Developer Diary/Friday Night Life: Time of Reflection 

I find myself spending the day in Hiroshima and doing layout for my Art of  War RPG and realized my artist did an incredible chapter art very similar to the photo I took above.

It’s nice to have artist and freelancers you can rely on to capture the moment. 

As far as the trip, it’s going well. I have traveled from Narita to Tokyo. Kyoto to Nara. Osaka to Hiroshima. Down the large “mainland” to this current stop and realizing there is weeks left to go.

Many shrines and temples left to find, with gardens to transverse. 

Friday Night Life:

So it is Saturday night here in Kyoto, and I’ve been here most of the week. I completely forgot to post Monday Manga, and have decided to wait till I get back. 

In the meantime I will say that I have not been lazy. Somethings: Climbed Mt. Inari, toured the Imperial Palace, and as awesome as those are, I can top it. This tentacle toured Toei Studio. Yes the animation studio that brings you One Piece and Dragonball was fantastic to visit. 

Shockingly cherry blossoms were in late bloom this year, leading to this tentacle to see them this visit. Since my last visit a couple of years, I had never been to Osaka. Tomorrow changes this. So far, this trip has taken me to Tokyo, Nara, and Kyoto.

Never realized how much I missed this city. Well that’s all for this brief edition of the tentacle ramblings.

From Kyoto with Love

~TG

Friday Night Life: Updates & Peach John does One Piece

So today’s quick note of Life, Manga, Anime and More: A late Friday Night Life coming to you on a Monday morning. Just call it a long weekend. . .

In 7 days, this tentacle will be headed back to it’s second homeland of the Rising Sun, where it will spend the majority of April. Post and manga reviews will be sparse this coming month, but I will try and schedule several series reviews.

This leads to a question of what content you might want to see for Monday Manga?

After April, or once I have covered the complete series of manga that I wish too, I’ll start looking into doing reviews as chapters come in. But this leads to a question, do you want a series review, or by chapter review, or a mix?

The assumption is that this tentacle would do it by series, so that you could figure out if it was worth your time to read. But I am open into what you would like to see.

Would you like anime reviews?

What about convention reviews?

Random adventures while traveling across Japan?

Feedback is welcomed.

In the mean time it seems Japanese lingerie maker Peach John has teamed up with One Piece to create a line of anime inspired lingerie.  Peach John They previously did a Sailor Moon series. I have noticed that the product line, actually looks functional.

I don’t see an English site translation, so I think it’s only available in JP.

Details here on their website

Update: Outside JP website here

Developer’s Journal 3: Creating a Race for Savage Worlds

Construct Race for Savage Worlds – Terracotta

My gaming history started many years ago when I was just a young tentacle sitting around a table playing, if I recall: Vampire the Masquerade, but it also could have been Rifts While others might say D&D or AD&D or any other classic sword and sorcery game, my first introduction was modern day or post-apoc sci-fi tech fun. Now I make mention of this vague memory because within the last year, Savage Rifts was released using the Savage Worlds system. Which as a Pathfinder publisher, this is almost blasphemy for me to say. But I blasphemously say, I love Savage Worlds.

I always loved the d6 Star Wars game by West End Games, for it was an open ruleset to create the character you wanted. It had books and books and books of races from a 100 different planets spread across the galaxy. The openness of this ruleset reminds me of Savage Worlds.

So this week the tentacle sat down to try the race creation rules found in the Savage Worlds Science Fiction Companion. What I wanted to do with the playable race was to have statues that contained the ancestral spirits of the humans that had been brought to animated life. So starting with a little flavor of the above I delved into the book and followed the suggested rules and examples. Using the Construct template as the base, and adapting the flavor and a savage worlds ruleset for the upcoming Art of War , we have the Terracotta (First Draft)

Terracotta

The souls of ancestors of great reverance are entomb in the monasteries of the great cities throughout the land. Royal guards that have served an Imperial Family for at least 30 years or great leaders of rural communities can petition a secret sect of spiritual monks who hold the secrets of reincarnation. These monks guard the sacred ritual of bringing back life of those who have past, rebirthing them into statues of clay and stone. The Heavens do not always answer those who call, but if they are deemed worthy and the offerings are plentiful, the soul of the dead are pushed to animate the statues of their former likeness giving new life to the fabled fallen. These are the Terracota.
Preserved from oblivion at great cost, the terracotta are given a second chance at life. They must knowingly volunteer (or request) to an individual that must serve as a witness during the ritual. With the blessing of Heaven they return to full fill the duty they were unable to accomplish in life. Many terracotta remain in the service of the those that they served in life. Others have stood guard watching over the tombs of long enshrined Emperors they protected for centuries. Upon being brought back, terracottas negotiate their existence before the heavens and with those that bring them back. If terms are not agreed upon, the Heavens withhold their blessings and the soul passes to the afterlife.
Terracottas retain most of the memories of former lives and continue to perform their task. Many have been known to petrify in place where they stand or turn to dust upon failing in their duty. These souls are cursed and unable to pass on, leaving them to haunt the area where they failed. Those that succeed and fulfilled their contract, are given the second chance at life to explore and learn new things that they had missed out on previously.

