Learning Japanese through Manga

With anime convention season almost around the corner, why not brush up on your foreign language skills? In this post we take a look at easy to read Japanese manga that will help boost vocabulary comprehension (kanji, katakana, and hiragana), grammar, and cultural understanding all from the comfort of your own home.

The warm rays of spring are almost upon us in America which means one thing: convention season is almost here!

Whether you’ve been neglecting your studies or have yet begun, this is a post for anyone who would like to study and improve their Japanese using manga. This takes into account that you have already taken formal classes while learning grammatical rules, the three writing systems of hiragana, katakana and kanji, and have the ability to formulate basic sentences.

If anybody is interested, I can make a post on textbooks and supplementary material recommended for beginners at a later date. Just let me know here or via social media (Twitter, Reddit, IG).

So, we’re looking at five books today and although it may seem overwhelming, I’ll show you how they tie into one another.

In one of my first posts on In Asian Spaces, I talked about religiously reading a manga after finishing an anime series I enjoyed. Or vice-versa.

One of my absolute all-time favorite manga series isAku no Hana [惡の華], or The Flowers of Evil by Oshimi Shuuzo. The work explores themes of deviance, isolation and mental illness surrounding a remote mountainous town in Japan. The characters would all eventually like to “go beyond the mountain” and escape the monotonous daily life of being surrounded by judgmental, close-minded individuals.

I first read the manga while it was still ongoing in 2009 – 2014 and then watched the (unjustly poorly rated) rotoscoped anime adaption in 2013.

In current news, there appears to be a live-action film in the works scheduled to premiere this fall that I’ll eventually have to watch.

Anyway, I go to my local Kinokuniya to purchase the manga in Japanese for a re-read with the show fresh in my mind. I’ve found that it’s easier that way since if you do stumble upon an unknown kanji, the context of the situation is still comprehensible.

Luckily, Aku no Hana uses furigana, or kana by kanji to indicate pronunciation. This is the first book we’ll examine.

The primary focus in this work is Kasuga Takao and Nakamura Sawa, both middle school students. Because of this, a high usage of informal, childish speech can be found coupled with advanced words related to school coursework and studies.

When reading a chapter, I like to circle a word in pencil that I do not understand. I continue on, but then come back after finishing to see if it makes sense. If I am still stuck, there are two options: either ignore it and keep going, or look the word up using a service.

Luckily in the digital age it is fairly simple to open the google translate app and snap a picture to find out what the word means. You could then input the word into an online dictionary such as Jisho and discern its meaning, see it used within a sentence and even learn the stroke order to practice writing.

Using a spaced repetition method, write the word down at least five times while saying it aloud along with its meaning. A sheet of notebook paper would be fine for this, but if you’d like to get fancy and are serious about your studies look for something called “Kanji Practice Sheets”. These are used in classroom settings to learn the writing systems or for personal study use.

Googling this phrase, you can find PDFs to download for free or you can even make your own. Simply go to the dollar store and purchase unlined paper, a ruler and bam – you have practice sheets! Or if large graph paper booklets are available in an office supply store near your home, that would be even better.

I don’t know what it is, but I just find the official practice sheets for sale often have inflated prices way beyond their usefulness. But, that’s just me.

Aku no Hana and 600 Basic Japanese Verbs

One more option for learning kanji and building vocabulary would be investing in a study aid. I purchased 600 Basic Japanese Verbs almost two years ago in anticipation of the December JLPT. I am a terrible test taker, and since I learned Mandarin before studying Japanese I have a tendency to mix up the meaning of kanji characters.

This book is really useful for learning all forms of a verb to truly grasp its usage in written and spoken common speech.

You’re probably wondering where the other books come in, right?

Aku no Hana and Japanese the Manga Way

In the photo, Saeki-san’s friend asks:

“ねー奈々子聞いて聞いて!”

「“ねーななこきいてきいて!”」

“ん?”

 “Hey Nanako – did you hear? Did you hear what happened?”

 “Huh?” or “No, not yet” could be her interpreted response.

Japanese the Manga Way is great at filling in the gaps that come with Japan’s honorific/hierarchy system from the perspective of an informed outsider. Males speak differently than females, adults differently than children, etc. This book highlights and focuses on patterns of informal speech that would be used by say, our middle school characters in The Flowers of Evil. Japanese the Manga Way also explains situational differences and gives examples of when informal usage would be acceptable, or solutions of polite speech to use instead.

This book also acts as a great aid for manga that heavily uses katakana, or the Japanese writing system primarily used for foreign words. Shirokuma Café [しろくまカフェ] or Polar Bear Café takes place in Canada.

Shirokuma Cafe Manga

The story follows a group of talking animals in a world that co-exists peacefully with humans. After watching the 2012 anime adaptation, it was great to revisit the world and learn the corresponding characters for Japanese homonyms and homophones.

It also helps that the characters are simply names of animals, so if you ever go to a Japanese zoo you’d be a wizard traversing the different habitats!

Kirby Manga

The last manga to mention is Kirby. I’ve never really played the games or seen the anime, but this was recommended to me when I first started reading J-manga. I’ll be honest: all I know about the story is that a pink blobby creature has the power to inhale anything, and eats a lot of food.

(Kirby would also be the last survivor should an apocalypse ever happen, as evidenced by the last Super Smash Bros game storyline.)

The manga is simple to read, utilizes all of the writing systems referenced above and it just has a fun, silly story. It’s a stress-free read if you are just beginning your Japanese language journey.

So using these methods – should we call it the In Asian Spaces method? lol- you now know how to look up a new kanji, learn its stroke order, determine its contextual meaning, and how to learn all of the forms it can take during conjugation.

I may do a post that focuses on Netflix shows with colloquial Japanese and great apps you can download to keep your comprehension up to speed at a later date.

Hopefully someone found this information useful!

How do you learn Japanese with manga? What was your favorite Japanese book to read as a beginner? Do you have any recommendations to add to the list?

Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you! Also be sure to follow us for more language learning strategies and skills!

Piecing Detective Pikachu’s Plot Together Through Trailers

Is Detective Pikachu one of Harry Goodman’s experiments?

So…it has been quite a while since you all heard from me.

I am not one who actively follows the whole astrology craze or prescribes to it in their daily life. Yes, I know my astrological sign and occasionally will read a horoscope or two if it’s in front of me – but that is the extent. However, whatever has been going on this entire month of February has knocked me for a loop. I don’t know what was in retrograde or fully understand what ‘pieces season’ is despite googling it, but I do know that I am feeling better now today. So, let’s get to writing!

