My family likes doing puzzles, so the instant I made a puzzle-capable drawing we had to turn it into a puzzle.
The sky and sea were rough. I didn’t design it to be a puzzle.
Hot take (maybe? idk I don’t talk to people): All the pride flag designs are super lame and boring. Like, you clearly can make super polished and modern flags considering all the existing color choices, but you decided to make them ALL basic stripes of color? That’s so boring.
Especially the rainbow flag, which is literally just a rainbow. No adjustments/replacements/removal of color from the natural one. Literally just the exact one you see in nature, nothing more. Why? You can do literally anything with the colors and design, and you do THAT?
And it extra sucks being bisexual because the colors on the bi flag are super garish and bright, and the stripes aren’t even of equal length, and the middle stripe is just a gross, desaturated version of the other colors… I might actually buy stuff with it on it if it looked decent. And I say this as one of those purple-philes who will literally love anything that’s purple.
Went to the movies for the first time since the pandemic (vaccinated obvs) and saw Cruella. Was fun, but the movie was trash. Trying to redeem such a toxic bitch just failed.
Could say a ton, but I don’t feel like dwelling on the negativity.
Sometimes I wonder what my favorite art style of a show would be, and I think it has to be Droners. It’s both solid and cartoony, has great potential for exaggeration, and amazing character design. Also, all the colors and fun settings really just blow it out of the water. I seriously think I’m going to take inspiration from it when practicing backgrounds in the future.
You can watch an episode here:
So I feel like I’m in a mini-art slump recently. Not really to the extent where I can’t make anything, more just where I don’t really feel like making stuff as much and when I do I feel somewhat iffy about it. So, talking about my art directly could probably be useful for piecing some things out, even though I just like talking about myself. And since I like talking about myself so much, I’m gonna go over my art over time. It’s a fun thing to think about.
I obviously started drawing as a toddler like anyone, but I think I actually started thinking about it (or however you’d say it, you know what I mean) around the golden age of Roblox. What really got me into the idea was because another user named something like BethanyFrye was doing anime portrait commissions on there, where you bought her special t-shirt in the catalog and contacted her to draw your avatar in a classic, amateurish anime style. They were basically the hottest name on the site that wasn’t a developer as far as I saw it, and all of their drawings were put as decals in their worlds in a sort of gallery where lots of people just sort of went to look at the art, which is remarkable considering that’s literally all you did. For such a simple world, they got a lot of constant attention. Anyway, of course I saw all that and wanted to do the same. I don’t think I made people pay for it, and if I did it was cheap, but I did get some quick attention from it. I explicitly remember getting my first commission message by a guy named Cire3 with a red dice w/ white pip aesthetic, I think based off of one of the classic hats. I later did one for my sister and one of my friends, and my own avatar at the time. All those drawings are still preserved in my account decal inventory, with the earliest one there being posted on Oct. 19 2010, which is probably my earliest drawing I posted online.
Back then, my drawings were made with markers for the outlines and colored pencils for the rest of the color, although I obviously didn’t know how to use them to their full potential and still don’t, really. Once I kind of accepted that I wasn’t really good with it, my traditional art was exclusively just lineart, and at best just pencil shading. I think I still have a lot of my really, really old drawings from around then in a big pile of at least a few hundred drawings that I’ve put away once I realize I don’t really have any use for them anymore. I created a bunch of different accounts since I never felt like I had a solid username yet, so I guess I had a bunch of pseudo-characters to draw as well. I did try to make a kind of stop-motion animation in Roblox involving a cyborg spy saving his damsel in distress, since I found a tool that let you rotate blocks in very precise ways, but once I realized how much work stop motion was I just scrapped it.
My Brony phase (assuming I ever left it) was where my style was really falling into place, but it came from bad ideas. Ponies seemed so much easier to draw and get right than humans did, so that, partnered with how artistic the fandom was, really got me going. At first, things stayed pretty traditional, except I was starting to make the transition into digital art. I would later find a way to do digital lineart, but for a long while I tried to clean up my pencil lineart as much as possible, scan it in, and just fill that in with Photoshop and a mouse. Since the pencil-iness of it made things pretty messy, it was hard to get everything perfect, and since the magic wand selection tool wasn’t making it easy, I instead tried to shade without any kind of selection, making it bleed over the lines a lot of the time. That wasn’t the worst thing though. The worst thing, without a shadow of a doubt, was the fact that I used a leafy brush texture to shade everything. As in, that brush that puts down a bunch of generic pointed leaf shapes with seemingly very little use (since it was an older program, and didn’t have the necessary complexity). The result was extremely splotchy artwork that I guess could’ve looked worse when I used it sparingly, but for a lot of my drawings I tried to put an ungodly amount of shading on everything, and since I only used a transparent black brush, it looked very bad. I think the reason I gravitated towards that brush was because the usual airbrush/solid brush was much harder to get right when using a mouse, since the boundaries of the markings were much more clear, and therefore much more jagged from imperfect mouse movements. It seems like, by the old art I bothered to recover and save on my main computer, I shifted a lot between trying to shade things and leaving things flat, and it’s definitely a scenario where less was more. This was also when I created my most self-important cast of characters, but I already have a whole 44 page document going over all that junk. That document has a lot of that old art of them on it, along with their recent iterations, but this is the main highlight. One thing you’ll also be able to notice in those drawings is that I always just absolutely RAMPED up the contrast slider in Photoshop.
One of the other big things about my art at that time was the backgrounds. Lord knows I wasn’t satisfied with just putting a simple couple of non-intrusive colors behind my drawings, no… I went hard with the various capabilities of Photoshop to create a full second piece of amateur digital art behind the other piece of amateur digital art. My absolute favorite tool to use for this was the gradient tool, which, apart from just creating normal gradients, also let you create round orbs and diamond sparkles that made for some easy flair to stick around in the backgrounds, as you can see from the last link. Apart from those, you could also use a type of gradient where, instead of being a normal gradient, it turns the blended part into a bunch of stripes, which has a cool effect if you don’t, you know, make it look super overbearing like I did. If I didn’t try to make one on my own, I instead just took some relevant wallpaper and slapped it behind the drawing. Funny story, when I was putting together the drawing in that last link, the respective drawing for Diane (the red one) didn’t have a background, so I had a major nostalgia trip as I tried to recreate my classic style of background to make it homogenous with the rest. The backgrounds of those drawings aren’t even close to the worst ones I’ve made, though. If anything, they’re tame.
That’s not where the worst problems lied, though. Another big Brony artist by the name of Spitfireart (Now currently Night Creep) was one of the biggest artists of the fandom, making pretty high quality stuff before that much was super commonplace. I liked their style, so naturally I wanted to copy it, and I did so too literally. This is when I first found Paint Tool Sai, where my loyalty lies when it comes to digital art programs, and I still use it (or it’s sequel(?)) to this day. What drew me to it was it’s lineart function, which basically let you play connect the dots over art to create vector lines. It was extremely easy to use with a mouse, since you could place each point one by one and adjust them later. It was honestly perfect for someone who didn’t have a drawing tablet of any kind and I’d seriously recommend it if you’re looking for mouse-capable art. Anyway, the problem came in me starting to use it, because I explicitly traced over Spitfireart’s art with the lineart function. I did at least credit them and change some details (even if that doesn’t make it perfectly okay), and they even condescendingly commented on one of my traces of my sister’s OC. Frankly, I’m kind of flattered they cared that much about me in any way, which I guess is the kind of emotion all tracers and art thieves strive for. On the bright side, it was a short lived phase, because I realized I could just do the exact same thing I was doing to their art with my own art. I’d just scan in my traditional sketches, go over them with the cleaner lines, and do all the rest in SAI. That method carried me for the vast, VAST majority of my online art career, so at least something good came out of it.
Obviously, since it has to be said, I don’t think tracing is a horrible thing to do necessarily, unless you’re explicitly trying to pass your trace as wholly your own work and posting online under your name. I’d say even doing what I did and posting it online, but crediting the artist you traced from, is still bad. Tracing art is really only good for studying purposes, and it’s some of the only studying I think you should really keep to yourself unless the artist in question is explicitly okay with it.
But really, that was the last externally motivated phase of my art. Everything else was just me figuring things out and trying new things, along with getting new technology.
Obviously I didn’t want to draw exclusively ponies forever, so I had to deal with humans at some point. I did deal with them on and off throughout the phase, for example drawing my pony characters as more satyr-like beings so I could at least have one part of the body remain easy for me. Apart from that, my main tool of assistance was one of those good ol’ “How to draw Manga” books, because I too wanted to make anime art at first. I did all the usual things, like drawing their hands behind their backs so I didn’t have to deal with them. Definitely not advisable. As anyone who actually knows a thing about making art will tell you, you really need to start studying reality before copying a cartoon. I’m pretty sure if I really put the effort into studying reality, I would’ve knocked off a good year or so of inadequacy, and even more if I tried earlier.
I feel like I have to at least mention all the porn I’ve drawn and continued to draw, though. I try to keep a very solid barrier between my SFW stuff and the NSFW stuff since my family seems to really want to look at my stuff from time to time, but considering it’s been a pretty large deal in terms of my art it’s worth acknowledging. Between the Brony fandom being completely filled to the brim with porn, and since all those How to Draw Manga books were of course filled with scantily-clad, big-boobed women, I really can’t blame myself for realizing I can etch my fantasies down like everyone else. I definitely won’t go into much detail, but I definitely think the brunt of it started with My Little Pony, and only later translated into vanilla human stuff. As you’d probably expect, drawing nude bodies probably helped me actually draw things right and in more “evocative” poses, especially since my brain can delineate pretty easily between my stuff, which didn’t hit the right spot, and other artists’ stuff that did. In realizing that, I tried much more to figure out why my stuff didn’t look right. Considering the subject matter, it makes the old porn a lot harder to look at than my other stuff, but it all built up to what I make today anyway. I guess here’s a good place to thank my parents for supporting both my art in general, and the fact that I drew porn. With regard to the latter, I’m EXTRA thankful they didn’t try to get too… “into” it. They didn’t even tell me they knew until a decent while after I started, which I guess is good. All I hope is that they’ve continued to stay out of it while still accepting the fact. That’s a good chunk of me I really just want to keep out of my family’s reach, for obvious reasons.
ANYWAY the next change came when I realized my backgrounds kinda sucked even when I simplified them, so the solution to that was to just not use them. At all. I would keep the drawing on a perfectly transparent background, making it very sticker-like (even though that wasn’t the reason why I started doing it). I think This was my first (SFW) drawing where I did that, which is funny, because it’s also the last time I drew a significant, designed piece of setting for almost 4 years, so I guess it’s a fitting thing to start with when you’re removing so much else. Anyways, this is obviously one of the big things that’s seriously stood the test of time, since I still like doing it, even though I’m trying to get back into the background game, but with actual, drawn backgrounds. It just feels so crisp and clean to have a piece of art that is a full body shot of a character that doesn’t cut off at the edges in any way, and isn’t a super rigid square/rectangle as determined by the inevitable background. I think it makes any kind of complex lighting look weird though, so I’ve basically defaulted to having all my transparent art use a plain color light source in the upper left no matter what. More recently, when it comes to my sketches and flat drawings, I do sometimes use a simple color with a white border, but as I’ll go into more later, I’m not sure how much I’m into it. I do like the crispness of the transparent background, but I think transparent drawings also get a little weirder when posting on some sites like Twitter (although they look honestly great on sites like Tumblr, since it works so well with my blog background/style there) and having a predetermined background gives you much more control in how your drawing comes across. Even though it’s mostly irrelevant, on my phone, you can drag around the photos in the photo app, and the transparent background used to look really good when I did that since it pulls away the default black background and shows the rest of my drawings behind it, really selling the transparency. Unfortunately they semi-recently updated the app to put a drop shadow under the square borders of the drawing even if it’s transparent, so that basically ruins everything…
At some point I watched a bunch of modelling tutorials on Blender, and realized that I actually could feasibly create 3D character models using the techniques shown in the tutorials, which sent me down that road. My first model of Tameka (The last one, although the others suck too) is pretty garbage looking back on it, but I’ve definitely gotten a lot better over time. Considering it’s a lot of work to make a single model, I’ve kind of stopped doing it, but I will probably try to use models, character or otherwise, as a drawing reference at some point. Either way, my first decent animation was made in Blender.
The most recent big changes are all based on technology. I finally managed to get a drawing tablet, the XP-Pen Artist 12, which was cheap enough for me to want to give it a shot without risking breaking the bank for no reason. I mean, my parents were getting it for me as a birthday present anyway, but I’d still feel bad if they spent hundreds of dollars on something I realized I didn’t want to use. Either way, it really worked out well, even though it took me some time to fully get used to it, and get a good workflow/muscle memory for the express keys. It almost caused a full transition into digital art. I say “Almost” because I still sometimes felt like sketching things out on paper when I wasn’t in my room, since it needs to be attached to a normal computer to work, but once I got used to it I really didn’t want to use paper any more at all. Being able to edit the sketch digitally as I’m working on it, instead of doing all that after the sketch was all finished pretty much, really helped me make better sketches over time. I fully transitioned once I got a phone with a stylus, making drawing on it much easier, meaning I could do all my outside sketching there instead. Also, I finally stopped using the vector lines and started doing it the normal way, where I just drew them. I’ll explain later that I still sort of feel this way, but the way I was doing the vector lines made them look super flat and rigid, and drawing them myself meant I could very easily add fluidity to the lines without much effort (relatively speaking, at least). The only sucky part was that (as far as it seems) the way I draw on my desk messes with the wire that connects the pad to my computer, meaning it glitches fairly frequently, messing with my pen pressure and express keys, and sometimes causing the screen to freeze… The first one I got had to be replaced because it happened so much. I’m not sure if it’s the product itself or if it’s just the weird way I use it though, because it seems like none of the reviews suggest that it’s a problem, and when I contacted them, they had to do pretty in-depth troubleshooting with me, so it seems like it’s a rarity…
My first “normal” drawing was of course of my current “mascot,” Bobbie, but it made me realize I have to work out how to do super bright highlights like on his slimy body. I never used a solid brush before since, like I mentioned with my earliest attempts at shading, it was hard to get a perfectly smooth shape right, but since I could very easily stabilize my brush and draw out everything, I could finally make them perfectly solid. The only problem was that I didn’t like how it looked, but also didn’t like how the old way looked either… I’m still not perfectly sold on it, but my most recent drawing of Reuniclus seems to be pretty decent for the time being. As for other things I learned, I got a lot better and coloring my shading to both be less dim and bland and better balanced with everything else. Even though I still need to figure out how to color more setting-based lighting, I feel like I’m pretty good with the basic lighting I use for my transparent art.
Another big change is me getting into animation. The first animation I managed to “finish” in any way was one of Isabelle dancing a bit, which I think looks pretty good considering how messy it was to finish. The swaying of the dress is definitely the best part, even if it isn’t perfectly natural. For a first attempt, it’s pretty good. I animated the sketch of it using an app on my phone called Flipaclip, and then went over each frame like normal in Sai. It was super messy because there wasn’t any solid way to onion skin the layers, making some of her movements sort of choppy and weird. Now, though, I think I’ll be doing most of my animation in Krita because I was able to set it up so I didn’t have to change all my express keys around to get mostly the same functions in both it and Sai. Considering it’s very deep and completely free, I’d definitely recommend it to someone who wants a good, low-committal starting point. I still might try out other programs too just in case there’s some functionality I’ll need in the future, for example I don’t think you can move the “camera” of the drawing around like in some other programs in Krita.
The most recent change was that I got a standalone tablet for me to use for drawing, the Surface Pro 7, but the problem is that it’ll take a while to get a whole new brand of muscle memory for it, since I’ve gotten so used to the Artist 12. It doesn’t have any express keys, but I found an app that’ll let me have some of those on the screen for me to use, which of course I structured to function exactly like my Artist 12 keys. I really, desperately want to make it my main tablet, since the Artist 12 is so volatile, and since it’s portable, but it’ll still take a while. The express keys app doesn’t function exactly the same as the Artist 12 keys do, so I still draw pretty slowly as I readjust, but I’ll get there eventually. It’s technically a PC instead of a tablet, which is the main selling point for me, since I will never be able to like mobile interfaces…
But yeah, that’s pretty much how everything happened up until this point.
As for my opinions on my current art, it’s really a mixed bag. It’s like how they say that the more you learn the less you realize you know, and the more you undersell your current knowledge. Now that I feel like I’m getting a lot better at studying both drawings and reality, I’m also better at studying my own stuff and realizing where I messed up. It’s obviously something that’ll make things better in the future, but it also just kinda makes you feel worse.
For sure, my own art style isn’t even close to being my favorite art style. I draw the way I do partially because I like parts of it, but a lot of the main ideas come from how it’s just easier to do things that way. In terms of my favorite art styles, I feel like Meru (Highly NSFW), Valerie/Bucketofrobots, and Nelnal are my top favorites, and it sucks because one part of me wants the pros of all those styles at once, even though it’s probably not possible. I feel like Meru’s art style is what my brain thinks I’m making when I try to make my “normal” art, with smooth, slightly more realistic shading, even though it looks vastly worse and obviously different since their shading isn’t smooth like mine most of the time, just really well done. The only trouble I have with that style is that it doesn’t seem to vary as much as I’d like in terms of character design, although since they’re a devout NSFW artist I can’t really blame them. Valerie, on the other hand, rules at both human and robot character design while having a super expressive art style. If anything, the worst part about her style is that it feels like the deep amount of charm from her art comes from highly specific things that I’d both feel weird trying to copy, and also hard to reliably replicate.
I think my normally shaded style is what’s really dragging down my impression of my own art. It’s sort of trying to be realistic, but since true realism is both hard to perfectly represent and also not ultimately something I want, it usually falls into the worst of both worlds. Sometimes I think it really works out, like I think this drawing of Tameka is both my best drawing of her, my best drawing of any human character, and is probably going to be one of the best things I’ll draw all year even though it’s literally the first thing I drew this year. Meanwhile, this drawing of Rawhide has a really great pose, expression, etc… but the shading and highlights really make it feel so plastic and weird. I definitely think trying to shade with this realistic style makes your brain think about it’s realism, but then it sees how ultimately flat it is, and it interprets that flatness as being super plastic and artificial. Meanwhile, the super flat shading makes your brain look at it like a cartoon instead, which makes it plastic-ness just look like the expected norm of a cartoon. That, and, personally, that specific shade of blue on her scarf mixed with whatever color shading I used created in my mind an object with my absolute least favorite color ever. I hate looking at it and I really should’ve just changed it.
That being said, why don’t I just switch over to my flat drawing style? Honestly, I have no idea. I think I’m just being too precious with my normal style, since I’ve been doing it for so long. When I really looked at this semi-basic design drawing I made for Sierra, I realized how goddamn good it was. Like, I was just trying to put some ideas down for her design, and it turned out looking better than half of the stuff I put much more effort into. Then, I made this one with Beryl’s expressions, and I also think I knocked it out of the park. Some of the flat drawings I’ve made in the past did look flat in a bad way, but I feel like I’m finally realising why those look bad and fixing it up, so it shouldn’t be too bad. Even then, the bad-flat drawings are still better than the bad shaded drawings I make. Plus, since I sort of look at my flat drawings as being super low-effort, if I actually switch around my thinking and put some more genuine effort into them, I’d have to guess it’d make them look even better.
One thing I desperately need to look into, then, is how to make the colors themselves feel deep and vibrant, since I won’t have the semi-realistic style itself to fall back on. I really noticed that when I drew this tree for practice, since the foliage I see other people draw always looks so much more alive than this. Either way, though, I’m going to be animating in this style too, since there’s literally 0 chance of me both being able to and of me enjoying trying to replicate the smooth shading of my “normal” stuff in an animation. Maybe I’ll try to get better with backgrounds and use that style there, like most animations seem to do.
Like I mentioned before, I feel like one of the main downsides to my art, even at its best, is that it feels too solid for some reason. Like, it feels like my lineart doesn’t have the same kind of energy that I see in some other people’s art. It’s one of those things that feels super hard to really change because it takes such specific actions and changes. I can definitely draw things to flow better I guess, but it feels like the lines themselves are still so rigid that it doesn’t have the same effect as I think it could. I am making an effort to try and vary line thickness a lot more, but I’m not sure if that’s the perfect solution for that, even if it looks better overall.
As for character design, I don’t feel amazing there either. Nelnal, though, is just absolutely INSANE at character design. Their art might not check all the boxes I’d want for my own art, but I can only DREAM about being able to think of all the character design details they manage to put together. I always feel like I have decent vague ideas for designs, but I falter when trying to get specific little bits down, but All of Nelnal’s characters are so colorful, complex, and simple at the same time. Even though all artists have characters I love, it seriously feels like at least like 80% of Nelnal’s massive cast of characters are ones I love beyond reason. And it’s not just characters either. Even though most of their stuff is just character designs on a blank background, even when they go into more detail with full settings and poses and junk it looks great. Honestly, I think Nelnal is my favorite artist out of all artists.
When it comes to character design, artists like Nelnal really make me jealous, because I have no idea how they come up with the small little bits that make their designs feel much more full. For example, with this character, things like their hat looking both like a jester’s cap and also like a weird little monster biting their head, or having that specific shape of zipper, or even a zipper at all, around their waste, or even something as small as that weird little patch at their crotch, or the fact that their mouth is a weird light blue on their pitch black skin (using pitch black is a common Nelnal design trait that I love) all jump out at me as things I just don’t know how to think up on my own. Of course, I do go through a lot of references for things, but it’s still super hard to find details that are at the exact perfect level of fantasy-fun and realistic. One clothing design I’m actually pretty proud of all things considered is that of Don Proteus. Even though I think the reds on his vest are a little washed out, and even though I think the highlights on the golden side look a little weird, the design itself looks really good while also being unique, yet simple. It’s irrelevant to this, but I also think I drew and shaded the form of his torso really well. A clothing design I’m probably going to try and change is that of this group of characters. Much like Rawhide’s scarf, their matching set of clothing all looks super fake and plastic-y, even if I like the general shapes of the sheep boy’s design/clothing. His shoes are also of the same kind of shoe I put on like 90% of my characters who’d reasonably have that kind of shoe (1, 2, 3) and just change out the various design aspects. I sort of like the design, especially the general form/silhouette it gives, but it’s definitely one of those cases where I really think I need to find a bunch of different shoe designs to reference and get off that train.
Apart from clothes, I still think some of my better designs can be improved even further if I just had some idea of smaller, unique details to give them. For example, one of my favorite alien species I’ve made, the Temporal Pigeons, are supposed to be the most advanced in the universe, and apart from the fact that I’m really going to need to look into weird alien technology for them to use, they as a species still just feel so… grounded. Like, even though they are meant to be a little more grounded than they are supposed to be supernatural, 4th-dimension monsters, I still think there’s some way to make them look more strange, but I just don’t know where to start. They’re fine as is, but I really feel like they can just be better. I’m also having a lot of trouble designing individual characters of this species, which is made harder by the fact that they are supposed to be weird in that weird way. I do frequent Pinterest for ideas, and it really helps me gather a bunch of designs I like, but even though I can gather like 50+ designs each session I go through my home page, I still don’t feel like I’m designing the most interesting possible characters.
Apart from that, for a long time I felt like I suffered a lot from the classic Same Face Syndrome, but I eventually realized that it’s just because I gravitate towards characters with that “same face” which is just a soft, feminine face. It’s not that I can’t draw different faces, it’s just that most of the characters I feel like drawing usually have that same face. That doesn’t count for non-humans either, which obviously wouldn’t have the same face. I also went out of my way to draw a handful of more varied faces just to test things out, and I think they, and the characters that resulted from some of them, turned out pretty well.