Racial Concepts:

Immortal Soldier
Terracottas sometimes receive bodies carved from the strongest stone and hardened clay. The new bodies allowing them to take up weapons heavier than any mortal could swing. Going forth to fight again as undying soldiers in the rank and file of a Clan. Dying once only to learned from their flaws of battle and again to stand alongside the living to wage war.

Wise Hermit
After fulfilling their terms, they seek to continue to learn and research the things they were not able to do. Terracottas that play it safe live long and out last many generations of life to pass on the previous teachings to the next. Holding up in libraries and studying the lost arts or applying past techniques to new technologies, they are scholars willing to teach their skills to anyone that will listen.

Racial Traits:

Chi Dependent-2: Terracottas must align their chi for one hour out of every 24 hours to maintain the proper balance of control over their new form with a successful Meditation check. Failing to do so results in Fatigue each day that can lead to Incapacitation. Each level is  recovered with an hour of meditation. At Incapacitation the spirit separates the spirit from the husk and they perish. Alternatively, a terracotta can spend 2 chi points to skip this hour of meditation.
Created: Terracottas are constructs created of stone and clay. They receive +2 to recover from being Shaken, ignore one level of wound modifiers, don’t breathe, and are immune to disease and poison. They cannot heal naturally but must be Repaired (and ignore the “Golden Hour”).
Extreme Weather Sensitivity-2: Terracottas suffers a –4 penalty to resist a extreme heat and cold environmental conditions. It causes their skin to dry out, freeze and crack. If they suffer damage from an attack of these sources, this penalty acts as a bonus to damage.
Flesh of Stone: Their hardened material make up grant Terracottas a +2 Toughness at creation.
Heavenly Mandate-1: Terracottas are still bond to the heavens to serve a purpose after being freed from their initial reasons for rebirth. The being that agreed to fulfill their contract also gains a pawn on the material plane. This divine pact varies, but the terracotta must fulfill this duty. When there’s a chance to complete this goal, they’ll do anything, and take any risk to achieve it.
Inflexible & Heavy-3: Being made of hardened minerals makes it difficult for the terracota to move quickly. They suffer a -1 penalty to all Agility rolls. Their Pace is reduced by 2” and have a run d4 run die.
Unnatural-1: Death should be final for the soul so they can complete the cycle. Those that are rebirthed are seen as an interruption in this process. Not everyone favors the presence of the Terracottas and many view them as outside that natural order. They have the Outsider Hindrance suffer a -2 modifier to Charisma when dealing with those unaccustomed to Terracottas.

 

Overall: The concept of design when using SW is fairly easy for this race. The hardest part was the decision making on the translation of idea to mechanics. I’ll try to go over that next Wednesday for the Developer’s Journal.

Monday Manga: Highschool of the Dead

zombie killing, minor fan service, and a fun time


Rating Summary

Art: 4 – Above Average

Story: 4 – Above Average

Dialogue and Development: 5 – Action, Fan service, Plot

Overall: 5 out of 5 –  I loved this series

*Contains Minor Spoilers* Tentacle writes about events of the manga. Don’t want spoilers, stop reading.

While it is odd timing this manga review was actually scheduled for next week, but we’ll throw this up now in honor of Daisuke Sato passing on March 22, 2017

Still here?

Let’s begin. I’ll try to keep spoilers and plot kills to minimum, but I will mention some of it. I mostly want to talk about the series as a whole. There are 7 volumes you can find, making up 29 chapters, or “acts” as they label them, in this series. You can find 2 omnibus volumes. This is the most commonly seen title on the shelf and it’s nice to have a consolidated book vs seven individual books (limited shelf space).

What is this manga about? Well the zombie apocalypse in modern Japan. The story follows Takashi Komuro, along with his childhood friend Rei Miyamoto as they navigate the troubles of the walking dead starting at their school.

