rionaleonhart: the last of us: joel and ellie look out at the ruined horizon. (lot of ground to cover)
Out-of-Context Theatre:

'To be honest, I'm glad that Google considered my search for "nude Crash Bandicoot" and concluded, "I'm sure she meant new Crash Bandicoot."'


Here is a reaction to some E3 game trailers!

Life Is Strange: Before the Storm: I'm more excited than I would have expected myself to be! I love the shot of Chloe beating up the car in the junkyard. She's a ball of rage and bad coping mechanisms, and it's great. My relationship with Chloe had a bit of a rocky start (she pointed at me and blamed me for her weed! I was slightly outraged!), but by this point I think I can appreciate her for the absolute mess of a person that she is.

I'm glad they're sticking with the soft, sort-of painted visual style of the original.

Are we going to see [unpleasant character] in this prequel? Rachel knew him, but we're playing as Chloe, and, when she first meets him in Life Is Strange, they don't seem to know each other. So I suppose he won't be making an appearance. I, er, probably shouldn't be disappointed by that.

Hidden Agenda: something genuinely cool and new from the Until Dawn developers! A multiplayer anyone-can-die decision-based crime thriller, where you all vote on decisions. It seems like a great way to ruin friendships. I'm tempted.

Assassin's Creed: Origins: come on, another male protagonist? Not counting spin-offs and handheld titles, there have been nine main Assassin's Creed games, and the protagonist has been male in eight and a half of them. I was really hoping Ubisoft wouldn't go, 'Okay, you can play as a woman for part of Syndicate, we've eaten our vegetables and now we can get back to dudes.' The setting looks gorgeous, but this game isn't really sparking any excitement in me yet. I'll probably warm up to it, though.

(To be honest, I can't be too grumpy about protagonist gender when all three of the other games in this list focus on two women, which would have been unthinkable a few years ago. I'm so happy. You're improving, videogame industry!)

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy: this looks like so much fun! Action! Adventure! Fraught 'I'll save your life, but that doesn't mean we're friends' partnerships! (Between two women! I don't think I've ever seen that before.) I'll miss Nate and Elena and Sully, but, if you'd said, 'Okay, the central trio are off the table, but we'll make a game about any other two Uncharted characters you choose,' I would have asked for Chloe and Nadine. I can't believe this game is actually happening.

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: 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: 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: 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: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
I watched the first five episodes of Elementary a few days ago. It's good! I often have trouble getting along with procedurals, but Elementary has genuinely interesting mysteries of the week, which strikes me as unusual. I loved The Mentalist, but I never really cared much about the case of the week; I just enjoyed the characters enough to carry me through it. With Elementary, I'm not hugely invested in the characters yet, but they have potential, and the mysteries are interesting enough to keep me watching until that potential is (hopefully) fulfilled.

I'm also seeing potential for Holmes and Watson to have a really interesting claustrophobic, codependent relationship, but I think Watson might be too well-adjusted for that. Alas!


I've just discovered Koethe Koethe's Life Is Strange fan songs, and they're ridiculously impressive. 'Price', 'Storm' and 'Better Then' are some of my favourites (if you discount 'The Beans Song', which is so good it's unfair to make the other songs compete against it), but they're all pretty great: so well produced, and they all sound like songs that could actually appear in the game. I usually get second-hand embarrassment from fan songs with lyrics, but these really work. They sort of make me want to play it again.

Bit of a disconcerting change from all the Linkin Park I've been listening to lately, though (whoops).


Danganronpa V3, having previously been listed for a June release, now apparently isn't coming out in English until the end of September. Another seven months of dodging spoilers, I suppose!

I love these games so much. I love how well-crafted and interesting most of the murder mysteries are; I love the characters, this collection of weak, flawed, frightened people making horrible mistakes.

