Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Getting back into drawing. :D

For a long time, I've taken some time off from drawing. But the spirit is biting me recently... Maybe I might even bring back Vexing. Who knows!

I decided I will review Professor Layton in the form of a comic though. Obviously it won't be in depth, but it'll get the point across...

Anyways, I spent a lot of time drawing this charmander, so instead of a lengthy blog post, I'll post this. It's a WIP still-- I'll try inking/coloring it in tomorrow. Til then~!

This Charmander's got swaaaag~

Friday, December 16, 2011

Mabinogi Shenanigans

Yeaaaah I'm an idiot LOL.

30DAC: Day 5

Day 5
Character You're Most Like

The funny thing is, I've already thought about this. And people I've known have talked told me this, too. I've been told I'm a mixture of:

Osaka from Azumanga Daioh

Konata from Lucky Star
Not that these are desirable characters to be. ;_;

Konata is your female otaku-gamer-girl type. She'd rather play video games, read manga, or watch anime than do homework. And most of the time, she does. The funny thing is that it's not like she's actually dumb, she just cannot apply herself to a lot of things outside of her interests. She's also incredibly sarcastic, something I love. There were more things that we were similar on, but for the life of me, I've forgotten them. It's definitely time to rewatch this series.

Osaka is your classic spacey-girl type. Again, not dumb, because she has shown herself to be rather profound when it comes to solving puzzles, but just spacey. A classic moment is when she's in class and she randomly starts to follow her eye floaters around with this big smile on her face. But beyond being spacey, she's also downright weird in a wonderfully hilarious way. However, I'll have to recommend the manga over the anime-- it doesn't do it justice. :c

So take the otaku-sarcasm from Konata, the weird spacey-ness from Osaka, and you essentially have me. A spacey otaku...

Fuck my life.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Penny and Aggie

You know that series that catches you completely off guard? One that you are only warm towards in the beginning, but slowly works its way up to favorite status? That series for me was Penny and Aggie; a story about two girls who hate each other in high school (original, I know) but slowly become important parts of each other's lives. Their relationship slowly grows over the years, becoming something neither one of them expected. Sadly, it ended far too quickly when it was just getting to the part I truly adored about it-- and didn't end too well, in my opinion. But at any rate, let's get started on my first webcomic review. (aw yeah, awesoooome)

Famous last words.
Well, last straight words.
The plot of this story varies between high school drama and slice of life. What's nice is that the comic matures and grows up along with its writer and artist, so the one-shot comic to comic episodes are short lived. And at the same time, the characters do too. Where Penny and Aggie start out as one-dimensional archetypes, they slowly become molded into complex women tangled in each other's lives. They don't want to start caring about each other, they never planned it, but slowly they do.

Until finally Aggie truly starts questioning her sexuality. There have been hints here and there about the possibility of her being gay, and other characters mused about it as well, but it was all foreshadowing until halfway through the series that she realizes that she's not all into men. And slowly, the two girls realize there might be something more to their friendship than, well, friendship.

okay in some areas it's not so subtle but you get the idea
Eventually, the two do finally admit their feelings for each other... or at least admit they want to explore the relationship between them. Considering they only get together in the last part of the series, I won't go into too many details about their relationship. However, it does allow them to look at what they really want out of life, and what they want out of themselves. I was rather surprised when there relationship never hit the typical cliches but ran into actual problems and concerns I myself ran into when I finally realized my own sexuality. Many of the concerns Aggie had were the concerns I had, so it was nice to finally have a gay character to relate to.

That being said, the story wasn't entirely revolved around their sexuality. One of the most moving chapters to me was one dealing with Aggie's conflicting emotions regarding her mother's death and her own blossoming adulthood. Then there's that mind-blowing chapter where all the possible futures Penny has gathers together to make a decision that will affect her for the rest of her life... For a high school drama, there's a decent amount of depth and thought.

And surprisingly, there's a lot of metaphor and symbolism throughout the series, something you don't find a whole lot in the "non-artsy" stories. Take this defining moment for Aggie:

Wait for it...

Uh oh indeed.

Grade: B
Not a fan of how gimmicky the beginning is, and the ending is a let down, but everything else is truly wonderful.

Since this story has seen two different artists and has been around seven years, PaA has understandably seen a dynamic art style. Where this comic is fortunate, however, is that even the initial art isn't hard to look at, which is more than you can say for many other fledgling comics. However, my preference lies with the initial artist, Gisele, rather than the artist the series ended with, Jason. Gisele grew into an expressive, more human style, whereas Jason's style has a doll-like feeling, and tends too rely on only a few expressions. In some cases, Jason still needs to work on his anatomy (something I need to work on too in the comic world, bawhahahabaw). Unfortunately, with the exception of a few comics, the entire series is in black and white. This is a shame, because they seem to have access to people who can color-- which suggests they're sacrificing quality for quantity. This theory is backed up by the rush job they did with the ending, which is terrible.

For the most part at least, the art progresses rather nicely and is good. It's not great, but it's better than most of its counterparts.

Grade: B

Bottom line, Penny and Aggie is by no means perfect. It grew through out its entire life, and ended with more room to grow. Most of its flaws could be overlooked if not for the rushed ending-- T, the writer had planned for it to end this September, and when it was obvious that the story was going to run a little long, most of the story was cut out in favor for a "time skip" ending. You know, one of those endings where they flash forward to the future and explain everything we missed? Yeah, that kind of ending. Much of what they talked about were things I would have liked to seen. They were things I cared to find out about and seen fleshed out. And considering the next project T and Jason were going to work on was a spin-off of two of the characters going to college together, it makes me wonder if they just got bored of the Penny/Aggie romance. If that was the case, why all the build up? Why not implement it sooner? Why would you build up their romance to leave it so... lack luster?

The ending is what you remember most, and this ending has tainted the rest of the story for me. It's the reason why I can't give it an A despite how far it came from the beginning. It was like they learned absolutely nothing... and it was very disappointing.

Overall Grade: B

You be the judge. Visit Penny and Aggie at:
(The default page leads to the spin-off. I could care less for that noise.)

