The Elf Returns

I write this as someone that’s finding their way back to something they love.  I write this as someone that has been through a lot and wants to share their experience.  This is a heavy post.  This isn’t the typical posts of the past (I promise they will return, I just felt I needed to get this out of the way).  I wrote this as much for the people in my life, as I did for the people that read this blog (if you remain).

Blogs come and go.  Most of us have subscribed to one and seen how quickly they can be abandoned.  Sometimes life draws us away from the things that have become part of our routine.  Some people abandon it simply because they don’t care anymore.  Their fun was had and now it’s time for something else.  I never felt that the latter was the reason I stopped blogging.  It wasn’t because I didn’t care.  In the time since I started this blog, I’ve had a great deal happen in my life.  I sat down and started this post three or four times, before finally deciding this would be the final draft.  It’s difficult to put into words, all that I have experienced.  Even still, I feel I do myself a disservice.  My life has been hard.  Not with as much difficulty as my mother’s but still, I had my own struggles.

The year 2015 was a quagmire of bad luck and doctors’ appointments.  My mom began paracentesis treatments twice a month, lasting from early in the morning until one or two in the afternoon when she would be released to go home.  One of the more difficult aspects of these treatments was that she could not stand on her own.  She had fallen and fractured her foot on July 4th and then another fracture at Dialysis to the other foot.  It was a battle to get her admitted to therapy (insanely difficult, you couldn’t go to the rehabilitation center unless you could stand).  She worked hard to get to the point of dressing herself each day.  To be able to stand and get on the toilet.  She smiled because she was our little fighter.  And despite that cherubic smile, her resolve was deteriorating.

From December till March, my life was a game of running back and forth.  I spent my time split between my grandmother and my mom.  My father would get her dressed, on the bus to dialysis, and then get her off the bus.  It was often that I cooked her lunch, sat up with her and tended to whatever she asked me to do.  Sometimes I would sneak in a nap if possible or play on the computer.  Ever since my mother’s fall, I had developed this overwhelming fear that she would fall again and this fall would cause irreparable damage.  If I heard her wake, I would rush into the other room.  If she tried to sit up in her wheelchair, I would hurry over to lock the brakes.

My nights were spent at my computer but not always playing or writing.  I was listening, waiting for the moment I would hear her call for me or hear her grunt, as she tried to sit up in bed.  She was always in pain. No matter what medication the doctor prescribed, the pain was an agony that wouldn’t spare her.  Sometimes I would have nightmares that she would fall.  I could hear her scream in my dreams.  We managed to get her through therapy and was preparing to start her on the next round of therapy.  Everything was going great.  And then the accident happened.  Her wheelchair tipped over on the way to dialysis.  It wasn’t buckled in properly.  Or something had slipped.  There was no real explanation.  She had hit the window and the force of the throw had aggravated her old injuries.  Both feet were fractured again.  She would have to start over.  The transportation service paid her medical bills, simply because my dad caused enough noise that they knew the driver had been at fault.  We might have taken legal action against them, but there were complications.

I remember sitting in the emergency room with her and feeling hopeless.  It was clear in her eyes, in her expression, that she had fractured more than just her feet.  Her fighting spirit was waning.  She was back to using the transfer board.  The large boot she had been prescribed was on one foot and a splint on the other.  The medication numbed some of the pain but not enough to make her comfortable.  There was always yelling and crying, and exhaustion.  Everyone was tired, my mother most of all.  My mom didn’t sleep well anymore.  If she managed to sleep for more than two hours, it was a miracle.

I went to Florida for a few weeks and came home to a mess.  A great many things transpired in the time I returned home.  It was a confusing mess of accusations, misinformation, and opinions that left many feelings raw.  To make matters worse, my mother’s health wasn’t doing much better.  She had been prescribed stronger medications and while they did supply a temporary relief, they were soon too weak for the pain she was experiencing.  I was back and forth again, staying with my grandmother and spending the rest of my time with my mom.  My mom was receiving paracentesis once a week.  She passed on April 24th, only a few days before my brother’s birthday.  Somehow my family members always manage to pass on or near birthdays.