Two nights ago I went online for the first time in a while and realized the Detective Pikachu Trailer 2 had dropped. I wanted to watch, but literally fell sick so decided to go to bed.

Last night, I found out it was Pokemon Day but still hadn’t watched the trailer. Today it’s bright, early, and I would like to hear Ryan Reynolds’ Pikachu say hell.

And…this trailer did not disappoint.

Harry Goodman’s Ryme City Office Location

We get the backstory on Detective Pikachu and find out that his trainer is a man named Harry Goodman. Det. Pika seemingly woke up in the middle of nowhere with no knowledge of what happened prior. With no other leads, he returns to Ryme City, following the address written in his hat.

Now here’s the twist: Harry Goodman is Tim Goodman’s father, the kid we see in the trailers. I never went this deep in my first write-up concerning the film (because, life-like Pokémon), but now we have much more information to work with.

So in essence, Tim is looking for his missing father, and Det. Pika is looking for his trainer. They are both looking for the same person! Applause for Wikipedia coming through with some basic production information and names to put two and two together! I also cross-checked this information with other outlets such as IMDb to make sure it wasn’t a troll.

Wikipedia Entry for Detective Pikachu Cast

Also, forgive me if this is now common knowledge. I just got really excited that I found some interesting stuff in the trailer.

Jumping back to the first trailer we see Tim speaking to Detective Yoshida about his failed dreams and living in the shadow of his ace dad. He then goes home to lament and stare longingly at a Sinnoh Championship XXIV poster hanging above his bed.

Photo of Ms. Goodman and Tournament Posters

Interestingly enough, there is a photo of Ms. Goodman on his dresser, along with (presumed) past championship posters on his wall that Tim either never entered, or lost. A giant Rayquaza is snaking along these relics of the past – could this be a hint at a Pokémon he once trained?

Pikachu Ears Headboard

Then there is the issue of Pikachu ears serving as a headboard on Tim’s bed. Did his father gift these to his young son who dreamed of being a trainer? If so, why did Tim not know about Det. Pika? Did his father have some sort of secret job at a laboratory, hence the Mewtwo reference in the second trailer?

Harry Goodman’s Car Struck by a Hyper Beam Attack?

Because that car was definitely hit with some sort of hyper beam attack from the air.

Goodman After Bridge Attack

We are shown a laboratory explosion, Flareon doing…whatever Flareon was doing in that scene flanked by statues of Legendary Pokémon Palkia and Diagla, and Mewtwo’s hands grasping the outside of his containment pod.

Lab Explosion

Pikachu even mentions in voice over that maybe “Harry might have gotten in too deep” while we are shown the spy “punk” girl during that sequence.

The Super Secret Laboratory with a White Dome in a Desert

Or maybe his dad worked for an agency and went undercover to infiltrate Team Rocket and had to fake his own death in order to get Giovanni off his trail?

There are A TON of possibilities here.

We also know Tim’s in his early twenties due to a birthday card that contained the Ryme City ticket. It starts out saying “Dear Tim” and we cannot decipher who sent it…but we can guess it was one of his parents.

Tim Goodman’s 21st Birthday Card
A Really Expensive Ryme City Rail Ticket

Aside from paying an absurd $400 bucks for the ticket, the ending destination is Ryme City…so Tim’s childhood home is in LeavenTown.

Which means Tim must use this train ticket to travel to the City and search for clues when he runs into Det. Pika after his arduous journey back to the urban oasis.

Tim Riding the City Rail and Being Accosted by an Uncomfortably Fleshy Lickitung?

Upon the pair’s initial meeting, Pikachu mentions he’s been “so lonely” suggesting he once had a companion to speak with…again most likely Tim’s enigma father.

What ifHarry Goodman created the Detective Pikachu we see today? Pikachu was an experiment from the lab and Tim had never met him because his father wanted to keep it a secret? Maybe Dodgy Harry did something concerning his DNA and his son can also speak to the creature because they are of the same bloodline?

The Charzard battle we see could be a tournament the pair agreed to enter while trying to flush out leads on the whereabouts of DH.

Mr. Mime is most likely also one of the duos leads.

Angry Aipom seems to be hanging out in the same setting as the office.

And Mewtwo dramatically crashes a parade.

I also screenshotted a few funny memes to insert before writing this post, as I didn’t expect it to turn into a full trailer reaction and breakdown.

This movie is shaping up to be a real experience, and I am excited for the early release date of May 10th, 2019.

Is Harry Goodman based on Pokémon Researcher Bill? Why are the Greninja in the trailer so hostile? What is Mewtwo’s ultimate goal?

Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you! Also be sure to follow us for more Pokémon news and updates!

For the MEMEs.

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Diversity Starts From The Top

This is something I wrote that I intended to add onto The Dragon Prince review, but it no longer fit so I’ll post it here on its own.

While it’s no secret that high fantasy and Sci-Fi are entrenched in the densest forms of whiteness, this has always confused me.

In my own personal outlook, fantasy to me is an interpretation of the past (in various distances), while Sci-Fi is an outlook towards the future.

And all some people can see is…the same tired structures of whiteness?

This is severely off topic, but it’s a memory that surfaced while writing so I’d like to talk about it. In college, there was this real SOB of a professor that literally everyone in the course disliked. A few even decided to wisely transfer out within the first week of the class and switch to another. I didn’t, opting to sit towards the back and not say much.

He had a few supporters, but all of that changed quickly when we had a particular assignment. In groups, we had to pitch a film and try to sell it. Since I decided to get my producing minor credits out of the way all in one go, almost every course I was enrolled in that semester was doing the same – so it was boring to say the least at this point. The only male in the group was coincidentally already working on a project, so we just pitched that and raked in an easy A.

After that segment was over, the professor allowed us to ask any questions we had. I don’t remember the question a fellow classmate asked, but I do remember our instructor’s response.

Pertaining to independent film he advised the students not to bother making “black films or anything ethnic, as they don’t do well overseas.” Needless to say, he didn’t catch the atmosphere in the room change – and continued drooling the purest forms of ignorance out of his mouth.

Continuing that “those films” rarely make money and are simply a waste of time, and it was better to stick to “tried and true methods” aka – white films with all white casts.

He’d left early that day after lecture, and I remember everyone just hung around looking at each other and spoke in hushed voices. It was too late to switch out now so nothing could really be done. There was no point in reporting him – he used to be one of Hollywood’s top producers.