Monday, December 12, 2011

30DAC: Day 4

Day 4
Anime You're Ashamed You Enjoyed

Oh boy. This one.

This is actually a rather ... difficult answer for me. There's only two series I can think of, and one I still refuse to admit I'm a fan of. There are little disclaimers whenever I talk about them. "It's not like I like it," "I'm not a fan or anything," "UGH GOD I HATE IT SO MUCH likeinepisodefiftybagillionandtwointhedirector'scut," etc. They're both fairly popular in both Japan and America, so really, it's not like a social stigma or anything-- it's just that typically they're not the kind of series I go for, and that in itself makes me feel dead inside.

quit stalling already OKAY OKAY Here goes nothing. There's no turning back I guess. I'm officially a "fan" of them from now on... The first series I'm ashamed I enjoy is:

Inuyasha. Considering I was 11 when this series first aired, it's not a big surprise that I watched it religiously when I was younger. Every Saturday night I'd turn on Adult Swim, wish desperately that I could have magical adventures like Kagome. This was at the phase of my life where while I was aware that reality was soul-crushingly boring and... well, soul-crushing, I still had some inner hope that it'd turn out differently. And boy was I wrong. However, as I grew up, the series didn't, either. Eventually when I was 15 or so I realized that Inuyasha and his friends weren't actually getting anywhere in the series and that it was just a bunch of rehashed plot points over and over. When Bleach came out, I managed to stay away from that series, because I said, "Oh, it's basically like a boy's version of Inuyasha, except with no adventures."

However, even though I fell out of love with the original series, when the Final Act arrived, I found myself flocking back to the series. I knew how it was going to end... and yet, I still couldn't pull myself away from it. I guess I'd react the same way if the DiC version of Sailor Moon came back: I would hate it with a passion, but it's Sailor Moon so fuck it I'm going to gobble that shit up. It's been about ten years since it originally aired, so I've "known" it for almost half of my life, so I try and convince myself it's understandable that I like the series. At least it's a reason... Which is more than I can have to say for the second series I'm ashamed of liking.

KIMI... er... no..... Uh, ... Kimi...
Fullmetal Alchemist. I can't even remember how old I was when this series first aired. I want to say I was 14 or 15. At either rate, I can't blame liking this series on nostalgia. And considering it's not even that bad of a series, I can't explain why I dislike the fact that I like this series. It's like that boyfriend you don't love anymore. You don't want to be with him, but if he goes to leave, OH GOD WHY SO MANY TEARS. And it wasn't until recently that I realized I was a genuine fan of it. I realized that I would actually move away from the computer and pay attention to the TV when it came on (as opposed to my usual style of "watching" where I leave the TV on for background noise). And then when it came to planning out a cosplay for myself, I stumbled across Ed's pocket watch over the net-- I squealed like an idiot and ordered it. That's when I had my crystallizing moment of fandom, I suppose.

Considering Inuyasha is a worse and considerably less thought out story than FMA, I'm surprised that I'm more ashamed about liking FMA than Inuyasha. I couldn't explain why. FMA seems like something I'd like, too-- and adventure story that attempts to have a complex them (attempts, although at times the original story could be cliche). I also can identify with Ed on a few levels, which is strange, because until then, I never identified with a male character. But unlike most series, I can't consciously pin down how I feel about it. At least with Inuyasha, I could say, "I like it, but FUCK that was an awful series."

For whatever reason, these two series have found a way to worm themselves into my heart. What series are you ashamed you enjoy? Are they the same series? Or completely different. And does anyone else get what I mean about FMA???

Til tomorrow, folks~

Sunday, December 11, 2011

And now for something a little spiffy... (Flower Graffiti)

So, recently, I've been a little (read: enormously) political active. I won't talk too much about the specifics because this blog is NOT about politics, but rather about Art and Nerd culture. However, I have found out about a neat little movement that certainly files under the art section, and depending on your love of chemistry, might qualify as nerdy:

Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the Seed Bomb. In an urban world where the only green you might see is weeds, the Guerrilla Gardening movement aims to give power to the people in the form of tiny balls of clay, seeds, and fertilizer. The beautiful thing about this, like most pieces of art, they can represent anything that matters to you. You can choose to plant wild flowers in colors that represent what you're passionate about, or you can even plant herbs or small veggie/fruit plants for the community to share. The possibilities are seemingly endless.

Of course, if planted on private property that you do not own, this is technically illegal. I say "technically" because if someone wanted to be a total asshole about flowers being planted on undeveloped land, and could prove you were behind it, you could be held accountable. However, if you choose to do it in an area covered with weeds, it becomes increasingly unlikely that someone would bother raising a stink over some pretty flowers. But since this DOES cover an illegal subject, I MUST include this disclaimer:

Nerdspiffy.com and her webmistress does NOT condone any graffiti of any sort, be it with paint or flowers. This post is merely intending to inform people that this movement is out there. It is not telling you to go out there and do it. If you do it, get caught, and say this blog post did it, fuck you. You are in control of your own actions. Please try to get permission first before attempting any of these practices.

That being said, let's move on to the different types of seed bombs there are.

First up is the seed pill, my personal favorite.

Do NOT make me write a disclaimer against taking these.
God, there's someone stupid enough to swallow one, isn't there?
Fuck it, here you go retards: Don't do it.
These are a bit trickier to make, but they're the least conspicuous and probably the best ones to use. You can get the capsules at a vegan store or order them online (make sure they're biodegradable-- dissolving with water is a must! Fill them with the seeds of your choice, a little bit of eco-friendly fertilizer, and close it up. You can either toss them onto the lot of your choosing or pop them into the dirt.

The next one up is a classic: clay seed balls.

These seed grenades are awesome AND available for sale.
I totally want them. ;_;

The general rule is to do a 5:1:1 ratio of clay soil, compost, and seeds, binding the mixture together with water. You can get pretty creative with these-- one man pours them into gun molds! However, even those this is a classic, this isn't without its draw backs. If you use it in hot, dry areas, it could bake solid, preventing the seeds from growing. So don't use this if you live in an area as dry as Rosie O'Donnell. Texas, I'm looking at you.

