Nothing Specific (Thought Dump Thursday 6/30/16)

From now on, this shall be the title when I have no particular topic in mind but still wish to meet the deadline for Thought Dump Thursday head-on.

Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright

I recently started a new playthrough on Normal Casual and am currently on Chapter 22 after having spent about 27 hours on it. I decided to play as a female, with Clever Boon (+Mag) and Clumsy Bane (-Skill), and marry Ryoma. I also tried some new things in regards to the relationships and most of the classes:

  • Subaki (Lv.3 Falcon Knight) + Kagero (Lv.3 Master Ninja)
  • Silas (Lv.4 Great Knight) + Azura (Lv.23 Songstress)
  • Orochi (Lv.3 Onmyoji) + Hayato (Lv.3 Basara)
  • Oboro (Lv.2 Spear Master) + Kaden (Lv.2 Nine-Tails)
  • Felicia (Lv.22 Maid) + Takumi (Lv.23 Ballistician)
  • Jakob (Lv.23 Butler) + Setsuna (Lv.2 Sniper)
  • Hana (Lv.1 Swordmaster) + Azama (Lv.2 Great Master)
  • Sakura (Lv.1 Priestess) + Hinata (Lv.2 Master of Arms)
  • Mozu (Lv.1 Merchant) + Saizo (Lv.2 Mechanist)

I married Rinkah with Kaze as well, but I didn’t realize that you could keep Kaze after Chapter 15. I had no idea that the secret was having him reach A-rank with the main unit (until I looked it up on a wiki). It’s a shame because, in my first playthrough, I had him at B-rank before the chapter in question.

I don’t plan on doing any child paralogues until both advanced-class parents are at least level 5. I might do Kiragi’s paralogue, though, considering Tomebreaker is subjectively the best thing that Felicia can pass down, and Takumi can’t pass anything Ballistician-related (because it’s a DLC class).

Speaking of which, another thing that I did differently as opposed to my previous playthrough is waiting until base class units hit level 20 in their base class before promoting them with a Master Seal. This change came about because I realized how different the Seal system in Fates is from the one in Awakening, notably in that using Master Seal immediately is no longer the answer (because nothing in Fates works quite like the Second Seal in Awakening; any levels you skip with the Master Seal in Fates will pass by irrevocably).

I don’t know if I’ll ever get any of the other stories (Conquest + Revelations), but if I do, I’ll probably get both. (By the way, Beruka is best Nohrian girl.)

Phoenotopia

Yeah, I’m still working on this as a speedgame. I’m pretty much done with any%, but I do plan on improving my 100% time in the near future, with a bit of new tech that I figured out over the course of my rehearsal runs. I might move on to miscellaneous categories as well, but part of me wants to step away from that territory and instead work on running something different: Diamond Hollow II. (I mean, I kinda said to the sole moderator of the speedrun.com leaderboard of the game that I would consider it.)

I also plan on working on a glitch/skip showcase, which will be a video tutorial with as in-depth explanations as I can possibly provide—on Loot Duping, Ancient’s Crater lockout battle skips, Pot Head Clipping, and more. I plan on improving my 100% time first, though.

On a final note, I compiled a document of save passwords for learning/practicing any% and 100% runs.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1arZ0XIo1gC2rxDW_gOzdwh2qDdJ3bT_GJ5yMcuntOIg/edit?usp=sharing

This can be found under the Resources section of http://www.speedrun.com/phoenotopia, and the most up-to-date routes and guides can be found under the Guides section.

 

Nowi Wins À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

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Back from hiatus! Anniversary potpourri (Thought Dump Thursday 6/2/16)

If nothing else, I’ve taken care of the class that I was having trouble with (or at least I think I did; I still haven’t received a grade yet, but I believe I did as well as I could). While I am still job hunting, I certainly feel more free than I did before I went on hiatus.

Nowi Wins So, I’ll take a moment to make this post as a (somewhat late) celebration of the second anniversary of my first post on this blog! Nowi Wins

 

Where to start? Phoenotopia, of course! I recently established a new personal best in 100% – 1:48:16 RTA [1h 50m IGT].

Here’s a Q&A: http://pastebin.com/sK8RvDXZ
and here are some notes: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1sh24AIMHZMOGKP0edweEL-G83qpGomCSB275pOzAKbE/edit?usp=sharing

I don’t have a detailed route this time, just a set of notes that I use to make sure everything has been accounted for.

As before, note that I will be using timestamps very frequently throughout this writing, and they pertain to the video, not the splits.

First off, I wish to go over the new strats that have been introduced to the route:

  • Instead of Sunflower Road dupes, dupe in Duri Forest frog room [7:49] and break the eastern Sunflower Road chest normally [13:15] (Door Push to bypass the first key door [6:00])
  • Move Bandits’ Lair “pit of hell” moonstone to backtrack (was planned to be implemented, but I ended up making a mistake and having to improvise my way out of it [19:46])
  • Pot Head Clip through barricade for second key (in Bandits’ Lair) [21:05]; use Tumond near the end of Daea prison [42:44]
  • Swat at the Ghost Wasp swarm on the way to Misty Gorge Heart Ruby instead of standing still and letting them attack [27:53]
  • In Daea, use Pot Head Clipping to obtain the first moonstone as opposed to the intended way (Remember to let the chest rest on your head before jumping!) [33:57]
  • Substitute Daea sewer dupe for Cell CIII dupe (20 extra Rai) [38:01]
  • Move KMG Heart Ruby over to Prince Tower backtrack [1:29:13]
  • Door Push to obtain the moonstone past the O-door in Dread Lands prior to backtracking (also removes the need to obtain the extra O-key) [51:16]
  • Pot Head Clip past the second X-door (in Dread Lands) with the moonstone pot on the same screen [53:26] (note that backtracking requires another Pot Head Clip, although not necessarily with the pot [1:36:43])
  • Move buying the Gold Bar from Atai 3 to Atai 4 (To get to the shop 2F quickly, do a speedy midair throw with the Javelin from the first impermeable roof on the left) [1:18:48]
  • Extra Honey for Atai well (starting at the barricades (actually revised to a later point [1:10:13]); Pot Head Clip [1:09:41] instead of going for the switches)
  • Save Lab moonstone in Panselo [1:15:14] for last; use the Pot Head Clipping method [1:14:31] to get the other two
  • For Sunflower Road west moonstone, find two leaves positioned the same horizontally and hover from the top leaf [1:16:58]
  • Do Misty Gorge 2 before Adar’s House 2 so that the honey boost from Atai 4 carries over to the Translucent Meat farm (making it faster) (once again, was planned to be implemented, but I decided to change course because I got the Translucent Meat early)
  • Major rerouting of Forgotten Forest (https://youtu.be/HuJOc5yglcM, but preferably with pressure plate puzzle over Javelin Bomb Jump) [1:37:37]

I will totally admit that the run has its fair share of execution faults (and I’m especially bitter that I failed Arc Skip of all things [1:03:11]), but I don’t think there’s any way that I can improve the route any further. I have to say, though, it’s good to know that Pot Head Clipping and Door Pushing have uses beyond the applications through which I discovered them. Pot Head Clipping in particular has become a lot more useful, especially now that I found out two things about it that I didn’t know before:

  1. You can clip past a key door from the left, even with nothing behind you (but when you clip from the right, there does have to be something behind you)
  2. If the container on your head contains a moonstone or inventory item, performing the clip while the container is stationary will cause Gale to collect the item and jump afterwards.

The following GIFs below (captured using Giphy) demonstrate both of the above points at once.

It’s gone a long way from having more use clipping out of bounds than saving time, to be sure.

Also, when developing the route, I didn’t completely factor in what would happen if you were to obtain Translucent Meat from the Ghost Wasp swarm guarding the Misty Gorge Heart Ruby. It’s easy, though: just do the delivery and Sandwich stuff a bit earlier. It throws the route a bit out of whack, but not to an irreparable extent.

