Slow Down.

May. 25th, 2017 03:51 pm
rionaleonhart: harry potter: extremely poorly-drawn dumbledore fleeing and yelling NOOOOOOOOO. (NOOOOOOOOO)
It is time for a post about JAPANESE REALITY TELEVISION, because God knows my journal could do with being less accessible. I have watched all forty-six episodes of Terrace House: Boys & Girls in the City. I'm very sorry.

Terrace House is a Japanese reality series in which six young people share a house: three boys, three girls. It's not quite Big Brother. There's no competition element, and they're not locked in the house; they can go freely about their daily lives. So you're essentially just watching some people living normally in a shared house. Very little actually happens. It's bizarrely compelling.

There's a rotating cast; if one person moves out, someone else will move in. Below the cut I will write up my thoughts on all of the housemates. Spoilers for the entirety of Terrace House: Boys & Girls in the City.

I'm making this entry and nobody can stop me.


Terrace House: Boys & Girls in the City )


Well, I definitely just typed 1,500 words on the Japanese equivalent of Big Brother. Excellent work, me.

Anyway, if you want to inflict this on yourself, it's on Netflix.
rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
I played Gone Home! Spoilers under the cut. (If you're planning to play it, it's best to do it unspoiled.)


Spoilers for Gone Home. )


I think my favourite part of the game may have been The Menstrual Cycle: A Novella. Truly a masterpiece.
rionaleonhart: kingdom hearts: riku, blindfolded and smiling slightly. (we'll be the darkness)
Still immensely enjoying Tales of the Abyss! This entry has spoilers up to Grand Chokmah (which, incidentally, is an absurdly beautiful city).


Tales of the Abyss spoilers. )


I notice this entry is entirely about Luke and Guy. Sorry, other characters; I like you too! These two just happen to have a lot I enjoy in their dynamic.
rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
My response to running out of Higurashi, apparently, was to write a heavily Higurashi-inspired Final Fantasy XV fic. This is horrible and I apologise sincerely for it.


Title: When the Cockatrice Cries
Fandom: Final Fantasy XV
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: 4,200
Summary: Something is wrong with Prompto's friends. Something is seriously wrong. He's starting to feel he might not be safe around them.
Warnings: Psychological horror, sexual threat.


When the Cockatrice Cries )
rionaleonhart: harry potter: extremely poorly-drawn dumbledore fleeing and yelling NOOOOOOOOO. (NOOOOOOOOO)
I've run out of Higurashi! There are three remaining instalments, and they exist - they were first released just over a decade ago - but they have yet to be re-released on Steam with better art and a fresh translation. So I suppose I'm just going to have to live in suspense until they come out at... some unknown point in the future. Why did I become so invested in this story?

I'm deeply sad that 'Meakashi' didn't have an all-cast review session. Keiichi never got to attend the game afterparties because he didn't have character art, and when he finally does get character art there's no afterparty!


Spoilers for Higurashi: Meakashi (and Tatarigoroshi). )


This is so frustrating! Usually, when I run out of an in-progress work of fiction I'm enjoying, I can tide myself over until the next release by reading fanfiction, or writing fanfiction, or poking through reactions online. But I can't write fanfiction when there are so many mysteries I don't know the answers to, and any existing fanworks or online discussions will be ridden with spoilers for later games. So I've played through fifty hours of this series and suddenly hit a brick wall.

In any case, this is a fine addition to my increasingly worrying collection of videogames about teenagers being horribly traumatised.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy xii: fran glares; tremble with fear! (don't cross me)
'Imagine that your favourite cosplay is stripped entirely naked because of your stupid desire. Now, think! If you take all of their clothes off, that's not cosplay anymore, is it?! That sort of video is rampant lately! It's just lamentable! Humans without clothes aren't civilised, they're animals! If only naked girls excited you, you'd be a pack of dogs.'

Direct quote from Higurashi: When They Cry. This is a game about murder.

I love that Keiichi steps in in an attempt to save Shion and then goes '????? I've just realised this is a genuinely dangerous situation and I have no idea what I'm doing!' Keiichi, you're hopeless.

(I'm so used to being inside Keiichi's head! It's weird to see him from the perspective of a different character.)

I'm around chapter twelve of instalment five, 'Meakashi', and by this point it would probably make most sense to finish playing before posting an entry, but TOO BAD; I have a lot to say and I'm posting an entry right now.


