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Messages - Griffith

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Movies, TV, Books & Music / Re: Movies you've recently watched
« on: March 20, 2018, 04:42:31 AM »
I haven't seen Homecoming or Guardians of the Galaxy 2. My current plan is to watch 3 MCU films per week leading up to Infinity War. So those first 2 weeks? Pretty fun. Next 2 weeks? Not so fun. Last 3 weeks? Very unfun  :rickert:

Oh, I forgot about Guardians 2, which I enjoyed, but hasn't stuck with me and isn't groundbreaking or anything. Anyway, I don't know that it'll be that bad, I broke it up and the distribution of fun, not so fun, and very unfun is pretty balanced:

Iron Man - Fun
The Incredible Hulk - Not So Fun
Iron Man 2 - Very Unfun

Thor - Not So Fun
Captain America: The First Avenger - Fun
Marvel's The Avengers - Fun

Iron Man 3 - Very Unfun
Thor: The Dark World - Very Unfun
Captain America: The Winter Soldier - Fun

Guardians of the Galaxy - Fun
Avengers: Age of Ultron - Not So Fun
Ant-Man - Fun

Captain America: Civil War - Fun
Doctor Strange - ???
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - Fun

Spider-Man: Homecoming - Fun
Thor: Ragnarok - Not So Fun (but really, fun is kinda exactly what it is =)
Black Panther - ???

Upon further consideration this is a difficult rating system because even the less ambitious ones like Ant-Man are "fun" if nothing else. Well, except the Thor and Iron Man sequels.

I agree with the Marvel/Superhero fatigue being expressed here, it'll take a lot more for most Marvel movies now to impress me compared to the first phase since the formality of it all is really starting to make viewing each new film a repetitive experience, I do however disagree with you Griffith on Spider-man Homecoming, I think its one of the best Marvel movies in years (up there with Iron Man, the Avengers, Winter Soldier and GotG 1 imo) and debatably the best Spidey film yet since it felt the most true to his character (I'd have it tied with Spider-man 2, with Spider-man 1 being 2nd/3rd best and Spider-man 3, Amazing and Amazing 2 being all crap).

Objectively, it's probably up there with Spidey 1, but that movie basically invented the modern Marvel movie and this is doing it for the umpteenth time, it's preceisely that fatigue you spoke of that underwhelmed me. Actually, it felt like a movie with no ambitions other than to showcase Spider-Man the character. It's just sort of hanging out with him for two hours, which is cool in its own way, but doesn't make for great drama. It also hurts that almost every set piece was reminiscent of one I've seen from all the other Spidey movies! Actually, what set it apart was him fucking up and falling and shit. That was good and would have added realism if the animation were a bit more convincing than Raimi's from over a decade ago.

Anyway, my updated Spidey-Ranks:

Spider-Man 2 - Best standalone Spidey movie and among the greats of the genre, and doesn't address web fluid/shooters at all so technically comic accurate in a vacuum. =)
Spider-Man - Was an amazing leap forward and great in its time. Pretty much laid the groundwork for ALL of this. Edit out Macy Gray for a web-shooter scene in the suit montage and it's perfect!
Spider-Man: Homecoming - Sort of combines the strengths of both the Raimi and Webb movies in an even spunkier package, but is also highly derivative and not very ambitious.
The Amazing Spider-Man - A different take on Spidey, more grounded, more hip, less fun, but has some strengths and heart.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - Uh, Spidey's suit looks accurate, but the CGI was a bit weightless and the rest was even worse.
Spider-Man 3 - The infamous and still worst, yet I think it's still the highest grossing Spidey (give Raimi another chance =)! Cut out the symbiote and Venom stuff Raimi didn't want to do and it's probably ok.

In the Sam Raimi movies they nailed the nerdy aspect to his character but overall Peter himself was too much of a doofus, they express that he's a genius but its never really explicitly shown, in Amazing they did a better job at portraying Spider-man's smartass attitude

I mean, I feel like the semi-loud case against Maguire's Peter as off is pretty overstated and contradictory. He's plenty a smartass with the quips and like you said, if anything, they go overboard on how smart he is. Also, "his genius not being shown" is simply coded language for "organic web-shooters." =) Anyway, more importantly they did a good job creating a sympathetic and relatable cinematic interpretation of Parker that could carry a movie or three for the audience, which nobody has pulled off since. If Parker is supposed to be the kid reading the comic, Raimi/Maguire's version was certainly enough like the people watching the movies that it worked big time.

In contrast, Homecoming shows a Peter whose an anxious teenager, has strong convictions (I loved the short montage scene where he does lil mundane things like save cats from trees and help old ladies across the street, demonstrates perfectly how he's the "friendly neighbourhood" Spider-man), struggles with his inexperience as a hero and every day school boy, his intellect is undermined by his dependence on Tony but I'd still say it balances the genius/doofus side to his character better than past iterations.

