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  • Listening to: Yasunori Mitsuda - Time's Scar
  • Reading: Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind by Hayao Miyazaki
  • Watching: Snuff films (probably)
  • Playing: Pokémon Y (Why? Because we like you.)
  • Eating: Carvel ice cream cake
  • Drinking: Pimm's Cup No. 1

Okay, so, wow.


Back in 2008 I submitted sample reviews for a certain professional anime website (a big one), and the editor praised my work, but told me they already hired somebody for a position recently and they'd keep an eye out for me. A couple of years later in 2010 I received some token assignments for the site, and assumed I was on my way for a more permanent position (albeit, still a part-time review position, but I wanted to get my toe wet in professional writing), as I was assured just that by the editor. Time passed, and I largely dropped the matter, knowing that the editor knew who I was, interacting with him on occasion on Twitter, very cordially. We weren't friends, but he was aware of who I was and the quality of my writing, as well as my passion for anime.


So it's 2014 now. And for the past few months (so late 2013 as well) this certain website posted job openings for reviewers. I asked the head hancho of the site, the CEO of the company, if they were still looking for reviewers, and he referred me back to the editorial head, the person I previously referred to. I forwarded the very long e-mail chain of interactions about the subject of my possible position back to the editor. This time, last week at around this time, I finally received a definitive answer.


It was essentially, "Sorry, but we can never hire you, because you insulted a voice actor some years ago in a blog post you did. They might take it personally if I hire you. I assumed you already knew why we couldn't bring you on."


Well, look, I was fairly unrestrained in my criticism of a certain voice actor, though I never insulted him on a personal level or threatened him. In fact, he made a veiled threat towards me. I never singled him out in particular for criticism. I've been an unrelenting destroyer of the "classic" English dub he was a part of for years, and he was only one of many on the chopping block. I was very reasoned about what I didn't like about his performance, as well as the others in it. I detailed the reasons I disliked this VA's work. And I also stated that I've actually found his more recent work to be pretty good, because he's improved over time.


But fine, let's say I was undeniably, over-the-top rude towards this particular voice actor. Okay, then what? You wait FOUR FUCKING YEARS to tell me? Four years where I was often interacting with the staff of the website, participating in discussions, and such. Surely there was time during four years to tell me that I had fucked things up and couldn't be a reviewer on the team. You waited four years to tell me? How was I supposed to know? Nobody on the staff said a thing in all that time.


What a crock of total, unadulterated bullshit. I had the utmost respect for this editor and for this particular anime website. No, beyond that, an admiration. And maybe they didn't owe me anything for that. I get that. But you know, I wasn't just some defect from off the streets, that they didn't know anything about. They could have treated me with respect, even if they disagreed with me, instead of leaving me hanging.


Well, this unmitigated anal fistery shall not be forgotten.


otakurevolution.com/blogs/peng…



When ya get t'hell, tell 'em Penguin Truth sent ya.

  • Listening to: Penguin Memories OST
  • Reading: Batman comics
  • Watching: Snuff films (maybe)
  • Playing: Pokémon Y (Why? Because we like you.)
  • Eating: Goldfish crackers
  • Drinking: Pimm's Cup No. 1
So, yeah, I'm just going to use my DA account to store as many of my old sprite comics as I can. The site they were on went kablooey.

I may, at some time this year, return to doing them. I know they're not great, but I enjoy doing them, anyway.

Meanwhile, check out my NationStates nation (yeah, that's still around): www.nationstates.net/nation=pe…
  • Listening to: Scott Pilgrim vs The World OST
  • Reading: Ender's Shadow
  • Watching: Nothing in particular
  • Playing: Not the Scott Pilgrim game (thanks Ubisoft)
  • Eating: Not popcorn
  • Drinking: Not soda
I haven't written an entry here in forever, though I still upload stuff.

2011 was not a good year for me. I went through a lot of mental trauma for several months. For a while, I didn't think I'd live to see the holiday season. But I'm slowly regaining myself and getting back to work on sprite art.

So here's hoping your holiday season was great and that you and I both have a happy new year!

Right now, I need a drink. Of water, of course.


(Rum and Coke for New Year's Eve.)


(Why is it I can't edit the "listening to" and so on things?)
  • Listening to: Scott Pilgrim vs The World OST
  • Reading: Ender's Shadow
  • Watching: Nothing in particular
  • Playing: Not the Scott Pilgrim game (thanks Ubisoft)
  • Eating: Not popcorn
  • Drinking: Not soda
(Originally post by me here: otakurevolution.com/content/pr…)

Once upon time, in the magical land of Toronto, Canada, a young man named Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) played bass in a band called Sex Bob-Omb. He also dated a high school girl named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), lived with a cool gay roomate named Wallace Wells (Kieran Culkin), and tried hard to get over Envy Adams (Brie Larson). He's a got this manchild charm common of slackers of his age that happen to wear X-men patches on their coats and smile at the word "lesbian", and despite his snarkiness, poor pure Knives is head-over-heels in love with him.

