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Apr. 17th, 2018 @ 09:26 pm PS3 streaming
Current Mood: okayokay
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I tend to resist buying games for full price these days: I still have a lot of great unplayed stuff lying around.
But Ni no Kuni II makes my little weeb heart flutter: back when the first game came out for PS3, I even bought the Wizards Edition, with the hardcover spell book and the plushie. So I checked out a stream for a little bit, and it immediately became apparent that indeed that is a game I very much want to play. So I stopped watching streams so as to not s(p)oil myself!
I mentioned this on a Discord server I hang out on, and a friend mentioned that they’d watch me stream both the first and the new game. So I thought: “Well, I do have the first game, all it takes is to hook up my PS3 to the capture device and off we go!” But of course the PS3 has that dreadful copy protection thing going on. So on a gamble, I got a HDMI splitter for about 8 euros from China that mentioned the copy protection thing in the description of the item. It took three weeks to get here (as such things do), and sure enough: the protection is stripped off by the splitter, so I can feed the PS3 video to my capture device!
Sunday, I cleaned off part of my desk and moved the PS3 to my desk, and did an intense session of closet-diving to find the game back. It’s still in the original box, with everything intact. (Now I wonder why I shelled out for the Wizard’s Edition if it only ends up at the back of a closet somewhere — the plushie was still in the plastic…)
So I hooked everything up, but… I have no audio. I could hook up a bluetooth or USB headset to the PS3 with no problem, but those are only allowed as a communication device, not to stream the game audio over them. And I could, perhaps, hook something together to make use of the capture device’s audio feed, but that has a 0.8 second delay, and that will undoubtedly drive me nuts! I would need a TOSlink-to-analog converter to actually hear the game I’m playing. Those devices are available, and for about 7 euros I can order one from China, but that adds another three weeks before I could start. All of that to play a game I have already finished…?

So I got really frustrated and bought Ni no Kuni II on Steam and installed it. Today I started streaming the game, and it’s so beautiful! There are some cool parallels with the first game. It’s a lot of fun so far, but there are quite a few systems to absorb in a relatively short time, so we’ll see how that works out in the longer run.

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
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azumanga
Apr. 11th, 2018 @ 09:39 pm (no subject)
Current Mood: festive
Happy birthday, cissa!
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eten
Apr. 9th, 2018 @ 07:54 pm Short-circuiting anime
Current Mood: curiouscurious
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I wonder how many anime series (and especially sports anime) have a plot that could be short-circuited by a protagonist saying: “No, I am under no obligation to accept your challenge. And I will not agree to your ridiculous stakes.”

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
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azumanga
Apr. 7th, 2018 @ 11:02 am Molly Ringwald and the Breakfast Club
Current Mood: pensivepensive

Molly Ringwald was the face of the generation that were teenagers in the 1980’s. She is five years older than me, and starred in what were essentially the first movies aimed at teenagers that talked about what it was like to be a teenager. I don’t remember when I first saw A New Hope, but I do vividly remember the circumstances when I saw Pretty in Pink. To people my age, movies like The Breakfast Club are important cultural artefacts.
But they are also artefacts of the time they were made.
That is why it is so interesting to read how Molly, who is close enough to my age to have roughly the same experiences and outlook, is looking back at The Breakfast Club and the other movies she made with John Hughes through today’s cultural lens.

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
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Kashira? Kashira? Gozonji Kashira?
Apr. 1st, 2018 @ 08:43 pm Games with Twitch Prime: “Tales from Candlekeep: Tomb of Annihilation”
Current Mood: boredbored
Tags: ,

When I got fed up with all the ads I saw on Twitch, I got Twitch Prime. It’s basically Amazon Prime (though there is no Amazon in the Netherlands, but there is Prime Video, so that’s something), but you get to watch Twitch ad-free and you get to use a free subscription every month. The subscription times out at the end of that 30-day period, so you can re-use it somewhere else (or at the same channel, if you want). Given the amount of enjoyment I get out of it, it’s a good investment.
There is another perk: you can get in-game loot in certain games. But you can get full games as well! For no additional charge, you can install those games if you have the Twitch app installed — it acts a bit like the Steam client in that regard.

