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    • The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Part 32

      1 day ago

      CaButler

      Episode 32: The Long Awaited Return

      Hello everybody and welcome back to another exciting episode of The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky.. The game about a couple of kids going on an exciting book mystery, recovering lost books because scientist just play pranks on each other instead of doing other things, like important experiments.

      In our last episode, which I had to go back to and read because I forgot where we were, had our kids complete said book mystery for our librarian because she couldn’t be arsed to do it herself. We also explored a tower and found some mean spirited chests there. So very, very mean.

      But with that, all available side quests are completed, so now, to mark the return to his series, let’s kick back in on the main story and see where we go from here.



      As a reminder, we have to speak with the factory chief in Zeiss to figure out what the hell this Black Orbment is. We head to the factory to speak with the receptionist, Hazel. She recognizes the kids as the ones coming with Tita. She asks what they want because she’s very busy doing important receptionist stuff.



      That’s an unusual pause to add. You have a cold, Estelle? Joshua asks if they can see the factory head. Estelle... doesn’t help matters.



      I don’t even know what you’re doing anymore, Estelle. Hazel doesn’t know how to react so she falls back on her standard operating procedure, but then walks away to use the intercom.



      This is why you have to do things normally, Estelle. You don’t want people thinking your weird. Hazel is speaking with a person on the intercom, and apparently, said person was expecting them. After a pause, she walks back to the kids and tells them that Factory Chief Murdock will see them now.

      Estelle didn’t think they would be seen to so quickly. With Joshua urging haste, we take the elevator to the second floor. We pass by the archives, keeping an eye on that place, before heading to the office to meet...



      Hey, you don’t look like Murdock at all! He greets the two. They apologize for disturbing him but it says he’s fine, he doesn’t have anything important to do at the moment. He mentions that the guild, along with Cassius, have done a great deal for him in the past, so it would be rude not to treat his kids with respect.





      I’m starting to wonder who doesn’t know Cassius at this point. Murdock says that Cassius was his benefactor. He goes on to say that the Central Factory produces the finest orbments in all the land, but then adds that the confrontations over their craft never really stopped. So when trouble started happening, they’d contact the Rolent branch to send Cassius.





      So, yeah, it’s all this guy’s fault. He better be paying out of the nose for this! Murdock asks what he can do to help. They begin to explain the story about the Black Orbment. After hearing it, he asks to see it. Estelle hands it over, and after a moment, Murdock notices something odd. Mainly, the caliber isn’t inscribed anywhere on it.

      Estelle is confused, but Joshua fills it in for us. It’s the numbers carved into an orbment’s frame. Like a serial number. Murdock explains that it’s unheard of to make an orbment without one, and this is an accepted practice all over the continent, dating all the way back to the invention of said orbment fifty years ago.













      Well, it’s not like anybody is going to go looking for them right away. Unless they’re a collector or something like that. Still, is it really that strange to be missing the caliber? Murdock says as much, saying that it’s part of the production process. He states that maybe the orbment is a prototype. And if that were the case, it wasn’t made to entertain at birthday parties.



      I would say that is accurate. Murdock says that he can’t really say anything for certain without cracking it open, but apparently, he can’t find the maintenance cover. Actually, taking a closer look, it appears that the orbment has no seams at all, making him wonder how it was made to begin with? As a result, he can’t open it up, so he has no way of checking the inside out.



      Estelle’s answer to everything is to either smash it, burn it or cut it. Murdock seems to think that may be possible in this case, but he has issues breaking something that belongs to Cassius. After a moment Joshua suggests letting the professor handle it. You know, the one that was mentioned in the note.

      Murdock is confused, naturally, so Estelle explains that there was a note included with the orbment. She shows it to him, and after reading it, is asked who this Professor R is. After a moment, Murdock deduces that it would have to be Professor Russell, since Cassius knew him as well. Joshua seemed to think as much, but Estelle, apparently not knowing many of her father’s friends, asks who Professor Russell is.

      But then she recalls something else.



      Joshua explains that he doesn’t know him, but knows of him. Apparently Professor Russell is the person responsible for bringing orbal technology to Liberl. Murdock then goes into a history lesson. As you kids know, orbments were invented by Professor Epstein and Russell was one of his disciples. Thanks to him, forty years ago, he brought orbments and knowledge of orbments back to Liberl, which is why they’re an advance nation. Murdock mentions that, in a way, Russell is the father of the Orbal Revolution.

      Estelle is impressed that Cassius knew somebody that important. That said, Murdock is concerned about letting the old professor handle that orbment. Mostly because they don’t know what it really is. Estelle catches on to the hesitation in the chief’s voice, so he explains that while Russell is a genius, it’s just that when he gets an idea for an invention, there’s no way of guessing what he’ll really do. He then goes on about a story involving Russell trying to develop the first orbal airship, but then sighs at the memory.





      I don’t think the kids know what they’re in for. Murdock apologizes for mentally leaving and assures them that Russell will be able to figure out this thing.



      That doesn’t fill me with a lot of confidence. Joshua asks where they can find the eccentric professor, which causes Murdock to realize he doesn’t exactly know where he is. He walks over to the intercom and speaks with somebody there, asking them to come to his office. Estelle wonders if maybe he did call the professor, but no, that isn’t the case. Russell has a private workshop in town and has all the latest technology at his disposal, so he will be able to figure out that Black Orbment.





      I’m glad you asked that question, because I was going to ask it. The person Murdock called is actually Russell’s granddaughter, who happens to work in the factory. Oh, and she’s a child, too. Wait, granddaughter? And said professor is a bit eccentric? Don’t tell me it’s...









      And suddenly the naming convention makes sense. Hello, Tita! Estelle and Joshua express as much surprise as Tita does, leading Murdock to be surprised they know each other. After explaining how they met, Murdock instructs Tita to take them to her house. She has no issues doing that. But before they leave, Murdock asks the kids to tell him of anything new, since he’s an engineer and he’s curious to know more about this orbment.

      Outside of the office, Estelle expresses a happy surprise that Tita will be joining them and that she’s the granddaughter of a famous professor.





      Oh my god she’s so adorable I want to take her home with me!

      ...Right, moving on. Tita asks the kids if they have business with her grandfather.





      I think that’s putting it mildly. Joshua says that they’ll explain everything once they see Tita’s grandfather. She explains that her house is in the southwest corner of town and provides directions on how to get there. But before we do that, let’s unlock your orbment slots. Though surprisingly enough, I only have to unlock two.

      I try to get more orbments for my team and see about upgrading the current lot. I give Estelle an HP 3, replacing her HP 2. I then give her an EP 2, replacing her EP 1. I don’t touch anything on Joshua’s slots and move to Tita. She has an all purpose slot and a space only slot. I also give her a Deathblow 1, giving her more spells. I also give her an Impede 2, leaving me with this as her setup.



      If you have any recommendations, let me know. So we head for Tita’s house and find a little girl by a bed. We talk to her and find her name to be Yuriel. Tita is happy to see her and surprised to see her out of school, but apparently, it wasn’t Sunday School today. The young girl tells Tita she really needs to rest. Poor Tita.

      On the second floor is a girl named Louise. Tita is surprise to see her as she’s suppose to be working in the design room, but apparently they, I guess the factory, wanted her to finish calibrating the orbal guns. She asks if Tita is showing the bracers around, which she confirms as she’s taking them to her house. Oh, so this isn’t her house. Okay. Louise mentions that it has been quiet there as of late.













      So, yeah, this is one of those professors, isn’t it? Well, that was certainly interesting. So I leave that house and continue west to finally find the Russell House and Factory. It looks normal.

      Inside a cutscene activates.



      Stop being so adorable, Tita! Estelle compliments the place before Joshua asks if the professor is available. Tita thinks that he’s in the workshop, looking at a door to the right of the entrance. Estelle suggests going in to say hi.

      No sign of the good professor on the first floor, so what about the second floor? There a cutscene activates with Tita announcing her return home.



      Looks like the professor is hard at work. He’s vigorously... uh, working on a piece of equipment. Look, I know what it looks like, but he honestly isn’t doing that you think he’s doing. Sure, he might turn out to be the dirty old man, but I honestly doubt they won’t go for that here.

      The professor continues his vigorously work, causing Estelle to question the kind of friends her father has. She tries to introduce herself, but the professor ignores her. Then, quite suddenly...





      Watch out for flying glass! Russell announces that he’s finally completed it.



      What you don’t see is Tita face palming in the background. Russell says that he needs to test this at once, quickly jumps off the chair and runs off, causing Estelle to spin right round like a record player.



      Tita apologizes, stating that her grandfather goes into these kinds of trances when he’s working and tends to block out the background noise. Apparently whatever he was working on for the past few days has been completed. Joshua seems to think he’s really something.





      Again, she’s facepalming, you just don’t see it. With the eccentric Professor heading downstairs, we follow suit to get another scene. He’s working at a table as the kids approach him. Tita explains that they need to talk to him. Russell finally turns around and tells his granddaughter that she came at the right time. He needs her help compiling the data from these tests he’s running.



      Russell keeps going about this new invention of his that will block a biosensor orbment’s detection faculties. It emits a unique orbal force field that deflects the energy that a biosensor sends out when it scans. This catches Tita’s attention, allowing Russell to brag a bit.



      It’s time to do the testing now! Tita, forgetting why she’s there, goes about helping. They began working with some complex-looking equipment, at least, according to the narration, leaving our two bracers to wonder just what happened.





      Russell suddenly turns around and calls out Joshua, calling him that guy with the black hair. He instructions Joshua to go upstairs and get a book called “Orbal Energy as Applied to Force Fields.” Now get on it! And with that, he’s off like lightning, leaving Estelle alone. What madness is this?

      That’s when she realizes she lost her chance to run.

















      I don’t think he is, so you should go ahead and make the coffee, Estelle... then spill it on him. That’ll teach him to not treat you with respect! And with that, she’s off, leaving the two brainiacs to work on the experiment.

      Suddenly, lights and sounds are going off, but this is a good thing as Tita calls it perfect. She tells Russell that it’s ready, much to his delight, but then Tita realizes that something is missing.









      Vaguely? Russell seems to think Murdock sent some fresh faces, leaving Tita to be embarrassed by the whole thing. The narration states that Estelle and Joshua wound up becoming assistants for the experiment.



      This does not sound like a good thing. When the scene comes back we see the four sitting at the table, Russell apologizing for treating the bracers so poorly. He laughs it off, though.





      Though in your case, said banging is how to break it. Joshua calms her down a bit, saying that they got some valuable experience out of it. After all, how often can they participate in startup tests on brand-new type orbments? Russell is impressed with Joshua and tries to employee him as an engineer, but Tita puts him in his place. She then apologizes to the bracers again for also getting caught up in it, too.



      Old men asking for stuff rudely? They will be destroyed. Cute young girls asking for stuff? Forgiven! She goes on to mention that her image of the “Father of the Orbal Revolution” being shattered as being some guy with attention issues, but Russell takes it as a compliment.

      Though he knows Cassius and is surprised to be visited by his children. Apparently Russell has known Cassius since his army days, some twenty years ago. Even Tita has met the man, complimenting him on his mustache being nice.



      Estelle’s always finding a way to put down her dad. Still, if Russell has known her father for so long, then it looks like they can entrust him with the black orbment. Russell is confused so Estelle explains the story to him. Some parts required finger puppets because of how complicated they were, ending with Estelle showing off the black orbment.

      Both Russell and Tita are impressed with it. The professor immediately picks up on no caliber or seams. He then takes out a cutting tool and examines the frame, which includes pushing the blade’s edge against the outer shell. This concerns Estelle at first but Joshua explains that it’s a special alloy steel cutter.

