#but also those vary based on which route you take
Hi all! I wanted to compile what we know of the locations frequented in 9-1-1 in a visual manner to give us a better sense of where characters live in relation to each other and the firehouse (more on that later).
First and foremost, I could not have done this without @monsterfuckerdiaz and @liesoverthec - their invaluable research made this possible.
Here is a visual snapshot of where Chim/Maddie, Eddie, Bobby/Athena, and Buck reside:
Disclaimer: Some distances and times are approximations (~) based on neighborhood and traffic. This is LA so a mile can take 30 minutes depending on time of day or location (side eyeing Buck’s loft in Downtown LA).
Observations and analysis under the cut.
Hen/Karen - As you can see there is no discernable address for them, so using my powers of deduction, I’ve concluded that their house must be in the pink quadrant highlighted on the map. They obviously live in a residential area and more likely than not, near Athena.
Station 118 - This address was another shot at my powers of deduction. Based on everyone’s locations + calls they take (typically residential, but also in downtown LA) it seems this location fits the bill. In real life, this is Station 26 - 2009 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90018 and when you look at pictures from the outside, could be Station 118 was modeled after it.
Chimney/Maddie - Their address is: 2385 S Orlando Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90035, Apt. 2B. There is a North Orlando and a South, but based off what we saw of the outside in 5x04, South Orlando seems like the more plausible address.
Madney live 20-25 minutes from the Firehouse [ 4.5 miles ]. There is another station closer to their apartment (about 10 minutes) but it makes sense it is not the 118, because in Breaking Point when considering a home birth, Chim mentions the closest firehouse but doesn’t address it as the 118.
In relation to everyone else, Madney live:
8-10 minutes from Eddie [ 1.8 miles ]
~20-25 minutes from Bathena [ ~3.3 miles ]
~30-35 minutes from Buck [ ~6.1 miles ]
Bobby/Athena - Their neighborhood is on: Fallsgrove St, Los Angeles, CA 90016. This is in the middle of a residential neighborhood. What is interesting is that it’s just west of Crenshaw, which Athena has referenced as being familiar with in 2x01.
Bobby lives 20-25 minutes from the Firehouse [ ~4.6 miles ]. We don’t really have an address of where he lived before, but since he moved in with Athena, my guess is that it put him further away. To put it in perspective, it seems like the Police Station Athena would work at is 6 minutes away, unless she works at the LAPD Headquarters which is in Downtown LA, about 30 minutes away.
In relation to everyone else, Bathena live:
~10-15 minutes from Eddie [ ~2.2 miles ]
~15-20 minutes from Madney [ ~3.3 miles ]
~20-25 minutes from Buck [ ~7.4 miles]
Eddie - Based on the show his address is: 4995 S Bedford St, Los Angeles, CA 90034, Apt.403. I say based on the show, because when looking at street view on Google Maps, S Bedford makes sense, but not the house number. They probably just changed it for the show. Reyneir Park is right down the street from his house.
Eddie lives about 15-20 minutes from the Firehouse [ 5.2 miles ]. The same firehouse I referenced for Chimney is 10-15 minutes away from Eddie. Not sure if we can assume this would be the infamous Station 6 or, Station 126 since they are the closest to the Santa Monica Pier and would’ve responded to the emergency prior to the Tsunami in 3x02.
In relation to everyone else, Eddie lives:
8-10 minutes from Madney [ 1.8 miles ]
~10-15 minutes from Bathena [ ~2.4 miles ]
~20-25 minutes from Buck [ ~7.2 miles ]
Buck - The neighborhood we have for Buck is on: W 7th St, Los Angeles, CA. This obviously puts Buck’s loft downtown in Westlake and based off the overview we saw in 5x04, the point on the map best represents that. A couple of observations specifically for Buck:
He lives the furthest away from everyone. It’s heartbreaking to think, when seen visually, that his distance is a representation of how he feels like he’s not a part of a family. Of course, he could’ve just picked a bachelor pad in Downtown for aesthetics sake, but considering when he rented it - midway through season 2 while with Ali - I think it best represents where he was mentally in relation to the rest of the Firefam. Or, he may have wanted to just be near the only family that he had, which is Maddie.
Brings me to my next point, prior to Maddie moving in with Chim, she could’ve lived closer to Buck considering the Dispatch Center is in Glendale and about 20 minutes from that general area. At the moment, where she lives, she has the longest commute out of everyone, about 45 minutes.
Buck lives about 10-15 minutes from the Firehouse [ ~3.4 miles ]
In relation to everyone else, Buck lives:
~20-25 minutes from Eddie [ ~7.5 miles ]
~20-25 minutes from Bathena [ ~7.2 miles]
~30-35 minutes from Madney [ ~6.1 miles ]
So there you have it! If we ever find Hen and Karen’s house/neighborhood, I’ll come back and update this. For now though, I hope this proves helpful.
@iamcatchingteardropsinmyhands @hmslusitania @kitkatpancakestack @evaneddie @evcndiaz @translucent-bisexual @eddiediaz-buckley @diazchristopher @ghostdiaz @werewolfdiaz @whattarush @ktinaj @monsterfuckerdiaz @liesoverthec @reallysmartladymariecurie
509 notes · View notes
Guide: Mammon's B'day '21
It's the second born's birthday, which means it's time to dig out the calculators and work out what we need to do to get his birthday UR.
The amount of event points needed to get the UR is 8000 - which is the same amount that Lucifer cost this year on his birthday.
It appears that second birthday URs will cost 8000, while first birthday URs (ie those of the former side characters) will cost 7500.
As appears to be standard for birthday events now, we have a split path on the second page, with one route requiring keys to be unlocked.
To spend the least amount on this event and get the UR, you should unlock all battles on the first day or as soon as you can.
Otherwise, it will cost you more to attain the required total of 8000.
🥳 First Day Actions
The final battle on the top path is 2-19, with 9 battles in total on that path including 2-1. 8 of them (not the boss battle) give keys as rewards that unlock the story parts.
The key drop per battle is 1-2 keys. Because of this slight random change in the drop, the number of D-energy cans required to fully unlock the top path WILL VARY.
It takes 110 keys to fully unlock the top path.
It can take anything from 10 (if all drops are 2) to around 16 (randomised drops) D-energy drinks to fully unlock the top path.
Remember that you also use your 5 extra battles via watching ads on the key battles until that path is unlocked, and Mammon's Birthday Completion Rewards in To Do awards a further 15 keys.
In the same Completion Rewards you can also earn 3 D-Energy drinks.
Cost so far: 10-16 D-Energy drinks
🥳 Daily Actions
The number of event reward items you can collect every day - on a fully unlocked event - is based on there being 26 battle stages in total.
26 battle stages x 3 battles each = 78 battles
Add 5 extra battles from ads = 83 battles
(This is the standard number of battles per event)
With an award of 12 event reward items per battles: 12 x 83 = 996
Event is 7 days : 996 x 7 = 6972 points
🥳 Extra Actions
Note: the following need only be done once, not every day!
Add the 200 event reward items from To Do: 6972 + 200 = 7172
UR requires 8000 so deficit is: 8000 - 7172 = 828
We need an extra 828 event items.
Divide this by 12 per battle: 828/12 = 69 extra battles
69 extra battles are required!
Each D-Energy drink gives 3 battles: 69/3 = 23 D-Energy drinks
Remember! You will complete some of these extra battles when replaying stages to unlock the top path!
So the amount of D-Energy we used before is INCLUDED in this total.
Total cost thus far: 23 D-Energy drinks
🥳 D-Energy Required Total
In the Pop Quiz Rewards, you can see that during the event we will be awarded 14 D-Energy drinks, and on the To Do page we are given an additional 3 for meeting that condition.
After replenishment, we will need: 23 - 17
The required total is: 6 D-Energy
🥳 DP Required Total
(ONLY if you have no D-Energy)
If you run out of D-Energy, the cost per 3 extra battles is 5 DP
If you have no D-Energy, the total cost will be: 69/3 x 5 = 115 DP
In Pop Quiz Rewards, during the event we will be awarded 30 DP
Additionally, on the day of Mammon's birthday we get 30 DP
Adjusted total is: 115 - 30 - 30 = 55 DP
🥳 AP Required Total
The final cost is the AP required for these extra battles. The To Do page has 100 AP as a reward for unlocking 15 spaces on the birthday SR awarded in the pop quiz at 1200 points.
The event itself gives out 375 AP
The event also gave a 200 AP release gift in Mail.
However, you will probably need this AP for the daily battles (unless you saved from the last event!).
The 69 extra battles require: 69 x 8 = 552 AP
If we take into account the above: 552 - 200 - 375 - 100 = -123 AP
Aka, a profit of 123 AP. But as I said, that AP is probably needed for the regular number of daily battles.
AP costs 1 DP per 10 AP
The required total is: 56 DP
Note: the special deals in Akuzon are NOT worth it. The 200 AP for 10 DP deal that pops up every 12 hours IS worth it.
🥳 Final Notes
In total we need to spend 6 D-Energy drinks and 56 DP to get Mammon's UR.
The cost of this event UR is the same as Lucifer's birthday UR this year. The side characters who are having their first birthday have birthday URs that cost less. I don't know why.
The event is 7 days long technically. Because it begins and ends around 14 and 15 hours BEFORE the daily reset. The first day and last day are thus only 14 and 15 hours long.
If you didn't unlock the path on day one, do it today! That will still save you a lot of D-Energy and/or DP.
Unlike Lucifer's birthday event this year, Mammon's has no potentially triggering content. It's a very wholesome and sweet story on both paths of the event.
If I can, I'll be writing a little more about Mammon's birthday event regarding the actual story, but I really enjoyed the event and I'm pleasantly surprised 🥰
OM! Guides Masterpost
OM! Theories Masterpost
416 notes · View notes
Tenko's tears; Touya's wounded inner child
As I've mentioned before, crying serves various purposes, two of which include emotional regulation and forming social connections. Tears signal "I'm sad and I need help" and usually elicit concern from others. But, for Touya and Tenko, tears didn't fulfill these needs. When Tenko cried, the adults around him tried to distract him from his pain or change how he responded to his abuse instead of defending him or confronting his father Kotaro. They meant well, but in the end it didn't help Tenko and he felt alone. No one validated his pain; he was seen, but he wasn't helped. The same thing happened to Touya, who was seen crying, and crying, and crying, but his parents refused to acknowledge the root cause of his pain because it would mean facing their own mistakes. His tears, his cries for help, never got him the help he needed and never made him feel better.
Even as adults, Dabi and Shigaraki weren't listened to because they didn't display socially acceptable feelings such as sorrow or regret, and they weren't dealing with their trauma in a socially acceptable way, like crying. Shigaraki told Endeavor, in front of Deku and Bakugo, that heroes only hurt their families, but it wasn't until Deku saw a glimpse of Tenko that Deku decided Shigaraki was worth saving because little Tenko’s tears humanized him and made him relatable.
While this is a turning point in the manga, the way it came about insinuates that certain unspoken conditions exist that need to be filled before victimhood can be validated or someone is deemed worthy of help. Not everyone is equal, and not everyone's pain will be good enough in hero society. This warrants the questions the League of Villains keep asking: who are heroes here to save? Who is it that needs saving? Where do you draw the line? Are villains not people too?
This new plot point of Deku being moved by Tenko’s tears also brings into light how isolating and demonizing it is for Dabi not being physically able to cry. He compensates for this – because remember, crying regulates your emotions, and if you can’t cry you turn to other coping mechanisms for self-soothing – by telling himself and others that he doesn’t care about anything or anyone. He copes with his emotions by smiling and grinning, by not getting too attached. He takes an offensive approach through keeping a distance from people by insulting them and being rude. However, his quirk’s link to his emotions betrays him and exposes his true feelings: his flames became hotter after Twice died and his flames turned white while confronting Endeavor. Dabi, despite everything, still cares and feels deeply.
So, how is Dabi supposed to be seen and understood and saved if he can’t prove that he has feelings if he can't cry? Why would he even want to cry, since crying never helped him? All Touya did from the age of four was cry for help, literally, and yet he was ignored and neglected. It wasn't Shigaraki's words that moved Deku, it was the unintended display of emotion through crying, which is something Dabi can't do even if he wanted because his tear ducts are burnt as a result of being so heartbroken over his father not showing up to Sekoto Peak. The irony is ugly and upsetting to witness – overwhelming feelings of abandonment and worthlessness almost killed Dabi ten years ago and now, when the story implies he desperately needs to cry to be seen, he can't, and therefore he's still alone and will continue to be alone.
But wait – he cries tears of blood, doesn’t he?
I think that if he’s caught in a vulnerable place, if the right people (Natsuo) meet him or if he is finally validated and seen and understood (Shouto), those tears of blood would come out and he’d finally be eligible (as gross as that sounds) for salvation, for understanding, for sympathy like Shigaraki. Feelings serve as evidence to society that villains are human too, and Dabi must first be considered a human. It seems that salvation, like the attention Touya received from his father, is conditional. Touya's wounded inner child and status as an abuse survivor will be the ticket to his redemption IF he can be vulnerable and express his pain physically to the younger generation of heroes, because talking about his past hasn't helped and won't help. Even now, as noted in 304, people still weren't sure why he became a villain even though he literally explained why in his pre-recorded broadcast. Dabi, or his inner child, has to show evidence he is still emotionally suffering because his words won't suffice for society or heroes. Honestly, this framing is personally distressing and frustrating because it pushes a bad victim vs good victim mentality, especially in light of Rei commenting that Shouto, who she burnt and forgave her nonetheless, is their family's hero.
Don't get me wrong. Shouto has done nothing wrong to warrant this suffering, and I think it's great that Deku is determined to save everyone within his reach. This makes sense as his role as protagonist. With that said, it's unsettling to me how drastically different he's reacting to Shigaraki compared to how he responded to Dabi by comparing him to Endeavor and implying Dabi is worse for not trying to be better. Before anyone jumps down my throat, I know Deku intervened because he was worried about Shouto, and that Deku is 16 and young. My point is that the narrative and the writing is setting up a problematic view of victims by having the main character nitpick who deserves to be saved based on this societal construct that people must first qualify or prove themselves. Shigaraki shouldn't have had to show his trauma receipts or be relatable for Deku to want to save him. Shigaraki didn’t even expose his inner child on purpose – Deku caught a glimpse of that without Shigaraki’s intention.
Let me say this another way. Imagine if you had to present yourself as sympathetic to a firefighter, an ambulance worker, or a doctor before receiving their help. It would be unprofessional and highly unethical for these professionals to turn you down because you don't fit the image of someone who needs help, someone who's not "sick" enough, whose house isn't burning hot enough, whose injuries aren't "bad" enough. So why do heroes, as a group of public servants, have these unwritten rules and preconceived notions about what a victim looks like? I understand that people are more likely to provide services if you're nice to them (you catch more flies with honey, etc) and that everyone has biases etc, but this isn't a core value of the helping professions or public servants. It's unethical to discriminate and assign varying levels of care based on how someone treats you or others around them. People in need are people in need, and that's that.
As of now, it seems like the manga is on route to support the League's complaints by supplying evidence that their disillusionment with society isn't unfounded - even Twice, who died crying at the hands of a hero part of the older generation, was not considered a person before he was considered a villain. But maybe if he had come across a hero from the younger generation, someone who recognized his tears as human despite his criminal record, he wouldn't have met the fate he did. It seems that the older generation of heroes don't take tears or emotions into account, which is why Tenko and Touya were shrugged off. But the younger generation will go out of their way to help anyone who needs help, but only if they prove themselves or make themselves sympathetic.
310 notes · View notes
Hi, I have a friend who is looking into the publishing process, and self publishing, do you have any advice or resources for them?
Hi! So there’s three basic paths to publishing available to people, and each have their pros and cons. I’ll cover each path separately.
1. Traditional publishing.
This is what most people think of in relation to publishing. Wide distribution, the support of a literary agent, the support of a publishing team, etc.. The process is essentially that you finish your book, query literary agents, get a literary agent, the agent possibly suggests some edits, then the literary agent sends the books out on submission to publishers. Those publishers include the big houses like Scholastic, but also smaller houses/subsets of the big houses. If a publisher picks up the book, congrats! You then go through more rounds of editing and other such things until the book ends up on shelves. Woo!
The upsides of traditional publishing: does not cost you any money (if you encounter agents or editors or whatever saying you have to pay them, it is a scam and you shouldn’t get involved), you can access wider distribution channels, you’ve got an agent to fight for you when it comes to contracts and such, you’ll (hopefully) have at least some marketing support, you can get your book published by houses that won’t publish people unless they have an agent, and you get money up front in the form of an advance.
The downsides of traditional publishing: you lose some control of your book and may have to make changes you didn’t intend to (you can always say no, of course, but if you do that you’re likely to lose your deal), there’s a lot of upheaval in the world of traditional publishing and things shift constantly, traditional publishing can take a LONG time (a year or two from signing a deal to having your book on the shelves is common), you might not get any marketing support (this depends on a lot of factors).
Some resources to look into: Manuscript Wishlist and Manuscript Academy are a great starting point for learning about the querying process specifically but also other aspects of the publishing process. Writerbeware is a good place to look up info on scammers and any issues people have had with various agents or publishing houses. QueryTracker is another popular resource that’s gained traction the last few years. (A little note here: paying for a query critique from somewhere like Manuscript Academy is fine because you’re paying for ADVICE, not publishing or representation. Avoid paying for publishing or representation when going the traditional route.)
2. Indie publishing.
Indie publishing is pretty common as well and varies widely, but it is essentially the same as traditional publishing without having an agent involved, so you’re doing all the negotiating yourself. You would approach a publishing house that is open to unagented manuscripts and query them the same way you would if you were querying an agent. The publishing house then takes care of all the formatting, cover art, and distribution, and possibly some marketing.
The upsides of indie publishing: you could have more control over your manuscript depending on the publishing house you go with, the process may go a bit faster due to the publishing house being smaller/more specialized/having less projects to work on, you have someone else taking care of the tricky stuff like formatting and cover art without having to pay for it (again, if a publishing house is asking you to pay them to publish your book, it is a scam).
The downsides of indie publishing: advances are small or non-existent, you’ll be working with professionals and signing contracts but without an agent to advocate for you, the distribution may not be as wide as if you’d been published traditionally.
Some resources to look into: Mostly this will be the same as the traditional publishing resources, since the process is still the same, you’re just going straight to publishers instead of getting an agent first. From there just google “independent publishing” or “publishing houses open to unagented manuscripts” and start looking for some to query.
3. Self Publishing.
Self publishing offers the most creative freedom, usually, but it comes with a lot of caveats. You will be doing, and paying for, everything 100% on your own. You will have to format your own book, or pay someone to do it. You will have to edit your own book, or pay someone to do it. You will have to do your own cover, or pay someone to do it. You will have to pay for your own ISBNs, pay any fees your chosen publishing platform may have. You will have to do all your own marketing. But, on the other hand, there’s no one around to tell you no about your weird ideas and say they aren’t “marketable” enough or whatever.
The upsides of self-publishing: full creative control, write whatever you want, can potentially happen a lot faster depending on how you work, you make your own deadlines.
The downsides of self-publishing: can get expensive, you won’t get any advance money (some people do kickstart their books, which is a fun option, but you need a good audience already for it to be worth it), you have to self-advocate on everything including things you may not fully understand, your distribution likely won’t be nearly as wide (or very wide at all outside the internet), and you likely won’t have access to things like film deals or translations or audiobooks without a lot more effort or money.
Some resources to look into: IngramSpark has some good guides on self-publishing when it comes to formatting and printing your books, which can give you good place to start.
So yes! Those are the basics of each common option. You can also combine them! I send some projects to my literary agent for traditional publishing and keep others for self-publishing, based on what I want to do with them.
Do note, however, that once you self-publish a book you pretty much can’t get it published any other way, especially traditionally. This includes posting it online. Publishers just don’t want books that are already out there. Obviously there’s exceptions to this, but if you want to go traditional or even indie it’s safest to just keep your work off the internet.
Hope this helps! And if you have any more questions please feel free to ask.
67 notes · View notes
DIABOLIK LOVERS MORE, BLOOD OFFICIAL VISUAL FANBOOK ー Interview Vol. 2 feat. Nao Nakamura
Source: DIABOLIK LOVERS MORE, BLOOD Official Visual Fanbook
Release date: 2013
Huge thank you to @keithvalentinex for providing the raw scans!
SECTION 1: Q&A
Q1. When was the series’ sequel decided on?
A: Around the time the first game ‘DIABOLIK LOVERS’ was released in stores. We were fortunate enough to have already received news of an anime adaption at the time, so at some point we played with the idea of creating a fan disc to go along with it. However, if possible we wanted to hype up the series even more in anticipation of the anime’s release, which is how the production of a ‘DIABOLIK LOVERS MORE, BLOOD’ series came to realisation.
Q2. Did you plan on introducing a set of 4 new characters during the early phases of development?
A: The initial draft we received from Rejet-sama mentioned four characters. We figured that with that amount, we could pack it into one game and create an equal amount of content as we did for the Sakamaki’s, so we proceeded with said idea. At one of the first brainstorm sessions, we casually dropped the idea of creating a game with 6 Do-M characters... (lol) However, that would stray too far away from the core concept behind ‘DIABOLIK LOVERS’, so it obviously got rejected. (lol)
Q3. How did you go about writing the characters’ dialogue and actions?
A: I believe that the previous installment can be regarded rather groundbreaking within the genre of otome games. However, the boys coming across as too strong to the point where it would prevent someone from delving deeper into their character is something we reflected upon. We wanted to make up for that this time and created this game with the intend of exploring them even further.