Last week, I saw that I could get Tales from Candlekeep: Tomb of Annihilation for no additional charge — and I thought: “Free D&D game? Why not?”
It’s essentially a computerised version of the D&D board game, which uses a simplified version of the much-maligned 4th edition rules. You control characters with their own abilities: some they can do every round, some they can only do once per day (once per ‘quest’). Every turn, you can move and undertake an action, and if you end up at the edge of a ’tile’, then a new tile is added to the map. Of course, monsters can spawn on newly explored tiles. Combat is simply using powers (all the ‘at will’ powers do damage — some ranged, some melee), and it’s the usual “roll D20 + your power’s attack bonus to beat the monster’s Armor Class”. There’s Advantage and Disadvantage and things like that: if you’re familiar with the D&D rules, it doesn’t take long to understand what’s going on. The game really pushes you forward: if you don’t uncover a new tile after each hero’s turn, you get a random ‘encounter’ — some of them are beneficial, but most of them are not. But then again, most of them can be averted by using your Adrenaline.
There are five pre-generated characters: you can’t make your own, which is a let-down. Part of the fun of D&D is, after all, creating your own character and fine-tuning their abilities. You need to gain ‘levels’ to open up a new ‘slot’ in your party (you start with two). There’s a paladin, a ranger, a wizard, a bard and a druid — a nice mix of classes.
There is a main quest path, and side quests that unlock with each main quest undertaken. Each mission completed gives you gold and components, which you can use to upgrade the equipment of your characters, giving them more armour, HP or bonuses. The game comes with all the ‘DLC’, which are basically item packs that you can use right away.

The whole game feels rushed though. There is a tutorial, but that only covers the barest basics. There are only two sets of tiles (jungle and dungeon). There are very few different monsters. The interface does a bad job of communicating some of the statuses or the consequence of a choice. There is no undo or “what if”: if you click somewhere, then that’s it. I finished the game, but I never understood how a Spell Ward worked.
For an adventure game, it’s really slow-moving: the game takes its time in the phase transitions. A 9 tile exploration side-mission takes 15 minutes to play through. And it’s not difficult: I think there was only one mission that I couldn’t finish in one try.

I do not recommend the game. Especially not for the 28 euros that the set I got for free would cost you if you bought it on Steam. But I have been ill these past days, and it is a perfect little diversion for when all you can do is stare at a screen, click your mouse and make decisions that require only a light cognitive load.
With a bit more polish, it could have been a lot better. Throw in a level editor for people to add their own missions for others to enjoy, and you could have had a neat little computer boardgame. But that was not the path taken.

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
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d&d
Mar. 26th, 2018 @ 07:01 pm Sjekladebollen
Current Mood: fullfull
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Half an hour drive away is the city of Den Bosch. Their regional speciality is Bossche Bollen, a choux filled with heavy whipped cream and coated with chocolate. They are also called ‘chocoladebollen’ (‘chocolate balls’) or, phonetically, sjekladebollen.
All throughout my teenage years, I rode horses at a pony club tucked away in the village where I lived, and they had a rule: if you fell off the pony, you had to treat everyone in your lesson the next week. The ‘default’ treat was a Bossche Bol (though very few people actually brought them, because they are expensive for a teenage budget — often it was just a bag of mixed candy). Many a time, in that split second between feeling you lost contact with the saddle and actually landing on the ground — in that moment of airtime — you’d hear people shout “Chocoladebollen!” in celebration of the treat they’d get next week! (Also to make it more lighthearted: you don’t want your pupils to fall and be afraid of horses afterwards!)

