Zelda: Breath of the Wild GOTY

Yay. Zelda won GOTY at the Game Awards 2017! *claps* yay :3

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*this is probably going to be very pro Zelda, so be prepared*

I’m happy. I haven’t played all the games nominated, but I’m happy. The general consent seems to be: thank god PUBG didn’t win. Zelda? Fine with me, it’s not PUBG. I’m actually very glad a lot of people feel this way, because it just feels wrong to even nominate a game that hasn’t even seen a full release yet and is basically still in testing phase.

In general the reception of Zelda as Game of the Year seems to be quite good.

Then there’s the Horizon-fans complaining Horizon didn’t win anything and I’ve seen some individuals from different fan bases saying Zelda just won because it’s Zelda and everything Zelda is just being praised and loved because fans blindly love Zelda.

First of all: I don’t own a PS4. Therefore, I didn’t play Horizon. What I know about this game is, that it’s very good and therefore I think it’s sad it didn’t win anything. It probably deserved to win at least something.

Second: the assumption that Nintendo fans just blindly love everything Zelda because of the name is just plain wrong. We’ve seen in the past several times where Zelda was met with huge criticism or downright hate, because it didn’t deliver what fans wanted.The Zelda franchise is one of the highest acclaimed franchises in video game history and has produced top-tier games of outstanding quality for over 30 years now most notably in its main series on home consoles. Therefore, expectations for any new Zelda release are astronomical high and what happens if these expectations are not fully met, we’ve recently seen in Wind Waker and Skyward Sword in particular. There’s always hardcore fans defending everything, that’s normal, but I believe there’s a fair share of fans who are very critical towards Zelda, because they are very spoiled by the average quality of the franchise.

Wind Waker was met with a storm of rage due to its cartoony graphics. It took fans years to come to terms with it and appreciate the outstanding game behind it. When it was initially released? Oh boy, that was a riot, because everyone expected realistic graphics that Nintendo didn’t deliver. The game itself wasn’t even bad. Sure, it’s not perfect: travel can be boring over longer distances and the triforce quest was just way too long, both issues got fixed in the HD version. Other than that, the game was truly awesome. It was the art direction alone, that made fans hate on this game. And hate they did.

Other example: Skyward Sword. And it was, once again, primarily one feature, that made fans collectively hate this game. Fans. Not media. I believe this game was actually rated a bit too high by the general media, but is rated way too low by fans – even today. The feature in question is… motion control. Contrary to what many people try to make other’s believe: it works fine. I’ve played it and barely had issues with it at all. I’m not trying to defend a bad game, I’m trying to be honest and I can honestly say: the motion control worked great for me. Many gamers hated it for the fact alone that is was mandatory and you couldn’t play the game with a classic controller. The other problem with this game is that it’s not the game fans were asking for. Around the time when Skyward Sword was released, fans have been asking for an open world Zelda for quite a while already and got a very linear playing-it-save type of Zelda with lot’s of handholding, which disappointed fans even further.

I personally believe Skyward Sword was a fantastic game and a very solid Zelda with some nice boss fights, enjoyable worlds, great dungeons and interesting items (I love the beetle). Just like I think Mario 3D World is a fantastic game and a very solid Mario. Both games were met with lukewarm receptions by gamers -Skyward Sword more negative than 3D World- simply because they weren’t the type of games fans wanted.

Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey both are the games fans have been asking for a long time and were both met with euphoria from fans – so much, I believe fans tend to be more forgiving to these games, because they’re both basically 100% fanservice. This is Nintendo listening to their fans and giving them exactly what they wanted and people are responding accordingly.

And both games are fantastic! So much, they both got nominated for GOTY at the Game Awards, which I believe was very well deserved. I’ve been a long time Zelda-fan, but I’ve been playing Mario platformer even longer. I’ve been playing Mario for 20+ years across 7 generations of home consoles and their handheld counterparts. Both franchises have been a huge part of my gaming life and I hope to be as fair as possible, even though I personally just prefer 2D or 2+1/2 D platformer over 3D collect-A-thons, because I love tight 2D platforming the most – which is the reason why I prefer Donkey Kong Country over Mario, btw. I usually try to appreciate the good in games, even if they’re personally not to my liking. I know there’s a lot of people who’d be so mad at me for saying this, but at one point, I got bored by Mario Odyssey.

