Retrocaustic: Code Geass – Episode 3

Code Geass is stupid. But how stupid? Let’s find out together.

Oh. A gun. I thought you'd never ask.

Oh. A gun. I thought you’d never ask.

Episode III – Lelouch Lamperouge’s Day Off

  • It’s this fucking recap again. As predicted.
    • In the face of the Knightmare Frame, Japan lost its marbles and forgot it could shoot bullets at the following established weak spots: the eyes, knees, foot propulsion units, arms, legs, and any other part resembling a human joint.
      • Remember last episode where we learned there have been six previous generations of Knightmare frames…somehow? No way this weapon was a surprise for the Japanese military. Therefore, I submit a formal request to Sunrise to stop lying to us and reveal themselves for the Lizard Overlords they really are.
  • The Knightmares randomly open up their cyclops thingamabobs and scan things or something. Why do they do that? What function does it serve? Do they have no knowledge of the battlefield until they use that? If so, that makes them blind at almost every point on the battlefield.
    • The real answer is that the animators thought it looked cool. Without even thinking about it.
      • This is not necessarily a bad thing:
  • Are we still on this recap we’ve seen twice already? How inattentive do they think their viewers are–oh wait, it’s over.
  • I know it’s a cool shot, but that part of the opening where Zero is standing on a 2-inch-wide pillar randomly located in the ocean isn’t something anyone but the most physically apt human being could do. Lelouch is the exact opposite of that.
  • “The False Classmate.” That’s a very good title, albeit confusing, because all these “high-school students” attend, maybe, two classes out of the year, still get full credit, and don’t miss out on any relevant information that would affect their careers or ability to function in society. So who is it referring to?
    • Fuck literacy. Fuck education. Fuck viable job paths. I CAN PILOT GIANT ROBOTS.
      • It worked out so well for Shinji.
  • Yeah, soldier. You’re smart. What did happen to that POISON GAS that started this whole massacre out of the blue anyway? Where did it go? These are important things to wonder, but life is confusing and disappointing, so don’t expect anything satisfying.
    • Where are the Japanese people? There are no Japanese people in this shot.
      • Real Japanese People:
      •  Japan's Economy Shrinks More Than Forecast After Record Quake
      • Not Japanese People:
      • And now there’s a random French Guy?
        • I’m very confused.
  • Hmm. Prince Clovis has been giving orders that are so out-of-character as to defy belief, and now you realize he’s the only one on the command floor. Hmmm. I have a theory: you need to be fired.
  • Why does Lelouch’s gun have a red lightbulb on it? What does that do? How does it add to the gun’s functionality? It still fires bullets, not lazers. What’s the point of the lightbulb?
  • Clovis tries really hard to pretend to be nice and compassionate after casually ordering the massacre of 40 million people twenty-ish minutes ago.
    • Great plan. I’m sure it’ll work.
  • Hey, um, Lelouch? Why aren’t you calling Clovis out on his rank moral travesty instead of thinking entirely about yourself and your “tragic” childhood that was better off than, oh, 90% of all humanity ever?
    • Our fearless leader, ladies and gentlemen.
      • These guys take forever to talk. By now, competent security forces would have stormed the place and taken Lelouch captive. Thankfully, no such things exist in the Holy Britannia(n) Empire. They have no need of them.
        • Except for, uh, right now.
  • Holy shit. These random terrorists storming the Royal Palace had such an advantageous position they were able to lay strafing fire through all the open windows of the palace? What was everyone else doing? Smoking weed?
    • And how the fuck did Nunnally survive? How did they hit everyone except the small, helpless child being held in her mother’s arms?
  • Clovis, again, it’s not so hard to believe you’d be complicit in the cold-blooded murder of someone. Go back three bullets (hee hee) and see for yourself.
    • One death is a tragedy, but a million is breakfast at Clovis’.
      • His favorite dish is blood crumpets.
  • Sigh. Here is why Lelouch sucks as a character and a messiah figure. Instead of chastising Clovis for ending his short career as Third Prince by trying to one-up Pol Pot, Lelouch makes everything about this massacre and all the events of the past two episodes all about him and his personal vendetta with the Empire. Then instead of thinking about it for five seconds and turning the Third Prince into a reliable source of information or influence within the internal workings of the Empire, Lelouch wastes his trump card a singularly personal question, as if Clovis would know anything about the murder of Lelouch’s mother. What is he basing this hunch on anyway?
    • Surprise, Clovis knows jack-shit. Too bad for that Geass.
      • And then he just straight-up murders the guy. Not that Clovis didn’t deserve it, but that’s the problem: Lelouch didn’t seem to give a shit that Clovis had done all those bad things. Why did he kill him? Just because he didn’t like him? Woo, go Lelouch. I believe in you now.
  • Ashford Academy, home of spoiled Britannimerican children who pay no attention to their royal history and have not already recognized Lelouch Lamperouge as Lelouch vi Britannia.
    • They must all be smoking weed and/or pixie dust.
  • Just to emphasize how fucking spoiled these kids are, we’ll have a creepy horseback riding club member strut his horse right outside the window. Most schools struggle to get a budget for a good music program. How much money does this school have?
  • Wow. So the leader of the Ashford Academy Student Council is a perverted whore. This place is nuts.
  • How big is this fucking school? It makes Versailles look like a run-down hostel.
  • In a world not run by sociopaths, the school would have been evacuated after a supposed incident involving POISON GAS. Fear not: Milly Ashford knows best and checks out girls years younger than her in the school locker room.
  • Gee, Lelouch. Why would the tyrannical World Empire cover up the fact that its Third Prince had been inexplicably murdered in its own backyard?
    • I have a suggestion, Lelouch: go back to your history class at your fancy-ass academy and learn how autocracies tend to operate. Then you won’t ask retarded questions.
  • Uh huh. Lelouch has already been shown to be a sociopathic crazy man. Why is he vomiting over killing Clovis?
  • Jeremiah somehow has the brains to recognize that the mysterious killer of the Third Prince won’t be found by a cursory, superficial investigation, but not the brains to fight inexperienced Japanese rebels using inferior technology.
  • Villetta spins some cockamamie idea of moving up in the world in the wake of Clovis’ untimely demise. Lelouch was 17th in line to the throne. That leaves at least 15 other people who could succeed the Emperor. How does this change the political situation of the Empire in any way that either of them could exploit?
    • In other words, Villetta is high as fuck.
      • I still want to know what country she’s from.
        • And what hair dye Jeremiah uses.
  • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere shows up at Ashford Academy. Like magic. From pixies.
    • The girls gawking over her clearly imply she has been at the Academy for a while. How did Lelouch not recognize her?
  • Geez, that name must’ve been hard for Rivalz’s voice actor to pronounce.
  • Rivalz, you must be high too. Doesn’t anyone question how a frail girl who is never in school somehow remains at the top of the class? That isn’t how scholastic ability works, you know.
      • Rivalz somehow knows all of Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derrier’s personal history, but teases Lelouch for having a crush on her. Lelouch does not tease him back for being an obvious creep.
  • “What’s a bee doing in here?” – Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere.
    • What…?
      • Huh?
        • Has Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere never been outside in its life?
          • You’re in a lush garden filled with trees and flowers.
            • Do you not know what bees do?
  • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere has a violent outburst in the middle of an open courtyard which she karate-chops a bee out of thin air and rants about how she has to act like an invalid.
    • Everyone was freaking out at the bee two seconds ago. Did she think nobody would keep watching her? Or that her voice wouldn’t carry?
      • Oh wait, everyone is high. I forgot.
  • “Oh crap, he saw me!”
    • No shit, asshole.
  • Aaaand Lelouch not only wastes his trump card yet again, he uses it in a conspicuous setting in which any number of a hundred normal things could interrupt his mindrape of this girl.
    • Like, say, one of Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere’s terrified friends coming over to see if she was okay. That might throw a wrench in this scenario.
      • But of course it doesn’t happen, because no one in this universe knows what the fuck bees are.
  • Man, it’s a good thing nobody in this courtyard is listening to Lelouch talk about being in Shinjuku yesterday and piloting Knightmares.
  • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere is half-Britannimerican, half-Japanese. Which definitely explains why she looks nothing like a Japanese person.
  • Oops, something went wrong. What a shock.
    • Luckily for Lelouch, Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere is as retarded as she has ever been, as she refuses to question why she doesn’t remember talking to this weird guy she’s never met or why he specifically mentions Shinjuku and reacts as guilty as humanly possible. Nor does she recognize his voice after listening to it over the radio for hours.
      • Duuuur, what’s a bee, Kallen? What’s a bee?
  • Lelouch is a retard. He already knew his magical powers had limitations through his encounter with Villetta. Why didn’t he test it out beforehand instead of risking everything offhand?
  • Holy crap, Nunnally’s maid actually resembles a Japanese person. There is some order to this galaxy after all!
    • But because this show sucks ass, they had to dumb it down for the audience (which is primarily Japanese) and show them making origami cranes. Because there are no other elements of Japanese culture these Japanese writers could think of.
      • This scene also establishes that Sayoko knows British.
  • Why does the top-secret not-POISON-GAS military research facility use crappy laptops instead of top-of-the-line mainframes and equipment? Is it to show we’re in the future?
    • Fuck you.
  • Wait. Wait wait wait wait wait wait. These people know exactly what Geass is and what it’s capable of. They have Geass-empowered subjects in containment literally right next to them. And later on, we see that mind-controlling powers are a dime-a-dozen among their research subjects. So explain to me how these people are running around with their heads up their asses without the slightest inkling as to what’s going on?
    • Seriously, why doesn’t General Bartley put two and two together and figure out that C.C. probably ended up giving someone a mind-control Geass? This is the obvious conclusion that they are obviously missing, and they have all the relevant information to come to this conclusion after two seconds of thought.
      • Bartley, you already know that the Emperor knows what you’re doing. Or should at least suspect it.
        • This show is so fucking bad.
  • There is no way Nunnally does not know what origami is after living in Japan for almost all her life. It was probably the first thing they showed her when they arrived in Japan eight-ish years ago. This is only done to setup the fact that Sayoko is their very Japanese maid and establish a shallow motif of compassion for Nunnally because the writers can’t think of competent ways to develop her character.
    • God in heaven.
  • What did her talking fast have to do with her soup dripping from her mouth? She wasn’t talking when she put it into her mouth.
    • This studio can’t keep track of basic continuity.
  • Why does she call Lelouch “onii-sama?” What normal Japanese person would call their brother that? And how would that even translate properly? Dude, these two characters aren’t Japanese. They’re British…ish. Their culture does not have equivalents for “ani” and “otouto,” nor do Western cultures call each other by their social positions so stiltedly. Nunnally would just call him “Lelouch.” So why doesn’t she?
    • Because these writers are racist idiots, in case it wasn’t obvious as the color of the sky.
      • By the way, it’s totally appropriate, grammatical, and natural among Japanese families to just call each other by given names. This goes beyond racism. It’s sheer laziness. The writers are following established tropes without thinking about anything whatsoever.
        • News flash, anime fans: Code Geass is commercial trash, not an anime masterpiece. It’s about as creative and intelligent as Grey’s Anatomy.
  • Blah blah blah, if you fold a thousand cranes, a wish comes true. The trope is fulfilled, the motif is established. Let’s move onto something else that doesn’t make me want to punch people.
  • Nunnally wishes for the world to be a gentle place. She is living in an elaborate mansion with a maid of a conquered people in a conquered land and never has to want for anything.
    • Nunnally is a shallow, spoiled, vapid child without an ounce of perspective.
  • Lelouch responds with a bland platitude that no insightful person would believe.
  • Let’s stop for a second here: there is nothing physically wrong with Nunnally’s eyes or body, right? It’s just the Emperor’s Geass affecting her, correct? So how does Lelouch not suspect something is really weird about all this, particularly after having just received magical mind-control powers?
    • “Psychologically-induced blindness” is bullshit, people. The human nervous system does not work that way. No, don’t try to use “psychosomatic response” as a euphemism for plot magic. There has to be some sort of damage to the brain, the nervous system, or the eye for one of the most fundamental and critical human senses to stop working. People cannot subconsciously will themselves to stop seeing or hearing, and thank God that is so.
      • So again, Lelouch should be a little disturbed by how his sister cannot see for no discernible reason.
        • How is she so well-adjusted anyway for having witnessed the wholesale murder of her mother? Put her in counseling, for God’s sake.
  • Wait, maybe they do all have brain damage.
    • Or I do.
      • Shit.
  • The Ashford family, which runs a palace-school in a conquered Britannimerican territory that is literally in sight of the capitol complex, is sheltering an exiled Prince of Britannia.
    • The Holy Britannia(n) Empire has no need for “intelligence.”
      • And why are they sheltering them anyway? Isn’t that risky? What are they getting in return? Are they doing it because they’re nice?
        • Oh, wait, no, they glossed over that and moved on. Okay.
  • I have to laugh, Lelouche. As if none of these bright, elite Britannimerican students haven’t figured out who you are.
    • After all, you look exactly like him, are still using your name, are still using your mother’s maiden name (really crafty there), and have your sister, Nunnally, right there with you.
      • I do hope none of them ever get the whimsy to type “Lelouch vi Britannia”–or even just “Lelouch”–into Not-Google, otherwise your whole scheme is totally fucked.
  • Oh, pity poor Lelouch. I’m pretty sure an oppressed Japanese child scrounging for dirt to eat would trade places with you and your terrible fate of living in comfortable mansions and being political tools/prey of others’ conspiracies.
    • You pretentious jackwaggit.
  • “I have to make a world where Nunnally can live happily.”
    • The perfectly comfortable life with her brother in a mansion where she is waited on hand and foot without fear or want doesn’t count, apparently.
      • Remember this, kids. It might have some relevance somewhere down the line.
  • Yeah, Japan. The Japanese invented the pinky promise. No other culture has something remotely similar to this.
    • Wikipedia seems to indicate the pinky promise has existed in America since 1860, if not earlier. Hmm. That’s weird.
      • It also seems to indicate the Japanese tradition of 指切り likely originated in China.
        • China. I wonder where that is.
          • Do you still like this series? I fucking hope not.
  • How did Sayoko communicate a Japanese poem to Nunnally without her having a deep knowledge of Japanese culture or language? It’s almost as if this whole scene was written by Japanese writers with only the most vague sense of how other cultures outside their own operate or might communicate things.
    • China. Never heard of it.
  • That’s the grossest pinky promise I’ve ever heard of. I love it.
    • Lelouch, I hope you do eat a thousand needles. It’s the least you deserve.
  • Don’t worry, Nunnally. I’m sure Lelouch will never lie to you.
    • Neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeever.
  • Is this fucking scene over yet?
    • It is. Hooray.
  • “This the only weapon I have.”
    • Not your intellect. Not your connections. Not your scandalous knowledge of a potential cover-up of your mother’s murder. Nope. No other weapons.
  • So that’s interesting. The Britannia(n) capital was transferred to America after being defeated at Edinburgh. That sounds rather fascinating. Maybe the show should concentrate less on Lelouch’s idiotic plotting and more on this alternate history.
    • I know, I know. Bad joke.
  • Lelouch does some basic investigatory work. I’ll admit, this does put him ahead of L in the intellect department at least.
    • Though that’s not saying much.
    • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere is talking on a radio on an open balcony. Sound waves travel approximately two feet in this universe and go no further.
      • Nor is anyone intercepting this radio communication somehow.
  • Wait. This isn’t a radio communication. This is a cellphone communication.
    • Holy shit. They are sooooooooooooooooooooo fucked.
      • Like, completely, totally fucked.
        • Jesus Christ, you idiots. Don’t you remember who built the fucking cellphone network here after the war? You really think the Britannimericans won’t intercept this call?
    • But she can’t recognize his voice. It’s probably just one neuron. Alas. I had such high hopes for her.
  • Why do they paint their Knightmares purple? That’s fucking stupid.
  • Wait, what just happened with Bartley and Jeremiah and all them? Why did he brazenly attack a funeral procession? How is something so sacrilegious going to advance his standing in the Empire? Why didn’t the show tell us what just happened?
  • So the student council has its own separate mansion for a club house. That’s it. I feel absolutely no pity for any of these people anymore. They can all burn in a fire.
  • What was Lelouch planning to do once he brought Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere here? He knows she can kick his ass. What was his plan?
    • Skipped over that too. Instead, let’s learn how spoiled these kids are some more.
  • Oh, so Milly’s dad asked her to let Kallen, a borderline truant, into the school’s student council. That makes no sense.
  • Why did Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere bow just like a Japanese person would? THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT JAPANESE.
  • Rivalz is the secretary. Pbbbbbth. No wonder this student council gets jackshit done.
  • Shirley, of course, lists no official role in the student council as part of her introduction. She does, however, mention she’s in the swim club. What relevant information that Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere would never be interested in.
    • Some forty-year-old Japanese guy would, though.
  • Nina doesn’t even tell her anything about herself at all. Fuck it.
  • Rivalz suggests underage drinking. Rivalz is da bomb.
  • Did nobody catch how Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere caught that cork like nothing? Why don’t these people ever suspect anything their nervous systems tell them?
  • That wasn’t remotely sexual in anyway.
    • Nor is this totally necessary shower scene.
  • Oh, poor Lelouch. He lives in a mansion with his sister. Here’s a single, solitary tear from the Native American people.
  • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere doesn’t seem to consider how jumping to conclusions like this and giving away the truth about her physical condition might backfire.
    • She also a knife in her purse. For some reason.
  • Why does she say “yes” and “no” in that sentence? Does the Japanese language not have words for either?
  • What. What the fuck.
    • Why is there a random phone in this bathroom?
      • Why is it there?
        • Who would authorize the expense of installing a phone line into this bathroom?
          • What?
            • How?
              • Why?
  • No, Lelouch. There is no way you could have planned this out.
  • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere has no concept of “operational security.”
    • This resistance is more doomed than the Noldor.
  • Ha ha ha. Lelouch spins it as a game on the Interwebs. Ha ha ha.
    • I hate these writers so much.
  • Oh yeah, KSD. Lelouch, whom you believe to be innocent, has no reason to suspect you for A) lying about how weak you are and B) for having a fucking knife in your purse and threatening him in the shower with it after C) getting a weird phone call from some guy that mentioned a “ceasefire.” Isn’t it kinda weird how cool and calm he’s taking all this?
    • Huuuur, what’s a bee, Kallen?
  • This school has automatic doors. It has fucking automatic doors and fancy phones in every bathroom.
    • I hate this school so much.
  • Again, there is no way Lelouch could have planned that.
  • Lelouch gives examples of how the student council just doesn’t require much work. You heard it, people: creating a school budget, planning major events and festivals, etc., do not take work. Lelouch has never worked a day in his life.
  • There’s a Cross-Dressing Party?
    • A Silence Masquerade?
      • A Swimsuit Day?
        • (I wonder what demographic this is for.)
  • Clovis is dead. The mass murderer is dead. Everyone is so, so sad.
  • Hey, Suzaku. Still think you can change the system from within?
  • Drown, you motherfuckers. Drown in your champagne with a bathroom telephone wrapped around your necks.

