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Messages - Walter

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Current Episodes / Re: Episode 356
« on: April 24, 2018, 04:18:45 PM »
I really doubt it.  They look way more like designs the humans would have tattooed or painted to me.  The lines are clean and symmetrical and stuff.   They're not inconsistent with existing human warpaint/tattoo designs.

It doesn't look like body art to me though. It looks like the giants used skin as a flat canvas. The way the contours of the "eyes" are drawn consistently regardless of the folds in underarms, for example. If that was body art, it wouldn't have made any sense until it was laid flat. I also don't understand why people would tattoo a big giant's mouth (presumably) over their abdomen, versus a giant doing it after the human had been skinned.

Bigger question, Griffith and his apostles are on a crusade against such creatures. But what would go down if they came across Ubik's merry men? Or Conrad's skeleton krew?

Video Games / Re: What Are You Playing?
« on: April 24, 2018, 03:52:47 PM »
I started playing Ninja Gaiden on the 3DS Virtual Console today. I'm on Act III and doing okay, but I've heard it gets insanely hard the further in you go.

Fantastic game! If you're playing on 3DS you should have access to save states, which will dramatically lessen the frustration. The game's legendary difficulty is mostly related to the fact that if you die once in one of the later stages, you're pushed allllll the way back to the start of a really long sequence, involving multiple bosses. It's just really poor planning on the game developer's part. They didn't think it through, and so we must SUFFER.

Give Ninja Gaiden 2 a shot after you finish 1, even if you don't go all the way through it, there are some great moments (and music).

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 356
« on: April 24, 2018, 03:23:49 PM »
That's the bell ringy bit, not an olive on a toothpick!

Ahh, of course! It did seem like a conspicuous design choice at first, now it's obvious  :ganishka:

They've got leashes on as well. 

Oh yeah, they're snacks!

I assumed the flag markings came with the skins (tattoos) rather than being put on them by the giants.  Though the skinning work itself is pretty fine, compared to the lack of skill involved in wearing an entire bear butt or tying some troll hide around your legs.

It looks to me like they skinned humans, put them on a flagpole, and then marked on them with paint as war banners.

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 356
« on: April 24, 2018, 02:36:05 PM »
I forget how the relationship has been described in the past - was it more that they already existed and human legends grew based on them, or that human imagination had a role in creating/shaping them?

I don't believe that humans dreamt up everything in the astral world. For example, things like the Four Kings and elves weren't borne of humans, because they're affiliated with the elements. Though the link between worlds was severed long ago, people's memories of those creatures lived on in stories, legends, in people's imaginations, basically on the fringes of perception (and in dreams). At least, that's my reading of the text in Ep 306.

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 356
« on: April 24, 2018, 02:29:20 PM »
My favorite moment here is the King Giant drinking (looks like a cocktail?) from a bell, the kind you'd see atop a church. Then he tosses it down, squishing a troll. This is my kinda guy!  :guts: It's interesting that trolls are scurrying around the feet of the giants. I wonder if they function like parasites, eating the scraps the giants leave in their wake.

Yeah that's definitely a good possibility. I also wonder if the giants weren't provoked, or aren't embodying a kind of vengeance against mankind for past misdeeds, or a resistance against future ones.

Well the flag markings certainly beg the question what kind of civilization they have, apart from their obvious focus on warfare. I wonder if the king will speak before Griffith slices his neck (and what he'd say, other than "DIEEEEE")

Another possibly, a bit more far-fetched (this is all we've talked about before years ago :void:), but I'm curious to know whether the nature of the Astral Blast (all the evil power Ganishka had amassed in his body) didn't corrupt the "Astral Fauna" in some way, or at least influence the ratio of bellicose creatures versus peaceful ones.

It didn't look like it in ep 306, seemed like an even mix, but could be. I still wonder about the environment, and if/how that changed as a result of the blast as well. The shift is a little frustrating, but we're still slowly getting the answers to things we pondered almost 10 years ago.

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 356
« on: April 24, 2018, 02:02:46 PM »
It also is a short episode (15 pages)

At first I thought you were counting 2-page spreads as a single page, but nope. Wow. Shortest ep ever? Or it's just missing a few pages...

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 356
« on: April 24, 2018, 01:50:00 PM »
Well, I was a little disappointed given the shift, but we've been waiting to see the world after Fantasia for about 8 years, so here we are!

Moving on, that Falconia's armies would go against astral creatures was expected, but it's interesting that these giants are shown as being the obvious bad guys here. I'm curious to see whether future developments/revelations will cast the situation under a more ambiguous light.

