March 31, 2020

GranBlue Fantasy (Season 2)




After the first season of GranBlue Fantasy (from 3 years ago) was so much better than expected I was wary of looking at what current year produced. 

My trepidation was about half justified. 

The first episode is one that could have been from the first season, except that it seems intended to introduce a new character to the crew. About 7 minutes into episode 1 I was like: "So THAT'S where that character is from!"I don't know much about the game this is based on other than it is popular and has several former Square Enix people working on it, but I do note that Alizia, appears to be a real fan favorite, because unlike the previously introduced characters, her fan-art is all over the place. 



Probably because she knows Kung-Fu.

Aliza is a Draph, this IPs equivalent to dwarves at 4 and a half feet tall, she's easily underestimated. However, after discovering that she's about the most formidable  hand to hand fighter they have ever encountered and after Aliza finds herself being genuinely impressed with the heroes idealism, and courage...and discovering that they have not identical, but overlapping goals and motivations and that the superpowered shortstack only lacks for transportation...they go their separate ways, making the episode essentially a pointless throwaway which doesn't actually advance the plot at all. 

The next actual arc starts off dumb, with everybody acting dumb and saying dumb things while forcing the audience to flash back a decade to Katalina's training...which was exactly like a Japanese high school except for the trial by combat part. 

However, this weird four episode (!) flashback to high school angst does end up advancing the overall story in spite of itself and it is kind of poignant towards the end.

The episode between 5 and 6 is a Netflix adaptation. 

Allow me to explain:
Apparently, in the Gacha game this is based on you can play one of two characters, either Gran or a girl in the same village with a similar backstory named Djeeta (on the left). 



Between the two seasons, Djeeta has had 3 episodes dedicated to her reality and apparently she's much better at this than Gran is. 

Djeeta possesses fashion sense and commands a larger, hand-picked  crew of snappier dressers than Gran does and it can be assumed that she's been waltzing all over the map rolling critical successes because her ship and crew does not have any of the money or maintenance problems that drive much of the decisions made in the main show*. The episode between five and six is a light hearted Halloween episode where Djeeta's crew discover a mystery involving animated dead people and everybody has a good time. 

In stark contrast the actual episode 6 involves Gran and his smaller, fashion challenged crew stumbling upon a mystery involving animated dead people and it is a genuinely scary and fast moving three episode arc in which they come very, very close to dying while dealing with some very grim things, with nothing but their wits. 

Despite being rather dark, it's in this second arc that the show actually regains its footing and from that point on GranBlue Fantasy is back up to its old standards.

This is a very atypical pattern nowadays with the first half of the series being an incoherent  dumpster fire and the two arcs of the second half being quite solid. 

The characters remain likable and the show's production values remain high. In fact, here's no noticeable change in look aside from a slight increase in quality despite switching studious from A-1 to MAPPA. That may account for the rough start in the scripting though. 

CyGames has their own animation studio now (Which also did Manaria Friends, set in the GranBlue universe) and they've been very fastidious about the quality of their animation adaptations.  I wonder if the sharp increase in script quality midway through was due to an intervention. 

In any event, while I can't fully recommend the series given its rough start, I can say it gets better, and left me still interested in the story and hoping for a sequel. 

* Though it is possible that the expense of her crew's solid gem and bronze armor caused them to skimp on the abdominal plates. 

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March 30, 2020

A Reading Analysis

Darkness creeps back into the forests of the world. Rumor grows of a great and terrible power in the East, whispers of a nameless fear stalk the very  language itself, and a plague descends upon the land. In these troubling times, we all need a laugh at The Guardian's expense. 


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March 27, 2020

Pixiv Fanbox is Moving



For those of you who support artists via patronage services, Pixiv Fanbox, (which is Pixiv's rough equivalent of Patreon and SubscribeStar) is moving from pixiv.net/fanbox/ to Fanbox.cc. The creator's individual sites will also change url's for some reason. 
Back in November, Pixiv forked off their microblogging site Pawoo. This might lead to some speculation that dreadfulness is afoot, but Pixiv is saying that this is to facilitate marketing for the artists by simplifying the URLs and making them more artist centric. Anyone who has tried to use the Deviant Art shop might find this argument compelling. 

However, the artists are responsible for submitting their own URLs by the end of April so I predict some confusion. 

Anyway, shorter version:  
In about a month some people who follow artists on Pixiv Fanbox  are going to have to update their bookmarks to new urls, which are yet to be determined.


CopyPasta of the message to users is below the fold, and the surprisingly good Giggle Translate of said missive is below that. 
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A short tale of supply shortages, work regulations as well as black markets and their proper utilization in the age of COVID-19.


Art by AT-2
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More Surprises in 2020




Ka92 sums up the astonishment felt by many in the gaming community upon learning that the new Animal Crossing not only has giant spiders in it, but that they can totally kill you. 

