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Big Long Blog

This one's a bit of a doozie.

The year of finishing some damn anime

Recently, I've had a tiny issue. By recently, of course, I mean the last 5+ years, give or take. I just can't finish a show. I'll get into something new, struggle to get through one episode over an hour, and then give up and do something else. And that's fine, I'm not beating myself up that I have a bad case of unmedicated ADHD, it's just frustrating that it means that I'm missing out on things I want to watch. And it's not because of anyone else, it's just me doing it to myself.
A 5x5 grid showing posters for various anime I plan to watch this year.
The goal this year: I have 25 shows in this 5x5. I wanna finish at least 20 of them. Cardcaptor Sakura is 70 episodes so it's an exception, I'll count it as finished if I watch 2 cours of it, or 24 episodes. Dropping a show also counts as finishing it, I just have to accept that it's dropped instead of whinging about how it's "on the backburner". No such thing! It's either happening or over.
So, here's the plan!
I'm gonna set aside Tuesdays and Saturdays as designated watching days. In 2024 I've got 103 combined Tuesdays and Saturdays, not including the ones that've already passed. So if I wanna watch everything on my list by the end of the year (444 total episodes), I'll need to watch a bit over 4 episodes on each watch day. More than 4 (4.32 to be more accurate) each watch day seems like a bit much if you're trying to count the hours, but it's better than it seems. That's to complete every single thing on the list, which isn't the goal, I only need need to finish 20/25 - I could skip a whole row and be fine. That'll give myself wiggle room in case life gets in the way, and extra space in case I wanna get some more shows in. Plus, not every show is made exactly the same. Cromartie episodes are only 12 minutes long, Yokohama Shopping Log is only 2 episodes long, etc.
I probably will not be writing about a lot of the shows just because writing about creative works is not my strong suit. I can explain why I like what I like given enough time, but I'm somewhat on a time crunch. I'm terrible at finishing writing my posts anyways, I'm not gonna try and pressure myself even more.
Younger me is probably sobbing as they watch 10 shows a season, staring at me putting 20 as my goal...

