Week 7

To be completely vulnerable for a moment, I’m always concerned I might not be accepted for who I really am. While I try to tell myself that’s not true (by remembering certain family and friends), it’s never quite convincing enough to shake the insecurity. Past trauma along with insecurities I’ve developed over the years has made it difficult to ignore.

I know, logically, I need to stop that behavior, but ironically it takes a lot to not give a fuck about something. Though maybe the key is rather than not giving a fuck about these things, I need to give more of a fuck about not giving a fuck. Maybe I need to actually practice being overconfident where I’m not. Maybe I need to fake it more until I make it.

I’m honestly not really feeling up to writing much right now for this week’s entry. I might do an addendum post later this week, but today I’m feeling kind of like I need to make myself do something else to avoid the pit of frustration/depression I find myself wallowing in at the moment.

Week 6

I did the bad and reactivated my Twitter. Did I have a good reason for it? No. I could make up a couple justifications for it: I was feeling lonely (which I probably was), I need to it to keep up with news relevant to my hobbies, I need to see certain accounts recent tweets for stuff I’m working on (something that’s been the case a couple times) In the end though, all of it is just making excuses for weak will.

If it gets to the point where I feel like it’s taking too much of my time, I do have the confidence that I can deactivate again. I only have two followers (one of which I’m not even sure reads my Twitter posts) Not a huge deal. I can also just install social media blocking plugins again.

I’ve been thinking though. I would like some more online friends. While I know they’re no substitute for real life relationships, not having a huge amount of freedom to move right now really limits my capabilities for making real life connections. Rather than sitting here feeling like I can’t do anything, I’d rather be doing something.

I used to have a very strong online life before I finally was able to settle into college. While I don’t necessarily regret prioritizing my real life, I do sometimes regret the ways I parted with some of my online connections (mostly just disappearing and never reaching out) I’ve thought about rekindling those relationships, but I’ve accepted that even if I knew how to contact some people again, it probably wouldn’t lead to what I’m hoping for.

While I still have a few online friends I do keep in contact with, the prospect of making new ones is a bit hard as there’s no venues I’m comfortable with anymore. Gone are the days of web forums, irc chatrooms, and weird niche community sites. Today people meet via Discord and social media. While from a distance it might not seem that different (IRC and Discord are pretty similar for example) it’s an entirely different ballgame for me. Call me a boomer I guess.

If I was living somewhere with a better net connection, I might consider doing streaming again. From both actual streamers and from one of my online friends who streams, I’ve seen that it can work, and I think that I could actually have fun with it (or at least I have some real ideas for it) Unfortunately it’s not an avenue I can pursue right now.

Though I can’t do anything live, I’ve considered doing Youtube as an alternative. It’s not the first time I’ve considered or even tried it, but in the past I’ve always backed out from being uncomfortable. Now I feel more like I can push past the uncomfortableness to maybe put out some content.

Granted it wouldn’t be the kind of content you’d expect someone trying to be a Youtuber would make. Instead, I’d make content talking about myself and the things I love. Kind of like what I used to/try to do with my blog. Except that it’d hopefully be way more approachable than a wall of text for the average internet user.

The only thing holding back is my unfamiliarity with video software. I’m not really looking to learn to be a full-time Youtuber, but I do know that you have to have some skills to get people to look and sit through your videos. Much as I’d like to keep it just audio recordings of me, I don’t think that’s going to cut it. I’m going to have to add images/video and maybe even show myself (insecurities >_<)

That all being said, I guess I just have to push myself. Nothing ever gets done hemming and hawing about it. The worst thing that can happen is I try and fail, but even then at least I’ll find out that it’s not for me, and that might be worth it on its own over it eternally being a what if.

I’ll keep you posted on what I do when I do it.

Studying Japanese has been fairly consistent, although due to the sheer number of Anki reviews, I’ve found that I haven’t really been able to take much time to read VNs or start any games in Japanese. I guess I could make the time if I tried a bit harder, but I’m hoping that soon I’ll get through this deck (I have 3000 unseen cards going at a rate of about 400ish new ones each day) and the reviews will be down to more manageable levels.

I’m not sure if this extensive focus on vocabulary is any more effective as using that same time just immersing. Part of me says it will be and part of me thinks it’s not. I know whichever I do it wont be a waste, but finding where I need to work on in my Japanese is rough. Especially when I’ve come all this way by myself.

I have considered talking to natives, or even other Japanese learners, but I lack confidence on producing Japanese in a real-time conversation. Though again, it’s probably just something I need to get over and push myself into doing.

Been working out a bit more. Not sure if it’s having a positive effect or not. One issue is that I can’t seem to gain much bulk to build into weight. I think I need more fat in my diet, but then there’s a bunch of things I shouldn’t touch (mainly chocolate) because of my GERD. It’s kind of a nuisance. I wish I could just get rid of that.

In regards to media

I finished watching the Gundam 0079 series (the first Gundam) In the past I had watched the three compilation movies in order to watch the sequel series, Zeta Gundam, with some friends. However, due to getting a girlfriend at the time, I never really took to Zeta Gundam (neither did my friends, although I think it was for other reasons) Later I would try to rewatch Zeta Gundam in an attempt to watch “all of Gundam” and while I would get through it and ZZ (double Zeta) I eventually stopped at Victory Gundam.

I don’t hold any grandiose ideas that I’m going to watch the entire Gundam franchise anymore. However, I decided I would still like to try. Although as it had been a while, I decided I could use a a rewatch of everything from the start. A lofty undertaking, but if I couldn’t do it then I probably wasn’t going to be able to do all of Gundam.

I went with the original series over the compilation movies because I remembered not remembering anything from those movies after a short while. I thought maybe the series could do a better job at getting me invested into the universe. Lo and behold, I was right.

The original series isn’t bad. I would even say it’s quite good. I think all the people recommending the compilation movies as a fast track at getting into Gundam are probably ignoring how it takes time for a lot of the characters/events to grow on you. They’re also probably not thinking about how if you’re looking to get into it fast, Gundam probably isn’t the series for you (given the sheer amount of content out there)

It’s also an interesting thing to watch for people who are interested in Japan animation in general. Given the amount of influence it had, I think there’s something to appreciate from that end.

I did start my rewatch of Zeta, although there’s not much to say as I’m only an episode in.

I’m still watching .hack//sign and 86 (yes I’m sticking with it) Progress on both has been slower due to prioritizing 0079, Mushoku Tensei light novel, and a new anime Goodnight World.

I heard about this anime via my alma matter’s anime club discord. A couple people were talking about it being really good Netflix series, and me being a sucker for good Netflix anime, I decided to check it out.

I want to say I was LOVING it up until episode 6, but when episode 6 hit I became conflicted. It looked very much like the show was going to be about one thing (which I was totally down for) and then it ended up being something completely different (which I haven’t made up my mind on) I really wish I could go into what I mean, but it would probably spoil the series.

Game-wise, I’m still playing Elden Ring to prepare for the DLC. Not enjoying it very much. I think both because I overplayed it when it released (I platinumed it on PS5 and got all steam achievements) and I’ve been used to Lies of P combat (which is much quicker paced and relies on parrying) I just find myself feeling sluggish and getting hit by everything.

If I hadn’t already bought the DLC (albeit at a deal) I might be tempted to uninstall and give up on it. That’s how bad it is.

I’ve been considering looking at Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door on the Switch. I’ve also been considering giving Trails in the Sky another shot and Unicorn Overlord. Honestly, no shortage of games. Just not enough time to play them or to even sit down and figure out what I’m interested in playing x_x

I should probably wrap this post up soon and get back to reviewing my Japanese. I get to see my best friends this weekend, and I’m super hype for that.

Week 5

The mosquitos here are terrible. I kill about 20 a day, and I’ve been killing them for the past week+. I had bought an electric swatter off Amazon, although that can only do so much. I’m hoping that we’ll be over the worst of it soon. Not fond of getting eaten alive night and day.

Japanese has been my prime focus this week. Let me walk you through what I typically do for it.

First thing I do is Wanikani reviews. The way Wanikani works is that every level you learn a certain number of radicals (the parts that make up the kanji), kanji, and vocab. When you manage to successfully recall enough of the radicals and kanji enough times (usually takes around a week of reviews) you get enough to unlock a new level.

Previously I had gotten to the max level (level 60) at least once, but I didn’t feel confident about my retainment of the information. Thus last year I reset myself at level one to start the journey again. Right now I’m currently about half-way through (level 30) and should level up later today.