Spoilers for Higurashi: Meakashi. )


I suppose this is making up nicely for the fourth instalment being insufficiently horrifying, at least.
rionaleonhart: okami: amaterasu is startled. (NOT SO FAST)
Here is an entry of bullet points, because today I have nothing to say that exceeds a paragraph.


- I'm a little further in Tales of the Abyss, and GUY CECIL IS SUCH A GOOD FRIEND. I want to be friends with Guy Cecil. Sadly, his phobia of being touched by women presents an obstacle to hugging, but other than that I think we could get along pretty well. (I'd have to accept that Luke would always be his priority, of course, but it would be unreasonable of me to grumble when his fondness for Luke is the reason I want to be friends with him in the first place.)

- Verdict on the fourth instalment of Higurashi, 'Himatsubushi': NO KEIICHI, TERRIBLE INSTALMENT. I'm here to fondly watch Keiichi suffer, Higurashi! I signed up for psychological horror and teenagers internally collapsing, not cop drama!

- There's also a sad lack of Keiichi in instalment five ('Meakashi') so far, but at least it's got the 'teenagers internally collapsing' aspect (and Keiichi's name appeared in the puzzling opening credits that only actually credited fictional characters, rather than any real people, so I suspect he'll show up later on). 'Meakashi' also contains a version of a song I listened to a lot nine years ago, and it was incredibly disconcerting to hear it in context and go 'wait, I recognise that tune'; I'd forgotten Higurashi was the original source! It was like seeing Troy bring pizza into the burning room in Community and going WAIT, I'VE SEEN THIS GIF.

- Recently, I watched the first episode of a Ukrainian crime drama entitled THE SNIFFER, about a man who solves crime with his superhuman sense of smell. It contains, you'll be pleased to hear, intense CGI sequences where he draws in a deep breath at the crime scene and all the smells swirl and scurry around, forming a picture of what happened there. The killer was trying to quit smoking. He was wearing a nicotine patch; it was on his right arm. A whirlwind of scent surrounds you. There's so much blood in the air. If a cat enters the room, you will have an allergic reaction so strong you won't be able to leave your flat for three days. Your wife left you long ago; your son is involved in drug dealing. Why were you cursed with this incredible nose?

- (I said I wasn't playing Higurashi for cop drama, but I'd definitely play an instalment in which THE SNIFFER tried to get to the bottom of the mysterious happenings in the village.)

- A recent dream I somehow failed to record here: I dreamt I met Sherlock Holmes as played by Benedict Cumberbatch and he declared with ferocious pride that he had ‘all the penises’, and he stripped off his trousers and pants in one motion to reveal he had a cluster of one big penis surrounded by lots of tiny penises, and I woke up feeling incredibly troubled.
rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
I haven't touched Doctor Who for a few years; I realised early in the Twelfth Doctor's era that I'd stopped enjoying it, and I didn't want to end up grumbling constantly while everyone else was trying to have fun. (The Twelfth Doctor never stood much of a chance, to be honest, because Matt Smith is the Doctor in my heart. Perhaps even more so than Christopher Eccleston, who was the Doctor who introduced me to Doctor Who.)

But I thought it might be interesting to watch the new companion's debut, because 'it's a new companion!' episodes tend to take someone living an ordinary life and plonk them down in the middle of intense weirdness, which is something I enjoy watching.

So I watched 'The Pilot'. And it was fun! I enjoyed an episode of Doctor Who! I'm excited about this!


Notes on Doctor Who, 'The Pilot'. )


Maybe I'll give the next few episodes a try. Even if Peter Capaldi continues, inconsiderately, not to be Matt Smith.
rionaleonhart: kingdom hearts: sora, riku and kairi having a friendly chat. (and they returned home)
Jade: Well, well, Luke. A lovely lady on each arm?
Tear: I... I'm not... We're not...
Luke: He's not talking about you. He must mean Anise and Mieu.

Luke, you little shit.

Tales of the Abyss is so charming! It won me over very quickly. It reminds me a little of Bravely Default, actually, what with all the optional ridiculous conversations between your party members.

I'm curious about the fact that Guy is apparently in the habit of creeping through Luke's bedroom window to chat and fleeing before anyone else spots him there.

Below the cut are my thoughts on the first eight hours of Tales of the Abyss! I'm just past Chesedonia.


Early impressions of Tales of the Abyss. )


I'm excited to see where this story is going! But I'm much more excited to see what stupid conversations my party members are going to have next.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy xiii: lightning pays intense attention to you. (speak carefully)
The final boss of Final Fantasy VI was a nightmare. He kept killing people in one hit! He kept muting my entire party, and I was quickly running out of items to cure it! (It's possible I didn't prepare very well.) I was convinced for a while that I was going to lose, and I'd have to fight through that entire sequence of pre-final-boss bosses again. But I made it! If the fight had gone on for a couple more minutes, I'd have been doomed.

