Sunday, 22 October 2017

Retroachievements update #5 - Retroachievements? Go to hell!

Scott is somebody I really hate. FUCK him.

After years of using (and advertising) retroachievements.org I have tonight finally been convinced to rid myself of a project that is no longer in a useful state and shows zero promise for future improvements (same as Path of Exile, by the way, which I'm pretty sure I'll never play again due to the utter futility of playing it).

The terminal problem of retroachievements.org? The utter lack of leadership.

In any closed system, be it a game of chess or the laws of a country, rules and logic have to be intrinsical. If people don't play by the rules, there can be no meaningful competition.

Case in point: idiots adding achievements to already completed sets for no rhyme or reason, therefore deducting points from people who have already beaten achievements in that set. What's infinitely worse, however, is the REMOVAL of achievements that players have already cleared, again, for no rhyme or reason! I've spoken out against these things time and time again, to no avail. The final straw was the removal of many Super Tennis achievements, which I had spent weeks on clearing. I noticed that just tonight and it didn't take me a long time to make the decision that retroachievemens cannot be any longer in a state that allows for a meaningful competition. Hence, it's a total and utter waste of anybody participating there for a rank on the leaderboard.

Scott, the useless asshole who created the site (quite the example of a blind hen finding a grain of corn), didn't manage in 5 years to establish any system that prevents anarchy (not to mention answer PMs. And when he allowed donations after years of people begging to be able to donate, he did it on fucking Patreon. *facepalm*) In a closed system, you obviously can't have anarchy, cause see above. The paragon of incompetence, after he disappeared for literally years, did nothing to fix the state of anarchy. What he actually did was to break all emulators (I didn't even bother to re-download most of them, cause setting them up again was an infinite pain I literally lost hours of my life on).

Losing retroachievements is a shame. The original idea was a spot of genius, and I've had many enjoyable hours of playing games for achievements and chatting with people on the site. Could I have made #1 eventually? Probably not, because I've never in my life managed to dedicate my efforts to one single thing. It's still a sad moment for me. But I'll make sure to erase my memory of using that site just like the achievements I (and in some cases, ONLY I!!!) completed were erased.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

My parody comic strip: Charlie Down - (A Peanuts parody)

Yet another idea I carried around with me for years spontaneously comes to fruition...!

Now hosted on http://charliedown.webcomic.ws/ via the Comic Fury platform (and updated only there cause I'm too lazy to upload everything twice...)

I've come up with the idea of drawing a Charlie Brown parody strip ever since I checked out the first couple of strips (and yes, I mean the 1950s ones...) in a drunk stupor and was appalled at how horribly unfunny those were. Granted, I recently discovered Family Circus (which had been mentioned in my all-time favourite webcomic, 8-Bit Theater, to be exact, but I never bothered to look it up) and had to re-gauge my scale of unfunniness in a painful way - but those old Peanuts strips still are completely unfunny and utterly baffling more regularly than even bloody Garfield! And I doubt the newer ones are any different, by the way...

Anyway, so I somehow came across the parody series Dysfunctional Family Circus (which even has a Wikipedia article!) which was started back in 1989 recently, and today (!) I put one and one together and realised that I didn't have to DRAW a parody (Note: I can't draw for shit...) but could just use the original and use Photoshop on its ass! Granted, I have to use Photoshop CS2 (release date: 1991...) because that is the only free one and Fuckdobe doesn't actually sell its software anymore but only rents it out - it's a pain, but it's once again making it possible for even me to draw a comic (just like I used to do 9 years ago when it took me half a year to learn how to properly imitate Order of the Stick's (which by the way sucks now beyond belief) style because I am spatially retarded).

No clue how I'm gonna manage the rest of 'em (a blog post per comic seems stupid) but here is Charlie Down strip #1... and obviously, the level of funniness may vary with what I'm given to work with. By the way and for the record, this is the only thing I've ever been creating (so far: webcomic, music, drawing, interactive fiction, writing) that has nothing to do with my own story project which is called The She-Wolf and the Goddess ((c)2007 me). Though certain concepts invariably creep in...

Click it to see it in the proper size (sorry):

Seems like this margin ain't wide enough to display the comic in original size... pfff...
Dinosaur Comics also was a huge inspiration for me, as was of -Garfield.
PS: Apparently ol' Charlie Schulz didn't own a ruler back in the day, because this strip's borders were actually crooked!

PPS: Thanks to whoever bothered to create a Charlie Brown font - without you this would not be the same. Which it isn't, because it is a non-profit parody. So don't bother suing - though actually being sued by the estate of C. Schulz would definitely be the highlight of my life. ^^ (what a sucky life :-()

PPPS: At least sometimes a direct comparison between the original strip and the parody will be required or at least recommended. After all, mocking Schulz' thoroughly unfunny and sometimes utterly unintelligible (strips #1 and #2 for example) attempt at humour is the basic idea here.