Garfield's didn't leave much impression and Holland's is on point, especially in Civil War, but we'll see if it amounts to anything besides him acting like a flustered Peter all the time because it was almost a bit much in Homecoming (I'm sure he'll become more badass as the character ages, and they have a real opportunity to develop him like no other). But right now I'm not getting the same strong sense of identity, for better or worse, that Maguire's certainly had.

Michael Keaton's Vulture was also one of the best MCU villains to date (not that that's saying much but still) and up there with Doc Ock as far as on screen Spidey villains go.

I thought Keaton was good, but under-written/utilized. Despite the obvious cheese factor, Dafoe's Goblin is the only big screen Spidey villain that really measured up as a memorable adversary. He actually seemed like a real threat simply because he was actually threatening him and provided a real foil for Peter and Spider-Man. Doc Ock did that for Peter, but his cheesiness in the fights kind of clashed with that, whereas Dafoe was leaning into it so hard it worked. :ganishka:

I have my issues with it like Iron Man being the key motivator for him to get out of the rubble rather than a memory of Uncle Ben or something (I wish Uncle Ben had more of a presence in the movie but don't get me wrong, I don't want nor expect another redoing of the origin, simply hearing Ben's voice in Peter's inner monologue rather than Tony would've been enough for me, Peter's infatuation with Tony undermines Ben too much in my eyes who should still serve a minor role in the MCU's first Spidey movie)

If I may switch sides for a moment, my defense of that is this isn't supposed to be some perfect ideal iteration of Spider-Man (ahem, Spider-Man 2), but a working version that fits perfectly into and "lives in" the MCU, so he doesn't have to be all uncle Ben/"responsibility," because we all already know that, but he does need to have a relationship with Iron Man, etc.

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 355
« on: March 20, 2018, 03:27:40 AM »
I enjoy these Berserk art deep dives, and am partial to the Conviction and latter Millennium Falcon Arcs art styles myself (early MF is good too, but a transition), so much so I checked out the Berserk reddit thread on the subject (like the first time I've read it besides Wally's posts =), saw that 'shop, and I'm no one to criticize monkeying with Miura's work for fun, but I think essentially clone stamping Casca's, er "Elaine's," pre-awakening face on is missing the point that Miura is apparently attempting to convey a much more dramatic difference here by alluding to what almost seems like a modern interpretation of her physical appearance from the Golden Age (not a bad choice for a new beginning). One can't know for sure until we see more of her, but so far that's two out of two depictions heavily giving off that vibe. Whether it's for the effect of her return or a permanent change (and Griffith had similar permutations before settling into a consistent model, which I think we'll see evolve here too over time) it's clearly intentional and, ya know, the artistry in the artwork and what makes it "alive" rather than just a copy/paste job of her most recent character model. If people want to interpret it literally, think of how different one can look depending on their mood and expression (think Daniel Day Lewis =). Casca's essentially been a different person for years, it actually makes a lot of sense she would look like a different one now.

Movies, TV, Books & Music / Re: Movies you've recently watched
« on: March 19, 2018, 05:32:50 PM »
Then again, I've had Marvel fatigue since Age of Ultron. I did really enjoy Black Panther, and Infinity War looks like it may actually have some teeth.

I think the last one I liked or was impressed by was Civil War, which sort of felt like the darker, more introspective Avengers sequel AoU failed to be. I haven't seen Panther yet, probably won't see Doctor Strange, and just saw Spider-Man: Homecoming this weekend, which was similarly underwhelming given its reputation. I mean, it was fine, but low stakes, casual, and by the numbers Marvel at this point (almost like a sitcom), and probably the third or fourth best Spider-Man movie I've seen (fifth counting Civil War =). Basically, for all the "Marvel homecoming" hype, and the promise the character showed in Civil War, the movie did little to distinguish itself from those that came before it.

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 355
« on: March 19, 2018, 03:36:42 PM »
Well, that's definitely interesting and pretty cool that we're getting right to it! Also, I'm amazed how different Casca looks now, it could just be the liveliness of her eyes but it makes her whole face look different. Also, Casca's first words in about two decades(!) and yet the lamest stuff pleases me: We can now semi-officially retroactively refer to Casca's broken phase as the "Elaine Era." Nice and clean. :ganishka:

Movies, TV, Books & Music / Re: Albums for Desert Island
« on: March 18, 2018, 03:53:31 AM »
I want to propose a variation on this theme:

If you could only listen to the music of one artist, all collaborative and solo work included, who would you choose?*

You could simply pick your favorite, or one that's eclectic and prolific so you still get a lot of variety to choose from, or even more to that extreme you could pick somebody, maybe even a relative studio unknown, that worked with everybody over a long period of time, like a human random playlist.

My pick: Frank Zappa.

*They have to write or perform on the music, so you can't just pick Quincy Jones or something. =)

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 354
« on: March 17, 2018, 04:47:43 AM »
I don't think Miura would be foolish enough to further delay the biggest moment of the series to date, one we've literally waited over a decade for, the most anticipated event since the eclipse and what will be so satisfying for many of us after all these years to finally see the coronation. Maybe we could see Casca's reaction or something.