We got discount tickets for a workshop to make these, and yesterday was the day! We met up with babarage, gertvr and xaviar_nl, and after catching up for a bit, it was time for the workshop.
The whole room was filled, but we had the best seats in the house. A little downer was that we didn’t get to make the choux ourselves — it would take too long and the process is too finnicky. In fact, the baker told us that the four bakeries that make the real thing get their choux made together in a central bakery! So we would make the chocolate layer — on the way there, I had speculated with xaviar_nl whether the chocolate would be tempered or not, but it turned out that we were both wrong. It’s fondant: chocolate molten in sugar syrup, so it sticks well to the pastry and still has that shine. We mixed those together and dipped the choux into the chocolate, after which they were put in the cooler. (Normally you’d let them harden out for at least half a day at room temperature so they’d get that shiny gloss, but again, in the interest of time, they were put in the cooler.)

Melting the chocolate into the hot syrup.


Dipping the choux into the fondant: take the choux by the underside, because that gives you the best grip.


Meanwhile, we whipped the cream (by hand!). They use 40% fat cream, which makes for a bit of a heavier cream.


The choux with the chocolate layer, ready to be filled!


Use a knife to make a little ‘cross’ at the bottom of the choux, and just fill it all up with cream! You know the choux is full when it starts to expand! 😉


Done! You present them with the chocolate side up, of course, but you eat them upside down, because otherwise every bite would force out the whipped cream down the underside, and that just makes a mess.


And if you eat them correctly, you’ll get whipped cream at the tip of your nose. 😉

Everyone had two: one we ate there, and one to take home. They’re delicious, and I think we might make them at home every once in a while, for special occasions…

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
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eten
Mar. 20th, 2018 @ 09:39 pm Scenes from my life
Current Mood: okayokay

Item 1:
I was on the phone with my parents — I make it a point to call them at least once per week. (Protip: every time you’re thinking ‘should I call my parents?’ then the answer is almost always ‘yes’. If you have parents to call, of course.)
My father was speaking, and he was telling me I should invest one of my evenings off to go and train or exercise somewhere. Then my mom, in the background, called out: “Yeah, you should totally do that! Why not come to here, and take your father along to the training?” My dad then said: “Uh… let’s not be hasty…”
An textbook case of “Do as I say, not as I do!”

Item 2:
The house next to ours is for sale. Our neighbour moved out at the end of last year. The house is a rental, like all houses here were. But now when the renter moves out, the house is put up for sale. So it’s a mix of rentals and owned houses, with the rentals slowly getting sold.
Last Sunday, we left the house to visit somewhere, and there was a family of four (mom, dad, two kids and a dog) milling about. We greeted them, and then the woman out of the blue asked us if we liked our neighbourhood. Turns out that the dad had already checked out the house, and now the whole family was here to look around the neighbourhood. So I pointed out some of the amenities we have, and also pointed out that the whole area had large parks running through it, even though it looks drab from the road. When I told them that the biggest drawback was having the highway across the park behind the house, they told us they lived in Amstelveen, under the flight path of planes approaching Schiphol, our national airport. So yeah, not really an issue then! They seemed like nice people, too.

Item 3:
We got discounted tickets to the Efteling theme park. We looked in their agenda to see what the quiet days were, and Mondays fit the bill! We took Babarage with us, so we were with three. Babarage was in a wheelchair most of the day, because she just can’t be on her feet all day. That meant we needed to get to the special entrances, which was very interesting: you get to see ‘backstage’, so to speak. And normally you don’t really interact with the people manning the attractions that much: you get into the ride, they check your seatbelts and what-not, and off you go. But with a wheelchair, you often have to go somewhere and ring a bell, and they come to get you, put you in a special ‘staging area’ where you can wait, etcetera. I was very impressed with the way they handled all this, with empathy and efficiency. That’s a combination you don’t see too often.
It was, indeed, very quiet, and we never had to wait long. That also meant we could enjoy a lot of the rides and attractions! Also, I want the Villa Volta music (specifically, this part) to play every time I walk down a hallway or enter a room.