Originally the first 3 panels weren't a dream sequence, but I decided to keep the characters more down to Earth. I was also toying with the idea of Charlie becoming "retarded" because of the punch in panel 3.
By the way, doing these is a lot more work than you would imagine...
Of course, going strip by strip I am still very limited to what I have to work with.
This third one pretty much displays the direction I want to take these strips into.
A long time ago, I once drew 13 hours straight for my TSWATG III comic... I gave up soon after that one.
I really gotta look into finding some comic site where I can host these...
I couldn't spontaneously come up with a more absurdist solution to this abysmal material either. By the way, Snoopy's line is taken from YGOTAS, of course. That series was epic for the entirety of its two seasons.
The OBVIOUS joke. I'm not proud of this one... :-(

Once again, this took a really long time to make. I come up with ideas as I create, and afterthoughts are aplenty. I foolishly forgot how thick the custom speech bubbled had to be stroked, which cost me at least another 30 min and didn't even yield a good result (the original bubbles weren't as crooked).
This one went through a lot of rewrites...

Making them actually hold hands meant a lot to me. It's such a simple but also so immensely powerful thing that mainstream media these days spare out completely (or when have you seen Captain Assmerica hold Generic Love Interest's hand last time?!). Holding hands puts you in a situation of total equality, unlike sex (most of the time).
Oh baby! The setting is basically established now! (Kiddin'.) And Patty looks so happy in the last panel...
Apparently Schulz and Keane were two of a kind in terms of stupidity. I still find Peanuts to be a lot less offensive to my rational brain. Family Circus indeed is the worst shit I have ever come across.
First real in-joke for actual Peanuts fans... the horror...  (of there being actual Peanuts fans out there!)
Plus, that original punchline didn't make any sense with the jump rope, just with the counting in millions...
Phew! So tough to come up with a punchline...

Friday, 8 September 2017

First Impressions #2 - Bioshock Remastered

First Impressions - Bioshock Remastered by 2K Games


(based on my one hour torture session with this shlock)


Also the last impression...

Bioshock. Huh. It sucked hard! So much for that franchise. Good thing I got out quickly (unlike the addiction issue I have with Path of Exile... sigh).

Setting

Underwater world that looks a LOT like the underwater level in Deus Ex (the "Bathysphere" ride in the beginning felt just like the submarine ride in DX1). A huge Fallout 3 feel too to it, though apparently Bioshlock came out a year earlier, so who knows why that is. I swear the men's room sign looks just like the pip boy! The posters and stuff everywhere all scream Fallout too, as do the enemy life bars, and the attept at irony apparent in the decorations (which works a LOT better in Fallout)...

The underwater kingdom - Rapture - is populated by fucking zombies (I facepalmed hard on seeing the first one... I hate zombies.), ugly-as-fuck robots and really ugly little zombie girls with glowing eyes. It's obvious from the start that you won't meet especially many humans there, and all of the aforementioned creatures don't have a shred of personality. You are constantly terrorised by an incorporeal voice which rambles on and on about going there and killing that, yet the game starts without even telling you WHO THE FUCK YOU ARE and therefore not giving you the slightest reason to care about any of it. Honestly, even fucking Half-Shite 2 (second most overrated game of all time) made more of an effort of making me care about moving through the levels, and that's saying something - at least in that game you are directly addressed as "Gordon Freeman" and are not just some blank fucking nobody. 2K Games fucked up the basic rule of storytelling (make the player care) harder than I could even have imagined! Groundbreaking!

Story

There is none. But yeah, there was something... apparently the mystery voice wants you to kill some other mystery guy - but who the fuck cares about that when there's nothing at stake for the player character or the slightest reason for him to care about any of the other characters in the setting (let's recap: zombies, robots, girl zombies, mystery voice, mystery villain)!!! What a piss-poor attempt at a storyline! Just throw him in (literally)! Holy hell.

Gameplay

SCRIPTED EVENTS NO JUTSU! Enemies always spawn in your vicinity (it's pretty obvious they didn't just MOVE there but were put there by the game), except when they spawn behind barriers and it's obvious instantly you won't be able to interfere with them. In one instance, the game wanted to create tension by spawning enemies clawing at a a glass wall in order to break through. To escape, the protagonist had to move into an elevator portal-style. However, I moved back out of the elevator to watch the futile scripted event and laugh about it.

Then the game... warped me to the next location (ten seconds later) like I had remained in the elevator!!! (I got that on video, btw.)

One episode like that really is enough to make me doubt the game design. Add to that that you can't jump over miniscule walls in the beginning because you would take damage... and you haven't received your lifebar at that point! Bioshock's linear-as-fuck level design makes Half-Life 2's look like Duke Nukem 3D, and again, that's saying something! In the beginning there is even a quest arrow to assure even the dumbest idiots (in other words, this game's fanbase that paid for a second part...) won't lose their way.

When you open the map, the interface screams CONSOLE PORT. Combat is clunky, but would be decent I guess. At the beginning of the game you are given magic powers for no reason, maybe eventually you get stuff like levitation that would be needed to make you progress, but the lightning ray you get in the beginning was boring and ineffective.

Fallout 3 has the same complete lack of a storyline, but at least has RPG elements and the tutorial set in the bunker to give you some kind of identification with your character. Oh yeah, and an open world instead of a train ride. On rails.

Graphics

are decent, but as I probably said before, graphics are only even a factor negatively influencing a game's rating, never positively. I grew up with DOS, so I know that it's gameplay and also controls which are the most important factors in video game making. Times have changed, unfortunately...