Retrocaustic: Code Geass – Episode 2

Code Geass is stupid. But how stupid? Let’s find out together.

Don't think about it too much, or this happens.

Don’t think about it too much, or this happens.

Episode II – The White Knight Rises

  • As of August 10, 2010 of the Imperial Calender, “Britannia” still does not have an adjectival form.
    • Nor did Christianity ever happen.
  • Wait, Japan was defeated less than a one month? What? Japan is, like, the size of California, but spread over four islands and surrounded by water. It took the Nazi blitzkrieg three weeks to overrun Poland, and that was an unfair matchup over flat, open European plain. I don’t care how fancy your Knightmares are (which they aren’t); you can’t overcome geography. There are only a few spots where you can conduct an amphibious invasion of the country, all a huge fucking bitch to pull off. No. Fucking. Way.
  • See? The Japanese have a word for pride. 誇り is even used here. So why did Rivalz use “puraido” last episode? Does the Japanese language suck?
    • Yes, this is fucking important.
  • Blah blah, the Japanese are now Elevens for some reason. We get it. Don’t tell me we’re gonna get this exact same recap for the next six episodes or something.
    • Sigh, we are, aren’t we?
  • Oh God, it’s a Suzaku-themed episode.
    • Except C.C, tee hee.
  •  Enter Villetta, Tragedy Bait 2.0.
    • And whose hair is in violation of every military regulation ever.
      • What nationality is she, anyway? No one has golden pupils. No one, Japan.
  • Wait, those murderous idiots were part of the royal guard? Who puts sociopaths in the royal guard? Or sends them to track down POISON GAS? Hasn’t the Holy Britannia(n) Empire invented special forces yet?
  • Well, she just fired a giant rifle at an innocent student in the middle of a small, metal warehouse. Lelouch is now deaf.
    • Did those massive bullets not have any force when they brushed past him at a zillion miles per hour? Are the laws of physics a lie perpetuated by the Illuminati? How is he still standing up?
    • Not to mention shrapnel. In a parallel universe where physics behaves somewhat consistently, Lelouche has a giant piece of iron sticking through his sternum right now.
      • If I lived in that universe, I would not have to keep watching this.
  • Oh dear, Lelouch’s magical powers have limits. How inconvenient.
    • Luckily for him, Villetta is an idiot, as you shall soon see.
  • “Alan Spacer.” That’s the best you could do, huh, Lelouch? “Alan Spacer.”
    • Bbbbbth ha ha ha.
  • Yes, Villetta. Exit your machine of war, where you’re perfectly safe, right after you’ve just examined a horrific scene where a dozen royal guards have been obviously gunned down in cold blood and there’s a suspicious Britannian student who should not be alive or here in the first place. Yes. Nothing is suspicious about this situation whatsoever.
    • Oh look, that didn’t go very well.
      • This may have consequences, Villetta. Bet you feel stupid now.
  • Where did all the bodies go? Lelouche already used his Geass on her. He was just one guy. Did he use the Knightmare to cart the bodies away? Did he make Villetta do it?
    • No, he shut off his Geass right after his gave her the command. So where did the bodies go?
      • Hey. Did you guys forget about continuity?
        • You did, didn’t you? Fucktards.
  • Gee, MSGT is alive, even though he was shot in the spine with a gun at point-blank range with no obvious protection. How did that happen too?
    • I think I need to stop asking this question.
      • How can he move around? Why is able to get up like that? He was just shot two hours ago.
  • No, I don’t buy that a fucking pocket watch was able to block a bullet. I mean, look at that thing.
      • Did the bullet just evaporate after it went through the glass? Why isn’t it more damaged? What the fuck?
  • Elevens say gods live inside objects. Do they? I think that’s simplifying it a bit, you moron.
  • They think the POISON GAS was released? Are they, um, stupid? Do they not see and hear the massacre going on in the ghetto they are actually in right now?
    • They are very stupid.
      • Hey, MSGT, do you still think you can change the system from within?
  • Lloyd, what are you doing? Why are you handing this random person you met an hour ago the keys to your Empire’s superweapon? Shouldn’t you, like, examine him first? Get some physical and psychological data on him? Make sure he’s not crazy? That sort of thing?
    • I like how they obviously dodge the question and implication that MSGT clearly has no experience with one of these machines whatsoever. Why is Lloyd doing this? How does this make sense from his perspective?
  • Lloyd, I’m pretty sure you have oversight. You have to get this guy cleared for piloting a Knightmare. And he has to go through training, be commissioned, etc. Is this even a fucking military?
  • Wait, whom did those random tanks just kill? They didn’t look like Japanese people at all.
    • I’m right. Look at the frame.
  • Ah, Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere returns. Out of thin air. Like magic. From pixies.
    • Sure, I’d be willing to accept pixies at this point, given how retarded everything else is this series is.
  • Man, it’s a good thing the Holy Britannia(n) Empire hasn’t invented the concept of radio intercept yet, otherwise Ohgi and Kallen Stadtfeld’s backpack radio transmission might be compromised.
    • They spent all that money on building Knightmares. That’s my explanation. Or pixies.
  • Kallen, no. Playing decoy is a bad idea. You’re painted fucking orange. You’re a walking target. You’ll just get sniped by helicopters or a bazooka or something, and then you’ll die.
    • And what the fuck is Ohgi gonna do? He has his backpack radio and one random guy with a bazooka. How he is going to evacuate forty million people?
      • Does anybody think about what they’re saying before they open their mouths?
    • Also, you should be trying not to get caught period.
      • Not that they seem to be interested in taking prisoners anyway, you idiot.
  • Cut to Shirley in the girl’s locker room, right after you show people being slaughtered in a war zone. This show flows like the music of Bach.
    • Or diarrhea.
  • [5:37] That’s a Tomagatchi. Is this 1997? Is Nickelodeon still good? Is the Gameboy all the rage? Why is Shirley’s phone stupid?
  • Man, it’s a good thing gunshots and giant machines of death aren’t loud, otherwise Shirley might suspect something.
    • That is gunfire, Shirley. Can you not hear it? I’m pretty sure Knightmares aren’t soundproof.
      • Although I have nothing to base this on, really. These things are ridiculous, after all.
  • How. Does. Lelouche. Know. How. To. Pilot. This.
    • How?
  • Surprise: the Britannimericans aren’t livecasting their massacre to the whole wide world. Next week: will Tyrion get a fair trial?
  • Yes, Lelouche. The tyrannical government is going to spin a cover story about the massacre. Yes, you have to spend five minutes figuring this out.
    • What a genius.
  • I also have to wonder how a military Knightmare has access to the civilian cellular network.
    • And Bluetooth.
  • What did you just say, Lelouche? “They can’t call in reinforcements?” Uh, yes, they can. They control the media. They control everything. They can bring in whatever-the-fuck they want.
    • What a genius.
      • I’m pretty sure it’d be hard for you to get out of the Shinjuku ghetto by yourself with or without them calling in reinforcements.
  • So Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere is spotted, as predicted.
    • And now the men are chasing Dat Ass.
  • Lelouche magically knows her radio code, even though there is literally no physical way he can know it.
    • If you know what I mean.
  • Man, it’s a good thing the Holy Britannia(n) Empire doesn’t have air superiority in its own backyard, otherwise running on an elevated, exposed railway might be a bad idea.
    • Jeremiah, why are you chasing her? Call in the helicopters and planes you have slaughtering people and shoot her in the face.
      • And that’s not a euphemism. I mean actually shoot her in the face with bullets and end this monstrous baby of a series before it grows and devours all life.
  • Oh look, a train is using the railway. One has to wonder why the train is running through an ACTIVE WAR ZONE.
    • No, no, Lelouche totally planned this, even though there is literally no way he could have.
  • Why didn’t Jeremiah just jump onto the train like Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere did? Is he gay? I can think of no other reason why he’s letting the train push him back. What is he doing?
  • Lelouche ambushed Jeremiah. How did he do that? How did they not detect the giant machine of war moving into that building?
    • Gee, the giant machine of death that costs ten billion dollars each was just rendered utterly helpless by rifle fire aimed at its leg propulsion units.
      • Lelouche is a genius.
    • How did Lelouche vanish? Has the Holy Britannia(n) Empire not developed radar? Knightmares do not have stealth. They are probably the unstealthiest things ever invented by humankind. How did she not notice Lelouche leaving?
      • Pixies.
  • Lelouche, you did not predict a train filled with Knightmares would be running through an ACTIVE WAR ZONE unescorted. You did not.
    • Also, it’s a good thing they’re standing around on this open, exposed, elevated railway in the middle of an ACTIVE WAR ZONE that is actively being destroyed.
      • The Holy Britannia(n) Empire deserves to burn.
  • So now they have Knightmares, the machines that were just easily defeated with basic tactics.
    • And, of course, each and everyone of these ragtag Japanese resistance fighters knows how to pilot them.
      • I’m just gonna go find the nearest airbase and hop into a plane. Let me see how far I get. I’ll be back.
        • It turns out they stopped me at the front gate and arrested me.
          • Hmm, well, they let me in for some reason, but it turns out I don’t know how to fly a plane because I haven’t trained on it ever, flown hundreds of hours, or been certified.
  • Also, why is that woman in the train car wearing a miniskirt in an ACTIVE WAR ZONE? And a pink shirt? Hey, how about you wear something remotely camouflaged or practical?
  • Ha ha ha, that was Sasuke’s voice. I caught you, Sasuke.
      • Except nothing.
  • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere rightfully wonders how the fuck any of this is actually happening.
    • Unlike me, however, she is wise and stops asking this question.
  • Meanwhile, the massacre has been conveniently paused and the Britannimericans, who outnumber these Japanese a zillion to one and have complete air and information superiority, are doing absolutely nothing.
  • Gee, I wonder what that building is. It couldn’t possibly be the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. That’s never been seen in an anime before.
  • Lelouche, it seems like you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing, probably because you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing.
    • Wait, when did he have the time to get that chess piece? Does time not work the same in this parallel universe?
      • Pixies.
  • The Britannimericans are discussing the overwhelming superiority of their army that they are not using.
