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Topics - Walter

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26
Vagabond / Thoughts on Vagabond's Future
« on: August 13, 2016, 07:57:21 PM »
"What happened to Vagabond?" I asked myself this weekend.

It's been several years since I've followed the series episodically, because I prefer reading Inoue's stories at the consistent pace that a volume allows. I'm also comfortable with waiting for official releases. So, I check in every six months or so to see how much material I've missed, and when I can pick up the next Viz edition. As it turns out, I haven't missed much at all. The last Vagabond release was #327 in May 2015, about 5 chapters into what would be Volume 38. There's been no word since then.

So, I began re-reading a large chunk of it, starting from the point where I felt both Musashi and Inoue lost their momentum: Volume 28 (directly after the Yoshioka battle). How did I feel about the series after all this time? How did I feel about it being seemingly cast adrift, still several volumes from its conclusion?

I've fallen in and out of love with Vagabond over the past several years, and it stems from my feelings about Inoue and his dedication to the story. It's always been a series that sort of lives in my head. I admire not only the fantastic art and characters Inoue creates, but also the philosophical concepts that go beyond the page. Inoue has always nailed those three elements, making them feel larger than the medium itself. He does the same in his other works. But it's Vagabond's story that Inoue seems to have trouble with. The thing that ties those three elements together and pushes them along. And I would guess that the trouble is due in large part to it not necessarily being his story to tell. Musashi's exploits are legendary in Japan, and there have been numerous adaptations and incarnations of the character for more than a hundred years. Inoue has of course made changes along the way, particularly with the characterizations, which now feel entirely like Inoue's creations. But the core remains the same as Yoshikawa's great novel, and that's more true as we edge close to the ending.

That's one weight hanging on the shoulders of Inoue. The other was hinted at during his interview about The Last Story: His anxiousness about bringing a story about a man who's murdered more than a hundred people to a satisfying conclusion. What will Musashi's legacy be? It feels like wrapping up this story has become a burden to him more than a work of love and passion. That sense comes primarily from an implacable feeling after reading the recent volumes numerous times, but also due to Inoue appearing to indicate his intent to wrap things up (The Last Manga exhibition, the Ganryujima cameo, Matahachi talking about the story he's telling), and then expanding the story in a different, lengthy direction instead. There could be a logic here that will make sense when all is said and done, but in the moment, it's hard to judge favorably.

So, with all of those feelings swimming in my head, I read from 28 to 37 this weekend to see if my previous feelings still held up. Like Musashi, I'm capable of changing my opinions of things as I grow with time. So, was it just my impatience getting the better of me? Is Inoue actually a master storyteller who simply took on too many other projects simultaneously? Is the farming sequence really as long and drawn out as it felt before?

Well, I do think I have been a bit impatient. The slowed releases in recent years along with this "adrift" storyline for Musashi weren't a very encouraging pairing, even if there were some great scenes with the farmers (I previously had missed the parallel between Musashi and Shusaku. Shusaku initially refuses to share his higher quality seeds and farming knowledge with others. Musashi refuses to become an instructor, sharing his unique perspective of the sword with others). I do think Inoue can eventually bring the story to a satisfying conclusion, and I also think I now have a sense of what that direction will be. It's just that it's taken him a LOOOOOOOOOONG time (literally 10 volumes) to establish this interim period before Musashi arrives at Kokura, which began after the Yoshioka fight. He needed to demonstrate the pivot Musashi must make in his life, after being haunted by his murderous lifestyle, yet still dedicated to the sword.

The one big thing I feel like I've missed in previous readings are the scenes where Musashi is thinking about the way of the sword without killing someone, and what that might mean to people. He was asked about it in jail, it was alluded to by the sculptor, and Musashi thinks about it again when he's training the women. I believe Inoue is setting up his Musashi to be the man who fundamentally changes the culture around  "the way of the sword" from being about killing people to where it is in Japan's heritage today: the pursuit of perfection without being focused on death. That would be consistent with what he's learned over the years from his various masters. But will it be consistent with how his duel with Kojiro ends...? How will Inoue cross that bridge? If I knew, I'd probably be a lot less interested in reading it :)

So, that's where I landed. Hopeful, despite the extended hiatus. The series is in a promising place, and my re-read helped refresh my sense of Inoue's direction. But boy, it's been a rough few years, guys...

