So I looked for things to listen to while playing, and my newest obsession has been a series on Pokémon typings from Lockstin & Gnoggin.
There’s actually a somewhat interesting history behind my discovery of this series.
The channel’s “Every Pokémon Type Explained” has been recommended to me by the platform a number of times. Each episode was recognizable from a uniform thumbnail with black borders around images of different Pokémon with clickbait-y text suggesting they should NOT be that typing.
It always seemed over-the-top for my tastes, so I never watched any part of the series.
Cue life lesson about not judging a book by its cover.
TerminalMontage is another fairly recent addition to my watch list, but became a favorite thanks to his “something about” series where the plots of video games are just torn apart with a goofy cartoon style and memes.
I enjoyed his style of commentary and seemingly well-calcified knowledge of Pokémon lore. Thus, I finally bit the bullet and started watching the typing videos I’d put off.
In essence each video takes one of the 18 types (minus two as of my writing this) and tries to divide each Pokémon of that type into categories of real-life equivalence. And yes, he does actually indicate which ones might not belong. Clickbait justified.
For instance the rock-type video divides monsters into living rocks or beings that adorn rocks, and further breaks down what kind of real mineral each Pokémon represents.
Meanwhile the ghost-type video (in lieu of real-world science) breaks down every monster into what mythological legend or ghost story they represent.
It’s a really interesting and analytical series about what many probably consider an innocuous franchise. I appreciate the depth and flashy style of editing that shows a lot of care on the production’s back-end.
As a result, that’s my recommendation for the day. I’m always a fan of pointing out great content where I find it… And I really don’t have that much else to talk about tonight.
But stay tuned.
Tomorrow I will complete my video game/YouTube/movie media trifecta with a review of a little movie I’m going to see called John Wick: Chapter 3.
We got the official email with the final schedule brochure and everything. It’s happening.
Not only is it happening, it’s coming up at full speed.
So most of my day has been spent preparing the Powerpoint I’ll be using. A few weeks back the Honors Program Director Sandra Perez asked me to help another student who wanted to do a creative writing project, as she said the pre-preparation I’d done was impressive.
That experience wound up being my lightbulb of inspiration. I realized that my project was better grounded in a Pre-Preparation of Rites than “I wrote part of a book.”
By the end, I’ve come to find that a whole lot of preparation was involved in my novel.
And let’s not forget the elements I have yet to talk about.
Notably backend research into creating believable cultures for my fantasy world. I asked my old professor Paulo Simoes for some advice because a lot of his background involves researching ancient societies, figuring out how they tick.
He recommended trying to model my fictional cultures and the events that characterize my world off of real-world societies.
Game of Thrones is in vogue to reference right now, yeah?
I’d hope so. Because I’m more than happy to capitalize on that, even though I haven’t personally watched the show.
For my project, however, I am not utilizing Game of Thrones in any capacity. Rather, I’m using “The Story of Civilization” collection of historical novels to base parts of my book on periods of history. As suggested by Dr. Simoes.
Along the way, I’ve been trying to craft the oral part of the presentation:
I have 15 minutes to present, and then I’ll have to be ready for five minutes of audience questions. I’m hoping I’ll be all put together and confident by then.
While getting prepared, I took some time off with my Mom to go out and put something sweet together with the drawings from Elizabeth:
Just a little something to help remember the project by. Doesn’t it look nice?
I wager this proliferation of content comes largely from two areas.
Firstly, Internet remix culture. This 2015 Tech Crunch piece elaborates further, but in essence the Internet has created a people interested in re-consuming the same ideas with transformed variations and assimilated elements.
The second cause is the success of recognizable brands. Remakes are safer investments for studios than novel properties, as general audiences are more likely to pay for a movie featuring iconography they know and love.
That said, the show’s character designs are visually appealing and the theme song is iterated upon well for a decent soundtrack.
But these are elements lifted directly from the old series, and the 2017 characters are paper-thin archetypes at best that rely on forced, surrealist humor and returning elements like Muttley’s snickering that are somehow both referential and current, all-encompassing character traits.
I’m willing to bet the pitch for the show was simply bringing that iconic laugh back into mainstream consciousness.
One thing that stood out in my viewing: I’m not sure what audience this reboot is targeting. Its simplicity is bland even for a younger Cartoon Network demographic, but there is a heavy leaning on dated references for fans of the ’68 version.
For example: In the spacefaring episode, Dastardly pretends to be Space Ghost so he can sneak onto the garbage collecting ship.