  • Clovis is on the scene for some reason. This man has no military experience and is clearly a fucking retard, but the military just goes along with it. That’s how militaries behave.
    • Man, it’s a good thing none of these random subordinates have ears, otherwise they might wonder who this “girl” is they’re very suspiciously talking about.
  • Let me get this straight: the Britannimericans stripped these Knightmares’ IFF transponders for some reason, loaded them onto an unescorted train, then sent that train through an ACTIVE WAR ZONE.
    • Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm……………….
  • Dude, what the fuck did you just say? “The Britannians won’t use traps because they have absolute military superiority”? What?
    • Who let this retard into a giant machine of war? Go make him read Sun Tzu before you let him anywhere near a knife ever again.
      • Good God, these people are going to get themselves killed.
  • Uh, if these signals are being intercepted (which they are), your plan is fucked anyway. Who cares if you tell them their name or not?
  • How does Lelouche know any of this information to this level of precision? Generals would be jealous over his Command and Control.
  • Clovis is a racist, because he called the Japanese “monkeys.” This is the opposite way to make people hate someone.
    • Unless you’re a sixteen-year-old anime fanboy that falls for this kind of shit. Then it works perfectly fine.
      • I feel so bad for these Japanese voice actors having to pronounce all these weird-ass English words. Their mouths must bleed after each recording session.
  • How did the Britannimericans not know they were there?
    • They did. They obviously did. There is no way they did not know.
      • I am going insane.
  • If Lelouche has complete knowledge of the battlefield in his random-ass Sutherland, why don’t the Britannimericans have it too with far more platforms at their disposal?
    • Pixies.
  • The Holy Britannia(n) Empire could not have conquered a tree house, let alone a developed country, with this level of incompetence.
  • Wait, what? That was, like, four Knightmares v. three of the exact same model in an open battlespace. How did the Britannimericans hit nothing and the Japanese hit everything?
    • Also, why aren’t their screens showing the enemy units as well?
      • Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?
  • “The enemy has five options.” You don’t know that, Lelouche.
  • Don’t you have radar? You do. I know you do. Use it, for Christ’s sake.
  • Jeremiah, you have no inkling as to the tactical situation. You ejected. Go home and fuck Villetta.
  • I don’t know what’s happening. Nothing makes sense.
  • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere randomly fired a lance or whatever into some random point in the asphalt, causing a massive earthquake that swallowed all the Britannimerican Knightmares. Sigh.
    • No, Lelouche, you did not know that would happen.
  • Uh, Lelouche, why do you think you can defeat a world empire after toying with rank idiots? Are you an idiot too?
    • Yes.
  • So, MSGT was allowed to pilot the Empire’s superweapon after “reading the manual.”
    • Pixies. Fucking pixies.
      • I need some pixie dust.
    • That outfit is ridiculous.
  • “I don’t want you to do anything reckless.”
    • She says as she’s letting this random, unknown person pilot the Empire’s superweapon.
      • Ha ha ha ha ha ha.
        • Pixies.
  • Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh, her name is Cecile. She’s a woman. That’s why it took two episodes to find out her name.
    • Wow, the Lancelot has no eject system? Well, no matter. It’s a Knightmare. It’s highly durable and can withstand all conditions easily.
      • Except the slightest amount of directed weapons fire.
  • Huh? There have been 7 generations of Knightmares? What?
    • What?
      • No, seriously. 7 generations?
        • Actual military engineers developed six previous generations of these retarded weapons?
          • Have they not drank themselves to death yet?
  • Energy Filler. That about describes this startup sequence: filler.
    • Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn.
  • This startup sequence has twenty phases. Somehow this is a good idea.
    • My god, the Engrish. I hope these voice actors get dental.
      • Oh, now they move the first-aid trucks away from the untested Knightmare frame while it’s in the middle of its fireup sequence.
        • Good luck, all you other patients in those trucks.
  • Why does Lloyd say “full throttle”? Would half the Japanese viewers even know what that meant? Or even make heads or tails of it whatsoever?
    • It must suck to be a Japanese person over the age of thirty.
  • Suzaku has some pain from the bullet wound to the spine he received two hours ago. I’m sure it’s fine.
  • So, um, how did that random Japanese pilot survive a bitchslap to the face from the Lancelot? That seems, I dunno, impossible.
  • How is no one detecting this massive machine of death? How do these things ever have the element of surprise over anything?
  • Oh look, Lelouche is racist too.
    • Also, I think Sasuke just died. YAAAAAAAAAAAAY.
  • How do the Britannimericans have energy-repulsion technology? Why haven’t they ever used this revolutionary technology before? And they managed to fit it onto the arm of a Knightmare?
    • Bullshit.
  • How is Lelouche not tracking this thing from his Omniscient Knightmare?
  • Damn, that shield must use up a lot of energy.
    • It’s also hardly surprising a bunch of inexperienced guerrillas have no idea what they’re doing, Lelouche.
  • Uh, MSGT, do you not realize you are working for the Evil Empire? Are you that stupid?
  • LOL, Suzaku just broke that woman’s fall with the metal hand of a Knightmare. That woman is dead.
  • Why did Suzaku just stop? He was winning. Why stop?
  • Did that Japanese guy just suggest that unleashing POISON GAS onto the city would’ve been a good idea?
    • I dunno whom to root for. Everyone is a mass murderer just waiting to happen.
  • Why did Clovis do any of what Lelouche asked him to do? He didn’t use his Geass on him. Why?
  • Oh thank God, the episode is over. I have a date with a razor.
    • PIXIES.

Heroes of the Storm and the Deathly Release Date

SILLY.SNAPE-PREPAREDBlizzard announced the Heroes of the Storm release date today. June 2. Huh. Well, I’ve been playing HotS up to my eyeballs–enough to keep me from posting on this blog–and have a pretty high MMR, so I’m confident enough to speak on the game’s current status, particularly as to whether or not the game is actually ready for this sort of transition. Snape, loving curmudgeon that he is, has already given away my opinion.

As an aside, yes, I am alive. I do plan to post more, but there’s not too much to talk about as far as anime or whatever goes this season. I will do another Code Geass post soon, as that was a shitton of fun to write and read. Lelouch Lamperouge must be taken to task for all his “grand” schemes that make no bleeping sense whatsoever. I will need many bullets.

Get it? “Bullets”? They’re…eh. Philistines.

Oh, I was talking about Heroes of the Storm. Yeah, Blizzard, I don’t think you know what you’re doing. The game isn’t ready. It just isn’t. I play at high Diamond level and am pretty close to Master. From my perspective, the game has a lot of grime that needs to be rubbed off before you toss it out for public consumption. Most notably, we need more Heroes. Lots more Heroes. I was talking to a friend about it just now and we both agree the Hero pool isn’t sufficiently deep enough to create a healthy meta that supports flexible team composition selection. Sylvanas was a good step in the right direction, but since you’ve so thoughtfully set us down a collision course with destiny, we need about six-to-seven more Sylvanases to be in a decent state come June. Given that you’ve been releasing champions around every six weeks, that’s not enough time for more than two champions…unless you’ve got some surprise package of Heroes in the pipeline just waiting to go. To be honest, I was hoping today’s announcement was going to be a Diablo trio of Heroes or something thereof. Talk about disappointment in that category, but it just brings us back to the relative dearth of meta-viable Heroes to take into the Nexus. In an interview a few months ago, Blizzard stated clearly there were six Heroes in development at that time. Since then, both Lost Vikings and Sylvanas have been released. So that leaves us four. I’m going to assume that since then at least one other Hero has moved into the acute development stage or whatever you want to call it, so say five. Five isn’t enough, especially when there’s no guarantee all of them will have the same release-date quality as Sylvanas.

But that’s not all, Blizzard. There are other problems afoot at Hogwarts, since this school is run by morons who think putting soul-sucking, life-scarring Dementors a hundred yards away from school children is a perfectly sane idea.

Talents. Talents, talents, talents. Talents are a relatively new development in HotS, and it shows. Jaina and Sylvanas both demonstrate that Blizzard is finally getting the hang of what talents ought to look like, but so many other Heroes need an update in that department. There are only a few meta-viable talent builds for every Hero; many of those are sub-optimal. Some Heroes are stuck in the short end of the pool as far as that goes. Tassadar, Tyrael, Uther, etc., all have talents that suck really bad and no one will ever pick in any universe, prime or alternate. Furthermore, that’s not the kind of change you can realistically push out in the space of seven-ish weeks. Sure, surprise me by all means, but I remain skeptical, as I ought to.

Then there’s matchmaking, the canker afflicting HotS. People are not really matched well based on their actual MMR or some other solid performance indicator, but speed and general accuracy. This is less of an issue at the lower ends of the game where no one knows fuck-all and runs around thinking Anub’arak is OP or something, but it quickly becomes a serious issue the higher your skill level goes. At the very top end, it’s pretty annoying at best to be matched regularly with people at half your projected MMR, not that the other team doesn’t suffer from this just as much. It still takes the wind out of the sails of high-end competition. Few things in HotS are more enjoyable than a high-level match between equally skilled teams, win or lose. Trust me, I’ve done it. The problem is that it’s so rare that you have to slug through ten matches of Gazlowe-obsessed weirdos before you can face gather a proper team comp.

Suffice it to say, I’m not sure if Blizzard has listened to Illidan on this matter. We’re not ready for public release. The game systems need to be refined more, the talents need serious attention, we need more Heroes to shake things up and provide more viable picks and counterpicks, along with a simple team/guild/clan system and other similar features. HotS has the potential to be a great MOBA, but that only comes with time and patience. Am I wrong to suspect this release date is more internally dictated rather than developer-oriented? Maybe, but I wouldn’t bet one of my horcruxes on it.

I have no horcruxes, by the way. That was a joke.

5 Things Game Developers Apparently Believe (Are Legitimate Excuses For Their Screwups)

(In response to this from Kotaku. The views expressed henceforth are my own.)