Video Games / Re: Games to look forward to!
« on: March 07, 2018, 06:25:44 PM »
Obviously this game is a stay away, but in that vein ("we played it so you don't have to"), this review is a must-read for Metal Gear fans:

Let’s not beat around the bush: Metal Gear Survive is the story of a loyal soldier left behind by their boss and tossed into a hellscape of reused Phantom Pain assets where they must build some type of meaningful existence out of the accumulated debris.
"Why are we still here? Just to suffer?"
Metal Gear Survive comes off as a cry for help. Its team is comprised of series veterans as well as key artists and designers from other abandoned Konami franchises. The game’s distinctive zombies were created by Silent Hill creature designer Masahiro Ito, famed for his design of the iconic Pyramid Head. Ito’s designs feel wasted in Metal Gear Survive. Producer Yuji Korekado has worked on the series since Metal Gear Solid and pushed back against Kojima during the production of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. An easter egg in the game seemingly refers to him as “Cunning Yuji.” Metal Gear Survive feels fractured, a product of disparate minds forced to cobble together a Metal Gear game that will capture players in an unceasing spiral of grinding and toil. It is a torture device that not even Hieronymus Bosch could have conceived of.
As angry as this game may make Metal Gear fans, the game itself seems even angrier. This is illustrated by how Survive uses a key piece of series iconography: the Metal Gear. Throughout the series, Metal Gear units fulfill a variety of narrative and thematic functions. Metal Gear Solid, the third game in the series, introduced Metal Gear REX, a walking battle tank that used a railgun to launch undetectable nukes. Much as the move to PlayStation marked the series’ transition into the “solid” realm of 3D, REX marked a paradigm shift within Metal Gear’s world fiction where weapons and technology supplant flesh and blood soldiers. Metal Gear Solid 2’s Metal Gear RAY was designed to destroying derivative Metal Gear units based on Metal Gear REX. That game was all about deconstructing Metal Gear Solid, and RAY was a manifestation of that destructive, subversive impulse. Metal Gear units are always more than just giant mechs—they are symbols intimately tied to each game’s thematic goals.

In Metal Gear Survive, the only Metal Gear the player encounters is the ruined corpse of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain’s Metal Gear Sahelanthropus. The flagship mech of Kojima’s final directorial hurrah is broken and gathering dust. It is the job of the player, the job of one of the remaining Mother Base soldiers, to revive Sahelanthropus for a climactic battle against the Lord of Dust, the massive nano-tech giant controlling the game’s zombies. Through reviving one of the last remnants of Kojima’s final stand, loyal players annihilate an icon of mindless consumption hell bent on ruining the Metal Gear universe. Survive’s endgame has been devoted to preventing the Lord of Dust from carrying out a perpetual cycle that destroys everything the player has ever known. When the player takes aim using Sahelanthropus’ restored rail cannon, the Lord of Dust’s weak point might as well be a glowing Konami logo.


Couldn't they have just released Mission 51 instead, or put it in here as a throw in? I'd have much rather and more likely paid for that. I guess that's what was really meant by "the phantom pain."

Movies, TV, Books & Music / Re: Albums for Desert Island
« on: March 07, 2018, 06:07:03 AM »
By the mid-80s, he was arguably already a better guitarist than any of his contemporaries from the Big 4 of thrash metal. And I don't just mean in terms of guitar playing and knowledge of cool techniques, but also in terms of the tone. He had already worked out what kind of amps, pre-amps, pickups and other gear he needed in order to obtain that thick, screaming guitar sound.

I'm a tone agnostic, it's in the ear of the beholder, either in your head or in your hands, but in any case no doubt Dimebag had it and was one of the best. I'd make an all-around case for Mustaine's combination of innovation, writing, rhythm, and soloing, but it's kind of hard to fairly rate anyone, especially a cock like Dave, against a legend that was tragically taken before their time.

I can only wish that the '80s-era Megadeth and Metallica albums had that same crunchy, beefy guitar tones that the Pantera albums from the '80s already had. As much as "Hot and Heavy" sucked musically, that song actual had better production values than, say, "Mechanix" or "Blackened."

Yeah, but you'd rather have the music be good than the production, and the production on Kill, Ride, Master (!), Peace Sells and Rust are just fine, and Justice works as what it is. Rough production can have its charm too, but Metallica in particular flushed themselves down the toilet chasing that ghost ("durr, we're the richest metal band ever, let's sound bad on purpose!"). Spending half your production money on heroin and using it while recording is the way to get that good-bad sound! :ganishka:

Speaking of which, if you haven't already listen to Megadeth's infamous 2004 remasters of Killing is My Business, Peace Sells, and So Far, So Good... So What (but no more after that). I can't say they have great tone, but you asked for better production and it's pretty amazing how much he rehabilitated those tracks that they sound like new albums on par with Rust in Peace in the crazy guitars department, but they still have a bit of that rough, punkier edge. Just listen to the aggressive guitars and vocals come through on the remastered Killing is My Business:

And the aforementioned Mechanix:

It's like an attempted assault through music, and given his feelings about Metallica at the time, it likely was.