Overall, though, my biggest fault in art is how little I try to explicitly study a reference. I feel like I understand the construction of people well enough, but even then I feel like I really need to try to completely redraw life. It’s one of the things every artist rejects at some point in lieu of continuing to draw cartoons from cartoons, but obviously it’s also something that’ll benefit literally any artist who does it, so I really just need to do it. Considering I don’t always have the motivation to draw even the stuff I draw normally, getting enough motivation to draw life is practically impossible though.
I think I’m going to try and do a much more involved flat drawing of a character to see how that sticks. Outside of the visual art, I’m also probably going to start making Youtube videos about random little stuff I care about, like character design principles and stuff, which will definitely require some of my budding video editing skills, my inexperienced voice, and of course a cute avatar of Bobbie that I can use as my classic Saberspark-esque cartoon reviewer persona. I probably won’t ever try and make it a full-time thing because Youtube sounds like hell for that nowadays, so it’ll probably be a lot more casual and unstructured stuff, probably a lot like the stuff I write about and post here. I think it’ll be fun to try at least. I’ll also try and make more presentable, short-like animations, and of course I’ll be posting them there when relevant. I have the ideas brewing for one of Beryl, but as is usually the case with animation it’ll take a special mood to get me started… it’s a bad thing to let myself be controlled by, but it’s the darn truth. As for my animation skills, I think I really just have to put in the effort to see where my deeper problems lie, since I haven’t really animated all that much. It does seem extremely possible though.
As for my modelling, I’ve always had trouble with getting hair right, but I think I’ve got it good enough for the purposes of saying a model is “done.” I really need to work on making good clothing and rigging things well too, and even though the Rigify addon seems like it should work, whenever I try to move the rig to fit my model the finger bones glitch out and discourage me from continuing. I’m definitely going to put all that on the backburner for now.
I guess another good thing for me to put into words is what exactly I want to do with my art as a career. For pretty much all of time, I thought I wanted to be a writer, and my drawings were really only a means to an end, and that I didn’t want to be known for anything art-related, with animation feeling completely out of the question. Now that I’ve gone digital and improved in skill, I realized I only said that because I didn’t really enjoy the act of drawing as much then, whereas now the kinks in the process have been ironed out a lot more, and it feels so much better in every single way.
I think what I want to do is sort of vague, but I know I want to be involved in the process of creating animation somehow. It doesn’t matter as much to me whether it’s the writing part, character design part, or the animation itself (assuming I feel half decent at it), I really just want to be a part of that brand of creation. Obviously some things like voice acting, at the moment, are completely out of the question, though. Most ideally, I want to be a character designer, since designing the characters is easily the most fun part of the entire process for me, but I feel like that sort of role is much more reserved for those with a higher standing in the industry, since they probably have a decent amount more control than the other portions. Of course, that’s technically a lie, because the MOST ideal scenario is where I just get so insanely popular because of some indie thing(s) I make that people will fund my entire life via Patreon or something (wink wink) and I can spend my whole life working on my own stuff with a very select group of people instead of falling into the usual industry. That’s definitely at pipe dream levels though, even if it is entirely possible and has happened multiple times on the internet. No one should ever “plan” for that to happen, unless you’re already on an upward trajectory.
People often say to not make your hobby your job, but when I think about it, no other job could even come close to bringing me more joy, so I feel like I should really just give it a shot anyway. I definitely think it’ll be grating to work in animation if I’m not working on some project I like, but as long as I’m not the one doing the hard animation work I’ll probably be able to deal with it. Only time will tell…
Whether or not you care, I have a big ol playlist for all the music I listen to, if you’re interested
like ranking (almost) every Pokemon on a tier list for fun. the top and
bottom are pretty solid, but the middle area is obviously pretty
changeable, especially since I had to do this relatively fast to
maintain my sanity. The top and bottom are the only ones actually ranked
within their tier, and everything else is just sorted by number.
Time may be a fictional construct that isn’t affected by our petty days, months, and years but going into a New Year is a very good placebo to clean things up and try new things. It just feels like a good time to get things sorted.
Breaking news, everyone: Pixar made another slapper.
I’m gonna get it out of the way first, but the only (and yes, only. Not like someone trying to say “only” even though they have many more nitpicks that they just don’t want to talk about) problem I had at all was that the super high realism of the settings of Earth kind of made the more cartoony faces of the people look a little more off. But, it’s kinda like the same thing people were talking about with that cat in Toy Story 4. It looks super real, which is impressive, but I feel like it was almost too real compared to the faces. Obviously it was too real compared to the supernatural settings because that was intentional, but yeah. It’s not even a big problem, it’s just the only one I can think of. I do think the realistic renderings of hair, light, water, etc at least work with cartoony stuff, but apart from that it looked almost like it could’ve been a photograph, with no exaggeration in the buildings or anything else.
I mean, I love the faces, so I definitely wish they went the extra mile showing extra personality and character in the buildings, as faces do with characters. Considering the faces matter like a bazillion times more, I still think they knocked it out of the park on the visuals. People with more investment and knowledge into the topic already said that the faces of any of the people of color felt cartoony and unique while also being true to life and respectful (My family recently stumbled onto some old animations from the 30s and lemme tell ya… We’ve come a long way), but seriously the characters that sold me on the visuals were the Picasso-esque beings who may or may not be the Gods of the universe maybe?
Spoiler boundary of course. It’s definitely worth a watch.
And that’s honestly what made the realistic world so much better. When the accountant guy went into the real world to set the count right, it was one of the most fun I’ve had just watching something. The sheer contrast between him and the world was so much fun, and it even solidified that those beings weren’t even acting in a different dimension or anything. They’re literally just beings that exist, meaning that all the other parts with the unborn souls and such are just as real as Earth. Or, even better, they’re the ones who can just casually rip a hole in dimensions. As far as depictions of Gods go, if they are even Gods at all, I think they’re one of the best I’ve ever seen. They feel like they could actually be how Gods actually exist, since all the commonalities of Gods involve supernatural power, which would suggest they’re supernatural themselves. I mean, I have a story with Gods in it too and they’re basically just that although admittedly a lot less imaginative.
With those guys being my favorite design, second place definitely goes to the lost souls, although obviously for more subjective reasons. 1) They’re purple, 2) They have one eye, 3) That eye is yellow which I always think is the best compliment to purple, 4) Tentacles, 5) Creepy in a kid’s movie. Franky, I would’ve made them a lot creepier, but even then they’re super creepy, if not visually then in their behavior. They’d just be kind of sad if they were just mumbling around, but since the first introduction to them starts charging at the main characters like a deranged monster. Considering how weird everything in that dimension is, finding something that isn’t nearly as innocent as everything else instantly invokes fear, since you have no idea what that thing can and wants to do to you. Sort of similar, I would’ve also made the “In the Zone” moments a bit more crazy and colorful, like when Joe fell through the void between the road to the Great Beyond and the You-seminar
(is that how it’s spelled?), but these “I would do it differently”s might just be a fault of my design ideas or just subjective interests. I would’ve watched 2 hours of pure, nonsensical abstract worlds like the You-seminar with no explanation to how they work.
I definitely have a relief with the story, mostly entirely revolving around 22′s character. I was kind of worried she’d be too childish to really enjoy, but I feel like she was done really well. All the major historical figures’ remarks on how hopeless she were both funny and also really tied into her character “flaw” at the end as she was a lost soul. It might not be the most unique character archetype of all time, but it definitely makes sense, with all the people bringing her down implanting in her mind that she was an anomaly, and after a while was just sort of following it. Plus, she seemed genuinely interested in Joe’s weirdness, instead of being super mindlessly irreverent. And her being able to expand Joe’s understanding about his own world, like with the barber and his student, brings her up as more than a whiny, bratty child in the scope of the story. She didn’t JUST learn.
Even though I kind of expected it from the get-go, I’m also relieved that the movie didn’t shy away as much with the dark elements of death. It was kind of suggested that this wasn’t going to be a perfectly casual romp through a magical afterlife like Inside Out was with the mind because of the unborn souls unabashedly saying “Hell” in the TRAILER of the movie. I feel like that alone made the story super interesting, because it shows they’re actually going to be a bit more serious with things instead of just simplifying the unknowable complexities of the before & afterlife. Even with the dead souls going into the Great Beyond, it was a mix of being weirdly peaceful for some and super scary for others. My family thought it was peaceful for the most part, but my mom specifically though it was terrifying, and even though it’s a lot more peaceful than almost all other depictions of death, I can’t blame her. The souls were just kinda accepting it, like they’d been brainwashed or something, but still acknowledged that they were dead and were going into the afterlife. Plus, Joe, being the main character who we are supposed to sort of reflect in a way, was super freaked out by it, so that could easily suggest it’s to be afraid of and the other people are the weird ones.
I think the true message of the story being so strange was better too, because it would’ve been so boring if it fell into a super basic message we’ve heard millions of times. I feel like it has a similar sentiment to the basic messages, but is at least a more interesting way of saying it, if it is even like that in the first place, because it’s also somewhat vague in a good way. I think my brother/mother misinterpreted and simplified things a bit too much, where they thought it was sort of like a happier way of saying “accept your lot in life and don’t change it.” I could probably go on a full other rant about why I think this is wrong, but part of it is I don’t really know how they came to this conclusion in the first place, considering with that scene with that guy who threw the computers off his desk as his lost soul was cured (I guess you could call it that?), who obviously realized he wasn’t okay with his lot in life and was destined to change it. I think they sort of misinterpreted “the spark” and other things it as a 100% for-real, this-is-how-the-real-world-works sort of way, and not as much as a fictional way of saying things. Not necessarily symbolic, but I guess symbolic also? It has some of the same weird logical problems as the Cutie Marks from My Little Pony, except they’re obviously better since Cutie Marks determine your life down to your very job some of the time, while “sparks” are more vague and seemingly up to you. They’re more like when an unborn soul realizes there’s something on Earth they want to figure out, not necessarily their hobbies or jobs. For example, they kind of cited the barber character as the one who supported their point, but I think he does the complete opposite. He wanted to be a vet, but he ended up being a barber. But, they sort of assumed his “spark” was to be a barber, and that his personal interests didn’t matter because the “spark” forced him into a less favorable job. But, in reality, I feel like his “spark” is more his interest in love for the people around him, which is why he decided to get a more practical job to support his daughter (wife? one of the two) when he really needed to. Plus, he still enjoys being a barber because his devotion to love lets him connect to people as he cuts their hair. After all, he seems to be succeeding in his goal, since Joe was just like “Hey, let’s go see this guy he’s the exact guy we need!” People who don’t show love and interest for others don’t make that kind of impression in people’s minds. I feel like if we knew each story of everyone’s life down to the last detail we could fully determine what the mechanics of the world and its people are meant to say from a fictional context, but with such a limited selection I don’t think you can say something so sure. Sure, every choice in a movie is made specifically for a purpose, but I feel like if a movie tries to hard to be like “Oh but don’t worry here’s an exception” a million times it gets bogged down by its own attempt to make the message as obvious as possible.
There are also a lot of neat little details I loved, like how even though they did this for basically no other point in the movie, they made sure to include people from all around the world in that mess of dead souls, firmly sort of putting in the idea that the entire globe is in a sense one single entity that leads to the same place. They could’ve so easily just made everyone speak English for that throwaway scene, but I feel like including people from all around the world was very beneficial. Even the EXTRA little things, like the path to the Great Beyond looking like the neck portion of a guitar with the metal bits that separate the notes, or the facial features of the Gods blurring when they turned their heads in the other direction.
But yeah, who would’ve guessed Pixar made another good movie, right? Even then, Soul’s in the upper echelon of Pixar films. I really hope they (and Disney) realize they can go bonkers with a movie and still benefit/survive from it, since they’re so damn rich and inherently profitable. I think AAA animated movies like this that are the perfect amount of artsy are few and far between, and we need more of them. If anything, I hope they get more artsy, but I guess I’ll still never say no to a fun fantastical romp either. Basically, Pixar has looped me into watching any and everything they produce because it’s never “bad” I think. In the grand scheme of quality, even their worst work (Cars 2) is still not “terrible,” per se, even if it feels like it exists more as a cash grab than a genuine tale.
Honestly the entire Bloons series has been some of my favorite flash/other-than-flash games out there, and I feel like it’s worth bringing it up since I just crossed the 365 day threshold for BTD6. Maybe in the past, but nowadays I definitely don’t feel like I ever play a game daily for a year straight. Chances are it was a little desperate when I first started playing, but as of now literally every single day I open the game up and play the daily challenge just for the sake of it. Plus, since the chest technically resets every 9 hours or so instead of 24, I could’ve cheesed it a bit, but I didn’t. That’s a pure 365 days of playing the game.
And even apart from that, the entire Bloons series has been in my mind since the first one and my middle/elementary school Coolmath Games days. Even though the puzzle, pure form of Bloons wasn’t as much in my interest, the staying power of the Tower Defense version is crazy. Flash Tower Defense games are plenty, and yet the one with the stupid monkeys throwing darts at balloons was the best.
I went back semi-recently and played a round of each BTD, and I gotta say, it was fun seeing where everything came from. 1 is absolute garbage, forcing you to just spam Super Monkeys if you want to get anywhere, but a good starting point obviously. I honestly know nothing about the people creating these games, but obviously it wasn’t made by a AAA crew, so you can’t expect everything to be put in place in the first iteration. 2 and 3 feel much better, but obviously not much after being so used to the modern stuff, and 4 and 5 are the ones that really shine the most, apart from 6 obviously.
I definitely was one of the types of people who initially reacted poorly to the artstyle change of 5 and 6, but I’ve definitely turned over. I don’t know if the whole BTD community rioted at that point, but I at least was like “ew, they’re cute now” when I first saw it. Thankfully I turned over, and realized the current designs are the absolute best out of the entire franchise. Also, I love their cuteness, as I love cuteness in general, so basically just call it character growth. Even though 2D art always is more interesting for games than 3D in general, the entire art direction of 6 is genuinely really good, being so bright and cartoony (at least before the fifth stages of upgrades) really fits the cartoony idea of monkeys popping bloons. 5, and the entire franchise before it, really is proof enough how horrible a pure top-down perspective is. On the title screen, you can see what the monkeys are supposed to look like, but in-game they literally look like weird blobby scorpions. Even though in the back of my mind I knew what they were supposed to look like, the pure top-down perspective completely ruined the image. Not to mention the OG designs for the monkeys was really weird and bad anyway. Even if you wanted a goofy fat kind of monkey, there are a million better ways to achieve that than how it used to be. Again, of course, they weren’t exactly AAA game-level quality, so you can’t expect such perfect character design.
But, oh my god. One of the things about this game that must’ve kept me through 6 was the character designs. If you know anything about me, it’s that I love a good character design, and 6 is full of them. It’s so interesting to see how they extrapolate the main concepts of each tower into their three different paths. The generic Superman-based monkey can turn into a Batman-based monkey, a Terminator-based monkey, and a fucking ancient god of the sun. The seemingly chill Druid can smite people with the power of Zeus, become the much more expected forest-based type, but also turn into this completely out-there being of pure wrath. I could go on and on about that, but needless to say for so many of them look and are designed so great. I think the tower with the coolest level 5s of the game is the Ninja. It’s hard to explain, but they all just look really cool while also not deviating too much from the cartoony-cute art style. I think my all-time favorite level 5 is the top path of the Wizard, mostly just because he looks really cool, but also because the parts of the path before it show him aging and growing out his beard. I also have to say the 2-0-¾ Wizard also looks exactly my style, with the dark purply-ness and gold rims. Also, if you haven’t noticed, the Magic monkeys are my favorite type, and not just because their signature color is purple. That’s part of it though. Magic is also just cool in general. My main RPG-class of choice is almost always a mage/wizard.
Also, the heroes are also really fun. As someone who often creates species of aliens/monsters, I always feel like I want to create a dedicated character out of them no matter what, so I feel like the heroes are basically just that. And, of course they have good designs too, and of course as you can probably guess my favorite is Adora, basically being the same thing as the 5-0-0 Wizard with the Sun God aesthetic. Since she has her own stage and a special interaction with the True Sun God/Vengeful Monkey, I think she’s a pretty big deal anyway. I will say that I highly slept on Gwen, but then for Easter they gave her the Harlegwen skin and I fell in love. It’s insanely good stuff. Apart from looks, it does feel nice to have some sort of interchangeable tower that you basically just place and forget about, aside from using their powers. Plus, it makes a really easy type of thing to periodically add to the game to keep things fresh, even with the skins in general. It definitely is much better than the stuff they had in 5, where you had to use Monkey Money to buy each one, and you could only use them once per stage. Obviously 6 has the extra powers to help you out, but they feel much more optional and cheaper than the heroes of 5. Since I barely buy anything with Monkey Money to begin with, and since I’ve obviously had 365 chest openings, and AND since I barely use them to begin with, I’m completely stocked up. I only ever use the farmer and sometimes the tech bot if I get lazy. I did use the portable lake I got from my 365th chest opening after I got it, just for the sake of celebration. That’s literally how my mind goes.
6 does have the slight tinge of a mobile game artstyle, but in this case it’s really just better. I’m not into mobile games, and especially not the generic artstyle they have, but it is really pleasing to look at anyway. It did chase me off before I converted, though. That, and the fact you had to buy it now. Like a true gamer, I was put off by the fact that something that was once expected to be free now has to be paid for. But, then, I realized that the entire franchise has provided much more than 10$ worth of entertainment to me throughout time, so it was extremely fair to pay that. It is still kinda weird how 5 has to be paid for for mobile, when it is just free online, though. However, unlike a true gamer I think the microtransactions of the game are extremely fair. Considering they just give you things that you don’t need, and can get for free otherwise, I think it’s completely fine to have them. It sounds bad on the surface to have to pay for the game and have there still be microtransactions in it, but since they’re completely optional there’s no good reason to hate it. I think people assume that means that you have to pay for the game, and pay extra for different major parts of the game, and that sours their opinion on everything. Gamers are a strange, irrationally angry breed. I do hate using my phone for pretty much anything, though, so once I bought 6 on Steam I haven’t played it on my phone since. It’s just so much better in every single way…
I bought the game around the time of one of my family’s semi-annual trips to England because I thought it’d help when we were traveling between wi-fi spots, and it really did wonders for me then. Probably looked like some asshole teen to strangers who don’t know I barely ever use my phone for anything, since I was playing it so much. My sister even saw me playing it and bought it for herself, although I don’t know how much she’s played since then.
For the sake of stats, I have 235 hours played of it on Steam alone, and in game I’m level 115. My most complete map is Monkey Meadow with all medals except CHIMPS, which I put the effort in because it’s the default map, and definitely not because it’s an easy/good map because it’s just kinda bad compared to so many other ones. My Dart monkey has a total of 4 million XP, and the only towers that haven’t crossed a million are the Ice, Heli, Alchemist, Druid, and Spike factory monkeys/tower. I think the farthest I’ve actually gotten round-wise is 200 once or twice, but I don’t remember if I’ve actually beaten that level and continued on or lost there. I think I might’ve gotten past it once, but just sort of lost interest in micro-managing my powers and let myself lose. I probably got there once after that and lost on it. As someone who didn’t look up the optimal strategies for things until very recently, I think that’s pretty good. It definitely feels like the kind of game where if you know the best strategies, you can literally just replicate that over and over and win really easily, but that just sounds kinda boring. Since I pretty much only do daily challenges nowadays, it forces me to use a limited amount of towers, so I either go much farther because it forces me to build up less towers more, or it makes sure I can’t even pass round 90 because it just was made to get you to round 40 and that’s it. When I have the full range of towers to use, I feel like I try to get the instant satisfaction of getting a new tower to increase DPS instead of making the few towers I have/need reach their full potential, which seems to be the better option. I also don’t really sell anything when I don’t have a limited number of monkeys to place, which I think is also a good strategy if you can eliminate the major money loss in it, since it can give you a massive boost in cash to get you the better upgrades quicker. I may or may not try to learn the strategies to wipe the rest of the game clean eventually, but right now I’m fine with just doing the dailies.
But yeah, that’s like the whole thing with Bloons Tower Defense and me. Something something reject modernity, embrace monke, or whatever the kids these days are saying.
I will say that if I didn’t have so many OCs to work with and could just pump out animated shorts on the reg, I’d love to do some sort of Bloons shorts. They’d all lean into the ridiculousness of it all. Like, the first one could do the 2001 thing with the monkeys learning to use sticks, and as the main one is bashing the ground with one or whatever and throws it up, an ancient, leathery patchwork bloon flies overhead and accidentally bumps the stick such that it lands back on the main monkey’s head, knocking him out. Cue the monkeys around him to go berserk and start throwing other sticks at the ancient bloon, and once they pop it using a sharp stick, they realize what they must do. Cue a long montage of the different stages of war and invention using the monkeys finding better ways to fend off the bloons, with the whole idea being that the monkeys are getting irrationally angry at the bloons, who are just sort of around and not actually sentient, even though they assume they’re malicious because of their history and upbringing. Absolutely no political message in there whatsoever. Just comedy.
Other short ideas could include, for the start of the modern time story, it could be the backstory of some sort of chiseled veteran main character, which would involve a bloon floating into his town, and from the people’s panic someone knocks over a lamp post that sets his town ablaze, only for him and his people to blame the carnage on the bloon, causing his classic edgy character motives for fighting against the bloons. Another, much more golden idea, would be an interrogation scene, where a bunch of monkeys capture a bunch of bloons for interrogation purposes. They’d obviously do the whole “Silent treatment, eh? Well, we have ways of making you talk…” thing, except the “way to make them talk” is to strap them to a wall with one dart guy on one side to systematically pop them to try and extract info. But, of course, it would look and play out exactly like the classic Bloons puzzle game. That’d be the fun part. If not that, then it could be like the classic carnival game that likely inspired the idea of using darts to pop balloons. I really just think this weird world of monkeys and bloons is perfect for some good comedic content. Watching the monkeys severely overreact to the bloons sounds extremely fun, and I’d love to see someone do something with it some day.
Most of the time I feel like dismissing what might seem like “faults” in writing because I haven’t actually made anything myself, and especially haven’t gotten any attention to what I make, but every once in a while something really ticks me off. Of course, I still try to take it with a grain of salt because of my lack of true experience in writing, but considering I’m hoping to actually become some degree of a writer I feel like it’s worth actually trying to explain what I think is a fault with things and why.
There always seems to be one specific thing that bothers me a lot when reading/watching stuff, and it’s the hard switching of tone from comedy to sincerity, or something similar to that, or vice versa.
