Thursday, December 29, 2011

Resident Troll: The Plot of Ever Shoujo Manga Ever

Spoiler alert: I'm about to tell you the plot of every shoujo manga ever created ever.Just kidding. But not really.

For those of you who don't know (also meaning, most of you), shoujo manga is basically girls manga. That's just about the literal translation. Don't confuse it with shoujo-ai, which is something most straight boys would want everything to do with.

This is how they go, my friends.

So there's a girl. And she's not supermegafoxyawesomehot. Sorry. She's usually the awkward one, never been kissed, never been in love. Usually she's fifteen, because that's when high school starts in Japan. Then there's this guy, and oh my god, girl, he is fine. All the girls want him, but for some reason, he wants Miss Never Been Kissed. Usually this boy is introduced and there's some sort of sparkling about him. Maybe he saves the heroin from getting raped (like in Mars), or stands up for her when the entire class gangs up on her. (Seriously.) And because everyone and their mother admires this boy, Never Been Kissed suddenly gets a good amount of respect.

At this point, of course, there's always the option where the story gets all rape-y and the pretty boy goes GIRL I STOOD UP FOR YOU NOW, SO I OWN YOU. And stuff. When it comes to things out of Japan, it's usually either as G rated as a Disney Princess movie, or as fucked up as a website with a domain ending in .xx. Yeah, that's right New York Comic Con. I saw all the hentai booths, with the over eighteen drapes.

So yeah. Blahblahblah. There's a bout of unrequited love. A lot of 'does he like me!?!?!?!!!!', the girl realizing her feelings and admiring the pretty boy. And then the confession. Now, the confession does not equal the kiss, okay compadre? That's a whole nother story. Usually shit's just gone down, Never Been Kissed thinks that the pretty boy hates her. Then it's all NO I LUV U.

Yeah. The story might end here. Depends on how long it is. I once read a manga where it took fourty fucking chapters for the confession to come out. That means ten different volumes. You'd have to spend at least a hundred dollars before you got to it. (The manga is Kimi no Todoke, by the way. I forget the English translation.) Anyways. Then pretty boy and Never Been Kisses are officially a couple. Woot.

Generally, the following happens:
  1. Pretty boy has a hoard of admirers who abuse Never Been Kissed. They might steal her shoes (because in Japan, you need special shoes to walk around in school. I don't really know why.) or they might hire someone to rough her up. Exhibit A.
  2. Pretty boy has an intimidating ex girlfriend who is super perfect!!!!! This brings out Never Been Kissed's every one insecurity. 
  3. Another boy enters the picture, and the Prince gets all jealous. 
Blah. Blah. Blah. Honestly, they're all the same. Somehow, people keep coming back. There are the occasional exceptions, the only one coming to mind is Kaori Yuki's Godchild, which is more blood and less romance. I don't know why I read these things. Maybe because I hope something will change it all.

Do not mistake, though. Some shoujo manga is really good, with depth and tear-jerking moments, but most of it is fluff and angst, in timed intervals.

Coming up eventually: a review on The Walking Dead: Compendium One. It's fucking huge, though, so that may just take a while.

    Tuesday, December 20, 2011

    Slightly Redder Red: Video Game Deaths

    So, uh,

    fuck Aeris Gainsborough.

    Come at me, weaboos, come on, really, I dare you.

    Seriously, why do gamers always immediately hop on the FFVII bandwagon when it comes to video game deaths? I won't deny that FFVII is a really great game, I honestly just did not feel that stab to the heart that so many others felt seeing her die.

    Hey now, that doesn't mean I'm not a sensitive person. I've seen The Lion King over 200 times (albeit more than 180 of those were before age 5) and cried every time Mufasa dies (I've just started to harden up during that scene, but don't be surprised seeing me shed a tear or two watching that scene). That's some serious sensitive guy cred. I just don't find Aeris's death that moving of a moment. Yes, it was Sephiroth's blow to Cloud, and yes, you could never get Aeris back after she was killed, but why does that make it so much worse?

