The time has come again for me to go to China. I’ll be out for two weeks starting on Sunday. As usual, my post schedule may change a bit while I’m out because my internet will not be as reliable and because I’ll be in a time zone that’s basically half a day ahead. I know this is a cop-out post because there’s no Chaika episode this week, so here are some random notes to help out:
1) I heard the Akame ga Kill ending took a different route from the manga, and I agree with the general sentiment that the original ending was pretty bad, but likely not for the same reasons as most people.
2) Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso is okay so far (hasn’t rekindled any love for classical music in me yet, though), but it looks like it’s slated for two-cour and I wonder what direction they’re trying to move towards to fill that time.
3) Random question that I don’t expect anyone to answer: why does it seem like so many visual novels are appearing on Steam?
4) Random question I hope someone answers: Anyone got any manga suggestions for when I’m on the road?
Due to the lack of Zankyou no Terror last week, I’m left with a hole in this week’s post schedule. Out of pure lack of ideas, I created this post to just say a bunch of random things. Feel free to comment on any piece you find interesting. Some stuff from my notes:
It’s easier to watch 1 episode a week than to let 3 pile up and watch them all in one sitting. Doesn’t matter how many cliffhangers there are. This just seems to be my preference.
The number of post drafts that I’ve axed is roughly over 9000. I’m either too overly critical or just excessively lazy. Take your pick.
Posts with high word counts are way too hard to create. This may be a problem…
No matter how much I write, I’m still 100% certain I’m trash.
I’m really bad at advertising myself. Let’s help fix that a bit: find me on Twitter and Facebook linked on the sidebar. I’m trying to be a bit more active with social media. Also, the username “marthaurion” will find me in most places.
Common stopping points: first episode, third episode, halfway through a show, four episodes before the end (don’t ask me why).
In other news, this weekend I will be participating in a local Rubik’s Cube competition. I’m severely out of practice, but we’ll see how it goes. The main goal for me is to qualify for all rounds and place at least in the top half of the competitors with my meager 16-17 second average.
This post probably contains spoilers for Toaru Kagaku no Railgun. Read at your own risk.
Honestly, I didn’t think I’d have enough for this.
How the heck does Kuroko change her pose when she teleports? If she’s displacing herself to another location, she should theoretically maintain the same pose. She has been seen going from a standing pose to a crouch, which is physically impossible in the brief moment in which she teleports. Meaning there has to be more to her power than just simple displacement.
Why is Accelerator always shown only fighting one Misaka clone at a time? He’s supposed to kill 20,000 clones. At that rate, it should take him over 50 years to kill them all, yet he has somehow killed over 10,000 so far. So he has had to fight many of them on the same day…in fact, assuming it hasn’t been more than a year, he has had to fight at least 20 of them in a single day on some occasions. So why is it that we only see him when he’s fighting one at a time? The most we’ve seen is two in a day, 10031 and 10032 according to the schedule Touma found. And 10030 died the day before at the same time that 10032 was scheduled, meaning that there wouldn’t be any more that day, assuming they follow a pattern.
I’ll try to be brief about this one. I’m not sure I can believe how quickly Misaka was able to perfectly simulate the countless impulses that the brain sends out for motor function. Literally five seconds of twitching as she gets up, then she moves as though nothing is wrong. Honestly, there should at least be a time lag caused by the extra effort needed to move. Everything I know about neuroscience is telling me I shouldn’t accept this.
Tiny nitpicking things:
A medication taken orally like Febri’s lollipops should take more time to have an effect.
Misaka and Kuroko were able to survive a fall from presumably the upper limits of the Earth’s atmosphere. Is Kuroko’s teleportation momentum-canceling?
So Tales of Xillia was localized to English not so long ago and I just finished the game last night. I’m too lazy for a “formal review”, so this is my substitute (plus it’s not technically anime, though I consider JRPG to be close). Basic background: the game follows Jude Mathis, a med student who is pulled into the fate of Milla Maxwell, the self-proclaimed Lord of Spirits who is on a mission to destroy a human weapon beneath Jude’s med school. They throw a wrench in with this game by allowing you to choose Milla or Jude as main character to get slightly differing stories.