27
Podcast / Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 77
« on: July 25, 2016, 02:04:36 AM »

Episode 77: Great Gurus (Ep. 345) (1h 54m)
We sit down with a bunch of old people to talk about a bunch of old people in Elfhelm for our review of Episode 345, including the secrets of Berserk's ancient world and Guts' value to the future. We even make some time at the end of the show to talk about the new anime with a guest who hasn't yet been exposed to its particular brand of terrible.

Timestamps (thanks to Luizao):

00:00 Introduction

Episode 345

01:45 Initial impressions
04:58 The common room (+Cats & Chess in Berserk)
08:31 The Great Gurus
13:20 Flora compared with other wizards
15:09 Danan
17:46 Guts' impatience
19:58 Elf King and elves in Skellig
24:15 Food panel
27:16 Circular table preamble
31:20 Ged's explanation of the Giant Tree
36:37 Road of Elves/Road of Dragons
43:02 Puck's Beherit and its final purpose
48:14 Forest of Spiritual Trees and the ancient chaos
55:28 Ganishka's transformation
1:01:51 Guts and Griffith's relationship and the world transformation
1:07:16 Falconia and 1000 years ago world
1:12:18 Group reaction to Guts+Griffith connection
1:15:07 Next episode possible Guts' story
1:16:55 Griffith's will
1:20:18 Rickert's theory (Femto=Ideal Griffith)/Griffith's ambition
1:25:56 The God Hand in 346
1:28:09 The pace could lead us to unexpected events

1:32:42 Anime (Pure masochism)

The show's opening track, an "8-bit" remix of Inferno is from YouTube user Storm Blade.

===========================================
Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or by plugging this address
into your favorite podcast app: http://skullknight.net/podcast/rss.xml

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28
Berserk Miscellaneous / New Digital Art Techniques in Berserk
« on: July 23, 2016, 12:27:12 PM »
Miura's art style has been a hot topic since Berserk returned this year in Ep 344. And while I've seen discussion range in various places from "all digital" to "no digital," I'm actually finding it increasingly difficult to maintain the position that he's not using any digital techniques, even with his manga pages. Obviously he showed off his very digital paintings in Vol 38, but how much of that is translating into his pages? I'd say some but I would wager he's still using a traditional pen and ink as a base for these.

The most glaring thing to me was this 2-page spread in Ep 344. Does anything stick out to you in these images? It's those bushes. That's from the official YA scans, and here is the same page from my copy of Vol 38, there's a preview image at the end of Ep 344. No change. Those bushes still stick out from everything else on the page, and they look digitally manipulated to me. We also know that Miura's team of assistants has started using digital screentones to create textures. Traditional screentones have been used since the 90s on clothing, capes, backgrounds and whatnot. But now they're almost certainly digital. The textures on the witches' outfits is where the move to digital is the most prominent.

My assessment, as a non artist, is that those who say he's not using ANY digital techniques don't appear to be correct, but that we also can't say for sure he's using ONLY digital techniques. It looks to me more like he's taking advantage of some digital tools on top of his traditional pen and ink drawings to increase efficiency.

Either way, I'm interested in hearing the opinions of those who can actually recognize the smoking gun of an illustrator software being used, because I don't really see it in the line art itself.

29
Podcast / SPECIAL: Berserk (2016) Anime Impressions - Episode 3
« on: July 15, 2016, 06:42:47 PM »

SPECIAL: Berserk (2016) Anime Impressions - Episode 3 (43m)

We discuss the new scenario written by Miura and how it stacks up alongside all the other problems with this new adaptation.

===========================================
Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or by plugging this address
into your favorite podcast app: http://skullknight.net/podcast/rss.xml

===========================================


30
Podcast / SPECIAL: Berserk (2016) Anime Impressions - Episode2
« on: July 08, 2016, 09:33:38 PM »

SPECIAL: Berserk (2016) Anime Impressions - Episode 2 (34m)

Things go smoother in the second episode of Berserk's latest animated adaptation, but it also gets a bit weird. Hear Walter and Aazealh's impressions of the latest episode and the immediate future.

===========================================
Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or by plugging this address
into your favorite podcast app: http://skullknight.net/podcast/rss.xml

===========================================


31
Anime Asylum / Chat About the Berserk Anime on Discord
« on: July 07, 2016, 06:11:16 PM »
Because our old chat room is long defunct, and everyone wants to chat in real-time about the new anime, I've launched a Discord channel for Berserk discussion.

