Saturday, January 25, 2020

Power Puff Pushing Hair Care

Everyone is a sell-out in Japan.
"Protects the hair in front. Protects the hair in the back."

Friday, January 24, 2020


New gyoza restaurant in Tenmonkan.

That serves flying fish fillets.

Da dum, da-dum, da-dum...

Happy cowface company.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3 notes #10


Whenever I put a game away, I soon find myself asking "What if I tried this? Or, is there a way to get that to work?" And I end up pulling the game back out and experimenting again. That's what happened with DQM:J3. Initially, my question was whether there was a way to boost Tension at the beginning of a battle more reliably. Normally, all of your monsters start the battle at 0 Tension. There are some abilities that allow for rarely bumping tension up, but they work maybe only once per 20-30 battles. With the Anesu Battle Arena event (battle master 4), I needed it to happen every round. I did have Tension Vampire for everyone in my party, which sucks 25 units from the enemy on a successful combat attack, and puts it on the attacker, but that kept missing against the cyborgs Anesu used. Tension can go negative, which makes the subsequent attacks or magic weaker. The increments are -100, -50, -25, -5, 0, 5, 25, 50, 100. Making my monsters stronger for one attack by boosting their tension while simultaneously weakening the enemy's first attack by stealing from their tension bar could be the difference between winning and losing a tough battle.

In rooting around in my monsters' abilities (for the ones I had in inventory), I noticed the skill "ouen" - "cheerleader." This skill occasionally bumps up the Tension bar one increment for the entire party. I also found something that is all in kanji that I called "rampage." This causes the monster to injure itself (maybe by 10%) at the beginning of the round, as long as its HP stays above 50% of its max value, in order to bump the Tension bar one increment. If I put cheerleader on everyone, and the one rampage ability I'd found was on my strongest monster, they'd naturally be at 5% at the beginning of the round for one attack (my main monster was equipped with AI2 (for two actions per round)), and the chances of at least one monster cheerleading in the same round would be maybe 10%. If I got lucky, I could get two monsters cheerleading together, to get the Tension bar for everyone at 25%, and 50% for the main monster. If that happened, the main one at least would be hitting for 999 HP on each attack. And, because I had x5 attacks on everyone, that would be 999 five times from my rampager in one round, best case. Since Anesu had 4 cyborgs in his party, with HP around 4000 each, AND I had super-fast start on everyone, I would the first one to attack in the first round of the battle, and - again, best case - I might be able to take out one of his monsters per round before one of them paralyzed one of my monsters some how.

So, I do this thing. I have 4 monsters, each with super fast start (from the motorcycle monster I got from one of the Master Roads), and each with cheerleader (from the BigHat monsters in the chapter 1 field). I have rampage from the Alchemist (which I got through random breeding) on my main guy. Two of the monsters have AllRecovery, a skill that includes Healing Rain (restores 300-700 HP to everyone in the party, depending on the Mnd stat of the caster), and everyone has AtkUp-SP (boosts Atk by about 200 points), and AtkUp-3 (boosts Atk by about another 100 points). The ones that don't have the healing skill have some other offensive skill that also boosts Atk another 50+ points. Finally, I have two accessories that boost Atk another 100+, which I put on my main fighters, and another that boosts Mnd 100 points, for one of the healers.

Then, I go into the battle arena and challenge Anesu. The first couple rounds go really slowly, so I activate Auto battle mode. This causes the screen to go black for a few seconds. Suddenly, the message "You won the battle" pops up on the screen. Cool. Anesu gives me something as a reward, but I couldn't find it when I went through my inventory. I think it was just 4 slices of top quality monster meat used for scouting monsters. Since I already had 50 of those, the prize wasn't that great. Additionally, I got 3 bronze, 2 silver, and 1 gold stars for use as Code Words for the Disk System.

I haven't mentioned this before, but the Battle Event rounds can only be fought once every 24 hours, with the next opportunity becoming available at midnight (based on the clock in the 3DS). Naturally, I could change the 3DS's clock and have the battles as often as I like, but I was using this timer as an excuse to stop playing the game for a while. The next night, I pull the game out, and select the 5th battle round. This turns out to be against Aroma-2, who has a 1-slot robot monster named Sancho, and a 3-slot behemoth robot called Giant Nocho-ra. They are heavily reliant on status attacks that result in some form of paralysis. While my party does deal some damage to them right away, I still ended up getting wiped out in a few rounds.