Mario Odyssey is a consistently great game and getting all moons is one hell of a hard  quest. While I thought most moons during the regular playthrough are too easy to get, there’s some real challenges, if you try to collect them all. The game doesn’t really has any low points, it has a very high average quality without any real dips downwards, but also without many spikes upwards. My one and only big moment in this game was the festival in New Donk City. That was plain awesome, no question and New Donk City by itself was the most enjoyable part for me due to all the vertical platforming involved. I also loved the pipes that sent you to these very hard platforming sections post game. There’s nothing better than finally clearing these mini-levels after 20+ tries, there’s finally some actual sense of accomplishment involved, like… I earned that moon. Oh, and while we’re at it, I applaud to the game for calling them moons in mushroom kingdom, even though they’re clearly stars.

However, in a way, Mario Odyssey was playing it kind of save. At least compared to Zelda. Mario Odyssey was basically Mario 64 2.0, it was the Mario 64 successor fans wanted ever since. Since the first time I was able to get my hands on na demo, I’ve been saying: guys, this game does not reinvent the wheel, it’ very much Mario like we know and love, nothing more and nothing less. After playing this game, I still believe the very same about it. This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy or appreciate the new features, like the 8bit segments in the stages or the capture feature that basically replaces power ups. Mario Odyssey is an outstanding game, it just doesn’t dare to go one step further.

A step Zelda dared to take. Just like Odyssey, Breath of the Wild is still very much Zelda, but with the formula we’ve come to know for such a long time removed for the most part. There’s still hearts to collect, the Master Sword to find and the Princess to rescue, but they turned it from a linear formulated experience to a free open world game. By going back to the very first Zelda and take inspiration from modern open world games, Nintendo nailed their very first try at making an open world game out of one of their most well-known and beloved franchises. And like I said: fans are critical about Zelda. If this didn’t work out, the backlash would’ve been huge. But it worked out.

Once again this game has a very high average quality with more drips downwards than Odyssey, but also with more spikes upwards. For all the weaker parts of the game, there are others done so phenomenally well, they overshine the bad ones. In terms of game design, even though I didn’t play every game this year obviously, but the game design in BotW is insanely good. The physics engine, the game mechanics, the freedom and the lack of handholding it all turns this game into a truly great experience.

BotW dared to be more daring, but was executed so well, the flaws of this game are simply being forgiven. I hope Nintendo can work on the remaining flaws of BotW and make the successor even greater, because I believe BotW might have just managed to do what the original Legend of Zelda and Ocarina of Time did before: change the way we look at games. Especially the world as one huge living interactive being  has not been done quite like this before with so many possibilities given to the player due to a phenomenal physics engine and something very simple like the ability to climb everything. Whatever you think should be possible, is possible and that opens up a whole new dimension of gameplay. This goes beyond a fish fleeing from you or arrows flying in a naturalistic curve and being collectible even under water.

BotW pushed the genre forwards, a genre it just entered. It also pushed the franchise forwards and gave it a much-needed overhaul. I don’t think Nintendo will entirely drop the classic Zelda formula, but it would be nice to see different kinds of Zelda coexisting alongside each other.

I hope the successor to this game has better item management. Going through all the pages of food and gear and weapons to whatever you’re searching for at the moment was annoying. I would also love to see traditional dungeons back. I liked the approach of huge 3D puzzles, but 4 traditional dungeons would’ve been more to my liking. And for the love of god, maybe one day we’ll have a Zelda with an actual great story and characters? Maybe? I’m supporting the weapon durability aspect, btw.

And we definitely need more Sidon.

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Damn, this post got way longer than I anticipated…
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Disagreement (graphic! I guess…?)

So, today was my first day back at work after a 3 days leave and I happend to have a little bit of a disagreement with one of our patients.

Mind you, I work at a small animal practice and said patient was a cat. Cats are basically the most dangerous animal that you can find in a small animal practice and you’re going to find out why. Don’t worry, though, the scratches don’t hurt, the cat was not hurt and I could’ve definately ended up much much worse.

The worst thing that can happen in a small animal practice, is getting bitten by a cat. Dogs? Nah. A cat bite? OH SHIT! The reason is the canine (yes, cats have canine teeth) in cats are so sharp, when they bite the tooth is pressed in deep and when it comes out, the wound closes almost immediately, because it’s only a very small wound. The tooth however brought gems into the wound and those gems are having the time of their life now infecting your hand. It’s crutial to get antibiotics and proper treatment ASAP, or otherwise you’re in serious danger of loosing a finger. Or two. Or a hand. Untreated infected cat bites can send you into hospital, into severe pain, into huge abzesses and worst case into an amputation.