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March 26, 2020

Meanwhile in That Happy, Joyfull, Fun Place That We Are Most Emphatically Assured Had Nothing to Do With That Bug Which Must Not Be Named*

...this happened today. 



Ostensibly this is to keep us hairy barbarians from bringing in this virus, which they are now claiming is of U.S. origin







*...and if named certainly must not ever be called Kung-Flu, Corona-Chan, Wuhan Virus, Winnie the Flu, Chinese-Bat-Soup-Death-Plague, or Whu-Ping Cough,

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Well THIS is an Odd Story

There is a report that the source code for the Microsoft X-Box graphics has been hacked and is being held for ransom.



Ummm...

Hacking as I understand it is generally copy and paste, not cut and paste, and even in the latter case, there would be backups and X-Box test beds so  Microsoft ought to still have their code. Presumably this a threat to release it to competitors, but I can't imagine that the X-Box is that far in advance of other consoles in the graphics department that 100 million would be warranted.

IT people please explain this to me, because it looks like a Hollywood screenwriter's idea of a pitch for some mid-budget thriller.



UPDATE:See also hereherehere,  and here... So it's AMD And X-Box graphics card schematics then? That makes more sense.  

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March 25, 2020

A Note About Priorities

In theory, in order to free up shipping capacity for Hospitals, triage areas and such, Amazon and other online shops are prioritizing deliveries of food, and necessary household products like the few remaining cleaning supplies. 


As an hourly employee at UPS allow me to suggest that 149 pound trampolines, 130 pound gaming recliner-chairs, and 144 pound barbecue grills do not, in fact, meet those criteria. 

They do, however, seem to be being shipped in greater numbers that we saw even over Christmas. 

I don't have any idea if my center is an outlier in this matter, but I know that a few of these things will fill up a package car. 

I also know that every bit of me hurts. 

Ow. 

Adding to the overall happiness level is the fact that one is not only man-handling these boxes, but everyone who has sneezed on these boxes in the last 2 days




On the other hand, If this was pleasant, I'd have to pay admission.
Instead, I'm getting paid overtime to work out with free weights so all the people who are PAYING for those 130 pound Nordic-Tracs are saps! 

 

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March 22, 2020

90 Minutes

I spent 90 minutes today trying to figure out how to completely, once and for all end my AOL account that I've had for 21 years. (I got it on a disc!) 


I finally regained access to my old Blogger Blog, which was really the last hurdle holding me back from canceling AOL. Most everything else has either been closed out or switched over, or is utterly irrelevant. 

After an hour and a half of trying to figure out how to do this task, I finally called customer support to be informed that the accounts termination office was closed due to COVID-19. 

I kid you not.

I finally got a person though and after about 5 additional minutes I did manage to get the account removed only to discover that I still have an AOL account. A free one for long time customers. 

AOL is, on paper, a fine service with a lot of bells and whistles, but I pay one third as much for both Earthlink & Proton combined and we live in a digital age so paper performance is irrelevant. and the 6,000 emails I got since the first of the years will not be missed. 




I am now officially living in the 21st century. 

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This Weekend has Seen A Considerable Amount of Heated Debate



In these trying times we should all embrace the healing power of "and". 

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March 21, 2020

Bit of Banality

As usual, the banality is below the fold. 

We're getting hours at work approaching what we normally get in late October, early November at the start of the Christmas rush. 

This means that today's compensatory illustration is tangentially topical.


Sena at Christmas is by Cait. Support him on Patreon and buy his merch at Gumroad.
more...

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March 20, 2020

Tess Ti FAYH

This is a short video that gives voice to what most of us were thinking about "product as service". I wasn't going to link to it as my embedded video to actual content ratio is all out of whack right now. But, there are a couple of things mentioned as asides that really got my goat. First, I had no idea until this brief mention of it just how malignant Google Stadia is. It really is the worst of every awful trend in video games concentrated and wrapped in maliciousness. Likewise the PS-5 looks like it is going to be, well,  evil. I had seriously thought about a Tesla pickup in the future though not so much after this. However, the thing that got me so mad that I got up walked out and left the room and had to come back after cooling down was the "letter of concern" at 15:06. Which indicates that whatever firm the individual is working for (probably a bank or investment firm) has a corporate culture that makes them unfit stewards of other people's money. It also speaks how important superficial fashion is becoming in our society and how perniciously powerful it is for enforcing conformity. With the mean girls in high-school one could avoid them or ultimately matriculate. Now that our corporate class are overwhelmingly foppish aristocrats, there is no escape. 



One thing that SFO only lightly touches on in the above disquisition is that this isn't just a terrible idea from a consumer standpoint. This blog mentioned how bad this could potentially get when discussing the Patreon situation back in mid-December of 2018, and SFO did a really good, source heavy and long deep dive into the antics of the payment processor about two weeks after that. 

