rionaleonhart: okami: amaterasu is startled. (NOT SO FAST)
Another My Little Pony: Equestria Girls film came out when I wasn't looking! I came across it when scrolling through Netflix, crowed with laughter, and then (inevitably) watched it.

Legend of Everfree pretty decisively sank Twilight Sparkle/Flash Sentry, which I'm sad about, because I'm the only person on the planet who genuinely enjoyed that romance subplot. Their interactions were really cute!

Also, I'm fascinated by the potential dynamic between Flash Sentry and always-a-human Twilight Sparkle.

For those who haven't seen the Equestria Girls films, i.e. most sensible people: there's 'our' Twilight Sparkle, the pony, who takes human form when she crosses to the Equestria Girls parallel universe, but there's also human Twilight Sparkle, Twilight's counterpart in that parallel universe. So there are two Twilight Sparkles, and the one Flash Sentry first met was the pony one (although he didn't know she was usually a pony at the time). Pony Twilight Sparkle, the one Flash knew (and had an oddly cute semi-romantic dynamic with, bearing in mind that he is a teenage boy and SHE IS A PONY) has now returned to her dimension; Human Twilight Sparkle has recently appeared on the scene.

Early in Legend of Everfree, we get this scene between Flash Sentry and Human Twilight Sparkle:

Flash Sentry: (hands Twilight her backpack) Here you go, Twilight.
Twilight Sparkle: Thanks. It's... Flash, right?
Flash Sentry: Yup, that's me! (remembers that this... isn't actually the Twilight Sparkle he knows, crap) And you're you. And... we don't know each other very well. (turns away and mutters to himself) Cool story, bro.
Twilight Sparkle: Right. I guess I'll... see you around.
(Flash leaves. Twilight looks helplessly at Sunset for an explanation.)
Sunset Shimmer: You know how there's that girl who looks just like you when she's here, but lives in another dimension, and she's a pony princess?
Twilight Sparkle: Uh-huh.
Sunset Shimmer: Flash kind of had a thing for her.
Twilight Sparkle: Oh.

The stranger the relationship dynamic, the more a pairing tends to appeal to me, and I already thought Twilight Sparkle/Flash Sentry was pretty cute. How could I resist the added weirdness of pairing Flash Sentry up with a different version of Twilight Sparkle when he still had feelings for the first version?

But then Human Twilight Sparkle went off and got a crush on SOME ARSEHOLE (I really didn't get along with Timber Spruce), and Flash Sentry was advised to get over the girl who is separated from him by dimensional barriers and also a pony, and I was deeply disappointed. I wanted weird, slightly unhealthy romance built on a foundation of 'I have a crush on an alternate-universe version of you'! Yes, all right, perhaps it wouldn't be terribly appropriate for a colourful children's film, but it would be interesting!

There's a part of me that actually wants to write 'I'm pining after your pony counterpart, we should definitely get together, this is a fantastic basis for a relationship' Flash Sentry/Human Twilight Sparkle fanfiction. It would be incredibly regrettable. I will try not to write this, but I can make no promises.

This is the worst entry I've ever made. I'm so sorry.
rionaleonhart: red dead redemption: john marston reloads sexily (debatable). (just gonna reload while talkin' to you)
Embarrassingly, I can't stop listening to 'Theme of King JJ', the song that JJ skates to in Yuri on Ice. At first I just went 'oh, my God, this is the most hilariously arrogant thing I've ever heard, I must listen to it fully to get a better idea of the ridiculous lyrics,' and by now I actually dance along to it while I listen. I LOOK IN THE MIRROR, THE KING LOOKS BACK AT ME. I'M BRAVE ENOUGH TO FIGHT THE ENEMIES.

Then again, I've been nostalgically listening to a lot of Linkin Park lately, so this might actually be an improvement.

(I typed this and then went back to dramatically mouthing along to 'Leave Out All the Rest', whoops. SAVE ME, KING JJ.)

In honour of my terrible taste in music, I've titled this entry with a line that could plausibly come from either 'Theme of King JJ' or a particularly angst-fraught Linkin Park song (it's the former).


I've been replaying Uncharted 4: A Thief's End recently. I like it more than the first Uncharted, but I definitely love the second and third games more, which is a shame; I'd have liked the series to end on a higher note (although most of my issues with A Thief's End are very subjective, so I imagine it was a good ending for many players). I'm going to grump about Sam under the cut, so you may not want to click if you're a Sam fan.


Grumbling about Sam. Uncharted 4 spoilers. )


OKAY, COMPLAINING OVER. Here are some great things in Uncharted 4 to balance it out:

- The opening credits are gooooorgeous. You can see them over here. No spoilers for Uncharted 4; they're a beautiful look back at the previous games in the series.

- 'A Normal Life' is possibly my favourite Uncharted chapter ever. I exclaimed aloud in delight multiple times.

- Sometimes, if you put Nate in front of a mirror and zoom in on it, he'll check to make sure nobody's looking and then do finger-guns at himself.