      After a moment, Russell shows them the orbment had no scratch on it. He concludes that the frame is made from some type of metal he’s never encountered before and that opening it up for a closer look is going to be quite the task.



      Joshua laments that, if they can’t open up the orbment, they’re back to square one. Russell offers to keep at it but recommends putting it under a measurement scan first. You know, the machine they were using before? That. Tita mentions that it can gauge orbal energy activity in real time.



      Poor Estelle. Russell puts it simply. They’ll be able to see what the orbment does. They won’t draw definitive conclusions from just the measurement, but it’s a start. He’s ready to do the scanning but Tita suggests lunch. They invite the bracers to join them.


      Food makes everything better. They’ll help with the prep, but Russell does have something he wants to do, making Tita upset.









      After a fade, we’re back with the machine in the lab. Russell asks Estelle to place the orbment on the stand. After doing so, he and Tita begin running the scan on the Black Orbment. Apparently that will be the official name of the black orbment.



      Because it brings doom to it’s users? Russell argues that simple is better and that anything longer than Black Orbment would be annoying to say. That’s why we use acronyms. Tita, however, is getting impatient.







      I think Estelle is going to take her home before too long. Russell decides to begin the scan now. Ten bucks something explodes.

      They first calibrate the measuring equipment. Since they didn’t detect any direct input or output, they’re going to measure the central crystal circuit. Estelle notes the professor is in a good mood, and now, the scanning begins.



      Shouldn’t glowing things be a good sign? Joshua notes that the scanner is putting major strain on the crystal circuit. Russell asks for an update, and Tita responds that she’s getting some weird readings. Apparently, the tachometer needle is shaking like crazy, but now, it’s spinning around the dial. Clearly, it’s drunk.

      Russell gets concerned until the orbment starts glowing a darkly black color. Tita is scared senseless and Russell is confused. Estelle and Joshua note that it’s the same black light that saved them a chapter ago, but then, a wave emanates from the orbment, causing Russell to be confused.

      We see the result of that wave. Outside, the city of Zeiss basically shuts down. All the lights turn off and the escalator stops functioning. Back in the lab Tita tells her grandfather that the machine can’t take anymore and they need to shut down at once!

      Russell, being a man of science, refuses. They just need a little longer...

      Estelle comes running back in, I was wondering where you went, and mentions the blackout. After hearing this, Russell ends the experiment, much to his displeasure. With that, the light fades away and the lights turn on.

      Tita breaths a sigh of relief as Russell checks the readouts. Apparently, it wasn’t on. Stupid machine!

      Actually, it’s suspected that the Black Orbment shut everything down except for the scanner. Joshua comes in to mention the lights coming back on in the city, though the people are still panicking about the random blackout.

      This leads to a lot of confusion as to what the hell just happened, but luckily, the professor has an answer. He calls it the “Orbal Shutdown Phenomenon.” This is a bit of a concern since this phenomenon causes orbals to stop working, but he never would have guessed the Black Orbment would have such an extensive effect on the city. This only piques his interest in the thing, though.



      Suddenly, a man comes rushing in. It’s Murdock, and just in time, too, as Russell was about to call him. Though the chief is not happy, since his visits to the house means something went wrong. He demands answers as to what caused the blackout this time, but Russell is insulted. He didn’t do anything except scan the Black Orbment.

      As soon as he sees it, Murdock backs off from his prepared rant... but decides to go with it anyway and blame Russell for it. Estelle and Joshua wonder if this is always the case with them, but secretly, Tita is facepalming.

      After a fade the narration tells us that, on the first day, everybody in Zeiss was kept busy. As a result, Estelle and Joshua decided to spend the night at the lab, given how late it became.

      The next day, things have returned to normal. As the camera pans on the Russell House and Lab to show nothing has exploded, we go inside to see Estelle and Joshua talking about last night’s event. The one thing they did get from the experiment was that the Black Orbment was powerful and crazy dangerous. They wonder what the professor will do next when Tita enters the scene. The young girl asks the two if they slept well, with Estelle providing the best answer.



      The beds don’t look that comfortable, though. Estelle asks of Russell and we find out that he went to the Central Factory Early in the morning, muttering something about exposing the secrets of the Black Orbment.



      I’m sure he just drowns it out. Joshua thanks Tita for taking the time to look over it and for putting them up for the night, but she says it’s fine, mentioning that Russell is investigating it more out of pure curiosity than anything else. She reminders herself that she needs to return to the factory once breakfast is finished and asks what the bracers plan to do.

      Why, they’ll be coming with her, of course! Estelle is curious about the orbment, too, and maybe they can help in some way.



      But before they do that, Tita needs to get the soup!









      Joshua does not approve of Estelle wanting to kidnap cute, little girls. After a fade out the trio are outside and ready to face the day. Before heading to the factory, though, Joshua wants to go to the guild office to check in. Better to give them the heads up now then wait until later.

      Entering the guild hall, the trio talk to Kilika, waiting for the full report. While she’s heard the basics from the factory chief, she’d like some first hand details on the incident. Joshua gives the report, meaning that Kilika is up to speed on the situation. After hearing that, she says that they’ll need to continue working with Russell to learn more.

      Before heading back there, a quick check at the big board shows no other jobs available. So I think we’ll leave that for now.

      It’s good to be back but I do wish I had more time to spend in getting to the gameplay stuff. Still, a major mystery is looked into, but only provides more questions than answers. What could this mysterious Black Orbment be and what else can it do?

      I imagine that it won’t play a major role until the Second Chapter, if I get to that, but we’ll see where we go from here.

      So once again I like to thank you all for reading this. I know my absence was long but don’t worry, the void you felt with my departure can be filled once more!

      Until next time, remember, when performing an experiment with an unknown and potentially dangerous object, remember to throw caution to the wind and go at it with gusto. The worst thing that can happen is it causing a major explosion.

    • He's too Highbrow for you to understand

      1 day ago

      CaButler

      Hello everybody and welcome to the next Transformers Third Party review! It's been a while since I've done one of these and I have two to get through this week before doing something special in the next couple of weeks.


      For the next two reviews will be looking into the Third Party Market, but for those that are curious, don't worry, I have some Titans Return figures I'll be looking into soon.


      Speaking of Titans Return, today, we're checking out a Third Party Headmaster figure. Without further ado, may I present to you the Fansproject take on the Autobot Headmaster Highbrow, The Function X10, Browning II!


      VMc4tfa.jpg


      Yeah, I don't get the name, either. Browning II comes in the standard Function X box, which is a plastic cover over a plain box.


      6M7y6w7.jpg

      Back of the box as your warning, please don't eat this, because we need to have these kinds of warnings. So, without further ado let's get him out of the box and see how he looks.


      jDjarct.jpg

      So here we have Browning II out of his package, and I will say I rather like his robot mode. It's got a good coloring to it and a good design, as well.


      O4uK3LL.jpg

      Getting up close to the headsculpt you can see how he looks. The thing with Browning II is that the visor can be retracted, but he looks rather terrible without it so I keep it on.


      v3gz5W3.jpg

      One other interesting design with Browning II is the legs. They are separate molds. This is related to the transformation and alt-mode, which we will get to later.


      3zNYuFE.jpg

      As with all others in the Function X line, Browning II has some good poseability going for him, though one issue is that one of his feet lacks a proper ankle tilt, so getting him in something like this stance tends to be a problem.


      Luckily, his propellers, which are located on the back of the arms, are on a very tight swivel, so they won't move on their own. The same can't be said for the guns, though.


      HBcGLdy.jpg

      While Browning II can hold the guns okay, they are extremely loose so they will move around on you, which is a shame as I got a rather good pose out of him for this shot.


      Now for the comparisons.


      D2hzjog.jpg

      Here is Browning II with Function X buddies Smart Robin and Sigma L. You can see that Browning II is slightly taller than Smart Robin but slightly shorter than Sigma L. This puts him between the deluxe line of figures and voyager line.


      AztPil2.jpg

      Next, here is Browning II with Maketoys MP versions of the Headmasters Hardhead and Chromedome. Intelligence is never respected when you're tiny.


      a1AuKv5.jpg

      For the next comparison, here is Browning II with Combiner Wars Alpha Bravo.


      JesA2Ao.jpg

      And here is Browning II with Generations Brainstorm. Like I said, I like the robot mode, but as a transformer, he does have an alt-mode, which is a twin-rotor helicopter.


      k5C1Tke.jpg

      And I'm not a fan of it. Transformation wise it's rather simple. The right leg slips in half and becomes the front of the alt-mode while the left leg is the rear. The arms themselves flip and fold out wings, then you have to rotate the propellers so that they can spin. It's extremely tight, though, so be careful. The guns have a peg that can be plugged into the arms so they can be stored in alt-mode. It's much tighter here than in robot mode.


      But it's rather simple compared to other Fansproject figures. That said, I don't like the alt-mode for a number of reasons.


      F3gtSl5.jpg

      First, there's a lack of pegs for hte alt-mode, meaning pieces are just kind of hanging there. There's no proper pegs for the feet in the front to lock that in. the arms also don't peg into the body of hte figure, and the propellers have no clearance. They will hit the cockpit if you spin them, but given how tight they are in their peg, they won't actually spin at all.


      2fvH9rd.jpg

      The other issue is how the figure looks in it's rest state. Since a majority of the weight is in the rear of alt-mode, it'll constantly lean back, like the above image. In general, it would need to look more like this.


      uzRJ69j.jpg

      You'd need something like a flight stand to make it look better. Even then, the figure itself in alt-mode looks less like an actual helicopter and more like a robot folding in on itself. At least Smart Robin was able to disguise a majority of it's robot pieces better.


      So, yeah, not a fan of the alt-mode. But what about the headmaster? Let's take a look at him.


      ZDtJJKi.jpg

      As is typical with the Function X line, the Headmasters don't have names. But for those that know, this is Gort, Highbrows partner. He's got the typical Function X Headmaster look going for him, but he is quite detailed.


      7bYM0g1.jpg

      Here's a quick look with Arcana, the Headmaster for Brainstorm, and you can see that Gort is slightly taller and wider than his nebulan friend. While he's unpainted he makes up for it in the detail involved. And yes, he can ride in Browning II like his other Function X companions.


      YSXyzzQ.jpg

      For now, just one quick comparison.


      tM24ylB.jpg

      Here is Browning II with Generations Megatron, showing how massive the Headmaster is in comparison to other figures in alt-mode.


      All and all, while I like the robot mode, the alt-mode is rather terrible, in my opinion. That's a major problem, especially when it comes to transforming robots. This has been an issue with the Function X line for a while, but I think it's Crox that was the starting point.


      I don't know if I'll keep Browning II for long, because unlike Crox I really like Browning II's robot mode, but we'll see. Besides, Hasbro has it's own version coming out soon and it's looking good.


      That's all for now, next time we'll need to watch the skies for the Blitzwings to come. Until then.


      ...If you got this far, I posted new images, too.

    • Sword Art Online II Recap

      5 days ago

      CaButler

      Hello everybody and welcome to our last entry for the anime series Sword Art Online II, the show that's about killers using a virtual world to kill, an AI that just takes random stuff from the internet and makes it a quest, and finally, how terminally ill patients have a good time. Which basically sums up the three arcs that take place for this season, but what was it really like?

      Well, in case you don't want to go through the number of entries related to this, let's give a quick recap of each. In the first arc, called Death Gun or GGO, centers around Kirito trying to adapt to life outside of fighting for your life every single day. Our first episode shows him having a day with Asuna, his lady love, enjoying Tokyo with her. But then we also find out that he's been approached by the government for a job. Said government person was Seijiro Kikuoka, who apparently approached Kirito shortly after waking up from his experiences in SAO. This, of course, made me have a long rant about how the ALO arc wouldn't have been so bad if Kirito had a government contact, but we've been there already and there's no need to repeat that.

