Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Brony Bookclub and other updates

          So, no episode of the Brony Bookclub this week due to scheduling problems. What are those scheduling problems?

           That is right! The cohost and I are going to SacAnime this weekend! If you'd like to say hi, I'll either be wearing a gray fedora and Marble Hornets tshirt Friday, a Detective Dick Gumshoe costume Saturday, and a Twilight Sparkle baseball cap Sunday.

           I'll also be coming back with reviews very soon. Sorry for the absence, but I've got a lot of cool stuff, and college, going on. Soon! Laters.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Brony Bookclub Episode 7-Slice of Life

Dear Jim Butcher,

This week we had on Niaeruzu, author of Thrown Abroad and My Little Changeling: Friendship is Weird. We talked about what Slice of Life is, and the difference between Slice of Life and Normal fics. Sam and Niaeruzu discovered they're both anti-clop brothers in arms, and the guest and I realized we're both Butcher fanboys. Sam went all hipster and talked about fics nopony has heard of. Sam is scared of the guest's non-pony fic. And a hint to the special 10th episode. You can find this weeks episode here, and email us here.

Your faithful student,
Roy Hankins

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Brony Bookclub Episode 6-Adventure

Dear Jim Butcher,

This week on The Brony Bookclub, we interviewed UberPhoenix, author of A World Without Rainbows. We talked about what makes Adventure fics work, and what made AWWR such a success. I made a Song of Ice and Fire joke, and fun was had by all. Download the episode here and send emails in here. (I said gmail in the episode, but it's yahoo.)

Your faithful student,
Roy Hankins

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Podcast update

There will be no episode this week because of microphone problems. We'll be recording on Friday, hopefully it will go well this time. Thank you for your patience.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Watashi wa Anime ga daisukidesu-Code Geass

Yeah it's a R2 image, but to me they're just two seasons of one show.
         So guys, thanks to the ever awesome Arkada I found this cool site called I really enjoy it and put up all the anime I could think of. So, when doing so, I initially gave Code Geass (Original and R2, for this blog post they're the same thing) a 7, or Good. Because that's pretty much how I feel about it, it's good. But when I looked at it again and thought, I realized I was being a bit of a Negative Nancy, and switched to an 8. Let me start this by saying, yes, I think it's Very Good, but I have problems that keep it from being higher.

         For the eleven or so people on the internet who don't know, Code Geass is an anime about an alternate present where Britannia is still a thing, and has conquered a large chunk of the world. The main characters are Britanians living in Japan, and it deals with the revolution boiling against the Empire, with a touch of supernatural fun as well. Really the show is a mix between Death Note (The political and scheming aspects), Azumanga Daioh (The High School shenanigans) and a mech show. (Britannia uses mecha. And no, I don't have an example of a mech anime because it's not my thing.) My favorite thing about Code Geass is how it did something better than Death Note. DN is supposed to be both a intellectual and moral battle, but I never saw any side the it besides the intellectual one. Light is clearly in the wrong here, and L for all his faults is the hero. CG has one morally gray intelligent protagonist who seems to have a better idea, and one misguided and naive average-smarts protagonist. Not only that, but the friendship between them is played really well, and it really hit me in the heart.

        So after all that praise, why do I feel like the rain on everybody's parade? Well, first off most of the High School plot seemed really out of place, and I'm glad it was excised in the second season. It also peaved me that Lelouch, a freaking genius, could have made things infinitely easier at many points by revealing at least part of the truth to certain people. But no, he gets confronted and shuts up, making him seem worse than he really is. I have a friend who tells me it's part of his character, but to me that's like saying that part of a character is that despite being super-intelligent, he can't fix a hole that keeps appearing in his plans over and over despite them being his greatest problem. It's lazy writing. But the worst part has to be C.C. She should be the image for the Plot Tumor trope. Who could easily cut her out of the entire story, and I wouldn't notice. All the things that she did could easily be done by other people, and she could have just stayed dead in episode one. Still, despite these problems I have, the show is still Very Good, and I would recommend it to many. It's just begging for a Fan Edit though. Maybe one that ends at episode 22...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sore Fingers - Slender