Pondering my next move, I do a little more exploration, specifically on the Dimension Eyes. There's one eye that usually shows up near the enemy hideout in the chapter one field, and another near the monolith point in the chapter three field. I use Ruler to teleport between the two points, and if the eyes are there, I go in them. Usually, they just have low-level monsters or some minor items (stuff for making the weaker accessories). Sometimes, they have Scout Masters that want to do battle, and more rarely, really high-level boss monsters. One of the scout masters has a party of three flying dragons - red, yellow and green. I'd managed to scout the yellow and green ones from him, but the red one was proving harder to get. By sheer accident, I'd also been messing with creating disks for the disk system and gotten one that had the black flying dragon as a reward. Thinking there might be something useful in having a full 4-dragon rainbow party, I focused on hitting the dimension eyes to see if I could ultimately scout the red dragon. After 2-3 hours of play, I succeeded. Along the way, I found a black chest along the left side of the chapter 1 hideout that contained the final rare item Queeny wanted for the last of her Accessory quests. I give this to her, and she gives me some other rare items. The accessories I can make with them turn out to be boring, though.

I then switch to the disk system, slowly working myself up from level 1. This takes a couple hours, and is really frustrating. Around level 29, the flying monsters hanging around the check points in the relay race challenge stop running away and start attacking you on sight. This trashes my ranking at the finish of the quest, giving me a C-rank, and a 1% chance of winning the award. It also means that the disk system only levels up the disk at the end by 1 level.  Finally, I get to about level 70, and get lucky a few times, with the checkpoints in places where there are no monsters. I get S-rank now, and a 25% chance of success. I eventually do get the black flying dragon, but it's a 3-slot monster. I breed it down to 1-slot, put it in the party with the other three (red, yellow and green), and run them all up to exp. level 100 and rank SS-100. I put them in a couple test battles, and they're actually pretty weak.

However, in with all this, I notice that one of the monsters has something called Tsuneni Maho Counter. Going through my inventory, I find another with Tsuneni Ata Counter. These are "always on" mirrors that have a better than 50% of reflecting magic and physical attacks back at the enemy. I also ended up getting a rare monster from the dimension eye that is 3-slot and pretty strong (stronger than my other monsters individually). I take this new monster, level it up, put the two counter abilities on it, add cheerleader and super fast start, and equip it with skills to boost its attack and mind stats. I pair this with my strongest 1-slot healer, and return to the arena to challenge Aroma-2 again. Again, I get in some decent shots in the first round, but I still get paralyzed, and the counter mirrors don't always work. I get whittled down and killed. Sigh.

I put the game away and get ready to type up this postscript. Since I don't know what the reward was that I got from Anesu, I decided to check out the Japanese walkthrough site I've been using. As I'm scrolling through the page on the event battles, I realize that I'm looking at a "preparation guide" for making the monsters for beating Anesu. Going through it more closely, it occurs to me that I already have a lot of the skills and abilities I need to make this work. The biggest issue is in finding a 4-slot monster. The site shows a super-rare cyborg, which I might be able to get from the disk system, if I tried long enough.

Instead, I start wondering what the odds are in being able to breed something with what I already have in inventory. I did get a few rare monsters from the dimension eye, and I don't know what combinations they'd form. I go to Ace at the breeding console in the Center building in the chapter 2 field, and slowly walk through every single one of the 100+ monsters in my inventory, and try to pair them up with every other single one. I find three offspring that I've never gotten before, and I take notes on them. Two are 3-slotters, and one is a 1-slotter. I save my game, then try breeding for the first new monster. When I have it, I try a test breeding with everything remaining in inventory. That gives me nothing new. I reset the game and try again with the second monster. Then I reset again and try with the third one. Amazingly, the second new monster could be bred with another rare monster I'd found to create the only 4-slotter I've every gotten in the game.

The walkthrough suggests taking a slime and breeding it with some 4-slotter to get a slime with a chou-giga (super large) body. On this, add the magic and attack mirror counters, All Guard+, rampage, AI2, Tamekite Body (from the clockwork bird in the chapter 2 field) and Magic Usage 1/2. For skills, add Nijikujaku (for one of the boosts it gives, obtained from the monster of the same name), MndUp-3, Tension Vampire Guard SP, Defense Guard SP, Priest (obtained by buying two lower level priest skills from the skill book shop, and breeding them on two different monsters), and DefUp-SP. I do this, which requires multiple breedings of my slime, and the other monsters that have the other abilities I need. Along the way, I accidentally create stronger skill books that include Giga Power SP, and MndUp-SP. I leave them on SuperSlime, as I call him.