I'd bet that Miura is showing us the worst of the Fantasia inhabitants now, those who absolutely couldn't co-exist with humanity, as a way to allow Griffith to justify a purge of them all. In a few eps, we could see them wiping out cute lil' guys with the same fervor.  :sad:

A pro-humanity / anti-magical creature campaign would be an expansion of the God Hand's domain.

BTW: Any Hardcore History listeners get a "Celtic Holocaust" vibe here?

Sentai did it guys!  They've recently set up pre-order details for the Premium Edition Blu-rays.

Warning though, that price tag might give those with thin wallets heart palpitations.  I'm lucky that I got a rather nice tax return this year.  :guts:

Wow that's truly incredible! And it is a lot of money... Will there eventually be a "non-premium" edition?  :griffnotevil:

Character Cove / Re: What Apostle/Creature did you like the best?
« on: April 24, 2018, 12:46:20 PM »
Man, I gotta be careful on what I wish for.

 :ganishka: To be fair, we did get some cool new illustrations from Miura in the light novel. The primary objection I have to this whole thing isn't that we're getting Grunbeld's backstory outside of the manga (which I also have qualms with), it's that Miura isn't the one telling the story. He outsourced it to a hack writer. And that sets a scary precedent for the future.

Doesn’t it also serves to show Guts (and everyone there) that those monsters are originally also humans? The end of that sequence is quite awesome, when Wyald’s body turns back into an old man and everybody sees it happening. Without this moment, Guts could very well not know that the apostles were humans before, no? And also that they are naturally evil, not just during eclipse ceremonies. I don’t think seeing what Griffith did would be enough to know this because his is a ‘special’ case, so Miura introduces this information to Guts with Wyald.

Certainly, but I didn't mean to go point-by-point about the significance of that volume. I could go on and on about Wyald. Another thing I didn't mention is that pairing him with Zodd in those final pages is a good glimpse at the disparity between apostles and their attitudes about how they use their power. Wyald is basically just a depraved, thrill-seeking old man, whereas Zodd appears to live by a kind of code of warriors. It's an important step as Miura introduces more apostles, building to the divide between apostles like Grunbeld/Irvine/Locus and the hordes of nameless apostles who just crave human meat.

Manga Mausoleum / Re: What summons the vortex of souls?
« on: April 22, 2018, 02:02:14 AM »
That makes sense! Was it just especially powerful when it came for the Count because they were already in a weird astral plane? Because I don't believe Wyald's was sucking up other people.

No, the vortex was trying to snatch Guts during the Count's ceremony because of his brand (remember, that's what it truly means to be branded). It had no claim to him back in the Golden Age.

Video Games / Re: Favorite Video Games (Series)
« on: April 15, 2018, 01:19:58 AM »
Which Final Fantasy's are your favorite? Which turn you off so much you feel you have to exclude it (I'm in the same boat)?

Final Fantasy 6 is still probably my favorite game. I can't escape it. I thought it was just nostalgia, but I replayed it around the time my son was born (5 years ago), and reaffirmed my opinion of it. It's got almost everything I want in a game. As for least favorite? I don't have many positive things to say about the games after 6, but 10 was the one I had the LEAST amount of fun with.

You could also say you like the Team Ico, or Fumito Ueda's, games, even if Colossus towers above the rest, or a disclaimer why you don't actually feel that way about the rest, etc.

Well in retrospect, it belongs in that list of favorite series for me, but I was initially excluding it because I don't think of Ico-SotC-Last Guardian as a real "series." They're loosely connected, but you know, so is the fucking Final Fantasy series. So sure, why not?

Actually, my biggest question is has Souls fallen off so much for you it's not even among your favorite individual titles anymore (play DS3 :iva:), or does it simply go without saying?

With Souls it's pretty simple: I think Dark Souls did everything I needed that franchise to do for me, and the experiences I've had with the other games fell short. As for DS3 specifically, I did play about 20h of it, but started getting diminishing returns the further I got, and I just didn't want to ruin it by going further than my gut wanted me to. I played Dark Souls 1 for more than 500 hours. It was a huge, amazing experience. But I've kind of had my fill, and From Soft's apparent lack of desire to innovate on that front has just left me feeling even worse about the franchise.

I actually feel that way with SotC these days. I loved it like everyone else, played it on (your) PS2 and more on my PC in HD, but without compelling reason or opportunity to go back to it my feelings for it haven't endured and yet it's still so popularly revered, "games as art!" that it's almost like I look at it with suspicion now, if that makes sense? Like my response to your listing it was like, "really?," except I shouldn't be surprised as it's been one of my favorite games too (I also expect you to have played way more than me). I guess I just need to replay it in order to know again for myself.