      Seijiro informs Kirito of several killings happening in a game called Gun Gale Online, perpetrated by a person calling himself Death Gun. This is shown in the very first scene of the first episode, with Death Gun killing a high profile GGO player. What makes this killing unusual is that Death Gun supposedly did this while in game with the player himself being killed in the real world, similar to the SAO Incident. Unlike that, where it melted your brain, this player was killed from heart failure. So Kirito becomes a temporary employee of the government in order to figure out how Death Gun is really killing these players and how to stop him. Along the way, Kirito himself faces his own demons from the need to kill in SAO, including a raid against the infamous player killer group, Laughing Coffin, and his own quest to determine Death Gun's true identity.

      But that covers maybe half of the GGO arc. For you see, in this arc, Kirito has to share the spotlight. Late in the first episode and almost entirely the second episode we're introduced to a character who goes by the name of Sinon, a well known sniper who can more than hold on her own in a fight, as the second episode attest to. You see, she has a stride to win in anything, but not for money. It's mentioned that GGO actually pays it's players the currency they earn in game through a conversion method. But for Sinon, it isn't about the money. You see, her real life persona, Shino, had a bit of a rough childhood. You see, she has a nasty fear of guns or anything shaped like guns, including people pointing finger guns at her, which tends to make her a target for bullying. The reason for that is actually rather complex.

      We learn about this rather quickly, but long ago, Shino was in the post office with her mom when a guy attempted to rob it. Said guy was about to kill an employee there, as well as her mother, forcing her to act, attacking the guy. She is somehow able to get a hold of her gun, and running on pure adrenaline, shots the robber, including one to the head, killing him. In most normal cases Shino could be considered a hero as she acted to defend the lives of others at the risk of her own, but the horrified look from her mother and the pool of blood at her legs said otherwise. Now, you think, why would Shino play a game that has guns? Because she chose to in order to get over her fear of said weaponry, hoping to maybe use the game to fix herself. Instead of, you know, seeking professional help.

      While the arc does have Kirito and Sinon working together, I would say this is more Sinon's story than Kirito's, though they do run parallel in many places. Sure, she ends up falling for Kirito, because it's Kirito, but unlike other cases, she remains strong and is able to hold her own, even when she has to fight the phobia that plagues her in game.

      Of course, we find out that Death Gun is actually three people, two being former SAO survivors, but one who has appeared in the story. You see, the person that introduced Shino to GGO was Kyouji Shinkawa, a friend, but hoping to become something more. He's the dogged nice guy of the story, much like Recon from the ALO arc, but with a twist. You see, he's actually related to Death Gun as his brother, and he's being forced to take over a hospital. Sadly, this proves too much for the boy as a rejection from Shino sends him over the edge and attempts to rape her. A timely intervention from Kirito helps her out, but she's the one that delivers the final blow in a rather brutal fashion. Sadly, while the brothers were captured, one was able to escape custody, leaving it open for future storylines.

      As for Shino herself, her character arc comes to a close at the end, where the lady from the post office arrives to thank her for saving her life... And the life of her unborn child. You see, on that day, she was pregnant, and thanks to Shino, not just one life was saved, but two. It is this tearful thanks from her and this child that helps Shino break the shackles of her past and to help her move on with her life, breaking her phobia, though the road there continues to be long, she will take it knowing that she helped out.

      OH, and I should mention that there was a tournament happening in this arc, but instead of having Kirito win, they go outside of the box by having him and Sinon be the last players standing and have them both win... By blowing themselves up. Clever thinking, Sinon.

      Our second arc can be considered more slice of life. Sometime during the ALO arc Kirito and Leafa found a secret cavern underneath the game world, as well as a mystical weapon in a floating dungeon. Because Kirito likes swords, he wants it, so he and his friends go on a quest to get it. They then learn that there's more involved here. The Cardinal System, the AI program used in SAO, is alive and well and is in the current ALO system. It apparently has the ability to create quests, including an "end of the world" scenario, so our heroes are on a quest to save the world. It's a three episode arc, but mostly there to show what the Cardinal System is truly capable of. Scary stuff, right?

      The final arc, called Mother's Rosario, has Asuna take the lead role. You see, family life is rather hard when you have a somewhat overbearing and overprotective mother. You see, she doesn't approve of Asuna going to some hack of a school, despite other SAO survivors being there, because she wants what's best for her daughter, which includes a good life, a good career and a good husband. I should add that, despite some initial impressions, Kyouko, Asuna's mother, doesn't really come off as the bad guy or some overly protective mother trying to run her child's life. The anime points this out but she is essentially acting what any parent would do in that situation, ensure that her child has a good future. She even mentions that marriage is just another way to further her career, showing that her way of thinking it a bit out of the norm.

      But still, Asuna is throughly against it, but tends to lack the will to fight back, in a manner of speaking. In ALO itself rumor comes in of a new player who's basically cleaning house with all of the top players, including Kirito. This player is named Zekken, so Asuna, with pressure from her friends, goes to fight said player. This is where we're introduced to Yuuki, the new top player, and after a well done fight sequence, she takes Asuna away to ask for her help.

      That is because her guild, the Sleeping Knights, want her help in order to make a name for themselves. You see, in the Monument of Swordsmen, the names of the players who kill a floor boss are put there. Actually, it's seven, because those players are typically the party leads as there can only be seven players to a party, and the Sleeping Knights want to solo a floor boss. As there are only six of them, they want Asuna to be their seven to help out.

      Why would they fight a raid boss so undermanned? It's because of what we find out later. The Sleeping Knights are made of players who are terminally ill, with three of them not expected to live another few months. They want to complete this raid boss on their own because they want to leave a mark before they run out of time, and make no mistake, for some of them, they are running out of time.

      Thankfully, with the help of Asuna in the boss room and some behind the scenes help from Kirito and Klein, the Sleeping Knights are able to kill the raid boss, placing their names on the monument and leaving their mark on the world. This covers about half the arc. The other half is of the growing relationship between Asuna and Yuuki. Shortly after the in game stuff is dealt with, Asuna, again with help from Kirito, is able to find Yuuki and learn her condition. Not to put it lightly, but she's suffering from AIDS and is fighting a losing war. Refusing to let her friend just disappear, Asuna does all she can to make Yuuki's final months in the real world special, including going to school and having a girls night out with her friends. It's an emotional set of episodes near the end that tugs at your heart strings, but unlike some other works, there are no miracles here. In the end, Yuuki finally succumbs to her condition, passing to the next world.

      Damn, I'm tearing up just thinking on it again.

      Right, Asuna! During this, thanks to Yuuki, Asuna finds the will to confront her mother about the control she's exercising on her life. It appears that Kyouko came from a farming home, but her grandparents don't resent her for making a name for herself. Instead, that house is there, waiting for her to come and enjoy her rest. That's why Asuna purchased the cabin in game, as it reminds her of that farm. Using this, the mother and daughter are able to reconcile and come to a compromise, and this has some positive changes as we see the family interact more then they have before, all thanks to an encounter online.

      If you were to ask me what I thought of SAO II, I would say that it's a vast improvement over season one in a lot of aspects. Some of the flaws carry over, mostly revolving around Kirito, but he's actually an improved character for this season. I think a lot of it has more to do with the pacing presented in each arc. It's tighter here and each arc is heavily serialized. You just can have somebody plot in the middle of an arc and expect them to catch up.

      We also got some stronger characterization here, especially among the lady folk, something that was a major complaint for season one. Sinon handles herself very well as the co-star in the GGO arc and Asuna shows herself capable of holding an arc on her own. Caliburn, the middle arc, is just a fun adventure, which would have been needed since we have a very serious arc in the beginning and an emotionally draining arc at the end.

      Don't get me wrong, though. The show does have it's weaknesses. This is shown early on but some early fights are animated rather poorly, and we have the issue of skipping seemingly epic fights or coming in as they are finishing. Kirito is still a bit of an annoying "I'm better than everybody", only without the smugness, but still, it's annoying how he's able to adapt to everything so easily. That said, he is a better character in this season, and I'm not saying that because he takes a back seat for a third of the season, but still, he is a bit of a weak spot for the show. Oh, and one other complaint I have is how the show's ending credits for Mother's Rosario essentially spoiled how it was going to end. Thanks a lot for that, guys.


      Shino gets introduced into the series rather strongly... Okay, yes, she also gets a rather fanservice-y introduction as the show really seems to love showing Sinon's ass off as her in game avatar tends to wear pretty tight shorts. And, of course, she's lying down most of the time because she needs to get that good shot in. That said, her first introduction is basically her showing off the knowledge of the game as well as how much of a kicker of ass she is. She shows herself to be a rather good foil to Kirito, as well has having her own problems that she's trying to deal with. And it's good the series starts with her because of how strong she's a character she is helps elevate the season more.

      Yuuki herself, introduced in the final arc, is basically Kirito in female form. The only difference is that Yuuki is such a big ball of energy and optimism that you can power cities if you can harness it. Of course, while the personality itself is true, it's also used to hide the fact that she's on borrowed time, but she does that to make sure the other members of the Sleeping Knights don't view their own lives with a morbid expression. She's a good opposite to Asuna and she does nothing help help her out.

      Like before I did the English dub this time. Shino is played by Michelle Ruff and is basically playing her Tsundere characters without the Tsundere traits this time. She takes to the role rather well, in my opinion, showing the gruff, determined Sinon as well as the shy but strong Shino. Her rather brief appearance in the Caliburn arc helps to solidify that and how she's grown since then. Appearing with her is Johnny Young Bosch playing the role of Shinkawa, the boy who introduced Shino to GGO as well as trying to court her. He plays the dogged nice guy well until he goes crazy evil, then plays that role quite well, too.

      In the Mother's Rosario arc, Yuuki is played by Erica Mendez, who takes the ball and never stops running with it. You would never tell from her voice that Yuuki is trying to hide some dark secret, and even when it's revealed, does all she can to remain cheerful. It never sounds forced, which is important to show that, no matter what has happened, Yuuki never lets anything get her down. It's also that same personality that helps Asuna overcome her own issues to help with her life.

      In the end, SAO II ends up being a stronger season than it's predecessor. It has a stronger story, it has stronger villains, and a stronger pace. It's clear that the show runners took the mistakes from the first season to heart and attempted to improve it for the second season. While I doubt it'll change anybody's opinion about the show overall, it's a marked improvement. And honestly, I think people would have at least high compliments for the Mother Rosario arc. With all that said, this season would get a recommendation from me.

      And with that, we close this book. Should there be a third season I'll do that as well, but for now, we must move on to other thinks. As selected by you, the people, we'll take a look at a show that somehow decides that you can turn anything moe, including creatures from beyond the veil. Next wee, we'll take a look at Haiyore! Nyarko-San.. And yes, I'm including the web animations in there because Crunchyroll has them.

      When that's done, or when my Sunday schedule is freed up, we'll take a look at Log Horizon.

      Until next time, remember, when you must introduced your female costar, always show off their cute looks before showing off how they can pretty much decimate all in their path.

    • The Windsweeper isn't doing his job well

      1 week ago

      CaButler

      Hello and welcome to our first journal entry since returning from Hawaii. Yes, I know you're probably thinking "But didn't he do those Sword Art Online entries while he was away" and the answer is no. I actually watched those episodes in advance and wrote up those entries. Because I cheated that way.


      Anyway, today we're looking at a figure provided by the Transformers Collector's Club Figure Subscription Service, which I actually received the day of my vacation, but I didn't have enough time to review it until now.


      So without further ado, may I present to you the Transformers Combiner Wars Triggercon, Windsweeper!


      HbDvRhJ.jpg

      This is the typical box we get for the TFSS. In this case, Windsweeper comes with some accessories, one that we will talk about much, much later. For now, let's get him out of the box and see how he really looks.


