If there was any MMO that could have gotten me to sign up for a monthly subscription, it would have been Phantasy Star Online. In fact, for a while it actually managed that feat with the series’s “Ambition of Illuminus” expansion (which is now, unfortunately, officially serverless). While I was sucked into “Illuminus” for countless months, my playtime there was nothing to the playtime I had in the 2003 Gamecube port of Episodes I and II–a simpler feat since there was no monthly fee. I must have gone through the areas on Ragol at least a hundred times, so much so that I still have the various layouts of each map memorized, which is kind of frightening. Looking back on it now, though, I have to say that one of the more interesting plot aspects of the game is that your character wasn’t exactly set up to be the big damned hero. Rather, you’re following in the footsteps of the closest thing to a hero the colony has, who just so happens to be a woman. Continue reading
Disney has recently been remaking some of their classic movies as live action movies. First, we had Maleficent, which was a remake of Sleeping Beauty from the villain’s perspective. Then there are Cinderella and Jungle Book, which, unlike Maleficent, seem to be more or less pretty straightforward retellings of the animated movies — though I presume Jungle Book had a little more going on since there was very little story in the animated movie. (I haven’t seen it yet.) Then there is Pete’s Dragon, which looks to be a dark retelling of the Disney movie. And now, there is Beauty and the Beast.
I’ve been slowly but surely trying to work through the backlog of books I have owned for years but not read. One particular harbinger of shame in this endeavor was the graphic novel on which the Studio Ghibli movie The Cat Returns was based, since I knew the single-volume manga with its self-contained story would only actually take me half an hour or so to read. Nevertheless, I only finally read it this weekend, even though I’m pretty sure I bought it when Borders was still a thing.
I liked but didn’t love The Cat Returns movie; for me, it’s one of Ghibli’s more forgettable options. Looking back, I’m not sure what about the film, save maybe a passing furry-ish attraction to the Baron character, led me to buy the source manga. And now, having at long last read it, I’m left questioning why this almost-too-simple story got a film adaptation at all.
A while back I talked about Dragon Ball Z and how it handles death and raising the dead in a previous Magical Mondays post. To recap, I found the way Dragon Ball Z went about this to be lacking. DBZ didn’t offer nearly enough consequences or limitations on its magic, and as a result, the narrative suffered. Raising the dead—or rather, attempting to—is a big part of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and unlike DBZ, the story sets hard limits on its magic that are never broken. This means that the characters are never able to pull a deus ex machina and instead they have to operate within the story’s rules in order to learn about themselves and develop as characters.
Trigger warning for body mutilation up ahead.
I’ve been lucky enough to play a lot of video games recently. I always enjoy the medium, and I tend to have a couple go-to comfort games that I’ll play repeatedly. But in the last month or so, I wanted to try and expand my horizons. If you frequent sites like Tumblr or Reddit, you may have heard of a nice little game by the name of Overwatch. Spoiler alert: it’s a good one.
I recently started rewatching Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and as the series is nearing its end again, I got to thinking about how it handles religion. The show does have some motifs in it that I would consider to be similar to Abrahamic religions—such as the monotheistic faith of Ishvala and Scar wearing a giant cross on his leg during his crusade—but for the most part, I would argue that any of the religions in the story are not representative of certain faiths. It’s hard for me to say whether or not Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood has good religious representation, because while the story has numerous religious elements, it’s not all that concerned with exploring or developing its different faiths. Instead, the narrative is much more focused on exploring the realities of and condemning religious discrimination.
This week’s episode is all about failure. After last week’s action-packed, info-dump-y episode, now we’re given a chance to let it sink in and see what all of these consequences mean for our beloved Clone Club, et al. I’m not sure it can get much lower than this.
Spoilers for this week and trigger warning for suicide after the jump.