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Foudroyant Fridays

May 14, 2010

I’m really starting to get sick and tired of seeing Vocaloids everywhere, so I’ll break the mold.

Also, ever had a time when you craved udon noodles? No? Well, you will now.

So my gap year is coming to a close, and I can say with great certainty that I have successfully failed at everything I had planned to do. Maybe being in University will motivate me to be more…successful.

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The Clown Dances

May 13, 2010

At the edge of my vision
Since the time the city crumbled
Since the time this city of Inganock broke
In this Fantastic City that none speak of
The Clown dances.

10 years ago the city of Inganock started to change. Ever since, things began to distort and mutate, until scarcely anything was left as it once was. Few people still look human, and those that do have mutated internally to compensate. Gii is an ex-medical student who, after severe mental mutations, can see people’s health as a string of code. Injuries, illnesses and diseases are represented by faults or errors in said code, which Gii can correct without too much effort. Every day he goes out and searches for patients, commonly forsaking payment and treating people in the poorer districts of Inganock.

Walking home one day, Gii sees a Behemoth making off with a young girl. Noticing that the Fantastic Mutant is under the influence of a new drug, Gii decides to step in. Knowing fully well that Behemoths are known for their ferocity and strength, Gii tries to reason with the man, but only succeeds in having most of his torso crushed before being rescued by a friend. The young girl refuses to disclose any information of herself, aside from her name, so Gii invites her to stay with him until he can find out where in Inganock it is she came from.

Sekien no Inganock -What a Beautiful People- (what a beautiful grammar) is a magnificent steampunk/fantasy tale. The company that produced it, Liar-Soft, also seems to have made other novels in the same kind of setting, but sadly it doesn’t seem like any of them are translated into English. Now I cannot emphasis this enough, but Sekien no Inganock has been one of the best reads of my life, paper and visual novels alike. It would have easily swept up first place, but there was one thing that, in my eyes, bogged it down. The story makes frequent use of certain phrases and scenes, and even though it has relevance to the plot, the consistent repetition is not something I approve of. This is just me being picky, though, and I’m sure there are plenty of people that wouldn’t even give it a second thought.

Be warned that this visual novel IS rated 18+, so all you kiddies who can’t handle the occasional sex scene should go watch a Disney movie or something.

The art is quite beautiful, and although I don’t really like the look of a couple of the sprites, there’s no denying that they’re wonderfully drawn and colored. The backgrounds are dark and fantastical, and normally give off a steampunk vibe that makes them fit perfectly. As you may be able to see in the above screenshot, there are two different types of sprites. There are the bigger mug shots, which are usually used by principle character, and then there are the smaller full body shots. The smaller sprites are normally used for reoccurring minor characters, but are also used when representing major characters that are, say, walking. There are plenty of event CG this time around, and unlike the sprites, there is not a single one I can complain about.

Now here is a unique little addition to visual novels as I know them. The Inner Voices system is a mini game of sorts, which allow you to hear the inner thoughts of many of the presently known characters, as well as sometimes those you haven’t met yet. It isn’t limited to characters alone, however, as the arm and the mask actually tell you things about the city itself. It was really kind of neat to learn random details about Inganock that, although they didn’t always directly apply to the core of the plot, just seemed to make the place more round and dynamic. More than anything, the IV scenes prevent any characters within them from being static or flat, which doesn’t matter too much because I didn’t consider any of them flat or static in the first place.

The voice acting in Sekien no Inganock is rather strange. It’s not that it is bad, far from it, but they only added voice acting to certain dialogue. After having voices for half a chapter, it feels odd when all of a sudden the characters just stop. Kind of leaves you hanging. Whenever there is voice acting, though, it’s pretty decent. In retrospect, they should have pulled the voices from the sexual intercourse and added them elsewhere. Not like they’re saying an awful lot.

The soundtrack is pretty sweet, though with only 13 tracks (excluding the OP and ED) you’re obviously going to hear the same song a couple times over. Below is my (and apparently most people’s) favorite tune. The first scene in which this song plays had me basking in the epic.

I’m now almost positive that learning Japanese would be the worst thing that could ever happen to me, because if I knew it I would NOT. STOP. READING. There are too many awesome-looking books out there that require moon rune knowledge to read, so I think I’ll pass on studying Nihongo for now. That, coupled with the fact that I’ve successfully failed at studying it for the last year, ensures my safety.

I gave this a 9/10 because there’s no option for 9.999 on VNDB. Such a shame. Good read, decent length, and definitely a favorite. Make sure to rest your eyes every once in a while, as reading on a monitor for long amounts of time kind of kills them.

This novel is not free to download. Do what you gotta do.

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Accented Absences

April 10, 2010

So tomorrow I leave for a short trip to visit my grandma for her birthday. I leave you with a short program I wrote, which allows these foolish American laptop keyboards to use accented characters. All you have to do is press ALT+the key (a, e, i, o, u or n).