Additionally, while I was rehearsing and fine-tuning the movements required for ideal execution, I found some tricks that will prove to be useful in improving my any% time as well:

  • Charge-attacking the toads at 3:47
  • The movement tech at 6:16
  • Because of the nature of the rubble between Adar’s House and the bomb cave (at 17:33), I now know that it’s better to not use a Jar of Honey until after blowing up that rubble.
  • Getting more risky with the dog and guard at 37:37
  • A better way to initiate the “guard gauntlet” (as I call it) at 40:11
  • Minor optimization for the first floor of Prince Tower (at 43:32)
  • Picking up the bomb at 50:46 and using it to blow up the rolling bombs at 50:52 (faster than using any inventory item)
  • The Pot Head Clip to skip the second X-door in Dread Lands (best demonstrated at 1:36:43) is useful for any% as well
  • Pulling out a bomb (like at 1:02:44) in order to make it easier to break the set of crates containing the one E-Soda in the route
  • Using bombs like the one placed at 1:44:08 to disable the smaller eyes of Big Eye without having to shine the Artifact on them (as I witnessed in a rehearsal run, this could lead to defeating Big Eye before it gets to its second phase of ropes and spheres)

Keeping these tips in mind, I was doing a bit of practice on any%, and I vividly recall that I ended up with 55m in-game time. The question remains whether sub-53 RTA is possible, however. That said, I feel like it is possible, but at the same time, I have this lingering suspicion that it will take a while to grind.

The most important fact about Phoenotopia that I have to share, however, is as follows: Loot Duping is not pixel-perfect; it has a three-pixel window. As such, I apologize for all the posts and runs in which I assumed otherwise. On the bright side, this fact makes it so that I don’t have to waste as much time Loot Duping on average. In light of recently discovering this fact, I created a new document based on what loot containers can and cannot be duped (which is like the Loot Dupe Positioning document that I had formerly compiled, but more detailed and with a few more loot containers that I missed):

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1VYxyuETFRONT9WAC8PD5IbJn6rz2mora7GUP_IMzq-k/edit?usp=sharing

 

Second, here’s a rundown of my progress through Fire Emblem Fates (Birthright). I’ve made it to Chapter 27, with only one unit lost but several resets along with that. I tried to make it with as few resets as possible, but most, if not all, of the resets were on the grounds of being fatally unprepared.

One particular example I can think of is in Mitama’s paralogue. The thing is, when I play Fire Emblem, I usually play on the defensive, taking into consideration the potential damage outputs of all enemies and using that insight to take an action that would make all my units statistically incapable of dying (if possible). However, this sort of mentality meant that protecting the building in the middle of the area was something that never crossed my mind, and that led me to realize a vital fact that I learned the hard way: if an Adventurer reaches that building, it’s instantly destroyed. When this happened on my first run-through, I could not accept the fate of never meeting Azama’s child, so I saw fit to reset. On the second run-through, though, I went on the offensive (as much as I could, anyway), making sure that Azama (and Rinkah) made it to the building as soon as possible, and it worked out much better.

Another such example is in Chapter 23, wherein I carelessly sent Caeldori and Kiragi as far up from the far right as I possibly could, thinking it would be completely fine. However, I learned the hard way that Camilla had access to a trio of Dragon Veins right beside her, a vital fact that I didn’t notice before I ended turn 1. The veins in question trigger heat waves that deal exactly 10 damage to allied units—and destroy obstacles—in the path thereof, and the fact of the heat waves destroying obstacles was what led my unfortunate pair to winding up in fatal danger. I felt that I could not accept this fate because I had no prior knowledge of those Dragon Veins whatsoever, even though I could have (although I probably wouldn’t have guessed that the Dragon Vein had the side effect of destroying obstacles), hence the reset. Also, the fact that those Dragon Veins can be used infinitely makes the situation all the more frustrating.

Anyway, regarding the loss that I actually accepted, it was the unfortunate and irreplaceable death of Azura, in Asugi’s paralogue. This paralogue in general was a toughie, forcing me to play more aggressively than I would normally deem comfortable. In spite of this, there was a point in the mission where I felt like I could rest easy for a moment…at least, that’s what I thought, until an Adventurer on the left side opened the door closest to the boss, and some Sniper—whom I hadn’t factored in at all—was in range of Azura and straight OHKO’d her. I could have avoided the chance of the OHKO (and maybe avoided the OHKO altogether) if she had been wielding the Dual Nagitana in her inventory, but the enemy had just come out of left field, and it’s normal to want to have a 1-2 range weapon (Bolt Nagitana) equipped by default when it comes to emergency situations like that. Plus, I just didn’t want to reset on that one because I couldn’t be bothered to do the whole mission again from scratch.

To end off this section, here is an updated unit overview. All pairs are S-rank unless specified otherwise. Also, I decided to remove prize units (and bond units) because I can’t be bothered to list all of them, considering I have the maximum allowable quantity.

  • Draco (Lv.21 Hoshido Noble) + Hinoka (Lv.21 Falcon Knight)
  • Shigure (Lv.18 Falcon Knight) + Kana (Lv.17 Hoshido Noble)
  • Rinkah (Lv.16 Blacksmith) + Azama (Lv.18 Great Master)
  • Oboro (Lv.17 Spear Master) + Saizo (Lv.18 Master Ninja)
  • Asugi (Lv.16 Mechanist) + Sophie (Lv.15 Great Knight)
  • Caeldori (Lv.11 Falcon Knight) + Kiragi (Lv.12 Sniper)
  • Hisame (Lv.13 Swordmaster) + Rhajat (Lv.33 Witch)
  • Hayato (Lv.14 Basara) + Sakura (Lv.13 Onmyoji)
  • Setsuna (Lv.8 Sniper) + Takumi (Lv.7 Kinshi Knight)
  • Kaden (Lv.6 Nine-Tails) + Hana (Lv.6 Master of Arms)
  • Silas (Lv.5 Paladin) + Mozu (Lv.5 Merchant)
  • Felicia (Lv.30 Maid) [married Hinata when he was alive]
  • Subaki (Lv.7 Kinshi Knight) [married Azura when she was alive]
  • Kagero (Lv.2 Mechanist) [married Kaze when he was alive]
  • Mitama (Lv.5 Priestess)
  • Selkie (Lv.4 Nine-Tails)
  • Yukimura (Lv.10 Mechanist)
  • Shura (Lv.10 Adventurer)
  • Izana (Lv.5 Onmyoji)
  • Ryoma (Lv.4 Swordmaster)
  • Jakob (Lv.13 Butler)
  • Reina (Lv.2 Kinshi Knight)
  • Scarlet (Lv.1 Wyvern Lord)

 

Finally, some brief talk about the anime that I’m currently watching this season.

  • Uchuu Patrol Luluco – The story of a “normal” girl who goes through some wacky adventures involving interplanetary stuff. Think Kill la Kill but with a more Mako-like protagonist and 7-minute episodes.
  • Gyakuten Saiban: Sono “Shinjitsu”, Igi Ari! – Animated Phoenix Wright. I enjoy it, although I find the art style to be a little unsettling. It seems to follow the games very closely, although I haven’t played past the Steel Samurai case, so everything beyond that case is kind of a fresh experience for me. (Even then, it’s been a while since then, so it was nice to have a refresher as well.)
  • Gakusen Toshi Asterisk 2nd season – Not much difference from the first season except less ecchi and more seriousness. I guess I’ve warmed up to some of the characters (especially the ones whom I initially disliked or overlooked), Saya is still best girl, and I’ve settled on a true worst girl. I won’t spoil anything further because I plan on doing a full review of this in the near future.
  • Boku no Hero AcademiaDon’t watch an anime called Boku. Just kidding; this anime’s great. It’s about superheroes and stuff, like One Punch Man but with a more fledgeling protagonist. Can confirm that frog girl is best girl. (She needs more screentime, though.)
  • Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu – Where the protagonist is given a mulligan every time he dies…apparently. I didn’t think much of this anime when I watched the first episode of it, but when I noticed it getting popular, I decided to delve further into it, and now I can understand its popularity…at least to an extent. Incidentally, I didn’t realize until episode 2 or 3 that I had actually read 11 chapters of the manga, although that was so long ago that the only memories that I used to make the connection were based on the thief girl and the bulky dark-skinned man. In short, it’s kind of a slow start, but it gets great.

 

Nowi Wins That’s all for today! Vouiv-review is back on its regular schedule until I say otherwise!