- Nate and Elena have a combat move where Nate lifts Elena up so she can kick the enemy in the face.

- The environments are so, so pretty.

- At one point, you blow up a door with dynamite and Nate goes 'Take that, door!'
rionaleonhart: final fantasy viii: found a draw point! no one can draw... (you're a terrible artist)
Here is an entry of scattered nonsense that amuses me.

Occasionally, if you use Windows 10, your computer will go 'hey, I made an album from some of your best pictures, check it out! :D'

It offered me one album consisting solely of the following:

- sixteen screenshots of Final Fantasy XV
- a danisnotonfire tweet reading 'sometimes i dream about being one of the reindeer galloping through the sky with leather straps tying me to my friends mm yes carrots please'


It's been a while since I last posted any of our household's attempts to reproduce lyrics in the medium of fridge poetry!

'Why are we wasting time on all your wasted crime?' (Shawn Mendes, 'Treat You Better'): 'why are we breaking clocks on your low doings'

'I've got two legs from my hips to the ground' (Monty Python, 'I've Got Two Legs'): 'I have two walking arms from my lustful latitude to the grass'

'I'm Christina, and here's my ass!' (possibly not technically a lyric): 'it is I a lady's name please watchfully adore this behind'

Why is 'latitude' a word in this poetry set? (If you want 'longitude', though, you're going to have to make do with 'unlatitude'.)

The set generally has a strange blend of really common words and really specialised ones. I spent ages looking for 'dance' and eventually resorted to 'adjust your behind to jazz'. Rei couldn't write 'bee', but she could certainly write 'mean gold wax merchant butterfly'.


Finally, I recently discovered a video of the best moment in Until Dawn, which I didn't realise even existed. In the words of the uploader, Mike fights a shower curtain and gets his ass kicked.
rionaleonhart: okami: amaterasu is startled. (NOT SO FAST)
I'm now up to episode ten, and, okay, Yuri!!! on ICE is possibly the cutest thing I've ever watched. If you're on the lookout for something cheerful, endearing and homoerotic, I recommend it enthusiastically. (Unless there's a massive tonal shift in the final two episodes, I suppose, but a) that's unlikely, and b) if that did happen, the first ten episodes would still be magical and beautiful.) It's available on Crunchyroll here!

Bless the tenth episode. I was thinking 'hey, you can't tell us there was a drunken dance-off and not show us!', and then along came the closing credits. I love how incredibly serious Yurio's expressions are during the dance-off. Of course they are. Bless you, Yurio.

Yurio's expressions are also wonderful whenever JJ is anywhere in the vicinity. I love his outraged glare.


Spoilers up to episode ten of Yuri!!! on ICE )


...wow, there are over ten thousand works on AO3 for Yuri!!! on ICE. The last thing I wrote for (Oxenfree) had about sixty, so I'm sort of reeling from this. Ten thousand! How is that even possible? This show only came out four months ago!
rionaleonhart: harry potter: extremely poorly-drawn dumbledore fleeing and yelling NOOOOOOOOO. (NOOOOOOOOO)
Your task is to cleverly deduce, from Rei's beautiful song (to the tune of Cabaret's 'Two Ladies'), what we've been watching lately:

Deedly dee-dee-dee, two Yuris,
Deedly dee-dee-dee, two Yuris,
Deedly dee-dee-dee, and I'm the only Victor.
Deedly dee-dee-dee, I like it,
Deedly dee-dee-dee, they're less keen...


We're three episodes in!

Yuri!!! on ICE is both very cute and very odd. Strangely, I think the character I'm most emotionally invested in might be the hostile fifteen-year-old who's incapable of walking past a tiger T-shirt without buying it, taking a selfie and posting it on Instagram. Although I'm very charmed by Yuri (er, Yuri Katsuki; this is going to be tricky) getting flustered around Victor. And of course Victor is constantly being as flustering as possible. Give the poor boy a moment's peace!


About six weeks ago, I was challenged to write a Yuri!!! on ICE fic without having seen a single episode, using only the bits and pieces I'd picked up from other people talking about it. What I produced was this:


Victor pirouetted on the ice, his possibly silver hair whipping gracefully around him. Yuri gazed with longing from the edge of the rink. How could he dare to ask this legendary performer to tutor him in the ways of skating? It seemed impossibly arrogant.

Yuuri, who was not Yuri but a small child who nobody was allowed to ship with anyone, skipped merrily past as small children do.

Suddenly, Victor pirouetted straight up to Yuri! Yuri had no idea how to react. This man was his hero. How could Victor stoop to notice someone like him?

He had even less of an idea of how to react when Victor seized him and dipped him in a deep kiss. Yuri's glasses fell off and shattered on the ice.

"Let me tutor you," Victor purred. "Also, let's get married."

"O-okay," Yuri stammered. "Can I get my glasses fixed first?"

"No," Victor breathed fondly.