Beyond these, there are other interesting methods, like using balloons to scatter/drop the seeds and clay balls, or putting the materials in egg shells of all things. These aren't methods that I'd use, so I haven't researched them very much-- if this post sparks your interest, definitely look into it. Desertification and deforestation has definitely become a problem, so even if there isn't a larger political message you want to get behind, there is nothing wrong with getting out and planting some wildlife. If you don't want to make these yourself, but just want to toss them around, definitely look into buying them-- but be careful! Several sites I've found don't make them right or let the seed bombs dry out too much, which runs into the problem I've mentioned before.

And if you do decide to plant these-- if you live in an area that doesn't get a lot of rain, be sure to water your seed bombs every once in a while! And if you remember to use fertilizer or compost, you'll see results in no time.

That concludes my spiffy update for today. If I manage to get around to this, I'll take some pictures and upload them for you guys! See you next time~

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Under Construction!

You'll notice some changes around here-- I have decided to change my blog up some!

For the next few days, the layout is going to be tinkered with here and there. Hopefully it'll be a lot sleeker.

Thank you for being patient everyone!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sexy Disgusting Perverse Angelic (Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt Review)

The following blog post is extremely sexy in nature. Anyone who reads it shall surely be under my spell and will be forced to get a huge naked dog pile with me. Should you feel hot under the collar, DO NOT turn on Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt. This will only make it worse. Reader discretion advised.

I could totally get behind this idea of heaven.
How the hell do you even start on an anime like this? Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt is without a doubt one of the most memorable and clearly the most insane shows I have EVER seen. "Two angel sisters attempt to get to Heaven by destroying ghosts and demons with the help of a preacher."  Seems like an entirely innocent premise, right? I can only imagine someone in the studio took a hit of something, went silent for a good five minutes, and said, "Oh my god... you know what? No one's ever done? An angel series about the disgusting parts of human life. And I don't mean any of that psychological nonsense. I mean, like, about nose picking, shit, and all that stuff."

"Dude, you're high," the other writers will say. "No way that can be done."

"You're saying it can't be done," the stone writer repeated, more to himself than to anyone else.

"No way!" The others said, laughing.

this is the first time i've ever made a meme pic
and i am entirely ashamed of myself

So for whatever the reason, we ended up with the mess that is Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt. Because it doesn't have a main plot to tie the episodes together in a chronological order, and because it isn't serious, it's hard to review it in the way that I normally do. But let's see if I can tackle it anyways.

Overall Plot
Like I said before, because there isn't a main plot to tie them together in a chronological order, as far as plot goes, you have to take it for what it's worth episode to episode. For the most part, the series centers around Panty and Stocking, two angel sisters who are for some unexplained reason on Earth instead of in Heaven. They must destroy ghosts that seek to create chaos in Daten City, and every time a ghost is destroyed, it'll drop a coin called a "Heaven." Collecting these Heavens will let them actually go back to the real Heaven. However, Panty and Stocking are not your typical angels.

Panty, the older angel, is a blonde bombshell. As depicted in the opening, she's always got sex and boys on the brain-- if she can't fuck it, she's gonna ignore it. Stocking, the little sister is obsessed with a different cardinal sin, gluttony. She eats sugary things all day, never exercises, and never cares. She's pretty gothic for an angel. Somehow, humanity's faith rests in the hands of these two.

The unlikely hero trope isn't new by any means, but I've never seen the extent this show takes. I've never seen an actual episode about the pleasures of nose picking and all the stuff this takes on. It's revolting, but it's also weird and humorous at the same time. It's hard to pin down. It's original in its implementation, that's for sure.

Grade: A
For doing something old in a new way. Completely unforgettable.

Although PaSwG is an anime, the art style is pretty much influenced by western art. In fact, I thought it was an English show until I saw the subtitled version. In fact, the story itself could arguably take place in America. The art style itself seems ripped from Powerpuff Girls, which is pretty cool for me since I've always loved that --

You know what? I'm sorry. I can't take this anime seriously. That's not a bad thing, because it's not supposed to be taken seriously. But oh my god, I can't. I just can't. Why review it? It's a masterpiece of fucked up perversion. It doesn't need to make sense.

Just watch it yourself and tell me what you think.

My overall grade? I just told you, I can't grade it.

Okay. I give it a #.

Doesn't make sense? Well fuck you it doesn't need to. See you next time.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Great Revival, Jena von Karma.

Okay, enough tooting my own horn. While last time I was saying I was going to try to come back, recent events have heralded my definite return. I won't go into details into my reasons, but my current work became a rather toxic environment (sexual harassment and a stalker situation to summarize it). So I get to fall back onto one of my favorite jobs of all time: blogging.

I mentioned before that I would get into reviewing Walking Dead, but given the fact that the next volume is coming out soon, I'm going to wait to specifically review that one. There are fortunately a number of anime series I have watched (that are fairly new) so I'm going to focus this week on those. Expect reviews of Eden of the East, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, and others. I also intend to do my first webcomic reviews, as well as talk a little bit more about my visual novel, Lotus Burst, currently in production.

I will be back tomorrow with my first review in a long time. But to hold you off for now, here are a few CG images/promotional works from Lotus Burst.

Artwork by http://marynna-chan.deviantart.com/
Please like us at http://www.facebook.com/lotus.burst

Friday, September 30, 2011

I... I am alive!

I'm so very, very sorry for letting this little blog of mine fall into despair... but you see, I have some news!

First up, I got a job back in July. I'm just a simple barista at a cafe, but it brings in some money and eats up a fair amount of time! It's in a bookstore so I get to read plenty of free comics and manga now, and meeting many other nerds... so I am slowly slipping further and further into my nerd circle. orz help me

Next up, remember that visual novel I mentioned working on? Weeeeelll.... It's sort of full-speed ahead. I'll dedicate more posts to it in the future, so I'll leave it short here. Feel free to visit Facebook.com/lotus.burst to check it out though!

Then throw in tiny things like school, additional projects, and all that jazz, and you get one very tired blogger with little time for blogging! I shall try changing that, but I can't promise anything... But god help me, I'll try!

I'm going to try reviewing a western comic book for once: WALKING DEAD. Expect it next time!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

30DAPC: Day 3

Day 3
Your anime crush


Well that's a creepy subject. But sadly, I can already think of a few that might fit into this category.

