Tag: Naruto Uzumaki

Late to the memorial

Late to the memorial

Naruto was probably my favorite anime growing up.

I first watched 1986’s Dragon Ball, and I distinctly remember doing silly things like watching an episode at my neighbor’s house when Mom wouldn’t let me at home.

Shout out to Norm and Sue, wherever they are now.

However, that show never stuck with me like Naruto. I had a particular love for Gaara as an antagonist-turned-ally, Kimimaro as a villain with incredible powers and Hinata.

Some might argue she was my first “cartoon crush,” but I believe she was more my introduction to a beloved character pairing in Hinata/Naruto. That was the start of my downward spiral toward shipping.

Yet I never watched Boruto, the sequel series where that love was vindicated by their marriage. I also never watched much Naruto Shippuden.

For whatever reason I stuck to the original series.

Though my fandom did live on in video games. Namely Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 3 on the PS2, Naruto Ninja Council 3 on the DS (which became the basis for my sprite animation magnum opus) and Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution on the Wii.

Also one non-official fan game that captured my imagination more than any other: Naruto-Arena.

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Image courtesy of the Naruto-Arena Fandom Wiki

Naruto-Arena was a browser-based strategy game with three-on-three battles using ninja from across Naruto’s expansive history.

Each ninja had four moves that required different amounts of colored “chakra” energy, some of which were physical, ranged or simply granted invulnerability.

A few colored energies were accrued every turn, which meant the game played out with turn-based thought games like early Final Fantasy. It was important to track cool downs and lingering effects.

It’s funny how much the system reminds me of the upcoming Pokémon Masters.

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:

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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.

And in its place I found this notice on reddit about the game having shut down.

That… Actually hit me pretty hard.

The game was a relic of my childhood. I’m not naive enough to think it could have lasted forever, but it’s sad that I wasn’t cognizant of its death for so long.

However, being a year late does put me in an interesting position.

The reddit dedicated to Naruto-Arena is alive and well because of fan projects looking to replicate that original fan project.

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Check it out here!

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:

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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.

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This remake replicates the way lingering technique effects stack beside each character, and the way your overall ranking changes their portrait’s accessories.

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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:

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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.

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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.


Featured Image courtesy of Afnecors via Wikimedia Commons

Literal filler with room filler

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.

If you happened to be curious how my room wound up looking after I spent all of yesterday cleaning, then this might just be the filler content for you!

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:

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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:

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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:

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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.

What did I just find?

What did I just find?

Oh yeah, I’m clickbaiting all you social media folks today.

It’ll be worth it. I promise.

After an interview fell through this afternoon, in order to not be a complete bum for the day I decided to finally put my full energy into another New Year tradition that I’ve been half-assing for a little while now:

Cleaning my room.

I’ve done an entire post about the subject in the past, and to be honest the overall appearance of the room hasn’t changed much since then.

It will sometime soon when I finally get this new computer together and put in a proper spot, but for now you can get the gist of things from that other post. All the decor is mostly the same.

Arguably the most notable thing I had originally wanted to talk about with this post was how nice it feels to finally clear off a usually cluttered surface.

Because just look at this:

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Especially with the new calendar, it’s looking pretty slick.

At least until you turn around and look at where all the stuff wound up…

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Slightly less slick.

Though I’ll admit it’s also satisfying to remind myself how much I usually put up without it looking too busy.

However, if you’re keen on picking up context clues with blog post headlines, featured images and past tense language in text, you know that I wound up finding something completely different to talk about.

Something much more whacky and interesting.

Hidden away behind my bookshelf in an unopened plastic casing was this astounding poster:

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You may be wondering why I decided to just put up a picture of the woman’s face instead of the full image for my Featured Image, and to be fair it’s 99 percent just to be funny clickbait.

But it’s also because that was genuinely my reaction when I first unraveled this thing.

Now you can’t just dig up something this bizarre and not try to do a little bit of research into it.

As the corner of the poster suggests, this was a promotional poster for “Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution,” a 2014 game released on the most notable last gen consoles besides the Wii U.

I never played the game, and in fact I don’t think I’d even heard of it until right now.

So where the hell did this poster come from?

Well, according to this Reddit post I found from way back in the day, it was a promotional item given out at GameStop for pre-ordering Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution.

But after a while, employees just started to give them away with anything. I must have picked it up alongside some totally different game and forgot about it.

I shared this rare finding with my friends and together we did a bit more fun elaboration into it. For instance, my friend Nina (who lives in Japan and is studying to be a translator) gave us a bit of insight into exactly what it says:

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Knowing this is basically like a cheesy B-movie poster is kind of fascinating, honestly.

Then my friend Jonathan went out to YouTube and found us some footage of Mecha Naruto in action.

It’s uhh…

It’s something else.

Probably the most beautiful nightmare fuel I’ve seen in a long time.

Just look at his ultimate jutsu. I’m dumbfounded staring at such a glorious spectacle and frankly want to go thank anyone who was involved in the executive decision to include it in the game.

It’s just that good.

I’m absolutely putting this up on my wall tonight. Probably right up next to my Mega Diancie poster.

Gotta fit that call to action in here somewhere, so let me know what kind of weird stuff you’ve found while cleaning up around the house! This is probably one of the more strange things I’ve ever dug up, so I’d be curious to know if any of you have some similarly unexpected items hiding away.

My Magnum Opus

My Magnum Opus

Ever since I booted up my old desktop Mac a few weeks back, I’ve written a few posts about some of the goodies I pulled out of it.

My personal favorite so far regarded the Super Smash Bros. wallpapers, which I tried to coincide with the release of Smash Ultimate.

Then I wrote about Armagetron Advanced, a game I really loved playing back in the day.

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.

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True.

Comedy.

Gotta love those old Memebase pulls.

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:

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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.

True story.

Not only was there a “fan animation” based on Naruto, it was made in the primitive programming language animator Scratch.

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:

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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…

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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:

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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:

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In iMovie, naturally.

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:

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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.

Now if only I had finished the damn thing.