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
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icecream
Mar. 17th, 2018 @ 09:02 pm (no subject)
Happy birthday, ashmedai!
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eten
Mar. 12th, 2018 @ 08:15 pm (no subject)
Happy birthday, meringues!
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eten
Mar. 11th, 2018 @ 04:35 pm Gaming
Current Mood: okayokay
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  • Some time ago, I finished (the PC port of) Ys: The Oath in Felghana. A fun action adventure. I’ve written a review on that today — I didn’t get around it sooner. It’s good fun, but there are some problems with that game.
  • Ys Origin, on the other hand, offers the same kind of gameplay but is much better. Story and dungeons are better intertwined, and the story itself is much more interesting. And it offers three playable characters, each with their own playstyle, and their own view on the story. I still need to do a playthrough with the third character, and then I’ll write a review of that too.
  • I got Dark Souls 3 in a sale some time ago, and I have been playing it for a bit. But while I love Dark Souls 2, I’m not such a fan of DS3. DS2 could be easily navigated by being careful and shrewd, and that does carry over to DS3 in some areas. But in other areas, you encounter enemies that can kill you in two hits, and that’s just not that fun. How can you get better if you don’t have time to learn the patterns and rythms of the enemies? I’m feeling a bit ‘meh’ about it, but if anyone wants to join up for jolly coop, then do hit me up!
  • I’ve also restarted a campaign of Darkest Dungeon. I’ve tried to play it when it claimed to have controller support, but that just didn’t work well enough. Now that I can game at my desk, with a mouse/keyboard combination at my disposal, it’s much better. I really like the writing and voice acting: it reinforces the themes and mood of the game really well. For instance, after an ‘easy’ victory, the narrator sometimes tells you: “Remind yourself that overconfidence is a slow and insidious killer!” So cool.
Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
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bonfire
Mar. 8th, 2018 @ 07:05 pm Rechargables… or not?
Current Mood: pensivepensive

We have a lot of rechargeable batteries, from when we did a lot of geocaching. I have a pretty pro charger too, that also has functions like a charge-discharge cycle to refresh the battery and so on. It has been some time since I needed lots of batteries, but since I’ve started gaming again, I needed batteries for my controller. But due to age or inaction, none of the rechargeables I had could hold a charge sufficiently. I threw all of them out. (Well, I put them in the recycling bin.)
So in a pinch, I went to the local supermarket, and they sell 10 AA batteries for EUR 3 — so that’s EUR 0.3 per battery. Parallel to that, I ordered 8 high-quality rechargeables, which came to a total of EUR 21. Granted, that’s including shipping, but I can’t just hop on my bicycle and get those, so I’ll just factor those in, which brings the price of a single battery to EUR 2.63. That means every battery has to be used 9 times for rechargeables to make economic sense. That is, if you already have the chargers!

I’m not sure this makes sense to me when I’m not using a lot of batteries…

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
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display
Feb. 26th, 2018 @ 06:58 pm Rebel Lieutenant versus Space Nazis
Current Mood: gigglygiggly
Tags: ,

During a discussion of “how do you explain RPGs to people who are new to them”, someone linked to this hilarious video. It’s the story of how an elderly British couple accidentally ended up in a playtest of the D20 Star Wars roleplaying game — even though they didn’t know what an RPG is, or what Star Wars is — and yet completely played the scenario to pieces.

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
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D20
Feb. 21st, 2018 @ 09:19 pm Streaming “actual play” RPGs
Current Mood: impressedimpressed
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The release of the fifth edition of D&D has caused a renaissance in RPGs. People who stopped playing decades ago are returning to the hobby, and more and more new players are discovering the fun in playing RPGs. And there’s a trend for more inclusivity in the hobby too: the D&D5 artwork is more diverse, and more and more publishers are coming forward with anti-harrassment policies. That increases the audience for RPGs even more, which is very good!
And, in a case of “the rising tide raises all the ships”, once you find out RPGs are fun and that D&D is not the only game, you start looking at other things too, which means other RPGs are doing better too.

