bLog Date: 29 March, 2017

Hey people! It’s me! And I have an announcement to make.

There will be no post today because I will be attempting something a little bit different.

I will be trying to make another YouTube video! A little playthrough and review of Bendy and the Ink Machine created by theMeatly Games, a free indie horror puzzle game that I found online. It interested me and I am thoroughly dreading playing it since I usually suck with horror. But I might as well give it a go since it just looks so cool! I love the aesthetic that the game has and it’s made me willing to push through my usual horror bias to check it out. Aparrently it’s quite good.

If you want to check it out and play it for yourself, I’d recommend downloading it and donating to support the creator! Also check out theMeatly’s website where he does a webcomic, just like everyone and their dog these days.

So yeah, look forward to me getting angry at the inevitable jumpscares. I’ll be back with more plot next time!

Crap Fanfiction Time! M.S.I

Hey everyone! So for one of my classes in university we were required to write a very short fanfiction piece that we would later discuss. I think since this blog is supposed to be about me writing I may as well show you what I’ve written, so enjoy! This is just going to be an extra little piece along with my regular (ha.) uploads. It’s only around 350 words so you can read it, hopefully enjoy it, and then go back to doing whatever all you miserable people do with your time.

The polished brass bell rocked back and forth, its tolling loud and repetitive. It wasn’t long before a hand grasped it, silencing its chiming. The hand placed the floating bell down back on the bedside table before its owner groaned and sat up, bedsheets bundling up around their legs. He rubbed his aching head. How much did he have to drink last night? He remembered going to the Winchester with a few of his mates after work, but that was about it. Maybe he’d flirted with Suzy? He’d have to try charming his memory so he could remember. But first he’d have to test his hangover cure.

Throwing himself out of his bed, he made his way downstairs to fetch those new tablets from the supermarket. Muggle science seemed to be catching up with wizarding magic almost to the point where it might surpass it, and the Ministry had taken notice. So it was his job to test these things and see how they worked. Then again blacking out last night probably wasn’t in the job description. He really hoped he hadn’t said anything too embarrassing to Suzy.

Now in his unassuming kitchen, he set down a notepad and a quill before he prepared this ‘muggle potion’. There was a familiar sense of ritual with a lot of these products of muggle science. The way the dry little orange tablet fizzed and blended with the water amused him. If only potion-making was this convenient for wizards. He looked over to his quill, diligently jotting down everything that happened with the tablet. He downed the glass, as per its instructions, as the quill noted the flavour.

‘Flavour: pleasant; orange. Effects: to be determined.’

Sighing as he set the glass down, he looked around the kitchen before hearing something. Footsteps. Suzy was in the open doorframe, wearing nothing but a dishevelled button-up shirt. Her blue eyes widened with surprise.

“Allan! I didn’t think you’d be up yet.” She said, her eyes flicking between him and the table. “What… is that?”

The ‘that’ in question was the quill, still writing diligently.

“Oh dear.” Allan gulped.

Campaign Diary #1: Tower Hunters

And now for something completely different.

As of late I’ve been running D&D for a couple of friends in the accommodation that I’ve been sharing and writing a campaign diary inspired by Matt Colville’s videos that detailed his own campaign. You can go to the full playlist by clicking here. Since I thought they were very enjoyable to listen to I thought I might as well share my experiences as well and see how you guys enjoy it. I might do more, I might not. I suppose it really depends on the audience reaction to them.

Not too long ago I started a spontaneous D&D campaign with my tower mates Tammy and Troy and decided that it might be a good practice to start a campaign diary like Matt Colville’s video series on YouTube. I’ll write entries after each session in the book I have but I think I’ll upload them a week or two later just so my players can avoid spoilers. Hopefully through writing these I can reflect on what I learned or what I think could be improved.

So who are our characters? Troy is playing a high elf rogue by the name of Tyrone and Tyrone is from the untamed wilderness of the Outlands to the south beyond the great wall that encircles the country. He’s not good with words but he’s basically straight out of cirque du soleil.

Tammy meanwhile is playing the gnomish druid Ecks and is seeking out the answer to a question she has been able to figure out in her long years of solitude in the Outlands. What that question is exactly hasn’t exactly been discussed but I’m sure we’ll figure something out.

