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Everything posted by HalcyonSpirit

  1. Assuming my hours don't get cut between now and then, I may finally be able to afford to donate a bit for the next bill. We'll see.
  2. Ugh. I wanna get on the MC server. NO. Do work. What about now? NO. You have Japanese lessons to do. Now? NO. You have a book to write. ... Now? NO! The server's down! And that is why the gov building in spawn isn't completed, yet.
  3. I was going to do the exact same thing. Pretty much the same words, too. I only realized how long ago the post was made when I noticed that this "new" thread had appeared and gone 9 pages in the 12 hours between my visits here. With recent activity levels on the forum... that was suspicious. Unfortunately.
  4. Every single track at least once. Many only once. I like a wide range of styles and such, but some of the stuff that came out in the early days... ehhhh, the more recent years have spoiled me. I still have a fair amount of the early stuff, but yeah, not as many as I used to even just a few years ago. I try to listen to each track the day it comes out, and then I decide on whether I want to download it. Usually I do, but every once in a while I just don't like a mix and won't download it. I know many people are more picky than I am, but I like having the diversity, even if I'm not going to listen to a particular track very often.
  5. That's pretty much the problem I encountered when running the writing competition here. Even when there were good entries, voting participation was usually nil. I've been pondering ways to increase participation in all stages of the competition, but nothing has really come to mind so far.
  6. Ha. Haha. Large compared to what we have, he says! As long as you don't intrude on my planned borders in the main map, you're fine. I'm hoping to jump on this weekend to do some prelim groundwork for the final borders.
  7. Well, two things have been revealed. One was a tripwire, with string now being placeable on the ground (both decorative and for the tripwire itself). The other was an emerald ore, which could be used for trading with villagers. However, the ore itself seems to have been removed due to complaints (wut), so now you can only get emerald through trade. I think there's a new emerald decorative block, too, like the lapis block.
  8. I've got ALL of the Clannad albums on my mp3 player, as well as from Kanon. And if Air is much the same, I'll have all those, too. Eventually I'll be able to listen to them all casually. Eventually.
  9. There's a reason why I said I needed to detox from my emotions after Kanon. Well, since you've hit that emotional place, . It may help to ease the symptoms of recovering from the emotional bomb and prolong the feelings you're experiencing.
  10. I'm back with another review. Surprise surprise, it's related to Key, though I didn't realize it when I began watching. Angel Beats! I'll tell you right off the bat: regardless of whether or not the show impacts you, you're probably going to come out of it with strong opinions on the show's direction, tone, and focus. Angel Beats! is a 14-episode series (13 story episodes + 1 OVA) following a group of people who are dead. You're told this from the very start: everyone in the show is already dead. Over the course of the show, Angel Beats! packs a ton of stuff in general into a relatively short time, from backstories to comedy bits to fight sequences to drama, sorrow and joy. At times the transition from one tone to another can be jarring, and the time spent in any one mood can be short, yet it manages to work. Most shows tend to overextend when dealing with so many tones, especially if all are deemed important, but it works here in its own way. The animation quality is fairly good, and it spikes upward at certain points, particularly during the aforementioned fight sequences. The animation helps to alleviate any sense of jarring one might feel, transitioning the mood through visuals, subtle and overt. For the characters that are developed, they're done well. None of them truly feel like some kind of cookie-cutter personality, despite a few seemingly being so at the outset. The lesser-developed characters obviously remain somewhat two-dimensional, but they are there to enhance the main characters, not provide additional dynamics on their own. The character development is strong and ultimately leads up to the climax of the series, which actually only happens a few minutes before the very end of the main story. It is here that the hardest of the emotional moments is likely to be for anyone, if one experiences it. It also is when the true meaning of the show's title is also made clear, a truth that few will likely be able to guess in advance if going in blind. One of the few story twists I've encountered that has taken me by complete surprise, and one that will make certain scenes and events earlier more moving to someone upon a second viewing. Unfortunately, the climax of the series also brings forward the main problem of the entire production. Angel Beats! is a 14-episode series that truly deserved to be