That’s not all though. Next I open up Anki, which is an electronic flashcard app that schedules things based on your ability to recall them. In Anki I have an unofficial Wanikani deck that I’ve been using to study things ahead (because the rate of unlocking new stuff on Wanikani is slow) Through that, I’ve been doing 400 new items a day (radicals, kanji, vocab) and my reviews daily is between 800 and 1000 items.

Usually it takes me from when I get up to about 2-3 in the afternoon. Then I tend to load up whatever Japanese VN I’m reading to try and get through some of that. Most recently I finished a pretty bad one named Korehano (it was a mess) and I’ve started up one I had already started previously called Sakura Moyu.

The amount I read varies, but I’d say I’ve been averaging at least 500 lines. I’d usually do this until 5-6 in the evening assuming there aren’t any distractions.

I’m actually looking to do more, if you can believe it. It’s hard to put into words, but you know when Goku turned Super Saiyan for the first time? I feel like I’m on the cusp of reaching that kind of plateau as of late, and I’m looking for whatever training that finally lets me reach it.

I could be wrong and maybe I’m being a little impatient. I really want to reach a level where I can more naturally just pick up Japanese and not have to worry about looking up much. Some days I feel incredibly close to that, while others I feel like it’s more far off than ever. It’s quite the inner turmoil.

Though speaking of feeling close to it, I had an experience last night that made me feel like that. I decided to turn on the anime channel on Pluto TV (basically free internet TV) for shits and giggles. They were playing Inuyasha, although for the first time it was the Japanese version rather than the English dub version. I noticed that not only was I recognizing what was said more often, but that I was also able to read the Japanese subtitles of the ending song (which is still a banger by the way)

It’s little moments like that happening more and more frequently that make me feel like I’m about to reach a new level. Of course, I don’t expect it to be the final one for fluency, and I entirely expect another huge mountain to climb once I’m over this bump. However, that doesn’t make me want it any less.

One thing I’d like to do in Japanese actually is read some light novels. Initially I wanted to do both light novels and manga, but after getting annoyed with font-sizes in manga, I decided mostly to stick with light novels. The big issue is that I don’t have a handy tool to look up things like I do with visual novels (at least not if I want to read them away from my PC) Thus I find myself struggling a lot more than I’d like (I remember trying to read Re:Zero and spending like half an hour on the first couple pages)

I’d also like to start a game in Japanese. This should theoretically be pretty simple now that I’ve got a subscription to an OCR (onscreen character recognition) program, the issue here is finding the time for it. You might think it’s because of the stuff I just mentioned, but actually I’m doing a lot of other non Japanese stuff that takes time too.

Like speaking of light novels, I’ve actually started to read the light novel for Mushoku Tensei. I actually bought the entire series (don’t worry, I can handle it) I was surprised at how beefy these novels were despite being referred to as “light novels” While you could still very much read one a day, I would argue that they’re pretty substantial.

It’s hard to overstate my love of this series. I previously had only watched the first 12 or so episodes of the first season a couple years ago, and while I enjoyed them, it didn’t hook me enough to immediately pick it up again when it came back with the second half of season one. Upon rewatching those initial 12 plus the second half of the season, however, it consumed my entire being.

It’s not just that the second half of season 1 is crazy good, but I had honestly forgotten how good the first half was. I guess I must have just gotten tired of waiting for the second half and forgot. Either way, despite there being another part season (season 2 part 1) and a currently airing season (season 2 part 2), I find myself wanting to read the light novel before I watch them (that way I don’t ever let this series fly under my radar again)

Other stuff I’m watching/impressions:

Fallout: Finished watching Amazon’s fallout. I definitely enjoyed it, but I also am kind of annoyed at having to wait for a new season. Reminds me of why I’m reluctant to watch things like The Boys, Invincible season 2, the Mandolorian etc. I just don’t want to be in another situation like I am still waiting for the last part of Stranger Things (which I’ll say has fallen off, but I still want to see it end)

Gundam 079: I don’t know if I mentioned it before, but I actually regret watching the compilation movies for this back when. I feel like while it may give a good overview, the fact that I remember practically nothing about them all these years later show how poor compilation movies are at actually investing you in a series.

While I’m no Gundam afficionado, I do think if people have a desire to get into it, that the original series is the way to probably start. You might be tempted by the movies as it’s quicker, but I feel like if time is a concern, Gundam probably isn’t the best thing to get into (given how many series run for 50 episodes)

.hack//sign: This one is a blast from the past. No joke, I somehow forgot this series existed until I heard a streamer friend of mine talking about his love of .hack on stream. Upon hearing that, it reminded me that I had never properly seen the series and I decided right then and there to try and get into .hack stuff.

It very much makes me think Sword Art Online met Serial Experiments Lain. Okay maybe not that fucked up, but it’s quite a different series. I’m amazed people even watched it on Cartoon Network for how much talking and general seriousness there is in it.

I’m also watching it in Japanese for the first time. While I do have a lot of nostalgia for the dub, I’m a bit concerned about potentially missing important stuff.

It’s thus far been pretty good

86: I think I might have mentioned this before, but I haven’t made huge progress on this series. The premise is there’s this utopian society of racist white haired people that are fighting a war with “unmanned drones” except the drones are people. The main character is one of the white haired people who serves as a remote commander to one of these forces. The thing is she claims to see the people fighting as real people

The big issue is that in the three episodes I watched, the main character is far away from the rest of the cast. While it makes sense in the setting they have, I’m having trouble feeling interested in the “naive girl gets a dose of reality” dynamic they’re pushing thus far. I don’t know, I still hear good things about it and want to see it, but I’m having trouble wanting to load up an episode..

With video games, I’ve started a new game in order to prepare for the Elden Ring DLC. My only other save is a new game ++, and I’ll be fucked if I’m going to start the DLC on the higher difficulty. Thus far, I’ve made a character named Eris (after Mushoku Tensei, although she only bears a 10% resemblance) and beat Margot (I started as a wretch, so a lot of the game has been spent getting me to non-wretch status thus far)

I guess the DLC requirements are to beat Mohg and Radahn. Thus I’ve got plenty of time. Which is good considering how much I’ve forgotten about how to play the game (seems like every other time I’ve used an estus flask when I meant to call torrent)

Summer games fest comes up this weekend. I wonder if I’ll see anything interesting. Though only having a PC and a hacked switch, there might not be much to really look forward to for me. We’ll see though

That’s about all I got for this week. I got to get back to these reviews I’m doing

Week 4

Lately, I’ve been focusing a lot more on my Japanese. I actually spent most of this past week, including memorial day, going through an Anki deck based on Wanikani. Ended up putting at least 5-8 hours every day in reviews, to where I can somewhat confidently say I know half of Wanikani’s content fairly well. I’m hoping by the end of June to know all of it (perhaps even earlier if I push myself)

Once I work through Wanikani’s words content, I plan on switching over to the core deck again. I’m hoping I can get an Anki extension working to take out all the stuff I know from Wanikani. Though if that doesn’t work, I might just suspend cards I know until I find newer stuff.

I also want to start practicing handwriting the kanji characters. My logic is that it will help better at recognizing the individual radicals in each character. Though I’ll admit that there’s a part of me that wants to do it just because it would feel cool to have a notebook filled with kanji I can show people and be like “Look at the Japanese I studied”

I’m still trying to decide if I should focus on reading a VN, play a game, or read a light novel to work on my immersion. Part of me wants to do all three, but there’s obviously time constraints along with what I can focus on. Hopefully after this post I’ll have something figure out.

In regards to my mission to stay away from social media, it’s been about the same as week 3. I find myself watching some more YT or browsing more Reddit than I probably should. I even ended up making the mistake of engaging on YT. Not good, but also not that bad either considering I’m still accomplishing things.

Ditto to my mission not to buy things. I haven’t been doing a great job with that. While not entirely frivolous, it still feels like I’m out of control anytime I need to load up Amazon for something. That is, when I order one thing I start thinking about all the other things I could use and that often gets me ordering stuff I might not need right away.

Like last night I was on to buy a lighting solution for my room (basically needed something that wasn’t as bulky and in the way as my floor lamp to keep the room lit) Which got me buying supplements for my stomach and then buying a new monitor to replace the one that broke (My current ones are okay, although I’ve been having one of them glitch out somewhat often)

It’s better than a ton of anime crap that I just pile up in my room, but it still feels like I lack control. Going to have to watch myself a bit. Though speaking of anime crap, I also bought more of that too. I ended up buying some Tales of Symphonia plushies because I saw they were finally making plushies of Sheena and Raine (my two waifus from that game) I also ordered Collette and Presea… Yeesh. Yeah, I need to stay away from sites that I know will probably tempt me

I do want to acknowledge that I have made efforts though. I’ve been taking better care of myself than I have in years and I’m working on trying to improve myself through my Japanese efforts. I’ve been acquiring various life skills along the way as well. I just have to remember not to get complacent and keep working on things.

