“Liberties” In Translation

Translation is hard. I know this, having done it myself. There are so many different nuances and such that can be hard, if not impossible, to directly translate. So, you just sometimes have to go with your best effort.

I’m going to talk a little bit about that effort here. Or rather, lack of it. Since this is video games, I’m mostly going to be talking about Japanese-to-English translation, since that’s the most relevant area of video game translation to me (and in general, I’d think), but it can be applied to any translation.

I said that some things can be hard to directly translate, if not impossible. Specific cultural or media references, puns, jokes, and sayings are often the biggest culprits, especially in a work of fiction. What is to be done, then?

Well, what is the point of translation? It’s to enable communication between two different languages. And what is communication, than the transfer of ideas (and feelings) between people? So, a translation should transfer those ideas. When there is a stark difference (even a small difference) between peoples, that translation becomes a localization. For example, a work might reference a specific politician that did something or another. That reference would be completely lost if just straight translated; but if a reference to a similar incident of a politician doing a thing were put in, the idea that the original author was trying to get across would be preserved (probably; if the original was specifically referencing that politician for a specific reference, the localization wouldn’t actually work). Things might get a little hairy if the original has something cultural that has no true equivalent in the new language; but dealing with that is what a translator is supposed to do. For example, there are many ways to address someone in Japanese, based on honorifics, politeness levels, and so on, that aren’t really present in English (especially in American culture, which is quite generally casual). There are ways to do this, but figuring those out, and applying them, is the challenge of the localization.

What isn’t the job of the translators is to change the ideas and feelings behind the work. Unfortunately, we see a lot of that in translation, and not always due to the incompetence, or lack of imagination, of the translator. No, some translators feel it’s their job to improve the work. Or, should I write, “improve” the work. This is true at all levels, from the lowly online freelance manga translator, to the AAA-budget translation teams for prestigious games. Sometimes it works, but usually it doesn’t, and almost always it is disrespectful.

The biggest offenders I see today are two-fold: those that try to “fix” the “problematic” aspects of a work, and those that “punch up” “boring” dialog and prose. I’m not going to get into the first one: it’s just bad, and that’s all that needs to be said. The second, that’s more egregious.

It might seem innocent to add a bit of character to text. A lot of translators, and especially editors, are/were aspiring writers. They might think it’s better to add some more flavor to whatever bland, normal stuff was there before. This is particularly true for video games, where the original authors’ hand and voice is usually felt a lot less in the writing, for precisely the reason that these are generally done by a team of writers. The biggest example I can think of is adding accents to characters in jrpg’s. Most of these characters tend to have the Standard Accent (ie, modern Tokyo accent) in the original Japanese text. But localization teams will add various “fantasy” (bad European, often British Isles) accents to characters. This has been happening since the early Final Fantasy games, and continues to this day.

Another way it’s done, seemingly more often these days, is simply punching the dialog up with more emotion. Lines can be mostly rewritten just to add a bit of spice to a particular dialog, or even character. Even exciting scenes get changed to dial it up to 11. To my immediate recollection both Genshin Impact and Dragalia Lost are particularly guilty of this, but they are merely examples.

What he actually says: “Thi-…This is…”

I shouldn’t have to point this out, but both of those things change the very tone of the game. This is basic writing stuff: tone is extremely important, and really sets the feelings the author wants to communicate. Thus, changing the tone is changing in translation a key component of the original writing, and really shouldn’t be done. But it keeps happening.

Another big, disrespectful liberty that translators can make is to change names. A name can be a key component in a character’s identity, and changing that can change the story. Or it could be completely immaterial. But either way, the original author meant for that character to have that name. Now, there are some factors that might justify a changed name; one that immediately comes to mind is if the name is a word, where the meaning of the word is the key part of the name. This is mostly true for nicknames, but context is key. For example, you wouldn’t keep a character’s nickname as Inu, since the meaning of “inu” is what’s important; no, changing it to Dog would be better in that case. However, you would really have to think about changing a Spanish character’s name from Esperanza to Hope – “Esperanza” (and “Hope”) are real names, so you’d really have to think of the context, and the author’s intent. But changing a character’s name from Johan to Dave – or even John – that’s a bad thing.

Yet, translators do it all the time. I’m going to use Dragalia Lost as an example. I made a spreadsheet with all the characters and dragons that I could easily get both the Japanese and English name (basically, playable characters and dragons, and the ones from the current event), comparing the two. Now, to be fair, most of the names haven’t changed. Some are only slight changes, but fine (still unnecessary, though). But others are big changes, for no good reason. Since many of those are main characters, either in events or in the main story, they make more of an impression that some low-rarity character that might not ever have their name said aloud. And it just doesn’t make sense, most of the time: why make these changes, almost always completely unjustified, when over 60% of the time the names are completely correct and unchanged? (Some of it, I can tell, is incompetence, and some of it is someone thinking they’re more clever than the original creator.)

