Monday, June 29, 2015

That Shouldn't Be So Effective

One of the Sega Genesis games I've become familiar with recently is Decap Attack, where you play as a headless... mummy... something... that has some unusual methods of attack, namely smashing things with the extending face in his chest and, when he has it, flinging his detachable skull (which is a powerup that is lost when he gets hit... and has nothing to do with his chest face).

Oddly enough, it's a lot more effective than the attacks a lot of platformer characters use (cough cough Mario), partly because his chest face attack can stop enemy projectiles, plus the skull sits where it lands for a little while and continues to hit things-and even hits on the way back.

Of course, the reason it's so odd is because it's actually a reskinned version of some other game where the skull is essentially some kind of semi-autonomous creature and the chest face attack is a boring regular punch.

The original game's graphics frankly look a lot less interesting; there's none of the general weirdness and the Decap Attack graphics seem to just generally be newer and higher-quality.

And then there's this boss, who appears to be a giant mole wearing sunglasses.

Giant mole? Pointy sunglasses? Could it be...?


-Signing off.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Digimon Is a Kids' Show

I'm a little tired (and have to drive my sister around when she's got an awful work schedule-currently we're in the seven-hour downtime between a nine-hour shift and a six-hour one), so this is something a bit different than the parade of Xros Wars posts I've been doing, even if it's still Digimon.

So the same franchise that produced this screenshot*:

...also produced this sequence**.

This, in all seriousness, is why people remember this show. The same show that had all sorts of silliness, cartoony characters, and a borderline stick figure-based art style for the human characters also had hard-hitting emotional moments, violent character death, and psychological and cosmic horror. (This is most pronounced in Digimon Tamers, which the clip is from, but it's true of the franchise as a whole.)

*Open confession: I'm a pretty big fan of Xros Wars, but this episode, while I found it really enjoyable, had an emotional moment that really fell flat for me.

So the character Kiriha, who I haven't really talked much about beyond him being the blond kid in this post, has been hard to get along with a violent, antagonistic asshole for a big chunk of the series, but he's been getting better.

This episode sees him being convinced by the villain of the episode that he needs to dispose of his allies to become stronger; his obsession with strength is a huge part of his character, and in this episode we learn that it's because his father was emotionally abusive for the sake of trying to make him stronger. Then his parents died, his father dying in the middle of a sentence about getting stronger, and the people who worked for his father then ran his company into the ground and abandoned Kiriha. So he's got trust issues like nothing else.

The above screenshot, by the way, is Deckerdramon, his strongest partner Digimon, telling him to stop attacking his friends; that moment is immediately followed by Kiriha making a genuinely creepy face and then trying to kill Deckerdramon for getting in his way.

The other characters manage to get him to stop beating up Deckerdramon, who reveals that he knew from the start what was up with Kiriha because he's apparently a telepath or something in addition to being a giant robot crocodile with missile launchers on his back and also some manner of local deity with healing magic (this is why Digimon is awesome) and that he joined Kiriha's army essentially because he knew that Kiriha was in serious danger of becoming a cold, hard person with no friends, and couldn't let that happen. Then, after the emotional moment, Deckerdramon died protecting Kiriha.

...I'm sorry, I need a second. (Giant robocrocogod dad is best dad. Fortunately, they brought him back to life in the finale, and even if that cheapens his death more than a bit, Kiriha really needs his crocodad, y'know?)

Anyway, the part where this falls flat is that it's "revealed" that Kiriha's father was cut off in the middle of saying "true strength comes from having friends." That's a fine lesson (this is shonen anime, after all, and that'll be everywhere), but I really don't like that they were trying to insert it into the mouth of an abusive father. What made it even worse was that the creepy face Kiriha made when he started attacking Deckerdramon was actually far less terrifying than the "happy" face he made in response to realizing his father "wasn't" being horrible to him.

I'm just going to pretend that the "dad was trying to tell him something different" thing didn't happen, because the story mostly works anyway without it. I'll just pretend that he decided Deckerdramon was his real dad or something.

**This sequence is the nightmare that an eldritch abomination called the D-Reaper (which is short for "Digital Reaper," because it was a program created by the programmers who had unwittingly made the Digital World and living Digimon in order to "regulate the population," and had grown in power proportionately to the Digimon, some of whom at this point would have been able to outgod the Greek pantheon) uses to plunge a ten-year-old girl into ever deeper despair because it needs her negative emotions to grow when it's in the real world. It's partly a recreation of the death of her mother, and the term "fate" is a deeply painful one to the character, but it doesn't stop there, no.

