Good weather has finally come, but as if wished on a monkey’s paw, it’s not without a catch. At the moment that catch seems to be an abnormally large amount of mosquitos making their base in my room. If you think I’m exaggerating, know that I’ve killed at least 7 of these little shits within the two hours I’ve been awake. When you add that with my total kill count over the past week, I’m betting it’s close 30 or 40, and that’s just the ones I’ve actually been successful in killing (Let’s pour one out for the countless bug bites I’ve endured)

Before we talk about what I’ve been up to in May, we need to rewind a bit to talk about the end of April. I forget if I mentioned it or not in my previous post, but I had been invited to a bachelor party down in Eau Claire for one of my close friends. We’ll call him Gene Starwind after his favorite anime (for any potential privacy concerns)

I initially met Gene in my first year at UWEC (2008) through my other good friend Kamina (again fake name) Though at that time we weren’t much more than acquaintances. After I became roommates with Kamina the following school year though, I got to know him pretty well. Eventually there came a point where the three of us formed our own special friend group among friend groups.

Every close friend group has their special thing or three (or I assume they do) Among ours, one of the big events was to go drinking at our favorite bar and getting chicken wings. A night we dubbed “wings and things” An evening full of reminiscing (that we often referred to somewhat jokingly as “talking shit”) and bonding. They were great and lasted up until circumstances led us to moving away from EC.

Kamina was the first to go. He ended up getting married and having to move away for his wife’s furthering education. Gene stayed with me in EC for half a year (as I finished up my bachelor degree) and then too moved away in search of better prospects. Afterwards, we still all got together, but it was not nearly as often and only once were we able to do a proper wings and things again.

Fast forward and now Gene was getting married to his Aisha (Yes, I know it doesn’t fit with Outlaw Star’s plot, but it fits more with his actual tastes) It was decided there would be a bachelor party and it would be in the flavor of a classic wings and things trip.

(Killed another mosquito: 8 kills)

To be honest, it wasn’t quite the same thing. For one we had three other acquaintances with us (we’ll refer to them as Shrek, Eggman, and Bdawg), but the other was that some things had changed. The taste of our go-to drinks as well as the high prices made it clear that a lot of things had changed since those days.

Don’t get me wrong, I still very much enjoyed the evening. I preferred it to the stereotypical image of a bachelor party (the ones you always see on sitcoms) It just had a tinge more melancholy to it as it hit me again that things would never be the same as those days. I realized it would be better if I just left them behind so that I could enjoy the different experiences for what they are.

(9 mosquitos down… Actually make that 10)

Despite some of the mishaps that happened (EC was a madhouse due to a local marathon and the TV at the air b&b we used was a piece of garbage), it was an enjoyable day. Unfortunately (11) something else was weighing on my mind that day.

You see, while I had registered that the bachelor party would be at the end of April and that the wedding would be in May, I had failed to notice that they were only a week apart until the day of the bachelor party. Upon noticing that, I realized that I still had no formal clothes and started stressing about the potential drive to downtown Minneapolis (where the wedding was going to be more or less)

Honestly, after we had all retired to our rooms after the bachelor party, I was up for a while wondering if I should find some way to back out of the whole thing. I wasn’t the best man or even a groomsman like Kamina and Shrek, and I knew I was unlikely to be able to spend much time with Gene that weekend anyway. Plus, it was a lot of money to stay at a hotel in downtown Minneapolis. Money that could be better served getting Gene and Aisha a nice wedding gift (which I’m still working on)

I went to bed that night knowing that I wasn’t going to be able to come to a decision without proper rest, but only ended up getting a few hours of sleep. It wasn’t until I got home Sunday evening and relax that I was able to really think things through.

If it was only a question of my friendship with Gene, I’d do anything for that man. My friend Kamina and I have often told him as much. He is a man I could not see myself being who I am without today.

The problem is that I struggle with a low opinion of myself. Due to past experiences, my default reaction in a fight or flight situation is flight (at least when high anxiety is concerned) I talked about it before (in my last post I think), but when life isn’t predictable, I end up short-circuiting instead of being able to just deal with it.

It’s something that always creates more regret and makes it that much harder to get out of this torrent of self-criticism I often find myself in. Though luckily in recent years, I’ve started to make some progress.

This wedding, I realized, was just another one of those tests that I needed to overcome. I would show Gene my support and I would show myself that I could face the unknown.

My drive to Minneapolis was fairly (12) good. At least in the sense that there was nothing that could be considered a “close call” in terms of accidents (though I can’t say that I enjoy the way others drive) Also once I managed to get to the parking garage, I didn’t want to leave until I had to go home.

The hotel was nice, too nice in fact. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve spent that much for a hotel ever (even when I went to LA for Anime Expo back in 2013?), and I hope I wont ever do so again. My room was okay (view would have been better if the windows weren’t dirty) but I was sad that I couldn’t get my nVidia shield to work with the TV (I had to instead settle with the TVs streaming apps)

That night I got to hang out with both Kamina and Shrek. Shrek bought me a drink (which I appreciated) and we watched Swiss Army Man up in his room. It was a pretty nice day.

The next day (the day of the wedding) I got dressed in my Amazon basics best for the wedding. It was a nice ceremony, if a bit too long-winded for my taste (I get it though, you have to make the family happy) The reception afterwards was nice, but I had to duck out of it a few hours in due to being the only person there that wasn’t family or part of the wedding party.

That night I didn’t sleep very well. I’m not sure if it was the anxiety of having to drive back or if I ate too much shit, but my stomach/chest was burning at like 3-4 in the AM. I ended up staying up and driving back at first light.

The drive back was pretty stressful. Not due to cars, but due to a bad early morning fog which made it impossible to see anything on the interstate for about 20 minutes. Scary shit.

Overall, stressful but I’m glad I went through with it. Glad that all my friends are married now so that I shouldn’t have to attend a wedding for the conceivable future

Then we come to the second week of May which was my birthday. 38 years old. Not much to show for it. Too old to get gifts anymore. Mostly just bought myself some video games and watched anime

Speaking of video games

I am still reading Sakura no Toki. Despite reading it at pretty good clip at first, when I reached chapter 5 I ended up slowing down dramatically. Partly because I’ve been occupied with other things, but partly because I’m not really finding it as good as the earlier sections (the reverse of what happened with Sakura no Uta)

I do want to pick up the pace though because I’ve got about 10 other VNs I’d like to read. Thinking I might get around to finishing it next month.

I finished replaying Miles Edgeworth 2. I’m surprised that despite playing it when it was initially fan translated, I remembered almost nothing about it, and the things I thought I remembered, were actually wrong (which kind of killed some of my positive feelings about the game) Still good and only slightly worse than Trials and Tribulations in my ratings of the Ace Attorney universe. Shame Capcom has left it in the gutter.

The big game this month would have to be Tears of the Kingdom. Though while many gaming outlets are handing out 10/10’s left and right, my rating (70% through the game) would have to be 7.5-8/10 A point higher than I gave Breath of the Wild, but still a far cry from what I like playing Zelda for unfortunately.

I like open-world games, and I do appreciate parts of Zelda’s open-world, but I have issues with Zelda being open world.

  1. Less focus on puzzle-solving. Yeah, there’s the shrines and they pseudo brought back temples in tears, but it’s not the same thing as a crafted Zelda experience where everything works together as one sort of mega puzzle (ie: things you get in one area can be used to go back to a previous area to obtain something new etc)

    Also no the puzzles you do for korok seeds don’t count (fuck those things)
  2. I wouldn’t mind the lack of puzzles if the open world aspect gave you more options with how you approach the game. Yeah, you can do anything in most any order, but there’s not a lot of freedom in who Link is as a character.

    I know Nintendo would never let Link do evil things (Well apart from Awakening where you get to steal) but even still, it would be nice if Link could just not be forced to listen to what a NPC says (like the one who keeps you out of the ring ruins in Tears) or could choose a different way to save Hyrule (like say not helping a particular group or not going along with Zelda’s plan)

    In other words, while cooking, climbing, and being able to go almost anywhere is nice, it all gets kind of tedious when the game plays out the same in the end. Like where’s the actual freedom? (Part of the main reason I grew tired of Genshin)

More specific complaints about Tears:

  1. The most interesting feature that tears added is definitely zonaite construction/fusion, but I have issues with three things.

    First, the amount of battery and the way you upgrade them is ridiculous. Most things you’re going to want to build aren’t going to last on the one puny battery they give you, and upgrading them is going to take days and days and days in the depths farming zonaite. I realize that devices let you cheese a lot, so it’s meant to be something of a preventative measure, but come on, there could be a little more leeway done in I think.

    Second making cool contraptions might be some peoples forte, but for me, I can’t seem to make shit without parts being misaligned in someway or not enough. Practically everything I build that’s not from a schema usually has a fatal design flaw in it that makes it fuck up.

    Third, is a minor complaint, but they chose the worse control scheme for unattaching stuff. Why not map it to a joystick click rather than stupidly having to waggle it back and forth?
  2. This was a complaint I had with Breath of the Wild when it came out, but why do all the interesting story bits have to happen in memories? I get that Zelda was never really a story heavy game before and they’re giving players an option to skip it, but honestly I’m always more interested in the world of those cutscenes than I am with Link dealing with the current world on his own.
  3. The depths and the sky were interesting additions at first, but after the initial awe wore off, I realized that they’re both pretty uninteresting. When you see one area, you’ll pretty much see the same stuff over and and over. All it really does, at least in the case of the depths, is pad out the completionists objectives with time consumption. When it comes to unique stuff to do in either of them, it’s easy to exhaust.
  4. I don’t know if it’s just the sidequests I’ve done, but there seems to be a lot of them that aren’t very rewarding? Like I think about other open-world games that have some really great quest-lines, but neither of the Zelda games have had quests that made me feel like “I’m really glad I saw this series of quests through to the end” Most of them are like “Hey bring me this thing, okay here’s a red/purple/silver rupee or some random fuse material”

I do still like the game. Let me be clear about that. I know some people get defensive over the Zelda games (especially the open-world) I just don’t find it to be as good as it could be as an open world game, and as a Zelda game I still like more tailored experiences better.

Speaking of Genshin (which I mentioned several paragraphs ago), I started a new gacha (questionable life decisions) Honkai Star Rail. The ads plus the anime aesthetic was getting the better of me, so I decided to give it a shot.

I have to say, I love it. I think it’s a way better game than Genshin (same developers) Main reason is that Genshin, to me, takes a little too much for a gacha game. HSR has a bit less freedom, but what you gain is the ability to play a bit more passively. I can do my daily tasks without needing to bust my ass everyday.

The story is also more interesting. I wont spoil it here, but fuck the ice planet boss was one of the more epic things I’ve seen in a game in a long time (and that’s saying something)

Of course, being a gacha, I’ve spent a bit more money than I probably should (and probably will spend more) In addition to still playing FGO, that’s not an especially smart thing for my wallet. Though I am proud to say I’ve been doing a bit better with buying physical crap I don’t need and don’t have room for. So it balances out a bit??

Though I also did just buy Street Fighter 6 and am preloading it on Steam right now, and also I bought the limited edition of Loop 8 recently.. So maybe I do need to try a little bit harder to reign myself in..

I’m getting a bit tired writing up this post (I’ve been writing it over the course of two days and I’ve killed about 25 mosquitos by now) So I’m going to quickly finish up by talking about recent anime.

I STILL have not finished YYH in Japanese. I’m just a dozen or so episodes away now. I’ll maybe get that done next month.. Maybe.. Incidentally next series that I might do in the “Saw it dubbed in English before, now going to try Japanese” will either be Eureka Seven or Blood +. Not sure which one yet as it’s been enough of a task just getting myself to sit down with YYH (again, I love it, I’m just doing too many other things)

I started watching MHA again (after dropping off after season 4) Season 5 was actually pretty good, although I don’t know if that’s because I really enjoyed seeing the students of class B as well as the villains more than the main cast of heroes. Though I also am enjoying Endeavour (actually almost bought a toy of him I saw in Walgreens the other day), so maybe my opinion of the others more. Hoping season 6 is good.

