Thursday, 28 July 2011

MY LIFE also a bit about comiket but don't get your hopes up

I haven't been reading or commenting on blogs as much as I'd have liked to over the past week or two, sorry about that.  I was also going to do a non-shitpost, but I don't think that's going to happen either.

Next year, my uni course becomes more vocational rather than class-based, and I'll be based somewhere other than my university. There's a whole selection and preferencing system to choose where I'll be, and that's all going to be happening in a couple of weeks, which has gotten me a bit stressed out and unable to take it easy. The horrible part is that if my first preference has too many people going there (which it will), a chunk of them get shafted to wherever on their list still has spots open. Going by last year's numbers, the odds of that happening are about 30%. If I'm in that number? Best case I get a 2 hour commute to class and back every day, worst case I'm forcibly relocated to a town 800km up the coast, in shared living arrangements. For at least a year. That sounds like an awfully shitty way to spend a year, so I'm just hoping that I'm lucky enough to avoid that fate.

Think you can organise something for me, Remi?

But I'd feel bad if I just whinged about stuff for a whole blog post, so I'll talk about Wonderfes for a bit. There was a lot of stuff I like the look of, though I probably can't remember half of it. I don't mind the look of GSC's Madoka scale figures, though I'll still wait to see if any other companies (namely Alter) do anything with more interesting poses. The Love is War Miku has her base back, with slightly different paint, and there were a bunch more Mikus as well, some I liked, some I didn't. There was some more BRS and Saber stuff (including a Fate/Zero Saber on a bike) but I don't have an interest on collecting any more of those characters. There's also a zillion more nendos coming out, but at this stage it's stranger if a character doesn't get a nendo, so there's not much point going on about them.

Speaking of festivals and the like, Summer Comiket is coming up pretty soon too, although I haven't seen much discussion on it. It's a shame, because I don't use pixiv or anything that much, so I like to get an idea of what other people are looking forward to and take a look at what they recommend. I briefly skimmed the catalog for some of the names I'm interested in, and came across a few things, though only one thing that I would really like a physical copy of:

An artbook I was expecting, but a CD too? That's something I really want to buy, hopefully I'll be able to proxy it from Melonbooks or something afterwards.

I went through some of my photos from last year and found a couple from C79. Most of them were too blurry to salvage, but I at least got passable photos of the Milky Holmes cars. They were driving around Akiba a couple of days before Comiket too.

This was around noon on the first day, well after the initial crowds had died down.

I've got a few vaguely amusing Engrishy photos as well, which I might upload sometime if I can't think of any better content. 

And as a postscript: I finished MLA. I thought it was pretty damn good. If you have any interest in VNs and/or mechas, you should consider reading it.

Sunday, 17 July 2011


I finally got my exam results back the other day. It was several weeks later in coming that it should have been, and I was pretty worked up about it, but I did manage to pass everything. I ended up getting between 60-70% for all my different exams, which seems like a safe enough pass, but the pass cut-off isn't set at 50%, and for these exams it was 58%, which makes things a lot closer. It's a terrible system that only serves to increase stress on the students, but I still passed so I get to take it easy again for a while. I was one of the lucky ones though, the class average was also 58%, which would suggest half the class failed.

Apart from that, this post is just filler since I can't tear myself away from Muv Luv for any length of time. I estimate I'm about halfway through Alternative, but there's still so much that's yet to be resolved. Screw it, resuming play now. Have some Komachi, and I'll put up a proper post in the next few days (or however long it takes me to finish MLA).

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Cradle Song preview

OELVNs are not something I really keep track of. I know about Katawa Shoujo of course, as well as Dandelion Girl, and I'm sure we're all well aware of Uncle Mugen's masterpieces, but my understanding was that everything else is mostly pretty bad. I heard about Cradle Song on /a/ the other day and checked the teaser out, having no expectations. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was well made, and actually pretty interesting.

The story (going by the synopsis on the devs' site) sounds like The Matrix with superpowers and high school students. It may not be original but it's certainly not generic and sounds like it could make for a good setting. The downloadable preview version is only 10-15 minutes long: don't expect a demo, it's just a teaser. If you're interested, you can get it off the site.

If you'd rather not, I took a few screenshots from the teaser.

The protag and his crush

All VNs need a lewd onee-san

" the real world."

It ends immediately following that choice.