This comes after her Digimon partner was killed, once and for all and forever (Digimon Tamers never undid character death ever), in a horribly brutal fashion, and happened to unwittingly use the worst possible phrase as he died: "This was my fate." That was the wrong thing to tell this poor girl, Leomon.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Going On and On About Digimon Xros Wars

Yet another assortment of random Xros Wars silliness.

One of the characters that stands out amongst the villains of the first part of the series is Tactimon, regarded as the strongest of three generals working for the main villain. His obsession with perfection gets a little silly now and then, such as his insistence on using the English word "perfect" in the middle of Japanese-language dialogue and his description of everything he does with this word.

Yes, he just called himself "the perfect me" (and also used a variant of the old Chinese saying about the nail that sticks up getting hammered down in the same sentence).

One of the things about Xros Wars is that the Digital World is initially divided into smallish "Zones" that each have a fixation on a theme. There's a Zone where the only real land turns out to be a giant Digimon whale, a Zone whose inhabitants are famous for their skill in preparing sweets, a fragile Zone that's made of CDs (really), and the Sword Zone, which is full of swords.

Including one that's as tall as a mountain.

I can't tell you why for certain, but gigantic swords just kind of seem to be a Japanese media thing-I know there's at least one late '80s/early '90s anime where the landscape has a similar decoration.

After a certain point in the series, the Zone are replaced by seven similarly themed "Lands" which are each ruled by generals working for the main villain (sadly, none of them are Tactimon); one of these is called Vampire Land because its ruler is a vampire*.

And it certainly looks like a place that would be called Vampire Land, doesn't it?

Speaking of said vampire, he manages to mostly survive being incinerated, but... doesn't last long.

*In this case, he's a vampire mostly because he seems to be vaguely related to other vampire Digimon (who are verifiably vampires) but his main "vampire-like" trait is actually absorbing cute bunny Digimon children to give himself immortality. He does this apparently because it was prophesied that a differently-colored-than-normal bunny Digimon kid would be responsible for his death. No points for guessing that this turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

-Signing off.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Wait, WHAT?!

So one of the things about Digimon is that the reason the Digimon themselves are such varied, oddball creatures, with some being based on nature, some on machines, some on concepts, and many being based on a combination of those things, is generally because the Digital World from which they hail is a sort of shadow of the Internet and other human-built data networks.

Thus, we have Digimon who look like angels, devils and dragons alongside ones that look like (outdated concepts of) dinosaurs, insects, and plants, and it all happily makes sense. This is why Digimon is awesome.

Then there's Xros Wars, which seems to throw the concept into question with this conversation, involving human kid Taiki and extremely knowledgeable scientist wizard Wisemon:

(Taiki: Was the Digital World born of digital technology created by humans? [Note that this is a bit of an overly specific question; it was clearly written with the expectation that people would be familiar with the traditional answer, "yes."])
(Wisemon: The other way around.)
(Wisemon: The Digital World existed long before the human world.)
(Wisemon: You humans only recently learned how to use a part of our world.)
(Wisemon: The digital zone used by humans amounts to, perhaps...)
(Wisemon: ...this much of the total.)

This is a really strange idea, and one that I kind of feel the writers fumbled a bit. Xros Wars plays with a lot of interesting notions, but if you're going to drop a bombshell like this, you need to go into it a bit further and then actually explain what's actually up with the Digital World if it doesn't work like the traditional one*. Near as I can tell, this is the only time the subject's brought up in the whole series, and I've yet to see any sites make reference to the fact that Xros Wars had this statement in it**. (I've perused two different Digimon wikis and also TVTropes rather heavily. None of the sites mention it.)

*And because Xros Wars includes the time dilation effect seen in Digimon Adventure 01, where the Digital World's time flow is much faster than that in the human world, it's not even necessary to do this to explain away why the Digital World can have such a long history when digital technology and the Internet are so comparatively young. Heck, something like six months goes by when Taiki returns to the human world for an evening, night, and morning. That means that nearly a year goes by every real-world day. The simplistic histories that the Digital World generally gets would never really need much more than the few thousand years*** that even Digimon Adventure got.

**Admittedly, the Digimon fandom is full of angry people who think it should only ever be Digimon Adventure and hate anything from another series that doesn't match up with Adventure. These people are as annoying in this fandom as the GEEWUNNERS are in Transformers. Also, Digimon Tamers is the best-written Digimon series bar none, even if Xros Wars is something of a personal favorite of mine. I say this as someone who usually dislikes the grimdark approach that Tamers took.

***If the Digital World formed from the Internet of the early '90s, let's say around 1993, it would have had about eight years until Adventure 01 started, give or take. At a "day per year" rate, which is a little higher than it actually is but close enough for government work broad generalizations, there would have been just over 2900 years between the Digital World's creation and the start of the series. Consider how much stuff happened in the last three hundred years of history, multiply that by ten, and that's about how much history the Digital World could have. For Xros Wars, there's another nine years, which if we're going by my timeline would more than double the length of that history.