Potpourri feat. winter 2016 anime (Thought Dump Thursday 1/21/16)

The thing about Thought Dump Thursdays is that sometimes they may be focused on one topic, but other times (like now) they may just be in the classic potpourri style of the former Thought Dump series, wherein I just say what I’m thinking, not caring how many different topics I bring up within the post in question. However, from now on, I decided with such potpourri posts that I would include the main topic of focus—i.e., the topic which I discuss first—as the defining feature of the part of the title outside of the parentheses. This is partly to make the end part of the URL unique and partly so that the posts are less likely to be overlooked.

So, first off: I tend to limit myself in the anime that I watch (especially now that I’ve reached my last semester of college) to series that really interest me. So far, of the anime that have started airing this season, three have successfully grabbed my attention:

Musaigen no Phantom World

I owe my interest in this anime to a tweet by Dutch speedrunner CriticalCyd. From what I’ve seen (i.e., the first three episodes), it’s about people being able to see illusions, including illusionary beings known as Phantoms, and put to rest the Phantoms that cause mischief. In terms of main characters, we have: Haruhiko Ichijou, a dark-haired dude who excels at dropping trivia and carries a sketchbook for sealing and summoning; Ruru, a fairy-like Phantom who accompanies Haruhiko much like Navi; Mai Kawakami, a blonde and busty chick who excels at martial arts; and Reina Izumi, a black-haired girl who has…quite an appetite, to say the least. I don’t have much to say about this one…yet, although the lore is pretty interesting, and I am eager to see more out of the other students who have had various minor appearances (i.e., Koito Minase and that one loli with the teddy bear).

Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! (KonoSuba)

I’ve been awaiting this anime ever since 2015 when it was announced. Before then, I was already familiar with the manga and had read the first four chapters, and it is certainly great stuff. It’s centered around the shut-in Kazuma Satou who ends up dying a ridiculous death and is invited by the “goddess” Aqua to an RPG-like world to which he is allowed to take any one thing…and he chooses Aqua. So, this fledgeling shut-in and demoted goddess are stuck in the world to make a living and get stronger in hopes of defeating the demon king. On the way, they meet the explosion-obsessed chuunibyou arch wizard Megumin and the masochistic blonde crusader known as Darkness. As a whole, all I can say is that the anime defied some of the expectations I had while reading the manga: Aqua’s hair seems brighter and her skirt a whole lot more see-through, Megumin has a more emotional voice than I expected, and Kazuma is portrayed to be seemingly more useful than the manga made him seem. Still, I’m looking forward to how it will unfold, for better or for worse.

Dagashi Kashi

I have no idea what force of nature compelled me to watch this anime…and read up to chapter 38 in the manga…but I am liking it so far. It’s about an aspiring mangaka, Kokonotsu Shikada, whose father, You Shikada, is the owner of an urban shop that sells cheap snacks (known as dagashi) and wishes for Kokonotsu to succeed the shop, even if he doesn’t want to. Suddenly, he meets the dreamy but eccentric lavender-haired Hotaru Shidare, who makes a deal with You that he will help the Shidare family with their dagashi-selling business if she convinces Kokonotsu to succeed the Shikada shop. Even though Hotaru (and Kokonotsu, whether he likes it or not) is enthusiastic to a fault about dagashi, Kokonotsu refuses the offer through and through, making for a lasting, comedic, and somewhat educational relationship between the two, with some moments shared with Kokonotsu’s friends Tou and Saya Endou. Good stuff.

The rest of the potpourri

Phoenotopia

First of all:

New any% PB! (Please read the following Pastebin—http://pastebin.com/GHcvwBFs—before watching.) 55:14 RTA, which is a 4-minute time save over my previous run! I did say before that sub 1 hour in-game time was possible, and I managed to cut the in-game timer down to 58 minutes! I also said before that “sub 56 [RTA] would be an ideal time for this category,” but I feel even at 55:14 that there is still plenty of room for improvement. I’m honestly surprised that I ended up saving time on the Dread Lands / Mul Cavern split, seeing how I lost about 18 seconds by clumsily falling at the very end. I also lost another 18 seconds (maybe more) by failing Golem Skip, and the early game was rather shaky as a whole. So, I’m thinking low 54 RTA (so 56 or 57 in-game time) would be an ideal goal time.

I should also add that this is my first (and possibly last) run completed on the French version. I decided to try it out, just out of curiosity, but I went back and timed it in comparison to the original English, and it wastes about 4 seconds in text boxes.

Second, about 100%…I’ll probably start up another playthrough just to experiment with some things (and get screenshots of potential split icons) because, now that I think about it, I’m kinda confused on Moonstone #42 on the Scribd guide (the moonstone that you get from Floe in Cross Roads). Like, according to the guide, you have to exterminate the slimes, talk to Gill at Great Walls, and then talk to Floe for the moonstone, and that’s how it’s currently routed out. However, to have to go through that much seems a little suspicious to me. Is it really necessary to talk to Gill? Heck, is it even necessary to exterminate the slimes? (I’m thinking “yes” to the latter question, just because it makes more sense that way, although I’m not so sure about the former.) Other than that, I don’t know about changing the route; the only trick in the route for which a stamina boost is absolutely necessary is Harpy Skip, which saves having to put up with an RNG-heavy fight in Ancient’s Crater that would otherwise probably take forever (but most likely not as long as in any% because you would have more HP in 100%). As for everything else, it’s just minor time loss…and besides, stamina-boosting items are not just available at Honey Labs Inn; there’s also the Honeyed Tumonds at Bandits’ Lair and Dread Lands, as well as the Jar of Honey in the Dread Lands save room and the E-Soda in Ancient’s Crater. So, that adds up to 6 minutes of stamina boosts.

Anyway, that’s what’s on the table whenever I get back to it.

Freemium 3DS games

Pokémon Shuffle came out with a whopping 40 normal stages (261-300) in one update. To put that into perspective, that’s literally two-thirds of Roseus Center, which has the most stages of any location in the game, and, heck, even just the number of released stages exceeds the number of stages in any previous location. That’s really something. Another thing about this update: I started out at 99999 coins, spent 15500 on Zekrom (I defeated it without items, but given that I did so on the last move, I obviously failed to catch it at that time), and pretty much all of the rest went into Great Balls, which allowed me to catch everything up to Palpitoad (if only the RNG could have been more cooperative) and a few others with luck. Also, get this: I spent 13300 coins (for Moves +5, Mega Start, Complexity -1, and Disruption Delay) on Mega Rayquaza and still fell short of S-ranking it (had 8 moves remaining). I don’t know if it had something to do with my team; I had Mega Latios, Goodra, Dragonite, and Rayquaza (8/8/7/6)…but hey, now that I have Mega Ray, I can give it a taste of its own medicine next time! (What I have in mind is a team of Mega Ray, Xerneas, Diancie, and…er…Articuno.) Anyway, that’s what’s on the table for Pokémon Shuffle, along with having to S-rank 30 more stages and later take care of the EX stages, so…I guess I’ll just Meowth grind a bunch and get back in the fray when I feel ready.

Next: Pokémon Picross. For a cheapskate like me who refuses to pay for freemium games, progress is quite slow on that game. It really is just like Rumble World in terms of its currency system: get a bunch of Picrites (Picross’s equivalent of Diamonds), unlock the next zone, clear that zone, rinse and repeat. I may have once said that progress is slower in Picross than Rumble World, but now that I think about it, they are about the same; if not, Rumble World may be the slower one because the number of Diamonds you get from Rumble World in the daily events external to missions is entirely RNG-dependent, whereas how many Picrites you get in the Daily Challenge depends mostly on execution and somewhat on RNG. Being on Area 09 and having reached level 10 of the Daily Challenge (which wasn’t too hard due to the prior experience I’ve had with Conceptis’s Pic-a-Pix), I get a daily yield of 11 (or 9 if I get sloppy), which isn’t too shabby. What annoys me, though, is that not a single Pokémon prior to Area 12 is Rock- or Ground-type. Like, really, why the heck is that, especially considering some of the challenges prior to that area have objectives requiring Slash Reveal?

As for Badge Arcade and Rumble World, I don’t have much to say about those. Badge Arcade…doesn’t leave much room for explanation, although I’m going to come out and say that I wish I had a swimsuit Nikki badge. In Rumble World, I’m really close to unlocking the 160-Diamond balloon, whatever that is (I can’t be bothered to look it up), and there’s still the 200-Diamond balloon waiting in the wings.

