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June 2018 Update: Oops, I burnt out on light novels so I’m now going to talk about video games instead

Detective Pikachu

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.

86

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.

ace attorney novel

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.

detective Pikachu 2

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.

fallout-4-special-screenshot-004

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.

kingdom hearts

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:

Devilman Crybaby Holds a “Sabbath Shibuya” Exhibit in Shibuya Tower Records

Feast on Kero’s Favorite Dishes at the Cardcaptor Sakura Café

Design Festa Gallery: Freedom in Watercolors

Tokyo Toy Show 2018 Highlights: Pokémon Nanoblocks, Gundam A.I.s, and More

A Look at an Exhibit of Gonzo’s Animated Classics

Maquia Main Animator Toshiyuki Inoue’s Work Revealed at Sasayuri Café

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!

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Posted on June 30, 2018, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I imagine anyone would get burnt out on something if that something was all that they used as entertainment. that’s why its important to diversify as best one can. I usually take a sketchbook, a few different games, a some other stuff with during the trips my family has had in the past or even when spending the night at a friends.

    Also, cool to hear you playing Kingdom Hearts and Pokemon! It nice to hear you having fun with game franchises I love! Any characters in KH that you particularly like?

    • Goofy. Goofy is the best, mostly because he never changes no matter how weird the story gets.

      Do you have any favourites?

      • I have many from throughout the series. On the Disney side there’s Goofy and Mickey. And many of the original cast, Sora, Riku, Kairi the list goes on. Though Riku and Xion from 358/2 days are my my two biggest favorites.

  2. The first two entries into the Fallout series are isometric turn-based role-playing games, as opposed to the first person shooters that supplanted the series’ name. If you feel more inclined towards /that/ type of game over FPSs, then I’d definitely recommend them. They’re really well-written and fairly short.

    • Too late, I couldn’t help myself and read up a bunch of spoilers for the first two Fallout games! I’m relatively unspoiled for Fallout: New Vegas, though, which I heard was developed by members of the original team of the original Fallout games, so I may give that one a try.

  3. Heyo Ribbit-kun! お久しぶり! I hope you’re enjoying Spirit of Justice. I always contend with myself whether it’s better than Trials and Tribulations. It’s such a nice conclusion to the series story-wise and even gameplay-wise since it uses mechanics from the older games. Is the JP version riddled with puns like I always heard it was?

    • Yep, the JP version has a lot of puns that made me wonder “How on earth was this translated into English?” I’m sure the localisation team did a great job, though.

      I liked Spirit of Justice, especially the beautifully animated 3D character models. The story didn’t have quite as strong of an impact as Trials and Tribulations but that’s probably because it has been a long while since I last engaged with the Ace Attorney franchise. (I originally played the first four games in a row.)

      But regardless, I still enjoyed the game so much that I am now considering playing the spinoffs too, especially Layton vs Phoenix Wright and that other one set in the Meiji era.

      • The Layton v Wright crossover is fun, especially if you like both series. The mystery leaves a lot to be desired however.

        I’m jealous about Dai Gyakuten. I’ve been hopelessly waiting for a localization announcement, especially since the sequel released last year :( Capcom pls. Monster Hunter is amazing but please don’t forget about your other games :(

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