Before I joined the military, I worked at Starbucks as a barista. My formerly conservative views and upbringing gave me a pro-military leaning when it came to American men in uniform. Despite this, I didn’t spend all my time spewing vitriol at the big-budget Pentagon on how carelessly they were using our troops. I didn’t have to: they obviously were. Still, they offered a bunch of reasons why people just didn’t understand the realities of war. I didn’t care then or now. It turns out that, despite not knowing much about the real-life military, I still kind of expected them to follow all those inconvenient rules of engagement and Geneva Conventions and to get shit done in a reasonable time frame with as little loss of life and expenditure as possible despite all the unimaginable conditions they endured every day. Funny how that works.

Six or seven-ish years removed, I still expect that of the military, even though I know a little more about what it’s like in uniform as opposed to outside of it, probably because we are responsible for a vast amount of power that can (and has) ruined entire countries. I mean, I guess it’s probably hard for those guys manning our nukes in Montana somewhere to wake up at 0400 or whatever and deal with the most monotonous, horrible job that they hope to God never ever gets exciting, but I still kinda ruthlessly expect them to foster and maintain that sort of discipline each and every day while they’re handling devices that can bring about The End of All Things (complete with Howard Shore score) in the space of a few minutes. How unreasonable of me. The gall.

I say this stuff as a deliberately hyperbolic example, so let’s take it down a notch: I guess it’s pretty hard to build a building, e.g., an apartment complex, a type of facility in which billions of people live. To make matters worse for my spoiled ass, I happen to reside in a developed country with a decent standard of living and the inconvenient expectations that brings about, so I expect the facility to be safe, clean, protect me from the elements, and all the other sort of things I trade a little over one-fourth of my paycheck for. If, in the course of my residence, I spy a hole in the corner of my study, the roof starting to cave in, or simply a lot of bugs of the various types that shouldn’t be there (apart from spiders. I really don’t give a fuck about spiders and oh my god would you stop freaking out over them), I basically have grounds to complain about this, right?

Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

1. Making games is a thousand times harder than you think (so it’s not our fault if we fail miserably)

I am an atrocious blogger. Check how often I post (and what I post about) if you don’t believe me, but jeez, I’ve gotten a little tired of the game industry coming up with all sorts of variations on this same comic mea culpa, which really just says “fuck you faggots it’s not our fault” in regards to stuff that clearly is. It’s hard to feel empathy for them when, oh, I don’t know, the developers for Assassin’s Creed go on record saying “it’s really hard to make female animation models, so fuck women. They’re not important!” then shit out a game that tried to coast on the same tired formula of their franchise’s last five games, hoping you wouldn’t notice how the rendered dolls behaved and appeared very much like the vanguard of Cthulhu.

Let’s say you want to make a game. The first thing you do is set goals. Over the past twenty-five years or so, one of them has tended to be to fix most of the critical bugs before shipping things. Then you can move onto things like story, gameplay, themes, etc. Done.



To make a game now, you need to focus on monetization. This is a fancy corporate term for squeezing money from your potential consumers who have stuck with you all these years, all due to a vicious cycle of spiraling costs and development times for much smaller profit margins, one we loudly lament on our Twitter feeds but refuse to do anything about, since the actual people above us tend to sign our paychecks. I can understand that you have families and can’t really be asked to be moral crusaders at the forefront of changing the industry you’re stuck in or wish to remain a part of, but then that probably means shouldn’t throw stones from your glass houses, as eventually some people might a mistake your attempts at catharsis as a legitimate opinion. Again, the gall.

Maybe I should have read the Necronomicon after all.

Maybe I should have read the Necronomicon after all.

And that’s just the most vocal people at the top, you know, the ones with some capital and wiggle room to freely express themselves in a public space once in a while. Since this is their livelihood and career, one that doesn’t tend to allow crossover into other sections of society, the unfortunate lower members of the studio have to shut up and deal with their studio heads’ questionable management methods and objectives and knock out the overwhelming pile of shit in the “To Do” pile on their desks. Granted, I haven’t worked in the game industry, but considering this is how it works in almost every company or organization worth a damn, I’m going to guess it applies to the oh-so-special cadre of persecuted game developers. Then you have to deal with the inherent uncertainty that comes with an industry with little solid ground and studio shutdowns and hoping Metacritic doesn’t tear the kitten you’ve labored on for five years into tiny pieces and, and, and…

I haven’t even mentioned design and code, because I’m giving up trying to follow the general literary format of the original article for no reason. Let’s skip straight to my point:

No one. Fucking. Cares.

This little “explanation” is something nearly everyone in the work force has to deal with. No one outside the military really understands us; as mentioned before, we’re still expected to do our jobs. Nobody outside the finance world understands it; it’s still kinda expected (but not really forced to, thanks to the power of Mammon that people still haven’t figured out is entirely imaginary) to do something productive for society. Nobody outside the video game industry really understands it; you’re still expected to meet a basic level of quality.

You’re not special snowflakes.

2. Games look like complete ass for 90% of their production (which is why we never explain anything)

You know what I love about Blizzard (that company that makes WoW and some other games whose names I can’t really remember right now…weird…)? Apart from their generally consistent output of solid iteration on established franchises, they’ve become masters at pretending to be really earnest people whose fans don’t empathize with, yet refusing all the while to elucidate and build a culture of transparency of how decisions are made in their meeting rooms. They’ll make long Blue Posts on their forums once in a while about how “we really try hard and care and blah blah blah” while making absurdly clueless decisions about problems in their own games, ones that their vigilant raiders were screaming at them for weeks to fix. Eventually, after a thousand and one mistakes, you stop believing they’re sincere. What’s baffling is that they (and almost all other game studios) insist on adhering to some unspoken Biblical Commandment that internal decisions and priorities are sworn to greater secrecy than CIA black ops, as if revealing their whole methodology–one uniquely tailored to their own institutional culture–will ruin everything. I don’t know why. To go back to my own experience, how the military works is not exactly mystifying. In fact, it’s one of the better understood ways of living in human civilization, since shitty stuff happening to you for inscrutable reasons beyond your control continues to remain literary gold. To be sure, the military doesn’t want you to know the precise details of what it’s up to right now unless you actually need to know, but that’s somewhat reasonable. Not for the video game industry, though. Imagine what would happen if they were transparent. They might get…embarrassed.


Exhibit A.

The above poorly generated meme refers to the brief scandal in World of Warcraft known as Candlegate, in which Ion Hazzikostas (a cool guy that I met very briefly while my face was painted and stuffing itself with a mistakenly large pizza) declared, to the best of his knowledge in that minute, that they wouldn’t be nerfing an in-game item (yon Candle) even though it was clearly overpowered and causing some serious issues. Twenty four hours later, a hotfix was implemented to nerf the Candle. Oops. Egg on face. Hazzikostas was working off the information on the top of his head, but it still reflected a telling sign of the left hand not knowing what the right was doing, if not more. Suffice it to say, attempts at transparency in a corporate structure at odds with the very idea tend not to go very well.

Obviously, it’s not hard to imagine why this aversion to transparency endures. Video game developers are people, and much of what happens in those studios undoubtedly arises less from holistic creative aspirations–or even EA-style shenanigans–and more from the gritwork that we love to watch Frank Underwood spin: politics, self-interest, and ruthless pragmatism. You don’t really want to admit even the possibility that Casey Hudson ruined the Mass Effect franchise for the sake of his own ego or whatever (an unverified and unverifiable rumor, but to quote Mordin Solus: “theory fits evidence”), so you keep your mouth shut. You don’t want to try to put your foot down against Activision’s goal to release another soulless Call of Duty clone to keep the money coming in, so you keep your mouth shut. In a close-knitted industry where much of your resume involves your reputation, burning bridges safely is an opportunity most members will never run into.

The problem is that this sort of mentality actively instills among your fans a very skeptical, hostile, and altogether unforgiving culture towards you. It’s not like your feeble PR antics actually fool any significant number of people. They just communicate that our concerns and desires ultimately have no say: you’re the corporation, we’re the consumer, and we should learn our place. So if corporations want to continue avoiding transparency like the Black Death, they need to accept some amount of unbridled and at times ridiculous levels of criticism from us in return. It’s not like our concerns mean much to you. Why should your concerns mean much to us?

3. When the devs use the word “excited”, they’re not blowing smoke up your ass (except when they are, so good luck trying to tell the difference)

Really? No, really? This is a point? “The devs have feelings too”? You know, I generally assumed someone involved in such a nascent thing as the video game industry would have some kind of passion for it. How else would you get anyone to even start the damn thing? I also assume they’re working under a number of constraints that force them to do stuff they would rather not do, like oversell a talking point that a manager wrote for them. It’s not as if every other human being has ever had to do this.

This is how demeaning this article gets, since apparently everyone who criticizes a game is a Metacritic trollwhore who just wants to shit on game developers’ hopes and dreams and see their families starve. It’s like the author, now a game developer himself, hasn’t considered that most gamers are reasonable, intelligent people who work just as hard as they do (or harder) and would like to see some consistent return for shelling out their hard earned cash on an entertainment medium they enjoy and have dedicated significant portions of their own limited mortal passion and attention to. Let’s be fair: there are some idiots on the Internet who haven’t really thought through the logistics and realities of making a video game, but let’s be fair: those are few and far between. Most of us hating on you for demanding that we pay $60 for The Order: 1886 have some legitimate grievances with a pattern from your industry, a pattern that is no longer explained away as a fluke or variance. It’s become a damnable habit, and you’re just catching on to how we’re catching on. Uh oh.

4. Game devs actually read a lot of critical writing on their work (but don’t actually have to care)

All right, I do believe this point a little more than the others, if only because I watched the Dragon Age team fall on their swords repeatedly to appease the idiots who thought Dragon Age 2 was the Beast and False Prophet all tied up into one baby-eating package. On the flip side, who gives a flying fuck? Consumer criticism, by definition, is ex post facto, i.e., after the transaction is completed. From the standpoint of the law, the video game consumer has very little wherewithal or standing with which to resolve their buyer’s remorse (those massive EULAs have consequences). Keep in mind: we’re not talking about buying some rip-off toy from a mall vendor because we fell for their cheap sales pitches. We’re talking about $50-60 purchases that you, the developers, spend literally years building hype for. You promise us a tremendous amount of shit in the hopes we’ll buy it, much of which borders on blatant deceit. To our credit and often folly, we tend to follow through, because we care about games and tend to have active interest in experiencing this pastime of ours. To claim you empathize with our anger after you have managed to get us to hand over our money that we cannot get back from you is a little rich. At best.

No, it’s as rich as escargot, assholes. There is an implicit contract between the game developer and the gamer: you give us good shit, we buy it from you. If you don’t give us good shit, we at least have a right to complain loudly, as that’s the only thing we can do. No amount of bitching, Reddit-level quality or otherwise, will get a court to listen to us and force you to fork over those greenbacks. You’ve won. The only thing you have to do, as far as we can tell, is move onto the next game. You’ll repeat the cycle. Again, I’m more than willing to entertain the idea that game developers don’t always (or often) have a choice in what they can accomplish during a game’s development cycle, but examples of developers truly listening to feedback and making serious changes–changes they often don’t even have the corporate leverage to effect–are few and far between. Again, Dragon Age is really the only example that comes to mind off the top of my head. Not all of what they changed was good anyway. In the end, those people who hated Dragon Age 2 lost out on their money and time, even though I disagreed with them and spewed vitriol at them myself. Sure, maybe some of their reactions might prove a bit immature in the grand of scheme of things, but yours has no weight whatsoever.

In other words, game developers score no brownie points by claiming “we have passion too.” In the context of the basic video game transaction, they have the upper hand. For them, passion is a luxury. We, as video game players, only buy video games we have passion and interest in to begin with. That is literally the only thing making us willing to fork over several hours’ wages for something like this. When a flagship franchise for a next-gen console barely has enough content to match the real-world number of hours the average worker might have slaved away to buy it, you lose all standing for pity with us.

5. If you think something sucks, that’s not really news to the dev team (so suck it up anyway)

Oh. This again. I get to be enlightened by how game developers have limited resources and have to establish priorities. Yawn. I already explained that we, as normal people, understand this. Going back to Item #2, however, due to the gaming industry’s crippling allergy to transparency, we never get to know why those choices were made. Why do game developers insist on belittling us with stories about how “we have to make hard decisions” while never explaining what the calculus of those decisions is? You think we care if we don’t have any substantive details? Answer: we don’t. Here Anthony Burch waxes rueful about how his team had to choose between the bulk content of Borderland’s 2 and the ending. I dunno, that seems like a pretty big strawman to me, to say nothing of how it speaks to how out of touch he seems to have become with the average gamer. Very few people bought Borderlands 2 for the quality of the story, an element it barely even had. The entire game is sold up on reckless mayhem combined with some silly antics and quality voice acting to provide a transparent excuse for carnage. We want the guns, the classes, and the mindless violence. Claptrap is not Fall-From-Grace. He’s a mascot that produces cheap laughs. Sacrificing the ending of a game that did not prioritize literary quality from the outset is not a sacrifice. It’s called structure. We don’t expect Call of Duty to have an amazing story either. Or Blizzard games post Frozen Throne. Even claiming to value story is a reputation that a gaming company tends to have to earn.