The "Cuteness"
"I can have ice cream, or put a stop to that serial killer. Hmmm...."
In the grand Kira vs L debate, I always sided with L, disagreeing with Kira on every level even before L's character was fully introduced. Considering the fact that (at least from what I can remember) he doesn't actually work for the police, you have to imagine that L's involvement in the Kira case was mostly a gut call on his part, so I always liked that. Beyond that, he was pretty smart and used Kira's own cockiness against him, and I've always liked it when cocky people were put in their place. So before L was introduced, I already liked him on an intellectual level.

And then he was introduced.

My god, is this man absolutely adorable. He's brilliant but a bit socially awkward, addicted to sweets, and although he works in a very grim field, he has a side of him that is adorably innocent. He's one of the few characters that you can see as an adorable chibi and not go, "Holy shit that is so wrong don't do that."

So my "cute crush" would have to be L.

The Stylish Devil
If you looked this good, your sister want would fuck you too.
And here's the man that I wish I didn't like: Akio Ohtori from Revolutionary Girl Utena. I really hate that I like this character. Believe me, I do. He's a monster. He has sex with every man, woman, child, monkey, car, and heavenly being in the entire series. But oh god. Does he have a style about him.

I can't really explain it. He's bad, he knows he's bad, and he's unapologetic. Yet as the other various characters are drawn to him, I found myself getting drawn to him to. Maybe all women do want jerks. I'm a horrible person. I'm a weak person. But I had a dream about him once. I don't know why, I don't usually have dreams about fictional characters. I don't have that sort of problem that makes me think he's real! But... I still had a dream about him. Twice. And oh. Was it a special dream. It was so special, when that part of the dream passed, my dream self SUDDENLY BECAME AWARE IT WAS A DREAM IN AN ATTEMPT TO LUCID DREAM HER WAY BACK TO HIM.

i need to move on before i reveal anything more embarassing

That Crazy Bitch
Eeeellllll Kabong!
There's that one character that's just so weird, energetic, that you can't help but fall in love with them. So it's no surprise that Haruko Haruhara from FLCL would round out my choices of crushes. It's both easy and hard to say what the appeal to her is. If someone were to meet her in real life, they'd be very, very scared. But in this setting she's absolutely perfect. Not to mention the fanservice... oh, the fanservice. Even when I watched this delightfully insane character when I was 12 (when it first started to air in the US), I knew there was something truly special about her. She, without a doubt, is one of those classic favorites for any anime fan.

(Just a note, yes, it's been a while since my last post, and I should be around day 10. However I've been pretty busy with summer college courses and I hate to leave any gaps... so yeah, gonna continue this way. Maybe I'll do a few double posts. I don't know. Oh well!)

See you later.

Friday, June 24, 2011

30DAPC: Day 2

Day 2
Your Favorite Anime So Far

There is no doubt about this choice.

The favorite one I keep returning to is a little series called Revolutionary Girl Utena. If surrealism were an anime, this would be it. At first the story is gradual and subtle, so if you're looking for an action packed series this probably isn't the pick for you. What is thrilling about it is witnessing the tiny revolution within each character as they tackle their defining moments of adolescence. You have to be willing to sit down and really pay attention to every detail in order to fully appreciate the story, especially when the last six episodes roll around and you begin to realize that the entire story itself is a metaphor for the way a young blossoming teenager views the world as fairy tale princes die and "real life" comes swooping in. Like in real life, the characters are forced to either move on to reality and accept real life for all its disgusting let downs-- such as heart break, neglect, rape, lacking the power to save those closest to you, and the awareness that one's innocence is truly dead-- or hide away from the truth, preserving your innocence at the cost of sacrificing your ability to function as a human being-- burying yourself in your psyche's coffin. Neither are an optimistic outlook on life.

The other students try to go through drastic means to rectify this, as they see the loss of innocence the loss of everything important to them, as most immature children do. One by one they all end up falling specifically because of the one thing they're fighting for, and even when they turn the tables and try to fight their immature wants and needs, they fail again. But despite this personal break down, the student council remains strong and unwavering; because they fail on an individual level, they must strive on a community level.

Utena, on the other hand, is different; she doesn't fight immaturity or maturity, but rather embraces both sides of her psyche, just like she embraces her masculinity and femininity. She is both accepting and honest with herself in ways the other characters haven't seen-- they all have something they're ashamed of, and either try to change the way the rules work so it doesn't become a problem, or try to deny that such an inadequacy exists. But in Utena's case, she isn't willing to change the world or deny a part of herself. Her desire to strike up a middle path where one doesn't have to sacrifice themselves or sacrifice the world to exist peacefully is what makes her so revolutionary, as the other characters begin to see the selfishness of both sides. But as the story shows, the willingness to do great good to not sacrifice one's soul comes at an even greater cost-- one that has drastic consequences for both Utena and Anthy. But as another anime has said, "Perhaps the lack of a choice is a choice in and of itself, one that has its own consequences. But you could say it is the ideal answer."

Or maybe I'm reading too much into it and it really only is about gay sex. After all, it's in a world where hate manifests itself in a physical form. (And we all know that swords are really just really angry penises)

The girls get laid, too!

i obviously have some problems

Thursday, June 23, 2011

30 Day Anime Photo Challenge: Day 1

Yes, it's as fucked up as it looks.
Day 1
Your first anime

Instead of my first anime being the obligatory Sailor Moon, DBZ, or Pokemon, my first experience with the wonderful animation from Japan was actually Little Nemo Adventures in Slumberland. Although if it's asking for anime SERIES, it's probably an equally obscure answer...

Suddenly my childhood is making more and more sense.
Of course, this is during my childhood where all cartoons were "OH PRETTY COLORS" so I wasn't really aware that Japan itself was a country, much less producing these cartoons. So I guess in all reality, the first series that was produced where I was actually aware that it was an "anime" was...

yeah my childhood makes so much sense

Evil Robotic Potato Review (Portal 2 Review)

Okay, I finally caved and rented Portal 2. It didn't have to do with how AWESOME EVERYONE THINKS IT IS, but mostly because of my 12 year old cousin. He touted the fact that he beat the game in a mere 12 hours. When I said "Oh, that's pretty good. I haven't played it yet, but I love those games," he replied, "Yeah, but I think it's a little above your level. It was REALLY hard."


