would puff up my cheeks and tab my steam powered cane on the floor to show my fabulous shoes.. and clean them with little puffs of steam!  Of course they would be pink! 

I’d probably wear some goggles as  I need glasses anyway so they would be replaced  by goggles.. of course in pink.  If I wear a hat it will be a ladies tophat.. also in pink.. one of those pilotty caps would limit me from doing stuff with my hair while I feel the tophat is more an accessory. I like one of those tiny tophats that are just a clip on a hairpin! It would solve two of my problems… one allowing me to style my hair the way I want.. and 2.. it would actually keep my hair in shape!  With all that steam around I bet my hair will be really frizzy. Maybe it would be kinda good for my hair.. I must test this out with a bunch of water cookers in my apartment. That can’t go wrong right?!

Gearing up for a Job

Now replacing my heart with the ticker would result in a rather big change in lifestyle.. a big part of why I am sick at home would be gone.. so I would most likely be able to resume my working life. I’d probably do what I have always done and that is working in a store.. however in a SteamPunk Society .. business is quite a bit more cutthroat. So many junk peddlers and fairly bad circumstances.. there sure as heck would not be proper unions.. and the way I am today.. I am probably too “free spirited”  to keep a job long. I imagine my bosses being all types of salesmen like Watto from Star Wars so I would struggle to hang on to a job.  So instead I would aspire to be a journalist.. of course Freelance.. because nobody would hire such a free spirit. So.. in al likeliness I would be a traveling junker.. working in my own employment. Traveling to find some stuff to sell .. but traveling to interesting places so I could also find a story to sell to whatever newspaper I am close to! Of course the merchant life would be a dangerous one and I would need a partner!

My Partner would be Bulb-A-Saur.. a steam powered robot with a little metal detector in it .. making it’s light-bulb glow if it is close to a treasure. It would also shake and twith a lot and break down a lot.. so I would not make a bunch of money.. it would all be spend into fixing my sweet mechanical pet.  It has been with me since my youth.. when mom and dad gave me Bulbie-chan  because all the other kids picked on me and I needed a friend. Even though it is super outdated we would still be friends.. there is no age limit and no write off on friends even if they are mechanical. I would always smile when it comes whirring back to life.. telling everyone that friendship is magic. So all in all I would be a bit off more or less the same jobwise. I don’t have a very solid one.. but I have a good hobby and it offers me some sustainability.. plus an extra every now and again.  Making friends would be hard.. Steampunk worlds often have a lot of corruption.. and sky pirates. The latter would not be my friends because I work for the newspaper I might reveal their identities to write my way to a Pullitzer.. and Johnny Law.. has to hide stuff from me so I don’t become a steamwhistleblower. Most of my current friends most likely would not be my friend in this scenario because they either are working for shady companies.. or are super law abiding. However some people I know may be worked into a crew.

Assembling my Steampunk Crew

Just like I believe I am destined for big things and stardom in this life, so would i have great ambitions in my other life.. It’s not like real ambition.. because that to disappointment.. However I am someone who will always keep dreaming,, forever moving.. but not sure what direction I will move in! However I do realise that even wandering forward .. and wanting to dream is something I will need a crew for! I mean I can of course dream by myself but I can dream bigger with others… So what kind of people do I need in a Steampunk world? How can I translate that to people I know?!   Well first of all I need a person who can sail one of those zeplin airship thingies.. not a sky pirate.. but not a lawmen either.. because the state will come after me for my stories at one point.  Probably someone with one of those old time ball shooting guns as well because the knock back on those things makes me unable to use it.. I might be able to whack people with a stick but I have like next to  zero offensive capabilities. I have two friends who fired a gun. The Multifaceted Ocelot and Indigo.are both great fits so I will make them a pair! Two guys bought the same airship.. and neither refused to give in.. so now they are sharing the airship waiting for each other to croak..I befriended both of them.. and mediated. I probably asked Indigo for some help to fix Bulb-A-Saur and helped Ocelot with something on his mind.

So I have two guys.. who shoot stuff and fly airships for me.. Indigo can probably be some tinkering while Ocelot could unlock new functions in Bulb-A-Saur.. but one thing we have in common is we all aren’t that good at planning. We are chaotic, and kind of shy and introverts. Socially Awkward and who knows what else.. not a great trait for a journalist of course.  Yet I am me.. I won’t let my limitations hold me back and I will just find people to help me get past that. So I need a social girl.. one that works as a “source” for news  but one that can also function as a bit of a scout.. and a planner.  My friend Fatmima Minusima would make for a good scout friend.   We met each other through blogging where she kind of worked as my link to the professional world.. when disaster struck. Yet it figures it would also mean that we would meet in our Steampunk life.. where she is my operator, source planner.  She would have one of those eyeglasses thingies that makes her hyper aware.  You know with the switchable lenses in all sorts of colours for all sorts of effects.  She works in Public Relations for a big game company in real life so the job would fit her. I do feel like I can’t use my nickname for her hear.. as there is a joke in there established by friends of my old life.. so we will just call her Betty.

