Let's Talk Dragon Age

Hi there, remember me. No one is reading this anymore, but I have hopes that I can revive it by re-posting the links in a lot of places and making more actual posts. Which, I would do, if I were (a) doing anything interesting and (b) had time while doing said interesting things to write a post. Which brings us to now.

What have I been doing the last, oh, 3 years or so?

Not much...at least in the realms of things that need to be spoken of on this "nerd blog".

The last 2 months or so though.....I've been playing the super amazing EA/Bioware game Dragon Age: Origins!

I had been hearing about it from a good friend of mine for several months before I tried playing it. He had been playing the PC version and was downright hooked. As I generally respect his taste in most everything nerd related, and since the more I talked with him about this game the more I realized that the setting sounded amazing, he managed to convince me to play it. Now, I'm not a PC gamer. Never had been (with the exception of Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna when I was a senior in college and had nothing better to do). So, when I found out that this title had been released for the PS3, I (finally) decided to jump on it. And then it sat on the shelf for a while. Until the end of September, when I found myself all alone in the apartment for 2 and a half hours and didn't know what to do. So, I started a game of Dragon Age. And, since then, I've done almost nothing in my free time than play Dragon Age. Seriously...I've spent the waking hours of entire weekends playing this game. In fact, I've FINALLY started to see how people become so obsessed with WoW that they abandon their work and their families to play WoW. I've become a Dragon Age addict. I'm not afraid to admit it.

Now, I could tell you all about the setting and all about the story and things like that, but you could also just go to this website, and read more about this game than you probably ever want to know. What I WILL talk about is what REALLY got me into this game. The characters, and the amazing attention to detail on the dialogue that the game designers decided to write in. Seriously...the dialogue in this game is AMAZING. From the conversations options YOU can choose (each of which has the potential to lead to different paths/outcomes/endings.....bonus points for the game having SERIOUS re-play value....more on that later), to the HILARIOUS conversations your party members have while wandering around behind you, this game has GREAT dialogue. And most of the party members are ridiculously loveable (or hateable). Again, you can find a lot of detail on the characters and the dialogue on the wiki page for the game, but let me talk a little about some highlights.

1. Alistair. He's essentially a glorified altar boy, having been trained by the church to be a templar and control magic and mages. This makes me especially laugh since my main character on this playthrough is a mage. The game writes in romance options, and Alistair is definitely the goody-goody pretty boy that every girl dreams about as a child. (Ok, at least girls like me.) Being in a romance with Alistair is fun...it's....romantic. It's cute. And it's EXTREMELY AWKWARD....which makes for even more hilarity.

2. Leliana. She's another potential romanceable character....for a male lead AND a female lead. Yes, that's right, Bioware has made the EXTREMELY fantastic decision to finally go where few games dare to go. And they do it RIGHT. Very good news! Leliana has an interesting past, but she's recently joined the church and has become very pious. She comes to you saying she saw you in a vision from above and she thinks she's destined to join you. She's a really sweet girl, especially on the surface, but once you start uncovering her past, you learn that she's not always been the sweet church girl she is now. She's the kind of girl that, if you let her, will either be your lover, your best friend, or both.

3. Zevran. Zevran is, in my opinion, the most hilarious character in the game. He's an elven rogue assassin who is sent to kill you. He fails, and if you let him live, he'll join you. He was raised in a nearby country in a whorehouse and then taken in by the largest group of assassins in that country. He'll sleep with most anyone (male or female) and he'll likely pretty much start hitting on you from the moment you let him into the party. If you're in a relationship with either Alistair or Leliana and you start a romance with Zevran, bringing Zev along with either of those party members will incite HILARIOUS dialogue as they fight over you. Zevran also has the best one liners in the game. And...he's a terrible assassin and an even worse rogue. We'll talk about that in a later post where I post my favorite moments with all these characters. Just know.....Zev is a fricking riot.

4. Wynne. She's an old-lady mage who will come with you if you decide to help the circle of magi with something. She's always for doing the right thing, so if you want to be bad in this game, make sure you don't take Wynne with you to do it. Mostly, I like her because her dialogue with Alistair is some of the best in the entire game. I try to have them both in my party if I'm just wandering around an area because they will say THE BEST things to each other. Especially if you're in a relationship with Alistair.