I personally played Jude’s story. Based on what I’ve read online, you get a different perspective of character development, so it doesn’t really change my opinion. I really didn’t enjoy the ending of the game…and I hear it’s the same for each story. It’s not really a satisfying ending and it feels rushed. This game took me four afternoons and two whole weekend days to finish, so take that into perspective. And having played Tales of Symphonia, Tales of the Abyss, and Tales of Graces, not much is new story-wise here. No real surprises. Though to be fair, Jude and Milla are not as insufferable as protagonists like Lloyd Irving and Luke fon Fabre.
The gameplay uses a system similar to the CC system in Tales of Graces, where your combos are limited by a certain number. Unlike the CC system though, your moves still cost TP and everything consistently costs 1 CC (or AC as it is called in Xillia). Honestly, I think that when you get the hang of everything, it’s a lot simpler of a system to keep track of than Tales of Graces. Also, the shops in the game are all synchronized, which is nice. You can trade materials or gald in to increase each shop’s level, unlocking more items. I thought it made the game super easy, though (I played on Moderate). You tend to run kinda low on gald too.
So yeah…this game doesn’t rank too high for me against other Tales games (except Symphonia 2 because that game was a joke). It’s not really cringeworthy, though, so it’s probably fine for people new to the franchise or people who are casual fans of the franchise (like me). Anyway, I made a poll for the game I play next. It should be in the sidebar. Maybe you want me to scope the game out for you or you know the game and just want my personal take on it…whatever the reason, vote for that game.
I don’t know if these questions were raised in Index because I never finished it, but some things have been on my mind:
If Touma is only able to cancel abilities with his right hand, why is he able to stop the railgun? Theoretically, it’s an attack that utilizes EM fields to hyper-accelerate a physical object. I would think his power should only be able to stop the coin from accelerating further…he still should be ripped in half by the already-fast-moving object. The iron sand might be explained away by the fact that his ability should dissociate the sand, returning it to its origin and unhardened form (so he’s basically getting sand thrown at him).
Why can Kuroko use her powers so easily? We’ve seen that she can teleport objects into other objects, as evidenced by the glass-into-pillar stuff she did. So it should be possible that she teleports herself into another person…which probably won’t end well. However, she readily teleports into rooms or other places when she can’t possibly see what’s inside. If it were me, I’d be terrified of the possibility that someone or something is standing somewhere I’m not expecting. The likelihood is low, but the consequences are quite dire. Based on her entrances, she seems to have some minor knowledge of her destination…which could mean her teleportation is manifested by her opening a portal to her destination which she can briefly look through…this would mean she has quite impressive reflexes, though, if she’s able to adjust so quickly on-the-fly.
Why does Capacity Down work? We saw during the Level Upper incident that Saten is perfectly capable of exhibiting a power, just lacks to ability to do so. Presumably a Level 0 would be similar to any other level, but with no grasp of their own power. Admittedly, this point is a little flimsy. Theoretically, she could have been copying another person’s skill (which makes no sense because every other person’s skill was amplified). Back to my point, though…how is Saten unaffected by Capacity Down? Is it just because of her low level? Does that mean that Uiharu should be least affected and Misaka most affected? It can’t be because Saten doesn’t have an AIM field…she has to if she was able to use Level Upper.
So while I was on my flight to China, I got the chance to watch the live-action adaptation for Rurouni Kenshin. I’m not sure of how I was thinking in my sleep-addled state, but I enjoyed the movie quite a lot. I’m not sure how it is for those who are not familiar with the series, but as a fan of the manga and anime, I’d say it was pretty good. For anyone familiar with the series, the movie is sort of a combination of the Jin-e arc and the Megumi/Kanryu arc. If you wanna compare to the New Kyoto OVA that I reviewed before, it’s a lot better in my opinion.
For those unfamiliar with the show, the story takes place in the Meiji era in Japan. It follows the swordsman Kenshin Himura, who fought in the Bakumatsu war as the legendary Hitokiri Battosai. Following the war, he vowed never to kill again and wanders the world as a rurouni (hence the name of the series). Looking at the movie as a whole, it seems very serious in comparison with the anime, but this is likely a result of time constraints. Many small things are altered in the story, but they don’t seem to detract too much from it. For example, the fake Battosai is Jin-e…stuff like that.