That being said, if there’s one thing we try to avoid, it’s getting bitten by a cat. After 3 + 1/2 years at our practice, I’ve never been bitte so far. Everything you’re going to see are scratches. Scratches are no big deal, they bleed a bit, they heal, everything’s chill. I just want to post this to show how dangerous my job can be. I love my job, I don’t mind uncooperative or grumpy patients, but it’s not the cute cuddly job people often expect.

I’m not injured that often either. I’m a careful person. It was just one of those days today. And that’s why I’m not a cat person.

Btw, I have a skin condition, that’s why I have a lot of small wounds and scars on my arms. Don’t worry about those, they have nothing to do with animals of any kind.

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Abandoned Guinea-Pig

 

frontalkleinThis little one was caught after 2 days of effort at the edge of a forest by concerned animal lovers. Since they had no experience with Guinea Pigs, they tried to contact the local shelter, but couldn’t get through, so they decided to bring their rescued animal to our small animal practice hoping we know someone. Unfortunately we couldn’t find anyone that fast either and I took him in for the time being.

It turned out this is a neutered male about one year old and he was in total panic when he arrived. It was pretty chilly the day he was caught, he was cold and only 740g. Male Guinea Pigs usually weight around 1kg, so that makes him pretty thin. I have to admit I’ve seen some seriously underweight adult Guinea Pigs at our practice, some barely more than 500g, but those were crutially ill animals. Our abandoned boy was actually surprisingly healthy, but wasn’t fed properly for a while.

Here’s the deal: Guinea Pigs don’t survive on their own in the wilderness, specially not in Germany where it’s too cold in the winter without proper shelter and care. Due to their coloration they’re excellent prey animals, so if illness or weather conditions don’t kill them, predators definately will sooner than later. Abandoning a Guinea Pig equals a death sentence. What I want to say is, this abondoned Guinea Pig couldn’t have been living outside on his own for longer than a few days before he was found, therefore we suspect he wasn’t properly fed for a while wherever he was living before.

He also suffered from an advanced lice infestation. The species of the lice and the heavy degree of the infestation suggest he also must’ve had those before he was abondoned. Where ever he came from: they didn’t take proper care of him.

On top of the lice, he was carrying about 15 tick nymphs around his nose, that all needed to be removed by hand. He also developed a cold in the following days of his capture, had eczema around his anal region and developed an eczema on his ear due to scratching because of the itch from the lice. Unfortunately the eczema on his ear got infected and he needed antibiotics as well as an anti-itch salve for local treatment

The eczema all got taken care of and are long gone. His ear has a little bit of a notch now, but it’s barely noticibale. He got over his cold with a nice warm place to live and a good dose of Vitamin C. He’s under lice treatment at the moment and will receive his last dose later this week, after which he will be going to a Guinea Pig rescue group where he’ll be put up for adoption.

About his weight: well, let’s just say he’s a good eater. Last time I checked he had 873g, so DSC_0003he’s getting closer to normal weight every day. It was a huge relieve that he was eating like a champ ever since day one. Their digestive system is build for constant eating, therefore if a Guinea Pig doesn’t eat, it will develop severe gastro-intestinal problems and dies.  The muscles in their gastro intestinal organs are very weak, so they need to eat in order to push the food through their intestines. This is the reason why Guinea Pigs have to be force fed when they don’t eat on their own and I was prepared to force feed our abanonded Guined Pig, which I thankfully didn’t have to do.

He’s not a picky eater either. So far he’s eaten absolutely everything I suggested to him. As long as it’s food, he will love it, even some veggies my own Guinea Pigs don’t like. I really have yet to find something he doesn’t like to eat, but his favorite are carrots.

He’s very shy and is not used to being handled by humans. He won’t eat out of my hands and will take any chance to get away whenever I handle him. Fortunately he’s a very good boy and not aggressive at all, he never tried to bite me, even though he’s been though stuff like getting injections at home. That’s the good (and bad) of being taken care of by a vet tech: you won’t see the vet often, but your caretaker will do stuff the vet otherwise would. During his first week he required injections, daily wound care and very close inspections, which is not exactly helping to build trust.

I know it will be hard to let him go, because he’s a wonderful Guina Pig and a real beauty as well. He’s an English Crested, but I suspect there’s some kind of long haired breed mixed into him as well, because his fur is a bit too long for a purebread English Crested and it’s crazy soft. Now that he’s feeling good and got rid of most of his problems, it reflects in his fur: it’s super soft and shiny.  A healthy animal has a healthy coat.