I first experienced Dangan Ronpa through orenronen's fan translations, which got up to halfway through the second game before the games were licensed for release in English, so I've only actually played half a game unspoiled. And, as much as I enjoyed reading it in Let's Play form (and as fiddly as some of the minigames are), actually playing it was a much better experience. The trials guide you gently from logical conclusion to logical conclusion, and that process - gradually piecing together what happened yourself, the dawning sense of dread as you realise who the murderer was - works so well.

I'm so excited to play an entire Dangan Ronpa game without knowing what to expect. I just have to make sure I don't run into spoilers!

For... for seven months. And, going by the fact that there are almost four hundred works on AO3 less than two months after the Japanese release, I'd guess that there are plenty of fan translations floating around. This is the sort of series where an entire case or an entire game can be spoiled by a single piece of fanart. Wish me luck.
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: 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: final fantasy versus xiii: a young woman at night, her back to you, the moon high above. (nor women neither)
First impressions of Final Fantasy XV! I've played for six hours but have barely made any progress on account of being constantly distracted by all the optional things to do (I've only just completed the first chapter), so there are no plot details in here; you can read this without being spoiled.


First impressions of Final Fantasy XV. )


Finally: there's an NPC called Dave! That's not very Final Fantasy!
rionaleonhart: okami: amaterasu is startled. (NOT SO FAST)
I saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them yesterday!


Thoughts on 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' )


In conclusion, there were some things that worked better than others for me, but this was good fun! I enjoyed it, and I'm happy to accept it as Harry Potter canon, whereas I had reservations about accepting Cursed Child.

(Although there was no mention of Phineas Nigellus, and I am deeply disappointed by this.)
rionaleonhart: harry potter: extremely poorly-drawn dumbledore fleeing and yelling NOOOOOOOOO. (NOOOOOOOOO)
Maybe I should watch a Let's Play of Until Dawn, I found myself thinking recently. I've heard it puts a lot of emphasis on choice and consequences, and that's something I'm interested in: how the same videogame can tell different stories on different playthroughs. Let's look some videos up.

And then I remembered that I hate horror, but it was too late. BYE, SLEEP. I tried to stop watching, but then I realised I'd never be able to put this story behind me unless I got some sort of resolution to it, so it looks like I'm locked in until the ending.

(The specific Let's Play I've been watching is this one by the Scary Game Squad, in case any of you are fans of the 'a group of teenagers go to an isolated lodge, HORRIBLE THINGS HAPPEN' brand of horror. If you are not a horror fan, be more sensible than me and steer clear; it contains gore, jumpscares, decapitation, scary chase sequences, scary nothing-happening sequences etc. The commentary's pretty good; it's not grating, for the most part, and they joke around but still take things seriously enough for them to remain scary. They're also endearingly invested in keeping everyone alive. There's one character they all dislike, and they joke a couple of times about leaving her to die, but then she gets into terrible peril and they spend the whole chase sequence yelling encouragement at her. 'Go, baby girl! Go, baby girl!')

I feel you can probably tell a lot about a person by the scenes they choose to rewatch. In Until Dawn, there are a handful of scenes I keep coming back to. One of these scenes is 'Mike and Sam meet each other in the lodge, the first friendly faces they've seen respectively since all hell broke loose'. That's perfectly respectable. I probably 'ship them. Fine.

(I have a feeling that I started 'shipping them before that scene, which is odd, given that I'm, er, not sure they'd interacted on-screen on any previous occasion. I was delighted when they actually met up. I have such low expectations of my pairings. 'It'd be nice if these two could be in the same room at some point.')

To my slight concern, the other scenes I've watched multiple times on assorted different Let's Plays are:

- Mike finds his girlfriend semi-conscious and thinks at first that she's dead.
- Mike gets his fingers caught in a bear trap and has to amputate them with a machete.

Apparently Mike is just one of those characters I want to see suffering physically and emotionally, so I suppose it's good news for me that he's in a horror game. Maybe it's because he looks and acts a bit like Nathan Drake. I love both Mike and Nate, but in a scary way that means I'm happiest when they're bloodied emotional wrecks.