This joke was actually the catalyst for my post, because… Really? Space Ghost?
I know Adult Swim and Channel Chasers kept him relevant well beyond his shelf life, but what kid in 2019 is going to know what Space Ghost was?
In fact, this lazily executed “fellow 60’s cartoon” reference raises more questions. Why would these characters know who Space Ghost is if, as the other episode suggested, they are the grandchildren of the original Wacky Racers?
Full disclosure, I know I’m overthinking things. But when your show is so dull that this is all I can think about, there’s something wrong.
Frankly this whole post probably seems like needlessly overthinking children’s entertainment. Why does Wacky Races matter as much as I seem to suggest?
The thing is… It doesn’t. Which is kind of the point.
I have fond memories watching re-runs of the 1968 show, but I’m under no delusion that it was perfect television.
Wacky Races suffered from the same budget shortcuts of endless animation loops and recycling story ideas as The Flintstones and other serialized Hanna-Barbara cartoons in its mold.
They were flawed, but incredibly important and popular parts of animation history.
It’s a great tribute, but perhaps it primed me to quickly perceive this reboot as a lazy cash grab. The kind of product that retroactively degrades a show’s popular perception, or even dissuades a consumer from seeking the original they may be unaware exists.
But to be honest, Wacky Races (2017) could just as easily be a catalyst for curious youngsters to seek out the original piece of animation history.
I would hope such a mediocre reboot at least succeeds in keeping its predecessor alive.
Well I promised two blog posts today, so even if I don’t have a lot to say I might as well follow through.
For the past week or so both my parents have been pretty sick. As a result, thanks to still being on vacation, I’ve become a more distinct guardian for my sister.
Which includes being the chauffeur. Which, by extension, meant getting up to drive her to school for zero period.
At 6:00 a.m.
Needless to say she owed me a little something. Luckily tonight was her mini-band banquet, a potluck the RUHS Marching band holds halfway through the school year to celebrate the end of the competition season.
If there’s anything high school kids enjoy, it’s gorging on lots of food.
I’m more than happy to mooch.
The unfortunate downside of tagging along to mooch off free food is that the entire event, which hosts about 100 high schoolers and band parents, is held in the small gym on campus.
So imagine a bunch of people stuffed into a hot gymnasium wearing semi-formal attire, walking around on rolled out tarp.
As it turns out, band kids also enjoy breaking the flow of music to do silly things.
While it was admittedly hilarious seeing the older parents who have zero concept of internet memes cringe harder than I did, that didn’t stop me from cringing.
In fact, ridiculous high school antics were rampant throughout the event. The most stand-out of which for me being a girl walking around who apparently did not get the semi-formal memo because she wore a sleeveless crop top, leggings and heels.
I know that sounds like I was being a creep and judging what some high school girl was dressed in, but I swear she just stood out that much.
Outside of cringe-enducing high school antics, I suppose I can’t say I regret going. The food was a huge plus, and I have become at least pseudo-friends with some band parents simply because I’m around so often for Alyson. It’s nice catching up with them.
I even chatted with someone who was willing to give my business card out to someone who works at one of the local newspapers around Redondo Beach.
Always networking. Always.
But of course, it was also nice to support my sister.
Even if it meant getting a picture with this real creepy mannequin from their field show in the background.
Aly only has one more year of this stuff ahead of her (as much as I die inside every time I imagine her graduating high school so soon), so I might as well fill in as much time supporting her as I can before she probably heads across the country for music school.
… Just as long as she doesn’t do so until we finish Pokémon Let’s Go, Eevee together.
But I found a whole host of other things from the oughts and early twenty-tens, including elementary/middle school assignments, the first chapter draft of some fantasy novel I tried to write as well as memes or projects that provide a very distinct look at the kind of trash I loved growing up.
Oh, and when I say memes, I mean trashy memes all saved up on my desktop.
Sifting through the garbage brought me to something that I ultimately came to refer to as my magnum opus. A project with so much love and passion put into a creative route I’ve since abandoned that it was actually astounding.
In my “fun stuff” folder, I found these three files partitioned off:
My immediate reaction was a hell of a cringe. Flashbacks to a true period of weeaboo sensibilities that left me doing things like watching all of Dragonball, Dragonball Z and Dragonball GT over the course of a few months in middle school.
Back in the day I used the program religiously, and even made some animations that went into official school broadcasts at Adams Middle School.
Also a true story, but for another day.