Honestly, even though it sounds like the motive of a cartoon villain, I kinda think there’s too much humor in the world. It’s probably just entirely driven by opinion and preferences, but I feel like so many people are striving and looking for comedy that it hinders so many other things. I feel like, both in real life and in writing, having so much humor everywhere creates a pretty big gap between that tone and sincerity, which is pretty much always needed at some point. The big line between comedy and sincerity makes it so much harder, emotionally speaking, to feel good about the switch. I’ll try to explain…
First of all, this whole line of thought, even though I’ve been thinking it forever, was spawned by me watching Epithet Erased. Took me long enough, because I’ve seen some of the characters around and really loved their designs, but I finally watched it all, and I gotta say… It was interesting. Also, this is probably just going to be very ranty and opinionated but I will (hopefully) have something more valuable to say after. But, anyways, for one, it felt just barely too close to some of the premises for the stories I’ve thought of in various ways, but I guess that’s just bad luck on my part. Second, I feel like its humor really brought it down for me. Some episodes felt so long winded (although not necessarily “boring” I guess) because I felt like I got the joke they were trying to tell relatively quickly after they started it, but carried it so far. It didn’t help that, at least for a few of them, some of the characters felt like archetypes that I’ve seen a lot around the internet, or at least were simple enough that I understood what they were instantly, and when they are carried out through long character-focused moments it felt like nothing was happening. I feel like some of the characters are fine enough, even if I may not like them, but Giovanni and Indus were the two big ones that I thought had a little too much time given to them…
But more relevant to what I’m trying to say, sometimes the writing jumps way too far from the very comedic tone it’s trying to put out and into it trying to be sincere. The worst case of this was when Sylvie met Mera in the museum storage, and Sylvester tried to out Mera’s nightmares, only to see that her nightmare was the reality she was already in. With the scene change, and Indus becoming more serious with Molly, it felt like a good enough departure from the usual comedic tone to warrant the deeper motive of the character. But, then, of course, they had to trash the whole tone by adding the line about her also being afraid of ducks. There was absolutely no good reason to warrant that line and I will die on that hill. Not only was it just humor, but it was spontaneous “random” humor, and so on… I honestly hope people could just understand where I’m coming from there by how out of place it seems. I feel like the only defense they could use, apart from “just liking it,” would be that it’s comedic relief, but I genuinely feel like since practically the whole thing up until this point was comedy there was absolutely no need for comedic relief. The scene itself is like the opposite of comedic relief, like “Sit down and pay attention” or “Turn your brain back on” or whatever. The climactic point of the scenes before it were reached, meaning the sincere conflict there should be focused on, and apart from that one tiny little line it worked well enough. The fact that it was so tiny and insignificant is basically why I hated it so much. They literally could’ve just scratched it off of the script and only good things would have happened.
Something a bit similar happened before when Molly revealed her backstory to Giovanni. It wasn’t quite as bad, but when a scene goes from comedy to “my mom’s dead and my life sucks” you do feel the shift a little too quickly. I feel like it’s not as bad because it could just be Molly’s character, seeing the tragedy of her life as just sort of normal and not really that remarkable, meaning she’s more likely to just randomly bring it up.
But I definitely wouldn’t be going off this much about it if there wasn’t at least a little bit more. Zora was literally the reason I wanted to watch the show, because I saw a drawing of her a while back and thought she was just some random OC, but when I heard she was from this show I instantly wanted to watch it a lot more. I think the same thing happened with Molly, but I think I knew she was from the show to begin with. Anyway, Zora was the main character who I loved from the get-go and loved even more the more I learned about her. She’s such a perfect amount of diversion from being a generic cowboy in the little design details, while still being 100% cowboy material. Then, when I saw that her power was “Sundial,” or more generally just time powers, I loved it. The big thing that seems little conceptually is making her key term “sundial” instead of just “time” or whatever, because of how much it relates to her cowboy-ness, with it being associated with the “sun” people often associate with Death Valley and the Wild West and whatnot. Not to mention, it’s just a cool power.
But that’s kinda the thing, though. She’s so insanely strong. She could literally kill anyone on a whim. I don’t see how anyone could be cracking jokes in her presence. It’s kinda more general of a gripe, but when she aged up Howie it was borderline terrifying, and yet… right after, they’re cracking jokes again. It’s just so jarring. She could have literally reduced him to dust, and they’re so casual about it. I know Percy is supposed to be kinda blind to some obvious things, but I feel like even she could see the horror. That said, though, Percy is also one of my favorites. Her powers feel so natural yet interesting for what she is for some reason.
Frankly, the visual character designs alone for this show are all really good. Whether or not I’m into the writing, I can’t deny that the show kept me coming back just because it feels so good to just look at it, you know? The minimal animation, vocalized stage directions, and top-down scene view was really interesting to watch, since I’ve never seen it before, and seems like a perfect way to produce more content with less budget. It made everything feel super crisp and tidy, despite being animated so simply. Not to mention that the general lack of animation meant the few scenes where there was traditional-level animation felt really good. The voice acting was also amazing, (again not directly tied to the writing) especially when the voice actors carried their character and emotion from the scene into the stage directions, instead of just reading them out plainly. And, at the very least, the premise of the show is also really interesting (at least to me, mainly because I created 2 stories with a similar idea without even knowing anything about it. Simplified, specific superpowers are just perfect for character designing, you know?)
But I am kinda acting like the writing was bad, but it really wasn’t all things considered… I’m just not really into comedy, and when the comedy I don’t like is paired with writing and practically everything else I do like it doesn’t sit right with me. Considering this idea and some of the story beats were adopted from a DnD(-esque?) campaign, I feel like it’s much more fine. Frankly, I’m surprised I didn’t realize it sooner. Once I read about that, everything just fell into place. I’m not really into DnD either, though…
So, I feel like there are things to gain from thinking about this. While Epithet Erased is still on the mind, I feel like I’ve realized something about the juxtaposition of comedy and sincerity, that being that comedic characters can exist in sincere surroundings, and vice versa. Zora specifically could be one of these characters, because she’s so powerful that she probably sees everything around her as trivial, while the other characters have more sincere reactions to her obscene power. She could easily crack a sick joke that no one laughs at because she’s the only one who can find humor in whatever’s going on. By contrast, the thing about Mera’s fear of ducks was a product of the scene and not of the character, so it just ruined things. Nothing about it was made to be funny to the characters, it was made to be funny to the audience, even though the audience should be in sincere mode then.
Another character that I think works like this is Charlie from Hazbin Hotel, who is the sincere personality in a world of complete and total insincerity. She’s basically a more unique kind of straight man (despite being neither straight nor a man), who are always the grounding in comedic casts, like Squidward in Spongebob. I guess in sincere stories there are comedic relief characters, and in comedies there are straight men. You know, these are probably all things other people have figured out already… at least I can feel good knowing I sort of reached them on my own…
I think a good solution for stuff that’s primarily meant to be a comedy is to make it almost entirely comedic, at least with the inclusion of a straight man if needed. The big name that comes to mind is good ol Monty Python, the backbone of 14 year old boys’ humor style. At some point I realized why I like the humor of The Holy Grail, at least above other comedic movies, is that they don’t hold back at all. At no point whatsoever do they pull back the veil and put in a sincere moment. And, of course, since I can basically recite the entire movie from memory I think it did wonders. I think when it comes to comedies like this, trying to be too sincere at certain points makes it feel even less sincere than if it didn’t have the sincere moment at all. This might be a product of the 00s American family-rated live action comedies who all feel like they fall into that same boat, where the entire movie is hijinks, but then at the very end they pull that all back and have something really impactful happen, with the idea being having some shoehorned message about “family” or whatever. I can group so many movies into that category that it feels almost corporate how many there are like that, and because it’s both overdone and geared towards too generalized of an audience, trying to capture the comedy-lovers and sincere-lovers, it really just fails in both ways. Or, maybe people love them because they’re just barely bad enough to enjoy it in a so-bad-it’s-good sort of way. I dunno. If I wasn’t a little nostalgic for the time those types of movies might be my all-time least favorite.
But I’m a stick in the mud who hates comedy so I’m not really equipped to tell anyone how to do it right. Instead, I feel like there’s some seriously untapped potential in other forms of “feel-good” tones, like casual lightheartedness and just plain fun. I feel like those two things really work towards creating sincere stories that are still enjoyable, and not just one shot of sadness after another, while still having a dash of impactful emotion in them.
I feel like this is where Pixar really shines. People say “It’s not a true Pixar movie if you don’t cry at the end” because I think Pixar movies are great at making the audience lower their guard, and when the moment is right, hitting you right in your heart to make you feel the right emotions. For example, what I’d call my favorite movie of all time (for intents and purposes, if not for real), Inside Out, is all about emotional sincerity, where it’s trying to get across how it’s okay to feel sad, even though the world around you tends to say happiness is always what you want. For most of the movie, it’s a pretty casual romp around the inner workings of Riley’s mind, with some jokes thrown in (because it doesn’t have to be completely without jokes). I’m not really sure how to explain it, but the various jokes in Inside out feel like they’re sort of blended with the interesting workings of this fantasy mind-world, like the fact that earworms are just the little blobby workers in our minds sending the memory of the song back up to the control panel for the hell of it, or that our dreams are a product of a Hollywood-like place in our minds. These things definitely are there for humor, but something about them feels much more fun than just any kind of generic comedy.
Then, I feel like the most important thing about fun and lightheartedness is that they feel like they blend so much better with the sincere moments. Obviously if it’s too quick it’ll still be bad, but I think it’ll be much less bad than with comedy. Maybe you could think of it like a spectrum with pure comedy at one end and pure tragedy at the other, with fun and lightheartedness just barely crossing the midpoint towards the comedy side. Since there’s less of a gap between it and tragedy compared to pure comedy, it feels less jarring. Plus, it just feels more reasonable logically speaking, since comedy sort of puts up this insincere barrier to sort of suspend the disbelief that the events in question are supposed to be taken seriously, which makes breaking that barrier harder once it’s established. With fun and lightheartedness, there may be an expectation of it sort of maintaining itself but there isn’t as much to say there isn’t something hiding in the background. In Inside Out at least, throughout Joy and Sadness’ journey they are pretty determined to get back to the control panel to save Riley, but they’re for the most part confident they can do it (or, you know, just Joy’s confident), so they sort of interpret the world around them in a more casual light, but with that lower-level need still there. But when Joy falls into the abyss of forgotten memories and the hopelessness sets in, you feel it much more, because it was sort of already there to begin with, and it was just made perfectly clear at that moment. I think Bing Bong’s emotions during the scene also make it pretty emotional, since he’s being casual about his death while also being sincere about his sacrifice for Riley’s sake. Not to mention his inner sadness was outed while talking with Sadness.
I feel like if I were trying to write an actual essay I could probably phrase all this a lot better. I just think there’s a ton of value to lightheartedness in stories, as opposed to comedy, for the sake of “feeling good.” Pretty much all of my favorite things have that tone to them to some degree, like Wander Over Yonder, my for sure favorite TV show. It definitely feels fun in a way that can elicit laughs, but it’s not a lot like “This is a joke and you should laugh” most of the time (Disregarding the Evil Sandwich, my least favorite character in the show). I also think Steven Universe succeeds very well with that tone, creating an extremely comfy atmosphere when it comes to the less climactic episodes.
I also vastly prefer the lighthearted resolutions to the conflicts in lighthearted stories. Frankly, I am infinitely more likely to cry to a comfy and happy resolution than I am to the actual sad parts. I’m not really sure what it is about them, but I guess the characters finally being happy again after emotional turmoil warrants a happy-cry. I swear, if I think too hard about the scene where Riley finally admits her sadness to her parents and just sits in their warm embrace, I tear up. It feels so much better than hijinks-danger-hijink resolution.
But yeah, the stories I want to write the most will all inevitably have that sort of lighthearted flair to them, unless of course I choose to go more inherently serious with a story. There’s nothing wrong with that either.
With regard to the really big claim I made before about there being too much humor in the world, the themes of Inside Out, and what I said about comedy’s insincere barrier, I really think the world as a whole would benefit from valuing humor a little less. It feels like there are so many situations where people sort of want to maintain their good feelings with humor instead of more directly dealing with issues in a sincere mindset. For example, if people say something disagreeable (but not insane), It feels like too many people resort to making jokes at that person’s expense and not dealing with the issues directly. Obviously if someones saying some insane bullshit it’s fine, but when the more reasonable takes that are just barely put under the same umbrella as the insane shit are made fun of, it really deepens the trench between the people of different opinions. Of course, humor isn’t the only thing deepening that trench, but it really feels like one of them a lot of the time.
Apart from that, I feel like using humor as a way to distract from general negativity and negative emotions like what Inside Out sort of warns against can be pretty detrimental too. Obviously happiness can still be around, but putting up that kind of barrier between you and the necessary sincerity for emotion with comedy just makes the unpleasantness of the unpleasant stuff that much more unpleasant. I’m saying this one at least out of personal experience, since I have sort of developed to be too subconsciously against super sad and sincere real world scenarios. I haven’t personally felt too many of them myself, but I definitely feel myself blocking off some of my own emotional vulnerability, especially around other people. I can consciously talk against it, like I’m doing now, but I feel like it’s going to take a long time for that barrier to really break. Is humor to blame for that sort of thing? Maybe, with a dash of toxic masculinity and other buzzwords people often avoid for reasons I mentioned in the last paragraph.
Even though this one is much more unreasonably generalizable than the last two things, I feel like the popularity of self-deprecating humor across the internet also (probably?) takes a toll on some people. Obviously some people might just use it to their genuine benefit, but since it seems so common surely some people are putting on a self-deprecating face to get along, and eventually maybe even believing what they used to joke about themselves. Either way, it might be a product of an extreme departure from any kind of narcissism, making being self-confident and self-loving just that little bit harder for people.
But, while I’m not the most equipped to judge writing, I’m even less equipped to actually debate for the existence of all those things, so just know I’m kinda speaking with my heart and not my brain here. People obviously want and need different things, and I’m probably just projecting. Hell, maybe that’s me self-deprecating to not make me seem weird to everyone else. I dunno.
No matter what, all this reliance on humor really just shows who is and isn’t funny. Sometimes, people really need to get a grip. Frankly, I don’t think I’m that funny either, which is why I’ve kind of had the humor beaten out of me by one too many awkward silences after a weird joke in my elementary/middle school days. I guess that’s my cartoon villain origin story.
Alright well here’s one that’s pure “who tf asked” energy but it’s something I’ve legitimately been thinking about. Most of these are just me trying to organize how I think. I try to keep away from this general aura of saying I don’t like something completely unprompted, but my brother is a massive anime fan so I’m around anime a lot more than anything else I’m not into.
Obviously I’m gonna have to preface this with the whole spiel. People can do and enjoy literally anything they want so long as it doesn’t hurt other people. Apart from that, this is just me putting thoughts onto paper and shouting them out into the void pretending people on the internet care or even will hear in the first place. And, apart from THAT, I’m also saying I just don’t like it, not that it’s “bad.” Anyone saying something as expansive as anime can be universally “bad” is objectively an idiot who doesn’t know how things work. Also, I’m not trying to cover my bases as if I expect anime fans to hound me like people stereotypically assume they would, I’ll always cover my bases when saying things like this to catch literally anyone and make the undertones of what I’m actually saying perfectly clear to everyone.
And similar to that, absolutely none of this stems from the less affectionate stereotypes of anime fans. Let it be known that I’ve been a part of various fandoms, including My Little Pony, Steven Universe, Undertale, and probably some others that have just-kinda-bad to horrible stereotypes put on them because of the true weirdos in the fandom who act seriously out of turn. I know the feeling of being lumped in with those unfortunately remarkable people as if this giant group acts basically in the same way/agrees with the same actions. Plus, anime has grown so far beyond the “nerd culture” that I feel like it’s more normal to like at least a little anime than to not like it at all, so people that suggest all anime fans are weirdos are the weird ones.
But yeah, over time I’ve definitely felt a full bias against anime for some reason. Obviously some fit into my interests and get into my mind when I had an anime phase (like anyone), as I’ll mention, but for the most part if something is brought up as “anime” I just lose all interest in watching it. I feel like in terms of my overall biases, there are only three types of series: Non-anime animation, Anime, and Live action. For some reason, live action series are even worse in the bias chart than anime. I literally can’t muster up even the slightest interest in a live action series, while I can at least sometimes get behind the idea of an anime (and it’s a whole different can of worms for movies/other forms).
The reason why I say “non-anime” animation instead of “western” animation is because it really doesn’t have to do with place of origin at all. Also, calling stuff “western” kind of excludes non-Japanese eastern countries that don’t produce anime, like Russia and India. For me, the question is just anime compared to all other types of animation. Aside from the objectively bad art styles of course.
That really just gets troubling with the true definition of “anime,” though, but as far as I care to define it it’s entirely revolving around the art and animation style, and maybe various other stylistic things as well. It’s one of those “hard to define it, but you can usually spot one when you see it” sort of things. But, I feel like even though “anime” might literally just mean “Japanese animation” in general, I feel like there are Japanese animations that could not be “anime.” For example, the big one being anything by Studio Ghibli. It honestly could or could not be anime, but the fact that there is a debate suggests that there’s more to anime than it just being Japanese. If it’s not origin, then basically all of it rests on the style itself. Especially since so many people start off trying to draw “anime style” (like I did), and since some things have been called “French anime” (a term which honestly gets me infinitely more into an idea for some reason, I guess it being “French” reverses the negative bias from “anime”). Then of course it gets into murky water, though, like are Teen Titans (the original) or Avatar: The Last Airbender anime? It’s obviously something that doesn’t have a clear definition and it sucks. But, it’s easier for me to talk about if it’s limited to the art style, because that’s pretty much my main gripe with the whole thing.
I could also just not even remotely know what I’m talking about but just go with it.
If it had to be limited to a single sentence, the main reason why I don’t like anime is that it feels like 90% of it looks extremely similar to one another. See a few paragraphs down for the major exceptions, because there’s always exceptions. Also I’m sure someone somewhere is trying to pull out the “Calarts style” argument here and honestly nothing inoffensive pisses me off more than that and I’m gonna for sure make a separate rant on that some day. Obviously “western” animation isn’t the saving grace either, but it feels closer in general.
It may be one of those things that is supposed to be more functional, of course. I’d have to imagine it’s much more writing-focused, because, if I were an executive at an animation company, I could definitely get sold on a story much more easily if it followed very similar artistic practices that have been used by so many other companies/groups. Plus, for the audience, it’s probably easier to enjoy a story when you are pretty sure you’re going to be into the art style of the show by default. I’d have to imagine that’s why there are so many different anime (animes? Consider it a fish/fishes type thing) out there. For the most part, too, it seems like the vast majority of it is animated simply, with the higher detail and budget being saved for the big events. I’ll never say it’s not a reasonable thing to exist. It just sucks when the one thing made to be so universal is the one thing you don’t like.
But I’m definitely realizing I care about the visual of an animation more than the story. Definitely, a few years ago, I went full stereotypical writer, and cared so much more about the story itself than how things looked, but I definitely have changed from that. I’m much more likely to enjoy a story that’s pretty simple and easygoing that’s told in amazing animation than a highly detailed and complex story that’s told in pretty simple and easygoing animation. I mean, apart from that, I definitely don’t like the idea of a story’s complexity being one of its selling points, but that’s beside the point. Also, not to suggest all anime are “simply animated.” Exceptions are everywhere.
I’m the type of person who can enjoy something by “turning my brain off,” if you want to discredit the value of simplistic stories. Plus, now that I’m starting to try and make animations of my own, whenever I see some crazy good animation I’m halfway between “The animators are legends for putting in the massive legwork of making that” and “The animators are legends for making so impossibly good and high quality.” It also boggles my mind a bit when I see an overly detailed anime character/mech/whatever move. Someone had to animate that.
And then there’s one specific gripe that’s basically exactly that, but distilled into its purest form, and that’s how practically all young male protagonists in a mostly realistic setting in anime look like actual doppelgangers with each other. But, again, that’s a product of japanese society being less racially diverse overall compared to the Americas, so obviously the archetypal male is going to look much more average compared to what I’m used to. Just because there’s a reason doesn’t mean I have to like it, though. And, obviously, a lot of anime doesn’t have this issue, especially with the slightly less prevalent idea of “anime protagonist hair” of the past. Plus, girl characters don’t really seem to have this issue, and lord knows anime girls are a big thing. And, even worse for my case, it’s the same issue I have with the Calarts argument: The protagonists are supposed to look more average/approachable, while the side characters and environment can go the extra design-distance. I will say though that if an anime features the main character who looks just like that one archetype, I just can’t like it at all. It’s too plain. Same goes for when characters attend a school, and their “main” outfit is just their school uniform. Obviously practically all schools in Japan have uniforms, but it’s just so boring from a character design prospective.
Another big part of the style that I don’t like is just the level of detail anime characters/things often have. The worst part of this is always, ALWAYS the hair. It always looks so greasy and stringy, and it just makes me feel gross looking at it for too long. I don’t even care what color it is. Something a little less universal are the more fantastical side of outfits some characters wear some of the time. Obviously some outfits just go too far with detail, or maybe try too hard for a specific look that it thwarts the design as a whole. It’s kind of hard to say that without having specific examples, but I’ll always prefer bigger shapes and relative simplicity over the level of detail most anime characters have. Same goes for items too.
One thing that’s very easy to avoid on the larger scale, but still pretty prominent and a thing I genuinely hate, is how much more sexualized things are in anime. Like I said, it’s pretty easy to avoid sexualization because you can usually tell from the get-go where it’s at its worst, but even in other cases it feels like it creeps in even in the best shows. Trust me, though, I’ll never not admit to being horny, but when I sit down to engage in a genuine story I’m not even joking when I say that there is practically no situation where I want sex to be involved. Romance can be on-and-off, but specifically sexual elements just really throw me off of taking a story seriously, even when it’s actually incorporated into the greater themes and ideas of the story. I don’t know why I’m so averse to it, but I am. But, really, this is more of a writing thing than a visual thing usually. I swear to god, whenever my brother shows me an anime (my family would be completely disconnected from anime without him), there is like a 70-80% chance some female character is going to call a male character a “pervert” (or whatever the untranslated word they use is) and have it play off like a casual joke/remark. That shit actually makes me want to die. It doesn’t even matter whether or not they’re actually being a pervert, the mere mention of the remote idea genuinely pisses me off to no end.
Even though it’s just barely relevant, the way they always draw people with blood shooting out of their nose when they see lewd things makes me feel uncomfortable too. I’m not sure what anime originated that trend, because it sure as hell can’t be a thing from real life. That just doesn’t happen on the scale it happens in anime. Plus, it can’t feel good.
Strangely enough, one of the main things that doesn’t put me off is having to watch with subtitles. For one, if there’s any culture whose animation I enjoy inherently more by default, it’s French animation, so I still deal with it outside of anime. And, even when I understand the language being spoken, I still like watching with subtitles just so I never mishear or misunderstand something. But, also, I’m actually completely on the “sub” side of the age-old-and-probably-ignored-nowadays-but-i’m-behind-the-times “Dubs vs Subs” debate. For some reason, it is extremely hard for me to look at an anime with a very plainly english voice over top of it. It just doesn’t feel right, almost ever. Some get it right of course, but the general state of dubs is pretty low compared to just reading text with the default emotions behind them. It sounds kind of counterintuitive, because I can’t exactly admire the animation as much if I’m reading text, but I feel like I’ve watched and written enough (even though it doesn’t exactly take much to find this skill) to realize what the general effect of a scene is, and when I do, I can usually watch the actual animation itself instead of reading the text. Like with French stuff, I can pick up very few words that repeat and match them to the subtitles to learn just the slightest bit of another language. I actually took a French language class in high school though, so it’s much easier then…
And one thing that I actually wish non-anime did was make different intro sequences/songs for different seasons/sections of the story. Even though some classic cartoon intros are so insanely classic that it’s hard to want to get something else, I can imagine that, for the most part, the alternative intros could be just as good. I guess it’s because we have so many more episodic shows, so the same intro could reasonably apply to the whole show as if it’s practically the same thing over its entire course, unlike anime which are more structured and progress with each season. I just want more music.
Of course different anime differ in levels between these, with some being major problems in some areas and being completely fine in others. I really don’t like going super in-depth about things I hate though, so let’s just skip that.
But the only rule without an exception is the rule that states “everything has an exception,” so there are a few anime that I actually like, or ones that I respect from afar. I did have an anime nerd phase in my past, although it wasn’t super intense or long lived, but in that period a few anime did sneak into my radar and I still like them, mostly because I can’t help but love the nostalgia.