I started Yashahime. It was something I was meaning to get to as I’m a big Inuyasha fan (well more like I liked it, and as time goes on, I’m appreciating it more and more in retrospect) but I was holding off due to other stuff. The only reason I ended up starting it was due to Amazon Prime (the only streaming service I could get at my hotel for the wedding) didn’t have My Hero to watch (and I had a lot of time to kill where I wanted to catch up on anime) I’m really enjoying it. OP is certified banger

Meanwhile, I’ve been meaning to getting back to reading manga. Been stuck somewhere 1/3 of the way through Fruits Basket. Going to hopefully get that done for June if I can somehow find room for it.. Maybe if I got off this computer more.. Hmm

Well hopefully June goes as planned and I’m not dead from the lack of blood that the mosquitos have been taking from me @_@ See you all next month

04: Metamorphosis

It’s close to the end of the April, but going by the weather in northwestern Wisconsin, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone thought it was the middle of March. Hell, I live here and even I am taken aback by how shitty it can be here. Even though this has been matter of course for many years, I still become dumbfounded by the weather here.

When I was young, a large part of me wanted to be somewhere other than Wisconsin. Partly due to the weather here, but more that I always felt out of place in Wisconsin. Everyone I knew that liked the things I liked were almost never in Wisconsin, and on the rare chance I met someone online that was from Wisconsin (maybe like one for every 20-30 people I knew), there still seemed like there was an incredible distance between us.

I also had this impression that there was something special about me. I couldn’t say where it originated from (though I could theorize) I often fantasized about being rich and famous, a genius, a reclusive person everyone loved. This all added towards my feelings that I wasn’t meant to be in Wisconsin.

Maybe that’s why I clung so hard to my online life back then. Maybe it’s why I believed in the internet more than I believed in the life in front of me. It felt so much like a world where things were possible. Afterall, I had friends, girlfriends (one at a time of course), and a reputation (granted I only saw one side of it at the time) While there were of course many painful times, I could never see it as a bad thing.

It was when I became an adult that I started learning the limitations of the internet. When I was finally free to go anywhere and do anything (to an extent), I found that I could do nothing. I was paralyzed with doubt of both myself and the world spread out before me. Everything I ever knew was only in my head. I had no experience or confidence to live up to all the fantasies that I had dreamed about for so long.

There were other factors too, of course, and I spent a lot of my life chasing down the mental threads trying to understand how I came to this point. I could talk more about the bullying I faced or about how my parents raised me. I could talk about all the mistakes and bad decisions I made in this process.

In fact, my blog has in the past been a wealth of lamenting over all those things ad nauseum. Despite my repeated attempts at trying to make it a positive thing to help improve my situation, it never fails to draw out a lot of the negative things. Hell, last month I was complaining about the app dating scene.

Venting can be important, but I often used to get paranoid about what people thought of me when they read. This was only amplified when I saw another friend of mine get a lot of anger when he shared his feelings online. Thus I always tried at first to keep things pointed in a positive or at worst self-deprecating way at first, but then I just ended up being overwhelmed by emotions that would manifest in some other kind of disaster.

In my head, I’ve always had the image of the type of person I’ve wanted to be. I guess you could say it was a mixture of all the things I mentioned above (the fantasies I had about myself mixed with the frustrations that I was never able to make them a reality) In some ways an impossible standard to obtain (I mean we all strive to be something outside of reality) Yet what was keeping me from obtaining at least part of it wasn’t reality, it was myself.

Realizing this, however, is never enough when you’re drowning deep in self-loathing and other negative feelings internally. It can help you keep your head above water and help you obtain some positive experiences to float, but it will never get you to dry land right away. Rather, at best you’re just going to find yourself floating endlessly.

That’s where I’ve been at for my life. I know what’s holding me back, what’s frustrating me, is ultimately me. I thought it and even had it reaffirmed many times through counseling throughout the years. How does one change that though?

Thought is a powerful tool, but thinking by itself is endless and meaningless. Unless one does something, those thoughts will go nowhere. Without action there can’t be new data upon which to create new thoughts, and thus eventually you’ll find yourself in a state where you’re only able to think the same things.

I don’t really have an answer. At least, not a definite good one. Sorry for anyone stumbling across this post hoping for some words of solution. All I can really talk about is in regards to my own experiences and what’s changed for me. Which is what I wanted to talk about for this months post and part of why I did a post about RE4 already (I did some other stuff this month, but I’ll probably talk about them in May’s post instead)

I think the first breakthrough I ever had was when I decided to attend Minnesota State University of Moorhead in 2007. Up until that point, I had attended two fall semesters at UW-Superior, but due to an MMORPG addiction, wasn’t able to properly engage with it (I ended up taking a break for the first spring semester and failed most of my classes for the second fall semester) I decided on this school for reasons that were mostly superficial (I heard they had an anime club and I knew someone online that went there) but the experience pushed me to do a lot of things I was uncomfortable with.

What prompted this change was frustration. I had been having a horrible time with an on and off toxic online relationship and spent the last year of my grandfather’s life (who lived across the street from me by the way) absorbed in an MMORPG unwilling to even go see him. Something that tormented me relentlessly afterwards.

While it was good overall, I can’t say frustration was the best solution. Even if it pushed me to experience a lot of things that helped me grow, it was also pretty reckless. While I loved the anime club there and even made a couple of friends (loosely) I also ended up in a dorm living with a roommate who would stay up until 3 am and not wake up to his annoying alarm at 7 am. A dorm that also had frequent fire alarms being pulled/fire alarms being set off.

It’s not like I would have known that stuff if I thought about it, but still it was a school 7 hours away from home. It could have been somewhere even farther or I could have done something that wasn’t as forward thinking as going back to school. Frustration can lead you to do some pretty rash stuff, and on several occasions has made me do some things I’ve regretted.

Mostly in my relationships with people, but we wont dwell on that.

Funny enough, but I think the next big decision I made was to go back to school again to finish the mostly complete psychology degree I had at UW-Eau Claire in 2015. While I did a few bold things like attending Anime Expo (Los Angeles) and Otakon (Baltimore) before that point, I feel like I did them while under a state of mental paralysis rather than one where I actually made much progress forward. At least not on the same level as some of the stuff mentioned here.

I had no plans for my degree, but at the time the friends I had made there previously (2008-2015) were already going their separate ways (separate because we’d be all living in different places) Having spent the past couple years just coasting on being with them to living on my own and being in college without them, was an experience that really opened my mind to a lot of things.

Oh and that’s not saying that my college experience in 2008 was any less impactful. The reason I’m not including that was because it was partially off the tail of my Moorhead experience and that well, in a way I did become a little too complacent when I achieved two real good friends. To put it another way, rather than stepping out of my comfort zone, I mostly just sat in the comfort and had them back me up when things got rough.

One of my friends was still around for the summer/fall part of my year back, but I still had to live by myself and go to school own my own, which is why I still qualify it. Not to mention that by spring I was by myself entirely, which meant I had to adapt to a whole new way of life than before.

One of the big things I also did during that period was take driving lessons. Despite being 30 and having had renewed my temporary license for many years, I had made barely any progress towards being able to drive. My first lesson was nerve-wrecking as hell, but I eventually got confident enough that the next year I would take my exam and get my license.

Though I conquered getting a license, it didn’t mean the typical freedom many teens get. While I managed to get a car easily enough (by buying one my aunt didn’t want), I was still fairly uncomfortable with it. I never wanted to go anywhere unless it it was to see my friends, and even then things had to be planned out perfectly for me to push myself over my mental hurdles.

If I could do it over, I’d push myself a bit harder to be with my friends. I wont hide that there’s a part of me that feels I’ve been responsible for letting us grow apart and not taking more initiative to show them that I really do want to spend time with them. However regretting it too deeply only creates negative emotions in myself and leads me astray.

Friends had tried to get me to drive more and even my therapist had encouraged me to take small steps (not just with driving but things in general), but even when you recognize the validity of what they’re saying, when you feel about yourself the way I did, it’s hard to see a point.

It’s a little bit cliche, but imagine me as a caterpillar trying to imagine themselves as a butterfly. We can see by others that it should logically be possible to become a butterfly and even imagine it, but it’s hard as a caterpillar to feel like you will be a butterfly. All you know from experience is the caterpillar. So while you see everyone else making themselves cocoons, it’s hard to do the same because you’re too self aware as a caterpillar.

Anyway, what eventually changed with my driving habits was that my brother ended up getting a job. Due to the fact that he can’t drive and my parents both being busy working adults, I’ve often been given the task of driving him. While it struck me with the same trepidations as the idea of driving for the sake of driving, it having a component of immediate necessity helped to push those trepidations aside.

Once I started becoming comfortable enough driving him to work, I started to offer to take him other places. From getting groceries it evolved into taking several trips to places both pretty familiar (Eau Claire) and places not so (Duluth, Ashland) Now I’m at the point where driving my car has become pretty second nature. Granted I don’t think I’m ever going to attempt anything like Chicago ever

This newfound confidence in driving has helped me a lot to see myself as a butterfly and be able to make more steps to bring myself closer. Though driving isn’t the only thing to happen that has helped cause this change. Playing Resident Evil 4 has too.

Okay, you’re probably thinking “What the fuck?” right? Well, okay it’s not exactly Resident Evil 4, but rather it’s something I came to discover while playing it.

Normally I’ll play a game once through. If it’s a game I really like I might play it until I get all the achievements, but that’s a rare thing. In RE4 remakes case, for the first time ever I kept replaying and imposing further challenges.

That might just sound like an attestment to how good the game is, but one of the things you should know about me is that by nature I’m not someone who challenges himself very often. Hell, in a lot of cases if I can find an easy way through a game, I tend to take them (mostly preferring for a passive experience) I tend to just want to finish the game regardless of how much I might be enjoying it.

One part of the reason for this is I’ve never been able to handle frustration well. Well okay you can count me going to Moorhead as one time my actions sort of worked out. But typically frustration causes me to get over emotional in various ways.

I’ve been no stranger to banging my controller when I’ve failed to play well in a video game. Never on the scale of breaking them (as I grew up in a rather poorish middle income family where breaking things meant you probably weren’t getting a replacement anytime soon) though I imagine I’ve come close.

When I was young too, in non videogame matters, I used to get violent. I remember hitting both my cousin and younger brother a couple times because I couldn’t handle the irritation they caused me. While I never did any major damage (thank god), I still feel horrible for how shitty I was to them in those early years.

Rather than learning not to deal with things, I guess you could say I learned to avoid it. If I knew something was likely to irritate or frustrate me, I made it a point to stay away from it. That way I wouldn’t hurt anyone and I wouldn’t feel bad about it. It worked quite well except that eventually the scope of my avoidance eventually would grow too large.

Back to RE4 though. When I decided to do a no save professional run, I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but wow the amount of bullshit I had to contend with was unreal. At first the bullshit made me want to smack my controller or give up, but then an amazing thing happened during the failures of one of my attempts. I obtained inner-peace.

How it happened is something I can explain, but I make no guarantees about how coherent or applicable it will be to anyone else.

I thought about what I was putting myself through this frustration for. For that matter, why was it frustrating? Sure I died, but what did I really lose? Time? Does getting frustrated over lost time ever do anything other than make me feel worse?

The reason I was challenging myself was because this was a fun game that I enjoyed (something you don’t realize is easy to forget, but it is) I was doing it for my benefit. Not to be the best or to brag, but simply because I wanted to do it. All getting frustrated when I failed would do was get in my way. It would just be me getting in my own way.

Thus something in me just decided “Let it go and be free from it” and for the first time I felt myself being able to truly let something go. And damn did it feel amazing. It felt like I’d made a complete metamorphosis from what I was before. I feel like I’ve finally started to be the kind of person I’ve wanted to be for so long.

It’s the kind of stuff you hear and probably tell yourself a million times, but like I said before, when you’re already drowning or too engrossed with yourself as a caterpillar, it can be impossible to accept something like “You can control how you deal with emotions” The very thought only becomes possible when you’ve created the foundation that thought can stand on.

That’s all I have to say on that for now. When I thought about writing this, I wasn’t quite sure how it would come out, and even now I’m not quite sure how it came out. If you happen to be reading it, don’t be shy about sharing if you’d like.

I’ve got quite a bit coming up at the end of this month and the next. A bachelor party and a wedding of a good friend plus my 38 birthday (woohoo.. o_o) Plus potentially some other cool things to talk about.

Until then, stay frosty

Resident Evil 4

I went back and forth on whether I should talk about my experiences with Resident Evil 4 remake in my monthly post or in its own post. Originally I was going to make it its own post, but there is an aspect of it that ties to something kind of big that I want to talk about in April’s post. Ultimately though I felt that it would not only be easier to write separately, but it would also be a more comfortable read spread apart.