Summary

Playing Bioshock was a terrifying experience and quite probably it was the game I had the least fun with in a long, long time. To think this game got a 99 at Metacritic would be enough to make me question the collective sanity of mankind - if I didn't already KNOW before that man's decline is already going full throttle.

I died at the one-hour-mark, and I had no intention to continue as there wasn't even the slightest thing of interest to me. I play very few shooters nowadays, and the main reason for that is that most of them appear to be just as bland as this pathetic attempt at an atmospheric game (or Call of Duty clones or sequels). When you have played the best shooter of all time (DX1) and know that you have played the best shooter of all time, it is very, very hard to settle for anything lesser. Avoid like the plague, unless you are just as devoid of any individuality or personality as this vapid shell of a game.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Anime review #7 - Speed Grapher

Speed Grapher by Minoru Niki (2005)

Cat and mouse game with a cardboard face MacGuffin flying around on the screen

I have to admit it took me some time to figure out what the title of this anime was about, but it hardly matters. "Grapher" can only refer to "photographer", but speed is not a big factor in this anime per se. Patience is, though, as is the ability to withstand crappy writing. Speed Grapher was interesting for 2-3 episodes - but so was Naruto. Eventually, it turned into one of the most horrible pieces of SHLOCK I have ever been terrorised with in my life.

"I feel like a button..."
"I am indifferent about everything."
Setting:

Speed Grapher depicts a world (or rather Japan) where money is everything and everything can be in turn bought by money. So basically, it's like the real world but a lot more honest! Corruption runs amok among politicians and in the course of events this factor actually leads to the loss of souvereignty as international troops invade Japan! All of this could have made for a very interesting setting, but alas! it was wasted on a banal plot involving supernatural powers for no reason (*facepalm*) and unsatanly abysmal (but not abyssal) characters.

A few nice points here and there show how SEXY financial power and money itself as an object can be, but those pale into insignificance alongside the "meat" of this show, the storyline, which is as bland as unseasoned chicken. Try to eat 24 episodes' worth of that! I dare you!

Story:

Tatsumi Saiga, an established war photographer, investigates a secret de Sadian club which on first glance seems rather similar to the one depicted in Juliette (just with a lot less gay sex). However, the secret "VIP" membership buys high ranking politicians and businessmen something more than sex: their DNA is altered upon receiving bodily fluids from the "goddess" owned by the club, 15-year-old Kagura, who unwillingly participates in the process drugged and unaware. These customers are hence turned into useless monsters-of-the-week, most of them with spider powers for some reason. The same thing accidentally happens to Saiga, who upon being kissed by Kagura receives the power to make things explode by photographing them. Such a power would usually be OP, but of course, since Saiga is the "hero" protagonist, it has to be immediately overshadowed by the big bad's power of using his blood to achieve pretty much anything he wants - with deadly results.

So Saiga decides to rescue Kagura, who turns out to be the blandest cardboard face ever to float across a screen (even Hinata in Naruto has more of a personality! Wow, I can't believe I just typed that...), but not to FUCK her (cause she is "only" 15 which you would never even know from just watching the anime, where this tidbit is mentioned maybe once, and not 16 which magically would be (more?) legal then...) but just to keep her around for no discernible reason. Saiga has nothing but trouble because of this, as Kagura is kidnapped more often than Mokuba in Yugioh the Abridged Series (basically once every 3 episodes...) and he has to re-rescue her each and every time, which causes so much unnecessary stress in his life he eventually goes BLIND from it. Holy shit! Well, I for one'd be rather dead than blind. (I'd be rather dead than anything, but that is beside the point. Actually, I'd rather be a billionaire than dead because then I could make my movie.) To top it off, the abovementioned monsters-of-the-week are despatched against the couple at regular intervals - but as this is essentially a SHONEN anime (even though it features adult themes), the monsters are defeated without even breaking a sweat or a leg. What a twits! By the way, Saiga never has a lightbulb moment of coming up with the concept of a DISGUISE or just simply cutting Kagura's hair which is odd enough to make her instantly recognisable.

To spice up things, we are given a horny freak female police officer who consistently stalks Saiga, thinks nothing of raping him while he is unconsicous and is an overall bane on an already very poor anime, like a bee circling you while you are standing in a packed crowd of five thousand screaming pre-teens having to endure a Justin Bieber concert because your mother sent you there to watch over your little sister who thinks Bieber is a great musician and the cutest boy ever. And then your little sister got raped and you got stung by that bee. In the COCK. Yeah, that's really what Ginza reminded me of.

Anyway, eventually Kagura gets kidnapped for the final and last time, Saiga has to face off with Suitengu (that is the name of the villain and mastermind), Saiga goes blind and Suitengu kills himself, causing a massive economical crisis by essentially lighting a lot of paper money on flames (killing thousands of people, which is conveniently ignored in the anime - but by the fact a large part of Tokyo is LIT ON FIRE, it's a certainty!) A few years later, Saiga is still blind as a mole, has still not fucked Kagura, which would have been her only purpose (I wouldn't usually say something like that, but she really is nothing more than a blowup doll that moves and talks just a little more!), and that's pretty much it!