"Of course you realize, this means war."
 Well, for whatever reason I got it, I'm glad it did. It actually beat all expectations. Not to be a hipster, but I figured it was one of those things that everyone loved because... well, everyone loved it. But no, this was one of those rare occasions society picked out a game because it was good! (I also beat it in nine hours.) So let's quit beating around the bush and get to it. Hopefully the internet won't hate me for giving its darling a fair look... This is Portal 2.

"I think we can put our differences behind us, for science... you monster."

Plot Summary
For someone who's never played the first game, I was delighted to know this is one of those sequels where you don't have to know too much about the first in order to play the second. And if there are any questions you might have, they pretty much address it in the first chapter. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, the original Portal was about the playable character, Chell, caught up in a testing facility that would make any lab rat look like it lived the good life. In the end, you have to kill an evil AI robot called GLaDOS (she calls you names, too :<). All is well for a while, until Portal 2 starts up and then... you meet him.

He's not just a regular moron. He was DESIGNED to be a moron.
This little guy named Wheatley, in his attempt to escape from the facility with you, sets off a chain of reactions that inevitably wakes GLaDOS back up. And let's say she's not happy. But in Portal 2, you begin to learn that sometimes stupidity is a much more dangerous thing than just being an evil genius. As you try to escape GLaDOS' clutches and perform a series of tests and solve numerous puzzles, Wheatley once again makes everything worse by taking over the facility himself. You then promptly learn that his endearingly cute stupidity is going to kill you, GLaDOS, himself, and everything else in the facility if you can't stop the lab from self-destructing. Which is ultimately easier said than done... because Wheatley is an idiot, and GLaDOS... well...

"How are you doing? Because I'M a potato."
The rest of the game is a race against the clock where you must defeat Wheatley (who has convinced himself that all is well) and unfortunately put GLaDOS back into power. And of course, there's the big question of what she'll do with you if you both manage to not kill yourselves in the end.

Overall, the plot is exciting, and pretty well done for your standard puzzle game. Even though GLaDOS is a chick to be hated, the more you learn about her, the more you want to feel sympathetic for her. And even though Wheatley's stupidity tries to kill you on several occasions, his stupidity is both comedic and endearing. In the end, you actually care about what happens instead of just caring about the answer to the next puzzle.

Grade: A

The script is ultimately the part that gets everyone to fall in love with Portal 2. My friends and I have beaten it a while ago but we all still continue to quote GLaDOS' little insults (apparently I sound just like her). For a cast made up almost entirely of robots, the delivery of the the quips (either genius or pathetic in nature) is always perfect and will have you giggling to yourself while you're trying to solve the puzzles. It's a perfect blend of smart humor and pure stupidity (which makes sense given the characters).

Well, before I start gushing, I suppose I should just get on with the grade. The only criticism I have is that I hate when the main character doesn't speak, but that's terribly common in video games.

Grade: A

Oh, right. This IS a puzzle game afterall. Well, essentially the puzzles play like a giant temple ala Legend of Zelda. Step on this, move that, except with a bit more difficulty. The controls are graceful,  and the physics seemlessly push you from one portal to the next. I almost got motion sickness from one level where you jump and bound around; but that was mostly my fault because I opened a few portals upside-down and did a lot of spinning. Apparently I'm the only one that felt that way though...

"I'm going to die, aren't I?"
It WAS a little awkward at times just barely missing the portal if you land half way on it. You'd think that'd just mean you'd slide into it, but no, apparently you can stand on the portal half-way. This quickly becomes frustrating if you need to propell yourself through the air "like an eagle... piloting a blimp." Aside from that, the actual gameplay was unlike any other first person game I've ever played and was immensely enjoyable.

Grade: A

. . .

Okay, I think it's easy to see where this is going. Part of me gets sick whenever I gush about a game but don't have a whole lot to critique about it. I mean, that's obviously great for Portal 2, but I don't know, I just don't like to do it.

So I'm going to save both of us some time and just flat-out say that this is probably in my top three favorite puzzle games. Overall, I'd give it an A. If you don't buy it, at least rent it. It'll be the best five dollars you've spent. But don't pass this up by any means.

Til next review, see you later!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Latest Addiction: Read Dead Redemption

Few games have the ability to push the line of "No, they won't do that. They can't. Can they?" But in 2010, there was at least one game that left such an impact on this gamer. An interesting storyline, unique characters, and general badassery makes this game. Grand Theft Auto meets the Wild West meets... Kill Bill? This is Red Dead Redemption.

Now, while this game did have a nice emotional impact, that's not saying this game didn't have its faults. At times the story telling can be a bit weak and some controls take a bit getting used to. It can also be pretty preachy throughout the game, to the point that it becomes more of a political statement than a realistic story plot. So let's dive into this game and take a good hard look at it.

Overall Plot
Enter John Marston. There is no clean voice over or fancy opening that sums up the plot of the story; rather, there is an air of some mystery around this man that you control around the untamed West. There's a long amount of time spent watching John sitting in a train. Yes, the intro is essentially watching him listen to different people talk on the train about people who will have little bearing on the plot. Perhaps RDR is trying to set a tone of suspense, but it falls a little flat. I often found myself asking my friends, "Okay, so when is the game going to start?"

After a very long intro, the game quickly picks up. After the introductory chapter you learn that John is a former outlaw trying to reform his life. However, the federal government didn't just want to grant him immunity after killing rich folks (shockingly) and decided that he must round up his former gang members and, one by one, put a stop to them. If he doesn't, they will execute his wife, another former gang member, and his innocent son. The task of taking down these notorious outlaws is daunting in itself, but he also must do a series of tasks to get strangers on his side and help him. Sometimes he makes unshakable bonds, like with the MacFarlanes, and other times he makes horrible enemies, but you can pretty much see their heel-face turn coming a mile away.