I had a bad relationship with horror. I think it all stems back to the 1994 Flintstones film. Not for the film itself (though looking at it now it does feel a bit horrific) but rather for a show that was on TV that night I caught after coming home from the theater that night (I was like 8 or 9 at this time) It was a horror show (no idea what it was called) and this particular episode was about controlling people as literal marionettes. But what freaked me the fuck out (to the point of sobbing) was the strings themselves would cut into the people’s flesh and there would be excessive amounts of blood.

My other early memory of horror came from playing the Silent Hill demo and Myst with a friend late at night. Silent Hill speaks for itself, I think, but the isolated atmosphere of Myst makes it feel scary. Not to mention that back then it wasn’t common knowledge that Myst has no character interactions. At least normally. I hear the bad ends get you killed, but truthfully I never actually finished Myst

Thus when Resident Evil was a thing in the late 90s, even though I was a big Playstation guy, I steered clear of it. Gaming to me was about being comfy, and comfy to me were 60 hour Japanese RPGs, humorous point and click games, and visual novels. I ignored anything else the best I could.

I learned a number of things about it through osmosis via the gaming scene that existed online and through magazines. I knew there was someone named Leon, Jill, Wesker, Chris, Claire, etc. I didn’t know who the fuck they were, but I heard about them. I also heard about the game’s notorious tank controls

Strangely, while I was averse to the idea of playing Resident Evil because I had this idea that it was a “horror game” I ended up renting and playing Parasite Eve back when because it was Square and I had such a strong relationship with their games. Which looking at it again recently watching a friend stream it on Twitch is quite similar to what I imagine Resident Evil must have been like (though obviously a bit less RPG) It didn’t scare me in the least back then though, I think because it was way too hard for me to understand at that age (It’s pretty fucking weird)

Parasite Eve wasn’t the only exception either. In visual novels, I was starting to run out of what was available in English that could be downloaded on a 56k modem. The only things left were super huge 1 gb+ games (which I would try to download piecemeal over many weeks) and a 112 mb horror vn called Divi-dead. Eventually after seeing the rather promiscuous art, I gave into my teenage horny and tried it.

It became my favorite VN back then. I can’t really tell you why since I don’t remember a lick about the plot and even if I did, the game was badly translated so I probably read it wrong back then. There’s been some desire to reread it again in Japanese (I even own a Japanese copy now) but that will be a future project. What I can tell you though is it didn’t scare me one bit despite some of it being a bit graphic (and I’m not just talking about the h-scenes ;p)

I found it to be a bit contradictory back then, but I think I quickly realized that it wasn’t horror that I disliked. On the contrary, I started finding that I loved dark stuff. The thing I disliked was not having control and being intentionally scared (ala things like jump scares) Things that a lot of other people seemed to flock to horror over.

By the time I came to this realization though, Resident Evil had already been out for many years and was considerably dated at the time. While I was a Playstation kid, I’ve since found it hard to go back to that era for games I have no nostalgia for. While there were newer Resident Evil games in the years since, I wasn’t as interested due to them seeming to focus more on the first person and scaring aspect (At least I think that was my impression of Resident Evil 7)

Instead, I ended up getting into the Silent Hill series. I watched my friend Mike playthrough the second game and after enjoying that decided to tackle some of the other games out of hope of bonding with my friend more.

I don’t remember if I did Silent Hill 1 before 3 or after. Like I mentioned before though, Playstation 1 games that I didn’t have nostalgia for tend to age terribly and I found the first Silent Hill to be kind of mid. Silent Hill 3 however became one of my favorite games though (Probably somewhere in the top 15) I couldn’t really explain why since it’s been several years at this point, but 3 made me love the Silent Hill franchise.

I even ended up playing 4 with my friend Mike. While not as good as 2 and 3, it wasn’t terrible by any stretch. Though it made me sad that apparently afterwards the franchise went to total shit and since then Silent Hill hasn’t had much good news. Even the remake of 2 and the new Silent Hill game by Ryukishi07 seem to be under heavy scrutiny.

Resident Evil at this point started to get remakes of the older games, and I thought about playing them. However other games just kept getting in the way and there just wasn’t enough to really grab my attention. Then RE4 remake was announced this past year.

I wasn’t too interested in the trailers I saw for it. Not because I thought it looked bad, but because I wasn’t familiar with the original enough to feel excited about it visually. Gameplay for someone that mostly play RPGs/VNs was hard for me to really wrap my head around whether I’d enjoy it or not.

Honestly, I was on the fence about it. I also was still in the middle of my readthrough of the highly anticipated Sakura no Toki when it was scheduled to come out. Thus I was honestly more tempted to just pass on it and pick it up at a later date if it was good.

I’m not really sure what changed. Just that one day I got an email from GreenManGaming saying they had an offer for the digital deluxe version on Steam. While not amazing, I guess I felt compelled to spend money that day because I went against my hesitations and preordered the game.

After a bit of a kerfuffle with the key being delivered 6 hours late, I started my RE4 remake journey.

Playthrough 1

I chose standard (normal difficulty) to start off with. While I’m certainly no slouch at video games (just look at time I’ve spent in Elden Ring and Dark Souls), it’s a type of game I wasn’t sure if I was even going to like right away. Thus I didn’t want anything that would cause too much of a headache.

You might expect that with a post like this that I’m going to say RE4 remake really blew me away, but I honestly can’t say that in regards to the first playthrough. It was good, don’t get me wrong, but I hadn’t at this point really explored the game.

Instead it was more like I was trying to find my groove while playing. I didn’t know which weapons I should get or how to effectively deal with situations until very late in the game. I also was trying to mull over the story as someone who has never touched a Resident Evil game.

Upon beating the game, I unlocked the hardest difficulty “professional” and was prompted to make a save for new game +. I wasn’t initially going to play the game again, but upon learning that there was a new game+ I instantly wanted to play through again.

It might lessen the challenge, but I love when games offer an opportunity to play through them again with everything you got. I think it adds a whole other level of enjoyment being able to dominate areas you couldn’t before because you didn’t have the resources then.

Playthrough 2-??

I don’t remember what difficulty I started my new game + on. I don’t think it was professional simply because I wasn’t confident enough at that point. It might have been on assisted (easy) because I just wanted the most potential for curb stomping through the game as fast as possible. I don’t know

What I do know is that while playing my second playthrough, I became aware of a certain item that had been added to the merchant: the infinite rocket launcher. It cost 2 million but when I thought about how overpowered that would be, I set about saving all my money in my second playthrough so that I could buy one. It took me until close to the end of the game to afford one.

Of course, it’s no fun being able to buy a weapon like that and only be able to use it for the last 20% of the game. Therefore when I finished the game for a second time, I immediately started a 3rd playthrough, this time on professional (I figured I needed some challenge at least if I was going to be rocketing everything)

It was my third time through that I thought “I really love this game” Which might seem weird to some since I was mostly just using the rocket launcher to one shot things, and some would probably question where the fun is in a lack of challenge. But it wasn’t simply the gameplay I felt enamored in. I just loved the world itself. I loved the characters and everything just clicked with me at that point.

It’s times like these that make me want to go for getting all achievements. In Resident Evil 4 there’s two types of achievements. The steam/console achievements and the ingame unlockable shop achievements. I looked at them after finishing my third time hoping that it would somehow be doable.

It looked mostly doable until I came across two achievements that seemed like they would give me no end of trouble. Those two achievements were to complete professional without using any bonus weapons (ie no infinite rocket launcher) and to get S+ on professional.

For those not aware, you can only get S+ on a new game (can’t be new game+) It has to be done under 5 hours and 30 minutes and within 15 saves. Something that seemed impossible for someone like me who was only able to do professional with an infinite rocket launcher. Or so I thought.

Upon watching some guide videos, I learned that apparently some of the things you can unlock have effects in game. What I thought were simple costumes or models you could look at in models viewers, were actually special guns and equipment.

Two of the items I had unlocked, namely Ashley’s armor and the Chicago Sweeper gun, I found out had some special effects that would make the process a little easier.

Backing up a bit, one of the main mechanics in RE4 is having to protect this girl named Ashley from being kidnapped, or in other words RE4 is a huge escort mission. This might scare an outsider, but it’s actually not that bad in remake (though I have no idea how bad it was in the original) Still if you get too negligent it can be game over real quick

You can unlock a suit of armor costume for Ashley. I forget how I did it, but I thought initially it was simply a cosmetic skin for laughs. What I found out later was that the armor made her impervious to damage and made her too heavy for enemies to carry. Essentially taking out the need to protect her almost entirely (I say almost because apparently there are cases where she can still get kidnapped if you’re not paying attention, but I never managed to run into any of those)

Meanwhile, the Chicago sweeper gun is a bulky machine gun that at first seems pretty unremarkable until you manage to get to chapter 7 and are able to buy an exclusive upgrade ticket from the merchant (at the price of currency you get from doing side stuff) This exclusive upgrade gives the gun infinite ammo which once you unlock can really tear into enemies.

Now the Chicago sweeper could not be use to complete the game on professional without bonus weapons since it counted as a bonus weapon (as did the infinite rocket launcher) However, accessories/costumes did not count and you could use the Chicago sweeper to get S+ which would unlock the cat ears accessory which gave unlimited ammo to any gun (although you still need to reload) and those cat ears could be used to do that.

So my goal became getting S+ on professional with the strategy of getting an infinite ammo Chicago Sweeper by chapter 7. The problem was that even if it was easier than I thought it would be, it was still fairly difficult. So difficult that I couldn’t get past the first couple of chapters the first couple of playthroughs.

It was then I learned of another accessory you could unlock by beating the game on Hardcore with S+ called the chicken hat. The chicken hat would cut damage taken by a huge amount, and the conditions for beating hardcore on S+ was a lot less stringent (same time requirements but no save requirements) I figured I could also use my hardcore S+ run as blueprint for what my professional S+ run would be.

I want to say that the chicken hat turned out to be less useful than the actual experience of playing on hardcore was. I learned so much about how parts of the game worked and the optimum timing for saves that when I tackled S+ professional it didn’t feel as big of an undertaking as it did before. Still it took me quite a bit

This got me the cat ears which allowed me to play through professional without bonus weapons, though it was bit dicier at points (Like I said the cat ears give infinite ammo but you still need to reload, whereas the Chicago Sweeper infinite can just shoot forever, but I can’t use it here because it’s a bonus weapon) Though I managed to do that too.

I then set about getting every achievement, upgrading every weapon (surprisingly not an achievement for this), and getting every charm (no achievement for this either) Mostly because I wanted to have a perfect save file with everything.

At this point I might have called it done (probably been 5-6 playthroughs by now) but upon collecting all the charms I noticed something. I was at 31/32 charms but all the charms I would get from the gacha machine (that you use tokens you get at the shooting gallery for) were dupes. Upon looking up the missing charm, turns out it was one included with the deluxe edition (which I owned)

The charm itself adds bonus for when you craft handgun ammo a certain percentage of the time. The reason I didn’t have it anymore, I figured out, was because I think I might have mistaken it as handgun ammo (it has the same icon) and sold it for money once I had obtained infinite ammo.

I tried uninstalling and reinstalling the DLC to see if that could bring it back. Unfortunately, it looked like the only way I could get it back is if I started a new game and got all the charms again. I didn’t want to have to gacha all the charms again, so I installed a mod that gives you all of them at the start. That however left me with a save with all the charms but none of the fully upgraded weapons or any of the stuff I had collected. Thus I decided to do another S+ professional run

I could have very easily just done assisted a couple times, but I wanted at least one playthrough on my master file to be an S+ one (not that they keep track apart from the latest playthrough) I also wanted the S+ playthrough to be the exact same as my previous one, so I forbid myself from using the cat ears even though they probably would have made it easier. I managed to not only get a better time, but I also did it in less saves

While you might think I’d be happy with that, after completing S+ twice, I started wondering what the fewest number of saves I could do S+ professional in. I also wasn’t entirely happy about having to use a mod to get back all the charms. Even if I originally got them legitimately in one file, it still didn’t feel right to have my master file to mentally have this asterisk of *Had to mod the charms in

Thus I disabled the mod and decided to start a new S+ run. This run would be the most nightmarish thing ever because I would be attempting to get S+ professional with 0 saves.

