Where Does the Time Go? – Mobile Suit Nuzlocke Challenge Weeks 20-23

Oh man, has it really been almost a whole month since I last updated the challenge? That’s worse than I thought… Truth is I just haven’t been much in the right sort of mood for the potential kick in the teeth that the Nuzlocke run has been threatening me with as I near the end. My hours at work have been different for a while and wiping me out, so I’ve looked elsewhere for my entertainment. Not to worry though, I did make a little progress after my last update!

Of course, my first act after evolving Seravee into Slowbro was to march up to the Viridian Gym and take it on one trainer at a time. And honestly for the final gym it wasn’t much of a hassle at all as my team is currently pretty heavy on the water and grass types. Of note was a quite entertaining battle of attrition with one trainer’s Sandslash and it’s Sand-Attacks versus my Gouf (Tangela), some missed Giga Drains and a lot of Fresh Water! Giovanni didn’t pose much challenge against the combined might of Seravee and Z’Gok (Gyarados) though, and I swiftly earned my Earth Badge, effectively dismantling Team Rocket (for now…)

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Not so tough without Mewtwo are you Giovanni!?

My next move was to reshuffle the party a bit and take on Char before making the rounds on Victory Road. This too proved pleasantly simple. I had been worrying about how to get around his Exeggcute with my type disadvantages, but found surprising salvation in Burnern (Jolteon) who took it out with two well-aimed Pin Missiles, in addition to dominating Char’s Pidgeot and Blastoise. Really feeling the advantages of Jolteons now; they’re definitely a Pokémon I plan to use more in the future!

And that, sadly, is as far as I got in the last month of play; life and other, shinier games sadly got in the way. Speaking of which, there’s another little monster-based game that recently got released and is staring down the barrels of a couple of blog posts… Until next time, which I promise will be sooner!

ACTIVE PARTY

Spr_3e_135 Burnern

Spr_3f_114.png Gouf

wp-1459797127232.png Z’Gok

wp-1467140988864.png Seravee

wp-1459797111515.png Sandrock

wp-1459797140362.png Deathscythe

SHOT DOWN

wp-1459797169840.png Dark

wp-1458516371800.png Zero

wp-1464644641222.png Turn-X

Spr_3f_006 Epyon

Spr_3f_075 Kapool

Spr_3f_037 BuCue

wp-1467141789174.png Forbidden

wp-1464643887882.png Fuunsaiki

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You Mean You Haven’t Watched Ouran?

Gather round dear readers as we return to the “You Mean You Haven’t Watched…” series! For today’s exposé I’ll be introducing the anime that gave me the base idea for this topic. It’s a deal more recent than our last title, being released in 2006, but there comes a time when an adult otaku has to accept that ten years old is practically retro, and we’re all getting old! Welcome, valued customer, to the bizarre world of Ouran Highschool Host Club!

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Now before we begin it’s worth briefly explaining the concept of a host/hostess club, as they are a uniquely Japanese creation. To put it as simply as possible, a host or hostess club is a night-time entertainment establishment where customers pay to spend time with members of the opposite gender in a strictly non-sexual context. Think of it as paying someone to behave in a friendly and/or flirtatious manner towards you; no doubt an appealing prospect for the more socially-reserved Japanese citizenry, provided they have the money for it. Right, woefully inadequate cultural education is done with, let’s get onto the anime!

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Haruhi Fujioka is a new student at the prestigious Ouran Highschool, a ridiculously decadent education establishment for the children of Japan’s financial elite. Unlike the other students, Haruhi’s family is actually dirt poor; she managed to get into Ouran on a scholarship thanks to her high grades. While looking for a quiet spot to study away from the frivolous chatter of her fellow students she comes across what she thinks is a disused music room, but actually turns out to belong to the Host Club, a group of six attractive male students who provide pleasurable company to female students. The club mistake Haruhi for a boy due to her scruffy clothing, and when she accidentally smashes a ¥8,000,000 vase it is decided that she will pay off her debt with her body – by becoming a host herself until she has entertained enough clients to cover the damages! One by one the boys discover her true identities, but in order to help her situation they all agree to keep it a secret. And that’s all just the first episode!