Since I have a group of two females and a neutered male, I can’t introduce him into my group and I don’t have enough space to keep a second group, therefore he will need to go. I’m glad I found a good rescue group and I personally know the woman who will take him in until he gets adopted, so I have a very good feeling about it. I hope he will find a good forever home with many friends to keep him company. He definately deserves it.

DSC_0001 kleinEven though he was abandoned, he was extreamly lucky to be found in time. His overall condition was actually not that bad, despite of his parasites, being underweight, having some eczema and developing a slight cold – it could’ve been much worse, to be honest. I’m gald I was able to foster him back to health relatively fast. Finishing his lice treatment is the last step he still needs to take in order to find a good home, but other than that he’s doing amazing and he got used to living with me surprisingly fast. He already feels right at home, yawning and chilling out right beside his water bowl (that he absolutely loves for some strange reason), so I’m sure he’ll get used to his forever home fast as well. With enough patience he’ll realize humans aren’t that bad, either.

I took him on my own account and paid for his treatment out my own pocket (I get special prices at out practice since I’m staff, though). I’m not asking or anything in return. I’m just happy to be able to give him the best start possible for a new life. I definately would’ve kept him if he was a female or if I didn’t own a male already, but since I need to let him go, I’ll stay in contact with the rescue group where he’ll be going to and make sure they’ll find him the perfect home he deserves.

Dragonball Super

Am I in a litte bit of a Dragonball phase right now? Well… maybe, yes.

This is one of the anime I’ve grown up with, so it’s quite amazing to see it still being popular today and I have to admit Dragonball Super hits the comedy part quite well. dbz-kamitokamiUnfortunately the animation quality and layout of the fights aren’t as good as I hoped them to be, even more so after the amazing job they did with Kami to Kami. I’ve admittedly never been much of a fan of the movies, but most of them are not canon anyway, so that might be part of it.

Kami to Kami was the first movie in a long time, where Akira Toriyama actually worked on himself and it shows. A lot. This movie is a work of art, it’s absolutely on point: the animation, the quality, the comedy, the characters (well, most of them anyways) and above everything else the main fight between Beerus and Super Saiyan God Goku is absolutely breathtaking. And apparently I’m not the only one who thought that way, because it was popular enough to spawn another movie Resurrection of F and ultimately resulted in the making of Dragonball Super.

Unlike GT Super is considered canon, because Akira Toriyama is working on it himself, but as far as I know he contributes the general plot points an the rest is up to the dragonball-super-stream-cover-Aa0YhnIaCpDgbuFxBWF89fPPIGXK36LE_220x330animation team, which leaves a lot of room. As for the original series and Z they had the manga to rely on, which they don’t have this time and unfortunately it shows in the way the fights are constructed. It’s still fun to watch most of the time and I know the minute-long screaming in Z was annoying, but the fights aren’t as exciting as they used to be and I’m already overlooking substantial drops in animation quality on the character models, I’m just talking about the fights themselves.

One of the characters who’s standing out the most in Super is, in my opinion, Vegeta. They’re doing such an amazing job with him and walk a pretty nice line between awkwardly funny and dead serious. Also, he’s now pretty much a much better father than Goku ever was and shows genuine interest in his family, that he apparently came to love for real. It doesn’t really hurt we finally get to know why Goku took ChiChi and Vegeta Bulma and Piccolos reaction to that was just plain priceless.

Bulma and ChiChi are both very headstrong women and that’s exactly the reason why Vegeta and Goku got attracted to them, because that’s apparently what a Saiyan is looking for in a woman, because she needs to be able to handle a Saiyan family. Remember how many people said they’re bowing their heads to Bluma and ChiChi (even though the latter is annoying as fuck) for being able to raise Saiyans? Yeah, basically, if they wouldn’t haven been as headstrong as they are, Goku and Vegeta would’ve never gone for them.

Now, this is just my theory, but I personally believe Goku does not differenciate between his love for his family and his friends. He knew instinctively this particular women would be able to raise his children, so he went for it. I’m not saying he doesn’t love her, tumblr_inline_mu6o3jZqRb1qzj8pubut I think he loves her and his sons the same way he loves his friends. I mean, his relationship with Gohan is closer to that of being best buddies instead of being father and son. Also, excuse me, but I don’t think Goku has ever been a good father for Gohan. I believe he’s somewhat trying with Goten, but that’s nowhere near the level of what we’re seeing from Vegeta, who refused to leave because his baby was about to be born soon – and not just out of fear for Bulma, but genuine interest in his child. Goku? He didn’t even understand why that’s a problem. I actually felt sad when Vegeta wasn’t allowed to name his daughter, because it looked like he was really looking forward to giving her a strong saiyan name.

