Friday, March 25, 2011
“So we are supposed to buy the sand?” Viktor asked, his thick accent dripping over his words in all too exaggerated fashion. Sometimes it almost sounds like he’s desperately trying to remind everyone that he’s foreign, but I would be lying if I said there wasn’t a certain exotic charm to it.
“Well we need to find their dealer, so I guess we have to at least ask for some. How we do that though I have no idea.” I said, drumming my index finger against the table.
“That is easy. We blend in, and when the time is right, we ask. All we need to do is play it subtle.” Easy for him to say. Maybe these are his kind of people, but I’ve never interacted with someone who wasn’t carrying a pitchfork before, and blending in was already difficult when your attire and gender stuck out like a sore thumb in a room full of raffish drunkards and brutish dockhands.
“What will you be having?” asked the waitress with a dull stare. I fumbled around words for a while before blurting out, “Give me something strong.” Both Viktor and the waitress responded with perked eyebrows, but well, I panicked. The waitress quickly left to grab the drinks, leaving me alone with Viktor’s confused glare. “I don’t know. I figured we’d blend in if we asked for a tough drink.”
“We cannot blend in if you are crying and vomiting in corner.” Was liquor that strong? By the time the waitress returned with a tankard of mead I was already having second thoughts, but it would seem even more suspicious to order a strong drink and then leave it sitting there untouched. I took a glance over to Viktor who responded with a solemn nod, and without much more hesitation I ingested the brew and awaited the inevitable stomach churning reaction. But after a moment passed, I felt nothing. In fact, I barely even noticed that I drank it at all. Was this what people were so cautious about? Yesh, people can be such babies.
“Another.” I said with a grin having momentarily forgotten that I was here for a mission. The thrill of the moment took over, and the moment the next tankard arrived at the table I was already chugging. After I slammed the empty mug into the table with an audible thud and wiped the foam from my lips I glanced back to the waitress. “I didn’t say stop.” With that comment I caught the attention of a few patrons eager to see the delicate new customer get her payback for such overzealous drinking, but to their bewilderment I easily downed the next glass as well, and the one after that. I was starting to become a spectacle for the locals and more and more they were turning their attention to our table. I even attracted the attention of the bartender, a grizzly old veteran who looked upon my performance with a laugh.
“Enjoying yourself lass?” He uttered with a chuckle.
“I am, but do you guys have anything stronger?”
“Stronger?!” the barkeep laughed as his customers joined in. “Lass, I got something stronger alright, but you don’t want any part of it.”
“Well I’ve been drinking the stuff you call strong all night, and so far nothing, so why don’t you try me?”
I saw the barkeep’s eyes turn from skepticism to amusement as he raised his hand up to his chin. He gave me a once over before turning his gaze to Viktor, and then back to me. All the while he seemed to be measuring us up and trying to place exactly who we were, but it seemed even he was at a loss for words. “Alright then lass, then who shall we toast this drink too?”
“Bosco.” Wait, what? Why the hell did I say Bosco? Viktor seemed to be thinking the same thing as I swore he mouthed a foreign expletive at me. I don’t know why I didn’t use my real name, or if I absolutely had to come up with a fake name why I didn’t come with something less bizarre than Bosco, but it was too late to take it back.
… I don’t even know a Bosco. Sometimes I have to question my own sanity if these are the first things popping into my head.
“Bosco, eh? Well alright boys, let’s see if ol’ Bosco here can take the Gut Buster!” The tavern erupted into cheers and laughter as the barkeep disappeared into his back room only to emerge with what I can only call the most fiendish concoction ever put in a mug. If it’s murky swamp-like coloring or overwhelming scent didn’t test your resolve, the bubbling foam and visible emission of steam certainly did. He slid the drink in front of me before he began to share the tale behind the Gut Buster. “Dwarven Gut Buster, the strongest ale you’re going to find outside of a Dwarven wedding! Lotta tough men ’ve tried to drink this before, and it didn’t turn out so well for them, ain’t that right boys!”
The tavern responded with a united “Aye!” before the barkeep continued. “The ol’ Concord whelp thought he was tough enough for this drink, and you want to know to know what happened? He took one sip and fell over! Didn’t wake up for a week!” The room filled with laughter as the barkeep raised his voice even louder to speak over his compatriots. “Oh, or what about Dreher!? He thought he could prove us wrong, but he took one gulp and now the poor fool can’t drink milk without retching!” Once again the bar was filled with uproarious laughter. The barkeep lowered his voice so that only I needed to hear his words, and told me to back down and that it wouldn’t be so shameful if a lady lost her nerve and ran away.
By this point I probably was feeling the effects of my earlier chugging, and suddenly my patience was reaching its end. I didn’t care much about the comments regarding my gender, but I didn’t appreciate their efforts to scare me off. Despite Viktor’s barely audible protests, I clutched the mug and began to guzzle the legendary brew. Instantly I felt the ale choking me as it tried to pass through my throat. Quite a few times I felt myself gagging at the taste, but I ignored my body’s warnings and finished the entire tankard, slamming it into the table with my face following shortly after. My senses turned into a blur, and what little I could perceive became muddled by the “Bosco” chants that drowned out the tavern. What happened to my body after that was a complete mystery. I remember standing up to celebrate, and then I remember singing a song about knobs and wizard’s staves, but the next thing I remember was stumbling outside in the street with the rest of the party and hearing Lord Vane berate Viktor and myself.
I don’t remember what they said very much, but Vane did order Viktor to take me to the inn as I would be no more help. They left shortly after, and Viktor proceeded to lead me back into the city despite my best efforts to pass out in the street. My stumbling must have become incredibly distracting because the next thing I know Viktor is carrying me in his arms. “You’re a nice guy Viktor.” I mumbled in much less coherent fashion.
“Yes, and you are very drunk.”
“Can I kiss you?”
“Aww…” It’s baffling what liquor can do to a person. I’m not quite sure why I would say those things or afterward rest my head against Viktor’s chestplate, but liquor makes you do the things you’d never do without influence right? It was just an out of character sort of moment I suppose, and I don’t think either of each put much stock into it. Well… I assume. I passed out shortly after.