    The main reason I'm writing this is because IGN placed Aeris's death as their #1 moment in video gaming history. I find this trying; why a party member in front of the main character? They had Crono's death (Chrono Trigger for those reading this who are incredibly daft) listed as #37. I was way more attached to Crono with my brief time spent on Chrono Trigger than to Aeris in my time with FFVII. Is Aeris so much worse because she's a love interest? Does the thought that Cloud and Aeris will never be together due to Sephiroth's blow make it so much worse? If it does, then put down the controller and go read a Nicholas Sparks novel. Turn in your man card. I'll buy you a copy My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Season 1 on Blu-ray.

    Know who's death was much worse on me?

    Nathan Hale, of the Resistance: Fall of Man franchise.

    This man had been through hell and back. He destroyed the Angels, saved Britain from a total occupation by the Chimera, destroyed the flagship of the Chimeran fleet in America, and killed Daedalus, the twisted product of Dr. Malikov's quest to stop the Chimera. And what happened to him? His immunity to the Chimera virus consumed him. He was quickly turning into what Daedalus had become, and after delivering his final lines of insanity, is SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER shot in the head by Joe Capelli, his only surviving SRPA squad mate.

    This fucking shocked me. The entire game was leading up to killing Daedalus, the monster who was responsible for the battle strategies to take the United States and who killed half your squad, and he won. Daedalus won. He really fucking did in the end.

    Joe Capelli is a character. Joe hates Hale, and is the only member of your squad that openly abuses him for being half Chimera. Hale's descent into becoming one of the enemy is truly heart wrenching to look at, his face becoming gaunt and pale, his eyes shining a brighter and brighter shade of gold. But Joe is who makes you feel like a monster. His abusive nature is what drives Hale to succeed against the Chimera, to prove to SRPA and his squadmates that he was just as human and sane as they are, but all that is cut short. Daedalus had to swoop in and fuck everything for Hale. He was left with Joe, who survives bitterly. Your final mission into Mexico to kill Daedalus and take an eye for an eye is emotionally straining for Hale and Joe, as their camaraderie is solidified in their victory. The hostility behind them, they fly from the falling flagship in a stolen Chimeran fighter and crash into the shores of the Yucatan Peninsula.

    Joe gets out of the fighter, and watches Hale standing on the shores looking out at the flagship.

    The next minute was as gut wrenching to watch as Rocky.

    I will often cite Resistance 2 as my favorite shooter of all time, and this is the moment that makes it.

    But that's not the only terrible video game death I can cite, oh no sir. Other deaths more moving than Aeris Gainsborough's include:

    1) Anyone from Heavy Rain

    2) John Marston (Red Dead Redemption)

    3) Galuf Doe (Final Fantasy 5)


    Yes. Galuf was your mentor, your guide, and the one man you put your faith in to help you. And he gets stolen away from you. Yes, he too is never usable again in your party, and he too will never speak to his granddaughter or Bartz again (save the endgame). So why is his death more important than Aeris's?

    Aeris Gainsborough was a cliche. The moment I laid eyes on her I KNEW in my heart that she was going to fucking bite it. She's the cliched member of the party placed there literally just to cause moments, the one placed there just as a love interest, and the one placed there just to die. Cliches aren't fun in a video game, and I have always hated Aeris, then and now, for being who she is. I could go on for hours about this, but I won't, because I have shit to do, and I don't feel like raving about weaboo trash anymore.

    tl;dr - Aeris Gainsborough's death is a moment completely inflated out of proportion.

    PS: Let the record show I never liked FFVI, and anyone who bitches me out for not including a FFVI death can suck it.