The time between her death and the funeral is a morass of confusion and bitterness.  I’m not going to offer a lot of detail about what occurred during this time.  Some of it was my own fault.  I didn’t know how to cope with her death.  I didn’t know how to cope with anything.  To be honest, I didn’t get to mourn her as I should have and that created for me a great deal of anxiety and eventually, depression.  I didn’t have my first good cry until the evening after the funeral.  The mourning didn’t last for long.  I found myself back and forth between home and my grandmother’s house.  I’ll just say that things weren’t exactly amicable between some of my family.  Again, I created some of this mess.  I didn’t really consider how stressful my life had become until after it had all passed and that I should learn to leave some things unsaid.  I lived on pins and needles for a while.  It was like walking on glass.  One wrong step and I’d fall through.  Or at the very least, cut myself.  I feared that I would antagonize someone by saying the wrong thing.

I found myself in an awkward position, as I returned to what was left of my old life.  It was like surveying a cluttered room.  I stood there and examined what was left, what I should pick up first, but instead I was overwhelmed and wanted to just lay in the fetal position.  I had all the time in the world, the possibility of accomplishing anything I desired.  And yet I desired nothing at all.  Every morning was like a nightmare.  It was like one of those dreams of being somewhere unfamiliar and wondering how you’ll ever get home.  I didn’t know where I was supposed to go or what I was supposed to be doing.  For thirteen years, I had taken care of my mom.  Given up college to care for her.  I found myself, for the first time, feeling truly alone and lost.  I was no longer the caregiver.  Who or what was I, now?

I never really spoke with anyone about what went on within my own head.  Of how I felt like I was living my own little purgatory.  Reading had lost its appeal.  I would open a word processor and stare at the blinking line, wondering what I should write.  Video games didn’t interest me as they once had and that frightened me a little.  I didn’t want anything.  Instead, I spent my day just wandering around the house, flicking through my Facebook wall, and told myself that maybe it was time to get a job and do something with myself.  Or return to school.  I had, after all, told my family (with enthusiasm) that I was going to return to school.  Yet, it felt like it was unobtainable.  That I didn’t deserve it.  Some of my friends were immersed in their own lives, forgetting me/my brother and most of my family had returned to their usual game of “don’t call.”  I was starting to feel like a big puddle of nobody.

It was in the summer that I finally realized the conflict I had been struggling with for the past few months.  I’d lost my purpose of the last thirteen years.  The solution, of course, was to create a new purpose.  Something to keep me occupied and something I would enjoy.  My initial thoughts of college were to get a degree as a librarian.  I’ve always fancied the idea of promoting literacy (and yes, I know you don’t have to be librarian to do that!).  I realized, after much consideration, that I could tire of that career path before ever obtaining the degree.  Instead, I decided that I’d prefer to pursue a degree in English, preferably in Fiction.  Writing has always been a hobby that I’ve wanted to expand into a career.  College courses would give me the knowledge that I’ve been so desperately seeking for the last few years.

And so, I enrolled in college.  I’m attending my second semester, doing well, and loving my courses.  There are moments that I pause and think of how unbelievable this past year has been.  It feels like that life was never mine, that I’ve been meandering through some strange dream that faintly resembles a life I once lived.  I wish I could say that everything has become for the better, but I still have moments that provide me with some anxiety.  Things are still not mended between some of my family.  And they still do not pay us a call unless we initiate communication first.  For a long time, it’s just been the three of us. I suspect it will continue that way.  Now that I have a somewhat more manageable schedule, I will start posting to the blog more.  No more of this heavy, personal stuff.  Unless it’s something awesome and fantasy related.  At least I’ve found my path again.

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Nearly a year later, featuring Transistor!

010-funny-animal-gifs-dog-slapWell, I think the adjoining image perfectly encapsulates my feelings on my negligence of this blog.  Please don’t send any animals to bitch paw(slap) me.  I realize I’ve taken quite an extensive pause from posting.  The past year has been quite a change and due to a six-month reprieve from internet access beyond a cellphone, I was would have been capable of only blog posts no more than a few sentences in length.  Of course, I could have written posts from my smartphone, which throws tantrums like a two-year-old.  Luckily I have access to a much better phone now, but also my lovely computer.  I’ve been back for a while, but it took some time for me to crawl back into old habits.