This game, roughly 95% of the time
            Slender is a game version of The Slender Man Mythos, though by far it has the most in common with the series Marble Hornets. I'll note right away that I have barely played the game myself, my roommate has while I sit behind him scared. Now, I know a lot of people, my roommate not being one of them, who find this game boring. I was just talking to one the other day and he laughed about it. What. Okay, for the (to me surprisingly) many out there who have no idea what this game is, here. Slender Man is a creature made by the Something Awful forums. It was a thread in 2009 that spawned him, with a scary picture thread. Someone posted pictures of a tall, thin, faceless man standing in the background around children, with captions talking about how all the children in the pictures are missing, and the town's records have burned down in fires, and other scary stuff.

            Soon after, Troy Wagner and Joseph DeLage took the meme and made a series on YouTube about it called Marble Hornets. As I have mentioned before on the blog, it is incredibly well-made and I bought both seasons that have come out on DVD. In the game you play as an unnamed person, out in the woods at night with nothing but a flashlight. (Something tells me M from The Tutorial is laughing at this person.) As you walk through the woods you find odd notes taped to things, each with creepy drawings of the Slender Man. (Someone probably just took Alex's journal and ripped random pages out.) After you find the first one, however, Slender Man starts chasing you. If you turn around and can see him, the screen gets static-y. It will also get static-y when he gets close to you. If you look at him for too long, he gets you and you die. If you get all 8 pages you get a cool ending and unlock a new mode, from which you can get another mode. As a game, I have a lot of respect and fear for it. I can't wait, especially because it is apparently just a prologue.

           There's more to talk about with this gem, however. This game, and it's coverage by major LPers, large gaming sights, and now TOM from Toonami has brought a lot of people to our little fandom. You can tell who they are by asking about Marble Hornets. If you get a blank look, you're either talking to a new person or Slender Man himself in which case WHAT ARE YOU DOING TALKING RUN! Now, I could easily continue the topic by saying they're not 'true fans' or something equally ridiculous, but I see it as an opportunity to add some life into this slowly dying fandom. When I meet one of them, I just tell them, "Search for Introduction on YouTube, and click on the one by Marble Hornets. Have fun." The more people getting scared, the better. Laters.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The EGS Initiative: New and Old Friends

           Arc 5-Flipping Cardboard: Justin is sitting bored at the comic shop he works at, a little ticked that all day the only sale has been a $4 pack of Magic cards. So he calls Nanase, getting her to come over. Her milkshake brings all the nerds to the yard, and he uses her to make them actually buy something. He senses someone coming, and hides. It's Melissa, his ex. Nanase uses an illusion to shoo her off. During the conversation afterwards, one of the local nerds hears that Justin is gay. After work Justin runs into him, who apologizes for using 'gay' in a derogatory sense so often in the shop. The X-Men taught him better than that. (Am I the only one who thinks that's both funny and awesome?)

           Melissa is interesting to talk about. When she first appears, she's Justin's ex-girlfriend. She's still obsessing over him, calling his being gay a 'phase', and still thinking of him as her boyfriend. Basically, she was the most annoying character in the comic. At some point later on, the author made the great decision to develop her more, making her and Justin much more interesting characters as a result.

           Arc 6-Lady Mysterious: This is easy to sum up. Grace has a new form of an asian woman with green hair named Claire that she uses for a civilian disguise. She and Ellen don't go to school yet, so they decide to hang out. Grace is amazing at Super Smash Brothers. Done.

           Arc 7-Squirrel Diplomacy: Very short: SHENANIGANS!

           Arc 8-Lunchtable Revelations: Since Elliot and Sarah are dating now, they think that Tedd and Susan should sit with them at lunch, as a group. The problem: Susan and Tedd don't like each other. Elliot decides that each of them should share something, to put everyone more at ease. Elliot starts by revealing he used to have a problem. He spent all of junior high picking fights with any bullies he could. Despite what he told himself, it was more for being able to fight than protecting others. He hasn't fought since freshman year, when he saved Justin from bullies. Sarah goes next by revealing she draws little comics, one of the characters apparently being Dan, AKA the author of this webcomic. What.