All in all, I want my translations to say what’s actually being said. Or at least something quite close to it. Certainly with the same meaning. I don’t want some other writer’s idea of what actually should have been said. I’m at a babby-level of Japanese, yet I still catch things very wrong with translations, and that shouldn’t be.

September to October

Too lazy to turn this; I thought google drive had an editing option, but I guess not.

As far as this month goes, it’s been pretty boring, at least to talk about. I’ve been playing basically the same games the entire time. Not much has happened in my life. Though there are a couple things to discuss, at least in brief, so I’m making this post.

First, an update on a post from wayy back in April. Thus, the picture of the scale above. As of yesterday, I hit my weight goal! I haven’t been this light since I was 20, if not earlier. Feels good, man. Sure, it took the better part of six months to make the half of progress, but I’ve lost 40-45 lbs with basically no exercise. Now, to be fair, I look it – my arms and legs might as well be those of a child, if it weren’t for the excessive hair on them. And I’ve still got too much of a gut. But my face looks good (well…not fat, at least), and I’m just chubbster now. Of course I celebrated by going out to eat (with a milkshake!).

So, what next? Well, the diet shall mostly continue. I see no reason to change much now; it works for me. I will change the “no snacking” rule to “no buying snacks from the store.” Meaning, I can snack, if I make them myself (or if I go to an actual baker and something really stands out). Which I don’t see myself doing much. I don’t even have the cooking implements to do so. I looked at a stand mixer a couple of weeks ago (kinda want to get into baking), and yah, that’s not happening right now.

Also, I need to exercise more. I know that’s not a goal, it’s an idea. But I’m too lazy to set up something concrete. I have weights in my office now, presumably to use while I’m watching videos on my lunch break, but I barely use them. (Doesn’t help that I hurt my right arm, and am in pain doing much of anything – it almost certainly wan’t caused by me using my mouse at an 80-90-degree angle to the right instead of in front of me; no sir, couldn’t be that.) Could also, like walk or whatever before work instead of grazing Twitter. But yah, that’s something to be doing.

I’m pretty sure the voiceover said “you look cuter without your glasses,” which is absolutely correct.

In game news, I’ve been keeping up with the usual daily stuff. Granblue had its X-million accounts celebration, which meant more things to do. That’s over now, so I mostly just do some daily things. Dragalia Lost is having its second anniversary, just after a major gameplay update. It’s pretty good stuff. The even added sparking, right before a big limited rush. Very nice. Getting better at Bandori, to the point where I can clear almost any Hard song on first try without heals. ESO and STO are back on the backburner, though I’m still doing their events too.

The big one is Assassins Creed Odyssey. I’ve been playing that basically every day, yet still am not close to done. I’ve played well over 100 hours at this point. At this point I want it to be done, just so I can play other games! But this one is too fun to just drop, and the story is surprisingly compelling too (at least the Greek parts – the Assassin’s Creed stuff is lame, though barely there at this point so whatever). I haven’t discussed it much, because I want to make one big review post. But who knows when I’ll actually finish, so that might be in a while.

HOWEVER, there is a new contender: Genshin Impact. This is another really fun one. I finally got out of reroll hell, on account 8. Got two SSR at once, though they were both Jean. Also got Fish, so that’s a really good account. As I was breezing through for rerolling, last night I just went to play for a few minutes before getting on other games, going over those areas I ran through. Ended up playing for over an hour. Fun, fun game.

As for next month…I basically want to do what I was going to do last month before ACO took way longer than I expected: finish ACO, get into Craftopia and Genshin Impact. Play more vidya!

Dragalia Lost: Character Roles

I’ve written previously on some of the issues that Dragalia Lost has with its story, especially how much potential is wasted. Well, here’s some more. There are all these characters, and yet so very few are used in the story at all, particularly the main story. So here I’ve sorted them out into their various story roles, as I see them. At least roughly. These are distinct from the gameplay roles the units have, as that’s a lot simpler and sometimes completely different.

As it wouldn’t be much of a blog post if I didn’t have any discussion, I’ll give some explanation, since the categories are sometimes a bit weird.