    Friday, December 16, 2011

    Slightly Redder Red: Weekend Update 5

    1) I DID have a second article to put out, it's sitting in the drafts section, but I published two posts besides my Weekend Update this week and it would be weird to do more than two. The procrastination comic was brought on by not doing a paper on A Separate Peace, which is, if you haven't read it, the Top Gun of american literature. Like, really. There are so many unintentionally homosexual scenes it kills me. We actually brought it up in class, and my teacher told us the author had been pressed about this before, and apparently  he actually had no idea the book would ever be considered gay in any way. Literally shocked at the notion. How?

    2) Know how Old Republic comes out in like, a few days? Guess what?


    Magicka Sabers are totally lore friendly. But I don't understand why the maker of the mod couldn't just ADD the Jedi Robes to the game instead of retexturing Blade's Armor. He added the sabers... but I won't complain. Author of this mod is a fucking bro, and I enjoy wielding my Sith Warblade and Jedi Peacemaker with a great enthusiasm. Plus, I can wear Daedric Armor and look like Vader sorta. It's evil.

    3) Acquiring Deus Ex: HR in the near future, so we'll see how that goes. Expecting good things.

    4) I want to either reread the entire His Dark Materials trilogy or Ender's Game. Probably will go with Ender's. I need sci-fi literature to read. Yes, I consider HDM both fantasy and sci-fi, like Star Wars.

    5) Working on more shitty models. Almost finished Ornstein, and I got sidetracked and started making little soldiers and made a little battlefield for them to fight in. On the subject of Battlefield 3 (even though I state in my bio bullshit whatever that I will not talk about Battlefield 3), my father intends on getting really good at it, and is playing Modern Warfare with my brother and I to train. Not that Modern Warfare is going to train him for tanks and planes and shit, but hey, shooting will be covered. And the original Modern Warfare. No COD game will ever top Modern Warfare.

    ...... DARN! That's the end.

    Thursday, December 15, 2011

    Slightly Redder Red: Procrastination

    Because fuck Separate Peace, it's the fucking Top Gun of american literature. And this gay earth. I want to stop being awake but I know I have to be awake. HFISUHAGFSFGASYUHASYU

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    Shatterblog!: The Old Republic

    Obviously, I already wrote a lot on The Old Republic. However, as the early access to the full game has begun, I will be covering it more completely over the next several weeks. I'm definitely stealing IGN's "Review Log" idea. I'll post entries about crafting, combat, story, etc, as well as my experiences around once a week.Honestly, I'm tired of seeing like 15 Slightly Redder Red posts. That was a joke. At least SOMEONE here is writing. Yeah, I'm taking shots at all my compatriots. Problem? Anyway, if there's anything you'd like covered in detail, make sure to drop a comment. Prove to me that you exist. I'm pretty sure only ghosts are reading this. All that aside, let me know, and expect regular updates.

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    Slightly Redder Red: Marvel Universe VERSUS The Punisher/Wolverine

    Ho. Lee. Fuck.

    Those are the words which left my mouth reading this series.

    Imagine if 28 Days Later happened in the Marvel Universe.

    That's basically what this is.

    Johnathan Maberry and Goran Parlov have crafted this intense masterpiece that almost eludes to be described by words. Brutal, heart rending, and true to its source material, this is one of the greatest works I've ever read. It rivals novels in story structure, and rivals the visuals of today's most striking films. Just this intense ride that never lets you go.

    Versus Wolverine came after, but it serves as a prequel to Versus Punisher, so read that first if you feel the need. If I were to pick a stronger one of the two, VW would take the win. It has much more strength and shots to the heart than VP does, and strikes so much fear into the heart when read. Moments like the battle on the Brooklyn Bridge or Wolverine dealing the most painful blows he has ever had to deal keep one emotionally attached to the work in more ways than one, always holding you in it's death grip of a seat and never letting the pace slow down.

    28 Days Later is a great movie, anyone will say, but it would be even better if the infected were super-powered. You just known instinctively that the whole world is fucked the moment you rest your eyes on Spiderman eating the Rhino in front of a packed Madison Square Garden. The first of the infected totally surprised me, the fact they picked Spiderman to be the harbinger of the end of the world threw me off guard. The sarcastic and fun loving hero was now the looming, ever present darkness, and he does a damn good job at it, even with minimal screen time.