Romance plot: Takashi and Rei, as kids, made a promise to marry each other when they get older. This causes a problem when Rei starts to date Hisashi. He is a friend of Takashi, and is the first “known” zombie we actually see get busted up by Takashi.

There is a point where he is turned into a zombie and begins to attack Rei. Takashi of steps in and handles Zombie Hisashi in front of Rei. This leads Rei to accuse him of jealousy and was the main reason he acted out. Takashi basically says, “we are being attacked by zombies, your being stupid”. At some point in the series they reconcile and Rei admits she loves Takashi and doesn’t want him with any other women. So that’s your love story in a nut shell.

Character Favorites: Saeko Busujima is the stand out supporting character. She is president of the kendo club and the primary close combatant. She handles the zombies with ease, until she upgrades to an actual katana later in the series. She is this tentacles favorite character for the fact that she has a Saekodichotomy of emotional development that the others don’t seem to go through. She is self aware in the fact that when she is in the rush of battle, she enjoys bashing in the heads of zombies and understands that it’s her nature to be a predator. This awareness bothers her to the point where she feels that she isn’t any difference from the zombies themselves. Mindless killers. There is a point in the story where she decides that it would be better for everyone if she was just one of them, and almost gives up. Of course with a pep talk from the protagonist, she eventually snaps out of it and realizes that she is not the mindless killer that she once thought she was.

The development of her character is just the stand out side story (IMHO) of the series.

Other characters are Saya, the rich daughter of a politician (who I initially thought was yakuza), and is the logical brain of the cast. She helps in deduction of the zombies and has the logistical mindset for ideas. She plays the big sister to an orphan child they group picks up along the way.

Kohta is your “NEET” of the group, if you have to label one. He is is the overweight kid that has a knack for guns. He is kind of the ranged character if you were to compare it to an RPG game. He of course has his own love interest for Saya. He is the hero that has always wanted to be a hero. Once his character gets up and running, he’s pretty sturdy and can jump into the alpha male mindset if need to.

HotD

Overall cast: The group is a solid (fun) overall cast that looks to stand together as they try to outrun the fall of mankind.

Zombie: I love the explanation of the zombies. This is the first real sense I have of zombies are blind but follow sound. It’s “discovered” in this series really well.

Final Thoughts:  I do love this manga series. I love the anime. I have not seen the OVA: Drifters of the Dead, but I’m sure it’s just as entertaining as the anime.

If you want zombie killing, minor fan service, and a fun time (sounds like a tinder profile), then give this one a shot (or baseball bat to the head).

Monday Manga: Shaolin Sisters: Vol 2

Shaolin Sisters: 2 – All Action

SS2
Rating Summary

Art: 4 – Above Average

Story: 3 – Average so far

Dialogue and Development: N/A – Some dialogue, but all action

Overall: 4 out of 5

*Contains Minor Spoilers* Tentacle writes about events in the first volume of the manga. Don’t want spoilers, stop reading.

Just a short review:

Shaolin Sisters Vol. 2 does exactly as it should, delivers blow by blow action. This volume delivers the action in a manga I wanted to see. The angle of this book is 3/4th solid art, pure kung-fu action. While a little to follow what takes place on occasion, the bookstore clerk did not lie when they recommended  to me an action based story, and that is what I wanted.

Juline begins to fight her Pirate Sister, Seiline to prove who she is and that she is the daughter of their father Ryu. We also get the back-story of Seiline, how she became a Pirate Captain along with the relationship with the father. The battle ensues for a number of pages, where we also learn how Seiline’s sidekick/friend came into her life and trained her. Seiline became a rounded out character in this volume.

Sister Kalin didn’t receive too much attention in these pages, as she is still the “sweet” one.

We also introduce “Drake” another antagonist (demon?) who is after the bells. There is an incredible fight between him and the leading female antagonist, Bai Wang.

So will I continue reading the series after my first initial impressions? Yeah, I will pick it up when I get time. I’ve been catching up on Scum’s Wish, The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior, and the latest chapters of Fuuka.

—————–

So it’s been some time since our last entry (17 days). It’s been crazy the last few weeks here for the tentacle. On Wednesday I’ll share the game development news on the progress of Project: BuXia.

Friday Night Life: Betty Boop

Boop boop be doop!

Growing up on a wide range of cartoons in the 80s brought us wonderfully bad things like Thundercats and Silverhawks. I was enamored by shows like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Woody Wood Pecker. I also enjoyed the classics and developed that first cartoon crush on a scandalous Betty Boop. I can across this make up tutorial the other day and had to share. This youtube user’s channel, Jbunzie, did a fantastic job.  Happy Friday.