Before I get deeper into this I also wanted to mention that I was making pretty much all of this stuff up on the fly. Troy had literally just finished making his character and wanted to play immediately which is probably a very good sign.

The two characters meet up on a dirt road leading north and, seeing as they’re travelling the same way, decide to group up. Wandering down the path they find an ornate scabbard inscribed with an elven name, Sildar Goblin-Bane. I had intended for them to find some random trinket that might play into some story later so I rolled on the trinket table on the player’s handbook. Around the scabbard were a lot of footprints that seem to lead off into the forest. The pair tracks the footprints and the tracks lead them to a camp of goblins! But not just any marauding goblins as these ones seem to be carrying a prisoner with them in a sack. Ecks and Tyrone both briefly debate on what to do before deciding to try and free the prisoner.

They have the advantage of stealth and surprise so the goblins outnumbering them aren’t too much of a problem. Ecks cast entangle on the goblins to keep them from moving around and Tyrone took shots at them with his shortbow, getting a few sneak attacks off and killing their leader instantly. Ecks slays the rest with his poison spray and the goblins are no more.

Untying the sack they find the high elf noble that had been kidnapped, Sildar. I stole the name pretty much directly from the adventure Lost Mine of Phandelver. Sorry, I mean Palandelhoogi. Sildar his happy that he was rescued and decides to buy the party drinks back at the tavern in the nearby town, Hoerest. They also looted the goblins and Ecks found a small crystal of bloodstained quartz which seemed to contain some magical power within it, so he kept it.

But people in town don’t seem that happy to see Sildar and aren’t keen on having adventurers meddle in their affairs, specifically a man named Bodric, an ex-guard farmer and de facto leader of the town. One of his daughters was wounded in a recent goblin raid for food and supplies and so he’s a little on edge.

Sildar ignores Bodric’s jeering and sits at a table with Ecks and Tyrone. He pays them a reward in gold for rescuing him and also gives them a magic dagger that gives a +3 bonus to damage against goblinoid creatures. It’s not exactly a very powerful magic item but it still has its uses. After that Sildar explains his quest to the others and offers to hire them for their assistance in the matter. He wants to clear out the goblins that have been bothering this town in order to truly earn his family name. The party agrees and a party is formed.

Later that night Tyrone decides to head out and explore the town a little as, being a high elf he only needs to meditate for four hours instead of sleeping for a whole night. He had a close encounter with the local night watchman named Tom and an unrelated cat, but otherwise didn’t find anything interesting in town.

The next day the party goes about trying to convince Bodric to let them help out with the goblins. The night before when he was about to go to bed Tyrone had a chat with the local bartender and Bodric’s niece named Ashe. Ashe was sympathetic with them and instructed them to go talk to Bodric’s son Nodric whom she had made sure was in a different field to his father during the harvest. Nodric was willing to help the party out with the goblin problem but as they were talking to him they were interrupted by Bodric. One of his younger sons had seen the party talking to Nodric and told their father.

Tyrone, in an attempt to defuse the situation, tries to argue that they only want to help out with the harvest. I have Troy roll for persuasion and, wouldn’t you know it? He rolls a natural 20!

Boric is genuinely surprised by this. Adventurers to him never seemed to want to do any kind of honest work and this has turned around his perception of the party at least. So he hands them all some tools and they spend the rest of the day pulling up turnips, carrots and potatoes.

That night at the inn Bodric chats with the party. He knows that they’re still planning on dealing with the goblins and refuses to let his son go with them. Why? Because he’s going with them instead. This was a pretty big surprise to the party and a very cool moment. Everyone’s happy and so they decide to go rest for the night. Unfortunately nobody is quite sure where the goblins have made their base, but there are a few possibilities like an old caved-in mineshaft a little while outside of town or a giant hollow oak tree.

After his meditation, Tyrone gets bored and decides to patrol the town with Tom. And it’s a good thing he did too because a group of goblin scouts appear and attack! Tom hollers out and alarm, alerting the townsfolk as the fight begins. At the end of it there are two dead goblins and Tom has the third in a chokehold. He and Bodric decide to keep this one alive to question (read: beat up and interrogate) this goblin and the others decide to go back to bed, even if Ecks isn’t terribly okay with the implied torture.