If Dimebag joined Megadeth, songs like "Hangar 18" and "Sweating Bullets" would've had way more bluesier guitar solos, played with Dime's distinctly Texan swagger. Not to mention, Mustaine probably would've forced Dimebag to stay slim and trim (did you know that Dime's weight ballooned from the svelte 160 pounds in 1990 to over 270 pounds by 1998?). With all due respect to Nick Menza (RIP), Vinnie Paul was a superior drummer. Dave could've just demoted Nick back to his old drum tech position, and hired Vinnie.

I'm guessing it was more about Nick already being owed drummer money and Dave being too cheap to eat it! Plus, it's not like Marty Friedman was a slouch, and a better fit for Megadeth's style, and of course Pantera is essential as well. So, the more great bands the better and all's well that ended well there. Plus, none of these guys would have been able to get along, particularly with Dave; it's just a chance for him to say, "I almost had the best band EVER... twice!" I bet Dimebag would have enjoyed playing like 11 solos on Hanger 18 though.

While the 'Pantera's fortunes may have skyrocketed in the '90s, during that same decade, Phil's vocals steadily degraded with each consecutive Pantera album. By Far Beyond Driven, Phil's soaring multi-octave singing voice from the Power Metal and Cowboys from Hell was reduced to a raspy, barely comprehensible croak. Lemmy was like twice Phil's age by that point and he had a better voice than Phil. Hell, even Rex Brown criticized him for letting his voice go like that.

Also the not as obvious reason Metallica sucked the last 20 years, because Hetfield's vocals did. Glad he/they figured it out on that Dio medley and the last album.

What did you and Walter think of Kiss Land? Its often forgotten about since its not as good as Trilogy and wasn't as poppy and commercially successful as Beauty Behind The Madness or Starboy but I think its pretty underrated all considering.

I'm with Wally, nothing after Trilogy really grabbed me. It was like that transfixing weirdness got turned down with the improved pop sensibilities and it messed up the recipe for me.

In regards to Megadeth, my thoughts exactly, couldn't have said it better myself. Metallica may very well be the quintessential metal band in the eyes of many and at one point in time, they undeniably were but Megadeth has always appealed to me more for being as you say the pure uncut shit.

Just a normal guy, singing from the point of view of a Polaris nuclear missile blast:

Putting a bow on the last two points, even at Megadeth's pop peak in the 90s, it was still just weird as hell!

Thanks a lot for the thorough review/analysis of Self-Destruct, I can tell you're quite passionate about the subject, metal isn't my go to genre but I respect it a lot as a casual listener so your attention to detail doesn't go unnoticed. I'll give the album a listen, I did like the 3 singles you linked so I'm optimistic despite their last few releases.

Thanks and you're welcome, the first half of the album is strong. If they'd just released that plus Spit out the Bone it might have been less is more and definitely more akin to their 80s oeuvre. Others worth checking out:

Atlas, Rise!
Dream No More (cool vid under the influence) -
ManUnkind (pretty much just for the weird Mayhem themed video) -

This is kind of how I feel too  :troll: I do try to listen to new stuff pretty regularly, but rarely does it actually resonate with me. House of Balloons did though. Shoutout to you though for turning me on to metal and associated music. While I couldn't follow you to Megadeth, I did find a ton of great albums through you, and rediscovered my love of early Metallica (Master of Puppets is my favorite still, easily).

Easily still the best, and they were just coming into their peak form too. As transcendent as that album seemingly is, if Burton didn't die I wonder if they might have churned out two or three more albums in that vein just on inertia (you can still hear them fucking around just enjoying themselves on it, goddamnit). They pretty much put everything they had left into Justice after that.

Oh I know, I just couldn't resist. And FUCK there's a trilogy of these?!?

Yup, there's been one on every other album since The Black Album. They kind of have to do Un4given now, right? :guts:

My parents listened to garbage ( no, this was well before Shirley Manson) when they listened to anything at all, so music wasn't a big part of my life until I was old enough to buy my own CDs.

As a kid I would literally tell my mom "I hate music!" and shut off the radio in the car. I realized later it was because she was putting on KBIG 104 adult contemporary trash where the coolest thing you might hear is Sweet Dreams by the Eurythmics among a bunch of Sting solo stink and the like (at least put on The Police :judo:).

Movies, TV, Books & Music / Re: Albums for Desert Island
« on: March 06, 2018, 05:10:55 AM »
Oh wow, I wouldn't have guessed you for a Weeknd fan Walter, thats cool, Trilogy is definitely his best work so I can agree with that.

I should mention that thanks to Walter turning me on to The Weeknd back when he was releasing the Trilogy albums free I totally scored cool points with my student employees when I could identify his music back in the day before he blew up, "You know the Weeknd, David!?" That's right kids, sometimes I hear stuff that turns out to be cool, now back to very specific yet hugely played out 80's thrash metal for me.

WOW! Has the black album fallen out of favor? Well NOW YOURE UNNNFORGIVVVENNN 222222222222222-

Sorry, just missed the cut, only one album from the 90s allowed and Rust in Peace has it on lock:

And Unnnnforrrrrgiveeeeen Toooooooo is from Reload, smart aleck! Now you're Undforgiven Three... which is sadly real and doesn't even feature the made up word "unforgiven!"