  • General basically means leader of lots of soldiers. I’m sure most of those up there aren’t actual Generals, but you know, heads of state actively leading armies is close enough. Also included were the leaders of knightly orders like Eli (leader of all the Paladyns) and Lief (head of the main knightly order of Alberia), since I figured that’s close enough.
  • Knights and Fighters/Warriors is admittedly a bit of an arbitrary distinction. I figured knights were the fighters that also had more minor leadership roles, especially if they were elite warriors, or otherwise distinguished. Characters described as junior knights in-game I listed under Fighter for that reason. Knights also include trainers like Celery or Raymond.
  • Mage is pretty much what you’d think. It includes, but is not exclusive to, battle mages. Fortune tellers count as mages I guess.
  • I included all the ninja characters under Assassins, because that’s what ninjas are supposed to be (and that aesthetic continues in this game), even if those characters are theoretically in the bodyguard role, protecting against possible assassins.
  • Researchers includes everything from lecturers to mad scientists. Basically the nerds.
  • I put Catherine under Merchants because I figured she was rich for a reason, and I didn’t want a category of one otherwise.
  • Adventurers are like your typical RPG PC – someone who travels around doing various things for various reasons, often taking jobs from various people. Most of the characters described as mercenaries fall here. If a character just travels looking for fights, I put them under Fighter, though.
  • Treasure Hunters are different from Adventurers because they’re just after one thing: treasures. The reasons and means are different, but that’s what they’re about.
  • Entertainers includes any of the arts, in addition to just entertainment. So we’ve got a painter, a writer, some dancers, and even a fireworks guy.
  • Servants include all sorts of domestics (like chefs), as well as bodyguards and couriers.
  • I separated out Detective, since that seems like a very particular role of investigation + pursuit + fighting, all in one profession.
  • Civilian is a broad category. Mostly it’s just random NPC-types, villagers for the most part. Basically people that would have no real job in a RPG party. Includes everyone from random kids to dispossessed nobles that don’t have any particular skill. Surprised this category is so large, since this is an RPG after all. But as I said, the gameplay is divorced from the story pretty heavily here, and the characters can have fun stories separate from the main story.
  • Dragon was just for those role-less dragon characters. (Faries count as dragons I guess).
  • The Fire Emblem characters were hard to categorize. They’re hero characters in their own games for the most part, and I guess fill other roles there. But here they’re just kinda there, fighting Euden’s enemies, without their normal crews. Very odd.

Dragalia Lost Chapter 15 Review

(Naturally there will be spoilers, especially for the most recent main story chapters.)

Sometimes you can have a good story, but it’s undermined by poor writing. The opposite can also be true – a bad story can have good writing. Today we’re going to look at an example of the former, in the newest addition to the main story.

To bring everyone up to speed, all you need to know is that The Great Evil, Fantasy Satan, (officially, The Other) was defeated, and Zethia was saved. Except then she was kidnapped pretty much immediately, and now Euden and friends going to get her back (conveniently, the kidnapper told them where to find her). Turns out that said kidnapper, Nedrick, is the boss of the Agito (the super-powered bad guy group of evil), has it in for Euden.

Now the big reveal comes (to Euden – the players have had this information for months): Euden isn’t the natural-born prince, but was adopted after the king’s seventh child died soon after birth. There’s some other stuff too, like Valyx (one of the other princes) gets turned into an Agito temporarily, everyone gets beat up by the agitos, and so on. But the big deal is supposed to be how everyone, and particularly Euden, reacts to the fact that Euden isn’t who he thinks he is.

Naturally, pretty much everyone except Euden is fine with it, because they are his friends. Euden is at first shocked, as one would expect, but he eventually gets over himself and gets back to work.

My overall reaction is a big Meh. There isn’t any real revelation here that we didn’t already know. There’s no big character stuff that we couldn’t already guess. There isn’t even a whole lot of character drama, besides what I’ve shown above. As far as worldbuilding goes, the only thing we get is the reveal of the last Agito in-game, and just what is up with them (the masks are magitech that brings out base emotions while simultaneously really buffing their stats.- basically turning people into monsters).

That, and there were two bits where the writing really took me out of it. The big one was during the reveal – why would anybody as smart as Nedrick (who had everything figured out) think this would change much. Sure, being told you’re adopted, when you thought your parents were your birth parents, is a big deal. But that doesn’t effectively change anything here: as Euden correctly points out above (though he does it to himself, when he should be saying it out loud), he’s got the dragon blood, so no matter what, he’s in. And, from Nedrick’s (and everyone else’s) point of view, he was officially adopted anyways (says so right in that book), so he’s got claim as much as anyone else. All the official stuff he’s done is just as legitimate as it always was. And all his friends there literally heard Alberius – the founder of the kingdom – tell Euden that he was the true heir to his power. And of course, that doesn’t change how his siblings feel about him – the older ones presumably know, and Zethia is the last person who would care (and now it’s not incest anymore…). As we see, Nedrick’s plan isn’t to usurp Euden’s place, even he did want to kill him, so I don’t see the point.