But as soon as he thinks things are all wine and roses (or Coke One and Pizza Pizza), his precious little life is rocked by the appearance of a girl named Romona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). She's the girl of his dreams. Literally. She skates through his dreams, a faster route to deliver packages for Amazon.ca, and his first meeting with her at a hipster mixer does not endear him to her. So what's a boy in love to do? Why, order something to be delivered by her, and hope she'll agree to hang out with him. Luckily, he succeeds.

Romona's got an off-beat sassiness to her, and Scott is just as head-over-heels as Knives is for him. Unfortunately, she's got demons of her own, and Scott finds himself under assualt by The League of Evil Exes, who've all been dumped by Romona in the past. On the plus side, they don't all come at once, but on the downside, they want Scott dead, and will do anything to ruin Romona's love life. Don't these people have lives? I guess they're not evil for nothing. I've been told it's quite time-consuming, which is why I settle on bitter and passive-aggressive.

Speaking of bitter and passive-agressive, Scott's bandmates Kim Pine (Allison Pill, who I recogize from an episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent) and the appropriately named Stephen Stills ("the talent") (Mark Webber) are looking to make it semi-big by scoring a record contract as the prize of a battle of the bands tournament, which also draws the attention of Scott's own semi-evil (or at least extremely bitchy) ex and one of Romona's, which makes things very hectic for our Plumtree loving hero.

If you haven't yet read the six-volume manga-style comic by Bryan Lee O'Malley, who valiently overcame the handicap of being Canadian (as many of these brave actors and actresses do), you may not fully appreciate the effort put into capturing the comic's spirit (if not always the letter) on the big screen. I do. But trust me, you won't need to have read it at all to enjoy this fun ride into a video-game inspired, indy music-loving, snarky, snappy celebration of the geek chic. Er, and the geniunely geeky, too.

There's an assortment of big names in this movie including Chris Evans (of Fantastic Four) as the action star Lucas Lee, Brandon Routh (Superman Returns) as Envy's new boyfriend Todd Ingram (sporting vegan psychic powers that would make Superman blush), and Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore, Funny People) as manipulative club owner Gideon Graves.

But the real draw isn't the star power, the endless cuteness of Knives, the 80s/90s video game framing/referencing, or even the awkward fumfering of Cera's Scott (which isn't as cocky as I'd have preferred, as a fan of the comic, but serves well enough). The real draw is that as a viewer, I actually Envy (haha) the tenacity of the story to be both nerd-sating and somehow still pulls the heart strings. Maybe it's just the music selling the emotions, but I want to see Scott make it off with Romona into the subspace void. I want to see Knives recover from Scott's brush off. I certainly want to see Gideon get his coins knocked out. I even want to see how a certain promised brunch turns out. But most importantly, I want a copy of Ninja Ninja Revolution, which I'll play after watching Action Doctor".

It's not a perfect adaptation nor a perfect movie. It condenses quite a bit, simplifies or even cuts out certain characters and plot elements, and even seems to suffer from exhaustion just near the end. Whereas the comic took place over month, this seems to happen over a matter of weeks. What suffers the most from this is Scott's burgeoning relationship with Ramona. Whereas with Knives we get a good grip on their relationship in opening scenes, it often feels difficult to grasp Scott and Ramona's growing feelings, except through some vague argumenets about Scott's irritation over the attacking exes. We know why he wants her, but we don't get enough of why he wants to keep on with her, especially after all this trouble.

But a few flaws aside, this is a very celebration of what Scott Pilgrim is about. In fact, it handles some of it better than the comics. No drawn-out drama, no excessive plot threads, character overload, or long lulls in the tempo. This is a fast and furious riff on a guitar known as awesomeness.

I still miss the Chrono Trigger reference from the final battle in the comic, though. Damn it, Edgar Wright, that's my favorite video game, never remove a reference to it! Now I shall recruit six other Chrono Trigger fans and form The League of Nitpicky Nerds! And we will wreck you... on the internet! After our mothers feed us our dinners!

Prepare!


  
(Scott Pilgrim vs The World is 112 min long and is a Universal Pictures film and is out in theaters now.)
  • Listening to: Scott Pilgrim vs The World OST
  • Reading: Ender's Shadow
  • Watching: Nothing in particular
  • Playing: Not the Scott Pilgrim game (thanks Ubisoft)
  • Eating: Not popcorn
  • Drinking: Not soda
I just got back from watching Scott Pilgrim vs The World. It was fan-fucking-tastic. I haven't seen a movie I so thoroughly enjoyed in quite a while. Anywhoozle, until I write a review, I'll just go into my experience in the theater, because I think it's worth talking about.

So, generally when I go see a movie in the theater, I saddle up with a cherry Icee, and maybe some popcorn or a box of Sour Patch Kids. Today I was rocking the popcorn. But the Icee machine had broken down, so I was stuck getting a big Coke. I was fine with that. Pretty exciting story thus far, huh? Thrill at the stupendous adventures of Michael at the food court! But just wait, you lazy bastards.