I've mostly been indifferent/impartial towards Metallica over the years but I do like their early releases (so out of their catalogue, I'd agree with the ones you chose) and I love Megadeth.

Oh, Megadeth is the pure, uncut shit. You know, they'll never beat them on the charts or in the public consciousness, but they basically equaled Metallica in the 80's (YMMV), surpassed them for good in the 90's, and it's been no contest at all since the 2000s, and Metallica's my favorite band. Dave Mustaine lost every battle but has secretly won the war.

What did you think of " Self-Destruct"? (Again with the liberal use of ellipsis  :troll:), I haven't listened to it but I've heard mixed things about it, varying from it being much better than most of their recent releases and it being mediocre and non-comparable to their old work.

Twist my arm... the answer is it's both! Not a classic album but a non-embarrassing return to form(s) that kind of covers everything they've done/do. About a third of the tracks are fun thrashy throwbacks, another third meander into mid-tempo mediocrity, and the rest are ok rockers. "Hardwired" is their best straight ahead thrasher since "Dyer's Eve," "Atlas, Rise!" is a "Four Horsemen"/"Master of Puppets" clone, "Now That We're Dead" is basically a wannabe "Enter Sandman," "Moth Into Flame" is probably the album's best and most original, "Dreaming No More" is a super heavy successor to "The Thing That Should Not Be," "Halo on Fire" is very classic rock and maybe the proggiest offering, "Confusion" has some good riffs (the opening is totally Mario 3 airship music =) but is like some weird red state rock and Hetfield sings when he needs screams ("Disposable Heroes" it is NOT), "ManUNkind" is like a Load cut, "Here Comes Revenge" Reload, "Am I Savage?" is like another enjoyable Black Album reject, "Murder One" sucks (sorry Lemmy, they should have played it more like you), and "Spit Out the Bone" is the other standout track and pretty much a microcosm of their career, like a life in the day of Metallica. They're all listenable though because the main difference between this and the their output since the 90s is Hetfield has his voice back on this one and the production isn't fucked up trying some stupid gimmick.

What, no Diamond Head? Without their underground metal classic "Am I Evil?", neither 'deth nor 'tallica would exist today  :femto:

You got a nice list there, and of course I'd take a version of Kill 'Em All with the Garage Days Revisited "Am I Evil?" and "Blitzkrieg" covers on them. :carcus: You didn't include Diamond Head either, but if you're going to have Pantera after they started dressing thrash and acting all hard with Phil you should also include some of their truly authentic 80s discography:

From "Ride my rocket!" to "You ain't got the balls, son!" :ganishka:

Eh, I'm just jealous the same band (well, not quite) that wrote Metal Magic also took Metallica's corner in the 90s while they were doing a bad Corrosion of Conformity impression. Did you know Dave Mustaine almost hired Dimebag to be his guitarist but lost him because Vinnie was part of the deal and he already had Nick Menza under contract? Holy shit!

Anyway, when I crawl out of my 80s cave and listen to something a little more contemporary I like to listen to Dave Davidson's Revocation because... they're just metal, like every kind of metal at once:

Even more impressive as a power trio:

Movies, TV, Books & Music / Re: Albums for Desert Island
« on: March 06, 2018, 03:02:52 AM »
Here's the ten albums I listen to in my car all the time anyway:

1982 Metallica - No Life 'Til Leather
1983 Metallica - Kill 'Em All
1984 Metallica - Ride the Lightning
1985 Megadeth - Killing is My Business... And Business is Good
1986 Metallica - Master of Puppets
1986 Megadeth - Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?
1987 Metallica - Garage Days Re-Revisited
1988 Megadeth - So Far... So Good... So What!
1988 Metallica - And Justice For All...
1990 Megadeth - Rust in Peace

You've probably noticed a pattern here... I love liberal use of the ellipsis. :carcus:

Video Games / Re: What Are You Playing?
« on: March 05, 2018, 05:30:40 PM »
Crash or no, that was never going to end well.  :ganishka: I didn't play it, but I heard a lot of utterly hilarious anecdotal things about it through coverage. Even without the launch bugs, the story is just a fucking mess. Combat is apparently good, but if you can't get invested in the story, then the gravitas of missions is utterly deflated.

Yeah, I was giving it a chance despite all that for old time's sake, dreaming of cruising planets again in the Mako on a much grander scale, and couldn't have been more immediately and decisively disappointed. It would just display a black screen with occasional pixel artifacts flashing, and while I briefly looked for solutions I'd already had it for a while and didn't want to miss the return window while troubleshooting a bad game that was already fighting me in the worst way. Couldn't have lived more down to its reputation!

Video Games / Re: What Are You Playing?
« on: March 05, 2018, 05:10:58 PM »
Maybe I'll check The Breach out as well...