Finally I would need a pack mule..   you know .. a lot of treasure  is super heavy and I can lift about twelve kilogram before getting into some trouble… that is not a lot of weight.  I need a strong man.. while Indigo can work like that.. the other role fits him a lot better. Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of strong friends. I have one..but he doesn’t mix well with Fati.. plus I think in Steampunk society we would not be friends..well at least not his current day counterpart.  He would be one of those government guys that kind of sells out his soul for cash a status.. he would maybe later on be  convinced of hte evil of his ways but he needs to do something he regrets first so he can learn.. right now he isn’t there yet so he’s out. My sister would kind of work for the stereotype as well.. she is very buff and strong.. and she is my rock in my ways but she might be a bit too homey. So I actually think I would end up with a guy I used to be friends with.. we met when I was working in a hardware shop.. selling tools so it is a good backstory. He once again is a tinkerer but also one of those pretty boys that can life a lot.  He is good fun and a very free spirit.. his girlfriend not so much .. she is rather close minded and status driven.. but hey in this world they would have never met. So we would still be good friends. He liked I was so out of the box and we had some great adventures.. we buff this version up with metal hands and we will end up with kind of a mix between Bender and Metaton..but more human. Let’s name him Marcus!

Thinkering on My Adventures


Now what would I be doing in these times?  Well currently the steampunk world would be plagued by a mysterious disease. Yes I am romanticizing that situation a bit but only because a mysterious plague would make great sense in a SteamPunk world.. the plague doctor is one of the most  iconic things associated with the entire world. It would not be entirely the same thing as what we are going through but let’s keep the paralel. In the Steampunk world it WOULD be an engineered disease used to exert control.. we will steer heavily into those ridiculous conspiracy theories out there ..because they just fit the world like a glove. Mysterious Plague Doctors would appear .. as well as corrupted governments refusing to give up their power.. and I as a reporter would try to find my scoop!  A world run by streams and guns would have no internet after all. While there is no fake news..  governments have a much higher big brother level in this setting.. and so it would all be a much more  dark and ominous situation.

To lighten the mood a little we will say that my crew and I do not fully get involved with the disease. It is more of a background the world is going through. SteamPunk me would be waiting for a package delivery from SteamPunk Santa..  let’s say a new part for her heart or a new bulb for Bulb-A-Saur.. but then under the guise of this mysterious disease SteamPunk Santa and his Steam Powered Sled would go missing over London.. a nation that is going into complete isolation at this time.. even more so than any other country! .. Of course the Sled would be an amazing treasure as would Ru-D0lph  the Steampipe Reindeer so me  and the crew would travel into the terrain of  one of the mad man politicians realms to find Santa for a super duper scoop.. or just loot his sled and reindeer for treasure.. whatever comes first.

And that would be my SteamPunk story..If you are like.. Oh my Arceus.. that is Amazing Pinkie.. you should make a movie out of this… well then I need a few million Kofi Donations and I will make it so.. so if you want to be part of that Million then feel free to support my Kofi clicking in the cute pink little picture. Now time to dig deeper into steampunk month!

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

Steam Powered Salutations and engine sounds driving out my frustrations. Slime has been in a slump during this whole Charybdis mini-arc and in this episode we get the finale. One big final battle filled with cool visuals and people making their last stand.. Let’s close this arc off in style… or turn Charybdis in Sin from Final Fantasy X and have the OP character that is NOT the main character oneshot it..that will close it off as well. The weird thing is .. I kinda like that it went this way.. but also not?!

The Summary

Rimuru’s troops fight Charybdis and the Megalodon in this episode. Along with some troops sent by Gazel Dwargo on Pegasi the final battle goes relatively smoothly showing how far everyone has come along. Turning those Megalodon into mince meat within the first four minutes of the episode. Only Gobta’s group of tiny goblins  struggles and a disappointed master looks onto him, finishing the creature off. Shion, Ranga, Souhei and the Pegasus Knights take down the other Megalodon and Souhei is called a dreamboat again. I love how into him Rimuru is still and he is an insanely capable guy!   When everything is said and done and the sharks lie in defeat Sin.. I mean Charbdis is beginning to shoot it’s scales at people swarming them and cutting them up.   It is time for Rimuru to step in.

Rimuru fights Charybdis on his own but doesn’t manage to do enough damage because this monster has “ultra” regeneration.  Rimuru uses a new ability called gluttony to absorb all the cells and the group now can go for all out attacks… which is skipped.  We see people laying on the floor all tired out and Rimuru guesses that they did no more than 30% damage to  the thing. The monster yells the name Milim in frustration and Rimuru realises the thing is not here for him but for Milim.. seeing that Phobio is inside he now asks Milim to join the frey and take it down carefully.  Trying to save Phobio.. she one shots it and saves Phobio and Demon Lord Carrion shows up t o take back his apprentice.. after shoving his head through the floor hard.  He seems like a swell guy and calls himself the king of all beasts and happily enters a non aggression pact with Rimuru. Milim is happy she did Milim stuff. So all is well that ends well.