Second, back earlier Ciella tried to sow conflict in the heroes by implying that Eli had a secret that could ruin their friendship (it’s that she already knew about Euden’s situation, that’s all). As if friends didn’t have secrets from each other. This is a thing that comes up a lot in media for teens (or is written like such, as many jrpg’s are). The fact that this worked, even a little, upset me a bit, and took me out of the story. In a somewhat smart move by the writers, Euden at least dismisses this, saying that Eli will tell them in her own time, but it’s not important at that moment. Of course, if the writing were actually good, someone (I’d say Shanon, both for in-character reasons, and because she’s the one that got the idiot ball here) would point out that even friends keep secrets from each other, and that’s perfectly ok.

(We also have the fact that Brunhilda forgets she’s a dragon, and jobs in her human form; but that’s usually the case, so I’ll just ignore if for now.)

So yah, pretty middling new chapter that didn’t live up to the hype. Though I guess they never do. Even though there were a few easy fixes to the writing, overall this is basically a filler arc, right before the start of the next part of the adventure.

Missed Story Potential: Dragalia Lost

Dragalia Lost is one of those games I really like for some reason. I’m not terribly good at it, and it’s not the best game, even in its genre, but still I keep with it. I think it’s mostly due to the story. There’s just something quite charming about it.

Not to say that it’s particularly good or anything; it’s not winning awards anytime soon. And that’s a shame. I know story is just an ancillary thing for this sort of mobile game – this one actually has gameplay – but the devs think it’s obviously still important for the fans, since they’ve put more of a focus on getting more story out, and faster. But…it leaves something to be desired. With just a little more depth, a bit more thought than the basic jrpg tropes, especially in the main story, and it could be something really special here.

To put it simply, the game’s protagonist (Euden) is the seventh child (of eight) of a good king. Said good king dies at the beginning, after getting possessed by The Great Evil. The Great Evil (not it’s name, just what it is) then possesses the younger twin sister of the MC, Zethia, who also happened to be the figurehead of the local dragon-worshiping religion (ie, the fantasy pope gets possessed by the fantasy devil) – and therefore is not a potential heir to the throne. Then said Great Evil decides she/it is going to take over the kingdom, and does – and renames the kingdom from Generic Eurofantasyland to The Evil Empire.

Right there, there’s something potentially interesting. See, one needs to have a claim on the throne, in order to claim the throne. (At least politically.) Zethia had no claim, so she has no authority to claim. Now, being The Great Evil, she has phenomenal power, and that creates an authority of its own. But that power needs to be demonstrated first. From all that we can tell, Zethia just walked onto the throne and claimed it, no opposition (besides from Euden’s little band, who’ve been branded as kingslayers – one of the few things the story gets right in this area). Not only did Zethia not have any claim in the first place, but she’s also the eighth child of the king. What about the other six or so? We quickly learn (and it makes sense) that a few don’t care about ruling, or are otherwise unfit to do so. But that still leaves at least one, and probably more, that should contest this – most notably the oldest, who naturally was assuming he’d be the next king (and has the ambition and ability to do so). But no, we see all of Euden’s older siblings simply fall in line, and none of the nobles dispute such a breech in propriety. Oh, and no one seems to really care that Zethia, the Fantasy Pope, remember, renamed the kingdom to basically be The Evil Empire – the evil world-conquering empire ruled by and worshiping The Great Evil, whom the kingdom’s founder vanquished. No big deal I guess – even to the religion she’s the head of, which is specifically opposed to said Great Evil.

And that just takes into account the internal palace politics. What about the international scene? At least the game takes some time to flesh out its world a bit: there are the not!forest elves (Sylvans), who nominally are part of this kingdom, but not really because they all live in the inpenetrable woods (and are thus exotic to humans – except for all those generic Slyvan NPC’s that show up in town scenes all the time); the other generic Eurofantasy kingdom to the north that is apparently somewhat hostile but not really since we get some of them as gacha characters; the not!Venice merchant city-state to the west; the not!China somewhere to the east (but not too far east); and the not!Japan, also not too far to the east. How do all these react to this turmoil? Asides from the not!Venice, we don’t really know – and even in this case, we only know something because the MC asks for their help, for an alliance.

And then there’s the issue of Euden and his band. At the beginning Euden and friends find an abandoned castle – abandoned, because it was hidden in a magic forest with magical mist. They use this as a base to harass the Evil Empire, and to help the various people messed up by said Evil Empire. Eventually there’s a sufficiently-large amount of refugees that Euden actually is able to declare independence from Evil Empire. What comes of this major event? Not a whole lot. Besides going to not!Venice to get an ally, things just proceed in typical JRPG fashion: save villagers from monsters or The Evil Empire, go to parties, throw parties. entertain foreigners, fight off the occasional Evil Empire patrol, and so on. The game’s story rarely uses the fact that Euden is a ruler to much effect. Sometimes, late in the story, he commands an army, or something, but generally he’s just a jrpg protagonist going around with his jrpg party gathering allies. And of course there’s the typical gacha stuff where he interacts personally with just about every character, in a manner befitting a jrpg protagonist, not a ruler (they say king; but duke, or maybe even count, would be more appropriate).

