Animelog: After the Rain

WIT studio switched for a while from making pompous anime like Attack On Titan or Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress and made an adaptation of a romance manga about a high-school student who fell in love with the 45-year old manager of a restaurant she works part-time at, and how they got absorbed in forbidden relationships she’s trying to convince him that the age difference means nothing and he is the only one she needs. The guys is kind of an awkward loser who wanted to become a writer but at some point gave up on his dream, whose career as a manager isn’t fantastically successful (even the employees laugh at him from time to time) and who is flattered by attention of a 17-year old girl but at the same time scared of doing a step, in either direction, with her.

Is this love story interesting? Not much, to be honest. Sometimes it’s cute, sometimes it’s really annoying. Maybe I’m not young enough to understand the depth of that dramatic situation heroes found themselves in, maybe I’m not old enough to sympathize with the manager who has so many problems waiting to be sorted out… However, After the Rain is certainly not a bad anime — it’s visually appealing, its ending music can hook anyone and some moments of the show are cute and funny — like scenes with the manager’s friend. Some are bad, yeah (that blackmailing, when the main heroine has to go to a date, eww) — but not terrible.

This happened! Metal Gods from the UK (arguable assertion, I know), Judas Priest visited our beautiful small city. The concert was in Budweiser Gardens that normally works as a hockey arena so there were some concerns how good the sound would be or whether it’d be possible to survive in the huge crowd.

The first surprise awaited when we got in, bought some beer and went to the sector. We thought that it’d been just a formality that our tickets contained a row/seat pair and that everyone would be standing anyway. Nope! The seats hadn’t been removed, some had been even added in front of the stage. Because we’re sitting the whole time it was the weirdest concert in my life. We could’ve drunk some coffee and lazily clapped from time it time — that would’ve looked totally appropriate. Apparently, this is a common practice and the guy next to me didn’t even understand why I was so shocked. People stood up only when Judas Priest got on stage and, mostly, didn’t sit down until the very end.

I hadn’t known that Judas Priest are touring accompanied by two supporting bands. And one of those bands is Saxon! It was the second surprise (pleasant one). I listen to Saxon’s music rather regularly and was super happy to hear “Princess of the Night” and “Denim And Leather” live.

Judas Priest played a very good set and two new guitarists did their job perfectly. Richie Faulkner’s solos were amazing and I was really glad to see Andy Sneap live (even though it would’ve been even better to see him with Sabbat). Halford is still, hm, alive and well, and sounds fine, although I couldn’t help myself and was worrying during the whole performance that he might collapse any minute =)


The first Ni No Kuni was one of my favorite games on PS3 (and one of few I got a platinum trophy in) so it was a no-brainer to buy the second game on the day it was released. It actually was one of the reasons I’d been finishing Persona so vigorously =) So far Ni No Kuni 2 is really nice — the combat might be too easy (and too realtime), skirmishes looks like they should belong to a different game and I’d prefer if the chibi-style hadn’t been used for the characters on the world map, like it was in the first one. Atmosphere is great, visual is gorgeous and it’s simply amazing to return to the same places I spent dozens of hours at playing Ni No Kuni 1 (Ding Dong Dell as the first location, it’s a brilliant idea).Also who would’ve expected to see the President of the US as one of the JRPG characters?

Spring has almost come ^_^ Still a little cold — but days are sunny, geese are back and the river looks practically beautiful.

A perfect day to give another sake a try and check out new beer. Lake Effect’s IBU 100 looks promising and Great Lakes Brewery so far hasn’t disappointed me. Canadian Pale Ale is something I’ve never heard of, so it’s more like an experiment.

And sake… The design is perfect but considering its cost and reviews I bet it’s going to be another failure. We’ll see though.

Animelog: Kokkoku

Usually it’s easy to decide whether an anime is worth watching. If it doesn’t have a plot, main characters conjure up only a desire to shoot them and in addition direction and (or) animation resembles Jiggly Jiggly Heaven — why should we spend our time on that? However, once in a while it’s possible to find an anime that, presumably, doesn’t suffer from all I mentioned before but still boring as hell. Kokkoku is one of such shows.

