I swear it was raining much harder than that gif makes it look. So much so that it didn’t seem worth trying to go through a multiple-mile long outdoor experience.
So instead we got frozen yogurt at Menchies.
Even though that too wound up being an adventure because it was raining so god damn hard.
As the afternoon wound down, so did the rain. Our respite from the inclement weather gave me the chance to pack my bags, straighten up the space I was leaving behind and (sort of) help Grandma make burgers for early dinner.
After that, it was time to say goodbye.
It’s crazy to me that I’ve been here for a whole week already. It seems like just yesterday I was landing and lamenting the impending heat wave.
Now that I’m leaving, I feel like I’ve grown. No longer am I the immature kid who believed I would melt in Floridian heat.
I’m an absolutely mature, well-grounded adult who doesn’t hate the heat. Instead I hate the fact that it managed to somehow be hot enough to leave me sweating and uncomfortable while ALSO raining hard enough to make umbrellas near-useless at keeping the horizontal water at bay.
Good riddance, Florida.
I may have loved spending some personal time with my grandparents, but the idiom that there’s nothing like coming home will undoubtedly hold true.
I also had the personally interesting experience of finding out that there’s a version of old-school RuneScape you can play on mobile.
Thanks to Brutalmoose’s video for alerting me to its existence, I decided to give the old game a whirl again. It’s been interesting to jump back into an old favorite I played with my cousin Josh with more insight and experience.
Like… I’ve spoken with someone who works at Jagex, the company that made Runescape, fairly recently.
Good thing I wrote a bit of my book this afternoon before finding out the mobile game exists. Otherwise I would have gotten absolutely nothing done.
After all that, the night ended on an interesting note. Grandpa left to go play cards with some of his friends, so Grandma and I were left to our own devices. She whipped up some chocolate pudding that we ate while playing a family favorite board game: Rummikub.
Usually we play with more than two players, as it’s one of my Mom’s preferred pastimes with her parents. But the game worked out all the same.
And that’s that. Like I said, it was a low-key day all things considered.
From what I’m aware, our plans before I go home Sunday night include trying to hit up the museum and that fancy restaurant we’ve had to postpone because of the weather. We might even go to the horse racing track.
Whether or not the weather allows us to keep up, we’ll have to see.
Even if part of my interest in Stranger Things comes from our long-time investment.
Stranger Things season 3 clearly went to the Suicide Squad school of overemphasizing plot details with spot-on song lyrics, but surpassed its teacher by actually having a fantastic product around that gimmick.
The game has been far more fun than I expected, and incorporates a number of intriguing elements in a novel gameplay style for my prior experiences. Interesting elements that might make for a perfect post.
Yet I haven’t written about any of those things.
You see, let’s go back to my Summer Initiative. It was a sort of challenge to myself:
“You’re not working on the Daily Titan right now,” I said. “So why not try writing something every day to keep your skills sharp?”
The drive to write more led to an increase in site traffic and a subsequent sense of pride that has extended my near-daily posts for about a year.
So much so that I used its existence as a part of a freelancing pitch.
With all that said, you might be wondering why I haven’t written in six days.
It turns out I might have conditioned myself to care about blogging a little too much. For some time now, what I’m blogging every day has been the focal point of all my writer’s stress.
Which is kind of a problem when you have a book you want to finish.
Thus I decided to scale back as a test. Would I be more productive on my book if I stopped focusing on daily blog posts?
Over the last week I’ve gotten myself to nearly 300 pages, and I believe that’s as good a sign as any that I should scale back my blog stuff until I get through the novel.
Currently my anti-Summer Initiative is shaping up to be blog posts over the weekend while keeping my weekdays free to write the book. I’d like to finish my first draft before Mom and Aly get back from New York at the end of July.
The weekend will probably have at least one week-in-review and quicker one-offs like a piece on Spider-Man: Far From Home that I’ll write after seeing the film tomorrow.
And I’ll leave myself open to the occasional weekday post. Because I’m a Fire Emblem Heroes addict and Intelligent Systems lied about fewer summer banners.
But otherwise I’m trying more life updates through Twitter and Instagram during the week — as you can see throughout this post.
