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5791  Media / The Soundroom / The Recent Musical Purchases Thread on: May 19, 2007, 07:44:03 PM
Finally decided to buy "Capture the Magic" by Icarus Witch on iTunes.  Great tradional metal band.  Nothing innovative or original, but who says something has to be innovative or original to be good?
5792  Media / Brush and Quill / Book Thread Continued on: May 19, 2007, 04:26:40 PM
On the urging of my parents and friends, I attempted to read "The Namesake."  I'm probably the only person who doesn't like the book.  I try to give a book a fair shake by reading the first 50 pages and if I don't like it by then, I'll put it down.  The first 50 pages of "The Namesake" were pure torture for me to read.  The free-flowing, stream-of-consciousness, going off on lengthy and often pointless tangents writing style did NOT sit well with me and I found the book boring and needlessly whiny.  

On the other hand, in the last hour, I've already gotten through 100 pages in Motley Crue's "The Dirt."  Freaking awesome book.  I don't care if you hate hair metal or Motley Crue, the book is an absolute riot to read.  Some of the shit is so freaking off the wall I was hysterical.  How could I not like a book whose first words are "Her name was Bullwinkle."  I simply cannot put that book down.

UPDATE:  I'm about 330 pages into "The Dirt" and have 100 more to go.  This book reads really quickly.  This book is like how Tommy described the "Girls Girls Girls" tour.  It's a complete blur of mayhem and awesomeness that I can't remember a darn thing, 'cept that it was nonstop mayhem and awesomeness.  I can see why all my friends re-read this book once every year.  Looks like I'll be doing the same.  Most books, save for children's books, I read once and don't want to read again.  This one, I definitely want to read again and will make a point to do so once a year.  

Who'd have thunk it that a nerdy guy like me's favorite book is fucking Motley Crue's "The Dirt." Guess I minored in English Lit for nothing, eh? :P

UPDATE:  Finished The Dirt weeks ago and immediately bought myself a copy on half.com.  It's the only book I've read in my life where after I was done, I wanted to go back to page 1 and read it all over again.  This is one book I will make a point of reading every year.  For that rereadability factor alone, especially given its size, I'd call The Dirt my favorite book.
5793  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Phantasy Star III Defies All Logics on: May 18, 2007, 06:29:59 PM
Quote from: "Tria"
My topic must have been really misleading.

I'm not talking about the actual logic of the game.  I'm talking about that PSIII is so stupid that it defies all logic (because very few things can actually be that blatantly stupid).  I know that rarely any JRPGs are logical in terms of realism.

However, the argument you make regarding the "illogical" elements in PSIII are ones that someone else could make for any number of video games out there.

Of course, if you mean "illogical" in that as you're playing the game you find yourself saying "What the fuck were the developers thinking when they thought X, Y, or Z element in this game would actually be fun?"  then that's a whole different can of worms.  And, again, could easily be subjectively applied to other games.

In PSIII, my "WTF" was the pooled EXP.  I didn't like that when a monster yielded 45 EXP, it wasn't 45 EXP for each party member; it was 9 EXP for each of my 5 party members.  That made level grinding an absolute chore.
5794  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Phantasy Star III Defies All Logics on: May 18, 2007, 05:38:40 PM
I still say in the beginning of Thousand Arms, Jyabil's house in Boyzby was blown up real good by the bad guys because it was the only house in the game's world that had a toilet.  

Every house in Tales of Destiny had toilets too and Stahn even commented on some of the toilets.  

And don't get me started on the toilet demons in Persona.  They were downright evil.  

Meh, even the most realistic video games have to defy logic and realism in order to be fun.  The Sims, Shen Mue, and even those Japanese games where you simulate a job add unrealistic and "illogical" elements to make them fun.  

I couldn't help but think about Earthbound.  Earthbound takes place in a modern-day suburb that any of us could've lived in yet the game prides itself on its sheer lack of anything logical.  I approve of that nonsense.

Movies and such too.  The crazy stunts you see in John Woo movies (corkscrewing through the air with dual pistols blazing) defy all logic, reason, and even physics (you'd probably injure yourself or get all shot up by the enemy if you did that) but that's what makes those scenes so damn fun and awesome to watch.
5795  The Rest / General Discussions / GaGaGame Journal #5 on: May 18, 2007, 05:28:47 PM
Everyone and their great aunt Ida Mae's been on my case to experience the Xenosaga story, so I'm better late than never, I guess.
5796  Media / The Soundroom / s0nG oF tEh mOmEnt on: May 18, 2007, 04:58:37 PM
My song of the moment is that silly ass song "Bikini Girls with Machine Guns" by The Cramps.  I pick that because in some of the anime threads, I've been talking with others about the "girls with guns" anime and I don't know why I like that 'subgenre' but I just do.  Some series I just have a major soft spot for regardless of anything else are things like Noir & Gunsmith Cats, and games like Phantom of Inferno.  I'm amped to check out Madlax and El Cazador de la Bruja (mainly because they're by the creators of Noir.)  

I know there are better anime and manga out there than stuff like Noir or Gunsmith Cats, but I love 'em.  Something about "girls with guns" appeals to me.  