While the whole redeeming one's self bit isn't exactly original and neither is having a morally ambiguous character, where RDR truly is original is that it's willing to go a step further than other games. It's realistic where others are more fairy-tale-esque; graphic where others are more vague. It isn't afraid to kill off characters central to the plot and doesn't make much of a side-show to drag out one's emotions along with it. The way the game plays to your emotions is very subtle, and it works. And of course, the ending was both expected and unexpected at the same time-- you suspected it was going to come, but you weren't sure if RDR had the balls to make it happen. Long story short: it does.

Fucking gov'ment scum.
However, for all its emotional subtlety, there are certain points that the story just drags out. You could make a drinking game out of RDR for everytime someone mentions how the government is interfering with people's lives. Granted, it IS interfering with John Marston's life, but he used to be a murderer, and technically still is depending on how amoral you play him throughout the game. But with everyone else it begins to get pretty annoying. In the final chapters, you also get a bunch of new points beat into your head, but I won't spoil it for you.

All in all, RDR's storytelling is varied. Too understated in some areas, and too strong in others. However the story still manages to tug on your heart strings (assuming you still have one).

Grade: B
Good story, but doesn't come without its own share of problems.

Alright, the reason why I was so forgiving with the bash-you-over-the-head points is because I realized most of the problems ultimately laid with the script. While some of the points were stretched so far they became plot points, ultimately they were just a collection of problems with the script. For some reason the writers thought it was appropriate to repeat certain points over and over. One could argue that it was because these points were "important" and needed to be driven home, on the other hand it came off as pretty annoying and unoriginal.

The script's saving grace, however, is when the characters aren't trying to come off as innocent country folk, it's just fun to watch them interact with each other. I had so much fun I almost want to replay the entire thing; it's like wanting to watch your favorite movie over again. Luckily, this makes up for a majority of the machinima cut-scenes.

Side Note:
The side quests range from hilarious to down right disturbing, but they were all fun to do. Not many of them take a lot of time to do, either, so it's just a silly detour.

Grade: B
Some points are annoying, but it's generally fun to watch the characters interact with each other.

While RDR does have some problems with its script, the greatest problem it has is with its lack of challenging gameplay and awkward controls. Now, I am not very good with shooter games, and yet I breezed past most of the levels. Truly, if you have enough medicine, you can survive any encounter pretty easily. That is, after you get used to the awkward controls. When I say awkward, it's sort of hard to nail down what exactly the problem was. But once you play, you'll notice it from the moment you begin to move John around. And this isn't standard RockStar controls-- I started playing immediately after finishing Bully, another RockStar title.

Another problem I had was the amount of button mashing required to move around quickly. Was there really any reason to have a button to make the character run, and repeatedly tab to have them sprint? Can't you just have someone run that fast from the beginning, and hold down that button to sprint? I was genuinely worried about getting carpal tunnel at some point because of this.

But once you get used to how the controls move, the way you play is relatively simple: shoot your way through the bad guys and save the day. There isn't much of a challenge to it. So while it isn't broken, I can't say I actually enjoyed the actual gameplay of it. The collection and ambient challenges were neat, but what RPG doesn't have collection and in-game achievements nowadays?

Grade: C
Not broken, but not even really that good.

I have to say, I really did like the look of this game. The starlit nights in Mexico were absolutely beautiful in HD, the animals looked realistic, as well as the people. However, there were a few glitches here or there, but for the most part, I was able to enjoy the story and not be distracted by bad graphics. The blood while skinning animals were a bit unnecessary but, you know. It's RockStar. It's going to be exaggerated.

John Marston. Cowboy. Vigilante. Flower-picker.
I almost stopped and said to someone, "Isn't this beautiful?" Before realizing it was a completely fake reality on a number of occasions. This is by far one of the best points RDR has to offer.

Grade: A

Ahh, another point I really loved about RDR. Again, it was subtle, but when it was used, it really added to the tension. Instead of going into too much detail, I'll just share a song that was played as the final chapter began:

Grade: A

Yes, this game is not without its problems. But in the end of it, it was an excellent game. It'd hard to summarize what an emotional experience it was... so for once, I'm turning to a simple youtube comment, because it captures the feelings I had for it in a way I can't top.
Literally I pushed my horse so hard to get to Beechers Hope when I heard this song. One of the few times you just become full entangled in a game and the experiences of the character you play. I honestly, felt a desperation to get back to the Wife and child that I didn't have. -- PatInferno, from the video above.
I'm having a hard time returning this game back to the rental, because it means this journey will finally be over.

Overall Grade: B+/A- 

Final Verdict: Buy it.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Visual Novels: Anime in a New Form

It occurred to me when I was talking to my friends about visual novels that they actually had no idea what they were. I genuinely never felt nerdier than I did in that moment, but I realized that this was a perfect opportunity to dive into a subject I just absolutely love.

Simply put, visual novels are video games. I know, mixing "novel" with "video game" seems a bit odd, but visual novels are not at all like graphic novels, manga, or anything else in print. Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia's entry:
visual novel is an interactive fiction game featuring mostly static graphics, usually with anime-style art, or occasionally live-action stills or video footage. As the name might suggest, they resemble mixed-media novels or tableau vivant stage plays.
Beyond the style in art being a big difference, there is also background music, sound effects, and even voice acting that goes into a visual novel. But visual novels aren't like your standard games, either. There is usually minimal interactivity (the focus is on the story-telling side rather than the gameplay) aside from clicking to move the text along. However, they can have minigames to move the story along, or even have several points in the game where you must make a choice that could alter the rest of the story. Most visual novels have multiple endings, with a majority being "bad endings." So there is a sense of "If I don't do this right, I'll die and have to start the level over," that you get in most video games.

Unfortunately for visual novel fans, most of these games remain in Japan and never even get translated. There are a few ones that make it into America-- remember Phoenix Wright, anyone? You know. The one where you're a Los Angeles criminal lawyer... (It's always murder, isn't it? It's never something over health insurance or a class action lawsuit.) Yes, my favorite game series certainly qualifies as a visual novel. Although there are no voice overs, there certainly is a good amount of reading. Beyond that, there's also the visual novels that made it into the anime scene-- Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni, Clannad, Air, to name a few.

