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Messages - Walter

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Podcast / SkullKast: Episode 92
« on: January 29, 2018, 03:07:00 AM »

Episode 92: Final Fragment (Ep. 353) (1h)

As the corridor of dreams nears its conclusion, Miura shows us he's still full of surprises. The last page of the latest episode, and what the next memory will end up revealing, takes us most of the episode to process.  But Walter still gets a chance to revisit his weird crush on :flora:

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An umbrella would be nice to fight off that rain.  :ganishka:

Maybe historic items will be woven back in somehow in future Zeldas, but after Breath of the Wild, I feel like Nintendo has a blank check on where they take the series. So I'd be fine if they shed that older stuff. I don't think the series really needs to include old items to make it great. The 2 previous incarnations of the franchise felt weighed down by all that shit.

Video Games / Re: What Are You Playing?
« on: January 25, 2018, 04:07:51 PM »
Nioh - Back to back battles with Nue and White Tiger have me embracing a new boss strategy

I haven't picked the game back up since beating Onryoki  :ganishka: How are you enjoying it overall, compared to Souls?

Meanwhile, I've still been plugging away at Xenoblade Chronicles 2 about an hour a night (65h currently). No change in opinion: It's still Xeno for kids. The story is just a mess. But boy is it pretty. The music is also (primarily) by Yasunori Mitsuda, the guy behind Chrono Trigger and Xenogears' soundtracks. He said this game was "the biggest and most challenging project I have ever worked on."

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 353
« on: January 24, 2018, 03:14:44 PM »
That look in her eyes... Damn

Whose .... Schierke's?

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 353
« on: January 24, 2018, 02:57:35 PM »
Well, that was a surprise!  :isidro: And :flora: too! That was nice... though I do wish they had more of a reunion (perhaps they still will).

As a consequence of the rape, the child has become the symbol for it. Pretty brilliant work by Miura, and fucking depressing. Also, since we first saw the shape of the fragment, a lot of us were talking about how it somewhat resembled the "shell" Femto hatches from, which was a problematic reference since it only really existed in the vol 12 cover. But it being womb-like for the child makes a lot more sense.

As for it being initially confusing to see the child in a setting meant to evoke the Eclipse, this is, after all, a dream world which has exhibited traces of Casca's life after the Eclipse.  I think this represents the moment where the memories of Casca crossover to the memories of the sprite, the mental state of Casca who has been conscious since the Eclipse. The past Casca kept these old memories locked away from the sprite, though we've already been shown (via the wounded representation of Guts), she may have been privy to glimpses of what the new Casca had been experiencing on the surface, which of course encompasses the child's birth.

Now the problem is that might require some complex mental gymnastics if Schierke has to connect the dots between the Demon Child and the Moonlight Boy while they're all in the Corridor of Dreams... Feels like too many things would be happening at once. Maybe it won't be necessary, or maybe things will occur differently, we'll see.

Miura has held out the confirmation of the demon child being the moonlight boy for years. But for one character, it's never been a mystery. His mother has treated both iterations of that character the same. And we're inside her head, and dealing with malleable symbology. It could be simple: What if we see the child transform into the boy right before their eyes? It might have to, in order to protect her, like it has in the past.

PS: Oh yeah, the fight!  :ganishka: Cool to see Femto's eye for a moment there. And there was even a moment where it seemed the Dragon Slayer was going to do some real damage to Femto. But it's clear that it's an overpowering force, both in the dream world and in reality. It being left unresolved still holds the door open to a restored Casca screaming and ripping the dream world into pieces, JUST SAYIN!  :ubik:

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 352
« on: January 22, 2018, 02:53:19 PM »
Miura's comment:
As for my figure shelf*, it was filled with S.I.C. Shwa Rider in the blink of an eye. Finished with a Hot Toys Hulkbuster. \(^o^)/

*It usually refers to two or more shelves on the wall in Japanese.

Thanks as always, Puella! I said so on the SkullKast, but it's just so weird for me to think of Miura admiring an Avengers figure (he watches the same movies I do?!) That being said, the "Hot Toys" Hulkbuster statue is indeed pretty sweet (and $999.99). If he has an eye for quality, it makes me wonder what he thinks of Berserk's legacy of statues/figures, and why they stuck with Art of War for so long...

We'll have 353 in just a few days (hours maybe). Needless to say, we're at the climax of the corridor of dreams sequence, and this next episode could be a whirlwind.