From what I heard the next morning, it was a good thing I did. All I remember was Grae muttering “fucking Halfling” all the way to Ihestas.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
… then the anime came out, and now you can’t mention Deathnote without some fanboy screaming “Kira was right” or “L should have won”. Trying to convince a Deathnote fanboy that both of the characters were flawed is like trying to convince a Naruto fanboy that Sasuke is a broken character—i.e. you’d have better luck convincing Ronald Regan that Rega-nomics were a bad idea and he’s dead. I’ll admit I don’t enjoy the series as much anymore mostly because the fanbase has really made it hard to be taken seriously when you say you enjoy Deathnote, which is rather upsetting because Deathnote is a great series. I think most infuriating is that when you say you like Deathnote you must automatically get drafted to a side like Team Jacob or Team Edward. What if I didn’t agree completely with the way Light or L tried to issue justice? Yeah, that’s right, I thought both of them were rather flawed and the character who I supported all the way through was none other than Light’s father, Soichiro Yagami.
Soichiro Yagami is police officer who is made leader of the Kira investigation team once the series of mysterious deaths began to sweep Japan. Obviously having his father as a police officer made it so Light could easily use his connections for his advantage, but things take a turn for the worse when L deduces that this connection could easily make Light and his sister prime suspects in the Kira case—thus Soichiro must authorize surveillance equipment be placed in the rooms of his children because there’s a chance one of them might be a serial killer. Just imagine being placed in a position like that and you can start to see already what makes Soichiro so appealing. Though eventually Light’s own clever planning manages to convince L to remove the surveillance equipment, it’s not enough to fully convince L that Light isn’t Kira, and this is a constant fear that Soichiro must live with as we’ll see later.
The stress of dealing with the idea that his son is murderer weighs heavily on Soichiro’s mind, and as the manga continues you can see him start to lose weight and become more haggard as time goes on. I feel depressed just writing about him again because the toll this case takes on Soichiro is massive as evidenced by the heart attack he has that hospitalizes him just as the idea of a second Kira starts to take. But the reason his tragic self-destruction is so hard to watch is because he never lets his sense of justice falter even after his health plummets and he has to investigate his own son. Why I respect Soichiro so much is that unlike Light or L who seem to be participating in a game of Chess, Soichiro is in constant pain and suffering but he never lets that stop him from pushing forward.
This is best shown during his time hospitalized following his heart attack. While he’s laid up in bed the rest of the investigation team has to deal with a new attack by Kira where the killer seems to be picking off seemingly innocent people using a broadcast from a local television studio. Obviously they try to stop it, but it seems anyone who gets close to the TV station dies as they try to enter. It appears Kira now has a way to learn people’s names on sight and anyone who enters the studio is doomed, meaning that Kira’s horrid message will continue uninterrupted. L, the world’s greatest detective, is at a loss at what to do, but this is where a policeman willing to do anything for the case comes in handy. See, Soichiro gets out of bed, leaves the hospital, steals a police van, and then crashes it into Sakura TV so that he can get inside the building without Kira seeing him.
This is awesome in so many ways. First, it’s crashing a van into a building, and destruction is always cool. Second, it’s brave because there are still a lot of unknown things about Kira, and a simple slip up will cost him his life. However the biggest factor in making this a Crowning Moment of Awesome is the fact that this is a man still recovering from a heart attack who only hours ago was laid up in a paid with IV fluid pumping into him. This is what I mean about Soichiro being so awesome yet so tragic. You gotta realize his health is in complete shambles at this point, but that’s not what is on his mind. He’s a self-sacrificing policeman who will do what needs to be done to serve justice. Also the ending to his adventure might be the coolest thing ever drawn in a manga. After crashing the bus into the studio so he could take the tapes Kira sent to Sakura TV, he now has to deal with escaping. How can he possibly get out when Kira can see everyone who enters and leaves?! Oh simple, the rest of the police force will show up to form an enormous shield to keep him safe. Bad. Ass.
At this point I feel I should comment on Soichiro’s mortality because well it was obvious he wouldn’t live through the series. The fact that he was so close to Light but unaware meant that at some point or another he’d die. There were plenty of opportunities where it seemed Soichiro was destined to die, but he pulled through and remained a pleasant surprise… up until Mello came along. Sadly, Soichiro couldn’t live forever, and he died after taking a fatal wound during a dangerous mission to investigate Mello’s hideout and apprehend the criminal.
The tragic part is how he died though. He was recovered from the wreckage of Mello’s hideout and taking to a hospital where Light got to see him one final time. Light, now far passed the point of sanity, can’t even focus on the idea of his father dying but is instead desperately trying to get his father to write Mello’s name in the Deathnote. Soichiro however uses this opportunity to look at Light using his Shinigami Eyes that reveals the lifespan of everyone not in possession of a Deathnote. That means that if Light was Kira, he wouldn’t have a visible lifespan. However Light had spent years manipulating the loopholes of the Deathnote, and while he was indeed still using the book to kill criminals, he wasn’t an “owner” and thus his lifespan was visible meaning that after years of doubt Soichiro finally believed his son was innocent.
He died almost immediately afterwards, and his death really carried a lot of mixed emotions. Obviously frustration and sadness from seeing such a noble character die, but there’s a disturbing charm to it in that even though it was a lie, Soichiro finally got to feel peace and believe his son was innocent all along. For a man who had been through so much and endured so much pain as his children were constantly being put at risk, you have to feel at least somewhat happy that he died with a smile and his mind at ease, and yet we as readers know it’s a horrible lie and that Light has been everything his father feared. Scenes like this remind me why I love Deathnote so much and why I hate it when a discussion about Deathnote derails into a debate of Kira vs L. Deathnote is much more than that.
For me, the fact is that Soichiro was just a lot more relatable than either “protagonist”. He wasn’t born with superhuman intelligence or the ability to deduce motives and complex logic in mere moments, but rather he possesses a strong conviction and a morally upright sense of justice. Even Ohba himself has stated that he feels Soichiro was the most “pure” character in the series, and you can see why. He constantly sacrifices himself both physically and mentally for his job, and yet he only seems to suffer more for it. Soichiro is easily my favorite character in the series, and one of my favorite tragic characters of all time. His death easily ranks on my saddest deaths list, and his heroic efforts at Sakura TV easily put him near the top of my Top 10 most badass moments list as well.