Let’s go back to my favorite dead horse: Mass Effect 3. Explain to me the priorities of that game. It was the end of the trilogy, the closer to two previous games that had constructed a memorable array of characters in a rich and inviting universe we all loved. I’d hazard to say the story of that game should have taken priority over everything else, assuming all that talk about passion wasn’t pure flatulation. Instead, it seems pretty clear said story was low on the priority list. Forget about the nightmare that was the ending for a moment: Mass Effect 3’s story was the weakest of the three games regardless. There was a very noticeable shift in the actions of the characters and how the stories were told in the first place. All the piles of hype about how the story would have branching endings and radical outcomes based on what you’d done before turned out to be ashen night. But what did seem to have the priority of the developers? Oh, the gameplay. I should note that Mass Effect 2 had solved that issue already. Despite the outrage over thermal clips, the gameplay was tight and crisp. What other major iteration was needed? Apparently lots, because the gameplay was the best in the franchise, revamped and sparkled up for all to revel in. Even significant amounts of development time were dedicated to building a feature into a singleplayer RPG that nobody had ever asked for: multiplayer. I bet the months and resources appropriated to that could have been spent on giving us a final boss, or, maybe, a credible concluding scenario that fit the overall tone and themes of the franchise. Oh, but I just remembered Item #4, so here’s a little clarity for you: nobody remembers Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer. Everyone does remember the ending. Those last three minutes ruined the entire Mass Effect franchise and permanently scarred and besmirched the Pixar-like reputation of Bioware as a studio. I certainly hope that the studio discussed priorities after that fiasco.

It never gets old.

It never gets old.

You see, there are priorities, and there are basics. Assassin’s Creed didn’t get that right. Watch Dogs didn’t get that right. More and more games seem to be following in those footsteps. But beyond all that, merely having a list of priorities does not mean those priorities are well-conceived. It’s perfectly possible to ruin a game with the wrong set of priorities. What we’re a little miffed about these days is that you keep making the same mistakes. You keep throwing out games that nobody could believe were ready for release, yet you adopt the corporate line the moment shit hits the fan. A few months later, you rant about how nobody understands you. But we do: you are a normal person, in a normal job, in a normal industry, and we still expect you to do that job. Just like the military, stress and logistics are no excuse for massacring a village. The complexity of building a plumbing system doesn’t make the consumer a whiny brat for suing you when that shoddily built system ruins their month. But in the video game industry, we don’t have any recourse. You take our money and that’s that, often by outright lying to us. So we get to bitch in return and call you names on this giant bathroom wall.

Until you put your money where your mouth is, we’ll keep opening ours. It’s the only option we have, after all. How’s that for constraints?

Retrocaustic: Code Geass – Episode 1

Code Geass is stupid. But how stupid? Let’s find out together.


Shhh. Just let it happen.

Episode I – The Empire Strikes Back Again

  • We get it, Japan. Cicadas happen in the summer. Summer has cicadas. Can we never have this trope ever happen again?
    • NOPE.
    • There. I have summarized all of Japan’s foreign policy for the past 70 years.
      • Also don’t remember how we raped China and Korea for three-ish decades. That never happened. Just keep reminding everyone how we were conquered by a vaguely America-shaped power as if we didn’t deserve it.
        • Even though we did. Really bad.
  • Oh, Japan lost its name. How cute. What hegemon would do this? This doesn’t make any linguistic sense. Renaming Japan as “Area 11” and actually calling them all “Elevens” is so fucking retarded. They seriously reach for the anvil in the first thirty seconds of this show.
  • Knightmares (what a pun!) are the most impractical weapons ever depicted. I know of no way these things could possibly work or provide any advantage worth their incredible expense and numerous obvious engineering flaws over the tried and true methods of warfare already at these nations’ disposal.
    • No, seriously. They’re giant humanoid soldiers that rely on melee combat, i.e., cannon fodder in an era of precision-guided munitions, not to mention are immensely expensive. They can be disabled with a few well-aimed shots to their legs or other weakspots so glaring they might as well be bosses from God of War. Kneecaps, anyone?
      • Why would you even want to emulate the anatomical disaster that is the human kneecap anyway?
    • Knightmares exist to sell toys. That is literally their only purpose in this series. Everything else could have been better accomplished through conventional weapons.
  • Enter Lelouch Lamperouge, who, at eight-ish years old, now has a grudge against an empire he is party to. All after living in Japan for a few months.
    • Suuuuuuuuuure.
  • What did Britannia do to Japan? Why is there all this ruin and devastation in the ghettos alongside a pristine capital after only seven years? Do you really expect me to believe that many Britannians moved to Tokyo in less than one decade and that they were able to build such a pristine capital in that time? Why? Why would they even destroy Tokyo so much anyway? Enough to push the 40 million people living on the Kantou plain into a ghetto? Do writers have any sense of demographics whatsoever or how colonization has actually proceeded before?
    • No.
  • Lelouch Lamperouge is a wunderkid, showing that these writers have no idea how basic human neurology works.
    • Chess is a bullshit way of showing intelligence. People have been working out the strategies to chess for five hundred years and more. It’s a matter of rote memorization.
  • Lelouch Lamperouge is playing hooky many miles away from his school, because this school sucks at basic things like accountability. Of course.
    • Idiot rich nobleman with immense resources and frivolous idle time to play chess with random people remarks how time-stressed, exam-laden high-school students have so much free time. Someone has never gotten laid.
  • [4:31] Did they set that chess board up wrong? Because I’m pretty sure everything about that chess setup is wrong/impossible.
      • Lol.
        • Lol.
          • I’m going to go kill myself.
  • Speaking of which: enter Shirley, tragedy bait.
  • Of course #2: a terrorist attack.
  • Enter Clovis, death bait.
  • Terrorist attack involves the inevitable scene where the racist Britannimericans call the Japanese “Elevens,” then the racist Japanese protest they are called “Japanese” with no sense of irony towards how the Japanese treat Koreans/Chinese in the real world.
    • This happens because writers do not know how to convey racism in a natural, convincing way. They literally have to hold neon-lit arrows labeled “RACIST” over their characters’ heads.
      • This does not bode well for the next forty nine episodes of this series.
  • Enter Kallen Stadtfeld, the humanoid growth attached to Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere.
    • Also the least Japanese-looking Japanese person since every other “Japanese” protagonist.
  • Enter Diethard, the evil journalist.
  • The Britannimericans are utterly incompetent in controlling their own capital. I should like to know how these ragtag Japanese terrorists–who, despite the collective protests of all anime in history, stick out like sore thumbs–managed to sneak into the heart of the Britannimerican district, steal a top-secret truck supposedly containing POISON GAS, all while having in-tow an uncamouflaged Knightmare. Absolutely nobody in Tokyo does their jobs.
  • We’re speaking about highly sensitive and classified information within earshot of three dozen or so people with no business knowing any of it. Now I’m beginning to understand.
  • Why are the streets so goddamn empty in the middle of the capital?
    • The animators were lazy cheapskates.
  • Why did the driver drive that way? You know, the worst way possible? What reason did he have for veering off the road like a maniac? It was just a motorcycle. Use the right lane (it’s Japan) and pass him.
    • In other words, if Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere’s dumbass driver had not been a douchebag, Code Geass would not have happened.
  • Why does Rivalz use the word “puraido?” Do the Japanese not have a word for pride in this alternate universe? You know, like 誇り?
    • At no point do the Japanese get to complain about the decline of their language ever again. Code Geass has taken away their hall pass.
  • Oh look, Lelouch got stuck in the truck. I wonder what will happen next.
  • Why are you using Knightmares to chase down a truck supposedly filled with POISON GAS? What makes you think Knightmares are the tool for such a delicate situation (or any situation)? For God’s sake, just track the truck and summon some special forces to surround and capture the people when they eventually stop somewhere. Or better yet: announce the idiot Elevens have stolen a truck filled with POISON GAS that they have no idea how to contain or handle.
    • Note: this is actually how the situation ends up being handled anyway. The Knightmares prove utterly useless.
  • Wait, why was a top-secret project supposedly involving POISON GAS allowed to be located in the middle of one of the most densely populated areas on the planet?
    • Not even God knows.
  • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere’s dumbass driver suggests unleashing POISON GAS in the middle of one of the most densely populated areas on the planet. Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere should think about why she brought this monster along with her.
    • It certainly wasn’t for his fantastic driving skills.
  • How does Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere have the required military training needed to use a Knightmare? Like, how is that temporally possible?
  • Enter Jeremiah Gottwald, flamboyant nutcase.
  • Enter Lloyd, the Mad Prince of Awesome.
    • And the woman who works for him. Whatever her name is. I don’t remember. That’s how badly they treat her.
      • Go Japan. Yaaaaaaaaaaaay.
  • IT’S POISON GAS. GASP. (Hee hee.)
    • Except POISON GAS doesn’t talk.
      • Or sparkle.
  • Why are 40 million people living in a massive ghetto that definitely does not have the resources to support their numbers? Does Britannia not know this will inevitably lead to very bad things?
  • Enter Suzaku Kururugi, also known as Mary Sue Goody Two-Shoes (MSGT). This is his name now. Yes.
    • That karate move MSGT just did is literally impossible.
  • Lelouch: “You don’t want more deaths? Then obliterate Britannia!”
    • This would require more deaths, Lelouch.
  • Lelouch is reasonably shocked that MSGT would join the Britannimerican military, of all things.
  • Canister opens at the most random of times.
    • For no reason.
      • At all.
  • Enter C.C., servant of Morgoth.
  • MSGT believes he can change the system from within.
    • Thirty seconds later, MSGT is shot by his brutal, sadistic Britannimerican commander.
      • MSGT might be mistaken.
  • Clovis orders his armies to destroy one of the most populated areas on earth on a whim. This is not a good idea: it is neither possible to carry out on any reasonable time scale, nor does it accomplish its stated purpose, since it merely displays that Clovis is an utterly incompetent ruler who has lost control of the situation.
  • I think it’s been like ten minutes since one of the human beings on this show did something rational.
  • Why does Lelouch think Suzaku is dead? There was literally no blood from that gun shot. None. Check the frame.
    • That baby is fucked.
  • Shirley strikes. Her aim is deadly.
    • Why didn’t Lelouch set his cellphone to vibrate or silent in the half-hour he was hiding in the back of a truck being driven by people he thought were terrorists?
  • C.C. takes one for the team. It’s funny because the higher-ups know C.C. can’t die, so they would never believe these murderous soldiers’ cover story anyway.
  • Enter Nunnally, walking plot device.
  • C.C. spawns a web of foreshadowing that the show will never follow through on.
  • Why do they all cackle when they kill themselves? And why do their guns sound like water balloons?
  • So this was actually one of my favorite parts of the series, when Lelouch narrates his whole saga and commits fully to the path he’s set himself upon, switching from the past tense to the present seamlessly and elegantly in Japanese. The English translations have always been rather lackluster. I’ve always preferred something a bit like “So it’s worth it” for Lelouch’s last line in the episode, rather than the dry “So that’s why.”
    • Anyway.

This is gonna be fun. Hee hee hee.

Death Note – Reaper of Brains

Let’s be fair: my review of Gundam Wing was sort of/exactly like taking candy from a baby. Not that it wasn’t the most delicious candy. Or a crime. Nevertheless, I felt it better to set my sights on a more beloved, serious, and respected series. Death Note was chosen to be my victim out of happenstance. I come back to Death Note around every year or so to partake of the marvelous English dub, with Alessandro Juliani’s magnificent performance of L easily stealing the show. To humanity’s great fortune and sanity, this is no “little battle seed” dub, and despite the complaints surrounding Misa’s voice actor (who was well cast), the English performance is consistent in its excellence. Nevertheless, as no man is without sin, no series is without its flaws. Alas for Death Note: as intelligent as the series pretends to be, so many logical landmines and incompetencies infest the plot as to make repeated viewing impossible without some ruthless parody. Into this minefield we march with our thinking caps on and minesweepers set to their lowest sensitivity possible, because I think the deepest hazard is buried, like, two centimeters into the ground and marked with neon-tinged flags. You know what? Skip the minesweepers. Anyone stupid enough to actually step on one of these mines should not reproduce.


Your face is about to get an awesome workout.

Death Note is set in a contemporary Japan in which pitiful Light Yagami, intellectually stifled wunderkid-sociopath, is bored with the trite challenges of the Japanese education system and frustrated to his core by the immense injustices of Japanese society, which has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and is by far one of the safest places in the world to live in. I suspect, my lovelies, that Light Yagami is the ancestor of Heero Yuy, given his immense lack of perspective and sexual experience…and also his propensity to cackle maniacally at the most inappropriate times. To put this in some perspective, Light Yagami’s psyche is so relentlessly deprived of any sort of thrill or satisfaction that he later turns the act of eating a potato chip into some epic, sexy maneuver of drama or something while he knows he is being videotaped. I would rather like to see Death Note analyzed as a psychological case file not just on Light Yagami himself, but on modern Japanese culture as a whole. This would be certainly pique my interest more than whatever plot follows, because it is a doozy of doozies that makes less sense than Sexy Potato Chip Consumption Porn–which is undoubtedly a fetish somewhere.