While I was watching the show, I felt like they were trying to do way too much stuff in one movie…what with the opium stuff, the battle against Jin-e, Kenshin joining the dojo, the fight with Sanosuke, introducing Yahiko…this constitutes quite a few episodes in the anime. However, I thought the fusion into a “single story” worked out pretty well. They were able to put in so many characters: Saitou, Yahiko, Sanosuke, and Megumi manage to show up. Very cool that they were able to integrate everyone.
I suppose I have a few problems with the show, but they may just be me. For one, they drop the whole “attacks with names” thing, only having Kenshin use SoRyuSen at the very end. Gatotsu is also used, but without the name given. I guess it’s to make the movie more “mature”, but it makes it lose some flair for someone like me. Still, I will say that it makes the fights seem a lot more fluid with the lack of pausing for a special move. Those fights just looked great. There’s also the thing with Kaoru’s appearance being off for the type of character she’s supposed to be. Also, I hated the character Gein (masked guy). I felt like he was supposed to be Aoshi, but failed.
Honestly, I’d say that this movie was definitely a lot better than I was expecting. I’m glad I had the chance to see it because I probably wouldn’t have thought to look for it otherwise. For people new to the series, it’s a nice combination of action (it’s got swords!), idealism, and a bit of romance. For people familiar with the series, there’s some new stuff there for you. Add in a nice soundtrack (I really liked the battle music for the fight in front of Kanryuu’s mansion) with ONE OK ROCK for an ending song. Works for me.
Tomorrow marks the end of the first full year that I’ve written for this blog (I started in June 2011, so the year was already halfway done). I don’t like to do milestone posts, so I didn’t write anything for the one year mark. However, I’m low on content this week, so consider this a sort of make-up post for it.
How do people normally start for these things? I guess they start with how they’ve changed in the time that has past. I started the blog mostly out of a fit of boredom…I thought it might help with my writing ability and it was on a topic I enjoyed. In the beginning, I only had a few reviews and my posts were fairly summary-heavy, which is something I’ve worked to move away from.
I’ve kept to my style of screenshots for episodic posts and wallpapers for everything else. I moved to my owned domain…changed my layout a couple of times. My posts are a lot more structured, which makes it easier to keep up with the post count I keep (not sure how much that works against me). That about sums it up.
Things I could improve upon? I’m still fairly indecisive, so my opinions are usually easily swayed and likely very weak. But I dunno how I’d even go about changing that. I’m sure my website appearance is due for another rework, but that will come when I’m willing to put in the effort. I’m still low-confidence when it comes to this site too…I stop myself from advertising it because I feel it’s not good enough.
I really have no idea how long I can keep this up. Who knows what will happen…especially if I get a demanding job. I think the reason I’m so strict about not missing a day with my posts is that I fear that when that crumbles, the blog will be on its way to decline. Kind of funny when I think about it. Anyway…that’s all I got. Thoughts? (Note: this is actually the second revision of this post…the first one actually sounded pretty whiny. I hope I was about to get rid of that).
While I choose not to believe in the existence of the soul, I can’t say I haven’t found it an interesting concept to ponder in my free time. Since this is potentially a touchy subject, I will start by saying that similarly to my time travel post, this is just my personal idea that may be right or wrong. I really don’t know. It’s simply what I have rationalized in my own head. I’m throwing out a theory, so if I see something like “You’re a bastard for insulting the beliefs of others”, I’ll be very upset because that’s very much not what I’m doing.
So what’s the plan? First, let me state that I believe that the existence of the soul is impossible to confirm or deny because the very concept of the soul requires that there is no physical evidence of its existence. I believe that the soul is meant to immune to the influences of the physical world, and thus the physical world shouldn’t be able to detect it. It acts as an anchor in a world where memories can be lost, bodies can become comatose, and personalities can change with the passing of time. Essentially, the soul remains constant through all of this. With that said, the rest of the plan is to explain this definition a bit and then I’ll go into the implications of this.
