Mystery Blogger Award Double Feature

Time for a break from all the serious analyses and reviews and complaining about the world (well, not that last one — I’ll never stop that, I swear.) I was lucky enough to receive Mystery Blogger Award tags from both Fanfiction Anime World and Extra Life! Many thanks to both animeandfanfiction and Red Metal. They both have excellent sites that you should be following, by the way. If you like anime, films, or video games at all (and if you don’t, how are you reading this post?) give them a look.

I’d normally break this into two parts, but I decided to just write one massive post answering both of their questions, which add up to 16. So I hope you’re ready. First I’ll take on animeandfanfiction’s questions, since those have been pending for a while now.

1) If you could make any fictional character real who would it be and why? What would their relationship be with you? ( best friend, enemy, stranger, partner etc.).

I’ve addressed this sort of thing once or twice before, but I’ll take a different angle this time: I’d want to have a mortal enemy/rival but with enough mutual respect between us that when one of us dies, the other will be disappointed that we didn’t manage to defeat him and make him an ally instead. I’m thinking of a rivalry from Legend of the Galactic Heroes that I won’t say any more about because it would be a spoiler, so I won’t specify a character, but if you’ve seen LOGH you may have some idea of who I’m talking about. Have you watched LOGH yet? You really should.

It’s a very deep show

2) If you could choose to have any power from an anime what would it be? (Examples, jojo stands, my hero academia quirks, etc.).

It might just be because I’m playing Persona 5 Royal, but I would go with the power of Persona. Since the modern Persona games got anime adaptations, I’ll say that counts. I suppose it is similar to a JoJo stand, though. The idea of having an alter ego that’s a reflection of your true self or however that works, I really like it. Though I wonder who my Persona would be. Are there any historical or mythical figures cranky and embittered enough to fit?

3) Is there any blogger on here you’d like to get to know better and be friends with? If so, feel free to tag them and share your honest thoughts!

Here’s your expected cop-out answer: everyone in the community. I really haven’t come across someone in the general anime/game-fan circles here on WordPress who I haven’t liked. That’s certainly not something I can say for creators on other platforms like Youtube, though to be fair I don’t move in that exalted circle. Some big Youtube revenue would be nice, but there also seems to be a lot of drama and poison that goes along with it. I can do without that.

Anyway, I’d be happy to have a dinner with all of you, a rowdy one. After the massive health crisis is over, of course.

4) What anime theme/opening/ending is one of your favorites right now? Is it because it’s catchy, fun or emotional for you and why? (Example easy breezy because it’s fun to dance to).

Well, I don’t/can’t dance, but I’ve always liked the openings to the Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei series. Especially the first one: it has a real title but people just know it as “bure bure” for reasons that are obvious if you listen to it. It’s nice and aggressive with plenty of despair in the lyrics and tone. I know this one is pretty old at this point, but I still love it just that much.

5) Is there anything not animated yet that you’d like to be? It can be a manga that hasn’t been, a video game, a tv show, etc. Possibilities are endless.

Moby-Dick in anime form, only all the characters are now cute girls. Tell me an entirely genderswapped Moby-Dick wouldn’t be popular. It’s not like that would be going too far — they’ve already turned World War II naval ships into girls, twice in fact. My idea is actually less extreme than that. I just think it would be fun to have an insane lady Ahab yelling about killing the White Whale. Hell, make the whale a girl too, why not. You’d also get the yuri fans on board with the ambiguous Ishmael/Queequeg relationship. Now I really want someone to do this.

This Touhou fanart is the closest I could find to what I’m thinking of. (source: Wool, pixiv)

And now, Red Metal’s questions:

1) What is the most unusual work you’ve ever experienced?