The game apparently works by adjusting the difficulty based on your performance. I didn’t know this at first, although I strongly assumed it after weird things would start happening in my runs (despite everything else seemingly running the same) I’d die in some of the stupidest ways imaginable one time and the next time (doing practically the same stuff) be completely fine.

Once again, I did not use the cat ears, although I did try a few attempts with them on to see if it made things better (it didn’t actually) I used primarily the things I used before in my other S+ runs (Ashley’s armor, chicago sweeper, gas mask [provides some aim assist on non assist difficulties], and chicken hat) It took over 3-4 days of playing and restarting runs.

I came really close to throwing my controller at the ground in a fit of gamer rage, but I did stop myself. I almost stopped playing the game, but then the next day I ended up starting again. There’s some stuff in regards to this I want to talk about, but it’s tied to what I want to talk about in my monthly post, so I’m going to have to ask you to wait for that instead.

I made what must have been 20-30 attempts. Out of those I had maybe 4-5 really close ones. I got to chapter 15 (out of 16) in one but was randomly gunned down by a boar (partially my fault for not having sound on) I died once to the Salazar boss fight because I didn’t realize he could 1 hit KO me. Most embarrassingly I died once on the minecart section (despite doing it perfectly every other time) because I couldn’t hit the track shift in time.

The other day though I finally achieved it.

One might think that after all that, I’d be sick and done with the game. Yet I still find myself playing it and trying out various challenges. I’m not quite at the level where I can do under 2 hour speedruns with no special weapons or doing knife only like some people. Nor do I ever think I’ll ever go for that, but who knows?

Needless to say, I love this game. I’m almost confident I could say top 5, but I would need to think a bit about what games beside Suikoden 2 and FF7 are up there (also whether vns count or not) It definitely would be in the top 10 though. No question.

Some other interesting tidbits about my experience:

  1. I played with Japanese audio for all my playthroughs. I’ve listened to the English audio multiple times watching peoples playthroughs of the game (I’ve watched like 2-3 people play through the game) Honestly, I think Japanese is better (even people who listen to the English seem to miss the old voices and tend to dislike Ada’s voice actress for being a little too flat)
  2. I recognized only two of the Japanese VAs. The shopkeeper is the same voice as the Japanese voice for Kuwabara (from Yuu Yuu Hakusho) Wesker, who you only get a few brief segments of, is the same voice as Kotomine Kirei (Fate)
  3. I was dreading the escort portions of RE4 just from all the memes about how terrible escort missions can be. I was pleasantly surprised to find it not so bad, and I really liked Ashley as a character (I even use a mod now to replace playing as Leon with Ashley)
  4. Chapter 15 is my least favorite part of the game due to it feeling like you’re just fighting a horde of enemies
  5. I liked the Castle parts the best
  6. For some reason my xbox one controller, which I played a majority of my playthroughs with, doesn’t actually work as well as my PS5 one. I’m wondering how much that had an effect on all the failed attempts I did for S+ professional 0 saves..
  7. I love Ada. People are saying she’ll probably get her own DLC, which if true I’ll be playing that to death (assuming it plays anything like 4)
  8. I didn’t like how the game automatically registered shortcuts for some weapons. I liked keeping certain weapons on certain shortcuts, but sometimes when starting new playthroughs they would end up on the wrong shortcuts due to how the game assigns them
  9. I looked into some potential Resident Evil merchandise, but most of the things I found are a little too rich for my blood. I hope they consider figures of Ashley and Ada in the future though
  10. I might pick up the other remade RE’s when they’re on sale. Same with RE4 remake on PS5 (to get achievements) Not sure if I’ll play any of the modern resident evils (especially when they’re in first person more) I’m hoping 9 keeps to the third person

I guess that’s about it. I didn’t really mean this be a legitimate review as much as me talking about my experiences and what I thought overall. Hopefully this got things across alright.

I’m going to warn people ahead of time that my next post is likely to be long. I don’t know how long yet, but from what I plan to talk about I can tell it’s going to be pretty massive. Which is why I wanted to get this RE4 thing out of the way first.

Expect it next week, although it could be as late as May due to some obligations I have at the end of this month (which will get talked about in as part of my May post whenever that comes)

Until then blaze it up!

03: March Madness

I’m not much into basketball, but I find the term “March Madness” to be strangely appropriate for this time of year. Both for the weather and my overall mental state. At least in comparison to any other time of the year.

I call my mental state madness, but most would probably understand it better as stir-crazy. Though I would say my mental state is actually something more than that, stir-crazy is probably the largest component. In other words, I’m sick of my life at home all by myself.

This will mostly be alleviated some at the end of next month when I attend my friends bachelor party and in May when I see my friends for a wedding. Though what I will do in the mean time or after that is nebulous, and now that my seasonal depression is gone (and now I’m just normal depressed) I feel pressured to do something about it. The question is though, as always, what?

One thing that’s not been helping is dating apps. Normally someone might think “Hey, at least you’re putting yourself out there somewhat” or at least that’s what I try to tell myself after spending about 10 minutes on one of three apps each day (total of about 30 spent among them all roughly) When I look at the at the actual process though, I can’t help but feel like it’s not going to work.

I’ve gotten a few likes in both Coffee Meets Bagel and Tinder, but out of them only one was somewhat attractive to me. Unfortunately, their profile made it clear they were looking for a sugar daddy type figure. Something that I don’t think I could go for even if I had the financial status to do so.

The big problem is that as you get older, the amount of single women who don’t have kids or some glaring cosmetic flaw drops to significantly low numbers. Add onto that my niche interests and where I live, and the formula is essentially dividing by zero. Something that can’t seem to be done.

I’ve tried to compromise, but the sad truth is I have a hard time getting interested in a lot of people. Even if I think “this person’s pretty” if I ultimately end up feeling like we’d have nothing in common, I don’t ever get a spark of interest. I just sigh and hit x and move on to the next one. Rinse and repeat for maybe 1 like every 50-70 profiles.

Despite it only being 30 or so minutes I spend, the entire process drains me. Very rarely will I ever come away feeling like “Oh there might be some possibilities here” Even on those occasions where I do (one actually happened to me recently) it always ends up leading to disappointment (Like where I find someone I think I’d jive super well with only to never get a mutual match with them)

I’m going to rant a bit here, hope no minds.

It’s almost unfathomable the amount of people who have their spotify linked to their profiles whose music tastes are practically the exact opposite of mine. Plenty of country and hip hop and artists I have never heard of, no classic rock, 80s or weeb music in sight (that last one is understandable, but the first two?)

The amount of people on Bumble, one of the services I use, that are polyamorous makes me want to write a manifesto about why polyamorous relationships are bullshit. Though as much as that would give me a bit of cathartic relief, I can only imagine the unwanted drama that could bring me. Heck even saying their bullshit here might get me some flack some day.

All I can say is if you find that upsetting, please understand. I don’t think you shouldn’t be allowed to have relationships like that. It’s just annoying as someone having trouble finding one person to be faced with people that already have one or many. If Bumble would fix it so people seeking polyamorous stuff wouldn’t show up, then I wouldn’t be able to say anything bad about it.

The amount dating apps want to get you to shell out money is gross. Obviously, I know these services can’t really exist out of the goodness of people’s hearts, but I wish they could be tailored more for helping people find matches. Like I’d would pay money for a service that actually produced results, but every app’s pay system has always made me think “They don’t want you to find anyone”

People take some god-awful photos. I’ll admit mine aren’t great, but at least you get a clear shot of my head and torso most of the time. Can’t say the same about a good swathe of the other profiles I see.

Adding on to that, people do a pretty poor job on their profiles. I understand that people don’t have the time in the world to make a perfect profile, but if you can’t put a good 30 minutes into it, I don’t think you should be even on the service at all. Because how can anyone tell whether your serious or not…

Argh, getting too swept up on the dating stuff. Let’s just say that it hasn’t been very successful. I’ll still continue to do it, as it’s all I got right now, but fuck if it doesn’t make me wish I could just be content alone.

For now, I think the play is to focus on getting out more. My brother has mentioned wanting to go somewhere during the summer, which might open up some possibilities. He even said he’d be interested in an anime convention, although I’m not sure what kind of convention we could possibly do (most of the local ones never seem to coincide with summer)

I’ve also thought about volunteering for an upcoming anime convention in the future. Though I’m a bit self-conscious about my ability to do it, I do think it would be a good way of meeting people that resonate with me more. Maybe. It would at least be a better opportunity than going as an attendee and spending all my time in the vendor room >_>

I don’t know. Right now my brain is a jumble of “Oh shit the snow is finally melting (maybe) Now I got to start thinking up some shit” Not that I haven’t before, it’s more like I need to make some of my previous ideas more concrete (like the convention one)

Lets talk about media for this month.

Honestly, I haven’t been up to a whole lot. Part of the reason is I’ve been absorbed in reading Sakura no Toki, and the other part is.. well bad habits I guess.

Sakura no Toki is good so far. Initially, I was hoping I could finish it by this post and give a huge write up (along with an explanation of what it’s prequel is about for people who are interested in knowing but don’t want to read them) However, that was probably being a bit too optimistic with my reading speed/ability. More than likely, a full write-up wont be until next month.

One thing I will say is that Sakura no Toki has illuminated some of my frustrations with my current Japanese ability. Where I would previously had said I was close to N2, now I’m kind of sliding back to N3. Pretty far from where I’d hoped I’d be at this point.

I can still read a lot of stuff naturally, but when the sentences get complex or the unknown vocab shoots up to three words, I start to get confused. I find myself heavily dependent on my text hooker and sometimes in desperation will use machine translation to see if it can help me figure out what’s going on. Not the most ideal situation.

I’m thinking once I finish Toki, that I might move on to a vn with somewhat simpler prose and challenge myself to use a monolingual dictionary for word lookups (basically instead of a dictionary that tells you what a word would translate to, it tells you the definition of the word in Japanese) It would make my reading a lot slower, but it MIGHT just be the training weights I need to start building some Japanese muscle again.

I’ve also been thinking of replaying some old favorite RPGs in Japanese. I previously did this with FF7 to moderate success, and since I’ve been wanting to revisit a lot of RPGs lately, it might be a good fit. No specific ideas for this yet, but if the Suikoden 1 and 2 remasters were to come out.. Well that would be an apt choice I think 🙂

(Speaking of where the hell are the Suikoden 1 & 2 Remaster Konami?)

Otherwise, I haven’t played much for games. I did buy Resident Evil 4 remake because it seemed if there was ever a RE game I should play, it’d probably be 4. I haven’t played a huge amount of it yet, but so far its interesting (though I’m not very good at it) I’ll probably talk about it more next month.

I haven’t finished rewatching Yu Yu Hakusho yet in Japanese yet. I haven’t been watching nearly as consistently due to taking breaks from my regular exercise regime (mostly to make sure I don’t overdo it) Right now I’m nearing the end of chapter black (ep 85) so it shouldn’t be much longer yet. Might still even get it done before the month is out if I’m feeling it.

One thing I mentioned to some of my friends is that for whatever reason, they translated all the Japanese titles but then they changed a bunch of them into a different title. While it’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, it does kind of feel like something they did for no real reason.

Manga-wise, I intended to be more consistent with reading, but I ended up only starting to do so toward the end of this month. Thus instead of my quoted ‘couple series a month’ I’ve only read about 2 of the collectors edition volumes of Fruits Basket (of like 12?) Yeah.. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s making sure I set aside time every night before bed to do so.

What else…. I could have sworn there was more to say, but now that I’m writing this, I kind of just want it to be done. Maybe it’s because I’m feeling dejected today due to learning that I wasted a lot of my time on making a solution to a problem that already had a solution (I just never knew about it)

It could also be my poor quality of sleep lately (Haven’t been able to get a quality nights rest in a while.. More fragmenty sleep) Bah…

Let’s just leave things there. Maybe this next month I’ll do two posts to make up for it. No promises, but I’ll try 🙂

02: A rough patch

February has always been my least favorite month of the year. I admit that not being fond of winter and being single plays a big part in that. While I’ve tried to look past those aspects, I can’t say I remember ever having anything good to say about the month other than “at least it’s short”

I did not do a very good job of sticking to my goals this month. I spent more time on watching random crap on Youtube (through my PC no less) and even made some substantial unscheduled extraneous purchases. It wasn’t a totally wasted month by any means, but I’m going to have to be more vigilant with myself.

