Driving Today

Sunday, October 18 2009 at 21:57 (Anime, Home, Music, Pictures, Reviews, Site Update) (, , , , , , , , , , )

One of these days I’ll find a title that isn’t a relevant Yui song, but this is both, so…  suck it, biatches.

I’m probably not going to talk about the last three weeks or so as my memory once again fails me (and they weren’t really that interesting to begin with) so I’ll talk about a selection of exciting items that I’ve seen/watched/heard in a vain attempt to interest everybody that will please nobody.

For this reason, you’ll probably want to scroll down and only read the bits (in bold) you care about.

First there was the Wii firmware 4.2 update. This update basically has no purpose except to entirely destroy ANY homebrew apps on a Wii but is also a brash move on Nintendo’s part because they knew when they put it out that it was likely to brick plenty of Wiis to death. The really miserable thing for them is that it was all a waste of time; by the next day the homebrew developers had already broken past the update. Way to cause unnecessary bloodshed, Nintendo.

Next came the behemoth, the giant, the masterpiece that is

Glee.

Glee.

Yeah, so that’s awesome. I’ve only played Prime 1 so far, which I am nearing the completion of.

At first you find yourself slightly wondering what all the fuss is about, but as you play through and get immersed in the world it really does get hard to try to find fault with this first person adventure. The time when I really knew that I was dealing with something truly awesome was when I got to Magmoor Caverns. “This music is a bit drab,” I mused, “I’ll just press on a bit and see what I find.” Eventually I got to a large fiery cavern and only then did the area introduce itself via the selective camera shots and title. And only then did the music come on properly.
“Holy f***ing s**t this the f***ing Norfair theme! This game is f***ing awesome!”
Another pivotal moment was reaching Phendrana Drifts (and yeah, I know that’s what EVERYONE says when they talk about this game) and I just stopped a gaped at the scenery. Not because it was technically brilliant but because it seemed so believably alive I mean, the glittering birds and the sounds and the creatures all add up such an engrossing experience that I just stood there. I didn’t want to fire a shot.
(I’ve written very similar to this somewhere else… I can’t remember where. If it was in a conversation with you… you’ll have to deal with it.)

I also finally got around to completing Breath of Fire III… again. Except this time I actually took the time to kill about 500 Goo Kings (or actually the same Goo King 500 times…) to finally get the Goo King sword – the most powerful sword in the game. In fact, many of the best weapons are very rare drops so I did end up spending a large amount of time killing the same enemies over and over again… However, once I did get all of the best equipment (for Ryu, Rei and Momo anyway) I went off to get the final boss; Myria, Goddess of the world. The battle was pretty epic but because I’d spent so much time grinding to go up 15 levels to get Celerity from Deis (which I didn’t even use in the last battle) the battle was really rather easy. Focus x2, Aura, rinse, repeat.

Next came the animé bits. Sorry Max.
First up was Bleach: Fade to Black – Kimi no Na o Yobu (I Call Your Name), the third movie in the franchise and probably either the best or second best. Whilst the first was pretty good and offered some impressive emotional depth for such a normally dimensionally deprived plot but was kind of weak in terms of action scenes, providing only a short burst near then end, the second film turned the tables by having quite a bit of high-octane action but the story was incredibly confusing, tacked on and all rather silly. It basically just says that Central 42 were all a bunch of jerks and we should be glad they’re dead.
This film actually does a decent job of balancing both factors, strangely almost developing Ichigo and Rukia’s relationship. You basically get Ichigo and Kon vs. the whole of Soul Society who have had Rukia erased from their memories by some one-note sympathy-villains who are ‘only twying to get their fwend back’. It sounds a tad stupid, and it is, but the execution is good and it’s all very fluent leading up to the final half hour in which the ‘BIG BATTEL’ takes place and the fanservice levels hit somewhere near Ceres, after which we just get Rukia screeching about these people she’d forgotten about for about a hundred years who are now dead for the second time. Geez. After that it’s a bit of an anticlimax… it’s  just ‘the end’. No real resolution, no sliver of hope.
I still like the first movie best for its interesting character and style, and the fact that even after they said that movie cliché that ‘We’ll all forget about this due to magic blahblah…’ Ichigo walks along a bridge and catches a red ribbon, and someone who looks just like Senna runs past. Plus that had Sen no Yoru wo Koete and this movie just has some incomparable electro stuff by Porno Graffiti.