I’ve listened to some weird music — Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica or anything at all put out by the Residents. I’ve seen some strange films as well, though they’re popular in their own niches even if some people don’t “get” them (stuff by David Lynch, David Cronenberg, guys like that.) The most unusual work, though, would probably be The 120 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade which I checked out just out of morbid curiosity back when I was a student. To be fair, I didn’t read anywhere close to the whole thing; it’s extremely slow going and still just as shocking as it probably was back when it was written. But de Sade also deserves credit for writing material that got him thrown into prison and insane asylums many times throughout his life — he wrote this work while imprisoned in the famous Bastille a few years before it was broken into by the French revolutionaries.

Not that it makes 120 Days any easier to read, with characters relating how they committed horrific acts against other characters, who themselves mysteriously heal or even come back to life for no apparent reason other than the story being kind of a mess. It’s a godawful work that I don’t really recommend to anyone, but the history surrounding it and its author is interesting and worth studying. It should be noted that although his literature got him into legal trouble, de Sade was also thrown into prison for committing murders and other horrible acts in real life, so he wasn’t exactly the “pure artist imprisoned for expressing himself” type.

2) What is the best work you have experienced that no one else seems to know about?

That depends on what set of people I’m talking to. I have friends and family with pretty different tastes in art from mine, and they haven’t experienced or even know about most of what I’ve written about on this site. But among that other set of friends, they know stuff like Shin Megami Tensei and Disgaea very well. So once again, it’s hard for me to pin down one single work that I can say is very obscure that I liked. The closest I can think of is something like the album H to He by Van der Graaf Generator that I wrote about a while back. The band definitely has some fans around, but I’ve never met anyone else in real life who’s heard of this music.

3) If you could go back in time and go to the premiere of a classic film, which one would you choose?

Psycho. Aside from being a great movie on its own, the stories of people being terrified by an actual movie in the theater are really interesting — it would be fascinating to sit in with a 1960 audience and watch them lose their shit.

4) If you decided to write fiction, which genre would you choose?

I’ve already started a few stories (not that they’re necessarily ever going anywhere, but they are started) and they’d mostly fit into the science fiction genre. Modern-day realistic settings are too boring, and historical settings require a lot of research that I don’t feel like doing. I find it easier and more entertaining to create my own world. As far as the contents of the stories themselves go, if there’s a genre called “depressive contemplative fiction”, I guess most of it would be in there.

5) What is the most disappointingly predictable plot twist you’ve ever experienced?

This is a spoiler for Grandia II… but shit, that game’s been out for 20 years now, and you’ll see this twist coming too if you play it now for the first time anyway. The big twist involves the Catholic-esque Church of Granas. This massive church organization recruits the main character, the mercenary Ryudo, to escort the nun Elena as she seals pieces of the Devil away so they can’t go around causing a bunch of havoc and killing innocent people.

Well, this is an organized religion in a JRPG, so how do you think that will end? It would have been a far more shocking twist if the Church of Granas had turned out to be completely honest and transparent. While the simple priests and sisters like Elena are well-meaning, their Pope reveals himself to be a mad tyrant who actually wants to steal the power of the Devil to become a living god on Earth. The guy is even named “Pope Innocentius”. How could a character with that name possibly be a good guy? And the game also drops all this material near the very end, as if we’re supposed to be shocked by it. Grandia II is still a great game and a childhood favorite, but even as a kid reading the manual and seeing this guy’s character profile I knew he’d turn out to be a villain. Not much of a twist.

Official Grandia II promo art. The Pope is the guy all the way on the right.

6) What do you consider to be the strangest title for a work?

There are plenty of light novels with stupidly long titles, so any of those might qualify, but since that seems to be an industry standard for light novels none of them stand out. So my answer is the title of the album I mentioned in answer #2 above: the whole thing is H to He, Who Am the Only One. The first part refers to the hydrogen to helium fusion process that the Sun is constantly working on, so at least it makes some kind of sense, and one of the songs is about space travel so I’ll give them that. But the second part of it makes no sense at all. It’s not even grammatical. “Who Am”? What the fuck. I know it’s a dumb cliché but I have to assume some hallucinogenic drugs were involved and the title made perfect sense at the time. There’s no other reasonable explanation for that.

