02 June 2017

The Squees of Spring: An Update

Once I purchased Persona 5, I fell into a deep rabbit hole in which I think I'm climbing back out of. It's hard to say at this point since I'm still in the middle of being distracted. I haven't streamed or updated my blog due to my narrow focus as of late. At least I have uploaded nearly 20 chapters of my Persona 3 fanfic on a semi-regular weekly basis, though I had to pause briefly to make some additional changes to my drafts before continuing the upload.

I will keep working on my Mass Effect: Andromeda post, but with the three released patches and the news that Bioware's Montreal team is being downsized due to all the backlash and EA being EA, I still don't feel entirely confident rendering judgement on the game. My excitement has sobered considerably, particularly because Persona 5 is vastly superior in nearly every single way, and I have been unable to bring myself to complete my third run with my Vetra-mancing Ryder despite being 75% done the main story. That sentence might damn the game more than a long rant, but I have to be honest about where I'm sitting as of today.

Rather than focus on lukewarm topics, I'll share more positive news.

Thank the superior being(s) for Persona 5, because I have FINALLY returned to anime.

The three-year PTDS Madoka Magica - along with Amnesia, Attack on Titan, and Devil Survivor 2 The Animation which have all caused my blood pressure to skyrocket - inflicted upon me is finally fading away. I finally pulled myself out of that awful misery that stupid show made me feel, and I have spent much time this week after work on Crunchyroll. I cannot express how happy I am over this.

Which then leads me to wanting to hide under my covers to withstand the verbal assaults from the internet because of what show pulled me back into anime. Some might have wished it was JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (which is a very good series in its own right, and I tried to use it to get me back into anime but failed despite my efforts), but nope. I watched the overhyped, overrated, over-acclaimed anime about attractive young men figure skating that tumblr went batshit over to the point that supposedly their site along with Crunchyroll's crashed due to heavy traffic and stole every award it was nominated for even if it only deserved maybe one or two of them.

I will avoid talking about Yuri!!! on Ice for a while for similar but different reasons than Mass Effect: Andromeda. Not only is it too soon for me to render fair judgment upon this polarizing piece of fiction, Yuri!!! on Ice has stirred a variety of feelings in me that I don't have the ability to speak of it with any hint of objectivity.

Until then, I must make my confession now. I think I like it, guys. Like... a lot. Maybe too much. Way too much. As soon as there is a blu-ray release for all 12 episodes in the West, I'll buy it in a heartbeat. (Speaking of which, damnit, Japan! The fact it takes such a long time for disc releases in the West made it even harder for me to return to anime!) I really, really, really, really love Yuri!!! on Ice. It's tightly written, the characters are delightfully colorful, the figure skating is impressive and beautiful (despite the mid-series animation blunders), and the romance is so fucking adorable I nearly screamed for joy countless times and almost had multiple heart attacks for the entire second half of the show. Just thinking about some of those moments is enough to make me grin like a dumbass. Yuri!!! on Ice and it's creators being honest and comfortable with tackling a mutually happy, healthy relationship that most writers cannot do without tripping over themselves by thoughtlessly implementing dead-horse cliches and statistically "sure-fire" plot ideas made me so absolutely and absurdly ecstatic. And wait for the sequel is going to be the death of me --

Ok, I think I said enough. Relax, me, please suppress your urge to squee like a high school girl who had her crush ask her out to prom.  L-Let's move on before you say something you will regret in a few months. (Kinda like how I cringe at about 75% of my past posts for bad grammar, horrible "jokes", and bizarre arguments I must have pulled out of my ass.)

To atone for my sins by giving Yuri!!! on Ice even more attention than it probably deserves by watching it three times, I have watched Erased and March Comes in Like a Lion. Both have moved me to tears, and I can happily say my track record for anime remains in the green. I'm excited for season two of 3-gatsu no Lion, and I will read the manga to continue following the heartbreakingly beautiful story of a pessimistic 17-year-old boy who I relate with to ridiculous degrees. Meanwhile, I will watch the last fight between Naruto and Sasuke in Naruto Shippuden to bring some closure to one of the first anime series I followed back when I was eleven. Much like before, I'll continue to be picky. Hell, I cannot believe Sword Art Online is still insanely popular and ongoing despite how its hatebase is large and vocal. *sighs* Some things never change...

If nothing else I liked in the past three months will stay in my good graces in the future, Persona 5 might be the one that will persevere. It took the best parts of Persona 3 and Persona 4 and polished them to the point the game is a sharp, finely tuned instrument that will massacre much of its competition. I sank over 120 hours into the game, and I am so in love with the characters, the plot, the combat, and the music. I picked up the Japanese audio add-on, and the Persona 2 costume set, so I can listen to my favorite battle theme music in the entire Persona series. (Nocturne has the best battle music in all of MegaTen, however.)

In a way, Persona 5 was therapy for me. 2016 was such an inexplicably horrendous year, and somehow Persona 5 discussed several topics that reminded me of last year's insanity. I lived vicariously through the characters, calling out on society's corruption, stopping awful people who keep getting away with their crimes, and coping with the shaky moral ground one stands on when they chose to be a vigilante fighting for own perceived righteous justice. And to a certain extent, I felt some comfort in knowing that even Japan is going through crises of their own that aren't too different than what's happening in the United States and the rest of the world. Persona 5 felt like a cathartic slap in the face that I did not know how much I badly needed.

Although I will joke, whine, and cry until kingdom come that I can't romance the best boy, so much in Persona 5 helped me deal with the anger, frustration, and sadness I did not work through properly over the past year.

Unfortunately, Persona 5 has one issue that it picked up from Persona 4 regarding party members, their character development, and links. I wasn't was mad initially because I found the Phantom Thieves infinitely more interesting and lovable than the Investigative Team, but that still is no excuse for some of the Thieves showing very little to no growth in the plot even if you complete their Link (*RcYoUuUgJhI*).  And I feel the need to apologize to Ryoji because somehow, SOMEHOW, Akechi is even more frustrating, creepy, and unlikeable than him. What is it with "charming" pretty boys who expresses interest in the main character and constantly butts in when I don't want them around? Atlus, stop forcing these guys on me and expecting me to sympathize with them!

It has been a crazy Spring for me. Usually I hate this time of year. My allergies kick up into gear, all the romantic and happy aspects of the season make me cringe, and the Northeastern US marriage of heat and humidity makes me long for the snow Finland got several weeks ago. But somehow, this has been the best Spring I have had in my life. My allergies have been manageable, there have been enough cool days to make me happy, Mass Effect and Persona were worthwhile purchases, and my painful withdrawal from anime has come to an end. Real world politics continue to be a mess, but 2017 has been a much better year than 2016.

... Hopefully I did not jinx myself by being positive. Let this pessimist have a break from misery for once.

In the meantime, I am still enjoying an impulse buy that was one of the few good things that came out of 2016.

Between the audio DLC for Persona 5, the Vocaloid games, several songs on my iPod, and subbed anime, my Japanese will likely improve over the next few weeks.

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