(There's one Let's Play where the player gets Mike's hand caught but really doesn't want to amputate his fingers, so he keeps trying to make Mike prise open the trap instead. On the first two attempts, the trap snaps shut again. The third time, Mike whimpers before he gives it another go. It's great. I'm the worst person in the world.)
rionaleonhart: final fantasy x-2: the sun is rising, yuna looks to the future. (hope is all we have)
The first episode of Life Is Strange is now free on PS3 and PS4! I thought I'd check it out, as timydamonkey recommended it to me a while ago. And then I bought the rest of the episodes. Whoops. It's fundamentally a 'looking at things and having awkward conversations' simulator, but it's strangely compelling.

Here's a miserable fact for you: the developers brought this game to several publishers before eventually settling on Square Enix. They chose Square Enix because all the other publishers said 'nope, can't have a female protagonist, you're going to have to change her into a boy.' Fortunately, Life Is Strange sold well and received good reviews despite being about one of those non-male things nobody cares about.

I'm currently two episodes in. I have some specific things to say about actual plot events, but I'll save those for a spoilery post once I've finished the entire game. For now, I'm going to keep things as spoiler-free as possible.

There's something about Life Is Strange that resonates oddly strongly with me. I think it's the depiction of a particular type of friendship between kids that I know from my own childhood. You're pretty quiet and insulated, and she's much cooler than you, and she can get you into trouble or be manipulative sometimes, but you endure all that because you're just so awed that this cool person is willing to spend time with you. (It's a type of relationship that sometimes appears in Jacqueline Wilson novels, actually.) I didn't realise until I suddenly thought 'hang on, I'm making a lot of groundless assumptions about Chloe's character' and then realised it was because I felt like I'd known her when I was a child. She's a very interesting character, even if in some respects she's difficult to like.

It's perhaps no surprise that this game gives me a very strong feeling of nostalgia. I really like the strange, quiet atmosphere of it, too, and Max's internal observations are often endearing.

There are, of course, a few things that don't entirely match up with my own experiences. For example, I went to school in a different country, and I've never been any good at photography, and I can't reverse time. I also don't have the speech patterns of EZboard fandom circa 2002. There's some very odd dialogue in this game. It feels very much like a game about teenagers written by adults, although of course I'm an adult, so it's possible that in fact it's an entirely accurate representation of modern teenage speech patterns and I'm the one who's out of touch.

Sorry, did I say 'in fact'? I meant 'for realsies'.

I clocked almost immediately, from his LOADS OF TEXT MESSAGES, that Warren had a huge crush on Max. This means that every conversation with him is a bit of a minefield, as I don't feel Max thinks of him that way at all. I'm constantly caught in a state of 'I want to be nice to you, because you're my friend, but I definitely don't want to give you the impression that I'm romantically interested in you.' I felt a bit bad about turning down his invitation to see a film. Sorry, Warren! I didn't want you to think of it as a date!

I find the occasional 'THIS ACTION WILL HAVE CONSEQUENCES' butterfly very stressful. I don't need consequences in my videogames! I get quite enough of those in real life! (Now, in real life, whenever something minor happens as a result of something I unthinkingly did a while ago, I think back to that moment and I see 'THIS ACTION WILL HAVE CONSEQUENCES' in the corner of it. You put a glass in the dishwasher! That glass was still in use and later your housemate will be trying to find it. This action will have consequences.)

The statistics at the end of each episode are sometimes a bit distressing. 'You didn't help Alyssa,' I was informed at the end of the second episode. I'm sorry, Alyssa! I didn't realise you needed help! 'You didn't water your plant.' I DIDN'T KNOW MY PLANT EXISTED.
rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
A new Dangan Ronpa anime has just started! (Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak Academy, divided confusingly into two alternating series: Future Arc (set after the second game) and Despair Arc (set before).) It's actual new canon, rather than an adaptation! And it looks potentially extremely interesting! And it features my favourite character!

This sounds like good news but is actually terrible.