Categories: Anime, Big Long Blog

Rambling thoughts on the "Waifu" sticker

When I say "the waifu sticker" I don't literally mean exactly stickers with pretty anime girls on them. I don't really find anything wrong with the average peeker or anything, and honestly half the time the waifu sticker isn't even a sticker, it's a t-shirt or some other memorabilia.
What I mean is, in broad strokes, a piece of merchandise that is generally easy to produce (such as a t-shirt or a sticker) that usually features an anime girl (generally from a popular show like Darling in the Franxx, Nagatoro, SAO, Dress-up Darling, etc.) that is pretty traditionally attractive (she'll have big breasts and a big ass, but not too big), and often times has some hint of very basic eroticism (a bunny suit, a seductive pose, heart eyes, a pantyshot, etc.). I'm also going to lump in the "one word" stickers in here, where the whole point of the sticker is generally just one "anime" word. Notably, I'm not saying a Japanese word, because "waifu" and "senpai" are about as often to pop up as "lewd" and "weeaboo", it's more general western anime consuming culture than anything from the shows themselves.
General western anime consuming culture is honestly a great way to start poking at my normal frustrations with it. Anime is popular now, to an extent. If you go to a "pop culture" store anime is probably there, if you go online you'll find plenty of people who'll reference Jojo or post a Zero-Two reaction gif while being otherwise normal. It's normal to like Jojo, or Darling in the Franxx, or MHA, etc. It's pop culture, at least the shows that are popular, and every pop culture hit has its very own unlicensed shirt sold at a mall booth.
The Waifu Sticker is appealing because it helps you look like you're with the zeitgeist with very minimal effort, but in an edgy way. "Oh, you like anime? Well, me too, but my anime girl is in black and white and she's not wearing a skirt, isn't that so weird and far out?". It's signalling being in the in-group in a way that is digestible enough to be handled by the kind of person who'd search up "waifu" on redbubble instead of browsing through indie sticker makers, while also feeling digressive enough to settle down thoughts that you're just buying into something popular. Nonono, you're not buying a Bart Simpson shirt directly from the Universal Studios gift shop like everyone else, you're buying the unlicensed Bart shirt where he's smoking weed. Isn't that just so much cooler?
The other aspect that kinda gets to me is the sexualization, in the sense that a lot of it is very sexual, but in an incredibly bland way. If you as previously mentioned search for "waifu" on redbubble, assuming you're logged in and have the safesearch turned off, you'll be greeted by a variety of asses and tits and thighs. The worst you'll get is a bit of bondage here and there. It's incredibly toned down, stripped down, bare, and powerfully unerotic, primarily because of how it flattens a ton of characters into the "waifu" theme. Marin Kitagawa may be loud and proud, with a serious love of cosplay and a bit of an impulsive streak, but the important part is that she has relatively large breasts and a large ass. Nagatoro and her relationship with her senpai, how they slowly grow on each other and start pushing the other to do better and be better, isn't something that's allowed to manifest when you're trying to sell a $3 sticker based on the same handful of traits that all the other girls in your sticker shop have. Hell, half of the time they might as well not be a character, considering how they have a black bar covering their eyes with "waifu" covering slapped on the front. If you enjoy anime, even if you only enjoy a handful of very popular shows, trying to show that a character is your waifu by getting a sticker that explicitly covers up a big portion of their identity while flattening the rest of their existence into boobs and pantyshots seems like a genuinely terrible idea if you have any hint of genuine feelings.
But if your main goal isn't to have genuine feelings but instead to perform "liking anime in a mainstream way", then hey, whatever works!
I'm generally classifying this as rambling because complaining about this feels somewhat pointless. I'm getting mad over something that honestly kinda doesn't matter. The existence of someone with a Ryuuko KLK sticker of just her ass in panties in place of a personality doesn't mean I can't watch Kill La Kill and genuinely enjoy seeing the way it explores its themes and history, or the same with Dress up Darling, Mobile Suit Gundam, Lucky Star, anything else for that matter. I don't really interact with the kind of person this product is for, I have actively stayed away from most anime forums for a decade plus and counting. So I'm honestly confused why I care so much.

Categories: Anime, Big Long Blog

Unserious Company

Oh my fucking god, I despise google with every bone in my body. They cannot be trusted with domain names, a thing that thousands of other companies do perfectly fine with no hassle and tons of profit! I have to migrate a decent chunk of domains away from google unless I want them to be sold off to Squarespace! This is a product that has been out of beta for a whole year! That has existed for like 8+ years! Gone for seemingly no discernible reasons.
This is after they made sure to push for .zip and .mov TLDs, of course.
Why am I mad about this now and not when the news first dropped? The answer is that I was mad both times, and plenty of times in between, but whenever I think about it again it makes the anger vein in my head pop out once more.
This is not a hard business as far as I can tell, companies here have existed for decades! Domain Dot Com has been around since before the turn of the century, GoDaddy even longer, both kicking because it turns out it's incredibly profitable to charge people for an entry in a DNS server.
This company is relied on by sooooooo many people. Google is basically where you go for email, even if you're a business. Websites live or die by Google SEO. YouTube is nearly synonymous with internet video at this point. They have their fingers in every school with Chromebooks. They basically control how the web works via Chrome's dominance, and how thousands and thousands of apps are pushed out via Chromium in Electron.
Why do we allow this company to still exist in its current form? If we were actually a real country and not a rotting husk we would have made this company an example of them by now.

Categories: Big Long Blog

Idol Showdown: Some Day 1/2 Thoughts

tl;dr: It's Good™️, if you've never played a fighting game it's totally fine to pick up, and if you're a vtuber fan it's an extra treat.

I've been playing a bit of Idol Showdown recently, I think you should too! It's a free (as in free beer) fan-made fighting game, with the characters being various Hololive vtuber girls. Simple concept, very very simple exectution, and it's done very very well. I'm way more used to the Guilty Gear/Blazblue style of fast-pased airdashers, but I never felt like I was particularly hamstrung by just normal jump-ins and running.