The one that kinda doesn’t count is the Pokemon anime. I like it because it’s Pokemon and I love Pokemon. Plus, it’s based on literally the most profitable gaming franchise ever, so it’s not like a fringe indie series. I will say that I actually really like the artistic direction they’ve taken for both the series and the official artwork/design as a whole. The Sun and Moon series looked pretty cute but maybe took it a bit too far, but the current series has a great balance of the clean, expressiveness of the Sun and Moon series but the solid-ness of the series before it. Apart from that, though, it’s one of those things I only still watch out of obligation, and for the rare good moments. I just love watching Pokemon exist, you know? Since I’ve watched so much of it already, and don’t have too much else to watch on a weekly basis, there’s no reason not to just put on the newest episode. It’s funny, though, because I normally like the dub of the anime more than the sub, but since the Sun and Moon series upped Ash’s expressiveness up to 10 it felt like his old dub voice actress didn’t quite match him anymore. Since I had no impression on what his original japanese voice sounded like, it was easy to start watching the subbed version and apply his new traits onto that voice. Either way, watching the subbed version means I can watch further into the series, and can’t get spoiled on things that’ll happen weeks/months down the line in the dub. As I said, it’s pretty normal nowadays to be into anime, meaning so many more people are following the Japanese episode release times and posting about it ASAP.
One that’s pretty expected is One Punch Man, which I watched once I heard someone explain it as “a parody of anime,” or something to that effect. The greatest thing about parodies is that they can be enjoyed both by those who love the thing being riffed on, and those that don’t. So, I watched it, and loved it. Me thinking about it like a parody also let me pass by the usual gripes I had with anime as a whole, like over-the-top crazy strong villains explaining so much out in the open, only to get one-shot by Saitama. And, the more obvious parody elements, such as Saitama becoming so strong just by exercising a lot, and just being a generally understated guy who just kinda is around. Pairing him with Genos, the more stereotypical anime powerhouse protagonist, is a great choice. For the animation, they even go super hard on the battles partially, I’d have to guess, because it still is just cool, but also to juxtapose how relatively simple Saitama is. There’s even some great character designs in there, like I remember this one single-episode side villain who was like a silhouette girl (?) with sharp teeth and long, seaweed-like hair that I loved the most. There’s also that second-in-command henchman guy under the main season 1 villain who looked sort of octopus-like, and I think had a crazy stupid name. I even liked the second season, which I guess most people didn’t like as much? It might’ve not been the highest of highs but I didn’t hate too much of it.
One of the weirder examples is Attack on Titan because of the artstyle. For some reason, it feels like the characters of AoT are drawn and designed so well that they can look anime, realistic, and just barely cartoonic at the same time, creating diverse and impressionable characters without having to resort to the crazy stuff like colored hair and weird clothes. Plus, this lends extremely well to the overall atmosphere of the show, which of course is more grim in a slightly more realistic setting, but with the occasional guise of happiness some scenes have. It can be everything at once. But, of course, I only realized that after watching it, and the main selling point was actually how interesting and unique the story was, while remaining, at first, pretty simplistic all things considered. I just loved dudes with giant swords jet boosting up to a shambling giant and slicing the back of their neck. Compared to most anime, it was so specifically designed, instead of having a lot of detail put into everything to have the uniqueness. The Scout uniform is basically iconic at this point, while remaining pretty straightforward and, even better, completely unrevealing. Even when you hear the idea of an “anime sword” you also kind of think of something super flamboyant and complex, while the Scouts’ swords are also pretty simple, but very recognizable, basically being a rectangle, and also being replaceable. The whole device they use to get around is also so simple, yet so cool, and relatively reasonable. From a writing perspective, it’s also really good to have all main characters be on practically the same playing field in terms of abilities (aside from, you know, Erin) so each knows their full limitations, and you don’t learn anything out of the blue in the midst of battle. Even better, it’s a type of power you have to be genuinely skilled with, not like how most stories pull the “you’re inherently powerful you just need to release it!” sort of deal (Again, Erin).
I am kinda falling out of interest with the story as it progresses, though, but it’s entirely not the creators’ faults. Part of the appeal initially was how mysteriously cool and terrifying the Titans were, and why everything in this world was the way it was. Like with pretty much everything going on for long periods of time, the explanation had to come eventually, and it never is quite as good as you thought it’d be. Now that I know exactly why everything is the way it is, a lot of the magic kind of dissipated. Plus, that subplot of the false royalty of their kingdom and all the politics of that got very Star Wars Prequels with me. I didn’t come for that stuff. I am still a bit in that “I’m obligated to watch it since I’ve watched so much already” camp, so if they ever continue the series I’ll get back in. I’m definitely not at all the manga type, though. I don’t really like long form comics as a whole, and my eyes genuinely hurt looking at most manga because it seems they don’t use different shades of grey as much as they should. It’s all black and white, and my eyes can’t stand it. It’s the digital age, dammit. Leave the old style behind.
Even though I already said it’s on the verge of being anime and even though It’s all movies (I think?) you gotta admit Studio Ghibli stuff is just impossibly magical. I can only actively remember seeing like 3 of them (Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Ponyo) but I would actually sell my soul to keep these movies in existence. I’m highly considering watching Kiki’s Delivery Service next because I think it’s on some streaming service my family has, where I can literally just watch it whenever with no fuss. They all fall into that kind of foreign fantasy genre that I love to all hell, because the “usual” for western fantasy has gotten impossibly stale and I actually kind of hate it now. Literally whenever any kind of story is a fantasy story, but with fantastical elements coming from some culture that isn’t the norm for fantasy, I can’t help but love it. Even though I’m talking more about the high fantasy genre, I can still love Ghibli stuff for being so adorably casual and local, making it feel so much more like every little thing they show you exists in some magical recess in the real world. The artstyle also has that kind of feel, where it’s cute in that weird-looking way. Plus, it’s a movie, so there’s a more solid stream of higher quality animation, instead of the more necessarily efficient series. Also also, I would die for Chihiro. That’s all.
For the stuff I don’t actively engage with as much, you can’t not mention the big Shonen Jump names, like One Piece, Naruto, and the one I interacted with the most, Yu Gi Oh. I’ve watched all three of those to some extent at some point in my life, but they didn’t really stay too much.
One Piece has another remarkable artstyle, being so weird and quirky and large-faced with everything. I can also appreciate the fantastical pirate elements, as well as the very unique superpowers of Luffy, and the rest of the Devil Fruit powers. I would totally try watching again if it didn’t have over 900 goddamn episodes. That’s the problem with watching super popular stuff like that, it goes on forever, and it’s so hard to make that commitment. Either way, I think that one guy with the cigarette/lollipop was a walking “pervert” joke so I don’t miss it too much. I also honestly think a non-episodic series that goes over like 200-something episodes can’t possibly have a truly balanced and engaging story all throughout.
Naruto also had that “High fantasy of another culture” appeal to it, and is probably the most classic anime that isn’t Dragonball (which I personally am not really into at all, never was). I don’t really have too much to say about it, but I did really like the Wii game I had where it was a fighter with all the characters. I haven’t checked, but I’m pretty sure Naruto’s just like One Piece in that there are too many episodes to make the commitment and I think Naruto might even have a worse problem with “Pervert” jokes, but I don’t remember exactly.
Yu Gi Oh, on the other hand, is actually still sort of my jam. The recent stuff, whether it’s the cards or the series, is completely beyond me, and looks like the true anime BS that I don’t like, but the OG Yu Gi Oh stuff was awesome. I still know how to play the card game, at least with the earlier, simpler rules and card effects. I don’t even know how to play the Pokemon card game, and Pokemon’s one of my favorite things ever. I wish we still had those pre-made decks sorted so I could just play really quickly with those to regain my idea for strategy, and then make an original deck of the hundreds of hundreds of cards we have lying around. It’d be fun for no other reason than nostalgia. The video games are probably a good place to start, and I still have that old PC one where it was split into multiple versions for like Yugi, Kaiba, and Joey I think. I had the Yugi one, and last time I tried I actually had trouble beating him. There’s a semi-decent multiplayer one I have on Steam right now but it’s one of those things where I could either play that, or just… not, and continue life as normal. I might try it out again, but I already feel like I’m wasting my day. Oh my god, then Dungeon Dice Monsters on Gameboy Advance? Who needs anything else for that plane ride, am I right? I think there’s even those semi-story based RPGs on the Gameboy too that I should probably try out again. There’s just so much goodness.
And I haven’t even talked about the anime yet. Definitely the more meme-able of the classic anime, and I can definitely appreciate it for that. It was pretty weird in its own way. Especially with Yugi himself having what might just be the most insane and nonsensical hair style of all of anime. But, even then, I actually think it’s my all-time favorite, and I kinda love it. I have no idea why I do, but I do. I couldn’t even conceive of how to draw it from anything other than the front view. I also seriously appreciate when a character’s main icon/representation is something unique, and the Dark Magician is such an insanely cool character for just being some random dude on a card. Even apart from that, the Millenium Puzzle looks really cool, as does pretty much anything with an Egyptian flair to it. Then, we got the man, the legend, Joey Wheeler, who would not have been the same with any other voice actor. I stand by the fact that Tea and Tristan should’ve been fused into a hot-headed tomboy though, you really could’ve done without them both separately. Kaiba is also a classic anime antagonist/antihero, and he’s pretty lovable for it. Such great characters for something that really didn’t need them at all. I definitely have more nostalgia for the card/video game overall, but the anime definitely has an impression of its own.
There’s also Zatch Bell, which I only know about in full because of that one Billiam video. I did have some vague idea of what Zatch Bell was, but only because we got those cool little books to hold the cards in. Honestly though the average character design in the show kinda sucks considering the fantastical elements are kind of cool. The only reason why I’m bringing it up at all is because I think Zatch’s design might be my all-time favorite character design in any anime property ever. His hair does still look pretty greasy, sure, but overall he has a very simple and clear design, and even though I’d definitely redesign him to look more puppet-like, the only reason why I see him as a puppet is because of the lines going down his cheeks. Those lines might be one of my all-time favorite single character design details for some reason. He also has a giant bow around his neck, and that plus the wide dress seriously makes him feel like a character I’d design (mostly because I have a character with somewhat the same details) minus the uber-generic anime boy protagonist sidekick.
For the list of anime I haven’t engaged with at all yet but can respect from afar, the shortest one I can describe is that one with that skeleton guy who has that average job and it’s animated very plainly, almost like a more western adult animation. You know, that one who got the meme with the subtitle of “Thanks, but reconsider!!!” with him looking all average but also anime-shocked at the same time. I can appreciate the deviation from pretty much every norm for sure.
For the more popular stuff, probably the second most likely for me to watch is My Hero Academia. The artstyle is just varied enough to make it feel better. Sometimes the hero outfits get a little weird, but most of the time they’re alright. What I’m really here for is the base character designs under them. Deku is an amazing average protagonist character design, who definitely looks average but still unique enough to not look boring. Designs like that are hard to come by, because it’s so much easier to use more over-the-top unique elements to make the main character unique. Doing more with less is always preferable though. I could list off all the characters and all, but beyond Deku I really would just be saying things like “The guy who looks like a crow or whatever.” Except for Tsuyu. Tsuyu is best girl, and if you don’t draw her mouth wide enough I’ll be sorely disappointed in you. I think there isn’t a single character I love more from a property I don’t engage with at all. To be honest, I don’t think there’s a serious chance for me really wanting to get into it, though, mainly because I’m intimidated by that little shitstain with the weird latex ball mohawk. As I’ve heard, he’s the walking “pervert” joke type. Could be wrong. I hope so.
The most likely is another Academia, that being Little Witch Academia. It looks adorable as all hell, and the fantasy elements look classically fun, being a sort of bubbly spin on the more generic Harry Potter-type stuff you might imagine for a witch/wizard school. I’ve heard that any Studio Trigger series is animated very well, but somewhat lacking in the story department, but as I said before I can very easily enjoy a simple story with great animation in front of it, so it really seems super up my alley. Plus, it’s just like, ON Netflix. I could literally just boot it up any second and start watching.
I usually try to organize these paragraphs/lists in ascending order of interest, but I gotta break that for something that’s super half-and-half, and sort of the one that triggered me to want to finally write down all this junk. Madoka Magica is occasionally really cool, with the absurd and bizarre imagery of each Witch and Labyrinth, and I seriously love that part. But… Then it turns to the characters, which I honestly hate looking at multiple times more than the average anime character. Maybe it was somehow intentional, but their faces seriously look like those drawn by kids just starting out trying to draw anime, but just barely adjusted to look more polished for the sake of decency. I’m also not really into the story, being this massive juxtaposition of cutesy little magical girl antics and hellish demonic nonsense and brutal events. Trust me, I’m not the one to shy away from intense, adult stuff in animation, but I feel like the two extremes are almost too far apart from each other to really get into. That, and the magical girl dresses they each transform into was the specific inspiration for me mentioning designs that feel like they’re too set on doing one thing that it hinders their overall design. The yellow girl’s dress looks pretty cool though, since she has those weird poofy shoulder things, another character design trait I love. I just had to mention it because of how crazy interesting the Witches and Labyrinths are.
I just remembered Sailor Moon existed as I was writing that, and I’m not insanely opposed to looking into it. It might fight with Dragonball for the title of most classic anime ever. It also looks kind of cutesy-fun, which I can enjoy, but I definitely would expect it being a bit old to be its downfall. The artstyle alone gives me some vicarious nostalgia, even though I’ve never engaged with anything styled like it (and honestly believe it’s objectively worse than the anime style that’s more common nowadays). People as a whole seem to be nostalgic about it, so it’s kind of hard not to also feel it a little bit. As I said, though, I do kinda hate it compared to modern stuff. Same thing applies to Dragonball and really anything of Toryiama’s work. I can see the nostalgia from other people, but I just don’t like it.
I’m sure there are others that are just barely being forgotten about, but you get the point.
So yeah, that’s basically why I hate anime except I talk more about the anime I do like instead of hating on it as a whole. Believe it or not, when I like animation, I truly do like it, regardless of whatever form it is. But still, anime as a whole is not at all my thing. Feed me my generic Disney Channel “Calarts” SJW shlock instead.
“Frankenstein” can still refer to Frankenstein’s monster in the same sense that we might say a work by Van Gogh is “A Van Gogh.” As in, “That painting is a genuine Van Gogh alright.”
Even beyond that, Frankenstein is the scientist’s last name, so his monster, if we consider it like his child, would also have that last name, meaning we could still refer to the monster as “Frankenstein” like we’d refer to people like Trump.
Even beyond THAT, language is a thing that evolves without us controlling it. Considering so many people use “Frankenstein“ to refer to the monster, over time that term has come to be known for the type of monster itself as well as the scientist and the book. Even if it came to be from a misunderstanding, it’s still how things work.
Either way everyone knows that “Frankenstein” is the scientist at this point so anyone who uses it to refer to the monster just doesn’t care and trying to correct them just is annoying.
Soooo these guys are a part of a really old group of characters I had way back in 2013, and they were my life blood. I decided to compile everything about them and everything I turned them into into this 44 page document:
Obviously no need to read the whole thing, most of this was just for my own nostalgia.
Honestly it’s hard to keep me away from a game with great visuals and even greater character design. I knew from the INSTANT I saw these characters that I was going to love it. I just finished it because it’s (unfortunately) pretty short, and even though I cheesed the final boss through it’s very lenient death mechanics (Instant respawn at the cost of a good rank) I actually appreciated that it wasn’t a pure cake walk. I’ve yet to rematch all of the bosses, but since I had genuine trouble with the later ones I’ll hold off on that.
But who cares about gameplay, am I right? I sure as hell don’t. I would’ve bought the game no matter what the hell it was. I wanted the characters (and the music, although I realized that second) and that was it.
First of all, I love any world that is super fantastical but cheesy in its concept, ala a city powered by music, and battles between artists using music. Ideas like this only spawn from a mind that wants to create a fun atmosphere, if nothing else, and it was sure as hell fun. I genuinely love when someone goes so far into a crazy idea and doesn’t waste your time explaining it with real world logic. Wanna know how a city can be powered by music? Shut up and look at the cute virtual mermaid. Lord knows I did. Every once in a while, it does you good to just let the player/reader/viewer just revel in the idea without having to go out of your way to make things seem realistic. It’s not about “turning your brain off” or whatever, it’s picking your battles.
Also, I can seriously love a world with great background characters to it. Any game with the right situation to insert the random nobodies you find onto the streets into the art in the credits really played into the greatness of the world’s less important characters, and that’s always a good thing. It’s technically world building. But, since I always love to pick favorites, I’d have to say my favorite background character is easily Mia, the NSR infodesk assistant. It’s funny, because you can literally search “nsr characters” into Google and she’s the third image result. I love how jumpy she is when you first interact with her, since NSR probably spread the word about B2J suggesting they’re rock thugs who’d beat up anyone, so for all she knows she could die right then and there with a guitar lodged in her skull. She’s probably just some intern trying to pay for college. She don’t want trouble.
Also, I just realized that 90% of the characters in this game have the same body structure that I always love, that being having arms/legs that sort of fan out in width into relatively large hands/feet. It’s a kind of limb structure I fall into so much because it just really hits me right for some reason. I really can’t explain why.
Anyways, I gotta talk about the big boys individually:
Mayday and Zuke are an amazing duo. I’m always a sucker for a cute and crazy girl, but honestly Zuke hit so many of the right notes too. I will say it’s weird to pair the martian Zuke with the humanly-skinned Mayday, but honestly it doesn’t even matter because he looks so cool on his own. I love his weird blocky blue dreadlocks, and his weirdly shaped shirt which bares his chest in the weirdest way… And, oh my god, Mayday’s weird Spongebob background flower eyes? It’s little tidbits like that that really make me jealous. How could I have ever thought of that? It looks so perfect, and I don’t know why. And her little booty jig she does in her idle animation? Adorable. I played as her as much as was reasonable not only because I’m a filthy button masher with little strategy but also because she’s so damn cute. I can also appreciate how she has a tough-as-nails persona while still keeping a semi-girly attitude, like with her falling for 1010 and Sayu. Characters are so much better when they’re a perfect blend of characteristics, instead of being all one-note, like how Zuke is the quiet one but gets heated against DK West, and all.
Honestly the voice acting for every character is great, but I love when Mayday’s VA’s accent shows through. It’s a perfect twang to accent (consider this the only acknowledgement of a pun in this post) her snarkiness.
DJ Subatomic Supernova was going to be an easy favorite since he’s all space-themed. Also, I don’t know why I always end up liking the egotistic characters. Not in the sense that I like their egotistic-ness, but in the sense that I like everything else about them and they just so happen to also be egotistic. The same applied with Empoleon (maybe like my 2nd favorite Pokemon) and Rarity from MLP, probably among others. Either way, I’ll never not love space themes. Not to mention he’s got a funky disco theme, and I’m slowly starting to realize that I am in extreme love with techno-funk styles of music. The instant I heard his music he cemented his place into my playlists.
As for design, I still have no idea what the fuck he is. Clearly AI is at human levels in this world, but if he’s a robot why does he still have hairy legs? But, if he’s a human, is that weird orb his head? Is it just some sort of puppet which he controls from inside his giant jacket? I know I dissed explaining things realistically but I actually want to know with this guy. Even the wiki doesn’t say. Either way, he’s clearly the logical extreme of “being at the center of your own universe.” Even his jacket depicts a solar system, with his hood being the sun. Didn’t see that until I tried to draw him. I really wish this guy wasn’t so tied to his DJ stand so I could reasonably draw him without it. I don’t want to draw his hairy ass legs. It is a great touch for his design though (although I prefer his beta look with pants and long boots, another design trait I tend to gravitate to) since DJs could reasonably not wear pants, since they’re always behind a table.
Sayu is my favorite. It’s so plainly obvious. It’s weird to say that sometimes, because some characters like Sayu are so clearly engineered to be as adorable as possible, to the point where they’re basically a parody of whatever they’re supposed to be emulating, but then they do that so well that they are still likable for what they’re trying to parody. Also, even though I’ve never looked into any vocaloid superstars myself, the fact that they exist and are loved in real life is absolutely perfect to be used as a character design in a world like this. It’s so weird conceptually, but we all know it’s normal and realistic. But yeah, she’s a giga-cutie whom I’ve already drawn and I’ve listened to her theme on loop on many different occasions. Favorite character, favorite track, favorite weapon of choice (What did I say about Empoleon?), which, and I wouldn’t have noticed this myself, looks like the USB symbol you see above USB ports on computers. How crazy perfect is that?
Even apart from my unbridled love for cute monster robot(?) girls, her boss fight is probably the 2nd greatest of them all, at least conceptually. She’s just a hologram, so you can’t touch her, but you CAN disconnect the artists which control her in order to defeat her. It’s the kind of concept for a boss fight that could only work for this type of character. I’m a sucker for the cute girl that provides her voice, but I love how the animator (video editor? the yellow one) actually attacks you with a mouse and lowers the brightness of the setting once he appears. Also, the mocap guy being the deeply-voiced type but still providing the adorable movements of her body. It’s such a great combo of characters, and their little extra art in the credits makes me like them even more. I just wish we could interact with them individually.
DK West was probably one of the most interesting characters visually, especially since I knew of every other NSR member long before the game came out, but I only just heard of him closer to the release. I wasn’t sure where he was placed, but I definitely assumed his gig was the weird shadow demon we saw in the trailers. When I finally saw him in game, I was shocked to hear him speak an entirely different language most of the time, which was really cool. Also, finding out he was tied to Zuke and wasn’t strictly an NSR artist really made him more interesting. You know, if his fucking shadow clone magic didn’t make him crazy cool enough. Even though I suck at his game and am not especially fond of his raps, the visual of him rapping with this giant monster behind him and dozens of weird shadow wingmen by his side hyping him up was probably one of the coolest in the entire game. The dark way they were hyping him up too gave such a bizarre atmosphere, especially since it parallels his seemingly chill and smiley demeanor.
I definitely hope they’ll introduce new bosses as DLC in the future, and make them sort of in the same vein as DK West, where they aren’t the biggest artists ever, but they want to pick a fight with B2J. I’d kill for any extra content this game can provide.
Yinu is obviously special since she was the subject of the demo they put out for the game. Even though I knew all her bells and whistles, she and her mom still beat me a few times in the full game. Considering she’s semi-tied to story-ish spoilers I kinda want to go more into her in a separate section. It is worth considering playing the game first since it’s not hard (with the easy going deaths) and it’s short length.
1010 seriously grew on me as I learned more about them and interacted with them. I got their shtick when I first looked at them, but after seeing that animation of them touring the city on Youtube I was kinda falling for them. Then, I learned that they’re apparently repurposed navy war robots? I mean, maybe not them specifically, but it seems to heavily point in that direction, with the warship cars and “attention!”s and all. It took me a bit to get into their music too, but once I actually fought them and put their actions to the music I fell in love with it. I swear, Neon J’s weird dancing can has some of the smoothest moves in all of gaming. I don’t know whether they mocapped out those movements or got one of the greatest animators ever, but it looks so impossibly clean his part of the song gets me like 30x more hype than it would normally.
Also, their little art piece of them looking at fan mail in the credits is probably one of the most adorable things ever. Even if they’re just Neon J’s puppets, that piece of art really makes it seem like they love every one of their fans. I’m not gonna lie, I might swoon a bit too if they picked me out and gave me some special attention.
Oh yeah, and the fact that Mayday was super sad in her showstopper against them was adorable and hilarious at the same time. The little tweaks they made to the showstopper for each fight were great.