Danganronpa 3: notes on the first episodes of both arcs. )


Something that delights me: Kuzuryuu may have his angry don't-care rebel façade, but he's one of the few students who diligently shows up for lessons. You're not fooling anyone, Kuzuryuu.
rionaleonhart: the mentalist: lisbon, afraid but brave, makes an important call. (it's been an honour)
I went into a bookshop with the specific intention of buying Rivers of London and realised too late that I didn't know the name of the author. With an inward sigh of despair, I trudged into the 'Sci-Fi and Fantasy' section, prepared to comb through all the shelves alphabetically.

Thank God for the name 'Aaronovitch'.


THE BOOKENING TITLE #5: Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch.

'Vagina dentata,' said Nightingale. I wasn't sure that I was reassured by the thought that it was common enough for there to be a technical term for it.

Usually, when I enjoy a book, it's because I like the characters or the world or the concepts. Occasionally you'll find a book that's enjoyable because the narrative voice is just so much fun to read. Peter Grant is a great narrator, and I think the constant undercurrent of his wry humour is what really makes Rivers of London. It feels like you're sitting down with him in the pub and he's telling you a story.

There were aspects of this book that impinged slightly on my enjoyment of it. It contained a lot of horrific gore, which I wasn't entirely prepared for, although that's not really the book's fault; I think I expected it to be aimed at a younger age range than it was. It's also a bit male-gazey, although it is at least narrated by a mildly sexually frustrated young man, rather than being one of those books that feels the need to monitor everyone's breasts at all times even if the main character has no reason to be looking at breasts. And I don't like saying that books need better editing, because I'm a copy-editor and I know how thankless a task it is; people will see the one typo that slipped through, but they'll never see the thousands of mistakes you corrected. That said, this book could have done with better editing.

Ultimately, though, this was fun! I hugely enjoyed Grant's voice, and the asides about the history of London were interesting. I liked the friendship between Grant and Lesley. I wanted to care about the relationship between Grant and Nightingale, and there were a couple of moments where I thought 'is this the moment I get invested in these two??', but in the end I didn't feel they had as much of a connection as I'd hoped for. I've gained the impression that they're a popular pairing, though, so perhaps their relationship is stronger in later books. (Not sure yet whether I'm actually going to pick up the other books in the series, but we'll see.)

Also, at one point the protagonist makes out with a little brook that runs near my childhood home. There's no other book I can say that about.
rionaleonhart: kingdom hearts: sora, riku and kairi having a friendly chat. (and they returned home)
THE BOOKENING TITLE #4: The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, Becky Chambers.

Oh, wow. This was a joy from start to finish. I'm sad that the sequel isn't out yet. Hello, new favourite book?

Here's something I don't think I've mentioned here before: I'm afraid of space. It's so big and so empty and so unknown. I think stars in the night sky are beautiful, but I can't look at them for too long because I start thinking about how far away they are and I get unsettled. The Total Perspective Vortex would destroy me. So I was a bit nervous at the prospect of reading a book all about scary space.

But it wasn't a problem at all. Space is so alive and fascinating in Small Angry Planet. I loved all the information we got about society and history and the differences between assorted sapient species. The whole universe was so much fun.

The structure is interesting; it's very episodic. Rather than focusing on telling one overarching story, this book introduces a cast of characters and then goes 'and now we're going to see a series of their escapades!' It's essentially a series of interconnected short stories. It could be adapted very well to television.

And it's a great cast of characters. I'm fond of everyone. Kizzy might be my favourite (I wasn't sure at first whether she would be irritating or endearing, but she came down firmly on the latter side for me), and I love her relationship with Jenks. Oh, wait, maybe Ashby's my favourite? WHO KNOWS; EVERYONE'S GREAT. Sissix, Dr Chef, Rosemary, everyone. Even Corbin won me over towards the end.

I can't stop picturing Ohan as Randall, the chameleon guy from Monsters Inc. This is not even slightly right (Randall doesn't have fur, for one thing), but for some reason my mind refuses to let go of it.

