E-card: the new gaming phenomenon that’s taking over the nation
Forget Pokemon, move aside Yu-Gi-Oh!- a new card game is in town! The kids will just love E-card, a high stakes gambling game brought to you by your good friends in the yakuza! In each E-card starter set, you get a deck of cards containing Citizens, an Emperor and a Slave card, as well as special accessories to affix to your eye and ear! Gamble too much, and the pin in the accessory will penetrate the eyeball or eardrum, permanently damaging the organ. Bet against fellow players for big money, and remember- what’s a sensory organ or two amongst friends? You can play again and again and again with our special E-card sets!*
*Please wash eye and ear needles between use. Note that we cannot accept returns on used E-card sets.
Harvest Moon Ninomiya
Today we’re here to introduce a special game to you- Harvest Moon Ninomiya: Let Me Eat It!
As per usual, you have a supporting character to guide you through the tutorial section.
One new innovation in the game is the requirement of checking every single grain for quality before planting or shipping.
Cows can be kept outside in a custom-made pasture.
Sheep are also available.
New to the Harvest Moon franchise are pigs.
The game designers decide to bring us “pigs like you’ve never seen them before”.
Unfortunately, this is the only way to handle the pigs until you can afford a slaughterhouse.
Ah yes, and where would we be without the obligatory Liang joke?
Dragons’ Den: Celestial Brush
Welcome to a new feature based on the TV program of the same name, in which anime characters try to market their great idea to five fat cats of anime! President Aria made his fortune in the gondola industry of Neo Venezia, and is now CEO of a well-known company. Mikoto started her business in the capital of Wind Bloom, and is now a trusted advisor to the queen, with business partners scattered across the world. The Admiral’s first business venture was to invest in a Chinese restaurant, but a meteor threat to Earth saw her buy shares in ground and space based defence technology, which she currently administers with her protégé “The General” (aka Shogun). Mr Tibbs started his career as a tea cat for the bank, but his sound grasp of finance saw him rise up the ranks until he became one of their most prominent managers. Finally, The Cardinal is the world’s most powerful fat cat, with a wide range of business interests that ensure that he has a paw in every pie (often literally, depending on his appetite). These five cats represent some heavyweight investment clout in every sense of the word, but is any deal attractive enough to get them to roll of their backsides and shake paws with a budding entrepreneur?
Facing the Dragons this week are artist Issun and goddess Amaterasu, who are hoping for investment in their Celestial Brush. Will the Dragons be tempted by their business proposal?
Issun: Hello, I’m Issun and this furball here is Amaterasu. We’re here today asking for investment in our revolutionary Celestial Brush technology, which you can use to literally pause the world and alter it to your desires! If you buy our full package, you’ll be able to turn night into day (and vice versa), summon wind, fire, water, thunder and ice, repair broken objects, make flowers grow and much more!
Aria: Punyu? [So, what’s your pricing strategy for this?]
Issun: Well, we sell the initial brush with the Sunrise ability for 300,000 yen, and then all the other abilities are extra.
Cardinal: What about the ink?
Issun: Well, that refills naturally, but you have the option of purchasing more bottles to store it in.
Cardinal: Hmm, don’t you think you could make more money if you forced people to buy more ink instead of effectively giving it away?
The Cardinal has just pointed out a major flaw in Issun’s pricing strategy, but the entrepreneur seems undaunted.
Issun: Well, if it didn’t work this way, the world would probably under the control of the forces of darkness right now.
Mikoto: I’m very interested in this, but I’d like to know how many you’ve sold so far.
Issun: Well, er, Amaterasu has the full set, I’m learning, and Ninetails could do a bit too…
Mikoto: So, three sales so far?
Issun: I wouldn’t exactly call them sales.
Issun has just admitted that, despite some impressive boasting, he hasn’t actually sold any of his product yet! This does not go down well with the Dragons.
Mikoto: You know what- come back when you’ve actually got some sales to show me, because for now I’m out.
The Admiral: With this night and day thing, suppose I’ve just got into bed and you draw a sun? Do I have to get up and go to work?
Issun: Yes, but you can always draw a moon and make it night again.