 

Nowi Wins À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Important update + 2015 recap (Spontaneous Saturday 1/2/16)

Important Update

Once again, it’s a new year, and this time, I feel like making an important change to the activity of this blog. First off, titles will henceforth have the topic as a set of words on the left and the blog-related category of the post as a set of words in parentheses on the right, just as demonstrated with the title of this particular post. This is so that I can condense the URL to exclude the information that is unimportant to a new viewer of the posts and put that information aside until the end of the title.

Second, instead of the whole Spontaneous Saturday -> Top Three Thursday -> Poké Monday thing, I figured I would make it so that Top Three Thursday is now Thought Dump Thursday. The reason for this is because, while I like top-whatever lists, they are difficult to come up with, especially in terms of topic. I mean, while three is a reasonable number for some situations, for others, like characters of MonMusu, it’s just not enough, and I don’t really want to make variations unless on extremely special occasions, like how Top Three Thursday 12/24/15 featured nine of the 2015 anime series I enjoyed because of how close the time of publishing was to Christmas. On that note, let’s not forget when I copped out of a Top Three Thursday post. Why Thought Dump? Well, I have written seven “Thought Dump” posts (on 10/25/14, 12/20/14, 2/14/15, 5/9/15, 6/20/15, 8/1/15, and 12/5/15) as a way to weasel my way out of thinking up a specific topic for Spontaneous Saturday. As few views as I get for potpourri posts compared to posts about specific topics (mostly anime-related), I enjoy writing out these Thought Dumps, so I decided to integrate them into the regular schedule.

Third and foremost, I wish to say goodbye to Spontaneous Saturday and replace it with Spontaneous Series Saturday. I was thinking when I was on the whole “Cavalry vs. Asterisk” series: It’s not exactly spontaneous if I make it obvious when the next installments are going to come out. It’s also not really spontaneous if it happens on a regularly scheduled basis, right? Like, “Oh, I’m looking forward to the next Spontaneous Saturday” is such a contradictory statement the more I think about it. So, what I was thinking was: On some Saturday when I feel like it, I will initiate some sort of review series—like Cavalry vs. Asterisk—that keeps going until I say it has ended. That way, the exact nature of the Saturday in question is spontaneous, but it also keeps the whole “series” thing going. More importantly, this lifts a minor burden off of me, as it means that I can actually pick times to think twice rather than thrice per two weeks. Since I feel like I slacked too much last semester (got an A, A-, B, and B-, and I didn’t work steadily enough on the final projects and had to crash them) and therefore I wish to get more serious this semester, I believe this change is for the best.

Poké Monday, however, will remain untouched.

So, here’s the deal: Thought Dump Thursday every second Thursday from January 7 onward, Poké Monday every second Monday from January 11 onward, and Spontaneous Series Saturday at random intervals.

Good? Good.

Also, I have updated the header image and blog info section accordingly.

2015 Recap

Much like the 2014 recap, since 2015 has come to an end, I shall provide a recap of what has become of Vouiv-review from the beginning of 2015 to the end of 2015.

January 3 (Spontaneous Saturday): 2014 recap. Just like this half of this post, only this one has hyperlinks on the post titles and is based on a different year.

January 8 (Top Three Thursday): Video game music. I talked about some video game music that I like from Pokémon X&Y, Super Smash Bros., and Bravely Default. Over time, however, I’ve grown to like the Ripple Star stage 3 music in Kirby 64 more than the F-Zero music.

January 12 (Poké Monday): Heatmor. Primarily offensive Fire-type known for being one of the few of its type to learn Giga Drain. While it is relatively slow and frail, it gets Sucker Punch to mitigate that.

January 17 (Spontaneous Saturday): Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. I talked about my thoughts on the most recent Super Smash Bros. game after having it for about a year. I have, by the way, completed all of the challenges I was missing before.

January 22 (Top Three Thursday): Video game characters. Rita Mordio (Tales of Vesperia), Yoshi (Mario series), and Nowi (Fire Emblem Awakening). This list remains unchanged, at least for now.

January 26 (Poké Monday): Floatzel. A fast Water-type physical attacker with two primary defining aspects: Water Veil and Switcheroo.

January 31 (Spontaneous Saturday): Wake Up, Girl Zoo! I talked about the first eight episodes of a spinoff of the anime “Wake Up, Girls!“. This spinoff was short and sweet, and it made for a good laugh.

February 5 (Top Three Thursday): Most annoying GH6 guitar charts. I expressed my frustration towards charts in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock that I am unable to full combo (and will remain so for a long while).

February 9 (Poké Monday): Bagon. Physically oriented Dragon-type attacker in LC with relatively low stats but an interesting Ability in Sheer Force.

February 14 (Spontaneous Saturday): Thought Dump 3. I talked about the Battle Maison (notably my quest towards the Doubles trophy) and my thoughts on winter 2015 anime.

February 19 (Top Three Thursday): Favorite Internet memes. Costanza reaction face, Tony Kornheiser’s “Why”, and Yee. My favorite meme now, though, is JOHN CENA.

February 23 (Poké Monday): Kyogre. Dominating force in Ubers whose environment has changed (quite literally in some contexts) with the introduction of Primal Reversion.

February 28 (Spontaneous Saturday): Poké Monday in further detail. A sort of follow-up to the series based on changes to the metagame that required appending further thoughts to my past analyses.

March 5 (Top Three Thursday): Favorite Mega Evolutions. Sceptile, Beedrill, Gallade.

March 9 (Poké Monday): Watchog. The first-route Normal-type of gen 5. Not much to expect there.

March 14 (Spontaneous Saturday): Cross-a-Pix. I talked about a relatively new form of puzzle, one somewhat similar to Pic-a-Pix, that was introduced to Conceptis approximately two weeks prior to when the article was written. I also gave tips on how to solve these puzzles.

March 19 (Top Three Thursday): Favorite Twitch streamers: Redux. Witwix, 2dos, and 360chrism. What bothers me a little is that this redux needs a redux because some of the information is outdated, notably the emote sets (and I rarely, if ever, watch Witwix anymore). It was nice to take a trip down memory lane in terms of the emotes, but updated emote sets can be viewed at twitchemotes.com or frankerfacez.com, depending on the variety of emotes.

March 23 (Poké Monday): Staraptor. Strong Flying-type attacker with average Speed that uses Reckless Brave Bird and Double-Edge for heavy damage output.

March 28 (Spontaneous Saturday): Final thoughts on winter 2015 anime. I talked about Absolute Duo, Juuou Mujin no Fafnir, and the second season of Log Horizon. None of these has a particularly good reputation, but Kili from Fafnir remains to this day one of my favorite anime characters of all time.

April 2 (Top Three Thursday): Recent Guitar Hero 3 FCs. That time when I finally managed to get Nothing for Me Here, The Number of the Beast, and Cult of Personality.

April 6 (Poké Monday): Nidoran♂. Poison-type physical attacker with average-at-best stats, only notable for Hustle and Sucker Punch.

April 11 (Spontaneous Saturday): Sym-a-Pix, the puzzle that I underestimated. I talk about a variety of puzzle that I dismissed in my first Conceptis puzzle review because of a naïve misunderstanding on my part.

April 16 (Top Three Thursday): Advice I would give to other drivers. Since I had recently started driving solo to university at the time, I thought I would drop a few of my pet peeves based on other drivers whom I have observed.

April 20 (Poké Monday): Krokorok. Average offensive threat capable of performing a lead role with Stealth Rock and Taunt, and wearing down the opposition with STAB Earthquake and Knock Off.

April 25 (Spontaneous Saturday): Momentary pause. Since it was close to the deadline and I had no specific topic in mind, I decided to cop out and post an Imgur album pertaining to my army in Disgaea DS, a game that I was into at the time but ended up losing interest.

April 30 (Top Three Thursday): Favorite Christian music. For the first time in Vouiv-review history, I revealed my Christian faith by sharing a few songs that I found (and still find) impactful: Virtuoso, He Knows My Name, and Proof of Your Love.

May 4 (Poké Monday): Cloyster. An offensive threat that is notorious for Shell Smash and Skill Link Icicle Spear.