I’m sure if you heard projects he worked on you’d recognize the multi-million dollar box office hits. So for the most part, everyone kept their mouth shut about it and just had a general disdain. There were some who really enjoyed his ideologies and kissed up for industry connections – the male who was in my group being one. Last I heard, they had made the film and things are going well for him.

Needless to say, I believe this is why Hollywood and the movie theatre industry are dying as a whole. They refuse to adapt and release their toxic ideologies of racism, imperialism, and general tyranny. Instead of fighting against tides that you cannot swim in, many have opted to go the indie route – myself included.

If you can envision a story that needs to be told, who better than you to create it? It is the harder route but more rewarding in the long run. You’re not begging powerful individuals for funding in exchange for producing credits, then, in turn, having the audacity to be surprised when they think they own your film and can dictate every minuscule and minute detail to fit their narrative or agenda.

Its things like this that lead to a piss poor portrayal of cultural diversity in the media and its further outlets.

This sort of mindset however seems to thrive anywhere there is power. This extends to any given industry that has gone mainstream, anime included. One last story before I finish up this article.

I was working an event, and the crème de la crème of the American – Japanese publishing industry were in attendance. I noticed for a while that when it comes to Japanese culture, anime, etc. – it is very hard to be “let in” to these circles.

And once you’re in, it’s just one big circle jerk to please the next person due to the personalities this line of work tends to attract.

Anyway, I had always wondered why it was the same people at the same exact events and the same exact companies. Japanese business model of 過労死 (karoshi, or working until you die) aside, from my observations people really did not leave their positions unless they were promoted or well…died.

There was a networking hour, and as soon as I was off the clock I decided to speak to the only person in the group who was not outwardly nasty to me earlier.

I’ve encountered a lot of unpleasant people who have treated me unfairly unprovoked. I’ve never known if it was due to my skin color or feelings of inferiority. Judging by the amount I’ve been talked down to, I tend to favor the latter – but that could be my own arrogance talking.

Which don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret any of the experiences I’ve had. More often than not I’ve met very kind people who I never dreamed I would. The common pattern I speak of always came from the subordinates or those insecure about their positions or station in life.

[Which btw, if you want to know how to deal with these types of people there are two options: be nice and play coy, or act as pretentious as possible. In other words, talk down to them back, act disinterested in anything they have to say and bring in your well-developed poker face. They will be caught off guard most of the time and wonder why you are not recognizing their self-importance and suddenly – you become the most interesting thing in the world. This always works well on the haughty wealthy folk, overbearing celebrities, politicians or any situation where ego is involved. It’s just a little something I picked up going to school with rich kids and finding myself in…foreign spaces lol.]

Anyway, I chatted him up (he happened to work for my favorite publisher at the time) and decided to casually ask if they were hiring. I was working at one cultural hub so to speak, and it would be poor taste to just jump ship for another one so it was mainly out of curiosity.

Japanese office ladies and salary men are some of the fiercest gossipers I’ve ever met and I say this with as much kindness as possible. If I left for another company like that (provided they even let me in) the reputation of ‘disloyalty’ would no doubt follow me.

After asking, he laughed in my face and said that they did not hire. Provided he was tipsy on libations I didn’t take the laugh as something malicious.

Writing this, I also realize just how desensitized I’ve become regarding my interpersonal reactions.

I then pushed my luck even further, inquiring why his company head had given this grand speech about “following your dreams” and that with enough practice and studying of Japanese language and culture, you could be where he was? Why did he get all of those teenagers and young adults – some decked out wearing anime merchandise like licensed T-shirts and official gear from said company – excited and accept their applications after the presentation when he had no intention of even looking at them?

He just shrugged, looked over my shoulder and seen a friend (I’m assuming, I honestly just took the hint) and walked away. I think that was the first time I realized that in every industry, there is a bunch of bullshit.

At a certain point, you have to wonder – when does it all become too much? When are you tired? What goal were you originally working toward?

People leave industries all the time after they grow disillusioned or grow too tired, and decide to mentor or start their own production studios.

About two years after that incident with the professor I mentioned, one morning after I had already graduated he was on the morning news. He was now basically at the top in that department, overseeing admissions of the incoming classes and dictating courses.

On the news he was being awarded and he gave this grandiose speech about “the importance of diversity” and how “minorities needed their own unique voice in Hollywood”. Beside him was a young girl, his ‘mentoree’, beaming and idolizing him as if he were some god.

I swear to you I would have spit on my TV if I could. Instead I called him a motherf*cker and walked away cursing while my mom asked in confusion what was wrong. I didn’t even explain, I just laughed.

This world is amazing.

It’s something, how these powerful people decide to take a different route and seemingly downgrade their life. There are those who really do mean well, but there are even more like this professor – who has decided to spread his ilk from the top to the bottom to the next generation of eager, bright-eyed filmmakers.

I’m turning this review into something else, so that’s all I’ll say on this matter. I applaud The Dragon Prince for reflecting the diversity of our world and normalizing differences. People of color in power, members of the deaf community in positions of power, blended families that don’t hate one another, all wrapped together in an epic storytelling that seeks to restore balance back to their world. I applaud it, and I’d like to leave this article with a video clip that I often think about. It may seem random, but it’s Dave Chappelle speaking on Hollywood and knowing your price. This is a topic often spoken of in cryptic language – or doublespeak- as I have just used.

But it’s important and I’m glad he said it. The more beautiful the image of an entity, the more insidious its underbelly really is.

I’d also encourage you all to watch Misaeng: Incomplete Life. I did a review on it and eagerly look forward to its second season. It focuses on corporate culture at one of South Korea’s top companies, and shows the psychological and emotional effects of a toxic workplace.

Have you ever encountered something unfortunate in your workplace? Can you really separate society and culture? What would you like to see changed about media?

Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you! Also be sure to follow our blog and other social media such as Twitter and Instagram!

The Hero’s Journey in Animation

I’d been meaning to watch this for a while now. I should have had this review completed back when The Dragon Prince came to AFNYCC, but alas – sometimes the things we intend are just not so.

When I heard that season two would premiere on Netflix February 15th, I knew I had to get at it.

And boy, it did not disappoint.

The Dragon Prince takes place in the far off lands of Xadia, where magic rules within six primordial sources. Or at least, it did until one human eons ago decided to create a new energy source: dark magic. The mage gone rogue is implied to have ruined the natural balance for all, causing the Elven citizens along with other magical folks to split the kingdom.

In the latest schism, the dragon guardian of the border had its heir murdered. As this creature only hatches once every thousand years, the magical kingdom seeks revenge on the human king and his heir – Ezran.