So a lot has happened since my last post in August of last year.  New Anime series, new films, games, books, comics, and so much more that I spent nearly three months catching up on six months worth of geekery.  SDCC has recently passed and with it a wealth of goodies that have me itching for trailers.  Legend of Korra wrapped up its story arc last year and not only granted the wish of Korrasami shippers but managed to agitate the fans that didn’t see the pairing coming or are hardcore Makorra fans.  I have my own opinion of the finale, but that’s for a later post and when I’m not running on fumes.

transistorRecently, Steam held their summer sale, which just hearing the words “Steam Summer Sale” sends gamers into a hungry frenzy, hoping to devour the best in PC gaming deals and software.  I admit that I’ve not been an active user of Steam, but I decided this year that I would jump on some of the deals being dangled in front me.  Well, I got quite a few of them.

I’m picky when it comes to choosing the right game.  Some huge names made their way into the sale, like Witcher 3 and GTA V.  While I was excited to see such titles featured, I set myself a goal.  Only buy the games that were less than $8.  I’ll admit that most of my haul was games under $3, but they were some games with pretty positive responses from gamers and reviews matter a lot to me when making a purchase.

One title popped up on the list, a title I’d never heard much about but was by Supergiant Games, makers of the acclaimed action-RPG, Bastion.  I’ve played a little of Bastion and I enjoyed it, so I thought that this game had a lot of promise. Unfortunately, I acted too late to snag Transistor the first time, but luckily Steam gives some of their best sellers a second chance.  One play of the trailer and I knew I’d be buying this game just not for play value, but the phenomenal soundtrack.

In Transistor, you play Red, a famous singer that for reasons not yet known, was to be assassinated by a group known as the Camerata.  The assassination failed, but in the process Red’s voice has been absorbed by a weapon known as the Transistor which is buried deep into the body of a man that we assume was serving to protect Red.  His persona is also absorbed by Transistor, which allows the weapon a voice and consciousness, which leads Red through Cloudbank and narrates our journey.  Red takes the weapon into her possession and uses it to fight off intelligent minions of the Camerata, known only as the Process.

I skimmed through some reviews that complained of the game’s confusing storyline and how so little is explained at the beginning.  It’s a game that slowly stitches the story together, to understand just how Red has found herself in this dangerous position.  I view games much like visual and interactive books, so the plot didn’t so much throw me off as it did for some.  The story is interesting, as well as the game’s choice of music and art design.  It also manages to have a protagonist that is mute, but by cut scenes and interactive items, you are able to hear Red’s voice in its full glory.  Admittedly, what sold me on this game was the song that plays in the background of the game’s trailers and I forked out the extra cash just to snatch up this amazing OST.

The game has been entertaining thus far, a game that allows you two methods of battle.  There is real-time battling, where you hit buttons and sequence attacks, but also try to avoid the oncoming blows of enemies.  Or you can choose Turn() battling, which allows you to essentially pause the game, plan out a strategy whether landing an attack, moving to a particular location or dashing away from enemy view.   Unfortunately the Turn() method comes at a price of emptying Red’s action bar, but it refills and until it does, it’s best to line of sight your enemies until Red is able to attack again.  I love that we’re given a choice, rather than forcing us to a singular method of battle.  If you’re willing to wait those extra seconds, the Turn() base system is definitely a fun way of combat.

And the soundtrack. . .have I mentioned the soundtrack?  Ashley Barrett’s voice adds a perfect ethereal touch to this game and I think it’s a huge part

of what makes this game so phenomenal.  As I played, I realized sometime later that even though Red doesn’t speak, we KNOW her voice.  Just those snippets of music give us enough of Red to understand her need to stop the Camerata and to feel the horror of losing something so precious.  I think I played most of this game with a heavy heart and after learning of Sybil’s intentions and what she cost Red, it made the song “In Circles” a powerfully emotional song.

I don’t want to delve much more into the plot and reveal too much to spoil it for those that might purchase the game in the future.  The plot is interesting, very sad in my opinion, and the gameplay is a hell of a lot more fun that I was expecting.  If an excellent soundtrack and quality gameplay doesn’t sell you, maybe the game’s art style will.  I mean, THIS IS A GAME!

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So if you’re looking into something a little different, I HIGHLY recommend this game.  I can only hope that Supergiant’s future games are just as fun and beautiful.