7) Where in a theater do you prefer to sit?

Near the back, but not all the way back. The last movie I saw I nearly got a neck sprain looking up because we were stuck in front and all the other seats were taken. I like to get to the theater early, but not everyone feels the same way (i.e. one friend who insists on doing everything at the last possible minute.)

8) Do you have any graphic novel/manga series you’re currently following?

I don’t usually go in for those, but I have been reading a manga series called Forbidden Scrollery, which as far as I know is the only officially translated and published Touhou Project manga series around. It’s pretty fun, and about what you’d expect from a Touhou manga adaptation if you know the series — cute girls drink tea, solve supernatural mysteries, and threaten to shoot each other with magical bullets and lasers.

I like it, but if you’re not familiar with the setting and background of Touhou before going in, I imagine Forbidden Scrollery could be kind of confusing because it does not really bother setting any of that up. If you’ve played one of the games and know something about the series, though, it’s worth looking up. It’s written by series creator ZUN himself, though the art is thankfully done by Moe Harukawa, who unlike ZUN can actually draw. She has a cute style that fits well with the light mood of the manga. If you like the idea of a slice of life/fantasy mix set in an Edo-era Japanese village, you should check it out (or just check out Touhou in general.)

9) When it comes to reviewing films, which do you feel are more effective – traditional, written reviews or video essays?

This is a hard one, because I have a natural bias as someone who writes reviews (not film reviews, but the bias is still there.) I like the written form of review better in general just because there’s less spectacle — it’s all words on a page, maybe with a few screenshots thrown in. There’s nothing to distract from the analysis itself. I do get why a lot of people prefer to watch a video review on Youtube, and there are a couple of reviewers there who I think are pretty effective. However, I think the aforementioned Youtube drama bullshit can draw attention away from the basic review/analysis element, which is the whole point in the first place. Not that that’s necessarily the fault of the creators themselves. Maybe it’s just an issue with popularity fomenting drama regardless of the medium.

10) What aspects of old-school game design do you wish would make a comeback?

The aspect where you’d get a full, complete game when you bought it without having to buy DLC. I’m not talking about cosmetic DLC, of course — that stuff is fine with me as long as it doesn’t affect the experience in a significant way. No, I mean having to buy the ending to a game separate from the base game itself. Or having to buy the 18+ scenes in a visual novel at the same rate the base VN sells for, making the full version double the price of the all-ages version. I get that we all like to make more money, but fuck these practices. To be sure, ripping players off has been something the game industry’s been doing since the 80s, so it’s not like this is a new problem, but it is a relatively new form of the old ripoff.

11) What aspects of old-school game design are you glad went away?

Cheap difficulty. That hasn’t totally gone away, of course, but it seems to have been a lot more common in the 80s and early 90s. I’m fine with a game that’s difficult because it presents a true challenge that can be worked out through strategy; that’s great. But a game that presents you with a complete crapshoot of a challenge that takes pure luck to beat, or one that barely even gives you a chance to learn the controls and layout because it only gives you a couple of hits before it kills you — that game is just a piece of shit. Sure, we had GameShark back then and Game Genie before it, but if you have to break a game with cheats to make it playable, its developer has failed.


Now it’s my turn to ask a question. But here’s the twist: it’s one multi-part question, and it’s one that I want to pose to everyone reading who cares to answer it. No specific nominations this time, because everyone is nominated.

Do you think the current worldwide health crisis will permanently affect the way people get their entertainment, or will we return to the “old normal” after it’s over? And do you think it would be a positive or negative if people decide in the future to stay home and play games or stream shows or movies instead of getting out to the theater or to concerts? I don’t think it would be a great loss, but I’m not the best person to ask about that because I’m a severe introvert who has no problem being shut in for days or weeks at a time. I have to force myself to go out and socialize, but I know that’s not the case for most people. Well, it might be more the case in the anime/game fan circles, but I don’t want to generalize too much. What’s your opinion?