The one thing that really bothers me during all this is that I don't know what to do about the main offensive skill. The walkthrough uses a specific skillbook that can only be found on the 4-slot cyborg used for the basis of the customized slime. I don't have that book, and I don't know what to use in its place. The screen caps of the battle against Aroma-2 show the slime hitting for 4,000+ HP in one attack, and I'm stuck with the 999 cap. Just as a placeholder, I keep Giga Power SP on my slime (it consists of various magic attacks that may or may not do anything against robot metal bodies). Additionally, every time I try putting Magic Usage 1/2 on the slime, it disappears from the abilities list. I try breeding one of the monsters that already has it with one of the Color Fondues, and again, it disappears from the list of available skills.

Giving up, I level up my 4-slot Super Slime in the Golden Slime disk field, and I suddenly discover that I'm getting way more experience from the gold slime than I should be. At one point, I even maxed the exp. received from one encounter at 99,999,999 (I didn't unlock any special achievements with that, though). With SuperSlime as ready as I could get it, I teleported to the battle arena. I save my game, with the expectation that I'd have to shut it off before I died, and then start rummaging through my item inventory for spell books I'd collected from the various special monsters I'd bred, and defeated in the dimension eyes. I start the battle against Aroma-2, and SuperSlime starts taking damage in spite of the counter mirrors. But, he's not getting paralyzed. That, and with the slime body, and the really high defense boosts, the amount of damage received is only about 125 points per attack, and SS has 2,200 HP max. In the next couple of rounds, the mirrors start kicking in, and SS shows that not only does he have the ability to heal himself (from the Priest skills), he also has automatic MP recovery. Suddenly, he throws out one of the Giga Power SP attacks for 5,000 points against the 1-slot enemy (Sancho has 4,000 HP, and the other monster has 8,000), killing it. This is the one that had been doing the healing, and most of the status attacks. Now, things are turning more in my favor, and after 5 rounds, I've won.

Aroma-2 acts surprised at losing, gives me Sancho (the 1-slot monster), and 3 bronze, 2 silver, and 1 gold stars for the disk system. She then invites me back to fight another event battle (you start over with round one again, but the monsters are a little tougher now) the following day. There's nothing else special that happens, so now, yeah, I'm over this. I'm deeply tempted to mail the game to a friend to hold on to for me so I can't try digging it out and wasting more time on it again. I still keep hoping that there's one more monolith for unlocking Scout Class SS, and to try pulling the Anesu clone from the cloning tanks, or to maybe take a space capsule out to space somewhere. These really seem to be unresolved loose ends. But, I'm betting that there's nothing more to do here now. Stick a fork in it, it's done.

Last comments:
I tried playing the Slime Challenge game again, and there doesn't seem to be any kind of logic behind the race stats your monsters are assigned, or any way to make the race monsters faster through stat boosts or winning at the stage races.

Also, when buying items in the shops, or assigning skill points to skills on the monsters, I'd always used the cross controller up and down buttons. These change the increment/decrement counts one unit at a time, and take forever when buying 800 low-level healing potions. By accident, I discovered that the cross controller left and right buttons change the numbers in increments of 10. That's a huge time-saver.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020


The city keeps scraping them off, people keep putting them back on.

Venn diagrams of all happy people.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Beady Truck

"Don't like my driving? Talk to the hand."

Monday, January 20, 2020

Hioki Stamp Rally Poster

Several cities in the area hold periodic stamp rallies, where you visit various historic or cultural locations and collect rubber stamp images in a stamp book. When you have the ones you want, you mail them in to enter a drawing of some kind. Hioki City is halfway between Kagoshima and Ijuin, which is significant when you do the 12 mile Myouenji temple walk in October. There's a strong Samurai history in the region, and Hioki likes to promote that. The rally is to visit 6 of the major shrines in the area, but the prize is only a chance to win 2,500 yen ($22.50 USD). I just scanned the poster for the blog here because of the manga artwork.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 3 notes #9


Ok, last thing. The skill system.

Obtaining skills and assigning points:
At the beginning of the game, you just get the skills your monsters come equipped with. The monsters you scout in chapter one should all be at level 1, and therefore won't have any skill points assigned to the skills they have. As they level up, they'll receive between 4 and 8 points every other level (there may be a couple dry spells where they don't get points for 3 or 4 levels). When any of the primary party monsters get skill points, the assignment screen will open up. Select the monster you want to assign points for, the skill to apply the points to, and then press the cross controller Up button to assign the number of points to each skill you want. Press B when you're done, and continue with any other monsters you care about. For your secondary party, go into the main menu, select the sideways Trident, select the monster, and assign points as described above.