Ouran is an interesting property, as it is a uniquely self-aware piece of genre fiction that somehow manages to make serious use of common shoujo tropes while simultaneously either mocking or subverting them. The catty, elitist student body are both sources of friction for some of the characters and a target of ridicule for the audience (the Host Club and their customers’ fascination with the taboo of instant coffee is an absolute delight to behold). The grounds show off some beautifully-designed architecture but it is so ostentatious that it often comes off looking silly, especially the pastel-pink Big Ben clock tower that is ripped straight out of Revolutionary Girl Utena. And just like Utena, the scenes are often littered with illustrative rose petals, which would look very pretty and poignant if there weren’t so gosh-darned many of them!

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Instant coffee. A forbidden pleasure.

The genre subversion is especially strong in Ouran’s characterisation, and just like last week’s Berserk this is a show about the hilarious, larger-than-life characters. Each of the Hosts embody a shoujo harem archetype, but in every case this is an act that actually runs contrary to their true nature. For example, Tamaki the charismatic prince is actually just afraid of being alone and the shota-bait Hanni acts sweet and cuddly but is really a short-tempered karate monster. What is interesting however is that by embracing these superficial acts the cast find themselves becoming more stable, well-rounded people and they find a valued second family in the Host Club. In a sense Ouran’s main cast and the customers they wind up helping can show us how to grow as people ourselves; that exploring and embracing concepts that are alien to our own natures help us become more sympathetic and emotionally rounded individuals.

Haruhi is also worth noting as a draw for those interested in LGBT representation in anime. I would hesitate to call her a trans character strictly speaking, but at the very least she is definitely gender-neutral. Naturally, given the premise and genre of the show a great deal is made of her biological gender and the other characters often try to illicit more girlish responses from her, but Haruhi herself is more or less indifferent to all of it; not succumbing to the expectations of her gender, but crucially not railing against them either. She is also true to her own nature; despite being surrounded by flamboyant, larger-than-life personalities she remains a level-headed realistic person which interestingly is what makes her appealing to the Host Club’s customers. Despite being a character from a goofy laugh-a-minute comedy show I believe that Haruhi can stand on equal footing with other strong female anime characters like Utena Tenjo or Motoko Kusanagi.

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Just like Berserk, Ouran only covers a small section of a much larger manga series, and it is in this area that it suffers one of its only real weaknesses: a two-episode ending arc that is completely made up for the anime and thus not as strong or satisfying as the rest if the story. However, this is not exactly an uncommon problem in single-season shows, and if you can overlook a slightly weak ending then there are plenty of fun times to be had here. So pull up a chair, choose your favourite type, and let the Host Club entertain you!

You Mean You Haven’t Watched Berserk?

Welcome one and all to the inaugural edition of “You Mean You Haven’t Watched”! As we stand at the start of the summer anime season I thought I would start things out on a topical theme. Last week saw the beginning of a brand new series of Berserk, so today we’ll be looking back at the original 1997 series, a bloody tale of huge swords and even bigger ambitions.

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Adapted from the ongoing manga by Kentaro Miura, Berserk tells the tale of a lone wolf mercenary named Guts in the war-torn kingdom of Midland. He finds himself recruited by the elite mercenary army the Band of the Hawk after the charismatic leader Griffith takes a personal interest in him. The series follows Guts, Griffith and the Hawks as they fight for Midland against the Chuder Empire and rise in esteem and prestige all in the name of Griffith’s ultimate dream to one day rule a kingdom of his own. However, as the fighting escalates it becomes apparent that this world of sword and steel has terrors running beneath the surface than even the characters themselves can comprehend, and Griffith’s ambitions may cost more than initially thought should he see them through…

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Berserk is an action-packed roller-coaster of epic medieval battles and political ambitions that rival contemporary cultural icons like Game of Thrones and its ilk, but what makes it stand out is that it is primarily a story about people. There is a strong theme of Guts overcoming his dark past and lonesome nature, but at its heart is the unlikely budding friendship between Guts and Griffith; two mighty warriors whose power stem from opposite ends of the spectrum. While Guts is a brash meathead who prefers to fight alone and charges into a fight and lets his enormous sword do the talking, Griffith inspires loyalty from those around him and gets things done with meticulous strategy and tactics, and knows how to manipulate situations and people to his advantage. As if that wasn’t enough, a third entity is thrown into this mix, the female Hawks commander Casca, a self-confident, brash young woman who can stand toe-to-toe with the greatest of male soldiers and who would follow Griffith to her death. In many ways Casca is a bridge between the two extremes of the male leads.