On the 5th, I had my first full-blown migraine in a long time. For those unaware, I used to get migraines a lot as a kid, and these migraines would usually be severe enough to last several hours and cause extreme nausea and vomiting. Growing older they’ve thankfully decreased in number, but every so often I’ll get one out of the blue for whatever reason. The 5th just happened to be my lucky day I guess..

I ended up accidentally formatted my main USB thumbstick at the end of last month. I forgot it was plugged in when I was attempting to format a micro SD card for 3ds hacking, and I mistook the drive letters. The result was I lost all the music I’ve collected over the years and my most up to date password database (that I use in conjunction with a password manager) Fortunately I had a backup that was mostly up-to-date on another device for the password database, but I can not find any backups of my music. Thus I’ve had to go on a couple quests to find some of the more obscure stuff again

My computer has been having issues lately where my monitor displays stop working randomly. The computer itself seems to continue functioning (as I can somewhat connect to it via steam link and hear audio) but video goes out. I’ve assumed it must be something with the graphics card then, although I haven’t really figured out what.

I tried updating the graphics drivers to no real improvement (issue still happened) Then I tried cleaning out the dust (which wasn’t the most I’ve ever seen) and since then I haven’t had the issue since. I hesitate to declare the issue resolved since I’ve seen PCs operate with way more dust than what I had, but maybe it was just enough in the right spots to cause problems? I don’t know.

I also decided, after I cleaned it, to finally try Windows 11 again. For those unaware, I tried updating a couple months ago, but I found the experience sluggish and completely unusable. This time though, they seem to have finally worked out enough of the kinks that it runs just as well as Windows 10 did (which is to say, it’s fucking Windows) Still getting used to some of the UI changes, but it’s not entirely a bad thing

I made a few purchases this month of note. Most of them fell under the umbrella of “I preordered this before I started my mission, thus it was already factored in” but one that didn’t was an air humidifier. I’ve been finding myself feeling itchy a lot, and after doing some research I’ve come up with the idea that my room might not have enough humidity (I live in a basement but I have to use a space heater which probably kills a lot of the moisture)

Unfortunately, it either turns out the humidity was not as low as I thought or the unit I got had a busted humidity measurer. It claimed there was 80-90% humidity (O_O) which was just fucking dumb. Either way it wasn’t going to work for me, and I had to request a refund. Not a big deal, although because there’s no local UPS store where I live, I have to pay for a return label (which I think is fucking dumb)

Another sort of extraneous purchase I made was for a three tubs worth of Red Vine black licorice and one tub of red. I’ve been craving their black licorice for quite some time (haven’t had it in probably a year or two) but unfortunately they never sell it anywhere (not to mention I haven’t seen the tubs since like 2010) The reason I went for so much was because they were quite cheap and I wanted to meet the free shipping threshold of 45 dollars. It wont be something I’ll do frequently, but I might do it again if it turns out to be a positive experience

I also ended up ordering more manga. The bulk of which is mostly preorder stuff that I need for the ongoing series I’ve collected (I also had a 10% off code which made it more of a reasonable purchase) Though I did also make the mistake of checking the deal of the day and finding out the entire series of Dr. Stone was discounted, which tempted me into buying all the current volumes of that..


I mentioned last month I had been playing Dragon Quest V on my tablet, and that I had bought myself a 3DS that month to play other games I’ve been wanting to play/replay. Well, I ended up getting the 3DS (it’s great. Got it hacked and everything) but I ended up quitting Dragon Quest V on tablet and starting over (with cheats) on the 3ds. I guess I just couldn’t stand the tablet experience after all (3DS is so much better, even if you lose out on the orchestral music)

Took me a couple days, but I caught up and beat Dragon Quest V on the 7th. Ultimately, my opinion is while it’s a great game, there’s a lot of stuff I must have supplemented with my imagination back when I first played it. The story felt a lot weaker compared to many other works that I’ve played and replayed over the years.

It used to be that I would tell people DQ5 is the best Dragon Quest, but I don’t think it will be my go to anymore. Rather, I’d be more inclined to point people toward 11 or 8 for their first Dragon Quest experience now. Though if they were really into RPGs, then I wouldn’t have any qualms about recommending it.

I would say the DS version is a worthwhile upgrade to the SNES version. The only real nitpick I’d give it is they give the characters accents that can take you out of the experience. Otherwise, the fact that it gives you a new character to marry and the ability to talk with your party, makes it wonderful. Though I will say that first timers should probably marry Bianca for the canon experience (Marry Deborah if you really don’t like Bianca)

Since I’m on the DS kick, I’ve started replaying the Miles Edgeworth duology my 3DS. More specifically Ace Attorney Investigations 1. Great games. I like them more than the original Ace Attorney trilogy in some ways (being able to walk around as the characters feels better than the strict adv/vn environment)

Visual Novels

I finished reading Shinsou Noise on the 18th. I can’t remember all what I talked about last month, but it was good. I think a solid 7 or a weak 8 if I had to give it a score. The good parts were definitely the heroines, music, and overall presentation. The bad parts were that some characters outside the heroines were a bit too two dimensional and the lack of routes for the heroines that weren’t the “true heroine” (You can get endings with the other heroines, but they’re not much more than an extra h-scene and a bit of extra interaction)

If you don’t care about spoilers (It’s going to get an English release this year), I’ll give you some of my spoiler impressions here:


The main plotline of Shinsou Noise is the MC can read people’s feelings and through that he finds this one girl who wants to kill herself. Getting drunk on her fantasies of killing herself, he finds himself attracted to her. Which eventually leads him to having sex with her on the school roof (Essentially her step father has been sexually abusing her and that day he stops her from jumping and she asks him to have sex to keep her father from taking her virginity.. Super fucked up stuff)

Unfortunately, the girl, Sakura, ends up dying. It’s ruled as a suicide, but the MC senses that someone with the feelings of killing her. Which leads him to pursue the truth of what happened to her. Along the way getting wrapped up in unrelated mysteries.

The big issue with the mysteries he gets wrapped up in is that they’re all pretty easy to solve in terms of figuring out who the culprit is. The reason for that is because most of the culprits are pretty blatant in the way they act. Like the second you think “I don’t like this guy very much” you’ve pretty much nailed who will commit the crime.

I mentioned the heroines being great, and that’s true. However, it didn’t really feel like they got a proper story with the MC. At least in the case of my favorite heroine, Kazama Natsuki. Since she’s the first ending you can get, there isn’t really much time spent getting to interact with her as a person before you hit her ending. The others all get time, via the main story and the cases that end up involving them, but she’s just kind of left forgotten.

Even at the end of the game when it turns out she’s the one who killed Sakura (Although not really, she just thinks she did) and she has psychokinesis powers, it’s already at the point where you can’t end up with her anymore and you’re pretty much tied to the true Heroine, Momo. I wish that they could have saved Natsuki’s route for the end instead (maybe even switch it with Momo’s since she already part of the true end )

One other big complaint is that the h-scenes they have two rape scenes as part of the h-scenes. They cover it over with “Oh the hero was being controlled” and “Oh the heroine was being possessed” but it still felt really bleh in the lack of other consensual scenes for those heroines. (Like for Saya, there’s only two h-scenes and one of them is the one where she gets possessed? Kind of lame)


At the point I finished Shinsou Noise it was only a week until Sakura no Toki came out. I didn’t want to get too knee deep into any other VNs, so I decided to pick back up Sanoba Witch which I had stalled for a looong time (I initially bought this in 2018 to read in Japanese, but I only ever finished half of it in the almost 5 years since) Was making pretty good progress on the remaining routes (It’s really easy compared to back when) but will probably have to stall it again now that I have Toki

I did also try another VN from the developer of Shinsou Noise, Azurite. Didn’t get terribly far in it due to difficulties with DRM, but I might go back to it later this year. Depends on how I feel about it.


Somewhere around episode 6 of season 7, I started to feel sick of Monk. There wasn’t anything specific that made me feel this way other than it just feeling like things weren’t really heading towards a conclusion. Which made me want to skip a bunch of the filler episodes and go straight for the plot-centric ones.

I ended up not doing it. I convinced myself that since I had already come this far, there was probably no harm in blitzing the rest of it. Plus, it’s not exactly apparent which episodes might be important without looking at spoilers.

One thing that’s kind of annoyed me about Monk in the later seasons is how much of an asshole he’s become. In some of the earlier seasons, they had a couple episodes where it seemed like he was getting better but at the last moment something would happen to bring him back to how he was. In the later seasons though, he’s just a lot more insensitive to everyone (particularly Natalie) I feel like they did this thinking it would make the show funnier, but I only really felt like it made me dislike him more.

Another thing that bothered me was how episodes seemed to flipflop between people knowing who Monk is and people not knowing who Monk is. This wouldn’t be a huge deal if Monks cases only seldomly landed him attention, but there’s a few cases out there where he gains the attention of the entire city of San Francisco (Garbage strike episode, the episode where he shoots Santa,etc) where it feels like the public at large should at least be more cognizant of him.

I finished Monk on Superbowl Sunday. The last season (season 8), while not bad, felt incredibly rushed for how slowly things had been drip fed for the previous 7. It felt weird to have one episode where Monk is denied his reapplication to the force and then a few episodes later have one where he is reinstated. It very much was like they crammed several seasons worth of content into the last.

Though I guess I prefer that to them making more seasons. If they had gone on to make more seasons at the rate they were going based on previous seasons, I wouldn’t have been surprised for it to be twice as long. At which point, I probably would have called it quits long before the final season or just skipped to the end (like I thought about doing earlier)

I’m not all that satisfied with the answers or the ending. Granted I didn’t expect the answers would be something that lived up to the mysticism around Trudy’s death. I was still somewhat hoping for something a bit more connected to the series. Something that people could have maybe speculated, even through a wild theory.

For an ending, I was really hoping they would show Monk gain some real independence. It didn’t have to be right after he found the truth or the criminal was caught, but something that showed him finally letting Trudy go. While they do try with a scene of him sleeping in the middle of the bed instead of the side, it doesn’t do enough to counterbalance the obsession he gains when he finds out Trudy


had a daughter with a man before she met Monk


I might have expected a bit too much, though. I feel like had I been watching this week by week over the years, I might have come to see the show a bit more for what it was. Instead I got too invested too fast and that made me want something a bit more for it as a whole.

Of course, I still enjoyed it for what it was, and I’m really glad to be done with it now. Especially since every episode being 40 minutes really ate up a lot of time (It was the reason I didn’t watch any anime for practically a month) I can finally move onto some new stuff.

After Monk, I continued my rewatch of Yu Yu Hakusho in Japanese. I have to admit, despite being a huge proponent of the dub in the past, I’m starting to sour a bit after noticing all the things that were changed in localization. While there’s parts I can understand them changing, there’s a few additions that the dub adds that just aren’t a thing in the Japanese version at all.

For example, in the dub of the show, they make a big thing about Yusuke learning Genkai’s technique of the “Spirit Wave” Particularly they mention it a lot in the Dark Tournament. Except that in the Japanese version there is no move called the Spirit Wave. Rather it’s a completely different way of attacking with spirit energy that’s somewhat dumbed down into a specific move name.

Also the dub portrays characters a bit differently than how they actually are. Again in the Dark Tournament, one of the characters, the announcer Koto, is shown to be a lot more sassy than how she is. While not a bad thing, the same kinds of thing happens with a lot of the other side character’s personalities. Making them stand out a bit more than they otherwise would.

It’s not universally a good or bad thing. I still love and recommend the dub to people who don’t necessary care about small stuff. However, the more that adds up in differences, the less attached I feel to the English dub as a whole. Will I still be an advocate by the end? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

I do about 2 episodes everyday while I ride my bike. By the end of this month, I should be close to the end of the Dark Tournament arc. If I keep to that schedule, I should have it done in March.

I started watching Taskmaster again. It’s a British comedy show about comedians being made to compete by doing menial and borderline crazy tasks for points. It can range from mildly amusing to raucously funny depending on the comedians and the tasks.

I initially watched every episode that was available when I discovered it a couple years ago. Since then I haven’t been keeping up with it, but I’ve started getting it recommended in Youtube which has made me seek out some of the newer seasons (which they actually upload on Youtube if you’re interested in watching them) Finished season 12 (highly recommended if you want some good laughs) and am now working on 11 (which I somehow skipped over)


I didn’t do a whole lot of reading sadly. I need to make some time and get back to making a dent in this manga I’ve collected.. Next month I will have more to contribute


You can kind of see how bad habits lead to some bad practices and a lack of productivity in this month I think. Needless to say, but I’m going to try and turn things around for March. Hopefully, the weather gets nice enough for me to do some other things I’ve been thinking over as of late.