This is funny because I'm pretty sure we had this same conversation when I was convincing you to play the game the first time, 13 years ago  :badbone: I mean, the game kind of talks for itself. It's an incredible experience that feels like a storybook coming to life. The feeling of seeing the winged guy soar towards you, and then you hop on his wing and the music kicks in? No game captures quite that experience. It's one of those moments that's "bigger than games" for me.

On this note, I think that's what hurts Final Fantasy: Everyone has at least one that meant A LOT to them at one time, but probably not anymore, and if one listed it as one of their favorite games it's probably more because of how much they know it meant to them than it does now. BTW, where would Zelda be in this thread without BotW? Probably closer to that Final Fantasy zone.

Naaaah, even the worst of the Zelda games (cd-i doesn't count!) are better and more ambitious than trash like FFII-III. The only difference is that without BotW, with Skyward Sword being the "freshest" big Zelda experience, I might have to consider whether it fits on my list or not, instead of immediately conclude.  :guts:

I've heard nothing but good things about Infinite Space but I just couldn't finish it. :judo: When I bought it a few years ago I played for a little over twenty hours, but since then I've simply had no interest in continuing. I think the biggest problem with the game for me is the battle system which I found absolutely horrible; fighting was basically a chore. And don't get me started on those melee fights...

I think combat was pretty boring in Infinite Space for a good portion of the game, until they start changing up the fundamentals in the battles. For example, they change the number of ships you can have in your fleet (at first 1, then 3 and finally 5), adding fighters (small spacecraft that can swarm ships) and special attacks that require you to be positioned in a certain range from the enemy. By about the halfway point, I was really enjoying it. Particularly, I found amassing a RIDICULOUSLY powerful fleet to be incredibly satisfying. The ship that Valantin makes his big entrance in, The Corsair, it's a huge moment in the game because you witness the firepower in this sick-ass, huge ship, that obliterates anything you've seen heretofore. Yeah, you can eventually get five of those (It took me a long time).  :ganishka: And the Corsair isn't even in the top 3 of the best ships in the game.

Anyway, Infinite Space is filled with little problems like that (the slow/meandering pacing in the beginning, melee feeling a bit like shitty paper-rock-scissors, the tutorial being buried, most planets involve just 2 locations: a bar and a spaceport). And none of those things matter a damn in consideration of the full package it provides. Truly, it's the story and the characters that utterly floored me in that game. It's been about 8 years since I first played it, and I still think about it all the time. It does things with a game story that I've never seen others pull off (even if done similarly, not as well), including things I've always WANTED games to do. Layer all of that on top of a decent sci-fi story that never really slows down once it gets started, it's a classic.

Video Games / Re: Favorite Video Games (Series)
« on: April 13, 2018, 01:50:29 PM »
Yeah this is tough for me to do. Because my favorite games of all time either aren't in series (Infinite Space, Shadow of the Colossus), or are parts of series that are so mired in other shit that it's hard for me to vote for the whole group of them (Final Fantasy, Front Mission).

Constrained like that, I guess I'd go with Zelda and Mario mostly due to their overall quality over time.

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 355
« on: April 13, 2018, 12:40:27 PM »
It's strage that in the Preview of YA there is no image of Berserk, and the Manga is only listed in written form.

First time since I follow the preview.

It's not unheard of, I wouldn't worry.

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 355
« on: April 11, 2018, 03:55:42 PM »
Very happy to have been proven wrong about 356's release! I just wish YA would get their shit together in terms of announcing the schedule of releases.

From what I've noticed, it looks like he's been releasing monthly for about 6 consecutive months for the past couple years, from November to April.

Nope. The past two years have included 2 stints of 4 monthly releases.

Ive said so before, but I expect that Miura will finish out vol 40 by the end of the year, which means 2 more releases (357, 358) sometime before Dec. That would be consistent with the past two years of volume releases. It's even possible for him to release those through June, with a bound vol 40 arriving on shelves shortly after. That'd be ideal. But it would also mean that in order to keep that pace in 2019, he would have to release 8 episodes, which has not been done in close to a decade.

Either way, I feel pretty spoiled getting monthly Berserk for 5 months, with the potential of even more.

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 355
« on: April 06, 2018, 03:35:30 PM »
Does anyone think that Casca will have any guilt associated with having her troops killed during the eclipse? Something along the lines of survivor guilt or the guilt a commander losing their troops.

Perhaps that's how she'll process some of the trauma of the Eclipse, but that wasn't her focus during the Eclipse itself. She wasn't fretting her commanding abilities then, btu she was just wondering why this was happening, and why Griffith had done this to them.