Korone doing a sneeze-looking jump-in attack on a blocking Fubuki in Idol Showdown.

I actually really enjoy the meter(s) they give you. The STAR meter is your typical super bar, and you've got a few decent ways to spend it through a super + 3 EX moves + an assist call-in. Plus, there's a superchat meter, that fills up passively along side doing various actions such as anti-airing, doing motion inputs, and instant blocking. The neat part here is that the STAR meter stays between rounds while the superchat meter starts at 0 every round, giving you a reason to think about "Do I spend the bar for the heavy DP for more damage or just keep it for next round to call an assist" while also being able to do a lot of special cancels with the superchat bar.

The particular motion inputs aren't that hard too, which does help the superchat-meter situation. If you're a newbie, the jump from using the special button (which lets you do specials in a sorta smash-like way) to motion inputs can be relatively painless, you're not being expected to do anything too complex. Everything given to you is done by down-down-button, quarter circle forward button, or quarter circle back and button. Which is fine, honestly, I'm a little bored by it but it does help keep things feeling very standardized. If you play Korone you're not gonna be completely useless playing Sora, you'll be able to do a special move.

Overall my inital feel of the game feels a bit like Granblue Fantasy Versus. Honestly I like it more than I liked GBV, even excluding the whole netcode situation with that game. Meter's actually more useful in this! Wowee! I get to make decisions.

Hey guys, hear me out, what if we made Modern worse?

I'm gonna be a bit of a doomer here so let me try and set my cards on the table. I like Magic the Gathering. I like Modern. I like when WOTC tries some new things here and there. I even liked both of the Modern Horizons sets for the most part! I don't feel like I'm a crusty boomer here complaining that these days you can't cast an honest Tarmogoyf or whatever.

As of time of writing, we've gotten our first look at the new Lord of the Rings set, with a few cards revealed and a new mechanic hinted at. I think it's a really bad sign for how the game is going to end up.

We got The One Ring, another Karn wishboard card for all the tron players like myself that I wish they just quit doing; Mount Doom, another legendary land that a bunch of rakdos midrange players will slot into their manabase because it's basically free anyways and the extra damage might be fine; we got Reprieve, an upgraded Remand but colorshifted to white with a name that screams "this is a pre-print into modern before it goes into standard"; we got a 1 mana 1/2 with the text "that player loses the game" on it. We originally heard some talk that this wasn't going to be a Modern Horizons-type set where the powerlevel is through the roof, and while I still generally trust that, the fact that WOTC feels more than comfortable printing tons of these new roll-fillers in a set completely mired in licensed IP feels like a mistake.

[LTR] Mount Doom

I recently talked to a roommate about the Modern Isekai Anime and why I'm not too much of a fan, where the general flavor trappings of the show are heavily influenced by fantasy-themed MMORPGs. I mentioned that it has a lot of similarities to a lot of high school slice of life shows, in that a big draw of the setting is convenience - that a lot of basic things can be shortcut with "Because they go to school", or in the isekai case "because we're in an entirely new world". They also draw on a lot your memories of that thing in order to make you feel closer to the setting than you might otherwise be, sure you might have never been in a high school club exactly like this one, but you've probably been to high school and have at least been in proximity to a school club and know the general experience. Isekai also do this, but to me the wink and nod falls completely flat because I never played any MMO, I honestly barely played any video game that wasn't Pokemon until 2016-ish. It's a wink and a nod to an experience and sentimental feelings I just don't have.

"Characters we fell in love with, moments that brought tears to our eyes, and the struggle of the One Ring – we've captured The Lord of the Rings through Magic for you to play and replay."

This is what the set is to me. A wink and a nod to all those fun memories we all definitely have about reading and watching the struggle over The One Ring™️, rather than the less important, lamer, and harder to imagine shared experiences like playing fucking Magic the Gathering. Who's ever played that game and enjoyed it? Don't you want some Licensed IP Sealed Product instead?