Eve just has to be Lady Gaga, right? Like, an even crazier Lady Gaga. DJSS is Daft Punk (or any artist with a helmet persona, you know what I’m talking about), Sayu is Hatsune Miku, DK West is Kanye West, Yinu is a generic child protege, 1010 is a KPop boyband (just pick one) and Eve is Lady Gaga. That’s just how things are. But, again, this is the kind of boss fight that only this type of character could provide. It’s not just surreal imagery, it’s ARTISTIC surreal imagery. The fight is so mesmerizing in every way, especially by how it starts off so slow and calm and progresses to insanity, as well as the increased emotional investment in the fight making you feel so much more into it than just “That’s the boy band. Let’s fight.” Not only does it get you more invested, but it makes her artistic persona go deeper than just “she looks weird.” She is genuinely conflicted about her relationship with Zuke, and naturally that leads her to literally split him and Mayday apart. That mechanic specifically was the coolest, although I do wish they made it more obvious when you needed to switch over to a different side. I was getting pulverized by her fight too, since there were so many things to pay attention to. Her fight was definitely the best one.
Let’s be real with ourselves, the twist was so obvious. I do also think, though, that obvious twists aren’t bad if they’re just good reveals. At some point, a person just has experienced so many stories that “only pretty good” twists are easy to spot. It doesn’t mean that the twists are bad, it just means you yourself experienced.
I feel like her transition from rock to EDM was pretty understandable, even as a non-musician. She was so caught up in what she assumed was popular that it basically consumed her. It’s easy as an artist to want to forgo what you truly want to make in favor of what makes you popular, and clearly since her transition to EDM made her the CEO of the biggest company in the city (world?) that probably made her think she truly needed to change her outlook. Then, when she saw B2J try to bring it back, she sort of coined them as being as misguided as she was and knocked them down a peg. Plus, they were kinda being jerks about it.
It’s kinda like the Trolls sequel, where everyone pegs rock music fanatics as being too stuck up in their own heads to appreciate other types of music, which honestly seems more like the case than the alternative. When I first heard of the story of the game, I was seriously hoping they did put an asterisk on B2J’s ambitions because they were a bit sketchy from the start.
That’s kinda where I want to talk about Yinu, because she was the true turning point in what they were doing. She’s literally 9 and yet she’s getting dragged into all this BS. When she said “I hate you all” at the end of her fight, and played a somber tune on her broken piano after the fight destroyed it, you kinda got a kick in the face to realize you’re kinda being an asshole to some of them. Sure, they fight back, but they wouldn’t fight in the first place if they didn’t have to. They are just people who play music under a joint name that B2J just so happened to get in hot water with.
Then, of course, there’s Kliff, who also reeked of surprise villain, and who’s basically the embodiment of the bad side of B2J, where he just wanted to destroy for his own sake and not for the actual greater good. Once B2J realized their mistake, they backed off, but Kliff was so hard pressed to do what he planned on in the first place he wouldn’t stop. I kinda wish he got a bigger fight to his own since he’s clearly a big enough tech genius to divert a whole satellite into one specific building. Maybe the Elliecopter chase bit was his thing, but I do kind of wish he was there to fight against them too.
Even though Tatiana did kind of reform a bit quick, It’s still not too crazy to assume she could see that B2J was just misguided and the fact that they worked to revert their wrongdoings for her sake would make a pretty strong impressions. They clearly can hold their own, so it’s not like she wouldn’t want them to join NSR too.
Oh yeah, and her boss fight was clock/time themed. If there’s a theme under space that I love, it’s clocks/time.
And If I am to be respected by the internet, I must provide a negative opinion to balance out my positive one. I will say that the character model physics (like Mayday’s braids, DK West’s vest thing, Neon J’s fluffy neck thing, etc) got kinda funky at times. Especially DK West’s vest, which was completely messed up for every scene he was in… Also, even though the voices are mostly great, some lines felt a bit off. Just a bit. That good enough? Good.
But yeah anyway that’s another favorite game to add to the pile. Eventually I’m gonna have to compile a true list of my all-time favorite games/movies because I do kind of want to have a solid idea of what my all-time favorites are.
Honestly I’ve loved the idea of a randomizer since like the moment I heard of them but I never really did a full playthrough of one. I couldn’t get a DS emulator to work for many years and even though I’ve had one for a while I just never felt like it until recently. Not really sure why, considering I love playing with weird teams. And, obviously had to do it in my favorite game, Platinum.
For the randomized parameters, the main stuff is that I randomized all the stats (but kept it under their natural BST) and randomized all their moves, but kept it so they heavily favored their type. What resulted was a LOT of early game Nidokings with Earthquake… Some other anomalies were that Porygon 2s got INSANELY high defense, and that Dewgongs apparently were super strong. Everything else was standard Randomizer stuff. I didn’t want to randomize the types, since there is literally no way of knowing which Pokemon are which type and that’d ramp up the difficulty to an unfun level, even if it effectively creates 493 new Pokemon in the process.
My starter was an Omastar but since I’m not a TPP memelord I ditched it and ended up with an ending team of an Exploud with Volt Tackle, a Rapidash with Sacred Fire, a Walrein with Water Spout, a Probopass (really was just a standard Probopass if I’m honest), a Vespiquen with Brave Bird, and a Donphan with Bonemerang. I caught most of these guys fully evolved, except for Donphan which I quickly evolved from a Phanpy, and Exploud, which I caught as a Whismur. I also caught Probopass and Walrein super early, and honestly wanted to ditch them because they seemed too good. In other news, I caught a shiny Feebas… I wanted to evolve it and use it because of course I would, but I really didn’t want to bother since It’s emulated and I can’t transfer it to Pokemon Home. I hope that somewhere in the ROM the shiny rate was increased so I wouldn’t feel so shitty about it…
I also caught a Rotom and was excited to use it’s forms cuz it’s one of my top favorite Pokemon until I realized they’re locked behind an EVENT ITEM? Why? They’re not even that good???? God I hate events. They’re all cool at the time, but it literally makes certain Pokemon unobtainable without cheats now (at least in their debut game).
It was really fun. It wasn’t insanely hard, but I could definitely see an increase in difficulty. Mostly because my team was super weak to water types, which of course are very plentiful… And they also knew Crabhammer most of the time which sucked, and was one of those things where you doubt how random the thing actually is. I even saw multiple trainers with duplicate Pokemon. I also saw a ton of trainers being named Esteban for some reason… I also noticed the AI is at the very least programmed to switch out when it can’t damage the opponent at all/without a neutral/SE move, which is nice to know. I never saw that many trainers switch out before. In other news, Cynthia’s name was “Servant Noelle.”
But yeah, that’s a thing checked off the Pokemon Bucket List. I still need to complete Sapphire/Emerald because I haven’t done that yet (at least not since I was a kid), which sucks because not only is that before the Physical/Special split, making it super lame, but also because I think the physical copies of the game we got so long ago were pirated copies, so they’ll inevitably delete my progress halfway through… The same problem’s going on with a used HeartGold I bought recently, because I’ve never officially defeated Red in those games. Plus, I really don’t like playing on an emulator for some reason. Not really for ethical reasons, just something deep down that makes it not as fun or authentic I guess… Lord knows I love the speed up function though.
Never going to play Red/Blue/Yellow or Gold/Silver/Crystal though. You can really only like those out of nostalgia.
I’ve watched ShayMay’s 7-hour analysis on Omega Ruby and as you’d expect it’s getting me to think about what are actually the best and worst parts of Pokemon in the past. I’m still glad he literally goes through the entire game going into both the good and the bad of the game, and I’m basically only bringing it up because of the sheer amount of effort put into it. Obviously the video was made before Sun and Moon came out so thankfully some of his quandaries have been solved, but still it’s interesting to see the on and off of certain things throughout the series. Most of the time it gets better as time goes on, but still, it feels like you could get an amazing Pokemon game just by piecing together the features of past games (even if you’d definitely need a few additions to get it perfect, if that’s even possible).
To be honest I really am slowly falling out of favor with Sword and Shield, and it kind of makes me hope that Gamefreak can still get better. Even though the games sold like hotcakes, hopefully they have the heart to realize a ton of people didn’t really like the direction, even though it still isn’t “bad,” just worse than it feels like it should be. Even though bad direction can’t be remedied by other things, the fact that they are a multi-billion dollar franchise really makes it feel like they could afford to make it better, especially when past games did do what people wanted…
Since it’s the most relevant…
I will genuinely take DLC over “enhanced” versions any day. Even though you’d think a lot could be improved between the base versions and enhanced ones, that’s usually not the case. The only ones that truly changed the game were Black and White 2, since they were treated more like sequels. Even golden games like Platinum didn’t divert much, even if it is an objectively better version than Diamond and Pearl. Considering the games are now going to be a solid 60$ each, it would be even crazier to expect someone to buy the base and enhanced versions. Only paying 30$ for multiple expansions (at least two, could be more) with the content of said expansions being put out as a free update otherwise is a much better deal. The only people this hurts are the types who reasonably wait for the inevitable enhanced version and only buy that instead, since it’s always better, even if only a little. As far as I know, however, Pokemon is one of the only game franchises that releases enhanced versions of games soon after their release (as in, not years later when technology advances and they can profit off nostalgia), so really they’re just becoming more normal by doing this.
Of course there’s the argument that there shouldn’t be any DLC or “enhanced” versions, and all the content of the game should be included in the base game. It would obviously be preferable to not pay for it, but as is painfully obvious, even the richest groups can still be money hungry. Considering they’re inevitably going to make one or the other, DLC is going to be the better choice overall because it’s much more expandable. You rarely got to see a substantial amount of content added on in the enhanced versions. If they made us pay 30$ for the Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra separately, that would be crazy. But, since it’s 30$ for both, they could easily insert more bits alongside the rest of the Expansion Pass, maybe allowing them to carry a game for multiple years under less resources on their part compared to trying to make a whole new game. That way, maybe they can devote even more resources to future generations and remakes. That’s all just speculation though. I’m kind of impatient, writing all this before the day it releases and when we get more info for the future, so basically just take this as my opinion the whole time before the DLC came out.
Honestly, though, I almost always fall into the camp of gamers completely misrepresenting the concept of DLC, saying they just cut off some of the content and made you pay extra for it. A few bad apples really soured the bunch in this case, because, even though Sword and Shield did feel kind of lacking in some places, saying the Isle of Armor or Crown Tundra would’ve been a seamless part of the game no matter what is just obviously wrong. The games felt “complete” in the sense that it is all they wanted it to be, and it has a clear start and end. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s unfinished. Again, obviously it would be better if it was free/included already, but that’s just a given.
In a similar vein…
Basically, I love the usual formula for remakes. I actually really liked ORAS, and I feel like it improved on so much, making me actually like Hoenn as a region. Even though I played them closer to when they game out, RSE feel like a slog compared to modern stuff, especially with the lack of the physical/special split. I can definitely feel some nostalgia for the originals still, but 90% of the time I go back to those games looking for nostalgia, getting bored by the time I get to Rustburo, and turning it off. As mentioned by Shaymay, there’s still a ton wrong with it, but I’d much rather play them all the way through compared to the originals. I do still want to force myself through them eventually, though.
Heartgold and Soulsilver are widely considered to be the best games in the whole franchise, so I don’t have to say much. I’m not a Johto nut so I’m not the best at selling it, but I will say it feels so much more colorful and polished visually than the rest of Gen 4.
Firered and Leafgreen have the same problems that make me dislike RSE, but Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee are the strange cases that make the future so uncertain. I liked them for what they were, but I swear God if they do that one more time it’s going to make the fanbase erupt. The Let’s Go formula worked for Kanto because a lot of the people playing Go are people who knew the original games but not the newer ones, making Let’s Go a good entry point with mostly familiar territory and slightly dumbed down gameplay. It may work again if they do a Let’s Go in Johto, but if they do it for Sinnoh, since it’s the next one on the chopping block, it’s going to fall insanely flat. Barely anyone who only loves Go also seriously wants to play through Sinnoh. There’s little nostalgia there, and the nostalgia with Sinnoh resides in everyone else who loves the games as they are/as they originally were. Plus, people say they’re some of the hardest games, so dumbing them down ruins part of the appeal more. Since remakes pretty much entirely profit off of nostalgia (and partially from people wanting to experience a region without the limitations of its origins) they really need to just, you know, remake the game. Same deal as any Pokemon game, just with better (if you’d call it that) graphics and modern sensibilities. Considering all remakes (IMO) look better than their originals, I don’t think we have to worry an insane amount about them looking as iffy as SwSh. I don’t think they look THAT bad already, but I definitely think they’re some of the ugliest in the series.
I will say that I do still want remakes to happen. I’m a sucker for nostalgia, and I love seeing graphically enhanced versions of past regions. Also, my favorite region is up next, so I really just want to see what happens. I’m a shill so it can’t make me hate the originals more. Or, you know, maybe that just makes me a normal, reasonable person…
Obviously we just want texture quality, model quality, etc. But, I think there’s something to be talked about with the overall art style.
I’m not gonna lie, I was kinda into the chibi-esque models of X/Y and ORAS. It did feel like it trivialized the more serious characters, like the villains and major legendaries, as they looked too cute, so it’s probably for the best if we stick to “normal” proportions. It felt weird when I first saw Sun and Moon, but I got used to it. I always wanted to make my character look as cute as possible so the chibi style helped with that, but I have gotten some good results from Sword and Shield.
For character customization (if it even counts as “graphics”) I think Sword and Shield really hit the nail on the head. I’m kinda biased, because Moon and Ultra Moon had a really shitty shade of purple as their designated “purple” clothing, and SwSh really got my favorite shade of it right. I do think it’s great to have one style of clothing under different, generally standardized colors. But, I definitely think we need more body types. Like, one of the main reasons I play as a girl in games like this is that the boy character doesn’t even look like me anyway, so there’s really no good reason to play either. Even if it’s just one separate character option for each gender, like a Skinny male/”Round” male/Skinny female/”Round” female I’d be fine. Obviously I’d want some character sliders at some point, like pretty much every other game with character customization does, but I can settle for one more generation. The alts could even be more shoehorned rivals like in X/Y, so they basically have the design cut out for them.
One weird graphical thing I want brought back is the little circular platform your Pokemon lands on in a battle. For some reason, I really liked that. It does make the battle feel more in tune with the overall environment without it, but sometimes the battle fields look really bland and flat without it. I’d at least want the floor to be designed in a way to look like there are devoted spots for each Pokemon to stand on, even if it’s not a separate thing like in X/Y. It just feels more satisfying. Not really a big deal though, since I’ve been able to ignore it for this long.
The big thing is animations. I am getting extremely tired of the X/Y models. That’s 3 generations so far that use them, and some of them aren’t even good. I’ll never hesitate to drive this point into the ground, but I really wish Pokemon like Xatu, Charizard, Dragonite, and Salamence are permanently floating/flying in air. If it isn’t obvious, this is the way it is because of Sky Battles in X/Y, since they didn’t want to do extra work for the Pokemon permanently suspended in air. The problem is that those four Pokemon (and probably many others) really don’t feel like they are supposed to be in the air 24/7. According to their official art and sprites, they’re all on the ground. Xatu especially was made to look super tall and stout with its geometric wings flatly put on his torso, like the totem pole it’s supposed to be. In the air, it basically just hovers with his wings out, and for some reason it looks like there’s a large gust of wind keeping it afloat. It looks really weird. Salamence is also in the same boat, since its wings are so weird and not wing-like that making it constantly fly just looks so unnatural. Mega Salamence was at least designed to look like it’s supposed to be flying, but normal Salamence really should just rest on the ground. He’s too fat to be permanently lifted by his weird wings. Charizard and Dragonite aren’t as severe, since both are clearly shown to be otherwise super capable of flight, but they do feel better on their feet. I remember watching TyranitarTube’s series on one of the Extreme Randomizer hacks of the game, and in there somehow they made a Dragonite use it’s Amie/Refresh animation of sitting still on its feet in battle. It seriously felt so much better to look at, instead of this giant, poofy dragon being carried by its comically small wings. Basically, the way you should tell whether to keep them on the ground is based on the official art/sprites. That is the way the designers intended them to be depicted, so that’s the way they should be. Some exceptions that I’m actually fine with are pretty much all the regional birds, except Unfezant. They all look pretty decent flying, since flying’s basically all they do… Even Swellow, who has the same strange gust of wind as Xatu, feels more fitting like that because it seems so much more aerodynamic.
Apart from that, I just wish they were at least a little different. I’m not super against the muted colors they have compared to the sprites, but I wouldn’t be against more saturation. Considering how much work was put into all the different animations of the battles, Refresh, and both walking AND running animations, I unfortunately don’t think they’re going to change any time soon unless they explicitly say they’re going to change them for quality improvement. I would say the Pokemon from Gen 6 up are still pretty fine, since they were more meant for 3D.
As for battles, one of my favorite Pokemon games is, in fact, Pokemon Battle Revolution on the Wii. Not only was it super Sinnoh-focused, but it had multiple body types (even if I still look like none of them) with character customization for all, and great graphics for the time. People always look to it after citing the lacking Double Kick animation from SwSh, saying how animated the models were and how they liked the Pokemon actually running up to their target when using a physical attack. I will say that the model quality for a lot of them were still kind of iffy, and that some of the animations were a little too much. Specifically Pidgeotto, who was on one of the rental cards, was super energetic so as to seem a bit crazy, and felt a bit low-poly for the otherwise high quality of the environments and humans. However, going back to such a formula would be extremely welcome. I’m totally fine with the Pokemon not running up to their targets, but I wouldn’t be mad to see it put in, especially since the walking and running animations are already in the game. They would need to be balanced in terms of speed, though, since some of the animations in PBR felt really, really slow with that animation in there. Plus, some moves just need speed, like Quick Attack.
In terms of the move animations themselves, I do think some of the water effects in PBR felt too realistic compared to the rest of everything. Also, people say Double Kick looked bad in SwSh (like it ever looked good), but a hell of a lot of Fighting type animations in PBR were literally just the Pokemon walking up to their target, smacking them with nondescript flashes, and that’s it. So many of them could hardly be pieced apart depending on whether they were kicks, punches, or whatever. It would’ve been better either way if they put the physical move attack animation in for Double Kick, but PBR has its fair share of shitty move animations too. Moves like Seismic Toss looked fucking insane though, and I loved it. Seismic Toss specifically is the true test of move animation quality.
Also, it’s kinda irrelevant to anything, but I could totally get down with the Announcer from PBR returning for major battles like Gym battles or League battles. He was so much fun, even if a bit repetitive. All you need for that is a setting to turn him off, and bam. He’s a true classic.
More generally, though, I think Sword and Shield is a seriously mixed bag of graphical quality. I give the SwSh haters a lot of flack, but the one thing I 100% agree with is the texture of the trees from the Wild Area. They are god awful, even if it was in a game a decade ago. I seriously don’t know how they messed that up, since you can download better bark textures for free on the internet. Surely someone at Gamefreak could’ve done better there. If this was just a random tree in the background of some random route, then who cares, right? But no, this is practically every single tree in the Wild Area, the biggest selling point for the region and the game, where you would always spend the most time. You see so many of these trees everywhere, and they look horrible. I also hate the look of the berry trees, since they don’t seem to use the same lighting effects as everything else (just a guess though), but even apart from that the batch of lighter leaves on top of the bottom ones just looks so artificial. It looks as if they dumped a sphere of leaves on top of another sphere of leaves, like it was ice cream. Maybe some trees in the real world look like that, but sometimes it’s an artist’s job to take what sucks about reality to make it better for fiction.
On the other hand, I think locations like Motostoke look genuinely amazing. The brick textures are pretty good (compared to the tree), and all the colors and shapes of the place look really good. Also, when they go into full-on cutscene mode, the models, scenery, and everything else really shine. Obviously I’m not the king of all visual media, but it’s just weird to see that. It’s hard to compare to past games, because everything else was either 2D or on the 3DS, which wasn’t as powerful. Even though the Wii is definitely less powerful than the Switch, it doesn’t really count since there’s infinitely less content to worry about in PBR. Much more of the work could’ve gone into the graphics. Really, there doesn’t feel like there’s any excuse unless crunching is involved on the business side of things, which I really hope isn’t an issue for their sake. I would honestly love to see them announce that they’re taking a year or two off to devote themselves fully to a new generation, instead of trying to keep a yearly schedule. Something something Miyamoto quote something something.
Stylistically, it’s also a mixed bag, but at least this time it’s all just subjective. It feels like a lot of the game is meant to be somewhat blobbed together in some ways, like its a painting meant to be looked at from afar. It feels like there aren’t major outlines for things. Specifically with the Pokemon, they don’t have that outline they’ve had for the 2 generations before. It’s never been a big deal, and I really hate how low quality the outline made the models feel, so I don’t really know which style I want. Even though it’s still decent, I feel like most 3D models made to have a super notable outline on them look a little funky sometimes with it, so I don’t know if I want that, but without it they just don’t feel as solid. I really just don’t know there.
It feels like, even if a franchise is kinda iffy, the music is still consistently top tier. Like, no one thinks Sonic games have objectively bad music, even if they don’t like it. If they do, they’re just wrong. Pokemon’s the same, so thankfully this isn’t a test of which past game had the highest quality music. I do think the Wild Battle theme in SwSh does feel like it has a weird melody, but that is super outclassed by universally acclaimed bangers like the Slumbering Weald, and the battle themes of Marnie, Bede, Oleana, and the Battle Tower. Those aren’t just the best the generation has to offer, they’re seriously amazing themes.
Back in Gen 7, we have the Kahuna Battle, all themes of Team Skull and the Aether Foundation, Lillie’s theme, the Ultra Beasts (which might be more contentious but I like it) and Hau’oli City at night. In Gen 6, I at least liked the themes of Laverre City, Team Flare, and ESPECIALLY the Xerneas/Yveltal battle theme. Don’t even get me started about Pokemon Battle Revolution. I could go on and on, but I at least want to spotlight ORAS here because they knocked it out of the park with Archie and Maxie’s battle theme. It was the perfect drop, because the intro felt super muted and boring, and I was afraid they completely snubbed it, but the drop completely blew me away, and absolutely perfected the theme with the crazy trumpets Hoenn is known for. Also, Zinnia’s theme is amazing, as well as many other themes that are just improvements over the originals. The one thing I’m semi-iffy on is the Regi theme, an amazing theme for my favorite trio, but I never think anyone really makes it feel as lumbering and deep as it should, considering what it’s supposed to represent. The beat is arranged as it should, but it never feels punchy enough for me.
I’m really just praising the music here. Frankly, I see no reason to think the music is getting any worse.
They’re basically the same thing, at least according to Gamefreak.
I always keep the EXP share on, but I do think that making it a permanent addition to the game was a major mistake. As explained in Shaymay’s video, it actually increases the overall experience you gain in battle, at least before. That seems absurd to make a permanent addition (although they likely changed it in SwSh because of that). I honestly just use it because I’m not into a challenge in games, but it should definitely be optional, if for no other reason than to be a bootleg difficulty slider. However, What about the difference between the Gen 6+ version and previous versions?
I think it’s easy. Make it like pre-Gen 6, but give you multiple shares. So, if you want to train up two underleveled Pokemon, make it so you don’t have to swap it between them. That way, if you really want to just spread the EXP thin, you can give one to everyone you have, and that’s that. Also, I think it should perfectly split the EXP, not adding anything onto it. If everyone on your team has one and you get 120 EXP, that’s 20 EXP for everyone. Of course, I do actually love the mechanic of being able to switch the share holder in to give them a disproportionately larger amount of EXP compared to everyone else. It just doubles the effectiveness of switch training, and makes it better for when you want to train them up but specifically not the higher level Pokemon you’re using to fight.