Far as other matters go, I beat Eiyuden Chronicles. If you want my impressions please see the previous post. Not sure what I’ll play next, but it might Elden Ring in order to prepare for the upcoming DLC that’s coming out next month.

Anime I’m still chugging through Gundam 079 and Mushoku Tensei season 1 part 2. I have to say Mushoku has really caught my interest now that I’m finally watching episodes I haven’t seen before. I think it has potential to be my favorite isekai and maybe even one of my favorite anime series. Gundam is not bad, although I’m starting to get annoyed by the next episode previews spoiling stuff (I’ll probably stop watching those)

I’ve also been watching 86 whenever I use my exercise bike. Not much to really say about it. I’m not even sure if I like it.

Well that’s about all I got to say for this week.

Eiyuden Chronicles review

Let me start with the conclusion: Eiyuden Chronicles is a game you can tell had a lot of heart put into it. You can tell the creators had passion and had a vision. That alone however can’t overshadow its numerous faults, and sadly at the end of the day, it fails to live up to its potential promise. While not a totally irredeemable game, it’s very hard to recommend to anyone but maybe the people desperate for the tiniest glimpse of a new Suikoden game (although even that is stretching things)

I first played Suikoden II back in 9th grade. An online friend that I felt close to at the time said Suikoden was her favorite RPG series, and I was eager for things I could talk to her about. I got Suikoden II because it was the rarest and most expensive of the two (even back then) Though I should mention that in those days “expensive” was a used copy going for close to 70 bucks (now you’d be lucky to find a good complete condition for less than 200)

I ended up enjoying the game so much that I immediately played it back to back for a total of three times. Then I wound up getting the first Suikoden and after playing through that, played through II for a 4th time. Pretty crazy to think about these days, but I was also a kid with a lot of free time and no real life friends at that time.

From there on, I followed the Suikoden series religiously from 3 all the way to it’s final entry 5. Though I didn’t end up finishing 4 (due to how poorly done it was) until this past year, it’s still remained my favorite JRPG series to this date. My ranking goes something like 2=5 > 1 > 3 >>> 4.

I’ve always hoped Konami would bring back Suikoden. I remember buying the shitty DS game, despite it not being related, hoping that it would somehow convince them there was still a market for the series. However, Konami, as most know, went through a period where they essentially said “Fuck videogames, we’re focusing on pachinko now” Thus as the years went by, that hope grew more and more distant.

Then one day I see the original creator of Suikoden has formed his own studio, Rabbit and Bear, and was looking to make a new game. One that looked an awful lot like Suikoden in concept. This news came by way of a Kickstarter for this game which was called Eiyuden Chronicles.

I know of many Suikoden fans who jumped on funding the campaign. Unfortunately for me, as excited as I was, I was also wary. My experiences with Kickstarters then was not great due to several games that had turned out not so great and a few visual novels that had not even delivered (funnily enough they still haven’t delivered) I struggled between supporting it and not, but at the point when the higher tiers had all been bought up, I decided I would just pay for the game when it came out (it had no problem smashing it’s stretch goals without me after all)

Close to release, I heard plenty of people who had gotten their hands on the demo singing praises about it being the true successor to Suikoden. I was excited, but at the same time still fairly skeptical. It didn’t help that I had recently been disappointed by another Kickstarter game, Sea of Stars, or that I felt disillusioned by hype Twitter which had burned me over several games since (Final Fantasy XVI comes to mind) Still I pre-purchased it on Steam (as I was going to play it despite what anyone said) and waited for it to come out.

Before I get into what really let me down about the game, let me talk a bit about some of the positives.

A lot of the design is good. Music is good. If there’s anything that promotes the image of a new Suikoden game, they definitely nailed it with those. I also really appreciated the Japanese voice acting (this is not a budget cast by any means) Like I said at the start with my conclusion, you can tell the developers had their hearts in this

Now about where things go downhill.

The protagonist is often the most important character. In Suikoden, despite being silent (aside from choices you can make), they have strong connections with others. Despite being reluctant, the events they experience builds conviction in them. They all want to bring things back to the way they were, or at least to a point where people aren’t suffering.

Eiyuden’s protagonist Nowa isn’t silent, and while I wouldn’t count that as a bad thing on it’s own, it does come with it’s own downsides. Namely that a lot of your impressions of him come down to what he says rather than his actions or how other characters play off him. This makes his writing way more important than anyone else.

I, however, didn’t get a very strong impression of him until probably close to the end of the game. Even then it wasn’t as strong as I’d like. More of a “Okay I guess this is just how he is”

A big part of that is probably due to the game’s events. I don’t want to spoil anything specific, but if you’ll allow me a somewhat general spoiler, nothing in this game is quite on the level of the shit that happens in a typical Suikoden game. Because Nowa never really goes through shit, it’s hard to really understand his motivations for being how he is

There is one scene that comes towards the end of the game that tries to shed some light on it, but it’s a classic example of “too little too late” If it had happened earlier, maybe I could see them spinning something from that. However, the way they pulled it off felt more like putting a band-aid on a huge scar.

If that wasn’t bad enough, technically the game was sold as a game of three protagonists. Nowa, Seign, and Marisa. The problem is the other two get even less development than Nowa. While they do try to incorporate them into the story, the player never controls them for very significant portions and their development is similarly small (Marisa is the worst in that they barely give her anything)

This is a symptom of something that will come up again and again in this review: being too ambitious. Whether that was due to being a Kickstarter title or trying to to live up to being a new Suikoden, I can’t say for sure. What I will say is that maybe if they had another year to flesh out the story or had not tried to mimic Suikoden, that this might have been a much stronger game.

While the protagonists were lackluster, I actually don’t have many complaints about the rest of the supporting cast. I definitely would have liked to see them play more of a role, but none of them would feel out of place in Suikoden, and many were pretty entertaining.

I will say the villains were very underwhelming. It might have something to do with there not being anything on the scale of the things in Suikoden’s universe, or it might also have something to do with them not explaining their goals very well. Probably both, it all just feels lacking. I’m used to there being some intrigue with what’s going on with the antagonists, but in this game I felt like so little was offered that I stopped caring.

Characters aside, the plot is.. Not that interesting. You can tell a lot of it is trying to build up a new world to replace the one of Suikoden and it has a lot of the pieces, but rather than having them put together, they all kind of feel like they’re left on the table. Plenty gets teased, but nothing gets explored and it all just falls flat.

I remember reading somewhere that the first Suikoden game was made to give a setting and some background for the second one. I’m not sure how much that was really needed in retrospect, though if that’s true, I think it did help. Hearing now that this game apparently had plans for a sequel, I somewhat wonder if a lot of this stuff was planned for that.

I feel like if they had another year to develop it, they could have worked at strengthening the plot itself and fleshing out the world. If it turns out they made this to set up interest for a later game, then I would say they did a poor job. Not that I wouldn’t give a sequel another shot, but as a result of their efforts I have almost no interest in the world. Something they should have put a bit more effort into

While all that might sound pretty bad, I still think even with all that it’s an okay game. It’s the gameplay stuff, which I’ll go over now, that I think ultimately brings it down to being kind of a meh.

Full disclosure, I can’t comment much about how well they did with combat in terms of balancing. Apart from saying that the first couple of bosses and areas weren’t very enjoyable. Too many random encounters and difficulty felt skewed to where they took too long (Random battles should be snappy)

That alone is pretty bad, but when you add onto it the battles being really sluggish (They should have took a bit more inspiration from how Suikoden speeds up a lot of the battles) I couldn’t take it. I had to cheat to be able to push myself through most of this game.

I know some people don’t look positively at cheating, even in a single player game, and I will acknowledge it does make my criticisms on gameplay potentially hold less water. Though I’m going to try and mostly address issues that should be irrelevant to whether someone cheats.

Apart from the normal party battles, the game also tries to do army battles and duels like Suikoden. Unlike Suikoden though, they either don’t control as well (in the case of army battles) or are as satisfying (for duels) as Suikoden. They’re nicer looking (the duels especially have some flair) but neither offer the break in the normal random battles that the ones in Suikoden did.

I think it’s also because they went too ambitious with it. Like I said, they’re nicer looking, and it feels like they wanted to make them more complex than they were in Suikoden. However neither operates quite as satisfying as the older games.

Outside of combat, we come to the other main mechanic of Suikoden, recruitment and HQ building.