I couldn’t imagine anything good coming out of this animation from 2012 Jason… Yet I was blown away by just how great of a product I pulled together. So much so that I went through a lot of trouble to get the final (though unfinished) animation into a format where you all can see it today.
For your viewing pleasure, here it is:
First off, the fact that I didn’t remember spending a single second working on this until I found it again is such a travesty.
This was from that same era when I went to sprite animation camp like I talked about in the Smash Bros. wallpaper post, with all the sprites pulled from The Spriters Resource.
They were taken from a game called “Naruto: Ninja Council 3,” which to this day has some of my favorite sprite work in an old-school DS game.
I can say I confidently knew that because Ninja Council 3 is still a treasured part of my games collection:
Now for those of you who don’t know, the video is based off the fifth anime opening to the original Naruto series. Crunchyroll has it uploaded here for you to see, and I’d recommend doing so to understand how much I tried to replicate.
It’s incredible to me how I actually grasped the concept of timing scenes to the music so well (mostly). I even went so far as to put the little floating heads in the sky to represent Sasuke thinking about his past!
I adore every second of it.
The journey to get this to you here today was far more complicated than it may appear, however.
It all began that night when I opened up the old Mac and watched this animation in Scratch for the first time.
As it turns out, the only way to pull projects off of Scratch was to go to the program’s website. Unfortunately…
That wasn’t much of a possibility for a computer that hasn’t been updated since 2012.
Thus the true quest to save my magnum opus began. At first I attempted to record it externally with my iPhone:
Needless to say I was not able to get the kind of quality I wanted out of this.
After a few more attempts, the best solution wound up being a QuickTime screen recording. That got the video in its purest quality!
However it wasn’t possible to do screen and audio recording at once through the older tech.
So… it’s a good thing I had the song file in that original folder!
Don’t ask me where I got it because I don’t know and it was probably illegal.
When I pulled everything onto my laptop, it became a 2 a.m. adventure to Frankenstein the video together with its original audio timing:
Mind you, it happened at 2 a.m. during Finals week. Big tests coming up and here I was laughing like a maniacal idiot, cutting together an old Scratch animation from 2012.
I’m glad I took a few weeks to get to this blog post because now that I’ve marinated on it, the whole situation is hilariously ridiculous.
But all worth it to finally get that finished project up on YouTube so I can show it off!
Except the process of getting it uploaded actually made the whole story even more ridiculous. Just thirty seconds after the video went up, I got this:
Sony Music actually blocked my video in Japan and demonetized it.
Which is such a shame, I was really looking forward to the ad revenue out of that video… On my one subscriber storage channel.
It was interesting to be on this end of the YouTube algorithm for once. Gives me a bit more of an understanding of how terrible this must be for creators who have their livelihoods contingent on the site.
For me, it just means any of my readers in Japan won’t see my magnum opus. Sorry!
All this being said, I’m really proud of 2012 me. He’s the kind of man I wish I was now.
I’ll never not smile looking back at this, because no matter how many awards and scholarships I get for my writing as a journalist, none of it will truly be as personal as the actual fan animation I made surprisingly well back when I was 15.
Sometimes you really don’t think about how much of an impact a person has had in your life until you see that name pop up on an obituary.
That happened for me when I saw that Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of Spongebob Squarepants, passed away from ALS complications at 57 today.
Spongebob hasn’t been at the forefront of my mind for a number of years now. If anything I’ve grown to be more resentful and dismissive of the Nickelodeon classic the longer it lives in prime time, because I’m one of those snobs that loves to go on about how the old episodes were great and the new stuff is trash.
Which is objectively true. But I digress.
Just because the modern run of the show isn’t fantastic doesn’t mean the blockbuster of a series didn’t becomea classic for nothing.
Almost immediately after Spongebob aired in 1999 (almost 20 years ago — yikes), he became the face of Nickelodeon. Anyone who watched the network at any point in the early aughts would recognize the yellow sponge in everything.
The show has been nominated for and won over 100 awards in its runtime according to imdb, and I would say it’s hard to find a more recognizable voice talent than Tom Kenny in the field of animation.
That scene was so iconic to me that I wanted to capture even a glimmer of its majesty in a medium I’d almost never done anything with before. The project never went very far, but I distinctly recall using the Spriter’s Resource to cast Mario from Superstar Saga as a drummer using a drum set from the Scribblenauts series.
That’s how much of an impact the show had on me.
Just thinking about Spongebob drudged up that old part of me, which also helped me remember the Smash Bros.-themed desktop wallpapers I created.