We've been talking about how Miura would portray the trauma of the Eclipse ever since the possibility of exploring Casca's mental world was introduced. And between 351-352, we got well, most of it. But I wonder how Miura will portray the rape itself. That has to be the fragment. The other memory fragments were shown exclusively from Casca's perspective (which is awesome). Aaz said so on the podcast, and I agree: I have a hard time imagining any other visual image for Miura to use for that scene but Casca making eye contact with Guts, pinned down and bleeding ("Don't look").  It would perfectly convey Guts' and Casca's trauma to Schierke and Farnese. That being said ... I'm not sure I want to see Miura draw that heart-wrenching scene again. Afterall, revisiting the Bonfire of Dreams sequence effortlessly summoned old emotions in me and many other readers. So for this next one ... I'm kind of mentally preparing myself for it.

I feel pretty silly at this point, because for years my biggest criticism of how Miura has told his story has been Guts keeping his companions in the dark for so long, not opening up about his history. But it's clear now that Miura was waiting for the right vehicle to convey that traumatic information. For a variety of reasons, Guts simply recounting his sordid past over a campfire chat would be a huge missed opportunity. It would also make Casca's side of the story effectively secondary. But with the corridor of dreams, he introduced a truly novel way to fulfill that need AND restore Casca's mind AND show Farnese and Schierke experiencing those moments, while growing and truly understanding these characters in a way that a simple information dump never could. Having these key memories come alive, able to convey feelings to the witnesses, is a step ahead of even time travel (without the messy side effects). Furthermore, it recontextualizes those memories with where these characters are now, setting the stage for whatever Miura does with them next.

So I suppose this is a long-winded way of apologizing for thinking Miura was going about it the wrong way all this time  :farnese:

Manga Mausoleum / Re: Dark Horse Berserk Blurb Compendium
« on: January 15, 2018, 06:34:07 PM »
God, these are terrible. I can't help but wonder if Dark Horse's presentation of the manga has something to do with the misconception some people have that Berserk is this grimdark and edgy gorefest and nothing else. I mean really, if you didn't know any better would reading those blurbs make you want to get into the series? I probably would have dismissed it as some juvenline, power fantasy schlock.

I try to rationalize it in my head that all blurbs are bad, and I'm not really sure who they're written for. But I do think they ultimately do Berserk a disservice, by filtering everything that occurs in the series down to its most "BRUTAL" components. I feel like there's probably some value in hinting at the many other flavors the series has to offer.

I hate the black and red colour scheme that most of the anime releases go for as well. Come on guys, you can be more creative than that! :schierke:

I've been complaining about that since the late '90s  :guts: For a decade, nearly every Berserk fan site (but ours) had a strict Red+Black color scheme. Dark Horse's alien-font for the Berserk logo is also pretty appalling. The suppose they're trying to evoke the original Japanese volume logos, but with the gun metal texture, it looks like something Locus might shit out while in his apostle form.

Video Games / Re: What Are You Playing?
« on: January 11, 2018, 08:57:32 PM »
I quit that halfway through because it was late and I needed to sleep (probably shouldn't have done that =), but it was enough to make me see that doing some broken, jimmy-rigged DS setup wasn't going to cut it with all the layers to the stances and even item switching mechanics. I presume you'll actually need to use that stuff effectively, instead of with both hands tied behind your back, to advance. DS principles over DS specifics.

It's a much more mechanically complex game than Dark Souls, which is both a benefit and a hindrance. Personally I feel like there's TOO much going on, but the game doesn't force you to be a complete master of all the range of abilities/stances/weapons. So far it allows you to just use those options to customize your playstyle. One thing I would recommend, which the tutorial does a shit job of emphasizing and explaining, learn how to do Ki Pulse. Hit R1 after you strike, once the white gauge fills in your ki/stamina bar. It'll refill up to the white portion. Very useful for continuing combos.

Yeah, that boss doesn't sound too promising if it's giving you so much trouble. Just reading your description of it made me exhausted with him already.

The only other boss who's given me this much trouble was Artorias, which is one of the toughest fights in Souls, and this is the second boss in the game. So even if I beat this guy, I might well just say "fuck this" as I progress to presumably tougher enemies.

Update: Got him finally! I used the tried and true method of just not listening to game audio, and listened to a podcast instead. Basically, I just started playing by instinct after I'd already learned all of his moves. Took him down on the first try tonight. Now, bring on the next insurmountable wall! :daiba:

Video Games / Re: What Are You Playing?
« on: January 11, 2018, 04:57:20 PM »
Controls are definitely a learning curve for Ni-Oh. And you don't get a real tutorial until after the intro. But give it time, it's a great game. That opening area sucks, but the first real stage is a romp. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.  Then you can get stuck on the same boss as me!