the length of a full 24-episode season. It needed the extra ten episodes or so to really feel complete. They did well with the time they had, but many things were left out or rushed as a result of the limited number of episodes. Many more characters needed some sort of backstory given so that we, the viewers, could feel for them and those that cared for them more. Too few had their stories told. In addition, the proper attention one subplot, the most important of them all by the end, needed was never given to it. The ending, powerful enough as it potentially was to some viewers, could have had a much larger punch with many more people had the preceding events and development been given more screentime. That said, the ending as it is does take advantage of the lack of development as best it can to turn it around and deliver a strong emotional impact. It is a wonderfully-executed ending to the series, hitting all the right notes. In short, Angel Beats! is too short for what it wanted to do, but despite this, it succeeds in being a very good anime that brings to the table several story and character aspects that are not commonly seen. Nothing feels forced despite the lack of time. It has some significant flaws, but the series still stands up well to scrutiny due to how well put-together the entirety of it was and the beautifully-done finale. Some may cry, others may not. It's worth checking out even if you don't find yourself impacted much by the emotional sides of the story, as it is still a solid story that brings forth some important messages. I recommend the series to anyone willing to give it a shot, especially given its length. It is not the emotional rollercoaster that the subjects of my previous two reviews were, but all the same, it does its best of draw you in and get you interested in how it all unfolds.
  11. Right, so as you guys here probably know if you saw my previous posts, I absolutely LOOOOOOOOO~VED Clannad. Made me realize just how much of a sucker I was for a good, emotional story. I read the visual novel and then immediately started and finished the anime. Cried lots. Lots. It's taken me a while to recover from it, and I'm still not fully there; I have the OST (and other related albums) and there's still a few songs I can't listen to without getting a bit teary-eyed. A week ago, I felt the need to subject myself to new round of emotional storytelling. So, naturally, I took a look at the release history of Key, the studio that produced Clannad. I decided to just go straight to the beginning with their very first release, Kanon. It was also released first as a VN and then as an anime years later, much like Clannad. However, Kanon's anime has two incarnations: the 13-episode 2002 release, and the 24-episode 2006 release. It's sufficient to say that the 2006 version is generally regarded as superior in just about every aspect, but I'm not sure if I'll be watching the 2002 version to make a comparison at some point. As I did with Clannad, I completed Kanon's original VN release and then jumped into the 2006 anime release. I finished the VN in about four days and then (unintentionally) marathon'd the entire anime in one sitting immediately after finishing the VN. It was quite engaging, to say the least, since I had only planned on watching the first four episodes that day. No regrets. Kanon has five storylines, each focusing on one of the main female leads (Ayu Tsukimiya, Nayuki Minase, Makoto Sawatari, Shiori Misaka, and Mai Kawasumi); one of the stories is considered the "true" path, and it's not hard to guess which one. There isn't any overarching plotline that directly connects them all like Clannad's story had, but the themes of the stories are similar among them: promises and memories of the past, and of miracles. Despite the similarities in theme between the paths, the feel of each differs greatly, which is where the stories both shine and falter. In my case, Makoto's and Ayu's stories hit me hard, yet Mai's did very little for me, while I've seen the exact opposite reaction in others. The visual novel version has a strong core with some rough edges. Writing quality has its ups and downs, particularly between paths, but may be attributable to problems in translation; I can't yet judge it based on the merits of the original Japanese writing. Pacing is also an issue in areas, and there are portions where I truly wished they had gone into more/less detail. On occasion, I felt like the writers weren't quite sure how they wanted a section to feel to the reader, leading to conflicting emotions and thus a dampening of its impact. That said, these are just rough edges, and the overall product is very engaging and moving. The characters feel real and their personalities, by and large, shine through. Occasionally the presentation of character traits stumbles and doesn't quite feel right, but for every section that missed the mark a little, there was at least two that nailed it. The plots are a little predictable, but this does nothing to hurt the appeal, and it still manages to throw in a sucker punch or two. The most important thing is that nothing brought into