I’m not saying Vegeta is the perfect dad, because he neglected Trunks a lot, too. I’m justVegeta-600x330 saying he’s a better father than Goku, who always saw Gohan more as sparring partner and nakama to save the world, instead of a son. Heck, I’m supporting the guys saying Piccolo has always been more of a father figure for Gohan than his actual father. The father-of-the-year awards goes to Gohan anyway, who’s doing the most amazing job with Pan.

What brings me to the one person whom I think got heavily downgraded and that’s Videl. I have to be honest, I loved her when she was introduced: she was strong, she was a tomboy and she knew what she wanted. She complimented the awkward Gohan in the most amazing way, they turned out to be such am awesome duo. Unfortunately… she got the ChiChi-treatment. I’m just glad they didn’t turn her into the same nagging mess of a woman that ChiChi is, but she’s basically been downgraded to just being Gohans wife with their child. Where’s the headstrong teenager we all knew and loved? Now she’s sitting at a round table with Bulma and ChiChi talking about how she always loved girly things, too. What? WHEN? WHERE? That never happend in Z, they’re just trying to make her more domestic, which is sickening me.

495ed152bee288f0df3d1787144736ce39d740e7_hqI honestly would’ve preferred if Videl would’ve gotten the 18 treatment. Sure, she got domestic as well, she’s madly in love with her husband and daughter, but she NEVER lost her bite. She’s still kicking ass and neveryone knows not to mess with her. She’s even representing Universe 7 in the tournament of power and doing a damn well job at it. I’m sure ChiChi can still fight, I mean she even trained Goten up into a Super Saiyan and I’m sure Videl can also still fight, but it’s not worth anything anymore. Their place is being a wife and raising their kids and nothting else, that’s what their characters have been reduced to and that’s what’s annoying me. I really miss that temperatment of her’s that Vicel had, when she stood up to Gohan.

I’m not saying being a fulltime wife and mom is a bad thing per se. I’m just disappointed all of her other personaly traits got thrown out of the window. It’s like, dude Gohan, who did you marry again? And… why? Didn’t you like her for being independent, headstrong and reckless?

As for Gohan, he’s always been against fighting and only did so when he was forced to. Dragon-Ball-Super-Episode-90-ReviewHe’s always been a sweet natured guy by heart, so being a loving dad totally suits him. From all the demi-saiyans, he’s probably the one who’s most aware of being a child of two worlds and he probably has the two most different hearts beating in his chest. He’s got the full figthing potential from his saiyan side, but the sensitive heart of a human. Wow, great thing he arguably had the worst childhood ever… and people are honestly surprised he stops training and fighting every second he gets.

I mean, sure, I’ve dedicated an entire post about the lost potential of Gohan, because he’s been buffed drastically for Goku to take the spotlight and it hurt so damn much seeing him useless, because you KNOW he could be the strongest. Piccolo just recently confirmed his potential to be “bottomless”, Gohan could be Earth’s strongest weapon, if he wished so. I’m really glad he decided to not completely abadoning his saiyan heritage and started training again. And guess what? He’s already strong enough to force Goku into his strongest form, but what I think is even better for him, is that he’s trying for new heights, but without relying on the Super Saiyan forms they’re been abusing ever since Freeza on Namek.

Dragon-BallI’m always a sucker for meeting characters from the original series. Maybe it’s the nostalgia, but I just love seeing those characterst hat have been there since the very beginning, when Dragonball was a martial arts fantasy adventure and before it was turned into a superpower Sci-Fi festival. I admit I’m a huge fan of the Dragonball saga before Z, before there were aliens and when humans were still able to hold their own against the protagonists. When we had talking dinosaurs participating in the great tournament and a protagonist with a tail that nobody gave a fuck about, because… why? Between flying and talking cats, shapeshifting pigs and humanoid wolves, a kid with a monkey tail doesn’t even need much of an explanation, you just accept it as being part of this fantasy world.

 

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Ballroom e Youkoso Anime and Manga Spoilers

Damn those necks.

Okay, so with Ballroom e Youkoso my arguably most anticipated anime of the year was released and we’re 5 episodes in and far enough to say something of substance.

First of all, I love the art direction. I know, the necks are a little bit too long, but overall I think it looks absolutely gorgeous and the animation quality is pretty nice. I was hoping for fully animated dances in the same way Yuri on Ice fully animated the figure scating programms, but that’s very unusual for anime, so I guess I kind of knew this wouldn’t happen? It’s still a tiny bit disappointing, though.