Download

If you want it to start up at the same time your computer turns on, drag it into your Start Up in the start menu.

I’ll try to blog from there, but if I’m not able to then…whatever no one reads this anyway.

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Fabaceous Friday

April 9, 2010

Nothing says FUN like the Wii!

You’re doing it wrong, foolish Wii. Let Kumasawa show you how it’s done.

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Movies You’ve Never Heard Of: Equilibrium

April 8, 2010


I found out about Equilibrium after reading Jouka no Monshou, a fanfiction in Visual Novel form. There are many familiar faces in Equilibrium, but they aren’t people whose names I can remember (since I’m pretty bad with actors’ names).

The setting is the same: after a Third World War, some of the remaining humans build Libria, a society where it is necessary to suppress emotions through the use of a drug called Prozium. Leading the society is a Big Brother-like figure known only as Father, though he isn’t constantly watching you.

The protagonist this time around is John Preston, the highest ranked Grammaton Cleric in the current Order (a.k.a Batman). His job is to aid in eradicating rebel groups of those who have neglected to take the drug, and destroy anything that could possibly inspire human emotions. These emotion-inspiring materials are things such as movies, books and paintings. Preston does show up in Jouka no Monshou for a brief moment, in which the protagonist (Bernard) asks him for advice. Like Bernard, Preston eventually misses his dose. Unlike Bernard, though, it is only thanks to a string of unlucky events.

Many people tend to compare Equilibrium to The Matrix, Fahrenheit 451 and 1984. It’s true that there are many similarities, but even so Equilibrium has its own charm. Yes, the plot may look like a bunch of other things mashed together, but that’s a case in modern literature and movies as well (Twilight, Eragon, and Avatar to name a few). The action scenes are on almost on par with The Matrix, but they make use of little to no slow motion. This is unfortunate, because at times you can’t actually see what’s going on.

There were a couple of scenes that had me curious as to how they took place, since people were supposedly emotionless. I wasn’t very fond of the first gunfight, as the way Preston moves and the sound effects made me laugh and want to turn it off. There’s also the 1 vs 1 fight at the end that struck me as odd, though in Jouka no Monshou a similar fight takes place and I enjoyed it a lot. Perhaps it just looks better in writing.

Watch this film if you get the opportunity, chances are you won’t be too disappointed. While you’re at it, download Jouka no Monshou (it’s free).

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Let There Be Classics

April 7, 2010

I have no clue what to post today, so I’m just going to throw some classics at you instead of waiting for next monday.

Another random line of dead pixels has appeared down my laptop’s monitor. Joy. Feel free to waste some time playing the game below.

http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/games/beargunner

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What Do You Think About The Planetarium?

April 6, 2010

That beautiful twinkling of eternity that will never fade, no matter when.
All the stars in the all sky are waiting for you.
What do you think about the planetarium?

Humanity has (as usual) left the world demolished after a third world war. The protagonist is what is known as a Junker, a scavenger who travels from ruin to ruin in hopes of finding pre-war goods. Making his way to a city that has been abandoned almost 30 years, he is surprised to find a robot on the top floor of what he originally thinks is a camouflaged military facility.

The robot believes him to be a customer, and treats him as such. Though he quickly gets annoyed at her constant chattering, he soon learns that the building is but a simple department store, the top floor being a planetarium. After witnessing a failed attempt at an astronomical presentation, the protagonist decides to stay and attempt to repair the projector, a machine that hasn’t been touched in 30 years.

Planetarian ~The Reverie of a Little Planet~ (unofficial English translation title) is the 4th release of Key, commonly known as “that-Japanese-company-that-produces-visual-novels-that-are-supposed-to-make-you-cry.” It differs slightly from their other titles, as there are no choices for the reader to make as they go through the story, nor is it 18+. It’s also significantly shorter, which is really a shame because it is quite good. I hate to admit it, but this is also the first time I’ve been all “SO MOE~!!!”, though only slightly.

Click to enlarge.

There aren’t many event CG, but seeing as the game is fairly short it doesn’t matter. The sprites are wonderful, by the way, and more than make up for the lack of CG. This is one of the first times I’ve taken a huge notice to the sprites while I read, perhaps because of how well it matches the text.

The music in Planetarian is just as excellent as the story, and fits it perfectly. There are a total of 8 songs, but I think a couple of them were based off the same thing as I can hear similar melodies. Great scenes are turned even better by the matching music, and the later mentioned manly tears could very well have been caused by said deadly duo. Below is my personal favorite, which evoked the same feeling of awe in me as that of the protagonist in the scene it was played.

I have not yet cried after reading something, but by the end of Planetarian I was pretty close. I would describe it as more of a ‘manly eye watering/tears’ sort of thing, though. Please refer to Figure A. if you are confused.

Figure A.

I gave this a 9/10 simply because it was too short. It’s the most horrible reason I can think of, but I was just left so IMPACTED I really would have liked it to be longer.

Sadly it is not free, so I am unable/unwilling to post a download link. You know what to do.