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Is it dead yet? [Pokes with Stick]

Apparently not. But, since I’ve been working in my new job for 7 months now, I think I gravely miscalculated the amount of time I’d have to blog. I’m sure you know the drill. It’s a classic, cliched excuse I realise, but quite often I get home and all I want to do is zone out with a book or game, since I’m often sat at a screen all day these days. And then, when we’re in a weekend, I’m typically keeping social.

Anyways, I’m no longer making any guarantees about even the regularity of anime season analysis posts. Frankly, they don’t get all that much use in any case, especially when my compatriots in blogging often put alot more effort into it than I do!!

Well, thats enough about blog-no-mancy. What’s happened worthy of note in the last few months?

Lets start with Aniventure EX, shall we? Originally the goal of that was just an amalgamation of v5 and its expansion, Shimaihen. But over time, I’ve ended up tweaking this and that under the hood, and it has ended up being pretty much an entire re-write based on all the feedback I’ve received over the years, sporting a whole host of new mechanics!!

Version 5 was the first version I felt really worthy of public consumption, but I’m now really quite excited for what EX can do. It is now approaching an early alpha test. Assuming that goes well (and it doesn’t flop like Aniv v4 did to me all those years ago), then creation of the beta will continue and is probably around 3-6 months away, followed by the final version in about 6-9 months. These are also fairly optimistic estimates, so take them with a pinch of salt.

As for the changes, well the biggest is that I’ve finally dispensed with percentile rolls entirely, adding a second dice system all my own to system. We still have Aniventure 5’s Stacks in there, since they are very cool for opposed actions and always have been, but the new roll, which is currently called the “Base Roll”, replaces percentiles for rapid task resolution. As it provides a foundation for the stacks to work off too, ‘Base’ seemed like a good moniker, though its open to change right now. All of it still uses D10’s exclusively.

Anything else?

Well, I’m also rather excited for Wildstar giving me a fresh perspective on MMO’s again this year. I haven’t done much online wise since Guild Wars 2, which I went into for the same reason, but which somehow kind of flopped since there was no real motivation in that game to party up, and often it felt like you were playing alongside people, rather than with them.

Wildstar seems to have a whole bunch of new tricks that are interesting to me. Notably, the Dark Souls esq. combat system; with telegraphs, seems well thought out. Breakout from CC’s too. Nobody likes to be stunned and useless for 3 seconds in an MMO, but now button bashing can save the day! Procedurely generated boss content is a great plan too if they go ahead with that.

The Starbound beta has also grasped me recently, though I’ve given it break for new content for awhile now. It really has potential to be Ultimate Terraria IN SPACE.

I think thats about it for now. Perhaps I’ll return to doing more bemusing philosophy posts like I did in the days of yore, but we shall see.

Nearly late, but not quite!

Probable Must Watches

Monogatari (III)

2013JUL-Mongatari

Well, naturally this is the top of my list. It was teaser’ed at the end of the Nekomonogatari movie earlier in the year. I’m a little concerned that its covering more books than its predecessor series, but I also haven’t read those, so maybe it’ll all be ok. Anyway, it’ll involve Mr. Shinbo’s psychotic direction again no doubt; but thats ok, its real strength lies with its unconventional approach and its philosophy. The action, cute girls, and Araragi being an awesome lead male character are just icing on its cake. Of course, Nisemonogatari has us wondering about how he’s going to keep the harem maintained. Sengoku is especially a powder keg waiting to explode.

However, I am kinda annoyed they STILL HAVE NOT DONE the Kizumonogatari movie, which we were waiting for back when they released Nisemonogatari, never mind a year later for this. The prequel backstory on Araragi becoming a Vampire and the backdrop for his relationship with Shinobu is kind of important. Fortunately, the book is translated HERE, thanks to Baka-Tsuki, so go read it if you haven’t already.