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What makes Berserk even more compelling as a story is its interesting narrative structure. The first episode introduces an older, battle-scarred Guts alone in a dystopian nightmare before the narrative shifts back in time to his joining of the Hawks as a youth. So if like me that first taste of Guts as the Black Swordsman intrigues you, you’ll want to stick with the series just to see how he got there. And to the show’s credit I think it does a great job of keeping that intrigue alive as an undercurrent while presenting an equally fascinating human drama that could easily maintain interest on its own.

The anime adapts the very first chapter of the original manga then skips a bit before launching into the Golden Age story arc which comprised chapters 10-94 of the manga’s existing 343 chapters. The Golden Age was adapted again into three CG animated movies between 2012 and 2013, but the original anime is generally considered far superior, especially from an animation standpoint; the original 2D animation looks a lot better than the 3D cel-shaded animation, which still isn’t good enough to carry a whole project. The new season of Berserk currently streams every Friday and finally gives us an animated look at the Black Swordsman arc, which follows on from the Golden Age. The 3D animation is still troubling, but overall it’s great to see Guts and his massive sword on our screens again!

Addendum: Should you decide to check out Berserk, and I really recommend you do, please don’t let the opening sequence put you off. As a fan I now consider it campy anime gold, but it can be a little weird the first few times. But here, don’t take my word for it:

Announcing a New Series of Blog Posts!

As the new anime season begins I find myself planning to watch a few new series as they come out for the first time in my life as an otaku, and that’s gotten me thinking creatively about my own self-image as an anime fan. I named this blog The Omega Geek after the Omega wolf, who trails behind the rest of the pack and only eats what’s left when the others are finished, as it often takes me a long time to get around to watching  things that are already popular.

I’m sure I’m not the only otaku who gets into things late, and since more young people are discovering anime for the first time I came upon the idea of helping out by discussing a few older anime that I consider worth watching. So it gives me great pleasure to announce a new blog series: “You Mean You Haven’t Watched…” (I’m sure we’ve all had someone express that sentiment about a popular show!) where I will give a brief synopsis of an older anime that I have enjoyed and discuss what makes me fond of them.

Hopefully this will help anyone who hasn’t seen the shows in question to dive deeper into anime, past the new properties that are doing the fan dance in the limelight! Anime is an old, old pastime, and I consider exploring it’s heritage can lead to a greater appreciation of where the contemporary material gets its inspiration. Here’s hoping for a successful new venture! To the keyboard!

Two Birds With One Stone – Mobile Suit Nuzlocke Challenge Weeks 18-19

Ups and downs, downs and ups, the Mobile Suit Nuzlocke keeps rolling on. Play has been brief this fortnight, so let’s keep the update similar. (Upon friends’ recommendations I’ll be putting Pokémon species in parentheses after their nicknames from here on, in case people forget who is what)

I decided to teach Forbidden (Kabuto) Rock Smash to get me through Mt. Ember and squeeze in some training, which was ruined when a wild Geodude took it out with a Magnitude 10. Really starting to lose party members at a rapid pace now; I fear for my rebound potential. Missed out on catching anything new, so I got some EXP out of Moltres (playing the no legendaries rule) and got the hell out of dodge in order to clean up a couple of loose ends.