In just these few worldbuilding, political areas, the game somewhat falls flat. And it’s a real shame, because this isn’t just another typical jrpg (or even western rpg) story. They could have actually done something special here, but they didn’t even think out the implications of events in their own story. And that’s the real kicker – I think a lot of people look down on mobile rpg stories because the stories tend to do this. It seems most stories aren’t written by proper writers, but by people high up on the dev team – often the directors themselves – and that can lead to these situations where there are good idea seeds, but the seeds aren’t allowed to grow and mature, at least not properly (tonight’s story update is probably going to be a good example of this, but that’s spoiler territory). It’s just lost potential.

They See Me Rollin’

In Dragalia Lost right now there is a new banner, and something not done yet. It’s a Gala banner (meaning limited (recurring) thing, and double SSR rates), but this time it’s a dragon. Mars, specifically. And he’s really damn good. This isn’t powercreep, it’s a powerleap. Now, honestly, I don’t care. I mean, sure, it’d be good to get him, since my strongest fire dragon is a SR. But, double rates for every other SSR are definitely tempting. Now, this is kinda bait, since we currently have a limited banner for the colab with FEH, and part two of that colab later on (the first part is a rerun from last year’s FEH colab), but I don’t really care about FEH at all. (I think it’s weird to collaborate with other gacha games, but it happens all the time so whatever.)

I also have a lot of resources for rolling, since I’ve been saving. Before rolling I have 126 single tickets, 11 ten-rolls, and 106,098 crystals. At 120 crystals per roll, that gives me a total of 1120 rolls available. Now, I did say I don’t really care about Mars, and I don’t. But I do have a lot of single tickets, and those will be annoying to roll all at once (since whenever I roll, I use those first), and the more I get, the more annoying they are. So, the plan is to use 100, see what I get, and post that. Just for fun, I’ll also post which ticket got me which thing, just to see the distribution.

But that would be boring (it’s only 100 rolls, and there’s no drama if I don’t have a target)! So I’m going to do some math. While I might be a janitor now, my training is as a teacher, so today I’m going to teach about probability, since we’re kinda sorta gambling here. The gambling fallacy is that, as time goes on not winning, that just means it becomes more likely that the win is just coming up: the longer we lose, the closer the win will be. But of course that isn’t true; each event has the same probability, every time.

HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean cumulative probability is the same. And it’s relatively easy to figure out in this case: either win (SSR) or lose (not SSR), so there’s only two possible outcomes for each event. But as I just said, what really matters is the cumulative probability. Sure, I only have a 6% (.06) chance of winning each roll (and thus a .94 chance of losing), but cumulatively I can figure out odds for any number of successes. The thing to remember is: if you say AND, that’s multiply; and if you say OR, that’s addition.

I just wanted a picture here.

Let’s just take the chance of not getting a single win. This means we just lose, right? .94 chance? But if that were true, no one would ever pay money for gacha. And of course, it’s not true. It’s .94 for each chance, but there are 100 events (in my case). So, the first roll has a .94 chance of failure. But the second has to also fail, and the third, and the fourth. AND. So, .94 AND .94 AND .94 AND so on, a hundred times. Multiply it all, and it comes out to .94^100, which is… .00205, or a 0.205% chance of not getting a single success. Sounds good, right? Seems you’ll almost certainly get your SSR!

Thus, let’s look at the case of getting a single SSR. That means you have one success (.06) AND 99 failures (.94^99). Multiply that together, and that gets… .000131, or 0.0131% chance. But wait, you say, how can that be? If the chances of getting none are so low, how can the chances of getting more than one be even less? And of course, the more successes, the less likely it gets! (Since replacing a .94 with a .06 only makes the probability smaller every time we do it.) Well, we only looked at one case – we didn’t say whether the success was the first, or the 50th. And that matters; or rather, it doesn’t matter which draw was the winner, as long as we drew one. So, it could have been the first, or the second, or the third, or… OR. Remember, with OR we add. So we have to add the probability of each possible group. Since there are only 100 possible groups, and each group has the same probability, we can just multiply that first answer by the number of groups, which gives us .0131, or 1.31%. Much better!

You can of course do this for the case of two SSR, or three, or any number, up to the total number of rolls (in this case, 100). The math to figure all this out is called binomial distribution. The equation goes like this:

P(k out of n) =  n!/(k!(n-k)!) pk(1-p)(n-k)

Where the total probability P of k wins (with a probability of p) out of n trials is all that business. The first part is the number of groups you’ll get, and the second part is the probability of each group.