May 9 (Spontaneous Saturday): Thought Dump 4. I talk about Pokémon Rumble World and spring 2015 anime.

May 14 (Top Three Thursday): Favorite speedruns to watch. I like to watch speedruns on Twitch, so I thought I would name off some of my favorites at the time: Kirby 64, Bravely Default, and Donkey Kong 64.

May 18 (Poké Monday): Vigoroth. Lower-tier threat known for a nasty combination of Bulk Up and Slack Off.

May 23 (Spontaneous Saturday): Super Randomizer Nuzlocke – a follow-up? I ended the HeartGold Nuzlocke on a salty note and started a new one in Black 2. However, I do not think I will be picking these back up; I think I’d rather just do regular randomizer (just Pokémon, moves, and items randomized) or Metronome only, if anything.

May 28 (Top Three Thursday): Reasons for lack of inspiration. Basically, I copped out of a Top Three Thursday post and made excuses for it (some good, some bad).

June 1 (Poké Monday): Vivillon. Setup sweeper with access to Quiver Dance, as well as Compound Eyes Sleep Powder and Hurricane.

June 6 (Spontaneous Saturday): Tapping methods in Guitar Hero. I talked about some tapping methods that I use to hit especially difficult sections in Guitar Hero. I did indeed finish this post, even though it said “UNDER CONSTRUCTION” for…well, way too long.

June 11 (Top Three Thursday): Characters I find it hard to like but don’t dislike. Sometimes, my opinion can be somewhat complicated, a few instances being on Camilla (Fire Emblem Fates), Hestia (DanMachi), and Niko Yazawa (Love Live).

June 15 (Poké Monday): Tornadus. The only 100% pure Flying-type Pokémon, which is primarily offensive in its incarnate forme but can act somewhat defensively in its therian forme.

June 20 (Spontaneous Saturday): Thought Dump 5. I got the FC of If You Want Peace… Prepare for War on Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, talked about my progress in Pokémon Shuffle and Rumble World, and talked about the anime that I had been watching, trying to be brief about it.

June 25 (Top Three Thursday): Favorite music from Nintendo 64 games. A more specific version of Top Three Thursday 1/8/15. Beforehand, I reminisced about the days when the Nintendo 64 was fresh in my mind.

June 29 (Poké Monday): Croconaw. Lower-tier counterpart of a strong Water-type attacker that is notorious for Sheer Force and its great selection of moves with which to abuse the ability.

July 4 (Spontaneous Saturday): My final thoughts on spring 2015 anime. I talked about Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic, Nisekoi:, DanMachi, and Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo. Yamada-kun and KinMoza were particularly enjoyable, and the others were okay.

July 9 (Top Three Thursday): Annoying aspects of Pokémon Shuffle. What really grinds my gears about this freemium puzzle game. (I still enjoy the game, don’t get me wrong; it’s just that it gets under my skin sometimes.)

July 13 (Poké Monday): Machoke. Lower-tier abuser of No Guard STAB Dynamic Punch.

July 18 (Spontaneous Saturday): The most situational GUI I’ve ever coded. A GUI built in Java for the sole purpose of catching a Reshiram to meet my standards.

July 23 (Top Three Thursday): SGDQ 2015 runs I am looking forward to. The Legend of Zelda (classic) swordless, Metroid Prime Hunters all items, and Donkey Kong 64 no levels early. I did enjoy these runs, and…guess what: another GDQ (specifically AGDQ 2016) is coming up real soon.

July 27 (Poké Monday): Pineco. Effective hazard lead in Little Cup that is somewhat usable in level 100 formats thanks to Sturdy and Pain Split.

August 1 (Spontaneous Saturday): Thought Dump 6. I made another situational GUI, this time for Entei, which I still haven’t caught and probably will not until I have soft-reset for certain event Pokémon (Rayquaza, Zoroark, Hoopa). I also talked about freemium Pokémon, SGDQ 2015, and newly released anime.

August 6 (Top Three Thursday): Fun things to do in Pokémon. This list encompassed all generations, but only of the main series games. Surfing on Sharpedo, playing Voltorb Flip, and breeding were the activities that made this list.

August 10 (Poké Monday): Plusle. Electric-type with Nasty Plot, Baton Pass, and Lightning Rod. No other Pokémon follows these four criteria. (Aside from that, it’s trash.)

August 15 (Spontaneous Saturday): Phoenotopia. I talked about one of my favorite free online games of all time and my plans to speedrun it. As of now, I have completed the any% route, but I still have yet to get a recorded run. (I had a great one going last night, but it died to the 6th floor of Prince Tower.)

August 20 (Top Three Thursday): Favorite Japanese music. This is not like the top three anime theme song list I did last year (although it still contains Maware Setsugetsuka); it also includes Vocaloid music.

August 24 (Poké Monday): Cacturne. An offensive threat with the strongest Sucker Punch in its tier and some nice supporting moves as well (including boosting moves on both sides of the spectrum).

August 29 (Spontaneous Saturday): Actually spontaneous. When I try to be “actually spontaneous,” I actually just spill the beans about what’s going on in life, notably what media I’m consuming at the time (in this case, Persona Q) and anything pertinent to my career.

September 3 (Top Three Thursday): Hardest things to pay attention to.  I always have a hard time processing what goes on during drawn action scenes, particularly long readings, and university lectures. This article was where I voiced my frustration.

September 7 (Poké Monday): Darmanitan. A ridiculously strong physical Fire-type attacker although average in Speed and relatively frail.

September 12 (Spontaneous Saturday): More spontaneity. Progress reports on Pokémon Shuffle, Persona Q, and Phoenotopia routing.

September 17 (Top Three Thursday): Labyrinths in Persona Q. You in Wonderland, Group Date Café, and Inaba Pride Exhibit. I also talked about the labyrinths that I didn’t include (Evil Spirit Club and Clock Tower). Persona Q was a fun game, and I’m glad for its existence.

September 21 (Poké Monday): Chesnaught. Grass/Fighting physical tank with Bulletproof, original (and best) user of Spiky Shield, and can also set Spikes.

September 26 (Spontaneous Saturday): My thoughts on Monster girls. I talked about (most of) the monster girls of the anime Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou and how I would rank them from bottom to top.

October 1 (Top Three Thursday): Advice I would give to new Twitch users. My attempt to explain important aspects of Twitch to those who are unfamiliar with it.

October 5 (Poké Monday): Groudon. A threat defensively and offensively that has improved greatly with the introduction of its Primal Reversion.

October 10 (Spontaneous Saturday): I have so much on my mind… A little rant about how it feels like life comes and attacks me at moments when my mind feels so loaded that I have to rant about it.

October 15 (Top Three Thursday): Responses to failure to meet a deadline properly. Based partly on college assignments but also partly on this blog. Risks happen all the time, so it is vital to have one or multiple risk responses. I learned that in Project Management class.

October 19 (Poké Monday): Flaaffy. Fledgeling Electric-type that can pretend to be a defensive pivot in lower tiers through the use of Seismic Toss, Volt Switch, and Toxic.

October 24 (Spontaneous Saturday): Cavalry vs. Asterisk – part 1. The first of a three-part series comparing and contrasting the anime series Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry and Gakusen Toshi Asterisk, which are similar in plenty of ways. The first part does not concern any episodes past 4.

October 29: RIP today’s Top Three Thursday. Yep, this is the cop out.

November 2 (Poké Monday): Lopunny. Physically offensive threat with ridiculous Speed and a nigh unresisted STAB combination in Scrappy Normal and Fighting.

November 7 (Spontaneous Saturday): My own fantasy story. I talked about Cinq du Soleil, a story of my own creation chiefly inspired by the anime Trinity Seven, and any background information on it that I have dug from the inner recesses of my memory. As of now, I am partway through chapter 5.

November 12 (Top Three Thursday): Christian music for non-Christians. Another revealing of my Christian faith, featuring the songs My Story, Prodigal, and Flawless.

November 16 (Poké Monday): Swanna. An offensive Defogger in PU (first ever PU analysis on Vouiv-review) with pretty much unresisted STAB coverage in Hurricane and Scald.

November 21 (Spontaneous Saturday): Cavalry vs. Asterisk – part 2. The second part of the aforementioned three-part series. This part does not concern any episodes past 8.