For those of us that like electronic books, this is certainly a great option. It's a digital book that comes with free music! Who doesn't like that? (Well, arguably when you pay for it, you pay the royalties to listen to it...) Of course, you can't ignore the large number of erotic visual novels... Again, who doesn't like that?

Perhaps I'll review a few of them to introduce the genre to you guys. Or maybe I've already sparked your interest?

See you next time.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What's On: Kampfer Season 1

She's actually a he, but she likes her better than him,
and he is in love with her, but she doesn't know,
but they do know, and they love him AND her, but
In a world where delightfully gross stuffed animals and sexy psychopaths hold the keys to untold power, Kampfer follows the story of Natsuru Senou, a boy who is given a bracelet that turns him into a powerful warrior- a Kampfer. The small problem? Kampfers can only be girls, so he mush transform into the fairer sex. The BIG problem? The main goal of Kampfers is to fight and ultimately kill each other! If that isn't problematic enough, his crush turns out to have feelings for the girl Natsuru! While this seems like a unique and interesting story, it sort of falls apart from there. The story quickly derails and starts to focus mostly on the romantic and perverted side of everything.

From the first episode, they jumped right into the plot with no back story to explain anything, forcing Natsuru to explain everything in a minute in the next scene. The Kampfers started fighting in the next scene, but it quickly stops once they realize they are on the same side. From that point on, the action scenes don't take up a lot of time, and start to be come rarer and rarer, as the other Kampfers wish to stop fighting and start questioning why they were selected and why they must fight.

And then they forget about everything and decide to go swimming.

It's rather disappointing that the story wasn't fleshed out anymore, because it could be very interesting. But there's no question what this series was really about. Halfway through the series, they stop humoring us with a plot and roll into full on perversion. Finally in the last three episodes you see another sign that the plot is coming back, but for lack of a better word, the climax was rather simplistic and left you wanting more.

That isn't to say the perverted humor didn't leave me giggling... for the first two or three episodes. Then it became utterly predictable. Natsuru also has the utterly clueless boy act down to a science, but it goes overboard into being completely unbelievable. For example, he doesn't realize that some girls actually like him romantically, even after they try to kiss him, date him, amongst other things. You find yourself getting frustrated at the main character more often than not, which is a VERY bad idea when the plot itself isn't holding together. It's hard to see what most of these girls see in him.

Bottom line is, Kampfer may have a plot, but the plot derails and is quickly forgotten about. It's simply an excuse for the characters to be perverted. I haven't even watched the mini season they had, because I'm wondering just how many more perverted jokes they can make. I didn't even watch the last episode because it was pure filler in the worst way. It does have a hint of originality and the art is nice-- but it is all executed so very, very poorly.

Grade: D

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I don't get Portal 2 fans.

Actually there are a few decent games....
Portal 2 is officially out! I, of course would like to play it but can't afford it. Or the potato sack. Of course, this is where most of my skepticism is rooted in.

I'm so jealous it's not even funny.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Another Finger painting comic! About Jubei-Chan!

No one is going to get the joke! Yay obscure references!

In Jubei-chan, the anime series this comic is poking fun at, this master of a powerful sword technique tells his underling that the next master is someone who has "soft bouncy bonbons." This eventually leads him to Jubei-chan, and literally the only thing that clues him into her being the chosen one is her big breasts. Makes me wonder where else he looked.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

don't hate me lol qq

This lack of a computer that can handle anything better than paint thing has left me really depressed and lacking energy. It means I can't draw, and without that, I feel like I'm missing something. I know it was only a box, but that box was part of who I am.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Finding a Gem in a Compost Heap

So, I'm rooting through this old laptop, as it's the only thing that can still connect to the net. In all honesty, without my drawing software, I've been pretty depressed. I know I can always draw on paper, but seeing as I don't have a scanner, it feels different. I like sharing my art.

I tried asking my mother for a new computer, but she said "We can't afford that right now." What did she do not even a day later? She bought herself a brand new Droid X, worth hundreds of dollars. You can imagine that made me feel better.

At any rate, the only program I have is Paint.net. It's not horrible, but if you're used to Photoshop, it's a major step down. Even then, it lags something horrible because my mother left it out in the sun one too many times, so I can only use the standard Paint.

One of my friends asked for a banner done in Paint anyways, so I obliged them. As I went to save it, I noticed that the Pictures folder wasn't completely empty. Examining it, I found some YEARS old drawings I did for a different story. The quality surprised me-- while faces are COMPLETELY off, the bodies weren't exactly as bad. In fact, I think I got worse in drawing full bodies. Regardless, it was a call back to a time when I wasn't afraid of my skills, when I enjoyed drawing to the fullest. I didn't say I was the best, but I didn't hold back out of fear. It made me realize how far I've gone. I'm a much more timid person. I'm so worried about what others think of me. God, some of these drawings are bad, but at the same time, I can tell I had this naive pride in them. And a bit of it returned when I saw it.

I just thought I'd share them right now. I have no idea what they're supposed to say, as this part of the story was scrapped and it's completely different now. It's going to be a visual novel, not drawn by me, and I'm still writing it, but it's still a cute little look at my past.

And here's a song that sums up these two.
(Hint: It's a song about twincest.)

Who knows, maybe I'll share more stuff I've done for this story. I've been working on it for seven years so I have quite a bit of it sitting around.

See you next time.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Well, it's official.

Hey folks. I know a few of you were curious about how my computer was, so here's the damage report:

PSU is shot, motherboard is dead, ram's gone, a few fans are dead, and some wires melted... Basically the PSU died, and that led to everything else crashing along with it. My friends have made some decent computer builds, but for what I'm used to running for my editing, I can't just make a quick cheap one. All of their recommended builds cost around $400.

I was not able to get back in time to back up any recent sketches or my original .PSDs of all of my Vexing pages. Naturally, this has me a little sad.

Hopefully this money I can scrap up enough cash to build a computer so I don't lose too much time. Fortunately I'm participating in a new website that can pull in a steady income, and at any rate, a new project always cheers me up. More details about that later. For now any support I can get would be great.