So, I find a seat, in a fairly empty theater. Not a lot of people went to see it when I did, which was a little disappointing, but not very, since while I'd like to enjoy the movie with likeminded folks (if there were only such a thing as people like me), I don't like having too many people around (best to spread out a bit). I have my soda on one side, popcorn on my lap, earphones on during the commercials (I do remove them when the movie starts). Somebody actually let M. Knight Shamallamaman make another movie. People are trapped in an elevator, oh noes! Previews end, movie starts, awesome.

Except, not so awesome. Okay, the movie is awesome, but my stomach, definitely not awesome. Rumbling. Gurgling. Cramping. Ow. Take a sip of soda. Worse. Wait a few minutes. Better. Popcorn. Bad. Worse now. Great. I spent 10 dollars on popcorn and soda, and my digestive system explodes into a civil war. Half way into the movie, I still can't touch my damn snacks.

Luckily, knowing myself, I brought some gas pills (don't ask), but downing them with a carbonated beverage, that's too cute to work. As I laugh at video game references and charming comic book effects, the pain subsides. Cinema soothes the savage beast. For a while, anyway. I regretfully am lulled into a false sense of security and partake in what I can imagine is maybe sort of buttered popcorn, which I down with a sip of my drink. For a while, it was good.

But, by the time Scott had downed his fourth opponent (and Mae Whitman is an awesome Roxy), it felt like Romona had hit me in the belly with that sledgehammer, and I was about to get up to use the facilities, but I steeled my determination to finish the movie, stuck it out, and survived. Even NegaMe couldn't have stopped me. Well, he probably would have taken my popcorn.

By the end of the film, I had finished half of my beverage and half of my popcorn and was pretty satisfied by the movie itself (we almost got a KNIVES END, which would have been interesting). I wasn't going to just waste all that money I spent on concessions. (Hey, maybe they're called that because you conceed to spending tons of money on shit that wracks your body.) So as the credits rolled, I ate and drank, and ettiquette be damned. Ettiquette didn't count on me spending my hard-begged cash on shit I can't eat.

Scott Pilgrim: 1     Michael's Digestive System: 0

When the Blu-Ray comes out, I'm thinking about punching myself in the gut a dozen or so times to replicate the experience.
  • Listening to: Scott Pilgrim vs The World OST
  • Reading: Ender's Shadow
  • Watching: Nothing in particular
  • Playing: Not the Scott Pilgrim game (thanks Ubisoft)
  • Eating: Nothing (at the moment!)
  • Drinking: Water
Been working on my comics! (fupushi.net/sidestory/)

Take a lot at my new revised version of my room at Penguinopolis in my Scrapbook!

Also, got a Scott Pilgrim custom avatar as an ID picture. My sideburns aren't quite as long, but otherwise it resembles me pretty well.

Really looking forward to the Scott Pilgrim movie!
  • Listening to: Scott Pilgrim vs The World OST
  • Reading: Ender's Shadow
  • Watching: Nothing in particular
  • Playing: Not the Scott Pilgrim game (thanks Ubisoft)
  • Eating: Nothing (at the moment!)
  • Drinking: Water
Been working on my comics again... sort of. I put a few new ones up recently (check it all out at fupushi.net/sidestory/), but I've got a lot of work to do in order to do some of the stuff I want to.

Check out my Scrapbook, where I put up a new revised version of my room at Penguinopolis. I've spent hours working on it.
  • Listening to: Nothin'
  • Reading: 20th Century Boys vol 9
  • Watching: GitS: SAC
  • Playing: Nothin'
  • Eating: Nothing (at the moment!)
  • Drinking: Water
My thoughts on Fullmetal Alchemist chapter 108 (THE END):

One hundred and eight chapters of Hiromu Arakawa's fantasy-action-drama. Nine years of it. Granted, I haven't been following it for nine years (more like six), but I feel like I've invested quite a bit of time reading, discussing, debating, arguing, ranting, raving, theorizing, fankwanking, reviewing, and spriting the characters, storylines, and mysteries of this epic tale of two brothers looking to get back what they lost in a terrible mistake, guided by the principal they had so tragically ignored.

So, how then, after all this time, does Hiromu Arakawa wrap up this nine year endeavor? With pomp and extravagance? With bitter tragedy? With a disturbing mind screw? Rocks fall, everyone dies? What could possibly give the thousands of fans a satisfying conclusion to this story of both dispair and hope?

All right, okay, I'm stalling. The question is, did I like the final chapter of Fullmetal Alchemist?

Yes. Yes, I did. A lot more than I expected.

But first, let's look at some of my predictions and how close they came to coming true:

Prediction #1: Hohenheim will sacrifice himself for his sons. Hm, no this one didn't happen. He offered himself up as a toll to bring back Alphonse, but Edward rejected the idea and nothing more was said of it (I expected him to do it anyway). Hoho Papa did finally pass, with a smile on his face at the grave of his wife. I guess he used the last of his strength getting from Central to Risembool. Guy's a quick walker. Anyway, I got Wolfwood vibes from him, because he died thinking that he actually wanted to live now.