November 26 (Top Three Thursday): Things I’m thankful for. I was actually in a rush and had a term paper due on the same day, so, since it was Thanksgiving, I had to go with the obvious topic.

November 30 (Poké Monday): Grovyle. Fledgeling Grass-type that is nothing more than the fastest Unburden user in PU.

December 5 (Spontaneous Saturday): Thought Dump 7. For this Thought Dump, I decided to avoid anime talk (aside from a brief expression of approval of One Punch Man) and instead stick to other topics: freemium games (including Nintendo Badge Arcade and Pokémon Picross), Steam games, Cinq du Soleil, and Phoenotopia routing. A follow-up about Phoenotopia: I actually figured out that unlocking the Mystery Bento was the key to getting the extra 1%, which is really silly if you ask me. I mean, the Mystery Bento of all things…what does that have to do with anything?

December 10 (Top Three Thursday): Anime that I might consider watching. Dog Days, Overlord, and JoJo. I watched Overlord before JoJo, but only for the sake of the next Top Three Thursday (mentioned later).

December 14 (Poké Monday): Yveltal. Strong Dark-type attacker (both offensively and defensively) with odd stats.

December 19 (Spontaneous Saturday): Cavalry vs. Asterisk – part 3 (finale). The final part of the aforementioned three-part series, which summarizes everything from start to finish, talks about any changes in my thoughts from part to part, and wraps up my thoughts on both anime series.

December 24 (Top Three (times three!) Thursday): Nine favorite anime series of 2015. Seiyuu’s Life, MonMusu, Asterisk, Cavalry, Fafnir, Yamada-kun, Overlord, Hibike Euphonium, and One Punch Man.

December 28 (Poké Monday): Glalie. Spikes+Taunt lead in PU, strong Ice-type attacker in RU.

 

It was a great year overall, even though I had to cop out of quite a few posts, especially with all the Thought Dump jank going on, as well as the “fake” Thought Dumps (posts that seem like Thought Dumps but are not titled as such). Thanks for the support, those who provided it!

Nowi Wins Here’s to another year…?

Spontaneous Saturday 12/5/15: Thought Dump 7

It’s been a while (by which I mean about 4 months ago) since my last official Thought Dump. Since I’m approaching the end of my penultimate semester, having just completed one dastard of a project and having to worry about a final exam and another project, I haven’t given much thought to what I wish to write for this Spontaneous Saturday. Therefore…well, here’s Thought Dump 7.

 

I’d like to start with freemium games I’ve been playing on 3DS. Along with the already released ones, Rumble World and Shuffle (the latter of which is now on mobile), there are now two others: Nintendo Badge Arcade and Pokémon Picross. Nintendo Badge Arcade apparently came out about a month ago (although I only learned about it a week ago), while Pokémon Picross came out two days ago.

Nintendo Badge Arcade is where you play crane games and earn badges, which can be used to decorate your HOME menu. Some of these badges can be used to launch applications (specifically System Parameters, StreetPass Mii Plaza, Nintendo eShop, DS Download Play, Sound Studio, Camera, Mii Creator, and Activity Log), meaning they are not entirely pointless. You can pay $1 for five plays, hence the freemium aspect of the game. However, there is a practice machine that you can use once daily (renews at 5:00 AM EST) that could potentially result in one or several free plays, and some days the bunny who runs the arcade may just randomly give you free plays. If there’s anything I dislike about the game, it’s that you can’t back out when given a free play (which would be useful if you got a free play from the bunny and wanted to get more through the practice catcher, then use them all in one fell swoop) and that every time you use up all your free plays, the bunny will ask, “You can swap over to paid play now. Would you like to do that?”, which to me is one of those “I hate saying ‘no’ every time” situations.

Pokémon Picross…well, I can’t say I don’t like it, but there are some things about it that just…make it the most pay2win game ever. Literally. The pixelated Professor Tetra gives you a bunch of Picrites during the tutorial, but then the only ways you can get any further Picrites are (1) by beating further levels, and (2) by taking part in the daily challenge, which has an appallingly low Picrite yield. Want to get to the next area but don’t have enough Picrites? Oh, and you don’t want to pay? Tough luck; you’re stuck with the slow-as-molasses Picrite gain of the daily challenge. I’m especially frustrated that I happened to boot up the game and find that a rare Pokémon appeared in the second area…which I haven’t unlocked yet…which requires 50 Picrites to unlock and I only have 49……………

“Go to the next area to find the rare Pokémon!” I would if I freaking could! Anyway, at least the gameplay is good, but I’d rather do weekly puzzles on Conceptis than have to put up with the crud that Pokémon Picross is made of.

In summary, Nintendo Badge Arcade is not worth paying for, but Pokémon Picross is too worth paying for. Even so, I like to take the “mium” out of “freemium” and get as much as I can out of these games without paying a cent.

12/9 EDIT: Another thing about Nintendo Badge Arcade: on daily updates, it has possibly the longest loading time of any video game I have ever played (and I believe TF2 is the only other contender). Pokémon Picross, on the other hand, loads instantly when you boot it up, every time.

As for the freemium games I already have, well, my Rumble World experience has been enhanced with one heck of a gem: a 1854 Epic Cascoon with Speedy, Snappy, Gutsy+, Lucky++, Effective, and Lingering+. The combination of Bug Bite and Lucky++ gives it maximum coin yield per KO, and Lingering+ makes its Iron Defenses (yeah, Iron Defense is its best secondary move) linger for a very long time. With 651 HP, Iron Defense makes it much more difficult to take down than the 1464 Epic Sandile (with Speedy, Snappy, Gutsy+, Lucky++, Techie+, and Greedy) that I was using before. As for Shuffle, I have S-ranked all currently unlockable stages and captured every Pokémon available except Thundurus (which I plan to catch after my next check-in), and I’ve saved enough coins that I feel I’ll be ready for the next major update.

Any other games I wish to talk about? Well, actually, I won $25 from a giveaway at twitch.tv/360chrism, and I spent $2.99 on The Stanley Parable and $2.09 on Super Meat Boy. Stanley Parable was pretty entertaining, especially in the instances of defying the narrator. Super Meat Boy, even if it is a dated game, is really fun, although quite frustrating. At the time of writing, I have 100% completed Forest and Hospital, 90% completed Salt Factory (18/20 bandages; need to beat 15-20 in Dark World), and 57% completed Hell (completed Light World; haven’t started Dark World), meaning I have completed 63% of the whole game (with 3010 deaths so far). However, I plan to set Meat Boy aside in favor of more important things (like, you know, studies).

 

I want to keep anime talk at a bare minimum here for reasons that I am not at liberty to discuss, but let me just say: One Punch Man is a great show. It really is.

 

Another thing I wish to bring up, that I haven’t in previous Thought Dumps, is Cinq du Soleil (a fantasy story that I talked about in detail on Spontaneous Saturday 11/7/15). As of now, I have completed chapter 4 and am working on 4.5. Why 4.5? Well, I write the story in third person limited, meaning I write as if I only knew what Toru (the main character) was perceiving, and the fourth chapter ends in such a way that…well, let’s just say he’s unable to witness a certain event that was destined to happen to the whole group. Therefore, I am writing chapter 4.5 as if I did not know what anyone was thinking, because I feel it is essential to know what happened among the rest of the group after the end of chapter 4.

 

I guess that’s all for now. So…

Wait, no! I also want to talk about Phoenotopia routing. In any%, I managed to route out Dread Lands, but obviously Mul Cavern is going to be way more difficult to route out, especially without the Lantern. As for 100%…I did manage to get a fresh file up to 100% completion, only to realize that I am now thoroughly confused by the percentage counter. In that file, I had all Moonstones, all Heart Rubies, all Tools, all Misc. items, all Bag Attachments, 5 Chocolate Protein Shakes consumed, and all locations uncovered, but the file still showed 99%. All the testing of the percentage counter was really annoying since checking the percentage counter in the first place takes like 30 minutes: defeating Big Eye, watching a cutscene, escaping from Android 66, watching another cutscene, and waiting for the credits to display the percentage counter. Most of the times I tested it, it displayed 99%, but it actually displayed 97% when I bought the Leather Armor and then the Chain Mail. But, in 99% conditions, when I unlocked the Mystery Bento and Power Potion, the counter showed 100%. This confuses me because I still don’t know whether the Chocolate Protein Shakes and the Bag Attachments influence the counter, nor do I know which of the Mystery Bento and Power Potion (maybe both) influences the counter and how. So, it turns out there’s far more testing to do than I thought. On a final note, from what I know so far, I figure that a 100% run of Phoenotopia would last about 3 hours in-game time.