    Wolverine is the star of the show though, and he also does a damn fine job in his role. Logan's primal and personal conflicts are tested by this virus, and on multiple occasions he's forced to put some of his closest friends out of their misery. But that never slows  him down, not even losing one of his hands to Hulk can slow down Wolverine. He's the ultimate in perseverance, and his goal of helping his fellow man never leaves his sight. The supporting cast does great at providing more to the story, the most notable being Deadpool. Deadpool is primarily treated as a cliche in modern Marvel comics, but I truly felt attached to Deadpool. Logan trusts him after what they go through, and winning the trust of the world's greatest assassin is an accomplishment on its own.

    I legitimately shed tears multiple times during the course of reading this work. Maberry's moments of total desperation and despair are outlined by Parlov's excellent artwork. The friends battling friends, the futility of the combat against The Hulk's army, and Cap's exit are all tender moments.

    Let it be known I did not bawl my eyes out like at the end of The Amber Spyglass (did I really just say that on the internet?).

    The pitting of infected versus human has been stylized for decades in American art, but it never has found a proper foothold in the superhero genre IMHO (Blackest Night doesn't count, I believe Versus is the better of the twin situations. DC and Marvel are always fucking copying each other... at least Marvel's was non-canon, and the non-canon material put out by the two competing companies are always the best). This is it.

    If Versus Wolverine is the true chronicle of the world's downfall, then Versus Punisher is its death rattle. The story takes off where VW ended, or rather eleven hundred days after the events of VW. The Punisher remained in New York while Mr. Fantastic, T'Challa, and Wolverine went to the Arctic Circle, for the sole purpose of removing the infected people and supers from the world. The effects of the wars are present; survivors corralled up by infected supers, destroyed landscapes (once again beautifully drawn by Parlov), and The Punisher. Who else would be so perfect for the role of the last uninfected Super living in New York?

    His mission is anything but perfect, however. The sole reason is not to protect the weak of New York, but to hunt and kill Spiderman, the first infected. It's a mission of honor, in that destroying the source of all the madness brought into the world will make it easier on the rest of the world. Spiderman also rules one of the largest tribes of supers, so there's also the motive to scatter them via a destroyed leadership. But ultimatums and ignorance cause everything to blow up pretty quickly, which is beautiful.

    The Punisher has always been a complex character to me in how simple he is. His strict black and white moral code are his constant downfall, and remain to be so even in post-apocalypse. There is no shade of gray for him, you're either good or evil, and the latter simply does not deserve a place on this Earth. But, as Donnie Darko put it: "You can't just lump things into two categories, things aren't that simple." That's what makes everyone hate Punisher in the end, and deep down, he hates himself for it.

    So..... just read this. Buy it at a comic store, in a bookstore, on the Nook store, [pirate it], just get your hands on this thing.

    OH: Chazz, I don't count Blackest Night because those weren't zombies, they were cosmic anomalies brought on by the alien Black Lantern rings. Zombies =\= cosmic anomalies.

    Saturday, December 10, 2011

    Slightly Redder Red: Weekend Update 4

    It's cookie weekend. So much dough. And cookies.

    1) Was out all week of sports with a bad ankle. Sucks, hurts to walk, figures the first time in 6 years I get up to exercise regularly I'm not able to do that anymore. Whyyyyy.

    2) Resistance 3 is sooooo much better than people are putting it out to be. A lot of people are citing Game Informer's average review, calling them "professionals" (I personally have always hated the writers of Game Informer) and that their opinion is probably the most accurate, but what the fuck do THEY know? They're the ones who keep giving the annual Call of Duty near perfect reviews (then again, so is the rest of the industry). I feel sorry for Insomniac in that they spent their budget making an amazing game then paying off reviewers to give it a good score (or begging their fans on Twitter).