And the fact I could not find Speed Grapher hentai on Google speaks for itself! Such a thing had never happened before!
And not the good kind either...
Characters:

Saiga is a no-nonsense badass, which, coupled with the horrendously plain female sidekick, makes for an unappealingly dull situation. His relationship with Ginza which borders on sadomasochism would be interesting if it wasn't so downplayed. He has no reason to live for other than taking pictures, so when that is taken away from him (by Kagura), he instead adopts the concept of protecting Kagura from vague danger instead of turning her front side into a zipper with a big knife and drawing out the organs to devour them (with a side of fava beans) to (possibly) be cured of his affliction which would have been the logical course of action. Even when things go bad for him (danger of going blind from using supernatural abilities to fight monsters, losing his job and livelihood, getting stalked by mobsters and his crazy girlfriend), he never actually makes any attempt to CHANGE his lifestyle or anything. Suitengu would have paid a king's ransom (or rather bounty) for Kagura, and Saiga never had the slightest reason to be particularly loyal to her, just the same way one wouldn't especially miss a dog eaten by a crocodile when he could just go and buy a dozen more dogs AND crocodiles and some slaves to pick cotton! In a world where money is supposedly everything, a one-dimensional character like Saiga just isn't particularly interesting to watch. An evil badass (think Light Yagami - or even Dark Yagami!) would have had a field day in this setting and would have provided for an interesting story by himself.

Kagura is the goddess of blandness. She grows up spoiled rich and subjugated by her crazy and cruel mother. Of course when that witch finally croaks, Kagura storms back to her and when her mother dies without ever having cared for her even a tiny bit, Kagura doesn't even realise that. She is naive and innocent, yet that trait is never used to endear her to the viewer for some reason! It is like the creators of Speed Grapher aimed to write the most unimaginatively boring character possible and succeeded. What a smashing success! Speaking of which, there is a scene where Kagura tries to smash a window to escape and is physically (and hilariously) REPELLED by an inanimate object! That is how low her charisma score is! And Kagura's brain tumor arc is turned into a mockery when it turns out she has to... menstruate to be cured. Bleed for your life! Menstruate that tumor! From your brain! Why does that plot line sound like something feminists these days would come up with... Anyway, Kagura is the textbook MacGuffin, everybody wants to have her so the plot is about just that. During watching the last few episodes of SG I was thinking that I prefer Hinata from Naruto to Kagura as a character... that should tell you exactly how bland she really is! (Not as bland as Lain though, but that should go without saying.) If Hitler had a dog, and that dog had rabies and AIDS and the bubonic plague, and it could only bark in Mexican - I would rather fuck that dog than say something positive about Kagura!

Maybe pasting in whatever random shit I can find on Google has worn out its welcome...
"Mein dog has ein nice Arschloch!"

Suitengu is the villain of the show, and originally that works just fine and dandy. However, he turns out to be ridiculously OP and capable of killing pretty much anybody he wants. Even worse, a bullshit twist at the end destroys his character by making him hate money, hate the system, hate Japan etc. because a long time ago a rich guy forced his kid sister into prostitution, had him raped too for good measure and made into a child soldier or whatever. In the culmination of this onslaught of tripe it turns out he saved Saiga in a foreign country while they were both buried under rubble by... playing a music box. What pathetic SHLOCK! So in the end, he doesn't kill Saiga which would actually have been merciful in that situation as Saiga had lost his eyesight permanently by then, and basically commits suicide, blowing up all the money IN JAPAN in the process, killing thousands in the process off-screen as mentioned above and bankrupts the entire country - which conveniently recovers in just a few years. SHLOCK!

There are also a few boring henchman like the guy with the dog nose who can magically turn into a wolf but is killed by the female cop in like five seconds (I didn't make that up!) Some additional henchmen could've run with the money, but instead go back INTO A BURNING SKYSCRAPER to buy Suitenguu like five seconds which is never necessary in the first place and of course turns out to be just another slice of patheticness on a shit sandwich (I think that is what the minimum-wage Burger King employees are talking about when they ask you whether you want cheese on your Crispy Chicken). And an overacting gay dancer or whatever. Who cares.

Themes:

Absolute power corrupts a lot, and money is pure evil or something. And it is totally ok to be bland as fuck as long as you have a cute face.

Final verdict:

Speed Grapher was not good. In fact, it was very bad. The good thing about bad anime like this one is that they are very easy to review, unlike stuff such as Madoka and Higurashi. The bad thing is of course that they are a pain to get through after you realise you are watching something that cannot just be saved in the last episode by some miraculous crazy genius twist. Avoid.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Interactive fiction review #12 - South America Trek

South America Trek by Conrad Knopf

Mario is missing. Fun is absent from this title as well

Conrad Knopf's South America Trek is an educational game from the dark ages of interactive fiction. Originally published as shareware in a series of similar titles, the author expected you to dish out 30$ for the registered version.

I pity you if you did.

South America Trek sends the player (who is sometimes adressed directly by the impersonal "narrator" for some reason) on a whacky journey through South America to learn geography and stuff.

