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The Return of the Lazy Backlogging Bum October 22, 2010

Posted by emeraldsuzaku in Anime, Blog-along, Video Games.
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So. Here we are. I am officially a lazy bum. What happened these last months, you ask? A couple of things. For one, I got distracted by a couple of non-backlog-related projects. And then when I did start playing again, I ended up spending all my time playing and not typing up blog posts. Bad, evil, naughty me.

But I’m back! For what it’s worth.

Let’s see…progress….

Dragon Age Origins is done. I started up a Nightmare game with a female human noble rogue, but am still in Ostagar on that. Haven’t touched the game in a while. I did play through the Return to Ostagar DLC on my mage, but I haven’t picked up the Awakenings DLC yet. I should probably do that at some point before DAO2 comes out.

I still have a few trophies to nab on Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, but that game is just about all done. I think I’m just down to a couple of challenge missions and finishing up the boost collection.

I think I’ve touched Demon’s Souls once since my last blog entry on it. It’s at the point where I pretty much need to start over, I think. Or at least replay some parts with my current character to get back into the swing of things. I did watch a speed run of it, though, and was rather amused.

Star Ocean: First Departure has likewise been on the back burner. Mostly because I got bored being so bloody powerful. I’ll probably restart it and refrain from being awesome at Art next time around.

I haven’t touched Metal Gear Solid or Valkyria Chronicles in forever, and I don’t even remember where I am in them anymore.

Okay, enough about how much I suck. I did manage to actually beat some games and finish some anime these last months, even though I didn’t mention it on here. The list of games I’ve taken care of in 2010 is currently thus (as best as I can recall):

SNES
Dragon Quest I
Final Fantasy Mystic Quest

PS2
Ar Tonelico : Melody of Elemia
Final Fantasy X International

PS3
Assassins Creed II (+ first DLC)

Bayonetta
Final Fantasy XIII
God of War (God of War Collection)
God of War II (God of War Collection)
God of War III
Heavy Rain
Resistance: Fall of Man
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

PC
Dragon Age: Origins (+DLC)

Mass Effect (+DLC)

Mass Effect 2 (+some DLC, but not Shadow Broker)
Plants vs. Zombies

Tsukihime
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War

PSP
God of War: Chains of Olympus

I think that’s fairly accurate. I’m still going through Tsukihime to finish off all the character routes, and I started up Atelier Annie. Oh, and Final Fantasy XI and XIV. Not that I’ve done much with either in recent weeks. And I started up Xenosaga again in an attempt to get through all three games.

As far as anime goes, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood and Gundam OO were my most memorable watches, and I very much enjoyed both. Black Lagoon was so-so. I’m slowly working through Golion, at like an episode per month. That is quite a slow series.

And I think that puts us back on track. The next update will likely be on Tsukihime later this afternoon. Like, as soon as I type it up. Which I’ll start doing after I post this. I also have a backlog-related project in the wings that I might start on next week. If that happens, I’ll be posting more details then.

For those (few) interested, my current video game backlog looks like this:

http://www.backloggery.com/suzaku

Sadly, it’s actually a tad bigger than that, though the sense of scale is about the same. I haven’t updated it as quickly as I’ve been pulling games from Steam sales >_>

Until next time (which I hope will be matter of minutes or hours, rather than months)!

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Mobile Suit Turn A Gundam – Commentary September 6, 2009

Posted by emeraldsuzaku in Anime, Commentary.
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So I was all geared up to start a post on Turn A Gundam the other day, but decided to watch the last few episodes first. Which was probably a good thing. Maybe. Given that I haven’t really been taking notes or running a blog-along of the series, this is going to be a pretty weak commentary. But, hey, at least it’s something!

The series starts off normally enough, with several characters’ arrival on Earth. After a few minutes the series jumps forward two years and starts laying the groundwork for the plot and the rest of the characters. And this is where Turn A diverges from pretty much every other Gundam series.

Turn A primarily focuses on its plot and characters, sometimes to the exclusion of any meaningful action. Sure, every Gundam series has tried to be more about substance than style, but Turn A takes this to the extreme. The result of this is inconsistent pacing as the series goes from plot point to plot point, but where the intervening episodes tended to drag. When one runs into an episode of Turn A in which nothing happens, it really is a case of absolutely nothing happening.

Because of its focus on plot and political drama, Turn A focuses on characters on both sides of the war. This is actually quite interesting, and while it’s nothing revolutionary it’s still nice to get more insight into both the Moonrace and the Earthrace–particularly because the series likes to try and keep the viewer guessing as two who the bad guys are at any particular point in time. The problem with this is that when the setting turns to space roughly two-thirds of the way through the series, half the cast is abruptly forgotten because they remain on Earth.

The ascent into space proves to be a turning point in the series (as it generally is in most Gundam iterations), and the pacing picks up to something more reminiscent of the series’ namesake. Unfortunately, the plot points start coming more and more abruptly as the series rushes towards its conclusion, and it can be difficult to keep characters, motivations, and alliances all straight. Luckily there’s a short recap of the previous episode’s events at the beginning of each new episode, but it shouldn’t be such a necessity as it will be for some viewers.

This confusion is even more sad when one realizes that the war–the overarching backdrop for the entire series–doesn’t actually go anywhere. Every time it looks like something is going to happen, things very quickly go back to te staus quo. So we get things blowing up with no real effect, battle plans that don’t really do much, and the main characters getting into the right place at the right time to take down a single character (who isn’t even in most of the series) to finally and very abruptly end the war.

One interesting moment in the series involves the creators trying to use the Turn A to tie all the different Gundam series together. It’s an amusing idea, but rather lackluster in its execution. The fan service prevalent throughout was pretty fun, though. Turn A made Zakus awesome again!

In the end, Turn A is not a complicated series by any stretch of the imagination. Its perceived complexity is simply the series taking abrupt left turns for no real reason, and then not bothering to relate what is going on to the viewer, even though the characters seem to mysteriously understand right away without any form of exposition. It’s completely forced and unnecessary, and really hurts the series as a whole. The last ten or so episodes were exciting, but the ultimate villain came more or less out of nowhere, and didn’t have much (read: any) development.

As anime involving mecha go, Turn A isn’t terrible. As a Gundam series, however, it leaves a lot to be desired.