Now that I've actually seen some of this show, I'm impressed by my own accuracy. Well, merry skipping aside. Literally the only thing I knew about Yuri Plisetsky was that there were big arguments about whether it was morally wrong to write shipfic about him (it's not), so I didn't have much to work from there. He'd be furious if he saw this.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy versus xiii: a young woman at night, her back to you, the moon high above. (nor women neither)
Last night, I dreamt that Jaime and Brienne of A Song of Ice and Fire kissed and then immediately died. I am in favour of half of this dream.

Maybe I should start on A Feast for Crows, but I'm still grumpy with A Storm of Swords for splitting up all of my favourite character combinations. Whose chapters am I supposed to look forward to now?


THE BOOKENING TITLE #12: A Closed and Common Orbit, Becky Chambers.


I was disappointed when I first learnt that the follow-up to The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet would focus on a couple of minor characters from the first book, rather than on my beloved Wayfarer crew. It turns out that there was no need for disappointment! I'd still love another book about the crew of the Wayfarer (please, Becky Chambers, if you're listening), but I really enjoyed A Closed and Common Orbit.

(It's a sci-fi book all about women! Grumpy, flawed women! Of the five major characters, 3.5 are female and only 1.5 are male. I swear this makes sense when you read it.)

As I've said before, I love it when people are thrown into new, unfamiliar environments, and A Closed and Common Orbit is particularly great because it has two such storylines: Sidra learning to live as organic beings do, and Jane 23 learning that the factory she works in isn't the entire world.

There's always a risk, when a book has multiple storylines, that the reader will focus on one to the extent of resenting the others, and I'll admit that did slightly happen with me; I was fascinated by the Jane storyline, and there were points where I went 'okay, fine, I've just got to push through this Sidra chapter and then I can read more about Jane.' But the Sidra storyline was fine! I just happened to be more invested in the Jane one.

I got oddly emotional about the scene where Jane plays a videogame for the first time. The game characters are so patient and understanding! She's been deprived of that for so much of her life!

Oouoh is my favourite and I'm sad that he's only in one scene. I love him introducing Jane to spices, and their 'Are any of these poisonous?' 'To you? No idea. But I know where the med ward is, and you look easy to carry' exchange.

The ending was really satisfying. And I'm fascinated by all the questions about AI ethics this book raises.

Reading this finally pushed me to buy a physical copy of The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. I already have the ebook, but it feels wrong not to have a physical version of a book I love so much. Maybe I should reread it. Is it too soon to reread it? It's been less than a year since I read it for the first time, but it feels like it was too long ago. It's such a warm, hopeful book. I think everyone could do with some warmth and hope at the moment.
rionaleonhart: ffxv: prompto is trying to listen but actually thinking about his giant crush on you (prompto has a crush on everyone) (i can be serious)
Why didn't I keep writing for Final Fantasy XV? I wrote a couple of fics there and went 'yes, this fandom's so alive, there's an AO3 audience of thousands, it feels great, TIME TO PLUNGE INTO YET ANOTHER DYING FANDOM.'

In fairness, Oxenfree does contain a lot of themes I find really hard to resist. Time shenanigans, sibling relationships, strangers bonding under intense pressure. Sibling relationships between strangers who bond under intense pressure! That's not a combination you get to see often. I was doomed from the start.


Title: A Thousand First Impressions
Fandom: Oxenfree
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: 1,500
Summary: Spoilers for the entire game. Jonas meets his stepsister for the first time.


A Thousand First Impressions )
rionaleonhart: final fantasy viii: found a draw point! no one can draw... (you're a terrible artist)
Someone commented on my horrible Oxenfree fic to say I'd made them 'ship Alex/Jonas, and I felt a bit weird about it. I don't think there's anything wrong with 'shipping it, but it seemed strange that I'd caused this, given that I don't 'ship it myself. How had I converted someone else to seeing a stepsibling relationship - a stepsibling relationship I enjoy a lot! - as romantic?

In retrospect, my first mistake was writing about said stepsiblings making out.


I received World of Final Fantasy for Christmas! I am pleased to report that, although it is very different from Final Fantasy XV in most respects, they share a penchant for terrible puns. When you activate a switch to progress in an early dungeon:

'A new path! Check out that switchcraft!'
'Now we know switch way to go!'
'Switchever one of you thinks you're being clever is about to get a knuckle sandswitch.'

I finished the game a week or so ago. It was cute, but I had little real emotional investment in it, sadly. I did very much enjoy having an adorable baby Behemoth on my head, though. Plus there's an absolutely incredible Final Fantasy X reference at one point.

Bizarre omissions from World of Final Fantasy: Bartz, Terra, Cloud, Squall, Tidus and Lightning are present, but no Zidane. There are no characters whatsoever from Final Fantasy XII. Aerith isn't there! For some reason, this is the one that really shocked me. I encountered Tifa and went 'well, obviously we'll be meeting Aerith at some point.' Nope!

Faris and Quistis have really poorly suited voices. This is particularly frustrating because Faris's voice would have worked perfectly well for Quistis; it's just not a voice for slinging pirate slang around in. I'm delighted that Faris is in the game, though!