The first major problem of this game that meets the player's eye is the size of this game. South America is a terrifyingly huge game environment with confusing (and sometimes illogical) path structure, yet manages to be undetailed and plain boring. Drawing a map, whether you use your computer or go old-school with pen & paper, is both a must and a chore. Items must be gathered (they happen to be just lying around, of course) and exchanged in illogical trades (e.g. bauxite for a torch) in order to be able to progress to new areas, which, of course, are just as boring and unimaginative (not to mention unimaginable - by the way, don't plan on "examining" anything in this game, it's not implemented) as the previous ones.

South America Trek is a game you don't want to play. Reading random facts (and sometimes blatant lies - sloths are NOT dangerous, for one) about places and countries in South America in interactive fiction form while having to navigate through an atrocious and insanely huge maze path system, constantly going in circles from orientation loss and backtracking to trade items, is as far removed from having fun as I can possibly imagine. To top it off, there's pretentious in-game advertising for the author's other works. I hope there's a video game designer hell somewhere...

The best thing about this game: The word "fuck" was implemented. In an educational game for children. LOL

On a personal note, writing this review has been dragging on for quite some time because the game was just so unplayable, and then I found out the hard way you can die with no undo option, so just this once, I didn't finish this game 100% (but I got close enough).

Oh, and it's a DOS game. Good luck if you want to save your game - I couldn't...

1/10, absolute atrocity

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

One Piece manga review - Chapter 3

It would be ridiculous...

Back-to-back chapter reviews, eh. I guess that will become the norm now since reviewing either Madoka or Higurashi is a very very daunting task. Actually, scratch that, Madoka might happen any day now. Did I mention I'm chaotic neutral? At least I used to be.

Chapter the third. That boy with the glasses and Luffy bicker on about how Zoro, whom none of them has ever seen, or knows the whereabouts of, does or does not have the potential to be added to Luffy's party. But Luffy has not made his mind up yet, either. No shit. He has not met him, remember?! Maybe Zoro's... a muslim. Or a robot. Either of which cannot be added to the party for... reasons. So this "adding to the group" speculation is rather pointless, but what's new in One Piece Land. I would ask the reader to note that Zoro is described as a "bloodthirsty monster in the form of a man who hunts fugitives all across the seas", but it is Coby weaving that story, and he clearly isn't a reliable narrator.

On the next page we learn that Luffy had actually been wanting to go to the Marine base all along (just as planned...). You know, the Marines who are the mortal enemies of pirates. Yeah. Sure, why not. Actually he needs to drop Coby off, who is on a never-ending quest to become a marine. Or he will become one five chapters later. Either possibility... sucks. Coby has to leave the party and is heartbroken at the thought of having to be Luffy's enemy at their next encounter - because there is no question about the fact the floor will be wiped with him then. In a tavern, Luffy accidentally finds out he has the weirding way and can use the names "Zoro" or "Morgan" as a killing word, blowing up groups of random guests. Or apparently Oda claims that the tavern patrons are so scared by the mere mention of either of these names that they are triggered to EXPLODE. I'll stick with my theory as it makes a lot more sense (and that is sad, really). What an unbelievable stupid scene. Something like that might work in animated form if presented just right, but in the manga it is just another contribution to this (cess-)pool of stupidity that personifies the taste of the average Japanese manga reader, based on the number of sales (and that is REALLY sad, really). If Oda had just SHAT on that draft page, the end result would have been preferrable, I am certain.



So Luffy suggests that Marine Lieutenant Morgan (who will dance the hempen jig later) could have done something "bad" to cause the townsfolk to be so afraid of his mere name; but Coby insistently denies that a lawful person could be evil at the same time, showing his lack of basic D&D knowledge. Or maybe he just grew up with 4th edition and thus has become mentally retarded! Or maybe he is just right! A commander of the Marines being a bad person is just as impossible as a black person being racist against whites! At least that is what Hollywood continues to shove down our throats throughtout the 2010s. On a side note, I have witnessed multiple people in my country applying the nonsense term "African American" to black people who haven't even THOUGHT of America in their collective lifetimes... completing the circle of utter stupidity in a very ironic way.

But let's go back to fighting human stupidity by reviewing One Piece. (This is what LMTR14 actually believes!) The Marine base is revealed to be really ugly, sporting a camouflage pattern... for no reason. Its cannons are big enough to put a "Schwerer Gustav" cannon to shame, making one wonder what kind of pirate ships the Marines are aiming to destroy with weapons of that caliber! Maybe they need them in order to fight epic level munchkins like Luffy and Zoro... who is revealed to be on the very island Luffy goes to after having just been mentioned in the previous chapter for the first time... yeah, you gotta be shitting me. This is as stupid on a writing level as it is on an in-universe level. Zoro is just randomly captured on that very island Coby wanted Luffy to take him to? If either of them KNEW (magically) that Zoro would be there, they sure didn't announce that in any of the previous chapters. This is either a plothole on the gaping level of Micheal's bitch of a daughter (GTA 5) or shitty shitty writing! I mean, Zoro could be anywhere! On a sofa, on a chair! But instead he is right on Marine Island, the happiest place on Oda's Earth(tm). If that doesn't make you dance with the devil in the pale moonlight, I don't know! (GET IT?)

So Zoro is teased at with him being shown displaying an "evil aura". The kind of guy who would kill a little girl for offering a poorly-made onigiri to him. Surely he won't later turn out to be some kind of good-hearted laid-back guy then, right? I do have to admit the drawing revealing Zoro's rather unrealistically shaped legs does look kind of cool. Luffy is further suggested to be epic level since to him breaking ropes while being bound by them is child's play. And we hear the character whose appearance probably didn't even surprise a Japanese boy back when this shit originally came out reveal...