      CYF2Nuo.jpg

      Windsweeper is a straight repaint of the Combiner Wars Aerialbot Skydive, and it shows. I was never a fan of the mold but I can see why it was used for the triggercon.


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      Here's another view of hte figure. Again, like before I'm impressed with the paint work used here. They took great care to make sure the alt-mode colors looked as close as possible to the old G1 toy.


      XcEjNjF.jpg

      For comparison, here is Windsweeper with mold mate Skydive. They would be more similiar if I didn't apply the reprolabels on Skydive, given him a bit more of a G1 look.


      z0iIskt.jpg

      For another comparison, here is Windseeper with Generations Megatron.


      H0ipuMn.jpg

      And lastly, because I could, here is Windsweeper with Combiner Wars Legends Skywarp, just to show off the scale.


      Now, Windsweeper, being a straight repaint of Skydive, has the same accessories as him, which includes a double barreled gun and the hand/foot gun.


      akGCVBc.jpg


      One other accessories he comes with is an item called the Matrix of Malice, but we'll talk about that one in a future update. For now, let's transform Windsweeper and see how he looks in robot mode.


      Zgif5KH.jpg

      Here is Windsweeper in robot mode and you can see that, aside from the paint, it's basically Skydive. Which also means that it comes with all the problems of that mold, including weak hips.


      Hk7AZuA.jpg

      That said, the paint work is rather impressive. Here we see the nice glowing yellow eyes on the face-scuplt and some good color along the chest.


      P2bcnTu.jpg

      For poseability, well, it's Skydive, so they have the same poseability. Still have that weak hips, though.


      vjKtfBv.jpg


      But he can hold his other accessories pretty well. Now for some comparisons.


      kbwukzn.jpg

      Here is Windsweeper with Skydive, showing off the same mold the two have.


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      Here he is with Combiner Wars Alpha Bravo.


      SjVW7ws.jpg

      And lastly, here he is with the rest of the team, Spinster, Grabage and Needlenose. The team is coming along nicely, but there's still one more component left and he'll be along in a few weeks.


      But sometime next week I'll have a couple of different transformer toys to review. And tune in Friday when we wrap up Sword Art Online II. Until then.

    • Sword Art Online II Episode 24

      1 week ago

      CaButler

      Hello everybody and welcome to our final episode of Sword Art Online II, the show about people go into a virtual world to work out their problems that they can do in the real world.

      In our last episode, Asuna, having found Yuuki, decides to use the day to fulfill any desire she wants. At her request, she takes Yuuki to school, allows her to participate in class and takes her on a tour around town, visiting their old home which is still in her name. After some girl talk which launched thousands of fanfics, Yuuki provides some advice on how Asuna should face her mother.

      Which is, of course, to take her in the virtual world. Using Asuna’s sub account, Kyouko is able to experience the world and find the real reason Asuna bought that cabin in the woods. It seems that Asuna’s mother came from humble origins, but her parents were proud of her, promising to keep that home there should she ever want a place to rest. It’s a nice bonding moment and seems to resolve some issues. Mainly, the two have come to a compromise. Asuna can keep going to the school as long as she keeps her grades going.

      Seems like a finale, right? Well, we got one more episode to go, so let’s see how this season ends.

      -Our episode begins with food! It’s a cook out! Though it’s in game as Asuna, joined by the Sleeping Knights, does a toast in the gathering of friends old and new. And when she meant the gathering of old friends, she means it as we see Kirito and his friends from SAO as well as characters that appeared in the ALO arc last season. They soon break into mini groups with some of the old friends talking to the Sleeping Knights. It’s a nice gathering. I just hope it doesn’t end with a massive free for all.

      -Silica notes that, with everybody here, they would have an amazing party. Jun thinks it’s a great idea and they should go murder the Floor Twenty Three boss. Klein, apparently drunk, is totally cool with that. Silica looks shocked, as if expecting nobody to take her suggestion seriously, as we cut to said players blazing through the dungeon and killing the Floor Twenty Three boss, which happens to be a giant enemy crab. I wonder who hit it’s weak spot for massive damage? Wow, I can’t believe I made that joke in this year.

      -With that, victory! Asuna and Yuuki bump fists, showing how close they’ve become, and soon, we’re back at school, Yuuki’s camera resting on Asuna’s shoulder. This is then followed up by lunch with Kirito, though he’s using the time to fix the camera, but Asuna appears to be frustrated. Could she be jealous?

      -We cut to ALO where we see Leafa, Nori and Yuuki in a flying race where Leafa takes the win. Looks like Silica was in it but was blown away by the competition. Sinon, who we haven’t seen in forever, is there to comfort the young girl. Hey, it’s the finale, we needed to give her something to do.

      -We then get a brief glimpse of Asuna’s home life. We see the family having dinner together, likely a rare event, but it may be showing that things are changing slightly for the Yuuki household. After that we see the Monument of Swordsmen and the Floor Twenty Nine boss defeated, the Sleeping Knights, and Asuna, listed there. You go, guys!

      -And next we have the ALO Duel Tournament. It’s Kirito versus Yuuki in a rematch, and for a while, Kirito is getting wrecked by Yuuki. However, Kirito is somehow able to recover from a nasty barrage of attacks and comes in for the sure kill shot, however, time has expired and Yuuki is the winner! Wow, somebody beat the God Mode Sue Kirito cleanly. Shocking. The crowd roars as the Sleeping Knights glomp Yuuki for her win. Kirito doesn’t seem to mind losing, but really, I’m wondering how much he's holding back?

      -We get a quick shot of Asuna showing off her report card to Kyouko, who seems less than amused by it before getting a shot at the Kyoto Station. Looks like we have a girls night out as we see Asuna, Suguha, Silica, Liz and Yuuki together. We see them explore the city, having lunch, then taking in the sunset at either an inn or the Yuuki Compound. Either way, no boys were allowed for this adventure, so the girls got to be themselves.

      -Sometime later we’re in Asuna’s room. Her phone starts to ring as soon as she enters and finds a message from Kurahashi. It’s about Yuuki’s condition. It’s changed rather suddenly. And there’s the hammer. I suspected that this was coming for a while, so of course, it happens in the finale.

      -Tonight’s episode is titled Mother’s Rosario. We see Asuna leaving, apparently changing into her school uniform. She recalls the message once more and quickly makes her way to the hospital, straight for Yuuki’s room. She’s able to see inside her room and finds the door for the room open. And I mean into Yuuki’s room, which was suppose to be kept sterile. Never a good sign.

      -Inside the room Asuna sees Kurahashi along with a pair of nurses. She also notices that Yuuki isn’t wearing the dive headset anymore. The doctor waves her in and we get a proper look at Yuuki’s body, frail from years on medical support. Kurahashi is glad Asuna was able to make it. He explains that, forty minutes ago, Yuuki’s heart stopped, but only for a moment. They were able to get it going again, but should it happen again, well, you can probably figure it out.

      -Asuna doesn’t understand why this is happening now, but Kurahashi reveals the truth. Since January, when Asuna first arrived, Yuuki’s condition has been touch and go, and for these past three months, they’ve been surprised to see how Yuuki was able to fight her way through, hanging on until now. Despite facing a futile battle for the past fifteen years, she continues to fight. And it isn’t just the HIV, either, but fighting the reality of her harsh life. He says that the trial run with the Medicuboid caused her unimaginable pain... which doesn’t really make sense as you said it was meant to block it out, but we’ll go with it for now.

      -But despite life throwing everything from lemons to brick houses, Yuuki keeps hanging on. But it’s clear that despite her bravery and tenacity, which she will never run out of, she is running out of time. With that said, Kurahashi suggests letting Yuuki get some rest. Asuna says this to her self, but trying to transmit it to Yuuki. She can’t lose. She’s Zekken after all, the ultimate swordswoman! This should be nothing to her!

      -As if on cue, Yuuki’s eyes begin to open and we get to see them for the first time, but they appear tired and unfocused. She moves her hand slightly, which Kurahashi sees as her requesting to hold Asuna’s hand. It doesn’t take much pushing for Asuna to take Yuuki’s hand. She then sees that Yuuki is trying to say something, so she asks the doctor if Yuuki can use the Medicuboid. The doctor thinks that Yuuki would rather spend her last moments in the real world, but Asuna assures him that she wants to go back one more time. Asuna begs and he relents, setting the machine up one more time while Asuna reluctantly releases her hands to log in with the Amusphere next door.

      -I think we’re going to need tissues for this next part. We cut to the place where Asuna and Yuuki first met, our ultimate swordswoman waiting for our Berserker Healer. She smiles when Asuna appears, stating that she was happy to see her one more time, as she has something for her. Of course, she’s got to make it first. After some set up, Yuuki faces the tree, draws her sword, then begins slicing it up. What did that tree ever do to you?

      -After the explosion, an item appears. As Yuuki grabs it, she collapses, causing Asuna to rush towards her. We see Yuuki laying in a flower bed, Asuna cradling her. Yuuki opens her eyes and starts to say that she feels weak despite not feeling any pain. Asuna says that she’s just feeling a little tired, and after some rest she’ll be better. Yuuki seems to accept this, but she has something important to do. The item she created? It’s her original sword skill. Asuna doesn’t want to accept it but Yuuki insists, telling her to open the window to begin the trade.

      -After the transaction is completed, Yuuki says that she gave it a cool name, Mother’s Rosario. It’s a skill that will keep Asuna safe, if she needs it. That’s when Asuna starts crying, promising to take care of it, and one day, before she passes on, she’ll also pass it down to somebody else. This way, Yuuki’s sword will live on until the end of time. Or the server shuts down. I’m sorry, I know this is a heart-wrenching moment, but you were thinking it, too!

      -Yuuki thanks Asuna, and soon, the other Sleeping Knights appear. Apparently they made a promise that they would not see her off, but Jun says that they’re here to cheer her up. He grabs her hand and tells her, when she gets to the other side, to wait for them. They promise not to take too long. I wouldn’t have gone with those words, Jun, but that’s just me.

      -Yuuki tells Jun that if they follow her too soon, she’ll be pissed, and you know how she is when she’s pissed. Nori, trying to keep her cheerful self, tells her that she’s hopeless without them, so she needs to wait for them, okay? And with that she lets it out, too. Siune asks her not to cry because she promised not to, but clearly this is a promise they cannot keep. They grab Yuuki’s hand, joining Jun’s, and we see the rest of the knights showing their feelings as well.

      -Trying to keep her usual, cheerful self, Yuuki relents, saying she’ll wait for them, but they should take their time, okay? They nod in agreement, and soon enough, Asuna’s friends appear, each coming over to say their goodbyes as well. When they look back, they soon see thousands of players take to the sky, enough to block the sky. Yuuki is impressed, but Asuna apologizes, saying that she had to let them know what was happening. But it’s cool. There are so many of them, it almost feels like a dream. But why are they here?

      -We see a few of them land and begin kneeling as Asuna explains that they are here for Yuuki. After all, she was the strongest, most powerful swordsman ALO has ever seen, and there will never be anybody else like her ever again. And there’s no way they would let her go without saying good bye. She hopes that Yuuki’s next journey will be as wonderful as this one was.

      -I just want to say this. Cherami Leigh, the English VA for Asuna, is doing a wonderful job here. I honestly think she’s tearing up in the booth as we speak. Honestly, I think it’s one of the better scenes I’ve seen in Anime in recent years, dub wise.

      -Back to the episode. Yuuki is happy that she’s getting all this attention, resting her head on Asuna’s chest. After a breath, she says that, if her purpose was just to die, what was the point of being in this world? She never made anything or gave anything to anyone. All she did was waste drugs and hog that machine and cause trouble for everyone. Point of fact, this is her saying it, not me, so please don’t get angry at me when I say it. If all she does is suffer and disappear in the end, it would be better to disappear right now. It’s something she thought about constantly.