Q4. What did you struggle the most with while writing the script?
A: This doesn’t apply solely to the script, but the fact there are so many romanceable characters in this game is what made it so difficult. However, we did not want there to be a difference in quality between the different characters’ routes. Despite our strong wish to please the playerbase, it made the distribution of time very difficult. The writers would first pen down the script, then Rejet-san would do the proofreading and make adjustments and then pass it on to us. However, reading a script while playing a game or simply reading it on paper is still different, so we were making minute changes down to the very last minute of development. We ran through the same process for the last game, but this time around, the total amount of content was just very large. We once again felt the struggle of putting in so many characters to choose from. However, we did this to create an even better game, so it was worth the struggle.
Q5. Which character caused you the most problems while writing the script?
A: All of the Sakamaki’s. The four Mukami brothers who make their appearance in this installment may be Vampires, but they were once human just like the heroine, so in terms of emotions, they tend to sympathize with her more. As a result, it only makes the Sakamaki’s seem even more like they are the villains of the story. While this may seem obvious given their original setting of being both ‘Vampires’ and ‘extreme sadists’, it makes it very easy for the otome game element as well as the feelings they end up developing for the heroine to be lost, in which case they would no longer be the six brothers we wanted to deliver. Therefore, it was very difficult to convey to the player that the love they harbor for the heroine eventually makes them change, while still preserving the sadistic tendencies which stem from their nature as Vampires at the same time. The player base has spent quite a bit of time interacting with these brothers, and I am sure it was not always easy, but I hope said message was delivered to those who played our game.
Q6. Is there a character who underwent drastic changes compared to the last game?
A: All of them are still the same at the core, so my impression of them did not change depending on the scenario. I believe minor changes were done to the way some of the characters are drawn, but personally I perceive each character as a mix of both their previous and current representation.
Q7. In this game, each section is divided into a ‘Situation Part’ and ‘Story Part’. Could you explain your intentions behind this?
A: When collecting feedback on the previous game, we received many complaints about the different chapters feeling inconsistent and all over the place. However, we always intended ‘DIABOLIK LOVERS’ to be a game in which the player gets to enjoy these different kind of ‘situations’, so without losing this part of the enjoyment, we figured we had to make the plot progression easier to grasp, which is how the current structure was implementend. To make it even more clear to the player, we divided it into two sections and gave each of them a title, changing the names as well.
Q8. What are parts which have greatly improved or parts you want us to focus on in comparison to the first game?
A: To ensure the player gets to enjoy the development in the heroine and characters’ thoughts and feelings, we applied small adjustments till the very last second. We hope that the people playing the game will take notice of this as well.
Q9. Why do you think the series has received such a great amount of support?
A: I believe the impact of the ‘Do-S Vampire’ concept, Satoi-san’s eye-catching illustrations and the charm of the cast who voices the characters all play a big part in this. Furthermore, I also believe that the simultaenous announcement of both drama CDs and a game which took place during the early stages of development had a large influence as well. We were able to make a smooth transition from the release of the CDs to the release of the games, which made it easier for the fans to follow along with the franchise. We truly are grateful for that!
Q10. Were there any ideas you wanted to incorporate in this game, but were unable to do in the end?
A: This game features the same selection segment as the previous one in which scenario’s 1 ~ 6 raise your love meter, while scenarios 7 ~ 10 raise the SM meter. However, we implemented the distinction between the ‘situation part’ and ‘story part’ this time, so it might have actually been even more enjoyable if the situation part raises the SM meter instead...I think. Those kind of features may vary depending on the vision of the director and staff members, so I would like to use this experience to think of various possible routes for future installments, as well as to settle on an end product which is fitting for the franchise. Furthermore, this may seem like a task without an end but I believe that the voicing plays a big factor in delivering the story. It is a vital element of conveying the message you want to tell, in a way that whether or not the player understands the plot is often highly dependent on the voice work. Every time I find myself wanting to perfect this, but it is difficult to supervise all of it just by myself...However, there’s always next time, so I’d love to squeeze in the time to thoroughly check this!
Q11. Do you have any more games planned for the series at present? Would you personally like to create more sequels?
A: We do not as of now, but if there is a strong demand for it, we might just be able to develop another game. Personally I would like to make a stereotypical ‘fandisc’ but the very first thing that comes to mind with those is a 'sweet, romantic story’ so I do struggle a little envisioning how that would play out with a cast made out of nothing but intense characters.
Q12. Please leave a message for the fans.
A: Thanks to the support we have received from all of you, we were able to create so much content for this franchise. I put my heart and soul into this game, so I sincerely hope that many people will enjoy it. Your impressions and encouraging messages are a great motivator as well, so I am eagerly awaiting those! The series may deliver new installments in the future, and to ensure that you all can continue to enjoy ‘DIABOLIK LOVERS’, we will continue to try our hardest together with Rejet-san, so we’d be happy if you could send us your heartfelt support.
SECTION 2: THEIR FAVORITE EPISODES
Sakamaki brothers: The final few chapters of Ayato’s route left a strong impression on me. I couldn’t help but wonder if somebody could truly be that stubborn and in denial about their own feelings, insistent on calling the girl they love ‘a prey’ till the very end. I felt so frustrated when the heroine’s feelings just wouldn’t get through to him, tears welled up in my eyes.
Mukami brothers: The part which gave me the most goosebumps during the development stages has to be Ruki’s Manservant Ending. Takagi Sakurai-san did a magnificant job portraying his silent madness, it was truly wonderful. Second place would be Azusa’s brute ending, even though I knew how the story would go, I still ended up feeling a little depressed by it, so please be careful when you play this scenario...
SECTION 3: NAO NAKAMURA CHOOSES ー SITUATION-DEPENDENT CHARACTER SELECT
Who would you choose in these situations? What’s the developer’s opinion?
S1. To sleep together with?
Best: Subaru, I feel like he has a good sleeping posture.
Worst: Subaru, he might not move around much in his sleep, but it’d still be uncomfortable and narrow in that coffin, huh?
S2. To go on a trip together with?
Best: Shuu, I’m sure he’d just loaf around the lodge all day, so I get to enjoy the trip in whichever way I want!
Worst: Laito, I’d rather keep my distance from him.
S3. To eat together with?
Best: Kou because I’m sure he’d happily gobble it up.
Worst: Kanato, I feel like the food would be lacking in nutrients.
S4. To study with?
Best: Ruki, I think he’d do a good job explaining everything accurately.
Worst: ???, honestly all of them...
S5. To go on a date with?
Best: Yuma, I actually think he would make for a great boyfriend.
Worst: Shuu, because everything would be a chore to him...
S6. To play a video game with?
Best: Ayato, he just seems like the type of guy you can always have fun and make some ruckus with.
Worst: Reiji, he seems super fussy.
S7. To play sports with?
Best: Shuu, I don’t really like exercising so...I’ll go with the person who seems unlikely to exercise in the first place.
Worst: Ayato, I don’t like exercise after all...
S8. To go on a drive with?
Best: Ruki, I’m positive he would look handsome behind the wheel.
Worst: Azusa, it’d be bad if his bandages were to get stuck around the steering wheel or the gear stick...
86 notes · View notes
The Why of the Elemental Directions
So I’m back on my bullshit. I mentioned this in another post, but to preface, it really doesn’t matter too much where you put the elements. People have put them in pretty much every possible combination over time. That being said, I wanted to go into some of the symbolism behind the most common system in use today. I’m sure there are some books that cover this somewhere, but anything I say here I pretty much figured out myself because it seems to be that very few people actually have any idea at all why they put certain elements in different directions.
For those who don’t know, the assignment I’m referring too are:
The reason for this may not be immediately clear. Fire-Air-Water-Earth doesn’t fit, which is the natural order the elements take. Fire-Water-Air-Earth doesn’t fit, which is the elements ordered starting with Leo, and going through the other fixed signs Scorpio, Aquarius, Taurus (the same pattern is seen for any quadruplicity). For this reason it might seem that the assignations were made without any rhyme or reason. Maybe they were! But there is an apparent logic with a bit of thought.
A little bit of knowledge of astrology will be useful to understand the why.
There are four key points in particular I need to cover; The ascendant, the midheaven, the descendant, and the lower midheaven.
The ascendant is the point of the ecliptic (the ecliptic is the sun’s apparent path through the sky over a year. The zodiac is the division of this into 12 parts.) rising relative to a location on the Earth. It is aligned with the East. It varies a little bit about due East, but it’s always approximately East.
The descendant is the opposite of this axis, and is the point of the ecliptic setting over the horizon.
The midheaven, however, is the highest point on the ecliptic at a given time and place. When the sun is conjunct the midheaven is the same as solar noon, because the Sun is at it’s highest point. The midheaven points due South in the Northern Hemisphere
Similarly, the Lower midheaven is the lowest point on the ecliptic, and the sun conjunct the lower midheaven marks solar midnight. It also points due North in the Northern Hemisphere.
Now, from this we can begin to see the logic behind the directional assignations. But just to make sure no one misses the link, I’m going to quickly go over the elements.
The natural order I referred to earlier, Fire-Air-Water-Earth, orders the elements on how subtle/material they are. If you aren’t convinced, go to a lake. The lake rests on top of the Earth, above the lake is the air, and above the air you get the sun and the stars, which are representative of fire. Each element in this order also shares a quality with the next. Because of this order, air rises towards fire, and water falls towards the Earth.
Knowing this, the connection becomes clear. The Sun rises in the East, like air. It culminates at the top, like fire sits above the other elements. It descends towards the Earth in the West, and settles at the bottom in the North, the direction of the lower midheaven. Now of course the midheaven connection doesn’t quite hold in the southern hemisphere, but tbh I think the clockwise order is more appealing given that it’s sort of representing the diurnal cycle, which is the passage of time through the day.
Now that’s probably enough to understand the why of the directions, but something else to consider: If we go down the ascendant-midheaven route, you should know that it obviously isn’t just the sun that rises in the East. The signs and every planet rises in that general direction (the planets will obviously be a bit off depending on their particular orbit, but always in that direction). similarly, all signs and planets culminate at the midheaven, and so on. So the elemental assignations really are the elements that reflect the quality of those points from an astrological/physical astronomical perspective.
So there you go, that’s why the elements are in the direction that they are, as far as I can tell. I’ve heard of certain justifications based on the Nile being in such and such direction but that seems more like a nonsense made up after the fact all things considered, because the same logic of directions to the midheaven etc as I’ve discussed is used in geomancy and I assume astrology for locating lost objects.
65 notes · View notes
Let’s take a look at society.
BNHA | unofficial scans | meta
Huh. So, this started as a casual Hawks study, but it ended up as a analysis of how heroes and villains are perceived, the concept of dehumanization, among other things.
So, you know?
I kind of have a pet peeve when it comes to the phrase "Hawks would do anything for the Hero Comission".
Because, well, I look at it, and I’m completely sure that its’s not true, that it’s not expressed correctly. Hawks didn’t let civilians die during the High End even when the HPSC told him that he could ignore casualties. And then, he went to Dabi, put a sword in his neck, and said this:
He was, in a way, protective.
Thing is, I didn’t knew how to correct it. The phrase isn’t completly wrong, it’s just on the wrong direction, because there is something that he would do everything for. It’s been implicated that Hawks knows that there’s something wrong with the HPSC or Hero Society, so I don’t think that he is particularly blinded in that sense. He isn’t surprised when they tell him to ignore civilians, only disgusted, and then a few months later, with Twice, he proceeds to talk about the cage he is in. So, he still goes against their orders, therefore... he isn't completely resigning to them.
Which means, that the possibilities of doing everything for them is low, a generalization. My chances were in the fact that he could only be attached to the HPSC because their interests align.
And one week ago, when I read the same phrase it came to me, and I don't even know why I didn't think about it before because... it's so simple, and yet I’ve never truly saw anyone mention it.
It's not “Hawks would do anything for the Hero Comission.”
It's "Hawks would give anything for the society."
or “for the sake of the society”, which is just slightly different from the HPSC one, “for the greater good”.
But instead of focusing on doing what's necessary for the greater good, he gives the things that are part of him for the greater good, because I believe that taking is his last priority.
He doesn’t usually takes from others. He gives from himself.
Hence, his name, or his desire of being free. A part of his morality (feelings related to it, depends of how you interpreted it), when he felt the need to commit a homicide, or when he had to lie to everyone because of his mission. But despite his own feelings, he just kept pushing himself harder.
Willing to corrupt himself in the process if it’s necessary, when he doesn’t have any options left. Being a hero even if he feels trapped... Caring so much about society that he can’t stop doing these things. All of these are personal decisions.
Hawks giving everything of him for the sake of society, I truly believe that’s what his character is about. The type of self-sacrifice, of selflessness that he represents. The kind of tragedy he represents, in a way, because to this point, he’s rejecting himself.
It’s what happens when you are so willing to do something that you would corrupt yourself for it without even doubting it. Like a mother who would kill for his daughter, or an adult who is starting to steal so he can gain something for his family.
Selflessness is something that tends to be admired. But, as humans, we tend to forget that being selfish is important. We need a balance to function properly.
When I say society, what does it mean?
It means, civilians. It means, heroes. It means everyone else, but villains.
The guys Hawks has to protect the others from. It makes total sense, because, well, villains are criminals. The people who need to be stopped, and heroes can’t really accept that because stopping them is their job. Without heroes, the world would be a darker place, and without villains, there wouldn’t be any heroes.
I have to mention that there is a reason why villains are outcasts of society, after all.
They were rejected, they escaped, or maybe they never really belonged. The League of Villains, the victims who became the perpertrators, the ones who are creating destruction, are a good example and the one I will be mentioning the most.
I covered the words, because it’s not necessary. Just focus on how gruesome is everything now because of the battlefield. And this is just a part of Machia’ doing after Shigaraki’s order. I don’t enjoy how Horikoshi is putting this here and a lot of people ignored it, but I understand why since emotions were running wild during this chapter. With this perspective, heroes motivation to stop villains must be clear.
Dehumanization of heroes
I’m using the term dehumanization in almost every part but I think there’s a better one. I’ll correct it if I remember it.
Society, conformed by civilians and heroes, what Hawks protects and what he is so willing to sacrifice for. And while other heroes have different ideas, if simplified, they have the same ideals.
Heroes are protectors of society, they are supposed to help what would be main victims, and those are civilians and/or other heroes, from villains. Things like attacking the route of the problem should be recognized by bigger organizations, per se, HPSC or the Goverment, because heroes are only there in case of damage, either to prevent it or stop it, when it’s at the hands of villains.
Because, while some say that the villains are victims, heroes can't allow themselves to dehumanized the people who have suffered in their hands.
Heroes are scrutinized, too.
They have the popularity of being the helpers, the ones who have to be a shining light for everyone, always winning, with a heart of gold and always ready to extend a hand. A hand to everyone.
With those expectations, when that narrative shatters a little, civilians are really quick to judge, because heroes are always expected to be perfect.
This is a mentality that, in my opinion, can even be appreciated in villains when they blame heroes for not saving them, even unconsciously. But, theorically, heroes aren’t supposed to intervene in a lot of situations, they are simply expected to because of how popular the concept of heroes being always there to help has become.
This post gives a good explanation about hero celebrity culture and how it affects the heroes.
And these images are an example of how heroes are easily judged and dismissed once they fail.
There is an standard for what a hero is, and for what a villain is, even before they become that. We noticed this with characters in the manga, too.
Bakugou and Shinsou are great examples.
And then we have Shinsou, whose quirk used to make others put him in a box.
People whose value was determinated by their quirk, at least once in their life. We can include Toga, Hawks and Dabi by this definition.
The way quirks are treated... seems pretty similar to how beauty is perceived in certain places, maybe?
There’s also a standard of how a battle between these two should be. Flashy, interesting, fun, but at the same time, an easy job.
The black and white thinking or polarized mentality is something that in my opinion, civilians have.
Society. Civilians. Heroes. Outcast of society. Villains.
There is a structure in their society. Two, actually, I would say.
The first one is how everything is perceived by civilians, and the second one is based on the list of priorities of heroes. I will only touch the first one for now.
I forgot about graphs. Everything. I will study graphs again after this, but for now, just see this.
So, there is a line. The further apart you are from the middle, the more expectations are placed over you. This would represent heroes and villains, who are two extremes. While vigilantes are in between, either rejected or accepted in society because their influence fluctuates, villains are referred as someone who is bad.
Common civilians are in the middle, but, for the moment, there’s stability. There are expectations of civilians but those are a more of a mix and it depends of how your quirk is perceived.
The plus and minus symbols are whether you are perceived in a positive or a negative light. The equal symbol is because you aren’t strictly perceived in a good or bad light.
I think that the difference would be that, while heroes deal with these expectations in the form of pressure from the public, villains tend to lack that since the public doesn’t know villains in that level.
My guess, is that quirk discrimination is what most of these heroes and villains suffered from at some point in their lives, but they had different reactions, situations, and their mentality varies.
Now that I've talked about this, let's think about Tartarus.
If heroes are considered angels, then the villains are demons.
There are villains that are sent to the Tartarus, right? Let's look into that.
We have a lot of interpretations of this place, but the basics are the same.
The original idea of afterlife is that once the soul is separated from the body, it goes to what is called the Greek underworld. The Greek underworld is something only made for the dead. Here, good people and bad people would separate in, basically, two places:
The Elysium, that is on the Island of the blessed. Good people go here, when their soul is pure. Once there, an easy life is guaranted.
And then there’s Tartarus, when you are considered a bad person. Here, you will receive your punishment. Tartarus, in Greek mythology, is a deep abyss, used as a place of suffering or torment, or as a prison of Titans. This is the place where souls are judged after death.
Tartarus, in the original wiki, describes their criminals as those whose death won’t be enough.
Tartarus, then, for the outcast, the villains, the ones who could have suffered much, but who have wronged in a great level, is supposed to be a place worse than the death.
You aren't supposed to escape from Tartarus, because you are already dead. You are dead, or hated, and therefore just more of an outcast. Someone who never existed.
The possibilities of the LOV going to Tartarus, if they aren't arrested... probably high, considering the actual situation. Of course, I actually don't think it will happen at 100%. Maybe, the plot changes, there are more advances in story, prejudice and maybe there's going to be a different prison, too. Who knows.
We have to remember that even though this is based on greek mythology, it doesn’t mean that it will follow it to the letter. I don’t think it is that bad, because Tartarus is a high-level prison. I do believe, however, that it shows how the worst villains are perceived.
We also have to keep in mind the crimes that these villains have committed.
Villains that we know that are in Tartarus, include: Overhaul, All for One, Stain, Muscular, Moonfish and Kurogiri.
Moonfish appears to be awaiting for death penalty. I'm not sure how Law in Japan works for mentally unstable people so I won’t comment on this.
The idea is that since the criminals in Tartarus are a danger to society, they have to stay here.
Now, let's talk about heroes, and their priorities. This is based on the concept of victimization.
Of course, it’s just about when the victims become victims, about when their experiences started or ended. I won't count indirect pain or emotional one. The list is related mostly related to disasters, villain attacks, quirk discrimination, or just bad circumstances that could have changed someone’s life to great levels.
It's also inconsistent. Sorry.
Future victim: a person who hasn't become a victim, yet. Civilians are mostly included.
Present victim: a victim who is currently under constant danger or a form of oppression. We can include heroes and heroes in training.
Past victims: Victims whose experiences ocurred in the past. It can be divided in two:
Passive past victim: Those who let go or try to let go of their experiences. Victims in the process of healing and who reintegrated in society. Better examples would be Midoriya, with bullying, and Todoroki, with domestic abuse. With time, they become future victims or present victims.
Active past victim: Victims who internalized their experiences. These ones didn't heal correctly, either because they didn’t knew how or didn't try to. The experiences of this type of victims mostly inspire their future decisions. Most villains or vigilantes are examples of this. These are the ones who end up becoming perpetrators.
So... when it comes to the saving, it would be like this:
Future victim > present victim > active past victim
(passive past victims here)
Future victims and present victims could be interchangeable and hold at the same standard depending of the situation.
I think that the best way to express this is with Hawks and Twice battle, actually.
Hawks was in a situation where he was against two villains. One with a dangerous quirk that represented a threat to society and appeared to be willing to act upon it, namely, Twice, and one who had a quirk that represented a threat to him since he was weak to fire, or specifically, Dabi. Under the assumption that Twice (active past victim) was going to hurt civilians (future victims), he decided to eliminate him, at the cost of himself (present victim). So he put the future victims over himself and the active past victim, that was Twice.
The responsability of a victim
There is a phrase that I read in an article related to this, while investigating s topic. Sadly, I can’t find the article, but it goes like this:
“When we have the courage to deal with our pain, we have the opportunity to assist others with theirs. Our heartache can become the source of our hope.“
I think that this is something that should be mentioned and it is often ignored. Probably, most of us know that your circumstances of the past, even when they give an understanding of your actions, they would never justified what you are doing now. That includes good ones and bad ones.
Which means. As someone who has suffered, it automatically becomes your responsability whether or not you take care of yourself or internalize the feelings that acted when you experienced on x situation. Especially as an adult.
I can notice how this can be perceive as something unfair. It feels unfair, because you probably weren’t asked to be put into that situation, and for the most part, it’s not even your fault. It is not a child’s fault that their parents ignored their needs. It is never a person’s fault that they suffer from sexual assault. It will never be your fault that someone bullies you in school, and yet, when you are experiencing it, it probably feels like it is. Once you are out of that cycle, the things start to make more sense, but your feelings and mentality could get in the way of your recovery.