Prediction #2: Greed will die. This came true, but not quite in the way I thought. I mean, Father did reabsorb Greed, but then Greed used it against him for a moment, before Father killed him. Ling lives on and apparently becomes Emperor of Xing somehow (that would make for an interesting spinoff, even though I don't like Ling very much). I'm still a little miffed at Greed just wanting friends the whole time. That was lame. But at least Greed went out fighting. Sorta.

Prediction #3: Alchemy will change. Well, it doesn't seem to have. Though we don't see anyone use alchemy after Edward uses his Gate as a toll, it is implied that Roy will regain his sight via the use of a Philosopher's Stone. I would think that Amestris would start adopting rentanjutsu from that point on, because of the pitfalls of the Truth, but I guess as long as you aren't committing the taboo of human transmutation, you don't have to worry.

Prediction #4: Scar will probably survive. This one I got right, as after collapsing, Scar is retrieved by Olivier Armstrong's troops. First so that she can learn of rentanjutsu, but then she allows him to go with Miles in reforming the policies towards Ishbal. Scar seems to be fine with this, and Olivier just likes this because it might shock Mustang.

Prediction #5: Amestris will change, and either Roy or Olivier will be the Fuhrer of the government will change to a democracy. None of those things happened. Instead, General Grumman became the new Fuhrer, with the other high officers having died in or arrrested after the final conflict. Roy is promoted to Brigadier General, though.

Prediction #6: Edward marries Winry and they have children. Okay, this was sort of a joke prediction when I made it, but it came true, with one of the final pages revealing Edward and Winry holding children, presumably their own.

Things that I liked about the final chapter:

- Greed got one final shining moment, making Father into weakened carbon.

- Father got a karmic death (though it's still not clear where Father is originally from).

- Edward called Hohenheim "father" (though it was after the words "shitty excuse for a").

- Edward's clever way of getting Alphonse back by sacrificing his Gate.

- Alphonse returning to his body!

- Hohenheim died with a smile on his face.

- Winry's welcome.

- The brothers going on their own journeys.

Things I didn't like about the final chapter:

- Greed died, but Ling survived.

- We still don't know exactly how Father came into being.

- We don't learn what "God" is or if it's really God.

- Roy and the other State Alchemists suffer no consequences for their actions in Ishbal (consequences Riza said were instrumental to the reformation of the government.)

- We don't know how Olivier and her soldiers got excused after being blamed for the coup attempt.

- We don't see Roy get his sight back (though it's implied he will via Philosopher's Stone, which itself seems like a bit of a cop-out, but then so was him being forced to be a sacrifice).

- Pride/Selim gets an undeserved happy ending.

- Several of the final pages are wasted on Winry.

Plus, I wonder, if Edward can't use alchemy, can he still use rentanjutsu if he learned it?

There are some interesting parallels to the ending of the first television series, if you think about it. Edward can't use alchemy, Alphonse has returned to his body, Roy is a Brigadier General, Alphonse has to be brought back from within the Gate, there's a child homunculi still alive, and Ed and Al are on another journey. The last scene even takes place at a train station, and the last scene of the first series takes place on a train. Edward even looks a bit like he looked at the end of the first series or in the movie. Well, it's been said that Arakawa laid out her plans for the manga to Bones when they made the first show.

Now, it's been said that there was nothing daring or extraordinary about the final chapter, that it was a bit run-of-the-mill and predictable. But to the people who say that, I wonder, what exactly were they expecting? Arakawa wraps up the main points of the story, and gives the Elric brothers the happy ending they've earned through their suffering and perservering through the years, an ending that even somebody like me who prefers more honest, bittersweet endings, still enjoyed thoroughly, because that was the ending that most fit the manga.

It left me with a big smile on my face and thoughts and feelings of the journey I joined these characters on imprinted in my mind. I won't soon forget this journey I took with them, and thank Hiromu Arakawa for allowing me to take that journey.
  • Listening to: Nothin'
  • Reading: Ender's Shadow
  • Watching: Lupin III
  • Playing: POKEYMANZ, man!
  • Eating: Nothing (at the moment!)
  • Drinking: Water
So, the final chapter of Fullmetal Alchemist, chapter 108, is out in Japan. But I haven't read it, and I wanted to lay down some of the predictions I have for it.

*****SPOILERS*****

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- Hohenheim ends up sacrificing himself to restore his sons. Hohenheim is seeking to be with his wife, is looking for death, and would probably sacrifice what's left of his Philosopher's Stone to return Ed and Al to the way they were. However, if this doesn't happen, I can see Arakawa going in the direction of "Life is precious, you shouldn't seek its end", where Hohenheim survives, but will now only live a regular mortal life and die sometime later of old age. Maybe this will allow him to be with his sons and live as a family.