I’ll have to see if I can find those to show them off, but that’s a post for another day.
I also couldn’t help but think about the Nicktoons Unite game I played on the DS back in the day, namely because it was the Spongebob level I could never beat.
Funnily enough when I tried to look for that game in my collection, all I was able to find were these two Spongebob games that I don’t even remember owning!
The day that I’m writing this, Nov. 27, is Giving Tuesday.
Originally I was going to write something promoting the Gladeo donation campaign, but in honor of Stephen Hillenburg I think it would only be right to point out some ALS charities for everyone to donate to.
Unfortunately I don’t know who’s reputable and who isn’t, so I’m going to default to the ALS Association. Go support them in honor of that iconic character living in a pineapple under the sea.
With all that said and done, I can’t think of a better send off for Stephen than this tweet.
SpongeBob: Isn't he beautiful? Patrick: How high's he going to go? SpongeBob: All the way, Patrick, up to the great beyond. Goodbye, friend. Patrick: Happy trails! SpongeBob: He's on the other side now. Patrick: Yeah. He's in a better place.
I’ve come to really appreciate the gym as a solid source of stress relief on days like today.
Life can’t all be fun and polling places after all. I may have gotten an initial high by doing my civic duty and voting, but that was a very small fraction of the day right when the polls opened at 7:00 a.m.
Yeah, I finally got to pull out this joke I’ve been sitting on for a few months. Yeah, I’m proud of myself for deciding to actually do it. And yeah, I’m glad the Tweet and my identical post on Facebook got a good number of likes more than usual.
Not that it matters how much my things are liked, I just appreciate knowing that a number of my followers here and there have solid meme sensibilities.
I’m getting sidetracked.
Voting was cool, acknowledged. But after I did that I still had to go to school.
Which leads me to my next point: School kind of sucked today.
I went in for what amounted to a 20-minute long Sensation and Perception class where we reviewed for our upcoming test, but because my late class and study date were cancelled I had no reason to stick around.
Always a pleasure to drive around for a couple of hours so I can be in class for 20 minutes.
See we’re smack in the middle of midterm season 2 in Cal State Fullerton’s Psychology department. Tomorrow I have an exam in Learning and Memory, then on Thursday I have an exam in Sensation and Perception.
Plus, on the back-burner is the early deadline for my Learning and Memory research paper: Friday.
That theoretically matters less than the rest, but if I get the paper in before Friday I’ll have 4 points extra credit applied. Considering those points are the difference between a ‘C,’ where my rough draft stood, and an ‘A,’ I’m pretty eager to get it in.
It just so happens that I have no idea whether or not the professor is going to be on-campus Thursday or Friday. Which is why I’m pushing myself to finish the paper by tomorrow.
While also hoping to study for the exam in that same class tomorrow.
See why I’m getting on-edge?
Well hold your horses folks, because it gets more frustrating somehow.
My professor left tons of notes on the rough draft I turned in because he’s anal as hell and basically wanted us to write his essay, not our essay — even if something made more sense to us the way we wrote it.
… So I’ve heard from a friend.
When I sat down with the guy during his office hours to get clarification on the chicken scratch notes, the general take-away was that he wanted the early portion of the paper to have clear definitions, examples and statements on how those examples prove the definitions. It wasn’t good enough to have a definition followed by a “, for example xxx.”
That’s all fine and well… Until you remember that the paper as a whole has a page limit.
So the man basically strong-armed me into adding dozens of paragraphs and extended examples throughout the paper, and now expects me to cut down all of the extra space that came into the piece as a result.
It’s a Tantalus-level torture straight out of Hades if I’ve ever seen one.
That’s about where my headline today comes from, my resignation to the fact that I’ll be sitting here with my mom snipping off words and sentences from this paper where applicable to hit a page limit, despite the fact that I’m already sick of looking at it after nearly five hours of editing his comments yesterday.
Not the emotional place I want to be in while knowing I have to move into exam studying after for the same man that’s currently ruining my life.
But like I started this post off with, at least I had the gym to blow off some steam.
Even if not I feel like I’m passing out on the couch while working on my paper.
Because everything needs a trade-off, doesn’t it life?
Welcome to the post talking about the other things I was referring to there.
Yeah I bet you weren’t expecting a conversation about Funko Pops, were you? They don’t exactly seem like the kind of thing in my area of interest.
I’ll admit that they aren’t for the most part. In fact, I don’t necessarily hate Funko Pops overall as my clickbait-y title might suggest.