Admiral: But that would mess up everything! I’m out!
Aria: Punyu! [Creating suns and such is a bit irresponsible, so I’m out too].
Mr Tibbs: I’m actually very interested in this- anything that gives the bank the ability to control the world must be good. I’d like to make you an offer.
Issun: Thank you very much- I’d like to accept
After a grilling in the Den, Issun walks away with an investment from Mr Tibbs! But how will our world change now that a fat cat has access to the powers of the Celestial Brush?
This Week in Anime
Painting work begins on new 1:1 scale Gunpla.
Budget cuts made at Pizza Hut’s branding department.
All foodstuffs are now to be sold in clearly labelled containers.
It’s not quite Aria, is it?
Mikoto-class cat spotted.
Generic factory produces too many units.
What an appetising looking lump of wood.
Sunrise decide to supplement ailing budget by moving into clock production.
HORSE has evolved with time.
A DOG tries to solicit customers in the blue light district.
“By your powers combined, I am Captain Planet!”
“I command you all to take up smoking!”
If in doubt, just turn Super Saiyan.
Pears undertake a daring mission to infiltrate the apple basket.
Walnuts find a new niche.
Flash Game review: Light Puzzle
I’m a sucker for laser puzzles, and this little one amused me for a weekend during the Winter Olympics two years ago, so it’s way past time to point it out. As with all puzzles of this type, the idea is to get the laser beam to the target of the same colour, using whatever mirrors, beam splitters and prisms you are provided with. Naturally, it’s a simple enough task to begin with but one that gradually gets harder throughout the game’s 24 or so levels. Fear not, however, for if you get truly stuck, I have screencapped the solutions.
Mini-editorial: A few thoughts on Lain
A few weeks ago, Hige wrote about pretension, briefly mentioning his thoughts on Lain, and at the time I thought “hmm, I must say a few words about Lain too”. A series that blends the worlds of reality and the internet, Lain is one of things where you either don’t understand it but rave about how deep and complex it is, or you don’t understand it and openly admit that because of that, you couldn’t really enjoy it. Having said that, I cannot deny that there were large tracts of Lain that I didn’t understand, but whilst it is my least favourite of the four ABe series, it still has worth and merit for me.
As I said in my Sixty anime piece, Lain is anime of ‘layers’ rather than episodes- starting at the beginning in reality and slowly dropping deeper and deeper into the virtual world. Along the way, there is much to think about as the walls between reality and fantasy blur. Can consciousness exist on its own within the internet? What is the difference between one’s self and the person someone else perceives you to be, the “you” that exists only in their head? Or does the fact that people usually turn to Eva and Ghost in the Shell for these sorts of musings render Lain surplus to requirements?
That being said, should we really praise the creators for making a series so complex that viewers can barely understand it? Have they really packed it so full of that aforementioned depth and complexity that viewers must navigate their own way to meanings, or are they just so poor at presenting their ideas that the result is a mishmash of half-baked concepts?
Whatever the case, and in spite of the Michael Jackson look-alike who created the WIRED, I generally enjoyed Lain, but it will never be a series for everyone.
In Your Reflection
This week we have a head-to-head between two men from rather similar series- SaiMono’s Ensei and Twelve Kingdoms’ Shoryu (aka King En). Both men have similar appearance, along with a rough around the edges personality that belies their roles in government.
The making of Azure Flame: Screencap parody
This week we go behind the scenes to find out how a screencap parody is hewn out the rocks, polished and refined for your enjoyment. The process begins, unsurprisingly, by watching the episode (or in select cases, having someone else watch it), whilst basically spamming the screencap key to capture any potentially amusing moments. In this way, around 400 ‘raw’ screencaps will be generated.
The next step is to resize all the screencaps to 450px in width (or 225 in some cases), a task easily accomplished with either Irfanview or PhotoResize. The new, smaller screencaps are now pasted into Word, where the real work begins. Useless images are deleted, whilst amusing ones are captioned to retell the story of the episode; once all images are captioned, an introduction is written and the long process of uploading all screencaps and posting them all into WordPress can begin.
For longer posts (100+ images), the parody will be split into two parts, although in some cases it’s had to go to three.