I confirmed that Lapras’ location is listed as Silph Co so hit up the Fighting Dojo and grabbed Hitmonchan for some type coverage punches, named it Maxter after looking up more G Gundam suits. Good times. Next stop was a quick round of the Power Plant which finally netted me Blitz the Pikachu, though I was really hoping for a Magnemite instead. I got a fair bit of training in until my heart was broken as a Magneton destroyed my darling Fuunsaiki (Ponyta). Utterly dejected I resolved to quit for the week after taking on Zapdos, who went down super-quick thanks to Sandrock (Sandslash). Afterwards Servee (Slowpoke) was very close to leveling up so I used the Vs Seeker to evolve it to Slowbro before clocking out of a very disappointing couple of weeks. Gotta pull it together for Viridian Gym and the final challenges beyond…

ACTIVE PARTY

 Maxter

 Seravee

  Z’Gok

 Burnern

Sandrock

Deathscythe
SHOT DOWN

 Dark

 Zero

 Turn-X

 Epyon

 Kapool

 BucCue

 Forbidden

 Fuunsaiki

“Please use me as a wall!” – Top 5 Video Game Meatshields

This week I’ve been watching KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World, a short anime series set in a fantasy world that adheres to several RPG tropes like character classes, guild quests and skill allocation, and it’s gotten the old noggin buzzing about various game-related post ideas that I can work on in the near future.

My favourite party member in KonoSuba is Darkness, the masochistic female Crusader who gets a perverted thrill from being hit by attacks, and she got me thinking about similar characters in real video games. Uh, that’s characters who can take a beating, not characters who get off on beatings… So here is a short, slightly off-beat list of the five video game meatshields that first came to mind; those who can take a hit for the party and hopefully give as good as they get.

5) Frederick – Fire Emblem Awakening

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Prince Chrom’s earnest and dutiful deputy and one of the first characters you are introduced to in Awakening, Frederick is the first mandatory party member to belong to an advanced class, which otherwise are unavailable for several chapters. He is a Great Knight, a mounted powerhouse in heavy armour who can move further than most characters and use every armament in the weapon triangle, making him a versatile fighter. In the first few chapters of the game Frederick can spearhead the initial charge into the enemy ranks and soak up damage that might otherwise incapacitate your base class units, taking out foes before they can converge on your weak links. As useful a defender as he is however, Frederick’s advanced class can be an unforeseen flaw early on, as not only does he receive less EXP than base class units, but it’s also highly likely that he will end up landing most of the killing blows, preventing other characters from leveling up as quickly. Once I realised this I pulled him from active duty and kind of forgot to put him back into battle for ages afterwards. If you let this happen his high weapon proficiencies can turn him into a glass cannon and that’s why he only makes number 5.

4) Fighter/Warrior – Final Fantasy

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One of gaming’s original heavy hitters, Fighter resembles his namesake class from Dungeons & Dragons: a heavy-hitting, high defence frontline fighter specialising in powerful swords and axes. Even at the beginning of the game Fighter takes significantly less damage from enemy attacks than any other class and will probably be the first one to start dishing out multiple blows as he starts to level up. Final Fantasy’s original targeting system gives higher priority to the first party slot, so by putting him in the primary position Fighter becomes the very definition of a tank. He can be an expensive unit to maintain due to the high price of his equipment, but since his tanking abilities take zero effort from the player and his combat options are simply Attack and Item he is an ideal addition to any adventuring party.

3) Horse – Skyrim (no, seriously)

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There is something wrong with the horses in Skyrim. Like, seriously wrong; a horse whisperer in Tamriel would be set for life. Even people who have never played this epic adventure know about their frankly unnatural mountain climbing abilities, but Skyrim’s stalwart steeds have also chosen the thug’s life. While perfectly, almost fatally docile with a rider on its back, the moment it is left to its own devices in a combat situation your equine companion will go totally bananas, charging right up to anything hostile and trying to clobber it to death with its front hooves. And while they’re by no means immortal, these guys can tank hits from regular enemies like a champ. Not only that, but if a bandit or wolf starts attacking your horse before they see you they’ll pretty much ignore you until you join the fray (better have a good power attack ready). I’ve even had one instance of a dragon breaking off from fighting me to make fly-bys on my horse. It might even have survived, my memory is fuzzy on the matter. Horses are pricey, but what they lack in speed they make up for in insane Skyrim water cooler banter. Get one.