If anything I’m willing to admit they’re rather cute for the most part. Plus I have been known to collect a somewhat useless series of plastic figurines in the past myself.
So really there’s no reason I should hate this fairly harmless Hot Topic-stuffing collectible mogul, right?
See I don’t necessarily hate Funko Pops as an inherit object that exists. What I absolutely abhor is the corporate design mentality surrounding Funko Pops.
As anyone who knows anything about Funko Pops must know, there are Funko Pops that exist for literally anything AND everything.
You like anime? Pick your favorite, there’s a series of Pops to go with them.
You like HBO television series like Westworld? God knows I do, and there’s a series of Pops to go with them.
You like the Marvel Cinematic Universe? You like video games? You like football? Actual real life football?
Because there are pops for all of those things and an infinite amount of other things I won’t bother to go into because look at this catalog. It’s nuts.
Especially the whole sports side of things. Side-rant I get being in love with sports and following, say, the Yankees or the Dodgers if you’re super into baseball. It’s just bizarre to have a series of collectible figurines representing actual real people that you can stick in your house.
But okay you get the point. If you’ve got an interest, Funko has a Pop to fit it.
Inherently I don’t have a problem with this business model. The fact that this company has invented a series of figurines so simple that literally any form of media can be molded into it is genius, and something the whole world probably wishes they figured out first.
As someone who has played many video games to 100 percent completion, and thrives on games like Monster Hunter where the whole idea is to collect exclusive bits and pieces of monsters to create new specialty armor, I can understand the itch many collectors have when it comes to Funko.
So yeah, if you want to go out and collect Funko Pops, more power to you. My family certainly does, and there are series I’d probably be more than willing to pay for a full collection of.
But that’s only considering the ‘first edition’ idea of these Pops. My problem comes with the alternate forms.
“Wow Jason, that’s ironic. You don’t like Funko Pops for producing alternate versions of characters when you talk endlessly about rare variants of characters in Fire Emblem Heroes like they’re the second coming. What a hypocrite.”
Yeah I hear you audience, I know.
It’s no secret that I appreciate ‘special editions’ as much as the next guy. But Fire Emblem Heroes and Funko Pops are a little different at their core.
In FEH, the special variant units are just as free-to-start as every other unit in the game. Sure there are practices under the surface that encourage players to eventually spend money, like releasing five valuable banners in a row with few orb giveaways in between, but still.
You could just as easily start the game when a holiday banner is running and be just as likely to receive that unit with free orbs as anyone else.
With Funko Pops, every single one costs money. Just as much, if not more money in fact.
Do you like Deadpool? Okay, here’s a Deadpool figurine. That’ll be a nice little thing to display to show off your interest in the character.
“Alright, alright we get it,” I hear you in the audience say.
I sure hope you do. With the simplicity of the Funko Pop formula, any single character can be given infinite minor modifications and be considered a special variant.
But unlike the model in FEH, where you could theoretically earn the special version for free, every single Funko costs real life money.
Now there are arguments to be made that these are physical objects rather than digital characters in a video, and thus there’s more value to collecting them over time in terms of things like eventual trading or simply selling collections much like with comic books and vinyl records.
There’s validity to that idea. But that isn’t really what I’m here to discuss.
What I’m here to discuss is the fact that a business model allowing for infinite cash cow-ing on the same property over and over and over again, rather than keeping to a finite cap of collectability, is inherently infuriating.
I would be more than happy to spend 60 bucks over the course of a few months to collect five Deadpool figurines based on characters from the movies if I enjoyed them that much. What I wouldn’t be happy doing is spending literally all of my money for forever to keep up with every ‘left hand raised 60 degrees’ variation that can be squeezed out.
That’s not even just for Deadpool too, as much as I keep harping on him. He just happens to be a good example of a character that lends himself to more ridiculous, outlandish variations and repeated re-releases. Any character can have a variant where they wear a different outfit or hold a new pose.
Funko Pops certainly aren’t the first to abuse this model, but they abuse it pretty hard. It’s probably rather petty to be bashing them so hard for it out of nowhere, but I’ve seen similar ideas ruin things I’ve loved in the past.
Shuffle was a spin-off game released first on the Nintendo 3DS and then on mobile devices in 2015. It was something of a continuation of the Trozei and Battle Trozei series that became a free-to-start microtransaction-laden title. And I adored it.