This is where our story begins.

Let me just say that the Avatar: the Last Airbender nostalgia hit me hard. I’ve been meaning to rewatch that series, especially with the oddly timed announcement of the live-action Netflix adaptation. I don’t want to make too many comparisons to the show because it is its own separate entity, but seeing Claudia reading “Love Amongst the Dragons” in episode one really gave me a good laugh.

For those of you who don’t remember, Prince Zuko’s mother, Ursa, enjoyed taking her family to see the Ember Island Player’s rendition each year when he was young. According to Zuko, they always botched it.

Aside from ATLA head writer Aaron Ehasz creating and producing the show, we also have Jack De Sena (ATLA’s voice of Sokka) playing Ezran’s half-brother, Callum. Director Giancarlo Volpe is also on the executive production team.

Taken from Tumblr User kaf-kaf-kaf

Arron Ehasz and his wife Elizabeth Welch Ehasz were arguably the driving force behind the ideas that lead to what made ATLA so memorable. A feminist Katara who had a strong sense of justice, a strong-willed Toph who could take on any foe and ( was arguably) stronger because she was blind. An emotionally complex Prince Zuko, and a Princess Azula who was the prodigal younger sibling instead of a male brother.

“10-Year Anniversary” Interview with Newsweek, 07/19/2018
“10-Year Anniversary” Interview with Newsweek, 07/19/2018

The married duo just may have saved the show from being one-dimensional characters with no depth…or whatever it is the characters devolve to in the graphic novels.

On ATLA’s future, IGN 06/09/2007

Sadly, team Ehasz did not join the production team for The Legend of Korra. I will not solely blame Bryke for the low favorability of that sequel series as Nickelodeon played a huge part. I will say, that they were allegedly talked out of the Aang – Katara – Male Toph love triangle in the first series and without surmountable opposition, we got the horrible Asami – Mako – Korra nonsense for at least three books in LOK.

But, enough about that. Let’s go back to the human kingdom of Katolis.

The show seems to be following the Hero’s Journey formula along with its TV Tropes.  I wonder if they will diverge from this in season two.

Let me explain:

Popularly coined by Joseph Campbell, The Ten-Phase Formula of the Hero’s Journey is something most fantasy epics follow. Lord of the Rings is one series that comes to mind. Harry Potter is another contemporary example of this. Anything that features an orphan is also a typical archetype in this genre.

I am not going to delve too deeply into the exploration of these themes since with my writing style, we’d be here all day. Instead, I am just going to point out what I consider as interpretations of these stages, or passages.

The 10 stages can be interpreted as followed:

I. Beginning and Breach

This is an introduction of the world. In the shows first few minutes, the world’s current issues and history (war with Xadia, dark magic) are explained. The breach serves as a catalyst of current events: so the “death” of the dragon egg, of the Dragon Queen, and the old world’s status quo. All of this causing the moonshadow elves to seek immediate revenge.

II. Departure

With the death or departure of the old world’s status quo (the dragon and its heir, King Harrow’s rule) there is a departure, or journey of the hero to reestablish homeostasis. The young Princes Callum and Ezran are forced to leave their home in an attempt to not be completely overtaken by the new order – i.e. die. In this stage magic is introduced to the core plot of the story, hinting at a new beginning or metamorphosis. Rayla joins the group and proceeds to tell stories of Xadia, Callum learns he is a mage and capable of sorcery.

III. Outerspace or the Forest

The journey into another realm or state that has laws and regulations foreign to the old world. I will view this interpretation a bit more loosely, as the trio travels by land and by river. River or water symbolism in general aside (a source of life, rebirth and constant motion in itself) Rayla has not traveled much by water and dislikes it. She also has to play the villain at the winter lodge in the woods. This begins her proverbial journey of becoming the “embodiment” of the “villain” or “outsider” which in turn, makes it easier for her to adapt to Katolis’ customs and perceptions when later entering the other human kingdom’s village.

Rayla adjusts to the human mode of transport, and upon seeing it was not difficult allows herself to boldly “blend in” once more. The boys likewise learn the propaganda at play surrounding the magical residents of Xadia and how to travel through the forest and hike up mountains. They learn to traverse in the forest as Rayla has. They also leave their human food – bread – behind, which besides the tracking plot point for Viren’s kids (or the assassin), leaves Ezran and Callum open to tasting food native to Rayla’s nation.

IV. Secret Society

The descent up the creepy mountain. This is the hero’s entrance into the otherworld, where mythic and primordial beings of cosmic balance reside. A place similar to ATLA’s spirit world, with figures that have “a shadowy look, ghostly ability to disappear and reappear across space, magic powers”. Think of the imaginary spider that leapt across time and space. The Dune-esque creature that drains blood from its victims. Rayla’s vision or hallucination of the mummified corpse speaking.

“The secret societies are the gatekeepers of the mysterious world, ensuring that the undeserving doesn’t pass.”

On the mountain underneath the tree, we are able to meet Lujanne, the Elven illusionist who literally admits these psychological barriers are a way to keep the mountain safe from those who seek to do it harm. In order for the heroes to meet her, they have to go through trials and persevere to prove their intent.

“By trying and improvising, the hero must discover the language of communication with the groups of unknown beings.”

Ezran reveals that he is an empath and can communicate with animals and other beings. He realizes the illusion for the benefit of the group and helps them advance onward.

“If the hero passes all the tests, meet all the challenges, and solves all the riddles, he or she is accepted, hence gaining a temporary community…”

Lujanne tells the trio the conditions a dragon needs to hatch, and Callum is able to conjure them using the storm orb. Once Azymondias hatches, Rayla is “rewarded” by the mythic universe and freed from her bonds by her lands protector. I also find it interesting that the pact was made just before the full moon, and was released again under the moon in different circumstances.

V. Taboo and Violation

This phase relies heavily again on the “symbolic forest” but also can include mountains, which I’d like to focus on. Basically, let’s consider Claudia’s spell in the cave turned underground cavern basis for this explanation. As that can literally be considered her conducting dark magic in an underworld – or underground before climbing to the highest peak with Soren.

“Many barriers shield the path toward new knowledge, which must be protected. Falling into the wrong hands, it may damage the Homeworld.”

So, let’s talk about Mr. Evil McEvil pants, the dark sorcerer himself – Viren. From offering King Harrow an asp a la Cleopatra’s death, to sucking the life force out of magical butterflies, to stealing souls and imprisoning them in currency (is he collecting for Charon, who ferries the departed?), to sowing seeds of doubt through subtle manipulation of his children to pin them against one another…this dude is evil.