Fate/Prisma Illya

2013JUL-Ilya

A gaiden/side story for FSN that naturally focuses on the sillier aspects! This an alternate universe where Iris and Kiritsugu (from Fate/Zero) are living like a (vaguely) normal family with their children Illya and Shirou. At least, until Rin and Luvia, who are magical girls in this setting, are abandoned my their magical sticks (of Zeltretch!) because they’re always fighting each other rather than doing their jobs properly. Naturally, one of the sticks chooses Illya as its new master, and tutored by Rin, she is thrown into a quest to retrieve the escaped Servant Cards, which like in Cardcaptor Sakura, give her various powers later.

I’m a little concerned that the preview focused entirely on the moe element though. You shouldn’t expect deepness of Illya, but it’ll be a nice, lighthearted romp paying homage to every standard magical girl trope in the book, just with FSN characters and settings. A guilty pleasure, if you will.

Cautiously Optimistic About

The Neptunia Anime

2013JUL-Nep

Everyone’s favourite niche console-wars piss-take PS3 game is finally getting itself an anime. All of the main girls in the foreground above are goddesses of the video-games industry and represent consoles and handhelds, including the never-released Sega Neptune and Nepgear.

Frankly, the first game was pretty freaking terrible with comatose inducing battles and plenty of grinding barely buoyed by an average plot, but the second was a nice reboot of the franchise, and Victory (recently released) has continued the trend of being decent. It’s been basically confirmed that this is an original story though, rather than an anime adaptation of one of the games.

Kami Sama no Inai Nichiyoubi

2013JUL-Kamisamaaka. “And so god abandoned this world on Sunday”. Follows a loli-gravekeeper (!) in a world where no one new is born. She has prepared 47 graves for her village just in time for a serial killer to come around and slaughter them all. It also just so happens this man may well be her father.

Err… yeah… talk about morbid descriptions of an anime, eh? In any case, its based on an award winning novel, so perhaps it could be interesting.

Uchouten Kazoku
2013JUL-UchoutenPA Works doing an anime in a world where humans and Tanuki live side by side? That could be marginally interesting. Though they’ve been a little less inspiring lately; TariTari was merely solid rather than excellent.

Well, in any case, I’ll be giving it a look.

Maybe worth a look

Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaete mo Omaera ga Warui
aka. “It’s not my fault I’m Unpopular”. Apparently it has /a/ on 4chan to thank for its popularity. That isn’t exactly… comforting; though the concept has potential.

Kin’iro Mosaic
Oh my: “The Japanese/British girls’ mixed comedy follows the lives of Shinobu, Alice, and other girls from both Japan and Great Britain.” Mainly this is here because I’m interested in how much fail they can pack in their representation of Britain. It may shoot up my listings if it can handle the UK in a way that is funny without being hamfisted, since, being a brit, I love taking the piss out of my own country…

Servant x Service
A 4koma-ish anime about the civil service in Japan. Because that sounds SO BORING, who knows… it may actually work!

NO! Just NO!!!

Free!
Sparkling Bishounen go swimming…

Inu to Hasami wa Tsukiyou
A dog… and girl wielding scissors… (sigh)…

Kimi no Iru Machi
I’ve heard too much horror about the manga…

Fantasista DollRozen Maidens play Yi-Gi-Oh…

Quite a spread from bad to good I guess. There is more, but if I’ve not mentioned it, it’s probably so generic as not be worthy a mention, I’ve missed it, or it has very little information at this stage.

Yes indeed, there is now a forum for the discussion of Aniventure.

I’m taking a much more community open approach to the release of Aniventure EX, so this is good first step towards that. Over time, I will be posting up previews of features that are being worked on so that the community can comment and make suggestions, or outright shoot down my ideas and postulate their own homebrew. Post cool ideas and you will probably get mentioned in the next edition if your idea makes the cut!

It should, with luck, also increase community awareness of my books. I’ve got a fairly solid crowd of supporters already with Aniventure, but more can never hurt, eh?

Also, its a good place for me to directly answer people’s questions about the game and answer errata and rule questions for GM’s and players alike.

Finally, its a place where anime and gaming geeks can congregate and just have a good natter, and run online forum roleplaying games if they so choose.