...Is it terribly obvious I've put a lot of thought into this?

-Signing off.

Friday, June 19, 2015


Yet another post coming from my rewatch (from the beginning this time) of the Digimon Xros Wars anime. (I believe all screenshots come from episode 19.)

So there's an episode where, in order to get into a place, the protagonists need to convince a local guardian deity Digimon, Deckerdramon, to open a gate so that they can enter the area he's in, because there's another (extremely evil) Digimon who's slipped into that area to force Deckerdramon to join forces with him.

Lilamon, a local Digimon who is also basically a sexy lady, tells them that they need to perform the "Love Love" dance in order to get Deckerdramon's attention, because Deckerdramon is a bit weird and mystical and can see people's hearts from miles away and judge their love somehow. (He's also a giant mechanical crocodile with a surface-to-air missile array on his back, because Digimon is awesome.)

And so she shows them the Love Love dance. We don't actually get to see her perform it, but we get to see a lot of reactions to her performance. (The "love you, love you" thing is part of the chant she's reciting while she's doing the dance.)

Yeah, they're basically implying a discretion shot because of sexiness. (Also, I personally find it particularly hilarious that the robot Digimon, Ballistamon there, has the most ridiculous response. It's especially funny because he's one of the most robotic robot Digimon ever, needing periodic repairs, spending most of his time standing quietly in the background, and apparently having a tiny factory in his chest.)

And the people who she expects to perform the dance have a reaction that looks outright repulsed:

It doesn't help that Lilamon assumed these human children were a couple and basically browbeat them into performing the dance together.

Quite a few people were very seriously embarrassed for them, including Dorulumon (mentioned in the previous post-recall he's a former drifter who is also a giant wolf with built-in drills), a pink rabbity thing, a living gun with a cowboy hat, an animate chess piece, and a gun-toting dark angel guy. (Because essentially any assortment of characters can make sense in Digimon.)

While Lilamon believed that Deckerdramon's attention could only be drawn by romantic love, it turns out that any kind of love for others could get his attention-and because this dance was so very hideously embarrassing and they did it anyway to help their friends, it was enough to get his attention, and he opens the gates.

Shortly, thanks to a bit of magic bridge action, they're caught up, and we see the confrontation between Deckerdramon and the aforementioned evil Digimon, DarkKnightmon (aka AxeKnightmon if we're going by official English names rather than the Japanese names, though the Crunchyroll subs go ahead and call him DarkKnightmon), which has this wonderful little exchange between them:

"I suppose not" is a pretty amazing response to being accused of having a total lack of love.

Anyway, then it turns out that Deckerdramon's love sense has told him something about the big-time jerk kid, Kiriha:

There's a reason this guy generally is drawn with shadows like that-he's a coldhearted little guy. But you can't fool Deckerdramon, apparently.

He's probably really embarrassed.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Great (?) Basis For a Friendship

It's been a while since I last looked at Digimon Xros Wars, mainly because most of what I've watched of it was random late episodes posted on YouTube. Having since discovered that the series is available legally on Crunchyroll, I've been rewatching it from the beginning.

One of my favorite scenes thus far requires a little explanation: The cast has been repeatedly encountering an extremely tough drifter, Dorulumon (who happens to be a giant wolf with drills sticking out of his forehead and the end of his tail*, because Digimon is awesome), who has helped them each time but refused to join their fledgeling army**.

Part of the reason he's reluctant to join SPOILER WARNING is because he was formerly a high-ranking officer in the very army they're fighting, and left it when he betrayed a battle plan that involved bombing out their own troops to wipe out an enemy unit. Despite his betraying the battle plan, he only managed to rescue one of the troops, who in the very same episode that reveals this backstory is killed when he protects Dorulumon. Anyway, obviously Dorulumon has trust issues because he won't follow a certain kind of order, and doesn't want to join a force if he might receive such an order.

So he's being helped against a powerful enemy that he's no match for by Taiki, major protagonist and general of the army that's been trying to recruit him, when the following exchange happens (with subtitles typed out by me under each image):

(Dorulumon: I don't need your help.)
(Taiki: Even if it puts our lives on the line,...)
(Taiki: ...we'll risk everything to protect each other.)
(Taiki: That's the kind of friendship I want with you!)
(Dorulumon: If we do become friends, I might betray you.)
(Taiki: If it's to save a friend, you can betray me anytime.)
(Dorulumon: *pauses*)
(Dorulumon: I've never heard anyone say that before.)

Perhaps I'm a bit sappy for liking this as much as I do, but whatever.