So of course, song of the moment has to be "Bikini Girls with Machine Guns" by The Cramps because that just adds a whole 'nother level of I don't know what.
5797  The Rest / General Discussions / GaGaGame Journal #5 on: May 18, 2007, 04:51:21 PM
I got the Xenosaga trilogy for cheap, so I started playing Xenosaga 1.  I'm about 1 hour into it and I'm digging it, save for Shion sounding like a ditz.  It's interesting that so far, the NPCs all have better voice acting than Shion and KOS-MOS (her victory cry about needing to be cleaned is just silly.)  

I can see why people wouldn't like it since it's mostly cutscenes interspersed by gameplay.  I probably mind it less since I'm a visual novel fan and those have even less interaction.

Of course, for the benefit of the site, I'll also be playing Memories Off: 2nd for a retro review.  Hey, I *am* the graphic adventure/visual novel/love adventure guy after all.
5798  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Favorite Anime on: May 18, 2007, 12:43:55 PM
Prime Mover- and viva la difference.  I think it's great that we have different tastes in anime and that makes discussion fun.  

dalucifer- Madlax, huh?  If it's even remotely as good as Noir, I'm in.  I'd definitely want to see more work from those creators.  When "girls with guns" is done right, it's amazing.  

I still want to save up for the boxset of BECK when it comes out.  I read some of the manga and loved it.  Everyone tells me that I would love BECK because it's about the trials and tribulations of a kid and his rock band, and since I am a musician and have faced many trials and tribulations of playing in local bands that I could relate to the anime.  

I already was flabbergasted by the detailing of the guitars in the manga (I'm a total guitar/bass/drums/amps gearhead) so...
5799  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Disgusted... on: May 18, 2007, 12:33:57 PM
For me, the one scene in Elfen Lied that I found most difficult to watch was
when the kid brutally beat the puppy to death.

Admittedly, though I get a tad skeeved at the sometimes odd portrayals of rape/incest/pedo stuff in anime, a lot of times it's context dependent.  The one episode of Boogiepop Phantom showcasing the guy with a loli complex was disturbing and it was meant to be so.

EDIT: Another thing that can prevent me from taking a series seriously is when it's overly fanservicey.  That's why, for example, I much prefer Noir than Najica Blitz Tactics where the fanservice is overt and stupid.  

And what *IS* up with Japanese and almost incestuous relationships between cousins?  I mentioned the Yuka/Kohta bit in Elfen Lied, but I also recall the beginning of Star Ocean 3 where Sofia is said to be Fayt's cousin, yet she acts like his girlfriend or something.  I mean, ewwww.  I wanted to rip Sofia and Yuka out of the TV, smack them and yell in their faces "HE'S...YOUR...FUCKING...COUSIN!!!!!!!!  YOU'RE FUCKING RELATED!!!!!!!!!!!!  Unless something's just been really lost in translation and "cousin" in Japan is more akin to "super close family friend" than an actual blood relative.
5800  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Favorite Anime on: May 17, 2007, 08:04:57 PM
I might have to change my answers a bit.  I love Boogiepop and Lain, but it's hard for me to watch those unless I'm in a certain mood.  I find Noir and Elfen Lied more "addictive" in that I'm more readily willing to watch those again.  

I've only seen 12 episodes of Noir and it's fast becoming my favorite series.  It started out great and just keeps getting better and better.  Very addictive series.  So stylish.  It's not a terribly innovative series (to me it's Gunsmith Cats meets Phantom of Inferno) but it does what it does amazingly well.  So long as Noir's ending gives proper closure and doesn't feel like a total cop out, I'll have a new favorite.  Did I mention the music in Noir is awesome too?  And in my eyes, Mireille Bouquet is the most beautiful anime woman I've ever seen.  Wow!  One thing I love about Noir is that even though it's a serious minded series with nothing in the way of comic relief, it still remains a fun series to watch.  

The jury is still out for #1 since I don't want to put Noir up there without seeing it in its entirety, but the rest of my top 5 are:
Elfen Lied- not a terribly innovative series, but the characters are extremely well portrayed, the visuals are fantastic, the pacing is wonderful, and I found it compellingly disturbing.  

Boogiepop Phantom- see previous post.  Wonderfully atmospheric series with enough content to break your brain and keep you compelled.  It's definitely a grower series.  Multiple watches will reveal more layers of depth.  

Serial Experiments Lain- this is *the* series if you want your brain broken.  It may seemingly collapse under the weight of its own complexity but there is a method to the madness.  It's also a grower, though even after 5 watches, you won't be that much closer to "getting" it.  

Neon Genesis Evangelion- even though a lot of people may say this series is supercilious crap, it has a soft spot in my heart.  It's the first anime series I saw that had really deep storytelling, deep character portrayals, and the emotional roller-coaster I went on with EVA is something I won't forget.  Some episodes even gave me nightmares.  People can bluster on and on about how X or Y series does EVA better than EVA, but for me, EVA will always remain a nostalgic part of my anime history.