I've started to come around to Doug Erholtz's voice for Squall at last, having disliked it in Kingdom Hearts II. This means that, for the first time, I've started to think seriously about the possibility of a Final Fantasy VIII remake. If the VII remake does well, is there a chance they'd do VIII as well? There's a part of me that really wants to see that, and there's a part that doesn't know whether my heart would be able to take it. This game means a lot to me.

If nothing else, I suppose it'd provide an excuse to replay it. I've played the original so many times I really can't justify doing it again. (I had to buy a replacement copy of Final Fantasy VIII a few years ago, having played my first copy until the discs just gave up and stopped working. The game lost the ability to tell when a battle had ended, so my party would defeat the enemies and then just... stand there, looking confused, waiting for orders to fight something that wasn't there.)
rionaleonhart: final fantasy xiii: lightning pays intense attention to you. (speak carefully)
WELL, THIS IS THE MOST HORRIBLE FIC I'VE WRITTEN IN A WHILE. The Alex-and-Jonas stepsibling relationship is my favourite thing about Oxenfree! Why did I have to do this to it?


Title: Passing Eternity (or, alternatively, Why Oxenfree Isn't a Dating Sim)
Fandom: Oxenfree
Rating: R
Pairing: Alex/Ren, Alex/Clarissa, Alex/Jonas, Alex/Nona
Wordcount: 4,100
Summary: Spoilers for the entire game. Alex sets out to seduce everyone on the island.
Warnings: Emotional manipulation, hatekissing, pseudo-incestuous kissing, references to canonical character death. The rating is for this fic generally being weird and horrible, not for explicitness; there's nothing beyond making out in here.


Passing Eternity )
rionaleonhart: final fantasy versus xiii: a young woman at night, her back to you, the moon high above. (nor women neither)
Poor The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. It only had half a year as my favourite book before it was, well, uprooted.


THE BOOKENING TITLE #11: Uprooted, Naomi Novik.


I read this book alongside a handful of other people on my flist, which was sort of hilarious because they were going 'nooooo, why is this happening, none of this is what I wanted' while I was going 'oh my God, this is INCREDIBLE, this is EVERYTHING I COULD EVER WANT.' Apparently this book is rather divisive!

One chapter into Uprooted, I stopped and scribbled down an excited list of all the things it contained - just in that one chapter! - that I loved:

- close relationships between women
- a person being thrown from her familiar life into an entirely new environment where she doesn't know any of the rules
- people who don't really like each other forced to spend an extended period of time around each other
- weird uncomfortable sexual tension between people who don't really like each other

This book won me over very, very quickly. I also love that the blurb gave so little away; one chapter in, you're already past everything that the blurb describes, and the rest of the plot is a complete mystery. It was a lot of fun to read with that sense of 'anything could happen! I have no idea where this is going!'

In order to preserve that mystery for future readers, my other thoughts on this book are under the cut! Spoilers, but not for anything past chapter 11.


Spoilers for Uprooted, up to chapter 11. )


What a great book. It's really nice to read a single, self-contained story, too, when everything seems to be part of a series.
rionaleonhart: twewy: joshua kiryu is being fabulously obnoxious and he knows it. (is that so?)
I've hugely enjoyed the last couple of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend episodes ('Will Scarsdale Like Josh's Shayna Punim?' and 'Josh Is the Man of My Dreams, Right?'). In particular, I'm loving the Nathaniel storyline. He could be Jeff Winger's evil (well, more evil) brother; there's a definite physical resemblance, and half his lines sound like they could easily be coming out of Jeff's mouth. They're also both lawyers with father issues, come to think of it. (Plus, hey, Jeff canonically has an evil double.)

I don't love Nathaniel half as much as I love Jeff Winger, but he's fun. He also had a pretty incredible song in 'Josh Is the Man of My Dreams, Right?' (warning for weight-shaming, because Nathaniel is the worst).

I'm horrendously predictable when it comes to this character type.

Fiction: Hey, this guy's an arsehole!
Riona: Wow, what an arsehole!
Fiction: He occasionally shows glimpses of having feelings, though.
Riona: Uh-oh.
Fiction: What's this? Is he attracted to a young woman who he thinks of as off-limits?
Riona: Don't do this to me.
Fiction: He tries to resist! But he can't stop glancing over at her!
Riona: GOD, FINE.

I wouldn't say I 'ship him with Rebecca, exactly. I definitely don't want them to be together. (I don't really want Rebecca to be in a romantic relationship with anyone; romantic relationships aren't good for her.) But I do want them to have lots of uncomfortable sexual tension and possibly make out sometimes.


Given Life Is Strange, Until Dawn and now Oxenfree, I seem to have fallen heavily into the Bad Teen Decisions Simulator genre of videogame. (Come to think of it, Dangan Ronpa is also a series of games about bad teen decisions, although it doesn't let you make those bad decisions yourself.)