It really is a shame that the Deathnote fanbase has made it so difficult to discuss the series amongst fans, but luckily the series does have enough content that you can create a coherent discussion without resulting to a morality debate, and when it does bring up Soichiro and see what everyone says. At least it would be a more interesting discussion that “if you agree with Light you’re Hitler” or “everyone who agrees with L is a cowardly liberal”. And yes, sadly I have honestly heard those arguments multiple times.
Until next time, Namaste!
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
There, done. Whew. Okay, so am I angry at the people who say the song sucks? Not in the least. I can understand people saying this is a shitty song because well, quite frankly it is. Still, I’ve heard crappier music on the radio nowadays, and a song about deciding to sit in the front or back seat really doesn’t rank high on my “Offens-a-meter”. It’s a emotionally vapid pop song about partying sung by a girl who can’t sing. That also describes about 50% of pop music today, so what’s so heinous about Friday? Well, it’s really bad. As I said, the lyrics are God awful. “We so excited”? “Tomorrow is Saturday and Sunday comes afterwards”? Yeah, this song sucks and in general it’s pretty damn painful. So yeah the song deserves its criticism for sure, but for the love of all that is holy shut up about it.
I’m one of those people that get tired of something when it gets more attention than it deserves. Take Michael Vick for example. Great player, but people shower him with too much praise and focus. Friday is the same thing. I mean this song is ridiculously popular but it’s only popular because people like to listen to it and crack jokes. Don’t believe me? Check out Twitter’s trending topics in the US right now, and I can guarantee you’ll see Rebecca Black on that list, and she’s been consistently on that list for over a week now. It’s insane. Leslie Nelson wasn’t on the trending topics list for this long and he freaking died! Heck I think Rebecca Black has stayed on trending topics even longer than Japan did. Isn’t that kind of a sad social commentary on our generation?
See, for me the Rebecca Black thing died really quick. I listened to the song once and said “Oh man that was painful. Well, now what’s for dinner?” See, Rebecca Black’s Friday is just not that entertaining for me, and the fact it’s become such a popular meme is rather stunning. I can understand why people have turned it into a meme, and I’ll admit I’ve found a few .gifs that made me chuckle, but man the references need to stop. I firmly believe every person who makes a Rebecca Black joke this Friday on Twitter should be slapped in the teeth with Ron Jeremy’s cock. I’m sorry, but this meme is completely dead no matter how many times you say “Tomorrow is Saturday! And Sunday comes afterwards!” on Friday. It’s sort of like The Game. Remember how tired you were of it? How annoying it was? Rebecca Black has become that for me.
So yeah, long story short I get it: Rebecca Black’s Friday is a bad song. Now please Internet, move onto something else. I can only listen to people try to realistically dissect the “which seat can I take” line so many times before I contemplate murdering people, which for the record, Rebecca’s mom said she was also planning to do when asked about all the hate comments her daughter received. I bet she wishes she could have that interview back.
I’m Rollo T, that was my rant, and people need to learn to Shut the Fuck Up.
Monday, March 21, 2011
So, basically the last thing I need to get these series off the ground is topics. I have several of my own, but I’m curious to hear what you all think might be interesting topics. So, if you get the time to leave a suggestion I’ll try to return soon with a timetable for when you can expect these articles.
Hmm… this post was rather short. Well, let’s try lengthening it with some wacky conversation. So did anybody else notice that Penny always got captured in Inspector Gadget? I mean yeah, she stopped the crime most of the time, but damn that kid couldn’t go three episodes without getting caught. Women, right? Oh, and why is Andross a big floating head and hands? I mean Star Fox is a franchise where six foot anthropomorphic foxes fly spaceships, but it always seemed strange. Like… how does he regurgitate asteroids at you if he has no throat or digestive system?
… Okay, I’ll stop now. In shame.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Alright, well if you saw my tweet earlier today you might know what this all about, but in case you don't let me say it again: I am dropping out of the D&D campaigns (Dethklok, Wyrmwick, etc.) in order to help improve the group dynamic and their chemistry. I'm sure to some of you see this a shock, but this is something I'm doing for myself and hopefully the future potential of these groups.
I'm sure people will assume this is entirely because of the heated exchange between myself and Spoony during last night's Wyrmwick campaign, but that's not true. Yes, it was a big reason why and the straw that broke the camel's back so to speak, but I've been considering this move for quite a while. Why? Well because this whole campaign started back when a few of us guys just wanted to sit around a virtual table and “roll dem bones” as they say (note: no one says that). We asked Spoony to be our DM and we got a group together and enjoyed playing some D&D. During session 4 we decided to start streaming the game to the live.lordkat.com audience and the response was outstanding. People seemed to really enjoy our game and really get into it. People commented on it, made a TVTropes page for it, and even drew fanart of our characters and special events. It was an experience I wouldn't trade for anything else because it allowed me to participate in a hobby I love with friends I enjoy being around and share it with the fans who appreciate it.
However you'll notice the past tense being used above. Obviously, those are thoughts I no longer share and the fact of the matter is that the D&D games have started to become far more convoluted than simply rolling virtual dice and doing stupid bullshit. Now there're players I don't see eye to eye with, drama behind the scenes, and tensions at the table. I haven't been able to enjoy myself at a game of D&D completely in quite some time, and as for the reasons why... well I'll do those offended parties the courtesy they never gave me and keep things private. Though for any investigative readers I'm sure you can identify what's changed to the group and why it frustrates me so much. D&D is a hobby, it's a game we play to bullshit and have fun with, and at this point I can no longer have fun playing a game where I'm told I need to bite my tongue to avoid offending another party and yet they refuse to make any concessions of their own or even speak to me directly about it. Playing in a game like that is difficult, and I endured it mostly due to wanting to satisfy my desire to roleplay and trying to ignore the negative aspects of it while enjoying the positive.