To catalyze said plot into motion, the hellaciously bored Shinigami Ryuk (why is everyone in Japanese cosmology either insane and/or bored out of their skulls? I think the Japanese are trying to tell us something….) happens upon Light and deems him worthy to receive a deadly weapon of mass murder: the Death Note. The eponymous book possesses the power to kill anyone whose name is written in it, as determined by the most conveniently incomplete ruleset in the history of gaming, one spelled out in just enough detail at the beginning to seem thoughtful and encompassing, but left waiting in the wings whenever the author needs to get Light out of this week’s knot in the plot. As is typical in literature, the practical applications of such a power are never seized upon by anyone, not even Light himself. At first, the kid even shows some incomprehensible humanity about the book and waffles over using its untold powers to wreak destruction upon the sons of man–until he happens to see a woman being sexually harassed/raped right on a busy public street right before his eyes. Oh well, the Japanese justice system doesn’t work! Time for fun! Buckle up for your ride on the social commentary train!


Just so you don’t forget.

Once the Killer Notebook has been confirmed to be Working As Intended (tee hee hee), Light drives the train at full speed towards Moronville, Population: Everyone, and starts killing vaguely defined “criminals” at random via heart attacks. Rejoice, ye maniacs, for the premise of Death Note provides irrefutable proof of spontaneous combustion. In other words, where the ever-living fuck is Light is getting this information from? The methods shown in the manga and anime are absurd. I’ve watched broadcast Japanese TV: they do not list the names and faces of criminals en masse. As anyone who has ever encountered it knows, Japanese TV is a self-caricature if there ever was one. It’s divided into the following five categories without exception: boring, scripted newscasts, quirky hosted television shows, anime broadcast at four in the morning, billions of nature programs, and trillions of shows about people shedding tears over the joys of eating. In fact again, nobody in the world broadcasts or otherwise releases the names and faces of criminals on such a scale as shown in Death Note. And before ye sycophants protest too much, keep in mind that Death Note was written from 2003-2006, i.e., before the Great Dawn of Social Networking, which doesn’t change the fact that this sort of information is still not publicly available anywhere.

Well, that makes no sense, but who cares! Your brain is elastic and can adapt to anything, so stop asking completely logical questions. Despite knowing all the rules of the notebook right off the bat, such as the fact that he can kill people by any means, Light decides to take the easy way out and creates a pattern that will be noticed by any coordinated government agency within ten seconds. And lo! Interpol figures out criminals are dying due to heart attacks all over the world (somehow) against all medical logic and reason. Gasp: a trend. However, an opportunity to commentate must not be missed, thus Interpol and the various governments of the world order are portrayed as being so utterly helpless and incapable of conducting a simple investigation that they must immediately summon the most mysterious and unsupervised of detectives: L. Short for Lieutenant Gaeta. Jubilations! Anyway, the whole world unanimously agrees to turn over the inquiry into one of the most disturbing and troublesome medical and criminal trends in recorded history to some random pseudonym whose entire identity, motives, and methods are unknown.


Seems legit.

Well, that makes no sense too! L proceeds to do some basic detective work and ascertains that Light is in Japan, as Light’s larger presence has already been identified and dubbed “Kira” by the Japanese Internet (the only Internet that exists) in homage to its adoration of terriburu Engrish. Apparently nobody seems to be concerned that some shadowy persona possesses the power of God and is flagrantly abusing it, because they think all his victims really deserve it. No one has any honest moral reservations about this whatsoever. Just so I ensure this is clear: JAPANESE SOCIETY IS OPPRESSIVE. SEE? SEE HOW RELEVANT THIS IS? IT’S COMMENTARY. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?

Sorry. I don’t know what came over me. Ahem. L gets his chance to shine by setting an elaborate trap for Light. He arranges the secret arrest of a criminal on death row and gets him (somehow) to pretend he’s L on live TV so that Kira will take the bait. Kira, having declared residency in Moronville, takes the bait faster than a League of Legends team and kills the poor fake L, creating an amusing .gif in the process. The real L then reveals what a total schmuck Light is, as he’s now revealed the following to all mankind:

  1. He exists beyond a shadow of a doubt.
  2. He is the personality “Kira” as determined and identified by the Japanese Internet.
  3. He’s responsible for and remorselessly guilty of all the crimes committed by that personality.
  4. He’s in the Kantou region of Japan.
  5. He has the ability to kill someone without being present with a heart attack.
  6. He’s a fucking monster, as he had no reason to believe the person on TV was who he said he was or was even guilty of anything at all.
  7. Surprise, he wasn’t.
  8. L’s coming for him. Suspense!

What more of a confession could you possibly want? In real life, of course, the Japanese public would have realized Kira is a sociopath who can kill anybody he wants and holds no restraint in doing so, destroying all support he might have ever had and galvanizing the governments of the world to hunt him down in a combined show of force. In Death Note, however, everyone has taken stupid pills. Including L. Why exactly did L identify himself as the head of a secret government investigation into Kira? What was the point of that? Let’s also note that L’s decision to broadcast in Kantou is not exactly a sign of a deep intellect, considering Kantou holds a literal third of Japan’s population of 120 million. That demonstrates the standard by which this series judges “genius.” Beyond all that, the governments of the world, instead of creating said sensible joint task force lead by the Japanese, apparently decide this inexplicable global trend of criminals dying by heart attack at the whim of a lone arbiter (a power every military and intelligence agency ever would be lusting after beyond description) to be a solely Japanese affair, as Kira is in Japan and that settles that. The implicit myopia and ethnocentrism in Death Note just gets appalling the more and more you think about it.


This makes more sense than this series.

Moving forward to explore the rest of Moronville, L arrives in Japan and quickly realizes he actually doesn’t have enough to arrest Kira yet. He also seems to have no resources, staff, or anything else provided by Interpol or any other government agency, because who gives a fuck about someone who can kill someone from afar with magic and loves doing it. Nevertheless, L does more basic detective work (genius!) and deduces, given the time and nature of the killings, that Kira is almost certainly a naive, idealistic high-school student who probably has access to police information relating to the Kira case. Thereafter absolutely nobody suspects the families or relations of the mere five or so people working on one of the most important criminal cases in the history of the universe. That would be silly. Light realizes that he’s kinda given away everything about himself and starts changing the trend of his killings to obviously contradict this previous, blatant evidence. Luckily for him, L has inhaled a whole bottle of stupid pills in the form of sugar cubes and ignores this solid confirmation of his suspicion into oblivion.

But suddenly: PLOT TWIST. And by “plot twist,” I mean “Americans.” The FBI, reasonably, decides this Kira guy is a huge-ass problem that needs to be investigated by a professional agency with proper oversight and experience. Wow, this series isn’t even subtle. Unreasonably, it presumes it has any jurisdiction outside of America whatsoever. Wow, it really isn’t subtle. Without a hint of objection from the Japanese government, the FBI sends twelve agents into Japan to investigate what L’s genius is not: the immediate relations of all the Kira case investigators, specifically zeroing in on Light Yagami, the person who fits the obvious profile of Kira to a tee. Ryuk, the dispassionate, disinterested immortal being utterly apathetic to Light’s plight in any way, shape, or form, instantly informs Light that he’s being followed because what the fuck did I say about logical questions, Billy? Do you want the rod again? I didn’t think so. Light, Idiot Extraordinaire, then comes up with an elaborate trap of his own that, through a ridiculous combination of events that only succeed through the FBI’s sudden, inexplicable incompetence, allows him to kill all twelve of the FBI agents at once, essentially declaring war on America and involving every level of its government in his case. Moreover, as L immediately grasps, the identity of Kira has now been limited to the twenty or so people the FBI agents were investigating shortly before their sudden and simultaneous demise, one of whom is a high-performing, extremely intelligent, slightly isolated male high-school student who is the son of the chief investigator into the Kira case. If that weren’t enough, just prior to the death of all twelve FBI agents, Light Yagami invited a high-school friend of his on a very random and uncharacteristic date in which they came into contact with one of the dead FBI agents. In other words, the police have everything they could possibly need to suspect, arrest, and convict him.

But suddenly: nothing. Ignoring the ten thousand problems with Light’s scheme in killing the FBI agents, Light has painted a literal bullseye on his head for the AMERICAN EMPIRE to shoot at, an Empire that, given contemporary experience, would almost certainly (and righteously) assassinate Light once they determined his probable involvement. But nothing happens. The series should end here. Far from being a genius, Light is the most retarded divine serial killer ever to walk the written page. Step-by-step, he has handed his conviction to L and the Kira investigators on the shiniest of silver platters, but nothing fucking happens. There are no other leads on Kira–certainly no other better leads–and no reason for Light to get away other than the demand to sell more copies of Death Note, the true God of this bizarre world. So the series continues by author fiat.


Best. Plot Device. Ever.

The most egregious flaw in L’s investigation methods is his refusal to exploit Kira’s easily inferred, crippling weaknesses. If Kira requires both a name and face to kill someone, then the obvious way to shut him down and capture him is to control and limit that information. Simply putting a moratorium on releasing criminal information to the public would neither be hard nor ineffectual. Light would have no ability to use the Death Note. The authors explain this away using L’s supergenius reasoning skills, which lead him to conclude that Kira would just start killing innocents randomly if this were to happen. Of course, it never actually bothers to follow that reasoning up. For one, Light might be a brazen sociopath, but there is some method to his madness. His whole raison d’etre is bound up in the persona he’s creating as Kira, which would lose all credibility with the public if it started offing random innocents in a childish rage. For another, names are easy enough to find in a phone book, but the corresponding facial imagery is almost impossible to acquire on the scale and pace Kira requires. The mere acquisition of such information, either in person or electronically, is easily traceable. Once again, sycophants: Death Note was written in the early 2000s before social networking attained widespread adoption, but even if we ignore that, the government would simply have to release the knowledge of Kira’s suspected restraints to the public. People would naturally alter or eliminate whatever public information they control. At the very least, Kira’s power and influence would be sharply reduced and his options gravely limited.

However, there’s more to it than that. By methodically releasing the information of choice criminals through select channels at the strictest times, the police could easily identify what methods Kira was relying on to get his information. Once this was established, they could match it to whatever channels their suspects were observed using. Since their list of possible suspects is so blessedly short, the process of elimination would quickly lead to Light.

No, that’s too logical. In the aftermath of the FBI massacre, America does absolutely nothing. Meanwhile, thousands of miles away, L logically limits the investigation to Souichirou Yagami’s family, with Light being the prime suspect. Here the authors of Death Note finally realize the series is writing its own abrupt (and thoroughly unprofitable) conclusion unless something is done, so they have L and the rest of the investigators ingest as many stupid pills as Pfizer can manufacture in a year, causing the foolishness of their actions from this point on to defy all believability. They somehow get the authority to bug and wiretap every square centimeter of the Yagami residence, but in all their efforts, they never bother to actually search the household once. The manga hand-waves this by having Light concoct a booby-trap in his desk that will set the Death Note on fire if anyone triggers it, thereby eliminating all evidence of his culpability easily. The obvious implication here is that even if the police had searched his house as they would have done as a matter of course, they wouldn’t have found the Death Note anyway. So they just don’t search it period, because it’d be a waste of time that they somehow know about anyway. Don’t worry. It all makes sense after you’ve watched Eraserhead and Memento simultaneously.


Or that. That works too.

While your brain shuts down trying to process the previous paragraph, realize that the series actually tries to depict Light’s dangerous dance with the gift of Prometheus as a sober, effective way to conceal his guilt, saying that “if anything happens, I’ll just say I was protecting my private diary” or some shit like that, then proceeding on its merry way. Uh, Light, my little virgin, it’s time to learn about the birds and the bees: when a man and a woman love each other very much, the police immediately arrest you for attempted arson, property damage, and criminal negligence, as not only is your room a veritable tinderbox of full bookshelves and flammable materials that would easily ignite and burn your house down, potentially endangering the lives of your family and the neighborhood around you, but no person in their right mind would consider an incendiary bomb to be a “reasonable” way to protect your diary. Suspicion on you would merely intensify a hundredfold. This is even ignoring the fact that such a measure would be a laughably unreliable way to keep the Death Note out of the wrong hands. Fire doesn’t just instantly incinerate everything it touches on contact. If the police even recovered A) a small bit of the Death Note with the names and/or times of death of criminals on it or B) worse, intact portions of the Death Note rules, you’d be fucking screwed. What’s more, even if this disastrous contingency measure somehow succeeded perfectly, they’d have more than enough evidence to incarcerate you for awhile, at which point your killings would abruptly stop and you’d be screwed again.