           Tedd reveals he has 20-20 vision, and the glasses are because he looks really girly. He shows them the other functions, like night-vision, picture taking, and video-recording. It used to have x-ray vision, but he recently managed to remove it. When Susan makes a snide remark, he tells her that while he is a pervert, he never used that function because it would have been wrong. Susan reveals her real first name, Tiffany, and that her natural hair color is blonde. She goes by Susan because Tiffany Pompoms sounds like a dumb cheerleader, and she dyes her hair because her parents divorced at a young age when her dad cheated on her mom with a blonde woman. Tedd responds by telling about the fact his parents are divorced too, and his mom is somewhere in Europe. She extends a hand to offer a truce. That day when Tedd is picked on by a jock, before Elliot can help Susan hammers the guy over the head. Yays.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Sorry, no real post today, I'm neck deep in AMAZING FANFICTION! Seriously, Kavonde is a badass and now my personal favorite fanfic writer.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Brony Bookclub Episode 5-Shipping

               Dear Jim Butcher,

               Today on The Brony Bookclub we had on CoffeeGrunt, author of Allegrezza, and talked about shipping fics. We learned that Allegrezza was pretty much written a chapter at a time, not with a overarching story planned out. Grunt gave good advice on how not to write your fic. Rainbow Dash is again a bicycle. Sam and I made Avatar jokes while Grunt listened in confusion, though we disagree on who that fandom's bicycle is. He thinks it's Katara, I think it's Zuko. I am right. Apparently, Grunt helped preread on later chapters of "The Vinyl Scratch Tapes". According to Gruny, lesbians are awesome. (New title of the show-My Little Pony: Lesbians are Awesome.) Oh yeah, despite what I say in the episode "Of Challenges and Kisses" is Featherweight and Scootaloo. And I'm an idiot. Sam finished catching up on "A World Without Rainbows" which to that I say "Woo!" Grunt rambles about Ship fics for a while. I rage at Twixie. I endorse Rarijack. Grunt is Santa and his sack is full of ship-fic recommendations. Sam is all Satire today. Sam has the gall to mention a fic I'd love, then reveals it has disappeared from the ponynet. (He has been sent to pony hell.) I work Community into the podcast! Yay! The title of a fic breaks my mind. Sam and Grunt quote "Full Life Consequences." I respond with "Repercussions of Evil." I am the only one with a non-pony ship fic. OH COME ON! I finally plugged one of my favorite fics. Overall, we learned that Shipping is one of the fandom's favorite pastimes. The secret to good shipping is a combination between the chemistry between the characters and the author's skill at writing character interaction. The audience can find the episode here, and the mailbag here.

              Your faithful student,
              Roy Hankins

Watashi wa Anime ga daisukidesu-Puella Magi Madoka Magica

                Do not let the image nor the opening theme song fool you. This is not Sailor Moon. This is not Cardcaptor Sakura. This is not Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. This anime is to the Magical Girl genre of anime what Watchmen is to Superhero genre comic books. It is very much a deconstruction of the entire idea of a Magical Girl, and it frightens me. But you can find that out anywhere, that's literally how every review of it has to start. But most of them fail to follow up on the basic question: Should I watch it? The short answer: yes. The long answer: See below.

                 I don't say this very often, but damn that was some good animation. I am obviously not talking about the broadcast version, but the dub. The main characters are very well done, though several of the side characters felt a little flat and lacking in fiber. The action scenes were great. The story is one of the best I've seen in an anime in quiet a while. The best part, however, is the pacing. The show is 12 episodes long, and is paced perfectly. After using the first several episodes to set you up, each episode is full of content, and builds on what the previous one did. I used to think that 12-episode series almost always left you lacking, but then I took a Madoka Magica to the brain.

                Overall, I would heavily, heavily recommend anyone who watches anime give this a try. It is not something you have seen before, and is worth the watch. Personally, in sheer quality, I would probably put this up there with BeBop, though for different reasons. So, please, go watch it, or Kyubey will find you.
               Two anime finished in less than a week? I am back baby!