But then last night happened and I realized D&D games that I'm involved in will never be drama-free anymore. I offend people. I don't take things seriously. I shit on people's work. I'm too much of a joker. I'm too crude. My humor is offensive and takes away from the experience. These are some of the many complaints I've heard lobbied against me by the offended parties and I rarely hear anything else uttered about anyone else in the party so that's why I came to the decision to leave on the hopes that without my presence those still involved can have a more pleasant experience. Yes, I could fight against that and counter a lot of the complaints, but the only thing that will do is dissolve the group further and I'm in no way, shape, or form the star attraction in our games and I would hate for my attitude to be the reason why so many fans can't enjoy themselves watching our sessions anymore.
I don't leave without feeling regret, and I have plenty of people who don't want to see me leave both current players and fans alike, and trust me, I appreciate it, but clearly my presence in these games is a black cloud over the heads of other players. I'm tired of talking behind other people's backs and holding animosity towards people over a fucking hobby. I'm tired of dealing with the most stress of my life regarding something that should be my primary stress reliever. I'm just tried of being a part of it and I'd rather step away before it gets even worse. Call me a hero or a coward if you want, but the fact is I'm trying to leave these games in the most amicable way possible—by not slinging mud or making this ugly.
So, before anyone wonders otherwise, yes I will still be apart of LordKaT's stream. He's still my good buddy and has been a great friend during all of this. I don't want to have fans picks sides though I feel that will be an inevitable side effect of all of this. I'll still be doing everything I can to improve the product I give to my fans and I'll try to find new ways to utilize my blog to replace the D&D recaps that likely won't continue from here.
What happens from here is anyone's guess. I hope I don't end up doing more harm to the game in the long run, but I gather some players will hate not having me around just as some will love it. Maybe somehow I can work out my problems with the offended parties, but I doubt it will happen. If they're reading this, I'm all about trying to work this out and find a solution, but I'm not going to hold my breath on those parties even wanting me back.
I don't want to end this post negatively. I'm trying my hardest to be mature and level-headed in this post, and I want to say there's still hope in the future that something can be worked out. Maybe I never play again in those campaigns, but maybe I'll find another game or even start one of my own in the future. I still want to play RPGs, and my hope is that in time I'll find a way to do that. Until then I wanted to clear the air, give fans a better idea of why I'm stepping down, and wish my best to the remaining players in the Dethklok and Wyrmwick campaigns.
Until next time, Namaste!
Thursday, March 17, 2011
So what are the requirements for Inside the Koma? Simple: the character must be from a manga, and they have to be a part of the side cast, so I would talk about Shikamaru and not Naruto. In addition this series only focuses on the manga aspects of the character. Maybe this character had an entire filler arc dedicated to them in the anime, but I’m not going to include that in my analysis. Anyway, this is the final article in my three article test series, so once again I ask that you comment if you enjoy the series to let me know if you’d still like me to continue writing it. So let’s start off this series with the topic character from my original video: Eyeshield 21’s Manabu Yukimitsu.
I know that a Japanese series about American football sounds utterly ridiculous, but honestly Eyeshield 21 is one of the greatest manga I’ve read in sheer entertainment value. Sure, liking football is a bit of a requirement, but the series does a great job explaining the rules and making the sport feel like a legitimate war. The action is complemented nicely by an excellent cast of characters full of unique personalities and traits and honestly I could have picked a variety of characters from Eyeshield 21. Kid, Sakuraba, Juumonji, Unsui, Habashira, Panther, Marco, and Takami all would make excellent choices for this series, but in my opinion the best character in this varied and underappreciated cast is the backup Wide Receiver for the Deimon Devilbats Manabu Yukimitsu.
Yukimitsu, or Yuki as he’s also known, is a different style of character from the other ragtags that make up the Deimon Devilbats in that he’s not very good at football. Sure as the underdogs in the series it’s the point of the Devilbats to be inferior to their opponents, but for most of the cast they have a football-related redeeming quality like Sena’s speed or Monta’s catching abilities. Yuki doesn’t have any of those—not even close. He’s just a nerd who’s spent his life dreaming of playing sports with everyone else but never having the ability to do so. Joining the Devil Bats is his one chance to play a sport with everyone else before he has to devote himself fulltime to studying. His desire to play football allows him to go through the same hellish training as the rest of the Devil Bats, and that kind of tenacity is admirable.
What really makes Yuki so likable though is that he fails—a lot. He only passes the initial entrance exam because Hiruma was impressed by his conviction, but he never plays in any of the starting games even as the football team is forced to use scrubs from other teams to have a full roster. He travels to America with the rest of his team and participates in the Death March, a hellish training exercise of running from Texas to Las Vegas in 40 days. He completed the Death March alongside everyone else, and yet when the final team is announced for the Fall Tournament Yuki is the only player not chosen—instead being passed over in favor of alternatives from the basketball team. What makes Yuki so appealing is that such care is placed into his character. The manga-ka behind Eyeshield 21 could have easily ended Yukimitsu’s character arc right here by saying he trained hard enough to make it in, but he didn’t. No, instead we watch Yuki break into tears and promise that he won’t give up trying to become a starting player on the Deimon Devilbats. We need moments like this to make scenes later on become so much more satisfying.
Fortune does smile on Yuki as the Devilbats manage to just squeak into the Kanto Tournament giving Yuki another shot to play, and just before his team’s next game he is told that not only will he be allowed to play this upcoming Sunday, but he will be the key to defeating the Shinnryuji Nagas. The Nagas, mind you, are the current long time defending champions of the Kanto Tournament led by Quarterback/Linebacker Kongo Agon, a once in a decade genius with the ability to instantly react to changing situations. Kongo Agon and Cornerback Ikkyuu utterly dominated Deimon during the first half of the game and Yuki never stepped foot on the field, but after half time Yuki is asked to finally step on the field for the first time in his life.
He does so, and after two consecutive failed plays Yuki finally gets the chance he’s been waiting for. See Yuki might not be physically gifted with super speed or great height, but he has spent his entire life studying which has allowed him to dissect defenses and spot holes in their coverage: the Option Route. Yuki takes off and Hiruma throws him a deep ball towards the endzone, but Agon and Ikkyuu take notice and break off to cover Yuki. As the ball closes in Agon and Ikkyuu start joking about how easy it will be to defeat Yukimitsu, and Yuki starts to believe he doesn’t have a chance against players of this magnitude. However just before he gives up all hope he realizes that the reason he’s never been good at sports is because he’s never really tried, and now that he has the opportunity he won’t fail. Yuki goes all out and just manages to catch the touchdown pass that finally puts Deimon on the board and he pulls it off via sheer determination.
