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Strip 165

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< Piro >

fredart...

"kamisama ga, itekureru~"

Thursday - August 30, 2001

[Piro] - 22:45:39 - [link here]

Sometimes its fun to dig back into the archives and pull out old ghosts. Old anime series, music and art that was once a big part of my fanboy existence, shows that elicited almost religious and militant loyalty. Sounds and visuals that still stir up good memories and remind me of some good stuff from the past. There's a lot of inspiration to be found back there.

The pic above is none other than the infamous Ayukawa Madoka. If you don't know who she is, shame on you. I suppose I have more of an attachment to the Kimagure Orange Road OAVs (Original Animated Videos - also sometimes called OVAs (Original Video Animation) - its anime that is released directly to video in japan.) than the TV series, but I only watched it once (this might have something to do with the 14th generation copies of the Arctic Anime fansubs that I used to have). The music from the series is a different matter. One particular CD, "Ano Hi Ni Kaeritai" - the KOR Movie Soundtrack, seems to find its way into my CD player on a regular basis. Psst, in case anyone was wondering, my favorite KOR character is Manami-chan... somethin about the pony-tail and glasses. Yea, i was a big time Manami fanboi. My first real CG art was of Manami-chan. Classic Manami episodes included "I was a Cat, I was a Fish" and the infamous "Manami's Big Adventure."

I also dug out my Marmalade Boy CDs recently. Marmalade Boy consumed my life and very existence for a time many years ago. My obsession with Miki-chan was quite serious - at the time i pined for a girl like her (yea, i was totally out of my bloody mind. ^_^) and to this day the names 'Yuu' and 'Namura-sensei' evoke feelings of bitter rage and hatred. What always amazed me about Marmalade Boy was just how intense people felt about the series - watching it was a rollercoaster ride, and I swear some people became almost suicidal when watching it. Its a good series, in particular the first season (the second season kinda sucked). Miki was particularly adorable in the Movie. As for the music, I had listened to the CDs so much that for a long time I just couldn't stand to listen to them anymore. It was kinda fun to listen so some of the tunes again, like "Moment" and "Saigo No Yakusoko" (btw, you might notice some similarities between Meiko's hair and Seraphim's hair). I found myself humming "kamisama ga, itekureru~" a lot yesterday. During this time I was doing a lot of anime based websites - one that I never finished was "Miki's Style House". If you peruse various Marmalade Boy sites, you will often find a purple-black 'Marmalade Boy' logo. I made that, years ago, and it's been copied just about everywhere.

BTW, largo gets this wide-eyed look of terror in his eyes when i talk about stuff like Marmalade Boy. I don't really know why. ^_^

Another favorite series that I've pulled back to the surface is Kaitou Saint Tail (Mysterious Thief Saint Tail). I remember watching my first episode of this series on a cold, wintery Christmas eve, years ago, Unsubbed and in raw japanese (complete with cheezy commercials). There's something about Saint Tail that really appeals to me... it is a series that was lauded by fans for having a very potent storyline as well as engaging and interesting characters. Meimi-chan is adorable - to me she is the best mahou shoujo ever (mahou shoujo = 'Magical Girl'. It's a genre of anime that includes Sailor Moon, etc.) I'm not a big fan of mahou shoujo series, really - i fast forward thru transformation sequences and all that stuff. It's the everyday stuff that appeals to me. Meimi's an engaging heroine, and her transformation into Saint Tail is a distinct and very real part of her personality. Ah, the scene with the phone booth and the snow and Asuka Jr... and you wonder where i get the idea for this 'Sad Girl in the Snow' thing :) As for the music of Saint Tail, I can listen to "Junshin" over and over and over again... Oh, and if anyone out there has a copy of the Project Genki fansub of St Tail 1-4... check the credits. :)

You'll probably hear more about the Saint Tail series from me in the future. The show is actually being released in both translated manga and DVD format here in the states by TokyoPop... and I am waiting to see for myself what kind of job they did with it. A word of warning - i am very sensitive about this show, so i hope that they did a decent job. If they did, I'll strongly recommend that people pick up the DVD. If they do a horrible job - which is something i am very worried about, I will advise against it. I'm not normally sensitive to english releases of anime - but St. Tail is a special series, and if it is treated like its some cheap lame kids show and is 'dumbed down', you will hear about it from me - at length. Stay Tuned.