Tyrone however decides to make some small talk with Ashe and gets roped into a drinking contest with her. Despite his low charisma they seem to have really hit it off. Against all odds Tyrone actually manages to hold his liquor and wins the contest which ends with Tyrone walking Ashe home. After he gets back to the tavern Sildar taunts him a little as he overheard basically everything through the floorboards and Tyrone retreats back to his room.

Morning comes and the party rides out into the forest. Bodric has identified the location of the hideout, which was the old mineshaft. They take with them a barrel of oil with the intent to smoke the goblins out.

After dealing with the sentries outside and the goblins inside, the party see something surprising; an orc standing over the corpse of a slain and mutilated bugbear, the actual boss of the goblins. Nobody has any idea how this orc got in here, but they know he’s angry and about to attack them. Ecks also noticed that the bloodstained quartz seemed to react with the altar in the corner of the room, which was dedicated to the goblin god Maglubiyet.

Battle began and the party were absolutely terrified of this orc! Rightly so because as a boss monster I gave him a hit point boost and a few legendary actions, so he was tougher than a normal orc but could even act on the players’ turns which really threw them for a loop! Ecks managed to bait him out to the front of the mine where he cast entangle once more and the party peppered the orc with arrows until he fell.

That was where we stopped playing for that session but it was still a good few hours of play and extremely fun for everyone involved.

 

So what did I learn that session? Well, flying by the seat of your pants is a little difficult but a lot of fun when done right! I imagine that it’d get harder as things go on so I’ll probably have to make more notes so it doesn’t become a jumbled snarl of loose threads.
But as for other things I feel I could change or improve, I need to remember what stuff the party has at their disposal. For instance I completely forgot about the bloodstained quartz until Tammy mentioned it again. That and I should get better with managing the party NPCs as I ran Sildar basically without a statblock. But then again maybe I didn’t really need to as Sildar still served his purpose and didn’t get in the way of the players having fun. But it did feel a little weird not having any concrete stats for him, so that might change in the future.
Speaking of the future, what are my plans for next session? Well, that orc got into that mine somehow without getting noticed by all those goblins and managed to assassinate their leader. Maybe it could be something as petty as warring tribes, but it could be a part of something bigger like a rivalry between Gruumsh and Maglubiyet. I’ll have to think a bit more about this in my own time.

Hope you guys enjoyed reading this! If you guys wanted to hear more about all of this be sure to say so! I’d be happy to share more of my campaign with you guys!

bLog Date: 23 February, 2017

Uh… Hey guys. So you haven’t heard from me for a while. Don’t worry, I’m totally fine. I’ve just been very busy moving back into my new dorms at UNIVERSITY!!!

*Party blower noises*

I think I should have everything under control for what I’m doing this year. I even managed to score some pretty cool roomies this time around.

roomie_and_lt_watching_xena_by_batlesbo-d9h6yb2(Yeah, not quite.)

That’s where I stand right now. Hopefully I’d be able to keep supplying you guys with whatever it is you guys visit my blog for. One day I’ll have to do a poll or something to see what people want to see more of for my blog. Maybe a strawpoll or something. Or you could just tell me in the comments. That might be easier.

Hang tight guys! I’ll get something out to you guys next week!

Retroactive Reviews: The Pink Panther (1964)

Hey everybody, sorry about the missed update last week. University is coming back for me later this month so last week was a bit of a rush week sorting everything out. And because I feel the need to explain it, the opening paragraph to this review is a joke. That aside, on with the review!

Weren’t the nineteen sixties great? The Beatles invaded America, America invaded Vietnam, then the moon, JFK got shot in the face (presumably by moon-men as a result of the aforementioned moon landing), Martin Luther King made a speech that got made into a poster that I saw in my high school once and then everyone went to a big thumpin’ party, got high and forgot about it just in time for the seventies.

But what we also got in the mid sixties was a movie starring Peter Sellers, David Niven, Claudia Cardinale and Capucine called The Pink Panther, a classic comedy of jewel thefts, uncoordinated inspectors and mildly chauvinistic dialogue. But does it hold up a whole fifty three years later?

images.duckduckgo.com.jpg(Dudun, dadun, dadun-dadun-dadun-dadun daduuuuuuun)

The plot is fairly simple. A jewel thief known only as The Phantom is going around… well, thiefing jewels and hot on his heels is the spectacularly incompetent Inspector Clouseau as he attempt to catch the thief, who is in actuality his often-encountered acquaintance Sir Charles. But this isn’t a movie known for its complex mystery. The Pink Panther has some great physical and verbal comedy that absolutely holds up today, not relying on references that might anchor it to that specific time period. And that’s another thing that helps elevate the movie from being a pretty good comedy with a mystery bend to a real classic, the timeless feel of the movie. Aside from the cars and phones people use it’s a timeless looking movie with some very well done set design.