It can boast of having an unusual world that represents a single moment in our world. This world has some making sense rules — there’s no gravitation, lighters don’t work and, in general, everything just stopped. The characters of Kokkoku are adults and this only fact should’ve inspired me. The opposition party is a mysterious Stasis cult led by a smart villain. (Is he villain though?) Heralds protect people who’re standing still in the world. All this should’ve been interesting. But instead I felt enormous relief when we’d finally seen the final titles today. Because the anime was painfully boring. It was so boring that I even gave up on the idea of finding inconsistencies in how the world works, its rules or complaining how terrible the heroes are (and this is my favorite part of watching anime!)

P.S. Well, episode 12 was not absolutely terrible, I was kind of hoping that the main heroine would finally give up and become a Herald. Heh, even that trifling joy was ruthlessly taken away (infamous Deux Ex Machina, who would’ve thought).

2018-03-25 20_04_22-Kokkoku Episode 011 - Watch Kokkoku Episode 011 online in high quality

I’m watching Fate Extra very slowly, mostly because the quality of this show is quite inconsistent. But episode number 6 is something I’ve been waiting for for a long time! It felt as if Shaft got something off their collective chest, said “Fuck it!” and made an episode resembling Madoka.

[Chyuu] Fate⁄EXTRA Last Encore - 06 [720p][98298F8F].mkv_snapshot_03.54_[2018.03.24_14.20.43][Chyuu] Fate⁄EXTRA Last Encore - 06 [720p][98298F8F].mkv_snapshot_06.10_[2018.03.24_14.21.16][Chyuu] Fate⁄EXTRA Last Encore - 06 [720p][98298F8F].mkv_snapshot_08.08_[2018.03.24_14.23.31][Chyuu] Fate⁄EXTRA Last Encore - 06 [720p][98298F8F].mkv_snapshot_11.33_[2018.03.24_14.21.51][Chyuu] Fate⁄EXTRA Last Encore - 06 [720p][98298F8F].mkv_snapshot_14.38_[2018.03.24_14.22.01][Chyuu] Fate⁄EXTRA Last Encore - 06 [720p][98298F8F].mkv_snapshot_17.15_[2018.03.24_14.22.16][Chyuu] Fate⁄EXTRA Last Encore - 06 [720p][98298F8F].mkv_snapshot_19.07_[2018.03.24_14.22.52]

Even though I’m a bit skeptical about DirectX raytracing (don’t want to dive into boring details, Aras perfectly described his concerns and I think that a lot of people have similar) I can’t just pretend that nothing happened.

We might get better reflections, better shadows, better realtime GI. And more memes =)

Gamelog: Persona 5

It took just 104 hours and Persona 5 is finished. I’m going to drop a couple of lines with my impressions of the game and these lines will be lavishly spiced with spoilers (so Graf, you shouldn’t read it ^_^)

This isn’t the first game of the series I’ve played. Back in the day, when PS2 was the most popular console in the world and I was young and innocent, I had tried to play Persona 2. That attempt was a complete failure. I had no idea what’s going on and I didn’t like the game at all. Several years later Persona 3 made more sense to me — the idea of committing a suicide to summon a persona was something fresh and unused, I got used to the battle system (although the inability to give direct orders to the party is a Bad Thing) and I spent 50 or 60 hours playing it until I stumbled upon an mini-boss my party was strongly underleveled for. It’s a shame but instead of doing a thing any JRPG fan would do (grind, you know) I simply dropped the game. Persona 4… I finished 3 or 4 castles and that’s it. But at least I’m familiar with the characters and the plot.

So — according to my vast (hehe) Persona experience I can say that Persona 5 is a good game even though, as usual, it has its ups and downs. It changed a lot comparing to previous installations and not all those changes were really necessary. Here comes a list of random thoughts and observations I have after my playthrough (and watching how Nastya was playing).