The problem is that you are the only one who can decide if you take care of yourself. The only one who can try, and this translates as a responsability.
In my opinion, everyone can be redeemed. Everyone can change and decide to become a better person, even those that would even be considered inhuman because of their deeds. If someone else wants to forgive them, it’s on them. The problem is whether you want to change or not, and whether you are willing to live with the consequences or not. I think Endeavor, who I would categorize as someone who didn’t take care of those feelings and proceeded to become a perpetrator to his own family for two decades and then had an atonement arc, could be included in this specific case. It doesn’t matter if you perceive this in a bad light or a good one, because I’m just showing how someone who doesn’t takes care of their feelings could end.
Notice– I’m in no way excusing what an abuser do. They still have total responsibility for themselves and their decisions. The biggest test starts when you are facing the consequences of your actions. However, in addition to this, victims also have a responsibility, and that is taking care of themselves. Not doing it can even result on becoming the one who hurts others, on hurting themselves and even gain a false sense of security.
I think Shoto and Dabi are, also, great examples of this, being both victims. Both internalized their feelings, but while Shoto changed, Dabi didn’t.
When talking about physical pain, we’re told to go to the doctor. But when the problem is psychological, common thinking is that you should just keep pushing harder and ignore it. And everytime that something like this gets ignored, it keeps getting worse. And then everyone is surprised or brushes it off, and it’s just bad luck, or the person was weak. It’s better to stop following the crowd. It is possible to get help anywhere, because everything could help, especially if it’s a professional. Terrible situations will happen but it’s possible to get better.
Someone can, also, greatly change once their mentality is settled, even in just a few days. This video of rapid personality change and psychological rebirth will explain this at depth, if you are interested in knowing more about it.
What I do believe is that it is a general, national responsability to give access to resources and things that are going to help during your recovery. This is just natural. No one knows the magic cure to all of our problems because we are pretty different from each other, especially those problems who belong to the heart, because we don’t tend to pay attention to this. I will mention that, I also consider a responsability to take care of criminals.
It’s not only about humanity, it’s about how these little actions can play when it comes to the fact of crime rates, because... If people are unhappy with something, you can choose to ignore them, or you can listen to them and evaluate their reasons. If a lot of people share the same reasons or the same background, then there’s a problem that has to be addressed.
For now, I don’t really believe that BNHA (in-universe) takes this into account.
But we can’t forget that even if the goverment should give the resources, whether the victims change or not is a personal decision. If they don’t, well, it-s probably only going to hurt people, stopping being victims and becoming the abusers.
Dehumanization of villains
First, I want to mention that dehumanization doesn’t inmediately translates to violence, brutality, and other synonyms. In this case, it’s more about the way they are portrayed and how heroes see villains as a first instict.
I think that the best way to describe a villain is someone who is tired of the conservative system.
In consequence, villains have caused so much suffering to heroes, hero students and civilians, that they are often perceived as people who act without a reason. People in this universe have personal reasons to not trust them. Especially during a battle, where emotions are running high.
Heroes can’t allow themselves to stay back and listen to villains, because then, villains will probably just cause more damage. If they do, then heroes run at risk of not fulfilling their mission, and that is to protect society.
I don’t think that a hero first instict is to fight villains, or to save civilians, but to treat the villain like a villain, and from there, expect everything. Detach themselves from the situation, be level-headed, analytical of what’s happening, and remember that innocents are the top priority.
Now, this is a double edged sword.
It helps heroes to capture villains without getting any attachment, and, in consequence, helping civilians faster and efficiently.
Depending of the villain, it could bring ignorance to both heroes and the system to the reasons why villains becomes villains, since this seems to get ignored for the most part. This backfires on people that could probably go back to being criminals or just create more hate for the society.
Heroes have personal reasons to not trust villains. And hero students have suffered so much that I wouldn't blame them, either. But, when it comes to the system, never trying to understand the reasons can bring problems when something is being managed.
Humanization of villains
The system doesn’t always perceive villains as the worst, and I think that it depends so heavily on their crimes and how the villain stops being a villain, that completely blaming the system would be wrong.
An example is when the villain surrenders. This is about Gentle, la Brava, and the police. I personally enjoyed this interaction.
The second one is when a hero gets their feelings involved when it comes to a villain. I can mention three cases of this.
All Might and Shigaraki
Hawks and Twice.
Aizawa/Hizashi and Kurogiri.
Villains are, once again, perceived as people once feelings were involved or the fight is over. Heroes aren’t supposed to afford that, because they need to prioritize society.
This is what Gran Torino says to All Might, after his words:
As a hero, this is true.
They shouldn’t get their feelings involved. If a criminal is involved, the priority are the citizens and the criminal is supposed to go to jail. Once they are there, just go to the next problem and take care of it. You know, continue being a hero.
The problem is that depending of the situation (and right now I’m not talking about Shigaraki, but rather, more general circumstances because Shigaraki is a special case), it continues a cycle.
We see this with groups like the PLF or the use of trigger.
When people aren’t getting any help, they get worse. When civilians aren’t getting answers, they get worse.
I’m not saying that heroes should take care of this, since I don’t strictly believe that this is their fault. But I think that the problem should be addressed by someone. Heroes can’t do it in battle and bringing it to the public would probably create a controversy. I think that they can influence when the problem is presented, since my belief is that heroes can assist to these problems. Not that they have to, since the responsability isn’t really theirs. But doing it may help the system and could help in the future. Heroes were show to assist prisons like Tartarus, so minor ones shouldn’t be a problem.
As I stated before, heroes, hero students and civilians have every reason not to trust villains. They have suffered because of them, I just think that it would be dangerous to keep this behaviour.
We notice a pattern:
The prohibition of quirks.
Dehumanization of heroes.
Dehumanization of villains.
This is my personal idea:
Maybe, society needs to adapt, first. Maybe, the priorities shouldn’t be to opress quirks. Since criminality has been controlled, it would be ideal to make a change.
The hero profession appeared along with villains so society could keep stability. All Might gave hope to people, and new times appeared. Now, quirks weren’t perceived as something bad or as a way of controlling others.
But this failed to adapt, both with All Might and the HPSC, and heroes ended up being portrayed as people who needed to be admired, too. With this, they have the attention of everyone.
Why is the HPSC so obsessed with the production of heroes? My guess is that it’s a reaction to how needed heroes are, and how quirks keep getting ridicously stronger. The prohibition of quirks have also attracted attention to the hero career and to how your quirk can contribute to a dream career, and this influences in how they are perceived. People probably feel the need to use their quirk, or they will simply lash out. Toga is a great example. This also translates to quirk discrimination and how important it is to either have an useful quirk or a flashy one. A “heroic″ quirk, we could say.
Twice also says this, and I think that it is important to include.
I believe that heroes and villains fights are ridiculous, in a way.
It goes like this:
The battle is portrayed as heroes vs. villains and it seems to me that most fans are seeing it like that, especially casual ones, but my idea is more complex than that.
Villains are fighting because they had a bad situation in the system. While a lot of villains that are represented have such unique situations, some of them can be translated to society as a whole. Toga, Spinner and Twice would be the only examples in my opinion, with slight differences. This doesn't mean that they are doing this correctly or that they want the betterment of the society, as we see with the LOV, where everyone has different motivations.
Dabi and Shigaraki goals appears to be revenge and destruction, respectively. Toga wants to be free, to be herself. Twice ended up lonely and wanted to be with his friends, Magne wanted to be accepted, Spinner had problems with self-esteem and was isolated, and we still know next to nothing from Mr. Compress. Mostly, they aren't really focused on the betterment of society, but rather, a selfish decision made out of the damage created by oppression or reject of people around them.
Then, we have Overhaul, who wanted a society that was a equal. He saw quirks as illnesses. This is an unique situation, but it’s what he perceived as something that would help in the problems presented.
Everything tends to fall into heroes, the ones who have to stop them. But this isn't heroes fault, this is about the society and the character’s unique circumstances. Because you can be a victim without becoming a perpetrator. As I stated before, victims have a responsability, and that is taking care of themselves. The heroes don't seem to focus on the problems of the society because heroes need to keep civilians safe of villains and because of bad experiences with villains that they are still having. Bad experiences that just keep repeating again and again. Helping villains is not their job, but at the same time, there is hardly anyone who interacts with villains as much as heroes during battle. Then, this situation should get fixed when villains are being prosecuted and they fall into the hands of the police.
You also can't help a person who doesn't want to help themselves, because change is a personal decision.
But if the society keeps producing unhappiness, then there's obviously a problem that probably should be addressed. I think that the biggest criminal organizations are the best examples of this, even if the methods they use are less than ideal.
Heroes don't need to strictly care about villains, but rather, the system. Or the system needs to notice it itself. I believe that in the most common cases, it all comes to the prohibition of quirks and how advertised heroes are.
The idea of helping a criminal, an adult who purposefully wants to keep being a criminal is kind of ridiculous, to me. So the best way is to prevent this. If we prevent this, maybe things are gonna get better. It may even help criminals, making then stop going back to the same life, or making villains surrender on their own. Toga could be an example of this, now that I think about it.
There is people who really had bad circumstances in life. Sometimes they change, and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they are saved by luck. Sometimes they are ignored.
There will always be someone who isn’t going to be saved. But that person is the only one who can decide if they’re going to change or not. Real life criminals are actually a great example of that, I guess.
Hmm, maybe that’s what life is about, actually.
but that’s just my opinion, I guess.
104 notes · View notes
Crooked Timber's Ministry for the Future Seminar
Kim Stanley Robinson's 2020 novel "The Ministry for the Future," is a fierce imaginative work. Robinson doesn't just depict a future beyond the climate emergency and capitalism itself, he depicts the specific, wrenching transition that takes us there.
As I wrote in my review, the (variously attributed) maxim "It is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism," isn't quite right. Imagining postcapitalism is an easy lift, but imagining the path to that world is *very* hard.
Robinson didn't leap into this project - he's been working up to it for literally decades, at least since the publication of the "Three California" books, which include one of the most uplifting novels I've ever read, PACIFIC EDGE:
Meanwhile, his 2312/Aurora/New York 2140/Red Moon novels constitute a kind of rangefinding exercise, starting 300 years the future and then walking his projection backwards to find a plausible route to get there.
But all these brilliant novels really seem to be warmup exercises for the main event, The Ministry for the Future, which depicts the intermeshed systems of economics, politics, geoengineering, streetfighting and tragedy that might rescue us from dying in our own waste-gases.
It's urgent, frightening and hopeful, raising as many questions as it answers.
These questions are now taken up in one of Crooked Timber's "seminars": a series of interdisciplinary essays about the book, culminating in the author's response.
The first of these essays comes from Maria Farrell: "What is Ours is Only Ours to Give," about the digital technology at the core of TMFTF, namely blockchain and independent social media. Farrell is characteristically incisive on these elements.
Her thoughts here tie back to her notion of the "prodigal tech bro," and how we should treat the tech industry's claims of genius with skepticism - even when those claims are cloaked in confessions of being an EVIL genius.
The next essay is Oliver Morton's, digging into the solar geoengineering in TMFTF, and the "sustained contradiction" such an effort might produce - relieving the urgency of addressing carbon production and accumulating new policy debt in the process.
Morton's a very good choice for this role: his 2016 book on geoengineering, "The Planet Remade," remains one of the best technological, economic and political overviews of the subject:
Next is Jessica Green's "Can the World’s Bankers Really Save the Climate?" which drills into Robinson's fictional carbon markets, where central bankers are pressed into service to save the planet in an unjust (but rapid and necessary) compromise.
Green's an expert on climate and finance, so she's as good at spotting the cards that Robinson palms here as Farrell is with tech. Green credits Robinson with identifying the "true sources" of climate obstruction, but thinks he's missed the mark on how to deal with them.
Next is the Roosevelt Institute's Todd Tucker with "Ministry for Your Future Soul": praise for KSR's depiction of the scientific process, scientists, policy wonks, and the progress of policy. Tucker calls Robinson a "Gramscian science fictionologist."
Robinson's "dynamic imagination...makes the book valuable to policy nerds" because "fiction can inform planning," specifically through that exercise of starting with the outcome we want and then working backwards to imagine the steps we need to get there.
This "backcasting" method has many and varied adherents. It's the method that Anonymous used to create its notorious ops, as documented in Biella Coleman's 2014 book on the ensemble:
But it's also the method that Amazon uses for new product decisions: starting by writing the press-release announcement and then working backwards to sell the org on developing the product to go with the press-release:
Next is Belle Waring's "Sudden Tempest of Ultimate Summer," which goes straight for the political violence in TMFTF, and KSR's seeming discomfort with this violence, coupled with his evident belief in its necessity.
As Waring points out, alongside all the nonviolent tactics Robinson depicts, there is a lot of (mostly offstage) violence - and when that violence is onstage Robinson pivots away from it, subjecting the Davos hostages to Powerpoint presentations instead of a firing squad.
Waring also grapples with the intimate, gendered role that violence plays in the book - the relationship between heroine Mary Murphy and the traumatized antihero Frank May, who holds her hostage, and whom Murphy subsequently dedicates herself to.
The next installment - Half the Earth? - comes from John Quiggin, a trained agricultural economist who delves into Robinson's depiction of a successful "Half Earth" transition in which humans surrender half our planet to other animals.
Quiggin is pretty bullish on the possibility of this happening, noting that we have more than enough food as things stand and that human fertility is already below the replacement level everywhere except Africa, where it's still trending down.
For Quiggin, vacating half the Earth is do-able: "We are, suddenly and surprisingly, at a point in history when radical change seems not just possible but likely."
Next is Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò, whose "What’s In Our Way?" - a frank look at how KSR depicts north/south politics, and the realism behind a scenario in which mass death in India leads to little change, while the erasure of LA sets change in motion.
Táíwò calls this "equal parts fatalism, pragmatism, and optimism," and while he acknowledges its realpolitik, he also calls upon us to imagine something better - led by the global south, rather than the "elite of the elites."
There are three more responses to come: from Henry Farrell, Suresh Naidu and Robinson himself - a contribution I'm eagerly awaiting. Based on my own experience with the CT seminar on my novel Walkaway, this will be an intense project for him.
For all that the seminar raises serious questions about whether TMFTF can be a roadmap (as opposed to an inspiration) for a transition to a better, sustainable future, the book remains an awesome, towering accomplishment, a beacon and a delight.
What's more, Robinson has walked back his early 2020 idea that TMFTF would be his last novel for an indefinite period while he worked on nonfic (about the Sierras and conservation). He says he's back to writing novels, which is *outstanding* news.
I read TMFTF as I was writing THE LOST CAUSE, my post-GND climate novel about truth and reconciliation with white nationalist militias and plutocrat wreckers.
You can read the prologue here:
That book is now done, and reading TMFTF and thinking about its boldness, its brilliance and its flaws made me reconsider my own story. Imagining the end of capitalism remains the hard problem of our future, and Robinson has done sterling work on that problem.
The Crooked Timber seminarians are carrying on the work Robinson started in TMFTF, shoring up its weak spots and calling attention to its sturdy frame. Taken together, the CT essays and Robinson's novel are a heady tonic for a world in transition.
24 notes · View notes
[CN] Main Story: Chapter 37 (Gavin Route)
⚠️ SPOILER AHEAD ⚠️
🚨 Warning: This post contains REALLY BIG spoiler from main story which some of them have not been released in JP, TW, Global, nor ASEAN servers. 🚨
A/N: “All Love Interest ANGST Route” takes place between Chapter 37-4 and Chapter 37-5.
Before read, please prepare a tissue and your HEART!!!
- Part 1 -
Northern Suburbs, temporary base for STF.
Days of natural disasters have raised the disaster prevention alert of Loveland City by several levels.
In order to deal with the doomsday, all countries in the world have established doomsday rescue operations headquarters, and jointly formulated a number of rescue policies.
The last issue of "Miracle Finder" is to record the scenes of these soldiers fighting against disasters in the doomsday.
The car stopped at the base station gate, and I got out of the car with camera crew.
In the empty wilderness, several special officers in white uniforms patrolled the surrounding area.
According to the forecast, a tornado is about to hit Loveland City, and the STF troops will be here to stop the crisis.
Minor: Brother, where did your commander go?
STF Officer : Commander is very busy, and has no time to see you.
Minor: Hey, we are...
MC: Hello, we have made an appointment for an interview, can you let us in?
The officer looked suspiciously at the press card hanging around my neck.
STF Officer: You are waiting here, I will confirm it.
Eli: She doesn't need to make an appointment.
STF Officer: Captain Eli!
Eli walked leisurely with his hands in his pockets, and nodded at me.
Eli: MC, long time no see.
He looked at the serious-faced officer again.
Eli: Do you know who she is?
The officer looked at me and then at Eli, with a suddenly realized expression.
STF Officer: Eh, she is Commander's...
I slapped awkwardly, blocked the officer's unfinished words first.
MC: If it is not convenient, let's go back first.
Eli: There is nothing inconvenient. By the way, do you need me to help you call Gavin?
MC: No need! I don't want to interfere with your actions.
Eli: Then don't bother, you are free.
Eli: However, according to forecasts, there will be less than five minutes before the tornado enters the area of the city.
Eli: You'd better shoot near here, don't get close to the edges of those wind barriers.
MC: I understand!
Eli's remarks made everyone start scrambling to set up shooting equipment.
The wind became louder and louder, and a large funnel-shaped cloud soon appeared on the horizon, so gloomy that almost covered the entire sky.
Minor: I heard that the central wind speed of a tornado can reach 200 meters per second, which means that it will blow us away with people and machines in five minutes...
Willow: Close your crow's mouth.
Minor: Hey, I haven't finished speaking yet. With Bro Gavin, there is nothing to worry about.
The film crew quickly set up the machine, ready to start filming the entire process of STF team repelling the tornado.
After a while, the circular wind barrier erected all around shook violently, the surrounding trees were rustling.
A thick black shadow appeared at the end of the horizon, hurriedly approaching here.
The tornado is coming.
Photographer: Producer, the wind and sand are too big, it is difficult for us to get close to shooting!
MC: Let me find a way.
I thought for a while and took out the portable DV machine from my bag.
Just now Eli has divided the safety range for us. As long as we do not exceed that range for shooting, there should be no problem.
The violent wind that came in on the verge of blowing in the gap made the gap bigger, many of the team members who were in the front were injured.
STF Officer: The wind is too strong, we can't approach from the inner wall!
Anxious shouts from the STF members came from afar, and everyone present couldn't help but grab their hearts.
A calm and cold voice came from the communicator.
Gavin: I will go.
I resisted the urge to scream, my eyes and the camera stared at the distant sky unblinkingly.
The shifted wind barrier was quickly pushed back to its original position by another strong wind, and returned to the array.
The wind weakened, the tornado gradually deviated from its path.
Everyone waited nervously, and a few minutes later, the shadow of the tornado disappeared without a trace on the horizon.
MC: Gavin, you are so handsome!
Several injured officers were quickly taken away by the resident doctor, and I nervously searched for Gavin on the court.
From a distance, I saw a familiar figure approaching me.
My eyes lit up, and I ran towards him without hesitation.
MC: Are you okay? Isn't it hurt?
A look of helplessness passed across Gavin's face, he stretched out his hand, help me straighten my hair.
MC: What you looked like just now...
"Gavin, you are so handsome!"
At some point, my hand accidentally pressed the play button of the video just recorded, and the sigh was recorded verbatim into the screen.
MC: …When editing, this sentence will be deleted.
A smile finally appeared on his stern face.
Gavin: Wait here, I’ll come to you later.
- Part 2 -
STF Officer A: When Commander was still tasked as B-7, we have heard his rumors.
STF Officer A: Whether it is natural or man-made disasters these days, we can survive it, thanks to his judgment and decision-making.
STF Officer B: Yes, everyone was injured in the last rescue. Thanks to Commander, the situation was stabilized and the casualties were avoided.
STF Officer B: …But after returning, he formulated more stringent training plan.
MC: I see...
MC: Is there any moment when Commander makes you feel particularly tender?
The young officer in front of me "umm" for seven full seconds, and finally shook his head.
STF Officer A: More like medical insurance, count it?
Gavin: You seem to be very free.
Gavin stood behind us at some point, his voice cold.
STF Officer A: Commander!
The two STF members who were still babbling a while ago immediately stood up, saluted to Gavin together.
I turned around with a guilty conscience and looked at Gavin in front of me. When I looked down, I noticed that his wrist under his cuff was wrapped in gauze several times.
He just left temporarily, so he should simply treat the wound.
The crowd scattered like birds and beasts, soon only I and Gavin were left.
Gavin: What happened just now?
MC: Well... I just want to interview STF's recent work routine.
Gavin: I'm not asking about that. Your actions just now were dangerous.
MC: I said hello to Eli, and confirmed that I was in the safe zone!
I vowed to raise my hand, swear in my ear. Gavin's serious expression finally eased a little.
Looking at Gavin, I remembered all the rumors I had heard from the officers, their respectful and scared look, I couldn't help but laugh.
Gavin: What are you laughing at?
MC: Nothing, I was thinking about the last issue of "Miracle Finder", would you like to give a personal interview as Commander...
MC: But I'm just kidding, if it bother you, forget it.
Gavin: It's not bother.
His gaze moved down, and he scanned the line of drafted titles on the open page of the notebook in my hand.
Gavin: "The Commander's outside and inside". Do you want to know the outside, or the inside?