One of the most interesting niches are “actual play” streams or videos. A group of people come together to play RPGs (often a whole campaign) and they stream that to Twitch and/or put up the recordings on YouTube. Some people manage to make their living by being an on-line GM, aided by technology such as Roll20 (which we use extensively too for our online games).
Some of these streams are hugely popular and have thousands of viewers. Even our own games that we streamed and then put up on YouTube were doing pretty well in views. And if you’re an RPG publisher, then you can see some real effects when your game is featured on one of these shows.

I think that’s a really cool development: you can see the game being played, so you can find out what the game is about.

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
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D20
Feb. 19th, 2018 @ 08:16 pm Channel emotes
Current Mood: pleasedpleased

One of the cool features of Twitch is the chat — basically an IRC channel that runs along the stream. It allows you to interact with the caster — ask them questions, make remarks on the gameplay, etcetera. And it also allows you to interact with other viewers as well, of course.
One of the things that’s added fun are the emotes. You type in a short phrase, and the system translates it into a small picture. It’s a fun way to quickly make a statement. There are the global Twitch emotes (that anyone can use), but there are also channel emotes, which you can only get when you are a subscriber to that channel (that is, you pay a subscription per month to Twitch, which passes half of that to the streamer).
But there are also browser extensions that do this, separate from Twitch. BetterTTV is the most used of these, and as a channel owner (regardless of whether you are affiliated or partnered on Twitch), you can submit your emotes and after a review cycle, they are added to the store of emotes if approved. And of course, if you want more emotes or personal emotes that work on every channel, you have to pay the developers of the extension to get that — but in the base, you can get upto five channel emotes.

I have been streaming again, and I had an idea for an emote. I had been playing Ys: The Oath in Felghana, and I had been getting frustrated by some aspects of the gameplay that I could not completely master. I had been getting impatient with myself and the game, and that wasn’t fun. The Buddha teaches us that desire begets suffering: I was suffering because of my impatience. What better way to mark those situations with an emote?
My friend Hoothor made the graphics. He “cartoonified” a photo of the Daibutsu of Kamakura, making the head and the hands (in the perfect meditation position!) slightly bigger, and putting the word ‘GREED’ underneath it:

I think it took them about ten minutes to approve the emote, and it is now live on my channel! I’m quite pleased.

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
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ADM3A
Feb. 14th, 2018 @ 08:11 pm Glass pins
Current Mood: creativecreative

My sister’s newest hobby is glass fusing: she bought her own glass fusing oven and has been making glass objects (some intended for use, some pure art) for over a year now. You can find some of her work on her site (it’s in Danish, since she lives there). Sometimes she has tiny amounts of fusing-glass left, and since that’s kind of expensive stuff, it’s not a very attractive proposition to just throw it away. So she has been making little ‘drops’ of glass, often with more than one type/colour of glass mixed in.
She took some of that stuff with her last Christmas, and we took (almost) all of the glass drops to make pins out of them! All we needed was some ‘blank’ clutch pins to glue the glass on, and that was fixed with a cheap order on AliExpress and some patience!


The glass drops themselves! A wide variety of colours in different sizes.


The bag of clutch pin ‘blanks’. The pins themselves (the pointy bits) have to be glued to the glass drops. They were packaged in a separate bag, which was put inside the larger bag with the pin backs. That ensured that it was safe to handle and none of the pointy bits stuck out!


We used a glue that we had lying around — nothing special, but it listed glass and metal as surfaces it would stick to, and it worked. For the next time, we’ll make sure to put the pin a little more towards the edge for larger pieces. If the pin is in the centre, then the pin as a whole could ‘sag’ forward because of the weight of the glass. But if you have the pin secured somewhat towards the edge, then the weight will keep the pin from sagging.