Whatever. That never happens. What does happen is yon (in)famous Sexy Potato Chip Scene, in which Light “defeats” L in this astounding “game of wits” the same way everyone “wins” in Yugioh: cheating. First, the ever apathetic and disinterested Ryuk immediately informs Light his house has been bugged, something he would have never known about without this surreptitious tidbit. Light devises a simple plan to circumvent this otherwise foolproof vice closing in on him: he buys a miniature analog TV without anyone in the thoroughly bugged house noticing, manages to convincingly seal the TV into a bag of potato chips without anyone noticing, brings it into his house without anyone noticing, sets in it the cabinet without anyone noticing, retrieves it, opens it while pretending to study in his room, places it in such a position in which he can somehow see the TV through the potato chips but nobody else can, turns the mini-TV on and tunes it to the proper channel without anyone noticing, and uses it to kill criminals whose information is being broadcast at that exact specific time while appearing utterly innocent. Then he disposes of the TV without anyone noticing. Somehow.


The Great Leader deserves an answer.

As I’ve already written a thesis on this whole topic, I’ll resist the urge to write the paper the inanity that this scene demands. Ignoring the extremely suspicious and damning behavior that could not have gone unnoticed and unidentified if Light were under constant surveillance, the sequence of events as demonstrated in the manga and anime is literally impossible. In this scene, Light is portrayed as being under video and audio surveillance from absolutely every angle. The manga even goes out of its way to make this clear. So what, does Light think the police won’t notice him writing down the names of criminals when they can see everything he’s doing except the TV in the bag? Furthermore, Light cannot turn the miniature TV on and get it to whatever station he needs at the proper time without giving the whole thing away. For the more creative apologists out there, Light could not possibly leave the TV on in the bag and wait until the proper time. Doing so would be far too risky and certainly noticed by the people observing him, seeing as the mere movement of the bag might jostle the TV’s position in the bag and ruin the plan. Nor can he reliably watch the TV at the constrained angle as portrayed and pretend to study without tipping L off: he has no idea when the news broadcast will show the information he needs.

Wait, I think there’s another problem here, kids. What do you think it is? “Tell us, Dora!” comes the answer. Duh, retards: the TV has to be muted to evade the audio bugs, so Light must be able to clearly see the names and faces of the criminals he must kill to prove his innocence. To top it all off, Japanese names are depicted by characters that do not scale down very well, nor do they contain actual phonetic information. They’re ideograms whose pronunciation, particularly when it comes to names, is arbitrarily assigned and learned entirely through experience. So what happens if Light encounters a name that’s written with a character he doesn’t know how to pronounce, or is pronounced several different ways? In order to ensure he has a reasonable chance of success, Light must stare his sexy visage unceasing into the black void of his beloved bag of potato chips (phrasing), which wouldn’t be suspicious at all, of course. This all plays into how much of a dumbass the marvellous prodigy Light Yagami is. He has allowed himself zero margin of error to work with: the gig is up if he misses even one criminal. Id est, the scene simply does not work. Light is actually caught here too. As usual, the manga just pretends it doesn’t happen and marches forth into a parallel universe.


Accurate depiction of Death Note’s plot.

In that universe, solemn and dejected, lies the logic of L’s brain. Defeated once again by no discernible chain of events, L shifts his strategy in a radical example of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” He up and decides to confront Light and tell him he’s L. Why he does this is never adequately explained in the series. To be fair, L certainly tries, but it never comes across more than yet another naked excuse to keep the plot going. Why would you expose yourself to your chief suspect in such a direct way? Why would the government authorize such a deliberate and crippling security breach? What does L gain by doing this? They have no other viable suspects whatsoever. That little chain of questions keeps growing and twisting until it asphyxiates the asker and drags it down to the realm of Poseidon, where we find L and Light in a predictable dance of “wits” that entertains greatly only through its pretentious idiocy. After some other events that involves a tennis match and other nonsense, a second Kira enters the fray, except this one exhibits a completely different personality while showing none of the traits of the first Kira, leading to the obvious conclusion that these are two different people. In fact, this Kira seems infatuated with the first Kira and behaves herself as an unabashed teenage moron of the feminine variety. This series sure loves its bookends. Thus appears Misa Amane, the most utilitarian character in the series. I’ll explain: Misa serves zero literary purpose besides keeping Light alive. Her character itself is, by design, superficial, annoying, and altogether unedifying to both the viewer and the characters. She is merely a pawn at every level of her existence.  To make this even more misogynist, she’s drawn as a stereotypical loli-girl. Unironically. Keep trying, Japan. Maybe one day you’ll realize what a terrible culture you have.

So somehow, someway, somewhy, Misa immediately threatens Light’s position (which I remind you was already doomed as being the obvious guilty party out of a potential list of twenty-odd people in all creation) even further by letting slip some crucial details about the Death Note and such. She even mentions “shinigami,” i.e., Japanese gods of death, which L and the detectives immediately reject as too preposterous of a notion after months of working on a case revolving around a Japanese person with the power of a god of death. Excuse me for ten seconds while I howl at the moon in perplexed laughter. Okay, I’m good. Misa meets with Light in secret–since nobody on the team is keeping unceasing watch on their prime murder suspect–and admits to being a complete dipshit and unnecessarily compromising both their positions because she “loves” him. Instead of dropping this crazy bitch like a hot potato, Light, much like L a few minutes ago, does the absolute stupidest thing possible and actually incorporates her into his plans. Rem, Misa’s shinigami stalker, threatens to kill Light if he threatens Misa’s safety, which is exactly what he just did. (PLEASE GOD MAKE IT STOP MAKE IT END HELP ME.) …Anyway, thereafter Misa more or less stumbles into her own conviction, getting herself arrested and turning the plot into Jello pudding. But hold on, dear viewer, we’re on the cusp of some deliciousness you won’t want to miss.


Prepare your taste buds.

You see, only now, fifteen episodes in, do we find out that the Death Note can literally make its owner innocent whenever they want, which is very much the greatest asset any criminal mastermind could ever hope for. Holy shit, this is some of the laziest writing I’ve ever seen. How is this even a fair fight anymore? How is this supposed to be some epic battle of minds? Light has a killer notebook, a shinigami working for him, and an infatuated second Kira at his beck and call, none of which L knows about. This isn’t a duel of intellects; it’s a one-sided clusterfuck. What’s most exasperating is how fucking retarded L insists on being about this. After dealing with clearly supernatural abilities in the biggest case of his life, he honestly believes Misa’s charade (for charade it mostly certainly is, by all practical definition) and buys into her innocence. Why? She was acting guilty as fuck until suddenly she became amnesiac without any trauma or other causes that would lead to such a thing. Wow. How incredibly convenient. Seriously, who the fuck would believe her? Oh, and let’s talk about why Light hasn’t been using this incredibly powerful aspect of the Death Note to mindfuck L and the whole world from day one. It’s not because Light didn’t read the rules from beginning to end when he first got the Death Note. It’s because the writers clearly hadn’t thought of it yet until they realized (again) they had no idea how to get Light out of his current mess. And this is supposed to be one of the best animes ever made?

So Misa is arrested and confined to a torture chamber resembling something out of the Saw franchise, because L is suddenly a sociopath of the third kind or whatever. Hey, Rem. Does this qualify as “endangering Misa”? I think so. Might want to intervene. Which she does, but once again defeating her own stated aims. Misa relinquishes her ownership of the Death Note, which just happens to result in losing one’s memories. No, wait. I’m taking this shit down too. Why the fuck would the Death Note do this? What possible function could it serve for its intended users or designer? No Shinigami would relinquish the ownership of his or her own Death Note willingly, considering it’s the sum of their whole existence and all. I can think of no reason that’s organic to this world as to why this rule/feature would exist. It’s one of the most brazen plot devices I’ve ever encountered. Ugh. I’m getting tired of this horse shit.

As usual, Light concocts an “ingenious” scheme involving ten million moving parts and assumptions that all just happen to go off without a hitch, requiring you to drink another bottle of Jack Daniel’s to keep watching this circus. Ryuk, being the non-metaphorical tool he is, participates in this scheme for no reason instead of just laughing as Light gets his ass handed to him, while Rem continues to let Light take Misa on a rollercoaster that plunges her into more and more danger with each passing step. And of course, nothing in it makes sense, but here’s Light’s Grand Plan. It’s almost as good as Zech Marquis’ Six Pyramids Over Earth:

But God has us all beat in that department.

But God has us all beat in that department.

  1. Ask L to get him to confine him too because he thinks he might be Kira subconsciously.
    • Problem: No one would ever raise an eyebrow over the assertion that Light Yagami’s little noggin is home to both an innocent high-school student and one of the worst serial killers ever, especially when Light has shown no signs of psychological illness in his life.
    • Solution: L is addicted to Stupidia, a fast-acting intelligence inhibitor. Ask your doctor today if it’s right for you.
  2. Relinquish his Death Note while he’s in prison, thus magically becoming innocent.
    • Problem: This is 100% guaranteed to backfire. How weird: both Misa and Light suddenly forget everything about the past few months right as they’re being arrested, then undergo crazy personality shifts. Even more convenient. Not even L would be stupid enough to be fooled by this.
    • Solution: Except he is. Whee.
  3. Have Ryuk give Light’s Death Note to a crazy, unstable businessman in charge of a huge conglomerate.
    • Problem: Bad idea.
    • Solution: None. It’s the goddamn Yotsuba arc.
  4. Hope the unstable businessman keeps killing people so L will have to suspect someone else.
    • Problem: Everything.
    • Solution: Nothing.
  5. Tag along on the investigation to prove his innocence and eventually get a hold of the Death Note at some point once something else happens.
    • Problem: Light is a fucking retard.
    • Solution: Glorious suicide.
  6. Once the Death Note is acquired, Light will revert back to his old self with no cognitive dissonance, somehow deflect suspicion from himself after L has the key to Light’s entire scheme, then trick Rem into killing everyone except him and Misa.
    • Problem: Huh?
    • Solution: What?
  7. Light wins.
    • Problem: Fuck you, Tsugumi Ohba.
    • Solution: Fuck you, Takeshi Obata.

I think we’re at about 7 o’clock here.

Ugh. I mean, I don’t know if I can keep going. Not even Death Note’s most dedicated fans like the Yotsuba arc. It’s hard to understand why when the plot fell apart a dozen episodes ago and things have just kept going via the power of love and friendship, but then you realize that Light actually entrusts his apotheosis to a gibbering madman, who somehow then enlists seven other rational human beings in charge of one of the most powerful corporations on earth to get in on his serial killing rampage. Why? Why wouldn’t they just turn him into the fucking police? What could they possibly get out of being complicit in the high-profile murders of their major rivals and the accomplices of a mass murderer the whole world is looking for? At least the authors had the sense to have some of the Yotsuba group turn on this guy, but they only do it after participating in the scheme for weeks and months. Then suddenly one of them develops scruples at random and decides to back out, upon which the scheme unravels. Guess he was only a part-time sociopath. Time to retire, yo. He wants that social security.

So Light pulls this fuck-all plan off somehow and the team finally gets a hold of the Death Note. This ruins Light now and forever, as it explains everything that has happened from the very beginning, including his convenient amnesia. Light is arrested and…wait. He isn’t? What? Are you serious? Somehow that rule isn’t listed or is just completely ignored? What? Why doesn’t L–

Fuck it. Time to make Billy Joel a liar.


You know the words.

Heroes of the Storm – Tassadar Feedback

I got into the cPRETTY.TASSADARlosed alpha for Heroes of the Storm about two weeks ago. This is the one Blizzard game I’ve been interested in for a while now. I bounce into WoW every now and again to hang out with guild mates, but the game lacks pull to keep me logged in every day. For the past two weeks I’ve been mostly maining Tassadar. I’m close to unlocking Level 10 on him. My plan as the game’s development goes forward is to main Tassadar and Nova and expand out to another support and assassin. In general, the game feels good. It’s quite distinct from LoL’s style. Most pleasant is how anti-snowbally HotS is compared to LoL. Very, very rarely do games feel hopeless. Even if you’re several levels behind, one good team fight can completely turn the game around. It makes playing the game decidedly less miserable than LoL, although not as engaging. I’d say that’s a fair exchange.

Anyway, onto the actual feedback:

Tassadar is designed to be a support/assassin. I put “support” first simply because all his core abilities fulfill that role. You’re not going to do the most damage on your team, but your clutch Q’s can save the day, a well-placed W’s can decimate an enemy team, and a Force Wall or Archon can turn a teamfight in your favor. Regardless, Tassadar always servers to augment his team’s abilities. To be honest, I’m not really sold on calling Tassadar an “assassin” either, unless Blizzard is just using “assassin” as a blank term for “damage dealer,” a nomenclature I deem problematic. Needless to say, there’s a very good reason Tassadar is marked as “Very Hard” on the champion select screen. His base kit is doesn’t seem terribly focused or intuitive, and I think this will make new players shy away from him. It takes time to really grasp what Tassadar can do. What’s worse, a lot of it doesn’t feel very interactive. You throw out shields, you throw out Storms and hope and your enemy stands in them, you cast Oracle at opportune times, and Archon is really just a temporary DPS buff. The most interactive and fun ability he has is Force Wall, which unfortunately feels weak compared to his assassin build.