So if you’re interested in keeping up, go ahead and follow me there!
I played the game early on in its life. Conversations were had around my elementary school lunch table, and I specifically recall playing during one of my trips to Dad’s office at CBS/KCAL (sometime between 2006 and 2009).
Like Realm of the Mad God, the game meant a lot to me growing up. I even thought about revisiting it a year ago:
Because I never did, I wanted to try and write something for July 4 this year. I looked up the website hoping to get some work in for a more fleshed out reflection.
I signed up for this particular new Naruto-Arena to give it a fair shot. It’s in an early build where all characters are available to test, and some key elements like character unlock missions are being implemented.
But it aesthetically nails the old look:
Right down to the statistical layout on the right side of the scroll.
It didn’t take me very long to come into a quick game. Though the transition into battle was rough, battling itself hit my nostalgia hard.
This remake replicates the way lingering technique effects stack beside each character, and the way your overall ranking changes their portrait’s accessories.
I also have to give this remake props for proving to me that over 10-year-old muscle memory is just as potent as ever:
I just did a quick game, but this new Naruto-Arena has a fairly fleshed out leaderboard to make up for features that are being implemented.
If I start to tackle ranked battles, who knows where I could get?
Though… I’m not sure how much time I’ll spend on this version of Naruto-Arena. It needs a little more time to gestate, and has received updates as recently as June 10.
I’d like to at least have the satisfaction of unlocking characters before diving in.
Yet I really can’t complain. It may have hit me hard to find out a childhood favorite closed without my knowing, but that loss clearly affected a host of other people too. Enough that some of them went on to try and revitalize it.
That’s the truly powerful thing about fandom: A strong sense of community forged in the small, unofficial details.
I’m glad I got to be a part of that for a time.
RIP Naruto-Arena. Sorry I couldn’t be there for your swan song.
Some of these are far better out of context. Trust me.
One thing I don’t fully understand about the collection is how nonsensically ordered it is. Though the individual comics are segmented by focusing on different Pokémon, they don’t proceed through the book in number or alphabetical order.
It seems entirely random, and that’s compounded by the fact that two-part comics can appear pages apart.
There’s a particular comic about Woobat and Yamask that’s referenced more than 50 pages later and has a disclaimer telling readers to go back.
Why not just order the pages to avoid that kind of problem if there’s no sensible ordering scheme in the book?
Though there’s a much more important question buried in these pages.
Why is Throh the only Pokémon with a two-part comic in which he is the named focus on both parts?
The. Only. One.
Why Throh of all Pokémon?
Like I’m glad the collection has cool tidbits and quizzes on the sides of each page where I can learn things…
But I’m not sure I can forgive Santa Harukaze for making me feel this tumultuous about Throh.
So, in summary:
Is it worth reading through every Pokémon Black & White Pocket Comic in an afternoon?
Honestly… Not really.
The world of Unova comics has highs are pretty high, but the lows are very, very low. So much so that I don’t think I’d recommend reading through all of them except that you can only find the true gems that way.
I suppose I’d still recommend the book as something of a coffee table read to put out if you have Pokémon-loving guests. But as a Pokémon fan, I’m not sure I would buy the Kalos edition after this one.
That’s a real downer note to end a Pokémon-related post, so here’s a picture of Alyson ruining my attempt to get a Featured Image.
I like Roxie enough as a result that I got this at Anime Expo some years ago:
Beautiful, isn’t it? I wish I took note of who the artist was so I could promote them… Past me was so insensitive.
Another character added in Black/White 2 was Yancy. To this day, she serves as my favorite almost-canonical relationship in Pokémon history due to a side-quest that involves your character building a bond with her. Very underrated ship.
Yancy also happens to moonlight as a superstar named Nancy — creative, I know.
So… Now that I have an outlet for fanfiction stories… I decided to do something incorporating a few of these characters in the setting I love.
I’ve written two chapters of my Pokémon World Tournament story, which in many ways is a similar dramatization to the Stardew piece. However I have some ideas for bigger developments should I keep the story going.
Thus, where Stardew a one-off, I’m now going to try and write a serialized piece with regular uploads.