    3) To the passing remark I made about the whole "CoD Director Asking Fans to Give it a Perfect Score on Metacritic" incident (and I have explained my stand on that before): the video game that set world records for being the fastest selling entertainment product of all time has no need for grovelling for purchases. If, let's say, a small indie company was Twittering to their fans saying "Hey, guys, it'd be super cool if you recommended our game to your friends, and maybe shoot it a good review!" They might need the extra sales by word of mouth because they put all their budget into the game, not into market campaigns lasting months on end. If Infinity Ward does it? They already spent millions of dollars on marketing, and they've already got over fifty thousand perfect review scores from every game reviewer and their mom. I honestly get really mad thinking about that. I'm so hipster.

    4) I made a model of the Gaping Dragon boss from Dark Souls. Here's pics!

      It's kinda meh, did it in about 20 minutes. Kept falling over.

    5) I really enjoy these weekend update posts....

    6) I do have 2 articles waiting in the wings which I'll put out next week, just to avoid not putting anything out. My erratic schedule as of late has made it hard to post things as often as I used to. Also will probably start making more shitty models just because they're something I really enjoy doing.

    Thanks for listenin', chiiiiiiildren. Hahahaha, I love Three-Dog. Nazir is cool too.

    Friday, December 9, 2011

    Shatterblog!: Castle Season One Review

    So I realize I'm way behind the times, but I just watched the first season of Castle over the last few days. It's an important plot point in this review that Nathan Fillion is my favorite actor, Firefly is my favorite show, and Halo (which he voices in) is my favorite game franchise. So I'm a bit biased.
    The basic premise of the show is nothing astonishingly creative. A crime write Richard Castle (Fillion) has writers block, end up involved in a polica case, and decides to start following Detective Becket (Katic) around on cases to get material for a new series. The cases are pretty interesting, and each episode can stand alone as a single case. I constantly try to guess who the killer is, and it often goes in directions I don't suspect in the least. A lot of crime shows these days are losing this fresh feeling. Castle maintained it beautifully, at least for the first season. The real draw of the show has to be the characters. Castle is the best (no bias at all there). He's definitely a douchebag a lot of the time, but he's funny. A lot of his jokes are actually really clever, which is different from most douchebags' heavy use of lame one-liners. His relationship with Beckett, who is a fan, but finds him annoying, is the source of a lot of laughs. His relationship with his mother, who lives with him, is even more fun at times. I think the relationship he has with his daughter could be a bit more fleshed out, but it's realistic, and there are some pretty touching moments. The show does a good job of balancing story (usually the case) progression along with character interaction and development. I won't include spoilers, but at one point Castle does a Chris Walken impression. It was hysterical. I highly recommend it to anyone. No bias whatsoever.

    Saturday, December 3, 2011

    Slightly Redder Red: Weekend Update 3

    So, my week has been extremely busy, and I had no time to make any other posts besides this one.

    1) I started track this week, and for someone who has literally never exercised vigorously for six days a week, running a little more than 3 miles a day is taking serious tolls on my legs... they literally feel like jelly sometimes.

    2) The only enjoyment I've had all week was spending my free time playing Assassin's Creed: Revelations, and I beat the main story in about nine hours. Much shorter than Brotherhood or AC2, but it was still a really satisfying experience. I was severely pissed off about IGN's 8.5 score. Eight point five? Seriously? The story was wrapped up nicely for Ezio, he knew his purpose, and he played his necessary part in keeping the balance of the world intact, and I'm super excited to play as Desmond in AC3. Although I heard that it's gonna take place mostly in Egypt. WHYYYYY, I wanted to be an assassini around New York City or something cool, not Egypt. Cop-out in my opinion, but I'm sure I'll enjoy the fuck out of it nonetheless.

    3) Last weekend I had a super awesome happy fun time having a really long marathon playing the Old Republic beta, and I feel awesome about planning on picking up this gem. Twelve hours of experience denotes a perfect score from me. Also, I love the dodge roll you do when you take fall damage so much I found myself purposely taking fall damage just so I could see the roll.