*This arguably makes Dorulumon an expy of both Tiger of the Wind***, a wolf-like character with weather-based powers from the mon series Monster Rancher (Dorulumon can make a whirlwind with his tail drill), and Hayato Jin, one of the core Getter Robo characters (whose robots always have drills).

**There's a reason it's called Xros Wars, after all.

***Yeah, he's a wolf-like creature named "Tiger." Don't look at me, I didn't name him.

-Signing off.

Monday, June 15, 2015

A Brief Break From Random Mecha Posts

I recently became aware of the game series Puyo Puyo, a Tetris-style puzzle game which has been reskinned multiple times into other franchises for English distribution (as part of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, it became known as Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, which with my recent acquisition of a retro console is how I learned of it, and it also has seen a reskin as a Kirby game).

Unlike most such games, it's generally treated as fundamentally two-player, which led to this rather impressive and ridiculous... well, it's something of a volleyball/tennis game. (It's also almost certainly a tool-assisted speedrun, so it's a feat that is highly unlikely to happen normally.)

Because, you see, Puyo Puyo drops stuff on you when your opponent combos well, and apparently this version of it allows for this sort of tennis match effect.

I'll admit to preferring the Mean Bean Machine music and sound effects, because the music is pretty great...

...and also, while I admit I actually find the "combo shouts" funny rather than annoying even though everything about them would usually annoy me (I'm seriously having to work not to giggle right now as I listen to that first video), I don't think I'd be able to play with them going, and Mean Bean Machine took them out.

Also, I have to admit I rather like the ridiculous cartoon robots the localization came up with... long as they're not making their smug "I'm winning faces," anyway. Which admittedly is a lot of the time when I'm playing.

-Signing off.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Totally Cool With This

NOTE: Today's blog post touches on several subjects that are kinda rougher than I usually go into, because it involves a show, Heat Guy J, which has the soul of a completely ridiculous action anime and the formula of a violent detective show, with all the hilarious stupidity and horrible harm to human beings that those things imply.

So there's a character from this show, Clair Leonelli (who is a guy, just so you know-and excellently voiced by former Power Rangers actor and anime voice-acting great Johnny Yong Bosch-which I didn't realize until I saw his name in the credits) who has ISSUES because his dad was a horrible, horrible person and also a mob boss who was trying through abuse to make him perfectly obedient. Instead, he ended up with someone whose hobby was sticking hand grenades places they didn't belong, and this guy inherited his mob boss position-the most powerful in the entire city, which is functionally a country*-when he died.

Anyway, this touchy, touchy guy was recently "humiliated" by one of the main characters, and he wants to exact a humiliating revenge (the guy with purple highlights in his hair and a lip ring is Clair, the sandy-blondish guy is Daisuke, the subject of his vengeance) in a nonlethal way, partly because Daisuke could have shot him, but was using a nonfunctional bullet on purpose. (This bothered him a lot more than the severe damage to his expensive office building, although that was a contributing factor.)

(Skipped over the actual injection. Frankly, I find it a bit hilarious that the chair fell over and then they just left him there.)

(Bit of time passes here. Also, the color changes in the window are because they're in a casino.)

(Yes, the drug he's injected Daisuke with is basically a torture drug.)

Here it comes... What unspeakable things are unfolding in Daisuke's mind?

Not much**.

*This series is set after a postapocalyptic future; people either eke out a living in the wilderness, or live in one of a handful of huge, tightly-packed cities. Like, there are seven of these cities plus another one where the closest thing to the world government resides. And if you live in a city, you're not generally allowed to leave without special permission and they seriously expect you to come back. Also, dozens at least of things we'd consider normal or commonplace are illegal.

**Full disclosure: I edited out a conversation that Daisuke was having in his head with his mother, mainly because this was pretty darned long already, but also because the gist of the scene doesn't really go away and it was rather funnier this way.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Context Doesn't Help Much

For various reasons (e.g. bad weather that makes me fear for my computer), here's a sort of clearing house of Gundam Build Fighters screenshots which I found particularly amusing:

(The only one of these to come from the first series, incidentally, is the above.)

(This is a hilarious yet awful reference to Ramba Ral's [the character upon whom this character, Mr. Ral, is based] death scene; he says at one point that while he was in the middle of a fight, he forgot to fight. This is not the only reference to this line that Mr. Ral has. Also, frankly Ramba Ral's death scene is kinda narmy.)

(She was going to jump out and have a shouting match over a guy she was interested in, but somebody else beat her to it, and she got so distracted by the shouting match she forgot to actually do anything herself.)

(Because he wants to win all the contests, you see. SPOILERS: He does.)

(That point when you realize that you probably should just talk this out.)

-Signing off.