Of course not everything about this movie is perfect. The nephew of Sir Charles has some pretty grating acting earlier on in the film when he’s at the ski resort. It could be argued that it’s intentional since he’s putting on a ruse but he could at least do it without sounding like he’s channelling his inner Shatner, which is actually kind of fitting because at one point he wears a jumper/turtleneck combo that makes him look a lot like Captain Kirk. He’s also kind of a dick to Clouseau’s wife who he later on starts working with. Also this movie includes a bewildering and fourth-wall breaking musical number performed by Claudia Cardinale which, while it is a very good performance and quite sexy, just kind of comes out of nowhere, pads out the movie for a good few minutes and disappears without mention. Not exactly a Big Lipped Alligator Moment, but close.

Small complaints aside it can’t be stated just how good the comedy in the movie is. From the inspector’s constant clumsiness, the witty and charming dialogue from most of the characters and the sheer lunacy of the third act, The Pink Panther offers enough that it’s bound to get a laugh out of anyone. The absolute crowning moment has to be the entire extended scene in Clouseau’s hotel room. Nothing else in the movie has such a good sense of continuity or inventiveness as to how the set is used. It’s fantastic.

So yes, The Pink Panther continues to shine quite brightly in my mind and is an absolute classic comedy. Now I have some more plot he- Wait, what’s this white glove doing here? Damn, looks like I’ll have to go out and find some more plot for you all next time.

Retroactive Review: Kung Fury

Happy Australia Day everybody! Now I know not everyone celebrates or enjoys our nationalistic holiday of choice, but I do know what everyone enjoys! Making fun of the 80s!

Kung Fury.jpg(Are you a bad enough dude to watch this movie?)

Kung Fury is a thirty minute short movie that is absolutely saturated in everything 80s and ridiculous that you can possibly think of. Made by violent helmeted madmen in Sweden, the movie follows the baddest kung fu cop in Miami as he goes back in time to fight the worst criminal ever, ever. Adolf Hitler. Also Thor shows up for some reason.

First of all, absolutely everything in this movie is a pastiche of the 80s, its popular culture and action movies of the time. Not only that but a lot of stuff in this is pretty insane as well. I won’t spoil any of it, mostly because you wouldn’t believe me if I told you. But what I can spoil is my opinion on the movie.

It’s… okay. Nothing really too special but it’s not insultingly bad or boring. The jokes were usually good for a chuckle but there was nothing too hysterical, most likely because I’m not old enough to understand all the references and I’m not pretentious enough to pretend like I do.

I admire the lengths this movie goes with its brand of comedy and the intentionally wonky continuity of the movie, but there was something about it that just didn’t appeal to me. Maybe it was because of how short the movie was or just the fact that it lacked much else other than constant jokes about the 80s. It’s not bad for an independant movie on a shoestring budget of $600,000, but it’s really not my cup of tea. It’s free on YouTube if you want to check it out and roll in synthwave-drenched nostalgia and it won’t take up too much of your time, but for me it didn’t take up too much of my memory either.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go travel across California to save the President by winning a video game contest at Chuck E. Cheese. After I get back I should have more plot for you next time!

Erotica or Erotic-Nah? Erotica in Modern Media

It just only now occurs to me that I could’ve saved this for a Valentine’s Day special. Oh well, can’t pussyfoot around the issue now. Time to take the plunge and go balls deep (okay, that’s enough).

Folks, today I’m going to talk about porn. There’s no sense dancing around this fact. But this isn’t your average everyday porn. So things might get not safe for work so if you’re at work or there are small people in the room as you read this, you might want to save it for later. Although why you’d be reading my blog at work is an entirely different matter unto itself.

NSFW.jpg(You have been warned.)