Seeing scenes like this are all the more satisfying because we had to endure Yuki’s tragic failures beforehand. This chapter was almost a hundred chapters after the previous scene of Yuki crying meaning that this was nearly two years in development. What makes this scene so impactful is that for years we’ve wanted to see Yuki get his chance to succeed, and when it does it’s in a glorious and magnificent fashion. It’s in the biggest game of the Devilbat’s career while they’re at the lowest they’ve ever been against the greatest opponents they’ve ever had to face. It sets up a dramatic comeback and a great end to a thrilling match, but more than that it finally lets us get the satisfaction we want. So Crowning Moment of Awesome, right? Well yes, but this actually isn’t Yuki’s finest moment.
No, that comes during the next game against Deimon’s rivals the Oujou White Knights. The Deimon/Oujou game may very well be the greatest arc in manga I’ve ever read and it’s full of fantastic character development for players on both sides of the ball, but for the most part Yuki is a non-factor in this match. In fact just about half way through the game Yuki collapses in exhaustion and has to sit the rest of the game out and watch from the sidelines as all of his friends fight to keep their dreams alive. Time is winding down and Oujou is down by a single touchdown when suddenly Sena gets hit and starts to get a nose bleed. The refs force him to sit out until the bleeding stops, thus forcing Hiruma to pick a replacement. He has three alternate players to pick from, but in the end he chooses Yukimitsu to be the 11th man with the simple reason of “tenacity”. So what happens on this final play?
Shin, the perfect football player, takes the ball directly, absolutely trucks Yukimitsu, and then drags three players with him into the endzone for a touchdown as time expires. Or, at least that was the plan. Instead a single second remains on the clock completely contrary to Oujou’s predictions. Why? Well the answer is Yuki. While he wasn’t able to stop Shin from scoring the touchdown, Yuki did realize that Shin’s plan was to stall crossing the endzone until time expired. Thus, before the last second could pass Yuki instead pushed Shin through the goal line preserving one second on the clock for Deimon to make their comeback.
The intelligence and foresight needed to pull off a play of that magnitude was immense, and Shin realized it, so as teammates helped carry an exhausted Yukimitsu off the field he congratulates him on his splendid play. This is Yuki’s finest moment because it captures his character perfectly. See, it wasn’t super speed or great strength that helped Yuki stop Oujou’s plans, it was an undying tenacity to keep Deimon’s hopes alive. Even better the acknowledgement comes from Shin who is notorious for his brutal honesty when it comes to critiquing players. This may the best scene in Eyeshield 21 because the drama surrounding it immense, but without a doubt it’s Yuki’s finest moment. Sure he has another scene during the Teikoku match where he makes a big catch, but it’s not handled quite as well and honestly comes off a bit too comical. The Oujou match makes Yuki look brilliant and it’s one of the finest examples of character development I can cite.
See, this is how you create a sympathetic loser. Yuki’s a good kid, but inept and without any real talents. He fails so often, but his losses only serve to make us more eager to see him succeed. His failures are treated with respect and thus it glorifies his victories even more and the execution of his two greatest plays are flawless as they both start big comebacks for Deimon during their two biggest matches. If I were to write a character in a manga, I’d want them to be like Yuki. Sure, writing a convincing loss is difficult, and having one of your heroes constantly fail can be distressing, but Yuki proves that it can all be worth it in the end if you execute it correctly. March on you beautiful bald-headed bastard.
Until next time, Namaste!
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
That’s what Shut the Fuck Up, or STFU, is all about. When a particular topic or person is currently getting shat on by the media or the general public, I want to use this series to stress my thoughts on the matter and explain why I think the people whining need to grow a pair and man up. Like yesterday’s From Their Eyes, STFU is a test article right now, and whether or not I’ll continue it will be dependent on the feedback. If you think this sucks, let me know and I won’t waste time writing it, but if you like it, send me a tweet (@RolloT) or leave a comment below telling me that. With the build up out of the way, let’s get into the topic of my first and potentially only STFU: Justin Bieber.
I’ll be honest, I don’t follow the pop culture scene very closely anymore and almost all of my exposure to pop music comes from ToddInTheShadow’s reviews. In fact the first time I heard of Justin Bieber at all was when I watched Todd’s Top 10 Worst Songs of 2009. But that was back when he was just breaking onto the scene and far before he became easily one of the most recognizable figures in American pop culture. Now he’s a mega-superstar appearing in music videos, Super Bowl commercials, and even his own movie documentary released in theaters—and he isn’t even 18. Pop stars in general illicit a rather negative reaction from the public considering how popular they are, and seeing Bieber this successful before he’s old enough to buy lottery tickets makes a lot of people jealous, and understandably so. I wouldn’t say Justin Bieber is particularly talented, and I certainly wouldn’t say I enjoy his music, but well… let’s cut to the chase. Have you looked at a Justin Bieber related video on YouTube?
If there’s not some 12 year old girl professing her love for him, it’s some anonymous asshole calling him a derogatory word and wishing death and rape upon him and his family. Some people seriously hate Justin Bieber, and honestly I’m not really sure why. As I said, I can understand disliking him for not being talented and being jealous of his early success, but people seem to legitimately want to beat this kid and I just don’t get that. The quote I hear a lot from people who scowl or groan at the mere mention of his name is that Bieber “represents what’s wrong with the music industry”.
Uh-huh. Okay, I’m not a music guy per say, so I wouldn’t consider this my forte necessarily, but have you listened to music in the past… ever? I know you may not like Justin Bieber because you think he’s a talentless hack who’s risen up the pop charts for being good looking(?) and the product of the American music industry, but you do realize that mainstream pop is and has always been overloaded with terrible artists more infamous for their name more than anything, right? I mean sure we get our Michael Jacksons along the way, but we get just as many Boys II Men, Beyonce, N*Sync, Hanson, R.Kelly, Jewel, and Spice Girls. Look, I’m not saying anyone I listed back there is necessarily awful, but the fact is that popular music is generally popular because of the audience and not the performer. If I put a video of me singing Take On Me by A-Ha up on YouTube, and in three months it had 12 million hits, who are you going to get upset at? You’d get upset at me, but the fact is it’s not my fault people apparently loved listening to me fuck up that high note.