I do have another, non-monthly related, post I’d like to do sometime. I was going to do it during the middle of February, but I decided to hold off due to my current emotions at the time. However, I do want to post it and I think next month, should I keep to my guidelines, will prove fruitful for that.

That’s about all I have to say about things right now.

01: It’s a start, I guess.

Hey folks, what’s good? Time for the January post. Strap yourself in.

First we’ll go over my health. I mentioned last month that I had a physical and an eye exam in January. Both of which can be summarized down to “I’m getting old”

Only a few years ago, I had both therapists and doctors both insisting to me that I was still young. Now though, they seem to be saying the opposite (doctors at least, I haven’t seen a therapist in a while) It almost makes me laugh. Not much has seemingly changed since then, but I guess that’s how it gets you. Out of the blue one day you just cross that threshold.

Obviously I still have plenty of life to look forward to, so I’m not necessarily doomposting just yet. However, it does give me some mixed feelings. Where am I going in life? What am I going to do about finding a partner? Things I haven’t quite answered yet that only seem to become more difficult as time goes on.

I do have some ideas that I want to try out this year, and will be talking about in later posts when those ideas are more relevant. For now though, it’s mostly laying some of the groundwork and waiting until I’m able to put those ideas into action.

So yeah, physically I’m doing okay supposedly. Blood test showed my A1C was in the good range which is a bit of a relief (considering how often the internet wants me to think I have diabetes) I don’t really buy that the random pains I have is strictly from old age and not living healthy, but I can’t outright deny that as a factor either (I definitely could have been living healthier)

I do have the option of rescheduling the one neurologist referral I got from another doctor, but I’ve been going back and forth with the idea. If it wasn’t restricted to Eau Claire (the closest neurologist) or it wasn’t something I had to schedule so far out in advance, it would be much easier. Unfortunately with both of those things, there’s more reluctance/laziness at play.

My vision, which I felt has deteriorated lately, is, I guess, mostly the same. Apparently I’m just in need of bifocals. Eye doctor said the magic age for most people was 40, but since I also had bifocals when I was younger, it apparently wasn’t uncommon to need them earlier.

Bifocals themselves are not a big deal for me, I just hope that’s all it is. He didn’t seem too concerned when looking at my eyes or hearing about other symptoms with my eyes. Though he did seem fairly busy that day (the place was bustling and he was the only eye doctor) so there is a part of me that wonders if he was given it his all

I could theoretically get by using my current glasses and picking up a pair of generic reading glasses (the kind my parents get from the dollar store), but I decided to go for a new bifocal pair and a set of prescription reading glasses. Much as I didn’t want to spend the money (about 320 total) I convinced myself it was a necessary expenditure.

Speaking of expenditures, I did an okay job of keeping myself from making too many luxury purchases this month. I managed to stop myself from ordering any more manga and from ordering more Omori plushes that I missed the first time (back in like October?) It would have been a perfect job if I hadn’t caved and bought myself a n2ds xl (new nintendo 2ds xl)

As for why I went and bought myself a n2ds xl, specifically the metal slime edition from Japan, it came about when talking to my brother about how I was replaying Dragon Quest 5 on android (something I’ll get to later in this post) I mentioned how there was also a DS version but that I didn’t own a DS anymore and that I didn’t like playing DS games on emulators (Due to how the split screen gimmick doesn’t translate as well) He mentioned recently buying both a 3ds xl and dsi xl to play games and about the 3ds being easily hacked.

That got me thinking about how there’s a bunch of handheld (DS and 3DS games) that I’d still like to play/replay and about how nice having a hacked 3DS was back in the day. I spent a couple days going back and forth with myself about whether I should make the purchase or not, and ultimately came to the conclusion that I do have several uses for one.

It’s not something I feel great about, and honestly I’d feel better about it if I didn’t have to buy glasses this month. However, I do think I can be proud of myself for at least taking a few days to think about it rather than simply impulse buying like I might have previously. I still have hope that I’m on the road to being more responsible with my money.

In regards to other limitations, cutting of social media is going okay. I do still watch more Youtube than I should, but I do have one method that’s been making it more reasonable. Namely that whenever I want to watch something on Youtube, I need to do so on my TV. The benefit of this is twofold. One, it makes sure I don’t watch it when I’m doing something else on the PC (no chance of distraction) Two, since my TV can’t have adblock installed, I’m forced to watch ads which kills a lot of the interest I have in clicking on random videos.

I’ve also been getting more regular exercise. Not sure if I mentioned that as part of my goals yet or not, but I ride my exercise bike every day. Plus with whacky (shitty) weather here, I’m out shoveling a lot of snow every other day (which is making my arms quite sore lately) Hoping that will lead to some gains down the road here.

Changing gears a bit, let’s talk about what media I’ve been consuming.

Japanese VN

Sakura no Toki comes out toward the end of next month. Since I plan to drop everything else, entertainment-wise, to read it, I wanted to make sure I didn’t take on any new commitments. At least at first…

I started by finishing one of the VNs I stalled, Snow (seemed appropriate for the season too -_-) Unlike my feelings for actual snow, the VN was actually pretty good. I initially learned of it through osmosis on Twitter and started playing it before I found out it was getting an English translation. The translation, which came out after I finished about half the routes, kind of killed part of the motivation I had to finish (That and I had some other stuff I was doing)

The game is essentially about this guy, Kanata, who moves to this remote Japanese village to help his cousin run an inn. The village itself has snow all year-round (thus the title) and there’s a legend about a curse that accompanies it. The VN itself explores both the origins of this curse and the 5 heroines that are tied with it.

It’s like a Key VN if you’re familiar with those. If not, imagine a pretty light hearted and sometimes absurd comedy that eventually nosedives into drama and tragedy. Essentially it’s a game that tries to evoke the emotional side (Something I tend enjoy a lot)

I said before that it was pretty good, but it pales in comparison to a Key VN. The heroines are good (minus Sumino), the comedy is good, but a lot of the tragedy stuff doesn’t hit nearly as hard due to it feeling not fleshed out well enough. The “curse” that permeates the setting these stories take place in, feels too contrived.

If it weren’t for some of the character writing, it being an early 2000s vn, or the music, I feel like the VN would have been a lot more meh to me.

After Snow, I thought about doing another VN I had stalled, but neither of the two options I had available were calling out to me (Sanoba Witch and Satsukoi) I didn’t want to start a new VN, but I also didn’t want to not be reading (since it’s how I get the majority of my Japanese practice in) Ultimately I gave in and picked up one of the VNs I bought last year, Shinsou Noise.

I was originally tipped off to this VN via an official English release announcement. It was sold as a more a story focused mystery game, and liking the art, I was tempted to want to read it. Though rather than wait for it in English, I wanted to experience it in Japanese for reasons I can’t really put into words.

The idea behind the story is that the main character, Tachibana, can hear people’s thoughts. It’s not every thought and he can’t always tell whose thoughts they are, but because of it he’s become somewhat of a loner who has trouble with interacting with other people and has trouble figuring out others emotions.

At the start of the game, Tachibana is put into this group as part of his class. I’m not sure what exactly this group is about but they’re apparently supposed to do projects together through their 3 years of high school. In this group he can hear people’s thoughts about him (which for some aren’t very good) and eventually this group gets caught up in various mysteries (The first one being the MC avoiding being falsely accused of stealing a gym uniform)

It took me a couple days to really sink my teeth into it, but the other day I read close to 3000 lines in it. My impressions are still early as I’ve only just managed to solve the gym uniform case and witness the suicide of a certain character, but so far I’d say it lives up to what I thought it would be in all areas except one, the ecchi stuff.

I was told it would be a more story-focused game which led me to believe that they wouldn’t be up in your face with sex stuff. Boy was that a misconception. While I don’t necessarily find it to be a detriment (I think the first scene is important for establishing a few things) it’s a bit more in your face than I was anticipating. There’s two sex scenes before the game even shows you it’s opening movie (usually the indication that the prologue is done)

Hoping I can somehow blitz through the game in the remainder of this month + most of February. Like I said, once Sakura no Toki comes out, I’m probably going to be dropping everything in favor of that. I am making pretty good progress (I’m at chapter/case 3, though I don’t know how many there are in total)

English VN

Prior to the new year, I did pick up reading Damekoi again. Damekoi is a VN by the writer of White Album 2 about a guy, Osamu, in his 30s who, after a string of bad luck, finds himself living in a boarding house run by a 17 year old high school girl, Mitoko(that was basically abandoned by her mom) The concept behind the VN is that Osamu grows closer to both Mitoko and a trio of women that become part of both their lives. Either Osamu gets with one of the three women or he grows closer to Mitoko..

Unlike some Japanese media, they don’t cover things over with “Love is love irrelevant of age” or “It’ll all work out somehow” like some might expect. The VN does a good job at making sure both the reader and Osamu understand that a relationship with a 17 year old girl, even one that’s about to graduate and become an adult, is going to be difficult in a lot of ways. Things from how society looks at them to how it closes off Mitoko’s future.

Initially, I ended up stalling it when I was still on the 2nd (of three) older heroines routes. The reason I stalled it was because of how it makes you feel having to stop Osamu from getting closer to Mitoko and the effects that has on their happy dynamic to pursue someone else. After coming back to it recently, I finished both the 2nd and 3rd older heroine routes, but ended up stalling on Mitoko’s because of the stuff I mentioned in the paragraph above.

I don’t encourage or support relationships between minors and adults. In fiction though, the idea is an interesting one to explore. Especially in cases like this where it seems like it’s not going to be a simple happily ever after thing. Someday soon, I’d like to get back to and finish it. Though I feel like that’s going to take a lot of working up to do.

I started playing Kinkoi towards the end of last year and a bit of this year. Kinkoi is about a guy named Ouro who mistakingly kidnaps a princess and in order to avoid having to be executed, ends up transferring to this rich kids school. It’s the kind of nonsense plot you can expect in fluff games like these.

Basically it’s the type of game where there’s a lot of silly things that happen and convenient things with only a bit of drama. It’s the type of game where if you just want a cute slice of life romance with an anime girl, this is your jam. Something I don’t mind playing, but in recent years play less and less of due to more things vying for my attention.

Normally I play these games because of a heroine or two that fulfills my personal tastes, but for this one I picked up solely because I heard one of the routes is different from the rest. Not wanting to spoil any potential enjoyment of it, I thought I would play through it gradually to see if it might be something I find interesting.

I could theoretically just skip to the route in question (it unlocks last I think), and I might end up doing so once I finish the first route (which I think I’m getting close to the point where things heat up romantically) Though I might also just read the rest regardless. It’s hard to say.


I’ve been replaying Dragon Quest V for the first time since I beat the fan translation back when it came out (Late 90s) I meant to replay it sooner (when it was initially rereleased for the DS in fact), but stuff got in the way. Then I just sort of forgot about it until whenever it came time to think about my favorite JRPGs.

I don’t remember what the impetus that made me want to replay it. I think I was just going over all the games I’d like to replay at least once more in my life, and Dragon Quest 5 was already installed on my tablet (somehow I own the mobile version) Thus, I guess I just went with it. (Edit: I remember, it’s because I was playing a lot of Dragon Quest Treasures recently. Mini review: It was an okay game made better by the inclusion of a Pekora voiced monster)

The mobile port is the best version of Dragon Quest V, if you can believe that. While you can patch the DS version to put back in the party chat feature (something new to the remake), only the mobile version contains orchestral music. The only issue being having to play in portrait mode and only being allowed to use touch screen controls (really frustrating at times)

What makes DQV somewhat unique among other Dragon Quests (they’re all unique in certain ways) is that the main character starts off as a kid and the game follows his life. His life is in a few words, fucking brutal, and you get to experience it with him as he tries to make a life, get married, have kids, and then save the world.

In the original DQV, you had an unique feature where you could marry one of two female characters. In the remake they added one more potential waifu to the mix. My first time through the game I picked Bianca, and it was always my intention to pick a different one on my replay to see what it was like.