While there are varying interpretations of the word “soul”, I would say that there are a few common aspects. First, it is immortal. When a soul is “created”, it cannot be destroyed and it will never decay. Second, a soul is intangible. As I mentioned before, it would follow that there is no physical evidence of its existence and that no force that we can perceive should be able to manipulate it. And third, the soul acts as a form of identity…as in each person is tied to a single soul. Note that this is saying that we are unique in life, but not necessarily in death (an example being reincarnation).
Those three properties may seem to be exclusive, but I would say that they all stem from the idea of allowing our existence to continue indefinitely. Why do humans have a concept of a soul? I believe that the soul exists as a sense of security or comfort…an assurance that a person’s identity will last forever (hence the immortal bit). Why is a soul intangible? Because while our minds and bodies can be altered by our environments, something intangible cannot (I’ll explain this in a second). This creates the sense that in a world where minds and bodies are subjected the harsh forces of the environment, part of our identity remains constant. A clear way to say “this is who I am.”
Please note that I’m not saying that a soul and an identity are interchangeable. Let’s take the example of numbers. A number, being intangible, can’t be manipulated in any way through tangible means. We can combine them to create new numbers, but within those new numbers, the number remains (if I add 1 and 2, 1 is technically still a piece of 3). We can change the identity of a number, for example calling the number 1 “four” or something like that. Does this make 1 any different than what it was when we called it “one”? No, it doesn’t. That’s basically how a soul works. It is constant, and therefore humans choose to link their identity to it.
What does this all mean? Let’s look at Kokoro Connect and the idea of “soul swapping.” Normally I would try to say something like “they call it soul swapping, but they’re actually swapping _____”, but I really can’t with this show. The only way I can rationalize it is to say that their souls move to the new body, overriding the conscious mind of the new body. They don’t retain the memories of the new body, so they must be suppressed somehow. Also, they do retain some aspects of the subconscious of the new body (demonstrated with Yui’s androphobia), which rules out the possibility of simply switching brains. This does bring up some implications of connecting souls with the conscious mind, but that isn’t really my concern (because I’m trying to stay as general as possible).
Well, in the case of Kokoro Connect where the soul is being shifted around, this kind of soul allows the identity to remain constant. If Taichi and Iori swap, then whichever body contains Taichi’s soul is Taichi and whichever body contains Iori’s soul is Iori. This sort of distinction isn’t quite as clear in science. If we look at Aoki and Yui’s swap, what is the identity of Yui’s body? Aoki is technically the one in control, but it’s demonstrated that Yui’s mind still has some level of influence. There’s no part of Aoki’s brain transmitting androphobia, so it must be some remaining “piece” of Yui’s brain.
With two “half-brains”, which one could we use for identity? Say we copied Aoki’s memories on to Yui’s brain. Would we have then “created” a “new” Aoki that just looks like Yui? You could argue that Aoki’s memories generate identity, but then you could ask if amnesia creates a new person. Can you see how that can be a bit tricky? But I’ll leave the identity stuff up to the philosophers. It isn’t really my point. I’m just saying that this is the reason the soul exists.
So since that may have been confusing, let me make this clear. What you have just read is 1) what I think a soul is, 2) why I think the concept exists, and 3) why I believe it’s pointless to argue for or against its existence.
After reading a recent post from Yumeka, I wanted to write about my own theory of time travel, in a sense rewrite the comment I made. Let me preface this by saying that basically everything here is pure speculation. I simply look for an explanation that has the fewest inconsistencies…it could be totally wrong for all I know. Time travel is a topic that is often rife with paradoxical scenarios, so I just try to address as many of these as possible. Also, this is a purely theoretical interpretation of the concept with no considerations to the practical implications of actually creating a device that can achieve it (I don’t really care about black holes and whatnot for this).
In general, there are two broad interpretations of time travel. First, there’s the idea that time is immutable, so any trip back in time would have already happened. In this scenario (let’s call it the “constant theory” of time), it’s impossible to change history because whatever you do should already have happened. The second case (let’s call it the “variable theory” of time) is simply the opposite, where going back in time creates a new timeline with an altered future. Each case has a subset of cases with minor differences, but for the most part, all theories of time travel will fall into one of these categories.