In Suikoden, your HQ develops as you recruit characters. Eiyuden seemed to want to evolve this by changing it so that in addition to requisite characters you would also need to collect materials. An idea probably inspired by other resource management games.

In theory, it’s not a bad idea. In practice, it’s not really implemented very well. For most of the materials in the beginning you’ll be visiting one of two little dungeon areas near your castle to gather them. If that doesn’t sound very interesting, it’s because it’s not. Eventually you do unlock a way to send spare hero’s to collect them, but then you have to also contend with set space for resources.

Again, it’s another area where there was probably too much ambition. Though at least it’s not too annoying as other areas..

A real problem, however, is one that comes with the recruitment of certain characters.

In Suikoden, there can be some characters that are a little unfair. In Suikoden II, for example, if you spend too much time lollygagging you can miss one of the characters. In Suikoden IV there’s a mini-game that requires you learn a simplified version of Mahjong. However, these pale in comparison to a couple of characters in Eiyuden

The first character that gave me trouble was the one who you put in charge of fisheries (and is also responsible for upgrading your fishing ability) Arguably one of those essential characters that you’d think be pretty easy to get for the basic functions. Yet his recruitment requires you catch a certain fish that can only be caught at two spots.

The problem with that lies in Eiyuden’s fishing mechanics. You can only fish at a spot a limited number of times before it’s fished out. You’re then required to wait an amount of time for the fish to “respawn” This takes somewhere around 15 minutes if you’re not using a cheat or save scumming(which also takes time), and you can fish out a spot multiple times before you finally catch one.

It took me around 40 minutes to get one while keeping the fish respawn time low with cheats. While there’s been some that have been lucky to get it on the first cast, I’ve seen some posts about people spending several hours before they got the fish.

That’s unreasonable. I could maybe let it slide (somewhat) if this was for some broken character late in the game, but for someone that’s essential for your development of one of your castle’s basic facilities? Way too much.

The other thing that’s way too much is there are two characters locked behind late minigame progression. Previously there had been Suikoden games that have required beating a character in a minigame (the worse being the mahjong one from 4 that I mentioned) but most of them were a matter of saving right before and were accomplishable in a short period of time.

The two locked behind minigame progression require you to not only play the minigame once, but play them multiple times. The first being a “beyblade” style game where you have to go around challenging people and working your way past the “elite 4” The other being a cooking minigame that you need to complete like 10+ matches before you’re able to battle the character you recruit.

I cheated for these two. For the top one I just gave my top infinite health, and for the cooking one I set it so cooking battles could be done instantly and I would always win. I have no idea how difficult they would be without the cheats, but given that I was still forced to go through the motions, I can tell they most likely take a fair bit of time and energy. Way more than 99% of the characters in the game and way more than Suikoden ever required

Collecting characters is optional, technically, but like Suikoden Eiyuden requires you to collect all of them to get the “best” version of the story. Thus for people looking for the optimal story don’t really have an option to skip them

Another, somewhat dirty, thing the game does, in regards to character recruitment, is for the final 2 characters you have a VERY small window in which to recruit them. There’s literally a scene, and then if you don’t choose that moment you can control to teleport to where they are (and instead go outside), you will get another scene and hit the point of no return.

I can’t remember if Suikoden was ever that bad, but it feels like while there were missable characters, the window to get them was never as small as the 10 seconds of control you get between scenes.

The final thing I have to say about Eiyuden is its localization is not that great.

I’m not one of those “chuds” who can’t stomach some things being localized. I understand changes are sometimes necessary. However, there are things that still end up bothering me when it comes to the practices some localizers use.

Number one is when localizers change names for no reason. This is one of my major complaints with Xenoblade 2. While this doesn’t happen a lot in Eiyuden, it does happen a couple times (Like changing the last name of “Perry” from Grim to Grum”)

Number two is when they change something and it no longer fits the tone the creator was probably going for. For Eiyuden, this happens quite a bit with the language taking on a pretty “childish” tone. The worst offender being when one of the adult characters calls this other guy a “farthead”

Number three is when they change something and it’s inconsistent. There’s a scene where one of the characters says “She’s like a sister to me” in English when in Japanese the character says “she’s my cute little sister” Later the MC asks the girl “Is he really your brother?” in English which given what was said before in English doesn’t make sense for them to be asking.

Like I said, I’m not someone who can’t stomach changes. Nor am I someone who thinks the localization is a disaster that ruined an otherwise great game (honestly the other things I mentioned bring it down more) However, I can’t pretend that it didn’t bother me or that it couldn’t be better.

I’ve already offered my conclusion at the start. Rather than restating that, I’d like to just say what I think might have made the game better. IN MY OPINION.

Firstly, I think trying to make a new Suikoden game/series was a bit too ambitious. Especially when you have to create a whole new universe for it. I think this game focused too much on putting everything Suikoden had and trying to one up it (ie: too much ambition) rather than starting with something much more modest but refined.

Suikoden didn’t have multiple protagonists until the third game. By then the world had been sufficiently built up from previous games. You also constantly switched off between them as they were all dealing with their own stuff. I’d say if you have to have three protagonists, you should give them more, and if you can’t you should probably stick to focusing on one until you’ve built up a more established series.

Combat should be fast if you’re going to maintain the 6 character party system. It’s not really a hard problem to overcome. Just make it so multiple characters can act at the same time and that will save a lot of the time on its own. Also adjust the random encounters to happen less frequently

Screw resource management and limited inventories. Resource management can be fun, but there needs to be more structure put in place for it. Limited inventories weren’t ever a great mechanic and no one really finds them fun.

Those are just the main things off the top of my head. I did have more, but I’ve been writing this for several hours at this point. I’m starting to feel tired talking about it for one day. Maybe in the future if someone asks, I can try to go more in-depth on what specifically I’d change. For now though, I think this is good

Week 3

A few things to come clean with this week: I spent more money than I probably should’ve, I found myself on social media more (though I didn’t participate directly), and I’ve stopped writing in that notebook I showed in week 1. While I’m not thrilled with that regression, I’m not going to let it get to me and I’m going to try to rectify all that this next week.

What did I do this week?

On Sunday, I went on a trip with my brother down to Eau Claire. Despite having gone down only a week before, I had been wanting to go somewhere with him and among our options for a day-trip, Eau Claire was the best one. I comforted myself thinking I wouldn’t buy as much since I had already been down there once before.

We didn’t end up caring much for the mall, so we ended up over at Books-a-Million shortly after. I was almost prepared to get a lot of manga, but upon seeing a lot of the retail prices I ended up putting 90% of the stuff back (go me!) Plus I tried to keep in mind that I had just recently gut my entire manga collection in favor of digital. I still ended up with a copy of Initial D Omnibus 1, some discounted Light Novel, a cheap POP keychain of Toga from MHA, and 3 Chainsaw Man blind gacha things.

Side note about BAM: There was a woman with about 10 kids that came into the store while we were both looking at manga. The kids were hellions. She apparently told them they could get two things and there’d be one or two of them that would throw some pretty bad temper tantrums. Though the worst of it is one kid who kept playing with this toy that constantly said the same phrase (Something like “Can you say that again?”) They had it say that, and I exaggerate not, like 100ish times.

After BAM, we strolled over to Gaming Generations. I initially did not expect to get anything here as I was about to have no consoles after this trip (more on that later) but I didn’t account for them to have giant Sailor Moon plushies. They had two in fact, one of Venus and one of Neptune. I looked them up online and they apparently were going for 40 something, while at GG they were only 27. I decided to grab Venus because she’s one of my favorites (incidentally favorites are Mars, Pluto, Venus and Moon) I would have gotten Neptune if she looked a little nicer (though I also didn’t want to get her without Uranus there) or if I wasn’t already planning somewhere in my head to get some of the others online later >_>

After that, my brother wanted to visit some card shops. He’s pretty into both the Pokemon TCG and the One Piece one. I don’t know if he plays it much online (he certainly doesn’t play it at home) or if he simply just enjoys collecting (I’m thinking it’s more of the later) I ended up taking him to two places: Legendary D20 gaming and Undercity games. Both of which were in these really tucked away corners of Eau Claire (not hard to get to driving wise, but the buildings they were in were more complex than a simple store on the street) He didn’t find much at d20 but I guess he managed to find a few singles at Undercity (which made me happy because up to then he hadn’t been getting much and I wanted the trip to feel worth it to him)