Some part of me wants to keep my precious easy mode in, but then I realize… Just make actual difficulty differences. Just give us a choice. Even if it’s just a “How well do you know the Pokemon world?” with a “I know all about it/I’m a bit unsure” text box in the beginning. In the harder variant, tutorials will be skipped automatically, trainers will have higher AI, and better teams. However, I don’t think higher levels is a perfect foil, because that can just be beat with grinding, and grinding is boring. Also, I’d have to guess the main reason why Gamefreak didn’t do this in the first place is that trading Pokemon would differ a bit between difficulties with different level curves, although apart from it just sounding like a bad thing I’m struggling to think of a genuine reason why it is. But, for the sake of playing, grinding sucks. It’s not fun, and I honestly think you shouldn’t just bump up levels and call it difficulty, because you don’t actually need skill to beat a higher level, just a better level and maybe RNG. But, if you actually had to effectively train a team of more than six, with Pokemon you swap out depending on your opponent, you would actually need to think of how you play the game. I think the main reason Pokemon games are so easy is that you can basically choose whatever you want and do almost whatever and still win. Some fights, as far as my playstyle goes, are still decently challenging because I just choose what Pokemon I like and not as much what’s good (unless something genuinely just sucks), and those battles, even though I would probably get annoyed at losing over and over, feel so much more rewarding to beat. And, of course, that’s only like a few major fights. I’ve never had any real trouble with trainers. I only think I’ve had a bit of trouble with the elite trainers in Let’s Go because I always try to use my lowest level Pokemon first to level them up, and keep my team at completely even levels. If I always just switched in the foil to my opponent, which I inevitably had, I would almost never lose a single Pokemon, mostly because of the “switch” battle setting.
But of course that begs the question of Pokemon being balanced for children and inexperienced players. I know way too much about this game, so obviously it’s a piece of cake for me no matter what, and what I want is supposedly what would frustrate everyone else. But… again, just put in the choice. People can choose whether they want to be challenged, or if they just want to play Pokemon, and if they choose wrong that’s on them, not anyone else. They could just reset the game and try again on an easier difficulty. It’s crazy to have to vouch for this, since it’s a staple in pretty much every other game in existence. Even in my casual state, I want to play a harder Pokemon. I want to test myself. Online competition is a bit much for me, but the AI is too little. Even in me replaying Pearl right now, I’m trying to use weirder and weaker Pokemon than I usually use for difficulty, and even that game was mostly a cakewalk. I’m only stuck at the Elite Four because I was somehow super underleveled. In the generation where I experience the AI switching out the most, they still just do that at random and keep in certain Pokemon that get completely walled by what I have out, only for me to stall them to death. AI definitely should switch out (and I honestly can’t remember it happening once since Gen 5, if even then) so if anything, just give them a more solid switching ability. Considering we have the opportunity to switch in whatever we want when they are about to send out something, they really need to take advantage of the power of switching.
Gyms are a big piece of difficulty that falls apart 90% of the time. The gym puzzles are rarely hard, with only a few notable exceptions requiring major thought, like the Circhester, Snowbelle, Snowpoint, and Sootopolis gyms. See a pattern? Why the heck to Ice types/themes get the worst resistances yet the best gym puzzles? Otherwise, if you’re not just fighting trainers (which you were going to do anyway) you’re bashing your head against a wall until something sticks. The Trials of SM/USUM were universally a joke, and were it not for the Totem fight they would’ve actually made me mad by how easy they are, considering they had the opportunity to revamp the whole system and knock it out of the park.
As for the Gym Leader, assuming we have to stick with the idea that they can only use one type still, they really have to cover their bases. Like, a Water gym leader would really have to have Flying type moves or Pokemon to counteract the easy Grass weakness, or something. You can’t get to the top with just one single type and nothing else. I do kind of think a master with no specific type speciality should only be reserved for the Champion, since it makes them more special, and because it seems like any old trainer can become one if they beat the last one, meaning it’s illogical for too many of them to have one special type. I can appreciate the choice philosophies of the Gyms like Raihan and Volkner, and Flint of the Elite Four, where they do specialize in one type, but they have a lot of different Pokemon involved who only have moves of that type. It still feels consistent, but also more varied. Also, I love the 1v2 dynamic of Totem fight. Not only does it blatantly put you at a disadvantage, but since the battles aren’t explicitly type based, they can put together some seriously unique strategies, like the Sunny Day Castform partner to the Totem Lurantis. It’s literally the most basic plan you can formulate, but it sure as hell made that one of the hardest early boss fights in the series, at least for me. It was pretty good stuff. Too bad other bosses like the Ultra Necrozma fight was just kind of cheap, with a +1 to all stats and super high level… Better than nothing though.
I get that it’s a staple of the franchise, but I really hate version exclusives/differences. They’re just dumb. Specifically the differences of Black 2 and White 2 pissed me off the most, because guess what? They did have difficulty options! But… they were version exclusive. Like White Kyurem more than Black Kyurem? Or, maybe Reuniclus is your favorite Pokemon? (not bitter) Well, too bad. You’re only allowed the expressly easier mode of the game, which you only unlock after beating it normally????? That’s just stupid. I’d sort of be okay with it if you unlocked easy mode after normal mode, then unlocking hard mode after beating easy mode (like how I thought it was before I looked it up), but limiting stuff like that is just ridiculous. I mean, it’s dumb to have to unlock an easy mode after beating the normal game to begin with. I’m honestly considering trying to beat easy mode without evolving any Pokemon though. Self-imposed difficulty is fun sometimes, but yeah…
Also, the differences of Sun and Moon also are dumb. Like playing in the day, but like Lunala more? Maybe Purple is your all-time favorite color and you want to wear it? Well, too bad. Go ahead and flip your 3DS’s internal clock around, messing up all other time based games you play. It’s a gimmick that transcends Mega Evolution, Z-Moves, and Dynamax.
Now, there’s a completely new problem: Some people bought the wrong expansion pass for their game. Because there were two versions, people literally just wasted money on absolutely nothing. To be fair, those people are blind idiots, but still. I really just want one version. Please.
The whole semi-in-grouping that happens when the version exclusive Pokemon are first revealed is kinda fun, but 90% of the time people have to settle for a few Pokemon they like and a few they don’t. For example, I bought Sword specifically because I like Zacian more, and the legendaries would be much harder to come by than other version exclusives. In the meanwhile, I preferred practically every other version exclusive over Sword’s, including but not limited to my boy Reuniclus. I don’t use old Pokemon in newer generations anyway, but it still sucks to have to choose like that.
It was obviously meant to give people much more to look for, since they physically can’t get some Pokemon, and have them interact with others to get them. The only problem is that we just have the Internet now. It doesn’t help to just ask someone online for a trade for a version exclusive. It’s just an extra stepping stone that really isn’t that fun to deal with.
I was originally going to say that the games/console cost more so less people would buy them, but considering SwSh absolutely knocked it out of the park, overselling even the highest selling games from the past, that’s clearly not an issue. My sister even bought Let’s Go Pikachu after buying Let’s Go Eevee for herself, since we both initially got Eevee. Thankfully she seems relatively into buying the games now, so we can coordinate and get different versions. That’s how I was able to complete my Pokedex for the first time in Sword (although obviously there’s less Pokemon to find). I think she even bought a separate Sword version for herself too… Is this what the average consumer is like?
Honestly all of this is just sort of subjective because really it’s not a big deal, but it would be so much less of a deal and make the games much more perfect and reasonable story wise if they just used one version. For example, Circhester is clearly an Ice-themed location, but in Sword you face a Rock gym leader, instead of the Ice one. And, the opposite is true in Stow-on-side, because Sword has the more logical gym with the boxing gloves punching you around and the tough city that feels as Fighting as Fighting could be without being a literal dojo. But, in Shield you face some Ghost kid. To be fair, I do like that version exclusivity is bleeding into some of the characters too, so if there is to be version exclusives at all let there be version exclusive characters, but it would just feel so much better to have it all sorted into one place. Also, to consider past installments, Ho-oh is clearly more important to the overall plot of the world than Lugia is, as shown by Ho-oh always being an important, mystical lore figure in the Anime and such, while Lugia is just like “Wow, there’s Lugia! So powerful!” Thankfully the plot didn’t entirely revolve around them, but it could’ve if they just focused on Ho-oh.
Pokemon has definitely had its fair share of dumb stories, which is excusable because it’s not actually the focus of the game, but it doesn’t hurt to have.
You obviously can’t talk story without talking about Black and White. Also, you really can’t talk a Pokemon story without talking about the evil Team in each game, because they’re basically the entire motor for plot. Still, though, Team Plasma is easily the best Team in the franchise for story purposes. The biggest thing is that they seem like the most reasonable team, making them seem like people who are just so into their ideals that it looks like a cult. Also, in B2W2, they actually split up into the friendly division of Plasma, where they actually carry out their goals of wanting Pokemon to be happy and free, while Neo-Plasma does all the Team Rocket-level shenanigans that mess everything up. Not only is it just reasonable, but it answers a question that comes with the overall concept of the franchise: How can Pokemon want to battle for the sake of humans, etc? It doesn’t make sense, and naturally someone in the world would take that to the extreme when they realized it. It also makes sense why the grunts are so hellbent on wreaking havoc around Unova, because they are each led to truly believe what they are doing is right for the world. Other villains like Archie and Cyrus are just like “humans are bad, let’s destroy them” which is like a lite version of this idea, but it feels almost too supervillain-y to take seriously, and the grunts just feel like henchmen. Plasma feels just real enough, with somewhat level-headed people like N making it seem like they’re almost not crazy.
People always say Team Rocket is the best, but even though their motives are so simple enough so as to seem real and good story-wise, they do feel like they don’t really add anything to the overall idea of Pokemon. At the time it was just “Pokemon are strong so bad people can use strong Pokemon for bad” which makes sense, but really doesn’t feel like it extends beyond that. Don’t get me wrong, I would say they’re objectively second best (because subjectively Galactic is my #1) but I do think Plasma is better.
Since they’re the most recent, Team Yell is the most nothing out of this list. That only makes them second worst, above Team Flare, who felt like they were trying to do something big but fell flat. Team Yell as the resident “evil Team” feels weird, because they do almost nothing. They are only similar to Skull on the surface, that being all rough-and-tumble teenager types, as underneath them being a toxic fanbase is somewhat interesting, but they, again… just felt like nothing. The plot wasn’t even close by to them, like with Skull was, being tied in with the Aether Foundation. They’re just there to be goons and go away. At least they did lead to the first Dark type gym leader, but again… their leader is a Gym leader. We would’ve seen him no matter what he did, so it feels less interesting. I do want the Team to actually do something.
The problem is that, since Plasma already did good, how do you do something that’s original but still good? To be honest, I want it to involve Foundations, like a morally good alternative archetype to the evil Team. Our first run-in with a Foundation was led astray by a crazy leader, but it seems like they’re still good overall, so I at least want to see more of them. Maybe instead of the Team searching for world domination by using the box legendary, maybe you and the Foundation have to search for the box legendary so they can help you defeat the Team, who may or may not have the third/another legendary on their side, and you have to prove yourself to it to get it to trust you. Sort of like Sword and Shield, but more involved. Zacian and Zamazenta just sort of appear when things go bad, and that’s it. You just hear stories about them before that. That’s at least better structure-wise, although the motives and themes would still have to be dealt with. There are so many possibilities there it’s hard to choose.
One thing, though: I definitely believe that Pokemon was never even close to an open world game, and people thinking the new games are too linear compared to the old ones just have rose tinted glasses on. Kanto had bad crossing over, where you’d sometimes find yourself severely overleveled when interacting with a story event, and beyond that all other games were pretty linear too, with only a few slight special, optional areas that aren’t involved with the plot. Of course, I still think the game would benefit from being open world. Some games don’t have to be open world, and that makes them feel sort of empty, but Pokemon as an idea is exactly perfect for that. They were toying with the idea a bit with the Wild Area, and I do think if they really went crazy with that idea it could be fun. Everyone always wants to compare it to Breath of the Wild, but I do love how seamless everything is in that game. Even with the enemies popping up out of the grass/flying down from the air/just romping in a set area like Pokemon would. Gym leaders could just use different teams based on how many badges you have, like how they imply it works in that Pokemon Origins series. Then, you might be able to scale up the Pokemon you can find too that way, like with the Wild Area. BotW’s story was very light, but if you just either use a quest system/map markers you can still manage a decent story in an open world. Plus, Pokemon has a ton of side quests anyways, like all the ghost quests they always seem to put in. You can literally “get” the quest, get distracted, and completely forget you were even doing any sort of quest because they don’t remind you in any way. Side quests could even get you extra doses of EXP for your team, giving them a use.
I don’t want every generation to have a gimmick. Ideas are severely limited in that front, and when everyone’s special, no one is.
Mega Evolution was kinda cool, as it improved on old Pokemon without making them another part of an evolutionary chain. Also, it lets some Pokemon get different forms with entirely different strategies to them (even if they’re version exclusive…) But, as someone who plays Pokemon for the monster designs themselves, I actually kinda don’t like it. No, not because Mega designs are bad, but because they completely trump the designs they evolve from. For example, Mawile isn’t just “Mawile” anymore. It’s more of a “Not-mega Mawile.” It feels so much less complete now that it has a form on top of it that isn’t permanent. Same goes for starters like Sceptile, who feels kind of boring compared to its Mega. It always sucks when a Pokemon you like evolves into something you don’t like (Popplio for me) and you have to deal with the fact that, even if you like a Pokemon, you aren’t supposed to keep it like that, and it’s brought down because of it. I mean, I guess this is all just personal. Obviously it’s easy to like an early evolution, but it feels so much better to like a final evolution. Since Megas are both temporary in battle, not available outside of battle, and limited to the very late game usually, liking a Mega feels kinda pointless for in-game purposes, where you interact with your Pokemon the most. Plus, for Pokemon like Mawile, you’re using an “incomplete” Pokemon for as long as you don’t have the right Mega stone. It’s obviously fine when all your other Pokemon are incomplete as well, but yeah… Just kinda sucks sometimes. Plus, anything achieved by Mega Evolutions could just as easily be achieved by normal evolutions. The only issue is Pokemon like Beedrill not being able to evolve again, and Pokemon like the starters or legendaries who are already too good to get another stage. I feel like weak, 3rd stage Pokemon like Beedrill deserve that kind of treatment the most, but no one else. If they can evolve normally, evolve them normally, and if they’re already too good, just let them be.
Then there’s Z-moves, which solves one problem of Mega-Evolution: All Pokemon can get involved. No matter what, your Pokemon can unleash super cool but sometimes questionably named moves. And, apart from new animations, the special Z-moves aren’t so insanely preferable to the normal ones. It’s cool, but if every Pokemon gets to use them, it kinda gets old after a while. Also, it’s a one-time use, so if you fuck it up it’s wasted. It’s definitely not perfect, but I will say I love the special Z-move animations, mainly because it’s not just Pokemon doing stock animations for a quick little attack. They animated that Pokemon specifically for this attack, which is basically a cutscene, and it always looks better. It is a bit strange, though, that even though Z-moves are seemingly named after Zygarde, it doesn’t even get a special Z-move of its own. That dude really got the shaft when it comes to 3rd legend attention…
Now we have Dynamax and Gigantamax. I just want to say that, when it first was revealed that you can turn your Pokemon into Kaiju I was extremely hyped. More hyped than I had any right to be. Considering nothing else, Dynamax definitely is the winner in terms of visual concept. Not only does it just look cool, but I love how Gym stadiums are designed specifically to accommodate them. It’s a nice touch of worldbuilding (even though it’s basically necessary). Unfortunately… It’s easily the Jack of all trades, master of none in terms of gameplay. It’s like Mega Evolution in how you change the appearance and power of your Pokemon, and it’s like Z-moves because they have super powerful moves with special effects. Sounds alright I guess, but I really just wish they kept the previous two gimmicks instead of just making a new one that checks them both off. Also, Gigantamax actually annoys me. They try to make it seem like your Pokemon changes, but the vast majority of them either look worse or hardly change at all. Specifically, Copperaja looks like an absolute joke, even though normal Copperaja is one of my favorites of the region. But, ones like Hatterene, Corviknight, Garbodor, and Grimmsnarl hardly look any different at all. Even Appultun and Flapple have the exact same Gigantamax. Who cares? Even their moves have almost exactly the same animations as their type’s counterparts, with a slightly different particle effect. It’s so much less interesting than they make it seem, and it has all the problems of liking Megas over their base, but worse, since they’re more temporary and only allowed in certain areas. Plus, Gigantamax isn’t even a thing possible with all members of a single species. Obviously now they’re introducing a way to change that, but at that point why not just do it Mega style? It’s not even that much better, but there’s so much more work in it. It’s like less rare shinies. It did bring about a decent event in the games, those being the Max Raid Battles, which both have good rewards and good challenge to them. I don’t have friends so they suck for me, but with friends it looks awesome.
I feel like the worst part is that they probably are just going to retcon these gimmicks in the future, like they did with the Pokedex. It makes sense, but each thing was made to be such a massive deal in their respective regions, it feels lame that they’re just gone now.
But, oh my god. You have no idea. Regional Variants are the best thing to happen to Pokemon since, I dunno, whatever. They’re amazing, and something that should never leave the franchise ever. Like a Kantonian form more than an Alolan form? Sure. It’s still there with all its power, it just has a different style in this region. That is not only biologically logical, but it brings back interest in a Pokemon without outclassing the classics. Plus, now it feels like every single Pokemon has a possibility to shine that is both permanent and preserving of the original. I just can’t get enough of it. Then Sword and Shield introduced the idea of Regional Evolutions, which can be both plain evolutions and split evolutions from the normal form like with Cofagrigus and Runerigus, meaning the possibilities are endless. Then, even further, regional LEGENDARIES. It doesn’t make sense lore-wise but who cares, the new birds look awesome as all hell and I actually like them now. It’s so perfect, I don’t want anything more than this in future games. I would kill for some Sinnoh variants of post-gen 4 Pokemon in the remakes. Hell, I hope Sinnoh gets revamped with a ton of different options across the later generations so it feels significantly different from the originals.
As for things like Primal Reversion, I honestly don’t even know. It’s even less significant than Gigantamax, but since it has more interesting lore I’m sort of fine with it. I do hope they use it for other legends too, especially since Palkia and Dialga are just asking for it, with their respective orbs, and Dialga already having the “Primal” title elsewhere. And yes, I know he’s called “Dark Dialga” in Japanese.
If I may be so bold, I think a neat gimmick that can be both unique, interesting, and completely alter the strategies of battle, would be some sort of temporary type inversion. That is, everything going out of and coming into the inverted Pokemon will have reverse effectiveness. It’s like the fringe little Inverse battle you can go through in X/Y, but turned into a mechanic that’s inserted into normal battles. Visually, it would give the Pokemon a negative look, as in inverting their colors and shading. I don’t see how this could single out certain Pokemon in a special way, like with a form change or anything, but maybe there could be one specific Pokemon that has an ability that does something special when it inverts. Maybe items could be made for a special use too. I was sort of half-using it for a fan region I’m half-devoted to that will likely not be a full fledged idea, but I do like it.
I’m entirely fine with the way things are now, where you just get the HMs as key items you use whenever you want, but I can sympathize with the small contingent of people who like using their Pokemon to traverse the world, instead of anything else. I definitely think anyone who prefers HMs beyond that reason is an absolute lunatic, but I think there is some sort of a point to be made, and I think a combo of Let’s Go and Sun and Moon have the answer. It is so much more fun to ride your Pokemon around than it is to get a bike (and put on some seriously ugly clothing, mind you), and I think Let’s Go with giving you the option to ride your Pokemon instead of using a bike is seriously fun. I used a Rapidash almost exclusively for that purpose in my run of that game. Who the hell wouldn’t want to ride a Rapidash, assuming you weren’t going to catch fire? Plus, it’s YOUR Rapidash. Ride Pokemon in Sun and Moon were still pretty good, because they served functions you wouldn’t normally expect from HMs, like Tauros being both your bike replacement and Rock Smash, while Stoutland is a dowsing rod. It does get a bit weird when you “ride” a Machamp just so it can push rocks for you, but it’s better than forcing you to teach one of your team members a normal type move at the very end of the game since you absolutely need it to move on, and having to keep it until you can fly back to the move deleter. Honestly, if you could just delete HMs on the fly, they would be so much more acceptable. Still would be worse than what we have now tho.
Basically, I think Pokemon should have inherent HM abilities in them. That is, every single Tauros you catch can smash rocks, and every single Machamp you catch can push rocks. Each Pokemon would either be capable or incapable of a task, and you only need that species to go through it. That way, you’re both using your own Pokemon, while also not limiting their moves. It also makes it easy to tell why birds like Starly shouldn’t be able to carry you and fly you around, while birds like Staraptor can. I also think any road blocks using Rock Smash or Cut should be entirely optional, and for secrets only. In order to make Fly a limited option, maybe only fully evolved Fly-logical Pokemon can use it, so you can’t just fly somewhere in the early game. But, another thing: if you can fly early, so what? It’s not like you get extra options, you only can go back to places you’ve already been to. Even though it doesn’t make sense logically, it’s a very fair piece of game design that really doesn’t have a super obvious reason why it’s limited to the middle few gyms. If you have a strong bird that can pick you up, you obviously worked enough to get some convenience.
But then, what would be a roadblock to keep you from going too far? A horde of dancing men? Honestly, that’s just one of those things fixed by my open world idea. Maybe some areas can be super strong so as to tell you that you shouldn’t be there, and maybe implement the idea of the Wild Area where you can’t catch the strong-looking Pokemon, but apart from that make most of the world scale up with you. Surely some areas would be slightly higher leveled then the rest, though, for the sake of variety. The Wild area does get a bit stale when literally everything you encounter is exactly lvl 60. Obviously there could be some pointless story-focused roadblocks that only clear when you progress, because that is how it is in real life. You can’t just walk into some business’ office unless you have business there. Of course, you can’t exactly walk into random strangers’ houses either, but still.
I do want to praise ORAS again because the Soar feature with the Latis was extremely cool. It was like Ride Pokemon but using the objectively coolest possible HM to control. If they sort of nerfed the Fly mechanic and made it so you did have to ride your Pokemon and fly them there like the Latis I wouldn’t mind that at all. Although, surely some other people would…
- I still think that, even though having every Pokemon in the game would be great, I think if it can improve the game elsewhere I wouldn’t mind them saving some space. The problem is that Sword and Shield really wasn’t the best way to suggest it would vastly improve anything. I’ve gone on ad nauseam elsewhere about that so bleh
- I love seeing Pokemon in the overworld. I do think it would benefit from the Let’s Go treatment, where you can at least see if a Pokemon is shiny or not. Either way, it gives them so much more personality, like how some charge head-first at you while some walk up and casually examine you.
- I don’t really care too much about Pokemon following you to be honest. It would obviously be preferred over the alternative, but I’m not gonna riot if it doesn’t happen. It did give a lot of personality I didn’t expect in Lets Go, like Bellsprout being so darn speedy.
- I could probably make a whole nother giant rant about the overall designs of Pokemon but needless to say I’m fine with it overall. I do sort of wish they’d do something else with the starters though, since I haven’t genuinely loved a starter since Gen 4. Honestly Chesnaught was pretty close, but I still get the urge to replace him with something more interesting. Outside of them, though, I think things are going good. Some are duds, but some are bangers like Corvinight, Grimmsnarl, Hatterene, Frosmoth, and a bunch of others which I could easily list but this is supposed to be succinct comments so
- There definitely has to be some sort of endgame content, but everyone already knows that. Seriously though, what if the colosseums from PBR become the replacement Battle Frontier? That would be dope. Although the normal Battle Frontier would be fine too, I guess…
- PBR PBR PBR. PBR is great for it’s realistic sizes of Pokemon. If you’re going to use full-size models of humans, the Pokemon should match. Or, at least make it a little more true to reality. Yes, Wailord is too damn small.