This is a great genre because it lends itself so well to one of my favourite fanfiction themes: characters undergo traumatic experiences, and then the story focuses on them talking about them, or refusing to talk about them, or not having anyone to talk about them with. The entire concept of these games is 'a handful of people go through horrendous experiences that nobody else will ever understand or believe'. They're perfect.

I didn't actually realise I had such a fondness for this until I looked back at all the one-shots I posted in 2016. There are fifteen, and this theme crops up in no fewer than seven of them. Whoops.

At one point in Oxenfree, I accidentally chose a dialogue option that made Alex say she exercised a lot every morning. I was very annoyed with myself. No, I've made it canon that she's disciplined and she exercises and now I can't relate to her any more! (Alex is still great.)


I've suddenly remembered one of my all-time favourite YouTube videos, and I thought I'd link to it in case anyone hasn't seen it yet. It's two men dancing to Moulin Rouge's 'El Tango de Roxanne' in the street. The video itself is low-quality, sadly, but the intensity of the dance comes through so clearly that it barely matters (and the intensity of the song doesn't hurt). You can watch it over here!
rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
I finished Oxenfree last night! Twenty-four hours later, here I am, posting fanfiction. Incredibly spoilery fanfiction. I'm not sure I can even write a summary for this one.


Title: Rebuild
Fandom: Oxenfree
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: 2,600
Summary: Spoilers! I'd recommend not reading this unless you have at least an idea of the major possible ending differences. But it's about (step)sibling relationships.


Rebuild )
rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
Played another hour or two of Oxenfree! I've just opened the gate to Adler's house.

I keep thinking about the dialogue choices in this game. When I play, Alex is a peacemaker. She worries about people and tries to see things from their point of view, even if she doesn't necessarily like them. She tries to get along with everyone, although she doesn't always succeed. She's inquisitive; she's interested in history; she can get excited about little things. She makes jokes to deflect serious conversations. She avoids talking about Michael if she can. She feels like such a complete, established character to me, and it's strange to think back on dialogue choices I turned down and realise I could have been playing her as apathetic and hostile the entire time.

The game's excellent voice acting helps. Whatever responses I choose for her seem to flow so naturally that it's hard to imagine she could have said anything else.

I'm also interested in 'Scrödinger's backstory' moments. Several hours into the game, Jonas asked whether I was religious. I said no. Up until that point, Alex's beliefs could have been anything, but the moment I picked 'no' she'd been an atheist all along. My Alex is a non-smoker because of a bad experience the last time she tried smoking. That's something that happened in the past, but it didn't become true until I declined Jonas's offer of a light. My decision in the present altered Alex's past.

Videogames are weird.

Another aspect of Oxenfree that's been playing on my mind is the moment where your reflection gives you advice for a later point in the game. Because it's not just the game giving you advice; it's an actual person. A PSN username shows up alongside your reflection. You see the dialogue options - 'do A', 'do B' - that the reflection is choosing from. The game makes it as clear as possible that the person giving you advice is a real person who's also playing this game, and that they're choosing to say what they do.

It's such an effective way of inducing paranoia. If my reflection had just given me advice, without the indication that there's a real person behind it, I'd have gone 'well, I suppose I'll take its advice!' But introducing a real person changes things. I don't know this person! Can I trust this person? Is this a helpful person trying to give me good advice, or is it a troll trying to lead me into disaster for their own amusement?

The possibilities I can think of:

- The other player knows that A is the right thing to do, and in saying 'do A' they're trying to help me. I should do A!
- The other player knows that A is a bad idea, and in saying 'do A' they're trying to screw up my playthrough. I shouldn't do A.
- The other player did B on their own playthrough, and something bad happened. They don't know whether A is good or bad, but they know that B is bad, so they're trying to give the best advice they can with limited knowledge. I should probably do A.
- The important question isn't whether I do A or B; it's whether I take the reflection's advice. The moment the reflection said 'do A', A became either the right or the wrong decision. The other player could be trying to give me good advice, but giving good advice isn't necessarily possible. I... either should or shouldn't do A, but I suspect I probably shouldn't.

I'm so fascinated by this game!
rionaleonhart: okami: amaterasu is startled. (NOT SO FAST)
I played a couple of hours of Oxenfree last night! It's very pretty and colourful, which is an interesting design choice for a horror game. All the landscapes sort of look like they've been made out of coloured paper.

You have to make decisions within a few seconds in Oxenfree, which I find very stressful, even when most of the decisions are just 'what do you want to say now?' (I feel a bit spoiled by Life Is Strange, which not only gives you as much time as you like to choose your response but allows you to rewind and redo things if you change your mind.)

At the very beginning of the game, just after you get off the boat, I refused to speak alone with Jonas because my mind was working by Until Dawn rules: DON'T SEPARATE, BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN. [livejournal.com profile] th_esaurus pointed out that this was very early in the game, nothing bad had happened yet, and a brief conversation with my stepbrother was unlikely to get anyone killed. I felt so bad for turning Jonas down that I restarted.