Apparently it'll be at least a year before we're likely to see a demo, and presumably at least another year before a full release (assuming it doesn't just fall apart somewhere along the way). I hope it makes it to a release though - I like the idea of OELVNs and I think they have the potential to take off if a few decent works make it to release (consider how many people are interested in KS outside the pre-existing VN fanbase). The art looks good, the music is good, and the story seems like it has potential. The writing quality is pretty good too, although I think there may be a few too many adjectives forced into some sentences. 

The good thing about the writing, common to all OELVNs, is that it isn't a translation. It's refreshing to see some everyday English phrases and idioms that you just don't see in translated works, and it makes conversations feel more real. It's a nice change to not see "It can't be helped..." at least.

Speaking of translated VNs, I've just finished Muv Luv Extra. It was okay. I did Sumika's route first but regretted my decision about half way through as I found Meiya to be the more interesting character by far. After finishing those two routes I decided to do Ayamine's as well, which was another bad decision. Her route was boring and involved her having feelings for another guy. I'm definitely not going through the rest, and will go straight on to Unlimited. Somehow I've still managed to avoid any spoilers about Alternative, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.

I know Alternative is supposed to be awesome, but I don't know what Unlimited is like. Is it just the same as Extra with a military theme? I really don't want to go through the same SoL comedy again straight away.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Keeping the internet on the internet

A lot of people get annoyed about internet memes and the like finding their way into the real world. I can't say it really annoys me, although I do find it quite amusing that people think it's a good idea. I saw a kid on the train today wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with Rick Astley's face, with text reading, "I roll with Rick".


The thing that gets me here is not only that rickrolling never was funny enough to justify putting it on a t-shirt, but also that he's missed the boat by a good three or four years. You know a meme is well and truly dead when it's covered by the mainstream media, and that happened at least a couple of years ago. Maybe he was wearing it "ironically", whatever that means.

I also saw this masterpiece scrawled on the wall near my bus stop. Now I don't even have to be near a computer to get my daily fix of internet crap! At least this one is still somewhat relevant I guess.

The main problem with this sort of stuff is that internet memes are inside jokes. They can be (though certainly don't have to be) funny, but the humour relies nearly entirely on context and shared experience. Take that context away (i.e. out of the internet) and the joke becomes meaningless. If you've ever been in a situation where a few people in a group have some private joke that makes no sense to anyone else yet they keep repeating it ad nauseam then you'll know how obnoxious this can be. I think the appeal comes from being privy to some cool hip thing on the internet that no one else knows about, and getting to feel all superior as a result. Just as likely is the possibility that I'm overthinking things and the reason is nothing more than "rofl so randum xD". Either way, I dislike it.

In a lot of ways I wish the internet wasn't quite as mainstream as it's become. It's not that I want the secret clubhouse back, I don't care about that at all. The problem is that seeing these memes in real life is an acute reminder that the demographics of the sites I visit are changing, and that I have less in common with the users than I once did. This doesn't say much about the sites I don't visit, and I'd be curious as to how a Yahoo Answers user manages to function in the real world without constant life support.

On a completely different topic, today is the worst day of the week because I have the longest amount of time to go until the next Steins;Gate episode. I've still successfully managed to avoid all spoilers, and I'm really enjoying the show so far. You've probably already seen this clip (spoilers for ep 13), I laughed.

I have no idea what I'm going to watch in the new season, what's looking good?

Friday, 1 July 2011

GSC Racing Miku

As usual, I'd meant to write a post about this ages ago. As usual, I got hit with another bout of having no motivation whatsoever. Such is life. I had planned to get some lighting set up for the photos, but it turns out the new bulbs I bought for my desk lamp were way more yellow than I'd thought, and Miku just looked like she'd been jarated in all the shots. Because of that, I went back to natural lighting. The only problem there is that there are a few more shadows than I'd like, particularly on the less close-up shots. Sorry about that.

Onto the figure. To be more specific, she's Racing Miku, and was recently released by GSC. She's based on an illustration by Redjuice for Good Smile Racing. I can't find a good picture of it after five seconds of Google Image Search, so you'll have to look for it yourself if you're interested.

I forgot to take any photos of the box again, which is a shame because it's quite good. The original illustration is on one of the sides, and it's immediately apparent that the figure is a pretty faithful adaptation.