 

Okay, now I’m done.

Nowi Wins À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Spontaneous Saturday 8/1/15: Thought Dump 6

First off, welcome to August!

Because I will be on vacation from the 5th to the 12th (at an estimate) and I have no single topic in mind for this Spontaneous Saturday (I already covered SGDQ specifically in the most recent Top Three Thursday), it’s time for another thought dump.

Note that the next Top Three Thursday and Poké Monday will be prepared ahead of time and scheduled for their respective dates in case I end up in a place where I cannot access wi-fi or would have a hard time doing so.

Video game thoughts

In Pokémon Omega Ruby, even though I finally have the Reshiram I wanted, my legendary hunt yet continues. Right now, I have Virizion, Entei, and Tornadus left of the legendaries I can access. Entei in particular has been one heck of a problem. At first, I didn’t think I’d worry too much over the specifics of Entei because it only gets Extreme Speed (a move which is on pretty much every set) through event, then I noticed a set in the Smogon Strategy Pokédex:

Even though it is a VGC set and I’m not into VGC (and probably never will be), it is the only set in the strategy dex that does not contain Extreme Speed, so I figured it’d at least be worth something. Given the spread of the set, I figured it’d be best to have perfect HP, Attack, and Speed with acceptable bulk.

The difficulty of finding such a spread lies mainly in the specificity of the spread. In catching it, I have to go through two main procedures: judging its bulk based on how much damage a Brick Break from my Gallade deals to it (I use a Gallade with Thunder Wave and False Swipe to help capture Pokémon), and going through a process similar to what I did while catching Reshiram and gauging the damage it deals before I succeed in catching it. Much like Reshiram, I unfortunately lack a Pokémon that can be used to check its Speed (which ideally would be 120 and thus would require a 119 Speed Pokémon, which I lack), so I can only estimate its bulk and check its offensive prowess.

How do I check its offensive prowess? Using a GUI, of course! It’s a similar GUI to the one I used while judging Reshiram’s offenses, but with a few tweaks to improve its design and to account for the presence of burn damage (which Entei can cause with Fire Fang or Flamethrower) and the lack of Fusion Flare.

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 9.26.51 PM

As an improvement from the original design, the most noticeable difference is the new layout, which requires one less component than the previous design. Also, there are labels above the HP components, moves, damage output, and rejection status, making it much easier to tell what purpose they serve.

The buttons also serve different purposes. The “Ouch!” button updates the “Damage” label to the difference between “HP before” and “HP after”, updates the “HP before” label value to match that of the “HP after” text field, and updates the “Reject?” label to show whether the damage dealt is accurate based on the move selected and whether or not it was a critical hit. (Damage from physical attacks helps determine whether Entei is max Attack, while damage from Flamethrower helps determine whether it has an Attack-hindering nature.) The “Burn damage” button subtracts the value in the “HP before” label by 28, the damage Gallade takes from burn. The “Reset HP” button resets the “HP before” label value to Gallade’s maximum HP, 230.

All in all, the GUI is situational, but at least it’s improved.

Estimating the Entei’s bulk, on the other hand, is more of a judgement call than a calculation. Given perfect bulk with Adamant nature, Entei would take between 78.9% and 93.1% from Gallade’s Brick Break. Because percentages in terms of the HP bar are difficult to judge, I just decide to capture the Entei if it survives the Brick Break with any higher than 3-4 pixels of HP.

It’s such a pain to deal with, though, and I’d rather keep in touch with Pokémon Rumble World and Pokémon Shuffle. In Rumble World, I finally managed to beat mission 24 (with 2 extra goals) using a tag team of: a 1779 Ho-Oh with Sacred Fire and Safeguard (main attacker for a majority of the mission), a 1564 Gardevoir with Heal Pulse (to heal the Mii before/during the wave of Zorua/Zoroark and/or after the first half), and a 1656 Xerneas with Moonblast and Geomancy (to defeat Yveltal at the very end). I tried to get the third goal (to beat the mission in 3 minutes), but the fastest I could complete it was around 30 seconds off of target time, and I just gave up after that. I’ve also caught every species in every balloon up to Fairy, aside from the Dark balloon, for which I only need 10 more diamonds.

In Shuffle, I’ve been trying to get more S-ranks and take care of the EX levels while also keeping up with the daily/weekly/monthly events through wi-fi. So far, I have S-ranked every main stage up to 172 and unlocked every EX level up to 22, and I have caught every Pokémon in those EX levels except for Chesnaught. Chesnaught is really causing me problems, though; even if I buy Mega Start and Disruption Delay, I can only get a catch rate of 17% at maximum (base catch rate 1%, multiplier 4, done in 12-14 seconds) which, even with a Great Ball (which would boost the catch rate to 34%), still fails to catch. What also irks me is that the catch rate boost never seems to happen against Chesnaught in particular, which is most likely bad luck (typical Shuffle). Since I rack up 6000 coins every time I prepare for the battle, it frustrates me every time I fail to capture Chesnaught.

Also, I have been watching SGDQ 2015 selectively, and I shall make note of what moments I have particularly enjoyed so far:

  • Yoshi’s Island 100% (5-4 skip successful!)
  • the Tetris Grandmaster block (which I hadn’t watched during the last GDQ it was in but I heard some good things about so I decided to watch during this GDQ)
  • Metroid Prime Hunters all items (particularly the end, when Shasta literally finished Gorea 2 while dying)
  • Donkey Kong 64 No Levels Early (of which I actually had to watch a video highlight because it was so late that I couldn’t possibly stay up past my curfew to watch it live; it was worth watching, though, especially the parts when 2dos pretended like he had no idea what he was doing (notably during the MMM setup and DogaDoneQuick))
  • TASBot (I enjoyed its performance in AGDQ 2015, so naturally I wanted to watch the next one; nice of them to demonstrate how a TAS works; Mega Man was broken, Sonic Advance was fast, and Ikaruga was beyond me)
  • Super Mario 64 any% race (amazing performance by both racers; 360chrism got the 0 star run, while GamerDomey got perfect Bowser 3 throws)

I may watch the Pokémon Blue 151 and blindfolded race video highlight later (the entire blindfolded race and 1/4 of the 151 were past my curfew, and I missed the other 3/4 of the 151 in favor of watching the DK64 highlight) or the run of Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga (because I have no clue what goes on in runs of that game, and hopefully that run in particular will educate me). In the end (I mean, Chrono Trigger isn’t over yet, but I don’t care enough to watch it), I say it was a great GDQ, especially seeing how it has raised over a million dollars for charity.

Anime thoughts

Recently, I decided to watch Hibike! Euphonium because I heard good things about it from the MAL Slice of Life club (especially because someone in particular said it was like K-On but better), and it did not disappoint me in the slightest. Episodes 5 and 13 were particularly pivotal moments in the anime, and they make me feel pressure beyond any other anime I’ve watched, especially episode 5, which had me shaking even long after it was over. Heck, even thinking about those particular episodes makes me feel pressure. The other episodes have their merits as well, and they set the scene wonderfully for the two highlight episodes. I also have to say that the moments shared between Kumiko and Reina are emotionally gripping. Overall, I will have to agree that Hibike! Euphonium is better than K-On, and thus it is my second favorite anime overall. (Also, before then, I had no clue what a euphonium was. Apparently it’s a wide-ranged brass instrument used in bass sections.)

As for this season, there’s nothing particularly outstanding about it. There were some series that caught my interest at first but didn’t make me want to continue watching, some sequels to series I have already watched, and some series that continue to interest me whether or not they deserve it.