      -However, after all this time, Yuuki believes she found the answer. She may not have gotten to do much, but these last few moments? They were the best, surrounded by all her friends and in the arms of someone she loves. Asuna takes Yuuki’s hands and promises to see her again someday, in some other place, in some other world, she will find her. After that, they can sit and talk and she can give all the fantastic stories of where she’s been. Soon a tear drop falls on Yuuki’s eye, and when she opens it again, she finds that it is her sister, Aiko, holding her. This brings a smile to her lips, thinking that she gave everything she had and that she was alive. With that, Yuuki closes her eyes for the final time.

      -The next shot is of Asuna and Yuuki together, both smiling, both holding up the victory sign. If only you guys could see me now, you’d see me tearing up for this moment. It’s a tender, well acted moment and will probably rank high in my all time favorite anime scenes.

      -Our next scene is what appears to be a church, a sign out front announcing that it’s Yuuki Konno’s Memorial Service. There’s a line of people waiting to enter. There appears to be a lot of school aged kids here. We soon find Asuna sitting on a bench, alone. She looks to her shoulder in the hopes of finding Yuuki there, but instead, finds a cherry blossom instead. She takes hold of it, but soon, it’s blown away by the wind. She recalls Yuuki’s last words, about how she never gave anything. Asuna disagrees, saying that she gave her something, carved deep in her heart, and it will always be there.

      -Soon another person walks up to Asuna, causing her to quickly make herself presentable. This new person bows and greets Asuna by name. It takes her a moment but she soon realizes that this person is Siune’s player. Siune, her real name being An Shi-eun, is happy to meet Asuna in the real world. They greet each other properly, with Asuna offering her a seat on the bench.

      -It looks like Asuna wants to ask about her condition, but apparently, Siune was discharged from the hospital in April. Apparently she’s doing better and we learn her condition. It’s acute lymphoid leukemia, which is a form of cancer, and it was three years ago when she first developed it. She goes on to say that the side effects from the medicine and treatment were so horribly that she just wanted to die instead of continuing it, but Yuuki would always inspire her to keep fighting, no matter what.

      -Siune mentions that, back in February, the doctors began to cut back on her medicine, which she took as a sign that she was nearing the end of her life. But last week, a day after they said goodbye to Yuuki, the doctor tells her that she’s in complete remission. She was soon discharged, given little time to process the news. And yet, she believes she should feel awful, because she’s still here while Yuuki is waiting for her. After all, they promised that they would stick with each other forever. And yet, here she is. Yuuki did say to take your time, after all. And a little bit of me is thinking that, somehow, Yuuki was responsible for helping Siune out here.

      -Asuna takes Siune’s hand, stating that their bodies are like vessels, carrying on the teachings of those who have passed on. She goes on to say that, for the longest time, she was so scared, scared of telling soembody how she felt and how they would feel in return. But she learned from Yuuki that was no way to live, that if she never tired to reach out, nothing would ever change. We see a flashback of Asuna and Yuuki’s meeting after their duel, then remembering other moments with her. She goes on to say that Yuuki taught her how to be strong and she wants to be strong for others, too. As long as she’s alive, she’ll pass along everything she’s learned to whoever she meets, and someday, when they meet again, she wants to tell her all the people Yuuki has helped with her teachings. We’ll call it the Tao of Yuuki.

      -Siune thanks Asuna, embracing her in a hug. She says that they’re grateful for what she’s done for them, that Yuuki was carrying such a heavy burden on her shoulders, but that’s when Asuna showed up, causing a change in Yuuki. Siune mentions that, when the two were together, it seemed like Yuuki was really having fun, like she was a forgetful bird who remembered how to fly, then she kept going up and up until she was out of their reach. This episode really wants to play with your heartstrings, doesn’t it?

      -After they separate a bit, Siune takes a breath and starts talking about the other Sleeping Knights. Jun appears to be doing better as his medication has started to take effect. It’s as if Yuuki is trying to tell them that it’s too soon to join her. Called it! So it looks like it’ll be a while before the Sleeping Knights can get back together again. Asuna, with a smile, says that next time, they’ll take her as a member and there will be no arguments! And she will whip them into proper shape the next time, too. This gets them to laugh, because otherwise they’d be crying their eyes out.

      -Kirito soon joins them, joined by Kurabashi. Kirito accuses the doctor of trying to steal his ideas about a communication pod, but honestly, Kurabashi has been consulting him on whether or not they can apply it to the full-dive medical technology. Asuna says that’s great, but what about the Medicuboid? Are they phasing it out or were the trials a success? Turns out, they were successful, and they have enough data to proceed to the next phase. He begins to talk about the benefits of the machine, but then remembers that he should have said something first.

      -Kurabashi first congratulates Siune on her full recovery, and he’s certain Yuuki would be thrilled by the news, too. She returns it to the doctor, happy to know that Yuuki’s help in the trial runs will be able to help other patients as well. The doctor agrees, stating that Yuuki was the first patient, and as a result, her name will always be remembered. If she was here, she’d get a reward for the help. Probably her own name in a hospital wing somewhere, along with the benefactor who made it all possible. Siune responds that Yuuki wouldn’t want it, mainly because she wouldn’t be able to eat it, which gets a laugh out of the group.

      -That’s when Asuna asks about this benefactor, because she thought the government was paying for it. Yes, they were, but the designs were given to them for free by somebody else. If he recalls, the name of that person was Rinko Koujiro. Turns out, Kirito knows her as she was the one who was taking care of Heathcliff’s body while he was diving. Apparently she was Akihiko’s head researcher and helped with developing full dive technology.

      -Which means that, yes, the person responsible for the design of the Medicuboid was Dr.-I’m-An-Artist-Dammit! And suddenly, the wind blows more cherry blossoms as we cut to our end credits. Way to end it on a downer, series!

      -But wait, there’s more! At the end of the credits we have a different scene. It’s that of a sword. More specifically, it’s Yuuki’s sword, placed to mark her final resting place.

      -After the credits, we have another scene. Looks like we’re having a picnic! Agil asks Suguha if she needs help unpacking while Klein is showing off her... I’m guessing girlfriend, to Liz and Silica. Poor girls. Shino is there with them, getting a gift from Suguha. Well, at least some people are having a good time.

      -A little further away, Asuna and Kirito are sitting together with Yui taking over the camera. She’s having fun and says that the cherry trees are very pretty. Kirito remarks that they’re almost gone, but Asuna reprimands him for spoiling the mood. Besides, the important thing here is that they are here with Yui. Kirito can’t believe they were able to make it happen so fast, but says that it was thanks to Yuuki for helping him develop the tech.

      -They sit in quiet as Yui continues to remark on her surroundings. Kirito then mentions how the real world and the virtual world coming together would make for a better future, but he states that, as the line between the two blurs, the more people will get confused and suck into the darker parts of that line. Asuna agrees, but also says that a lot of people were helped by it, patting Yui as proof.

      -It’s a tender moment, only to get ruined when Kirito mentions Akihiko, wondering what his master plan was. You know, the master plan that was so important that he trapped ten thousand people in a death game, only to forget what it was in the end? Remember? Anyway, Kirito suspects that it’s their job as SAO survivors to find out. Asuna, being the voice of reason, tells her boyfriend that he’s over thinking things, which he agrees to, but still, he wants to find out more than ever, even after everything that’s happened. Asuna, please smack him in the head to knock some sense into him, please?

      -I’m guessing it was a mental slap, but Kirito later says that maybe he feels like he’s getting played here. Either way, all he knows is that, no matter what, he wants to stay with Asuna forever and for her to stay with him forever. She smiles, saying that she’ll be with him, even if he moves halfway across the planet. Yui, feeling left out, says she wants to come, too! That’s when Liz tells them to stop making out, it’s time to take a photo! Liz is the best mood ruiner ever!

      -With that, Kirito takes Asuna by the hand and rejoin their group. Ending with the series card Sword Art Online II. End season.

      Well, that was an emotional series, but I’m going to need to talk a bit about this ending, which I’ll save for next week when I give my season recap and thoughts as a whole.

      Also, keep letting me know which show you want me to do first, Nyarko-San, Log Horizon or After War Gundam X. Next week will make the final decision.

      But for now, we’ll leave it there. Until next time.

    • Anime First Episode Impressions

      2 weeks ago

      CaButler

      Time to give a first episode impression on some of the new season anime! Don't expect this to be a common thing.


      ReLife: Suppose you had the chance to redo the last year of your High Schoo life? That's what Kaizaki Arata had as an option from a company called ReLife. You see, shortly after graduation from Grad School, he quit his job three months in and has been having issues getting employment since. What's worst is that his parents will stop sending him money, which makes him a bit of a NEET.


      But by chance, he is given the opportunity to relive his high school senior year. A company man came up to him, offered to pay for his living conditions for a year, and he only has to take this experimental drug that will make him look younger. And thus begins this journey into reliving high school once again. Fun!


      Based off a manga, ReLife is unique in that, if you are a Crunchroll subscriber, instead of waiting for it in weekly doses, the entire thirteen episode season is available from the word go. I've only seen the first episode but it has promise. At the very least, you can determine pretty quickly if you want to keep at it or drop it.


      Alderamin on the Sky: There's not a lot to say plot wise as the first episode doesn't say much about it. We have a bunch of kids looking to take an officer's qualification exam when their boat sinks, putting them behind enemy lines.


      Among the students are Iwata Soroku, a rather lazy student who is apparently much smarter than he lets us, as his childhood friend, Yatorishino Igsem, could attest to, as she forced him to take the exam to help her score. They're joined by three other potential officers, and by chance, find the princess of their country with them. The first episode ends with Iwata being caught, but apparently, the narrator states that he will be an invincible general in time. Way to spoil it, show.


      It's a medieval fantasy world, but as mentioned, we don't get a lot of plot or story elements in the first episode. Instead, it's all about the characters, their motivations and backstory, and seriously, the characters alone would be enough to make the show worth the investment. Iwata and Igsem have good chemistry together and there's clearly more going on with Iwata at first glance.


      It's based on a light novel series that's currently at six volumes, but as always, we'll look at the show as it's own.


      Qualidea Code: So, remember that series The Vision of Escaflowne? I hope you do because I did do a where I watch of it recently. In any case, that show was unique in that it was originally a multimedia project, with the anime coming out first and the manga coming out later. As always, the reverse was true, but still, it was meant to be anime first.


      That's the case here with Qualidea Code. It's a multimedia project that started out with Light Novels last year and is getting an anime adaption, so you need to treat this as an anime first project.


      So, what's the anime about? It's a Magical Battle School series! Well... kind of. You see, the anime wastes no time in getting straight into the action. And that is... an alien invasion. Yup, the world got messed up pretty badly. As a result, children were placed in cold sleep faculties to wake up several decades later. They are given the power called "World" to fight back against these Unknowns.


      Our main character is Ichiya Suzaku, who has the power to manipulate gravity. And while he seems emotionless, to me, he's just a big ball of rage and anger. He can only really tolerate one person, Canaria Utara, who's power is to sing! Well, it's to revitalize the fighters to keep going, which makes her great for support.


      She was originally older than Ichiya, but because he was woken first, he got to be the same age as her. She basically plays at trying to be his conscious and emotional support, but really, he would rather handle it all by himself.


      Now, this isn't a case of him being all powerful... because he is, but the first episode gets to show off a bunch of different characters and their own strengths. Including one Maihime Tenkawa, who's just a ball of energy and a rather fun character. She also has this problem of causing collateral damage as her power is apparently to make giant beams of energy that can cut through the enemy in a single slice.