Right now I’m imagining a chapter per-week every Monday.
That should be manageable for the first few expository chapters I’m well into writing. From there we’ll see how popular it becomes.
The premise was simple: Throw a bunch of computers onto a tournament bracket and watch them fight. Alpharad and a few friends commentated the matches, providing insights into actual competitive strategies and general comedy.
It was fun and apparently so popular that he would have been a fool not to do more.
However, the CPU tournaments were clearly Alpharad’s bread and butter.
Over time they grew into more than just a showcase of computer intelligence. Jokes about certain fighters repeated to the point of giving them distinct personalities. Then came clever brand integrations by having his video sponsors “sponsor” the winners of previous tournaments like they were sport stars proving themselves.
Then the series grew further. Original characters were added via Mii Fighters that developed entire plot threads cleverly delivered by commentators on the spot.
I’m not sure how much was pre-planned or improvised based on genuine tournament results, but either way it was impressive to see a cohesive narrative emerge that culminated in an “Endgame” duel between light and dark.
In the lore, two years had passed. Thus, much of the first episode was spent doling out exposition about what had changed — from new Mii Fighters to the off-screen reigns of joke characters like Rosalina.
What stood out most about this structured direction is how much more planning and effort clearly went into the season’s pre-production. Everything down to anime-inspired intros that are just cringe enough to be great.
Whereas the first era of the CPUCS emerged from completely different roots and had to develop into something more, the second era is immediately running with the aftermath and presenting more foreshadowing for underlying story bits.
Yet I felt like this guy when I discovered that the blog not only exists, but has been used since May to create a more lived-in environment:
I too am now a big fan of Agent Naomi.
For what many would write off as a silly YouTube series about Smash Ultimate where cashing in is easy because no human interactions are needed for gameplay, this is an awesome bit of committed world building.
It shows how much Alpharad genuinely cares, and I can respect the hell out of that.
So if I haven’t convinced you yet, go watch the CPUCS.
I swear it’s more than just your average Smash Bros. series if you stick by it.
You might have ended a decade of MCU movies, but Detective Pikachu played to my 20-years of investment in the subjectively best video game series of all time.
My development as a person and writer was kick-started by Mom teaching me to read with the text in Pokémon Crystal. I’ve been waiting for this movie ever since.
So, the objective side of my cinephilia can critique a few key issues. But that doesn’t take away from Rob Letterman giving me the breathing Pokémon society — focusing on more than just prodigal, battling children — that I’ve always wanted.
Detective Pikachu follows accountant Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) as he confronts the death of his mother and resulting alienation of his father after the man goes missing in a utopian city designed for Pokémon to coincide with humans.
He does so with the help of a talking Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds — clearly channeling Deadpool while still grounded in this source material) and aspiring investigative reporter Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton).
To be blunt, Detective Pikachu is bloated with clichés.
It mimics film noir and buddy cop tropes, such as a boy who needs to learn to love again and his amnesiac animal partner. There are also multiple plot points throughout the movie’s two-hour run you’ve seen before:
The shady, experimenting corporation.
The blossoming love between main (human) characters.
The incidents with a substance that causes loss of control (ala Zootopia).
Besides a surprise twist in the third act, the overall situations are well-worn. Yet the actors keep them from feeling stale.
Reynolds made me love the overplayed series mascot I usually scoff at. He’s snarky, heartfelt and delivers some solid (seemingly improvised) jokes.
Reynolds and Smith sell the buddy cop bit, and I liked Smith and Newton’s chemistry as well — especially since their burgeoning romance ended without a dramatic kiss.
Smith carried the movie handily, surprisingly so given my lukewarm reception to Fallen Kingdom. I really enjoyed his character arc and relationship with Pikachu that shined during a heart-to-heart mid-way through the film.
That scene in particular also has a gorgeous shot where Smith’s stoic face during a sad story is betrayed by a tear that makes the neon city lights outline his cheek.
Detective Pikachu had surprisingly pretty cinematography in my opinion, outside of some shots that relied too heavily on shaky dissolves and off-center angles for my taste.
On top of that, I never once felt like the CGI Pokémon were out of place. They always seemed believably real in the living people’s arms.