So, yes, I finished Final Fantasy VI! I'm fairly certain I snapped this game up when it first became available in the UK, back in early 2002, so it took me, er, fifteen years and two copies. But I got there! And I wrote a fic, so revisiting this game was a highly successful endeavour. Even if it landed me with a new rarepair.

(At the ending, on the airship, there's a bit where Edgar tries to flirt with Celes, and she walks off to stand next to Sabin instead. I'M JUST SAYING.)

I'm starting to spot a pattern in some of my pairings: two people are part of the same group of friends. They're not close friends - they don't necessarily spend time alone together - but they move in the same circles. The group goes through some major, traumatic experiences. These two find themselves isolated, with only each other, having lost contact with the rest of their friends. I start 'shipping it immediately. It happened with Celes/Sabin, and with Mike/Sam in Until Dawn. I think my fondness for Hope/Serah in Final Fantasy XIII-2 comes from the same place; they're not alone, but they've lost touch with everyone who really knows what they've been through.

Even if Celes/Sabin is what really caught my attention on this playthrough, I also have a slight fondness for Celes/Locke, and Celes/Terra, and Leo/Terra, and everyone just cuddling in a big pile, including the yeti.

I've criticised some aspects of this game, but it has a huge amount of charm. The cast is delightful, and the tiny sprites are surprisingly expressive, and the battle system is one of the best from the ATB era; all the different battle abilities do mean that characters have wildly varying levels of usefulness, but they also make things varied and fun!

My preferred team was Celes, Locke, Edgar and Sabin, although I'd have swapped Edgar out for Terra if I wanted it to be a team of my four favourite characters. The Tools function was too useful to give up! Plus I liked the idea of the brothers fighting side by side.

Celes is the best. I wouldn't have stood a chance without her in the final battle.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy viii: found a draw point! no one can draw... (you're a terrible artist)
A handful of people have been doing this AO3 stats meme, and I thought I'd attempt it myself, in celebration of the fact that the fifty-two works on my AO3 account have just reached 100,000 collective hits!

I'm sort of awed by that figure. Obviously the actual number of readers will be considerably lower: some people will have read a few different fics, some might have read the same fic a couple of times, the hits on my few chaptered fics will mostly be people coming back to see new chapters. But I was writing and posting fanfiction for well over a decade before I started posting to AO3 in 2013, so, when I think about it, the number of people who've read something I've written probably is in six figures.

That's slightly terrifying. I didn't realise, until AO3 and its hit counters, that the potential audience for fanfiction was so big.

If I could see a glow around everyone who'd read my fanfiction, how often would I pass glowing people in the street?

ANYWAY. STATISTICS.


My top fives on AO3! )


My bottom fic, by all three metrics, is my most recent: a little thing like the end of the world (Final Fantasy VI, Celes/Sabin), with a whopping seven hits and one kudos. (I was SO EXCITED when I got the kudos, four days after I posted it.) It's for a rarepair in a twenty-three-year-old videogame, so, to be honest, this isn't a huge surprise.

(I considered listing out the bottom five for hits, kudos and bookmarks, but it made me too sad! Unsurprisingly, most of them are for fandoms that are no longer active, or are crossovers between fandoms that don't have a lot of audience overlap.)
rionaleonhart: harry potter: extremely poorly-drawn dumbledore fleeing and yelling NOOOOOOOOO. (NOOOOOOOOO)
'An empty classroom... with nobody here. Maybe while no one was around... the desks crept about of their own accord, licking the floors clean of dirt. If I suddenly stepped into a place like that... would the desks, in their surprise, fly at me, crush my bones, and eat me alive...?'

?????????

In related news, I've finished the third instalment of Higurashi: When They Cry!


Spoilers for Higurashi: Tatarigoroshi. )


In conclusion, ??????????
rionaleonhart: final fantasy x-2: the sun is rising, yuna looks to the future. (Default)
'If I were to liken her statements to a meal, it would be sort of like... she'd just tried to stuff a whole plate of duck into my mouth, and now I couldn't say anything.'

Er, Keiichi, are you all right? Are you hungry? That's a bit of an odd analogy, there.

I've been playing the third Higurashi instalment, Tatarigoroshi! I'm in chapter eight, I think.