      There are three "schools", each protecting a different city, but they all have their own different strengths. Almost like branches of the army. Ichiya and Canaria basically have magic users, making them the air force, while Maihime is the navy. Another set of characters, Asuha and Kasumi Chigusa, are the army or ground force. Asuha and Ichiya seem to have this rivalry going for some reason.


      The show has potential to be something more than it appears, mainly because there are hints of something darker, but it does make me ask this question. If the main issue is fighting a powerful enemy force, why do the higher ups initiate a ranking system? This question doesn't really get brought up in the first episode but is mentioned upon.


      So, there we have it. If there's anything else to add I'll do it here. Tune in Friday for the season finale of Sword Art Online II. Until then, remember, new images, because the notifications are still broken.

    • Sword Art Online II Episode 23

      2 weeks ago

      CaButler

      Hello everybody and welcome to another exciting episode of Sword Art Online II, where people make friends through online games, only to lose contact with them for reasons known only to them.

      In our last episode, Asuna is in a funk because she’s no longer able to contact Yuuki after their last encounter a few days back. Siune shows up to ask her to not bother finding her and logs out, leading to more frustration for Asuna. Luckily, Kirito, the best boyfriend ever, has a lead on Yuuki and sends Asuna to a hospital. There she finds out the truth behind the Sleeping Knights. They all met in a hospital and some of them are terminal, including Yuuki, who was infected with HIV during childbirth.

      This was the reason why the Sleeping Knights wanted to defeat a Raid Boss on their own. They wanted to leave their mark, so to speak, and to show that they did exist. Yuuki is ready for the end to come but Asuna is stubborn, refusing to let it end this way, pleading with her for something she wants. Well, Yuuki wouldn’t mind going back to school, and wouldn’t you know it, Asuna may know a way to fulfill that wish. What could it be? Let’s tune in and find out.

      -Our episode begins at school where somebody is talking about a gyro being too sensitive and needing to give wiggle room for some parameters. We see a camera object that we saw in the previous episode that Kirito is working on, and it appears to be on Asuna’s shoulder.

      -We’re in what appears to be a lab where Kirito is with two guys who I assume are SAO survivors, but probably not that important of characters. Anyway, Kirito objects to the sudden change in those parameters, as it will cause lag if Asuna makes any sudden moves. One of the guys then says that he’s going to have to hope the optimization program’s training kicks in. Asuna, however, si getting impatient, checking the time. Their lunch break is almost over. Hey, it’s not like they’ve done this before! Except with Yui, but that was in a different environment and different setup.

      -Kirito is like, screw it, we’ll do it live. He talks to Yuuki through the camera and asks if she can hear him. Yes she can. Great, now to activate the lens. Kirito warns it might get bright, but let him know when the vision clears up, okay? Okay. We see the eye of the lens focus, and at the right spot, Yuuki says they’re good. And with that, they’re ready to go. One more thing. Kirito installed stabilizers, but they’re finicky, so don’t try to make any sudden movements. I hope you guys already had gym earlier. Asuna stands up suddenly and thanks Kirito for all he did. Didn’t he say not to do any suddeny movements?

      -Tonight’s episode is titled The Dream Begins. Time to show Yuuki around. She’s amazed at how big Asuna’s school is. She laughs but apologizes that they can’t do a proper tour as lunch break is almost over and they’ll be late to class. Yuuki is fine with that since it means she gets to sit in class, too! That teacher is going to be quite surprised by the guest he’ll have today. Though it seems like Asuna thought about this in advance, so they’ll be heading to the faculty lounge and introduce her little friend to her teacher. This will be such an interesting conversation.

      -We cut to the two standing outside the faculty lounge, but Yuuki is a little hesitant. When Asuna asks what’s wrong she mentions that it’s the one place she doesn’t miss from school. And really, who can blame her? Asuna says it’s fine as these aren’t your typical teachers. She opens the door to announce herself with Yuuki following suit.

      -Yeah, those teachers look bored. Asuna is talking to an older gentlemen, and apparently he’s been told of the situation. She just wanted to confirm that this was still fine. Yup, no problems here. He just needs to get a name, and after Yuuki provides it, the teacher says that she’s welcome to join his class anytime she wants. He does warn her about a specific lesson they’re having today, so she needs to stick with it to the end if she wants to get the point. Just put all the pressure on her, teach. As if she isn’t feeling uncomfortable enough as it is.

      -With that out of the way, the two walk out and let out a sigh of relief. They then head for Asuna’s classroom, which is year three class one, because of course it is. Asuna walks in, but you can tell with the camera that Yuuki is looking a bit nervous. Asuna walks over to some other students in the back, who immediately ask about the camera on her shoulder. Of course, they call Asuna “Ms. Yuuki,” which confuses Yuuki, so Asuna corrects Yuuki that the girl was using her last name. Totally not confusing at all.

      -In any case, Asuna introduces Yuuki to the class and explains her situation. She’s stuck in the hospital and can’t join them, but she will be able to spend time in class like this for a short while. Of course, the rest of the class is enamored with it and begin to crowd around her. I bet it’s because she sounds cute. The class give their greetings, though Asuna appears to be a little uncomfortable with all the attention. You should know better, Asuna.

      -The bell rings and the teacher walks in. Time for class! The students get to their seats and we get the typical class greeting. The teacher tells them to open to page ninety seven so that they can read the story “A Lorry” by Ryunosuke Akutagawa. Asuna, being a bud, displays the tablet to Yuuki so she can read it. She’s got quite a smile on her face, but that changes when the teacher asks for Yuuki Konno to read aloud. Why are we putting the pressure on her? When the teacher asks if there is a problem, Yuuki says no, she can read it. Asuna stands up and whispers if she’s up to it, but in a snarky remark, Yuuki tells her that she has read before. But what’s with this weird squiggly lines? How do you people read this?

      -Yuuki takes a moment and starts reading the story. It’s about a light railway and how the author was impressed with the lorry and the dirt it carried. The other students listen intently, but suddenly, instead of Asuna standing there, it’s Yuuki dressed in the school uniform. I should note that, as I’m doing this from the Blu-Ray, the menu picture for the final disc is of Liz, Silica, Asuna, Kirito and Yuuki, all in school uniforms. It’s an adorable moment.

      -Speaking of adorable, the class rushes Yuuki, complimenting her on her reading and if she’s toured the school or if she has a boyfriend and stuff like that. Asuna tries to calm them down, but even Ms. “Fall in Line” can’t stop the onrush of curious teenagers. During the break we see Asuna sitting in the courtyard with Yuuki enjoying herself. Yuuki thanks Asuna for making this happen as she had a really good time and that she will never forget today, no matter what. Asuna, who was nothing but smiles, suddenly loses it briefly, remembering that Yuuki is on borrowed time. To cheer herself up and to keep giving Yuuki this life, she reminds her that the teacher said she can come back whenever she wants. After all, modern Japanese is third period tomorrow and Yuuki can’t miss that!

      -Yuuki isn’t really feeling it anymore. I suspect that she figures out what Asuna is trying to do. Asuna, however, keeps going, asking if there’s anything else she wants to see or try. After a moment, Yuuki says there is one place she would like to go. When asked where, we get a cut to a train station that Asuna walks out of. She compliments how pretty it is here, but Yuuki, for some reason, is down in the dumps. This is never a good sign.

      -In an attempt to get Asuna to go home, Yuuki asks if her parents are fine with her staying out so late? Cause she’s spent all day lugging her around, but Asuna tells her not to worry about it. She sent a text and it’s totally fine. I bet she’s lying. So, where to, Madam Yuuki? With that, she begins to give Asuna directions. What a useful GPS.

      -We get some shots of Asuna walking through town, looking at the shops and random stray cats. They continue to walk for some time until it gets late. Asuna notes that they’re back in a similar neighborhood as before, but this was part of the plan for Yuuki. She explains that there will be a white house around the corner and she would like Asuna to stop there. I think I know where this is going.

      -Asuna stops in front of this nice little house on the corner and she quickly realizes that this is Yuuki’s old home. It looks abandoned, which would make sense as nobody is living here anymore. I’m surprised it hasn’t been sold already, but I guess Yuuki is the owner and she isn’t selling it. Speaking of, Yuuki states that she never thought she would return here, but thanks Asuna for taking her all the way here. When Asuna offers to bring Yuuki in, our little camera girl is fine as is. Instead, she tells Asuna that they should head back before her folks starts to worry, but Asuna says that it’s okay, they can stay a little longer. That’s Stubborn Asuna for you, she will be your friend and make you like it!

      -Yuuki gives a small smile as she explains that her family only got to live in this house for a year, but she can remember every day so clearly, like how she and Aiko, her sister, would play in the yard, running around and around, had barbecues and even built bookshelves with their dad. They were some good times. Asuna says she’s lucky, probably because she’s an only child and that she never got to spend some time with her dad.

      -To make it more depressing, Yuuki says that they’ll be tearing down the house soon. Apparently Yuuki’s Aunt wants to put a convenience store here or for her to sell the property. And that’s why she wanted to come here, to see it one more time as it was. Don’t worry, Asuna has a way to save the house! Yuuki is currently fifteen years old, which means that, when she turns sixteen, she should find somebody to love and marry them! And that way, she’ll have somebody who will stay in this house forever and it’ll never be torn down! Brilliant!

      -This does get Yuuki to laugh, though, which is good because she needed it. That said, there’s nobody she knows that she would want to marry. Asuna remarks that she and Jun would make a cute couple. Hell no, says Yuuki, he’s totally immature! This gets Asuna to smile, as well. Ah, the simple conversations in girl talk. This does get Yuuki to think, though, but then comes to a decision. Hey, Asuna? Want to get hitched? But if they do, Asuna has to take her name, okay? Yuuki Yuuki would just be weird. Asuna goes with it and can’t imagine what her mom would say about it, but Yuuki says she was just kidding. But with that line, thousand of fanarts and fanfics were born.

      -Anyway, Yuuki says that Asuna is already spoken for, but she does warn her that Kirito doesn’t seem to be living in the real world, either. Not exactly like Yuuki, but in a different way. Asuna doesn’t know how to react to that, but she laughs it off. I mean, sure, Kirito can be a bit unhinged at times, but I don’t think he would do anything crazy like get himself killed just to experience a full dive. That’s just crazy talk.

      -But no more of this morbid talk, okay? Yuuki truly thanks Asuna for the wonderful day she’s had. Going to school, taking part in class, seeing her house again, all were things that Yuuki was happy to do one more time. She tells Asuna that, when her family lived in this house, they would go to church and pray, but during those times her mother would say this to her. “God would never subject us to suffering that we couldn’t bear.” Because God can’t be that much of a jerk, can He? Please don’t smite me, oh Lord.

      -Yuuki says that it never made her feel better, though. She wanted her mom to talk to her like a mom and not quote stuff from the Bible. However, after seeing their old house, she thinks she gets it now. The words themselves didn’t matter, but the feelings behind those words. Yuuki’s mom was praying for her so that she wouldn’t feel sorry for herself, so that she can be strong until the end. After so many years, she finally understands. Because screw this illness!

      -Asuna stands in silence for a moment saying that they’re the same in that aspect. She hasn’t understood her mother in a long time. Apparently the two are having trouble communicating because they can’t hear each other properly. By that I mean the intent in their words, not the actual words themselves. They speak pretty loudly at those dinners, after all. Thinking back on Yuuki’s words about fighting to get your point across, she asks how she can be as strong as Yuuki? Well, Yuuki objects to being called strong. She is not strong and don’t you dare say she is!

      -Asuna, still be stubborn, says that Yuuki is strong, that when she confronts people, she doesn’t feel intimidated or flinch, but she is fearless, even against fear itself. Yuuki admits that, most of the time, she was faking it. She states that she felt like she had to feel cheerful so that her parents wouldn’t feel sad for her. But in the end, so what if it’s an act? If she gets to spend more time smiling, so what if she’s faking it! And she’ll keep doing it, too, despite being on the clock. She feels like it would be a waste if she just moped around all the time with what time she has left. Good for you, Yuuki, you keep doing what you feel is right.