Otome Tuesdays- Meet the Boys Part 2

Ah, another bishonen-filled Tuesday.  This week we’ll be covering the last of the potential suitors in the game Shall We Date- My Sweet Prince(sans Nagito, as I’m currently playing through him.  I have a feeling once I’ve finished his story-line, I’ll have a post dedicated to him or at least mention him in an upcoming post).  Just as the previously mentioned princes, these four all have personalities that range from playful to excruciatingly obnoxious, but somehow they tug on those heartstrings.  Well, sometimes they do.

jun1) Prince Jun– Ugh, you know I usually enjoy picking the snotty and cold characters, only because they do a complete 180 and redeem themselves in the end.  Jun manages that, but not without making you want to punch him in the face.  Jun is the forceful prince, whom seems to desire the crown more than his other brothers.  He likes to trick the PC, warming her up into thinking he’s a decent fellow, but it’s all an act to gain her favor and get her to bestow him with the bracelet.  Of course he changes.  I mean, this is an Otome game.  Cold exteriors melt into little puddles and we’re left with a somewhat warmer and slightly randy love interest (omg how many characters don’t hint at wanting to do “things” to the PC?).  Jun isn’t simply a cold, manipulating, and sometimes cruel character just for the sake of being so.  Just as Melchiorre, he’s a complex prince that has a purpose for every action he takes.  His reason for the crown is not simply to gain power.  Of the princes, his reasons for taking the crown are valiant, though it takes a while for you to see that.  The ending to Jun’s story is beautiful, just because I dig a guy that’ll do anything to get the girl he loves.

Despite Jun becoming a warmer prince to the PC in the end, his spin-off stories are frustrating.  His old personality seems to pop back up.  Having played through three of his spin-off stories, I can say that if you enjoyed the crueler side of Jun, it’s still there!  The Royal Baby storyline just made me shake my head.  Seriously, someone give that man a computer and teach him to use Bing/Google.

Choose Jun- If you enjoy the cold/cruel type.  Don’t worry, he thaws towards the end and turns out to be a pretty noble character, though in the spin-offs  his demeanor seems to drift back to its old self.

alvah2) Prince Alvah– My goodness, Alvah.  He reminded me of a squirrel on Red Bull.  Alvah is the playful and energetic prince of the lot.  He enjoys recreational sports and showing the PC around town.  Even the PC remarks on how energetic Alvah is and how out of shape she really is, when it comes to keeping up with Alvah.  His very first CG is the image on the right, which was very surprising, as I wasn’t expecting any shirtless CGs.  DO I approve?

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Clearly, she approves!

Like his brother Melchiorre, Alvah does not desire the crown, but desires a friendship with the PC.  He’s very protective of her, which comes in very hand when Jun tries to dig his claws into her.  The only thing I enjoyed about Alvah’s storyline was that he was protective of the PC and that he began “guarding” her at night, which was adorable.  He has his own reasons for not wanting to be king, which were a little confusing.  Honestly, Alvah has been my least favorite of the princes, only because his story just seemed to lack something.  His romance with the PC just seemed a little unnatural, as I didn’t feel there was much chemistry building between the two as the story progressed.  The ending made me facepalm.

Choose Alvah- If you enjoy the protective and energetic type.  His story may be a little lack luster, but if you’re into his personality, you might enjoy it.  Also, shirtless CG.

ivan3) Ivan the Butler– I wasn’t entirely sure how the story would play out for Ivan.  He’s much older than your other love interests and is probably the same age as the PCs father.  Yet the image to the right, is why I decided I had to play him.  Come on, that’s one hot forty year old butler right there.  He criticizes the PC more than is necessary and tends to subtly insult her lack of manners (in reality, she’s doing her best and isn’t all that rude.  It’s a matter of customs and differences that each side needs to understand).  It appears he seems to think little of the PC, but he is curious about her and wishes to know more of her and her culture.  Ivan is also a foreigner, though he does not mention where he is from.  He does little things for the PC which were just awww moments and the scene where they took shelter in the shack. . .too cute and funny.

The ending of Ivan’s story had me flabbergasted, even after the story had finished.  I’m not sure how to feel about Ivan after the story.  In a way, his story was disappointing and I’m almost angry at the PC for being “okay” with what happened.  Personally, if this had been myself, I would not have accepted what occurred and picked one of the princes, even though they were pretty persistent in this story.

Choose Ivan- If you’re into the older and more mature types.  Also if you just want someone that isn’t royalty and puts you on an emotional roller coaster!

Fangirl Friday- Fated to Love You

Fated to Love You

Fated to Love You

It’s been a while since I really got into a K-drama.  Over the last year I’ve started six or more dramas, which seemed to flounder half way and lost my attention before I could reach the end.  So far MBC’s Fated To Love You has been an exception.  An ADORABLE exception.  My goodness, there is so much that is cute and right about this series, that I don’t know where to start.