I smiled awkwardly, and the corners of Gavin's lips raised slightly.
Minor: Bro Gavin! Are you OK!
A noisy voice came from behind, Gavin glanced back and frowned quickly.
I don't know when Minor ran over, but he was dragged out by Willow before he finished speaking.
After both of them left, the surrounding area became quiet again.
Gavin: It's too noisy here. Let's change place.
I nodded and walked out of the base with Gavin.
A whistling wind came from the sinkhole in the distance, and a shallow layer of rain accumulated on the ground, reflecting the clear night sky and a little bit of starlight.
I followed the arched ridge all the way forward and photographed the traces of the tornado, asking Gavin one after another.
MC: I listened to Eli...
MC: NW put all its forces into establishing an airtight underground base, and didn't join your joint rescue...
Gavin: They aren't upside down.
Gavin: As long as that day doesn't come, STF won't give up protecting everyone here.
His tone is very flat, but it makes people feel extremely reliable.
I thought about it, and re-adjusted the DV mode, aiming at Gavin.
MC: Next, I will start an official interview.
Gavin: …Why do you want to give me an interview.
MC: Because you are the Commander of STF, what you say is the most convincing.
This interview is a temporary motive. I was not prepared for the question, so I just asked what I thought.
MC: The first question: What is the most important thing for the commander at the moment?
Gavin: Protect everyone's safety, and prevent disasters from happening.
MC: The second question: The commander felt that in this situation, for every citizens, what is the most important thing?
Gavin: This is varies from person to another.
…This minimalist way of answering questions, it's really Gavin's style.
MC: The third question...
Suddenly, the flapping sound of bird wings interrupted my question, and large swarms of pigeons started to start from deep in the woods.
MC: That is...
Gavin raised his head, looking solemnly at the flock of white pigeons in the sky.
Gavin: The abnormal weather in the past few days has caused the magnetic field in the vicinity to be disordered, and the return route of the pigeons has also been affected.
In the deep night, the pigeon flock wandered anxiously over the woods, flapping its wings constantly, as if calling for the return of their companions.
However, after the tornado struck, many birds were injured or died, and white feathers were scattered everywhere on the ground.
Several faint calls came from the bushes not far away.
Gavin and I approached and found two injured pigeons
One of them was badly injured, and dying; the other was still struggling.
MC: Will they die?
Gavin didn't speak, and rescued the two pigeons from the strange orange bushes, with a little blood stained on their messy wings.
It seemed to be frightened, its body trembling, and the warning sound of "cooing" as soon as we approached.
MC: Great, it seems okay!
Gavin: Be careful, don't get hurt by them.
Gavin: This is a wild pigeon that has not been domesticated, and is very wary of humans.
Gavin avoided the beak pecked by the pigeon, picked it up and checked it.
Gavin: No injuries.
The pigeon struggled to escape from his palm.
MC: Do they continue to fly forward?
Gavin made a soft "Mm" sound.
Gavin untwisted the withered grass entangled in its ankles, and another small gust of wind rolled up in his palms, drying its wet wings.
Gavin: If the wings are not wet, the flight home can be easier.
Its eyes rolled steadily, as if understanding the intention of Gavin, obediently gave up the struggle.
Perhaps after waiting too long, the group hovering in the sky gradually moved away, flying behind the invisible gray sky.
MC: Can this pigeon find its friends?
MC: I see...
Gavin seemed to notice my loss, and changed his words.
Gavin: But it is not impossible.
Gavin: The migration of pigeon, is actually a story about commitment.
Gavin: Fulfill their promise to go back.
Gavin: No matter how far you fly, you will definitely arrive where you want to fly as scheduled.
The pigeon in his palm seemed to sense Gavin's words and tried to wave its wings again.
The small gust of wind gradually increased, escorting this child to the sky.
Soon, it struggling to flap its wings forward, disappearing into the night sky and the end of the stars.
MC: In fact, whether it is them or the wind, they all know their direction.
MC: Even if it takes a long time to walk, even if it will go away, it will not stop.
MC: Is that right?
Gavin didn't speak, but gently held my hand.
At this time, a few STF members came towards us, saluted to Gavin, and solemnly reported the situation of the other bases.
Gavin's face was always calm, as if no matter what kind of danger he encountered, he would not have the slightest panic.
MC: Is there another task?
I couldn't help but whisper to Eli, who was beside me, and he nodded.
Eli: I heard that there was a violent conflict in the city, and the situation is not very optimistic. They have to come to support tonight.
MC: I see... thank you very much.
Eli: Don't worry, Gavin will stay in Loveland City to lead. He is the backbone of all of us.
I'm a little embarrassed to be guessed by Eli.
Eli: But we have to rush to deal with a flood tonight. The disaster is dangerous, so you can't follow.
MC: I know, you guys must come back safely.
The bonfire ignited at the distant base dispelled the darkness, and the constantly rising tongue of fire brightened the night sky red, and occasionally there were a few crisp clashes of wine glasses and laughter.
This temporary celebration and happiness seem extremely precious on such a night.
I involuntarily rubbed my palms tightly, and some hope that the "moment" in that prophecy would come soon.
No matter where I go or what I experience, it would be great if I could reverse the ending.
After the officers reported, Eli stepped forward and said something to Gavin, patted him on the shoulder, and suddenly looked at me again.
Eli: I'll leave first, and meet again later, the young couple get along well.
Eli left after speaking, waved goodbye to me before leaving.
There was a brief silence all around, only cheers from afar broke the silence between us.
MC: Are you leaving now?
Gavin: Mm, we will leave in two hours.
I stepped forward, took his hand gently, and sat down on a rock.
The wind in the wilderness is blowing on the long stretch of grass in the distance, and there is a green smell in the darkness that fluctuates with the night.
MC: Then you need a good rest now.
MC: I wonder if Mr. Commander, who has been busy all day, is willing to agree to my request.
Gavin: Can I take a rest?
I was stunned by him, after a few seconds, I didn't expect Gavin was directly rest on my knee.
Gavin: Thank you for coming.
MC: ...You're welcome.
I opened my mouth again, trying to remedy my stupid answer, but Gavin had already closed my eyes.
For a long time, long and even breathing sounded from my knees.
This land is shrouded in night and cold, but my heart is very bright and warm at this moment.
I gently stroked his finally showing tired eyebrows, my heart soft.
MC: Thank you for the hard work, Gavin.
I hope you can also have a good dream.
- Part 3 -
In the vast expanse of the universe, a swarm of comets quickly fell to the blue planet.
Cities, forests, mountains, rivers and oceans were all engulfed by heat waves and tongues of fire, and vanished in the blink of an eye.
It seems that I am the only one left in the whole world, and the stars gradually shrink, hitting my heart like a burning bullet hitting the bullseye---
I woke up from the nightmare and took a deep breath.
Gavin: Woke up?
MC: I'm sorry... I fell asleep too.
I raised my head, met Gavin's worried eyes.
Gavin: Had a nightmare?
MC: Not a manifest dream, but a sweet dream.
MC: I dreamt that we became super cosmic warriors, saving the world from the brink of destruction.
I cheered up, and made a joke pretending to be relaxed.
Gavin: It seems that dream should be kept longer, it is best not to wake up.
He sighed, and gathered the jacket over me again.
There are footsteps approaching behind him.
When Gavin got up, the officer came over and whispered something to Gavin.
I was stunned, and quickly reacted: He is going to the next temporary base to command the mission.
MC: Are you leaving soon?
Gavin: There are still ten minutes left.
MC: Then I have one last question to interview you.
I turned around, fixedly looked at Gavin.
MC: Before the end, what is your wish?
Gavin: ...My wish?
MC: This is the question I want to ask you, so you can answer me alone.
MC: I have interviewed many people these days, and heard many people’s wishes, but I haven't had a chance to ask your wishes.
MC: I want to know what Gavin's wish is.
Gavin's expression was a little surprised, and he didn't speak for a long time.
Perhaps, this question is too vain and slow, he never put his wishes on unrealistic things.
???: Look, there are meteors!
The cheers of the crowd came from far behind, and Gavin and I raised our heads together.
The sky was passing by a meteor, dragging a bright trail, from loneliness to grandeur.
Under this bright and grand light, everything becomes small and quiet.
The falling trajectory of the meteor is long and narrow in the night sky.
The ubiquitous light illuminates the mountains and valleys in the distance, the river at the end of the horizon, and the city.
It also illuminates every face looking up on the earth.
Gavin suddenly grabbed my hand, his voice was very soft.
Gavin: When I was seventeen, I did have a wish.
Suddenly a large swarm of snow-white flew across the sky.
The flying dove in the dark night fluttered its wings and dropped a large piece of white feathers, drowning his voice.
I looked up in a different place, saw his star-lit eyes, and wanted to ask him what it was.
He looked at me with a deep retention and sadness. I always felt, that there were many emotions that I didn't understand.
In a second of distraction, I almost blurted out if he knew that I was going to leave.
But I didn't have the courage to speak up to verify this conjecture.
I grabbed his hand and tried to make a smile.
MC: I used to see meteors and could only think of wishing. I didn't expect that one day the meteors would actually destroy the world.
Gavin: Are you scared?
I shook my head.
MC: In fact, as long as I'm by your side, I'm not afraid at all.
Gavin lowered his head and put the kiss on our folded hands.
Gavin: I promise you.
Gavin: I won't leave you, until the last moment.
I heard his heartbeat on his chest, closed my eyes, and silently made a vow to the meteor.
May the world never end.
May he always be by my side.
- Part 4 -
The news broadcast the arrival time of the X1917 comet cluster, as expected, without any change.
As a commander, Gavin became more and more busy, and the occasional time together became exceptionally short.
Today, the STF is holding a major meeting.
Those present were all commanders from various countries' combat headquarters participating in this joint doomsday rescue.
After the meeting, I put down the interview draft and couldn't help but look at the meeting room.
Gavin came out last, and he was talking to a foreign man with a high nose and deep eyes.
The man seemed to notice me waiting on the side, he turned to me, his face stretched.
Foreign Commander: Eh, you are the producer. I have watched your show, Miracle Finder, which is great.
He gave me a thumbs up.
MC: ...Thank you!
I can't fully understand their small talk. I can only vaguely hear the commander's admiration and gratitude to Gavin.
After the conversation, he saluted to Gavin, and then left with his men.
I couldn't wait to walk to Gavin, wanting to open my mouth, but hesitated again.
The news specially told him today, perhaps compared with the important news he comes into contact with every day, is nothing at all.
Gavin: What's wrong?
MC: Gavin, I have good news for you.
MC: After the previous program was broadcast, some citizens contacted us and wanted to send you a loving lunch, medical supplies, and...
I counted the enthusiastic letters I received these days with my fingers. He listened carefully, his lips curled up unconsciously.
Gavin: STF doesn't need these for the time being, but it can be sent to disaster areas with more dangerous conditions.
Gavin: You can figure it out. I'll give you some addresses later.
Gavin's gaze flickered slightly, as if he had to say something, the communicator on his waist ticked.
Gavin: ...Wait for me.
MC: It's okay, go ahead.
I cheered up and bid farewell to Gavin, but the loss of separation was still unstoppable in my heart.
I let out a sigh of relief and began to think about how to arrange these supplies.
This time we are, fighting side by side with all mankind.
The last day of the countdown.
The days of waiting regretfully finally arrived, but it seemed to be no different from usual.
MC: How is the situation today?
STF Officer A: There were no casualties, and damaged communications and traffic are slowly recovering.
STF Officer B: That's right, Commander was not injured, so Sister-In-Law, don't worry.
While chatting, I looked around for Gavin's figures.
Soon, a figure dangled from behind the door of the headquarters.
Gavin, who had changed his uniform, walked towards me, the cuffs of the gray jacket were slightly rolled up, revealing a strong wrist.
At the moment when my eyes were facing each other, Gavin had already walked to me, and I was stunned for a second.
I raised my head and looked at him, as if I had guessed something in my heart.
MC: You, there are no tasks today?
Gavin: I took half a day off.
Gavin: I'll accompany you out for a walk.
Behind him, the whistle and the confession sounded one after another, Gavin faintly swept back, and the group of people suddenly made noise again.
MC: Is it really okay? I think it’s good to stay here...
Gavin took my hand and walked out. I turned around a little hesitantly, afraid that he would waste too much time.
Unexpectedly, Eli also waved at me and made a "rest assured" mouth shape.
Gavin: Leave them alone.
MC: I don't know why, but now I always have a feeling of occupying major public resources.
The corners of Gavin's mouth twitched slightly, and he looked at me helplessly, sighed.
Gavin: Can't the Commander go on a date after get off work.
He stood still in front of me, a little serious in his amber eyes.
Gavin: What stands in front of you now, it's Gavin that belongs to you only.
There was no one on the street, and the few shadows of trees stretched to the end of the empty road.
We unknowingly walked to the vicinity of Loveland High School and ate the last bowl of noodles at the still-open Lynn's Kitchen.
A live interview of STF to fight off the tornado is being broadcast on TV, and the boss exclaims while watching.
Boss: Did you really repel the tornado?
Gavin: Some news likes to exaggerate, you don't have to believe it.
MC: Gavin, this was taken by me.
Gavin: …Hmm, it was repelled.
Boss: Add more beef for you. Do you want other side dishes?
MC: I want it!
Gavin: Are you sure you can eat it?
MC: I'm able to eat it!
Gavin put down his chopsticks, looked at the side dishes on the table and the pile of beef in the bowl, he expressed doubts to me with his eyes.
MC: Is this a new flavor of noodles? It seems that I have never eaten it before.
Boss: Did little girl eat it? I updated the recipe of the soup. How does it taste?
MC: Super invincible and delicious!
Boss: That's good.
Boss: There are too many things that have been missed in a lifetime, and it's not worth beating.
Boss: However, it is still a pity that more people haven't tasted this bowl of noodles.
Boss: Thank you for finishing it.
MC: I'm so full...!
Gavin: You ate all the side dishes the boss gave.
MC: Because I don’t want to be a starving ghost...
Gavin gently knocked on my forehead, his eyes turned to the school gate across the road, his expression suddenly softened.
Gavin: You saved a cat here.
MC: You have beaten a few people here.
Unexpectedly the school door closed tightly. Gavin noticed the loss on my face and patted my shoulder lightly.
Gavin: Do you want to go elsewhere?
MC: What a pity... I still want to go back and have a look.
MC: Wait, I get it!
Gavin: Are you sure you want to do this?
MC: No one, is afraid of anything!
With Gavin's help, I finally climbed the outer wall of the back door of the school.
MC: I wanted to do this a long time ago.
I clapped my hands, turned my head, Gavin was still standing under the wall, looking at me with a little speechless and a little funny.
MC: It doesn't matter, there is no one in the security room and no one in the school building. Come up soon.
Gavin touched his lips, with an expression of defeat by me.
He easily climbed up the wall and sat down beside me.
He seemed to see my hesitation and looked at me holding back a smile.
Gavin: I will count down for you?
This is the end of the matter, regret is useless. I took a deep breath and slowly released the fingers that were holding behind me.
Gavin: Three, two---
Before "One" hasn’t shouted out, I subconsciously let go of my hand because of tension, and my falling body was quickly surrounded by a gust of wind.
The violent heartbeat hit the tympanic membrane, and we landed safely on the ground.
MC: I didn't seem to have eaten so much just now.
Gavin: Can't walk anymore?
MC: ...I'm afraid you won't be able to hold it.
Gavin: Hold tight.
As if to verify this sentence, his hand pierced my knees and hugged me to the direction of the school building.
MC: But like this...!!
Gavin gently raised the corners of her lips.
Gavin: No one, is afraid of anything.
We came to Gavin's classroom.
The classroom door was not locked. I turned on the light, saw that the writing on the blackboard had not been cleaned.
MC: Gavin, which table is yours?
Gavin was a little surprised. He looked around and pointed to the back of the classroom by the window.
MC: Is this one?
I walked to the back of the classroom and stared curiously at the graffiti on this table.
MC: "Early" was carved upside down on the table,... I can't tell that you are quite easy to learn.
Gavin: …It’s the back one.
I followed Gavin's gaze and looked back. A desk was in the corner next to the wall.
MC: But after so many years, It must have changed many seats, and the table may not be this one.
I took the opportunity to sit down in the seat where Gavin had been, and looked around.
MC: Um... the vision from the blackboard is not very good.
MC: But the ventilation is good, it should be comfortable to sleep here in the afternoon.
I don't know if it was because of listening to my serious comments, there was a sporadic smile on his lips.
Gavin: Why are you talking about that suddenly?
MC: I told you before, we organized ordinary citizens and Evolver to build a wishing wall.
MC: I thought I would see a lot of fanciful and weird wishes, but after seeing it, I realized that this was not the case.
MC: "I want to eat hot pot for the last time", "Reunion with my family", "I want to reconcile with the lover who broke up"...
MC: That’s why I realized, everyone’s strongest wish is, actually a regret that has not been realized.
MC: That's why...
I want to make up for these regrets.
We left the classroom, and walked down the stairs. The sound of different footsteps echoed in the dim staircase.
Gavin: Are you scared?
Gavin: I remember many horror legends circulated in schools.
He slowed down as he spoke, always keeping a step away from me in front of him.
I hesitated for a moment and wanted to tell Gavin that I was not afraid.
In other words, I'm more afraid that the road under my feet will be finished soon than I'm afraid of these stories.
I hope the stairs below my feet can be longer, preferably without end.
I stood on the edge of the steps, turned my head, and could not help calling his name.
A repressed impulse, drove me to do something.
He stood on a step lower than me, stopped, and looked at me with some doubts.
The few rays of light that leaked out of the window fell between us, cutting light and dark apart.
This light is like a crease, and I stand in front of him now, as if witnessing the folding of the years that have separated us.
Gavin: I know what you want to say.
His voice was lightened for an instant, with a sure smile.
The next second, he bent down, clasped my chin, and kissed me.
- Part 5-
The dim lights on both sides of the road passed through the dense leaves, scattered on the ground.
The library didn’t open, Gavin and I were strolling around the empty campus.
There seemed to be a warm touch remaining on the lips, I looked away pretending to be calm, always embarrassed to meet Gavin's gaze.
The bell rang in the distance, and the ginkgo leaves rustled down.
For a time, none of us spoke.
The meteors in the sky are getting denser, and my heart is beating faster and faster.
An uneasy premonition told me, that moment was approaching.
MC: Although shooting stars can be seen every day, it seems that many wishes are too late.
I pretended to smile with ease, breaking the deadlock between us. Gavin seemed to perceive something, and his amber-colored eyes looked at me.
Gavin: MC, You haven't finished what you just said.
Gavin: You keep asking about my wishes, what about yours?
MC: My wish...
My voice couldn't help but stop.
The ginkgo leaves on the branches are crumbling, and some are knocking on the windows of the school building behind them.
These leaves rustle on the branches in summer, and they creak when they fall in autumn. Every leaf makes a nice sound, but I have never noticed it.
I suddenly knew what my wish was.
I want to walk slowly at the school gate before the class bell rings.
I want to look up in the library and take a good look at the teenager sleeping opposite me.
I want to catch the wind at the age of seventeen, and say goodbye to him before the ginkgo leaves fall.
I looked up at Gavin, suddenly I wanted to cry.
MC: What if my wish will never come true?
Gavin was taken aback, for a long time, he rubbed the top of my head.
Gavin: Then go ahead.
Gavin: The wish that may not be reached now, but if you come back one day, it's already by your side.
I took a deep breath and grabbed his hand.
MC: Gavin, I am going to do something very important now.
MC: I kept busying myself a few days ago, thinking that if I didn't think about it, I wouldn't be sad until that time.
MC: But now I want to thank you, you gave me the courage to face it.
I felt like crying, but still managed to squeeze a smile.
MC: I'm leaving.
Gavin was silent, he gently stretched out his hand and stroked my face.
Gavin: I seem to be very bad at saying goodbye, and I have never been able to say goodbye to you every time.
Gavin didn't ask why or where I was going. He seemed to have known about this a long time ago.
Just hugged my arm hard and hot, as if to hold something at the last moment.
MC: This time it's my turn to say goodbye to you.
MC: We have experienced so many things, so this time is nothing.
I feel my body is getting lighter and lighter, and my limbs are gradually losing consciousness.
Perhaps that moment has come, my mind is getting harder and harder to concentrate, only vaguely seeing deeper and deeper sadness in my eyes.
MC: You told me...
MC: Regardless of the wind, the pigeon has its own direction, and I think I should do the same.
MC: But I am a person who has no sense of direction. I may go the wrong way and it will take a long time to get back to you...
Tears still fell unconvincingly, I sucked my mouth and wanted to speak again, but Gavin interrupted my words firmly.
Gavin: It doesn't matter if you go the wrong way.
Gavin: It doesn't matter if you come late.
Gavin: When I was seventeen, you let me know the direction of the wind.
Gavin: So it’s the same for you, just walk in your direction, no matter where you lead...
Gavin: My wish, is to meet you.
The white light was like a trickle, slowly seeping from the girl's body, illuminating the whole night.
MC: When the time comes, please correct my direction.
Feathers fluttered slowly from the girl's body.
The sky seemed to show a gleam of light, and the wine fell on the white feathers piled up under the girl's feet.
Gavin stood there quietly for a long time, his eyes always on the place where the girl disappeared.
He looked at the feathers scattered on the ground and the ginkgo that was blown away by the wind, his lips moved slightly and his hands slowly dropped.