The Positives

By the brief summary and some critical lines you may have already noticed I was not the biggest fan of this episode, but in fairness.. I do like this episode best in the current mini arc. There are lots of satisfying actions and Milim is actually fun in this episode and USED for what she is set up to be used for. I like how she is eager to fight and the irony of Rimuru denying it from her because he suspects the creature is after him. Rimuru has been very central and this form of “arrogance”  is somewhat entertaining. I don’t like it from his angle..  but more on that later. I do like this episode from Milims angle though.. her apathy and not caring if people die is something I kind of enjoy! She can sleep while peoples life are in danger.. because Rimuru orders her to stand down. It’s on him.. and because of this weakness on his side I really liked it as a positive on hers.  I also quite like how Charbdis who is said to have the strength of a Demon Lord gets squished so easily.. showing that that analogy might be true.. but demon lords vary so much in power.. it does not say anything. I do enjoy that kind of power scaling. Especially since RImuru was not good enough to face it. It implies higher stakes later on.

I really enjoyed a lot of the fight scenes.. though most of the truly satisfying action was against the Megalodons instead of against Sin.. I mean Charybdis. Glutonny was sweet to see as well and Carrion’s raw physical strength also had a nice impact. I was not bored this episode. Shion Souhei and Ranga making a stand against the scales wasn’t bad either.. so in terms of events.. all of them provided ample entertainment.  Milim’s final attack was a bit lackluster.. but hey she was holdhing back so  that actually works for me.. it can be lackluster if it’s meant to be I guess. Though it did not feel satisfying.. I can live with this .. I think!  The fact that Clayman is being outed as the possible instigator in this event is also interesting and will help drive the plot further. So there is excitement on both a visual and narrative level. However.. there is a big problem.. with the engine that drives this episode.

The Negatives

Where this show really fails for me is with consequences.. there are non.. for no one. If Rimuru  was not in this episode nothing would have really changed..okay Phobio might be dead.. but he would not because that is not how this show is written. Rimuru makes a tactical error in this episode assuming it is him the calamity creature is after.. as a result HE wants to be the one to deal with it. I already think this is a bit out of character for RImuru because the entire idea of all these alliances and bonds and stuff is so he can keep everyone safe and the reason he adopted Milim in his village is to keep the village safe from big threats beyond him. Yet for some reason he wants to fight for himself..  his followers kind of made him. The fact that Phobio is inside does not change that image so letting Milim fight now.. fits neither mindset. Not the mindset to look like a strong leader, not the mindset to keep everyone safe. To make matters worse they make a joke that people do not believe Milim is a Demon Lord and she is just one of the tools at Rimuru’s disposal.. so this plan was useless TWO TIMES over. 

A bad plan I am fine with.. but then let there be consequences.. let Ranga die in the attack , heck even Shion or Souhei, let the city of Dwargon be mad that he risked their lives while he had such a weapon. Let there be something.. but no everyone gets neatly potioned up and when Milim one shots the monster everyone is okay with it. So what is the point of this episode then?!  Rimuru doesn’t seem to learn from his misinterpretation, Milim doesn’t change and no one is hurt and no trust was violated so the status quo has not changed at all since they met Milim.. everything is still the same.. like we are trampling water. To add insult to injury we also see Treyni walk up to the group unscathed. Her sister told them they were fighting the calamity but would lose.. but losing against a giant calamity style creature .. apparently also means walk away unharmed.  So all we get is entertainment ..but with no impact.. I am happy to be entertained. I also like the intro and outro.. that keeps me entertained as well.. and this last arc is basically just like a 60 minute intro song.

The Score

I did like what I saw.. I just did not like what I saw between the lines.. and for an episode it was still entertaining.. it just was very superficial and empty.. like the eggshells of a cool painted easter egg sitting on your plate in pretty colours. This episode is really greasy Kebab.. as long as you eat it you enjoy yourself.. but as soon as that final bite has been taking the regret and the slightly icky after taste comes in. Does that make Kebab bad food.. no  not really!  So I don’t think it is really a bad episode either.. It’s just a bit to fillery for my taste. Not as in.. not relevant to the plot.. but it has the same circle of no consequence a filler arc has.

 I am happy this did not turn out to be the final story in the first season because if that was true I will be honest I would probably not return for season two. So I am kind of happy this stuff happened the way it did now we can move on , into better and more epic things.  I love that it’s light.. but I also loved that I cried for Shizu.. I love when the village grows and when new monsters get added and I want more of that.  So all in all I have very mixed feelings about this episode. It serves my needs very well.. but it is also nothing. So  I will just say that it is okay. Depending on your mood and your need for continuity this can either be a perfectly fine episode to turn your brain off… or a frustrating one if you want to see anything in terms of character growth or overall development. It exists.. and for a show you hold dear just having an extra episode can be good enough.. for me  that sentiment went out of the window with the last two episodes though.