You can ask either me or Aazealh for an invite by PM and we'll hook you up.

Please register with your SKnet username so we can know who you are. If you already have a Discord account or want to use another name, please post in this thread to say what it is in order to cut down on confusion for everyone involved.

The other cool thing about Discord is that it allows for seamless group voice chat. If you have a mic hooked up, just click the title of the voice channel ("Berserk_Talk") and you'll immediately join, and be able to talk with whoever is in there. Otherwise, the main chat is just all Berserk talk.

Enjoy, and if you have any questions or issues, don't hesitate to ask. I'll be in and out of the room throughout the day, so please keep it civil, and  ave fun!  :void:

32
Judging by how playable characters have been arranged in previous Musou games (Hyrule Warriors has 28 playable characters), how do you see Berserk's roster being filled out?

Aaz and I (mostly him) came up with the list above, along with a few jokes. But who else do you think is likely to be playable?

Vote for as many people as you'd like!

33
Podcast / SPECIAL: Berserk (2016) Anime Impressions - Episode 1
« on: July 01, 2016, 09:43:05 PM »

SPECIAL: Berserk (2016) Anime Impressions - Episode 1 (19m)

Walter and Aaz share their takes on the new Berserk anime, the day that it aired.

===========================================
Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or by plugging this address
into your favorite podcast app: http://skullknight.net/podcast/rss.xml

===========================================


34
Anime Asylum / Berserk (2016) Premiere Poll
« on: July 01, 2016, 05:03:32 PM »
Now that we've experienced the first episode, weigh in on your thoughts in a poll.

35
Podcast / SPECIAL: Join our 2016 TV Series launch party
« on: June 29, 2016, 11:59:07 PM »
Friday @7:30 a.m. PST The new Berserk TV series will premiere on Crunchyroll to subscribers (free for 30 days if you use this coupon code).

If you'll be available to watch the premiere, you might want to gush or lament (could go either way) about how you felt. So to capture that energy, we'll be hosting a voice chat session on Skype immediately after the premiere (8 a.m. PST), which I'll record and will post as a special podcast for whoever couldn't make it. Will probably last for 30 min or so. If the series is good enough, we may continue doing these, but I definitely wanted to do something special for the premiere at the very least.

So, if you'd like to join us, PM me or reply in this thread with your Skype name. Also, let me know if the time works. I know it's at an utterly ridiculous time of the day, but I happen to be working from home that day. However if only a few people can make it, we miiiiight reschedule til later in the day/evening when we can get a decent sized crew. But I kinda like the idea of doing it directly after, so maybe you could find a closet at work, or something?  :iva: Large crew or no, I'll be on Skype for whoever wants to chat about it.

36
Podcast / Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 76
« on: June 27, 2016, 03:23:30 AM »

Episode 76: Witch Village (Ep. 344) (1h 48m)

We kick off this ep with a flood of Berserk news, from the anime to the new game and the release of Vol 38. But we spend most of our time diving into the revelations we got in 344, including the introduction of several new characters.

It takes us a while to get to the new episode talk, so if you'd like to skip around, here are some time stamps from Luizao that should help:   

  01:00 New Anime
  11:45 New Berserk Game (Berserk Musou)
  18:00 Volume 38 and Miura's new digital style
  31:00 Episode 344 discussion
  31:00 Spiritual Trees
  35:52 Elfhelm appearance
  41:20 Morda and Sub-witches
  46:36 Ged
  52:46 Ged prophecy and Puck
  54:40 Ged and the Elf King
  1:01:05 Ancient trees
  1:04:24 The purpose of the group
  1:05:55 Farnese's reaction
  1:10:24 The Blast of the Astral World/Spiritual Trees
  1:13:15 The Valley (+Hanafubuku King translation)
  1:19:02 Witch Village
  1:21:27 Schierke and her future
  1:24:10 Molda vs gravity
  1:26:00 Village demographics
  1:28:30 Ged's House
  1:30:20 Beherits in Elfhelm and SK potential
  1:35:50 How far is the group from meeting the Elf King?
  1:37:28 'Gallery of Dreams'
  1:41:07 Casca's recovery and the Beast of Darkness

===========================================
Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or by plugging this address
into your favorite podcast app: http://skullknight.net/podcast/rss.xml

===========================================

37
Manga Mausoleum / Old volumes, new covers
« on: June 15, 2016, 02:05:41 AM »
You can see on Amazon Japan how some of the older volumes are being reissued (digitally only, so far) using the new cover wrap elements.