Granted I might be predisposed to believing in real-life Pokémon because of my history and encyclopedic knowledge with the series. But my sister (who saw the movie with me) is less of a hardcore fan and didn’t report any concerns.
Ironically, I felt like the Pokémon CGI was masterful in-part because a lot of the practical effects were… Real bad? Most of the actors looked like they were slipping around on wires during action scenes.
But for me, that was barely a concern in light of the respect Detective Pikachu shows fans of the series in its overt and subtle references.
Alongside the anime’s theme song, most of the music throughout the film sounded like it could have come from the Sinnoh or Unova region games.
There are dozens of the 800+ Pokémon appearing as live models (both the recognizable Pikachu and less conventional Treeckos or Purrloins) and set-pieces (some favorites being the Latios and Latias stickers in Tom’s room, and a store named after Whismur).
Their appearances are true to established lore as well, with Charizard weakened as someone stomps on its tail flame and Slaking almost exclusively loafing around.
Mewtwo‘s powers are a less traditional example that sticks out, but even that strange treatment plays into an unexpected plot point that I enjoyed. Plus, they nailed the legendary Pokémon’s origin with an interesting new angle.
People who are not a fan of the games or anime may be somewhat lost. It immediately drops audiences in and lets most references quickly fly by. Yet enough is explained for the public to follow its plot, and the movie is funny regardless of pre-existing knowledge.
You might get more out of some jokes if you know Mr. Mime, for instance, but even if you don’t his scenes have some great slapstick with effective sound effects.
Frankly, I’m not sure what else I can say.
I’m obviously biased, but the movie is just as obviously tailored toward fans like me. From that perspective, I wholeheartedly recommend Detective Pikachu from my three-year-old heart and from the highly knowledgeable dork I am today.
But the movie also has enough family-friendly elements and appeal for non-super-fans. Some of the effects aren’t perfect, and the overall package leans on clichés, but the cast and world-building do more than enough to make up for it.
I had a blast seeing this movie with my sister. It’s a master class in video game adaptations — One that’s very much needed in the face of Sonic the Hedgehog and Angry Birds 2.
Go see it, so we can get more live action Pokémon movies. And cards to go with them:
That particular comic was a different experience, however. My time with it was more concentrated to high school where updates were exciting events. It was much more of a social, community-driven interest for me.
I spent a good amount of time reading fan theories on Tumblr (recently in the news) and fan fictions on Wattpad (which I was surprised to find out still exists).
I went as Dave Strider to Anime Expo one year.
I even started planning out this big Dungeons and Dragons-esque fan roleplay with my friend Sam.
Finding out that video is almost seven years old hurt my soul… So let’s move into contemporary subjects.
More of the webcomics I read today are quiet, personal experiences. Super fun and often passionate projects from individual creators and small teams that haven’t reached the scope of something like Homestuck.
The most recent of which, Kid Midnight, being my spark to finally talk about them.
The elevator pitch for this comic is simple: Imagine if the monster from The Ring was actually a lovely, sociable woman who married a human that writes horror novels.
The comic centers around their young daughter — Erma — as she goes to school, spends time with her friends and does supernatural stuff.
It’s honestly one of the most adorable things I’ve ever read. You get a brilliant contrast between horror tropes and “scary” images that are followed by Erma watching Warrior Unicorn Princess with her babysitter.
The comic begins with one-off stories like you might see on the funny pages. But eventually there are sprawling story arcs — the current one about Erma and her family going to a Yokai village in Japan to meet her Yakuza-esque grandfather.
It’s wonderful to see the passionate community blossom over time, and the author has recently announced plans for spin-off comics being drawn by other artists and a phone app. There’s a lot to love!
For the final stop on my tour, I’m going to go in a bit more of an obtuse direction.
The story centers around a Riolu named Leon and a Totodile named Vagus as they get sucked into conflict with a demented band of Pokémon and their feral underlings who hope to… Well we don’t totally know yet.
Presumably destroy all of the surviving members of an ancient civilization so they can take over the world.
We just haven’t gotten the full backstory at this point.