Animini: Samurai Flamenco – Episode 20 – Boy From the Past

Joyous Salutations , my dear Island Guests, we have entered Steampunk Month on Paradise.. however just because our palm trees have turned into metal and our pool is now heated by coal and steam vents.. doesn’t mean we will stop with providing you our weekly anime! The Animini shall continue.. however I will immediately admit.. that with this first episode within anime Month.. I am not that pleased. I am not that pleased at all. Where I liked the set up of the villain last week, I think it’s current execution is not something I particularly enjoy.

The Summary

The episode picks up where the last when finished. Masayoshi is greeted by a young boy named Hajii and that explosion we saw last time.. it turns out it was Masayoshi’s apartment. I did not realise it because.. I haven’t really paid much attention to the outside of his apartment building if it even has been shown before. I do try to pay attention to this show so I do feel that explosion at the end of the episode missed a bit of impact. I wanted to see Masayoshi react a bit more.  The two have a mexican stand off and the boy tells Masayoshi a tiny bit of his background story before vanishing. He tells Masayoshi he plans to cause misery to Samurai Flamenco. Masayoshi is being taken to a hotel to spend the night where he orders a curry. Hajii calls hims room  and tells him he poisoned the curry and will soon treat Masayoshi to a colourful chain of events. Plus offering a lot more backstory. He was the young boy that was part of the group of ruffians.. I even described him there I think.. Apparently he found the word Flamenco to be really funny.. and he decided to be his rival.. long story short he wants to be his complete opposite.. so no justifications he just is pure evil! To offer Samurai Flamenco the best possible foe he can have.

Because of the phone hint Hajii gave Masayoshi the model deduces his first target is the Flamengers.. and this indeed is true.  Blue gets his cardboard cutout of Red Axe being torn. Blacks Grandpa gets pushed over, Green gets his book  cut to shreds and given to his little sister, Pink gets her hair cut off. and Red Axe gets hit by a truck and put in the hospital. We also see someone get pushed off a stair and ..kind of hurt their ankle I guess.  While I do like the power display here.. something feels off in how these are scaled and follow each other up.   Masayoshi goes to the police but no one believes a highschool boy can do this.  There is no trace of a bomb in Masayoshi’s apartment, no poison in the curry, and the boy is said to have died from a disease over a year ago.  Even Goto won’t believe his friend and the two get in a huge fight.. causing Goto to break all ties with Masayoshi and throw him out.. because he found it unfair that Masayoshi called him out for being a hypocrite. Masayoshi sits on a riverbank and waits for Haiji to  call who shows up on an island in the river. When Masayoshi swims to him to proof he is real and not a figment of his overworked mind.. he finds no one there.. we see Masayoshi lay there wondering if this villain is hin his head.

The Positives

I do really like how Hajii is set up as the Joker..  he is evil just because he can and he wants to be the opposite of Samurai Flamenco.. being evil just for evil sake is great. I also love the mind game that is being played here.. if that is the route they are going for..  Samurai Flamenco has very much dependent on all his allies, so the way to fight him.. is indeed by taking his friends away from him.. making him seem like a madman.. It will also reduce his chances to be world president.. which I already found dumb.. so I am all for that.  Overall Masayoshi’s struggles in this episode have been done really well.  I have so much empathy for him.. from simple things as wasting a perfectly good curry due to a tease.. to slowly losing his sanity.

I also like the fact that Moe did not get killed in this episode.. for some reason I had the feeling that she might be killed off and that would have completely ruined the show for me.  While I do not like this episode .. they at least managed to keep it salvagable for me.. but given that I mention this as a positive might give you an idea for what is about to come next.  To linger in the positives for a little while longer, I do like the idea that this young kid is just to smart for Masayoshi.. if he is not a figment of his imagination and faked his own death.. and is just playing the man I do think that is a really REALLY cool villain concept and probably something that I would see myself as .. as a villain as well.. that would be how I’d work as well. However I do not think the villain works here.. It works along with Masayoshi but not with the show, not with the universe.. not after that episode I should have kept as my final episode. I do love the concept .. but it’s like a concept car.. they all look really cool but if you look a bit closer it makes no sense at all! Still it does look super cool on a photo so that is still a positive.

The Negatives

I am sorry .. I have a LOT of negatives with this episode! I kind of hated it! Not in terms of flow .. but I just found it to have zero credibility and consistency. Let’s immediately drop in with the scene that utterly ruined this episode for me and that is Masayoshi’s fight with Goto. Goto believes Masayoshi is just overworked and is imagining this guy. Masayoshi tells him he is a hypocrite.. because he wants to cling on the illusion that his girlfriend is still alive and will come back.. but he doesn’t believe Masayoshi saw a real guy. That is hypocritical indeed.. and it would have been a super powerful scene.. had it made any sense..  but let’s look at this closer. Goto saw a guy transform into a Guillotine Gorilla while standing next to Masayoshi… he used a pink  Hummer to dislodge a Missile made by a man who turned himself into a giant puppet. He has been saved by his favourite Sentai and he has seen an all American Hero turn into an alien. Had he had a telescope.. he could even see his friends IMPRINT on the moon.There in my mind is just NO way that .. a young boy .. flying under the radar is THAT unbelievable to him.. that it results in a friendship ending fight.