2) Garchomp – Pokémon

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A while back in one of my Nuzlocke updates I mentioned my attempts to finally finish Platinum (which I started playing in 2009), and that I’d hit a major stumbling block. Celia’s Garchomp is that stumbling block, and that’s why this monster makes the list. High on HP, Speed and Attack and possessing a type combination of Dragon and Ground that renders very few moves super effective and reduces most of the Ground type’s weaknesses to regular damage, a well-trained Garchomp will ruin my day, and I wish I had one of my own outside of Pokkén Tournament. Even though it takes quadruple damage from Ice, it is able to learn some nasty Fire moves through TMs to counter this, and let’s not forget that the Dragon-is-weak-to-Dragon thing goes both ways. My post-Generation Two knowledge is pretty holey, so I’m sure there are more sturdy creatures out there now, but as far as I’m concerned Garchomp is a beast that I would be lucky to have at the head of my team.

1) Auron – Final Fantasy X

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When applying the “strong, silent type” label to Sir Auron, the “strong” part should be taken literally. This aging, veteran warrior is the main brawn on Yuna’s pilgrimage across Spira and his default stats practically define the word guardian. Relatively slow-moving but boasting very high HP and monstrous Strength growth Auron is one of only two characters whose weapons all have the Piercing ability by default, making him custom built to take down armoured fiends in one hit. Additionally his Sphere Grid path takes in the Guard and Sentinel abilities that allow him to take damage in place of party members, making him far closer to a tank-type character than the others on the list as opposed to a solitary sturdy build. Auron may sometimes spend a little too much time in the party like Frederick does, but unlike Frederick he doesn’t drag the other characters down for your trouble and remains a useful combatant in almost any situation.

This is admittedly a pretty sparse list, so if you have a favourite meatshield of your own send a comment my way and let me know! I’d love to see what else you guys can come up with! And stay tuned for at least one more KonoSuba inspired gaming post very soon!

*Dial Tone* – Mobile Suit Nuzlocke Challenge Weeks 16-17

I must confess I have been a naughty boy this past fortnight and have been totally absorbed by Fire Emblem Awakening instead of my Nuzlocke. You tell yourself each day that you’ll definitely pick up Pokémon later, but all the training and reclassing and shipping characters is so damned addictive that you inevitability reach for the 3DS after a long day at work. But I thought I had better explain this now rather than go three weeks without an update.

So what did I do with the Pokémon since last time? Well, lacking a Pokémon with Fly I had to Surf out of Cinnabar Island to Pallet Town, and thanks to expert use of Super Repel I finally found a Grass type to replace poor, dead Dark in the form of the elusive Tangela! I was very glad to find they still live where they were found way back in Gen 1, unlike a lot of other species. Rotated the underleveled little pile of spaghetti (which I nicknamed Gouf) into the party to train alongside Seravee in case I find myself needing more type coverage and headed back to One Island to train them on the Kindle Road. Unfortunately they’re both still too weak to take on the trainers there alone so progress is slow. Also I’ve hit a snag as I need to teach Rock Smash to advance but can’t decide who to give it to.

There was however one excellent thing that happened this week. While walking through Diglett Cave on my way to Vermilion City I finally, for the first time EVER in a Pokémon game, encountered a shiny! A shiny Diglett with a hilarious blue nose! Wonder of wonders, I simply had to capture it, purely so that I can say that I have done so. What a tremendous rush catching that shiny little lump, I’m guessing you never forget your first!

See you next week! For real this time!

ACTIVE PARTY

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Seravee

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Deathscythe

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Sandrock

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Z’Gok

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Burnern

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Gouf

SHOT DOWN

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Dark

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Zero

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Turn-X

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Epyon

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Kapool

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BuCue

How to Make Friends and Portray Cool Characters – Cosplay Interactions 101

I’ve been an amateur yet avid cosplayer for just over ten years now, and I’ve always found it a fun and potentially sociable hobby. Unfortunately, I don’t think every cosplayer always sees the social side of the pastime 100% of the time. So today I’d like to lay out a few thoughts I’ve had of late about how to get the most out of cosplay as a medium for social interaction. And share a few of my cosplays as visual aids of course!

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Ready? Then let’s talk cosplay etiquette. Scientifically!