Characters are hit and miss. It’s really irritating that all people in the game call the main hero “The Leader”, “the smartest man on Earth”, “The Chosen One” and so on. Yeah, I’m exaggerating a little but the attitude is really something like “oh, I wish I could be as brave as you”. Morgana, with her (his) constant “Let’s not do it today, you’re tired, let’s sleep” also drove me nuts. Just show me the window “You can’t do anything today, want to save your game?” and continue on. But no! We have Atmosphere, which can’t be sacrificed even if that sacrifice would add some convenience. Ann and Ryuji are, let’s say, too simple. Mishima is annoying (I’m going to mention him one more time later). Yosuke is a kind of funny character, maybe I should’ve spent more time with him. I don’t have any opinion on Makoto, Haru, Futaba (although her answers sometimes are on money) and tons of supporting characters. Except for Hifumi.

As we all know the main part of any Persona game has nothing to do with finishing the game itself. The most important task is to find a girlfriend. I was pierced by Hifumi’s charm and, honestly, I think it was a damn good choice. Her character design is great, she is smart, she has an appealing story how her mother was going to make Hifumi a shogi star. And her shyness is so cute!

The antagonists are… too bad. I mean, Shido is a cartoon-ish bad guy, who’s laughing as a villain, hates all people around him as a villain and isn’t able to do even a single good thing. The protagonists aren’t really better. And all these remarks on “corrupted adults” and “reforming our rotten society” sound very naive and feignedly — “we’re good guys and all others just don’t understand that we’re doing good things.” The concept of changing others people’s hearts itself is questionable, although I must admit that in the game all Phantom Thieves’ targets I saw deserved a punishment.

Castles. They are not so monotonous as they were in previous Persona games. Partially that’s because of the visual design, partially because of the game design. Now you have to solve simple puzzles; run around the level turning switches on and off; eavesdropping to enemies’ conversations and so on. Sometimes this works amazingly, sometimes — not so much but this is definitely a step forward. Every castle is available only until its boss is defeated — not sure whether it’s a good thing or not. The combat mechanics is, broadly speaking, the same as it’s always been. Baton pass is a useful new addition; Hifumi also gives you an ability to switch party members during a battle, for me it was super useful. Negotiations with enemies felt a bit odd in the beginning but later on they started looking as a natural part of the gameplay.

Persona 5 doesn’t give you as much time for social interactions as I’d like to. Luckily, you can forget about part-time jobs very quickly. Mementos and castles provide you with decent amount of money, so jobs are needed only to increase some social stats (flower store is an indispensable source of kindness) or for getting some requests.

Once I developed a routine of playing Persona I foolishly started thinking about getting trophies. They are not incredibly difficult but turned out that I missed one of Mishima’s requests early in the game and one of the books, which in its turn opens a hanging spot, was the reward for that request. Mishima is to blame!

As a final word — Persona 5 is very addictive. I almost started a new game immediately after finishing the story and if Ni No Kuni 2 wasn’t going to be released tomorrow I might’ve been playing New Game+ already (and that time I wouldn’t miss that request!)

P.S. I wish Atlus hadn’t blocked the screenshot function for the game — the reason behind that decision is still not very clear to me.

We’re bad luck for Knights — yesterday visited just our second game this season and for the second time the team lost without any chances. This time it was 2-4 to Sarnia. It was a huge disappointment to a man sitting next to me — turned out that he’s a huge fan and cheered for Knights as much as he could. Knights, in their turn, didn’t give a damn and weren’t going to show any passion to win the last home game.

I was worried a little about the seats — it’s very difficult to buy hockey tickets and we had to climb up to sectors 300+, on the third floor. However, it’s much better to watch the game from such a bird’s nest, everything was visible all right. So the next game we’ll also be sitting in the sector 316 (it’s going to be a playoff match, not sure when the OHL playoff starts).

P.S. Rolling Rock beer is bad, simply bad.