...that he is epic level too. Zoro reveals that he had been tied up for 9 days, resulting in him getting "exhausted". Nevermind that the average human can only last some 3 days without water (especially in the brooding tropical heat of the OP setting), how Zoro had managed not to have to SHIT for 9 days is mindboggling!!! As Luffy (who knows well that he is invulnerable, rendering all future fights moot and pointless on a dramatic level) strongly considers freeing the pirate-hunter, a little girl sporting the same oversized pupils as every other female in the story (apparently) appears...

and tries to poison Zoro with a rice ball purposefully made with sugar instead of salt (hey, they are both white grainy substances!), purposefully cause the sugar is used to conceal the strange taste of the poison! Unfortunately (for the reader), a character even less likeable than Zoro appears on the scene - Helpoemer, the Marine Lieutenant's cowardly son of a bitch. He forces the unnamed girl to discard the rice balls from her hand... ahem I mean hands, and commits animal cruelty by feeding poison to ants. Our protagonist, ladies and gentlemen! Wait... what? Anyway, Nami's little sister is all mopey about the fact she doesn't get the mile-high bounty for Zoro's death now and decides to be punted out of the compound by a nameless henchmen, forcing Luffy to display his superior baseball skills. I couldn't make all of this shit up, I swear! Helpoemer makes Zoro an offer he can't refuse, and finally leaves the story forever.

FINALLY, after a long long boring speech about how Zoro wants to be the very best there ever was, Luffy, idiot that he is, feeds Zoro the rice ball. And what happens?! Zoro rolls a natural 20 on his fortitude save...

FUCK

Anyway, we learn that Zoro killed Helpoemer's robowolf (which was helping his master in combat) - I can tell that it was a robot because that thing seriously looks very HAPPY about being pierced with a rapier, ahem I mean slashed with a katana. That picture must be one of the worst drawings in the history of life itself - there is a burn victim (or a black guy, hard to tell) on the scene screaming his guts out because Zoro's right arm has transformed into a SHIELD that is affixed to his back!!! But to top it off, in the next (or is it the previous... damn scanlations) panel we see what can only be whatshisname with both his hands down his pants while his very suspicious gaze is fixed on the sexy little lighthouse girl! You can't tell me there aren't any shenanigans going on right there and then... IN HIS PANTS! And three guesses what is on his hand in the last panel of the page... Oda, you are a pervert!

Next, Luffy punches Helpoemer, who randomly returns to the story after a very long absence, in the face. Good, but boring. Luffy could as well punch SATAN since he is the main character of a shonen story and therefore can't ever lose a fight (just like in Dragonball Z!). If Luffy would ever fight Goku, the universe would implode out of the resulting paradox that is way way worse than the thing with the cat and the buttered toast! And finally this tired-ass filler chapter is over. FINALLY.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

One Piece manga rant - Chapter 2

They call him Asshat Luffy

By the way...who does? Nobody ever calls Luffy "Strawhat Luffy" in the first 50 or so chapters (that is how far I got some years ago)! The title of the chapter is lying to us. There's a lie... in a Nintendo game. Oh wait, it's actually a shonen manga!

So, the story proper starts. Captain Fluffy "rows" his small boat wherever the waves carry him (we can see briefly he has two oars in the previous chapter - where no romance ever dawned, by the way - but he seems to have lost one in the meantime, making the rowing part a lot harder. Rowing is hard work too, and we are know one thing never changes in shonen manga: the main character is strictly averse to doing any actual work (other than physical training)! Now the ocean apparently hates Luffy just as much as I do, as our monkey boy is carried straight from a smooth sea to a giant ass whirlpool, laughing light-heartedly as if he knew that as the main character he couldn't probably be die in the second chapter. Nevermind that the whirlpool is big enough it could swallow a full-sized galley! Luffy reflects on how being able to swim wouldn't help him in the situation anyway, once again rendering the downside of eating the devil fruit moot and pointless. Good job, Oda!

Luffy now nails HIMSELF into the empty barrel he conveniently brought along (why the fuck is it empty? It could only have contained water - and if he already emptied a whole barrel of water, surely he would have brought food with him too... but we never see any. It has to be empty or he would be wet when breaking the barrel later. So the barrel makes no sense whatsoever.) while already being swallowed by the waves. So he does this impossible task WHILE underwater, even making the point he doesn't come out of the barrel dripping wet more ridiculous. Unless he drank the salt water too, or something. Oda clearly has never seen a barrel in real life, either. All this stupidity, and we're only on page 2 of the chapter!!! To top it off, this entire stupid situation could have been avoided with better direction (I'm using film terms as I wouldn't know how to describe what I mean otherwise). There was no need for the cheap scare of pushing Luffy 99% close to mortal danger before a scene change when 90% would have been perfectly sufficient. What I mean by this is that if the shot had been cut here (before the red or even the yellow part)