Spoilers up to chapter eight of Higurashi: Tatarigoroshi. )


There's a surprising warmth at the core of Higurashi, and I think that's the reason it works. It could easily have been about horrible people doing horrible things to each other, and I wouldn't have cared. But instead it's about friends who genuinely love and care about each other, and who nonetheless find themselves doing horrible things to each other, and that means I care a lot.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy versus xiii: a young woman at night, her back to you, the moon high above. (nor women neither)
I didn't think I'd actually write this! I've never even attempted Final Fantasy VI fanfiction before. If you'd told me a fortnight ago I was about to write Celes/Sabin, I'd have asked whether you were sure.

Sorry about the pretentious lowercase title. It just seemed like a title that demanded pretentious lowercase.


Title: a little thing like the end of the world
Fandom: Final Fantasy VI
Rating: light R
Pairing: Celes/Sabin
Wordcount: 1,600
Summary: Celes and Sabin, together in the wreckage.


a little thing like the end of the world )
rionaleonhart: final fantasy xii: fran glares; tremble with fear! (don't cross me)
If I were in charge of a remake of Final Fantasy VI, I'd cut the playable cast down substantially. I like the playable characters, but there are just too many of them for the plot to feel focused. The story of Final Fantasy VI would work perfectly well with just Terra, Locke, Celes, Edgar and Sabin in the party. And possibly Setzer, for the airship. And - and General Leo. Look, I'm in charge and General Leo is the best. I'd forgotten how much I liked him.

I can see that you sort of need a huge number of playable characters for the World of Ruin to work, though. If there are too few party members, it'll become tricky for the player to find enough to assemble a viable party.

I'd also make big changes to the feeding-fish-to-Cid bit. It admirably conveys the misery and monotony of being trapped on a tiny post-apocalyptic island, I suppose, but it's horrendous game design on about six different levels. (I saved Cid this time! The first time, I had no idea what I was doing and ended up running back and forth for what felt like a thousand years, catching fish indiscriminately and going 'when is this fishing going to end?' until he eventually died of food poisoning.) And I'd reduce the game's ridiculous encounter rate. I was so happy when I finally got a relic to bring it down.

Okay, that's enough nitpicking, because there's a lot I like about this game as well!

When I started this replay, I thought 'maybe I'll finally establish whether Celes or Sabin is my favourite character!' and instead I've ended up torn between three favourite characters: Celes, Sabin and Leo. Although Sabin definitely earned strong points with his 'Did you think a little thing like the end of the world was gonna do me in?' line; it was a timely reminder that life and hope and humour can be found in the darkest of situations, and it made me smile.

I was so happy that Sabin was the first person I found in the World of Ruin. CELES AND SABIN: THE PERFECT PARTY. It's just as well I love these two, because it's taking me a while to track down anyone else. Inevitably, I now want fanfiction about Celes and Sabin slipping into a strange, sad physical relationship while they cross the ruined world in search of others.

I can't say Celes/Sabin is a pairing that's ever occurred to me before, but maybe the fact it's not an obvious pairing is what makes the concept interesting. It appeals to me in the same way Sam/Mike from Until Dawn does: under normal circumstances, they'd never look at each other in that way, but the circumstances are so far from normal. It's another living, breathing person, and that's suddenly become so precious.
rionaleonhart: okami: amaterasu is startled. (NOT SO FAST)
I've finished the second Higurashi instalment, Watanagashi! My thoughts are under the cut.


Spoilers for Higurashi: Watanagashi. )


My favourite part of the Higurashi games might actually be the full-cast party at the end of each one, where all the characters gather together to celebrate finishing the game and discuss the story as if they're actors in it. It's a nice way to make everything feel a little less dark. Keiichi is so affronted that all these terrible things keep happening to him.
rionaleonhart: the last of us: joel and ellie look out at the ruined horizon. (lot of ground to cover)
I have no idea why Dreamwidth apparently has an 'anonymously buy two months of paid time for a random stranger' function, but I'm certainly not complaining! Thank you so much, unknown donor! I wonder whether you know who received the time. (If you do, I'm sorry that I took a few days to post an entry of thanks! I hope you see this.)

My immediate reaction was 'oh, man, I've got so much icon space! This time I'm definitely going to address my shortage of cheerful and friendly icons, rather than just filling up all the space with smug icons I'll never have cause to use.' And then I immediately uploaded some smug icons. I just can't stop myself.