My idea is a subset of the variable theory of time, so let’s look at the constant theory first. This is a hypothetical scenario that a friend of mine proposed in a random Skype conversation. Say you’ve been offered this choice: you could gain Jedi powers (he’s a huge Star Wars fan, can’t you tell?) or gain access to a Delorean like the one in Back to the Future. My friend asks “why can’t you just pick the Delorean, then travel back to the past to tell yourself to pick the Jedi powers?” Well, according to the constant theory of time, a second “you” would appear as you’re making this brilliant plan to tell you to go for the Jedi powers.
In order for the constant theory to hold, you must somehow be stopped from choosing Jedi powers because doing so will change history. But in this scenario, the choice is a result of your will, so there really isn’t anything stopping you from just changing it. It’s almost as if some personification of time itself has to stop you. Granted, the whole scenario is a bit much, but even in popular media, it seems like there is some unknown force that makes the protagonist repeat the actions from his past (almost like everything is too convenient).
For example, when Kyon goes back in time in Haruhi and when Harry Potter uses the Time Turner, they are both instructed not to do anything that could cause a temporal paradox because of the horrible consequences or whatever. But what exactly is it stopping them from just doing whatever they want? What’s to stop Kyon from taking the younger Haruhi to a police box rather than help her sneak into the school? What’s to stop Harry from just pushing his past self off a cliff? I don’t know about you, but I have trouble accepting something like “time will find a way to maintain everything.”
Now that I’ve successfully rambled for a bit, let’s get on to my own theory (let’s arbitrarily call it “Y theory”). The basis comes mostly from Steins;Gate: the concept of an infinite set of timelines (I say they’re parallel in Y theory whereas Steins;Gate has branching of lines to account for alternate futures). In Y theory, it’s almost like a time traveler is moving across dimensions rather than moving forward or backwards in time. So let’s say you wish to travel back to the year 1934 at some specific date and time. Rather than moving yourself backwards in time, the idea is that you somehow move yourself to a nearby parallel line with a universe that is identical to your origin, but has only reached the year 1934…theoretically possible in an infinite number of lines.
That’s the core of the idea. Notice a few things:
Obviously, this idea stems from the many-worlds interpretation by Hugh Everett from quantum physic. Basically, it’s a theory that for every universe, there exists an infinite number of universes for all possible scenarios within that universe, and it’s a theory I’ve always liked.
In Y theory, you can change the future, but only in the destination timeline. It doesn’t change the events that have occurred in your point of origin (the idea being that you can change, but you can’t undo).
You’re going to a timeline where the events up to 1934 have occurred, but that doesn’t mean that the events after 1934 will occur. This idea assumes that there is no encompassing force governing time, so there is no “hard drive” holding “history data” for events after 1934. This may make little sense going backwards, but it makes a lot more sense going forwards. If you travel to a timeline in a future year, then returning to your timeline doesn’t ensure the events that you have seen because you’ve only seen one of the possibilities.
If you wish to believe the idea from Steins;Gate of determinism of certain events, that’s perfectly fine in Y theory (I think they call it an Attractor Field). The thought is that if you travel to a line within a certain divergence factor of your origin, events such as a person’s death will always gravitate to a certain point in time despite a difference in events leading up to the death. Although, Steins;Gate attributes this to a converging point in the world lines, it’s fine to think of the same idea happening in parallel lines.
To finish up, I want to specify something that differs from what Steins;Gate proposes in order to cover some inconsistencies. When Rintarou travels to the past in some parts of the show, he basically overwrites the Rintarou of that past time period and takes his place. While this idea makes for a very entertaining show and it follows the logic of the show (sending messages back), I feel like it runs into some issues. For example, what happens if you travel to a point in the past further back than your birth? There would be no “you” to inhabit.
Would you inhabit someone else to make up for it? If so, what are the parameters for who it must be? There would likely be plenty of ancestors available. What if the only two ancestors available are both comatose and will awaken later and fall in love? In my theory, a time traveler is moving to another dimension, and is thus “an outsider,” an extra person in that dimension. So if Rintarou traveled in the way I have outlined, he would go back and be a second instance of himself (which he does later in the show).