Seriously, for the longest time if you had asked me what game handles the microtransaction system most fairly, it would have been Pokémon Shuffle. I played this damn game on my 3DS for years, and I have distinct memories of doing so both on my high school and college campuses.
The game ran on an ‘energy’ system, where you could play five games at a time before needing to wait for everything to recharge. Unless you spent gems, the in-game currency you could buy with real life currency.
There are also a bunch of other details related to items you can either grind out or purchase, but the energy was the important thing to me. See those five hearts of energy recharged at a rate of a half hour per heart.
In other words, you could play a full set of games every two-and-a-half hours. Compared to a lot of other games with energy or stamina caps, this was insanely generous.
For a student like me, it essentially meant I could play out my games, go to whatever class I had, then get out to find a full set of energy hearts waiting to be used. Combine this with the semi-regular updates (though eventually the levels got kind of ridiculously difficult) and frequent special in-game events, and I was more than happy to play for years.
But then I stopped. You know why I stopped?
Just look at this insanity.
My screenshot here hasn’t even captured half of the special variants for Pikachu alone. There are Pikachu wearing every cap that Ash ever wore in the anime. Pikachu wearing costumes modeled after Legendary Pokémon. Hell there’s a Rayquaza costume Pikachu AND a shiny Rayquaza costume Pikachu.
Again, Pikachu isn’t the only problem, but he’s emblematic of it. Everything technically started with the ‘winking’ starter Pokémon line.
This ridiculous cash cow, the infinite special variant system, is what burned me out of Pokémon Shuffle in the end. I was more than happy to keep playing to collect all 700+ Pokémon as a mark of personal completion should they have gotten that far.
But because the game’s creators wanted a way to keep the game going forever and come up with more challenging ways of potentially forcing players to spend money on limited time only extra special dudes, I didn’t feel like it was worth keeping up anymore.
Funko Pops embody the same problem, in my opinion. If you’re going to release the same figures over and over and over again with slight variations just to squeeze out as much money as possible, then why should anyone bother trying to collect them all in the first place?
I’m sure other people will have their justifications for it, but that’s a path I can’t see myself going down. I’d much rather stick with collecting something finite in my real world collectibles. Something I can eventually look at and say ‘this is a complete set.’
That’s my rant for the day. What do you think? Is the idea of infinite variation healthy for a brand like Funko? Or is it detrimental in their long-term viability as a reasonable company, as I’m more inclined to believe.
Though obviously I’m probably in the wrong since, let’s be real, people will continue to buy those things no matter what I say. So the more they can print up the more money they’ll make.
Well allow me to completely destroy all credibility in that regard by immediately jumping into another post all about Fire Emblem Heroes. Everyone’s favorite, I’m sure.
What can I say, it’s hard for me to stay away when this game updates itself and gives us some new people to play around with, especially now that I’ve personally gotten more into creating powerful units to fool around with. That or it’s just hard for me to get away from this writing crutch that I’ve rested on one too many times as an excuse to write more fun things that I’m interested in.
Either or works as an explanation honestly.
But that said, let’s quit all the meta talk and move into some Fire Emblem talk.
Mm-mmm, That’s the kind of meme quality I’m after.
Though with that said, I think the elephant in this particular room should be addressed before I get too deep into things.
No, I will not apologize for using such a perfect pun in my post title.
Don’t bother asking.
But in all seriousness, my actual gripe comes from the fact that half of this new hero summoning banner is literally a re-tread of the only heroes from this game that we actually already have from that early update.
Like what’s the deal Intelligent Systems? I know that Reinhardt is a popular meme — as I’ve so graciously pointed out before — but are there really no more than three new heroes we can include from this generally unacknowledged title before resigning ourselves to new versions of ones that are already here?
They aren’t even special holiday variants guys. Seriously guys, come on.
But I digress. Even if they are partially re-releases, these heroes must have something to offer in their own rights, right?
Where to begin with these new heroes… I don’t have that much of a connection to any of them, so I suppose I’ll have to stick with their possible competitive viability. Lief arguably has the best chance to fit in somewhere in my opinion. His weapon has a cool effect that boosts his own defense and subsequently boosts his attack based on his defense. Add that to the Spd and Def boost and he’s got a nice core if you disregard the just ‘ok’ special attack. Plus I’ve been getting more into Drive skills lately so I dig that. However… He comes with an energy drink. For some reason. If it’s a reference I don’t get it, but what I do know is that drink is literally useless outside of Chain Challenges and Tempest Trial runs. So clearly this boy isn’t meant to be used in too many other places.
