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.
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)
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. 🙂