Looking back on 202214 January, 2023
A lot changed for me in 2022! I got back into fighting games, I quit my job to go back to school, I finally started going to therapy, and at least in the second half of the year, I've felt better mentally than I have since the world stopped in 2020. It's not all perfect, but it feels good to be taking steps to better my life and do things I enjoy. One thing I startd doing a few years ago was keeping track of the various things I have played, watched, or read, which has allowed me to reflect on those with far more ease.
Sakuna: Of Rice & Ruin
Sakuna turned out to be even better than I'd anticipated. I don't tend to go for farming games as they're often too "make your own fun" for my liking. The way Sakuna directly ties the farming to your stats and abilities in the action segments, as well as the ways in which you become better at each aspect of the rice farming process as you continue doing it, made it more enjoyable than I thought it would be. It essentializes the farming without making it a chore, and rewards you for digging into it as the better your harvest, the stronger you become. The game's story was also pleasant, following a small group of people thrown together by circumstances beyond their control, all learning to coexist and overcome their differences.
Birdie Wing -Golf Girls' Story-
Birdie Wing felt a little too ridiculous to me at first but quickly turned into one of my favourite anime of the year. It takes the trappings of shonen anime and applies it to a story about girls playing golf. Eve has special swings she yells the names of, accompanied by colorful effects around the balls. If that's not enough, the two leads are very clearly crushing on each other and it manifests as a very fun rivalry filled with a whole lot of flirting without falling into typical anime creeping. It's good fun, definitely recommend checking it out.
Bocchi the Rock ぼっち・ざ・ろっく！
Bocchi is incredibly charming. There's nothing I didn't like about this show. The ways Bocchi's social anxiety manifests visually is used for so many varied visual gags. It's hard not to root for Bocchi and her friends to succeed, and a joy to follow them. I don't think there's anything really deep or substantial here but it's just pleasant and left me feeling warm inside, while also providing some laughs.
Mega Man Zero 3
I played through this and the prior two entries in 2022 and had a blast with them. MMZ3 is the culmination of the events of the previous games, and it's nice how it all comes together. The action is at its smoothest here, the abilities and battles at their finest. The game does a great job setting up some set pieces and it's got a fantastic finale.
Yep. A manga that went on hiatus after 6 chapters was one of my faves from the year. RuriDragon immediately charmed me with its deadpan humor and the way it treats its fantastical premise as incredibly mundane, focusing on Ruri navigating being a teen while dealing with being part dragon. I look forward to whenever this comes back.
- Final Fantasy XIII: I'm still frustrated I let people put me off this game for so long. I've yet to finish it but I've been loving every moment of it and the combat is some of the most engaging the series has ever had for me.
- Playing fighting games with friends: part of why I'd fallen off years ago was I had no one to play with regularly. Playing games ranging from ARMS, Slap City, Virtua Fighter, and Virtual-On as well as many others has been a highlight of the last few months, and I hope to be able to continue to do so.