Saturday, May 25, 2019

No thanks, I'm plushed

I found this plushie doll in a display window of a restaurant near the apartment.
For when you want to show the food servings to scale.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Bright - One Toke

More chalk art from Bright used men's clothing store.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

No Life, No Vege

This sign was in front of a vegetarian restaurant. I'm having trouble deciding if they got the order wrong, or if it's better this way.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Bravely Second - End Layer comments

Bravely Second - End Layer, Square Enix, 2015, Grade: B
Normally, I'd run photos of the game screens here, but I'm feeling lazy, and there are already lots of screenshots on online if you want to look at them.

Bravely Second is the sequel to Bravely Default (actually, there were two Defaults - the original Japanese prequel, Flying Fairy, and the remake, For the Sequel), which in turn was originally intended to be the sequel to the Final Fantasy: The Four Heroes of Light (2009) game. Bravely Default got its name from two action buttons on the battle menu - Brave and Default. Each turn takes one Battle Point (1 BP), and the fight generally starts out with each of your characters at 0 BP. As long as you're not at negative BP, you can take an action that turn. If a character is negative, they have to wait until the numbers reach 0, gaining 1 BP per turn. Default acts as "guard", where you take less damage from attacks that turn, and gain 1 BP (for a maximum of 3 BP at any one time). Brave lets you take multiple actions in one turn (up to 4), using 1 BP each. After the turn, if the enemy hasn't been defeated, and if the character is at negative BP now, they are left vulnerable to the enemies' attacks for how many turns it takes to reach 0 BP again (generally, you have 4 members in your party, and if you're aggressive with your fighters, you can be more cautious with your healers...)

Bravely Second uses pretty much the same battle system, with the addition of SP (Spirit Magic). SP is kind of a rule breaker for battles where you may be overwhelmed or you need to overcome the 9,999 damage cap. You gain 1 SP every 8 hours that the game is turned on but the cover is closed (up to 3 SP max). Pressing the Start button during a battle lets you "freeze time" and take an extra turn without otherwise affecting the rest of your actions for 1 SP each action. It also lets you deliver the true amount of damage for special attacks (up to 999,999 hits in one shot). This is called the "Bravely Second" move, and is actually an integral part of the story halfway through the game. Another carryover from the prequel is the "job asterisk." Each humanoid enemy boss character, an "asterisk holder", has a specific job type (Red Mage, White Mage, Black Mage, Fencer, Knight, Pirate). Defeating them gives you their asterisk, allowing you to equip that job if you want it. In Bravely Second, there are 30 different jobs, and really, the point of the game is to obtain all 30 asterisks and level every single job up to the level 11 cap. This involves a LOT of churning.

One kind of new concept is battle chaining. If you defeat an enemy in 1 round, you have the option of taking on a second enemy party by pressing the L button (or, you can quit the chain with the B button). Defeating more enemies within the same 1 round increases the base amount of reward for the battle, along with a multiplier (x1.0, x1.5, x1.8, up to a max of x3.0). So, if you manage to fight 8 or 9 enemy parties in the same 1 round, you can theoretically get something like 70,000 pg (money), 20,000 exp, and a max of 999 jp (job points) total for the battle. Equipping a Gold Egg accessory doubles the amount of pg, for 0 exp and 0 jp; equipping a Growth Egg doubles exp and jp at the expense of 0 pg. Note that it takes something like 28,000 jp to max one job at level 11 for one character, and there are 30 jobs. You hit the 99 exp. level cap LONG, LONG before you get halfway to maxing out all the job levels. After you do max out all of the jobs, you can focus on making money, maybe. The North American version of the game has optional bonus "skins" for the party members, (bunny dresses, China dresses, suits) some of which cost 999,999 pg each from the shops (after chapter 4). In the Japanese version of the game, these skins were promotional giveaways from the Square Enix site, or from ads run in different gaming magazines. They're no longer available in Japan, so I can't get them. Meaning that I can keep playing the game after defeating the optional dungeon bonus bosses, but there's nothing else to spend the money on at that point. Sigh.

The game starts out a couple years after the end of Bravely Default, with a young boy, Yew ("you"), fighting a masked villain alongside Agnes (one of your party members in Bravely Default), and two friends, the Fencer Janne, and the priest Nikolai. The villain wipes the floor with Yew and kidnaps Agnes. Yew recovers, and soon discovers that Janne and Nikolai are traitors working for the masked villain. But, he's joined by Edea and Tiz from the first game, and the Moon Princess Magnolia (Magnolia's rocket crashes while she's on a scouting run for the colony back on the Moon). These three, plus Yew, make up your party. The rest of the game is just a matter of collecting job asterisks, leveling up, and trying to stop the villain and his accomplice, Anne the fairy, from destroying the moon and plunging the world into eternal darkness.