And these are the results:



Really like those pins, and it’s fun to walk around with something ‘home-made’!

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
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hand-eye coordination
Feb. 7th, 2018 @ 09:55 pm Why I like anime
Current Mood: pensivepensive
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A comment on my last post with anime reviews asked: “So… why do you like anime?” The more I thought about it, the more I thought the answer warranted its own entry.

Let’s say this upfront: Anime is a medium, not a genre. There are many different anime with many different subject matters and visual styles. And certainly not all anime is good: there’s a lot of mediocre and some abject bad stuff out there. But there are some real pearls to be found.
I do think that my tastes are outside of the norm for anime enthusiasts: there’s a lot of long-running series based on “battle manga”, with large fights and ever-escalating power levels. Series such as any of the Dragonball series, or Naruto or Bleach or Fairy Tail or One Piece are huge hits — and I have zero interest in them. So in this entry I’ll describe my personal preferences, which might lie outside of the norms.

I think that I like anime because of the stories that can be (and are) told in the medium. Some stories could easily be done as live-action series, but end up as an anime instead. Anime seems to be more open to experimentation, and there is an ‘accepted’ route for a manga or light novel to be made into an anime, whereas the step from those to a live-action is much larger and convoluted — there are cases where it happens, but often there is an anime in between!
Just today, we finished watching ACCA, a political intrigue about an inspector for the government in a federal kingdom of 13 territories. It’s not flashy at all, there’s very little action, no improbable machines, but the story is very gripping.
Or take Fune wo Amu, about the multi-year project to create a new dictionary. Writing a dictionary, how boring can you get? And still, it’s interesting to see how the editors go about their business, the challenges they face and the (office) tactics they use to overcome them. Again, no action.

Other stories are too fantastic to turn into a live-action series, because it features things like mecha and space battles. For those kinds of stories, anime is an ideal medium. There is of course the Macross series, which would require a mind-numbing CGI budget if it were to be combined with live-action actors, but in an anime the bar is lower: you don’t need photo-realistic renderings to integrate with cell-animated characters.
The effects and the set decorations for something like Mushishi would make it prohibitively expensive to produce in a live-action series format (though there was a live-action movie made), and it started out as a manga, thus it ends up being an anime.
Or take something like Uchouten Kazoku, about shape-shifting tanuki raccoons in Kyoto. Either you’d have to shut down the city centre to take your shots and add lots of digital effects, or you just draw everything from the comfort of your studio!

And yes, anime has a certain visual style and a certain way to tell stories, which is different from live-action series. It’s different, and for some people that causes them to not enjoy watching anime — even though they would probably enjoy the stories being told themselves. I also happen to like the visual and storytelling style, which makes it easier for me to enjoy the stories being told too.

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
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azumanga
Feb. 4th, 2018 @ 12:37 pm (no subject)
Current Mood: festive
Happy birthday, nucleosides!
One day late... sorry!
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eten
Jan. 29th, 2018 @ 09:46 pm Final new anime batch

So this is the last of the new anime (that we watched the first episode of) for the Winter 2018 season!

Miira no Kaikata: Sora runs the household in the absence of his adventurer father. One day, his father sends him a coffin in the post, and in it is… a mummy. A really small, cute mummy. Of course, Sora is weirded out, but he warms up to the little fellow, who seems to have imprinted itself on him as its ‘owner’.
I’m not sure what the point of this setup is, but it’s not interesting in the least.

Hakumei to Mikochi: Hakumei and Mikochi are small humans, living in a house built against a tree in a forest. They have all kinds of adventures, like riding stag beetles to the top of a mountain to meet a bird that’s new in the area, or going on a shopping trip to the coast.
It is exceedingly cute and relaxing, but the change in scale and the existence of antropomorphic animals (of course the cloth merchant is a hedgehog, because she has needles to spare) adds an interesting twist. It also reminded me of the RPG Ryuutama in that the trip is more important than the destination. And it’s all rendered in loving detail too.

