June 2018 Update: Oops, I burnt out on light novels so I’m now going to talk about video games instead
So in my last blog update post, I said something about how “light novels are cooler than anime”.
Turns out light novels are actually bad.
Going on a family visit to the Philippines and only bringing my light novels for entertainment was a terrible idea. I read around six volumes in a row and since then I can’t even bear to look at the cover of a light novel, let alone read them.
On the surface, I bet I still look like a light novel-crazed addict. ANN published a feature I wrote called The Best Light Novels Not Yet In English, which I handed in the day before I flew to the Philippines. Looking back, my rush to finish reading Hello,Hello and Hello and 86 before the deadline probably contributed to my burnout.
So if I haven’t been into light novels this past month, what have I been doing?
The answer is video games. Glorious escapist video games.
Around the time I reported on the Tokyo Toy Show, I finished playing Ace Attorney 6: Spirit of Justice. I’ve been playing the later entries of the series in Japanese, not out of any purist ideology but simply because I only have a Japanese 3DS and I can get used game cartridges cheap from Book Off.
Nevertheless, it has been pretty interesting revisiting the Ace Attorney world in Japanese. I think the clash of cultures theme in the sixth game has a different tint to it when the setting is Japan rather than pseudo-Los Angeles. But mostly I was struck by how simple the language is in these Ace Attorney games; they really are meant for children to play. Even the Ace Attorney spinoff novels are published by Kadokawa Tsubasa Bunko, a publisher of juvenile literature.
A lot of fans I know of the English Ace Attorney played the games when they were teens or older, so I guess the series has a different target audience in the English market!
Besides Ace Attorney, I got deep into Pokemon. I’ve played hundreds of hours of Pokemon Sun, as well as Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, but even after completing the Alolan Pokedex, I wasn’t anywhere near finishing the National Dex. So I’ve been going back and playing Pokemon X/Y and Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire. I never played the gen 6 Pokemon games at all when they first came out.
As much as I love Pokemon Sun/Moon, I’d been kind of reluctant to go back and play the previous gens until now. I didn’t feel like I could go back to a world with HMs instead of ride Pokemon, and sure enough the need to keep switching in my HM slave has been the biggest pain in the ass. But in general, these games are still really good, albeit insanely easy. It got to the stage where I was switching weak and under-leveled Pokemon into my party every so often just to give the battles a bit more spice. But that became fun in its own way, too.
I also played Detective Pikachu, the adorable spinoff game where Pikachu talks like an oyaji. It’s a fairly short game (I think maybe 10-12 hours?) but every moment in it is a joy. Most of the fun is talking with the Pokemon, using Pikachu as your interpreter. Unlike the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games, which would have been a cool glimpse into the lives of Pokemon if they weren’t written exactly like generic human JRPG characters, the Pokemon in Detective Pikachu are endearingly animal-like, which makes their thoughts and motivations fun to explore. I’m looking forward to the Detective Pikachu movies, and not just for the memes.
As a change of pace from all the Japanese games, I got into Fallout 4. I’ve never actually played a Fallout game before, but the E3 presentation for Fallout 76 interested me so much that I wanted to give the series a try. Most of all, I just love the setting of Fallout: the contrast between cartoony 1950s American life and the post-nuclear wasteland, the horrifying social experiments in the vaults, and all the transhumanist themes. Every separate element is a well-worn sci-fi trope, but it all meshes together in such an interesting and cohesive way. I found myself obsessively tracking down every vault in my own personal quest to find out what happened to the inhabitants.
As much as I liked Fallout 4, I am rubbish at first person shooters, so I’m not even sure that I’ll play any more Fallout games now that I’ve got a decent grasp of the setting.
The latest game I’ve gotten into (and the one I’m currently playing) is Kingdom Hearts. Or rather, I’m replaying it on the PS4, since I never actually finished the game when it first came out on PS2. This was another case of E3 hype getting to me. I bought the Kingdom Hearts III All in One Package deal because I know I won’t understand a word of Kingdom Hearts III. So my plan is to slowly catch up on the series over the next few months while enjoying all the cute and stupid Disney references. I don’t know why I didn’t get into this earlier because it’s totally my thing.
And that’s that for Frogkun.com’s video game coverage. Be sure to check back frequently in case I ever talk about video games on my blog ever again.
In the meantime, it’s back to my regularly scheduled anime content. Here’s the list of articles I wrote this month:
I also got mentioned in Can Japanese ‘light novels’ remain publishing heavyweights? by Roland Kelts on the Japan Times. That was quite flattering. I hope he doesn’t find out that I’ve burnt out on light novels.
I’ll just give myself some time and I’ll get back into them eventually. Hopefully.
Anyway, that’s all for now! Take care!