the scene would have been acceptable. Pushing your hero TOO close to danger before a cut makes the action unbelievable and appear silly and cheap in most instances. This unacceptable mistake permeates crappy Hollywood movies too, of course: bombs are always disarmed at 0:01 seconds, the foes' bullets always miss the target ever so slightly, there's always exactly one black guy in a clique of otherwise white people... oh wait, wrong enforced cliche! So, to end this argument: showing Luffy being swallowed by the water was enormous fail, since it added several levels of impossibility to the task of surviving the situation in a credible way. Throwing the last few panels in the trash would have salvaged EVERYTHING, and not have taken too much "excitement" away (I mean, even little children know that the main character doesn't die in chapter 2). If Luffy was given some off-screen moments (we can't tell how long they last, since he is off-screen! That is the genius of it!), we don't (necessarily) need any explanation as long as we know he's not underwater yet, there is a barrel with him, and he escapes from a barrel. That ONLY works if Luffy is given that time. In the case presented, he is not given that time. I think I made the problem with the direction of that scene perfectly clear now...

Learn from this example, readers, for the sake of people like me who want to have even but a tiny pinch of logic sprinkled on their dinner, no matter whether it's a hamburger or Beef Wellington. It's not hard... it's not fucking hard!

Let's ignore the chapter title pages, they aren't meant to make sense. Even NGE has some weird ones too.

Ok, so we're on a "remote island" (one of 700 billion in the One Piece universe...) next. Alibaba's (or whatever her name is) pirate ship has the ugliest fucking figurehead I've ever seen. Our unlikeable fatass antagonist bitches about there being "dust" on her ship. Now, that's another example that Oda has a) never been on a ship in his life, which is hard to believe since he's Japanese and therefore by default LIVES ON AN ISLAND or b) is a fucking idiot or c) thinks the readers are fucking idiots. I pick c! Now, the thing with ships is... they float. On the ocean. And the ocean is... made of water. And water... is water. And rain is... water. See the connection there?! Now where does dust only build up? In places where there is no wind, or water, as any of these two prime elements would scatter any dust without fail. Sooo... the railing of a ship. That floats on water, which splashes over the railing when the sea is rough. That is exposed to rain (and it rains a lot in tropical regions) and strong winds (which it needs for sailing). SO THAT IS THE LAST FUCKING PLACE WHERE THERE WOULD BE "A LOT" OF DUST YOU FUCKING IDIOT!!!

Making somebody walk the plank would be rather pointless though...
Unless...

By now the possibility pops up that Oda puts stuff like that in as an attempt to be funny, or even ironic. I use non-sequiturs, missing-the-point and other such techniques all the time in my writing (also self-reference). But... I'm not laughing while reading One Piece. I'm not laughing because that is simply not what happened. Oda isn't being funny or ironic on purpose here. He's just stupid and lazy because he appeals to a target audience of people who don't give a shit about logic and reality. Suspension of disbelief only works when the rules of the setting are kept intact. I have no problem with accepting that e.g. Superman can fly, or Jesus can resurrect people for dramatic purpose (and sometimes also make people wither like a tree, KILLING THEM. Bet you didn't hear that in church...). But not even Jesus could resurrect people THAT AREN'T DEAD. Or nail himself in a barrel FROM THE OUTSIDE. Because that simply makes no sense. It's illogical. From what I've seen, One Piece is not being illogical for the sake of being funny. And that would be the sole reason anybody with a functioning brain could justify all the bullshit appearing in the first two chapters alone! You can ignore it, sure, but you cannot justify it. That is all I attempt to prove here. It's certainly not impossible to "still enjoy it", it's just... wrong. Just... don't do that! Don't let hack writers get away with it. That is not beneficial to the evolution of humanity in general, and not beneficial to yourself either.

I could've used the Jew drawing, though.
You morons enable evil fucktards like this one with spending your money on SHIT.

Fact is that I picked One Piece for doing chapter reviews exactly because nothing in this shit makes any sense whatsoever. Because so far, nobody else did what I'm doing now. I googled "One Piece sucks" and such things, and it became apparent that nobody ever tried to analyse the insanity. Why is something so bad the most-sold manga of all time? And what can change the nature of a One Piece reader? I just have to delve into this madness and sacrifice my own sanity to find out! And don't worry, I will go deeper in my analysis later, after having a better overview of this series. For now, it's chapter-by-chapter, page-by-page, panel-by-panel.

So Abidala is set up to be beautiful for two pages, only to be revealed to be hideous afterwards. The point? nONE. She kills (maybe. Ugh, not-showing-the-consequences-syndrome strikes again) one of her crewmembers with her huge-ass "bludgeon" (actually a spiked club or mace since it has spikes). So, since she (a woman? Will we see any physically strong women in this manga later? Before the rules aren't established, we can't rule on how much sense this makes) can bend her crewmembers to her will, she is supposed to be pretty strong, right? After all, she managed to earn herself command of a ship and a remote pirate island. So why does she even care about the dust? Surely it couldn't be... because she is a woman, right?! Yeah, we all know that is the reason. Especially she constantly asks everybody what or who would be "the prettiest thing of all the seas" like she was the damn queen in Snow White.

By the way, if the thing with the dust wasn't so blatantly SHOWN, but presented as a character trait - madness - it would've been OK! Once again... cut that damn panel where we see the dust is actually there, and you are in the green, Oda!