Fated to Love you is a remake of the Popular Taiwanese series of the same name (though as in most series, the translation differs).  The series follows the wickedly slick Lee Gun, the chaebol heir and eldest son of the household and the sweet yet incredibly shy Kim Mi-Young.  The males of Lee Gun’s family seem to suffer from some unfortunate disease that ends in the death of each male in their 30s.  Fearing that she will be left without an heir, the chairwoman(Gun’s grandmother) asks Lee Gun to marry and have a child before the family is left with his younger half brother as the only heir(oh yeah, lets not allow slimy half-bro and step-mom to have any more power than they already possess).

Luckily, Lee Gun has plans to marry his girlfriend of six years, a ballet dancer named Kang Se-ra.  On her way back to Korea after losing out on the chance of performing in New York, she encounters Daniel Pitt whom, as we all know, is going to be wound in this story somehow.  It’s no chance meeting.  There’s no such thing in K-dramas, right?!  Daniel is a famous artist, though it seems nobody on the plane seems to recognize our famous oppa.

Kim Mi-Young, our delicate and too helpful office girl, is known around her office as “post-it.”  A negative name, to denote that she’s necessary but not considered important.  Co-workers are constantly asking her for favors, which she willingly accepts as she hates turning down those that ask of her help.  She has a slight crush on her office-mate  Lawyer Min, whom seems rather taken by her and is always helping her when he can.  Potential romance?  Well, not exactly.

It just so happens that Lee Gun is planning an over-the-top engagement to Se-Ra in Macau.  When I say over the top, there’s banners that display photos of the couple posted around the place.  Yeah, he’s throwing it all in for this woman.  After a hilarious meeting between Lee Gun and Mi-Young (Mi-Young attempts to save a toddler from danger and shenanigans ensue), they haven’t started on the right foot.   After heading back to work, Mi-Young’s office is raffling tickets for a vacation to Macau.  SURPRISE!  Mi-Young, whom never has luck at these sort of things, manages to win the tickets!  And of course, she needs a date.  Hmm, I wonder whom will be going with her?  Seemingly innocent Lawyer Min that loves to be her knight in shining armor?

Neither Lee Gun nor Mi-Young are aware that one or the other are on the island and Mi-Young overhears Lee Gun practicing his proposal to Se-Ra (whom decides to jet back to New York last minute after getting a call that she’s been accepted to the ballet and decides to tell Lee Gun over the phone and a bit too late).  Mi-Young begins to cough and grabs a bottle of water out of the fountain beside her, and hides while drinking down the water (which happens to be drugged.  I always enjoy grabbing randomly floating bottles of water in fountains and taking a swig.  OI!).  Drugged drink provided by President Park and Mr. Choi, whom are there to confront Gun about purchasing the soap factory on Yeoul island.  I suppose they hoped to catch him in a scandal, having hired a woman to sleep with Gun and take photos the following day.  They manage to convince Gun to drink from a bottle of water, which SURPRISE!  Is drugged like the first bottle.

They help Gun back to his room and after passing out on the bed, they undress him to setup the scene.  It just so happens that our mysterious woman in black, whom is suppose to lay with Gun, never makes it into the room.  Note to self- bumping doors can lead to accidentally flipping of numbers and scandalous things.  Mi-Young, still in a daze from the drugs, arrives to room 2006 and opens the door.  Only, it’s not room 2006.  Thanks president Park and Mr. Choi, you’re really helping a girl out with your not quite working-as-planned shenanigans.

So what do two heavily-drugged people do when laying in the same bed?  The results are pretty hilarious and just proves why drinking from random bottles is a bad idea!  It turns out that Mr. Choi is Mi-Young’s brother-in-law and there are some pretty funny scenes between he and president Park.  The trip which seems to be a total disaster, just seems to get worse.  Mi-Young learns of Lawyer Min’s true intentions of coming with her and his thoughts of her (that most likely mirror what most of her co-workers think).  Lee Gun comes to the rescue, having overheard Lawyer Min’s confession as he was returning Mi-Young’s shoes, which she had left behind.  The next few scenes were just so adorable I kept giggling.  He turns our little post-it girl into a queen, to boost her confidence, which she seems to lack in general.  Gun, you are da man.

