Better late than never

17 October, 2023

Tags: blogging

It's been a weird couple weeks. Since last post we went to a wedding which was a nice enough time, and as the weather has changed, my mood and just general mental health have taken a turn for the worse. I'm ok, just in a slump that I'm doing my best to weather.

That doesn't mean I haven't been doing things. My studies are continuing, I'm in the middle of learning Dewey Decimal Classification, I've moved beyond having to rely on canned phrases in Japanese and am getting to the point where I can sound like a normal human (albeit with limited vocabulary) in writing at least. Spoken I'm a little slow still but that'll come with time.

What I've been playing

Since it's October, I figured I should get to some horror games I've been neglecting, first of which was Little Nightmares II. I liked the first game in this I guess now series (I swear I heard something about a third entry? or did I imagine this) so was pretty excited to get to this one. Delightfully creepy atmosphere and visuals with some good puzzling here. What narrative there was felt a little heavy handed with the adults being glued to their TVs, but it wasn't too bad.

a small figure in the middle a rainy street, buildings leaning in oppressively, a tower looming in the distance

I didn't fully stick to horror games, but once I finished Little Nightmares, which didn't take long, I started up Inti-Creates' take on a Castlevania-styled game, Gal Guardians: Demon Purge. There's a lot to like here, though by the end a lot of it started to wear thin. Playing solo, you're swapping between the sisters (who you may know if you've played Gal*Gun), and if you run out of health on one, you're back to a checkpoint and have to get to the downed sister and revive her. Die in the process and you lose a life, though those are so easily obtained this hardly matters.

What really makes this mechanic frustrating is that most bosses in the game have more than one phase, so if one sister goes down, you lose progress in the battle and are in harm's way trying to revive her. I nearly quit a few times but powered through to the end. Given its Gal*Gun lineage, you'd expect innuendo and fanservice aplenty, but that's thankfully absent... for most of the game. There is a point late game where it comes back in a mild manner but it still felt unneeded. Decent enough game, and I liked enough of it that I may see if I can get a friend to play some with me to see how that changes things up.

Shinobu faces off against a giant bat demon

One thing I've been learning about myself over the last couple years is that I enjoy Gust's games. After ignoring them for a while, I gave the Atelier series a shot and am fully in. I love Blue Reflection. Now, I'm playing Nights of Azure, a fairly low budget action RPG. Despite said low budget, it's been a good time. The story revolves around Arnice and Lilysse, their love, and their battle against the Nightlord. Combat is reminiscent of the Raidou Kuzunoha games on PS2 in that you control your character but also have minions you can command. Not a whole lot more to say about this one. It's not bad!

Arnice reaches a hand to Lily's cheek while holding her other hand, gazing deeply into her eyes

Finally, I've been playing some of Little Witch Nobeta, a game that will immediately bring to mind the Souls series. Not quite Code Vein, as Nobeta is more focused on firing off spells, which can be charged to greater effect. It's been a nice time and I'm looking forward to playing more of it.

A young girl in witch's garb, crouched down, petting a black cat

What I've been watching

All kinds of stuff! I finished My Happy Marriage, watched the second season of Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out!, Frieren: Beyond Journey's End has been a fantastic adaptation of one of my recent favourite manga.

One I really want to highlight though is 16bit Sensation: Another Layer. It follows Konoha, a girl who works as an illustrator at a bishoujo game production company. However, she longs for the days of massive bishoujo games, and wants to be more than a secondary illustrator. Where it gets really fun is that, through a series of events, she ends up transported back to 1992.

Konoha looks at a floppy disk, a deadpan look on her face

The show demonstrates a lot of love for classic bishoujo games, and shows some of the tools and processes used in their production. I find it particularly interesting that from what I've heard, Konoha is entirely original to the anime. The manga focuses on Meiko, one of the characters Konoha meets in 1992, though events are largely the same. I'm looking forward to watching more of it and very likely also reading the manga.

Kamen Rider 1 and 2 standing back to back

I finally got around to watching Shin Kamen Rider! It was real good! It may be because I know some things about Kamen Rider compared to Ultraman, but I felt like this one was less reliant on existing knowledge than Shin Ultraman. Either way, it was a blast all the way from its explosive start through to its ending.

Hopefully I can get back to a regular rhythm with this but we'll see. One day at a time.