At this point I set the first and most important of several goals that would help me make decisions in the future: I want to get along with my stepbrother.

Later, after panicking during the 'who do you meet up with first?' decision at the radio tower, I came up with my second goal: I want to improve my relationship with Clarissa.

My third goal, after telling Ren there were other fish in the sea and TOO LATE realising that the game might think I want to be his fish: UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES can I end up in a romantic relationship with Ren.

('The game won't let you romance your stepbrother,' [livejournal.com profile] th_esaurus said, with deeply felt sadness. I laughed at her.)

I feel a lot more comfortable making quick decisions now that I know what I'm aiming for. Even if I still miss Life Is Strange. (The soft colours and loading-screen Polaroids really remind me of Life Is Strange, actually. Although I'm puzzled by the fact that Jonas took a picture on his phone and it appeared on the loading screen as a Polaroid.)

I'm playing this game at [livejournal.com profile] th_esaurus's flat, so I don't know exactly when I'll be able to pick it up again, but I hope it'll be soon! There's a lot of intriguing mystery. And I like Alex, which is unusual; I usually have trouble warming to characters who communicate entirely through dialogue choices, because they can end up feeling like an empty vessel for the player rather than a character in their own right, but a lot of personality comes through in everything she says.


Here are a handful of things I experienced in 2016 but didn't post full entries on:

- I watched the anime ERASED (it's available legally on Crunchyroll here), which is about a man who goes back to his childhood and tries to prevent the abduction and murder of a classmate. It was very good and very gripping, but I don't know whether I'll ever watch it again; it might be a bit too bleak and serious without the 'but what happens next??' drive to keep going. Still, I loved that it told a very compact, intense story in just twelve episodes. It also has one of the coolest opening sequences I've ever seen. The shots of the empty school give me chills.

- I saw Your Name in the cinema and loved it. The basic concept (two strangers keep swapping bodies across a great distance and can only communicate with each other by leaving notes) is exactly the sort of idea I find irresistible: people being drawn together by weird experiences, unable to talk about them with anyone but each other! Inevitably, I'm now wondering whether it could be employed in fanfiction for other works.

- Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a much, much better show than you'd think from the title. A couple of my favourite songs:

I've kind of got a girl crush on you, by which I mean I wanna kill you and wear your skin like a dress.
FACE YOUR FEARS. RUN WITH SCISSORS.

- The second series of How to Get Away with Murder is, I'm delighted to report, just as stupid as the first. The scene in 'Meet Bonnie' where the students were going 'pfft, we've screwed up our lives, might as well have an orgy' inevitably delighted me. Has anyone written the fic where they follow through? I'm going to be so disappointed in fandom if nobody's written that fic.


Inevitably, the combination of fandoms in this entry is making me ponder a How to Get Away with Murder scenario in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, in which Rebecca somehow ends up killing someone and has to try not to get caught. It's actually a worryingly plausible scenario.
rionaleonhart: harry potter: extremely poorly-drawn dumbledore fleeing and yelling NOOOOOOOOO. (NOOOOOOOOO)
I FINISHED THE ALPHABET FICSNIPPETS.

Recent followers will not be aware of how these alphabet ficsnippets have plagued me for the last half-decade. In 2010, I wrote twenty-six little snippets of fanfiction: the first contained one character whose name started with A and one whose name started with B, the second a B and a C, and so on (A to M, N to Z). It was fun! It was relatively quick! It seemed like a good idea to attempt it again, this time with characters that shared an initial!

It has taken a thousand years. I said in the second instalment, back in 2013, that I probably wouldn't be finished until 2015. It was supposed to be a humorous exaggeration.

But here we are at last! If any of the previous character combinations listed strike your fancy, here are links to the other instalments.

First Edition: A, L, M, O, P, X
Obscure Japanese Fandom Edition: D, I, K, R, T, U
'Four Letters? This Took You a Year?' Edition: E, F, H, J(x2)
Disproportionately Dudes Edition: C, N, V(x2), W, Y


A: Blaine Anderson (Glee)/fal'Cie Anima (Final Fantasy XIII)


B: Ffamran ‘Balthier’ Bunansa (Final Fantasy XII)/Joffrey Baratheon (A Song of Ice and Fire)

'You're the smugglers?' Joffrey demands. )


C: Cloud Strife (Final Fantasy VII)/Cissnei (Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII)
D: Daisuke Niwa (DN Angel)/Duck (Princess Tutu)
E: Elena Fisher (Uncharted)/Eugene Fitzherbert (Tangled)
F: Lightning Farron (Final Fantasy XIII)/Ffamran ‘Balthier’ Bunansa (Final Fantasy XII)


G: Greg House (House MD)/Will Graham (Hannibal)

'Uh,' Chase says. )