15 thoughts on “Mystery Blogger Award Double Feature

  1. Ah, so you’ve listened to the Residents too? Apparently, one of their key members was identified recently just before his death. I’ve listened to a few of their albums, and I’d say my favorite is Not Available. And of course, Trout Mask Replica is a classic as well. I do like seeing people trying to put them in a genre on Wikipedia; when it changes every now and again, you know you’re dealing with something out there.

    Sometimes, I wonder if art critics are even more disturbed than the mad artists they admire. I think it would be common sense not to hold a murderer/rapist/pedophile in such high regard, but common sense seems to be lacking with certain artistic types. More generally, I think we have the Marquis de Sade to blame for instilling the “It offends 99% of the populace therefore, it must be true art” mentality. If so, maybe, de Sade could be considered the original hipster.

    Similarly, I find it interesting how snobbish rock critics like to dismiss prog rock when it turns out that Johnny Rotten, the poster child of the rebellion that brought the genre’s dominance to an end, likes Van der Graaf Generator. For that matter, he’s a big fan of Magma, a French progressive rock band, as well. I myself have H to He in my collection, and I like it a lot.

    Psycho was basically the Sixth Sense of its day in that it had a plot twist that nobody at the time saw coming. I can imagine it was quite a treat for those seeking more from their stories. I also heard it was responsible for changing the way we see films because apparently, it wasn’t uncommon for people just to jump into a film halfway through and see the first half in the next screening. Because they wouldn’t allow people to enter the theater during the screening, we eventually accepted that a film should be seen in its intended order.

    Depressive contemplative fiction? What’re you? An A24 director? Nah, I kid. It’s awesome that you’re creating your own stuff; I hope you’re able to do something with it.

    Hey, it’s not a spoiler if it’s obvious. Organized religions in JRPGs are always evil. Every. Single. One. It’s when they’re not that it’s genuinely shocking. Even as a kid, there was a certain game in which I heard a goddess mentioned, and I immediately figured that I would end up fighting her as the final boss. It eventually turned out I was completely right, though how it got there wasn’t as predictable. Also “Pope Innocentius”? That just screams “overcompensation”.

    A lot of prog albums have strange names, but H to He certainly stands out.

    My favorite seat tends to be in the very back row and in the center, though I may make an exception if the back row is too high up. I just would flat out refuse to see the film if I had to sit in the front row; I’m surprised that’s even a choice.

    I’m still surprised how many mediums the Touhou series has branched off into. Not too shabby for what was originally a bullet hell shooter.

    Yeah, YouTube seems to be a magnet for drama. It’s always been like that, though. Even back in 2007, it was pretty dire.

    I’m still surprised the AAA industry has kept themselves afloat using these tactics because I can’t imagine it working out in the long term. Then again, given high-profile disasters such as Fallout ’76, the kinks in the armor are beginning to show. We could very well see indies take over in this new decade in terms of relevance. And buying the adult scenes for a visual novel just sounds stupid; why not just add the ability to censor the game? That’s what Sierra did with Phantasmagoria – and that was back in 1995.

    I too am glad that whenever a game feels difficult nowadays, it’s because the programmers are actually competent at their jobs. I played through Altered Beast recently because it’s held in high regard as a classic, but nope; its completely unwieldy controls thwarted any kind of enjoyment I may have gotten out of it. A lot of games were like that, though, and I strongly suspect a lot of them have a positive afterlife because they spawned from an era in which the most common alternative was to not play any game at all.

    • Yeah, I got into a bit of the Residents’ stuff, particularly that 70s material that you bring up. I also liked the Duck Stab album, which seems like the closest they got to making “normal music” — it’s still quite weird, though. I think they and Captain Beefheart and other groups like that need to really know how good music is written to take it apart the way they do. I didn’t know one of the members was revealed, though; I’ll check that out.