They make use of freeze frames quite a bit and while that’s not unusual in anime at all, the manga does such an amazing job of capturing the movement and power of dancing, I actually think the anime looks a little bit too static sometimes. I’ve seen much worse, don’t get me wrong, something in me just screams: “This is not right.” when the manga is creating better movement with still images than it’s animated counterpart. It’s still good! I just think it could be better.

It’s been such a long time that I’ve seen the start of the story, it made me realize a lot of stuff and it’s really funny seeing all the new people react to the characters, who you know will not be what they seem to be when they are introduced, but first things first.

I noticed I’m really missing Chii-chan so much, not just because she’s one of my favorite characters and I totally ship her with Tatara, but also because she’s giving Tatara a real challenge and brings out his worse. She makes him suffer, she makes him question his ablilities, but she also makes him move forward the absolute most. Right now in these first 5 episodes, everything came so easy to Tatara, he’s basically been given everything on a silver tablet with the best wishes from the Chef so far and it will continue this way until Chii-chan arrives and messes with everything Tatara thought he knew.

Tatara is a total beginner and yes he first struggles a bit with the Waltz, but he gets his lessons for free, he is taught by literally the best dancer in Japan, he gets his suit for free, he gets to dance with two very experienced and advanced girls to learn from and has the ability to learn extreamly fast by seeing and remembering basically everything about dancing. Explaining doesn’t work very well for him, but seeing it does.

I really didn’t notice it that much when I was reading the manga, but Tatara is very priviledged – and has the balls to try and go after Shizuku as a partner, because he has a crush on her, even though she’s partnered with Hyodo. I don’t want to sound too mean, because he’s still training a lot, even at home, but I stand by my words, he has it very easy at the start and it takes until Chii-chan arrived that he’s actually forced to struggle for real for the first time.

I guess having it easy at the beginning makes up for all the struggle he has to go through with Chii-chan, because once it starts, it’s not going to stop. Tatara learns to suffer and is forced to face his weak spots, but creates something very unique together with Chii-chan. In a way, Chii-chan is the 3rd experienced & advanced girl he gets to pair up with, but she’s his first real partner and unlike Mako and Shizuku, Chii-chan has a whole damn lot of learning to do herself, because she always danced the male part and never the female part. So, you end up with a beginner who doesn’t know how to lead and an advanced dancer who doesn’t know how not to lead. Perfect combination for trouble. Awesome.

It’s actually even more awesome that in recent chapters they’ve started to discover a way to work together and bring out both their strenghts in their dance. I hope they can move forward from being the dysfunctional couple in desync to being a real unity, because in the rare moments they were, they were freaking unstoppable. They complement each other so well, there’s no way I want to see Tatara leave her for Shizuku at one point. If that’s ever going to happen, I’m dropping this manga, Tatara and Chii-chan absolutely need to stay together.

Talking about staying together, I love Hyodo and episode 4 made me realize again just why. This manga/anime has a great talent and that is: introducing an antagonist as some evil guy, that ends up in a friendly rivalry with the main protagonist. It happend with Hyodo, who’s some kind of mentor/elder brother to Tatara in manga right now and it also happend with Gaju. It’s so funny seeing all the people watching the anime complaining over Hyodo, wishing he would break up with Shizuku for Tatara’s sake and now they’re upset about Gaju “snatching Shizuku away” from Tarara being the mean guy… when it fact they all have their partners, they all will stay with their partners, Tatara will get his own partner and they will all become pretty good friends.

They are still rivals, but I love that they’re friends at the same time in a very healthy way. They do shenaningans, they mess up, they tease each other, but everything is on friendly terms and they rely onto each other when needed, too. In case of Hyodo, these could very well be his first actual frindships and Gaju? I mean, he’s even messing with Tatara in school all the time, they’re partners in crime.

In shounen, and Ballroom e Youkoso is a shounen, you usually have the main protagonist and his close ring of friends, his nakama. In case of Tatara, his “nakama” are his rivals, wich is kind of cool to be honest. I’d be interesting to see if Masami joins this ring of friends/rivals as well. So far, he tried his best not to and be the long wolf. He’s a very different type of guy and I think he might always stay more reserved, but I think he could very well become friends with the rest of the group.