H: Hajime Hinata (Super Dangan Ronpa 2)/Haruka Nanase (Free!)
I: Iroh (Avatar: The Last Airbender)/Hanako Ikezawa (Katawa Shoujo)
J: John Marston (Red Dead Redemption)/Patrick Jane (The Mentalist) and Patrick Jane (The Mentalist)/Jeff Winger (Community)
K: Kyouko Kirigiri (Dangan Ronpa)/Sazh Katzroy (Final Fantasy XIII)
L: Teresa Lisbon (The Mentalist)/Light Yagami (Death Note)
M: Fa Mulan (Mulan)/Bonnie MacFarlane (Red Dead Redemption)
N: Makoto Naegi (Dangan Ronpa)/Nagito Komaeda (Super Dangan Ronpa 2)
O: Oerba Yun Fang (Final Fantasy XIII)/Mondo Oowada (Dangan Ronpa)
P: Patrick Jane (The Mentalist)/Perry the Platypus (Phineas and Ferb)


Q: Quistis Trepe (Final Fantasy VIII)/Quina Quen (Final Fantasy IX)

'Quina,' Quistis says, folding her arms on the desk in front of her. 'We need to talk about your conduct in the field exam.' )


R: Rinoa Heartilly (Final Fantasy VIII)/Rumplestiltskin (Once Upon a Time)


S: Sayaka Miki (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)/Sayaka Maizono (Dangan Ronpa)

'What did you wish for?' )


T: Byakuya Togami (Dangan Ronpa)/Takuto Kira (Full Moon wo Sagashite)
U: Utena Tenjou (Revolutionary Girl Utena)/Dolores Umbridge (Harry Potter)
V: Snow Villiers (Final Fantasy XIII)/Vincent Valentine (Final Fantasy VII) and Snow Villiers (Final Fantasy XIII)/Karkat Vantas (Homestuck)
W: Dean Winchester (Supernatural)/Bigby Wolf (The Wolf Among Us)
X: Charles Xavier (X-Men: First Class)/Xion (Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days)
Y: Yoshiya 'Joshua' Kiryu (The World Ends With You)/Light Yagami (Death Note)


Z: Zell Dincht (Final Fantasy VIII)/Zuko (Avatar: The Last Airbender)

'Remember your stance,' Squall says. )


FINISHED AT LAST. This has been an enjoyable exercise, even though it took much, much longer than planned.

Why do I have so many fandoms? Nobody needs this many fandoms.
rionaleonhart: ffxv: prompto is trying to listen but actually thinking about his giant crush on you (prompto has a crush on everyone) (i can be serious)
Written for [community profile] ffxv_kinkmeme! I'm not sure it perfectly fulfils the prompt ('Prompto gets the shovel talk from everyone' - in the end, only one of the talks was actually threatening), but it was a lot of fun to write.

Consequence of being in this fandom: when I tried to write 'prompt' up there, I automatically wrote 'prompto' instead.

Being in a fandom of this size is a little intimidating, to be honest. When I posted my previous Final Fantasy XV fic to AO3, I was going 'well, this is just silly fluff, but I don't have to be embarrassed about that because I'm posting it on Christmas Eve and nobody will actually read it'. It got over a thousand hits.


Title: Life Imitates
Fandom: Final Fantasy XV
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Noctis/Prompto
Wordcount: 3,200
Summary: Everyone keeps trying to lecture Prompto on dating Noctis. Which would be fine if he and Noctis were actually dating.


Life Imitates )
rionaleonhart: final fantasy xv: prompto, the best character, with a touch of swagger. (looking ahead)
For some reason, all the fanfiction I want to write for this game is cute and silly. I suppose it makes for a change from all the psychological trauma, but it's also a bit disconcerting. There's kissing in this! This isn't my comfort zone!


Title: Scattershot
Fandom: Final Fantasy XV
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Noctis/Prompto, Prompto/multiple
Wordcount: 1,700
Summary: The longer Noctis spends travelling with him, the clearer it becomes that Prompto can get a crush on anyone.


Scattershot )
rionaleonhart: final fantasy xv: prompto, the best character, with a touch of swagger. (looking ahead)
Merry Christmas, if you're celebrating!

Tradition demands that I post a stupid Christmas-themed manip on Christmas Eve, so here you go. Let's hope this works; I haven't used this image hoster before.




You're all shocked by the subject matter, I'm sure. I don't imagine Christmas exists on Eos, but I bet Prompto would get really excited about it if it did. I suspect he begged all the others until they finally agreed to put on those outfits.

(The reporter in Lestallum asked for photographs of imperial bases for an article, so off I trotted. When the time came to present them, Prompto handed him three photographs of imperial bases and one beautiful monochrome shot of Gladio's bottom. Nobody commented on this. I'm so confused.)

I posted an entry of tips for playing Final Fantasy XV a few days ago, and now I have one more to add. Once you've finished the game, you may want to reload your save and do some of the sidequests, dungeons etc. you missed. When you eventually feel you've done everything you're going to do and you want some closure, roll the credits from the title screen. These aren't the same as the credits that roll when you finish the game - they don't offer extra cutscenes or anything, but they have different visuals and music - and I think they're a really nice way of saying goodbye to this world.