Coby, who is a useless midget wimp with glasses (and later apparently returns as a towering giant, putting him at age ten here, tops, if you compare the sizes), is her navigator and only kept alive because he "knows more about navigation than the others" - for no reason. Where has he picked up that knowledge? Could it be... that he is a nerd?! Will you present us any character that isn't an instant cliché, Oda?!

The concept of a "washroom" establishes the question how far technology has advanced in the OP setting. If the building pictured is that aforementioned establishment, the bathroom even has separated sections for men and women. That seems a little anachronistic to me, but we can't tell for sure by now.

Coby rolls up the barrel (that washed up on shore conveniently, instead of bursting in the whirlpool) of "sake" to the storehouse. All barrels inside look just like the barrel Luffy is in. It is implied that all the alcohol is for Amidala alone, but the the underling pirates want to get drunk nevertheless... maybe the first reasonable thing in this entire story and something I can very much relate to! With the power of ale, we cannot fail, after all! But Oda failed, letting Luffy erupt from the container after a "nice nap". No comment.

Amygdala then pointlessly levels the entire storage room (and the entire stock within it, apparently!!!) by throwing her melee weapon. If that doesn't scream epic level, I don't know. The antagonists suspect the intruder could be Zoro, the pirate hunter. Surely we won't see such a legendary character so soon into the storyline, will we!?! Yeah, it would be ridiculous to present him quickly after just having hyped him so much.

Coby follows Luffy, who has been spirited away into the forest by the blow of the ogre woman's club. When hearing about a whirlpool, Coby assumes for no reason whatsoever that Luffy is not a "normal person". He then shows stretchy boy his pirate pen- ahem, I mean his pirate vessel he painstakingly "secretly" built (his mistress has (just) been shown to be extremely attentive to what her crew does, so this clearly could never have happened) and is perfectly willing to give it to him, no questions asked. Yet Luffy insults him to his face for no reason, a person that was nothing but helpful and nice to him. Our protagonist, ladies and gentlemen! Yet Cosley Crusher continues to suck up to Luffy, acting freaked out and bewildered by the fact that Luffy wants to be Pirate King and find the One Piece "in the pirate era" - so the fact Luffy aims to do what EVERYONE ELSE WANTS TO DO TOO!!! What a twits (sic!). Luffy then does the sensible thing and punches Coby (Buchannon) (off-screen) to shut his obnoxious yelling up. Our protagonist, ladies and gentlemen!

Of course Ali Bali overhears them (since Cody is so goddamn LOUD) and destroys the little boy's junk. Shit is gonna get real now, yes? No, of course not. Luffy's rubber body renders him immune (or at least rather resistant) to Argenta's mace thing, in other words bludgeoning and piercing (it has spikes all over it) weapons. Talk about over-powered. So if Luffy turns out to be immune to slashing weapons (e.g. Katanas) too - he's de facto invulnerable, since magic attack spells don't seem to exist in the OP universe. Luffy is basically a hero deity already, and that is right after character creation, which means that the devil fruit gave him a new type (bye bye, human - hello, outsider) with a ridiculous level adjustment of +20 or more. He's later going to face creatures as powerful as he himself is, so... fine. At this point Luffy seems to be ridiculously overpowered, but as can be seen e.g. in Dragonball (Z), such innate power can later in the story justified reasonably and retroactively. However, fruit eaters like Luffy are clearly a special case in the OP universe. His friends like Zoro and Usopp, who are mere humans and have not undergone a type change, clearly must seem like weakling children in his presence, right? We will see how they are displayed in the upcoming fights and reserve judgement for that point in time. ^^

By the way, Luffy might be rubber, but the straw hat clearly is not. So the hat not taking damage might be fine in the simplification and abstraction of D&D... but in drawn form it makes things rather unrealisic it isn't torn to pieces when a large spiked weapon hits it (and Luffy underneath it) with full force.

So then Luffy beats the pirate woman with one hit, in true shonen fashion. Her men are overjoyed to be able to shake off her yoke - we will see this every time a villain is defeated, I'm sure. So how fucking weak were they, then?! The grand line is continued to be hyped (boy, can't I wait for more overpowered characters... the excitement), Coby talks more shit about things clearly above his head (did Luffy tell him about the rubbber fruit? So how is it surprising he ate it then? Or did Coby know about it beforehand? He clearly should be able to tell that Luffy ate the fruit then... by using LOGIC). Luffy gets the sudden overpowering urge to add Zoro, the PIRATE HUNTER to his crew, even though he had just heard about his very existence five minutes earlier. People all around seem to hate pirates with a passion, though - though we never see pirates doing anything evil early on. Somehow Oda had a very strange concept of what a pirate is...

So... this chapter was bad. Really fucking bad. I read ahead some, and things continue to be very dire, with one unique exception (!), but as far as I can remember, nothing is quite as offensive to my mind capable of using logic than this shitload of a chapter. The asinine and pointless one-shot character of Whateverhernameis, the dust on a ship's railing, Cody's incessant whining, Cody in general, the STUPID moment with the barrel... the ingredients of a nightmare. So glad I can put this chapter behind me now. But that doesn't matter much, does it? There are OVER EIGHT HUNDRED more of them!!!