And by the way, Akira is pretty ingenius as a comic relieve. She’s not just funny in the way she interacts with Chii-chan, there’s a very serious background to all of this and I hope to see more of her. Not because she’s gay for Chii-chan, remember I ship TataraxChii-chan, but because of her great dynamic with Chii-chan.

Before I finish this, I need to get this out of my system: You don’t teach Slow Foxtrott to a beginner. You… don’t. It’s too hard, even the basic steps are long and complicated, it’s a dance for advanced dancers and nothing Tatara should learn after Waltz as his first dance ever.

Skip Beat 248

I don’t even know if I ever mentioned Skip Beat, but I’ve been reading it ever since my brother’s first girlfriend introduced me and that was ages ago. It’s quite amazing how little this manga developed story wise in this period of time.

skip_beat_44_8You see, when I stated reading Skip Beat, it must’ve been around 2005, so it’s been a long time. In these 12 years, I’ve read and finished so many manga while this is is one of the few that I’m actually still reading from this period of time. Skip Beat has easily always been the manga I’ve complained about the most about it’s speed of development story- and character-wise. The fun part is, I’ve also always been reading Detective Conan and there’s nothing happaning at all, very few instances when we had a bit of actual story, but it’s not much.

The difference is, Conan is designed very periodic, so we usually have a couple of chapters revolving around a case. The case is finished and we move onto the next one, so every few chapters we have some kind of resolve and we accomplish something. It’s a weekly manga, so it’s usually between a months or two before we finish one mini-arc.

Skip Beat drags on a lot more. First and foremost, it’s monthly and it’s not just monthly, it also has a very small page count for a monthly manga. You know, I’m used to the Fullmetal Alchemist type of monthly manga around 40 pages per chapter, sometimes even close to 50. Skip Beat has about 25-30 ish pages per chapter and as you can see: huge difference. Okay, this can be thanks to different art style, working conditions, health issues with the manga-ka, whatever, you know, there are many reasons why we skip_beat_78_25have less pages per chapter and if 25-30 works good for Nakamura, then that’s fine.

Unfortunately, Skip Beat has not exactly been the most regulary released manga on the planet, skipping a month here and there. Actually, it used to be released bi-weekly, which might be the reason why the page count is that low for a monthly release, and was moved to a monthly release a few years ago if I remember correctly. Which is fine, again. I’m sure there are reasons I don’t know about and I don’t have a problem with that.

Now take all what I’ve said so far about page count and not-as-regular-releases-as-we-would-like and add a painstakingly slow narrative to it – THIS is where it starts getting annoying. I swear to god, Akagami no Shirayukihime managed at least twice as much substance in 85 chapters than Skip Beat managed in 248 chapters. I constantly feel like we’re walking on the same spot without getting anywhere, as if we’re stiped to a conveyer belt or something.

We did make some progress over the time, no question. Kyoko went from hating love after being mistreated by Sho, to admitting to herself that she’s in love with Ren. She also developed into a capable actess, even though she’s still officlally an idol and head chef of the Love Me section, but I actually think she was surprisingly good right from the start. I skip_beat_241_4mean, she was never “bad” at acting, she had the talent all the time and impressed people all over the place even with her early works.

Thanks to the amazingly slow narrative, the mini-arcs in Skip Beat take years to finish, which can drag on a lot. For example: Kyoko was talking with Moko-san about the role of Momiji, that she’s currently auditioning for, 14 chapters ago – that’s 14 months, if a chapter was released every month during that time. I think the whole thing actually started even further back, but that’s already over a year and she still didn’t get the part just yet. It looks like she will get it very soon and Ren has come back from Guam earlier only to see a picture of Sho and Kyoko kissing, which is not that good, I guess…? I mean,  Ren is 21 years old currently and Kyoko is 17, which officially makes then illegal. Sho and Kyoko are of the same age, so at least Sho is not breaking the law.

Akagami no Shirayukihime has been dragging on a lot lately as well, because Shirayuki and Zen have been separated for a while now and I’m dying to see them together again. At least they’re an official pair, that’s much more than Skip Beat can claim to have. I’m also dying to know what Ren will give Kyoko as a White Day’s gift. He sent everyone a gift, except Kyoko and Yashiro mentioned months ago that he knows what Ren got for her, so I think it’s certain to say he got her something special and wants to give it to her skip_beat_219_8in person. That was, before he saw that picture of Kyoko and Sho kissing, which might delay thing a tiny bit… and by that I mean probably another half a year.

Yeah, that’s one way to keep your manga running, but apparently there’s still enough people interested, or Skip Beat would’ve suffered the same fate Bleach had and would’ve been axed. At least we still have a chance to see a proper end to this.