- Greed will be vanquished somehow. He's the only homunculus left, and I can see him dying if Father dies. Otherwise, I don't see Ling having a happy ending, even though he's come to a amiable relationship with Greed. Either Greed will end up sacrificing himself somehow, or will just fade away when Father is defeated. On the other hand, it would be interesting to see if Ling keeps Greed in him and they return to Xing to rule it.

- Something about the way alchemy works will fundamentally change, or Amestris will start adopting rentanjutsu in some way to avoid the pitfalls of having the Truth involved with alchemy.

- Scar will probably survive. Just collapsing and dying quietly doesn't seem like something Arakawa would write for a character that's been around for so long. Part of me wants to see him die for his redemption, but another part of me doesn't think it's necessary. Living and becoming a better person, a wiser person, a more accepting person, that is redemption, too. I don't think anything Scar has done was so heinous that he cannot live to see another day as the person he's become, but if he dies, I will understand that, too. If he does die, I hope he thinks of the Rockbells as he passes, and their kindness, or if he lives, visits their grave with Winry, maybe farm some in Risembool.  

- Amestris will change, because either Roy or Olivier will be the Fuhrer, or the government will change altogether to a democracy. Nothing happens over night, though. To be honest, though, I can see Olivier wanting to return to Briggs rather than run things at Central.

- Edward marries Winry and they have four kids, and one is named Maes, and two others are named after Winry's parents, and another is named... what, you think this is vomit-inducing fanfiction happy ending drivel? Yeah, me too. But it's not as though our hero doesn't deserve a happy ending. Personally, though, I like bittersweet endings.

(That last one isn't a real prediction.)

Anyway, this month is the month! The manga ends, Brotherhood ends (I think), and Fullmetal Alchemist is history. However it ends, I'm sure it will remain a favorite title of mine for quite a while.
  • Listening to: Beat Crusaders - Hit in the USA
  • Reading: 20th Century Boys vol 8
  • Watching: Neon Genesis Evangelion
  • Playing: POKEYMANZ, man!
  • Eating: Nothing (at the moment!)
  • Drinking: Water
SPOILER ALERT... I WARNED YOU FEEBS!:

So, wow, I'm just about as late with this review as I was with the last one. Well, I have all the time I want for the next, because it's the final chapter, which makes this the penultimate chapter of Hiromu Arakawa's Fullmetal Alchemist!

What have I said about cliffhangers in Fullmetal Alchemist? They. Never. Pay. Off. This is the second or third time Father has unleashed a great blast of energy that envelopes everything and again, our heroes recover, though Al is much worse for wear and Hohenheim isn't looking good. Not surprisingly, Roy and Riza team up so he can use his flames to fight Father, but happily it does nothing. I like that now he's using clapping alchemy, since he can, having seen the Truth. (Oooh, having seen it... sorry, Roy.)

Greed is my favorite FMA character, because he's so playfully jaunty and unabashedly selfish, and has an air of cool about him. He also has this sense of loyalty to his "belongings", his allies. He does value friends, even if it's in his own strange way. But I always thought that he still geniunely wanted everything in the world. He's Greed, after all. I figured if they went the whole "He just wanted friends all this time" route, it would be painfully lame, but always assured myself that Arakawa was a better writer than that.

Oops, looks like she's not. No, Greed's entire motivation, despite being Father's greed, is really just for good friends. You know, despite that he's already had two crews of friends and has already learned the value of friendship, and wanted the world even when he had his original crew. So this whole time he wasn't greedy, just lonely, despite the fact he was born into a family of siblings who he could have just stuck with. Oh wait, he didn't, because he's greedy. So... wait. What? What the fuck is Arakawa doing to me? Is she trying to ruin my favorite character? We know he's got nobility in him, but don't soften him up with this fucking Disney moral. He's Greed!

What I did like in this chapter was the interaction between Greed and Olivier, with him telling her to realize her limitations, given her injuries, and her being pissed at him. It's fun to see two of my favorite characters who have never interacted before interact before this is all over. It's almost like Arakawa thought that as she wrote this. "Oh, yeah, I don't think those two have ever met. Hey, here's an idea." It was cute.

The fight with Father has Edward and Greed teaming up to get through to Father, with Greed's trap working long enough for Ed to force Father's power over "God" to run out. This leads Father to try to use Ed's life to keep "God" in him (though is one life enough? There are easier targets all around he he chooses Edward?). But Alphonse sacrifices himself to restore Edward's human arm so he can use alchemy. The Truth still has one of Edward's legs, but at least he has his arm back.

Sacrificing himself to restore Ed, seems familiar. Well, they did say that Arakawa outlined where she was going with her story to Bones back when the first anime series was being made. This sacrifice is done on the fly, though, and we don't have time to absorb it, but I like the added touch of Ed calling Al an idiot as he goes into battle, because it shows that heven though he's devestated, he's in the middle of a fight.

Edward calls Father a "third-rate fraud" (though in at least one scanlation, it's "miserable fuck"), the same thing he said of Cornello at the beginning of FMA. I thought that was another great added touch. Looks like Ed's stepping up as the main character again, but isn't it a little late?

