I don’t have too much to write about Aharen-san but just want to make a couple of notes in the case one day I’ll need to remember why this show was good =)

The two main characters confessed and started going on in the end of the anime! A rare and always welcoming development.

The running gags with Raido being JD and coming up with another bizarre idea of why Aharen-san is doing what she’s doing. “Wait, does it mean that actually Aharen-san is into death metal?!”, “Wait, does it mean that Aharen-san wants to conquer the world as a pop-idol?!”

Today is the day when millions of Canadians have moved one step closer to becoming first-class citizens again — you don’t have to show papers with your private medical information to travel anymore =) There are still hoops to jump through and the program was “suspended”, not cancelled and burned with fire, but that is at least something. Quite a few of the covid response measures baffled me (and we’re going to be figuring out this mess for years), but all those vaccine passports is a thing I never imagined I would see in the 21st century. I don’t even know which word describes it better, “dumb” or “disgusting”. “Yeah, I know that you’re 20 years old and just had covid; nah, you’re still a sick antiscientific bastard and you can’t board a plane to fly from Calgary to Halifax to visit relatives, go get a car — it’s just a 3 days drive. Rules are rules”. Everybody cheers — they are finally safe.

I won’t be surprised if we see another attempt to resurrect the “papers please” program in fall, when the respiratory season starts, because, why not? It’s just a minor inconvenience after all, nothing to worry about. I only hope that if that happens this time around it will be met with more skepticism.

Paripi Koumei

Chan chan a chiki chiki ban ban… I mean it’s good to get another P.A. Works anime =) Yeah, even though I always complain about their shows I still look forward to watching every new one, because who knows, maybe it’ll be another Shirobako.

For what it’s worth, Paripi Koumei is (sadly) not Shirobako. It’s another isekai (apparently we don’t have enough of them), this time in the reversed format — Kongming, the famous strategist from the Three Kingdoms period, is resurrected in modern Tokyo. The plot is straight as an arrow: he bumps into an aspiring singer Eiko, is completely charmed by her voice and becomes her tactician/producer. We get to see about 3.5 Eiko’s performances, she becomes slightly more popular and then there’s a rivalry against an all-girls band wearing very chiki-chiki-ban-ban costumes Azalea. Yet Eiko shows that dedication to music (and having a genius on your side) is more important than revealing outfits, even the evil Azalea’s producer understands the error of his ways, everybody hugs, the end, see you in the second season. This naive story manages sometimes to become even more My Little Pony-esque, like in the last episode when the Azalea’s producer simply forgives Kongming for, basically, stealing the likes they’re hunting for from his band. Oh well.

The interesting thing about Paripi Koumei is that despite being objectively an average anime it was still fun to watch. It’s very lighthearted; the main character, Kongming, is ridiculous, in a good way; some of the supporting cast members are great, like the bar owner or Kabe’s high-school friend who got him into rap. I just wish this show had more to offer in terms of the plot and character development.

And of course I have to add this =)

Dragon Star Varnir

Dragon Star Varnir had been on my radar for a long time — I was intrigued by the rather grim world of the game and also wanted to try out a JRPG developed by Idea Factory/Compile Heart. I knew of their games, most notably Neptunia, and knew that some people refer to them as “waifu JRPG”, but have never actually played any of them. Recently the stars aligned — I didn’t have anything to play, Dragon Star was on sale, so I finally was able to sink my teeth into it (you got it, right? it’s a game about dragons… well, whatever).

First of all, is it a waifu game? Well, yeah, hard to argue with that. What JRPG isn’t though? Personally, being a degenerate I don’t consider this as a minus, don’t see anything wrong in an idea of playing a game where you may find a character (or multiple characters) attractive.

However, if you look past the jiggly physics and the fact that in battle you can move the camera to look under the girls’ skirts Dragon Star Varnir turns out to be a very good game, with likable characters, simple but decently-written plot and unusual combat system.

If I mentioned combat… It’s actually pretty fascinating that IF are willing to do such bold moves as investing into development of niche battle mechanics. 3 levels in the air, devouring the enemies to get new skills (and sometimes simply because there’s no other way to defeat them, your attacks only increase their level of fear but don’t do any actual damage) — I wouldn’t say that the game requires you to come up with elaborate strategies but it was more fun than I expected. Also Dragon Star Varnir is difficult. Partially because some of the enemies attack you 3-4 times in one turn and can hit like a truck, so be prepared to revive your witches regularly. Partially because you can’t grind if you’re going for the good ending. Not everyone likes time-based mechanics like the Little Sisters feeding in this game, but I kind of just accepted it, because I really didn’t want to kill any of them =) Maybe it even made the playthrough more interesting, because I couldn’t mindlessly rush through regular battles. To be fair, the true ending was a bit too happy for this quite sad overall game, wish there was a way to get another ending without having to sacrifice any of the Little Sisters (I watched the two other endings on youtube and they both are, frankly, more dramatic and satisfying than the one I got).

I liked the premise of the game, the idea of a world where witches don’t have any hope. They are hated by humans and even if they weren’t — the only two options they have in life is either to go mad or become dragons. What a nice life eh? All the events you learn about have something to do with death, desperation and sadness. The entire story is just an attempt of 6 witches to try and lift the curse of this world, it’s pretty straightforward but not annoying and as I said — I liked the characters. There are not so many of them in the game in general, they have distinct roles and it’s impossible to get confused or forget some of them. The best written characters in my opinion is Charlotta (who is also probably the cutest girl in the game and I got her ending) and Karikaro. Minessa, despite being the face of the game, is way too average.

The main gripe I have with the game is its camera. It has a weird lag that makes it super uncomfortable and sometimes frustrating. There are some minor issues with the translation, like you’d never be able to guess that an accessory changing something called “Satisfaction” actually affects chances of a critical hit =) The rest… Dragon Star Varnir is obviously not a high-budget game, so keep your expectations in check.

Overall, I consider my first encounter with an Idea Factory JRPG a success. Dragon Star Varnir is a very good game, with unusual setting and with somewhat unique approach to combat. And don’t forget about all these cute witches! I guess now I will be less afraid to buy Death End re;Quest, another IF/CH game I wanted to play, or who knows, one of Neptunia games =)

На этом концерте и в этих песнях Мастер наверное звучит как они никогда уже не будут. Серышев и Шендер тут жгут. Не повезло людям которые могут только сходить на концерт современной версии группы (ага, трава раньше была зеленее).