In Australia, our culture is mostly that of Western and specifically American, English and Christian sensibilities, especially when it comes to sex and sexuality. Sex is seen as a taboo thing all on its own, so its presence in the world of fiction and cinema is pretty sparse. Of course there are sex scenes in movies but nothing explicit is really permitted or able to be implemented without people saying “Oh. So it’s only just porn.”

Let me be clear about this right now so it’s not something I have to explain over and over again throughout this piece. Just because something contains pornographic material that does not mean that the sex stuff is the be all and end all of the story.

See, erotica is different from regular ol’ porn. For example take the cliche filled “Pool guy cleans out milf’s skimmer box” story line. In porn that’s just a thin excuse for the two unreasonably hot people to start a-bangin’, but you really don’t care because you get to watch. In erotica it’ll probably be following said pool guy as he realises just what he did and has to deal with the consequences of his actions, maybe how he only did so because his lack of finances are leaving his life in shambles. It’s a story you genuinely care about since, if it’s done well the erotic section of the story can also carry with it a sense of tension and foreboding since that said milf might just have had a husband that the poor pool guy might know. Or if they’re really unlucky, they might have to work with him.
There is a difference between the two, but neither of the two are inherently more valuable than the other. Sometimes you just want the action and not the story, and that’s the function porn fits perfectly. Sometimes you’re in the mood for something romantic, but a fluffy romance novel is just too tame, so you might reach for a good bit of erotica.

It’s easy to giggle and snigger about sex and porn (hell, I did it at the start of this article) but I think that has to do with the fact that most of us don’t really talk about it all that much or make an effort to learn about it, so it’s treated childishly and awkwardly since we don’t have much experience taking sex seriously. There are some people who can talk about sex frankly, but they tend to be the people who have already give The Talk to their own kids. Although it is perfectly reasonable to discuss sex in a non-serious way, just like almost anything else in human life. That being said, it’s a topic that really doesn’t get much exploration in literature and other media.

Historically, there isn’t much erotica in the mainstream of Western media, the most notable example in recent years being the undeniable popularity of E.L. James’ poorly written fanfiction book series Fifty Shades of Grey. However there are a few places where erotica thrives, most notably in Eastern culture. For the longest time before the end of World War II erotica had its own place among other genres of literature and was considered another facet of humanity that the writers felt should be explored. However, after World War II heavy censorship laws were enforced inspired by Western sensibilities, removing them from the public eye. These days erotica still exists in countless visual novels, manga and doujinshi, although they all generally include censorship enforced by the Japanese government.

But there is one aspect of Western culture that does have a notable presence of erotica. Webcomics! The internet is quite possibly the perfect platform for freedom of expression and many artists have taken it as an opportunity to explore the world of erotica, so much so that I wouldn’t be able to list every one even if I was given a year to hunt them all down. So instead I’ve decided to list a few notable ones that have caught my interest and attention and will hopefully capture yours.

oglafFucking Hilarious

dick-to-sconce(Don’t you hate it when that happens?)

Originally starting off with a story but quickly abandoning it for mostly one-off jokes, oglaf is absolutely hilarious, especially if you happen to play Dungeons & Dragons or have much interest in the fantasy genre. It’s a fun read and also includes some safe for work material, although most of it is NSFW. With some clever writing and a constant level of humor, oglaf is a good comic to turn to if you’re in the mood for more than just a laugh.

Go Get A Roomie!Strange and Uplifting

Richard.png(He has that effect on people.)

This comic is a bit weird. The main character known only as Roomie starts off in much the same way the comic does. A bit sketchy and one-dimensional but after learning more about her personality, friends and the world she lives in the art style begins to soften and change, giving it almost an ethereal quality, especially when it delves into the more abstract realm of dreams as supplied by the secondary protagonist and love interest for Roomie, Lillian (affectionately referred to as Lazy Tyke by most). It deals more with very alternative themes and characters which may not be for everyone but I found it was worth reading. I also felt surprisingly calm after reading, and I can’t exactly pinpoint why. Go Get A Roomie! is great if you want to just sit back with a pot of nice tea and let a little colour into your life, although Roomie might be a little grating to some people in the early pages.