That was the extent of our trip about Eau Claire. The driving was good and the trip was pretty good apart from that family in BAM. Though that wasn’t the end of our road trip. On the way back, I ended up going into Gamestop in Rice Lake and trading in my PS5 along with my piddly Playstation collection. Got 200 of it put on Steam cards because that was all they were allowed to do. I had been told to come back tomorrow or that I could do it online. I wasn’t going to do the former (after such a big day trip) and I knew the online thing was bullshit because I’ve tried it before. Thus I’m going to have to wait until the next time I have to stop in Rice Lake (probably in July)

I toyed with getting a Switch Lite with the rest, but I couldn’t really justify it. I did, however, end up getting 3 more of the Chainsaw Man blind bag things that I got from BAM. My reasoning behind getting 3 at each location was that there was a third of the characters that I wanted and that if I had a multiple of three, I was guaranteed to get one (No I didn’t seriously think this, but I joked about it)

After Gamestop came a trip to the Wal-mart that was across the street. There I picked up a bluray set of Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers and the two movie set of the Rescuers. I thought about getting more but I remembered that without my PS5, I was without a bluray player (I do have workarounds) Thus I held myself back (I also almost got an Initial D mousepad out of the novelty of it being there, but I managed to hold myself back)

When we returned home, I opened up my 6 Chainsaw Man figures and got: Kobeni, Power, Himeno, Makima, Pochita, and Meowy. Considering I only wanted girl characters and I didn’t get any repeats, I would say that I was really lucky. Too bad I wasn’t playing the lottery eh? 😛

I also immediately went online to try to track down some of the other Sailor Moon plushes. I ended up snagging one of Mars, Saturn, and Pluto. Pluto only because there was a good deal with her bundled with Saturn. I thought about Moon and some of the other main scouts, but at around 40 a piece, that would really add up. Something I might look into later.

Of course, I had to lookup a lot of the manga I wanted to buy at BAM on CR to see how much it was, and most of it was significantly cheaper there. I didn’t end up buying any, but unfortunately I did get a little caught up buying some Chainsaw Man figures that were on sale (I guess the blind bags really got me craving Chainsaw Man shit)

Thankfully, that was the end of my spending that day. Though I have had to stop myself from spending more (I swear once you visit those sites, you find yourself on them again and again) Going to TRY hard not to buy anything else (that’s not already planned) for at least the next month or so.

Speaking of almost buying stuff. I’ve been fluctuating between buying a new monitor since one of them broke when I was installing my new standing desk. Actually did I mention I bought myself a standing desk? I thought it might help some of my constipation issues (not being seated all day) and I needed a somewhat bigger desk. It’s really nice.

Anyway, one of my monitors suffered a minor dent. You can’t see it very easily if you examine it while it’s off, but when it’s on, it’s clear as day that’s its unusable. Fortunately, it is only my second monitor of my two monitor setup and I do have an older monitor that I’m using in the meantime. Though neither of those are as good as the one that broke (either the color is not as good or the refresh rate is meh)

Might still keep an ear out for a good deal for one in the future. While I mostly play games that don’t require much, I did notice some screen tearing trying to play Eiyuden Chronicles yesterday. I can circumvent it playing on my TV, but I don’t always want to be sitting in my bed when I’m playing games. We’ll see.

Speaking of Eiyuden, as of yesterday I’ve played a good chunk. My overall impressions so far are mixed. On the one hand, the music and graphic styling is pretty reminiscent of Suikoden. On the other, it’s nowhere near as good as Suikoden with any of the mechanics. The game runs too sluggish in comparison to Suikoden’s snappy nature, and it’s slow to get into a real hook as far as the story goes.

I’m also not one to bitch about localization, as I understand that there needs to be changes to suit different audiences. However, the choices taken just don’t fit. One particular case that jumps out at me is when a character (an adult with a gruff Japanese voice) calls another adult a “farthead” I understand others were getting upset at stuff like “chud” but for me, I find this a much worse offender.

Since I didn’t mention it in my previous post, I did finish both Mob Psycho season 3 and Made in Abyss season 2. My ultimate verdict is that both were good, although I’d say I enjoyed Made in Abyss a lot more. Mob was comfy and heartwarming, but Made in Abyss just made me feel a lot more everything else.

Sad that Made in Abyss doesn’t have much more beyond that. I kind of wish it was an RPGMaker game instead of an anime/manga. Much as it probably wouldn’t share the same kind of popularity, it really gives me the vibe of some of the games I’ve played on there before. Not to mention that if it was a game, it probably be complete by now.

Since finishing those two, I started rewatching Mushoku Tensei and watching Gundam 0079. I chose to rewatch Mushoku as I hadn’t seen it since I saw the first 12 episodes when it came out and I wanted to go in with the plot fresh when I watched the stuff that had been released since. Gundam, I’ve been interested in watching all the various series, and despite watching the compilation movies of the first series, I found I retained nothing.

Gundam 0079 is actually a lot better than how I had it sold to me initially. I know it probably had to be pretty decent for becoming such an iconic show, but back when I watched the compilation movies, that’s what everyone was recommending. I guess because it made things easier/quicker to get into Gundam. However, I think in terms of developing characters, the original series is leagues better

I’m debating starting other series. Thinking about starting 86. Though it depends on where I find the time.

Planning on posting some pictures of my various setups next week. Stay tuned

Week 2

Week 2 has been difficult in regards to avoiding social media. I’m not sure why, but I’ve been bouncing over to YT a lot more often to watch things I don’t need. Not near the extent of myself before this journey, but I still watched an hour of Super Eyepatch Wolf talking about how the Simpsons was apparently good again (spoiler: The Simpsons aren’t the same as they used to be, but there’s merit in watching them again apparently) Made me want to actually watch some of the newer episodes. Maybe I will try to see them sometime.

Week 2 has also been a poor week for controlling self-control urges. I can blame some of it on being on my birthday and going to the shopping mall when I was down in Eau Claire, but it’s still all my responsibility. What’s kind of weighing on me now is I promised my brother I would take him out somewhere and he’s talked about potentially wanting to get out this Sunday. I don’t want to spend anything and I’d almost choose not to go, but I also want to spend some quality time with him.

Maybe I will go anyway. I have been thinking of trading my PS5 in for Gamestop credit. Initially, I was going to save it for whenever the Switch 2 was announced for order, but I think it’d be more effective if I can turn it into some Steam credit. That would give me enough money to pay for my PC games for the year at the least. More if I convince myself to keep it to the essentials.

In regards to what I bought, I should probably start with my trip to Eau Claire last Saturday (05/11)

I went down to Eau Claire last Saturday to spend some time with one of my best friends J. We initially decided we would grab some manjare rolls (a pizza roll, minus sauce, that we’ve only ever been able to find in specific pizza places in EC) However, the place was closed and we were forced to shift our plans to the mall food court (I still wanted something pizzaish and this was the best option)

I got myself some Rocky Rococo (a slice of sausage pizza with breadsticks) and we explored the mall. Stopped at Gamestop where I picked up an Evangelion shirt, Spencers where I got an aesthetic Japanese shirt that says “drift” and a senpai squad shirt (which sounds a lot more cringe than it is, I promise), and at a hobby shop where J offered to buy me the Pokemon model kit I was looking at for my birthday (I got Jiggly Puff)

After that, we ran over to Books-a-Million. While I did a decent job at keeping myself from buying manga (I did just recently get rid of a ton of it), I was completely blindsided by their shirts. Ended up getting a shirt from Chainsaw Man and one from Hooky (which I initially thought was Little Witch Academia, but since it’s still cute, I’m not upset) I also bought an issue of Otaku USA because I like supporting dead media.

I’d show more pictures of my haul (and maybe I’ll do that if I lose control in the future), but sadly the internet doesn’t maintain images of any of the shirts I got (or at least they don’t make it simple) I just wish I wasn’t always feeling so damn cold all the time that I could actually show off my shirts more. Though I guess that wont be too much of a problem in the coming weeks now.

After my shopping “frenzy” was over, J and I went on a walk around the university. It was crazy to see how much things had changed since we’d been there. We only took a stroll around lower campus, but I guess that’s where all the changes would have been. Then we took a bit of a stroll through the park and hopped back into the car to head back to J’s place to end the day.

He asked me if there was anything else I wanted to do, and I remembered hearing about the opening of a new Costco in Eau Claire. While we weren’t members, and didn’t know if you could look without a membership, I had never seen one before (due to living in rural Wisconsin) and was curious to see it. Turns out you don’t need to be a member just to look, and the experience was certainly interesting. While there’s nothing there that would personally get me to buy a membership, it did seem to impress J a bit, and it was definitely fun.