      Somehow I think de Sade would happily accept that title. He seems to have just wanted to piss people off with his novels, or at least that’s how I read it. And he’s certainly not the only criminal artist to get high praise for his work from the critics today.

      You can guess I’m not a huge fan of Robert Christgau or of critics like him. How do you just dismiss an entire genre for being “x”? I don’t get how people consider it all to be overblown and self-important when you have bands like ELP, who I take as a big joke more than anything. Speaking of Johnny Rotten and ELP, I heard he also became friends with Keith Emerson, which is pretty funny considering that whole history.

      Ah, you got me! A24 actually extra-pisses me off because I feel like they take interesting premises and fuck them up completely, something you’ve gone into in depth. And then friends think I must like them just because they do weird depressing sci-fi. Shit. Well, I can promise that if any of my writing takes off, I’ll do my best to keep it intellectually honest and open unlike most of the stuff they release.

      Thanks to Grandia II, I learned back then that there were a bunch of real popes named “Innocent” too, and I assume most of them had secret mistresses and kids and gave and accepted bribes and all that. Now I can’t even think of a JRPG that had a church full of good guys in it, in fact.

      I got into Touhou through the games, then the music — there’s an unbelievable amount of Touhou doujin music out there. ZUN is a really good composer.

      I had this double-charge complaint with Nekopara, and I’ve seen it with other 18+ VNs on Steam. It’s a good thing they have big sales on a regular basis, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have bought it, and it really is quality work, so that’s a shame. Not sure whether that’s just a Steam policy issue, but I know of at least one case where the publisher gave away an 18+ patch free of charge on their own website, which is very admirable.

      Wasn’t Altered Beast a launch title with the Genesis? That might explain how well it’s remembered if I’m even right about it. The first games I think of on that system are Sonic 2 and 3&K, which I played the hell out of, and those had great controls and a nice difficulty curve. There’s no way something like Sonic or Mario would have taken off if playing them had been like banging into a brick wall again and again.

      • If that were the case, I think I would accuse de Sade of pandering to the lowest common denominator with his boringly predictable, toothless prose.

        I kind of think of Robert Christgau as the Owen Gleiberman of music criticism. Both are highly pretentious to the point where it’s kind of amazing they aren’t aware how stereotypical they come across as (or if they are self-aware, they certainly don’t show it). To be fair and unlike Gleiberman, Christgau isn’t completely useless; I did discover a few interesting albums through his suggestions, though it was mostly limited to overlooked albums of artists I was already familiar with (such as Sonic Youth and the Beach Boys).

        Otherwise, yeah, it’s not terribly helpful for one’s credibility as a critic to freely admit to dismissing entire genres. Wikipedia says he dislikes heavy metal, salsa, dance, art rock, progressive rock, bluegrass, gospel, Irish folk, jazz fusion, and classical music. There are probably fewer genres he *doesn’t* dismiss offhandedly. That would be like a game critic saying that they don’t like platformers, RPGs, sports games, real-time strategy games, first-person shooters, puzzle games, and racing games; you’d never be able to trust anyone like that. At least I can actually provide substantive reasons as to why I don’t like environmental narrative games (which is probably the only genre I outright dislike); the best Christgau can do is call out heavy metal for “its delusions of grandeur, the way it apes and misapprehends reactionary notions of nobility”. It’s kind of shocking how many people of his ilk seem to be adverse to ambition (in addition to, you know, not being especially good writers).

        Hm, so A24 let you down too, huh? I don’t blame you; they have an uncanny ability to completely drop the ball when handling their interesting premises (Ex Machina and Hereditary being the worst offenders). It’s to the point where when they succeed, it’s always in spite of themselves. I still stand by The Farewell, Moonlight, Good Time, Waves, and (to a lesser extent), Uncut Gems, but unlike Brenden Gallagher, I am not perturbed by the lack of A24 representation; as long as they refuse to reach out to the common theatergoers, they will likely walk back empty-handed time and time again.