Sunstone – Kinky and Kind

sunstone(Everybody hurts. But some like it)

Hoo boy, now we’re getting into the big ones. Sunstone is quite possibly the best romance story that I’ve ever read with some great comedy to boot, and it incidentally involves a lesbian couple in a Dom and sub relationship. Sunstone is a heartfelt story with well-rounded characters, a genuinely deep romance with some really nice artwork, but it is also grounded firmly in reality and shows the dangers that can come from what they do. Sunstone might turn off some people due to its more deviant content, but it is wonderfully informative and human about it. Sunstone has actually managed to get a print release thanks to Image comics, so it might not technically count as a webcomic even though a great deal of it is available for free on DeviantArt. While it does focus on a decent sample size of BDSM activities it never becomes too confronting or explicit, remaining accessible for people who curious about this surprisingly large and diverse subculture. Give it a read. You might surprise yourself.

Oh Joy, Sex Toy – Honourable Mention

Untitled.png(Just as well these things don’t go up to eleven…)

While Oh Joy, Sex Toy might not really be erotica for the most part, I can’t say I feel right mentioning all these other comics and not putting it on this list. Oh Joy, Sex Toy is a wonderful comic made by husband and wife team Erika and  Matthew Moen. While mostly providing reviews on sex toys, literature and much more, the comic also does a great job of providing sexual education, how to properly use certain sex toys, details about sexual health and how certain diseases function, explanations on parts of modern sexual culture that some may be confused about and plenty more from guest artists. There are also interviews from people who are in the sex industry such as pole dancers and porn directors. The characters drawn in the comic are also wonderfully diverse, coming in a wide range of body shapes and sizes, even including those with prosthetic limbs which I can honestly say I’ve never seen before. It’s a joy to read and very informative. I can’t recommend it enough.

Hopefully through reading this you might have come to a bit more of an understanding that not only is erotica not just porn, but it is still alive and well in literature even if it is out of the mainstream. Besides, if you get caught with it you really can say that you’re reading it for the plot!

for the plot.gif(And now you know where I got my name from)

Well, that’s all from me this week. But I’ll be back with more safe for work plot next time!

bLog Date: 19 January, 2017

Happy 2017 everyone! I can still say that, right? I’m only most of a month late. Aheheh….

Anyway, sorry for the lack of a post this week. There’s been some pretty hectic personal stuff throughout the week but it seems to be calming down a bit now. That said I’m not going to use this as an excuse to get lazy and stop posting for a while. So tomorrow I’ll be putting something up on my blog that some people might find contentious, a little confronting or even a bit arousing, that being Erotica in Modern Media.

It Could’ve Been Great: G.A.T.E.

Hey there folks, today I’m bringing you another new segment that I’ve been thinking I might do every once in a while when I’m sufficiently annoyed with (and/or liquored up after) watching a show. There are those shows  that have interesting concepts and are great, those that have dumb concepts that still manage to be good, those with bad concepts that are bad, and the most frustrating of all of them, the ones that have a great idea but the execution falls short or in some cases fails completely. Whether it’s poor directing, a wonky budget or some other cosmic force, there are shows that, well, Could’ve Been Great. So I’d like to show you a couple of these that I’ve stumbled across in my time. That being said I don’t think I’ll be doing these often, maybe once or twice a month. And without further ado, let’s get into this steaming pile of disappointment.

GATE.png

GATE had a lot of promise in my eyes. The show is interesting only for the first few episodes and reaches its peak with a climactic dragon fight, but otherwise almost immediately afterwards it becomes boring, formulaic and dull. It’s so overloaded with tropes that whatever plot it might have had is sunk beneath the immense girth of the mass of clichés like the lost city of fucking Atlantis.

The characters themselves are unmemorable to the point where I can’t remember what half of them even looked like, let alone their names. They’re more like generic puppets to be filled with the barest possible personality to be sold as overpriced figurines and boobie mousepads. The designs for them are tragically uninspired as well, to the point where you can guess the personalities of characters based on their appearance alone. That and the histories of the characters are almost all paint-by-numbers in anime tropes.

If you haven’t heard of GATE, a portal leading to an unknown land suddenly (and inexplicably) appears and an expedition is sent in only to have a nigh-invincible army appear and begin slaughtering everything that is thrown against them. Experienced soldiers die in droves, and this new army seems to suffer no casualties. With their otherworldly weapons and unusual tactics they wipe out any resistance. The only thing that even manages to faze them is a monstrous fire breathing dragon, and even then it only takes a handful of soldiers to kill it! And even then the defenders have to deal with their own warring nations and scheming corruption within the government. The odds are stacked, but they must prevail!