Honorable mention goes to Gunsmith Cats.  Though it had an anime OVA series that had some great moments, it just wasn't enough for me.  I need to collect that manga series; I used to have some of them but they got lost in a move.  For better or worse, Gunsmith Cats was what got me into the whole "girls with guns" anime subgenre.
5801  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Disgusted... on: May 17, 2007, 07:46:28 PM
Elfen Lied is VERY much an acquired taste.  It's not for everyone.  It's brutal, gory, violent, and deals with the really fucked up sadistic aspects of humanity.  I love the series personally, but I found many aspects of it hard to watch.  I didn't find the violence itself any "worse" than that of Ninja Scroll or Fist of the North Star, but the motivations behind the always sadistic violence was what made much of it so disturbing.  When I was a kid, there were shitloads of tormentors I wished I could destroy the way Lucy did.
But when it comes to anime and the like, one thing I can never quite understand in Japanese culture is the love of and occasional glorification of incest and rape.  While this applies more to hentai anime and games, it can get pretty degenerate and gross.  It is disturbing seeing young anime girls who are WAAAAAY too attached to their older brothers or slightly older male cousins.  Hello?!?!?!?!  You're fucking related!  Boundaries people!!!  The love, and occasional glorification of, pedophilia can be disturbing too.  And that's not limited to hentai.  Lolita complex anyone?

In Elfen Lied for example,
the scenes between Kohta and Yuka were hard to stomach because they are cousins and were acting like lovers.
5802  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Phantasy Star III Defies All Logics on: May 17, 2007, 09:28:02 AM
I think we can all agree that Phantasy Star 3 is the worst of the series.  But despite all the lousy elements (bad translation, bad music, bad graphics, slow gameplay), I liked the game.  The story got more interesting in the later generations, especially the 3rd generation where you got backstory into the whole thing.  However, it's like a 200 page book where all the good stuff starts happening on page 150 but you can't be bothered to get past page 25.  

Phantasy Star 3 is one of those games where a really good idea, the generations system, was not executed well.  

Phantasy Star 4 is easily one of the best RPGs I've ever played.  I played that thing to completion 3 times.  Fan-freaking-tastic game.  Easily rivals Chrono Trigger for fave 16-bit RPG.  The story may not have been as dynamic is prior Phantasy Star games (the predecessors introduced more innovative story elements that have become RPG standards) but PS4's presentation was amazing.  

As for logic in J-RPGs, don't make me laugh.  When have J-RPGs ever followed logic?  Characters who can endure powerful meteor spells with minor HP loss get perma-death by a knife for plot purposes.  The grizzled veteran soldier who steps aside to let the youth inherit the world is a whopping 21 years of age.  Skinny 14 year old farm boys are master swordsmen who can wield swords 3 times bigger than they are.  Despite there being weapon and armor shops all over the world, your party are the only ones out saving the world; you're the only one giving those shops business.  I could go on.  And when have J-RPGs ever NOT have contrived plot devices that make no sense?  Sure there are PLENTY of exceptions, but the RPG cliche list wouldn't exist if J-RPGs weren't doing the same ILLOGICAL things over and over again.  

If J-RPGs followed logic and realism the way we know it, they probably wouldn't be that much fun.  But as long as things make sense within the game world's context I'm cool.
5803  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Combat Engines: Menu Based Versus Direct Input on: May 16, 2007, 05:44:42 PM
TANGENT: Fox- in Megami Tensei, all Devil Summoner games had demon loyalty (other MegaTen games do not.)  Devil Summoner and Devil Summoner 2: Soul Hackers both had it and it could be a pain since if your demons weren't loyal, they'd disobey your commands, attack you, all that fun stuff.  

But, yeah, a lot of classic MegaTen features are getting watered down in the new installments.  Nocturne watered down demon dialogue and demon fusion big time.  

As far as RPG battles go, I'm still a turn-based guy at heart too.
5804  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Anime/Manga Journal on: May 16, 2007, 05:40:35 PM

The other anime boxset I got for my birthday besides Elfen Lied was Noir and I just saw the first 5 episodes.  Fan-freaking-tastic series so far.  The music is so damn good.  Mireille Bouquet is easily the most beautiful anime chick I've ever seen.  

The series is like a cross between Phantom of Inferno and Gunsmith Cats.  It doesn't break new ground, but provides a really cool story with oodles of style.  Some of the cagey maneuvers the ladies pull are so damn cool and totally genius (love the popcorn bit in the 3rd episode I think it was.)  

I definitely see why this series is so well received.  It's awesome.
5805  Media / The Soundroom / The Recent Musical Purchases Thread on: May 16, 2007, 11:05:28 AM
"A Tout Le Monde" with Christina Scabbia could have been brilliant and haunting, but the arrangement sucked donkey dick.  A better arrangement and it could have been brilliant.  When I first heard that Christina Scabbia would be doing vocals on a redux of "A Tout Le Monde" I thought it would work, but it turned into a trainwreck.  

On the other hand, I thought Korn and Amy Lee dueting on "Freak on a Leash" on Unplugged would be an absolute trainwreck, but it was actually good; it added an extra dimension and made the song more haunting.  That was a HUGE surprise (especially considering I don't think much of Korn or Evanescence.)
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