the story feels contrived - everything fits together rather well. This means that while you might see something coming, it still feels like a natural progression of events that you can easily get invested in. The true ending of the VN is a little bit on the vague side, but that may have been intentional, given that the same can be said of Clannad's. It's still a very moving ending. In short, the visual novel isn't exactly consistent, but it does exceptionally well to still come up with a great experience for the reader. The 2006 anime adaptation takes many of the good points of VN and does a lot to improve upon its weaknesses. In particular, the characters are given a much stronger base for you to relate to them on, which instantly increases the eventual emotional impact later on. The pacing and writing is taken up a notch as well as smoothed over, eliminating the sometimes inconsistent quality problem the VN had. Of course, the stories are merged them into a single plotline, so expect changes. I was originally skeptical about how they could pull it off, but the end result is as faithful to the original as one could probably make, given that many aspects of each story are incompatible with the others. In my opinion, Shiori's and Nayuki's stories were somewhat negatively impacted by the merging due to what their original focus was in the VN, while Makoto's and Mai's remained relatively unchanged by the transition. Depending on your view of her story, Ayu's story benefited from the merging, perhaps due to the added screentime the other characters had as her story unfolded. Several other details beyond the necessities were added or changed when fitting everything together as well, which helped to make the end product a much more cohesive story than just a stitching together of several. Perhaps the biggest change revolved around the ending, in that the events have additions made to them to bring all the stories together, and the details that weren't changed/added are much more clearly presented than they were in the VN. If you're confused at all about what exactly happened, the anime version should clear things right up. I will also say that, as I watched it play out, I originally felt the anime nearly dropped the ball when dealing with one of the arcs in the last couple episodes, but by its resolution, I felt they had indeed done the best they could with the source material. It was, I think, the biggest victim of merging the storylines, but even then it managed to come out quite well. I think the 2006 anime adaptation misses out on some of the stronger portions of the VN's stories due to having to combine them all, but it has an overall stronger telling of the story on the whole. Kanon, like Clannad, is a work of art. If you like one, you'll almost certainly like the other. I highly recommend both the VN and the anime. The visual novel, despite its flaws, is an incredible first showing for Key, and the anime adaptation is beautifully done. Now then, if you'll excuse me, I need to spend the next few weeks undergoing an emotional detox. Sometime after that I'll be taking up the visual novel and anime of Key's second work, Air.
  12. How are you not-- Ah. Well then, that explains it.
  13. Awesome pics, good job on the designs. I like them. One of these days I'll finish my town and post pictures of the results. One of these days.
  14. And depending on one's perspective, that scene could either be the most egregious example of "fanservice", or one of the tamer examples. I'm not sure that they weren't going for comedic relief with that scene... I sure as hell was laughing the entire time.
  15. How much Japanese do you know? I just (re)started teaching myself and this gave me some needed insight. ------ On another note, I watched all of High School of the Dead yesterday. Why? Because some of my friends kept talking about it and I wanted to know what the deal was with it. And dear lord... I can't even call it fanservice, but I don't know what I should call it. That was a show that took it a level beyond. I didn't like the fact that the show was geared toward that type of blatant fanservice, but ignoring it, the story was cliche but solid, and the action sequences were done pretty well. None of the characters stood out in any way, but I don't think character development was the theme they had in mind. If you don't mind tons of blatant fanservice every episode and want some mindless zombie-killing action, well, Highschool of the Dead fits the bill. What it intends on doing, it does well, though the ending really leaves something to be desired; I suspect the creators were gunning for a second season to be greenlit. I personally won't be rewatching the show, but I suppose zombie fans might. If it were a movie, I might call it a popcorn flick... plus boobs. Just don't watch it around anyone that hates fanservice. For the sake of your health.
  16. Black Lagoon is a pretty sweet series. I kinda wish it'd have gone on longer than it did. Haven't watched it in full for a year or two, but every once in a while I sit down and watch the first episode or some random episode. Just because.