An overall great time down in EC. Can’t say as much for the drive down and back due to both road construction and me not knowing how my AC worked (Yeah, I’m an idiot sometimes) Though I’d still do it all again in a heartbeat (though maybe I would have cut down on my shirts a bit… yeah right 😛 )

Nothing much happened that Sunday, except that I spent more money again. You see after I finished putting together the Jigglypuff model that J got me, I wanted more, and that got me thinking about some mech girl models I’d seen before but resisted pulling the trigger on. Upon searching them up again, and seeing the insanely good yen exchange rate, I put in an order I probably shouldn’t have. Not going to beat myself up over it, but definitely need to avoid that going forward. I also ended up buying all three volumes of Hooky to read (just so I wouldn’t feel ignorant wearing the shirt I bought)

Monday the 13th was the day my new OLED TV (Samsung 95c) was scheduled to be delivered. I was pretty much glued to my door for the entire morning/early afternoon. It came around 2, and despite the box seeming like it’d been through a fucking warzone, the TV was in great condition (though it took me a bit to figure out how to safely remove it) Mounting it was a a bit of a challenge, and then I had to re-mount it twice to get it positioned just right (which was definitely a strain) but I managed to do it.

I’m not really sure what I think of it so far. I kind of expected more, if I’m being entirely honest, but at the same time, I recognize that it looks cool for certain things. I’ll need to watch/play more things before I can give a definitive “was it worth it” review. Though at this point even if it wasn’t, I can’t really do anything to return it.

Tuesday, yesterday, was my birthday. For the past several years, what that’s meant is a fairly quiet normal day for me. Nothing special. This year was not much different. I did go online and order a standing desk for myself (using special financing where it’ll cost me 20 a month) and while I’m not happy adding to my debt, I can justify it at least being for my health (I think sitting is what’s been contributing to my chronic constipation) I also got myself a nice treat from Dairy Queen and gas for my car (ouch)

I think the highlight for Tuesday was that night when I rewatched the first two Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movies. It had been years (literally since I was a teenager) since I last saw it, and for whatever reason, I had been wanting to rewatch the trilogy again. Maybe its because I’m getting old and I want to be young forever ;_;

I was surprised. When I was young, I liked the first movie, but the second movie was what I really vibed with. Upon rewatching it though, I found myself feeling the opposite. Possibly because as a young kid, I never really understood the first movie (I found myself catching a lot of stuff that probably went over a kids head) and the second movie just being a lot more of the goofy turtles I loved from the cartoon I watched religiously then

I’d go as far to call the first movie a masterpiece of film. Much of it is done so well that I find myself hungry for movies like it. The second movie is not bad, by any means, but having Michaelangelo talk about giving someone a pickle within the first 10 minutes of the movie (not sure if that was meant to be a cleverly disguised dick reference or a poorly chosen silly joke) was a huge tonal whiplash and probably only serves fans of the series.

I’m not sure if I’ll rewatch the third movie yet. While I can remember being crazy about it as a kid, I’ve heard from many that it does not hold up well at all. Considering how the second made me feel, I don’t know if I have any desire to shatter the illusion. At least not when I have other things I could be doing with that time.

That’s about the extent of my second week. Like I mentioned in a few places, it was a good one for self control, but it was a fairly positive week. This next week will be more about kicking up my productivity, I hope. Got a new exercise bike and a standing desk should be coming, so I’ll let you know how that pans out.

Until then, stay frosty

Week 1

I forgot whether I said I would make my first update on the 7th or 8th. I assumed the 8th since it would allow me to talk about an entire week’s “progress” but I wasn’t sure until I checked today. I probably worry a bit too much about misremembering considering I rarely do (more often I’ll forget than misremember) but I’m happy that one anxiety turned out to be unnecessary (as they often are)

I have been keeping a log of stuff I do each day like I said I would. I ended up buying a physical journal because I figured that would be more effective than trying to keep a digital one (If I see it every day, it will motivate me to use it) The notes themselves aren’t exactly impressive. It’s mostly just to remind myself of what I did or what occurred. I’ve also been sort of using it to monitor my health.

The contents aren’t super exciting. They’re just mostly to remind myself of things

Let’s start off with a report on my social media usage. The first day was not too bad, but the second onward, if I didn’t pay attention, I often found myself entering in the URLs of Youtube and Reddit. The worst was on the second day where I actually went to YT and watched 3 minutes of a 7 minute video about something I can’t even remember (which goes to show how pointless it probably was)

I started reading the Japanese vn あくまで、これは~の物語 aka Korehano. I ended up buying it last year after finishing and enjoying the developer’s other title シンソウノイズ ~受信探偵の事件簿~ aka Shinsou Noise. My main reason, apart from the fact it’s from the same developer, was due to some offhand comment I saw about Korehano never getting localized for “reasons” (but the commenter never specifying what reasons those were)

I thought I was potentially in for a hidden gem. Warning: I’m going to spoil a bit of the beginning before the OP:

Essentially someone who is supposed to be dead starts contacting the main characters. This all leads up to a scene where one of the main heroines dies by throwing herself in front of a train. The OP plays and it’s a banger

After this though, the game quickly dives into mediocrity. The biggest issue being how it’s structured. In order to unlock more of the story, you often have to sit through these bite sized chunks that switch between 3-4 separate storylines. Two of which aren’t very suspenseful in the least (more slice of life, but not the good kind) The other two being more interesting but never offering you more than a taste of a story (that will often abruptly end in a stupid way when it forces you to play a different chunk)

If that weren’t bad enough, the DRM is a bit annoying. If you try playing this cracked, you’ll find that after 6 endings you can’t progress anymore. That’s because whatever flags completion and unlocks the next set of endings is absent from the cracked version. At which point your only options are to either load it into a non-cracked version and skip through one of the routes again (like I did) or find some kind of save.

Much as I’m not really enjoying it, I will probably finish it at this point. I am already about 19 out of 25 endings completed. Plus considering I bought it, I feel like it’d be good to finish it. Hoping to knock it out before this weekend so I can start on a fresh VN at somewhat during week 2. Though I have no idea what I will start.

One thing I might have mentioned before, although I’m not sure to what extent, is I’ve been working on getting rid of crap. More specifically, I’ve been selling a lot of stuff I don’t think I’ll ever get around to doing. Mainly a lot of manga and a good number of figures that I have grown tired with.

I’ve been selling through eBay, and the experience has been mixed. On the one hand, there hasn’t been too many things that haven’t sold due to me selling them for much cheaper than anyone else (and a pretty sizeable loss from what I got them for) and for selling somewhat desirable items. On the other dealing with some of the people and multiple days of mailing out 10+ packages real took a toll on me.

I wont complain about it here too much as I don’t think that helps anything. On the positive side though, selling has not only helped me declutter my life, it’s also helped with paying some debts and getting me a few things that I’ve been wanting for a while.

I essentially bought myself three big purchases for my birthday this year. A new chair, an e-bike, and a new OLED TV.

For a chair, I went with a refurbished Herman Miller Embody chair off eBay. I haven’t had the greatest luck with chairs, or even the greatest luck with refurbished Herman Miller chairs (got an Aeron several years ago I didn’t like) However, I wanted a good desk chair that didn’t come apart on me or get uncomfortable and apart from the Aeron, the Embody was the only chair I would see people mention as the premium of the premium.

My initial impressions were that it wasn’t especially great, but having used it for a couple weeks now, I’m not disliking it. While I think it could be more comfortable, I imagine there’s a point where comfort starts to sacrifice other areas. Thinking about it that way, I’m willing to settle with it.

For the e-bike, I picked up an Lectric XP 3.0. I tried to do my due research, but honestly e-bike shit is really tainted with a lot of different opinions. I had seen Lectric before and they offered a price that seemed cheaper than the rest, so during one of the warm days of April I decided to place an order.

It took me a bit to figure out how to use it. Came with absolutely no instructions and I had to watch several YT videos to figure out what I was doing wrong at parts. However, after that was done, I ended up having a fairly smooth experience with it. It’s been great to get out and ride again (I’ve missed having a bike) and the e-bike features are great for not worrying about whether I’m going to be able to make it back on my own power. The only issue so far is that the number of good days to ride have been few with there being a lot of rainy and overcast days.

For the tv, I went with another 55 inch but upgraded to OLED. I’d been wanting an OLED display for a while, but have been reluctant to jump due to price. However, with wanting to watch more stuff, I ended up deciding it would be a good investment.