The clear and distant "ding dong" echoed in the empty campus---
The bell rang after class.
50 notes · View notes
Why I don’t think Azula should’ve gotten a healing/redemption arc
k so I made this meme a couple weeks ago
and I got a lot (a lot? Like 10 but that’s a lot for me) responses disagreeing with my post, which is fair because there’s really only a tiny subset of fans who fit into the “if you stan villains you’re a bad person” category, and Azula’s character (like most other things in atla) is fairly nuanced. I won’t dive into her personal psychology so much, just why I was satisfied with her arc as a viewer.
Note: I’m only speaking within the context of Atla. I haven’t read any of the comics or seen Lok so for the sake of this lil post those don’t exist.
Not enough time
Plain and simple, Azula didn’t have enough time for any sort of healing or redemption. She would’ve needed at least 2 seasons based on what Zuko went through. Adding more seasons for this purpose would feel kind of pointless. Maybe they should’ve explored this in other media but not within atla as the story works best as a tidy three season bit.
Along this same vein, I’m not viewing the show the same way as I would irl. If we’re being realistic, Azula was a horribly abused mentally ill 14 year old who most definitely should’ve gotten treatment. But this is a cartoon, where standards are a little different, which I’ll talk more about in a minute.
Iroh used to be a bad person/If Zuko changed so could she
This one is more complicated for me, but basically I view it like this. In the show, Iroh and Zuko display goodness before their redemption.
We see this with Zuko especially. He is banished for trying to protect the lives of fire nation soldiers from certain death. Twice he spares the life of his rival Zhao, even after that rival tried to kill him. In season two, he saves appa, risks blowing his cover to light lanterns for Jin, saves a town from mercenaries, and even when he’s robbing, he spares certain people (the pregnant woman for example) and mostly targets the wealthy. Zuko, even at his worst, had hard limits on his morality.
Iroh is more subtle. The most clear example comes from the flashback in “Zuko Alone” where Iroh gifts Zuko a dagger from the earth kingdom that he notes is of superior craftsmanship. This, to me, shows where the start of Iroh’s arc comes from: his appreciation of the other nations. It’s been noted before that Iroh has also mastered all four elements, even though he can only firebend. Redirecting lightning comes from waterbenders- likely learned before Iroh “turned good”. Even as their adversary, Iroh respects the people of Ba Sing Se for their resilience. (This again contrasts Zhao, who was so deranged he murdered the fucking moon just to win.) Finally, the dragons. Iroh is known as the dragon of the west even to people from Ba Sing Se- this means that he spared the lives of the final dragons before Lu Tens death. Like Zuko, Iroh shows mercy even when on the wrong side. Lu Ten’s death breaks Iroh because it forces him to finally come to terms with the fact that the fire nation is built on a lie. Fire nation superiority is a lie, and it’s one he’s known for a long time.
Azula doesn’t display any of these traits. The only time in the entire series where she apologizes is after she insults Ty Lee, and I’d argue it was an act of manipulation, as she quickly uses the apology to receive praise from Ty Lee. The beach episode is the only soft side we ever see to Azula, and all of her interactions can still be interpreted like my example. Was the comment about Ursa thinking she was a monster a slip of her mask or an attempt to “perform” like the others? We know Azula is a liar, so was she lying when she said ursa was right, or that it still hurt? Or both? And, mind you, I do love how this episode explores azula more closely, but I don’t believe being a nuanced villain makes you a redeemable one. Even as a child, Azula is cruel and takes pleasure in hurting Zuko, and animals, and her friends. She’s a master manipulator who makes friends through fear and intimidation. Imo, the only reason she doesn’t actually kill someone is because Avatar was technically a kids show, though that sure as fuck didn’t stop her from threatening multiple peoples lives. There is no action of Azula that signifies an ounce of good in her.
She was abused
1) a tragic backstory isn’t the be all end all of whether or not a character’s redeemable, and 2) So was Zuko. And probably Iroh and Ozai, and probably Azulan. The fire nation royal family is fucked up. Even if Azulan was a “good” father to Ozai and Iroh he was still a dictator who was grooming them to take over.
Having Azula be a puppet in her fathers game was an incredibly mature route for atla to take. Once again, it adds depth with a realistic take for Azula’s villainy. Very rarely are individuals born evil (enter nature v nuture debate here). Some of the worst people to ever exist were victims of abuse and neglect to varying degrees. Once again, though, this doesn’t suddenly render Azula open to redemption. And from a storytelling perspective, there’s parallels between Ozai and Iroh and Azula and Zuko.
Ozai continued the cycle of abuse, Iroh broke free from it, Zuko ended it, and Azula was broken by it. These are all things that happen in real life.
Oddly enough this is the argument that baffles me the most. I know I just said a whole lot about real life vs fiction, but I’m gonna pull the fiction card on this one. I can suspend belief with these characters and their ages. I don’t think any 12 year old could function after waking up from a coma and finding out his entire people were slaughtered and that he only had like, six months to save the world, regardless of his upbringing and power set. I also don’t think any 14 year old could lead a trio to infiltrate a city state, outsmart the shadow leader of said city state, and manipulate and entire little army for her favor.
There’s just a point where you have to suspend belief. The characters of avatar are fantastic, but are not realistic portrayals of people in their age group. Azula could be 14 as easily as she could be 25 and nothing about the narrative would change. The same is true for the rest of the main characters- even Aang, as youthful and fun loving as he is, also has more emotional maturity than anyone in the gaang, and more than most adults i know. If you want a realistic example of a child working through trauma, try Lilo from Lilo and Stich. Not anyone from Atla
Not everyone needs a happy ending.
This is ultimately what it comes down to for me. I like Azula as a villain. I like Azula as a villain who stays a villain and who is driven insane by power and paranoia. I like Macbeth. Azula is a tragedy- and that’s what I like.
So there ya have it folks. That’s my take. I’m writing this at five am with very little sleep, so please forgive typos and whatnot. I feel like maybe I haven’t explained everything the way I wanted to, but I can’t stop thinking about this, and the great thing about this show is that it’s fun to keep thinking about.
427 notes · View notes
A common statement within this corner of the fandom is that Catra and Hordak are parallel characters. That their motivations and actions, their general storylines, are very similar.
I agree with this... to a point. Which is what I want to post about: to what extent I find Hordak and Catra to be the same, and at what point I find their characters diverge and deviate into their own, unique forms.
Obligatory disclaimer: this is my interpretation only; your mileage may heavily vary! This is also not a slight against either character; it’s just my observations based on the canon I can see. In the end, both characters end up happy, and that’s lovely c:
The basis of similarity between the two largely lies in their motivations: Catra and Hordak seek to impress their authority figures in order to gain said authority figures’ love. Both characters have difficulty self-validating and feeling worthy without receiving approval from their parent/authority/god, so they perform various “evil” actions (actions condoned by those they seek to impress) to earn that approval.
Catra attempts to fashion herself as a successful Horde Force Captain in order to earn praise and affection from Shadow Weaver.
Hordak attempts to conquer Etheria to earn praise and affection and the right to live from Horde Prime.
These are concepts I accept as accurate, but I feel that they only describe the characters to a certain point in the story. And that point is... oh... probably somewhere mid-season three. Namely: it is the point at which Shadow Weaver leaves the Horde and essentially becomes unreachable for Catra. It is at this point that, to my eye, Catra shifts her motivation, and we see the stark difference between her character and Hordak’s.
Once Shadow Weaver leaves the Horde and joins the Alliance, Catra no longer has any real hope of earning her love. She has, for all intents and purposes, been rejected, and my word, does she react poorly to it. One might argue that this is the moment when Catra truly begins her descent into full-out villainy, and I would agree with that argument. Why?
Because once the chance of impressing Shadow Weaver is gone, Catra needs to find another way to self-validate and achieve that sense of worthiness. And the way that she chooses focuses on enacting vengeance upon the person she identifies as responsible for Shadow Weaver leaving her: Adora. So Catra shifts her actions from trying to impress Shadow Weaver to trying to do whatever she can in order to actively harm and beat both her and Adora.
Once this happens, we see the real extent of Catra’s worst traits: her aggression. Her tendency to use others for personal gain without respecting their wellbeing. Her habit of blaming others for failure, even when said failure is truly her fault. Her affinity for lashing out instead of taking responsibility.
I would say that, at her lowest point, Catra is no longer really seeking love. What she is seeking instead is to prove that she doesn’t need love because the source of love rejected her. Shadow Weaver rejected her, and she needs to prove that that doesn’t matter while also venting her anger on the supposed reason for said rejection (Adora). And so Catra’s motive becomes uglier, more spiteful, more prone to fostering violence, and she shifts away from the motive that she shared with Hordak. She shifts away from seeking love and towards proving herself stronger than (and punishing) those who she feels have wronged her.
Hordak, on the other hand, never really loses the original motivation. He never shifts into this aggressive state of “sour grapes,” so to speak. Even when Prime truly does reject him (at least, rejects him as a meaningful individual) at the end of season four, Hordak continues to strive for that love and affection and acceptance. He does not switch motivation and attempt to prove that doesn’t “need” Prime’s love. Well. Not until the very, very end of the show, thanks to one purple-haired Princess. c:
My point being that Hordak maintains this sort of... self-blaming state of trying to attain Prime’s love by fixing himself. He continuously claims a tragic sort of responsibility, never blaming others for his inability to win Prime over and instead trying to do whatever he thinks might succeed in netting him that coveted approval. This starts out as conquering Etheria. It eventually transitions to erasing himself in the purification pool. But it never switches gears into the sort of angry vengeance that Catra progresses to.
Which, I think, says something about the differences in their characters.
Though their motivations (initially) match, the nature of their personalities alters how said motivations evolve. Hordak is, to my eye, far more like Adora in basic personality than he is like Catra.
Catra, over the course of the show, demonstrates this tendency to avoid blame and shift it to others. It starts off fairly small - remember how she allows Shadow Weaver to take the fall for her own bad plan - but develops to dangerous levels. She blames Entrapta for betraying the Horde rather than recognizing that she, Catra, made a grave error in tazing her and activating the portal. She blames Adora for... well, for her own mistakes, really. And so when Shadow Weaver leaves and takes her love with her, Catra doesn’t sit back and reassess the situation. She doesn’t pause and consider if, maybe, what she’s trying to do is not the best idea. She also doesn’t blame herself for Shadow Weaver’s departure, the way Hordak blames himself for Prime’s rejection. Rather, she seeks out a target for blame, resolves to attack that target, and... escalates the Etherian War to its worst heights in order to take down Adora.
Hordak is far less like Catra in this regard and... well, far more like Adora, really. Like Adora, he takes responsibility for whatever flaws he recognizes in himself to the point of self-harm. He assumes that whatever is going wrong is his fault, and that he has to work and alter himself in order to address it. Like Adora, he tends to focus his anger and blame inward, and so the shift in motivation never occurs. He continues to strive for love and acceptance even after rejection, which means that the sort of violent downward spiral we see in Catra (where she pushes everyone away and mires herself in spite and vengeance) never happens in him. Instead, he brings himself to near-destruction, essentially enduring a death-of-self, in order to rectify what he views as his own transgressions.
Neither of these paths is necessarily better than the other, mind you.
While Catra’s route might lead to her breaking free of her abuser as soon as she is reasonably able to, but her aggression leads to her personally harming more people and damaging more friendships.
And while Hordak’s route boasts a more honorable sense of responsibility and never features him hurting those who try to help him, it also results in him doggedly attempting to reunite with his abuser to his own horrific detriment.
Each path has, I suppose, what might be termed “pros and cons,” but neither is actually healthy. And both, thankfully, end well: Catra takes responsibility for what she’s done and resolve to make better choices; Hordak recognizes Prime as his abuser, experiences true love thanks to Entrapta, and breaks free from Prime’s tyranny.
So... well, that’s really it, I guess. Hordak and Catra start off as parallel characters, but I feel like their different personalities take their arcs to different places. They don’t maintain that parallel nature throughout the show because, initial motivations aside, they are very much different people with different ways of interacting with others. And different ways of viewing themselves.
Which is interesting! They’re interesting characters to compare and contrast, and I always appreciate the opportunity to do so. And I look forward to others’ opinions in the same regard!
56 notes · View notes
Just a Friend
So I finally started to write another story...
I will try and post weekly, but can’t promise on account of real life and my inability to actually focus on translating what’s in my head onto paper (or screen!)
Getting the courage to post never gets any easier, but here goes. I hope you enjoy this frothy bit of fun. I will also post on AO3.
Thanks to @wickedgoodbooks for being an excellent beta.
Chapter 1: From Airport to Aggravation
Bank holiday crowds, on the whole, are hell.
And this one is rapidly turning into an even deeper level of purgatory. The hottest May for years in Scotland and I’m stuck at Glasgow airport with a dozen women, collectively known as ‘Geillis’s Hen Party Posse’, each displaying varying degrees of inebriation, hangover or general sleep deprivation, and all aiming for the luggage carousel showing the flight from Barcelona. Which apparently is where several hundred other disembarked passengers are also heading.
Eventually, I manage to get a view of the bags and cases slowly making their way around the belt. They’re pretty picked over by this time, apart from the couple of boxes covered in gaffer tape that always seem to be first off a plane—any plane—and last to be collected. They’re always there, on every flight. Why is that?
I pause from my musings to wave frantically at Geillis, who now has a trolley and is clearing a path straight towards me.
“I got us a trolley.” she informs me, stating the obvious. “I thought it’d be easier. Have ye seen ours yet, Claire? I canna see the others. They must have already gone through.”
“No,” I answer, keeping my eyes firmly on the little hatch, willing our bags to appear. All I want is to go home, put my sleep mask on and try and get some sleep. Three days in Barcelona celebrating Geillis’s forthcoming nuptials have worn me out, and, I glance at my watch, I am due in theatre in approximately seventeen hours time.
"It's there, it's there," Geillis points excitedly at the neon pink and green leopard print bag making its way towards us.
She makes a grab for it as I continue to look for my bag. Predictably, it’s one of the last ones on the carousel. I recognise it immediately from the piece of red gift ribbon tied to the handle of the plain black Samsonite. I load it onto the trolley and Geillis and I head through customs to join the rest of the posse.
We say our goodbyes loudly, with much hugging and kisses. A stranger viewing this scene might imagine we won’t be seeing each other again for weeks or even months. In truth, I’ll be seeing most of them in the next week or so at the hospital as our schedules coincide.
“Shall we two get a taxi, then?” Geillis asks me.
I start to answer as my mobile pings — a text from Frank...very nice, very caring, very predictable.
Darling, it’s been a long three days without you. I am ready to collect you from the airport if you would like. If not, might I see you later this evening? xxx
And that is very clearly Frank. Correct grammar and punctuation, even on his texts. I shake my head as if to drive away my inner bitch and pretend I haven’t read it. I will respond, of course, just later when I’m back at home.
So, I smile at Geillis and agree. “Of course, we can go halves.”
As I walk into my flat, the peace and quiet and sheer bloody calm wraps itself around me like a swaddling cloth. It’s blissfully cool too, with all the shutters closed.
It’s not that I didn’t have a good time in Barcelona. It was actually great. But being in the company of others twenty four hours a day is wearing, much as I love them. And we all had to do everything together. No sneaking off for a solitary walk, or escaping to bed for a little siesta.
I deposit my suitcase by the bedroom door, slip off my converse, pour myself a glass of orange juice, settle down on the sofa and figure out how best to tell Frank not tonight without offending him.
Frank, Sorry but tonight isn’t —
I delete and try again.
Thanks for the offer to pick me up. I was already in the taxi when I got it. Can we give tonight a miss? Theatre in the morning and I’m knackered totally exhausted. You know what Geillis is like. Speak tomorrow, I promise. C
Frank knows what Geillis is like. Frank thinks Geillis is a bad influence on me, with her larger than life personality and wild ideas. I think Frank doesn’t really know me at all if he believes I can be influenced like that. I hang out with Geillis and my friends because they’re fun and we laugh… a lot.
Without realising, I feel my shoulder muscles relax as soon as I’ve sent the message. These are not good signs for my relationship with Frank. He’s investing far more into ‘us’ than I am willing to do. But as long as I’m honest with him…
There are advantages to being with Frank, of course. He’s punctual, very organised and a proficient and considerate lover. He always makes sure I come, even if I sometimes...er… exaggerate my reactions to hurry things along. So much for honesty, then.
I finish my orange juice and plan my evening. Four things to do - unpack, grab some food, shower and sleep. Not even going to wash my hair. That would really be too much effort, struggling with my untameable mane, and it’s going to be stuck under a surgical cap for most of tomorrow anyway.
It takes a bit of effort to actually move from the sofa. I could quite happily fall asleep there. But then I’d wake up in the middle of the night—starving hungry and still smelling of sweaty airports. Reluctantly, I haul myself into a vertical position and head for my bedroom picking up my suitcase en route.
Opening the suitcase, I am not greeted with the expected haphazard mass of sun dresses, t shirts and shorts—all with the evocative aroma of Hawaiian Tropic—but a layer of white dress shirts, immaculately folded and the faint scent of a musky cologne.
Shit, shit, shit!! Some else has walked off with my black samsonite with the red ribbon on the handle. My evening plans are rapidly going awry. I delve into my handbag praying that I kept my boarding pass with the sticky bar code luggage receipt. The relief when I find it lurking in the bottom of my bag is immense. Quickly I google the airline lost baggage number and dial.
After a few bars of some god awful plinky plinky hold music, I hear a recorded message. “Your call is important to us, please hold. Your call is important to us, please hold.”
Good to know, then back to the plinky plinky before another message. “The office you are trying to reach is now closed. Please try again during office hours nine am to five thirty. Thank you.”
“If my call is so important to you, why is no one there at six o’clock?” I yell down the phone, but the plinky plinky ignores me and continues its irritating melody.
I sigh. I don’t want to have to wait until tomorrow morning to sort this out. Besides, by nine am tomorrow morning, I will be somewhat unavailable - reshaping the hip bone of a seven year old boy. So, I have no alternative. I will have to have a bit of a dig around this stranger’s suitcase, looking for any clue or contact details.
As I start to have a feel around, it occurs to me that some stranger might, at this very moment, be doing exactly the same thing — having a poke around my suitcase in the hope of finding my details. No doubt judging me based on my choice of holiday attire. And, I suddenly realise, his judgement may well be coloured by the discovery of some items of a more adult nature.
I say ‘he’, based on the XL white shirts, the pair of battered jeans and faded Scotland rugby shirt, but I could be wrong. I don’t have to dig any further into the case as I spy, in a mesh pocket, a neat rectangle of card with a name — James Fraser — a mobile number and an email address.
Relief sweeps over me. Perhaps we can get this all sorted tonight. Unless this James Fraser lives miles away and was just passing through Glasgow on his way to, say, the Outer Hebrides. That could be a whole other level of problem.
I quickly reach for my phone. Another message from Frank awaits.
Are you sure, darling? I’m looking forward to seeing you. Would tomorrow evening work for you?
I ignore it for the moment. Let me sort my luggage issue out first.
I dial the number on the card and begin to pace around my bedroom as it rings and rings. I am just about to give up when, thankfully, it’s answered.
“Hello?” A female voice asks warily.
I clear my throat and put on my most pleasant phone voice. “Is there a James Fraser there please?”
“Ye’ve the wrong number.”
“Oh, sorry, I must have mis—“ I begin, but find myself apologising to dead air.
I try again, carefully comparing each digit to those written, very neatly, on the card.
“Hello?” The same female voice answers, more than a hint of annoyance in her voice.
“I’m sorry, but this is the number I have for James Fra—“
“And I already told ye, ye’ve the wrong number. Dinna bother again.”
In the days before mobiles, I’m sure this would have been accompanied by a deafening crash as the receiver hit the cradle. Pressing a soft key doesn’t have the same dramatic effect. But I get the message anyway.
So, new plan needed. All I can do is email this James Fraser and hope he actually has written down the correct email address. If not, I’ll have to sort it out with the airline tomorrow afternoon.
My stomach rumbles and I suddenly realise that I’ve not eaten since breakfast, unless you count the slices of fruit in my jug of sangria. I wander into the kitchen and peruse the contents of my cupboards and fridge. I’m not the most gifted cook, but I’m not too bad and can usually rustle up something edible and fairly tasty. The bread feels a bit on the dry side but will be fine toasted, and I know I have eggs.
I put a knob of butter in a pan and text Frank while I’m waiting for it to sizzle.
Think tomoz will be ok. Talk 2morrow. C
I don’t normally use text speak at all, but something about Frank’s perfectly formed text messages always makes me want to rebel. I can imagine him wincing right now. He’s a professor at the university and is forever complaining about the standard of literacy amongst his undergraduates. If he thinks he has problems, he should try dealing with junior doctors.
With my scrambled egg on toast all eaten, I focus my attention on the email to James Fraser. I write it quickly, brief and to the point: I have your suitcase and therefore presume you have mine, can we meet to swap them over and here’s my phone number.
The longing for a shower and then bed is now overwhelming. I strip off and bundle all my clothes into the laundry basket, tie my hair up with a scrunchie and step into my shower. This is undoubtedly one of my favourite places on earth and possibly the reason that I bought this flat. Large enough for two, I suppose. Although none have yet been invited to partake in this heavenly experience. Maybe I’m saving that for someone extra special. It has a huge overhead rainfall shower head and a handheld shower head too.
My indulgences are all in here — a selection of expensive shower gels, scrubs and lotions and an assortment of huge fluffy bath towels. I choose a lavender scented gel and scrub all traces of the day from my skin.