The lesson learned here is that we simply were not mean enough to WOTC over the Walking Dead Secret Lair. They should have ended up with a non-functional DDOS'd shop page and people yelling at them at all times. We were 500x too kind to WOTC, the company.

This set will probably sell very very well, have Mark Rosewater and Gavin Verhey give some nice kind reasons why it's good for the game to continue doing these sets, and I'll hate every second of it.

If crypto ain't a scam, then it's sure fooling me

So there's this dude. Jeremy. He's a Pokemon VGC competitor. Pretty good resume, lots of points, a championship, all in all a good player. Recently (read: January 29th), posted a small tweet thread talking about earning money playing VGC competitively and how he was sad that, in spite of how far things had gotten, Pokemon probably wouldn't ever be a competitive eSport.
That's when he announced he'd been working with two other Pokemon players... On an NFT PvP game.
A screenshot of the Kuroro Beasts Twitter profile.
So, it's an NFT on-chain game. Or, wait, is it? It's also free to play, according to Jeremy. And it's supposedly also going to be off-chain as well, and the on-chain elements are mostly there for prize support. And also it's an MMO, because an NFT project can't also not be an MMO.
A screenshot of a tweet from the Kuroro Beasts account talking about a Unity-based MMO.
The real thing I took away from this was not, for instance, that people you might respect can instantly have a heel-turn and peddle a ponzi scheme in no time flat while secretly working on the project for months (the Kuroro Beasts twitter account was made in November, and Jeremy only tweeted about it at the end of January, that's up to two months of dev time before bringing the idea in front of his "normal" non-crypto audience). It wasn't how quickly feature creep hits these kinds of projects, with plans quickly bloating with extra projects, MMOs, comics, and various tie-ins before the dust even settles.
It's that no matter how hard crypto people try to be legitimate, they just cannot help looking like a scam and fostering other scams.
A screenshot of a retweet involving a Blitz Battle whitelist giveaway.
A screenshot of a retweet involving a Tajigen whitelist giveaway.
A screenshot of a retweet involving a Kuroro Beasts and Ukiyo whitelist giveaway.
In case the terminology isn't familiar to you, a whitelist (WL) in the crypto space involves having your address whitelisted to be part of the first group to be allowed to buy the coin in an ICO/NFT in an NFT project. Generally, people who are whitelisted have a way better time turning a profit than those who show up later, so the goal of winning a WL giveaway is generally to make more of a profit than your average joe. These giveaways are everywhere. And I do mean everywhere, you can easily follow down a humongous rabbit hole of crypto projects advertising whitelist giveaways for other crypto projects that are advertising whitelist giveaways for other crypto projects, etc. etc. Every page Kuroro links to looks just like Kuroro's, in that it's a flurry of giveaways and RTs to other giveaways and promises of amazing things.
Now, that's not to say that there aren't projects that attempt to look professional. Another example that I saw was Nym, propped onto my unsuspecting timeline by checks notes whistleblower Chelsea Manning? Why on Madoka's green earth...
A tweet by @xychelsea pushing a crypto token called Nym.
So, this is a decentralized, anonymous internet... Project? Infrastructure? Thing? But the main goal of it is to be a token, seeing how they cannot help but talk about exchanges taking Nym tokens, or how A16Z's crypto investment arm (that is known to toe the line on what is considered a pump and dump) is putting even more money into them. But, their Twitter page is capital p Professional™️. No RTs about whitelists, no giveaways, lots of articles about their Innovative Technologies and all that.
A hidden reply to the @xychelsea tweet loaded with @s and token symbols.
And once you go into the hidden replies that all melts away, it's bots still, spamming coin symbols, begging for stuff to go to the moon. You can't magically un-scammify this space. No amount of professionalism will get you away from the people using the system as it was meant to be used, which is to convince someone else to be the bigger fool.

Categories: Big Long Blog

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