I can’t actually give my impressions on the TV right now because I haven’t gotten it yet. I ended up ordering from a retailer I had never even heard of called Electronic Express (they’re based in the south US i guess) and they ship with some weird shipping service that didn’t provide tracking and were supposed to call me to schedule a delivery. When that didn’t happen, I called them to find they had given it to another delivery company and am now waiting to see if I hear from them before I call them. Hopefully it wont be too much longer, though my patience is wearing thin

Speaking of TVs, another thing I’ve been doing is working on my TV setup. You see, my room is small, and with how things were arranged the only place I had to put it was the wall on my opposite side of my bed. The issue with this is while it provided a good movie/anime watching distance, it was rather suboptimal for any kind of gaming due to the writing being too hard to read. I’ve wanted a way to bring my TV closer to the bed, and with the purchase of my new OLED, I decided I should probably figure out a way how to do that.

I thought I had found one solution in a ceiling TV mount I found. It was motorized and would allow the TV to fold up against the ceiling when not in use. I ordered it and even learned how to use a buzz saw to put together a decent place to mount it. The problem was that once I got it up, I found that the angle of the TV was a bit too sharp.

I cut the board that the tv is partially drilled into as well as did all the drilling and mounting

It’s still up on the ceiling and I find I can watch it comfortably if I lie back. However, lying back is not always optimal as it makes you sleepy, and sitting up I end up straining my neck to see it right. Thus unfortunately, I’ve come to the conclusion I’ll have to find something else.

I think I have a better, cheaper, solution coming at the end of this week. I’ll have to see and give you all an update then. Hopefully I’ll also be able to update you on my OLED TV then too. Fingers crossed.

Got my car battery replaced on Friday. This has been somewhat long overdue as my car has been having frequent issues of dying after a few days of unuse. I only just got to it now because I want to get out more again and I have financial freedom to take care of it. I also got my oil changed with it. Hopefully this means my car is good for at least this next year.

I want to say that I’ll probably get a different one when I turn 40, but I’m not entirely sure what my plans are going to be yet. If I did, I’d definitely like to get something that’s a little more built to handle the rough Wisconsin weather. It’d also be nice if I could find something decent in electric hybrids at that point, but I’m not sure where we’ll be with those (Or where I’ll be even) I’d also love something with more leg room and built in rear cameras/parking assistance

What else to mention? I guess in other media I’ve been finishing up Mob Psycho season 3 (on episode 10 right now) and I finally watched the Made in Abyss movie so I can finally start up season 2 (on episode 5 currently) I’ve also been somewhat watching the original Gundam anime (don’t ask why) and I might be rewatching season 1 of Mushoku Tensei (just so I can catch up to the new stuff) I have some things I could say about all of those things, but I woke up both 2 and 7 am today and I’m not feeling the most thrilled about writing much more today. Maybe next week I’ll get more into it with other things.

See you all on the 15 (the day after my birthday) 🙂

The Commitment

Over the years, I’ve talked fairly extensively on here (and with other people) about my future plans. All those times, I’d offer several different options I was thinking about, and I would make assurances that I would figure it out soon. Except I never did, and the years went on like this. Empty promises driven by a lack of motivation, a lack of confidence, and honestly a deeply ingrained sense of entitlement and laziness.

I was a bit of a narcissist, I’ve realized. I’ve always considered myself to be special. Not quite in the sense that I had a huge ego or absolutely loved myself. Actually much the opposite. I saw myself as incapable. Someone that needed and deserved help. I saw the misfortune in my life as being directly targeted at me, and I believed I deserved something better. Only ever putting in effort at the moments where it became necessary for me to do so.

It’s something that’s somewhat hard to admit openly despite having an idea of it for some time. Narcissists, after all, are commonly seen as assholes that only care about themselves. That’s not who I am or who I want to be. I didn’t want to admit to it out of fear of what others would think, but most of all, it was out of fear of what I would become if I admitted it.

Therapists in the past have told me that I’m too hard on myself. I think a lot of the reason for that comes from trying hard to deny or avoid negative thoughts rather than doing something about them. A lot of reason comes from me not letting go of the idea of “I’m different from everyone” and falling into an endless spiral of helplessness. Thus instead of a negative thought coming up once or twice, it would come up multiple times and increase in magnitude rather than be processed with in a healthy way.

What finally got me to admit this was reading the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson. I mentioned it in my previous post, but I got a free trial to Kindle Unlimited for my impulse buy of a Kindle Scribe (probably one of my better impulse buys) and I started reading it mostly to test out the device. I liked the first couple pages that I ended up reading the rest of the book and the sequel book Everything Is F*cked: A Book About Hope too.

While I’d love to talk about all the things these two books talked about, I’m not confident I could distill them in a way that did it justice (I’m even thinking about reading them again in a couple months) I’ll just limit it to some of the observations I had while reading.

The first book isn’t as crass as it might seem, although it’s still somewhat crass. At first the idea of “not giving a fuck” probably brings up an image of being apathetic, but the book explains it more as fucks being a limited resource. There’s only so much emotional energy you have for things, and when you spread yourself thin is where you start giving priority to things that don’t matter and stop giving priority to things that don’t.

The book cuts a bit deep to inform you you’re not special, but then nobody else is either. It makes a strong argument that seeing yourself as special or trying to limit pain is what’s actually making you miserable in the long run.

If I could put it into simple words, the book isn’t there to build you up or cut you down, it’s there to cut away the delusions (positive and negative) to give you an accurate picture of what you are.

The second book goes more into explaining why we end up like that. It talks about two sides of the brain, emotional and thinking, and how a lot of problems stem from the thinking brain not getting through effectively to the emotional brain (Partly because we think it’s the thinking brain that’s driving our actions, when it’s always the emotional)

Like I said, I can’t do it justice. Not until I at least read it again. All you need to know right now though is that both books have contributed a great deal to the stuff I’ll be doing from here on out. Which is primarily what I’ve come to this post to tell you about.

A good number of my current problems revolve around my usage of the internet. I spent way too much time on it as a kid, and even now, with that become somewhat normalized given smart devices, I give it too much of my attention. If I’m not checking Twitter, my email, Discord, reddit, shopping sites, etc, I’m either sleeping, pooping, or the internet has gone out.

If you’ve followed my past updates, you know that I’ve recognized this for a while now. You’ll also know that I’ve made several plans before to limit or even stop my usage of my internet. And, even if I didn’t tell you the results of those plans, you could probably gather those have always eventually failed.

I tried to justify it by saying that it’s hard when the modern world expects us to be connected. I tried to justify it with my loneliness. Though what it really was was just me trying to find a distraction from other things. It was my thinking brain letting my emotional brain indulge in fluff instead of more difficult tasks. It was preferring the instant gratification to the delayed.

Even as I write this post, I feel myself clicking over to gmail or Twitter or Youtube. I know it’s just making this longer to complete. I know that what I find over there isn’t going to be worth it. Yet to convince the impulsive part of my brain is a fruitless effort, and to try and force it through sheer willpower only gets me so far.

What’s the answer then? Sadly, I don’t think there is a simple one. I think it’s going to take both trying to convince my emotional brain as well as exhibiting pure willpower. I think it’s going to require me taking on new priorities and focusing more on them. I think it’s going to require changes to myself unlike any I’ve ever had before. I think it’s going to take more than a simple promise. I think it’s going to take a true commitment.

Much as I don’t want to think about the future or avoid choosing a path, I think that’s a big part of what is ultimately reinforcing these bad habits. I’ve said before, albeit somewhat flippantly, that I’d figure things out when I turn 40 (for reasons I’m not comfortable publicly sharing) Though I realize without working up to it, I’m not going to be ready when I hit 40 unless I do anything. I’m not going to be ready unless I make a true commitment.

You can probably see where I’m going with this. I’m basically writing this post now to say “It’s time to make a commitment.

For a period of three months, starting in May and ending in August, I’m going to be deleting my social media accounts and keeping off the computer as much as possible. Only in cases where I’m reading a Japanese visual novel (part of my method of learning Japanese) or doing Wanikani reviews shall I be on it. I will still check email and take care of certain financial obligations via tablet, although I also will stop myself from buying anything new I stumble across. I will also use tablet sometimes to look up guides for games I’m stuck with.

I don’t want to leave anyone with the impression that all I’ll be doing is playing vns and games though. I’ve got a few Japanese textbooks and I’m going to be sitting down with them more seriously to do studying. My hope is that by the end of three months I will have worked through most and acquired quite a lot of skill via my studies via vns (I’m also hoping to do some listening practice too)

I’ve got a few things I’d like to try. I’ve got some art materials, and some guides, and I’m thinking of possible starting to draw a little everyday. Do it for three months and see where I get to by the end of it. I also have perler beads, which I want to start learning how to do.