        And yes, Altered Beast, to my knowledge, was a pack-in game. I can see why people thought it looked impressive back when the Genesis launched but saying it hasn’t aged well is an understatement. The Genesis Sonic games, on the other hand, have held up reasonably well over the years, as you say.

      • If de Sade was going for an audience, it must have been that one. Though it could be that he was just writing his own insane fantasies and got off on showing them to other people whether or not they sold any copies. Either way, I don’t see any value in them beyond the historical kind, and I guess you can’t really credit him for that since it wasn’t in his control anyway.

        That’s a good comparison. I guess I should be fair too and say Christgau does know his stuff to some extent, but I didn’t realize just how much music he throws out as garbage. I guess if it’s not in the spirit of “true rock” or something, he hates it. How much more boring of a taste can you have, especially as a professional music writer? Certainly with those walking simulators, you can point to a fundamental problem with the type of game itself. You could probably use the same logic to dismiss a genre of music in which people just bang metal pipes together or something. But for Christgau, it all seems to come down to his weirdly specific tastes. Also, it’s funny how all these critics have the same overblown, unpleasant writing style.

        Is it possible to survive by only publishing movies that critics like, so some people feel like they have to be good because the critics like them? I guess it might be. Again to be fair, it sounds like The Farewell and a few of these other movies are good, and I did mean to see Farewell sometime. I have a whole list of movies I should catch up on while we’re still holed up.

      • Also, to be completely fair to Christgau, he did call out the anti-disco backlash for its homophobic and racist undertones when his peers were likely cheering it on. Plus, if what I heard is true, he caught onto the rap movement long before his peers, so he capable of being forward-looking at times. If Gleiberman called out such a backlash, I would assume it was purely because his peers told him to and not because he came down to such a conclusion himself. And I certainly couldn’t picture him going off the rails by praising something that does shake things up. It was to the point where when he praised Joker, I thought it was downright uncharacteristic of him considering he panned both Jojo Rabbit and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (the former for being hipster fare and the latter for actually taking its audience seriously). Then again, he was also very critical of The Last Jedi despite the film parroting his beliefs, so maybe he isn’t completely hopeless? Just mostly hopeless?

        I find that if the genre itself is flawed, it’s because it doesn’t give itself room to grow, and that is precisely why I don’t expect the walking simulator to last long. Even the middling critical scores of recently made ones such as Tacoma and North is essentially a silent condemnation of them. None of this applies to the genres Christgau dismisses; metal especially is often dismissed as mindless, but actually listening to the more avant-garde stuff reveals a lot of technical innovation that non-fans seem to have a difficult time catching onto.

        I may not be as knowledgeable about music as Christgau, but I think I can say I have a more diverse collection than him. I think I’ve reached the point where outsiders would have a difficult time believing they’re in the same collection.

        Those two outta record a song with Bob Chipman and Sean Penn. They can call it “I’m In Love with My Thesaurus”.

  2. Congratulations on your award(s)! I wasn’t aware of an officially localized Touhou manga, I should definitely look into that!

    As for your question: While I would love to have the pandemic function as a ”wake-up call” for the entire world for multiple reasons, I am of the belief that everything will basically resume as normal when it’s over. While I personally had no trouble staying at home, many people I’ve talked to are going crazy and just are not able to entertain themselves alone at home. Though in my advantage, I now work from home so I have something to distract myself with other than entertainment. While I am an introvert myself who can basically stay inside however long he likes (despite it now always being healthy), many people are desperate for social interaction that they even go outside during the pandemic and meet with friends even though the government advises them not to do so. But before I stray off the path; for me personally it wouldn’t be an issue, but I can believe many people desire going outside for their entertainment.

    • Thanks! Yeah, if you like Touhou then I’m sure you’ll like this manga; it’s just about what you would expect.