For some reason I still have hard time seeing Casca mirror Guts that closely.


Video Games / Re: What Are You Playing?
« on: April 06, 2018, 03:26:12 PM »
That's insane, why bother with profiles at all then?

Oh, you know what I never actually tried to switch system-level profiles. I meant more of an in-game profile system (which doesn't exist for Zelda).

Maybe I'll see if I can save my current game to a USB and then pop it in a drawer before starting over so I don't have to worry about it.

I'm fairly certain that you could do this.

Video Games / Re: What Are You Playing?
« on: April 06, 2018, 01:19:55 PM »
I also can't decide whether to get the DLC and jump back into the endgame, fearing I'll find it stale and uninviting, or just start over, fearing I'll never get back to this point or ever play the endgame DLC (not to mention the shrines).

My advice is to skip the DLC (Champions Quest or whatever it's called). It's not great, and it's a real chore to do. I think the best part of this game occurs before you become overpowered and your map has been filled out. Maintaining the elements of danger and exploration was key to the fun that I had, and the further you get in the game, the more those diminish. If you have the DLC though, and you plan to start again, you could always do the Master Quest stuff, which I haven't touched.

Is it possible to start over without losing my old saves, like via another user account so I can just casually replay it without worrying about regaining my place? I recall some horror story on here of that very thing wiping someone's progress midway through.

Good question. I very nearly lost my completed game save before checking this possibility. So this is really an oversight by Nintendo, but there aren't profiles for saves. You get one manual save, and a series of autosaves. So the way I did it is, I manually saved my old game, and I'll only auto-save for my new game. If you manually saved in the new game and then moved on (like I did at first), the autosaves would eventually wipe out your old game.  :magni:

Video Games / Re: What Are You Playing?
« on: April 05, 2018, 01:51:19 PM »
I started re-playing through Breath of the Wild (with my son watching this time and giving me directions), and it's still really fucking good. This playthrough happened sporadically, but it's actually been exactly a year since I started playing it.

I remember being pretty bored with the game after beating it and having explored everything, but starting fresh, everything feels pretty new again. That moment-to-moment experience of exploration is still solid. Combat is comically easy now, though. Once you've mastered the timing of parrying/deflecting attacks (even Guardian shots, with 3 health and a wooden shield  :ganishka: ), the only trouble is getting ganged up on. Haven't found any area or event that's surprised me yet, but I'm sure to come across a few new things, and that's exciting to me.

Manga Mausoleum / Re: Dark Horse Releases
« on: April 04, 2018, 12:59:10 PM »
The digital volumes are marked down to $5 right now on Comixology:

I know it wouldn't matter which side he fought for on a given battle, but maybe someone could tell the sides because of armor design or something like that, but now I know that there were no names for the countries until vol 5, that's good to know.

Thanks Walter.

Nah, the 100 years war was fought not only with the two countries main armies, but mercenaries who engaged in proxy warfare on behalf of whoever paid them. So it's not a matter of identifying uniforms, I don't think.

The countries weren't named until vol 5, so there is absolutely no way to know, nor would it matter which he fought for on a given battle, because the next sortie may have been for another.

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 355
« on: April 02, 2018, 08:27:29 PM »
It could be a deliberate thing to try and set up some sort of visual mood whiplash, in which case I love it, but if not, then I hate it.
I worry that it's more than a deliberate style change. Outlines are looking way thicker, and I'm seeing less line weight. Tones look kinda worse to me as well (that could be shitty scan quality though). Those are common symptoms of switching from traditional to digital. I hope it's just my imagination.

Well it's commonly known that Miura switched to digital art back in 2016. It may have been slightly earlier, but it was most evident in 2016's episodes and volume insert posters. We had a thread about it back then: And a few months later, in the Berserk Guidebook, there was an image of his workstation, which now has a tablet. It's come up a few other times too, when people point out reused or altered panel art.

Beyond the workflow enhancements that moving to digital afford, I do think that the style change coinciding with their arrival at Elfhelm is by design. We talked about the possibility of a big art change months before it was shown on the pages, because it made sense to shift the style to match a more fantastical location. There's also the consideration of YA moving to digital distribution. It's possible he had pressure internally to adopt a digital format to ease the production. Finally, it seems clear that Miura had to adopt some changes to keep the Berserk release schedule more consistent (and say what you will, but it has been more consistent since he switched over). His adherence to pen and paper drawings for 25+ years is truly admirable, but if the limitations of reality require him being more economical in how he puts his dream to paper, I'm cool with it. But I imagine that for someone who doesn't follow it episodically, the shift was probably more of a noticeable thing.