See you later.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Computer Died ;____;


You'll notice I've been gone for a while, and have produced no updates. Let's just say, I had another week from hell.

First, I get sick over the weekend. And then, finally when I'm healthy decide to draw, my computer suddenly disconnects from the internet. "Okay," I say, and just restart the computer like everyone advises.

Then suddenly everything begins to fall apart and long story short, my computer is dead. :c All of my sketches, story notes, etc are GOOOOONE! /cry

I can still write reviews on my crappy old laptop, but if I want to do any graphic design stuff, it'll have to wait. No drawing, no coloring, no new banners for a while. :c Nothing pretty until I get a new desktop.

What's worse is that because I don't have a job, the only money I have coming in is the little amount I make from this blog. So yeah, I'm very unhappy.

A depressed panda is me. Will update later.

PS Finally over my cold, so I can actually have the energy to post this week. Of course this would happen when I feel better.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Blog! And Music for Vexing!

Posting my Time Hollow review later today guys. So just bare with me while I make this quick post.

Okay, it's not really music for Vexing, but it's music that I listen to while drawing to get me in the mood. I'm actually listening to this playlist right now. There isn't a whole lot of upbeat tracks you'll notice. That's because while there are lighthearted moments, the series itself is not what I'd classify as a comedy. It deals with some very dark subjects. Some subjects are very close to my heart and are still very tender.

The inspiration for Vexing mostly comes from a dream I had when I was younger. I had a dream that I met a prince, who rescued from a school that had me trapped. Later I would learn what this dream really meant, but in the moment, all I knew was that my dream prince was my "destined person" and that the current situation I was in was on the outside perfect and sunshiny, but it scared me to death. It's hard to explain unless you've had a dream like that, but I'm sure everyone has. Haha, I guess that means it's not at all hard to explain. I know what you're thinking, "But you keep saying the main character is a lesbian!" Well, that is really me just over simplifying everything. Who's to say Cosette is ever going to have a homosexual encounter? ... Well, ME, but you'll just have to wait. Cosette has her own psychology I've developed, and I'll just have to see where it takes me. Don't get me wrong, I definitely know where I want this story to go, but sometimes when you go to set it in stone, it takes a sharp turn somewhere and goes off in a different direction, and that path is beautiful and wonderful.

Combine all that with murder mysteries, fairytales, and a ton of other things, and you've got Vexing. Enjoy the music, because it has certainly helped me with the writing/drawing process.


 OH YEAH. Also, I have a new blog! I keep getting questions about blogging, so I decided to just make a new blog to help people out with different things. Check it out! http://helpmyblogsucks.blogspot.com/

Anyways, see you later today for the Time Hollow review.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Vexing, Page 6

jesus thats emo christian
Something doesn't sit right with me about Melody. Idk about you guys but I think there's something up with her.

Anywho. Vexing's back! I toyed around with a new inking style. But I may just keep to my same old same old.

Alright time to go to bed with me.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

I said to myself, "This week has been absolute hell. I'll take it easy and just draw something to calm myself."

Hours later I finish an incredibly bad sketch and realize I spent longer on this than a simple news post. Again, FML.

Anywho, actual game reviews are going to return, along with Vexing. Also I'm trying to set up a shop over at CafePress. I've always loved designing shirts an that kind of crap, so expect me to have a fun time doing that stuff. CafePress' prices aren't even that bad... okay enough of this before I venture into shameful plugging. Buy my shit. Goddammit.

See you later!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I made a bitchin new banner

This isn't really a post, more like a quick update.

I finally got around to drawing myself a banner. It's of me drawing a Tepig with the help of Comrade Black and Blob. Comrade Black is helping me sketch, and Blob is painting as usual. Comrade Black doesn't look too happy about the painting. Lol.

Anywho, I'll see you later tomorrow.

First Thoughts: Pokemon White

So, I caved, went into GameStop, and traded in a few games. Mostly stuff I had already played out for what they're worth: Fable 2, Fable 3, Assassin's Creed II, and a few other DS games (I lol'd at the fact that Time Hollow only got me 40 cents). I managed to get almost $100 in trades, so I grabbed De Blob 2 and Pokemon White. I'm absolutely thrilled with both of them so far, but I have a long rambling post about DB2 so I'll save that for a later time.

Monday, March 14, 2011

An Otaku's Apology to Japan

As more and more news rolls in about our friends in Japan, one has to be very grateful that the Japanese were well prepared. Yes, this is still a great tragedy, but imagine if Japan were a mere third world country with a poor infrastructure and absolutely no preparation on their part-- the already very high death toll would increase ten-fold, if not a hundred times. Even now,  Japan is still in danger; workers are scrambling to cool down the nuclear plants and there could still be an aftershock coming.

It's at times like these you can count on the selflessness of your fellow man, right?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Five Games I'd Play If I Weren't So Fucking Poor

omg a non comic post

WELL, being unemployed kinda sucks. Especially when you're a video game reviewer. It means you can't play new video games unless someone else buys them for you.

And right now, there's suddenly a large pouring in of good games. Augh life why do you do this to me?! Let's just start this list so I can continue bawing.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Vexing, Page 5

wtf there's already a naked man
worst lesbian comic evr imo
Edit: OH GOD i forgot to draw nipples on him
Augh, I can not get over how happy I am about panel four.

Anyways, some neat background info about Cosette is in here, and finally the real reason why she's going to a boarding school. And hey, two new characters!

Job hunt still sucks. But fortunately Vexing's new home will be up and running soon. c: So I'm at least happy about that. And then I can get affiliates! Oh yey.

Not much else is new, so I'll end it here. See you next post.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Vexing, Page 4

Lynn, why are you poking two fingers together for female masturbation?
You are completely off.
Yep, starting the week off with a classy note. At least it's diving a bit into the plot now, amirite?

Sadly the job search is still going poorly. But it's only been one week. I have enough to pay this month's bills, but next month, if I don't have a job, I'll be in trouble. I hate to be that person, but any support, be it love, sharing this blog/comic, or monetary would be VERY appreciated at this time. As much as I love being an artist, I don't think I want to venture into the "starving artist" stereotype very much, hahah.

Anywho. I'll see you later.