Breeding skills:
Offspring inherit the skills of both parents. If any of the skills have points, half of the points will remain on that skill for the offspring to use. If both parents have the same skill filled with points, the offspring's skill will be filled as well. That is, say both parents have AtkUp-1 at 50 points. The offspring will get AtkUp-1 at 50 points, too. At the same time, if both parents have the same lower-level skill, such as AtkUp-1, the offspring will receive the next higher version of that skill (i.e. - AtkUp-2), even if there are no points assigned to the parents' skills. Obtaining certain skills requires one parent to have one skill and the other to have a related but different skill. That is, if one parent has AtkUp-3 and the other has Master Fencer, the offspring will receive those two skills plus AtkUp-SP.

Now, 1-slot monsters can only equip 3 skills. If both parents have completely different sets of skills, and some of those skills combine to trigger the creation of all new skills, then the offspring could have up to 8 potential skills that you have to pick from. I think the rule is, if a skill you don't pick has half the maximum number of points assigned to it, the book for that skill will go into your inventory after the offspring monster is generated. So, if you want to keep a really good skill, but just not on this specific monster you're currently breeding, be sure to max the points assigned to it before you breed the parents together.

Buying skills:
After you restore power to Central, the Skill Scrolls Shop will open up (next to the Inn shop). The shop will initially carry some low-level scrolls for a few hundred gold each. Don't bother buying any of them unless you really want them on your monsters. Later, as you go through the game and explore the fields, you may find some scrolls in chests or stealth boxes. Bring these back to the Skills Shop, and the Nocho-ra there will take them from you and use them to create all new, higher-powered scrolls that you can buy (up to 20,000 gold each). Whatever you buy will go into inventory.

Assigning skills from inventory:
To see what skills you have, open the main menu, select Items (the sack), and scroll down about halfway through the list. If you select a scroll, a menu will open showing the monsters in both parties, and indicate whether anyone has this skill assigned already. Select the desired monster. If they have an open slot available, the skill will be assigned immediately, otherwise you'll be told you have to pick a skill to discard. Do so, and the skill gets assigned and the game returns to the Inventory list. Keep in mind that doing it this way will throw away the discarded skill and any points previously assigned to it. It may be preferable to breed that monster with something you don't want to keep, and just leave one skill slot empty, then assign the skill from inventory. Although the new offspring monster will now be at level 1, it can quickly be brought back up to max stats with one or two runs through the Metal Area, or a few minutes in the Golden Area (just use a Ko Genkidama on the party, find a x2 or x4 exp. faerie, then scout the Golden Area for a 300,000 exp Gold Slime to jump to level 60 or 80 in one battle).

Skill Basics:
Lower-level skills can take up to 50 points total. As you assign the points, you unlock higher and higher abilities, stat improvements, attacks and magic. This part is pretty intuitive. The better skills can be 75, 100, 150, 200 or 250 points total. To get enough points to max out all of the skills your monster has may require that you breed it a few times and raise it to exp. level 100 each time.

Skills can be task-specific (only boost Atk, or only boost HP), mixed for a "job" (the healer gets to recover HP on an individual or the party, remove ailments, and add certain kinds of buffs), or mixed for an element (a "water" skill can include water-based healing, MP and Mnd boosts, a water-based attack spell, and guards against water attacks). While you can not alter the things a specific skill provides, you can match skills on an individual monster so that it has MndUp-3, Water Guard and Water Magic (for example).

One of the things I hate about attack-based skills is that there are a couple that have a physical attack that damages the attacker for the same amount of damage the target receives. It is difficult when assigning skills to monsters to determine which ones these are. This is important for automatic battles where you can't force the monster to use other attacks, or you lack sufficient healing from the other monsters, because effectively your monster is helping the enemy to kill itself. This two-edged attack doesn't seem to be present in magic attack skills. With magic, you do have to be a little careful of monsters with "reflect" or "mirror" skill abilities, but those aren't common. What I do like is having monsters with the innate "Counter" or "Miracle Body" abilities (assigned if the monster is Rank SS+100), where they counter after receiving physical or magical damage (this is not a skill-based thing, though).

I really haven't been able to figure out what a lot of the skills are or do. The explanations given when I press the Y key of a given skill line item are incomplete, and I don't want to take the time to individually test every single one and take extensive notes. I like "All Recovery", which includes a "Healing Rain" magic to heal the entire party, and "resurrect" to try to restore a downed party member. One of the Warrior skills includes occasional percentage pluses for scouting monsters. And AtkUp-SP adds close to 300 points to Atk. As for everything else, who knows.

That's all I want to write about for DQM:J3 right now.