      -Which leads to Yuuki’s next comment. At this point in her life, she just goes ahead and says what’s on her mind, and if people have a problem with that, well, tough for them. At least she got to speak her mind, and maybe, got a little closer to her heart. Asuna agrees with this, which is the reason they’re here today, why they’re so close after only a few days, because Yuuki will always speak her mind... and get into giant brawls, too.

      -Yuuki says that it wasn’t because of her, though. The reason she and Asuna are so close is because, despite running away, it was Asuna that tracked her down. She then offers some advice on what to do about Asuna’s mom. Why not talk to her the same way you talked to Yuuki? If you tell her how you feel, maybe you two will get closer and she’ll understand what you feel. Yuuki has confidence that Asuna can do it, saying that she’s way stronger than her. I think Kirito would attest to that, as well. Asuna, smiling, takes the camera into her hands and lays her head on it while Yuuki in her virtual space reaches out for her.

      -Because Asuna hit Yuuki with everything she had, Yuuki felt like she could trust her with everything she had, and in the end, it worked out for the both of them. Asuna agrees with that and thanks Yuuki for her advice and her confidence.

      -So, how is this going to work out? We’re at Asuna’s house. She’s holding the Amusphere in her hands, but she’s hesitating in front of a door. She goes to knock, but stops. However, Yuuki’s words pushes her through, allowing her to knock on the door. Kyouko allows her entry and we see her working hard on the computer. Quite the workaholic, I see. She turns to face Asuna, commenting on her being late again. Asuna apologizes, so Kyouko decides not to push it further. She tells her daughter that she’ll have to make do with whatever is in the fridge, but then reminds her that the transfer application is due tomorrow, so make sure it’s filled out by morning.

      -Yeah, about that... Asuna tells Kyouko that they need to talk, but that she can’t really explain it here. When Kyouko asks where they should go, Asuna presents the Amusphere, saying that they’re going to the virtual world. It’ll only be for a little while so she will need to use it. Kyouko scoffs at the idea, saying that if Asuna doesn’t want to talk to her like a normal person, she doesn’t want to hear it. Again, can’t call her wrong on that.

      -Asuna fights for it, though, saying that this is the only way she can explain things to Kyouko. It’ll only take five minutes, promise, and this is the only way she can express her feelings. Asuna continues to beg, which reaches Kyouko. She agrees to five minutes, but no matter what Asuna says, she will not be attending that fake school next year. Oh, and she will fill out that application once the conversation is done. Apparently those are Kyouko’s conditions to agreeing to this kind of talk. Asuna agrees, so now it’s time for every child’s favorite activity: teaching their parents how to use technology they know nothing about.

      -Asuna puts the Amusphere on Kyouko’s head and tells her to just relax. Once it’s one it’ll automatically connect her to Asuna’s sub account in the game. She then turns it on and rushes to her room to connect on her end.

      -In ALO, Asuna warps in and quickly sees her second avatar, controlled by her mother, looking at her face in the mirror. She calls it unsettling, seeing a face she’s unfamiliar with moving like she does. Oh, and this avatar is light, it’s weird. Asuna tells Kyouko that she did it on purpose, for the weight of the avatar was set to ninety pounds. Feels lighter than your real body, eh, Kyouko? Of course mother doesn’t appreciate the comment about her weight, even if she feels better as a result.

      -At this point Kyouko gets a good look at Asuna’s face and notes how similar it is to her daughter’s in the real world. No, wait, the ALO face is puffier than her real one. Oh, the daughter doesn’t appreciate a comment like that! She realizes she’s being rude and stops, forcing Kyouko to carry the conversation. Asuna is on the clock here, so hurry up and show her what you want to show her. So pushy. Don’t you want to experiment with the hot avatar your daughter created? Actually, that is something I noticed, that her sub-account is almost the exact opposite of her normal avatar. I imagine that was done on purpose.

      -Anyway, Asuna takes Kyouko into the back room where a lone window stays. She opens it and I think Kyouko notices the ring on her daughter’s hand. Clearly mom will not approve of her daughter marrying at a young age... yet. Anyway, Kyouko moves forward to take a look with Asuna saying that it looks a lot like it. It? Kyouko says that it just looks like an old cedar grove, but she suddenly stops, coming to realize something. Asuna asks her if it brings back memories, of the house grandma and grandpa had? Oh, you clever girl.

      -As the camera pulls forward into the forest, Asuna states that she loved their place in Miyagi, calling it magical. We come in towards a house, but it’s not a fancy house, nor Asuna’s cottage in game. It’s a regular house, and inside we find two elderly people at a table with a young girl who looks a lot like Asuna staring at them with a smile. She’s given some oranges to eat, which she happily accepts, but then stares at the window, the snow coming down quite hard. I wonder if she’s looking for somebody?

      -Asuna asks Kyouko if she remembers that holiday when she was twelve, where she and the other members of the family went to the Yuuki compound in Kyoto while she went to Miyagi by herself? Mama does. Asuna adds that she apologizes to her grandparents that Kyouko couldn’t be there with them, that Asuna felt that her mother couldn’t come to their ancestors’ graves. Kyouko says that she wanted to, but the Yuukis’ were having an important memorial service, but Asuna has to state that she isn’t blaming her for anything.

      -Instead, Asuna states that grandfather said that it didn’t matter, because he and grandmother were proud of Kyouko. This gets a reaction out of her as Asuna continues. In the flashback we see her sitting with her grandfather, who has all these newspaper clippings about her daughter. He was so happy to see her make a name for herself in the world. He then adds, “But even your mother might grow weary one day and want to rest for once.” And should that day ever come, he wanted to make sure that house in the mountain was there for her, to give her a place to rest. In the light, it is a rather nice house and it explains why Asuna wanted this particular cabin in the woods.

      -In the present, Asuna says that she didn’t understand what her grandfather meant, but now, she thinks she understands a little. She says that life isn’t about doing the things that make you happy, it’s also about finding a way to live, where the happiness of everyone around you fulfills you, too. As she says that we see all of Asuna’s friends, including the Sleeping Knights, emphasizing her point. Asuna states that, somehow, she wants to find a way to make everybody around her happy, that she wants the kind of life where she can be there for somebody to lean on.

      -With that and renewed determination, Asuna tells Kyouko that she will study and work hard, but she will continue to go to the school she loves. Mother doesn’t respond, but apparently it’s because she sees something in the distance. Asuna follows her eyes and sees what has her mother’s attention. A white rabbit. Two of them, actually, playing in the snow. When Asuna turns back to Kyouko, she finds that her mother is shedding tears.

      -Not knowing what to do, Asuna calls out to her mother, bringing her back to the present. She tries to cover up the tears by saying she isn’t really crying, but she isn’t fooling anybody. Asuna tells Kyouko that you can’t hid your tears when you’re sad in this world. Like in the real world, you cry in ALO. Clearly Kyouko doesn’t like how this world works, making her reveal her feelings like this! But then she lets it all out, Asuna providing her mother comfort.

      -The next day, back in reality, Asuna walks down towards the dining room and sees Kyouko there, the same as always, working. It seems like everything is normal, but before Asuna can sit down, Kyouko asks if she’s prepared to live the type of life she spoke of last night? Asuna nods, so Kyouko accepts it. She tells her daughter that she’ll need to be strong enough to accept that burden, so make sure you go to college. And if you want to do that, you need to get better grades this semester and next year.

      -Asuna is smiling, but Kyouko says that while Asuna can stay, it will be up to her daughter and getting those good grades. She stands up and leaves, but tells her daughter to do her best. Well, looks like we got some reconciliation there. Asuna reaches for her shoulder, thanking Yuuki for her confidence.

      -As the ending theme begins to play, Asuna steps out and faces the house one more time, ready to go. And she’s off, a huge smile on her face. Cue credits!

      -Next time, our season finale, Mother’s Rosario.

      But this episode seems more like a season finale. We’ll just have to see what happens next week to wrap it up. But it looks like all the major arc plots were resolved this episode, so there’s really not much to add. It’s just one of those episodes that pulls on your heartstrings. How dare you try to manipulate us like that!

      One more thing to add. In a couple of weeks I'll obviously be doing my recap since next week is the finale, so I want to make this official one more time. What show would you like me to do next? Log Horizon, Nyarko-San, or as a third entry, After War Gundam X? When it's all tallied up we'll announce the next show in two weeks.

      So with that, until next time, remember, if you’re having trouble talking to your parents, trying putting them in the virtual world. That’s sure to work out better.

    • Pearl Harbor was a somber experience

      2 weeks ago

      CaButler

      So, for those that don't know, currently, I'm in Hawaii. Aside from the hikes, beaches, Waikiki trips, I went to the historic Pearl Harbor, the site of the battle that launched the United States into a terrible war.


      And that's what the Pearl Harbor Memorial is not about. Yes, it does talk about the US joining the war, but that isn't the point of this memorial. It's about the lives lost, the ships lost, the somber tone and the ghosts that haunt it. It's a somber place to be that gives you some perspective on what some of what those soldiers went through, but even then, it's only a fraction.


      This is not a place that celebrates war, but reminds us of the terrible price it can employ. Yes, the Japanese are mentioned, but only in so far as being the ones to conduct the attack. The memorial doesn't try to demonize them in any way, only to show that they were just on the other side of a war that the US was going to enter, one way or the other.


      Among the locations is the USS Missouri, the place where the surrender of the Japanese forces takes place. Again, they don't demonize them, but in reality, actually provides some humanity. Among the tour they mention a Japanese fighter performing a kamikaze run against the ship, causing only minor damage. While the crew found the body and wanted to throw him overboard, the Captain ordered them not to. Instead, out of respect for this pilot, they buried him to sea with honors, even though he was once their enemy.


      Several years later, two veterans of the war, one from the US and one from Japan, would search for that pilots identity. They narrowed it down to two pilots, both who died on the attack on the Missouri. It's a moment that shows the humanity of people during a time of great death and suffering.


      If you ever found yourself in Hawaii, I cannot recommend this place enough. It's educational, but at the same time, shows the terrible cost of war, as well as the bravery that came with it.

  • About Me

    Random friend requests are not acceptable. Seriously. If you want to add me, you better damn well do something important.

    Follow me with Twitter at www.twitter.com/cabutler

    Open AllClose All

  • Comments (1682)

    • zogman1

      3 weeks ago

      Are your notifications working?

      • solblade44

        3 weeks ago

        Not him but I was going to ask the same thing. I'm not getting any either.

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        3 weeks ago

        They appear to be working now.

      • zogman1

        3 weeks ago

        indeed.

    • HOWtwoROCK

      4 weeks ago

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        4 weeks ago

        @HOWtwoROCK


        Cute.

    • grenou

      1 month ago

      Congrats on your Fail making it into today's video!



      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        1 month ago

        Awesome. I submitted that months ago. I wonder if there are any others there? Thanks for point this out.

    • zogman1

      2 months ago

      I still need to watch the Fate series.

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        2 months ago

        I guess you're looking at @HOWtwoROCK post from below.

      • zogman1

        2 months ago

        Yep, but I didn't want to whatever the term is now a 1 month old conversation.

    • HOWtwoROCK

      4 months ago

      Remember when these characters were trying to kill each other?


      tumblr_o4bqcicVBh1r3z16po2_540.gif
      tumblr_o4bqcicVBh1r3z16po1_540.gif

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        4 months ago

        Well, bitches want the D.

      • HOWtwoROCK

        4 months ago

        You know I would watch a romantic comedy with these characters

    • HOWtwoROCK

      5 months ago

      Got norton back and shantae is fine now.