1) Make a little time for other people

Go to any convention you fancy and the first thing you’ll notice is that there are a lot of people at these things. It’s very likely that you’ll be attending a con with a group of friends, and of course your priority is going to be hanging out with them. Totally understandable. But always remember when you’re in cosplay that there are people outside your group who might appreciate your costume, and it’s nice to just give them the time of day sometimes. I often attend cons with a friend who likes to say hello to people dressed as characters they like, but it’s surprising how often people just walk by and ignore them when all they’re doing is walking past and trying to pass out a quick compliment. Surprising, and a little rude. You don’t have to stop and talk to every person who recognises your costume, but at least a smile or a wave would be nice. Getting attention while in costume should be a nice feeling; run with it!

2) Discuss other people’s costumes with them

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This is the first costume I’ve made totally from scratch, you bet I want to talk about it with you!

So you’ve made the decision to try and interact more with other convention attendees, but you’re unsure what sort of things to start a conversation about. Well,  if there’s one thing cosplayers like to talk about apart from the franchises they’re cosplaying, it’s the costumes themselves, and this is a great place to start. Say you’re queueing for a photoshoot and a really nice Toriel walks in the room and lines up behind you. That’s a really nice goat head they’ve made, so say hi, compliment their work and ask how they made it. If you’re lucky they may reciprocate and presto, you have yourself a pleasant conversation and that warm glow that comes from interaction with another human being! Also you’ve gained some insight into new craft methods, so win-win.

3) Appreciate differences in skill

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It may be far from perfect, but it was fun to make and wear!

Nobody likes a cosplay snob, and yet sadly it can’t be denied that sometimes skilled cosplayers can get a little bit up themselves. It can be tempting to look down your nose at someone who looks like they slapped together their costume in a hurry or worse, horror of horrors, bought the whole thing on eBay! But everyone has to to start somewhere, and the fact that someone else isn’t as “good” as you is no reason to ignore them or criticise their work out loud. Don’t snub a less experienced cosplayer who wants to interact with you, it’s incredibly rude and can be a slippery slope to getting a bad reputation. We want to make friends, not alienate people, and who knows, if their skills bother you that much you could end up becoming a supportive acquaintance who helps them improve! (Additionally, understand that not everyone cosplays for the joy or challenge of creating; perhaps that kid in the Bleach costume fresh out of a Chinese eBay store just wants to express their love of the series without all the stressful work.)

4) Be sure you’re cosplaying for the right reasons

The last few years have seen a rise in national and global cosplay competitions as well as cosplayers becoming internet celebrities. While this is great for educating more people about how cool cosplay can be and pushing people to improve their craft I sometimes find it a worrying trend as I believe some people can get a little too wrapped up in the competition, glamour and popularity and lose sight of what cosplay should really be about. I’ve heard plenty of stories from friends about cosplayers bullying each other online or being obsessed with contests to the point of pushing friends and loved ones away. In my mind, first and foremost cosplay is about having fun while showing how much you like particular franchises or characters; not winning prizes or proving that you’re “better” than other fans. I’m not saying that a little competition can’t be fun, but you should never let obsession take hold and make you into a bad person who is only friends with their own clique of snobs.

Cosplay and convention-going are wonderful social hobbies and if approached well can help you gain a lot of new friends and connections. I hope that these few points can go a little way to improving your cosplay experience. Unless you already do these things, in which case I hope you agree. Now go forth wonderful cosplayers of the world, and always remember:

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Just Call Me Mr. Redshirt – Mobile Suit Nuzlocke Challenge Weeks14-15

If that title didn’t tip you off, things have been getting a little rocky in the Nuzlocke Challenge of late. Training BuCue in the Pokémon Mansion was cut short by that most dangerous of Nuzlocke moves, Pursuit. Apparently wild Raticates are advocates of fox hunting, and now I’ve lost a full party’s worth of Pokémon. But read on; things aren’t completely bad. Just disappointing.

After a little research on titles and such I finally concluded that reviving a single fossil was okay, so I picked Kabuto, named it Forbidden and set it for a little pillow training for a while (probably should have gone with Aerodactyl… might regret that later) At some point I’ll check Lapras’ area entry and see if I can take a prize from the Fighting Dojo after all.