He even looks like an undead corpse after stealing Runaan’s soul. Maybe this denotes the price high leveled dark energy propagates? An unnatural balance of one’s spirit in a Voldemort horcrux sort of way; which is why the Xadians were so against it.

I’m all over the place currently writing for this site, trying to get my other (author) site off the ground, and working on books. Hopefully though, I can explore phases six through ten in another post and speculate on the story (and my headcanons) further before Season 2 premieres. The remaining phases are:

VI. Punishment/Abyss: Death and the Dragon

VII. Otherstate/Dream

VIII. Donation or Sacred Instruction

IX. Reward and Return

X. Incorporation and Bliss

This has been a lot of fun tonight, albeit me trying to cut down details due to a pre-desired length for this post. I also might post something tomorrow regarding thoughts on diversity and accurate portrayals of this world that I planned on adding to this post, but it didn’t flow well enough.

Also, if you hadn’t noticed, Rayla is my favorite character. From her lovely Scottish accent to her Naruto run, I find the moonshadow elf quite endearing. I am also super excited to see Xadia, which Rayla makes out to be quite beautiful. Hopefully for one reason or another, it hasn’t been destroyed or its entry been blocked by the time the trio visits. Or, there isn’t another conspiracy to make the dragon prince disappear on their end….either way, I will be tuning in to watch!

Do you also find yourself comparing The Dragon Prince to Avatar: The Last Airbender, or other shows like Voltron? What do you think General Amaya signed at her sister’s memorial? Did you find any of the show’s easter eggs? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you! Also be sure to follow us for more animated show reviews!

Book referenced and quoted: Fictional Worlds: Traditions in Narrative and the Age of Visual Culture by L.A. Alexander.

Introducing Honor Back to the Fandom

Avatar: The Last Airbender, everyone’s favorite show that Nickelodeon slowly killed (I’ll explain later) is getting a reboot on Netflix! I began having war flashbacks after reading a few succinate tweets, so I decided to dig a bit and pull up some of the fandom’s history and relationship with Nickelodeon.

So, this article has been sitting in my blogging folder since the live-action series production news was released. I thought a dozen times about publishing it, then my concerns for the fandom were quelled. Except…on Reddit.

Maybe a month ago now, I came across this article written by someone who clearly had never watched the show. Sure, it could have been an assigned topic they were unfamiliar with, but even reading a synopsis on the wiki would give you more information than whatever that article attempted to confer.

Hence, my posting of this article in its original form which has still aged pretty well given the number of updates and news we’ve received.

Before I begin, I would just like to point out that the irony is not lost on this older post. In it, I talked about New York Comic Con’s upcoming revival of their Anime Festival. I pointed out that production staff and even voice actors of the original ATLA series would be in attendance. Yes, this is to promote their new Netflix series, The Dragon Prince, but it also just felt like something was in the air.

After this news initially dropped, I’ve waited about two days for my emotions to settle. The good, the bad and the in-between all resurfaced with this development. Like Natsume Yuujinchou, Avatar: The Last Airbender is just one of my all-time favorite series. They both premiered around the same time frame as well, becoming a part of my collective for years now.

I also gave myself more time to try and find posts that I wanted to use to source some of the things I would like to cover. Sadly, because it has been so long, some of the accounts associated with them have been deleted. I specifically remember reading and learning certain things years ago, but without proof, it’s all null.

Early 2005, ATLA premiered on Nickelodeon. The show aired from February 21st 2005 to July 19th, 2008. It garnered love worldwide and strong fandoms formed on DeviantArt and Tumblr.

Adding to Tumblr’s prominence in the community, co-creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino joined the site with blogs. Production staff and show consultants like Sifu Kisu also held blogs, but other creatives have unfortunately deleted theirs years later.

There was a lot of controversy surrounding the Book 3 ending. This led to numerous comprehensive critiques concerning the show and even chatter speculating if there would be a Book 4.

Around this time gossip and leaked information from the writer’s room was rife. I am still in the process of confirming elements and tidbits that proved true to the outcome of the show’s story.

The Actual Story

ATLA was special because it depicted the horrors of war and colonialism. After discovering his destiny as The Avatar, Aang ran away as any twelve year old would do. While fleeing, the boy got caught in a storm and was encased in an iceberg. Fire Lord Sozin decided to expand the Nation’s reach and unfortunately, Aang had awoken with the realization that his people were gone.

Aang wakes up to a new world one century over with a brother and sister duo at his helm. Katara and Sokka are from the Southern Water Tribe, a small settlement in the South Pole that has been decimated by the Fire Nation. The Northern Water Tribe bolsters greater numbers and is more fortified. We visit this settlement later on in the series.

Katara is the last waterbender amongst her people, the rest kidnapped by the Fire Nation. There is also a looming secret surrounding her mother which I will not spoil here.

Her brother Sokka was a misogynistic jerk in earlier seasons and seemed to overcompensate for his lack of bending out of jealousy. Sokka also felt inadequate concerning his masculinity, since he was too young to participate in his culture’s rite of passage before the departure of his father and the other warriors of his tribe.

During the course of the series, Sokka grows more confident in his abilities. He even learns from a master and creates a nifty space sword from a fallen meteor! Sokka meets Suki during the gaang’s travels, the leader of a fierce group of women called the Kiyoshi Warriors. Suki has to knock Sokka on his ass a few times which in turn knocks some sense into him.

The gaang meets the blind bandit, Toph. She learned bending from badger moles who were blind just like her, sensing the vibrations in the earth to “see”. Later in the series Toph even invents a new form of bending!

Then there is honorable Prince Zuko, Princess Azula, and their Uncle Iroh. I won’t go into too much detail here, but Zuko is my favorite character from the series and he had the greatest redemption arc of all time. OF ALL TIME.

Not to mention all of the colorful characters the gaang meets – from fan clubs to bands of misfits in the woods to entering a literal police state that captured and brainwashed dissidents.  And that’s not even factoring in the spirit world shenanigans!

Asian Coding and Canon in Avatar: The Last Airbender

I don’t use Twitter much, but I happened to come across the ATLA live-action adaptation news there and Reddit simultaneously.

For some reason, many people didn’t see the problem with the racebending that went on in the film that shall not be named. I see this argument in the anime community a lot. It’s not related, but I just want to put it out there as I associate the two in my mind.