Another thing, that I’ve been in the process of doing, is I want to sell more of my material possessions so that I’m down to what I absolutely can’t stand to be rid of It’s been taking a while, but I intend to keep doing it (The extra money plus not having so much crap is nice) This has had the added effect of me helping around my house a bit more

I also got a new electric bike about a week ago. I haven’t had much chances to ride (due to tripping over the family dog and taking a nasty fall a couple days ago) but I hope to get out and ride on the beautiful days. Anything that gets me out of the house.

I also hope to visit friends more frequently. I want to rekindle some our relationship and let them know they’re important to me.

I do realize that a lot of this sounds like stuff I’ve said before. Let me make a more definitive commitment. I’ll be required to keep a journal logging what I do. This contents of which will be transcribed each week and posted on here starting Wed May 8th.

My hope is that by forcing myself to write it each day, I’ll be more inclined to make sure I do something, and less inclined to faff about like I often do. If I don’t, I want whoever’s out there reading this to feel free to ride my ass about it. Because I want this to be a commitment that sticks

By the end of these three months I intend to have an answer of what the next step will be. Keep tuned for my next update on May 8th

Hey, it’s been a while.

To update on the therapy situation from my last post, I decided not to see anyone. More accurately, I couldn’t really come to a decision, and I opted for the classic “do nothing” approach. Not the best approach, I know, but honestly, it’s not something I think I could ever come to a clear decision on simply by thinking about it. Plus, it’s not as though I’m locking myself out from doing it forever. If it turns out that I did better with it, I’ll consider pursuing it again.

Not exactly therapy but something tangentially related, I started reading the Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson last night. Yesterday I had just bought a new Kindle Scribe (which I got 100 bucks off for trading in some old Kindles) and I wanted to test out the free Kindle Unlimited Trial. Initially, I wasn’t planning to read it for serious, but that thing really sucked me in. Considering I got 30% into it in one night, it’s probably a safe bet to say I’ll read it all.

The idea of the book is basically there’s limited things to put your energy towards and that you shouldn’t get caught up giving “fucks” about things that aren’t moving your life forward in some way. Essentially things therapy was starting to make me feel, but distilled into a much more crass/humorous solution. Highly recommend others to read, though ideally for free if you can 😉

Speaking of things I shouldn’t give a fuck about, let me talk about FF7: Rebirth. Despite starting the game on February 29th and playing it pretty extensively every day, I didn’t end up finishing it until the 14. 100 some hours of playing, and even then I wasn’t “done” with it for another 16 days while I attempted to do every bit of content that I missed or that was added by the game. Until today where I sit with one fight left to get platinum, but I’ve lost a lot of the patience I had to engage with it.

First, I should clarify that I loved Rebirth. The main characters depictions in Remake and Rebirth are SO much better than the original games. It’s not even up to debate. While I love the OG a lot (enough to play through it once every couple years) I can’t deny that my original time through the game, a lot of my love of things were more superficial/from me just being in love with other things and just overlooking them/I don’t know what you’d call it.

Let me explain it more by providing some insight into 12-13 year old Mae’s mind. My three favorite characters back then were Cloud, Yuffie, and Vincent. Cloud because he was the main character and I always found myself inserting into MC’s (regardless of whether we were similar or not) and the other two because they were “secret” characters. Thus they were better than the non-secret because why would a secret character not be overpowered?

I’m not saying all my attachment to these characters was entirely superficial, but a lot of it definitely was. What teenage boy didn’t also like Tifa for her dramatically oversized ti-assets or Barret for the amount he acted like Mr. T and swore a lot? It was kind of shocking that when I distilled the characters down to their key assets and moments, that there was a lot less there than I thought there was.

It made me appreciate Remake that much more because it made them feel much more real and important to me. They weren’t just caricatures with moments, they felt like real people that I knew and loved.

Some people criticize a lot of the new characters that have been added to the games, and while I don’t necessarily find them as good as the old characters, I have to acknowledge that it’s a lot harder for an new character to stand on the same stage as an OG character they already have established and only need to define further. That’s not to say they couldn’t do better with them, but I don’t think OG players would ever be as interested in them as they were the main cast, sadly.

Anyway, back to Rebirth. It’s much better than Remake in just about everyway. I don’t fault Remake for being Midgar only, given the amount they spent on making the OG Avalanche into loveable characters. However, I do fault it for Midgar being as small as it was. For something that’s supposed to be expanded, I still felt like Midgar was pretty small in comparison to how big it’s meant to be. I wanted to explore sectors that were never part of the original. I wanted to see a Midgar on the scale of at least a quarter of what Rebirth’s open world did.

I would even go as far to call Rebirth as good or better than the original. That’s how much it manages to nail and improve things. Music, characters, and a lot of the story beats are just way more enjoyable and really struck a chord with me.

It’s not, however, a perfect game. Nothing ever is. I think there’s a few scenes like Red finding out the truth about his father, or Cloud taking part in the play at the Gold Saucer, where I feel like it didn’t translate well from the original. Gongaga also felt weird, even if I can appreciate them wanting to expand it some.

My biggest criticisms come in the form of Zack and the extra content.

Zack content is given to you at the very beginning of the game, and it makes you think it’s going to be a bigger thing than it actually is. Hell they even let you fight as him. Yet, it’s like 6 chapters before you see him again, and after that the sections are mostly just 5 minute series of cutscenes. I understand they want to clue us in on the multiple worlds thing, but I feel like it could have been done more similar to the last game if this was as far as they were willing to go for him.

The extra content, some people will say, is something you shouldn’t consider when evaluating a game. Given that it’s optional and no one needs to do it. Yet, I find myself being unable to agree with that. I think optional content when not done well can totally be a detriment to the game overall.

A somewhat unfair example would be something like the recent Zelda games. They’re designed in such a way where you can go off and beat the game pretty early. In such cases, you might call like 80-90% of the game optional. Yet, I don’t think anyone reasonable would argue that you can’t judge them based on that content.

Again, I know it’s an unfair example. The optional content in Rebirth is primarily minigames and optional fights that only people looking to 100% need to care about. It’s on a different scale than the type of game Zelda is. I bring it up though because regardless if something is technically optional, it will still affect people’s overall enjoyment.

I’m one of those types who, when they love a game, tends to want to experience every bit of it. Something I’m starting to realize probably isn’t worth it for most. In Rebirth there’s an obscene amount of it (mostly in the form of mini-games) and part of me feels like if I don’t do it all, that the game isn’t complete for me. I haven’t exhausted everything that it has to offer me.

This extra content can be good at first, but obviously the more time that it takes, the more it starts to become a drag. I could and should cut my losses and move on, but even if I did, I wouldn’t be able to somehow disregard that content. It would forever stick out like a sore point about that title. I would say “FF7 Rebirth was great, but that side content really dragged it down” Something I might initially say if I completed it all, but might be more willing to soften up on as time goes by

In other words, failures stick in your mind. Success often makes you forget, or at least tolerate, a lot of the hardships that got you there. I’d rather leave Rebirth, a game I love, as a success, than feeling it as a game I failed to conquer.

And yes, you can argue that maybe I need to change how I look at this. If I could convince myself it’s not worth giving a fuck about, then it wouldn’t stand out as a failure. And maybe I should do that. Though not giving a fuck in itself does require a lot more work than how it sounds.

Anyway, those are some of my thoughts on Rebirth. Initially, I had planned to write up a long dedicated post for it, but I think I’ve come to the conclusion that writing that kind of stuff just isn’t my thing. If I had more readers, or I was discussing it verbally with someone it might be a different matter, but as it stands, I’m not a professional reviewer and have no real desire to be. Thus I’m going to stop giving a fuck about making sure each and every thought I have is expressed in detail on here.

In other news, remember when I talked about sorting out issues with my stomach? Well, that turned out not to be true. Despite following most of the same regimen, I’ve unfortunately been having a lot of the same issues as before (sometimes worse) I’ve also been having some serious bouts of neuropathy (and by serious I mean interfering with sleep some nights that I don’t get any)

I went to see my doctor about it, but she didn’t seem overly concerned about any of what I told her. Though I did get her to send me a referral to a neurologist (that I see in July) So that’s something I guess. Also my symptoms seem to be not as bad lately (minus the day before yesterday when I couldn’t sleep the entire day) So I’m a bit more optimistic that I’m not dying at least

I spent a lot of money recently. I’ve been interested before into getting into perling/fuse beads because of all the people I see making gaming/anime stuff with it, and I decided to get myself a kit of stuff to get started. I also bought a coloring book and some crayons out of a desire to do some coloring again (I guess I’m in a real artsy fartsy mood) I’ve also been collecting some games and plushes I probably don’t need, but fuck it.

That’s all I’ve got to say for now. If I had to guess, I’ll probably post again sometime in April or in May around my birthday.