Playing the game though, I forgot how hard the game pushes Bianca. Hell, I’d say if it’s your first time through the game, Bianca should be your wife for how much the game tries to set you up with her. It was actually super hard for me to pick otherwise when it came time (I actually took 2 days of a break because of it)

I ended up going with Deborah, the option they add for the remake, because I read she had the most interesting dialogue/party chat, and you know what? They weren’t wrong. Deborah is definitely interesting 🙂

Speaking of party chat, it’s essentially this button you can press in the menu to see if your companions have something to say. Pretty cool, but then I learned that your wife/kids have something to say after just about every NPC dialogue. Even something as simple as a kid complaining about eating carrots. It’s fucking wild

I just wish that if they were going to go that far with it, they might as well have gone all the way and just injected the party chat as actual dialogue. Having to press a specific button just to hear your party’s thoughts is cumbersome, and unfortunately I often found myself forgetting about it often :/

As far as whether the game lives up to my memories, I have to sadly say it doesn’t. While it’s definitely not bad, a lot of scenes felt like they lost a lot of the impact they had. I don’t know whether it’s because I’ve seen a lot more brutal shit since then or because I was already expecting it going in, but it felt like a let down.

The difficulty is also kind of annoying. Normally, I’d just mindlessly grind, but that’s a lot more cumbersome to do with touch controls. Thus I find I have to manage my team a little bit more closely, which is made sort of difficult by the fact that the team you have is somewhat based on managing monsters you recruit (Another one of V’s unique aspects)

Right now I’m close to the end as of writing. Hopefully, I’ll have it beat by the time this is posted.

I’ve been debating about what to play next. I do have the n2dsxl coming next month, which tempts me to play some handheld stuff (maybe a Fire Emblem game or something classic through emulation) But I also have Front Mission remake bought on Switch that I haven’t touched yet. Plus some Steam games I need to get to.

Then again with Sakura no Toki coming out soon (Japanese VN), I might want to focus all my free time on the VN I’m reading now so that I’m able to finish it with time to spare. Hmm


I initially anticipated to watch a bunch of anime this month. No series specifically, although I was eyeing up Bochi the Rock as one candidate. While I ended up watching one episode of Bochi (and wanted to watch more), I ultimately didn’t end up watching any other anime this month.

The reason for that is I’ve been watching a live action show made in the west. Surprising I know.

I’ve been watching Monk on Amazon Prime.

I’d been familiar with it for years. I think I even saw an episode once. I was also familiar with Tony Shaloub from the bit I watched of Wings (back when it was on Nick at Nite) Though I never really thought about watching it seriously due to my estrangement of media in the west.

I probably wouldn’t have thought about watching it except I was bored one night and wanted a comedy to watch. I wanted something like Seinfeld, Always Sunny, or Curb your Enthusiasm, but Amazon didn’t seem to offer a whole lot. I eventually settled on Monk because it was the only recognizable thing

I wouldn’t say that I was hooked after the first episode, but it opened the door. A few nights later I found myself in the same position, bored and wanting to watch something, and Monk was just so easy to put on. After I watched a season, it sort of became a commitment. Now I basically have to finish it because I want to know if Monk ever finds out the truth of Trudy’s death.

I guess I should explain for those that don’t know Monk. It’s a show about a detective who’s basically afraid of everything (germs, heights, milk) and is particular about everything (can’t have food touching, has to touch lamps etc) Because he’s so particular though, he notices things other detectives miss which often leads to catching the real criminals.

Part of his tragic back story is that his wife, Trudy, was killed in a car bombing, but he can’t figure out why or who. Every season there’s usually one or two episodes that deal with either his past relationship or him finding another piece of the puzzle (while the rest are mostly episodic fun bits)

It’s meant to be a campy comedy, and reminds me a bit of how I used to like watching shows like Matlock with my dad back in the day. Although instead of laughing at Monk, I tend to cringe and feel bad for the guy more than anything else (He can be an asshole a lot of times, but I don’t think he deserves all the negative attention he gets) I sort of also find myself watching to see if he’ll ever be able to live a more normal life.

One of the weird things about the show so far is that they got rid of one of the main characters Sharona rather abruptly. I read that it was from apparent contract disputes, but the way they explained her departure in the show felt counter to everything the show had already built up for her (They said she went back with her ex-husband and moved to New Jersey) The character they replaced her with, Natalie, is not a bad replacement, though it took me a while to get used to the whiplash of the change.

As of writing this post, I just reached season 6. Unfortunately, I’m starting to feel a bit burnt out. The episodes are starting to feel mostly the same and while I still find myself fairly entertained, I’m starting to feel like they’re dragging things out on this show. Hopefully, I’m able to push myself through the rest (it has 8 seasons total) as I hate leaving things undone. I’ll let you know how that goes next month though.


I mentioned last month that I bought a LOT of manga last year. While I don’t have any specifics on when I bought a lot of stuff, I did make a Google spreadsheet that shows my current collection (along with stuff I have on preorder/backorder) You can view it here. If you want to get an idea of how much I got last year, I will say that at most I maybe had like 10 series of manga before the end.

Why did I get so much manga? There’s actually a couple reasons. The main ones being that I’ve been getting into reading more (in general) and I prefer physical to digital whenever possible. The fact that Rightstuf had a lot of sales toward the end of the year and being someone that likes to collect anime swag didn’t help either. Plus there was a small part of me that wanted to collect some of my favorite series on the pretext that one day I can pass them onto someone so they can experience what’s important to me.

I was initially going to start working my way through the massive amounts of manga I was purchasing back when I started purchasing them. However, at that time my eyes were being shits (how I first realized my sight had deteriorated) and I regrettably had to put that on hold until I got my new glasses on the 20th.

I first tested the waters by reading a bit of Fruits Basket. For those unfamiliar, it’s shoujo (targeted female demographic) manga about this high school girl named Tohru who encounters this family who lives under a curse. The curse makes them turn into animals of the Chinese Zodiac whenever a member of the opposite sex hugs them.

I initially watched, and generally liked, the first anime they made that was from the early 2000s (even watched the dub if you can believe it) Though that anime is heavily criticized for ending in a cliffhanger and also changing certain things (at the time the manga was still being published, so they didn’t know certain things) Recently there’s been a more modern and more faithful adaptation released, but I decided I would read the manga instead (to make sure I got the full story this time)

I didn’t get particularly far yet. As I said, I was testing the waters. I wanted just to see if I was able to read manga comfortably with my new glasses. Things looked good with Fruits Basket, but I wanted to be sure by testing some other manga that I had in my collection.

The next manga I decided to try was Summertime Rendering. It’s a series I first became aware of via seasonal anime. I watched the first couple episodes, but upon hearing it was based on a manga and the fact the manga was getting a hardcover English release (I’m a sucker for hardcover manga) I decided to hold off from watching the anime and wait for the hardcover manga release.

The series is about this guy named Shunpei who leaves his island hometown to study in Tokyo. However, he is called back to his hometown one day when one of his friends, and someone he loved dearly, Ushio, dies in a tragic swimming accident. Upon returning for her funeral, a bunch of weird things start happening that lead into some deep dark secrets that are hidden on this island.

If I had to compare it, it feels a bit like Steins;Gate with a bit more of a horror element. Though the horror element itself does kind of die away when you have a bit more of an idea what’s going on. It’s fairly good. I’ve managed to get to the last volume in about a week, and I will probably update this before I post when I finish the series.

Edit: I finished it just now. While I definitely enjoyed a lot of the initial build up, the latter half of the series gets a bit confusing with the amount of supernatural shit that’s going on. To the manga’s credit, it does offer plenty of bonus material to read that might help explain some of it, but the last volume is just impossible to keep up with what’s going on with all the action. Instead it’s more of a “Okay I understand what the bad guys want and what the good guys want. Now it’s just a matter of flipping through the action and see the result” In other words, you just kind of have to assume things make sense and accept the result.

I think that’s okay though. My biggest criticism is actually the English translation. I understand why they decided to give the characters hickish accents (the original Japanese probably had hickish accents) but at times it feels a bit overdone. It feels like there’s some dialogue where it’s harder to follow what’s going on because everyone seems to be talking in this manner. It just kind of takes me out of it a bit more than if they had toned it back and used normal English.

Would I recommend? Maybe. I heard the anime ended well, and I’m somewhat tempted to watch that to see if it clears up what’s happening in the more action-packed scenes. Though I suppose if you didn’t have the time, the manga is a pretty quick read. Probably close to a 7/10 if I had to give it an arbitrary rating

I will probably go back to Fruits Basket next as I’ve already started it. It’s hard to say exactly where I’ll go from there, but I’m reading manga at a fairly good clip (even when I’m doing other stuff) So I’m guessing that potentially I could knock out maybe 3 series a month? Assuming those series are average length and not One Piece (which I do also plan to reread sometime this year, though not sure when)

I’ll also potentially be reading books too, though I’m stalling finishing His Dark Materials right now (Something I started reading last month) I might try to finish that sometime early next month and give a write-up for it then, but we’ll have to see. Afterwards I probably wont touch literature until after whenever I finish Sakura no Toki.

I guess that’s the extent of things I’ve done this month. There might be a few extra things I didn’t mention because they were still in the infancy stages (not much to mention) but I think I mostly got everything.

Next month is a weird one and also traditionally my least favorite for reasons I’ll talk about when that monthly post goes up (probably the last Friday of that month) Until then, try to stay sane. 🙂

00: The “practice” post

Every month of 2023 (and potentially onwards) I plan to make a post that summarizes my experiences that month. Since the end of January is still a ways away and the site’s content is a bit lacking, I’ve decided to make a practice post to give people an idea of what the monthly posts will be like. Just to get the feet wet a bit.

December is the last month before my big exodus begins. I’ve been spending it more or less getting ready for what I plan to do in 2023. I’ve also been spending it as a way of saying goodbye to my old lifestyle.

One example is my impulse online shopping. Next year I plan to cut it down drastically with my net exodus, and because of that this year I’ve been going on various shopping sprees picking up things I’d like to own (I’ll get into what I bought in a sec) Basically my last chance to be irresponsible with my money online.

It might seem kind of stupid, and I feel a bit stupid in retrospect. However, I’d also say it’s useful for making me realize how important this internet exodus is. Having all this stuff just reminds me of what I’m liable to do unchecked and helps give me some pause when it comes to returning to that lifestyle.

What all did I get? Well firstly, for those unaware, Japan has been having a hell of a time with the yen. It used to be 100 yen was equivalent to about a dollar and now it’s only equivalent to 73 cents. Which means that 200 dollar figure is suddenly 150 . Not so great for Japan, but great for people who have expensive Japanese hobbies like me.

I invested in a trove of visual novels and figures because of this. Some of the figures were used due being harder to find new ones that weren’t super inflated. The vns were all brand new from Amazon Japan with the exception of the 10th anniversary Key Memorial Box which I picked up used from eBay.

VNs: Stella of the End, Mahoyo special edition (PS4), Little Busters Ecstasy (note: bought before I got the Key memorial box), Rewrite+ and Harvest Festa, Sakura Moyu, Nukitashi 1 and 2, Hentai Prison, 10th anniversary Key Memori Box (contains planetarian, air, little busters (see ecstasy for link), clannad, tomoyo after, and kanon), Oretsuba, Shinsou Noise, h2o, Aokana Extra 2, and Asairo

I do plan on reading a bunch of these in Japanese, but ironically a lot of them are set to be translated or already are translated into English. We’ll have to see how I feel and when I get to them to see (Though they are all highly rated games regardless so I’m not unhappy with the purchases that much)


I got three shuten figures (separate links) Partially because I couldn’t decide between the first two and the nendo was cheap enough. Shuten is from Fate Grand Order (yes I’m still on that shit) drawn by Raita. I just really like the Japanese oni aesthetic she’s got going on.