Then there is the attacks on the Flamengers.. which are all super petty and silly. It makes Hajii feel more like Butters from Southpark playing Professor Chaos.. ripping a cardboard sign and a book and cutting of someone’s hair.. tipping a grandpa.  Then Joji is hit by a truck?! That just feels super inconsistent.. at least build up in gravitas over a bit of time if you do that.. but no everyone was hit almost at the same time..And they are HIT at the same TIME.. same day within minutes of each other.  Yet the police and GOTO!!! Explain this as.. You guys go t some weirdo fans that will do weird shit. NO!  Had it happened over days.. I could have seen them going that route but there is no way you can make Masayoshi the boy that cried wolf like this. It doesn’t fit into the world building at all..  the entire world wants this guy to be president for Arceus sake.. Even if I would belief Masayoshi himself is turning into a villian so much things would not make sense. The Flamengers fought monsters.. they are highly trained.. yet Red Axe can’t jump away from a vehicle.. Black doesn’t notice an intruder.. while his father is walking on soft soil.. Pink doesn’t chase the guy that cuts her hair and just screams?! They are basically meant to be like Masayoshi so this passive behaviour also is weird. The next two episode better offer me one Distortion World of an explanation because right now this feels SOOO badly written.

The Score

Despite me hating how this episode is written there are a few things going for it that keep it from getting the lowest score in my system. This might still be salvaged..I can see Masayoshi distracting the Flamengers.. to cause the atttack to happen.. if he really is the villain himself.. but then .. Joji makes no sense as he never answered.. So that route is out of the window for me.. I must hope Hajii is at least real.. and he is just tormenting Masayoshi but even if that happens.. everyone else here got the serious short and off the stick. I might be able to justify Goto’s action because he loves his girlfriend so much.. but I still kind of find it bad writing when you know that your friend saved earth from the aliens ..and you fought alongside him twice.. to prevent the end of Japan..that this whole girlfriend thing outweighs that. It doesn’t feel right we always seen Goto as a realist so to weigh this.. THIS heavy.. Eeh..

If you are simply out here to see Masayoshi’s adventures .. this is a good one.. if you are like me and think also from the mindset of the other characters.. this episode made SO little sense to me.. it kind of felt to me as if the show said.. “well this all isn’t relevant anymore lets toss it in the bin shall we” and I do hate this episode for it. For me this is the single most worst episode of the show so far. It doesn’t ruin the show for me but I do feel as if this was  very very bad day for the writers. Sometimes a cool concept should just stay a cool concept.. I would have loved this as fan fiction.. but I hate that it’s part of offical Canon.

Gotta Make ’em All: Turning Irinia Into A Pokémon… and a Trainer

Konichi-well well well! So Senpai did something super nice for me and said I did not have to be grateful huh! Well, too bad for her .. I was super duper grateful and touched! She wrote about me.. so of course I have to reward that by writing something about her.  I did not feel it was right to create Irina with Anime.. because Senpai is my superior in the anime department.. I would not do it justice.. so I will interpret my Senpai in the world I am strongest at.. Pokémon! For Halloween I created Pokémon.. and before I did do trainer profiles for anime characters so Irina gets both let’s start with Irina the Pokémon!

<Disclaimer>
I in no shape way or form claim to state facts on Irina. This entire post is speculation based on Tweets, Blogs and Avatars, nothing is meant to critique her OR others and is just a reflection of my thoughts.. they may very well be wrong so leave your pitchforks at home!
<End of Disclaimer>

The Typing of Irina

Before we start designing our beloved blogger as Pokémon we begin with the basics first.. what type do we want her to be?!  Of course I want her blog theme.. drinking booze.. to play a theme in the character. Yet I also want that we could actually put this Pokémon in the game.. should it ever become so beloved people really want it.. and why not Irina is Awesoe.. and yes I spell it like that.. It’s one of the first things Irina called me when I started blogging and we made it a new word. Regardless.. a boozer Pokémon that in which we can imply boozing doesn’t help us a lot so let us take a look at Irina’s personality.  The Irina I know is a very sweet and tranquil person. She uses a lot of white … formerly in her hair, her avatar where’s a white dress and her background is very white as well. So white is a colour often used in Normal and Ice types.. since Irina is anything but Ordinary Normal is out.. but could she be an ice type.