That which shall not be named…

In anime, if a character has a Japanese first and last name they are interpreted as Japanese, despite their “western” features. If the character has blonde hair, blue eyes, a foreign first name or a Japanese last name, they are usually haafu.

If they are a full-on gaijin best believe the anime will mention they are from England, Germany, Scandinavia, etc. at least five times each episode to hammer it home. Also, the ‘foreigner’ or gaijin will usually have terrible Japanese.

This argument also comes up a lot in the cosplay community. There is always someone offended at actual Japanese cosplaying anime characters believed to be ‘white’ based on appearance. It is always the same tired argument despite what year it is.

Just one more important point before I move on:
Avatar: The Last Airbender is NOT an anime.

There have been westerners making shows in the aesthetic as an anime in recent years, but for the most part anime are Japanese animations. ATLA is an American animated cartoon.

Not all cartoons are meant for children, despite a rather disturbing popular consensus. Animation is simply another medium of storytelling that can be aimed at any age group and/or demographic. It gives freedoms that traditional film, digital cinema, rotoscoping and CGI simply could not exhibit.

You wouldn’t put Dora the Explorer in the same category as The Legend of Korra now, would you? I mean if you would, it’d be pretty weird…please don’t.

Okay better example: The Simpsons, Futurama, even Disenchantment on Netflix. Shows with the same key production folks loosely involved. Clearly targeted at adults, but maybe because they are on different networks that association is not as strong as the ATLA/LOK series.

My pet peeves aside, to explain why the characters of Avatar: The Last Airbender are not ‘white ‘ but rather Asian-coded, we have to examine which cultures they are based on.

On the show’s use of Chinese characters and the movie that shall not be named

The show uses various schools of martial arts that make up the bending on the show. The showrunners would literally consult masters like Sifu Kisu for the best practices. There are Chinese characters written throughout the series. The show’s opening credits, along with “The Tales of Ba Sing Se” and “The Cave of Two Lovers” episodes for their heavy usage of Mandarin characters also immediately come to mind. Even Zuko’s Blue Spirit wanted poster had Chinese characters.

The Blue Spirit wanted poster

Imperial Japan is said to be the inspiration for the Fire Nation. China is generally the Earth Kingdom. Inuit tribes and culture are the Water Tribe, and Tibetan Monks are the Air Nation Nomads. Some characters even bear names inspired by their cultures and this carries over to the next series (i.e. Tenzin, Asami Sato, Mai, etc.).

This is off topic, but I can’t help but laugh every time I think of Asami Sato or Toph Beifong. There used to be this joke that they were the only characters rich enough to afford last names.

Unanswered Questions and Plot Points

From start to finish minor and major controversies surrounding the show. None sent fans into a fever pitch like these six words:

What happened to Zuko’s mother, Ursa?

This screenshot is rendering awkwardly but I need it to retain its readability…

A plotline that was never fulfilled in the main series, DiMartino wrote a post on his website about Nickelodeon not being interested “in doing animated TV movies”.  The creators pitched a movie surrounding “the search” for Zuko’s Mother, which later became a Dark Horse three part graphic novel. The 2013 post seems to have a broken link, but can be found in the archives of his website.

Given the history, I am excited but can’t help but feel a bit weary. I will be covering news concerning the shows development and full reviews when it does premiere, which I’m estimating could be late 2021 or even 2023 at the latest, as they are in the very early” stages of development.

I have cut a good portion of this article out as I need to research a few more leads first. When I have enough information, I will go further into some of the “unsolved mysteries” and urban legends in the fandom.

I know many people may not like this article, but it just had to be done for the fandom. I just didn’t like seeing long-term fans such as myself getting completely massacred by those who don’t know even a fraction of the full story of what went on while these series aired. I don’t claim to have all the answers, only the production crew and those involved would know the full story. But these are things I have known for years and like many fans, can’t seem to forget.

Have you been a fan of the series since the beginning? Do you read the graphic novels? Did I miss something that you would like to be added in the next post?

Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, we would love to hear from you! Also be sure to follow us on our website, Twitter and Reddit for more updates on this topic!

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A Rushed Story Always Fails the Viewer

A Tokyo Ghoul :re 2nd season review. I am not even going to lie, I felt like I was watching Naruto after the first few episodes.

Weeks ago, I spoke about Sui Ishida’s struggle to finish Tokyo Ghoul under the duress of external stresses. The anime industry is bad, and the manga industry is just an uncomfortable extension of that. It is hard enough to write and create a world to bring to life without suits and executives breathing down your neck. Especially if a serialization is scheduled to come out weekly, the stakes grow even higher. Mental toll aside, that amount of stress could really screw with your physical health and give ailments you didn’t even know were possible.

Because the author, or mangaka is now affected – so is the story.

I’m not really sure what happened regarding the anime adaptation’s development other than Studio Pierrot had produced the entire series with revolving directors. Tokyo Ghoul and Root A being Morita Shuuhei, TG:re being Watanabe Odahiro and the spin-off OVA’s TG Jack and Pinto were Shimada Souichi and Matsubayashi Tadahito, respectively.

So…what does this have to do with it?

Different directors have diverse styles and prefer to hire those who would be true to their vision.

There is a general fandom consensus that the original TG adaptation was spectacular, minute faults aside. When √A came around that good sentiment went to hell and the season was subsequently retconned from existence. Then we got :re, which was a jumbled, rushed mess from the start. The fact that we don’t know how to refer to the second half of this series or categorize it is a reflection of this. If season two never existed in Root A, then would :re be the spiritual successor? But that series was then split into two parts with twelve episodes each instead of just a regular twenty-four episode run. Is it a new season aside from itself? Or is it just Tokyo Ghoul 2nd Season as MyAnimeList categorizes it?

Aside from periodically looking up spoilers to any series without lessening the enjoyment of the show, I had already read fan summaries of everything cut out of each episode. Dozens of arcs squeezed into a twenty-four-minute time slot.

Characters came on screen, and almost five seconds later would be dead. Others would be flashed on screen with their ghoul name and ranking class. Sometimes I’d pause the video to head over to the wiki if I were interested enough, other times I’d just turn my brain off and wait until a segment I understood appeared.

I was particularly interested in I believe episode five, where Mado Akira, Touka, and Hinami had a heart to heart about how much of a monster Mado Kureo was. The Touka-Kaneki wedding was also something great to witness, even if the…er…’artistic’ sex scene lasted longer than the ceremony. There was also the cheap slideshow of reaction to what I guess was the after party? It was really vague concerning the timeline and why they were in ceremonial attire one moment and later in plain clothes still being cheered.