Nanna is painfully forgettable. There aren’t too many cavalier healers in the game so she has a slight boost in intrigue there, but it clearly falls off a cliff from there. Her staff absorbs health, which is really only useful if you buff the staff to equal the damage of regular weapons. Restore is interesting but highly situational if the opponent doesn’t have stat negating abilities. Healing everyone with the special attack is also situational. A +2 buff to two stats isn’t anything to write home about. It’s just a mess. Granted, not pictured is a Drive Def skill, but even then it’s mostly good for passing off onto others. 0/10, would not want to summon.
Here we go, into the strange clones. It’s like when Eirika showed up in the last Sacred Stones banner as a totally new unit all over again. Except this time she isn’t even radically different since our previous Olwen was also a mage cavalier. Blue last time to be fair, but in this iteration she simply gains a slightly bugged version of the Gronnblade tome. I already have a +10 merged Gronnblade Cecilia, game. I don’t need a new one. Even if she does come with Swift Sparrow, which is a decent ability to pass along. Next…
Despite being another clone, this Reinhardt offers something interesting for himself at the very least. Rather than being a buffed up brave blue tome using cavalier, now he’s a buffed up brave sword using cavalier. Because that makes sense in the lore I suppose? I like his weapon a lot, since it’s along the lines of Elincia’s Amiti sword but works offensively and defensively. Plus adding onto that with Death Blow and Vantage is fantastic. Just switch out Pavise for something, get a new C skill other than the Spur x2 and he’d be pretty useful. It’s just a shame that weapon of his can’t be passed on… Especially because of it’s fantastic name. Meisterschwert. That’s on par with Mystletainn honestly.
Oh yeah by the way, there’s also a lance cavalier named Finn lingering around in the story mode who seems like the great knight early game protector-archetype character. But he’s a Tempest Trial reward character for the future, so we don’t need to worry about him yet.
All-and-all I’m not super excited about any of these guys. Leif and Reinhardt take two are probably the best looking units in the bunch, but I won’t be clawing at the seams trying to summon them desperately with the last of my orb reserves.
I’m back up to 70 at this point following my female Grima debacle, so I’d like to keep storing up for a rainy day at this point.
It doesn’t help that Mia from the Radiant games decided to show up unannounced as a red five-star unit instead of the two aforementioned characters I wanted.
Even though there’s currently a banner running that features her as a focus unit.
But that’s a gripe for another day. Because new character update also means new story missions! So let’s jump into that.
So one thing I have to give props to for the team that designs Fire Emblem Heroes is the map design. Even though we’ve mostly moved away from maps that reference the original titles directly (outside of Paralogues of course), Nifl is still an interesting winter wonderland to see develop over time.
Plus the transition into the last map where most of the snow is melted away thanks to the flames of the enemy is particularly beautiful.
Unfortunately, losing out on referential maps also coincides with losing out on a lot of the referential character-driven dialogue. As much as I enjoy the overall story arc being woven, it would be nice to see the characters being added into the fray getting a little more time to shine.
But hey I haven’t even gotten into the overarching story, so why don’t we discuss that first.
Once again this chapter begins with a dream sequence.
That’s right, Gunnthrá is back again and ready to drop some exposition all up on us.
You just know that if a fairly plot important character shows up with secret knowledge about how to win a war and the intent to meet with your party soon following a multi-chapter build-up, everything is going to work out.
But hey, dream sequences are so overrated. We’ve gotta get back to where the actual real plot left off.
Feel caught up? Good, because that’s about all they give us to jump back into things. I suppose it does the job, and gives us more time to get into who these strange Thracia people are.
Except just kidding. They all get one or two lines and that’s it. Most of the missions have no plot, hurray!
Though to be fair, in this case I’m led to believe it’s 100 percent intentionally cast aside just to show how in-tuned they are with the Reinhardt memes.
Clearly magic isn’t everything.
Also for real support these Fire Emblem meme generators, they’re awesome.
But back on track, after dealing with a couple of mindless battles the Order of Heroes finally arrives at the temple they’re supposed to meet Gunnthrá in. Except- Oh no! Plot development!
Darn right it is, owl.
The story actually gets surprisingly dark and serious at this point kind of out of nowhere.
Yeah it looks like Surtr straight up set a trap by capturing Gunnthrá and tortured her (not that her in-game art changed to reflect that) trying to find out what the Order of Heroes is planning to do in order to stop him.
Except obviously nobody tells him what we’re planning, so he does the next best thing.