Hakyuu Houshin Engi: Engi is a ‘celestial’ and he is sent to Earth to battle other celestials who have manipulated themselves at the top of an empire that they have absolute control over. Engi gets a weird flying animal as companion and sets off, but his first plan misfires and countless people are thrown into a pit filled with alligators and venomous snakes…
Uninspired battle anime, and the plot is paper-thin. I guess if you really liked Dragonball Z but wished it incorporated more ancient Chinese mythology, then this would be right up your alley. For us it’s a total snoozefest.

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens: The idea is that in Fukuoka, 3% of the people is actually a hired killer. A large supply generates demand, so there’s all kinds of dirty deeds that need doing — and get done. Not in the least by the current mayor. But of course there is a private detective who gets asked to look into things, and he’s the good guy. And there are some other plotlines with other people (most of them hitmen) who haven’t met up yet, but who undoubtedly will.
Fukuoka is a pretty city, we liked it very much. Some of the locations were familiar to us. But that’s about the only good thing that can be said about this series. The villains are really one-dimensional, and the plot is heavy-handed and convoluted. Meh.

Beatless: Humanoid robots exist, but they are regarded as mere tools by the humans. But Arato treats them with respect regardless. Then he meets Lacia, a masterless robot, who needs him to take legal responsibility for her actions, so she can save him from an attack by another masterless robot. She ends up staying with Arato and his sister.
Not too interesting on its own, but the philosophical ramifications are interesting to see. It’s quite pretty too.

Killing Bites: Japan is controlled from the shadows by four zaibatsu. They wage proxy warfare against each other by ‘killing bites’, fighting contests against people who have been gene-therapied to have animal characteristics. Yuya accidentally gets involved in this “sport” as a sponsor, and he gets saddled with one of the fighters as his bodyguard.
A totally absurd premise for bloody fights with plenty of ‘surprises’ when the fighters use a signature move from the animal they have DNA of. Fighting series are just not our thing.

Darling in the Franxx: Children are trained to synchronise with each other inside mecha called Franxx, to fight against the monsters that populate the deserts outside of the arcologies where humans in live. The adults are quite content to let the kids do all the dangerous work. Hiro failed the synchronization test, which automatically also disqualified his partner, and they are about to get sent back to the orphanage. But then Hiro meets ‘Zero Two’, a girl with two horns, and during a monster attack, the two of them sync up and kick monster butt.
This season’s mecha series, with some real echoes of Evangelion. It looks gorgeous, and there is a lot going on that will need some story development to explain all. I want to see more of that.

Dagashi Kashi 2: Second season of this series that showcases a different kind of traditional candy. It is framed against the fact that Kokonotsu has to look after his father’s traditional candy shop, while Hotaru is there to convince him to work for the candy company her family owns.
Somehow, this second season has only half-length episodes, but they’re pretty fun and interesting, if you have an interest in candy and snacks!

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
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azumanga
Jan. 28th, 2018 @ 10:06 am (no subject)
Current Mood: festive
Happy birthday, sillie82!
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eten
Jan. 24th, 2018 @ 09:59 pm Even more new anime

This is the second-to-last post with reviews of the new anime this season!

Ryuuou no Oshigoto!: Yaichi became the top shogi player while he still is in highschool. So now he is a professional, and he lives on his own, making his living by playing shogi and training in between. And then one day, a young girl turns up on his doorstep. She reminds him of his promise to be her shogi master — and she definitely has talent. But Yaichi is not equipped to deal with having a student like this.
It’s everything that Sangatsu no Lion isn’t: it’s whimsical and shallow, and it has a worrying amount of lolicon front and center. Best left untouched.