I had no clue but went along with it.

I also remember reading that the sex scene in the manga was implied shortly after Touka asked Kaneki if he was a virgin, but it was never shown. Maybe someone on the production team was a really big fan of the couple and wanted to do the ship justice? Or they were an uncontracted animator who came from Goblin Slayer and wanted to spice up the show with a bit of action for the male viewers.

Either way, they conveyed that the scene was of importance for Kaneki’s growth as a person.

After the remaining Anteiku crew and their associates have a degree of happiness, Mitsuki shows up to get his twisted revenge. Which was really a shame that such an interesting character was reduced to being mad senpai didn’t notice them. From what I read, I thought the transgender storyline was something unique that could have been explored in-depth to add more context to the angry slick-haired man trying to murder Touka like a Scooby Doo villain at every turn.

Which while I’m on the subject of bad villains, can I just point out the shift in animation from the first half of :re is so jarring I didn’t know who some of these people even were? I had no clue it was Kaneki in the first episode during my initial watch of the series. Urie Kuki looked completely different and if it weren’t for his…what…cheekbone moles? I would have no clue it was him. Yonebayashi Saiko turned into a complete loli after cutting her hair. Touka during her wedding looked like a character straight out of Princess Mononoke.

I’m not someone who nitpicks animation (especially since I have the artistic abilities of a baked potatoe) but it really took me out of what little immersion the show left viewers who hadn’t fully read the manga.

Despite all of this, I kept watching.

Until… the show turned into Naruto Shippuden with its use of clones, long-winded monologues, and speeches about friendship. I could no longer take it seriously and decided to completely turn my brain off and just withstand the watered down mediocre blink and you’ll miss it fight scenes.

So in the end, what was the point of this review?

I wanted to talk about what a shame it was that this show was rushed. That the manga was rushed to a finish. It was such a unique concept that has now been (arguably) copied in other works (such as Oshimi Shuuzo’s Happiness).

Tokyo Ghoul was unique and wonderful, full of tragedy, regret, and psychological analysis along with the commentary of our current world.  Then Gaia literally got in the way of this story with its own problems to prevent its full potential from being unleashed.

Aside from the anime adaptation, a large chunk of the viewer base who has not yet been lost by the terrible pacing of this installment will not venture on to the manga. They will not care to read the source material. They will not care about going to the Wiki, Reddit or any other online forums to find out what was cut out of the story. People will simply move on, with the impression that this mess was the author’s true intention. I love reading the manga after a series ends, but sadly I must admit I haven’t even waited for the show to end before writing this review. The final episode will air Christmas day and deciding I don’t want to witness the disappointment, I’ve decided to jot down my feelings two days beforehand. The show won’t magically improve in its last episode. I won’t leave the series with a warm fuzzy feeling inside, wondering what is to become of the characters. It will end on an anticlimactic, unsatisfying note.

Which is a complete tragedy.

Update: Touka and Kaneki’s kid Ichika is adorable but she still doesn’t redeem the series for me.

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When Art Imitating Life is Utterly Effective

Jesus Christ be praised! Kingdom Come Deliverance is the historical RPG you’ve been missing in your life.

I’ve always liked video games. When I was younger, I owned almost every game system there was. Sega, Nintendo, PS, Gameboy, Wii, etc. you name it – I had it. As I got older, however, things changed and I didn’t have as much leisure time for gaming. The last major system I purchased was a PlayStation 3 in 2010 during my senior year of high school. I know this because I found the receipt for the console recently while cleaning my room in anticipation for the New Year. I also brought a Nintendo 3DS in college to play Pokémon Sun and Animal Crossing: New Leaf but I don’t really count that as they just took the edge off while I was stressing during finals.

I’ve since not even touched that portable console.

The game I played most often was The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I’d actually wanted Bioshock Infinite, but the clerk at Game Stop talked me into purchasing a bundle. So I did.

I had watched most of the game in a walkthrough by TheRadBrad and stopped at a certain point because I wanted to try myself. This was also around the time he started cheesing his fanbase by uploading 10-15 minute videos to make more money from ads, so needless to say I was a bit put off by his new methods.

I played the first mission of the game and after a while got…bored. It was strange, I thought it would be the best thing since sliced bread but I just couldn’t care for it. I popped Skyrim into the PS3 and haven’t looked back since.

I am a HUGE fan of medieval historical fantasy. Or even historical realism. I adore period dramas and anything that features castles and kingdoms. I adore the A Song of Ice and Fire book series, relish watching shows like The Last Kingdom (which recently got renewed for Season 4!) and Downton Abbey (and its lot). I was sucked into the world and silently clucked to myself “damn it, Todd Howard got me again” each time I brought a new iteration of the game or a DLC that I really didn’t need but wanted and therefore – had to have.

Things had luckily changed for me in 2018, and I had the ability to not spend every single dime I earned on transportation, bills, and groceries and could indulge in small luxuries and hobbies after years of yearning. I purchased mainly books, or attended conventions, sometimes opting to buy tasty Japanese snacks or try a new restaurant. Other times I would just visit a new location for a day or explore a park I’d never been in. It had been lovely.

With the change of the weather I couldn’t go out much anymore comfortably, and decided to focus on buying a PS4 before the holidays ended; especially with the announcement of Kingdom Hearts 3 and multiple supporting trailers so we all collectively knew it wasn’t a fever dream onset by ten years of waiting for the ultimate greatness to come. I mean, yes the games have been still coming out but the story is so damn convoluted and no one had money to keep purchasing new systems just to play the newest installment in the series. Then there was the fact that the Final Mix games with actual content would not be released outside of Japan.

Then it was decided to release the FM games in some sort of shady attempt to grab more money from the fandom starved of any new and tangible information to the main story or its characters. I own Chain of Memories on the Gameboy Advance SP. To eat away at my feelings of inadequacy, I also purchased some of the manga for the series at Barnes and Noble and read those instead of pinning after games I knew I would never play. I did end up buying the Final Mixes when they were released for the US, but the experience felt cheapened, somehow.

Around Black Friday (which is the huge discounted sale day after Thanksgiving for those of you outside of the US) retailers and outlets began advertising the PS4 Slim for a slashed price. At first, it was just supposed to be Target, but other retailers did it early than expected and I went insane. I didn’t have another paycheck coming that soon and frantically called stores to see if they could hold the rapidly selling out product. I even kept tabs on websites and would get sad when I refreshed and seen the dreaded “out of stock” listed below the PlayStation.