Sure it’s fine to poke fun at pop stars. Like any portion of our pop culture they are acceptable targets and if you want to make fun of Bieber’s voice or his shitty hair cut that’s not a problem. No, the problem is when I mentioned his name and you reactively spit on the ground. This is not an exaggeration, and I know plenty of people who would punch this kid in the face if they met him despite the fact that Bieber is probably one of the least offensive artists out there today. It’s not like he’s Ke$ha who walks around exerting this disgusting persona in all of her music. He’s not any worse than Katy Perry who seems to exist only to make catchy songs and then walk around half-nude in everything she’s in despite how inappropriate that might be (see: Sesame Street). Heck, this kid is more reviled than Lady Gaga, and that’s the woman who showed up to her sister’s graduation wearing this. I don’t even know what that is! It’s like someone took slutty lingerie, cut out the insides, and then dropped a black veil on top of Raiden’s hat.
My point is that this vile hatred of Justin Bieber really has no grounds. Is his singing really as offensive as the dozens of artists that use auto-tune? Is Baby really worse than This Time (Dirty Bit)? I mean the Black Eyed Peas pretty much shat all over the Super Bowl and yet I don’t hear nearly as much venom slung their way. People act as if Justin Bieber having another hit single is some sleight against them and their favorite bands. Newsflash, fourteen year old girls are going to support Justin Bieber far more than you’ll ever support your local indie band. That’s the way music works people.
So my argument is this: why hate Justin Bieber? Why is that his name is spoken so vehemently in our culture? What possible valid reason is there to hate this kid?
None. There is none at all. If he represents everything you hate about the music industry, than congratulations: you just finally figured out the music industry—now read a book.
I’m Rollo T, that was my rant, and people need to learn to Shut the Fuck Up.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Anyway the first article series is called From Their Eyes and is related to our D&D games. Basically I’m using these articles to help satisfy the roleplaying kick I’ve had for months now and cater to the D&D fans since people seem to dig it when I talk about the campaign. So these series of articles are being told from the first person perspective of one of my characters about a notable event in their career. It can be a heroic, dramatic, or humorous moment, but it needs to stand out. I’m starting this week with The Scorpion Queen Encounter and Juliet, so let me know your thoughts. If you’d prefer I only stuck to humorous or other sort of stuff, let me know. Again, all feedback is appreciated. Well, here we go:
We stood at the entrance to that chamber for what seemed like an eternity. We had already encountered traps and ambushes in this pyramid, and it seemed obvious that something was waiting for us in that next room, but none of us dared to be the first one in to find out. We awkwardly stood there waiting for someone to bravely (and stupidly) offer to test the doorway, but any attempt at convincing someone to take the daring initial steps proved to be futile. I even offered the mercenary a sizable pocket full of the King’s gold to cross the threshold, but it appears sellswords aren’t as greedy as I first assumed. Our bickering had gone on too long, and whatever fiend was waiting for us had grown tired of lying in wait.
With an echoing thud the Scorpion Queen dropped from the ceiling in front of our hallway and sprung her surprise attack. With a single movement she kicked up a torrent of sand and sent it towards us with the force of a hurricane. Some of us in the party, including myself, shielded our eyes in preparation for the attack, but a few of our party members were unprepared and found themselves blinded by the sudden sandstorm. As the Scorpion Queen made her presence known, we took to the offensive. The Dragonborn swiftly snuck behind the resurrected goddess and began to use her underhanded tricks to sabotage our foe while the rest of us prepared our most powerful abilities. Unfortunately the Scorpion Queen was powerful even when shackled to this corporeal form, and most of our attacks missed… sans my Faerie Fire.
In retrospect, why did the spirits name that particular ability Faerie Fire. When you think of all of the intimidating forces of nature like howling gales, massive avalanches, and engulfing flames, why does Faerie have to be the first word to come to mind? Well, the spirits are far wiser than I, even if a tad unimaginative, so I won’t judge too harshly and instead be thankful for their power which struck the Scorpion Queen directly. Though initially the Queen would feel nothing, she would find her senses dulled which would slow her movements and allow my allies a better chance to hit until she managed to overcome it.
It came as a surprise to no one that the Scorpion Queen had many powers at her disposal, and she wasted no time unleashing her deadly arsenal. With one glance she looked upon the mercenary with a bewitching look in her eyes. I’m not well learned of the arcane, but I assumed she had some sort of power to dominate men and control their actions, and sure enough the mercenary began to wildly swing his weapon at us. As part of our party was distracted by this, she used one of her enormous claws to snap up the bard. While he struggled in her grasp, the Scorpion Queen reared back her massive stinger before plunging it into the chest of our bard ally, and in that moment I saw the life leave his eyes. Having finished off her pray she tossed the bard’s body carelessly to the side, and if there was any chance of saving him, it was obvious that it was quickly fading.
However the rest of the party wasn’t fairing much better. The mercenary was still trapped by the Scorpion Queen’s charms. The Dragonborn was valiantly fighting, but unable to shake the attention of the goddess. The archer was, once again, proving his ineptitude by firing arrows into the back of someone’s head, and I wonder if there will ever be a day when this raffish ranger will ever strike down an enemy with his arrows. Just as it seemed all hope was lost a brief glow overtook the Scorpion Queen. It seemed she had finally overcome my Faerie Fire, and with that the excess energy inside of her built up into an enormous explosion that tore the Queen into pieces. Carcass and viscera littered the battlefield, but myself and the Eladrin wasted no time with celebration as we rushed over to the dying bard.
With my knowledge of natural healing and the Eladrin’s superior healing magics we stabilized the bard in the nick of time. With the Queen’s death it appeared her palace was now crumbling to pieces. Unfortunately we were stuck near the top of the pyramid, and escaping the way we came in would likely not prove fast enough. Thankfully we managed to spot a lever that opened a secondary exit to outside, but to escape safely we would need to repel down the side of the structure. After the bard started to shimmy down the escape rope, I followed afterwards.