I was going to give Mass Effect: Andromeda a try since I love the trilogy and the price was right, but couldn't even get it to boot up! I made the refund deadline this time and feel more like I dodged a bullet than missed out.

C'est la vie.

Podcast / Re: SkullKast: Episode 93
« on: March 05, 2018, 06:26:28 AM »
Haha, of course, that's why it was such a great moment. =)

I still think it's mostly the visceral nature of this :rickert: than the deeper implications. So good. :guts:

Podcast / Re: SkullKast: Episode 93
« on: March 04, 2018, 03:05:30 AM »
Of course, if we had been recording Berserk podcasts back in 2010, you'd have heard me wishing for Ganishka, in his death throes, to be able to leave a scar on Griffith's face  :ganishka: :griffnotevil: (I still think that would have been cool, but it would have utterly neutered the power of Rickert's moment).
More importantly, it would have gone against one of the key aspects of Ganishka's character: that he was ultimately a pawn, playing his part in a story that went over his head. And that cemented something we astute readers already knew: no apostle, regardless of how strong they are, can hope to defy the God Hand.

This is late to your conversation though better than never, but putting those points together highlights the somewhat amazing fact that humble little Rickert, human and not even branded, was able to do something no Kushan arrow, Bakiraka assassin, rogue Apostle or even Guts himself has been capable of thus far: to strike the heretofore untouchable Griffith. No wonder he had to die. :femto:

Just wait until Guts finds out, "I'll slap him... with THIS!" :guts:

Video Games / Re: What Are You Playing?
« on: March 02, 2018, 10:10:39 PM »
In the days of my childhood I used to play the original Battlefront II on my PlayStation 2 with my younger brother against AI opponents. Those were good days!

Indeed, that was the REAL Battlefront II. I bet that'd be more fun than this one now, though I won't be putting that claim to the test despite owning both. :ganishka:

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 354
« on: March 02, 2018, 09:48:42 PM »
I think Guts will feel bad about his past behavior (he really was an asshole to the child). I've never forgotten the two pages at the end of episode 238 where he thinks about him. I think they're indicative of what's to come.

Yeah, that whole episode was fantastic and he was waxing pretty nostalgic and certainly treating the subject with more thoughtfulness and regard than ever before. When he learns the truth he'll be pissed too; it's like adding injury to insult to injury. I think he'll come around fittingly to the Rob Roy point of view, "It's not the child that needs killing."

There's tons of ways this could go, of course, but to me the real deal down the line will be facing the fact the boy is essentially fused with Femto. That could lead to an impossible choice: should they try to kill Griffith and kill their son in the process? It's easy to see how Guts and Casca could fall on opposite sides of the issue (though I would hope that all would end well eventually).

Well, the mega-convenient feel good option is that they can somehow be separated and/or Griffith destroyed and the child spared, maybe even in the same fell swoop! Hallelujah! As cheap and impossible as that sounds, it actually makes a bit of sense when you think a bit bigger: if the whole Idea/God Hand power structure were to be somehow destroyed or destabilized, perhaps all traces could be removed, leaving behind a relatively human child and de-branded parents (despite the kid oweing its current existence to that power in the first place; yeah, cheating =). That's some mega happy ending stuff though.

Similarly, but more in the bittersweet direction, the boy could live on as some sort of etheral spirit or at least be said to be saved and cleansed of evil ala Anakin Skywalker, or at least better off dead than damned as Griffith's thrall. This would work well with the child somehow rebelling as his vessel  and sacrificing himself to destroy Griffith/save his parents in a bit of a switch.

Or, yeah, they just have to kill their kid to Griffith for the greater good and it'll be as bad as that sounds. I'd be surprised though if there's not going to be some crazy yet hard won magical solution because that's completely consistent with how we got here (magic ceremonies), so it's a fair game solution as well (and we just went through a fantastic ritual to save/restore a character =). It's almost too perfect a motivation for Griffith's destruction, and the effort that would take, to coincide with the child's salvation, as well as our heroes and the world.

Chiming in here from the peanut gallery. I just wanted to say that it's pretty amazing that we're having these conversations now, when it's no longer a distant hypothetical for when these issues will actually be addressed in the story. We really made it!  :ubik:

I had a similar moment replying to Aaz earlier where I had to correct myself talking about Casca's return like it was still coming. She's already back!  :guts: :casca:

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 354
« on: March 02, 2018, 05:54:50 PM »
Yeah pretty much. Like I said, I do expect it to come up at some point, just not to be its own pivotal plot element that will make or break their relationship.

Yeah, and as you pointed out, it already served to break their relationship so that could very well be taken for granted at this point and so we continue from there (they don't need to break it again before mending, just deal with it).

Farnese, future amateur therapist, will work on their couples' counseling and present the findings in a chapter of her upcoming book, Burning the Witch Inside.

And I also think things that are never mentioned, like Guts' reaction to the Demon Child's birth or his subsequent treatment of him, have potential to be big points of contention.

Definitely, and that could very well be two-sided. I still don't think Guts is going to be crazy about the Demon Child re-entering their lives in whatever form that takes. He finally softened on it a bit, but I think it's going to take a while for him to come around on the idea that he has a "legitimate" offspring that may not be a complete monster. Ultimately, I think the idea of taking their son, and their lives, back is what turns things for both of them though.