So, if you’re an Aniventure player, or are just interested in anime and/or roleplaying and are looking for a new hangout, give it a shot. The full address is the fairly easy to remember: http://www.aniventure.boards.net/

Check it out, and cya there.

Well, I started a new full-time job recently, so apologies for any lateness of my posts; chances are I’m not going to get around to a full 2-week summary for this season (besides, its already 5 weeks in now, ain’t it?). I’ll just say that you should be watching Attack on Titan, Gargantia, Devil Survivor, Hataraku Maou-sama, Railgun II and Nyaruko II at the least. There’s actually alot of quality out there this season, its all good.

A friend also pointed out to me that I’d foolishly forgotten to add Shimaihen character sheets despite promising to do so on the Aniventure page. This is now fixed. They’ll be on that page, and also HERE, for your Aniventure usage. It’s a vastly upgraded version of the original sheet incorporating alot of the things I’ve learnt and had suggested to me to improve the layout, so even if you don’t use Shimaihen but do use the original, you should still upgrade your sheets to these ones.

Anyway, as for the rest, here’s another artwork for you:
b-2013-Susie-Drayke

It’s Susie Drayke, the Princess of Draskalmory. Susie was an NPC in my second Retoria Dungeons and Dragons campaign; and one who was universally reviled and hated by my players. A massive ojou-sama type; arrogant and self-important, you know, the classic princess. Moreover, she was after another NPC (who was also the love interest of one of PCs), Prince Darien Silverscale.

In a moment where they went back in time, they accidently altered the timeline so that she did in fact marry him and then spent several sessions figuring out a way to fix this; which founded one of my favourite mini-arcs. Nevertheless, her attitude was very fun for me to roleplay; and I felt she needed a re-drawing (an earlier version of her was found in the 2011 calendar, if you care).

Amusingly enough, I recently re-introduced her granddaughter, Arasia (or ‘Sia’) Drayke in the third campaign; I think she’s generally found more acceptance so far, probably due to her better personality (tsundere combat nut!).

Anyway, here’s the wall version:
b-2013-Susie-Drayke-Wall

That’s about it for today, but stay tuned.

Just another rapid art post today, including another A3 scan of doom.

Suddenly, a Wild Maiden of the Trailing Rose Appears!
b-2013-A3-Rose-Nectar

Yes indeed, I play Neo-Nectar in Cardfight Vanguard; currently with a decent Maidens deck; and anticipating Blue Storm Armada’s release so I can try a Musketeers or Divine Forest Dragon Sephiroth deck as well.

Anyway, I had the idea to draw Rose basically out of nowhere; but it appealed to me straight away; she’s the apparent leader of their nation and has a rather awesome Persona Blast (when you can get it to go off) which allows you to effectively throw out 4 attacks in a turn.

As for the picture, she has very beautiful artwork on her card and I tried to capture that (though obviously not as well). Although unlike her card she’s not in a combat pose here; but rather walking through and inspecting her lands. The background ended up a bit sketchy with that fort ending up a slightly crazy angle, but ah well.

Anyway, here’s the Wallpaper size-version:
b-2013-Rose-Nectar-WallpaperEnjoy!

The Two-Week Anime reviews should be up soon (about 5-6 days once everything has had its second episode as usual).

LAAAAAATTTTEEEE!!! I know. No excuses. Just laziness this time. There’s alot of sequels and sci-fi this season; not that this is neccessarily a bad thing.

Probable Must Watches

Shingeki no Kyojin (aka. Attack on Titan)
2013APR-GiantsThe Manga of this is ludicrously popular; mostly for being dark, bloody, visceral and heavy. Crapsack future world where humans have been mostly eliminated by giants who eat people for lolz. The few survivors managed to do so by building a city with a huge wall that giants couldn’t see behind (apparently they’re pretty dumb). Of course, eventually, one of them happens to be taller than the wall, and goes on a rampage, eating the protagonists mother. He goes on a vengeance quest afterwards, vowing to elimate the giants from the world.