She’s dead, yo.
Yeah in a dark twist, someone actually dies in this mobile Fire Emblem game. A pseudo-main character no less.
I was totally caught off guard by this development honestly, how could they have done something of this caliber without totally telegraphing their plot thread ahead of-
Oh wait they totally did.
Yeah, the whole death scene as a whole was hinted at a bit too strongly for my tastes. Kind of too obvious to really be a good twist.
Though to be fair, the fact that they killed a main character is still rather impressive. Especially considering they let us summon her… Months ago. In a Legendary Hero banner. Because she’s a Legendary Hero.
Who is now suddenly dead in the canonical story without having done anything.
But we can still use her if we summoned her…
So how much bearing does the canonical story bear on the in-game mechanics then? Because I’ve always been under the impression that they’re fairly tightly linked due to the fact that heroes in Paralogue missions always mention they can join you in your main army.
Though more than just raising a strange existential in-game question, the fact that Gunnthrá was summonable months ago also brings up the question of why Fjorm needed to have a moment of emotional turmoil?
Like I get it your sister died, but did she really? I could go S-rank your relationship right now if I wanted. And if that wouldn’t be a total waste of stat buffs.
Also, evil laugh is evil. Just saying.
Except wait, plot twist take two. As suddenly as before, turns out she’s not really dead?
Darn right again, owl friend.
Except just kidding again, she totally is dead. We just needed hers back for two seconds to Deus Ex Machina a solution for killing the ultimate invincible bad guy.
Just like she also telegraphed in her dream sequence.
So you go to follow the light because the invincible evil general who planned the ultimate evil ruse in this chapter and killed a main character… Kind of just lets you escape.
All is good in the world and now your party has a new mission to complete this ancient ritual and gain the power to defeat Surtr and get revenge. Even though your mission was already about revenge because Nifl was being destroyed as is.
So same mission, different route to get there?
Or is it?!
Dun dun duuuuuuunnnn!
But for real, that’s about it for the plot.
I know I made fun of it a lot in this post, but let’s be honest it is a bit too obvious and contrived as a way to move the story along this time around. It’s serviceable, but just a bit disappointing for my tastes.
Also I’m expecting a revival Jesus-style in the near future. But if they keep Gunnthrá dead, I suppose I’ll be impressed by the balls it took to kill off someone integral in this kind of silly mobile game.
Despite the fact that I already ripped that decision apart for being a little nonsensical from a gameplay perspective.
Fire Emblem Heroes also had a new big update just the other day. Version 2.4.0 baby!
I feel kind of bad about skipping over it before thanks to my class/work schedule, so I wanted to just run down exactly what was added into the game in my continued effort to keep a running log of the Heroes evolution over time.
But I’m already at 2,100 words, so I’m going to summarize it all with screenshots.
Totally not because I’m just lazy.
There are a few cool things that were added into the game this time around.
More Grand Hero Battles being available on a regular basis is pretty dope, especially for someone like Berkut who sucks but I love as a character.
I don’t use any of the heroes that are getting weapon upgrades in this cycle, though I have a Roy who might get some use now that he has a better Binding Blade. Plus it’s cool that OG Ephraim and Hector can use the weapons their variants own.
I’ll probably delve more into Tempest Trial changes when the next Tempest Trial run arrives, since I haven’t done a post on the special game mode in a while.
Aesthetic changes like a scrolling banner are neat, though somewhat negligible.
SPECIAL ORB PROMO MORE LIKE SPECIAL GIVE US YOUR MONEY!
Let’s see how many times these deals force me to spend money on the game for good deals…
New game mode: Grand Conquests?
Whoa, mysterious new game mode time. I’m going to love talking about tha-
Oh. It’s just a tease at this point. So I literally don’t have a lot to say yet.
Alright, guess that will be a post for another day.
With that, we come to the end of the line once again.
Obviously there was a lot to tackle here between the new characters and the overall Version 2.4.0 update. I didn’t even get into the recent Feh Channel that I still haven’t watched… But considering what they talked about there is likely coming out with all of these updates, I’ll just let it slide.
However, speaking personally, I think there’s one major takeaway from everything that happened here today:
I’m going to abuse the hell out of this. Get ready, world.
How do you all feel about the new Thracia heroes? Or the fact that half of them are just rehashed versions of heroes we already have?
Let me know in the comments down below!
Though if you’re more interested in other Heroes topics… Well… Just wait a few days. Seems like there’s some stuff coming down the pipeline.