After a sweet send-off, the two expect to never hear from each other and vow to forget what happened.  Ha, like that was going to happen!  Their one night together ends in Mi-Young’s pregnancy and what follows is a roller coaster of a comedy.  Gun isn’t the most gentile man, at least not in the beginning and has his selfish moments.  As he gradually warms up to Mi-Young, you can’t help but love him.  Hell, you can’t help but love him when he’s. . .well. . .being Gun.  His laugh is so infectious, I can’t help but grin when I hear it.

Fated to Love you is one of the few series that I’ve watched and couldn’t think of a single episode I’ve disliked thus far.  Kudos to the writers for continuing to keep the cuteness to this series from episode to episode.  I can only hope they keep that same momentum and quality, even with the coming episodes that, if you know anything of the previous series, becomes heart-wrenching.  Gun and Mi-Young have some of the cutest chemistry that I’ve seen in a series in a loooooong time.  Goodness, when this series comes to a close, I will probably bawl like a baby.  Scenes like Gun telling Mi-Young to give him the rice face that looks like her instead of his own, just made me giggle.  “It’s scary to eat my own face.”  Yeah, like eating the rice decorated like her own face isn’t weird either.  You silly boy.

I also can’t help but love the chemistry between Gun and Mi-Young’s mom.  Encouraging him to call her mom, since he lost his mother at such a young age, had me tearing up.  It was a beautiful gesture and it made me happy to see Gun so elated to be able to say the word “mom” again.  The idea of even having someone close to a mom just seem to make him overjoyed.  It’s easy to see that he genuinely enjoys mother-in-law and the karaoke scene was priceless.  Gah, SERIOUSLY TOO MUCH CUTE IN ONE EPISODE!

If you haven’t seen Fated to Love You, I encourage you to check it out!  You can see it via Viki, Drama Fever, and many other sites/apps.  Also, you know you want to see Gun suds up his hair.

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Yeah, you advertise that shampoo, Gun! Damn, I’d buy that shampoo.

Otome Tuesdays- My Sweet Prince: Meet the boys Part 1

princes

Please note!  Spoilers ahead for the following princes: Chezem, Lambert, and Melchiorre.  

I love Otome games.  They are visual novels, meaning you’re reading a story with visual elements added to make the story all the more alluring.  Most games require money to play, unless you play one of the free games.  Even for free, there are limitations and time constraints due to the no-cost aspect of the game.  Often if you hit a checkpoint and are unable to produce the items needed or charm level required to pass through, you may find yourself at a standstill for days or weeks.  Luckily some games offer special events where you can earn currency to turn in for special items during the event or save up some in-game currency like Zeni to purchase checkpoint or avatar items.  As long as you level up skills (like Lessons in My Sweet Prince) and login each day for your login bonus, that will earn you a little more coinage.

My Sweet Prince is one of the first Otome games that I’ve played and is a rather cute game in the Shall We Date series.  You start the game as a young Japanese woman on vacation in a foreign country.  Your terrible luck results in all of your belongings being stolen, but the thief leaves behind a jeweled bracelet and unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), you are now in possession of the bracelet that determines the heir to the kingdom.  Almost immediately you are whisked away to the palace, where the king informs you that because you are in possession of the bracelet, that you must determine whom will be the next king.   A rather daunting task, considering there’s six princes to choose from and each with their own quirks and skeletons in their closet.  Plus they’re all beautiful, so that makes choosing all the more difficult!

I’m on my seventh play-through of the game (five princes, one replay because of a bad ending, and now I’m on Ivan the butler) and so far, I’ve enjoyed each story offered.  I don’t think I could offer an opinion of my favorite prince thus far, but I can give some insight into their varying and sometimes frustrating personalities.  In the end you end up loving them.  Or in the case of some princes, you wish you had picked a different love interest or picked a different route.  The following are in the order I played them and just a brief observation of each and why they were perhaps not the best pics for the playable character.

chezem 1) Prince Chezem– The quiet prince of the lot, he’s an intellectual sort that bides his time with books and devouring knowledge.  He seems to have little interest in people and ignores the PC (Player Character) from the beginning, but because of his interest in Japan, he gradually lets her into his private life and starts to be more open with people.  He was once friends with Falitna, the daughter of the scheming and rather annoying Minister Balam.  Unlike the other princes, Falitna does not appeared to be engaged to Chezem, but merely a friend whom had a misunderstanding as children.  I’m not a fan of Faltina, but this appears to be the only story that she appears remotely friendly to the PC at some point.  After playing through some of the other PCs, it’s nice to see a different and refreshing side of her.