Sounds interesting, right? Well tough. It isn’t. That’s because for basically the entire story our perspective is planted firmly with the invincible modern day army. It’s just bullying a technologically inferior nation into giving up their resources. This isn’t entertainment, this is US foreign policy! But that’s the thing that truly aggravates me about this show, the fact that the plot is following the wrong people! This is a huge problem with GATE. The fact that our protagonists are hyper competent Mary Sues whether they’re from The Real World™ or Generic Fantasy World #8351 is just trite and dumb. Speaking of dumb, the defenders of the proud fantasy realm aren’t the brightest bulbs either. “What’s that? This invincible army that we just pissed off is coming through the portal? Better attack them with most of my military force in an intentional suicide attack just to get rid of any potential conspirators against my supreme rule that may or may not exist!”

Emperor_Molt.png(Ursakar Creed you most certainly ain’t.)

But going back to the characters for a moment, there is potential for a good story with the elf moe-blob in the top right of the first picture. She is the sole survivor of the dragon attack on her village. Everyone she knows is dead including her father, and she can’t emotionally deal with this and so lives in a state of denial, believing him to still be alive and close by, but not here right now. It’s too bad it’s shown only when the show thinks the audience is about to forget about that aspect of her character. Which might I add is pretty much the only aspect of her character. Again if the show focused on this character pretty much exclusively and actually gave her some personality besides a nice rack it might have been halfway decent, even powerful if there was a halfway competent writer on set.

If you’ve ever seen more than 10 episodes of this show you should ask God for your time back. It’s pointless to try but damn if it’s not more constructive than this aggressively stupid show. If you want a good fantasy show, go watch Overlord. That show needs way more attention. Or if you’re looking for something more in the vein of the Oh-No-I’m-Trapped-In-An-MMORPG genre of anime (which really needs a snappier name. GameTrap maybe?) check out Log Horizon. It’s even got a second season (unlike Overlord)!

Retroactive Reviews: The President’s Hat

The President’s Hat, first published in 2012, is a very charming book by French author Antoine Laurain. It’s a simple and romantic story, but simplicity can be powerful if done well.

images-duckduckgo-com(Wearing a hat confers undeniable authority over those without one. -Tristan Bernard)

The President’s Hat follows a few different characters through 1980’s Paris as they all come into possession of the unassuming homburg of the real world French president Francois Mitterrand. However it could be argued that the hat comes to possess them, as it gives those who wear it a new outlook on their life, becoming more confident in their work or abandoning antiquated values of their peers and embracing a new, more experimental culture. In this subtle way the book incorporates a touch of the fantasy, the hat possibly representing a desire for change within the characters.

The novel is short but not to its detriment. While only upwards of 200 pages it is a satisfying read that covers a lot of ground given its length with a number of memorable characters.

The writing also oozes with 80s culture, really giving credibility of the period in which the book is set. It paints a picture so vividly that you can swear you were there with them in the crowds of Paris. Which in my case, being a 19 year old Australian dude from an out of the way town, is a fairly impressive feat. The writing also has a sweet, smooth flow that gives the characters a sense of familiarity and warmth, like they were old friends one was reading about. The characters feel alive and are genuinely entertaining to read about and in some instances downright hilarious.

If I were to have any criticisms about the book is that it does seem to hold Francois Mitterrand in an extremely high regard, almost to the point of propaganda. Although I feel this a flimsy criticism and not representative of the book’s quality at all. Besides, I personally know next to nothing about Mitterrand and really can’t pass any judgement on him as a person.

The reason I love this book so much is its message of inspiration and hope, how even something as simple as finding a nice hat might spurr those with discontent to making decisions in their life to change it for the better. It shows how no matter what situation you might be in there are ways to improve yourself and the world around you. To get back into the groove, push yourself to new heights or even experiencing a new side of their culture. It’s the feeling of hope the book leaves you with that I find a lot of people may find missing in their lives. And that is why I cannot recommend this book enough.

If you are looking for a charming, heartwarming, funny and insightful book to start and finish in a day of traveling or just something to pick up and read while having a cup of tea, The President’s Hat is the book for you.

Au revoir mes amis, and I will be back with more plot next time!