So me and my family just recently rewatched Edge of Tomorrow, which naturally led us to rewatching Groundhog Day (Except it was my first viewing, apparently it’s one of my parent’s all-time favorite movies) and while doing that I realized Undertale deals with a similar concept to the two films. And, since I’m so in love with basic concepts taken to their natural extremes in stories, I really feel like talking about it. I don’t really know what there is to get out of me talking about it but hey I feel like doing it anyway.
So yeah, I love stories that revolve around one simple, basic concept. You don’t need any interstellar wars with deep political intrigue or complex interpersonal relations to hold up a story if you just say “hey, here’s a weird thing that’s going on and here’s what happens because of it.” From there, you could basically do anything and keep me interested.
Obviously all the stories are good ones, but I definitely think there’s a hierarchy in how the idea is dealt with.
Edge of Tomorrow is probably the worst of the bunch, mainly because it feels like the “Time Travel” aspect of the movie is just a sort of tool inside of a normal alien-action movie with the shitty alien hive mind plot device that I actually can’t stand at all anymore but that’s a rant for another day. I still like the movie, obviously, because I like the concept and the aliens at least look really cool, but after watching Groundhog Day I’m realizing there’s some iffy-er feelings about it. First of all, the thing I realized without even having to watch GHD is that they really try to explain too much. The whole problem behind that is that, even with the explanation, it still makes no sense what so ever. Apart from the hive mind device, I also hate it when alien species are presented with “biological superpowers” like they just naturally evolved to control time somehow. Obviously until we actually meet any aliens all bets are off, but as far as we know that is completely ludicrous. The whole “Time Travel” ability is so supernatural that, even when they say “That’s just how the aliens are and getting dissolved by their blood gives you the same power too but only while you still have their blood” is so contrived that you just think “Okay. Sure.”
I feel like, if you’re to explain anything like this, you really have to make it realistically work or just forego it all together. If you try to give rules to something, all you’re doing is giving Youtube movie reviewers the ammunition to dismiss your whole movies because of plot holes. For example, the plot hole of the main girl character somehow knowing that getting your blood replaced removes your power even though she would have to die to truly be sure. When you try to explain everything, the viewer expects you to explain that too, and as far as I remember it was just a “It felt like it was gone.” Also, spoilers, at the end of the movie when Cruz woke up in the helicopter after destroying the center of the hive mind, it sort of confused you because you weren’t really sure where the starting point for the “Time Travel” starts. If he just woke up on the ground like he did before, you’d just accept it, but changing the location and time makes you think there’s something else at work, and therefore we should at least have some idea of what it is. That one’s kinda just a side affect of the quirkiness of time travel though, especially because he went back in time to right about when the aliens died as a whole even though he technically did that in the future, and yet his current time is seemingly drastically affected by it because he somehow got a higher rank after destroying them… It’s just a mess, and it feels like a mess because we expect an explanation, even though it would just be arbitrary anyways. Again, since something like this just can’t be explained well, trying to explain it just doesn’t feel satisfying.
But to be fair, the one thing I loved about both of the films is the editing as the main character gets into a routine with his infinite day. The way they shrink everything down in time slowly but surely, and then when emotions strike high they show us most of the generic events again. Really, it’s one of the few times you can confidently say that the editing was the best part of the movie. Usually it’s just the acting, plot, characters, etc, but you rarely get something where the editing is in the forefront.
Also the glowy spaghetti aliens looked cool.
But for Undertale, I really only realized it sort of used the same idea as I watched Bill Murray kill himself a dozen times. Unlike the films, Undertale of course could be more meta about it and say the “Time Travel” is just video game logic applied to the canon story itself. Also, the events are being experienced by multiple characters, including the player. It was basically one of the selling points of the game, because the idea of video game logic as a plot device wasn’t really as well known as it is now (thanks to it itself for popularizing it). It didn’t really have to explain much because it was sort of built upon what we already know, i.e. that we die in the game and reset time to our last save point. All they had to do is just say “Hey, that’s called ‘Determination’” and that’s it. When you have Determination, you come back from the dead and keep going. Considering they didn’t try so hard to explain that in detail, you can somewhat pass off the little things, like why the stars specifically are the points at which you come back, etc. When you don’t try to explain things so hard, “plot holes” just become irrelevant details.
But the bigger selling point for Undertale is the characters, and Sans especially is the one made the most interesting out of the concept. Flowey did have the power, and he just went full psychopath on everyone just to see what happened, which naturally is another key point of the game. Him being completely devoid of emotion and sympathy also made him relatively interesting, but Sans being completely unable to control any of it was basically why I like him as a character. Naturally a lot of these characters are sort of one-off personalities, which is definitely fine because of how fun and well written they are. So, you see Sans and you’re like “Okay yeah, he’s lazy and makes jokes. That’s him.” But then you fight him, and say he’s so lazy because he can’t muster up the courage to do anything because he knows that when the player resets the game he’ll just go back in time like he never did it. That’s basically the next ideal step in exploring the concept. GHD is the most basic version of the idea, where the guy that time’s focused around just does whatever he feels like, EoT is when the guy uses the power to save humanity, and UT (or just Sans’ character) is about how a person without this power would react to someone else using the power. It’s actually seriously interesting, and a perfect way to explain a character’s personality. Also, you can’t disrespect an amazing battle theme.
But, as you’d expect from the order, Groundhog Day is the king of them all, because it is just pure concept. Literally nothing supernatural happens to Murray (and yes I refer to characters by their actors sometimes sue, me) to cause the “Time Travel,” and literally nothing supernatural happens to him to stop it. All the movie is is just “This is happening and this is how he reacts.” Frankly, for something like this, that’s the ideal. You go to the movie in order to see what happens when a guy has to relive one single day no matter what, and that’s it. No extra bells or whistles. You get exactly what you came for, and you get it in such high quality it’s perfect. No one has to care why it’s happening.
First of all, I love how it’s focused around Groundhog Day and the weather as a whole. Weather is so unpredictable that even the professionals have to assign a percentage to it. It’s one of the least predictable things we know of, and that’s exactly why it’s perfect here, because it shows for absolute sure what’s going on. Murray can predict everything, so he could even predict the most unpredictable thing in these circumstances.
Second, it’s a great mish-mash of two key elements of the concepts from both EoT and UT. From EoT, he used his knowledge of the day to his advantage, like anyone would, but using the knowledge differently at different times (i.e. knowing he’ll meet an old friend, to remembering his name, then to punching him in the face, then to buying out his insurance, etc). From UT, he feels like it is happening out of his control, so you get the middle-late section of the movie where he spirals into a deep depression, and throughout just changing his personality. It all feels so natural. At first, you’d totally say “Yeah, I’d do that if I were in his shoes” and towards the end you’d say “Yeah, that’s probably how I would end up if I were actually in his shoes…” I mean, personally I’d go the skill-learning route first but that’s besides the point. You come in wondering what would happen to the guy, and you get exactly that. It just feels right.
Plus, it was just written extremely well, both in the natural progression of his character and in the humor. I’ll always die on the hill of movies having to make you laugh before they can make you truly cry. It lets your guard down. I swear, the day where Murray realizes his actions have no consequences is one of the best parts of any movie I’ve seen. It was so hilarious and fun, even though internally you’re a bit like “What an asshole.” Then you get to the montage of him nonchalantly killing himself, and you really just feel bad for him. Considering humans, as you’d guess, experience a full range of emotions, showing his full range makes him feel so much more human, making him easy to sympathize with. Then, with the cathartic solution at the very end (which is where I usually cry to be honest, not sure why), it feels so good to see him break out of the giant loop of emotions he went through, especially since he seemingly got the best possible ending out of all of them, where he didn’t brute force his way into his love’s heart, and found the goodness inside of him by ignoring his personal interests and consistently doing things to the benefit of others, even though he knows he’ll just have to do it again tomorrow. I’m not sure where to fit it in cleanly but the turning point of him realizing he can’t do a single thing to save that homeless man’s life was seriously heartbreaking, because he felt even more out of control than he already did.
But yeah, this post was pretty much just a stealth way of me saying how much I like Undertale and Groundhog Day and also mentioning how much I hate the hive mind alien plot devices.
Seriously. What kind of alien species would evolve to be that dependent on a single being? Surely one wrong move means their extinction, right? How could an entire species exist that long under that principle? I would kill for a movie that makes it seem like their aliens are a hive mind, but then once they kill the “queen” the drones all turn on the heroes and wail on them, and after they’re done they just biologically convert one of them into a new queen. You know, like how it actually happens in nature. Every cliche needs exactly and only one instance where another form of media points at it explicitly and laughs, and I’ve yet to see that for this damn hive mind cliche. At least go the Alien route and make the enemy a single organism, so there’s no funny business. I mean I’d also kill for more movies like Valerian where there are so many normal, human-tier aliens that just exist together in a society like actual sentient (sapient) beings. Baby steps, though. I just want good aliens.
This is literally me thinking to myself and putting it online under the guise someone else might care enough to read it, so really there’s no actual point to this, feel free to ignore.
Also obviously I just gotta say people can do whatever the hell they want as long as it isn’t hurting someone else in some way. Also, this is pretty much exclusively about the character design aspects of furry-ism and not the IRL aspects anyways.
So my brother just introduced me to Beastars (even though I’ve known about it for a long time because internet) and after being super insanely into Animal Crossing and other junk, it feels like I have to piece together my thoughts about “furry” characters because it’s funky. Like, insanely funky. Everyone agrees that it’s funky too, which is weird. Usually some people are just making it funky for laughs/dismissiveness but no, here it’s pretty universally funky.
First of all, the definition for the purpose of talking about it. Let’s just say a “furry” character is an animal character with distinctly human traits and talks. For the sake of scope, since the term “funky” made me think of it, Donkey Kong is a furry character. Thumper from Bambi is a furry character. Obviously all the characters from Beastars, Animal Crossing (non-humans), Zootopia, and pretty much all Disney properties where the main character is an animal is a furry character all involve furry characters. One thing I won’t say is a furry character are animal sidekicks that don’t talk, even though they emote like human beings, like Moana’s pig or something. Pokemon aren’t either, outside of Mystery Dungeon stuff obviously. Anything can be turned into a furry character via fanart, but canonically, let’s just say they’re not. This is probably the funkiest part of furry-ness but yeah, I honestly think the one threshold that separates “furry” from “non-furry” is whether or not they talk. I don’t know what it is, it just feels like characters that talk cross the line. It’s basically a nonsense term that can be whatever you make it anyway so who cares, but that’s how I’ll be thinking about it. Also, I’ll never use the term “furry” in a derogatory sense. I’ve never really thought of it as being anything other than a descriptor, not anything with inherent goodness or badness to it, like calling someone a “construction worker” or something. Also “scalies” are just “furries” under another name. Reptiles are still furry as far as I care.
So the age-old question, am I a “furry?” Honestly I think I’m not, because even though I do obviously like furry characters, it’s not like a super big part of my likes. I basically just like good character design and appealing characters, some of which are furry. If I became a “furry” just for that, millions of other people would then become “furry,” basically making the term useless.
Doesn’t really matter though, I just wanna talk about furry character design, because it’s a seriously mixed bag. It’s like a bag filled with lettuce, marbles, and volcanic rock. That’s probably the reason why so many people are into it, since it gives characters a relatable anchor (animals) but can shoot them off in so many different directions that there’s inevitably something for everyone. You can either choose to make them basically humans with animal heads, like in Beastars, super magical and cute like in My Little Pony, or… whatever’s going on with Sonic characters.
I feel like the over-under of “good” furry character design is tweaking the biology of the animal in question without straying too far, and if you do go far, then it’s either relevant to the story of the character or just a thing with all furry characters in the world. For example, horses aren’t pink. But, in My Little Pony, they are, because horses can be any color, and so on. And, ya know, apart from that, just the usual character design stuff, like good color use and whatnot. Frankly the stuff I hate most about “bad” furry design is just “bad” character design, and not really relevant to the furry-ness of the character. It’s just cherry-picked correlation, not actual causation. Human characters can be just as bad as furry characters, there’s just a lot less to change in humans, so some people think the openness of furry design causes bad design when there’s just a lot more left up to the creator.
To be honest I think the pinnacle of furry character design is Zootopia. I feel like one of the big things people like to do is associate people/character traits with animals, like thinking someone’s a weasel for being super cunning and witty, or if someone’s a lion for being super powerful-feeling and proud. Zootopia, I think, manages to not only represent that in the structure and stature of its characters, but really implant a human face on to an animal. When you look at a Zootopia character, you can almost see someone you know in that face. Maybe that’s just standard in most cases, but it feels really present here. As for the character traits of animals, obviously it’s kinda rich pointing that stuff out in a story explicitly going against all that, but in terms of visual design I think we should think of the associated traits of an animal and pair that with their actual biology to an extent. For example, the ungulate characters have pretty thick bodies with thin legs with really pronounced knees. You know, like ungulates. They don’t have human proportions because they’re basically just animals with the stature and culture of humans. I think Nick is one of the big examples of a really easy and good trait to have in furry characters, that being having pretty short legs relative to a long body.
Humans have really, really long legs compared to everything else. That’s why no one walks on all fours on the soles of their feet, because our arms are so much smaller than our legs, meaning we have to shuffle along on our knees. Animal legs are different. Also, just basic things like size difference and such are basically a given. Rabbits are small. Water buffalo are big. Shrews are even smaller than rabbits. For the most part, you shouldn’t stray too far from basic size differences. Obviously Nick probably would be a bit taller than he is in that case, but since he’s a protagonist he kinda gets a more limited pallet for the sake of wider appeal.
Also, one of the big things about Zootopia that really makes it the best is how society adapts to different biologies. Zootopia itself is so goddamn colorful and diverse, because even the most diverse cities in the real world are only gathering up people of different skin colors, ethnicities, locations, etc. Zootopia has to account for so many different biologies, and the designers really didn’t limit themselves there. Even little things like food stands having a little elevator to get drinks up to giraffe-height really make the world. Obviously they would separate the different biomes, but each biome still having bizarre little bits of technologies in it makes it amazing.
So with that all said, I must hate Beastars, right? I mean, they’re just humans with fur and animal heads. Well, I’m just as surprised as you are, because I actually kinda didn’t mind it as much as I thought. Obviously I’d take a Zootopia over a Beastars any day, but it wasn’t really that bad for character design purposes. Other critiques aside. I mean, the one big thing of size difference is still there, so it doesn’t feel completely lost that these are all animals with different biologies. Plus, I think the big thing is that their animal parts are still very animalistic, and not the usual “furry” design liberties, and that they at least extend well downward into their human parts. For example, in the first episode, that one parrot girl really caught my eye because she still looked like a parrot. What we could see of her arm still looked parrot-like. But, then, what about everyone else who basically is just a furry human with an animal head?
One of the big, BIG things that turns me off with most furry media is how serious things are. They’re talking animals, Jim. I get you want them to have a super edgy backstory with tons of death and trauma but they’re animals. My brain can’t just shake that thought, and since a lot of my least favorite stuff is super edgy and etc I just get turned off to the idea. Movies like Zootopia fix that by being like “Haha, talking animals am I right guys? Oh by the way there’s a government-funded drug cartel trying to frame carnivores as monsters in order for herbivores to rise above them in power.” If the makers toy with the idea of talking animals being funny/cute/fantastical/etc, then they can implant the serious seeds that make a good story. Things like the Warrior Cats series (my sister’s brand) don’t feel like they strike that chord before they go on to tell a super serious story, so I get lost in the mess (Or at least that’s how fan works seem to go, I’ll probably never read the original books, let’s be real. If they’re not like that then just imagine that as being a critique of fan works). So, what about Beastars? I feel like making the animals so human is absolutely necessary in telling their serious story. Plus, since the animal parts are so much like actual animals, it feels much more like “this is a character represented by an animal” instead of “this is a talking animal” sort of thing. By not making things so cartoonish, they can tell a less cartoonish story. I’m still not super into it but it does work. I’m into cartoons as a whole tho, so I’ll always take cartoons over basically anything else.
Now, I want to talk about hands. Choosing whether to give a furry character hands is the turning point in design philosophy. Obviously mammals are probably going to have hands no matter what, because we associate most with them, and they kinda-sorta have fingers, but what about fish? Finding Nemo characters… sort of have hands? They will definitely try to pick things up as much as possible (i.e. Marlin caressing Nemo’s egg) but they don’t actually “grab” things. But, sure, their fins can feel like hands to a human because they’re sorta-kinda in the same location.
What about wings? Guardians of Ga'hoole has probably the greatest furry bird character design of all time. I HATE it when character designers try to turn feathers into fingers. Probably exclusively because of this movie, but still. I can’t praise this movie enough for sticking to its guns in not only keeping an owl’s actual claws as its hands, and wings only staying something secondary for gestures and stuff, but also for designing WEAPONS for OWLS. Again, they are talking animals, but like… They transcended the thought of it being funny and cute and instead led us into thinking they’re totally badass, because, let’s be honest, birds are probably the most badass of all animals. They fly, have sharp hunting skills, a piercing gaze… and, ya know, are descendents of dinosaurs. They can even be super cute if need be. Did I mention they can fly? That’s like their main thing that mostly only they can do. Not sure if you’ve heard, but flying’s pretty cool. But, yeah, whatever, keeping a bird’s hands to its claws is basically necessary I’d say, unless you want to go the Sonic route and not even give them wings in the first place.
What about something that doesn’t even have limbs? Snakes are even more bonkers than birds. If an alien came to Earth and the first thing they saw was a snake slithering around they’d probably pack up and leave because their petty minds weren’t vast enough to imagine a thing moving so elegantly and so, like clandestine-ly? Like, just by looking at them, you really can’t imagine how the hell they move. Anyways, this is starting to turn into me gushing about animals… We all have seen that one tweet of that one rattlesnake character from Rango being called one of the coolest character designs, and by golly they’re totally right. Snakes are a place for character designers to flex their imaginary muscles because of how weird they are. What if we get a snake, but… instead of a rattle (which is already a crazy biological feature let’s be real) let’s give him a prosthetic GATLING GUN instead. And also like a gigantic-rimmed hat. That is unreasonably cool. Again, snakes are badass, so instead of having to convince us that it’s all fun and games they can very easily be like “Don’t mess with that guy, he’s a snake” and pull out some seriousness from that. But, as the internet will surely convince you, snakes are also weirdly cute sometimes. Sometimes so cute you have a crisis of faith. Back to Ga'hoole, the nursery mother snake character there might just be one of the cutest snake characters ever. I still hold true that adults can be as cute as children/young people in the right circumstances, and she is a prime example of that. Also, can we just talk about Viper from Kung Fu Panda? Good God, what a character. I can imagine the board meeting: “Okay so we want a lovable cast of characters that do Kung Fu. We got the main Panda, a Tiger, a Crane, a Snake, a Praying Mantis, a…” “Wait, a SNAKE? How the hell are we supposed to make a snake do Kung Fu?” and then they fucking NAILED it. Not only is she a total cutie pie, but she has some of the best design direction of that entire, amazing franchise. Really, AAA western animation studio furry design is almost always killer.
Now I want to talk about Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic is easily the Chaotic Evil of furry character design. What the fuck even are they? Imagine starting up a video game company and hearing this one guy come up to you like “I’ve got this game about a blue hedgehog with super speed and one weird inter-connected eyeball and gloves and he collects golden rings and turns Super Saiyan if he picks gets some magical gems” and suddenly he becomes the face of your entire company. I have no idea where all that came from. But, guess what? I still love it. I have no idea why, but it’s great. I mean, even apart from the usual things people say about him, like having a good silhouette and junk. Maybe he’s just been so ingrained in our society that it’s basically Stockholm syndrome, but I do like Sonic characters. I think the only issue I have with the character designs is that some are a little too similar in the face/body (I think Espio and Charmy should look a little stranger imo), but for the most part they’re great. It’s even really refreshing when you do get some character that strays from the normal body type, like Big the Cat, Vector, or that one grey hawk guy from Sonic Riders. My favorite of the games is Cream and Cheese, mainly because she’s a cute rabbit with a Chao (the best part of the Sonic franchise hands-down) but I think the “best” from all forms of media is Tangle from the comics. She has the necessary gumption and sportiness you’d expect from a sonic character, while still looking interesting, but not looking too out of left-field, and also having a super iconic and relevant trait (a giant, fluffy tail. Gotta love those) that has a unique use. One day they will make a game using the comic characters and that day shall be a glorious day. I seriously think the art of the comics is amazing, even though I haven’t actually read much of it myself. I’d definitely give it a shot if given the chance though.
Although, you really can’t talk about furry characters without mentioning porn at least a little bit. At this point it kinda forgoes design and is just a personal preference sort of thing, as you’d probably expect. Porn’s like that. But really, for me, I think any kind of non-human genitalia is actually disgusting. Literally, any excuse to put human dicks on something is a good one. I’m not gonna go into detail, but wouldn'tcha believe some people genuinely are into the idea of having large, human-sized breasts in the same areas as a normal animal’s nipples, i.e. around their hind legs? I mean, anything’s possible, but it’s just… yeah… No. I don’t even want to talk about the various shapes of animal “anatomy.” It’s not fun, and the less I have to think about it the better I am. Obviously if a character’s human enough it’s fine, but I just can’t stand the biology of some of it. Like, how would you fuck a snake? How do they even do it in the first place? My brain just doesn’t conceive of it, and as such it’s not in my purview. But, one things for sure, you are NOT a zoophile for liking furry porn (even if the characters in question don’t stand up on two legs). That’s an entirely different beast, and it’d be nice if people stop pretending like it’s at all relevant here.
The last thing that’s sort of a preferential thing for me is toe beans. I just can’t stand them. It’s like one step below nauseating for me, and I have no idea why. It makes it infinitely harder to enjoy furry stuff because of it, because it seems people are universally for them, both in a weirdly pornographic sense, and in just a cuteness sense. Even the cutest possible depictions of toe beans still make me want to shrivel up inside. Maybe that’s why I like rabbits so much… They’re too fluffy to show them, whether or not they actually have them in the first place.
But yeah, furries. Of course I have a fursona. He’s been in the works for ages because I never feel like I can get him exactly right. Chances are he’ll break off into a separate character like my last attempt.
Usually early-game houses are kinda lame, but I feel pretty good about this one. Nothing crazy, but still nice.
Finally added links to most of my accounts on my profile, so go check em out
You know what to do
So since Pokemon day just passed, I started to think about a kind of Poke-clone type of game/series of my own, since that seems to be an upcoming trend. I already thought up the base idea for my own Pokemon region before, and I’m not sure if I’ll eventually combine that idea with this one, but anyways…
The very broad idea is that it’s sort of the best of Pokemon, mixed with the best of Digimon, and I guess for fun’s sake we could say it’s sort of got a Bionicle flair to it a bit too.
I feel like there are some conceptual pitfalls in Pokemon that they’ve sort of tried to step across over time, that obviously aren’t too big a deal but I can probably fix with this idea. The big one that hurts them in the real world is that, by the Pokemon being presented like animals or pets, it makes battles feel like some kind of unethical dog fighting at first glance. Obviously they make it seem like Pokemon have personalities and minds like humans, in that they do genuinely want to battle, and that they genuinely like and want to fight with their trainers, which is fair, but it also begs into question other things, like why they’d want to sit on the floor and eat brown pellets out of bowls instead of on plates with actual food like the humans. Also, it makes you wonder why they even want humans to tell them what to do. In the wild, they can clearly fight on their own, so why do they instantly do what humans say when they’re caught? I guess the assumption is that humans are better with strategy, but even better than Pokemon like Alakazam or Metagross, who are supposed to have superior intelligence? Also, when a Pokemon is given to another trainer, like in the opening of the Deoxys movie, why does it not do anything and wait for its new trainer to tell it what to do, even when it’s being bombarded with attacks, and with its trainer clearly frozen in shock?