Chezem’s story doesn’t have the varying degrees of complexity some of the other prince’s have, but it is a sweet enough story.  The constant pressure from Balam puts an enormous mount of stress on Chezem.  Due to his mother’s fortune, it seems people only involve themselves to somehow get access to said fortune.  I feel bad for Chezem.  He’s the popular kid on campus, that only has friends due to his wealth and nothing more.  Without that wealth, they would drop him in a heartbeat.  I wasn’t disappointed with my play-through of Chezem, though he wasn’t the most interesting of characters.  His quiet nature sometimes made it difficult to really enjoy him.

Choose Chezem- If you enjoy the quiet and anti-social type, that gradually warms up to the PC.

 

lambert

2) Prince Lambert– Oi, this guy.  If you’re a fan of being being reminded you are just a drab commoner, he’s definitely the prince for you.  He’s rather haughty and spares little time for the PC in the beginning.  Don’t be fooled, despite his attitude, he’s a very dedicated prince and desires the throne to better his country.  After saving him from a rather embarrassing predicament, he begins to warm up to the PC.  There is a very awkward bath scene early on and I must say it had me laughing.  My reaction would have been pretty much the same as the PC.  Unfortunately, as any character in Otome games, he’s clueless to his own feelings and questions why he says/does certain things that pertain to the PC.  Really, Lambert?  You’re so clueless and inexperienced that you can’t tell what your heart is telling you?  It’s almost as irritating as the same line most PCs use in Otome games.  “What’s this feeling in my chest?”  Either your in love or it’s a heart attack.  I’m not sure which I’m hoping for right now.

My first play through was disappointing, as I had made poor choices and ended up with the ending I didn’t desire.  Unfortunately, that’s a drawback of merely picking what you feel is best in these games.  If you want a particular outcome, search for online guides for the prince of your choosing.  After a few unfortunate choices in selected games, I decided to use guides to keep from making the same mistakes again.  Unlike games like Ninja Assassin + and Ninja Love +, the default ending is not a normal one.  You can end up alone.  This is an otome game!  You don’t want to be alone!

I’ve noticed that his personality stays the same in most of the other story-lines and remains critical when it comes to the PC.  Lambert loves timeliness and the PC loves sleeping in.  I cannot offer any insight on Lambert’s spin-offs(besides one or two that I earned during events).  He seemed different in both, more caring towards the PC.  In the spin-offs of other prince’s, I will say he seemed very much the same.

Choose Lambert- If you’re into the prudent and sort of cold type.  He’s similar to Ivan, in that he’s a perfectionist and like Jun, he can be a little mean, but I’d say Ivan is a little more critical (at least in the first few chapters) and Jun is like having a villain that found his way back to the light.

 

Melchiorre_(2)3) Prince Melchiorre– Oh, this playboy.  Every Otome game has one–the hot guy that all the females fawn over.  In the beginning he seemed to me to be a sort of flighty character.  I’ve never really picked one of the womanizing types, cause I generally don’t enjoy those types of story-lines.  He’s one of the few princes that has little to no interest in the crown, due to a secret he’s been harboring since his youth.  His story really surprised me, as I figured he was just a playboy that had little interest in executing authority, but there was much more to Melchiorre.  From the beginning he flirts with the PC, though she’s very shy and often tries to wave off his affections.  It made me wonder how a relationship between the two would ever come to be, but pick the right path and it happens.  Even though he makes passes at the PC, that doesn’t stop his flirtatious manner towards other women.

I was close to crying when I reached the last few chapters, as it played out in a most unexpected but pleasant way.  Unlike the other princes, Melchiorre’s is more personal and shows an emotional connection that was missing from the other princes.  Yes, they’re all brothers, but just how close are they?  How far would they go for each other?  I’d say thus far that Melchiorre’s story was the most interesting, just because of the big revelation in the later chapters and how the PC and the other characters deal with the revelation.  His nonchalant attitude towards the crown is similar to Alvah’s though a tad more playful and justified.  Of the princes whom harbor caution towards taking the throne, Melchiorre’s reasons are the most justified.

Choose Melchiorre- If you love the flirty type.  Also, his story has a interesting and somewhat sad twist, which makes it worth playing.