    4) I got a new keyboard and mouse for my sixteenth, which are working beautifully, and I'm not allowed to complain about them anymore.

    5) Starting KOTOR again, and this time I'm not going to be a huge whiny bitch about not healing outside of combat. But seriously, why NOT include that in the game? Dragon Age has it. Is it an idea that literally occurred to them years after making the game, like Bethesda and quick travel via your map?

    6) I'm getting back into Civilization, and can't decide whether I want to start devoting time to four or five. Hmff. Decisions. Five might win me over on account of Russian Death Robots (why are the death robots always either Russian or Cybertronian?).

    So yeah, happy days to all, and I'll start posting regularly again when I regain 90% control over my legs.

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    Resident Troll: The Beginning of Beware the Internet

    So, I'm homeschooled. This means I have a ridiculous amount of time on my hands, and instead of doing something productive like getting a job or volunteering somewhere, I mess around with my dog, play old video games, and browse the internet. Of course, the internet is an extremely scary place, so one has to be cautious. As anyone who knows me can tell you, I lack the common sense that most people expect from five year olds. No real common sense + the internet = Gabby being put into very awkward and strange situations.

    The internet is a scary place due to it's anonymity, and the whole free-speech thing we've got going on in this lovely country. With people hiding behind a computer screen, they can let out their most insane wishes. I realized this last night when I came across a person (who will now be referred to as OS) who wanted to write against a Zelda. Clicking on their journal, I skimmed through the general information about OS, but everything kind of read similarly to a high school handbooks (I hope that you take pride in your work, and whatnot). One of the first red flags was that, and the fact that the person was using candara font. (After a general period of website making, I feel that everyone should know to only use web-safe fonts, and not what looks pretty on your word document.) This person also used many idioms that I did not know. It all generally became TL;DR, so I skipped the other pages of information and went to OS's contact post. That was stupid. Red Flag. OS asked for you to leave you email, which is unusual because the website I found him/her on sent notifications via email when someone commented on your post/replied to your comment. For a moment I tried to figure out which email to use (my personal, or one of my secondary ones just in case this person was a psycho). I of course, picked the not-so-smart decision.

    I gave my personal one because I always check it. An hour or two later I got an email from a General Valter. (Google tells me this is a Fire Emblem character.)


    That was strange. Whatever. I opened it.

    Here's the email.
    This is OS from IL (I'm assuming the IL part was a typo, because the website I found him/her on is abbreviated as IJ), and I'm happy you're willing to play as Zelda. I read your reply, and I was wondering:
    1. Do any of the plotlines and such listed in my Journal interest you (they can be converted to the Zelda universe if need be)?
     Looks like I need to go back and read those...
    2. Would you be willing to RP as her opposite an OC (I promise he's no Mary Sue)?
    Original characters? Not what I had in mind, nor was I assuming he would be a Mary Sue, because I trust you, dear friend, but we'll see...
    3. Do you have any likes, dislikes and dealbreakers kink-wise that I should know about?



    At that line I decided I was not going to pursue this particular venture. Against my better judgement, I returned to the General's journal. Curious...

    Oh. You have an entire smut list? I didn't even know people made those. Curious...

    I clicked on the link. Adult content warning. Of course I'm of age. I waited for the page to load and hoped nothing obscene popped up on it. Oh, good. Only words. And a little logo in the right hand corner telling me that I was on a furry wesbite. Well, that's nice and not strange at all. But damn. That smut list was long. Not only was it long, but it was divided into categories. (Faves, Yes, No, and two other columns I can't remember.) Among the favorites were anal, worship, and how nice, dating before the characters were to get down and dirty.

    What's the lesson here? Read everything. Or else you'll end up dealing with smutty furries.

    Also: I'm working on finishing Skyward Sword. When that happens, I'll definitely put a review up. There will probably be another anime review up before that, though. And then I'm getting rid of my Wii.