The story is quite long with no signs of slowing down anytime soon, and there are just as many quiet, enthralling character moments as there are swashbuckling Pokémon battles in a gruesome, more realistic style than you’ve probably ever seen.
I would argue the art direction of Tales of Elysium is its strongest selling point. Every single panel is immaculate — almost TOO good for a project focusing on Pokémon.
Though I wouldn’t say that because I adore Pokémon.
Also because the story and characters that have been created for that world more than justify a beautifully dramatic art style.
So there you are. Three different flavors of comics for your viewing pleasure.
Though I’m still fresh to Kid Midnight, I would definitely say it fits into my pantheon of weekly reads alongside Erma and Tales of Elysium. Catching up on my comics each Friday has become a favorite wind-down activity for me.
However, I’m always looking out for more!
If there are any webcomics out there that you love, please don’t hesitate to let me know about them. I’d love to expand my scope even further.
Don’t worry, I can already hear all of your complaints. “Three posts in a row about fixing your room up? What’s the deal Jason, why even bother?”
To be fair, until about an hour ago I was not going to put anything up on my blog today. I have two ideas set for tomorrow and an event on Friday, so the rest of my week in writing is planned out and I figured that could be enough of an excuse to skip a day.
But then I realized I would honestly feel terrible about myself if I broke my New Year streak so early.
So this quick n’ dirty post is mostly for me to make sure I don’t have a gap, and if you want to just come back tomorrow when I have a Fire Emblem Heroes banner release and a movie review lined up, I won’t harbor any ill will.
Yesterday I talked about how my room hadn’t changed much since the last time I showed it off. That was early into the cleaning process and it turned out to be a lie. A lot of the tchotchkes taking up space on my countertops hasn’t changed in terms of contents, but the layout is pretty new.
For instance, here’s the top of my TV cabinet — now featuring a fancy new backdrop:
Told you that’s where I was going to put the Naruto poster. Even if I wound up having to move Diancie to make space.
As usual, my line-up of chess club trophies from elementary school remains in-tact. For years I’ve adored the way younger me happened to conveniently win enough trophies in specific placements to create an upscaling pattern, and I always put them up.
Except now in front of the trophies are the Luna wand I got from Universal Studios and a toy car that I happened to pull out of the dust and turmoil underneath that same cabinet when my sister and I pushed it flush against the wall.
We did so to clear some room next to my desk for where this Gladeo computer is going to go. Though it’s admittedly strange to not have that cabinet take up a diagonal space.
Fun fact, on top of that convertible I also found a list of interview questions from when I covered my friends taking part in the Bay Math League way back in middle school.
Now that’s definitely a story for another day. Remind me to tell it, because I actually have some fun throwback material I can use.
Beyond that car, the most notable changes to the collection are that Han Solo is on the left side instead of the right, replaced by Tanuki Mario — who used to be on top of my main clothing drawer.
I also added a few plushies to make the right side into a Pokémon-dedicated corner and it’s one of the best ideas I’ve ever had. I’m considering moving some other posters over there as well to really complete the picture, but I don’t know how much it would mess with the feng shui.
You know, if you believe in that sort of thing.
I took Chinese for three years in high school so I feel like I’m somewhat obliged to try believing in it.
The next most changed surface in the room is that aforementioned main clothing drawer, which is constantly subject to me coming up with new Amiibo configurations:
All things considered this is probably the most stable configuration I’ve tried yet, and I think my Star Wars legos fit in pretty well on this side of the room.
However, this wasn’t the first layout I tried.
Originally I thought about spacing the Amiibo out across both surfaces in a curving manner:
I love the way this set-up looks, but unfortunately it took up too much space.
Saying that is a bit crazy when I realize I have 19 Smash Bros. character Amiibo and there are 73 fighters so far? But still.
Needed some room to fit all my other stuff too.
On the bright side I have an outlet like this to save a photo of the curving configuration, since it is one of my favorites aesthetically.
I think that about covers all the major changes to my room decor starting out 2019. As usual I’m sure it’ll be subject to adjustments as I pick up more useless garbage throughout the year, but for now I’m pretty happy with how it looks!
Hopefully this filler post was worth your time, because it wound up being more fun for me to write than I had expected.