First attempt of a new studio too, so here’s hoping they can pull it off. I imagine it could end up a massive flop if they even think about rose-tinting it, though. Any censoring or plot alterations to remove the excessive violence will kill it dead. It needs to be at least as violent as Claymore and Muv-Luv Alternative to work.

Suisui no Gargantia
2013APR-Suisei
The protagonist has spent his life as part of the galactic human alliance fighting against an alien race called the Hideous (REALLY?!?) when in one battle he is suddenly sucked into a time-space wibble and thrown across the dimensions to land on Earth. Which was apparently mostly forgotten about long ago; and is now an oceanic lost world after the polar caps melted. He now has to learn to live in a suspiciously peaceful place along with a genki thing called Amy.

So, this is what happens if you put Waterworld and Urobuchi Gen together? Though I have to say Psycho-Pass was a bit of let-down from Gen considering his previous good works. As a result, I’m a little more suspicious of him now, rather than instantly paying attention. I also don’t believe for a minute (go on, surprise me, Gen) that this is going to stay peaceful. Ah well, it has some good potential, so…

Railgun Season II
2013APR-RailgunIIWell yeah, this is of course going to be here, I’m a raving Index and Railgun fanboy for reasons I can’t quite discern sometimes. Though mostly I like Kuroko more than Misaka. Gotta love her raving lesbianism. Ahem, in any case, this season is covering the Sisters arc from Misaka’s perspective, which could be REALLY good, since it was arguably the best arc of the original Index. Besides, we get to see the point where our railgun starts crushing on Touma heavily from her point of view. And of course, Accelerator being a dick makes everything better.

Devil Survivor II The Animation2013APR-DevilSurvivorIIOh Really? I actually wasn’t aware that there ~was~ a second Devil Survivor game (goes to check~ OH right its usual thing of Europe being horribly screwed over with releases… apparently we’re getting it THIS MAY, over 14 months after America… and holy s**t we’re finally getting Overclocked as well, at the same time. Jeez, there might be a reason to dust off my 3ds, what with Fire Emblem 13 finally coming out as well).

Anyway, rants about nonsensical release dates aside I can say that anything Shin Megami Tensei related is usually at least decent. Although, I do wonder how they can present the multiple options in any given game and push them into an anime. Part of the appeal of the games (besides collecting and fusing demons) is making moralistic choices that are quite often selections between bad and worse. So anyway, I think it could turn out very well, but it could also flop.


Cautiously Optimistic About

Hataraku Maou Sama
2013APR-Maou-SamaJapan loves shows about demon kings at the moment. This one is another exile; just prior to him conquering the world, of course. And now his admin, strategic and logistical skills from that event are now entirely useless, apparently, and he has to start a new conquering spree of earth by working in a family resturant… huh… Well anyway its a rather idiotic concept, but worse concepts have turned out better and I have a good feeling about it, so we shall see.

Nyaruko Season II2013APR-NyarukoIIThe return of the cutest lovecraftian horrors to grace this earth. If the show had maintained its early season power; I’d be throwing this up in the Must Watches, actually, because gods alive the first episodes of the first season were comedic genius. Sadly it lost its momentum as it went along and nearly fell into generic harem territory by the end. Not that I don’t like Cthuga and Hastur; they were actually funny characters (especially Kuuko/Cthuga) but somehow I got the idea the show was trying too hard. Anyway; it still has good enough potential, so lets see.

Photo Kano
2013APR-PhotoKano#Considering the entire premise is “boy gets a camera, boy uses camera to get girls”, I ~really~ should slap this straight into the NO category. However, it is working off the rather excellent pedigree from Amagami; which was one of the few decent romance shows to grace our screens in recent years. We can only hope that it can follow up that act; and to do so, I do hope they use the same omnibus format with resets every few episodes, each block telling a different story. It was part of the reason its predecessor worked as well as it did.

Zettai Bouei Leviathan
2013APR-LeviathanI know, I should stop deluding myself into believing Mobile Games can be made into successful anime’s; so far I’ve been burnt by every similar prediction so far, but I can’t help it. And it’s Gonzo, so yeah. But… but dragon girls! It stars the personification of Bahamut, Jormungand and Leviathan out to stop evil aliens invading their world using meteors. I mean seriously, that concept is so idiotic I can’t help but chuckle at it. Go on, surpise me, be a sleeper hit on me, Zettai.