Forbidden gained a few easy levels while Z’Gok and Sandrock cleared out Cinnabar Gym (forgot that Ground takes normal damage from Fire; that was nearly a hairy situation…) Volcanobadge in hand, I finally progressed to a new section of Leaf Green that I never reached before: the Servii Islands!

First things first, One and Two Islands afforded me a fresh chance to catch new Pokémon and they didn’t disappoint! One Island netted one of my all-time favourites, Ponyta! Long-time Gundam fans won’t be surprised to know I named it Fuunsaiki, mobile suit horse for the win! Surfing on Two Island yielded that pesky Slowpoke that I missed earlier, named Seravee. I rotated them into the party for training and headed for Three Island, where I ran smack into a gang of Bikers who killed Virtue. Fantastic, now I’m down one tank who I was really starting to rely on… A quick trip into Berry Forest to track down a lost little girl (a Hypno attacked, way to finally acknowledge your creepy Pokedex entries Game Freak!) rounded off a fortnight in which I guess you could say I broke even, more or less. Onward to more training and the final gym challenge!

ACTIVE PARTY

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Seravee

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Fuunsaiki

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Deathscythe

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Sandrock

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Z’Gok

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Burnern

SHOT DOWN

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Dark

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Zero

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Turn-X

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Epyon

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Kapool

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BuCue

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Virtue

Silent But DAD-ly -Why Honoka’s Father is the Greatest

Regular readers and anyone who finds this blog through tumblr will know that I’ve recently become a huge fan of the Love Live! franchise, starting with the anime. At first I was disappointed that the cast is almost 100% female, but over time I not only came to understand the heart of the series, but also began to appreciate the hidden charms of the single male character on display: Honoka Kousaka’s father.

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For those who haven’t seen the anime, Honoka’s father’s presence is something of a visual joke. Every other side character, including the main cast’s mothers, get shown on screen in their entirety, but with Honoka’s father we only ever see the lower half of his face and torso and he doesn’t have any lines of dialogue for all two seasons (I haven’t seen the accompanying movie so I don’t know if he gets more screen time there). You would think a character like that would have zero presence or importance, but after thinking about it he actually shows a lot of character. Let’s take a look at why!

The first time we see him, he is shown in a cutaway shot giving what looks like a dismissive wave in reaction to the idea of his daughter forming an idol group. What stuck out to me is that, while it isn’t exactly a thumbs-up he is nonetheless accepting of Honoka’s new hobby, if not outright supportive. I’ve seen plenty of evidence in real-life Japan as well as anime that parents aren’t always so accepting of non-academic hobbies, so allowing a teenager with the academic difficulties Honaka has to follow her dreams shows a lot of kindness towards his children. Add to this the fact that he has been shown to be willing to drive the group to their performance venues and that makes him a pretty admirable parent by itself.

But of course, there’s one more thing that every Love Live! fan knows very well, and that’s that this silent gentleman is immensely proud of Honoka’s idol work. The man is a big, tough-looking guy, but every time he goes to a big μ’s show we see him standing there and silently crying manly tears as he sees his little girl pouring her heart out onstage, and he even partakes in the glow-stick action with the rest of the parents.

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And that’s not all; near the end of the second series there is a small but in my mind significant scene in which he is watching a μ’s video on a laptop while his wife nods off in front of the TV, with a big smile on his face:

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Not only does he support Honoka along with his wife, but he seems to take a more active interest in μ’s than she does, perhaps going so far as to be a full-on fan by my reckoning.

I think it’s fascinating how the anime creators have taken what initially looks to be a throwaway, token male joke character and with a little clever composition have made him into an admirable, positive ideal of parenthood; a devoted, supportive father, who expresses his deep love for his daughter without a single wasted word. Or any words at all for that matter.


A little light housekeeping before I sign off for today: tomorrow I’ll be taking a trip with my girlfriend to visit family for a few days, so there will be no Nuzlocke Challenge update tomorrow (also I haven’t played much this week). I’ll be taking my blog ideas notebook with me though, so hopefully I should  have something to write up sorted when I return near the end of the week. Until I return, I hope this little fluff piece will tide you guys over! Happy trails!

-Stryke