Except I lost my footing. And fell.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Juliet is the third child and only daughter of the Tunde family, a family of farmers. The oldest two boys aren’t worth noting, but the youngest child, Daniel, was a bit “touched” as Juliet’s father would say. In truth Daniel actually has a high-functioning form of autism, but to these simple parents it was nothing more than a disrespectful child who didn’t know the value of hard work. The family could always tell there was something different about Daniel because he would seem distracted or appear as if he was hearing things no one else could, but Father Tunde was positive that with discipline Daniel would grow out of it. He didn’t.
By the time Daniel was five he started to sneak out of the house frequently. As the men of the family had to manage the farm work and the mother handled the cleaning, the responsibility to fetch Daniel was given to Juliet. It wasn’t a hard task to find Daniel because he always went to the same place every time: a nearby forest. Every day like clockwork he’s be sitting in the woods talking to nobody, however Juliet began to learn that Daniel was in fact talking with nature. It was a slow discovery, but she eventually learned that from a young age Daniel has had the ability to commune with nature, and as time went on he became more and more in tune with it.
Juliet tried to explain Daniel’s special abilities to her family, but they never witnessed his talents and instead continued to assume he was misbehaving and that Juliet was only trying to cover for him to spare him from his punishment. She was never able to convince her father otherwise, and as such Juliet became the only one in their family that Daniel could relate to. After years passed, even Juliet started to see the world in the way Daniel did, and she could even hear whispers of the same spirits Daniel spoke with daily. As time went on Juliet and Daniel’s relationship grew stronger, but their father became more and more irate with his son. Their relationship was awful, and sadly it never recovered.
Tragedy struck one day when Juliet was sent out to fetch Daniel, and his trail lead far deeper in the forest than Daniel had ever ventured before. Juliet followed this trail, but she couldn’t shake this uneasy feeling around her. It felt as if her surroundings were trying to warn her she wouldn’t like what she saw ahead, but she continued on in spite of it. Before long she stumbled upon a clearing in the woods, and off towards the edge of the clearing she found the bloodied corpse of her brother, Daniel. Juliet couldn’t understand what she was seeing. She had witnessed her brother playing with wild beasts before without any concern, so it couldn’t have been an animal attack. Looking at her brother’s corpse more closely she realized the wounds weren’t from any normal beast, and it appeared that whatever attacked him had set up camp in this clearing but left hours before. Juliet felt a surge of emotions, but the greatest was confusion: Why, if Daniel was close to nature, didn’t the spirits protect him?
That night was a dark one for Juliet. She helped bury Daniel with her family, and the grief was nearly too much to bear. Her father didn’t help the situation much either as he didn’t seem to show much remorse for his fallen son. There was a cold, distant look in his eyes whenever he looked upon Daniel’s body, and Juliet swore she could see a glimmer of relief in his eyes. That night Juliet couldn’t sleep but not just because of the stress. There was a very audible sound coming from outside their farm, and its origin seemed to be coming from the forest. Juliet tried to ignore it, but as she tossed and turned trying to end this awful day, she heard her name echoing in the call.
It took a while for Juliet to realize it, but these were the same whispers she had used to hear with Daniel, only now they were much louder and speaking directly to her. The spirits that had been Daniel’s only friends were calling out to her, and she had to investigate it. However as she tried to sneak out of her house, she was stopped by her father. He ordered her back to her room and ensured her that he wouldn’t lose another child to those woods. Juliet tried to explain everything to her father about Daniel and the spirits, but he refused to listen. He told Juliet that if she left the farm she would never be welcomed back, but sadly this was a situation Juliet couldn’t back down from. In the dead of night she left her home and family behind.
When Juliet entered the forest she could hear voices that called out to her quieting down, and as Juliet embraced their presence they explained their motives. The spirits warned Juliet that a great danger was going to befall this world, and that nature needed a champion who can protect it from the imminent danger. That champion was to be Daniel, but unfortunately the call to action occurred before he was ready, and he was killed. As such Juliet was chosen as his replacement, and the will and mission of her younger brother would pass on to her if she accepted. However to accept this mission would mean abandoning her old life completely, and she would have to live among the wild during her preparation. The choice wasn’t easy, but Juliet had to accept. She needed to ensure that her brother’s death would be avenged, and that his will would carry on.
So yeah, that’s Juliet backstory. Her brother was actually supposed to be the hero, but he died early and thus all of the responsibility became hers. I wanted play with the idea that fate can be wrong because I’ve always felt it adds more tension to a story if the “destined heroes” aren’t the first of their kind and that sometimes destiny screws up and everyone party wipes. I’m not going to pretend this is a fascinating character by any means, but I like the concept enough to play it. Anyway this is the reason why Juliet was so adamant about burying those people she found at the farmlands—she knows how painful it is to have to bury your own family. It’s also part of the reason she’s concerned about Garrett since his body might become abducted just like Darstine’s which is more or less the same as losing them for good.
Well I hope you guys enjoyed reading, and if you have any criticism I’m all ears. This definitely isn’t my proudest backstory for a character, but again I still like it. Maybe it will show up in the campaign, maybe it won’t, but at the very least we know about a few backstories. By the way word from PAXEast is that Pongo, Grae’s murdered dog, is now canon.
Until next time, Namaste!
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Our DM for the Wyrmwick Campaign is none other than LordKaT himself, bringing his expected New York accent and rugged charm to the role of GOD OF ALL YOU SEE! The players are as followed:
- Nik (Y Ruler of Time) as Dhother, the Elven Invoker
- SonicGav as John, the Human Fighter
- Skitch as Drew, the Human Rogue (Thief)
- Arclight as Kithra, the Elven Ranger (Hunter)
- Myself as Eli DeLucci, the Human Cleric (Sunpriest)
Now fans might also know that Spoony plays a character in this campaign as well, but for the purpose of the upcoming recap I’m not going to bring him up just for the sake of brevity (though honestly haven’t I thrown that out the window already?). You might not recognize two of the names on that list, and that’s because those two names (SonicGav & Arclight) are not TGWTG producers but rather are friends from the LK Chat we brought in to play, and they’re a lot of fun. To be honest, I actually am enjoying Wyrmwick a bit more than Dethklok mostly because of the company. Roleplaying games are usually more entertaining based on the company you’re with, and I’m a good deal closer to guys like Arclight than I am to some of the Dethklok players. It’s a fun campaign and has tons of “derp-tastic” moments for the fans. So let’s take one step closer to getting Wyrmwick on the same level of Dethklok by starting up a recap for the campaign! Da-dun!