 

Fangirl Friday- Remember the old days of finding Anime?

Sailor Moon

Being an Anime fangirl hasn’t always been easy.  In the 90s we had limited media available to us to watch imports and as kids, your only means of Anime were the few series airing on television or videos your parents may have shelled out the cash for.  My first view of Anime wasn’t Speed Racer as I had always believed.  In fact, my first Anime was not even a series, but Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid.  A somewhat depressing version, but I recall thinking just how beautiful the animation was.  I viewed the VHS almost daily until its untimely departure in my VHS player.  RIP Little Mermaid.

Remember when your love of Anime was something that you and so many of your friends had in common?  You would go on an epic quest to find internet pics, clips, music, and anything you could on this phenomenon that took the world by storm and left parents wondering why their kids suddenly spoke fragments of Japanese.  Whenever Sci-fi channel (now Syfy) aired Anime, you faithfully stayed up into the early hours of morning to catch whatever Anime movie that aired.  When Cartoon Network had a new series, you were always in front of the tv after school, waiting to watch and welcome the show as your new favorite Anime.

USA Network and Fox even aired some Anime series, though in most cases the series didn’t last long.  Escaflowne had a very small run and when I say small, we didn’t even get half of the series.  It was an edited mess, but was my first glimpse of the series that will always have a place in my heart.  They also had Sailor Moon, another edited mess.  If you couldn’t figure out the moral of the story by the end of the episode, don’t worry. . .DiC decided they’ll give you a short clip of images from the episode and spell it out for you.  I remember all this talk of a live action series then and how people speculated who would play which role.  I’m kind of glad it never happened.  A North American Sailor Moon just felt like a potential disaster.  I was imagining Clueless in sailor fuku.  USA Network had Street Fighter and can I just say how much I loved watching this?  I was a fan of the games (even the live action movie. . .don’t you judge me!) and so I watched these episodes faithfully until they were pulled from the air.  Before long, unless Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network picked up something, there was little Anime left on the air.

For a long time obtaining Anime was not easy.  DVDs weren’t common yet and VHS sets could cost you an arm and a leg (or a kidney!).trigun_by_silver_escape  Laser Discs were around, but how many people used them?  If you asked somebody the best place to find episodes, they would suggest a peer-to-peer site.  Oh yeah, on dial-up that was a brilliant idea!  No one would think of the repercussions of downloading would do later on and your phone line was busy all night as you downloaded episodes.  Any new Anime that popped up was a real treat, considering the age of Youtube, Crunchyroll, Hulu, and Netflix (just barely starting out and DVD ) were not upon us yet. Broadband internet was around, but expensive compared to more reasonable price of dial-up.

A few days ago I received another 30-day free trial from Crunchyroll, which I decided to accept as I haven’t watched any Anime in a few months. At one point all I ever seemed to watch was Anime.  As I surfed through the hundreds of shows listed, I thought to myself “my teenage self would have had a heart attack looking through this catalog.”  There are so many series that I end up searching through the list and at some point I give up and find something else to do.  I know–I have a problem.  Choosing K-Dramas seems easier compared to finding a good Anime.  So many have similar plots or have names so ridiculous that I end up skipping over them.

I thought to myself just how lucky Anime fans are now, with such an enormous selection of videos available to them not just online, but on DVD/Blu-ray.  My local Best Buy use to have a section dedicated to Anime alone that spanned the same length of the Xbox 360 games.  It was pretty amazing, but still pretty expensive unless you bought something older.  I remember picking up Ergo Proxy one Christmas and boy was I excited.  Now the Anime section is only 1/4 of that and the prices seem to be dropping.  Yet I still people flock to that little shelf and search with smiles for new shows to devour.

I’ve been an Anime fangirl most of my life, even though I didn’t realize it until middle school. There is just something about Anime that I find so appealing.  Not that I do not love animated shows/movies made outside of Japan, but there’s just an element to Anime that draws me in.  Perhaps it’s the detail put into the animation or the story lines.  Other animated series and films tend to be rather silly.  Even at a young age, I enjoyed more mature and in-depth stories, but I still enjoyed my afternoons of Tiny Toons and Gargoyles.  Of course, not all Anime have the most intricately-written plots.  Sometimes you get a lot of series that are just a lot of fanservice.

Plot!

That’s a pretty hefty plot.

 

Time to go find a series and binge watch it!