There are other characters. Morrigan is the other romanceable character if you're a male only. She's fairly pivotal to the story line, but being a mage myself, I found more need for one of the rogues than for her. She and Alistair cannot stand each other. If you put them in a party together they will constantly argue. She also doesn't like Leliana very much, as Morrigan is extremely anti-church. Sten and Oghren are warrior characters. Oghren's dialogue can be funny at times as well. You also have a dog in the party and Sten and the dog interacting can be hilarious.

Last thing for now.....

This game is SERIOUSLY re-playable. For one thing, there are so many different types of character you can be, and each has a slightly different origin story. For another thing, you can make a lot of very pivotal decisions in conversations and in actions that will lead to very very very different outcomes. Also, who you decide to be in a romance with, if anyone, will have big impacts on the ending.

All in all.....this game is a serious win.

And I already know what type of character I'm playing next. And what type I'm playing the time after that......

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Yes, It's Been Awhile and I Really Do Have Actual Posts to Write, but........

If my good friends at Dane101 are going to be so good as to continue to interview me for articles on their site, I think I owe it to them to link you to it.

Soooooo....read about me talking about awesome geek things I'm doing this weekend in the greatest city in the upper midwest!

And, if you find yourself around......stop on by, eh?

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I Can Has 感じ

Thanks to the incredible wisdom of a man known to much of the world as Peso (who, btw, is responsible for one of the single greatest businesses I've ever had the pleasure of dealing with).......I've learned how to make Vista type in Kanji. AND....I've learned how to make Firefox tell me what said Kanji means.

Which, in turn, means..................that I'm going to be a lot more involved in the Japanese scene than I ever thought possible...................

And I can actually look up song lyrics when I don't understand what's being said.

And...........well, really, the possibilities are infinite, my internet friends.

This may progress from more of a hobby into a well-honed information gathering machine.

If I had something to say that required the use of Japanese, Kanji, or really....anything.....rest assured that I would do it.

Next time, Gadget. Next time.

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So, thanks to FUNimation (no, seriously.....THANKS to FUNimation......), I've developed a bit of a weird addiction to the show Aquarion (AKA Genesis of Aquarion, but does it matter???). I'd watched I think the first two episodes "back in the day" (2005), but that was well before my GUNDAM days, so I just don't think I had quite the appreciation for ridiculous mecha shows at the time. It's not that I didn't like them, because I enjoyed RahXephon quite a bit, and Aquarion definitely draws more on elements of RahXephon and Evangelion than GUNDAM or Macross, but I guess I just wasn't in the mood to keep watching Aquarion at the time. And then I forgot about it..........

Last year when FUNimation sent us screeners for Geek.Kon, they sent us the ENTIRE box set of Aquarion. Which, in retrospect, is actually pretty neat......... But Mayama was all "ick" and I didn't remember enough about the show to question why he hated it, so I left it at that.

Fast forward to now.......FUNimation is showing Aquarion on their BADA$$ FUNimation free home video channel!!! So, I thought, I'm gonna watch this. Mostly since I feel like the website needs some diversity in the reviews, since I write them all and I tend to not WATCH shows that I know are going to suck.......who has the time for that? I had some time to kill before work on Friday morning and a new lappy just sitting here being ostentatiously red and looking at me, so I decided to see what I could see on the FUNimation channel. And alphabetically, Aquarion was first. So I watched the first episode. And I actually kinda liked it. I like the subtle yet not Biblical references it drops (like Eva) and I like the similarities to RahXephon, and I like that Yoko Kanno once again did an amazing job with the musical score. At the very least it intrigued me. It's certainly not without its flaws (over CG the mecha fight scenes much?!?!), but it's interesting. So interesting, in fact, that I've watched through episode 4 as of now (in like a day, really.....but spread out a bit). This is neat, because it's been awhile since I've been able to sit down at my computer and watch anime irrespective of things (especially since I'm not doing the fansub thing.....), but it's problematic in that it's really really nice outside and I should be outside. FUNi.........why couldn't you have released this in the dead of winter for those of us in the northern climes???

Well.......perhaps now I will go back to cleaning my house. Or watch more Aquarion..............

It's like this:
"Right. I've fallen into the one percent chance of being involved in an actual conspiracy." --Tatsuhiro Satou (Welcome to the NHK ep. 1)

By which, I mean:
"By airing funny anime, they are mass-producing anime otaku, and thus, are partly responsible for the emergence of such a significant number of NEETs." --Tatsuhiro Satou (Welcome to the NHK ep. 1)

But really, as soon as Mayama is done writing his paper, we're freaking going outside!!!!!!!!!!!