Video Games / Re: What Are You Playing?
« on: January 11, 2018, 03:19:01 AM »
I jumped back into Ni-Oh recently, after I got a new video card (RX 560). Stuck on Onryoki. Guy's a fucking dick! Takes you down in 2 hits, and has attack patterns that punish you if you try to attack his side or back. So you basically just have to cycle through his standard attacks, getting in some chip damage while you can, until you wear him down enough that he shifts attack modes, which are even less predictable. It never seems to me that I have a clear enough opening to do more than 2-3 attacks before retreating and waiting to counterattack again. Based on my failures here, I feel like this game is speaking a complex language that I just don't understand, and I've played through most of the Souls games...

Video Games / Re: What Are You Playing?
« on: January 03, 2018, 03:52:16 PM »
If only I'd known! :ganishka: I'm not above such things as I basically poisoned the last two bosses in the final DSIII DLC. I guess that wasn't the point, so I'll play them again straight sometime, but if they didn't want me doing that they shouldn't have made it such an attractive option. =) Didn't feel as satisfying as when I finally beat The Demon Prince(s) "the right way" though.

I don't think any trick is too low when it comes to powering through Souls games. The deck is stacked against you. That being said, my favorite aspect of those games is the thrill of GETTING GUD enough that I don't have to resort to tricks, and the most enjoyment I've gotten has been in moments of genuine triumph (Ornstein & Smough on first run is still my greatest gaming moment). But on the first playthrough? Fuck it, anything goes (*fires crossbow at Red Drake's tail*). I kited O&S for what felt like 10 minutes, but that felt pretty valid given that it was 2v1.

Video Games / Re: What Are You Playing?
« on: January 01, 2018, 06:28:41 PM »
You should play Sunshine if you ever get the chance, it's underrated.

I've seen quite a bit of it played (on Giant Bomb, they had a series for it), and it looks utterly painful. But if they port it to Switch, I might check it out.

Check in on Xenoblade 2: 20h in and it's wearing thin on me. Story has some major problems (character inconsistencies, inexplicable ignorance from characters not openly discussing world-changing events, not weighing in on things they should definitely be weighing in on). Basically it confirmed my suspicions about the game from the first few trailers, that it was Xeno for kids. I had successfully held that fear at bay for a while, but recently the game started showing its hand (revealing more significant portions of the lore) and it's what I had thought from the start  :sad: . I still plan to see it through, but expectations have been lowered.

Movies, TV, Books & Music / Re: Movies you've recently watched
« on: January 01, 2018, 06:23:54 PM »
I saw Get Out in theaters and thought it was great. Reading the comments earlier today re-inserted that movie in my brain and I've been thinking about how clever it was all over again. Johnstantine, I don't know for sure, but it sounds like you might have gotten caught up in the suspense element of the movie, which is really just a wrapping holding all the other elements together. Whether you successfully guessed the truth about what's happening before the big reveal, there's a lot to appreciate in that movie, from the constant double-meaning dialogue, the indirect (arguably MOST direct) racism, to of course, the fact that this is basically a science-fiction movie about modern day racism, taken to extremes. And certainly there's a lot to appreciate with the symbolism, which is often both for laughs AND carries meaning (the way Bradley Whitford's character ends up, impaled by a taxidermied deer, which seems random until you consider the procedure itself).

Video Games / Re: What Are You Playing?
« on: December 31, 2017, 05:32:21 PM »
Heard a lot of the former, not so much the latter save you and Wally, but I'm skepitcal of the fan reputation because SMG2 is supposed to be the best platformer ever and I thought it was good, but not the epitome of Mario or even better than it's predecessor.
Real quick on SMG2 before I get into Odyssey: I've never regarded it that highly, but I'm having a blast with it now, directly after Odyssey, because this game propels you in a completely different way from Odyssey. Each level/sequence has a momentum, and every little transport between planetoids feels rejuvenating before you tackle the next portion. That kind of pacing is something that Odyssey completely lacks. Its equivalent is like, walking back to your ship and dumping off some more moons before heading out to find more.

I don't think Mario Odyssey is a system seller. It is a technically fun game (lol). But even with all the charm and personality pouring out of the game in buckets, it's too thin, and ultimately rote, an experience to justify a new console. Zelda however, I have zero regrets buying the Switch (almost) exclusively for it. So if you've already had that experience, then wait until you're actually ready to get a Switch before buying it.