Yes very much so I think, while Irina is super kind and supportive she can also keep a bit of a distance between herself and the blogging community. Not in a bad way.. but let’s compare her to Scott and Lita for example  and those I find join Jon Spencer’s games, talking on Lita’s server or being in the High Council of Owls.. they seek more contact. Irina is a bit like Elsa from Disney.. super sweet but with a bit of a harder shell. The ice type can also be used for drinking.. cause she can ice your drinks. On top of that she is a Russian living in Canada so like every anime ever would like her to snow!  That’s how things work!  Irina’s warm personality though also has something regal.. she has something whimsical and playful she doesn’t take herself too seriously.. so I think Irina is an Ice-Fairy Type. She also has a magical girl form she talked about so there is THAT as well that works well with the Fairy Type.

Designing Irina

Step 2 is designing the Pokémon. We need a Pokémon that you can see working as a Bartender.. but she can’t be a bartender.. ..She also claims she drinks a lot so we need to bring that into the equation. I also want to use Irina’s colour schemes  into play.. So black/white and Aquamarine eyes. Initially I wanted to make her a Yokai.. so she also could be in the Natsume Book of Friends… but.. that thing.. A Bartender Yokai?!  Then I had a great idea.. let’s make her a Penguin.  Irina has business of her own so I imagine she wears mantle suits from time to time.. the whole black and white theme could go well with her business side.. her bartender side.. and of course she always claims she is a bit stiff and socially awkward and a penguin could really help convey that emotion. I imagine her being a very girly penguin like Penny from Penguin Diner 3D.. now we just have to make the penguin drunk!

How we will do this is by using Irina’s willingness to help. She oftenly puts new bloggers in the spotlight, she is a part of OWLS to make the world a better place, she helped Karandi out with her blog, and constantly is contributing to make the Ani-blogging community a better place.  She is always trying to look at things form a positive angle.. I guess she is really a good drunk! We can’t have the penguin actually consume alcohol.. because that would be a nono for Nintendo.. so instead I look at something Irina also reminds me off a bit.. The Saint Bernard Rescue dog! You know those dogs that carry around a little bottle of Booze?! Well Irina carries  along a lot of Booze.. she is a Penguin.. rolling on a Barrel of Booze.. though we won’t call it booze.. we will just put the medicine logo on it.. to fit in with her pharmaceutical background.. because OF COURSE it’s not booze! The penguin would carry a little cocktail shaker though that it can lug at enemies as a Steel type attack as well.

Presto Chango.. Irina as a Pokémon.. would at hair.. but people don’t like that on Pokemon

Making Pokédex Entries for Irina

Now of course a cute designed Pokémon should have some lore. Usually new Pokémon are introduced in split games as is tradition and both games will have their own unique Pokédex entries.. thus we will apply this to Irina as well who I think as a Pokémon,  By the way I think we should Pokéify her name to something like Yreynia oy Yrynna something to make it feel a bit more Pokémonny. Irynha seems like the best option here.. because Pokémon names are always something sound familiar, but are spelled in a way you’ll always misspell it. It would also be fun to see Irina misspell her own Pokémon name.  But onto the Pokédex lore.. for maximal applicability we will not assign her a region based on Canada or Russia.. we will not reinvent a region we will simply insert her in any reason that will have her calling the Pokémon versions A and B.

Pokédex Entry A would read.. Irynha is the Sub-Zero  Pokémon.. her body temperature is always below zero which can hurt her internal organs. Luckily Irynha always carries a special mixture that can keep her warm in her Barrel. While this drink is meant for herself.. She loves sharing it with her friends.

The awkward biology that is completely unable to sustain itself if not for some weird condition is totally in line with Pokémon our beloved blogger would also fit that role. It does seem something she would take upon herself.. and well you ain’t a drunk if you need it to survive right so the Pokémon company would definitely accept lore like this.. because It is okay if your pokémon is basically a dead man walking or sucks the brains out of grandma.. but if it boozes no no! This solves that.. but it might be a bit to subtle.

Pokédex Entry B would read:  This pokémon walks on a barrel of liquid it needs to survive.. so it will always carry it with it. However the more Liquid it drinks from that barrel the harder it gets for Irynha to stay on top of it’s barrel. It also carries a small metal container in which it mixes its medicine with other drinks.. it loves to share these cocktails with friends.

And there we have it.. a barrel that gets harder to walk .. if it’s drained from content.. that is an alcohol metaphor if I ever heard it. .and people meanwhile could debate if the barrel becomes more unstable.. or maybe with a filled stomach the penguin gets too slow.. no we all know she’s drunk! But hey it will fool little kids and it sounds super duper adorable! 

The Role of Irina

Now for the final stage of her Pokémonhood we will look at what role she would fill in a party.. but we will also already move on to Irina as a trainer and think of what Trainer archetype she would be.   As a Pokémon I imagine Irina as a support Pokémon. Something you’d use in Double Battles.. with heal moves.. Like Heal Pulse.. or Status inflicting moves.. such as Ice Beam.. for freezes, Scald for burn.. which we can explain as her having an ability to clean glasses and ice drinks. Her best stat would be her HP ..because Irina just keeps going. A blog per day every day! For years. .aside from the million of jobs she has. Lita might have every media platform to make content for.. Irina does every job in the world and still finds time to blog! Definitely a stamina type. Her defences would not be that good though Irina oftenly underestimates herself.  She always keeps yelling that people are better .. underestimating what she can do.  A fear of failure might cause her to flinch more often than you would like…so her defences aren’t great.. Her insightful blog pieces.. that are jam packed with comedy makes me think she is a special attacker.. she blows your mind!   Her speed would also be good! Because how else can you do so much in a day!