When I was almost finished with this book, I went, 'Hey, I should see how much fanfiction is waiting for me once this is over.' The answer: literally none. Nobody has written Small Angry Planet fanfiction.

Maybe I should fix that.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I want the entire crew of the Wayfarer to have a big Aandrisk-esque cuddlepile-stroke-orgy. Sissix said that almost all feather families have group sex at least once! I can understand why the Wayfarer crew is the exception, but I'm also sad that it's the exception. (Corbin elects not to engage in the orgy; he just sits off to the side and complains throughout.) This is probably not something I'm going to write.

I might write something about Lovelace, actually. I've made a small start, but it's tricky; the book is in past tense, and I want to try to match its style, but I haven't written in the past tense in so long. (This is perhaps why I so rarely write fanfiction for books; my instinct is always to replicate the writing style, and it's tricky!)

I'd really like to see some flashbacks to characters' early days on the Wayfarer in the sequel. But, honestly, I'll be happy so long as we get more of the ridiculous adventures of this pack of space misfits.

OKAY, I'VE JUST CHECKED THE BLURB FOR THE SEQUEL AND IT LOOKS LIKE IT IS NOT, IN FACT, ABOUT THIS PACK OF SPACE MISFITS. Noooooooo! The lack of fanfiction is now even more tragic than it was before.

Anyway, this is a thoroughly delightful book. I'm so happy to have read it.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy x-2: the sun is rising, yuna looks to the future. (hope is all we have)
I don't want to think about politics right now (I may never forgive my country, but at least my city's all right, I suppose), so instead I'm going to talk about THE BOOKENING, in which I desperately try to read a load of recent genre fiction on the slim chance I get a relevant job interview. There are worse tasks.


THE BOOKENING TITLE #1: This Savage Song, VE Schwab. A world in which violence creates monsters! Crime spawns terrible creatures that will slash you up or drink your blood or eat your soul! And then one of the monsters disguises himself as a human so he can attend school. There's more going on than that, obviously, but I really enjoy how silly the plot sounds when you cut it down.

The first few chapters focus on slowly bringing you into the world, which is interesting, but it really picks up when the monster actually starts school. I hugely enjoyed watching August try to fit in; characters being thrown suddenly into a completely new world is always fun. Colin seemed a potentially fun character, so I'm sad he was barely in this at all. Leo is terrifying. I enjoyed Kate's fury at her own vulnerability, and it was interesting to see August's desire to be a better person collide with her desire to be a worse person.


THE BOOKENING TITLE #2: Divergent, Veronica Roth. I find this a slightly less believable young adult dystopia than the world of The Hunger Games, largely because I'm convinced the Dauntless faction would have died out within a few generations. Why would anyone ever willingly join the faction that demands that you constantly risk your life for no reason? Go and join the faction that picks apples and is nice to people, for goodness' sake. And the Dauntless faction is in the habit of whittling down its recruits and allowing ONLY THE BEST to join, which further reduces its numbers, and then, as mentioned, it makes its members pointlessly risk their lives. This is not the way to maintain a healthy membership, Dauntless.

Divergent's Tris felt at points like a copy of Katniss from The Hunger Games to me, and I find it interesting that Kate from This Savage Song didn't, given that all three of them fall into a distinct 'unpersonable female YA protagonist' character type. I suppose Kate's vulnerabilities run closer to the surface, and she's also more actively cruel because she's trying to hide her caring side. Katniss isn't trying to hide that she cares; she's genuinely not very good at caring, although she's not incapable of it, and I get a similar impression from Tris. Deliberate callous action versus unconscious callous inaction.

This was an interesting diversion, but I don't think I'll be picking up the other books in the series. Diversiont.


THE BOOKENING TITLE #3: Uncharted: The Fourth Labyrinth, Christopher Golden. This was fun! I used to read the official tie-in novels for Doctor Who, and they varied wildly in quality. I was a bit apprehensive about this, but it's clearly been written with a real fondness for the Uncharted games and characters. Nate and Sully sound like themselves! There's vicarious sightseeing! There were even sections where I could see how they would translate to a puzzle sequence in one of the games. Fortunately, there were no sections that would translate to a twenty-minute shootout with four waves of enemies.