Anyway, despite some of my griping, the art was great and I'm very much looking forward to seeing how Arakawa wraps this up.
  • Listening to: SID - Ray of Light
  • Reading: Osamu Tezuka's MW (chilling!)
  • Watching: Baccano!
  • Playing: POKEYMANZ, man!
  • Eating: Nothing
  • Drinking: Water
This is late in coming (chapter 107 should be out soon!), but here I go:

Sorry it's taken me so long! In fact, chapter 107 should be out soon! Yeesh.

This chapter got a little trippy, which is nothing new after a few chapters ago when Father "swallowed God" or something of the sort. We get a bit of weirdness with Father creating people out of himself, no doubt from the souls encased in him, or maybe with the "God" he took into himself, as a distraction to the sacrifices fighting him. Also there was the bit where Ed "enters" Pride, which I guess is left to the imagination as to how. It seems a little too esoteric, even for FMA, and it sort of bothered me, to be honest.

I was glad that Edward finally got to beat a homunculi. Hell, that he got to do anything is a real step up from his lack of involvement in the past, I don't know, forty or so chapters. He is the main character, after all. It was disappointing that he was only able to beat Pride after Pride had been through the wringer, but then, Ed sort of has, too, recently. My only real problem with the fight was, as I mentioned, that weird bit where he goes into Pride and Kimbley helps him defeat him. While I like the idea of Kimbley coming back in a way, and helping to take down Pride, I feel like it's forced, because Pride didn't utilize Kimbley at all, or even attempt to, and so it seems like Kimbley was placed there for the sole reason of being part of his defeat. It's bad writing. It reminds me of the Roy vs Envy fight. Just because something looks cool doesn't make it good writing.

And what's with that baby thing inside of Pride that Edward took out for later? I have a feeling he'll be giving it to Mrs. Bradley when all is said and done, so that she can have some sort of happy ending, but that's just extremely eye-rollingly lame. Even though Mrs. Bradley is easy to feel bad for, Selim never really existed, it was the bastard Pride. This isn't Sailor Moon, giving the baddie a second chance at childhood like Hotaru. Gimme a break.

Still, the pages of Ed shattering Pride's head is now my desktop wallpaper. Looks pretty bitchin'.

Another thing that baffled me was this thing about Scar's brother figuring everything ever out, by himself, with just a little help from Xingese texts on rentanjutsu. Come on. Really? We're supposed to believe that Scar's brother was some massive genius who figured out what was going on and how to reverse it? It's asking a little much of the reader to believe all that.

The Philosopher's Stone buffer zone is an interesting aspect, though. All this time, the alchemists in Amestris were using Philosopher's Stones as the source of their alchemy. But that leaves the question of what would happen if an Amestrian alchemist used alchemy in Drachma or one of the other surrounding countries? Did Father have a buffer element throughout the entire world, or just Amestris? Anyway, with that layer gone, apparently the purpose behind the reverse transmutation circle, the Amestrian alchemists are now much more powerful, and their alchemy can't be disabled by Father.

The actual fight with Father was the best part of the chapter, and caused the least amount of headaches. I especially liked the bit where Greed tried to use, as he put it, his "old bathtub", to kill Father. Of course, to no avail, but I enjoyed the callback. But Father zaps the hell out of Hohenheim, Roy, Izumi, and Alphonse as Ed comes up from out of the hole he created to escape the den, so it looks like they might all be doomed. I doubt it, though. It would be interesting if Ed is the only one to survive, or at least the only one to recover right away and has to fight Father by himself.

I have a feeling that, as usual, this is one of those cliffhangers that fails to pay off.

Wow, re-reading all of the above, I sound pretty negative, but I didn't really dislike the chapter. It had plenty going for it, especially some of the excellent art. Arakawa's style has gotten even better over time. Still, there were a lot of elements that bothered me.

It's not like I'm going to stop reading when the manga's going to end soon, though!
  • Listening to: SID - Rain
  • Reading: Osamu Tezuka's MW (chilling!)
  • Watching: SDF Macross
  • Playing: POKEYMANZ, man!
  • Eating: Nothing
  • Drinking: Water
Back to work on sprites, that is! (You didn't think I was doing any *real* work, did you?)

I have a new master sprite sheet, in my scrapbook. I've organized and labeled, and it's there as an archive in case I lose the master sprite sheet on my laptop... and backup drive... and mp3 player... and backup discs. Okay, so it's mostly to show off.

The stuff in the red boxes, by the way, is not mine. A guy named Rob and a few others (Ryan and Wyrex) did the main "MIKEFG883" sprite poses when Rob started doing OR: The Strip years ago, and I've been adding on to them ever since with other poses, as I've had to for the sake of the Side Story and Penguin Chronicles.

Speaking of my strips, I'm back to work on those, too, but probably won't start churning full strips out for another month or so.

My new sprites in the main gallery are of Hohenheim and Trisha from Fullmetal Alchemist, as you can see.