The biggest bummer for me with Odyssey is that while it's true there are a TON of moons to collect, I can count on one hand the moons that felt like accomplishments. Mostly, they just sort of happen along the way from A-B. Sometimes you'll butt-stomp on a glowing crack in the ground and find a moon.  :schierke: That was my fear early in with the game, and it didn't change throughout. You can change costumes, and you can "capture" enemies, but only a handful of either of those actually affect gameplay in a significant way. Most of the game (90% or more), you play as Mario in much the same capacity that you would in any other 3D Mario game. Getting around in the world feels good, just like it's always felt good in Mario games of this sort.

I've got 480 something moons, and I'm not really compelled to play any more. In the pantheon of 3D Mario games, I'd rate this one just above Sunshine, a game I've never even played  :troll: .

Video Games / Re: What Are You Playing?
« on: December 29, 2017, 03:11:21 PM »
Or Okami, which I didn't even know was being remade and suddenly it's out in HD like magic because that game apparently needs to be released for every platform in existence. Yeesh.

Capcom has been in the process of porting its last-gen lineup to modern consoles and PC for the last year or so.

Video Games / Re: What Are You Playing?
« on: December 28, 2017, 01:29:15 PM »
Demon's Souls... Finally!

It's the one that got away, for me  :judo: I've wanted to play it for years, I just can't justify the cost of a PS3 at this point. Are you playing it on a PS4 or PS3? Because maybe in a  year or so, Last Guardian + Demon's Souls + Bloodborne will be worth the price of admission.

I've been spending my late evenings on Christmas break getting through a bunch of games. Have 450 moons in Mario Odyssey (I feel pretty much done with this game), swapped over to Mario Galaxy 2 for playtime with my son (he loves this one more than Odyssey, and I can't blame him), finishing up the last few quests in the Zelda DLC (skip this one, folks. It's needless), finished Steamworld Dig 2 (was fine, not revelatory: I got more enjoyment out of the first game and Steamworld Heist), 2 eps into Life is Strange's prequel (good so far, if a bit amateurish from this new team).

Then I went against my better judgment and picked up Xenoblade 2 for Switch, a hilariously huge J-RPG. I admit to feeling quite silly playing a game like this nearly 2 decades after I felt done with the genre (Infinite Space excepted), but well, here I am. I'm only 10h in, but here is my take, being a big original Xeno fan (liked Xenogears, tolerated Xenosaga, skipped blade 1 and X): Really enjoying it! There is a lot to love here. Endearing characters and world. And despite so many reviews saying it doesn't scratch the Xenogears itch -- it totally does for me, and that provides a huge advantage over the hurdles beset against this game.  Speaking of which, it's got some major problems with fundamental quality-of-life stuff: Mapping and waypointing is rough; Systems take hours to understand how to fully utilize; Tutorials disappear after first reading; Voice acting is quite hit or miss (particularly in battles, where human enemies tend to say the same 2 lines over and over and over). Also, the ramp up to giving player full control is about 8h, though it's admittedly an interesting series of story-driven quests leading you there. Sounds quite bad when you spell it all out like that  :ganishka: But in all honesty, it's better than I expected, and we'll see how far that early goodwill carries me through this 100h+ game.

Podcast / Re: SkullKast: Episode 91
« on: December 27, 2017, 05:30:26 PM »
It's true, I've made a lot of stew in my days, but nothing as picturesque as this DREAM STEW.

Movies, TV, Books & Music / Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi
« on: December 26, 2017, 03:01:40 PM »
I don't have a lot more to add to the thread that hasn't already been reviewed, and now I have to listen to the last half of the podcast ( :magni: ) , but here is my take.

It wasn't bad! I just didn't care about 5/6 of the stories forced into this overlong movie, so I'm not going to bother commenting on storylines that I gave no shits about, like a slow-speed ship chase, a pointless coup, or a circular casino raid. What mattered to me was that Luke felt like Old Luke. Even if it didn't truly amount to much, it's what I wanted from him -- to feel what the years had done to him conveyed through his acting, not a montage, or simply being told about his bitterness. And his motivation to remove himself from the stage made sense to me. The unspoken message of his hermitage was that systemic abuse of the force needed to be wiped from the chess board (He really should have taken care of the Kylo problem before he retired though, just saying, that's a bit messy for a "Jedi Master.")