Now, this can be annoying to calculate out with a calculator, so fortunately you can easily figure this out in any spreadsheet with a simple command. Which is what I did. And doing it this way makes graphing it easy too. So I did. You’ll see I did two graphs: one of each individual case by themselves, to see which is most likely; and the other is how likely it is to get at least that number. The first one is self-explanatory, so I won’t talk about it. The other is a little more involved. Basically, it’s just another OR thing. If you get at least zero SSR, you’ll get zero OR one OR two OR three OR… so you add up each individual probability. Or, you can just do what I did, which is reverse it. Since the total probability is 1, you can just subtract the total probability of all the ones less than what you’re investigating from 1. So, since you can’t get less than zero, than the probability of at least zero is 100%. The probability of one is 1-P(0), or in this case .998; of two is 1-P(0)-P(1) which is .985, and so on. Hopefully your spreadsheet functions also have a way of figuring out that cumulative total as well.

How you all feel right now.

So I’ve said all that to come to this: according to the charts above, the highest probability of SSR’s here is five or six, though even considering all that, it’s still only a bit above 30% chance of that; could be less or more. This shouldn’t surprise us, since the stated rates are 6%, and so doing 100 rolls should get about 6. Indeed, if you had a lot of trials of 100 rolls, the graph would look a lot like the top graph, just smoothed out.

And so, what did I actually get?

When I picked up that Lin You super early, I thought that this would be a pretty hefty haul. Then I went almost 60 more before getting another winner, which was getting me a bit worried – this wouldn’t be much of a post without a decent haul. Then Maribelle came, and I thought that would be the end. But no! Two winners in a row! That’s pretty crazy.

So, a total of five, which is completely expected. Two of them, Maribelle and Ariel, were new, so that’s nice. No Mars, but I really wasn’t expecting or wanting it. Might do this again, if the new FEH characters are desirable.

The Month Past, and the Month Yet Ahead

It’s the official beginning of April (the 1st doesn’t count), so here I am, to describe what I did, gaming-wise at least, last month, and what I hope to do this month.

As I mentioned before, I got a Switch. A new system naturally means new games. And, as I mentioned before, I got them: Splatoon 2, Hyrule Warriors, and Breath of the Wild. I also got the cheap standard-style controller, just for fun, which turned out to be the right call, as it’s what I mostly use (I also play on TV, always, so far).

Started with Splatoon, which is a fun game, but not really my speed. I’m not all that into competitive shooters in general, nor console shooters. Once I got access to the noob roller, though, things started looking up, but I was kinda frustrated by the lack of coordination between the competitive, coop, and single-player modes. So I only played a little bit of that.

Next came Hyrule Warriors, which was a game I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. I know it’s not really cool to like it, but I did. In fact, it might be my new favorite Zelda game; it’s definitely up there, at any rate. Not just for the cute girls, either, though it does have that.

Speaking of cute girls, isn’t BotW Zelda very cute? This is a seriously fun game. Also frustrating sometimes. Like, why even have those stupid forced gyro sections (remember how I got the cheap controller?)? But still, very good. /v/ has been crapping on this game since day 1, and there are some valid criticisms there, but it’s an extremely good game.

Granblue Fantasy Vs. came out on Steam. So I got it with the Season 1 pass. $80, and it doesn’t even come with gacha game codes. Bad move, but I guess it was to prevent cheaters. Even with the simplified controls, it’s too much for me sometimes. Even in the single-player modes. I’m just not a fightan’ game guy, no matter how much I want to get into the genre.

Also did the normal stuff in the various gacha games. Granblue Fantasy had it’s 6th anniversary celebration practically the whole month, which included a ton of free rolls; those turned out pretty well for me. That anniversary event was good too; it disappointed a lot of people, but I thought it was quite good – I think it was just got overhyped, over practically nothing. (Also, fujos and yumes mad that the brute got the unit instead of the bishi.) Dragalia Lost is currently having it’s 1.5 anniversary celebration, which is cool I guess.

As far as MMO’s go, haven’t really done much. ESO is seriously on the backburner for me – too many other games I’m actually excited to play right now, rather than the inertia that drives my MMO playing.

As for next month, I plan to finish BotW. Not 100% it or anything (I’m not going to be posting videos of me doing cool stuff – I can barely handle the basics!), but I’ll finish the game to my liking. Then it will be Fire Emblem Warriors. After that, who knows?

Granblue Fantasy Episode 10 and Other Things

This episode is much improved: certainly the best episode since we left Albion and Vira. The pacing is much better than it’s been in a while as well. This was one of those episodes where look at the clock and think “how did so little time pass? so much has happened!”. Still, the arc isn’t over yet, and the episode isn’t without flaws.