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FUNimation Rocks my world


Exciting news for fans of Fullmetal Alchemist!

Many of you may have heard that studio BONES has decided to re-make the FMA anime to follow the plotline of the manga more accurately. They will start the story from the beginning and stick to the (many would say) more exciting plot of the manga. The first episode aired in Japan on April 5.

FUNimation.....the holders of the rights to FMA in the US will also be licensing and distributing the new Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. BUT....more than that, they will stream it on their website starting at 12:00pm on APRIL 9.....just 4 days after the episode aired on TV in Japan.....and you can watch it there!!! This is revolutionary stuff, and I, for one, am very excited. If you're a fan of the FMA anime and haven't read the manga, I assure you that this new series will blow you away. If you have read the manga.....you already know we're in for a treat. You can find an article about this at Anime News Network by going to: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2009-04-03/funimation-to-stream-2009-fullmetal-alchemist-on-april-9

In further FUNimation rocks our world news............FUNimation has also partnered up with Veoh to bring us a lot of other titles for completely free.......see ANN: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/press-release/2009-04-06/veoh-networks-inks-distribution-deal-with-funimation-entertainment. AND....they've partnered up with VIZ media to show some much awaited titles (NANA and Honey and Clover, anyone?!?!) to their FUNimation channel lineup in late spring. Those of you who get that channel.........I am very jealous of you. Very very jealous. More info at ANN: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2009-04-06/funimation-channel-adds-viz-anime-starting-late-spring

I continue to love FUNimation, because they continue to love us and the industry.


Shoujo to Start the Morning

I read chapter 2 of Sand Chronicles (following chapters 1 & 2 of Honey and Clover) on the train this morning (LOL I'm SO behind in Shoujo Beat....).

It made me sad.

But happy sad. The kind of sad that Honey & Clover made me feel the first time I watched it. Not quite KGNE sad....nothing's lived up to THAT one yet.

That's all. It's a grey, overcast, rainy day....and I read sad manga. Way to rock.

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My Netflix wasn't coming through for me, so I used the magic of FUNimation's internet episode streaming to watch the first episode of Baccano! tonight. I really like it. The show has promise.

I'd heard people talk about this show from time to time, and it sounded like it had a lot of things that intrigue me. It's set in New York in the 1930's. It follows about 20 years (maybe more?) of gang wars in New York....as seen from the look back of two newspaper reporters. There are also 20 characters. Not kidding. The director uses the first part of the first episode to seemingly justify this......he has the reporters talking about the story and where it should start and who the main character should be and how hard it is to successfully follow so many characters. It was a bit weird, I admit....the way it was set up. But once we got past that and into the story, it was pretty great again. Right......I forgot to mention that most (if not all) of the 20 characters are immortals. Yes.....immortals, involved in gang wars in 1930's New York.

See....I heard the premise for this series and I thought.......it's hard for that to go wrong.

So far it doesn't. I mean, yes, it's hard to follow because there are so many characters. After one episode I have no hope of knowing who is who (excepting a few key characters). They also all have weird names. And of course, there are many story arcs going on at once. This show has a LOT going on. But it's done well. The art and setting and music are exactly what they should be to put you in the time that the story is taking place.....lots of jazz music, lots of muted browns and dark backgrounds and shadow. It's all well executed. Even the opening sequence is a perfect jazz/swing number while the still images of the characters flash by with their names next to them (everyone has weird names......Jaccuzzi is my favorite, I think). The end theme is.......well, it's an end theme. It's a nice slow J-pop ballad composed by Yuki Kajiura. It didn't do anything for me. I would rather have gotten more jazz or swing.

I'm not going to talk about the story or really get in depth at all, because I wouldn't do it justice at this point. Hopefully I'll be able to procure the first disc from Netflix very soon (though I think that if I like the first disc then I will likely buy this series the next time the FUNimation sale comes around).....once I watch enough to get a feel for the show, I'll bring you a more in-depth review. This is DEFINITELY a first impression only.

But! My first impression is that this show is something special compared to a lot of what we've been seeing lately. I'm worried about following what's going on......but it's been ok so far, and it seems like the director knows what he's doing, even though he hadn't really directed much else but Koi Kaze (not getting into that).

Stay tuned for more when Netflix brings it to me!

Also......use the FUNimation webstream! It gives you a nice look at the shows....and you can download to own for less money than you would pay for DVDs!