Video Games / Re: What Are You Playing?
« on: March 02, 2018, 04:52:46 PM »
Star Wars: Battlefront II... and I feel guilty that I even impulse bought it on sale, then tried to return it but missed the deadline. :farnese: Anyway, the gameplay is so simplistic and derivative it's really just for playing with Star Wars skins, but after years of DS, and Nioh the last few months, at least I don't have to worry about being able to progress adequately in the single player campaign on a nightly basis. It's definitively a comfortable, casual experience with some nice visuals, but it's such barebones empty calories I can't believe that EA couldn't pay someone to fucking revive Dark Forces/Jedi Knight or X-Wing/Tie Fighter as their own games, or do something new and interesting (nah!), instead of giving us this vanilla, jack-of-all-trades experience. They own BioWare, right? I bet THEY could make a good Star Wars game! It's kind of insane they haven't capitalized more on this, I guess they figure The Old Republic already checks that box and it'd be, like, work, to make a new good game instead of Star Wars themed Nintendo Land-style mini-games for $60.

Barring that, get back that license Disney and start assigning the good Star Wars gaming franchises to the appropriate developers. How about Dark Forces 2018 ala Doom from Bethesda/Id?  =)

Oh, and because I've learned nothing, can anyone say if Mass Effect: Andromeda is worth it for $10? I could see enjoying it if it brings back the casual planet cruising of the original, but if it's a chore I probably don't have the time for it anyway.

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 354
« on: March 02, 2018, 04:35:31 PM »
Well sure, but let's not forget what Guts & Casca's relationship was like to begin with. For example how she stabbed him with a sword before they first made love, or how he strangled her (then broke down crying) during the act. Like I said, it's not that those scenes are unimportant, but we have to remember who the real Casca was. A warrior who could fend for herself. A military leader who stood up to Guts when it was needed. That's the Casca we're getting back.

And of course, things are very different now, but that's also kind of the point. They both went through the Eclipse, and it has left a trauma that has dwarfed everything else. Guts is still completely haunted by it, and we've already been warned that Casca will be as well. I think everything else will be secondary to that, and to their objectives going forward (i.e. their son). Which is why it seems to me that people who focus too much on those two scenes from volume 23 are missing the big picture.

Good points all, and like I said, while it's not going to ultimately make or break anything I don't think that particular incident is necessarily baked in to the inherent violence of their lives and relationship either. It's also been part of the big picture since it happened, so I sympathize with people extrapolating that forward, because whether it will remain relevant or not is part of the BIG question of what the awakened Casca will actually be like. She'll still have her trauma from the Eclipse, and, if she remembers it, the subsequent hurt that resulted in their relationship cooling since 23, but obviously regaining their history and understanding of circumstances can mitigate that, perhaps fully. I don't know, I feel like you and I are discussing possible points of emphasis on two adjacent shades of gray here. I guess I wouldn't be surprised either way, and you feel more strongly it won't be a big deal. I definitely think it'll be relevant to the conversation with those two, but as you point out, Casca ultimately has much bigger fish to fry.

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 354
« on: March 01, 2018, 10:47:25 PM »
The point I'm making here is that those scenes have already served their purpose. Will they be referenced again? Probably. And it might even be Guts that tells her about it, out of guilt. But will it be a huge, pivotal plot point? I don't think so.

Sorry, #TimesUp, Guts!

The scandal of the accusations will be so great Guts will have to leave the series. Meaning the main character will fittingly become Cas.. GRIFFITH! Who conveniently denies any wrongdoing in the pursuit of his dream(s). :griffnotevil:

Kidding aside,  it would be interesting if she didn't remember and he was put in a position of whether or not to confess it. Maybe HE won't be comfortable with her out of guilt as you said.

Casca has been through much worse, and Guts himself arguably wronged her more when he left her alone for over two years to go hunt down apostles. They also have much more important things to care about. Like their son. Or Femto, the one who ruined their lives.

I agree that there's a lot of over-interpretation of those scenes, much like the Skull Knight's infamous warning about Casca's wishes, and you put their straightforward purpose very succinctly. But I'm still tantalized by their future potential for drama; I think they, along with the aforementioned abandonment, could contribute to a chilly reunion and long reconciliation between them, even if they're naturally relieved and happy to see each other initially (Guts might also have unreasonable expectations now that she's "back").

What really makes those scenes still relevant to me is exactly what you said about Guts not being able to trust even himself in the end. I think that realization can go for Casca too, especially given the nature and cause of her trauma, her re-victimization, and Guts tragically becoming a part of it himself. He was an exception before that, earned her trust as a man and differentiated himself from most others she encountered as a trusty protector, and those attacks, particularly the latter, obviously put him on the other side of the equation and I wonder if the betrayal of that won't carry over a bit in her pain.