Karakai Jouzu no Tagaki-san: Tagaki sits next to Nishikata, who is always thinking of ways to get her into trouble with the teacher. But Tagaki, who obviously has a thing for Nishikata, is much too clever to fall into his traps — rather, she consistently turns the tables on him, much to his annoyance!
It’s kind of cute on one hand, but on the other hand, it’s a long sequence of two kids playing tricks on each other, and that gets kinda old fast.

Basilisk: Ouka Ninpouchou: Second series of a much older series. We’re introduced to many super-powered ninja, with the idea that we should know these people from before, so the introductions are very sparse indeed. A noble sets out to Edo, to see his dying mother one last time, and he is waylaid by a group of ninja. Luckily for him, our “hero” ninja are there to save his bacon!
At the end of the episode, I was left wondering who all these people were, and why we should care about them. The character designs are kinda weird too. And it has all that “fight in the rain because that makes us look edgy”-thing going on that I’ve grown tired of a long time ago.

Dame x Prince Anime Caravan: Ani, the princess of the small kingdom of Inaco, gets sent to the neighbouring country of Selenfalen, in order to sign the peace treaty with the kingdom of Milidonia. She meets the princes of these kingdoms and their knights, and they’re all super dreamy and… odd. She’s happy to be back home after all that, but then she gets sent out again…
Reverse harem anime with lots of pretty boys that all seem to have a few screws loose. The character designs are quite nice and I really liked how Ani is weirded out by the people she meets — she seems to be the only character in the whole series who has any kind of common sense. Other than that, it’s just like many other reverse harem series, only this time there’s a thin layer of fantasy setting.

Violet Evergarden: Violet was raised as a soldier, and the only person she looks up to is a major. But then she loses her arms during a battle, and the war is over while she is in the hospital getting cyborg arms. The major’s fate is not known (but it didn’t look to good), and one of his associates comes to get her. They quickly find out that Violet is not suited to play the part of a young well-to-do girl that is being adopted by the Evergarden family, and she ends up working as a mail sorter in the associate’s private mail company. In that role, she connects with people in a way that she never did.
Very high budget: everything is so detailed! And the setting is very interesting too, in a 1920’s kind of way. We don’t see much of Violet’s military life, but I am interested to see more of how she discovers to live like a civilian.

Märchen Mädchen: Hazuki is a total bookworm, retreating into stories to escape her not-so-great life. Then she gets a magic book that allows her to enter through a bookcase in the school library, and she ends up at a magic school in the magical land inside!
There’s not much substance, apart from some gratuitous nudity… It’ll probably turn into some kind of magic academy series, but this bland first episode already lost us.

Death March Kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku: Ichirou is a programmer for a studio that cranks out those trashy, short-lived MMORPGs. He’s constantly overworked, needing to offer quick fixes to all kinds of issues etcetera. When he sleeps at the office, he finds himself in one of ‘his’ games — including the game menu. He uses the extra items that they put in that day to make the game easier for starting players, and the three super-powerful spells kill a large mob of monsters, increasing his level immensely. So now he’s quite powerful, and he starts off in the direction of the nearest town to see what’s going on.
So this is very much like “Isekai wa Smartphone to Tomo ni”, which was, frankly speaking, bad. I don’t quite understand why we’re giving this one a chance since it’s so similar, but I guess we’re optimists.

Koi wa Ameagari no You ni: High-school student Akira works at a family restaurant after having to drop out of the track & field team when she hurt her ankle. The restaurant manager, an awkward middle-aged man, showed her compassion when she was at her lowest point, and she has fallen in love with him — even though he is a bit of a slob, and only Akira sees his good points.
This could turn weird and awkward and creepy, but so far the manager is oblivious, and the two main characters are portrayed with a lot of empathy and compassion. It’s funny at times too. The character designs have a bit of a retro feel to them too, which I find very attractive. It only takes half an episode to feel like you want the best for Akira, and I want to see how it develops.

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
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