And that’s basically it. Marth’s theory of time travel. If you were able to follow all of that, then great! Let me know what you think. If something isn’t explained well enough, let me know in the comments below and I’ll see what I can do to help clear things up. I have a lot of fun thinking about these sorts of things. Sure hope it was entertaining…
Since I have basically no chance of making it past the third round and have made it as far I wished, I’ve decided to post my thoughts on (or maybe I should say problems with) the aniblog tourney rather than advertise. I know that these types of posts have been everywhere, so I’ll try to make it worth your time. Blah blah circlejerk or ramblings about vote manipulation or vote begging…none of that here.
Personally, I believe that asking a friend for a vote is perfectly fine because the tourney has no restrictions on participants and the rules say something to the effect of “vote for the blog you’d rather read.” I’m fairly certain my buddy would rather read my blog than my opponent…simple logic. That aside, let’s look at things a bit more analytically…keep things objective. Sorry…this is gonna be long.
My first qualm with the aniblog tourney is pretty basic, but it is something that doesn’t seem to have disappeared with the new voting system…a relic of my AP Statistics class in high school. Polls should always have a random ordering for the choices. Given two choices (and in this round’s case, four), it’s much more likely for someone to pick the first one given no strong feelings for any other choice. It’s not really a big problem to implement this sort of thing, but it does a lot. Don’t believe me? I ran the numbers. In the first round, 62% of the blogs who won were the ones listed first.
Yes, I understand that the posts have the headers for each matchup that say “XXXX vs. YYYY”, but that isn’t an excuse…it just sounds like laziness to me. Does that even have to be there? Even if it does, I think it still might be helpful to have them below the poll rather than above it so that the first thing a voter sees isn’t that ordering.
Next up on the docket is something that I actually pointed out to someone before the tourney started, getting the response of something to the effect of “oh, it won’t be a big deal…” Time frames. Each match appears for two days, with new matches going up every day. People have stuff to do, and internet traffic reflects that. Typically, more people are online over the weekends than the middle of week (Wednesday/Thursday), which skews samples.
Even if you ignore that, there comes the issue of motivation. Four matches go up on one day, or in this round’s case, one match of four blogs. It’s just not possible to research every blog in every matchup with new ones coming each day. And even if someone had the time, where’s the motivation? Why not just wait for the next set of blogs? With how long the tourney has dragged so far, it hardly seems logical to use an argument of keeping interest in the event.
Let’s take a step back and talk about some smaller things (and by that, I mean things that I don’t feel like talking about for a full section individually). First up, participant selection. The organizers created some rules for qualification (no photo blogs, no translation blogs, etc.) and then proceeded to ignore them. Nothing more to say on that.
Next, settling ties. Rather than do something like create a tiebreaker round, the organizers choose to allow both blogs to advance. I think that’s just unfair to punish the next round blog, which actually had nothing to do with creating the tie. For a similar reason, making the tied blogs auto-lose is also unfair (but is arguably less unfair).
Break’s over…on to another topic. Let’s talk about seeding. I’ve been in a lot of Starcraft 2 tournaments, so seeding isn’t new to me. It makes sense. If the first round consists of about equally matched pairings, it’s unfair to the higher level players, who have a chance of losing while a lower level player has a chance of advancing. In the example above, the platinum level player gets by with a game against a silver player (near the lowest level), while the two masters players (the near highest level) are pit against each other.
There was an attempt at seeding by placing participants from the first tourney in later rounds, but absolutely no semblance of effort in the first round. As a result, first round matches were littered with both extremely close matches as well as complete one-sided roflstomping. Heck…use Alexa or something for all I care. As long as it’s standardized in some way.
I’ll end on something I noticed with the new voting system. The great new system that will make everything better has decided to put vote results up on the voting screen. Before, people would have to click to see results prior to voting, which means that it could be avoided unless you just wanted to see them first.
Now, they’re just there and will subconsciously affect the decisions of everyone, not just those that want to be influenced. The rich get richer, and it’s even more so with this new system. Arguably, this isn’t the biggest deal, but that would frankly be why I put it at the very end.
Well…that was quite a lot of stuff. For those of you able to make it through all of that information, congratulations. At the end of the day, most of this stuff is based on my perception, and I likely don’t know the full story (although am I really asking for much?). For example, I don’t know how they really approached seeding because it isn’t shown like the first tourney. Let me know if I missed anything…hope you didn’t find this too boring. And finally, good luck to anyone still in the tourney!