HotS is built off its talent system, which I won’t take too much time to explain. Any one with a passing familiarity in RPGs or gaming should understand the concept of a talent system. A full list of Tassadar’s talents can be found here. Overall, Tassadar’s talent choices after his latest rework don’t feel particularly compelling. As you’ll see below, most of his tiers have one or two good talents that crowd out the rest. Talent trees have always been haunted by the specter of opportunity cast. It’s just as important to consider what you’re going to give up as much as what you’re going to get from a talent. As such, on Tassadar you really know what you’re going to pick beforehand, so long as you’ve decided on which path to proceed down.

Tier 1:

  • Conjurer’s Pursuit – due a lack of options, this is mandatory for a support-build Tassadar. You’ll be spamming out spells as much as you can. Having a steady amount of regen is vital on a champion as mana-hungry as Tassadar is. You have to be pretty proactive about building up your regen, though, which I like. It doesn’t come necessarily for free.
  • Overload – useless talent due to Psi-Infusion.  Scrap it and provide something more for assassin-Tassdar, or change other talents to make it more attractive. A simple increase to Psionic Storm’s range serves no real purpose, as nine times out of ten your enemies will walk out of it, and that tenth time you need the range to snipe a target means you’ve done something wrong. Given that this talent is taken significantly more often than Psi-Infusion, yet gives the same win-rate, I rest my case.
  • Psi-Infusion – very good for assassin Tassadar, largely for the same reasons as Conjurer’s Pursuit. You need to hit 9 targets to really break even with it, but it saves you a ton of mana nonetheless and allows you to lane and team fight without worrying about going OOM quickly.
  • Minion Bulwark – absolutely useless. Scrap it and provide something more for support Tassadar. There are a handful of times where I’ve ever even thought about using my shield on a minion, and it’s almost always been a waste of mana.

Tier 2:

  • Mental Acuity – my default talent on any build. Frankly, this tier doesn’t have very many options. Oracle is a key component of Tassadar’s presence, and being able to cast it twice as often offers near unrivaled utility.
  • Leeching Plasma – this talent might be good if you’re paired with a tank or such, but it’s usefulness seems pretty situational. I don’t pick it too often.
  • Promote – Terrible. This game is not minion-focused whatsoever. Scrap it.
  • Healing Ward – can heal allies for 33% of their health if they stand in it for 10 seconds. I guess that’s not awful, but really, why would I take this?
  • Reinforce Structure – borderline useless. Borderline OP on Haunted Mines. This talent alone has won games for me on that map, particularly if the enemy team gets a stronger golem. However, this is entirely due to the golem’s behavior. The counterargument is that other talents in this tier can help you prevent that situation from even happening, so there’s not a very strong argument for it. Needs a buff or rework.

Tier 3:

  • Khala’s Embrace – Default talent on support Tassadin. An extra few hundred health everywhere you or your allies go is always useful. Synergizes well with other talents too, and makes sure shield absorbs do not get wasted ever. Very good talent.
  • Static Charge – default talent on assassin Tassadar. Greatly increases his DPS output and provides some much needed interactivity to his playstyle. Good talent.
  • Deep Shift – useless. Scrap it. You use your E to dodge abilities or break out of roots and such. Its duration is secondary. At no point can I think an extra 0.75 seconds would be worth it compared to the other talents in this tree.
  • Calldown: MULE. People were calling this talent OP somewhere, but I really, really don’t see it. You just snipe the thing down, and 100 HPS cannot counteract a full team push. Maybe I’m missing something.

Tier 4:

  • Archon – core talent for assassin Tassadar, but, frankly, a really boring one. It’s a DPS buff, as I said above. You get some juicy damage output for a few seconds, and data says it’s far more effective than Force Wall in winning games, yet that’s also a factor of sheer popularity.
  • Force Wall – core talent for support Tassadar. Can make or break teamfights. Has saved my ass countless times. Best ability Tassadar has in his arsenal as far as fun and feel goes. Effectiveness is suspect, though. I think it needs a buff.

Tier 5:

  • Distortion Beam – my default talent on either Tassadar build. A 25% slow is such good utility it’s almost impossible to resist.
  • Presence – mediocre talent. See Deep Shift. It’s some convenient grace, but that’s about it. The flipside is that Dimensional Shift effectively silences you, so it can trigger at inopportune times.
  • Scryer – mediocre talent. I don’t see what it really adds. Evasive Shielding fulfills this roll in the talent tree.
  • Spell Shield – no one takes this. There’s a good reason why.
  • Shrink Ray – the anti-assassin talent. It’s not bad. It’s not great, but it’s not bad.

Tier 6:

  • Evasive Shielding. Awesome talent for support Tassadin. Don’t change this.
  • Resonation – meh. A slight slow that doesn’t really do much. Scrap it.
  • Second Strike – a free Psychic Storm every cast greatly multiplies the effectiveness of the ability.
  • Dimensional Warp – why? Again, Dimensional Shift is something you want to be using as little as possible.

Tier 7:

  • Resurgence of the Storm – bullshit talent. I predict Blizzard will delete this talent soon. No MOBA has ever made a generally available instant-revive component work. It’s either useless or broken beyond belief. Right now it’s the latter.
  • Storm Shield – no one takes this.
  • Twilight Archon – everyone takes this.
  • Force Barrier – makes Force Barrier easy to use. I think the range should be baked into Force Wall and the talent given another component.

Current State and recommendations:

Tassadar’s support side needs some buffs. Right now everyone seems to go assassin Tassadar, and I think the reason is the same one behind his recent nerfs: he doesn’t give up much to do damage, so why would you go support unless you’re overloaded on damage already? Tassadar support needs to bring a little more active and reliable utility to the battlefield. Until Level 20, Force Wall is hard to use due to its short range, and Oracle is great but very, very passive and boring. On the other side of the spectrum, assassin Tassadar needs more flavor and some toning down to give support Tassadar room to shine, namely some tradeoffs for his damage.

Suggested talent changes. These are brainstorming ideas, nothing more. They are not meant to be taken too seriously:

Tier 1:

  • Minion Bulwark replaced with Khala’s Wisdom – If your shield is consumed with X seconds or expires without absorbing any damage, Y(%) of the mana cost is refunded.
    • Do you want to go for long-term mana regeneration for more general utility, or shield heavy for support Tassadar? It at least offers a potential decision, as opposed to now.

Tier 2:

  • Leeching Plasma (active talent) – Tassadar converts X of his remaining shield into Y stored damage that will be dealt by his next basic attack. This damage can stack up to Z, but will be lost if not used within A seconds.
    • Such a component would add some interactivity to his damage build and force you to make decisions on whether to risk your shield for burst. It would also tone down his innate utility by motivating him to shield himself over his allies.
  • Reinforce Structure – Reinforce Structure now reduces damage taken by the building by X% for Y seconds.
    • Gives the talent some added value. It might not save the talent, but it’s at least something.

Tier 3:

  • Deep Shift replaced with Dimensional Distortion – Deep Shift costs no mana and stuns enemies around you for Y seconds upon exiting it.
    • Allows Deep Shift to be used offensively, and makes the other Deep Shift-themed talents more appealing. Could also consider a cooldown reduction element instead of a mana cost one.

Tier 4:

  • Force Wall – make Force Barrier’s range increase baseline; nerf Force Wall’s baseline duration to compensate.

Tier 5:

  • Scryer – No longer gives increased duration. Casting Scryer grants X% movement speed to yourself and all allied champions in its initial cast range for Y seconds. Enemy champions revealed by Oracle are visible for Z seconds even if they leave Oracle’s range.
    • By making Scryer an active speed boost to your teammates, it makes the spell a little more interactive.

Tier 6:

  • Resonation – reduces Psionic Storm’s duration/damage by X%, but enemies struck by Psionic Storm are rooted for Y seconds.
    • Y would have to be brief, but making Psionic Storm a brief root or stun would add some reliability to spell and make Overload a much more attractive talent. As a tradeoff, its duration or damage would be reduced.

Tier 7:

  • Force Barrier – Force Wall’s cooldown is reduced by X seconds and its duration is increased by Y seconds.

Despite all of this feedback, Tassadar is a pretty fun champion, one I look forward to making one of my support mains as the game progresses towards release.

Sword Art Online II – 24

Oh SILLY.KILL-ME-NOWmy God. Oh my Goooood. Oh my God the Father, the Son, and the fucking Holy Spirit. This finale sucked so fucking bad. It was a full 24 minutes of boring-ass dialogue coupled with as much cliched Sadomasochistic Japanese Tragedy Porn as possible. I don’t think there were ten straight, unbroken seconds of silence in the episode. Just taaaaaaaaaaaalking and taaaaaaaaaaaaaalking and even more taaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalking. No pacing, no style, no grace anywhere in the whole thing. And the tears. Geezus H. Christmas. WE GET IT. IT’S SAD. CRY SOME MORE. There is such a thing as overdoing it, and boy, did they forget that was true. They ripped the fuck out of any emotional weight of Yuuki’s death, then burned it on a pyre of dry, dead cliches. There wasn’t even an actual funeral scene. To top it all off, “Mother’s Rosario” turned out to have absolutely no meaning. It’s just the name of a sword skill. What the fuck is this bullshit? Can anime deliver on anything it sets up these days?

Also, I also need to get this shit off my chest: “gambaru” is the worst verb ever invented. Japan, stop this shit right now. Stop talking yourself into enduring everything because it’s too hard or annoying to change things. “Gambaru” is fucking bullshit. You don’t work yourself into fixing everything. All it does is justify unnecessary suffering and pain and let problems go completely unsolved. You don’t need to take a girl’s tragic death, even a fictional one, and use it as subtle collective reinforcement of your society’s superficial mantra. Yuuki’s death was a tragedy that should never have happened in the first place, but instead of taking people to task on messing up a blood transfusion or something, somehow everything worked out okay in the end for most people. Well, that makes this even carry even more weight then! Awesome! How am I supposed to believe Yuuki’s death really meant that much to Asuna if everything is sunshine and rainbows literally five seconds later? Real people don’t get over shit that quickly, or even at all. Adding a few thousand words of overmusing on the situation doesn’t amount to anything either, Japan. You’ve done this a billion fucking times before and it’s all so goddamn hollow. Stuff like Evangelion strikes far truer and deeper into the human psyche than this crap. Hell, the Fate/ series does better at philosophy than this shit. In fact, I’m think I’m going to watch that now so I’ll stop feeling like a desiccated corpse.

Tl;dr, Sword Art Online is a fucking terrible anime and it always has been. Spoilers galore there. What a complete waste of time.

Sword Art Online II – 23

So that’s how Asuna geSILLY.WAVE-OF-NOSTALGIAts her mom to stop being a bitch: a nostalgia trip. Which begs of the question of where and when in the past few episodes (amidst all the emotional turmoil of Yuuki’s situation) did Asuna have the time to create this tiny sanctum that represents a major part of her life and psyche, one we’ve never seen before? I mean, had this been a more regular theme of Asuna’s home and virtual experience that she kept going back to without much explanation, I might have found this “reveal” to be more moving, but it just seemed so random that it took me out of the moment. Anyway, now Asuna’s mom understands her kid a bit more because she took LITERALLY five minutes out of her time to listen to her for once. Did anybody else laugh at this part too? Communication solves problems between human beings? No fucking way.

I mean, the rest of the episode was okay, I guess, but I think I missed something, or it’s just that I’m not terribly into the story at this point. This is a lesson about pacing and why telegraphing stuff only works in certain situations and contexts. Yuuki’s terrible, terrible plight has been hanging over everyone’s heads for so long that it’s worn out its welcome. We get it: she’s stuck in a horrible situation and is making the most out of it. Gambaru and all that. It’s not working, Kawahara Reki. Yuuki seems like just another tool in this story’s box of cliches, a means to resolve Asuna’s own character arc with some token sympathy tropes to tug at your heartstrings. It all comes across as way too utilitarian to me, not to mention how much these episodes have just dragged on and on. One of the most annoying traits of B-grade anime writers is their incredibly bad habit of just throwing in ten tons of dialog if they can’t figure out what else to fill their scenes with (Log Horizon is even worse at this than SAO, somehow). Did we really need another talking episode to explain everything? Did these people not learn the lesson of show, don’t tell back in writing school? This arc could have been half as long and been just as effective. Better idea: we could have shaved off those three useless Viking episodes and spent more time developing this shit with proper pacing, focus, and tone. I might have said this before, but I think one of the worst accusations that can be made against a writer is sheer laziness. I’m no Stephen King, but if can spend five minutes and come up with very basic adjustments that would significantly improve the quality of the writing, it’s fucking bad writing. Shows like Stand Alone Complex demonstrate you can make twenty minutes of nonstop dialog effective, dramatic, and gripping, but there has to be a method to the madness. SAO is all the latter, and it’s not particularly fun madness at that.

At least next week this nightmare will finally be over. I’m sure the soulless anime industry will crank out something equally placid and unremarkable to take its place forthwith. I can’t wait. (The previous sentence is all lies.)