These traits do make Irina a bit hard to place as a trainer archetype.. She is too witty to fit in the Scientist archetype.. She is not skilled enough in Pokémon to be an Ace Trainer and she is too old to be a lass. Clearly she isn’t a Pokéfan. I doubt she would be a Battle Girl.. as I don’t think Irina is particularly physical as she always has something a bit .. untouchable to me.. Her Senpai Lita is definitely a Battle girl though! However I think Irina is a Hex Maniac..  The Trainer class that mostly uses ghost types.. they are a bit crazy.. usually appear in the mid to later tier of the game, showing off some skills.. and they look like they have just drunk a billion coffees.. I imagine that is how Irina looks like after a long day of working  through her entire list of whatever she does in a day! They favour the ghost type.. and two Pokémon I am going to put on her team are that type as well. 

The Team of Irina

So in the old days I would make a team containing a physical sweeper, a special sweeper, a special wall, a physical wall, a signature pokémon and a legendary.  For Irina I will not dig as deep and instead I decide to flavour her theme after her favourite Anime show Natsume Book of Friends.  I do not feel Irina is particularly competitive in the world of Pokémon, she’s  the type of person that gives you an important HM to help you further or  trade you a Pokémon so hers can walk outside a bit more.  I am not saying Irina is not a pet person.. but  I think the world of Pokémon would have too many distractions for her .. She would set out to become a Pokémon Trainer and then end up taking the Suf Championship in another region..  or becoming a movie Star in Poké Star Studios She certainly looks the part.. regardless I do feel Irina would want a bit of a reference to her team hoping that Porygon one day can make her cross over into the world of Natsume.. and thus we get the following team.

Irina’s Starter : Kantonian Meowth (Gigantamax)

So Irina’s starting pokémon would be easy! It would be a Kantonian Meowth as that is the closest thing we have to a Mani Neko.. of course she would not just get any Kantonian Meowth but she would get one that can Giganta Max.. In this form that cat is super elongated and looks a bit more monstrous.. but also like one of those inflatable flailing airmen.. making Money is something this Pokémon is really good at and I do think that is a big ambiton for Irina as well.. I do imagine her quite wealthy.  I am not sure.. but that’s what I think. It also would help Irina who I think is fairly new to the world of Pokémon to get started.. as the Fighting Types usually don’t show up in the first half of the game Irina could travel her region fairly safely without having to worry about type match ups from the get go. Of course a Mani Neko that has an elongated form.

Irina’s second Pokémon : Lombre

Based on a Kappa this would be yet another Yokai like Pokémon Irina can add to her team. Starting as Lotad.. Lombre is  Grass Water Type .. That immediately helps her with her fire water grass core..(and also as far as she is going to get with that because she would get distracted and go another route) yet it also testifies to Irina’s efficiency. Like how she can take  a blog tag and turn it into something better.. telling something about other people. I did not make it’s fully evolved form because Ludicolo is a cheerful dancer that starts dancing whenever music is one.. I am not sure if I see Irina do that.. I think Irina is the type that whenever one of those songs everyone dances to starts playing if she even is going out.. she will use that moment to go to the bathroom not to have to dance.. I might be wrong though. Lombre is more Kappa anyway and I am not sure if Irina knows how to evolve Lombre.. it will not evolve by hard work alone!

Irina’s third Pokemon:  Mawile

So by now I am pretty sure that Irina would start her journey in the Hoenn region because the third Pokémon she’d  use is Mawile .. giving her the Fairy Type I associated her with earlier.  Mawile is a physical attacker like Meowth but as a steel type also has some solid defences. She is based on the Futakuchi-onna which is a fairly well known Yokai.  The lady with the hair that eats. Mawile’s lore is just a bit.. crueler.. which I think Irina would really dig.. she has oftenly said she doesn’t always like it when bad guys have redeeming qualities and prefers things to be a bit more black and white from time to time. Where the Yokai often has valid reason in myth.. Mawile just used her power to devour prey..The Fairy Steel type is also a very solid typing.. and I am pretty sure Mawile learns Fire Fang so Irina can complete her core that way. It’s also a fairly easy catch in Hoenn. I imagine it would have a bit of a flirty personality. Rini senpai is overly romantic so she would need a Pokémon like that!