In short, the heartbreaking thing about it to me isn't how bad it was relative to Casca's other experiences or whether or not it ultimately changes how they'll feel about each other (I don't think it will), it's that it made Guts "one of them" instead of the one she could trust, which is almost the worst trespass. I kind of hope it's an issue just so they can work it out and have some catharsis.

Video Games / Re: What Are You Playing?
« on: February 26, 2018, 05:43:13 AM »
Both System Shocks are great, they're also remaking the first one in the near future !

Don't be so sure about that, at least the near part:

You should also try the Bioshock games if you haven't already, very recently finished the 3rd installment (Infinite) and it left a void in my life XD

I very much enjoyed Infinite's unapologetically grandiose twists and reveals. It wasn't afraid to be reductive or to go over the top either.

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 354
« on: February 25, 2018, 12:54:40 AM »
I would've been the first to roll up the welcome wagon for our old friend, translator and creator of the board's most popular thread, but why aren't you using your old account, Ranemaka (not that I'm one to talk =)?

Would be cool to have you back though, even for only once in a series occasions, and your write up was lovely. For us old timers, Berserk is a truly unique yet viable way to mark the passage of time in one's life. :ganishka:

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 354
« on: February 23, 2018, 01:50:01 PM »
I don't want to be a Debbie Downer, seeing so many people rejoice at this episode, but I gotta tell you my thoughts, and if it gets a conversation going, that's a good thing, right?


I'd like you to recall the recurring scene in the first Black Swordsman ark, where Puck taps into Guts's mind the first several times. It visibly hurts Puck, or maybe just makes him uncomfortable, but re-read upon re-read I thought to myself: if someone connects to eclipse survivor's mind, it got to be like this but on steroids. The counter-argument I thought of was: well, by the time Puck and Guts meet, Puck is new to Guts's life, all the terrible things he experiences and experienced (that's actually the plot! =) ). But by the time we get to the corridor of dreams, both Farnese and Schierke been through a lot already.

Another pretty big factor is that Puck is an Elf and experiences and empathizes differently and deeply. We can debate how similarly Schierke and Farnese are being exposed to these memories and feelings in the state they're in and how strongly they should react in any case, but this definitely bolsters that Puck's experiences are unique. Another variable is it was Guts' memories/emotions too, and on top of the memory he was already consciously burdened by the trauma and anger that awaits Casca if that makes you feel better, Debbie Downer. =)

Another thing I noticed is, on the last page, when Casca opens her eyes, we see glowy things around, which are spores, and we're back to the "bed of magic mushrooms", to the real world already, this episode! I realize this may be obvious and it's just me not realizing this immediately, but what I'm trying to get at is - this feels rushed.
I liked the pacing of all of the last episodes, basically since group's arrival to elfhelm, because I thought we were rushing to a specific event (events of this episode!). But now this was dealt with so quickly... what's the rush?

Was it? I mean, it has been 20 years. :griffnotevil:

And despite this technically being THE EPISODE we see Casca restored, it's not like this event was all contained in this single episode unto itself rather than the last half dozen, a half volume, in addition to their physical journey and preparation for this on top of, again, 20 years. There was a possibility the dream corridor wouldn't even exist at all anymore once their mission was complete, so that confirmation in Casca's mind transitioning to the waking world was actually a nice touch. What else would you have done? Have Schierke and Casca talk about what just happened more, to talk with some mental representation of Casca? They've already been there and the former is what the real world is for. Also, making that last page of Casca the last of this episode or the first of the next makes no difference in the long run, but it provides a tremendously rewarding throughline and payoff of the completion of the ritual and its immediate real world consequences within the episode itself, and our experience as up-to-date readers, without stepping on the milestones to come such as her addressing the group, and Guts most of all.

Speculation Nation / Re: Casca & The Idea of Evil
« on: February 22, 2018, 10:45:53 PM »
Didn't Guts already slay the Idea of Evil inside the Sea God's belly? :guts:

I'm joking of course, but the point is just because things look similar doesn't mean they are connected, and as Wally said we've seen more design elements of the Idea elsewhere, such as the organic jets on Rosine's fully transformed state, or even Ganishka's armor. So, while I agree with the obvious, though loose (it's not insinuating something deeply connected), thematic visual associations Aaz mentioned, I think Casca's heart looks like a heart because she's literally, to paraphrase, "regaining her heart." If Miura wants to make more of it someday or connect it, and likely many things given Idea's influence in that episode, as a kernal to some reintroduction of the Idea of Evil, that's fine, but I certainly don't think that was the return he wanted us to takeaway from this moment, from an episode he removed no less, "Hey readers, biggest moment yet, and I'd like to take this opportunity to make it about the scene I cut from the story you probably don't even know about!"

Sometimes I think that scene being removed has actually given it more import via a sort of outsized, legendary status. It helps that it's essentially about "god," but on that note, given it was cut, I don't think we should see it everywhere. Idea's canon presence in the story amounts to a two page spread and some cryptic references, hardly some pervasive element that should be at the forefront of our minds, whether episode 83's apocryphal revelations offer us an incredible "behind the scenes" preview into its importance or is in fact misleading at this point.

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