I hope you dont mind me droning on about this stuff - my rants for the past few months have been a little too heavy on the drama - sorry about that. Megatokyo is an absorbing project, and I have to admit, i've been really tired and almost burned out for well over a month. I understand that after a year, this is not uncommon. As for how i feel about it all - both Largo and I are very happy with Megatokyo right now. We both like where it is going, and I am really enjoying presenting each episode, even if my schedule has been a mess. I've got 4 days to get the next two strips done and get ahead - which is my real goal. I'm also going to post some new fredart sketches this weekend as well. Lots to do. :)

I'm gonna go back to listening to my St. Tail Original Sountrack Volume 1. Yea, it's another one of those 'happy places'. Geh. I sound like a mental patient...

< Largo >

you're already here.

"Arcanum"

Monday - August 27, 2001

[Largo] - 20:35:00 - [link here]

For those interested, Scott Kurtz and I will be attending AnimeFest this weweekend inDallas, TX. We'll both be attending panels, signing junk, etc.

On the webcomic front, BlinkTags and Project Fanboy. Also, be sure to checkout Polymer City Chronicles, it has a new site, and a new look to it.

Like most right thinking people in their mid-twenties, I went and saw Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back over the weekend. Man, did this movie cheer me up. Besides the normal Kevin Smith goodness you'd expect to find in an Askew flick, I was treated to an entire subplot revolving around something that I can relate to - internet trolls. Not a day goes by that our website isn't made a target by someone who either doesn't approve of what we do, or thinks they can do a better job. I don't want to spoil the ending of the film, but I will say that I came out of J&SBSB feeling relaxed, calm, and as if a great evil in the universe had been finally vanquished.

Posters & Color T-Shirts are coming soon, but we've been swamped with paperwork lately. Scott Kurtz once wrote that success could kill your website, giving it a lot of thought these past few months, I think his statement was close to the real truth, which is - "Success can kill you."

Somehow this missed my attention when it first happened, but the new Neverwinter Nights Designer Diary was posted to da vault. This time we look into the mind of Marc Holmes, which is a pretty scary place.

I've been gone a lot lately, lost in an amazing new realm, where trolls and calculators co-exist together in an unholy union of magic and technology. No, I haven't been to my accountant's office, I've been playing the recently released, Arcanum: of Steamworks and Magick Obscura.

For the uninitiated, Arcanum is a CRPG (I do so love CRPGs) that combines traditional sword & sorcery elements of fantasy role playing - with would could be described as a Jules Verne's inspired world of electrical and steam based technology. It takes talented people to merge two opposing concepts to create one unique and fluid product such as Arcanum.

The character creation and advancement process is extremely diverse, this is as much to its benefit, as its weakness. First time players will more then likely be confused as to what they should make their character, what skills to raise, what stats to raise, etc. I suggest playing a bit and then re-starting once you've gotten used to the game, and have a better idea what path (magick/technology/both) and skills (pick pocketing, melee combat, gambling) you want.

To create my character, I choose my favorite race in any game, a human. I gave him extra intelligence and charisma and the trait of having a 'strong personality', so people have extreme reactions (either positive or negative) when first meeting him. I then dumped a point in the Persuasian skill, and selected the Electricity technology track. Finally I thought about whom this character this reminded me of the most, and named him "Largo", to begin the game.

After I began play, I quickly learned that this game revolves around looting dead bodies, you begin play surrounded by them. I was little upset at first, I didn't know looting corpses was a skill, otherwise I'd have put more points in it. I tried to persuade the dead with my amazing charm and charisma, but it was like talking to a wall. After I finished stripping all the corpses of their most valuable items, I continued on my epic journey.

The first critical path of the story involves going to the next town to find a priest, after I arrived there - I realized that this game has more to offer then looting corpses, I was surrounded by living people now, all of them who would become prey to my amazing charm and persuation! An hour later I died while trying to talk some sewer rats out of eating me, so I gave up and restarted the game, this time with a more a fighter like character, dumping points into strength and selecting the trait of "beat with an ugly stick" - I found I was able to hurt things now, and spent less time talking to the NPCs, and more time turning rats into pulp.

In all seriousness I've really been enjoying the game since I've gotten it, the story picks up around the second critical path of the story, so I'd suggest sticking it out till you reach the next town. Also, when you get there, be sure to look for Madam Lil's place, tell her Largo sent you.

This game's theme is really refreshing, after Bioware re-energized the CRPG genre with Baldur's Gate some years ago, the market has been full of uninspired games offering the same old thing in terms of the fantasy genre in order to cash in on 'the new big thing'. It's been reminiscent of when id software first released Doom and suddenly everyone had their own "doom-like game".

Sierra, the makers of Arcanum, have had a tough time of things lately, the problems with the Homeworld Franchise (which is still hands down the best fleet space-combat RTS ever made), to the recent closing of the Dynamix studio in Eugene, Oregon. I can only assume Sierra is doing what It needs to do to keep making great games, so I hope.

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