In lieu of a standard blog post (which the past week has rendered me far too tired to do justice), I’m just gonna kick out a list of some of the media I’ve been absorbing recently. If I’m feeling REAL fancy, I’ll include some thoughts with some of ’em.
I just got the first volume of The Compete ElfQuest for my birthday, and so far it’s a very interesting comic. Despite its name, it errs more on the side of Robert E. Howard than Tolkien, with magic relegated to a mostly lost art, having been replaced by the sorcery of rippling abs and wild seventies hair. The story is showing its age a bit—or maybe I am—because the almost immediate love triangle, and its formalized competition between the two male vertices for the right to woo the female vertex, seems painfully old-fashioned.
However, having the story focus on odd, pixie-like elves rather than humans (because humans are basically cavemen) is an intriguing departure from the traditional fantasy story, and I’d like to see where it goes.
2) Knights of Sidonia
I’ve been describing this anime to my friends as “Battlestar Galactica meets Gunbuster by way of H.R. Giger,” and I think that’s a fairly effective hook in and of itself.
Basically, the generation ship Sidonia may be carrying the last of humanity. Ages ago, Earth was destroyed by horrific monsters called gauna. Naturally, we tune in just in time to see the first gauna attack on Sidonia in a century, and it makes its entrance by devouring a mecha pilot whole and then assuming a dripping, scabrous, tentacled caricature of said pilot’s shape. Unfortunately, these beasties can only be slain by spears tipped with a special material, which complicates things drastically.
Needless to say, my compatriots have been utterly unsurprised that this show has caught my attention.
While the animation (which appears to be exclusively CG, rendered so as to look cel-animated) can be a bit wonky sometimes, the barrage of mysteries, conspiracies, body horror, regular horror, and intimate character moments gives me more than enough reason to look past the occasional weird walk cycle. Definitely recommended.
3) Final Fantasy XIII
Final Fantasy and I have a long, one-sided history. I would purchase the games, and then they would kick my ass mercilessly until I gave up and swore off Square-Enix forever and ever amen. Final Fantasy VII? Great game. Could never beat the third form of the final boss. FF VIII? Didn’t make it past disc one, because fuck the magic draw system and the guardian junction bullshit. I shouldn’t need postdoctorate studies to play a goddamn video game.
Never touched FF IX or X or any of X‘s sequels. XI was a MMORPG, and therefore outside my wheelhouse. XII tore me a new one after over fifty hours of gameplay couldn’t get me past a bunch of shitty little sack people who LOVED to cause status ailments.
So I was reticent to get FF XIII. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised so far. The combat system is FAR more intuitive than what was used in XII, and the fights are vastly more visually appealing than the blocky, aliased hilarity of FF VII. It does just enough to tweak the JRPG formula without making it unrecognizable. And it has a female lead, which is pretty baller.
There’s still a chance that in twenty hours of gameplay I’m going to attempt to go learn voodoo so I can inflict horrible agony on the creators of the game from afar, but that’s always a possibility when I pick up a new game.
So that’s what I’ve been doing this week! How about you guys out there in the interblagosphere? What have you been up to? Share in the comments! I won’t judge you. You know. Much.