Wrapping myself in one of my pristine white towels, I slather shea butter lotion on my slightly sun-burnt skin, noticing the uneven red patches where the sun cream hadn’t quite reached but at least it’s not sore.
A quick check of my emails shows there’s no word from James Fraser as yet, so I decide to just settle down to sleep and leave luggage worries until the morning. Fortunately, I had changed the sheets before my weekend away, so I simply unwrap my towel, leaving it in a heap on the floor and slide into bed. The feeling of the cool, crisp bedding against my skin is wonderful. I assume a sort of diagonal starfish position, not having to worry about any other occupants. It crosses my mind whether to reach for the tiny vibrator in my bedside drawer, but I’m too comfortable and drowsy for that, so instead I check my alarm and settle down for sleep.
222 notes · View notes
Ascendant + Midheaven
Midheaven (MC): Reputation
Impression is what we see, feel, read, what is expressed to us.
Reputation is built and destroyed based off deeds, actions, success, but also sometimes rumors/gossip.
(If you have an intercepted house/double sign and your chart is offset, please send an ask for other Ascendant and MC combinations)
Aries Ascendant: Known for bluntness, giving off a forward impression. The self is very important - coming off as selfish to some but possibly empowered to others. Focus on the self can also mean a struggle to balance self wants vs. other’s wants, especially with a Libra DC. This person faces many challenges that require them to reanalyze the self, relate to others, and think about others.
Capricorn MC: While the Aries Ascendant gives off a self-centered or maybe self-conflicted vibe, this person’s reputation is heavily based on their career success. This isn’t so much in a “predictive” manner but that they may put a lot of weight into what their career is. Aries and Capricorn are both ambitious signs. This makes for a go-getter person who is focused on what they want to achieve. There is a push and pull between expression of individuality through the Ascendant and wanting to stand out in a positive way, that aligns with their society. They want to contribute to society. The points, sharing the same mode walk through lessons of Cardinal, mutable, fixed. With Aries vs Capricorn in these placements there is a lesson to help others, do favors for others to build up integrity. This isn’t just for reputations sake but to better connect the self with others.
Taurus Ascendant: A calm expression that desires harmony, contentment. Down to earth individual who connects easily with others. Sensuality and comfort are so very important to them.
Aquarius MC: Who finds fulfillment in the unusual. There is a desire to stand out. Ambition can be intellectual or it can be in connecting with people. While the Ascendant is welcoming their reputation can surprise. Many may have heard of them, talk about them, the collective can manifest in abundance of people knowing them and/or in their own goals of helping society or a community. Themes of attachment and detachment exist. Taurus highly attached to expression, especially if we get into things like artistic expression. Possessiveness of Taurus can also exist, likely not in surface level relationships but in how they approach others perception and their perception of others. Ex: they may have a hard time letting go of the fact that someone’s impression/idea of them has soured.They admire or hold onto those who like them/admire them. To say they cling to what others think is entirely too simple. It is more about a fixed nature in self expression and view of self. Whereas the Aquarius MC wants to be free of all this. There is a goal to rise above reputation, gossip, status. Traditional vs. non traditional is a struggle in how they approach the world, others, success.
Gemini Ascendant: Talkative, energetic, observant, maybe even intimidating. What a range of impressions and a self that is varied, changing.
Pisces MC: We see a very fluid person in terms of the public sphere. Emphasis on healing, service, spirituality, and creativity but defining this person is hard. A vague standing when it comes to reputation or status. Maybe frequently unknown or forgotten about (which before you get offended could certainly be used as a strength). All mutable signs are flexible but with these two you get a person hard to figure out. Despite first impressions or gossip, it is the self that causes and has the most confusion. This is an individual who has a level of uncertainty or instability within. A desire to learn about and connect with others exist from the ascendant. A desire to help others from the MC. Whereas the ascendant may be all talk the MC is built upon caring and healing others OR connecting on an emotional or deep level. A focus on people and the contrast of relating others to the self vs. feeling or even becoming like another is important to an individual with this dynamic.
Cancer Ascendant: Protective shell of toughness or possibly shyness. Approaching the world emotionally. There is a sense of vulnerability about the self that is not shown but at times makes them a slave to their moods. Expression is cautious. They reflect family or community values and traditions.
Aries MC: A very ambitious placement. Their influence on others and actions surely build up their reputation. Here the Cancer Ascendant shell must be broken at times to leave a mark. Maybe it is because of the hesitance or shyness of the ascendant that when this person makes a move or succeeds it stands out so much. I would be careful of thinking this person’s “rep” or how they are perceived is in the hot-blooded stereotype of Aries. It is more how they take the lead in public situations, through decisiveness, seizing opportunities, and sharing their passion. There is a lesson between wanting to preserve and protect the self vs. the need to be open and to put themselves out there. With the strong emotions of Aries and Cancer, this person is sure to leave a mark that is felt wherever they go.
Leo Ascendant: Loud, outgoing, warm, even if a little shyer they still shine with individuality and creativity. The self should be celebrated, self expression is part of being, and they approach others with friendliness and generosity. The world is a stage and sometimes they fall into thinking they are the center of the universe or at least have enough self-respect to make themselves a priority.
Taurus MC: Solid determination and thought out goals, with the Leo ascendant this packs a punch when dealing with others and in the public sphere. There is a level-headed approach to the outside world and despite their flashy ascendant might not call a lot of attention to themselves in the workplace or in their personal community. Having a status that is steady may be one of the most common highlights of this dynamic. They can be patient when it comes to their career and dealing with outsiders but the strong desires of their ascendant can cause not so much an impatience but self-doubt towards their dreams or recognition. There is a struggle between wanting influence and wanting material success. There is a desire for security from the MC but the bravery and even risk taking side of the Leo ascendant can threaten this sometimes. Change can be a fear when it comes to their career or the outside world but their Leo ascendant which is confident in the self can help them conquer this.
Virgo Ascendant: Practical approach to life, see’s the world as a place to analyze and sort, and can be humble towards the self and/or is constantly looking for ways to improve the self. They can have a subtle and/or earthy appeal, they sometimes give off a worried or uptight vibe but their flexibility, patience, and calmness can still make them approachable.
Gemini MC: The Virgo ascendant is all about fine tuning the self and is focused in this regard, but the Gemini MC is scattered in their career and ambitions. They are likely known as talkative or just as someone easy to talk to. This person may struggle to find what they are good at or what they want to do in life. They can get frustrated with the changeability of their public standing. Taking their focus in self and applying it to their ambitions is a lesson. The flexibility of mutable placements overall can be a strength when times are tough, making it easy to move on and leave behind a bad job or the ability to take on multiple jobs. But save the day job for the 6th house, with the MC they find fulfillment through learning, mental stimulation, and basing their goals around new information and curiosity. Their ascendant may always feel dissatisfied with the lack of depth and expertise. Embracing adaptability, communication, organization, observation, and cleverness as their core strengths is important. As for the opinions of others, there is a lot to say about the whimsical and fast moving Gemini MC, good thing, only the feedback of the Virgo ascendant matters.
Libra Ascendant: Charming, social, likable, promising for making a positive impression. Here the ascendant is always trying to relate to others. While the Aries descendant has a desire for independence and separation, the ascendant still wants to make others happy.
Cancer MC: Here ambitions are turned more inward and have a focus on the domestic sphere. The MC stands for what others see most clearly. It stands for the public. With this in mind, their reputation is still very important to them in their immediate community and/or neighborhood, especially their family’s reputation. They may prefer to take the safe route when it comes to the public. Despite their control and charm in social situations they hide their private lives. Libra’s evasiveness can help out with this goal. With the Libra ascendant wanting to find their partner, soulmate, teammate as well as to influence socially - the IC with a cooler domestic life and great need for stability from those closest, the DC wanting to stand on their own, form bonds with those who accept individuality, give them independence and decision power - to the Cancer MC who focuses on family/loved ones as well as emotional control in the outer world; we see the circle of cardinal energy deeply caring about others but also wanting to take action for the self. With the Libra ascendant and Cancer MC this action is most seen being spent on others.
Scorpio Ascendant: Let’s skip over the intense gaze, mystery, magnetism and get to the point of living privately. This person is aware of the depth of self but this is not shared openly. There is a great desire to master the world and themselves. Power plays a role in their approach to life but so does a great want to get to the depth of people, beliefs, the physical, the intangible.
Leo MC: The Leo MC wants to run things or even be in the spotlight. They don’t just want a good reputation, they want to be well known. This is a clash with the secretive, behind-the-scenes Scorpio ascendant. The Leo MC excels in many industries but has a special creative knack, self expression being key to building up their reputation and network. Maybe they are known for their fashion, a dark humor, or art. Creativity is a great way to channel the passionate and intense energies of the ascendant. Through the leadership and generosity of this MC combined with the perception and compassion of Scorpio they can make powerful, positive impacts in others’ lives. Scorpio’s fear of vulnerability, inadequacy, betrayal, and abandonment makes it hard for them to extend themselves, to come out onto the stage. With an Aquarius IC who may have unconventional family bonds or possible detachment in their closest bonds + care of self combined with the needed security the Taurus DS craves - a really good support system helps them reach their full potential. But they may not always have this support. So with the Leo and Scorpio dynamic, this is really about empowerment. Fuel the courage to go after their ambitions.
Sagittarius Ascendant: Open, carefree, and friendly persona. With an exploratory approach to the world, a willingness to learn, there is a philosophical view on life and even more so introspection. To find meaning in who they are and/or in life is important.
Virgo MC: Practice makes perfect is their approach towards career, success, drive, the public. Mastering their craft is important to them however with the ascendant’s big picture approach and impulsiveness this can be a challenge. Taking the self and reputation seriously is a lesson, the ascendant tends to be more relaxed in how others interpret or receive them. They may not take life too seriously, at least not when younger. Figuring out what is worth devoting to, what is worth focusing on will be a journey in life. While the MC is precision and practicality and the ascendant big dreams and instinct, there is a combined drive to leave a enlightened or life-changing mark, something that makes things “better”, to heal or to serve or to shed light.
Capricorn Ascendant: Steady and highly practical approach to the world. There is a private feel about them and sometimes a rigid feel. Confidence and action in their decisions can show.
Libra MC: The overly pragmatic self can conflict with the want to connect and possibly the artistic love the MC may have. Their reputation may be built upon looks, talent, or their relationships. But the ascendant has a desire to be known off personal success, integrity, maybe even hardship. The ambition from Libra exist on a much lighter plane of tact, beauty, pleasantry. It may be more that the ascendant recognizes all their own hard work and gets frustrated when others do not. A mind for justice can form, but the ascendant is prone to trusting only their own judgment and the MC to finding it hard to make a decision or come to a verdict. The MC indecision in career can frustrate the ascendant who solidly wants to forge a path with meaning and tangible success. This person may feel like they have something to prove due to the dynamic. With this combo they are on a mission to ultimately prove things like self worth, inner authority, decision making, and self love to themselves.
Aquarius Ascendant: Known to stand out in their individuality, independence, and visionary approach to the world. Can be social and charismatic but still has a “cool as a cucumber” vibe.
Scorpio MC: With possible dispassion from the ascendant, the MC still wants to dive in deep to what they do in life. Career must be connected to their passion and bring real emotional fulfillment. Reputation may be built upon how they make others feel. Scorpio known for rawness and intimacy finds a hard lesson through the self/expression that wants to separate. But the ascendant is all about humanity and humanitarianism, MC about impacting people on an individual level. Here we see the possibility to become a guide, healer, innovator.
Pisces Ascendant: A receptive self, a vague expression, changeable. The self here is very "bendable". Before we label them as "soft" their flexibility allows them to adjust to many different vibes and situations - even taking on a hostile persona.
Sagittarius MC: Wants direction and thinks about the future, something their ascendant might want to avoid. Adaptable and quick like the ascendant but there is a strong desire to make sense of the world, especially in a moral or philosophical way whereas the ascendant exist in a unclear space. May build their reputation off of knowledge, risks taking, and entertainment. Their reputation at times can see or feel like a facade because of the highly fluid expression and self. There may be a desire to be known for their beliefs and righteousness, their healing and enlightenment. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" is a hurdle for this combo. Displaying their kindness, open mind, and generosity is a lesson, along with evidence (really more so to themselves) that they help others or love others. The ascendant can easily give affection and compassion but their lack of boundaries can be interpreted in many, many different ways. The MC who takes a more fiery approach to the outside world can display a scattered, insensitive, and self-focused reputation. A lack of boundaries or unwillingness to assert the self combined with an impulsive or even reckless ambition makes it hard to take in and reflect on their personal bonds or how they want to make a difference. This ascendant and midheaven is a powerful duo in making a spiritual impact or in bringing a deeper knowledge to the world. The self finding direction in their ambition and interactions with the outer world.
4K notes · View notes
💻 Do you do research for your fics? What’s the deepest dive you’ve done?
Yes. Lots. But not the deepest of dives, as a rule, because the deeper I go the more I become paralyzed by the fear of Getting Something Wrong, and that just means nothing ever gets written at all. I'm more of a wikipedia-level researcher (which, yes, I know is far from perfect, but it's ACCESSIBLE and good for fact-checking), or googling articles on subjects if I'm looking for something more opinion-based than strictly factual. I also spend longer than is advisable on google maps plotting out routes and distances and travel times, to the point where it actively annoys me when I see something glaringly obviously wrong in someone else's fic that literally takes ten seconds to check in maps.
Deepest dive was probably for The Conspirator's Gift, because history. I am quietly thrilled that all the Crusades-era research I did for that fic prepared me for TOG fandom a year later, though I still needed to play lots of catchup on Joe's perspective of the time.
🍰 Name one of your fave comfort fics (doesn’t have to be your all time fave).
I can't tell if this is supposed to be one of my own fics, or my fave fic to read by someone else? If it's just one of my fave comfort reads, there are several in TOG fandom that I find myself revisiting over and over just because they are soft and warm and good - emjee's All that I know is I don't know a thing, sheafrotherdon's Broken Bird's Wing, sixthlight's Good Enough To Be True (all Joe/Nicky, all modern!AUs for some damn reason even though I enjoy lots of canon-based fic as well). Those are just a few off the top of my head and by no means a comprehensive list. I reread good fics CONSTANTLY. And I'm currently in a TOG frame of mind, obviously, but I have many comfort faves in many other fandoms as well.
If I'm supposed to be self-reccing here, I guess The Pride Pact is the most idfic for comfort reading that I've ever written for myself. I'm not pretending it's one of my best, but yeah, comfort fic. (WHY are these all modern!AUs, what the hell, this is not a representative sample of fics I enjoy. But I guess that element lends itself to comfort reading because the overall stakes are so low, so there's nothing to stress out about?)
💭 What is a headcanon you have about your own work?
Hmm. It really does vary widely from fic to fic. For Joe/Nicky, though, I always tend to headcanon that Nicky falls first, fast, and hard, but keeps his mouth sealed tightly shut on the subject until Joe catches up in his own time.
7 notes · View notes
Random Thot #46,853
I had a health exam for my upcoming new job and put my two weeks in for my current one, so I’m rewarding my neurodivergent ass-brain with this. Sit tight and enjoy.
46,853: I’m half-convinced that Edelgard is like the Soul Series’ Alexandra sisters and daughter when it comes to her combat ability - or rather, lack thereof. Unlike Claude, Dimitri, and Byleth, who all explicitly received combat training as children, Edelgard likely did not. The tools given to her are what likely allow for her to fight at all - heck, they may even do a bit of the fighting for her. How else can a noodle-armed womanlet like her wear all that armor and heft that axe?
(Also, how the eff does this dress make clanking armor sounds when she walks in the game despite this dress having like no armor whatsoever)
To begin with, we have in-game factoids of her stat caps being the second highest in the game (390 when combined, with Cyril only beating her by 5 points due to his Aptitude skill), and she even has a magic cap that’s not only on-par with other magically-inclined units (72), but it’s actually better than some of them (Dorothea and Linhardt, who are both dedicated mage types, have caps of 61 and 66, respectively, while Manuela, who tends to get placed in Faith Magic-aligned classes despite being a hybrid unit, has a piddling cap 48). She even has a quirky but feasible spell list for both magic types (Fire/Bolganone/Luna Lambda/Hades Omega for Reason, and Heal/Nosferatu/Recover/Seraphim for Faith, which is one of her banes, mind you). I imagine this is the work of the experiments that gave her her version of the Crest of Flames - after all, the 2020 DREAM interview noted that the Hresvelg children were given a more “refined” version of the experiments the Ordelias had. The refinement isn’t just reflected in-game with caps and magic too; Edelgard is also more robust in terms of health, whereas Lysithea is prone to bouts of weakness and illness. In-game, she has poor Luck and Strength, and the single lowest HP cap of all the playable units at 48. And while this one is admittedly conjecture, Edelgard doesn’t hint that her lifespan was drastically cut, as she gets to live a long life in all of her endings. Even in her Crest-heavy ending with Hanneman or her healthcare-related ending with Manuela don’t mention that she had one or both of her Crests taken out. Lysithea, on the other hand, is extensively motivated by the fact that she doesn’t have many years left, and it’s only in two endings (Lorenz, Balthus) where she’s able to live fairly long without removing her Crests; The rest either have her dying young or being able to live long only after her Crests are taken out.
Now what of her combat abilities? Let’s turn to the source of where this silly thot came from.
For the uninitiated, Sophitia Alexandra, a fighter who’s been in the Soul Franchise since its very first game, did not grow up as a dedicated combatant like the other fighters - she was an ordinary baker living in Athens during the late 16th Century when Greece was part of the Ottoman Empire. When she was bathing in a lake one day, she received a message from Hephaestus himself in that she has a divine destiny to destroy the cursed blade Soul Edge, and he gifts her with a divinely crafted short sword and shield in order to fulfill her mission. While she does gain training in Athenian combat styles, a lot of her power and capabilities are tied to her weapon set, which are named the Omega Sword and Elk Shield. Her younger sister Cassandra would follow suit in SoulCalibur II, actually going out of her way to steal the same holy armaments Sophitia used in Soul Edge and SoulCalibur I before getting her own specially empowered set.
And Pyrrha, Sophitia’s daughter in SoulCalibur V, takes it to new heights. Per a data book, the timid, mistreated Pyrrha has absolutely no combat experience, not even in self-defense. While Sophitia and Cassandra were able to train themselves into formidable soldiers outside of their divine weapons’ influences, this is not true for Pyrrha. If it were not for the sword and shield Pyrrha wielded (which is the same exact set Sophitia wielded before her passing), her clumsy attacks and timid guard stances would amount to ineffectual, useless flailing.
(Info about Pyrrha’s fighting style from the SCV data book)
Back to the Egg. Now it’s made abundantly clear that while Dimitri’s Jean Valjean-levels of raw strength heavily stem from his Crest, he’s also from the land where, in lieu of milk and honey, there’s extreme sports jock training in heavy armor in the dead of night with boulders for weights and weapon mastery. Dimitri loves to train, and it’s a big aspect of his character. The tritagonist of his route is also one of his combat trainers, and he’s done that job for three generations’ worth of Faerghus royalty, with his ending hinting that he keeps doing it for one more. I imagine that even without the Crest of Blaiddyd, Dimitri would still be extremely strong and formidable, he’d just have to actually exert himself a little when saving some poor soul from a runaway cart.
(Just in case the savior imagery wasn’t clear enough with Dimitri, he even did lift a cart the way eventual saint Jean Valjean did in the book/musical)
Claude is far more in favor of covert combat, and his own Crest is more defensive than offensive, but he’s no slouch either, having had a renowned war general serve as his combat instructor since childhood. He’s from a kingdom that, much like Faerghus, values the way of the warrior and prides itself on the strength of its people. His hidden talent, tying to wyvern mastery, is in friggin axes, and he’s also shown to be adept enough with a sword at various points. Plus there’s the fact that he was abused and mistreated by his Almyran family, complete with his father plopping him on a horse and making the horse ride off with him backwards with no safety net as a form of punishment - Claude tells Hilda that there was a “trick” in how he survived that. As any horse jockey can attest to, you need raw muscle in every part of your body in order to really ride one, and I imagine that’s doubly true for your local albino wyvern that’s decked out in Ottoman visual puns. Plus learning how to be crafty and protecting oneself more covertly undoubtedly contributed to his combat abilities too.
(I mean you’d have to be shredded if you can pull off the Parthian shot on a fucking flying dragon. 61 Strength cap my ass.)
Byleth, as we know, grew up as a mercenary to the point of detriment. There’s no need to go into extensive detail as to how Jeralt sacrificed almost everything else in exchange for contributing to Byleth’s combat abilities without being abusive and cruel, but even if you took away Byleth’s self-insert aspects, they’d likely bear a passing resemblance to Rei Ayanami in terms of behavior and attitude - An intended vessel/Avatar for a divine being from one end; Conditioned for little more than combat from another end. Kind of a gloomy picture before she starts to express herself better and actually bond with other people meaningfully.
(At least she’s cute as a button. Kinda like Rei.)
But where does that leave Edelgard? It’s a big question mark. There’s no mention of her growing up with any kind of combat training, unlike the other three. Heck, if tea time, Crimson Flower, and Heroes quotes are anything to go by, Edelgard grew up living a carefree lifestyle prior to the Insurrection. She got to stuff her face with sweets and play with teddy bears and both dote and be doted on by her siblings. Being child number 9 in her current generation, combat training and political studies likely weren’t major priorities for her, and since it’s speculated that Ionius favored her mother, she was likely lavished and spoiled by him. After all, he expresses grief for her specifically when she inherits the throne from him, not the rest of her siblings.