I couldn't find any others that are doing this at the moment. It's a small detail, but the "reissue" version of these recent volumes aligns with where Hakusensha-E's digital editions had stopped. They've had 1-34 available digitally for about 2 years now, but hadn't done the newer ones. So, now Amazon is selling Kindle editions of these newer volumes, and I guess the publisher decided to throw on a new coat of paint?

38
Podcast / SPECIAL: Skullkast Berserk News Update (June 13, 2016)
« on: June 13, 2016, 03:34:42 PM »


There's never been more Berserk news. In lieu of an actual podcast, Walter talks through all the latest Berserk updates while stuck in traffic.

39
Podcast / SPECIAL: Live in Boston
« on: June 07, 2016, 02:19:55 AM »

Skullkast: Walter and Aazealh Live in Boston (21m)

Aazealh and Walter team up in person for a special, brief edition of the podcast. On tap: New Miura interviews, new anime news and our thoughts on the future. Baked beans!

===========================================
Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or by plugging this address
into your favorite podcast app: http://skullknight.net/podcast/rss.xml

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40
Podcast / Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 75
« on: May 16, 2016, 01:23:23 AM »

Episode 75: Reunion (Vol. 19-1) (1h 45m)

Grail joins Aaz and Walter as the group tears through the first half of Volume 19, a portion of the series that moves at breakneck speed.

===========================================
Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or by plugging this address
into your favorite podcast app: http://skullknight.net/podcast/rss.xml

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41
Podcast / SPECIAL: Coming to America Episode
« on: April 14, 2016, 03:26:34 PM »

SPECIAL: Coming to America Episode (24m)

Aazealh travels to America to visit forum members Gobolatula and Grail. Unfortunately, it was too far away for Walter and Griff to join in on the fun.

Berserk Vol 38 cover, the new anime trailer, food and San Francisco discussion ensues!

===========================================
Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or by plugging this address
into your favorite podcast app: http://skullknight.net/podcast/rss.xml

===========================================

42
Podcast / Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 74
« on: March 07, 2016, 03:42:59 AM »

Episode 74: Bowels of the Holy Land (Vol. 18-2) (1h 57m)

We dive deeper into Volume 18, exploring the heretical orgy, Isidro and Guts relationship, and of course one of the Skull Knight's most important talks with Guts. That's a wrap for Vol 18!

===========================================
Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or by plugging this address
into your favorite podcast app: http://skullknight.net/podcast/rss.xml

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43
Podcast / Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 73
« on: February 01, 2016, 04:25:01 AM »

Episode 73: Shadow of the Tower (Vol. 18-1) (1h 39m)

In the midst of a hiatus, we forge ahead with our re-read, which brings us to Vol. 18 an intriguing portion of the series. Bereft of most of our main cast, we're instead treated to a new environment, new characters (including: Mozgus, Isidro, Luca, Nina and Jerome) and the most graphic section of Berserk, as the cauldron cooks in Albion.

===========================================
Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or by plugging this address
into your favorite podcast app: http://skullknight.net/podcast/rss.xml

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44
Podcast / Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 72
« on: December 24, 2015, 01:45:35 AM »

Episode 72: Flame Doll (Ep. 343) (1h 28m)

:chomp:
Early holiday release 12.23.15 GET!

A new podcast the same day an episode lands? It's a new record! We cover the big news about the new anime and review the latest episode, where our heroes vandalize a field of pumpkins and scarecrows. We talk about our first new Elfhelm character a witch that could become a foil for Schierke and a new creature from folklore which Miura lends his unique spin to.

Listen after the end of the show for a spoiler-filled Star Wars: Force Awakens talk with Aaz and Griff.

===========================================
Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or by plugging this address
into your favorite podcast app: http://skullknight.net/podcast/rss.xml

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45
Podcast / Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 71
« on: December 11, 2015, 03:27:16 AM »

Episode 71: A Crack in the Sword (Vol 17-2) (1h 8m)

Early release!

In the final half of our Volume 17 re-read, Zodd finds his purpose and Guts discovers his weakness, making a promise he's kept to this day.