I enjoyed getting confirmation that Nate unthinkingly flirts with people out of habit.

My biggest complaint: no Elena. I can understand why Elena wasn't there, given that, you know, the book is set before Nate and Elena meet, but I still missed her. I liked Jada (it would have been nice to see some sort of reference to her in Uncharted 4), but the absence of Elena was heavy on my heart. This was also my problem with Golden Abyss. Stupid Nate, having a life and doing things before he met the best character in the series.


A Song of Ice and Fire is not part of THE BOOKENING (it's actually a large part of the reason I need THE BOOKENING; I've spent most of my leisure reading time recently on this vast series, so I need to catch up on other things), but I've now finished part one of A Storm of Swords, and Jaime and Brienne going through adversity together and slowly learning not to loathe each other is my new favourite thing. Enemies working together almost invariably delights me in fiction, particularly if it results in some sort of grudging fondness or respect. (My other major complaint about The Fourth Labyrinth: it had a touch of this, but not nearly enough!)


Further entries on THE BOOKENING are probably to come! I've just started The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, and I'm already enjoying it a lot.


Historical fact of the day: the Duke of Wellington had an enormous nude statue of Napoleon in his house. I'm so happy to know this.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy viii: found a draw point! no one can draw... (you're a terrible artist)
To whoever tried to distract me from the break-in by gifting me The Raven Boys via Amazon (all Amazon would tell me was that it was apparently from a 'Noah?', question mark included): thank you so much! Claiming a Kindle book gift from a different country is, it turns out, a bit of a production; I had to exchange the gift for an amazon.com gift certificate, then change my Kindle device country settings so I could actually order things from amazon.com, then buy the book I was gifted in the first place. But it's possible and it's now been done! Thank you!

[livejournal.com profile] th_esaurus is going to be so pleased; I know she really wants me to read this.

Here is a summary of the impressions I've gained of The Raven Boys, so I can look back and see how accurate or otherwise they prove to be when I actually read it:

- The main character is a girl named Blue.
- The male lead is a boy with a ridiculous name (Richard Gansey III?).
- Gansey is part of a group of boys who are basically the Marauders (he is Fake James Potter). Fake Sirius/Fake Remus is unsurprisingly the most popular pairing (and possibly canon?), but [livejournal.com profile] th_esaurus insists that Fake Remus/Fake James is in fact better. Fake Remus is poor and hates being pitied for it. I assume there's a Fake Peter Pettigrew somewhere.
- The plot is... er, all right, this is where I fall down. The plot is that... there are ley lines? And Fake James nearly died, but then he didn't because he was standing on a ley line. And... he wants to resurrect a dead Scottish king who is buried under the ley line... so he can ask the king why the ley line made him not die? Can that be right? That doesn't seem like it can be right.
- Also there's a prophecy that Blue's true love will die when she kisses him, but apparently that is surprisingly unimportant to the plot. It's all ley lines.
- At some point someone possibly gets possessed by an evil tree.

And those are the impressions I have of this book.


'Everything becomes ten times more homoerotic whenever Derek's on screen,' I observed while we were watching episode 2.01 of Teen Wolf. Later in the episode, Derek spent several minutes holding Scott to his chest and hissing 'This is why we need each other' into his ear. 'Ten times' may have been a conservative estimate.

I say 'homoerotic', but he got very sexual with the asthmatic young lady a few episodes on, so perhaps Derek is just banging his way through the entire cast, regardless of gender. (If I write Teen Wolf fanfiction, this will be the plot.)
rionaleonhart: final fantasy versus xiii: a young woman at night, her back to you, the moon high above. (nor women neither)
I think I slightly alarmed my neighbours by accosting them as they came out of their door with 'Excuse me! Hello. Sorry, I think there's a mouse on my back. Can you see... is there...? Yes. Don't hurt it, but, er, please could you remove it?'