Eventually, I woke up super early one morning when I did have money and ordered it on Walmart’s website. I went back to bed for a few hours and checked again after waking to see that it was sold out. On Black Friday, the system was delivered and I felt like I was back in the age of technology. I set it up and the first thing I did was open Netflix to watch season 3 of Frontier with my mom.

I missed the option to buy Assassins Creed: Odyssey on sale, so I opted to purchase The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition (I know, I know – but this one had mods! Albeit not as many as Microsoft or PC because Sony enjoys sucking the fun out of everything…but mods! And dynamic lighting! Yeah!) and a medieval RPG I still wanted despite all of the questionable things I’d heard – Kingdom Come Deliverance.

Jesus Christ be praised!

Obviously, not Jesus Christ.

I fell so far into the Holy Roman Empire’s Bohemia it is not even funny. After the holiday I had a health scare and wasn’t able to do much each day. I would get up, crack open my laptop and write a few things and then shut it and go back to my room to lie down. After a week of this, I decided to play the game instead of starting another Skyrim file that would take up all of my time.

And it was amazing.

I spend from morning into the late night running around the in-game town doing errands, reading the codex and learning everything I could about this completely immersive world. Then after a few days – I realized I was still in the prologue. I stayed up one night, drinking water and eating dates, and powered through the prologue to fully experience what the open world had to offer. I was neglecting my website and other writing duties, but as I still hadn’t felt well I let myself just enjoy something for once.

I loved how realistic the game was. Meaning, I couldn’t half ass anything.

I’ll be honest, my Henry of Skalitz was an absolute loser in the beginning. I couldn’t ride a horse to run away from enemies, I couldn’t jog to a new quest without running out of stamina, holding a sword? Lol forget about it. It infuriated me when the horse would get stuck in the tiniest of streams because I couldn’t handle it well. Or that I couldn’t pick a lock or even knock out an enemy. I had no armour and the enemies that did would rightfully kick my ass. Only I couldn’t black out, because that meant losing progress because I couldn’t afford to purchase Savior Schnapps and I was nowhere near one of the games various automatic save points in the story. I couldn’t read to even brew the potion for this alcoholic drink, and since I didn’t have money for a bath I was dirty and no one wanted to talk to me.

Warhorse Studios really went there. And they went there all the way.

It made you commit to the story and turning the son of a blacksmith into someone who could at least handle a sword. Ride a horse. Afford food for breakfast so he didn’t starve. Someone who had a place to sleep at night.

Slowly, but surely, young Henry made his way through the world. He made friends, learned skills, and the story progressed in a way that felt natural. No one gives a shit about you in the beginning. There is no sympathetic character who tries to help you out of the goodness of their hearts. Well, I take that back. There is Lady Stephanie, Sir Divish’s wife but she seemed to have…a lack of heirs and…ahem…other motives for her kindness.

But everyone else wants something, and you either have to trade or compromise. Or if you’re like me, woo them with your fancy speech options and book-learning.

This game really made it for me when I kept failing this one questline over and over again for literal hours. “Getting Runt” was quickly becoming a pain and I was at my wit’s end. I couldn’t just eat blocks of cheese mid-battle or drink marigold concoction to heal my health – because that is not realistic. I couldn’t fix my armor mid-fight because at the time I attempted this I didn’t even have armor and I somehow thought that would be okay and that I wouldn’t get my skull cracked open and bleed out in a gutted old upper floor of a cathedral.

Why did I think I could best an enemy with more strength than me, a great set of armour and a nasty attitude towards life would easily go down because I was the hero?

The unremarkable hero that didn’t even have enough strength to wield a sword, didn’t possess knowledge of combos or even have two groschen to rub together and had been eating out of community pots up until this point to not faint and die.

Kingdom Come Deliverance takes your expectations of what an RPG is and turns it on its head. You would not magically possess and display the abilities you needed to survive in a life or death situation. You would simply just die. And no one would care, because you were not remarkable or well-known.

You would be mourned, but you’re not far enough into the storyline at this point to understand why. I’d just all be for nought.

After displaying clear signs of insanity, I decided to reload an earlier save before I even attempted this battle. I went to train with Sir Bernard, a man who will pumble you until you get the combos right. Until you learn the in-game battle system and its rules. Until you build up your strength, stamina, agility, warfare and general knowledge.

So I trained. I learned. I fought the bandits who jumped me for being foolish enough to travel at night and think I would be untouchable. I took their armour, selling some, fixing a lot more to wear. I purchased a sword, a Needle to stick them with the pointy end. I started saving up to buy a horse so I no longer had to travel on foot. I spoke to people, a lot of folks to improve my speech and unlocked new conversation options. I learned how to hunt, which helped Henry learn how to hold a bow. I traveled across the map, meeting new people and seeing friendships being formed.

Then I went back to that mission I was stuck on, poisoned my blade with bane and hit that big brute square in the face three good times and cued the cutscene that signaled the end of that mission. I just sat back and laughed, feeling accomplished for the first time in years while playing a video game.

I put in the work, and it paid off.

I was also now respected and taken seriously as Henry’s life began taking a turn for the better. The game truly started now, and I had a front seat to how I wanted to shape the world based on the skills I had to learn in real life. The combat system, the recipes for potions, and how to investigate a situation to end a quest without violence. Search around the actual world to find things to help the character of Henry out.

It was so rewarding. Truly.

Beating the game two days ago I just sat for a while and watched the credits roll. I completed the epilogue and then took to Reddit to find out if more story was to come, if there were DLCs or a third act planned. The newest DLC, Band of Bastards, will have the first mission streamed on WarHorse Studio’s Twitch account tomorrow on January 2nd. I’ll definitely be tuning in. Also, a well-placed Twitter photo seems to allude to more story to come concerning the cliffhanger we were left on, so I will be keeping tabs on that.

So where have I been this past December? I was stuck in Bohemia, turning a black smith’s son into a distinguished war veteran and private investigator. I was smiling like a fool, being damn proud of a bunch of 1s and zeros. All the while being thankful that there are so many different mediums available for storytelling and optimistic of what the future holds in the realm of technology.

Kingdom Come Deliverance is a good game. If you enjoy RPGs with historical context, be sure to give it a go and don’t be frustrated if at first, you do not succeed. Try, and improve your methods of approach. Only then can you attain mastery, when you keep trying at something despite failing over and over again. Hard work is what builds character, and this is what KCD has shown flawlessly.

Where to Find the Game: Steam PS4 Xbox

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