We try something a little different with the re-read format: Switching narrators with each episode. I think it worked well! Unfortunately, we ran a little too close on time, and had to wrap up just before the end of the volume. So for our next re-read episode, we'll finish out 17 and work our way into Vol 18.

===========================================
Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or by plugging this address
into your favorite podcast app: http://skullknight.net/podcast/rss.xml

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46
Podcast / Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 70
« on: November 30, 2015, 02:17:35 AM »

Episode 70: Landing (Ep 342) (1h 24m)

At long last, we've reached the island of Skellig the doorstep of Elfhelm! Hear our impressions on this momentous occasion for Berserk, along with thoughts on what's around the corner for the series now that Miura has turned the page on the future.

===========================================
Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or by plugging this address
into your favorite podcast app: http://skullknight.net/podcast/rss.xml

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47
Podcast / Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 69
« on: November 08, 2015, 02:56:11 AM »

Episode 69: Revelations (Vol 17-1) (58m)

We return to the re-read project with a deep dive into Volume 17, one of our favorites, which gives us a rare glimpse of the state of the world after the Eclipse. This volume also lays down the essentials regarding humans and their perception of the astral world and its inhabitants.

===========================================
Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or by plugging this address
into your favorite podcast app: http://skullknight.net/podcast/rss.xml

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48
Podcast / Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 68
« on: October 26, 2015, 01:35:57 AM »

Episode 68: Soaring Escape (Ep. 341) (1h 22m)

The thrilling conclusion to the recent Falconia section has landed. Hear all about how Rickert became an action hero, Garuda breeding habits, Rakshas' various cutlery, and Griffith gathering cobwebs on the palace patio -- all in the latest episode of the SkullKast. Stay tuned til the end for a brief Star Wars chat.

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Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or by plugging this address
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49
Berserk Miscellaneous / 100+ 'Uncollected' Artworks from Miura
« on: October 19, 2015, 04:05:11 PM »
Some fans might not be aware that Berserk hasn't had a full-fledged art book since 1997. That art book, the Berserk Illustrations File, contains high-quality reproductions of volume covers (up to vol 14), unseen paintings, sketches, and an exclusive interview with Kentarou Miura that's about 4,000 words long, recently translated by Puella thanks to our member-supported Patreon.

When I start lamenting the lack of recent Berserk art books, I'm often asked: "How much material is there for another artbook?" Quite a bit, actually!

Since that book was released, there have been 23 new volume covers, 32 volume poster inserts, and an unknown number of other paintings and sketches Miura has released across the past 18 years. These include phone cards, new year's postcards, DVD/BR covers, promotional art, original art for the 2005 trading card game (TCG) and more. Many of these are only seen by hardcore collectors, leaving the rest of us to ogle them through low-resolution photos on Japanese auction sites and those are only the ones that surface online.

Because of their obscure nature, it's likely there are many more we have never seen, or that Miura has never released. Some of these appear to be assets pulled from Miura's generous stack of unused paintings. Others were clearly created for an exclusive purpose. Some are simple character poses, while others show glimpses of scenarios with characters that we've never seen in the manga before. For fans, they're all pretty incredible and worth checking out.

So I started collecting images of them, even if the quality of the images sucks, to get a better understanding of what the potential for another Berserk artbook is. It is vast. In total, I gathered 118 pieces of art, excluding volume covers (from 15-37), and of course anything I missed. In reality, it's probably closer to 150 pieces. Which is more than enough for 3 art books, based on the size of the Illustrations File. It's not complete, and it's not really meant to be. It's meant to be a taste of what's out there, unbound, uncollected, unseen by the vast majority of fans of Berserk.

These deserve a better place to appreciate them. I can't provide that only Miura and his publisher can. But until then... here's what I have assembled:

Rare/Uncollected Berserk Artwork: http://imgur.com/a/idUcf

Miura's original art for Konami's Berserk TCG (2005): http://imgur.com/a/ZtfKH

Volume poster inserts: http://imgur.com/a/VvEMW

50
Podcast / Skullknight.NET Podcast: Episode 67
« on: September 27, 2015, 07:17:09 PM »

Episode 67: Combat in the Darkness (Ep. 340) (1h)

We explore Rakshas' new mask, and apostle form, as the Bakiraka manage to turn the tables on the shadowy assassin... for a few moments.

===========================================
Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or by plugging this address
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