Series I dropped that briefly caught my interest:

  • Chaos Dragon: Sekiryuu Seneki (sounded interesting by its title and maybe its cover, but the first episode…wasn’t so interesting)
  • Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri (was said to be like Outbreak Company, but I didn’t care enough to continue past episode 1)
  • Himouto! Umaru-chan (I couldn’t explain what even got me considering this, but I decided against continuing to watch it past episode 1 due to how ridiculous it is that a girl can put on such a perfect façade in public while being such a mess in her and her elder brother’s apartment home…although the more I think about it, the more I wonder if it might teach me a lesson about how to deal with people like Umaru’s inner self, so my decision to drop this particular anime is tentative)

Sequels to series I have already watched:

  • Non Non Biyori Repeat (sequel to Non Non Biyori): Having finished the first season (and OVA) before the airing of episode 2 of season 2, I have to say that this series is…certainly something. Basically, it involves a rural setting where students of different years (1st, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th) are taught in one combined class, one of whom (Hotaru Ichijou, 5th grader) moved in from the city. It’s intended to be a calming anime with some comedic elements, a picturesque view of what it’s like to live in an area surrounded by nature. Not stellar, but still pretty good. The theme songs aren’t the best, though, especially the second season’s opening (of which I dislike the vocals).
  • To LOVE-Ru Darkness 2nd (sequel to a sequel of To LOVE-Ru): In a world where humanlike aliens and humanoid weapons exist, Rito Yuuki is destined to become king of the universe thanks to a fateful(?) encounter with Lala Satalin Deviluke, whose sister Momo Belia Deviluke plans to create a harem for Rito in an attempt to bring happiness to all of his female acquaintances (including herself). I believe the intention of this series with every season is to start off light and get heavier as the episodes go on. The heart of the issue in Darkness lies not chiefly in Rito’s harem but rather in the destiny of Konjiki no Yami (Golden Darkness) as a human weapon destined to kill. Other important characters include the observant Mea Kurosaki (another human weapon) and a Kili-like character in Nemesis. It’s been interesting so far (although Rito’s constant falling has become quite predictable by now), and I’m excited to see how the rest unfolds.

Series that continue to interest me:

  • Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou: I feel like this series is more interesting to me than it should be (and definitely more so than I expected). I’ve never read the manga, so I’m not familiar with all of the characters (only the ones that have appeared in episodes 1-4), but from what I can tell, the general structure seems to involve introducing one “monster” per episode. So far, as of episode 4, we have Miia the lamia, Papi the harpy, Centorea the centaur, and Suu the slime, who all somehow end up under the hospitality of the human Kimihito Kurusu and, to a lesser extent, Sumisu. (Well, not so much Suu; episode 5 will tell whether she gets to stay.) I don’t know what it is that has me interested, though. Perhaps I’m actually fascinated with how non-humans can live life with humans. Maybe that’s why I like the Pokémon anime.
  • Wakaba*Girl: Truth be told, the only reason why I watch this anime is because it’s short and sweet; the episodes are only about 7 minutes each. From what I can tell, the story is about a rich girl (Wakaba Kohashi) who tries to become more girly with the help of her three friends. Think K-On but with Mugi as the central character (minus the musical instruments). One particular shot that caught my attention:
    so this is a knife
  • Sore ga Seiyuu!: I’ve actually only watched one episode of this anime, so my interest in it is tentative, but I am interested for now. It involves the lives of voice actresses (plus a few actors), most of whom are young, told mostly from the perspective of Futaba Ichinose who, despite obviously not having the raw talent of a voice actress, pursues voice acting as her dream. I imagine the anime follows the classic structure of a newbie getting used to his/her environment and getting the viewers to learn along (in this case, with the help of Futaba’s stuffed doll). It seems like a type of anime I can get into.

So, I guess that’s all I have to say for now.

Nowi Wins À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Spontaneous Saturday 6/20/15: Thought Dump 5

The quality of my Saturday and Thursday posts has been degrading lately. I just can’t seem to narrow my thoughts down to a single topic. Thus, it’s time for another Thought Dump.

 

Video game happenings

I finally got that IYWP FC that I’ve been pursuing for the last two months!

For about a month and a week, I’ve been on and off about it, but after that time period, I started taking it seriously, and I finally got it. As I mentioned in the description, having a warm-up playlist of Ties That Bind, Chemical Warfare, This Day We Fight, Black Widow of La Porte, Sudden Death, and Fury of the Storm definitely helped.

What made it hard to FC: 40% Guitar Solo 2B, 30% Synth Solo, 15% Guitar Solo 2A, 10% Chorus 2, 5% everything else.

Remaining FCs by estimated likelihood: This Day We Fight, Black Widow of La Porte, Sudden Death, Ties That Bind, Fury of the Storm

Remaining FCs in GH3 by estimated likelihood: The Way It Ends, Holiday in Cambodia, Raining Blood, One, Through the Fire and Flames

 

In Pokémon Shuffle, I have caught every Pokémon in levels 1-200 and EX1-18, in addition to Tropius, Sigilyph, Farfetch’d, Druddigon, Shaymin, and Giratina. Apparently, the EX levels go as far as 21, but I don’t have enough S ranks to access all of them. In fact, I just got enough S ranks to unlock EX19.

In Pokémon Rumble World, I have all species in every balloon up to Pearl, as well as White, with just a few species remaining in the Black balloon. The next balloon costs 90 diamonds, and I am currently at 64. I have done missions 1-19 completely, missions 20 and 22 completed aside from hard mode, missions 21 and 23 completed with 2/3 extra goals, and mission 24 yet to be completed. My current rank is 50, and my most powerful Pokémon is a 1571 Palkia, followed by 1558 Zekrom in second and 1550 Dialga in third.

Keep in mind that all of this is without paying a darn thing. Even though it would probably be more fun if I did pay (more so Rumble World than Shuffle), I regret nothing.

 

Anime happenings

I wish not to dabble too much into the currently airing anime just because they are nearing their end and I want to save talking about them until next Spontaneous Saturday. I will, however, provide a quick word on what I’m excited to see in the finales.

  • Nisekoi: – Ichijou x Onodera! Is it finally happening!? …How would it affect Raku’s other acquaintances? Haru? Chitoge? Marika? Tsugumi?
  • Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic – Nothing in particular, honestly, but I’m still excited. This anime has had me hyped since I binge watched the first season.
  • DanMachi – Things are getting real. What is that giant? Could it be…that one titan defending the above floor, but powered up by Freya? I think that’s what it is… I have a feeling it’s going to be another one of those power-of-teamwork type battles. There will be friendship and stuff. Excited? I can’t say for sure.
  • Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo – I didn’t think I’d get into this anime before I watched the first OVA episode, but I got into it because I started to get interested in the supernatural goings-on. Now it’s more interesting than ever, with Yamada’s friends having forgotten him…until Urara witnesses Yamada kissing Nene and…starts to wonder…who he is? I can kinda see where this is going, although because there are two more episodes, I have a feeling there’s more to it than I can imagine.

I’ve also been trying to get into other anime. I got around to watching the Gurren Lagann movie (Gurren-hen), and I say it was worth it. The first half seems like a recap with only the plot-important elements included, but the second half was actually quite a twist. I honestly didn’t expect the three generals and Viral to team up, and I especially liked the part where Yoko was fighting Adiane—despite Yoko having her top stripped off, she kept fighting without showing any embarrassment (and Boota fetched it right after). So, yeah, it was something of a refresher on what I’d watched before, but it wasn’t entirely a repeat. Simply put, it was good.

I tried two episodes on Punch Line, but I don’t think I could watch the rest of it. Even though I was wondering what would occur with Yuuta’s power in terms of how it could be worsened or potentially alleviated, but overall, I just lost interest.

Upon finding out through the Summer 2015 preview that Non Non Biyori was getting a second season, I decided to give the series a try. The first episode was somewhat boring to me, but I think my interest grew after watching the second episode. Renge seems to be a fan favorite from what I’ve seen, but I have to say I prefer Hotaru. I thought of her as a Yuuko Nishi look-alike, and they’re not too different, what with being from another area, having long black hair, and having a sweet voice and personality. Still, it’s slice of life, so every character shines in its own manner. I just find Hotaru to be the best of the main quartet. I’m not sure whether I’ll watch more episodes; that decision is to be determined later.

I’ve also been planning to watch JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, the problem being I don’t know when the appropriate time would be.

 

Nowi Wins Something something, apology for lateness… À la prochaine! (Until next time!)