Then comes Eden of the East. Now this is quite a modern animé (i.e. it was made this year) and since it’s a short run thing rather than a mass-produced behemoth like Bleach the quality of the animation is exceptional. It’s not quite as good as in Karas, but it’s certainly one thing that really stands out.
One of the first things you might notice about EotE is the opening… obviously. At first I thought it was some strange J-Pop band singing in English, but then I vaguely recognised the musical style and vocals… then the credit confirmed my suspicions: this song was by Oasis. Strange, really. It fits REALLY well, though. So well, in fact, that this is now my desktop:

All I had to do was find the OP in HD on YouTube, then screencap it, go into Photoshop and then carefully erase the YouTube HD watermark... Boy do I have too much spare time.

All I had to do was find the OP in HD on YouTube, then screencap it, go into Photoshop and then carefully erase the YouTube HD watermark... Boy do I have too much spare time.

What? Oh, the actual animé? Yeah, it’s pretty good. The concept of twelve people being given 10 billion Yen and telling them to save Japan is pretty interesting and the characterisation is very well done. Things aren’t always well explained, however, and I still have no idea about some aspects of the story. Another complaint is that the character designs are all very… boring. I know that not everyone in Japan has spiky Toriyama hair, but it really bugged me here. Interestingly, it didn’t bother me in any of the Clamp animés (which actually all have pretty normal-looking characters) but in this it did get annoying. It might just be that it was only 11 episodes, so some introductions were made a bit quickly. Anyway, there are two movies on the way which will (with any luck) conclude the story, but I’ll have to wait for the DVD releases, the first of which may be 8 months away. I can’t wait.

And with that I think that’s all for Animé.

One thing I did over the weekend was watch a ‘Let’s play’ (narrated casual walkthrough) of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, which was very interesting and insightful about the Castlevania universe. I also took that as a cue that I could download the soundtrack, because I’m far too lazy to actually play the game through. This soundtrack is really, REALLY fricking good. The haunting tracks give me shivers, the kickass tracks could boot footballs the size of Venus and the ambient tracks are catchy and atmospheric. Looks like I’ll have to slap some more emo crap off my iPod (that rhymed!) to make way for this awesome.

In Music (actual music, not from a videogame):

The new(ish) Yui double A-side It’s all too much/Never say die was released a week or two ago and it’s pretty good. It’s not quite up to the calibre of ‘again’ (the acoustic version of which is probably still my favourite track on the single) but the rockiness of both of the title tracks add up to something pretty good. ‘It’s all too much’ has nice guitar riffs and uses piano work to emphasize flowing lyrics, whilst ‘Never say die’ starts out with a nice piano piece but degrades into less interesting music, but still compels.

Also in Yui, I don’t think I’ve yet talked about My Short Stories, her B-side compilation. It’s really good, broadly. Almost all of the songs are good to great and the cross-sectional nature of the album gives an insight into Yui’s musical development. Most awesome are ‘crossroad,’ ‘HELP’ (not by The Beatles), ‘Oh My God,’ ‘Winter Hot Music’ and ‘Why Me’. Also included is a song called ‘Driving Today’…

Moving away from Yui but remaining solidly in the J-genre we have Chatmonchy’s Seimeiryoku, a weird mish-mash of rocky music that could equally be considered amazing musical style or a mess – a bit like Patrick Wolf, only with less bisexual. Shangrila, Mayonaka Yuuen Chi and Mobile World are all great songs and have brilliant rhythms. Also in the album is Dadai which was an ending to Bleach, but I don’t really like it.

Also now on my iPod is Aqua Timez’s ‘Dareka no Chijou E,’ which is frankly awesome. I may have had to download it twice before I found a version that actually worked, but it was worth it. The musical composition is just astounding and the lyrics are flowing and rhythmical. In fact, the vocal style is probably more like rap than anything, but as Luke said ‘You can’t tell it’s rap because it’s not all just about bitches and killing people’. I wholeheartedly agree.
Good songs include Isshun no Chiri, Aki no Shita de and Garnet.