Eurovision Song Contest 2017

All right, it’s this time of the year again: it’s Eurovision! The biggest and longest running

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ESC 2017 logo

song competition in the world, that claims to be unpolitical, but everyone and their grandma knows it’s not.

Granted, a few stars rose from the ESC and managed to build a career, but for the most part it’s cheesy and sparkly and gay and fun and pop songs and Eurodance and ballads all in 3 big shows. I’m not a huge Eurovision-geek, but being into it once a year is perfectly fine.

I would like to talk about 2 things about this year’s ESC: Russia and Italy.

As we all know, Russia is boycotting the ESC this year, after Ukraine forbid russian entry Julia Samoylova to enter the country. Now, this may sound mean, even more so because she’s disabled and sitting in a wheelchair, but she broke ukrainian law by performing on crimera without going through Ukraine – in other words: she flew directly from Russia to crimera to perform and that resulted in a 3 year ban to enter Ukraine. There’s another 140 artists that share the same fate.

Is Ukraine being too hard? This is very hard to answer. Russia obviously is trying to be the victim here, I mean: there’s no way Russian authorities didn’t know about Samoylovas ban to enter Ukraine before choosing her and they chose a disabled artiest on top of that – someone you’re going to feel bad for easily. This was a calculated conflict from Russia, they knew this would happen and they knew Ukraine would not make an expection, because these two countries are in war and Ukraine is still damn pissed about crimera.

However, neither country was interested in resolving this conflict, the EBU said Samoyolova could perfom in Russia and her performance could be streamed live during the show, but both countries declined and neighter offered another solution. Every single person with a brain their head should’ve known either Russia or Ukraine was going to pull one out after Jamala won last year and quite honestly, nobody really seems surprised either. It’s a little sad, because Eurovision is supposed to bring countries together and it has been used to deepen an ungoing conflict this year. Personally I think both countries should’ve acted more peaceful.

Leaving Russia and Ukraine behind, I would like to talk a bit about Italy this year. Yes, Italy, the huge favorite. Some people think the song is overrated, I personally really like it. I think it’s a catchy popsong, that’s fun to listen to and you don’t feel bad listen to it more than once. I’m also a huge fan of Francescos rough voice and hope he can deliver a great perfomance in the finale.

However, I think having a great song is not the only reason so many people support Italy this year. I often read comments about Italy being robbed 2015 and they finally deserve

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Italy: Francesco Gabbani

the win they should’ve taken two years ago. Rewind backwards to 2015 when Italy was the huge fan favorite and took an undisputed clear first place in the audience voting. That night european people decided “Grande Amore” was their winner, but a hand full of profressionals decided to make a much more radio-friendly song the winner: Sweden. Since Italy was so widley supported by fans, many felt Italy was robbed by the juries and now that Italy has another outstanding top song, the support is there once again.

Additionally, I would like to add Jamala was second place last year: she was second place in jury voting and second place in audience voting. She won, because Australia did very well with the juries, but not that good with the audience and Russia did very well with the audience, but not that good with the juries. Once again, just like the year before, we have a huge difference between the fan favorite and the jury favorite and fans felt their winner was robbed once again. Add to the fact many people believe the votes for Ukraine were out of political interest and you kind of understand why the fans finally want to see “their winner” actually win.

Italy would be a very “safe” winner this year. After all the controversy around the ukraininan win last year and their trouble with Russia this year, Italy is very safe. They already deserved it two years ago, they don’t have any major problems with other countries, or at least not of the scale that Ukraine does, and they have a good song you can play on the radio in most parts of the world. It’s a “feel good” song at a time when many people don’t feel that good and problems are rising all around us and maybe we need a song to win, that makes us feel good for 3 minutes.

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Protugal: Salvador Sobral

The other favorites to win are currently Portugal and Sweden – also two very safe options – and Bulgaria, another controversial entry, because ever since Russias announced they won’t participate this year, Bulgaria is basically Russias secret entry, because their artist has russian roots, is very well known in Russia and is expected to get many russian votes. Quite honestly, I really REALLY don’t want Bulgaria to win and it has nothing to do with their song, unfortunately, it’s 100% politics: I don’t want this mess a second time in a row. It’s been a long time since ESC was as political as it is this year and I want to have a break from that next year. Every once in a while: okay, but not every year.

I’ll be rooting for Italy, I really like France and Belgium as well and hope they’ll be doing great this year. My own country? Germany? Set to lose again, no point talking about it.