Back to the episode so this isn't a total derailing - I'm hopeful that it's just misdirection on Miura's part, but the 2 pages seen just as Casca calls out to Guts give me the impression that they may separate after this for a good while. The first page with Guts in front of the eclipse/festival is ominously done - Guts is masked in shadow in front of what broke her, and the edges of the drawing are very Femto-esque to me with a flowing wing-like look.

Eh, I don't see a connection there. If Miura wanted to achieve a recognizable comparison with Femto, he wouldn't have made Guts' cape billow like that. Instead, he could have made it look more distinctly wing-like. He could also have featured Femto in this episode  :guts: But as it is, it just looks like Guts' cape is framing the shot of the Eclipse, which conveys what's happening in Casca's head — he's the harbinger of those memories.

The next page - Griffith, completely asunder. It seems to me as though the framing is around his chest wounds - will Casca be reminded of Guts attacking her breast as he lost control? This could also just be the memory from a first-person perspective, and just for drama, but I think Miura is smarter than that.

Similarly, this seems like a very loose connection. The focus on Griffith's chest is likely incidental because Miura didn't want to show off the crotch or the eyes (he's been hiding those in dream-like depictions recently, likely to depersonalize the memory). What's left? Center mass. But going down that train of thought, there's not a connection between Griffith's tortured body, and whatever happened between Guts and Casca in that moment in Vol 23. It's the kind of thing that readers would really have to twist their brain to accommodate a connection for, which, aside from the aforementioned circumstantial nature of what's being depicted, is why I don't really see it happening here.

The pages are meant to show off in horrific detail a horrific moment in her past that she chose to bury. I imagine that it's supposed to be painful to look at and shocking, but I really don't see any symbolism or anything happening here.

And to add to the avalanche, she already had previously said that the Falcons' situation (at the time) was his fault, as Griffith was no good without him.

I don't believe we'll be getting back the Casca from Vol 9, so I'm disinclined to think she'll still think that way about Guts.

I wonder where the tipping point is for her in all of this - Griffith saved her life, and betrayed her - but so did Guts. I obviously hope it goes toward Guts, but SK's words to him put this in reasonable doubt in my mind.

No matter how you stretch it, the sins of Guts and Femto can't be compared. And I also don't think that's what these last two 2-page spreads are meant to represent.

What Guts did was wrong — not just biting her breast, but holding her down and kissing her against her will. That's fucked up! And that's on Guts, and it'll have to be reconciled. But unlike with Femto, there are so many mitigations to that particular scenario (like his exhausted and tortured state of mind in that moment; like crossing the world to rescue her; keeping her safe from endless nights; enduring hardship after hardship to ensure her safety, etc. , etc.). Guts realized his mistake immediately and took drastic actions (accepting companions) to ensure it didn't happen again. On the other hand, Femto had her friends gruesomely killed, raped her in front of her lover, drove her insane, corrupted her child, condemned her soul to the Vortex, and left her to die while his new friends cooed and laughed.

I mean... I realize that in the pages of the manga there might not be a court-ordered attorney to stand up for Guts in the circumstance that Casca starts trying to compare the two, but it would be completely unjust for Guts' actions to be tossed in with Femto's, given all other considerations.

Podcast / Re: SkullKast: Episode 94
« on: April 01, 2018, 10:09:24 PM »
Great episode as usual! One question though: is it so that the re-read project is dead? Walter seemed to say as much at the end of this episode (when he said that the podcast would be back in a few months), and I for one think it would be a real shame if that were the case.

I wouldn't call it dead. More like, really, really, catatonically sleepy. If you prod it with a stick, it'll roll over but remain with its eyes closed.

Manga Mausoleum / Re: Dark Horse Releases
« on: March 30, 2018, 12:25:42 AM »
So this isn't real?

I seem to recall that there was conflicting information regarding the reprints a while back.

Yeah, I saw that too... I was going to go by a comic shop and confirm that it's in Preview magazine tomorrow. Still, Dark Horse's official account says that it's "not legit news," so perhaps that magazine blurb was simply written in error? Stranger things have certainly happened  :void:

This is also a rather strange way to announce new editions. Check out that section of the magazine. It's where publications can promote themselves and what they generally offer, not an announcements page. If there were big new editions coming this month, one would think there would be a real press announcement for it at this point. 

I've reached out for further clarification, but at this point I'm disinclined to believe it.

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 355
« on: March 30, 2018, 12:18:15 AM »
The digital edition just went live on Hakusensha-E  for about $3:

It looks gooooooood  :beast:

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