I also ordered two Hokusai figures (separate links again) The second is technically a preorder that comes out in January, and I wasn’t going to get it initially but… Well Hokusai is probably my favorite character aesthetically in FGO (If she had straight cut bangs I’d probably marry her) and the pieces are just fucking gorgeous

Rounding off the FGO figures, the last one I got is a figure of Berserker Musashi. She is my currently number one most used servant in the game on NA (along with Castoria since they make a team) I actually really liked her character as a Saber, but as I never used her Saber form (due to having so many other saber classes) the Berserker version is the one I think wins out. Plus ‘merica

For whatever reason, I was feeling rather nostalgic lately for Dragon ball, which got me looking at figures for it. Specifically I was looking at both Chi chi and Bulma figures since I mostly only collect bishoujo figures (Yu Yu Hakusho is the exception) I found that Chi Chi has a severe lack of figures (they tend to give her her dorky Dragon Ball outfit more than any other) Bulma however had a wide array of figures. I ended up going with these two because I think they look the best aesthetically (Not to mention I was able to get both fairly cheap used)

Speaking of Yu Yu Hakusho, I wanted to get more YYH figures. I already preordered figures of Kuwabara, Kurama, and Hiei to go with the Yusuke that I bought forever ago (thankfully they’re doing another run since the prices on them is ridiculous) Though I really wanted a female character to round out my collection. Problem is there’s none that aren’t garage kits (build and paint yourself) except for this American made toy that goes for about 20-30 bucks more than it probably should. I still bought it though because the only alternative was to buy a used Botan funko pop for like 60 dollars and I’ll be damned if I’m going to buy a funko pop let alone one that cost 60

Let’s see what else? Oh I bought a three rem figures and two plushes. Why so much Rem stuff? Well, I used to be a member of this site Tokyo Otaku Mode. Membership required a yearly premium but you got cheaper deals and cash you could use on other purchases. When I was setting about cancelling my membership, I set out to deplete my balance and the thing that caught my eye was Rem in a white Kimono. I still had money left over and they recommended me rem plushes which I just thought “why the hell not” The two other rem figures are budget figures that I was just like.. Well whatever I like Rem. Doesn’t matter if the show is bad or good. I also don’t care if people find her pretty basic. Her aesthetic just pleases me.

Lastly I was going through what other series/characters I would like to have proper figures of and I saw some pop-up figures from Inuyasha show up. Thinking it might be nice to have a Sango figure, I checked the comments on her myfigurecollection page, but it sounded like people were fairly negative. I then tried to look at scales, but the only good one was way outside what I was willing to spend. Ultimately I settled on a Nendoroid version because I was able to find it used for a good price on this site called Akiba Soul (where I got one of the Bulma’s mentioned before)

While browsing Akiba Soul, I found they also had a Pop-up figure of Mako from Kill La Kill available. I’ve always wanted a proper figure of Mako (much as I love my battle uniform Nendo version) so it seemed like the right call given they aren’t making many other figures of her (sadly)

Edit: I almost forgot the most important figure this month, May! Up until now scale figures of her have looked pretty dicey, but this one looks great. Probably my highest anticipated figure in a long time

ACK forgot one more. I got Yozakura from Senran Kagura because of all the characters in that ecchi-bait of a game, she’s the one I most enjoy (bowl cut plus fighting with fists is like mmmm)

Though speaking of figures, that reminds me of a related purchase I probably should mention. Currently I keep my figures in 3 detolfs I managed to get shipped from Ikea several years back (the shipping is now ridiculous) They’ve held up okay, but I realized that I’m both running out of room and they lack any lighting options.

I could install a system of lighting, but the one I’d want would cost me over 200 bucks. In addition, I have some past trauma with trying to install LED lights in my room, and I’m a bit concerned that trying to modify my Ikea detolfs would be a disaster. It was then that I came across Youtube videos talking about this new case brand called moducases.

The rundown is that moducases are made of acrylic instead of tempered glass, but they offer more storage and a better (included) lighting system than what I could do with my detolfs. While it’s pricey, I figure for the amount of figures I have and buy, it’s worth making them nice. Not to mention that I feel like these cases will be easier to take apart and move someday (Which could always come sooner than later)

Unfortunately, they’re about half a year out from being delivered, so don’t expect much about them until summer 2023. Hopefully it’ll all be worth it.


Games-wise I didn’t go too crazy. In fact, most all of the games I’ve gotten this year are from trade-in credit I got by trading old shit into Gamestop. If you’re curious though, I bought Dragon Quest Treasures, Front Mission 1 remake, Sakuna: Of rice and Ruin, Live a Live, and Bravely Default 2 for the Switch and for PC FF7R as well as trails of Cold steel and Trails of Zero (I’m hoping to do a huge Trails of run through next year)


I didn’t do anything for anime this year. Mostly because I own most things I’m interested in owning. Everything else I can either watch through streaming or other means.


The big purchase this year has been manga. I’ve been getting back into reading/collecting manga, but the unfortunate thing is that covid really ravaged supplies of a lot of series (due to the influx of readers) Not wanting to experience the possibility of things going in and out of stock before I could get them and wanting to take advantage of the holiday sales going on, I bought a metric fuck ton of manga.

If you were nosy, you might have a ballpark figure of the amount I spent buying the figures in VNs. If so, let’s just say that the amount I spent on Manga was probably 3x that at the least. It’s to the point where I don’t even want to list them all (I don’t even know I realistically can) Only thing for sure is that I’m done with manga for a good while.

(I plan on talking about them more as I read them. Plus potentially taking pictures of my collection when I have them organized. Thus you’ll get to find out soon enough just how deep this hole goes)

There’s a few other things I bought but some of them involve stuff I’m not ready to talk about yet. Not to mention I’ve already spent a lot of time talking about this that if I don’t shift gears, I feel like I’m going to stop writing this. Let’s move on.

Video game thoughts:

Video game of the year goes to Elden Ring followed up by Xenoblade 3 for me. I’d talk about them more here, but I’m not as good writing about things after the fact. In the future though when I’m doing monthly posts, you can expect mini-reviews

Anime thoughts:

Anime the best thing I watched this year would probably be Cyberpunk. I’m still kind of miffed that Arcane edged it out as best animated thing at the game awards (though that comes from a purely fanboy who hasn’t even seen Arcane point of view) Second best would be a tie between Horimiya and My Dress-up Darling. Everything else kind of blurs together this year (to the point where I can’t remember what I saw this year)

Oh I guess there’s Chainsaw man, but I consider that more a manga than I do anime (even though I’m also watching the anime) Since I read it first, it’s going down as manga of the year rather than anime (Not to mention the anime is only halfway done with part 1 as it is)

Visual novel thoughts:

Favorite VN I’ve played this year would probably be Gore Screaming Show if only because it reminds me a lot of older VNs that I grew up on (particularly Divi Dead) Runner-up might be Sasasagu or Hatsuyuki or Tsui no Sora remake (It’s really hard to pick between them) Worse thing I read was probably finishing up Senren Banka, which I did purely because I was reading it as Japanese practice and hated to leave it undone

Speaking of Japanese practice, as you can probably guess it’s one of the things I hope to do more of next year. This year I read a few VNs and started a N5-N1 vocabulary deck on anki (flashcard program) I will have up to N3 vocabulary done by the end of this year leaving only n2 and n1 for next (In which I hope to use to tackle more Japanese vns than I ever have in a year before)

In closing:

Hmm what else? Health-wise I still don’t know what the fuck is going on with my body. I have a physical on the 3rd, an eye appointment on the 13th (to check if my vision is worsening or what), and a neurology appointment I still need to reschedule. It’d be nice if any of these could give me some answers, but I’m also expecting them to be meh (particularly the physical) due to how it’s often gone in the past. We’ll see (I’ll update you all on January’s post)

Shoveling snow has been murder on me. I wish I could build some actual muscle, but I would need to bulk up for that. Which I wouldn’t mind doing but then I don’t know if I should (I’ve been told I could potentially have GERD before and then there’s questions in my mind about whether I could have diabetes) I just hope the snow has stopped for a good while so that I can rest my weary bones.

Been feeling awful lonely lately. It’s not something I can’t deal with, but it still sucks given there’s not a whole lot I have right now to deal with it. Bleh forget that for now. Big things coming in January, hopefully

Signing off for now


Hello everyone :)

At the end of the month, I’m saying goodbye to my life on the internet as I’ve known it. In this post, I talk about my history with the internet and what’s led up to this decision. I’ll also talk about what’s going to happen from here onwards. It’s going to be a long post, so buckle in.

The beginning

It was the mid 90s when I started using the internet. At first, it was simple curiosity and being fond of using a computer (my dad worked with them, so I was pretty familiar) Then it grew into a tool I could use to look up information about games and eventually a way I could get them (both legally and not) Finally, it became a way of life as it became my sole social outlet.

To give the short version of a very long history: I became estranged from my peers in school. Part of was due to interests I couldn’t share with anyone (I grew up in a small town where people hadn’t caught onto some things yet) and part of it was due to being bullied for being different (I was sick a lot, wore glasses, shy… practically a huge cocktail of “this kids an easy target”) Due to that estrangement, I became increasingly reliant on the internet as my social outlet

History will tell whether that was ultimately a good or bad thing (most likely neither) but I did eventually develop a life outside the internet in 2008 where I successfully made my first in real life friend. From that point onward I got to experience all the embarrassing social faux pas I missed out on in high school (It was overall a good thing, don’t worry) and generally develop as a human being.

Unfortunately things weren’t entirely happy ever after. Even though I can proudly say I developed, I still found myself relying on the internet as one might rely on addictive drugs. Anytime I didn’t know how to approach a situation, it was right back to the internet to look for ways it could help me. Anytime I felt like I couldn’t rely on the people around me, it was back to bad habits.

Of course, like drugs, the internet can be a useful tool for the right ailments. The problem was I used it for all ailments. Where I should have tried to develop new techniques and skills, I ran to the internet hoping it could do something for me (It had all the previous times when I was young, afterall, I didn’t see why it couldn’t now) Except all it ever did was push me farther away from where I was going

The now

It’s 2022 now and will be 2023 soon. I currently live at home with my folks, while I try to figure out what to do with my life. Except what that all ends up boiling down to is me being on the internet looking for solutions in all the wrong places.

Instead of being smart with my money, I let depression drive me to various online merchants where I buy myself shiny toys I probably don’t need. Now my sizeable savings has dwindled quite considerably (Hell it dwindled a lot just this month) and I’m concerned that another couple of months like this is liable to leave me broke before long.

That coupled with my lack of productivity and less time spent doing things I want to, I’ve come to a conclusion that some drastic steps need to be taken soon before it gets any worse.

Originally, the plan was to cut back out social media, online retailers, and primarily use this site as both a way to give me a social outlet and to encourage writing more. I even went through a bunch of effort changing how the site worked to cater to that idea.

The big issue though was that I still had it set up in a way that would put me at my computer a lot. It practically required I write a post for every single thing I was doing while I was doing it. For example, the previous set up had it so I could update people on games I was playing as I was playing them or books as I was reading them.

I guess I wanted to make myself feel like an e-celeb in a way. Despite this blog only being read by a handful of people, I wanted to have a site like the many figures I idolized back in the day who had tons of followers that would practically eat up everything they posted (or at least that’s how I saw it) It was a pretty unrealistic desire.

I made the sudden decision to scrap all that tonight and instead adopt a different plan of attack for the site. A plan that I’ll outline in the final section

The Future

When 2022 ends and 2023 begins there’s going to be a big shift in my online habits.

First, I’m not going to use my PC very often for the internet. If I do it’s either going to be to post an update on here or because there’s a matter that I can’t take care of via my tablet. My PC is primarily going to be used for playing games via Steam Link to play on my TV (essentially turning it into a glorified console)

My tablet is going to be where I check my email, check a few small Discord servers (to keep in touch with important friends), take care of business related things (paying off cards and occasional orders), and just general searching for whenever I need to look up something (say I need to find a solution to a problem I’m facing in a game)

I’ve thought about a complete withdrawal from the net, but unfortunately it’s become a necessity it some ways (paying bills, getting things I can’t get in the small town I live in, etc) While I can’t get let my guard down completely, I should note that I’m nowhere near as comfortable using my tablet online as I am with my computer. Thus I THINK I should be more likely to use it sparingly and get things done promptly

Posts for this site will be done on the PC because that’s the only reasonable way to do it (No way I’m going to type these long beasts on a touch screen) However since that opens me up to increased risk of getting distracted and falling into bad habits, I’m going to limit that to 1 or 2 posts a month (I haven’t come to a decision on that yet. I might just do 1 at first at the end of a month and when I become more comfortable, start doing a second one)

Each post will be pretty massive and cover everything I’ve been up to that month from life to games to anime to whatever.

I will do another post or two before I go silent on New Years, I think. At the very least, I would like to do sort of a “first post” that will indicate what you can expect from posts in the future.

For now though, it’s getting late and I’d rather not be writing this until Christmas. We’ll end things off here and I’ll see you in the next one.