It's entirely possible I'll be tempted back to attempt the last few dungeons, though. On the one hand, I'm concerned that they might get frustrating. On the other, Prompto complains the entire time when you're in a dungeon, and it is my favourite thing. I don't want to miss a second of it.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy xv: prompto, the best character, with a touch of swagger. (looking ahead)
Here are some non-spoilery notes on things Final Fantasy XV does right and wrong, in case anyone's dithering on whether to get it. (I'm not sure anyone reading this is actually dithering on whether to get it, but I just wanted an excuse to talk more about this game.)


Positives:

- Both the visuals and the soundtrack are beautiful. No surprises there.

- The four main characters are really well portrayed. I absolutely believed in their friendship and cared about them. Prompto is the best.

- It might actually have the best villain in the series. And I say that reluctantly, because I loathe the villain. I absolutely hate him. I can't remember the last time I so intensely wanted to punch a character in the face. But he's good.

- I played from beginning to end without once feeling the need to grind for experience. You'll pick up plenty of experience points from doing sidequests, so you're unlikely to ever find yourself going 'sigh, better kill a bunch of wildlife before moving on'.

- Although you wouldn't necessarily be inclined to sigh in that situation, because combat is fun! I particularly enjoy warping all over the place.

- Emotional investment is obviously a very personal thing, but I got so emotionally invested in this game.


Negatives:

- The story is interesting but clumsily told. The early developments seem to assume you've seen Kingsglaive. There are thrilling revelations that are never explored further or brought up again. There are characters who never really get a chance to shine. I can see that there was a conscious effort to cut down on cutscenes, and I can understand why, but I do feel the game could perhaps have done with a few more.

- Also on the subject of story issues: the pacing is a bit odd. The leisurely pace of the first half of the game makes sense, given the roadtrip theme, but once you get into the second half events will whip past at lightning speed. Final Fantasy XII still wins the Worst Pacing in a Final Fantasy award, but not by much.

- The 'go to this place and hunt for this thing while thousands of robots parachute onto you' sidequests can become very tedious.

- There are some really bad puns (this is also a positive).

- Not enough hugs. So few things I watch or play seem to have enough hugs. I don't think my hugging expectations are that unreasonable.


Tips for playing:

- You don't have healing spells, so healing items are your best friends. Stay stocked up. Ignis can learn a couple of abilities that let him heal teammates; they're useful and I recommend teaching them to him, but you'll need items on top of that. If an ally's in danger and you need to bring them out quickly or you can't physically reach them to rescue them, you can use a Potion (although you'll miss out on the cute rescuing dialogue, alas).

- Whenever you visit a new shop, press R1 to cycle through item categories to Auto Parts (if it sells auto parts) and see whether it's selling any Final Fantasy soundtracks for your car's CD player. This is very important.

- Remember that you don't have to do everything. If you've spent ages hunting for a sidequest objective and you're getting frustrated, go off and do something else instead.

- If you ever stray inconveniently far from the Regalia, check the options on the map screen; you can return to wherever you parked the car, or, if you're near a road, you can call the car to you.

- Go to the Chocobo Post and unlock chocobo rentals at the first opportunity. Do sidequests for Wiz if you want to be able to dye your chocobo stupid colours (and who doesn't?).

- You're on a roadtrip, and focusing on the destination will rob you of the journey. Don't feel obliged to do every sidequest available, but don't charge constantly towards the next objective either; relax, explore, enjoy spending time with your friends. These are the important moments.


Final Fantasy XV is flawed and messy and beautiful. It has issues, but it makes me feel like nothing else. It's a game I'd never be able to review on Amazon, because my head says 'give it four stars' and my heart says 'give it five'. As with Final Fantasy VIII, I can recognise its problems, but XV has slipped past my rational mind and gone straight to the heart for its verdict.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy xv: prompto, the best character, with a touch of swagger. (looking ahead)
Finished Final Fantasy XV!

For a while I've been trying to pin down my five favourite Final Fantasy games: VIII, IX, X, XIII and... what? VI? VII? XII? Many thanks to XV for coming out and making the decision easy. I haven't been this emotionally invested in a game since The Last of Us.

(I've always said that, although VIII means a lot to me, it isn't my favourite game in the series. But I'm not fooling anyone, am I? It's my favourite. Obviously it's my favourite. It's flawed in many, many respects, but I think it'll always be the Final Fantasy I love the most. Although XV has given it a run for its money.)

Prompto has shot awfully quickly up into my five favourite Final Fantasy characters, too. I love that he's enthusiastic and friendly and insecure and endlessly well-meaning. I love that he develops a crush on anyone he spends five minutes around. I love his really transparent efforts to make people like each other again when they've had a falling-out.

Things Prompto has broken at least three times over the course of this game:

- into song
- the fourth wall
- my heart


Spoilers up to the ending of Final Fantasy XV. )


In conclusion: I love this game, blazingly, passionately, but also I hate it. And I love these stupid boys.