I'm still working on various anime reviews over at my blog: otakurevolution.com/

I need to get to my thoughts on FMA chapter 106 soon. And I have a feeling the manga will be ending within the next couple of chapters.

Feel free to make character requests for my sprites. Doesn't mean I'll do them, but I'll consider!
  • Listening to: Yui - Again
  • Reading: 20th Century Boys vol 7
  • Watching: Baccano!
  • Playing: POKEYMANZ, man!
  • Eating: Skittles!
  • Drinking: Water
It seems like part of my long-running theory was correct, and part of it was wrong. I did get right that what Hohenheim did all those chapters ago when he spilled part of his Philosopher's Stone out into the ground was part of his plan to defeat Father, and that he would activate his plan when it seemed Father was unbeatable. However, it was not part of the reverse array after all. The question becomes, did Hohenheim always intend to make the reverse array and he just stumbled into the others working on it or did he not know about it yet until Alphonse brought him the news about it in Lior? Either way, enough of my theory was correct to make me satisfied, even though it does seem a little cheesy that he can still use the souls as active participants.

Another thing we have is the returning of the souls to the people of Amestris, via Hohenheim's old pals' souls. This happened a little too soon, almost to the point where it seemed pretty pointless for the story to have taken those souls to begin with. I expected something more like Hohenheim using the souls of Amestris to fight Father somehow, but I guess that would have been even more over-the-top. Well, I guess Winry fans can breathe a sigh of relief, at least.

To me, while it's nice Scar is finally coming around to his brother's words, he still seems little more than a plot device. Even his defeat of Bradley wasn't that interesting to me. I felt like it was too late in the story to be having that. Bradley did have a neat death scene, though. I realized that he enjoyed being angry, being Wrath. It gave him great joy to have that rage. I feel like that too, sometimes. Like I'm almost happy to be angry about something.

Now that Amestrian alchemy has returned, it looks like Edward will get to do something. Hopefully he won't get overshadowed by the others.

How is it that Father's table with all that stuff on it hasn't overturned or anything? Everything is still on there, all the little beakers and tubes. I'd very much like to know what he keeps on there.
  • Listening to: Yui - Again
  • Reading: 20th Century Boys vol 7
  • Watching: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
  • Playing: POKEYMANZ, man!
  • Eating: Nothing
  • Drinking: Water
So, I've started to work on a few things for OR: Side Story and Penguin Chronicles again. My new submissions are mostly scraps, but my main gallery has a new character from my PC strips, Ahiru. I figure I'll have new strips done by sometime next month. After the big undertaking of the last big story arcs in both strips, I want to take it a little easier this time, if I can.

Meanwhile, I'll do a little writing, maybe submit some poetry to literary magazines. I've put my novel on hold again since I sort of hit a wall with that. I know what I want to do for the rest of the chapter I'm working on, but getting to it is a bother.

Anyway, enjoy my crap!

(I'll do more FMA sprites sometime soon, really!)
  • Listening to: Nothing
  • Reading: Nothing
  • Watching: Baccano! (Great show!)
  • Playing: POKEYMANZ, man!
  • Eating: Nothing
  • Drinking: Water
Scribble

Once I was a scribble
with jutting lines and spines
floating in a white abyss;
a tattered mess of ink.

Then, artist as you are,
you drew lines around me,
trapping me in boundaries;
a solid figure formed.

And so I grasped
and gasped, and breathed,
moving in a picture's space;
an animated shape.

You pulled so hard
on my lines that I thought
I might at once unspool
and return to a scribble.

You erased hard enough
on my form that I thought
I might disperse in rubber
and cease to be.

You scrawled so much
on me that I thought
I might become again
a scribble.

But once a scribble is a figure
you can never scribble hard enough
to return it to a scribble.

At least,
*you* can't.

- Michael Fitz-Gibbon
(2010)
  • Listening to: Nothing
  • Reading: Nothing
  • Watching: Patlabor
  • Playing: Nothing
  • Eating: Nothing
  • Drinking: Nothing
AIM: Sesshomikers, MIKEFG883, windwaker83
YAHOO: penguintruth83
E-MAIL: penguintruth@gmail.com, MIKEFG883@aol.com
LIVEJOURNAL: kajin01
DA: penguintruth
FORMSPRING.ME: penguintruth
YOUTUBE: Sesshomikers
ANN FORUMS: penguintruth
DAIZENSHUU EX FORUMS: penguintruth
FULLMETAL-ALCHEMIST.COM FORUMS: penguintruth
FUNIMATION FORUMS: penguintruth
TWITTER: penguintruth

And aside from the Side Story, I have a blog here: otakurevolution.com/

You cannot say I'm unavailable or hard to contact. I'm every-fucking-where on the internet and I'm on nearly all the time.
  • Listening to: Howard Stern Show
  • Reading: FMA vol 22 (and ch 104 aside)
  • Watching: Patlabor
  • Playing: Nothin'
  • Eating: Nothin'
  • Drinking: Delicious cold water!
***** SPOILERS *****

My thoughts on Fullmetal Alchemist Chapter 104:

Mei was really hanging in there against Father. But it's hard to beat a guy who can turn his friggin' hand into a gun. Wow, that was weird. It's a good thing Alphonse jumped in and helped her. I've never been big on the Xingese characters, but I'm hoping Mei survives all this.