We start out with the rest of the crew discovering what had happened at the end of the last episode. Rackam is of course shellshocked, but he is quickly roused back to fighting trim. Also, who else but Rosetta swoops in to help save the day! I actually like how the anime has portrayed her: she is a primal beast, after all, so it makes little sense that the crew would have been in so much trouble, so often, if she was there. (Also, she was with Gran’s dad’s crew, and thus knows all about Lyra and Vyrn; the fact that it all stays so mysterious in the game for so long is a major plot hole; here, she herself is much more mysterious, and much less involved, though always present if needed…much like Sierokarte…) So, Rackam and Rosetta team up to save Noa, while the rest go with Siero to save Gran and Lyria.

Meanwhile, Gran and Lyria get an audience with the PM herself, Freesia. She basically tells them everything is going according to her plan, which is to rewrite history so the Astrals never had any influence. I’m not sure if this is a change from the game, or if this is just a front she’s putting up. I mean, “I hate Astrals because they’re invaders” is a lot more impressive than “I hate Astrals because my girlfriend married one”. And I don’t really like the whole “just as planned” thing they have going on here. “Oh yes, I certainly assigned a new officer with a savior complex to watch over a cute girl (who had reached her limits in the lab), because I certainly expected said knight to abscond with said girl, and for them to go on wild adventures that lead to personal powerlevel growth, instead of just getting the hell out of Dodge, or going into hiding.” Yah, not really buying it.

Of course, the various rescues go off without a hitch. Though this scene really shows how incompetent, or weak, Gran is: he got beat right quick when the Imperials showed up earlier; but Io and Katalina just bash right though several mooks (it’s nice to see that Katalina is actually the combatant she was hyped up to be, even if it’s not portrayed very well (because anime can’t into effective armor); I don’t expect this to ever happen again). Noa is saved too (there’s a lot more exposition there), and apparently everyone gets away and the Grancypher is fixed, because that last scene seems to indicate that the crew is completely out of the Empire’s grasp at present…OR ARE THEY?

I don’t really know how they’re going to wrap this one up. I think next episode is the last “proper” episode of the season, with one more special episode (like the beach episode last season). But there might be one more afterwards. Sticking the Halloween not-rerun in there really threw things off. But as for this arc, I guess they have to do something with Mithra. I wonder if they’ll bring Orchis in for this like in the game, or just do it without her; either way works.

In other, BREAKING NEWS, the Mouse/Rat Zodiac character is NOT a Harvin. I feel robbed. Mouse would have been perfect for a Harvin (because they’re small, get it?), and there isn’t any real opportunity for a while. I mean, Erunes are easy for this, because they already have so many animal ears, and Draphs work for the zodiac animals with horns and tusks (so the next is Ox, obviously Draph for that). Then Tiger, another Erune, and Rabbit pretty much has to be another Erune. Not until 2024 is there an ambiguous one, with Dragon. Oh, and by pattern, it’s Harvin’s turn. Not only was I robbed a cute Harvin, but the Harvins themselves were robbed! This is a sad day, for sure.

And, it seems, Dragalia…Lost… Doomposters going to doompost, but things seem serious over this game. Even Reddit, the bootlickers of the century, not only let a series of doomposts through, but actually gave them upvotes. Of course, the big tell is that the new Christmas Dragonyule Malora is unvoiced. In a game where a large draw for the unit (at least for Japanese audiences) is the fully-voiced units and character stories (at least for the high rarities), having an unvoiced unit is terribly alarming. Having two unvoiced units, one of which has SEIBAH (Ayako Kawasumi) voice, who is BIG NEWS for the voice actor lovers, is pretty much a death flag. I’m going to reserve judgement until we at least see the next main story chapter and banner, but this is severely troubling. I’ve already curtailed my (admittedly limited) spending, just to see if it’s worth spending any more in this game. It might seem like a little thing, but this, combined with the garbage Megaman event (collaborations are usually huge deals), and the constant stream of rerun events, even for holidays, are deeply concerning.

And I’m going to predict an announcement of STO 2, perhaps as soon as the anniversary (at the beginning of February). Probably not that soon, but the dev team has definitely been working hard on something, and it’s not the game in its current state, that’s for sure. I figure that STO 2 is going to be the next major Cryptic project, after Magic: Legends. (For which I’ve already signed up for the beta.) I just feel it in the air: player counts are down, spending is down, player retention is down, vets are getting upset (who knew that going All STD All the Time would hurt player counts for a game primarily made of fans of the older shows, to which STD bears very little resemblance besides in a couple of spaceships?). And yet it persists. I guess we’ll see.

And then they kissed and lived happily ever after. Oh, wait. Not that. But it would have been convenient later.

Friday Thoughts

-Black Friday is kinda a disappointment. I was hoping to get a PS4 or Switch on a big sale, but no dice. Still sad I missed them last year. PC game sales seem similarly dire. Though I still got two games: Star Traders: Frontiers, and City State. And I’ve actually given the latter a play (verdict so far: I don’t really get it)

-No Granblue Fantasy anime review this week. Not because I didn’t watch it, or that I don’t feel like reviewing it, but because there’s nothing much there. I didn’t even take a single screenshot. The Ferry arc is finished. Gran falls for the headspace attack despite explicitly being warned (and repeating that warning himself); I think the mirror match should have been Djeeta instead. More Gran/Lyria shipping. We get a tiny bit of backstory to Ferry, and Drang.