May Possibly Look into

Red Data Girl
Can’t say the first teaser episode really inspired much of… well… anything in me. I know I’m supposed to feel sorry for her, but I think they’re playing that card too soon.

Aku no Hana
Could be interesting; but it sounds rather dark, which is not typically my cup of tea. Can’t say I’ve actually read the Flowers of Evil either so for once I don’t have much of a grounding on the literary side of things.

Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince
Seems a rather generic mecha show. Since that’s not my thing, the only reason its really in this category is because it has the director of Katanagatari.

Karneval
Fabulous guys everywhere; and the circus. Oh deaar… Still; the premise is mildly entertaining and I’m willing to give it a chance, at the very least.

Samurai Girls Season II
Though it had style, it had no substance. But who knows, maybe the second season will redeem it.

Ore no Imouto Kawaii Season II
Honestly, the adaptation of the first season was pretty dubious, especially with its direction choices. If I recall, the novels also become ponderous rather than light-hearted too as they go on, so I can’t place this season any higher, really.

Azazel-San Season II
Its short episodes and frankly disgusting sense of humour were marginally amusing, but I honestly don’t see myself tuning in for a second season.

Date A Live
Even though its based on a light novel; it just totally screams generic harem at the top of its lungs, so I’m afraid I can’t rank it any higher. I heard it starts funny and then loses it though, so I’ll at least look at it.


No, Just NO!

Dansei Bunri no Crime Edge
What is the current trend with hair fetishes in Japan? Eeesh. Magical scissors too…

Mushibugyou
The Shinsengumi fight giant bugs… wait what?

Aiyura & Yuyushiki
I just don’t have any faith left in 4koma adaptations. That is all.


Well, at least there’s not as much obviously suspicious stuff this season, but there’s also alot in the ‘meh’ category too, so whatever.

As always, my viewpoints are biased and have about a 15% chance of being totally wrong. I’ve also probably missed some things.

Well, even when you’ve been watching anime for as long as I have, things still surprise and dissapoint you; though my sensor for junk and jewels is more accurate than most.

The Stormdaughter

Ho there. Been a bit of awhile again, eh? Honestly, though there’s not been much for me to report and I did take a bit of a break after releasing Shimaihen. However; over the last fortnight I’ve now started to compile some thoughts together for Aniventure EX, experimenting with a few new layout options and considering what could be upgraded for the joint book since just slapping the two together with some new artwork seems a bit of a cop-out option when I’m still hardly lacking in new and interesting ideas to throw in, and things (especially layout-wise) to improve.

If you’re an Aniventure player, please don’t hesitate to leave comments and ideas! I’m always looking for ways to improve the system and add things I may have otherwise missed.

In other news, here’s another new huge sketch for you, of Eryss Boltatt:
b-2013-A3-Eryss

She’s from a short-lived mini-campaign of Aniventure I ran in January this year as a means to do a final test of the Racial/Mutational aspects ready for Shimaihen’s release. Sadly I had some grand ideas for the setting which kinda fell flat on their face and didn’t really work with my party that well, but alas. She’s the daughter of the Mayor of the township of Metamo, and the great-grandaughter of one of the five heroes of Zuway, Ririyanha the Stormborn. Blessed by the god Watson, she has powers over electricity.

Anyway, this is the first sketch I’ve tried scanning in from my A3 pad. Which honestly is a bit of nightmare!! She’s stitched together from 4 seperate scans! Not sure about how she turned out, actually. Someone observed her head somehow feels squashed and I guess that’s true. Nevertheless, I did enjoy adding in all the extra details and besides that I think it turned it pretty decent.

Here’s the wallpaper version:
b-2013-A3-Eryss-Wall

This one was given a paintbrush filter after running a few processing passes in teh ‘shop. Looks kinda pretty.

Anyway, enjoy, and tune in again soon!

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