Also, back to the idea of catching, what makes the Pokemon want to obey the trainer? At first it almost seems like Pokeballs brainwash the Pokemon into liking whoever catches it, but what about Pokemon like Ash’s Charizard, who don’t obey trainers? In the games it’s related to badges, but then why would any Pokemon obey a trainer without any badges? Do they just accept that it’s their lot in life to be caught by a human, and when that happens, you just obey them if you’re not good enough yourself? Obviously a decent amount of Pokemon just become friends with a human, and then they catch them just out of a formality. But, what about Go in the most recent season of the anime? He just catches anything he sees instantly, without much of a fight at all, and he has no badges, so how can he just instantly use anything he catches? Surely not every single Pokemon they come across just wants to bow down to him instantly. Obviously a lot of this lore stuff is just in the background, since the primary purpose is gameplay and whatnot, like Go just sort of representing the catching style of Pokemon Go, and with badges being a logical progression that keeps you from just using the strongest Pokemon traded from a friend and wiping the game clean. Still, even if you just accept it, it’d be nice to just not have to accept it, you know?
Then in terms of design, I kind of like the prospects of Digimon a bit more. Visually, though, I think Digimon are universally worse looking than Pokemon, but the fact that they seem more like friends than pets solves so many problems. First, that they’re made out to be actual sentient (sapient if you want to be pedantic about it) beings, instead of animals. This makes it so much easier to understand why they’d want to fight and protect their less-than-capable humans, and why they’d be willing to fight at all. They’d just understand it’s basically a sparring match or a sport. Also, it makes the humanoid designs so much easier to think about. When you see that classic image of Mimey sitting on the floor picking at the “Pokemon food” from a dog bowl alongside the rest of the Pokemon, it just doesn’t feel right.
Also, what the hell are humans in this world? Why are Pokemon regarded as such special beings in the world? They always say “Welcome to the world of Pokemon” like they know of a different world full of non-Pokemon, and that Pokemon aren’t just animals. It almost made more sense in the first few seasons of the anime, where you’d just see some random fish swim alongside Magikarp or whatever. That made it clear that there are normal animals as well, showing that Pokemon are separate things entirely. But, now, they’ve retconned that, and I don’t think that was how the games worked in the first place at all. Then, the age-old question that all the Youtube game theorists try to answer: Are humans Pokemon? They sure seem resilient to Pokemon attacks, but don’t have any themselves, apart from like Tackle or whatever. It feels like animals were a thing way back when, but through natural selection the animals that developed supernatural power obviously became the dominant species, and over time the supernatural animals were called “Pokemon,” and humans with their technology/taming abilities managed to survive the onslaught of dangerous creatures by using them as protection from others. Then, I guess way down the line humans can’t keep up and die out, creating the Mystery Dungeon series, since it’s strange how the Pokemon there seem to know what humans are despite them never existing in the series. That, or maybe Mewtwo just fuses people with Pokemon like he did in the Detective Pikachu movie.
Anyway, enough of me talking about stuff probably explained in the manga or whatever. Here’s the Poke-clone idea:
The creatures were there first, and at least most of them have human-level intelligence, if not higher-level intelligence. There are some supernatural animals around, alongside supernatural people and monsters, and there are 7 primary elements they can have: Earth, Fire, Water, Electricity, Air, Light, and Dark. Earth is basically Earth in Temtem, Fire/Water/Electricity/Air are all self-explanatory, Light is basically a more generalized Fairy type, and Dark is like Dark but with also including Ghost. These creatures can be born with any of these types, and can naturally wield them, getting better at it as they grow. But, these types can be combined using elemental essences, creating new types. Earth and Fire creates Metal (because smelting), Light and Earth creates Crystal (Again think Temtem, just can’t get enough of it) Water and Dark create Ice (because ice does feel different enough to be separated from water elementally imo) Fire and Water creates Air again (“steam” doesn’t feel special enough) and Electricity and Fire creates Plasma (basically generic magic). Chances are I’ll think of more combinations but whatever. There are different areas themed after these elements, and in these areas a specific element is boosted in power, so the “gym” equivalent will reside in these places, and “badges” will prove that you can defeat an element at its strongest level. Also, the areas that connect the main areas either double up types or use the secondary type which they combine into, so not all “gyms” would be super straightforward.
Here’s where humans come in, though. They’re not just “humans.” They’re actually a species of these creatures called “Humans” (capital) and are mythical beings which did not originally exist on the world. Originally, it was just the other creatures. At that point, humans were only a myth spread around as myths do, and they were said to be creatures with the ability to combine every primary type and use them simultaneously, being the most powerful species of creature of them all. However, when they did magically appear on Earth, they seemed awfully weak. In fact, they couldn’t wield any element naturally, but could by using elemental essence, which is just normal for creatures. Some thought they just needed to be trained and grow like the rest of them, but others just saw the myths as being dramatic. It was especially troubling to see Humans grow and die of old age without being able to use that mythical power. Regardless, many Humans were highly respected, and many teams of these creatures would look to them for guidance during battle, even though there are many teams that don’t even have a Human on them. Humans, of course, are expected to battle alongside their teammates, even if they’re not quite as capable, because that’s how their society is expected to work.
Over time, everyone sort of let go of the idea that Humans are somehow superior and they just became equals, although the trend of Humans advising a team stuck for the most part (partially because they can’t do much else, they wanted to feel inclusive). Even with their normal social standing, though, some creatures scoffed at them claiming they’re not even worth having on a team at all. Others tried their best to draw out the mythical Human power, sometimes by capturing and experimenting on them in less-than-ethical ways. Some of them claim it’s helping them draw out their full potential, but others unabashedly say that they want to harness the Human power for their own good.
So yeah, that’s basically the lore of the idea. I’ll probably think of a specific Pokemon-Digimon-Temtem-esque name equivalent for them eventually, but for now let’s just call everything a “creature.”
The overall design prospects of the creatures are basically at the same level as Pokemon, where some of them are clearly inspired by animals but others are just general monsters/humanoids. I’m not entirely sure if I want them to all be intelligent or if some should still be animal-like in behavior, but the latter definitely makes more sense world-wise. The areas the creatures live in are built up using the elements they wield, obviously. I could imagine the general usage of the elements being more like Avatar in a way, but obviously with more than the base four elements.
As for the elements, any individual creature would start out in only one of the primary elements, and I guess if you beat a “gym” you’d get the essence for that gym element, essentially unlocking new types for your team. You can use each essence infinitely, and outside of battle the form of the creature you use it on would permanently change if it creates a secondary type (until you use another one). However, in a battle, you can switch them on the fly, and they will revert back to however they were before the battle. I’m also thinking that they could only be used on a creature if they create a secondary type, and I’d just add more of those in so it’s less limited, and so not every creature has the exact same potential, which would make recruiting different ones just pointless (although I can see it being useful for just choosing your favorite creatures to fight with, so no loss either way). Maybe the effects could just be timed in a battle. Also, secondary typed creatures would be a different form entirely. So, if an Earth creature was given Fire essence, they’d go from looking like they’re made of stone to being made of steel, etc and etc. Think of it sort of like character customization. For the Human you’d inevitably play as, I guess you could just change their hair/eye color depending on the essence, maybe add some special particle effects or light textures on the skin.
Thematically, this is more like a tag-team sport than a battle. In a 1v1 or 2v2 scenario, you’d tag out with your teammates, since the term “tag” makes for a good reminder that everyone involved is working at the same level as you pretty much. You could also name your team as well, making it even more sport-like. Also, instead of “capturing” teammates, you’d just recruit them, logically by proving yourself in a battle. Maybe you’d have to fight them only with you as a Human so it’s much better proof that you’re a worthy leader. It also opens the possibility to just talk with NPCs and recruit them that way. Maybe you could even recruit different Humans with different body types, and therefore different stats. I guess the trouble would be how you’d keep them all by your side at all times. Maybe there could be some Telefang-esque communication device you’d use to call in the specific members of your team you’d want in your battle.
Gameplay-wise, it would definitely be cool if it were a much more live battle like Kindred Fates, where you’re controlling the active creature and using their moves on the fly. It would also make for fun multiplayer battles, where you could even have a full team go against another all at once, in a sort of battle royale. Maybe even have a true BR. Even though visually I’d love for it to be like Pokken Tournament with the circular battlefield and movement (no switching, just normal movement all the time), I definitely think having super limited and easily understandable movesets is better for having multiple teammates.
The main story of the game is sort of set out by the lore, too. Naturally it kind of has a “chosen one” protagonist who’d inevitably bring out the mythical Human power over the course of the story, with the people trying to capture you and stuff for that power being the evil team analog. Also, for those Pokemon fans anal about having an asshole rival, they could easily be a team of only creatures that doubts Human abilities. The “gyms” being for each type is pretty standard, and having combo “gyms” definitely makes things more challenging. Maybe you could enter the “league” at the end only once you get all the essences, and the secondary type “gyms” are just for a challenge.
I’m not sure if I want the overall age of the world to be more modern, but there would definitely be certain areas that are more ancient-looking. That’s basically why I thought the idea was a little Bionicle-like, because they have super ancient-looking areas that are themed but also have a weirdly cool degree of technology in them. It’s a seriously cool aesthetic that I want more of, but I guess certain towns and cities could keep a modern structure (roads, buildings, shops, etc) but with drastically different building designs based on the relevant element. Surely with such crazy elemental powers they wouldn’t need crazy technological transportation, but maybe that would be for the Electric elemental cities. Surely some Humans would need something to be proud of.
Obviously the biggest selling point for Pokemon (at least for me) is the monster designs, so I’ll probably put some stuff together in the future. Right now I can see there being some sort of tall Metal knight-like lady character who carries their Human around like a baby. That is, it’d be her character, and not a thing of the species. Also, I drew a cute fur seal pup recently that could easily be worked into one of these creatures. Designing monsters is too fun as is so giving me a good reason to do it is just perfect.
Of course, as is common with ideas that literally were thought up yesterday this isn’t going to be a thing unless some millionaire game designer contacts me right after posting this so yeah, I’m just spitballing right now. Spitballing is fun, though.
Because as far as I’m concerned Pokemon games are some of my all-time favorites (as a group, since they’re basically all the same) so naturally there’s a lot to say about Temtem. Considering this is the first standalone Pokemon-alike that got serious attention, especially after the Sword and Shield riots making Pokemon fans just want something else, it’s basically the game that’ll let different developers make their own Pokemon-alikes.
And yes, I am going to call them all Pokemon-alikes because let’s be real that’s the role they’re trying to fill.
But actually, for once, there’s a few major things that I really dislike about the game. Like, seriously dislike. Considering we’re coming from the stuff people always disliked about Pokemon, I feel like it’s easier to be critical about this stuff. Might as well start with them so I can end on a higher note:
Then, here are some stuff I’m kinda neutral/iffy on:
Then, here are the things I really like:
I kinda-sorta tried to arrange this list from worst to best, although really most stuff in between is sort of a crap shoot anyway.
Honestly, I don’t feel like a good source for a “should I buy this game?” kind of review, especially since the game basically just came out of Beta. If you’re into what they’re putting down, you might as well get it now. If you’re not sure, there’s no harm in waiting. The game is clearly making enough money to stay afloat, and since they’ve been at it for so long, there’s really no reason for them to stop now. I remember hearing about this game eons ago… Crazy to think I actually played it.
Now the next wave is Kindred Fates. That’s the next logical step in the genre. I hope this decade is the age of Pokemon-alikes, like how the past few years was riddled with BRs. Every game better have a monster collecting portion to it or else. I want to train my guns in CoD.
I don’t usually want to play games for multiple hours on end. Even when I really like a game, most of the time after a bit I’m just like “I’ve had enough for now” and go on to do something else. I think the only times that’s happened before (in recent memory at least) were with Oxygen Not Included, Pokemon Sword (because it’s Pokemon) and the Chao Garden in Sonic Adventure 2. I’m not the kind of gamer who won’t get up from their chair. Honestly though I have so many games just around and half-played I kind of wish I could turn into that to finish them all.
But I’m not here to post about that. I’m here to post about Tangle Tower, the best looking game I’ve ever played. And yes, I have played Cuphead. Don’t get me wrong, that games a godsend in every single way, I just prefer this style more. We don’t get 2D drawn-animation games often enough, and TT and Cuphead are both prime examples as to why that’s a damn ol shame.
Since it doesn’t seem crazy popular, just watch the trailer and see: https://youtu.be/3JEliSJ859I
And looking at their previous game, featuring the same protagonist, looks like a serious step up. Might end up playing that one too, since it pretty much seems the same with less pretty art and animation. Or, you know, if any store app even worked on my phone…
Anyway, I’m sure the trailer did most of the work for me. I am in love with the character designs. I only wish I could make characters that inherently expressive. Ignoring what my pants have to say about it, I can’t get enough of Flora’s design. Even though she basically does nothing with her head or hands, the animation of her hair blowing in the wind just makes you stand up straight and think “Oh shit.” Plus, she’s the perfect degree of mysterious to be the subject of a painting painted by a murder victim.
But come on, Sally though? There isn’t a better blend of coldness and wit out there. Her voice acting is also amazing. All voices are really, usually I just have to power through it and enjoy the rest of the game, but here they were all great voices. I was especially surprised at liking Grimoire’s voice, since he definitely seemed like the type to get annoying after a while, but his comedic side didn’t overstay its welcome, and was left behind when necessary, and played off Sally’s witty side pretty well too. I especially loved all of Felix’s weird little imperfections and chortles after his sentences and such. He definitely seemed like the type for that. If my own words aren’t enough, for once in my life I actually felt like going through each little clue when talking to each character just so I could hear their remarks.
Since they were all so animated so well, I also just wanted to look at them move for a bit. Not just that, but if I weren’t so hard pressed on continuing through the story, I could seriously stare at them move in the overworld in each of their little rooms. It reminds me of those “lofi chill beats to study to” videos on Youtube, how their movements are so minute, but they seem to fit so flawlessly into the setting that it just is satisfying. Obviously Felix’s is kind of depressing, with him half asleep in the corner of his room, and Fitz’s being sort of creepy with him in the shadows of his greehouse, but even then it’s just fitting for the character. My favorite would probably be Hawkshaw, fiddling around with whatever’s on that weird portable desk of her’s. The setting is so nice anyway that pretty much any character could just lie there and look fantastic, but I still love overbearing character designs like Hawkshaw’s anyway.
Apart from the art, I was kind of glad how easy the puzzles were. Clearly, as you can tell, I’m mostly just here for the story and the art, so I wouldn’t want a puzzle to get in the way of that. That’s really the only reason why I haven’t wanted to play more Professor Layton games, because the puzzles make me feel like a proud idiot who doesn’t want to just look up the answers but is too stupid to get through them, and with some points requiring a certain amount of puzzles, I just don’t feel like going through the trouble. Here, not only were the puzzles directly relevant to whatever think the characters were supposed to get past, but they always felt super accessible to an idiot like me, and weren’t so accessible that I felt like it was a cop-out. I always felt like I knew what I was doing, but once and a while took just enough effort on my part that I still felt like I was doing something.
The plot wasn’t ground-breaking, but it sure as hell wasn’t bad. It is the type of thing that BEGS for a sequel, though. It doesn’t stray too far outside of the cooler bits that are relevant to the plot itself, so you’re kind of left wanting to just know everything there is about the little world they set up. I’d say it’s a good kind of that, though, like where it was a good balance that just teases the inner monster lover in you, but didn’t want to upset the non-monster lovers. Considering the monsters weren’t entirely relevant, them not being talked about as much isn’t an objective negative by any means.
Basically: fork up your dough to look at some pretty art and animation for a while, while the story and puzzles keeps your active brain occupied. It’s seriously enjoyable.
HAHAHAHAHAAAA IT’S JUST DLC except having DLC instead of sequel games is infinitely better in every single way. Obviously Gamers™ hear the word “DLC” and instantly think they shaved off half the game and made it cost extra, which, even at it’s worst, is still a stupid thing to say. Unless they literally can’t let you finish the main content of the game without paying extra, you’re just being mindless haters. Sword and Shield are complete games on their own, even if they didn’t have as much content as previous games (which I also disagree with)
But, this is replacing sequel games. You know what’s worse than DLC? Having to buy the exact same game again with a slight diversion in the story and like 2 or 3 extra minigames at full price. Those games didn’t even add Pokemon until USUM, and even then it’s just 2 extra ones.
Here, already, from what we know (and considering how little they showed us before who knows what they’re hiding), we get 4 new legends (5 counting the preevo), at least 6 new Galarian forms (3 of which are of the Legendary Birds, holy fuck), 6 new Gigantamax forms (7 counting both Urshifu forms), 200 returning Pokemon from other games (b-b-b-but they should’ve been in already etc etc), 2 new locations and 2 new mini stories probably, and you can obtain all new Pokemon without the pass through trade still. That’s more new content than any previous sequel, at less of a price. And, even better, they can even stack more parts on later on, and don’t have to leave it at just these two. Considering that’s 30$ for one game’s pass as a whole and not each part, any extras will likely be free as well. That’s the kind of thought that gets screenshot and laughed at on 4chan the second it’s proven wrong, like they had any more reason to think the opposite. Considering it’s not called “Expansion Pass 1″ or whatever, it does seem like anything else is going to come along with it, assuming they’re going to make anything more at all.
If this is the future of the franchise, I am accepting it with open arms. Obviously if you’re the type who only wanted to buy the sequel games (which is honestly extremely fair, considering the recent trend of them adding so little) you will technically have to pay a bit more (60$ for just the sequel vs 90$ for both the base game and DLC) but overall this is a good development. Especially because they’re establishing that there can be regional forms of legends, which, lore-wise, doesn’t exactly make sense, since they’res technically supposed to be only one of them in existence (aside from a few of them) but I seriously love the new birds so much more than the original. Every single one is so much better. Plus, my favorite trio, the Regis, are getting some new additions, which even follow the original theme of ages, with the Technology Age and Dark Ages (even if it’s dragon-type and not dark dragons are still associated with the Dark Ages). Also, so much focus on them may or may not result in attention on Regigigas, which could very well get a Gigantamax form, or, even better, a regional variant, or even a regional replacement that gets summoned with all 5 Regis instead of just the original 3… That would be amazing. I can’t wait to see what they do.
I’ve got other stuff to do so I’ll be quick
I saw that “Thank you for all the (NOT YOU) great animation in 2019″ meme post with HHotel in the “Not You” spot on Twitter
Let’s be real, I really just do not like HHotel at all. Like, at all-at all. TL;DR is that it feels like it was written by a 14 year old in a phase. Also, it’s got the cardinal sin (haha get it) for adult animation IMO, i.e. adult animation = animation + drugs/sex jokes/swearing. Either way I’m just not into that brand of stuff.
HOWEVER. Saying it’s “Bad” is very, very wrong. I’m not super into the artstyle, but it’s sure as hell (haha again i’m on fire (hahaha)) not bad. The animation is very good, and at the worst expressive. Plus, considering all of this was done by a smaller group of people is amazing. Whether or not you personally like it, stuff like this should seriously get the attention it deserves because I want more. I want more random internet people trying to make full series, and the success of this shows that it’s entirely possible. Knowing it’s possible means more people want to do it. Hell, I want to do it. I’d settle for a normal job in animation, but if I could just get together some friends/random internet people and make something anything remotely as high quality as this, I’d kill to do so.
But yeah, the guy that posted that doesn’t have a single clue what he’s talking about/has a shit take, and the other guy that put a “Really” over the “Not you” is a good dude
One day I’ll make a giant rant about how much I hate when people can’t distinguish what’s good/bad apart from what they like/hate. It’s probably the most annoying thing that happens way too much.
I’m gonna spoiler talk you nerds, get out. Needless to say if you think this is a shameless cashgrab of a movie you should come back in 4 or so years when you’re a legal adult. Go see it.
Man, with that shitty Frozen short they put before Coco to whiten up a less than white movie you’d think any extra Frozen content outside of the original movie would’ve been trash. Then the first trailer for II comes out, and it’s clear they’re not trying any funny business. They knew that people liked Frozen because it was good, and if they stray away from good-ness people are gonna lose interest. Probably. I mean, Elsa dolls would sell anyway, but less so.
But yeah, this one was like 3 times as morbid and dark as the original. There were some serious moments where I wasn’t even like “Woah, they’re doing this in a kid’s movie?” and instead was like “Woah, they’re doing this?” Oh my God, that water horse is literally trying to fucking drown the most popular Disney Princess in the depths of the fucking ocean. I’m not super phobic of water, but that got my skin crawling. They didn’t even do some sort of magical water power that’s like strangling her or something, the damn thing was literally pushing her down in a morbidly realistic fashion. The theater was crawling with like 4-7 year olds. This movie might just create millions more instances of hydrophobia in the minds of our precious youths. This movie’s a dang menace. Make more of it. We need it.
Especially in Olaf’s recap of the last movie (as well as the recap of this one after the end credits). They just plainly pulled the “My parents are dead” card. It was so sharp and well done. He was even playing a sort of edgy persona while saying it. As my dad noticed, even the tiny kids laughed at that. It’s almost like kids can take that sort of thing. Ludicrous. Preposterous! Show them more adorable flaming salamanders to make them feel better.
This might very well be the most I’ve liked Olaf ever. He did get a rehash of his signature Summer song, where he was completely oblivious to the workings of the world, but it was still different enough to enjoy. Outside of that, all of his little remarks where he suddenly started speaking super astute-ly were always fun, but I always like stuff like that. The best of those were easily when he was playing with the kids after everyone evacuated Arendelle, and said something like “This is what we call keeping a hold of the situation as much as possible when everything feels like it’s crumbling apart.” It’s a perfect comedic jab considering the situation. He really knocked out the role of comedic sidekick.
When he died, some part of me was actually like “Oh my god, did they actually do it?” Him flying underneath that waterfall and falling to a pile felt super burial-like, and I actually wasn’t sure if he’d make it. Then, of course, I realized he only died because Elsa died, and since they’re definitely going to revive her, he’s gonna come back too. I mean, let’s be real, they pushed us to the edge enough that a miraculous magical revival is warranted. Even Anna’s depression song kinda got to me, since I wasn’t completely sure.
Speaking of songs, Into the Unknown is easily my favorite out of the current Frozen pantheon of music. The best part of it is them incorporating their mother’s voice into the melody without changing it much, considering we were familiar enough with it at that point that changing it without changing it felt really good to hear. Even Elsa repeating it felt nice.
This is kind of irrelevant, but I’ve been thinking about it ever since I saw that live action Cinderella remake, but Black people look GREAT, and also look GREAT in classical-royal European attire. I don’t know what it is, but they specifically totally rock it. I don’t know if it’s just my mind latching on to a new sensation, but either way I want more.
I also desperately want more water horses and giant golems. I’ve always loved golems, and nothing’s ever gonna change that, but water horses are also super cool. They’re the perfect combination of majesty and cool-ness that they become super intimidating as well, but can turn that intimidation into badass-ness when needed, like after Elsa tamed it. But yeah, golems. Golems are never a bad thing. The Rock Trolls are not golems, just people made of stone. There’s a difference. My mind still doesn’t comprehend them turning into their normal selves from their little Sonic balls. I can suspend my disbelief. That’s my brain not being able to do that.
But yeah, it’s good. It’s almost like these “Disney” folks have some credit to them, and like a gazillion dollars.