I'm five hours into the second Higurashi instalment, Watanagashi; I've just played through the night before the festival. My main thought on this instalment so far: Higurashi, you can't take my weakness for psychological meltdowns and combine it with my weakness for weird romance! That's just unsporting!


Spoilery notes on the first half of Higurashi Ch. 2: Watanagashi. )


I'm not feeling the spark of writing inspiration for Higurashi, but I sort of hope I do at some point, because I increasingly want to write some weird, complicated Keiichi/Mion. To be honest, though, it's probably more likely that I'll end up writing Higurashi AUs for all my other fandoms, rather than fanfiction for Higurashi itself. Prompto becomes convinced that all his friends want him dead! He still loves them, but he's increasingly terrified of them! It's great! (By 'great', I mean 'horrible'.)
rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
I've finished Onikakushi, the first instalment of Higurashi: When They Cry! It is extremely troubling. It also contains, I suspect, the most dramatic Cup Noodle purchase scene in the history of fiction. Here are my spoiler-filled notes.


Spoilers for Higurashi: Onikakushi. )


That was an adventure! A horrible adventure. And of course I've got the next few instalments lurking threateningly on my computer, so I'll have to brace myself and start the second part at some point.
rionaleonhart: harry potter: extremely poorly-drawn dumbledore fleeing and yelling NOOOOOOOOO. (NOOOOOOOOO)
[personal profile] batman: I've been playing Higurashi: When They Cry! It's about teenagers descending into paranoia and murdering each other and - where are you going?
Steam: Please confirm your purchase.

Higurashi is a game I became vaguely aware of some time ago. I thought 'huh, that sounds potentially interesting, maybe I should check it out' and Googled it and was instantly put off by the character art. But, fortunately for my shallow side (and the worrying side of me that can never resist a story about paranoid, murderous teenagers), there's now an official Steam release where the art has been redrawn!

Maybe 'game' isn't the right word; there doesn't seem to be any actual gameplay. It's a visual novel without narrative choices. (It calls itself a 'sound novel', but there are still graphics and visual novels still have sound, so I have no idea what the difference between a sound novel and a visual novel is.) I'm going to call it a game anyway, for convenience's sake.

I was expecting Higurashi to take a moment to introduce the characters and then jump straight into the horrible things, much like Dangan Ronpa, which wastes no time in going 'here's the cast, here's the horrible situation you're in, here's the horrible thing you'll have to do if you want to get out of it.' But three hours passed, and nothing horrible had happened yet; I'd just been watching Keiichi play silly games with his friends. And at some point, I suddenly realised, I'd shifted from impatient 'when are the murders going to start happening?' to 'oh, no, this is cute, I don't actually want everyone to be miserable.'

Too bad. Four hours in, everything became miserable. I knew exactly what I was signing up for, and yet there was still a part of me going 'MAYBE IT'S FINE, MAYBE IT'S JUST GOING TO BE A CUTE DATING SIM.'

([personal profile] batman pointed out that Keiichi seems to think he's in a dating sim at first, and I immediately felt awful for him. If only!)

I don't know what Keiichi looks like, and for some reason my mental image of him is close to Hajime Hinata of Super Dangan Ronpa 2. I love Hinata, so just that inexplicable mental image automatically doubles my fondness for Keiichi. Enjoy your unearned affection, Keiichi. I'm sure it makes up for all your traumatic experiences.

The Dangan Ronpa series is still the gold standard for visual novels about murderous teenagers, and Higurashi is highly unlikely to seize its crown. If you're looking for a teenage murder mystery on Steam, get Danganronpa instead. (Or there's Danganronpa 1 + 2 Reload, now available for PS4! I swear I don't work for Spike Chunsoft.) But Higurashi is certainly holding my interest. I might make a less vague entry when I've played a little further; right now, things have only just started to go downhill.
rionaleonhart: legend of korra: korra cocks an eyebrow, looking smug. (we shall see)
This is a bit of an odd one. I wouldn't have expected a prison AU to be the sort of thing I'd write for this fandom. But then I saw this prompt on the kinkmeme, and somehow this happened. It takes wild liberties with both magic and prisons.

(I entirely failed to hit any of the 'bonus points if' details on the prompt. Whoops. The prompter was a good sport about it, though.)


Title: Deserving
Fandom: Final Fantasy XV
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: 4,500
Summary: Prison AU. Noctis, Ignis and Gladio are all serving time. When they realise Prompto doesn't belong there, they band together to break him out.
Warnings: Although this is an AU, it does contain Final Fantasy XV spoilers. It also contains hints of sexual threat.


Deserving )