Shorty Edward vs shorty Pride was another highlight of the chapter. Finally, Edward actually gets to do something again in this series. It's been too long. I mean, it only lasts a few pages, but hey, he got to headbutt the little creep that was easily wasting everyone else in combat. I mean, of course, Pride is weakened because of the Roy sacrifice, but still, it's good to see him taking some damage, and Ed being the one giving it. If Roy ends up the one taking Pride out, I'm going to be angry.

Also, did Edward say he'll kill him? Edward, kill?

Wow, I never thought of the "planet's Gate" thing before, that's pretty interesting. I guess it does make sense to think of the entire world as a living organism. That this was Father's plan all along is pretty clever. (I guess Dante in TV series 1 was thinking too small.) However, this whole thing is going to draw, and already has drawn, quite a lot of differing fan reactions.

My question is, what is this "God" that Father spoke of? Is this an acknowledgement of a real God in the FMA world or does it represent the Truth?

It was good to see Greed again, even if it was Greedling, and he was unable to do anything of worth. So much for seizing control of the world. What was he even planning to do?

So, where do we go from here? I'm still betting on Hohenheim and Scar's back up plan, but there might be some hitches in it, because I have a hard time believing everything will work out so smoothly. I've been saying that Hohenheim set everything up a long time ago, back when he was travelling around, spilling out parts of his Philosopher's Stone, but is that enough to save the whole country? Then again, he had half of a country's people in him.

What of Scar's battle with Wrath? Wasn't it just coming to a head with him revealing the other arm? Is Arakawa to leave it at that?

I have a feeling that the ending of this manga is going to have some people applauding and others scratching their heads.
  • Listening to: Howard Stern Show
  • Reading: FMA vol 22
  • Watching: Gundam
  • Playing: Nothin'
  • Eating: Nothin'
  • Drinking: Nothin'
First of all, I did a review for the first episode of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn (or "Gundam UC" as they're calling it here in the US) for Anime News Network: www.animenewsnetwork.com/revie…

Second, I'm one of those folks who have enough time on their hands to answer stupid questions, so ask me them!: www.formspring.me/penguintruth

Third, er, haven't been working on any sprite stuff lately, but maybe sometime this month. There are a few more FMA characters I'd like to sprite, then I need to start thinking about new comic strips.

Later! :D
  • Listening to: Howard Stern Show
  • Reading: Speaker for the Dead
  • Watching: Monster
  • Playing: Nothin'
  • Eating: Nothin'
  • Drinking: Water
"I thought what I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes. That way I wouldn't have to have any goddam stupid useless conversations with anybody. If anybody wanted to tell me something, they'd have to write it on a piece of paper and shove it over to me. They'd get bored as hell doing that after a while, and then I'd be through with having conversations for the rest of my life." - Catcher in the Rye, Chapter 25, pg. 198
  • Listening to: Howard Stern Show
  • Reading: FMA Chapter 103
  • Watching: Monster
  • Playing: Attack of the Saiyans (trying to beat Broly)
  • Eating: FIVE... FIVE DOLLAR... FIVE DOLLAR FOOT LONG!
  • Drinking: Dr Pepper
So, I put up the Father and Arakawa sprite I used in my Christmas strip. I've been taking a break from spriting, so it'll be a while before any big updates.

Why am I taking a break? For one, sprite art, as simple and stupid as it is, can be a little exhausting. Especially if you're working on strips with backgrounds, special effects, etc.

Another reason is, because I want to do some writing. I'm writing a book, you know.

Sample:

Disregarding the weather, I prepared warm chamomile tea. We sat at opposite sides of the table. His briefcase rested against my rusted heater as we nursed our cups. I assessed my situation. Clearly an effort had been made by this security firm, though to what lengths I could only guess. This man— this Elliot Morbell— was clean and practiced, but at what, I also could only guess. The courtesy confused me, as I could see my own confused him. He was like a realtor or director of a funeral home, more concerned with making a sale than with the movement of important boxes. I tried sizing him up, taking into account our previous conversation. He didn't seem physically threatening. However, no sinister man can be quite so sinister when sipping chamomile at a kitchen table. Even, or especially on, a day like that one was.

Morbell sniffed at the pungent air in my apartment. He moved his eyes around the neglected kitchen, it's paint peeled, wallpaper older than the two of us, crumb-littered, with mail strewn about. It didn't register on his face. I watched him watch me as he looked, and he moved his sight to the living room, stuffed heavy with CD and DVD boxsets, large half-read books on gun maintenance and classical music composers. A piano stood in a corner. Next to it, a stack of pornography. His eyes fell back before me. Between us was a large plastic penguin. Emma would understand the ferocity of the irony.

Morbell raised an eyebrow. "I see you're a man of eclectic tastes."


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