-Speaking of GBF, the new event is great. Whoever did the writing for this should really get into sports announcing – it’s very hype. Lyria is cute as usual, but also very, very dumb. I’m glad the new kid wasn’t some miracle wunderkind type. While I think it’s great that events are using more already-established characters, I think they went just slightly overboard this time (like, Cathrine wasn’t strictly needed).

Not that I’m going to complain.

-MegaMan event in Dragalia Lost is really lame. I mean, I get that the early games were rather…limited in the scope of the story, but they could have done a bit more here. And just rehashing the dragon fights is super lame.

-World Flipper is pretty fun. I don’t think it’s worth spending any money on, but it’s a fun diversion. I think it’s the first Cygames mobage that actually fulfills the idea of “spend a few minutes here and there playing”. But it’s definitely the D-team here: no co-op lobbies, no quick-join, not even voiced main stories. And of course, not compatible with my Chromebook. Good thing it has cute girls, or else it wouldn’t be worth even downloading and rerolling. But still, fun gameplay. Though I don’t think mixing pinball and bullet hell is the most obvious choice.

Friday Short Thoughts

Me too.

I just don’t know what to think anymore. With all the paid shills, bot shills, and blind fans, mixed with blind haters, counter-shills, and general cynicism of the internet in general, I can’t figure out what to think about most any game, but the new Pokemon main games in particular. I wasn’t fixing to get them or anything – I don’t even have a Switch, for starters – but there’s a whole lot of opinions out there, with completely contrasting views. Some are easy to get – Pokemon has been getting more casual lately, which is somehow possible, so I get those complaints with those games. And I get the graphics complaints, and general cut corners complaints seem to be almost universal. But whether those matter, in the end? I can’t figure it out.

It doesn’t help that people in general compare the Pokemon games to other Pokemon games, and not contemporary games in general. Some of that is, again, understandable – people who’ve liked previous games in a series want to know how new ones stack up to what they know. But even general purpose reviews do this too, for their final analyses, which are what the marketers and general audiences actually seem to base their decisions on.

I’ve never actually used her at all.

It greatly amuses me when people get all mixed up between fictional characters (especially cartoon characters) and real life. Recently, GBF got a new playable character, Kou. He showed up in an event last year, and he was pretty popular with certain segments of the fandom, for various reasons. Of course, as an anime boy, he’s portrayed with a certain attractiveness, like 99% of all non-joke anime characters. He even has a somewhat sensual artwork (which I’m not going to link because I don’t have a proper screenshot I made, and it’s an IntPiPoMo post), with a potentially provocative implication behind it. So far so good, right? Well, with these new characters comes a profile, which often includes the age. And Kou is twelve! The twitter/reddit fans got all sorts of indignant, claiming how gross this all is, etc. As if liking this one picture suddenly makes one a pedo or something. And it isn’t as if that hadn’t been Kou was about that age from the first event, let alone this one – his look and actions fit a lad about that age, in both events, even if he is a bit more serious than usual. But no, now it’s unacceptable, as there’s a number.

Get the same sort of reactions, from the same sorts of people, whenever this happens. It’s just a cartoon mate, no problem (especially if there’s no porn). Same thing with any other anime character. Ryza’s age was recently revealed to be 17, and some wag went on /v/ to see if they would react the same (never mind the fact that “she has to be 18 or it’s pedo” is a very California/New York thing, not even true in most of the US, let alone the world). Of course, it being /v/, that bait was not taken, but instead reversed: what an old hag! can’t like her anymore! etc. That’s the proper seriousness with which one should take their animu waifus.

That’s why you wait until you’ve seen them, duh.

Man, I really want a pizza. I’ve had maybe one pizza since my surgery back in September (I can’t actually remember), when I used to have one about once a week. But what I want is a Detroit deep dish, not just any pizza. There aren’t any places around here that do that, at least not that I’ve seen, and not at 10pm for sure. Well, there’s Little Caesars, but that’s it, and understandably not what I’m rally going for here. But I guess it will have to do. There used to be a place right by my house, that was pretty cheap, actually pretty good, and had a good variety, including this style (though I think most people call it “pan” pizza, but that also seems to mean different things to different places). But that place got bought out by a more boutique joint (which I think went under itself, since there’s a new name). What I really would like is a Shakey’s around here – I know people are down on it, but I like that style. Obviously not a pan pizza, but it would be a frequent stop of mine in general, if there happened to be one around here.

I also see that I already have a Pizza tag. Nice.