  17. Watched all of Puella Magi Madoka Magica today. It was interesting. I liked the themes presented through the story, and I liked how it defied my expectation that the main character would become a Puella Magi pretty much immediately, as is the norm. Opened up plenty of opportunities at storytelling. At the same time, I'm somewhat disappointed with it. I liked it overall, but I feel like there were a lot of potential areas to explore that it really only scratched the surface of, particularly the psychological aspects of it. I really wanted to see it dive into those areas. Perhaps they didn't simply because the whole series is only 12 episodes long; I can understand it'd be hard to pack a lot into such a small amount of space. Still, it did very well for the time it had. It didn't have a strong emotional impact on me, but maybe I'm just still too rocked by my Clannad experience to really feel much in comparison. All-in-all, a good, albeit short, series that inverts aspects of the typical magical girl show quite well.
  18. OK, I finished the Clannad VN Sunday and the anime last night. ... Dear fucking lord, I've never read or watched anything before that hit me as hard emotionally as Clannad did. I laughed. I sobbed. I cried. I laughed more. I cried more. And then it dropped a cluster sadness nuke and tore me to pieces before putting me back together again for the ending. It's one of those experiences where I wish I could go back and do it all over again with no prior knowledge. I like emotional stories, and Clannad is genuinely my favorite VN and anime in that realm. Hell, they may have just topped my all-inclusive favorites list. I'm still feeling the emotions running high a day later. As far as the characters go, Nagisa annoyed me a little bit at the beginning of the VN, but she grew on me. Especially once I started the After Story portion of the VN. I'm glad she did, too, given the story... As for the rest of the cast, I think I liked Kyou and Fuko (too cute...) the best. Both of their routes got tears from me. The way those stories were built worked fantastically. If you haven't read the VN or watched the anime, I highly, highly, highly recommend you do so.
  19. The VN even less so. Damn those feels...
  20. I don't intend on letting this die, but I also have gotten the feeling that it's been needing a hiatus regardless. Participation had been terrible for probably a year or so. I think it needs to go off the radar for a while and then come back with a new format.
  21. There's a translation. Not quite finished in areas (in the sense that there's asterisks that I assume indicate translations that need work), and there are some pretty glaring errors as far as formatting goes, but so far I haven't encountered anything that came close to threatening my understanding of what was going on. I wish I didn't have to rely on a translation, but I can't read Japanese. Oh well, it's good enough like this.
  22. I'm going through Clannad right now. Well, the visual novel first, and then I'm going to watch the anime, so I figure this is the best/only thread to talk about it. Regardless... I've finished my first route in the VN. God damn it. It disarms me with cuteness and then drops a sadness nuke. And then I cry. A lot. Of course, I'm going back for more. I have a weakness for sad stories and cuteness and all that stuff. I have a feeling that isn't going to be the last time I'm taken by sadness because of these stories.
  23. Also, the Bukkit team got picked up by Mojang. Which means at least a few members are probably not working on it right now and are instead working on putting together an official implementation of Bukkit's features. Which means the Bukkit release is going to be delayed due to the lessened manpower.
  24. Well, I just found my GoGear Cam. So now I can tell you exactly how I feel about it, now that I've discovered what sort of microSD expansion capability it has. If you're buying it because it has the same internal capacity and some extra features that the iPod Nano doesn't but is still cheaper by a fair amount, ok, that's fine. The implementation leaves something to be desired, but it's workable. For instance, it doesn't have a real 'playlist' ability, but you can put music in folders in the player to achieve mostly the same effect (however, it will not play anything in a subfolder if you start playing music in the primary folder). It's workable, since it still has the generic "Play All" function to play everything regardless of the folder it's in. If you're buying it because it has a microSD expansion slot so you can fit much more of your music library into it, don't fucking bother. The GoGear Cam is incapable of playing music from both the microSD card and the internal memory at the same time. Furthermore, it does not have a "Play All" function, nor a search/play-by-artist/album/etc function, for anything on the microSD card, meaning that if you want to play everything on the card, you have to put EVERYTHING into a single folder. What's worse, the GoGear Cam can't handle having a lot of files within a single folder; it'll freeze if you try to open said folder, preventing you from utilizing anything within. Which means as a music library expansion, which would be the primary use, its microSD expansion capability is complete garbage. Not worth your time unless you really want the extra audio/video recording, snapshot, radio, and photo/video-viewing capabilities and can't afford something more powerful to do all that.
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