      You make a good point. People around here are certainly getting uncomfortable, feeling like they need to get out. I get it. It’s not that I don’t like ever getting out of the house, but I’m sure people like us can handle this situation a lot better than naturally extroverted people. I just hope this jumping the gun we’re seeing now in places like Florida doesn’t end up screwing us over with a second wave of infection. I also agree it’s likely that at some point, people will forget this ever happened and return to the old ways of doing things. Would be nice if a few things change as a result, as you say, but maybe it’s too much to hope for.

  3. Congrats on the award!

    And as for the question you asked, a lot has been said about how this quarantine and virus outbreak will change the way people act or behave in certain areas. Maybe it will, but I just don’t see it happening. Perhaps in the period right after it is safe to go back on the streets people will act differently for a time. But sooner or later everyone (and the world itself) will go back to their old ways. We are creatures of habit, I believe.

  4. Eh, I think overall, the effects on how we get our entertainment are going to be relatively minor, but I think there’s some trends that are going to shift. In my own life, I’m normally pretty reticent to buy digital releases of console games that have physical discs, because A) I hate managing storage space on my consoles and B) I like having a collection and going back to games years later, and while I can trust Steam et al to still be there in the future the closure of the Wii Shop and the loss of a bunch of things on there give me trust issues for consoles. But, lately, I’ve been finding myself getting digital games for my machines a lot more freely. I mean, it helps that Sony is still leaving it’s e-shop open for the PSP, thus proving they’re a lot more trustworthy on that than Nintendo, but still, I want new content, can’t go out and pick something up, so I’ve been grabbing things online and sticking them on the hard drive. So yeah, I think there will be some pushes and pulls on the trends, particularly that people that normally don’t do a whole lot digitally will be awakened as to how easy it’s going to be, but I don’t think it’s going to to away with physical media or the theatres or anything. People go out or pick up a book for a reason, and that reason’s still going to be there.

    • I’m definitely not giving up physical media for anything either, though I have bought plenty of digital copies for the sake of convenience. Most of them have been on Steam during sales, or for games that aren’t available in physical form anyway. Sony are definitely more trustworthy than Nintendo in terms of digital copy sales and e-shops. I have other problems with Sony, but I can credit them for that much.

      I can’t imagine how this would have gone if it had happened 20 years ago, when we had the internet but no streaming services to keep people entertained. Even then, I know people want to get back outside. Not me, I mean, but people in general.

  5. Grandia and a Pope, eh? If this were an anime I would have definitely jumped in to watch this first-hand. The whole twist with the Pope being a bad guy reminds me of a more recent anime, “Rising of the Shield Hero”; I gather (if you’ve seen it) they might have a similar plot in hand.

    Fun fact, there were plenty of Catholic Popes who took the name Innocent, most recent of them being Innocent XIII in 1724. Most of them were *quite* alright from what I’ve read.

    • I haven’t seen Rising of the Shield Hero, but I heard a whole lot about it late last year I think. Both anime and Japanese games have some interesting ideas about religion for sure. This is something I’m hoping to address in the Megami Tensei series I’m working on. Grandia II was a great game, though — definitely worth playing if you feel like picking up a JRPG from 2000.

      Since you mention it, I definitely heard of some Pope Innocents. It seems like there have been some names they just stopped using after a while; I remember reading about a lot of Urbans and Bonifaces as well (this might have been from reading Inferno, though, so I may be stuck way back in the 13th century here.)

      • Truesay!

        Yeah definitely. I’ll be looking forward to your assessment in the Megami Tensei series. The Japanese do have quite the strange interest in Christianity and its symbolism and, with some rare exceptions where they get it right, anime is no exception. An example that quickly comes into mind too for this is Trinity Blood with its “Catholic” church filled with vampire, robot and female “priests” and the weird futuristic design of St. Peter’s in Rome. Spooky… 🤔

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