(Even the official merchandise notes how childish Edelgard is)
(This is all after she literally kickstarts her war, by the way).
While there’s varying degrees of elaborate flair that the Lords all wield their weapons with, Edelgard’s regular strikes with an axe feel far less rigid and more informal, and she’ll spin around her axe like it’s some kind of prop. Her default battle stance isn’t even remotely protective and quite impractical; Dimitri’s stance with a lance is both of these things, while Claude’s arrow-twirling is a real-life exercise that’s done to keep the wrist flexible. While she does refine her axe skills come Part II, she’ll still do things like throw her massive shield ten feet in the air for a critical hit.
(Seriously what even is this why is your hand out like that)
There’s even some proof of this: In her study request for axes and heavy armor, Edelgard will even acknowledge that the only reason she can likely keep up and wear heavy armor at all is because of her Crests. And unlike Dimitri and Claude, who can get lesson plans for their respective Hidden Talents once they’re mastered (Horse riding for Dimitri, axes for Claude), Edelgard doesn’t get a lesson plan for Reason Magic, which is her Hidden Talent, so she likely didn’t get any kind of formal education surrounding magic either.
(She has a similar quote in Heroes that’s even more explicit about this.)
The closest hint we get in Edelgard maybe having a hint of training as a child is in her Supports with Ferdinand, and even then, there’s no clear cut hint noting that his failures in beating her were combat-based. She’s able to one-hit KO him in their B Support, but it’s locked to Part II and at this point she’s been both riding on the power highs of her Crests along with actually taking combat seriously. She even says that their difference in skill level isn’t that great.
(Should’ve used Swift Strikes, Ferdie)
What’s more, in addition to all of those enhancements, she not only spends a lot of Part I in a custom set of armor that only archaic technology from the Agarthans can make, but they also made her a custom Relic that’s tailor-made to her specifications. The other Relics as well as the Sacred Weapons, being over a thousand years old, still require their wielders to train in order to wield them properly, and in the case of the Relics, their potential cannot be fully tapped into unless the wielder’s Crest matches the Relic they’re wielding. There’s also that particular safety issue, per what happens with Sylvain’s brother Miklan. But this is not the case with Aymr, which is brand new, has a mismatched Crest that doesn’t negatively affect Edelgard, and requires the Agarthan tech-compatible Agarthium to fix, not the Umbral Steel that’s used to fix both the Heroes’ Relics and other Crest Stone weapons like the Vajra-Mushti. The Aymr’s specific Combat Art even emulates the oft-broken Galeforce skill from Awakening and Fates. It feels like that Aymr in particular is the Edelgard what Hephaestus’ swords and shields are to the Alexandra family.
Now I don’t really think that an Edelgard who’d be stripped of her Crest of Flames, the Amyr, or her special Flame Emperor armor, would be as hapless as Pyrrha would be without her mother’s sword and shield. I imagine she likely started to do some kind of formal combat training once the experiments were done with, not just to kickstart her dreams of imperial conquest, but also to protect herself anyway after everything that happened; She’s also the only Hresvelg heiress of her generation left. There’s also her natural Minor Crest of Seiros to consider. But if you stripped all that away from her, then her ability to fight probably would come off as useless flailing to the other three more experienced combatants.
All those cakes and that lack of muscle would at least catch up to her, anyway.
23 notes · View notes
I am sure many of you have already read this one but here are some parts from Ash Alexander’s Queen journey for those who haven’t!
“...At some point in early At some point in early 1983 on a visit to Jacky at the QFC, John Deacon wondered into the office. He came into the basement office and said hello as Jacky introduced me, sat down and spent a little time reading through press clippings. He could easily have slipped away back upstairs, but the fact that he stayed was a nice touch.
Another fan club letter arrived with good news. In Another fan club letter arrived with good news. In November 1983, fan club members were invited to help in a video for the new single 'Radio Ga Ga' at Shepperton Studios. Again, my Mum stepped up and drove me down for the day. I took the day off school and had just turned 14. We arrived at the studio and were ushered into a huge hanger where we were kitted out with white body suits and then sprayed with a light grey stripe on each arm - even now I’m not sure what the spray paint was for as you can’t see it in the video. When we had all been prepared, we were taken into an adjoining hanger and were greeted by the band and an initial play through of the song. The rest of the day was spent clapping as you’ll see in the video. I wound up in the front row, opposite Brian. If you look closely and you know what you’re looking for, you can see me!
In between takes, I approached John Deacon who was surprisingly on his own. I remember trying to remain calm as I approached him. I didn’t mention our brief meeting, I asked him how to get a job in recording studios and that I was interested in pursuing a career as a sound engineer. He was really helpful and took time to explain the usual route.
On 22, March 1984 at Limehouse Studios in London’s docklands, the video for ‘I Want To Break Free’ was filmed, again with the help of fan club members. I went along with my brother Andrew. The set was a big dark staircase that we all stood on. We were given black bodysuits this time that were sprouted with hello paint on the arms. We also wore a hard hat with a head lamp attached to it. The band were set in the middle of us all. After all the filming, we returned to the main building where we said hello to Roger. He’d come out to say thanks. Later, waiting for a cab down in reception, Freddie glided down the staircase and past us with his entourage. I remember wanting to get up and say thanks, but the opportunity was missed.
...20th April 1992. My friend Chesney Hawkes was managed by Trinifold. They also managed The Who. He invited me along to the Freddie Mercury Tribute gig at Wembley. Roger Daltry was appearing and Ches had a spare ticket. He only had one backstage pass though. This was overcome by him befriending the chap on the security door. Ches came out to meet me with his pass. He returned on his own and got in. I confidently flashed my pass and entered the Hard Rock tented area. Ches beckoned me over from the other side of the room. He was signing autographs for a lady, her two children and an older lady was with them. He introduce me to them saying I was a huge Queen fan. ‘This is Freddie’s mother' he whispered to me. I remember saying to her that I wish we’d met under different circumstances and how deeply sorry I was about her loss and how incredibly proud she should be. I often wonder about her.
...In Spring 1993, I was in front office. It was well after midnight and I’d left a s session for a little break. As usual, I took a look in the studio diary to see what was coming up. I flicked through the weeks and came upon an booking entry “Studio 3 - QUEEN” for 2 weeks that was pencilled in. There was no further info than that. I put my initials next to the booking thinking there would be a rational explanation as to what the booking really was. I soon found myself on a 2 week session with Queen.My diary from 1993 is lost, so I have only a mental note as to when & what songs were touched upon at this initial stage of 'Made In Heaven'. We started taking delivery of various multitrack tapes on varied formats. These were then transferred to digital 48 track tapes for future work. Roger & John were alone on these sessions as Brian was touring in Japan. I remember Roger being rather dismissive of Brian being unavailable, much like a brother sledging his sibling would do, with a slightly jealous edge but genuine at the same time.
...Over the 2 week session, Roger would suggest we went out for dinner. We had 3 or 4 meals out at a local Italian restaurant. Even now I laugh at jumping into the back of Roger’s Merc and the four of us driving down Abbey Road to the restaurant. It was owned by an Italian lady that would force you to smell her ‘wonderful mushrooms’ from a jar, which she made Roger do. On our initial meal she told Roger he looked familiar. ‘I know you’, she said. ‘Where have I seen you before?’ ‘Well, I’m in a band and we’ve been on TV before.’ Roger replied. John seemed calm with his lack of recognition. ‘What group do you play for?’ she asked. ‘I’m the drummer in a rock n roll band called Queen’ he replied. ‘No - I don’t hear of this band’ …We finished our food and the bill was called for. It showed up. John took it and asked Roger if he should use the Queen card to pay for it or his own card.
Roger’s drum kit arriving half way through the first week of sessions was a surprise for Noel Harris (the engineer) & me. We expected the sessions to be playing back tapes and working through the various formats to find possible material to be worked on at a later date. Noel was unfamiliar with the room in studio 3 and asked my opinion where to set the kit up and what microphones I would use. Eventually he left me to it. The kit was positioned and I mic’d it up that evening. John had his red Fender bass DI’d (no amp was used) and sat with us in the control room. I doubt these recordings made it through to the final mixes, it’s nice to think that they did.
...Tuesday 5th September
During the afternoon Brian’s guitar and a Vox AC30 appeared in the studio, brought in by Pete Malandrone. We were to do guitar overdubs on ‘You Don't Fool Me’. David asked me to put two Shure 421 microphones pointing into the back of the speaker cabinet. We did have two SM57’s on the front but these weren’t used in the recording.
I had to do a recall of the mix, which meant noting all of the studio outboard settings so we could get back to the mix and finish it off.
We had a technical problem with the Sony 3348 tape machine and eventually had it swapped for a new one. Brian clearly wasn’t aware we weren’t ready for him. I was half way through telling him and Jim Beach jumped in and finished off my explanation. Brian got really cross with him and slammed an empty coffee mug down on the studio table. Later Brian was so apologetic for his outburst. He must have told Jim he was sorry 4 times. As I type this I note it was Freddie’s birthday.
Brian slipped on his guitar that was linked to his amp with one lead. No pedals. His sound was instant and we were soon ready to record. He stood in front of the console in the control facing David & me.
Brian had an idea of what he wanted to play. The guitar riff had already been recorded. The solo guitar is what was added. Brian used a scrap of paper that he drew a map of dots on. Not like musical notation but his own short hand. It reminded me of being at the 'Radio Ga Ga' video shoot 13 years earlier. I was the same distance from Brian as I was then, but the scenario was beyond my imagination.
...Friday 8th September
Day Off - I may have met Pete Malandron at the Sun Inn in Barnes this afternoon. The QIFC was based round the corner at the time & Brian had a house there too, although I'm not sure he lived there at the time. I was with a friend and Pete joined us in the pub. He sat near the window and kept looking out of it. I asked what he was looking at and he replied "I always get worried when I'm out with Brian's guitar. It's in the boot of the car you see." He stayed for one drink and decided it was time to leave.
...One of the evenings of this second week, George Michael came to visit. There was a strong possibility that he would sing on one of the songs. Roger, John, Brian, David, George & I sat chatting in the control room. One of the conversations moved onto the Beatles and their current 'best of' release. I think Brian suggested that it was a bad idea releasing all their old material and I piped up that the fans would buy it regardless, much like the scenario Queen were about to face with the imminent release of the album. There was a deathly hush as I realised what I was saying. I wasn’t being at all derogatory. I was helped out of the hole I was digging by George who agreed with me and we moved on. No one actually spoke about doing a vocal. After George left the studio that evening, Roger was clear that he wasn’t keen on the idea.After looking through the Vintage Car garage across the road from the studio one afternoon, Roger saw a black Cadillack convertible that he quite liked. The following morning he came into the studio and said ‘Don’t tell Jim, but I bought the car.’ It was £80, 000.
Brian asked me if had been involved in the Abbey Road Sessions. Perhaps he’d seen my name on the tape boxes. I said that I was. Immediately he made a phone call. I didn’t hear all that he said, but I knew it was about a special thanks on the album credits. The following morning, after the artwork had been finalised, Roger came in and said ‘morning Aardvark’. Because the special thanks were alphabetic, I was on top of the list. It wasn’t until I bought a copy of the album and saw my name on it that I finally took on board that I had actually achieved one of my dreams.”
49 notes · View notes
Game Review — New Pokémon Snap
In 1999, a photography game centered on the world of Pokémon was released. Ever since then, I have hungered for a sequel. And now, 22 years later, my wish was finally granted.
Overall Score: 9/10
While I am still puzzled that they didn’t create and release this game for either 3DS or Wii U, since both had built-in cameras, overall I couldn’t be happier with this and I definitely feel that it was worth the 22-year-long wait. Head under the cut (and onto my blog) for more detailed thoughts on what has honestly been an excellent game.
Everything is GORGEOUS. The environments, the pokémon, literally everything. Even setting aside the glowing effects of the Illumina phenomenon (particularly at night when it really stands out), everything about this game is visually stunning. The colors are bright, but not blinding, and you can see that everything was crafted with care. There aren’t any areas that feel unfinished or unpolished. It is beautiful to look at, which is rather important when you’re making a photography-based game.
Each area changes as you increase your research level, so that even though you will have some run-throughs of the courses that are the same as you experienced before, you’ll also find new paths and see different pokémon as you go through the courses more and more times as well. For instance, when you first play through the Florio Nature Park, the Bidoof are in the process of building their dam. But later, their dam is completed. And this is just one example of how things change; believe me, there are lots of changes as time passes and you go through the courses again and again, making them feel far less repetitive than they did in the original game. (Not to bash the original game, which was on the N64 and thus had a lot less space to hold data, of course. I’m just saying.)
The pokémon behaviors are also so great. You have the Bidoof building their dam, for example, but you also have Alolan Raichu surfing the sand dunes, or Espurr levitating rocks for the fun of it, or Pikipek bringing fruits back to nests on Toucannon’s orders. On less happy notes you also have things like a group of Mareanie chasing down a Corsola, but I mean, it’s a well-established fact that Mareanie eat Corsola, so that’s just nature. The point is that this isn’t a game where the pokémon are just standing around waiting to have their pictures taken. The pokémon feel alive and it’s clear that so much thought went into their behaviors to make it feel as if life is teeming around you as you go through the courses, because it is! It’s excellent.
Although this is a sequel game (and it makes it clear that it’s a sequel game, which I’ll talk about more in a second), it’s also incredibly accessible to those who have never played the original. Even if you never heard of the original before, you can jump right into this one with mostly new characters and a brand new story. And I think that’s great, considering the original game came out 22 years ago and is probably somewhat hard to find now, especially if you don’t have a system with access to a Virtual Console to play it on. (Which wouldn’t be a problem if we had the Virtual Console on the Switch, Nintendo, but that’s a separate discussion.)
That said, it is a sequel game and all of the nods and references to the original game are things that I love. I mean, first off, Todd Snap is back and he had a major glow-up. But even setting that aside, it’s mentioned how the NEO-ONE was based on the old vehicle that Todd used (the ZERO-ONE), how Todd used to take photos for a different professor (Professor Oak), the final Illumina Pokémon’s level is a huge callback to the Mew level in the original Snap, et cetera. Although this game was called New Pokémon Snap likely so that people wouldn’t think they had to play the first game first, it’s pretty clearly Pokémon Snap 2 and I love that.
Along with the courses themselves changing as you progress through the game, there are also day and night versions of almost every course so you get something different on them even before making more progress. Additionally, each course has multiple different routes that you can take if you find them / want to, and Elsewhere Forest in particular has zones that change depending on the season, which offers even more variety and things to discover. Again, it doesn’t feel boring to keep going through the courses because there’s always something new to find.
Everything is streamlined and plays excellently. The menus are cleaned, I haven’t noticed any lag in gameplay no matter how much is going on on-screen . . . everything is smooth, clean, and fresh, and again, adds to how much of a joy to look at this game is, on top of making it a joy to play as well.
The online features are implemented really well. I absolutely love that you can post photos to share with people around the world, but also that the feature isn’t obtrusive and in your face, so if you want to ignore it, you can. But the process itself is seamless, and the fact that you can add filters and stickers to make memes out of the photos is hilarious and a well thought-out feature, particularly since this is the age of social media, so having a Pokéstagram just makes sense.
I enjoy that there are little missions that you can complete that are posited as being posed naturally by the other characters. You’re given clues of what to do, but often you’re not told outright, which can make some of them fun to figure out (and others the shot itself is challenging enough so you don’t need a riddle, haha). While fulfilling the requests can be a bit irritating (more on that in a bit) I like that there’s additional material to do in addition to the main story that unfolds as you go through and gives you plenty of stuff to do even after you’ve completed the main story.
The characters are all pretty great. There’s one character I don’t enjoy very much, but otherwise the characters are good and add charm to the story.
These characters still don’t know anything about photography (the rule of thirds is so basic and no one here knows it), at least they’re not as obvious about it as Professor Oak was, always scolding me for not getting pokémon in the center of the frame. So toning down the obnoxiousness on that was nice, I will give them that.
The environments are so varied and so cool. Like sure, you have your basic jungle, your basic grasslands, your basic volcano . . . but also your underwater, your magic forest, your ancient technicolor ruins. And I mean, I don’t even want to diss the other areas because the volcano area was incredibly vivid, the snowy mountain was beautiful, and so on. Again, I don’t want to gush too much about how beautiful this game is, but it is and the wide variety of places to take pictures makes it all the more incredible.
As I mentioned in the missions bullet, there is plenty of content to do even after the main story is completed, which is a definite plus. Filling your Photodex aside, there are also Course Scores that are enabled once you complete the main story and an additional time of day for an already unlocked area that is unlocked as well. This means that even after you clear the game, you can still have fun trying to get different shots and discovering new things, which is always a bonus in my book.
Motion controls are included, but they are entirely optional. So if you want to undock your Switch (or if you are playing with a Switch Lite) and you want to move your Switch around like an actual camera, you can! But if you have any physical limitations that would make doing that hard for you (or if you just don’t feel like it), you don’t have to and the motion controls are actually turned off by default. I haven’t used them myself because I’m not a fan of motion controls so I can’t tell you how good they are, but I can say it’s a plus that the motion controls are 100% optional, rather than forcibly included like they have been in other Nintendo games.
All of the different tools you get are basically the same as the original game, with a few slight (and sometimes silly) changes. For instance, they’re now calling apples “flufffruit” because “fluffruit are actually a lot softer and don’t hurt the pokémon” even though . . . they’re very obviously apples. Like very obviously apples. I get that they don’t want to encourage throwing apples at animals for the sake of picture taking / they don’t want to make a kid feel bad if they accidentally (“accidentally”) knock a pokémon in the head with one, but . . . come on. They’re apples. They’ve also decided to take away the Pokéflute and make it a random music player instead, and Illumina Orbs replaced Pester Balls for both story reasons and for the same reason why we can’t call apples apples anymore. Honestly, all of this is fine, just something to mention, though I will say it took way too damn long to unlock the turbo feature, damn. Pokémon are fast, guys! Give me my turbo sooner!!
Sometimes the “tips” that Professor Mirror gives during the photo evaluations . . . don’t actually fit the situation at all. Like I can’t tell you the number of times he’s told me about getting the whole pokémon in the frame when the pokémon is in the frame, or like “throw a fluffruit to get the pokémon to look right at you!” even though the pokémon is staring into the camera like they’re on The Office. It’s not a huge deal but it makes me think that Professor Mirror might need his vision prescription updated.
I understand that this is also the age of the smartphone, but I do find it disappointing that we’re essentially given a smartphone camera (or at most a point-and-shoot) versus the SLR camera that Todd very obviously had in the original Snap (and even has here). Granted, we didn’t have to adjust for aperture or shutter speed in the original game and I wouldn’t want to do that here either, but it’s about the aesthetic and the fact that having professional nature photographers have actually good cameras is more fitting than handing them a smartphone and saying, “have fun!” Again, I get why it’s a smartphone now, but it still is a little disappointing, even if not an actual detraction from the game.
It is confusing that we have wild Alolan form pokémon when this is not Alola, especially since they didn’t make it equal by adding in Galar form pokémon too. (And on that note, there seems to be a lack of Galar pokémon at that.) I think it would have been cool if they’d designed some Lental form pokémon for this game specifically, although I get that this isn’t a game developed by Game Freak so I understand why that wasn’t done. All the same though, the presence of Alolan form pokémon when this isn’t Alola was still a bit weird.
It’s rather easy to breeze through the main story if you don’t want to take your time revisiting areas to get better pictures / boost the research level. While the main story is longer than the original game / there are more areas than the original game, it’s still pretty short. Ordinarily this would be a con, but since there are so many things to do even after you beat the main story, I’m putting it in the neutrals section instead.
While the missions are fun, it is frustrating that you have to do them again if you capture a photo of the mission before the mission is formally handed to you. This is especially true if it was a hard to get shot that’s difficult to replicate. I understand they want to put challenge in the game, but it’s a bit frustrating you can’t point to your photodex and have the mission be cleared if you’ve already done it. You also can’t get the pokémon doing the requested thing in a different part of the course (or a different version of the same course, or even just a different course altogether if a pokémon appears in multiple areas), which is fine, except that you can only turn in one photo per pokémon. This can make it particularly frustrating when you technically get a photo of what was asked for (e.g. Wingull doing a loop-de-loop) but it’s not the specific Wingull you were supposed to take a picture of, so it doesn’t count.
I have noticed a few bugs or typos here or there. Like one time the text box said “Rita” even when it was clearly Mirror talking, and there have been other times when the game is like “you can’t submit photos if the pokémon is not in the Illumina State” even though Wishwashi was GLOWING BRIGHT PINK because I had just thrown an Illumina Orb at it. Little things like that are things I think could have been better smoothed out in QA, but ultimately aren’t too much to deal with and don’t happen very often.
The alternate paths are a bit too finicky sometimes. Like I managed to get on the swamp path once and haven’t been able to manage it since. I was on research level 3 in Elsewhere Forest for a good long while before Espeon decided to show up, which blocked me off the second exit and guaranteed winter route, too. Again, I love that there are secrets in this game, but I tried to replicate getting into the swamp area twenty times in a row after I had just done it with no success, so it can be a bit frustrating at times.
There isn’t really a true conclusion to the main story. I won’t give spoilers, but essentially the story revolves around uncovering the secrets of a myth that happened in the Lental region thousands of years ago. You get close . . . but the story ends before you get any real answers. You’re just left to speculate. In a way this makes sense, since it’s not like you’re time traveling, you’re just taking pictures. But it is still a little annoying for anyone who is interested in things like the lore of the Pokéworld and who might like actual answers to the questions set up (such as myself).