But the writers/franchise holders want to have it both ways -- criticizing the Jedi order (a really hot take too, the order has been dead for 50 goddamned years) while also keeping the Jedi tomes and preserving monk-like force mastery in an (arbitrarily) NEW codified form! Presumably because they still need to market lightsabers to kids (It's been a few years, but my rant about Disney's franchise syndrome compromising storytelling remains the same).

Advancing the Snoke takedown from the presumed final act was a rush (who was he again? in any case man of great taste judging by his awesome furnishings, wow!), but where they've taken Kylo's character is extremely boring to me. I went in liking his character quite a bit, thinking there was potential there. And I liked the interplay with him and Rey -- expanding the distance-crossing Force conversations into what... Skype for Force 2017? But it wasn't to be. And once the veil was lifted about the root of his anger: a nihilistic tearing down of history, what's left of him isn't much to look at, certainly not something that evokes fear. Luke essentially holds him at arm's length while Kylo swings over and over, like watching Isidro fight Guts. Dude has never been a threat on screen. He doesn't exude terror like someone who wields unchecked dark side aggression should. Even without his little cosplay helmet, he still comes across as a whiny child demanding the galaxy to take him seriously. And now this galactic goth kid has become the de facto leader of a group of preppies pining after their dad's lost cause. Speaking of which, I still can't look at Hux and not think about some archetype of the Revenge of the Nerds villains. No change from TFA, so not sure what the audience is supposed to feel about his character other than embarassment. Not sure any of this adds up to great drama for a climactic conclusion.

The film casting the military-industrial complex like a skin over the endless conflict felt like an interesting touch at first. I'll always listen when someone attempts to do a real-world deconstruction of cartoon-like wars. But this one rang hollow, because it's fucking Disney, people. This is a missive from the Entertainment Empire, lecturing us about the folly of choosing sides when the middle man gets fat on the blood of the sheep caught in the perpetual war. I didn't check, but it wouldn't be crazy if Bob Iger had a cameo at the casino scene.

And that's sort of where I was left, as I processed my thoughts on the drive back: I'm still not sure why this needs to exist. I feel like they're saying something about the Star Wars mythos with this movie, but it doesn't amount to very much, and there's a whole lot of filler in between.

I'm not really interested in ranking the movie against the others, but I thought this was a fine entry. I enjoyed it more than Force Wakens, mostly because the remix nature of that movie still rubs me the wrong way. This was at the very least a new experience.

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 352
« on: December 25, 2017, 12:37:48 AM »

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 352
« on: December 24, 2017, 04:06:03 PM »
Good point! The egg shape of the barbs around the final fragment always struck me as strange, given that Casca wasn't conscious during Femto's "hatching" or emergence at the Eclipse. But it could also just be a protective shape, period.

Podcast / SkullKast: Episode 91
« on: December 23, 2017, 12:10:21 PM »

Episode 91: Dream Stew [Ep 352] (2h)

It's been a while since our last recording, but we've still got plenty of meat on these bones. In this episode of Casca's dream world, we're treated to Berserk Armor + Guts Dog + Sylph's Cloak + Golem hijinks, and of course a big ol' bird! Put em' all together, add some trauma, and baby you've got a stew going!

Walter ducks out for the last hour of the show while Griff, Aaz and Grail discuss the latest Star movie.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or by plugging this address
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Current Episodes / Re: Episode 352
« on: December 23, 2017, 11:50:34 AM »
I'm a little confused, is Berserk still being published monthly?

Yes, but this news could signal an end to hiatuses.

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 352
« on: December 22, 2017, 10:16:00 PM »
I noticed this morning that Japanese readers were enthused about an alleged increase in releases, so this is what they meant. But ya know... I feel like we've been through this before. I'll be all for it if true, but it's hard not to be skeptical after more than 10 years of sporadic releases.

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 352
« on: December 20, 2017, 09:30:30 PM »
Thanks Mangetsu, looks like Miura is raving about figures.

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 352
« on: December 19, 2017, 03:34:45 PM »
Intense stuff. The depiction of Femto/bird's head, wow.  :femto: I also really love the V style of the mouth opening.

Looks like we've got a friend/foe situation here once Beast Dog kills Femto and everything bad and all that's left are our favorite gals, Casca included.

That's a good point. But time after time, there's one character who's always showed up to resolve that threat. The question is, does it make sense for him to manifest here?  Alternately, I suppose some aspect of Casca could quell the Beast. Would make sense symbolically, if not practically. But we're in a dream world, afterall, so maybe that's all that matters.

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