There are a number of side games available as well. There are three short bonus dungeons that open up after you beat the main boss. There's a Chomper mini game, where the party makes stuffed plush Chomper dolls. Money made from selling the dolls is used for unlocking the game music for playing in the Chomper jukebox. It can also be converted at a 100 to 1 exchange rate for pg for use in the regular game. There's the rocket repair mini game, where you assign workers to fixing the shops on the ship (these shops are like Norende village in the prequel) in order to unlock special potions, attacks, and "parts" that can be assigned to weapon special attacks. The idea is that you get more workers by playing against friends that also have a copy of the game, or by logging into the Nintendo online site. Unfortunately, I'm stuck with just one worker, and the average times for repairing specific items are around 45 hours (the 3DS has to be left on during this, but the cover can be kept closed). I'm not even going to bother unlocking every single thing in Bravely Second. I'm just going to settle for the strongest bare knuckle special attack, which I expect will take 1 month of real time. Sigh.

As with most Japanese RPGs on the 3DS, 95% of everything is unnecessary windowdressing. I only use 4-5 jobs (Monk, Black Mage, White Mage, Exorcist, and Charioteer); I've only used a fraction of the weapons and armor, almost none of the items (i.e. - eye drops or anti-charms), none of the Catmancer or Patisserie special moves (attacking the enemy with status afflictions), and I've got nothing I need to spend money on now. In fact, I've beaten the game once, along with every optional boss except one (I'm waiting on tackling the toughest optional boss until I unlock that bare knuckle special attack from the moon rocket, 1 month from now).

Over all, the enemy designs are good, although a lot of them are from the first game, as are the NPC designs and the city and dungeon maps. I didn't listen to the game music much, but what little I have heard is good. The battle system is almost identical to that in Bravely Default, but the story and plots are ok. I did put 170+ hours into the game, so it does have a decent play value, although the replay value would be much greater if I knew someone else that also had the game to do one-on-one fights with. Otherwise, it's time to shelve it, occasionally checking on moon rocket repairs to move on to the next section to repair. It will be at least one month from now, real time, that I'll have a special move strong enough to take on that last optional boss. Not being able to get more workers for repairing the rocket shops is probably the one real thing I'm disappointed by in this game, since it's used and no longer "supported" by Square Enix. I got it from Book Off for 880 yen ($8 USD). Recommended only if you can pick it up cheaper than that in the States or elsewhere.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Movie Fliers, Part 3

Oshiri Tantei

Ok, I know that Japan has a reputation for having a really bizarre love for toilet humor, but this movie pushes the boundaries. It looks to be part of a four-title compilation.

"Butt Detective - Sniffing out crime so you don't have to. Eww, what did I step in? Oh, sorry, that's me. My bad."


According to the wiki article, Promare is a film brought to you by the guys that produced "Gurren Lagann."

The description reads "Galo and the Burning Rescue Fire Department face off against BURNISH, a group of mutants who are able to control and wield flames, and the fire disaster they have unleashed on Earth."

Ok. Hot testosterone action here, I guess.

Crayon Shin-shan Honeymoon Hurricane

Honeymoon Hurricane - The Lost Hiroshi. This is the movie that's been advertised heavily outside the theaters for months. The plot is that Shin-chan's parents have never been on a honeymoon to a foreign country, so they find a cheap travel plan to Australia, where Shin-chan's father, Hiroshi, gets kidnapped and used as a key to a secret treasure. Shin-chan, Hiroshi's wife, and everyone else has to save Hiroshi before it's too late.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Dydo DBZ Vegeta

I've had poor luck with vending machine can coffee toys lately. There was one set of Dragonball toys that were packaged with can coffee cans at the beginning of the year, but they were dispensed randomly, and I never managed to get one of the cans that had the capsule cap with the toy, after spending something like $20 on coffees over a one-month period. Then, in February, there was a "Cup no Fuchiko" series in Coca Cola vending machines, with Georgia coffees. Again, after spending over $20 over the course of a month on can coffees, I still failed to get lucky with one of the random cans with the figure with it. I'm only buying the coffees when I'm really tired and need to wake up while walking along the streets to or from classes, but I don't normally spend money on can coffee now if there isn't a toy, even if I am tired.

But, in late March, 7-11 started carrying Dydo coffees packaged with the Dragon Ball Z figures (I think this is a tie-in to the latest DBZ movie). Since I could see the figure with the can, I was guaranteed to get the one I wanted on the first try. These are more in the "office supplies figures" series, where each toy is designed to hold paper clips, or prop up smartphones. Vegeta here is used for holding a pencil or pen.

Vegeta is about 2 inches tall. The coffee is 130 yen before tax (about $1.20 USD). The coffee itself is ignorable, but the figures look good for the price (I didn't like any of the others, and only wanted to get Vegeta).

It's a little hard to tell, with the way the color came out on the camera, but that thing wrapped around his waist is a monkey tail. It's a blast.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Mario Odyssey Figures, Part 3

In the end, I finally bought a few more Mario chocolate eggs, giving me 9 of the 16 total figures (with 2 duplicates - Cappy, and Day of the Dead. I gave one of the Cappies to one of my students.)

If you like the game, I think you'd really like the figures. They're very well-made for the price.

Although, some of them may be more popular with the fans than others...