What We're Watching
Heeeey, it's been, like, at least a week since we've done one of these, right? Right.
So, I started watching The Magicians as MA research and also just generally because of all the hype for it, and I can say that it doesn't really quite live up to said hype, which framed it as the new Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the American Doctor Who, or a genre-defining work of television that is both sinister and compelling in equal measures.
It is a lot of fun, though. When I say it doesn't live up to its height, that's not me saying it's not an excellent series -- and a superb example of fantasy television working within a tight budget -- that has me basically hooked, just that it's not the Holy Grail of television its fans have made it out to be.
My one big problem with it is my big problem with a lot of American television -- the shallow cynicism of it all. The Magicians is, in essence, about bad things happening to cynical, arch people whose only character arcs basically amount to 'being cynical and then becoming more cynical.' It's the kind of tone that drives a lot of US television (as for some reason it is apparently endlessly compelling to US audiences), and it is totally unconvincing and actually kind of boring, especially when the cynical tone feels so empty.
But that said, I am really enjoying The Magicians, and I look forward to finishing it and writing a review.
Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters.
Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters is an interesting game. With a dialogue tree system that makes no sense (what does it mean if I pick the 'fist' and the 'nose' ? Tell me, game!), posterised photos as backgrounds in the most overtly low-budget move ever, and a story that tries to mimic a thirteen episode anime but not, like, a good thirteen episode anime, it's a game that definitely officially qualifies as 'interesting to play, but maybe not, like, good.'
I'm Let's Playing it right now, so check that out, but what you really need to know about the game is that it's part visual novel, part puzzle game, and part tactical RPG, and it has no idea whatsoever how to balance those parts in any meaningful fashion.
It's got an absurdly low budget, but honestly, that makes sense, because the developer -- Toybox Inc -- is made up of exactly two people: Former Harvest Moon creator Yasuhiro Wada and one other person.
Tales of Zestiria the X.
Tales of Zestiria is an anime adaptation of Tales of Zestiria, a game I just finished Let's Playing, but it's a pretty liberal adaptation: I'm only one gorgeously animated episode in, and in that episode, approximately nothing that happened in the game happened.
Tales of Zestiria the X seems to be an adaptation that seeks to fix a deficiency in Tales of Zestiria -- it places more focus on Alisha, has Lunarre and Symonne make their appearances early on as the seeming main antagonists of the story (Heldalf, I'm informed, does not make an appearance until almost halfway through), and while I'm told that the first act of the game is pretty closely adhered to, the anime apparently goes off in a completely different direction from then on.
Which honestly, I think is a good idea. Tales of Zestiria's story had potential but was crippled by a whole load of key, foundational problems -- an adaptation that takes what works and discards what doesn't can really only be a good thing.