Anyway, overall, this game is amazing whether or not you played the original, and I highly recommend it to everyone who likes Pokémon even a little. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait another 22 years for the next one. (But if we do, it will probably be worth the wait.)
11 notes · View notes
Thanks so much for the IF recs! I'd absolutely take a second post of recommendations for Twine games too if you're willing to share! <3
I... actually like twine games better than cog based ones, in some ways, just because they tend to be fancier and prettier, and I am secretly a ferret in the body of a human and I love shinies. ADHD, baby!
I only actually know of like 12 twine games, so if there are any that anyone who sees this knows of that I didn’t list, feel free to let me know about them! There’s a chance I do know about them and just didn’t put them here, but I would rather hear one I already know of on the off chance that I’ll get a new one dropped in.
That said! Another list of games I really like that is again in no particular order!
They’re all on itch.io by the way! They tend to work better if you download them but most can be run in your browser and most are also mobile friendly so you can play them on your phone! I’ll note which ones are.
Scout: An Apocalypse Story: I love dystopia stories, I dearly wish we had more IF based in this kind of setting. Set in a wasteland that is trying to pull itself together with people trying to find out if other settlements are out there while also trying to, well, stay alive. I gotta say, I played only E’s route for a long, long time, but once I tried the other ones I haven’t really gone back. I still love E, you can pry the childhood friend trope out of my cold dead hands, but wow. Oliver. Wow. That dude has serious UST. And Sabine!! I’ve been forced out of my little “play it the same way every time” rut and I’m not sorry. I very much like that you can choose the intimacy level, as someone who’s ace. Sometimes I like reading the smut, sometimes I don’t. Options! (mobile friendly!)
Bad Ritual: I got it baaaaaaaaaad~ I do though, I love Siruud. I have terrible, terrible taste in men. I mentioned Dracula in the other list, and here there’s an actual demon. This is a game with *sass* and I always love a chance to be sassy. I think part of the reason I resonate so much with this one is because of how jaded retail has made me tbh but that’s another story. Honestly, if you like dark settings, I recommend you play this one first of all my recommendations. It’s just such a good game and there are so many choices and even the pronoun choices are pretty varied. It’s just good! (mobile friendly!)
Wayfarer: Another for the fantasy list! I love the worldbuilding in this one, and the character creator is just amazing. There are maps, there’s a codex, seriously if you love reading lore, this is definitely a game for you. This is like if Tolkien made an IF. It’s amazing. I’ve said that a few times but it’s true. In all honesty it might count as one that’s not so romance focused, since it does focus more on plot. If I could just sit down and make an IF, I’d want it to be like this tbh. With a beautiful framework, a well organized space of information for the players to just look at and see stuff about the world, a way to develop and build their own character in a clear cut way, and the game immediately tells you what stats are effected by what choices. I really enjoy it when games try to work in character creation in creative ways, but sometimes I just want to sit down and go, “Okay, my character has red hair, blue eyes, is short, and has a crippling phobia of lizards” and this game lets me do that. Well, except for the lizard part. (Not as mobile friendly as the others but I make it work!)
Love and Friendship: It’s a regency game and I love Pride and Prejudice. What can I say? Something about the massive amount of rules of society just gets me. Propriety! This is a game that has a set gender protagonist, female, and it actually is a bit different from the norm in that it has two female love interests and one male, when most of the time it’s the other way around. So that’s something. You can even have a platonic route with a fourth love interest, who is also male. There really aren’t enough platonic routes, but I understand why that is, since a lot of IF players are looking for romance. (mobile friendly!)
Exiled From Court: Also a bit of the same vibe simply because of how constrained everyone is by rules. Nobility, after all. There are a lot of love interests, and one is the MC’s sister’s husband, which is definitely gonna be scandalous. Will I do it? Will I? Eventually. I do like how you can act like an absolute hellion, well, as far as that goes considering. You can try to be a better person but that’s less fun, lol. (mobile friendly!)
A Tale of Crowns: This is literally one of the very first twine games I ever played. Really! It’s got a lot of wonderful intrigue and the setting is very fun. There aren’t a ton of fantasy middle eastern games, and this game is definitely one reason why we should have more. There’s a great deal of customization, and the love interests’ gender will changed based on your MC’s gender and sexuality combination. I like R & D best, and no that’s not a pun. I think. (mobile friendly!)
For the Crown: This is a different game, I swear, they just both happen to have crown in the title, lol. You get to play as an assassin, which is a great deal of fun. The lore in the game is very nice too. I tend to play with they/them pronouns though, and there were a few pronoun hiccups in the game. Seems to be an issue across all of the games made by this author, but I know how much of a pain variables can be so hopefully those will get squashed soon. There’s an explicit content choice in this one as well, and if you turn it on there is an “equipment” choice, so this is definitely gonna be spicy later on! (mobile friendly, but after each chapter the browser shifts as it auto saves. you just have to tap restore game to keep playing.)
-These games aren’t exactly twine games, but I’m putting them here because they’re visual novels that fit the IF format for the most part and are also on itch.io and I love them and for this post at least I will bend my own rules! They all have gender choice MCs and are nonbinary friendly.-
Perfumare: This game is actually being made into an IF, with the visual novel as a sort of preview of what we’re gonna get there. I literally cannot wait for that to happen, this game is so good as it is, and from what we’ve been told it’s only gonna get better. This game has an excellent world, the characters are all messy in the best ways, and ugh it has hurt me quite a bit, again in the best way. It’s another one on the dark side of things. The powers in this game are just so fun, I dearly want a game set in this world where we can choose what powers we have! Maybe that will be in the IF, but I have a feeling the answer is no. We’ve been teased that there will be a second game with a different MC who will get to romance the characters we can’t in this one, and that alone is enough to get me to jump as soon as it drops. The love interests aren’t gender variable but there are two male ones and one female. I, a known mess, recommend Laurent for lots of repression and pain. (not mobile friendly, you gotta play on desktop/laptop)
Andromeda Six: I’ve recommended this one to pretty much everyone I know, it is such an excellent game. The cast is a mashup of misfits and makes me miss my Mass Effect crews. I specifically set my pronouns to she/her just so they’d all call me Princess. What can I say, I like it. There’s lots of pain, lots of drama, lots of world building, lots of interesting lore, and there is much breaking of cuties. Much. Can’t wait till we get to the next planet. The author has gone out of their way to say that each love interest is gonna get their own arc and will definitely get their own share of attention, so no matter who you pick you’ll have plenty of time to be with them and watch them shine. (not mobile friendly, gotta play on desktop/laptop)
When the Night Comes: Not only do you get to play a badass hunter but it has multiple poly routes! Multiple! It’s rare when you get one poly in a game, this one has three! You can also choose to romance any of them individually if you so choose. It’s dark fantasy gothic, and I really really like that. (not mobile friendly, gotta play on desktop/laptop)
Errant Kingdom: Made from the same dev as WTNC, this one is set in a more fantasy middle eastern setting. Very pretty, lots of intrigue. You can choose between three set protagonists, who can have three different storylines depending on your choices, which is very nice for replayability. It’s got two poly routes this time, and it works the same as their other game in that you can romance them individually if you’d rather be monogamous. (not mobile friendly, gotta play on desktop/laptop)
14 notes · View notes
who’s ready for a 2000 word essay on a stupid au i made. i wish i was joking.
ok so imma put the actual full design ref above the cut, bc i know some people just care about the art. i do not blame you, i have been typing for two hours straight and dont expect yall to read it.
so, au explanation, design notes, and supplementary doodles beneath the cut for all who care.
i know there are probably a million typos, and i apologize but also half of it is slang and shit so really i dont think it matters-
also major SoV spoilers kinda, and im gonna be streaming the game so uh
maybe wait to read this if you care lol
ALSO ALSO ‘feh’ means Fire Emblem Heroes, aka the mobile came that is legit actually fucking canonical (or at the very least considered a main series game, there is also a sng from it in smash bros like bruh) and ‘sov’ is short for Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia bc i am not about to type out that name, and why would i just call it echoes like a normal person-
ok so the basic concept started as: hmm so normal berkut in feh is from like early into sov, so... what if he learned of his downfall and became determined to stop it all costs. this also lead to the stupid comic but thats not the point here- so basically, shit starts in the feh universe, berkut sees/is tormented and taunted by f!berkut and is like 'what'. and he already knows there are like 2 alms who are yknow, kings (which also confuses him cause this is specifically like end of act 1 berkut or post 1st berkut fight berkut) and so he just basically goes "peasant, explain. NOW" and alm is just like "well fuck time to relive my trauma". so after some peer pressure (tm) alm tells berkut what happens, and berkut (being berkut) is just in denial and doesnt believe him (mainly about how alm is rudolf's son, cause yknow. thats really what makes berkut go crazy in the first place, ofc he's have a hard time believing it). but hey, guess who else is in the feh universe? that's right, rudolf! (who i must say, is still a great unit after a year, thank u king :Pensive: ) so now berkut goes and confronts *him*, and well would you look at that alm wasnt lying uhhh- so berkut goes and has his breakdown in peace, and alm and rudolf both feel rlly bad bc 1. have you SEEN the post fallen berkut fight cutscene, alm cares about his family even if he barely knew them and 2. rudolf already had deep rooted regrets about not being enough of a parental figure for berkut and literally barred him from participating in the battle for the rigelian castle because he knew be would get himself killed, and like HE WANTED ALM AND BERKUT TO GET ALONG AFTER HE DIED :'[.
my tangents aside, they evntually get through to him and at this point berkut just.... doesnt know what to do. he already knew his fate, like bruh imagine being told you kill the person you love in a moment of mental instability like this man (i say man but he's 17, actual child) obviously feels like shit. his dreams have been shattered, he's disgusted with what he becomes... and so at first he decides to just try and make up for it, not because he's had a character arc yet but for the sake of his pride. how does he do this? trying to tolerate alm, because a. he has to repair his pride and b. he needs to educate this peasant how he should act as king. this ends up with berkut actually gaining some respect for alm (not liking him or feeling positively about him at all, but at least respecting him) and yknow since rudolf would definetly be trying to actually be a father now that he has the chance berkut gets to have a father figure too. this goes on for a while, but eventually the time comes where berkut has to go back to his universe. at this point he's had some character growth, and really he just... doesnt want thing to happen the way that they're supposed to. and so berkut decides, "i am going to change the future." and so now we're like partally into the sov plot, and berkut's got a new goal. i mean, he already knows the truth and yeah, it hurts to have your dreams squashed, but he's had ample time to process it and at this point he's not going to have a spontaneous downward spiral and sacrifice someone to a fallen god. so sov things happen, but berkut is notably less angry/aggressive towards alm and just in general (which people such as fernand, rinea, and rudolf notice but thats not super important and this is already long as fuck so) and when we get to the end of act 3, berkut decides to make his first attempt at changing things, cause at this point alm/the deliverance are offering a peace treaty to rigel. obviously, that would prevent war/death, plus as a bonus berkut would still get to be heir to the throne so thats a bonus.
sadly he failed to remember that uh oh yeah alm kinda has to end up in rigel and go kill duma so that his madness doesnt lead to everyone dying. so attempt failed, things continue into act 4 (which starts with the final non-f!berkut fight (atleast i think the final one? regardless it is a significant one)) and upon losing berkut decides, "screw it, im confronting my uncle (rudolf) about all this because if i dont do something then shit's just gonna get worse." so he does, rudolf is mainly confused how he knows this but also feels really bad because like, cmon he knows how much the throne meant to berkut, there's a reason he barred him from helping in the final fight in sov. they talk, mainly rudolf explaining himself, and how he had to hide it because the heckin duma faithful (fuck jedah all my homies hate jedah) and oh would you look at that berkut gains some character development. buuuuuut rudolf still plans to die by alm's hand, which at this point berkut is like 'well im already trying to change the future might as well stop this too' (they probably have atleast a b support by now between feh and this i mean cmon). so more sov stuff happens, now oh no the deliverance is marching on the castle. this time, rudolf lets berkut come to the final fight bc he trusts that he won't get himself killed. and he doesnt. what he does do is stop rudolf from getting himself killed (not so fun fact: in sov, rudolf will literally not attack alm, like he just doesnt counter attack, im in pain why must they do this), by just like.... running over when alm and rudolf are fighting and going ">:[ yknow by dying you're just running away from your regrets." alm is very confused, rudolf is just conflicted, and by the power of berkut peer pressure (tm) alm learns the truth without having to kill his dad, yay :] (alm still ends up taking the throne though, because as rudolf himself says (in differnet words but still) "the people hate me for alot of what i've done to ensure a safe future")(can you tell that rudolf and berkut are my favorite antagonists period-). now obviously, alm still doesnt know how to feel about anything that has just happened (much like in og sov) but hey nno 'i killed my dad' guilt now so yay. still, he knows what he's gotta do (put duma to rest, save celica (bc nothing about her route has changed), etc.) and he plans on seeing it through cause yknow. if he doesnt alotta people will die. but now he's also joined by rudolf, berkut and fernand (who makes up with clive).
ok so one thing i forgot to mention is that at the earlier point in the normal sov plot where berkut first starts getting a bit desperate n stuff and hears a voice calling out to him, he still hears that in this au. and it fucking sacres him, because he KNOWS what that means (and this kinda leads to him finally confronting rudolf about everything). so anyways, at this point that starts happening again and is accompanied by spiliting headahes (an idea that spawned from both the forging bonds convos with f!berkut in feh(which make me wanna cry btw hE THINKS HE'S IN HELL AND JUST WANTS HIS WIFE BACK THANKS INTSYS FIRST THE VALENTINES SOV PARALOUGES NOW THIS-), as well as the fact that ive been having splitting headaches for a week and a half now). rinea is like "berkut what's wrong" and berkut is just like "nothing im fine imma go fight now please stay here and just be safe i love you-" and so he just does his best to ignore it all. one (1) long dungeon later, oop final fight now. as berkut is on team "fuck jedah" (which is actually a feh team i run lol) and so he goes to beat up jedah. jedah, who based on EVERY FUCKING INTERACTION HE HAS WITH BERKUT IN SOV most likely was trying to manipulate him into falling low enough to give into maddness in exchange for duma's power, is just.. still taunting him probably idk man fuck jedah- so he dies (either by berkut or sonya, sonya should be allowed to kill her shitty dad who killed her sisters), and berkuts headaches keep getting worse and the voice keeps getting louder. alm notices, is like "what's wrong are you ok wh-" and berkut is just like "just go defeat duma ill be fine, but like do it quick please like really quick-" and so alm goes to do that, berkut like basically collpases and rudolf and fernand get him of the battlefeild (let him have dad and friend >:[ ). so duma is defeated, normal sov things, and berkut is just like. out for a few days. but he wakes up, wholesome moments ensue, he and rinea get married shortly after and he gets appointed captain of the one kingdom of valentia's military. and yay happy ending! well, for now.
cause ysee, even though duma has been defeated and yknow, berkut should be all good now, he still gets those headaches on occasion. they vary in severity, but the bad ones can just but him out of commission for a day. understandably, people are concerned but berkut especially bc yknow. he knows waht he was supposed to become. after like a half a year or more of this however, it starts to get worse, and berkut begins to notice physical changes like oh look his hand is starting to turn black and like... almost armored/scaled haha *what.* obviously, berkut being berkut (even though he's had massive character development and humbled out quite a bit at this point) he decides "yep imma just hide this from my friends and family mhm ok". that lasts like 1 day and then rinea finds out. as she is a literal angel and the best wife, she agrees to both try and help him deal with this and not tell anyone else, but only if he fully explains what is going on. he does, rinea is very understanding (absolute queen, we love rinea in this house) and is like "ok we can figure this out". so like a month goes by, things are just getting worse (both more extreme headaches and like halfway up his forearm is no longer normal) and yknow people (like yknow, alm, celica, fernand and rudolf the people he interacts with on a daily basis) are starting to be like "why do you always wear goves now berkut" and he's just like nervous laughter "i dont know what you mean". obviously they find out shortly after, intervention happens and with rinea's help he explains, and welp like. no one really knows what to do or why this is happening (i do tho, p much with how fragile this man's ego is it was inevitable that some of duma's maddness would take hold of him, even it he didnt conciously succumb to it. and yknow he kinda let his guard down enough for it to finally affect him (mainly bc the headaches were slowly wearing him down) and tbh yeah some of this is gonna be jedah's fault too bc fuck him >:[ ) so celica, being religious (tm) and also being friends with sonya (who is trying to figure out a way to turn witches human again (originally bc she wanted her sisters back but uhhh they kinda got killed oops)) is like "ok so we gotta find a way to fix this."
so nothing really works, and berkut just keeps falling further and further into despair as things get worse and worse, but rinea is just like "maybe if you just accept that it's part of you, it will atleast stop?" and because he's a. desperate and b. trusts his wife, he tries that. and it works, it does stop, but at this poing his entire arm and part of his sholder/neck has been changed, along with one of his eyes. but he's still in control so like it's fine. slowly but surely he comes to terms with this, even discovering that he has gained incredible strength in that arm (though overusing it/trying to use too much power leads to extreme fatigue and headaches so he has to train with it) and he just kinda continues doing what he's been doing. also the headches are gone (again, unless he overexcerts himself) so thats cool. and uhh idk man as far as plot goes that's all i got, though there will probably be some sort of conflict after this bc yes- (sofar the only idead i have is the remnants of the duma faithful trying to do some bad shit (tm) idk yet tho gimme time lol-)
ok so design stuff (only for berkut sofar bc uh he's the main one with a different design(though ig rudolf would have one to, huh, and tbh i could give alm/celica/literally anyone else one too)): p much, i wanted to just take his normal design and edit it a bit. he doesn't really need as much armor on his (fuck what do i call it... lets go with corrupted) corrupted arm, so it just has normal shirt with light armor (but none on his actual hand). his shoulder cape is now fastened via a brooch he got from rinea (which resembles her hair decorations :> ), and the cape is different too bc why not. i also wanted to incorporate lighter colors into his outfit aswell, so i added some more gold accents to his armor as well as making his outfit underneath the armor a vest + shirt with th vest retaining the og colors (plus he has white pants bc fashion) also his tiara/circlet is slightly different. i wanted his design to still be as intimidating and classy as the original but not be all dark colors (kinda to show his growth as a character). also the way i draw his hair is a mix of how i draw normal and f!berkut's hair (bc yes i draw the differently). so ye thats about it-
and ofc supplementary doodles (which actually came before the ref and had to be slightly edited as i made the ref lol)
let berkut hold hands with rinea >:[
if you have questions plz ask i know this is convoluted af-
22 notes · View notes
What Vegans Eat
Food is generally the biggest concern for people when going vegan, but most new vegans end up pleasantly surprised by the range of foods available. Not only is there a vast range of faux meats, cheeses and ready-made meals available, you’ll also discover new ingredients and favourite meals. A lot of vegans report that their diets actually became quite a bit more varied after they went vegan, contrary to their initial expectations.
There can be as much difference between the diets of two vegans as there are between two people who eat meat, so it wouldn’t be practicable to offer any sort of exhaustive list here, only some examples. You can live comfortably as a junk-food vegan if you want to, there are alternatives to just about every animal product, most supermarkets have a vegetarian frozen section with vegan options, and there are even specialist stores that now cater to us.
You can also opt to go down the route of a whole foods, plant-based diet, which is certainly the healthier option, just a bit less convenient at times. Examples of common vegan staples include things like rice, beans, potatoes, lentils, chickpeas, hummus, bread, couscous, nuts, seeds, noodles, tofu, seitan, pasta, quinoa and all manner of fruits and vegetables.
This may be pretty close to how you eat now, but if it isn’t, it can be a little tricky to visualise. Even just taking some of the staples listed, a common meal like chicken with vegetables and rice can be made vegan just by replacing the chicken with chickpeas, which have a similar protein content to chicken. Chickpeas can be seasoned with anything you might put on chicken, plus they have the added bonus of being much cheaper and far lower in calories. You can make just about any meal vegan by doing this. The beef from spaghetti bolognese can be replaced with lentils, meat in curry with tofu or seitan, or you can just opt for a faux meat/dairy version of whatever you would usually cook.
So, while the long answer to the common question ‘what do vegans eat’ is a list of every edible fruit, vegetable, bean, nut and legume on the planet, the short answer is: pretty much everything you ate before you went vegan, just in a different form. Most of what vegans eat isn’t food specifically made for us, it’s food you already enjoy - it’s burgers, pizza, fries, well-seasoned vegetables, fruit, grains and adapted versions of all your best-loved dishes. There are literally thousands of edible plants we can incorporate into our diets, and most people only eat the same dozen or so species of animals and their secretions. Those who eat animals often dismiss our diet as boring, yet apparently can’t imagine a meal without chicken, beef or cheese.
The truth is that anyone who believes a diet that doesn’t include animal products has to be restrictive has never fully explored the joys of plant-based cooking and baking. There are so many vegan ingredients, or foods which can be made so with minimal adaptation, more than you could ever try in one lifetime. Keep in mind that globally, the dishes which make up most people’s staples are already vegan, or at least can be made so with minimal adaptation. Meat has historically always been a luxury, and it remains so in most of the world, so it should be no surprise that some of our best loved dishes were traditionally plant-based.
-An extract from my free eBook: The Green Road - A Practical Guide to Veganism
41 notes · View notes