So our adventure started in the city of Wyrmwick where we hired on by Thorin Hawklight, a lieutenant of the town guard, to arrest Wez the Mad. We successfully captured Wez and were then instructed to travel incognito to Orwayn’s Keep to collect some supplies. There we found a letter that seemed to implicate that Thorin may be involved in the same illegal activities he was asking us to stop, and soon after we found ourselves face to face with Orwayn himself, a Death Knight. To define a Death Knight for those unaware they’re BAMF that could fuck up our Level 1 noob asses in his sleep, so we were in an awkward situation. He told us he’d let us live if we traveled back to Wyrmwick to kill Thorin Hawklight, and with that we returned to Wyrmwick. That’s where this session began.
We had a mission, but it wasn’t as cut and dry as that. First off the letter only seemed to imply Thorin Hawklight and it wasn’t definitive evidence. Add to that two members of our party are religious characters who aren’t going to suddenly kill an innocent man at the whim of an undead abomination. Still, this wasn’t an enemy to exactly screw around with, so for now we decided to play things straight and see how it worked out. We met up with Thorin who eagerly sent out some men to collect the shipments we took from Orwayn’s Keep. He then told us he’d have another mission for us in a few days, and until then he would pay for us to stay at a local hotel. We left his company after that, but it all seemed far too suspicious. All of this seemed to be under order of the local council, and we figured that might be our lead into the truth of this ideal.
Either the council was in on this corruption, or we could use them to arrest Thorin Hawklight which would hopefully put Orwayn’s request to rest since Thorin would be removed from his position and thus he’d be out of Orwayn’s hair. We used some Streetwise checks to pull together a little information about a council member named Khan Muzarog who might be our target to speak with. We found out a few bits of info about him like that he was against taxes and mages in the town guard, and also a dark story that his wife was discovered decapitated in his bed long ago with her death believed to be politically motivated. We headed over to his office to have a meeting with Mr. Muzarog, but we were told by the secretary that he would be busy for a few days, and we’d be scheduled in after that. With that we proceeded to bed to await our meeting.
In the middle of the night however Eli was struck in the shoulder with an arrow—or as LordKaT phrased it “Eli wakes up with an arrow in his shoulder” which seems to imply Eli was shot in shoulder with an arrow and then slept through it. Silliness aside the arrow came attached with a note presumably from Orwayn that simply stated “KILL HIM”. Figuring that time was now of the essence, we decided to sneak into Khan Muzarog’s estate and talk to him now. We headed to his residence and from there we sent Kithra and Drew off to sneak into the house to unlock a way for us to make it in. Drew did this quite well, but Kithra for being an elven woman played by a British man was as far from graceful as could be. She might as well have worn frying pans for shoes and stomped on mice all the way through. Shockingly they didn’t alert any of the residents and after breaking Kithra was ready to let us in…
… by sneaking all the way back out of the estate and telling us that it was okay to sneak in. To state quite clearly the idiocy of this plan we sent our two stealthy team members in to find a way to let the entire party into the house. They managed to break in, and then proceeded to leave the house to tell us “okay your turn”. Dhother I believe adequately described it best when he said “why didn’t you just unlock the door!?” Kithra, in shame, had to sneak back into the house so she could unlock the door and let us in. This may have been the best moment of the night. Of course it didn’t end there as we still had to meet with Muzarog himself.
Drew snuck on ahead to see if he could find Khan on his own, and succeeded fantastically in that respect. He found Muzarog and his bedmate… a headless corpse. Cue everyone in the game jumping to the conclusion that Muzarog slept with the headless body of his dead wife. We panicked for a while about what to in this situation because let’s be honest, this was pretty fucked up. At this point we had already broken into the man’s house, so leaving wasn’t an attractive option. Instead Dhother and Drew woke Muzarog up to negotiate and just tried to ignore the decapitated body.
For a man sleeping in his bed with a headless corpse, Muzarog was rather relaxed. We talked to him, and found out that Thorin Hawklight was indeed not approving his missions through the Council. However before we could peacefully leave his home, Muzarog spotted the body and screamed. Turns out that wasn’t his wife’s body at all and instead someone left the body there to send some sort of message. I still think it would have been funny if he was just trying to cover for the corpse by acting all surprised. “Oh… Oh! What’s uh… what’s this doing here!? Covered in my semen! What are the odds?!”
So with that the guards came in and we were told to meet Muzarog tomorrow at his office which is what we did. We tried to figure out exactly who Thorin Hawklight was and where we could find out more about him, but Muzarog knew very little as apparently Thorin Hawklight was very low of the totem pole of the guard. Muzarog did invite the Commander of the Guards to speak with us and perhaps give us some information, but he seemed disinterested in us entirely. However I picked up on the fact that the Commander was wearing a full iron helmet, and asked to identify his voice. I couldn’t, but Dhother did, and he found a way to alert our party members and Muzarog before we confronted the mysterious Hawklight.
A battle began and Thorin was one tough motherfucker. Hitting him was a challenge especially since very few of us hit something besides AC. We did wear him down and eventually knocked him out (non-lethal), but soon a Transmuter entered the fight and proceeded to… turn us all into bunnies. Seriously. He did it like five times. He just kept turning Jonn and Drew into bunnies, and swapping placed with Dhother to escape his zones. It was annoying, but eventually we put him down too, and the session ended there. What will happen in the future? Will we learn the true intentions of Thorin Hawklight? Have we heard the last of Orwayn? Will Eli get more arrows shot into his shoulder? Find out next time on Dragon Ball Z—I mean Pokemon—I mean D&D Recap: Wyrmwick.
Until next time, Namaste.