So now might be a good time to actually get to the titular bit, hm? Only about 1700 words in.

I’ll just talk about this weekend, really. Yesterday I really didn’t do a lot. I got up and surfed the webs, finishing the ‘Let’s play’ of SotN and checking my accounts before intending to play some Prime Trilogy… until my brother came in, stole away the Wii and tried to play The Conduit. Because he’s a n00b (I can’t think of any other reason) the online wouldn’t work so he set off playing the single player mode, which I aided him with, because MY GOD does he suck. Then I finally played some Prime whilst my parents went off on a walk and got four odd Chozo artifacts – only two more to go. Then some more stuff happened, I wasn’t allowed to have the Wii in my bedroom because I’d been on it ‘all day’ (LIES) and so I went and watched some Gurren Lagann grumbling about how I had spent 1:43 hours total on the Wii and my brother had spent 1:54 minutes total on the Wii… neither of which is 24 hours.

Today was Chloé’s birthday. Happy birthday, Chloé. Thank you very much for selectively not inviting me to your gathering. My parents were going sailing today but I really, really didn’t want to go so I pretended to be really tired until they left, at which time I played The Conduit mindlessly for a bit (I’m saving Metroid for times of concentration and commitment) until my brother came in and said he was going into Diss, and did I want to come. I had nothing better to do, so I put on some going-out clothes (not pyjama trousers) and got into his revoltingly rubbish-filled car. We went to Morrisons and bought doughnuts, beef jerky and a twelve pack of beer, which had to be bought separately by my brother so they didn’t think he was buying it for me. I almost wanted to be there so I could explain that I was nerd and therefore valued my braincells enough that I wouldn’t consider drinking such a vile substance unless I had a very good reason to… like a party.
We walked down the high street eating doughnuts but because it was a Sunday nothing was open, so we went back to the car and drove off. My brother had an idea, he said. This idea was to go to the nearby airfield in Eye and give me a chance to try driving. Fun.
I actually didn’t think it was that bad. The clutch is a little confusing at first and I had to fight the urge to try and powerslide (a la MarioKart) but once I got the hang of it I could change gears a few times and brake fairly smoothly. However, doing all that and looking around noticing everything will be more difficult. I think all those videogames have payed off, though: to me this is just a new control scheme to get used to. Even my brother said that I was better than expected and he didn’t have to shout nearly as much abuse at me as he did at Henry Gibbons.

When I got back I tidied my bedroom – to the max. I never realised how much floor I had… my mother was dead impressed; the tidying was my ‘punishment’ for not going sailing and she didn’t think I would have done it.

Now with any luck you’ll have reached this point by skipping bits you didn’t care about and thus you didn’t need to tl;dr. Unless, you’re Peter, in which case you were probably interested in all of it. Hah!

This entry probably has the most tags any entry has ever had, btw. Also, I missed the one year anniversary of being on WordPress. I’m really not very good at these things. FYI, there’s also now Twitter down the side in case you want to stalk me. If it’s working, that is…

Ooh, ooh. One more thing. Did this whole ‘select the bold bit you want to read’ work for you, or did you just not care? I need feedback here.

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3 Comments

  1. Chris said,

    Didn’t care… read it all… LOL! You gave in to twitter…. I thought you wouldn’t do twitter… but then you also said you wouldn’t do Facebook, but look where that has got us now….
    So yeah… really, the entire thing was boring and when you said, “real music” I got the thought that you might actually talk about music people other than you and maybe Luke (not that he reads it) cared about…
    I also can imagine you GRINDING the gear stick and your brother nearly ripping his eyes out thinking, “MY CAR!!!”

    • joethearachnid said,

      Real music, as in music IRL. Ya know? And who do you know who listens to Lemon Demon apart from you? Not on the internet? HMMM?
      And your blog is a pile of shit too, good sir. You don’t need to be rude.

      And yeah, my gear changes were reasonably smooth. If anyone will/has broken the gearbox it’s him. He really bullies that little car.

      • Chris said,

        You see…. I RARELY talk about Lemon Demon…. it has been AGES since I have mentioned Lemon Demon… so…. *Shrugs*

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