About 18 months ago the Chinese social credit system was very topical. "Product as Service" makes that sort of tyranny far worse and much easier to implement.

This is nothing new, but implications of this are terrifying. 
 

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March 18, 2020

Exhausted

Banality is below the fold;

Here's Coronachan and...Stewy. 



more...

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Meanwhile: In New York City

Things are possible now that ordinarily aren't. 


Watch on Bitchute. Clip originally from here I think.

It may be that only those of us in driving distance of New York or at least a "Chinese Bus" stop fully appreciate the implications of this video. 

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March 17, 2020

At The Intersection of Vigilanteism, Consumer Advocacy, and Internet Videography

In a world that is enmeshed in stupid regulation those who expose the corrupt can find themselves breaking the law. 


Then there's these two loons from the current arc of My Hero Academia


"While we wait for the cops to respond, let's read the super-chats."

Gentleman Criminal and LaBrava are two obnoxious LARPers who stream their petty (Ever. SO. Petty.) crimes in pursuit of clicks. Being supervillains, their campy videos keep getting deplatformed, which is playing havoc with their income stream.  Given that monstrous propoganda videos by actual psychopaths continue to stay up (and get more clicks than the silly antics of these two) it seems that their targeting by content providers stems mainly from the fact that they keep embarrassing bad actors who have a lot of clout.  

I'm 3 episodes behind, but this subplot now looks to be rather more consequential than it first appeared. This show, an ode to American comic books, has had some villains that are both well realized and truly terrifying, so I find myself both surprised and amused that this world actually has some 'silver age' villains running around.

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Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Most of us are probably not going to be going out for green beer, corned beef and cabbage today, but wherever you're spending this holiday may it be pleasant. 




Art by Enuni

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March 15, 2020

How?

On January 23 this post was put up noting the surreal situation in Wuhan. 3 days later it was apparent to even a Z-List-redneck-blogger that this was real and a disaster.

This was not an obscure, below the radar story either. On the same day this blog published a post consisting of no content other than 4 separate videos from TV channels and You-Tubers. ALSO on the 26th, the Bitchute channel CoronaChan, was set up to aggregate videos pertaining to the outbreak that were being censored by You-Tube and the media in general. . 

The very next day SFO was chiming in with a video containing footage from his time living in Wuhan and Vee (a doctor) was reporting on the situation and  predicting EXACTLY what is transpiring now in Italy.


On January 30th this was posted on 4-chan's /pol/ board. Ignoring the anti-semitic vermin trolling the thread's OP it lays out a bunch of very good guesses about what would transpire over the next two months.

This was not hard to see coming.

It was actually in the news. A bunch of mid-level you-tubers were on it like ugly on a moose ringing the church bell to get the word out.. HUNDREDS of videos many on site from Hubei were posted about it.  A frickking shiposter on /pol/ played Cassandra and laid out a prophecy two months in advance that proved to be every bit as accurate as Nostradamus wasn't.

 Hell, even your humble Z-list blogger saw this coming and advised all 4 people who drop in here to buy canned goods two months ago.

This was not hard to see coming. The cold equations of exponential growth and the reality of logistics leave few options and present difficult decisions, but there is one question that infuriates given the ample warning and coverage...

How is it that there are so many of the powers that be, and the media acting so surprised?


Art by KeeRaizy

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A Bitchute Question


The blog's crack team of embed management technicians has encountered a conundrum. 
 


(Actual footage of our North American IT department at work.)

If someone is watching an embedded a Bitchute video, is there any way to watch it on Bitchute the same way one can with Youtube? Given Bitchute's diffident search engine, this seems like it's another hurdle for new channels to get traction. 

Obviously this has no real impact on the blog's active channel, which has had 6 posts in 14 months. The active Bitchute channel is just to post videos for this blog especially stuff that's likely to be taken down by You-Tube. I don't create much content and don't migrate stuff unless it's run afoul the YT censorbots.

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A Video Primer on Hygiene in Current Year



Besides the hand-washing, one should familiarize oneself with PPE, its proper use of protective equipment and  ideas for extemporization in a pinch. . 
more...

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March 13, 2020

On This Day in Triskaidekaphobia

Friday the 13th does not necessarily bode ill.

For example, on March 13th 1781, William Herschel discovered Uranus!



"March 13, 1781 was a Tuesday, not a Friday, thus invalidating this whole post."

Details...
Besides, the seventh planet from the sun is actually quite interesting despite the tedious jokes revolving around its name. 


 The planet and its moons have surprising potential. In fact, here is a long post by Matter Beam on how to colonize Uranus!


"...."
What? 




The planet has an anomalously large percentage of helium 3 in its clouds and a bunch of cool icy moons which seem quite comparable to Ceres. 

The system is far enough out to keep the pesky tourists at bay. 
 
Interestingly though, Matter Beam's article has an idea for a potentially interesting "killer app" that could make the the two "ice giants" quite useful in the far future. 

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