Browsing the blog archives for December, 2007

The Trouble with Haibane Renmei

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Anime, Personal

Now that we’ve got Christmas mostly behind us, I figure I may as well mention one of the issues I kept running over in my mind until now. With how much I enjoyed Haibane Renmei when I watched it earlier this year, I decided that it’d make a great gift for several people I know.

I can’t think of too many movies or shows that might be more appropriate to give this time of year. Aside from the amazing, though subdued, visuals and audio of the anime, it’s also a fairly innocent series. The latter is a bit complicated though, because despite the initial innocence of the series, it does deal with complex issues of family and friendship, support, guilt, and so on. Even though I feel like the series is ultimately uplifting and positive, I wonder about the possible implications one could see in receiving Haibane Renmei as a gift.

Spoiler tag for safety…

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Christmas Eve

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Miscellaneous

You’d think I’d be over this hurdle by now — but I’m not. Still much to do for this evening to prepare for tomorrow. I’m heading out for now, but for anyone who might be reading, take care, enjoy your holiday rites, and stay clear of the ultra-spicy General Tso’s.

Tryfle Follies

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Culture, Literature

I ran across this post by Mencius of Unqualified Reservations. The article, despite it’s rather impressive length, is a definite must-read. Mencius looks at a few poems by a man named Tryfon Tolides, in his book called “An Almost Pure Empty Walking,” and savages them:

I hasten to note that no one could possibly consider An Almost Pure Empty Walking a major work. In fact, it is unusually bad. But it is not atypically bad. And its badness has a kind of Platonic simplicity to it – an almost pure empty badness – that will help us, I feel, in the ugly work of diagnosis that lies ahead.

The real meat here is looking at everything that surrounds the poetry — Looking at the incestuous ponzi schemes that have poisoned “the Arts” in general or Poetry specifically and led to the creation of an artistically-stagnant, in-bred crowd of self-proclaimed elites.

I am reminded of something I overheard someone saying many years ago while discussing Greek playwrights. I forget the exact words, but the gist of it was this: “Isn’t it reassuring that even thousands of years ago all of these great creative geniuses thought like I do?”

Haibane Renmei: What are Haibane?

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Anime

If there’s one question which I felt was central to the anime Haibane Renmei, it was “What are Haibane?”

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RPG Maker XP

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Games, RPGs

I don’t want to detail the long and boring story of how I came about it, but in my general browsings of the internet several weeks ago I came across an interesting little program called RPG Maker XP. RPG makers are nothing new; I’ve been seeing them for years. The catch is that, with the internet as omnipresent as it is, I can now browse projects created with these things online. If you check out the forums in the link above, you can see some of the finished projects — and some look pretty good! Although I don’t have the system, it seems to have a very extensible the system for scripting your own systems (to replicate Final Fantasy game mechanics, for example) or use original graphics (that they’ve snagged from Final Fantasy games).

RPGMXP1

Admittedly, a program like this does nothing I couldn’t do myself. But having it all delivered in a package like this might even be worth the $60 price tag. And despite the price, it’s enticing to think of creating my own little RPG game, with control over combat, character creation, dialogue… I mentioned it to an acquaintance of mine who is heavily invested into scripting Neverwinter Nights. From my understanding, Neverwinter Nights has a pretty powerful suite of tools for editing, so perhaps I should check that out myself.

RPGMXP2

Nevertheless, I’m uncertain if NWN offers the sort of control I want — I have yet to see anything for that game that wasn’t D20 system, and while I enjoy D20, I don’t see it as the supreme achievement of all RPGs past and future. A lot of people tend to [i]like[/i] being presented with new systems and finding out how to optimize their characters within that system, but D20 is pretty well mapped in that regard.

RPGMXP3

Right now I have downloaded one of the projects from the RMXP.org site and am [very slowly, since time is short lately] playing through the game. The game I’m looking at is Quintessence: The Blighted Venom. So far I’ve been impressed with the quality of the music, and the graphics, while obviously not 3D pixel mapped pixel bump voxel polygon shazam, seem nice. All of the screenshots I’m using through this post are from that. The writing gives the impression that the author is not a native English speaker, as some constructions are a bit strange, but I haven’t seen any outright Engrish yet.

RPGMXP4

I’m hoping I’ll be able to play through a couple of these projects so I see a good range of what the software is capable of. And, even if I decide not to buy it, which is likely since my free time is so limited, it’s still a repository for what looks like free sprite-based RPGs in that classic style.