I was in love with that mouse, guys. It was so small and cute. It let me put it on my arm and stroke it. I wanted to keep it as a pet. Probably not a great idea to adopt a mouse that invades your house, particularly as we're likely to get cats before long, but it was what my soul cried out for.

Just as well it climbed up my arm and onto my back, I suppose. If I hadn't had to ask the bewildered neighbours for help, I might never have been able to bring myself to evict it.


I have been reading George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series! I'm a few chapters into A Storm of Swords. (I haven't seen the Game of Thrones television adaptation, so I have no idea what awaits; please don't allude to future events!)

These books are frustrating because I'll get invested in a character or a storyline, and then that storyline will be abandoned for a hundred pages, and by the time it's picked up again I've completely forgotten what was going on. During A Clash of Kings, in particular, I was far more interested in the Arya and Sansa storylines than I was in anything else, so I was sad when I had to slog through endless war and Wall-guarding to get to the next instalment of 'Arya has crossdressing adventures!' or 'the Hound tries to be nice to Sansa but is terrible at it because he doesn't know how'. But I'm enjoying the series enormously, all the same.

Below the cut are some thoughts on A Song of Ice and Fire. Major spoilers for A Game of Thrones; mentions of minor plot details up to the start of A Storm of Swords.


Notes on 'A Song of Ice and Fire' )


Looking up some of the above notes in my diaries, I've been reminded that I once saw the following sign on the wall of a French villa:

CLOSE ALL DOORS AND SHUTTERS WHEN YOU GO OUT
you engaged your responsibility to avoid a spooky
rionaleonhart: okami: amaterasu is startled. (NOT SO FAST)
Teen Wolf is on Netflix and I've accepted my fate.

In the first episode of this show, despite the fact that werewolves are generally considered fictional, a character deduces (correctly) that his friend is a werewolf on the following grounds:

- he was bitten by something in the woods.
- he's too good at lacrosse to not be a werewolf.

I'm up to episode six, I think. I'm feeling quite bad for Jackson. He's a bit of an arsehole, yes, but he just wanted to know why Scott was so good at sports! (Hint: he's too good to not be a werewolf.) He didn't ask for any of this scary supernatural nonsense!

Scott and Allison have some cute moments, but I'm having trouble being convinced by their relationship because of the odd, rushed way it developed in the first episode. Allison turns up at the school! Scott stares creepily at her! And then I suppose he wins her over with his amazing werewolf-enhanced lacrosse abilities? Then he abandons her at a party, leaving her to find someone else to drive her home, and she asks him 'UM, WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT' and, rather than saying 'sorry, I was suddenly taken ill' (the socially acceptable form of 'sorry, I was turning into a wolf'), he goes 'lol sorry I can't tell you, forgive me?' And she does! Immediately!

I suppose what I'm saying is that, although Scott seems fine, he made such an odd first impression on Allison that I have trouble believing she wouldn't go 'actually, maybe I shouldn't break my "no boyfriends before college" decision for this guy who stared unsettlingly at me, suddenly left me alone without transport and then responded to my "why did you do that?" with "shrug, can't tell you".'

Maybe she's just a very forgiving person. I suppose I shouldn't judge her for that.

I thought from his first appearance that I wouldn't get along with Stiles, but I actually find him weirdly endearing. Although he does make some terrible decisions. (I also get the impression he's a bit in love with Scott.)

Everyone in this show makes terrible decisions. This is in part because there's a bizarre tendency in Teen Wolf to set up incredibly tense, life-or-death situations... and then focus on how embarrassing they are. Oh, no, Derek's been shot and he's collapsed in the road! ...which is holding up all the traffic, this is totally socially unacceptable, he must be moved as soon as possible. Scott's obtained the remedy that can save Derek's life! Thank goodness; Derek will die within hours without intervention. Better get to him as quickly as possible. But... wait, what's that, Scott? You're a guest in someone's house and you've been invited to stay for dessert? Well, of course you can't refuse; that would be rude.