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        5 months ago

        Norton likes half naked half genies.

    • Raltrios Dislike the new site!

      7 months ago

      Did you have this? Figure you could use it as a holiday profile pic or something.

      jKcX27w.png

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        7 months ago

        I did not have a Tales holiday image, so thanks.

      • Raltrios Dislike the new site!

        7 months ago

        You're welcome.

    • HOWtwoROCK

      7 months ago

      Your fail made it into fails of the week

      yay

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        7 months ago

        I know. I saw. I made Geoff laugh. It was awesome.

      • HOWtwoROCK

        7 months ago

        I know right

    • HOWtwoROCK

      7 months ago

      Just gonna dump this here tumblr_nzmqzzbChv1sojsjno2_540.jpg

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        7 months ago

        Already have, but thanks anyway.

    • ConanEdogawa FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold All of 'em Anubis

      7 months ago

      apparently, now mangaconda is shutting down, too.

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        7 months ago

        I completely forgot about them, to be honest.

      • ConanEdogawa FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold All of 'em Anubis

        7 months ago

        really? it's only been a couple weeks, and they're who picked up translating hayate.

    • ConanEdogawa FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold All of 'em Anubis

      8 months ago

      good news!

      https://mangaconda.wordpress.com/

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        8 months ago

        Yay

    • HOWtwoROCK

      8 months ago

      Ah I noticed you have shante up there

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        8 months ago

        Yes. I posted up an image that I had done as a commission. Take a look at it and give it a good look over.

        Also, I never got notification of a comment here.

    • ConanEdogawa FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold All of 'em Anubis

      9 months ago

      so, for days now my "users I follow" feed has been empty, and I assumed it was just because of another stupid update that they'd fix sooner or later.

      what f**king idiot thought automatically having us unfollow everyone was a good idea?

    • HOWtwoROCK

      11 months ago

      deleted the picture that freaked you out. Sorry, didn't think it would hit you so hard

    • IronBridge

      11 months ago

      I upload new and interesting facts everyday in my series:

      "Fact of The Day"

      Hope to see you there!

    • RedUnit10 Fan of Yanderes

      11 months ago

      Hey Ca, do you get a notification when I make a comment post?

    • HOWtwoROCK

      11 months ago

      I was watching Fate Stay night unlimited blade works (Tv show). Why the fuck wouldn't archer just use his phantasm on the little german girl who had Bezerker?

    • zogman1

      11 months ago

      you didn't get a notification about any of my image comments, did you?

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        11 months ago

        I don't think I have, no.

    • zogman1

      11 months ago

      you didn't get a notification about any of my image comments, did you?

      • zogman1

        11 months ago

        This wasn't a double post originally O_o

    • RedUnit10 Fan of Yanderes

      1 year ago

      When you vote in ISML, be sure to also nominate the spring seasonals.

    • RedUnit10 Fan of Yanderes

      1 year ago

      ISML is back.

    • ConanEdogawa FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold All of 'em Anubis

      1 year ago

      I saw an image posted by you on my feed of a pink haired girl on the beach, but when I clicked to view it, it was gone. could I get a link to it?

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        1 year ago

        You're welcome.

        I wasn't certain about how safe it was initially, but I think I'll be putting it up again later.

      • ConanEdogawa FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold All of 'em Anubis

        1 year ago

        thank you.

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        1 year ago

        Try here.

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        1 year ago

        She was a blonde, actually. I'll see what I can do about it.

    • HOWtwoROCK

      1 year ago

      Is Dog Days a good show for kids?

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        1 year ago

        I call it a kiddie show, but there are a few fanservice scenes featuring female nudity.

        You can't see anything, but it's there.

    • Raltrios Dislike the new site!

      1 year ago

      Here, I think you might like this. It's another work by Sharkbro.

      • Raltrios Dislike the new site!

        1 year ago

        No problem, I was just looking over some of his other stuff and looking for familiar faces.

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        1 year ago

        I think I already have that in the Odin Sphere folder. I'll have to check. If not, thanks for the find.

    • dragon55128 Crazy_texan

      1 year ago

      well%2Bthen.JPG
      this happened smiley13.gif

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        1 year ago

        Go nuts.

      • dragon55128 Crazy_texan

        1 year ago

        lol I figured you would like me to share this smiley13.gif

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        1 year ago

        C.C. appreciates a fine ass.

        Kallen likes them curvy up top.

        They both win.

    • RedUnit10 Fan of Yanderes

      1 year ago

      Hey Ca, you watching the second season of Knights of Sidniona?

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        1 year ago

        No. I though I'd wait for Netflix to stream it, if they get the license.

    • RedUnit10 Fan of Yanderes

      1 year ago

      Was it you who posted that super cute comic about Bell as a Rabbit?

      • RedUnit10 Fan of Yanderes

        1 year ago

        Damn, been trying to find it.

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        1 year ago

        I don't think so.

    • HOWtwoROCK

      1 year ago

      Is this tame? pbs.twimg.com/media/CBnINtOUAAAmA_V.png

      • HOWtwoROCK

        1 year ago

        ok

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        1 year ago

        Dear God no. That can result in you getting banned.

      • HOWtwoROCK

        1 year ago

        Okay now delte the first comment

      • HOWtwoROCK

        1 year ago

        I see

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        1 year ago

        Borderline, and in my opinion, on the wrong side of the line.

    • ConanEdogawa FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold All of 'em Anubis

      1 year ago

      this safe enough for me to post?

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        1 year ago

        I see it's listed as questionable, but aside from Esdeath nearly falling out of her suit, I can't see anything that would get it deleted.

        But of course, it's all about the personal taste of the mod that will get you. I think it's fine, personally.

    • gi_goku FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Keeper of Tacos

      1 year ago

      Tatsuya Shiba is a troll among trolls sometimes xD

    • Star357

      1 year ago

      I have been taking a lot of my anime choices recently from the image gallery you have been posting. Right now I am on Akame Ga Kill about 1/3 through it and already seen a number of characters die. I am guessing it gets worse as the series goes on huh?

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        1 year ago

        Yeah, and people are not about it.

        It seemed to go more with shock value than anything else.

    • RedUnit10 Fan of Yanderes

      1 year ago

      ISML is back.

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        1 year ago

        Well, I'll have to check it out later.

    • gi_goku FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Keeper of Tacos

      1 year ago

      CROSS ANGE Rondo of Angel and Dragon trailer

    • Raltrios Dislike the new site!

      1 year ago

      No idea what you said, obviously. Cool.

      • Raltrios Dislike the new site!

        1 year ago

        Clearly.

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        1 year ago

        It was me ending the conversation.

    • shadow15

      1 year ago

      hi hi! :)



      hugz-natz

      • shadow15

        1 year ago

        you and I both actually

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        1 year ago

        Hurting financially. My own fault, really.

      • shadow15

        1 year ago

        long time no talk whats going on?

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        1 year ago

        Hello.

    • HOWtwoROCK

      1 year ago

      x2jywtxdpxnphoxlbldt.gif

    • HOWtwoROCK

      1 year ago

      I think you're new neptune picture experinced an error because I can't comment on it

      • HOWtwoROCK

        1 year ago

        oh okay

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        1 year ago

        No, I deleted it because Dark already had that image, and they can get a little pissy when that happens.

    • ConanEdogawa FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold All of 'em Anubis

      1 year ago

      enjoy. www.pixiv.net/member_illust.php?mode=medium...

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        1 year ago

        I've seen it. Won't ever post it.

    • Raltrios Dislike the new site!

      1 year ago

      www.theregister.co.uk/2014/09/24/emma_watson_nude_p...

      Well, there you go. You judged a book by its cover. 4chan is full of assholes, but they aren't typically as malicious as people want to think.

      • Raltrios Dislike the new site!

        1 year ago

        Well, that's fine, then. Sorry.

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        1 year ago

        Then I stand by my comment. I haven't read it for a couple of weeks, so I don't know what's been added when I provided the link. I had to go to another site to get it.

      • Raltrios Dislike the new site!

        1 year ago

        Don't know where else I'd have heard it.

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        1 year ago

        Are you talking about the links I provided related to Zoe Quinn?

        If so, as far as I remember none of them were about Emma Watson. Unless they were updated to include that.

      • Raltrios Dislike the new site!

        1 year ago

        It was less than two days ago!

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        1 year ago

        I did? I honestly don't remember that.

      • Raltrios Dislike the new site!

        1 year ago

        You were the one who told me about it!

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        1 year ago

        I didn't even know about the whole Emma Watson thing.

      • Raltrios Dislike the new site!

        1 year ago

        Well that's fine, but just don't believe every bad thing somebody writes about it.

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        1 year ago

        That you think that I'm judging 4chan without having been there myself.

        I have been. And I never want to go back.

      • Raltrios Dislike the new site!

        1 year ago

        In what way?

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        1 year ago

        I judged a book by its cover? That's some statement to make.

    • RedUnit10 Fan of Yanderes

      1 year ago

      ISML today.

    • RedUnit10 Fan of Yanderes

      1 year ago

      ISML today.

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        1 year ago

        Thanks.

    • RedUnit10 Fan of Yanderes

      2 years ago

      Why didn't any of you remember yesterday's match!? IT WAS A NECKLACE MATCH!

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        2 years ago

        I typically rely on the other guys to remind me.

        So blame them.

    • RedUnit10 Fan of Yanderes

      2 years ago

      Do you get off on uploading so many damn images?

      • RedUnit10 Fan of Yanderes

        2 years ago

        Oh, well, I never even opened a twitter account.

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        2 years ago

        Anything that's posted there is usually through my Twitter account, which I'm more actively using.

        That said, actively using means posting something every couple of days.

      • RedUnit10 Fan of Yanderes

        2 years ago

        Oh, that place. I deleted my profile months ago.

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        2 years ago

        Facebook, mostly.

      • RedUnit10 Fan of Yanderes

        2 years ago

        Where do you find all of these then?

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        2 years ago

        None.

        A few of them are on my phone. Not many, but a few.

      • RedUnit10 Fan of Yanderes

        2 years ago

        Just how many images do you have on your work computer?

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        2 years ago

        How do you know that!? Do you have cameras here?

        ...I'm joking, FYI. I'm just bored easily when I'm at work and between customers.

    • ConanEdogawa FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold All of 'em Anubis

      2 years ago

      how safe would you say this is?

      • ConanEdogawa FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold All of 'em Anubis

        2 years ago

        yeah, that's why I was asking.

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        2 years ago

        The tag itself says it's safe, though what she's doing could constitute as unsafe.

        It's your call, but it's certainly borderline.

    • RedUnit10 Fan of Yanderes

      2 years ago

      ISML today.

    • ConanEdogawa FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold All of 'em Anubis

      2 years ago

      this seem safe to post? danbooru.donmai.us/posts/1649621

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        2 years ago

        Well, the tag does say safe, but it's clearly borderline. That said, I don't see anything that would get it deleted.

        It's your call.

    • zogman1

      2 years ago

      Bayonetta v.s. Morrigan? Who wold win?

    • HOWtwoROCK

      2 years ago

      Square is asking fans about Kingdom Hearts https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GP7XTLF

    • Star357

      2 years ago

      Love your choice in manga I have to say I am hooked on Golden Time. Its a rather interesting premise of amnesia and ones path in life. I am always looking for good manga so if you got a few suggestions I would appreciate it.

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        2 years ago

        It's also good drama.

        As for other suggestions, Horimiya is another love comedy, but it's a slow burn, and when the confession happens, it's quite sudden.

        They also don't drag it along like most of these tales do.

    • RedUnit10 Fan of Yanderes

      2 years ago

      Posted my review of the first season of Hayate.

      • CaButler FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

        2 years ago

        I saw. I haven't read it yet, but will soon.

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