Irina’s Fourth Pokémon:  Dusclops

ANOTHER Hoenn Pokémon.. I am not sure how she does it .. but  yeah ..I noticed how many cyclops ghosty Yokai there are.. and well this is the only cyclops ghost in Pokémon is another Gen III Pokémon. Nowadays with eviolite it works  as a defensive Pokémon and is better than it’s evolution. Which is another great pokémon for Irina. She has this  youthful style, full of energy and joy. There are bloggers out there that might look into things deeper , comparing anime with the literary works of the great. Irina I have always felt a bit of kinship with. Irina can be very deep.. but she always keeps things real.. and light.. as if Irina can grow up a step.. but really likes where she is right now as well.. and she is one of the best at that level. Dusclops is said to absorb anything.. and I think that goes for Irina as well.. booze.. games and anime there is nothing Irina can’t absorb and there is nothing she can’t  enjoy Irina is one of the most positive bloggers out there that can consume everyone.. just as long as there is booze.

Irina’s Fifth Pokémon: Froslass

Irina’s final regular Pokémon I would make Froslass.. we can’t have russian-candians go without their ice type. Based on the Yuki Onna , Froslass is all about collecting. Irina is quite a collector too, recently she collected a Yaoi Mystery box, and I have seen her do these kinds of things before.  Maybe Irina doesn’t  collect the corpses of her frozen victims and uses them in a garden.. then again maybe she does, I have no idea how good Canadian cops are or what Irina does on Saturdays and Sundays and Mondays.. I do know she responds quite a bit slower on the weekends. I do have an idea Irina’s home is filled with all sorts of collectables.. though I do feel it’s mostly posters and maybe some wall scrolls, a drawer of keychains! I for a fact know she doesn’t have a lot of phone straps. Other than just having the collecting and the type in Common, Froslass like Irina would have it’s strength in it’s speed stat and special attack..

Irina’s Legendary: Xerneas

So this one might be a bit of a stretch but I feel there are very little Legendary Pokémon that fit Irina. Tapu-Fini comes to mind in terms of looks and feel, but I don’t feel like Irina would like hot weather too much.. I am not sure why.. but I imagine she is one of those .. “hide at home when it’s hotter than 20 degrees celsius types of people. So getting a legendary from a tropical Island might not be a good fit. Stereotypical the partner animal for a Canadian would be a Moose.. but there aren’t any Moose Pokémon let alone a legendary, so I went with the deer legendary Xerneas. It is based on nordic legends, based around the tree of life.  Having deep connections with the world tree Yggdrasil.  In some story variants this tree connects worlds together. I feel this also applies to Irina a lot.. she is “legendary” in her own way for being one of those pillars in the community.  There are a few others out there but I feel most connected to the Rini Pillar. She has a breeziness and humor that is well reflected once again in Xerneas Fairy Type.

Xerneas above all else represents something positive.. where most version pairings are neutral Xerneas and Yveltal are Life and Death.. Good and Bad.. and among the Legendary Bloggers I do feel Irina is one of the most positive voices.. even saying sorry if she doesn’t like an anime.. telling you it could still be awesome to you. Irina is always going on about how anime is for everyone.. welcoming every single person who is even remotely interested in anime among our ranks. She wants anime to bloom.. to be as lively as it can be..  and this is often reflected in the pieces she writes. Thus Irina truly is the legendary anime blogger that represents life in the community and these two will make a great pair.

Irina’s Trainer Journey

Such a nice and mixed team for my Senpai.. it can probably perform pretty well in battle if she evolves Meowth later on and figures out how to evolve a Lombre! Yet I do not feel that Irina would strive to be the very best.. like no one ever was. To catch them would not even be her real test. .nor would training them be her cause. You see I feel Irina would more likely be one of those trainers that ends up performing in contest spectaculars.  I mentioned it before.. when I said Irina might get distracted, but Irina is also a master of Aesthetics.  Always hunting for the perfect screenshot, analysing colours ,  making that perfect composition of pins on her Pinterest.  So I feel like contest spectaculars where it is your job to make your pokémon look as pretty as possible.. (and possibly take screenshots)  would be much more a part of her journey. Irina would bring beauty and joy without doing the deep battle analytics of others out there. 

If Irina would pursue battle I do not think she would strive to be a champion.. I think she would either become an Ice Type Gym leader.. though for some reason I can also see her as a bug type gym leader.. so she can inspire the next generation to grow stronger. To inspire that passion of training in others rather than pushing her passion to the highest level. Irina might not be the social butterfly Lita is in that sense of the way.. but Irina is truly an inspiration.. a true senpai.. or in anime terms.. a student council president.  So I really think the later life role of Gymleader would fit on Irina after she would have begun her journey!  I bet her gym puzzle would involve finding hints in awesome screenshots… or of course some wickedly fun drinking games.. after which the gym would be closed down.

And that my friends.. is Irina is a Pokémon.. and A Pokémon Trainer. What Typing would give Irina.. what Pokémon do you think should be on her squad?! Do YOU want to be made into a Pokémon and/or a Pokémon Trainer.. let me know! One person is already on my list! Of course you are more than welcome to just talk Pokémon or Irina in the comments! If you by some weird fluke don’t know who Irina is check out her blog! It’s awesoe!