Anime Knockout! Fall 2013 Week 5

Welcome to the fifth week of the Fall 2013 season of Anime Knockout! Every week, we will review the new anime of the season, rate them, and kick the weakest show off of the queue.

Spoilers ahoy! So, if you don’t want to know what happens, come back after you’ve seen this week’s episodes!

For the Fall 2013 season, here is our chosen lineup:

Arpeggio of Blue Steel
Beyond the Boundary
Galilei Donna
Gingitsune: Messenger of the Gods
Golden Time
Kill la Kill
Log Horizon
MEGANEBU!
Nagi no Asukara
Samurai Flamenco
Strike the Blood
Walkure Romanze
Wanna be the Strongest in the World

Continue Reading →

Az Doodles

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Some spoilery doodles of Az from the upcoming fourth book of the Black Mark series. I’m liking the shoulder holster look for him. And yes, Az does get a new pair of glasses in this book. Anyone want to take bets on how long they’ll last this time?

If the first book is a twisted fairytale, the second a Supernatural episode, and the third a WWII movie, then the fourth will have the Indiana Jones theme. After writing the crucible story that is Fire and Foxholes, this next book is a welcome change of pace. Pulpy dieselpunk action-adventure fun.

Audra Sketches

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Another page from my smudgy sketchbook. This time I’m trying to figure out Audra’s look for the Black Mark series. She makes her introduction in the third book, Fire and Foxholes. Here, I’m trying out different faces and hairstyles for the towering aviatrix.

Here, I had a small dilemma while redesigning her. The story is set in an equivalent of 1932. Short hair for women is all the rage and highly fashionable. Would Audra cut her hair short? Her original design called for long golden locks.

Eventually, I decided against Audra cropping her hair to a bob. She’s so tall and strong that she would keep her long hair to prevent people from mistaking her for a man.

The challenge in her design is to make her imposing, yet still feminine. I added the bangs to soften her face and keep her from looking too angular.

Fire and Foxholes

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Fire and Foxholes is live!

Azarola awakens to pain, blood, and the percussion of bombs on a dusty battlefield. He picks up the rifle in front of him and fights his way to relief. How did he get here? What war is this? Where is Rohita?

Now a mechanic in the Seventeenth Combat Engineering Regiment of the Inexan Army, Azarola serves his country in their pitched war with Averna over the desert nation of Karifiga. While Inexa relies on tanks and planes, Averna bends sandstorms to its will and summons tank-trashing beasts and dogfighting dragons. Never short of work, Azarola and his crew struggle under fire to keep the Inexan forces fighting. If Azarola wants to find Rohita, he must first survive the war!

This is the third book of the Black Mark series.

Anime Knockout! Fall 2013 Week 4


Welcome to the fourth week of the Fall 2013 season of Anime Knockout! Every week, we will review the new anime of the season, rate them, and kick the weakest show off of the queue.

Spoilers ahoy! So, if you don’t want to know what happens, come back after you’ve seen this week’s episodes!

For the Fall 2013 season, here is our chosen lineup:

Arpeggio of Blue Steel
Beyond the Boundary
Galilei Donna
Gingitsune: Messenger of the Gods
Golden Time
Kill la Kill
Log Horizon
MEGANEBU!
Nagi no Asukara
Samurai Flamenco
Strike the Blood
Walkure Romanze
Wanna be the Strongest in the World

Continue Reading →

What is Young Adult fantasy?

So, I’ve got more than one person telling me that the Black Mark series could fit into the Young Adult classification. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I never intended to make YA material out of this series. On the other hand, it can’t be worse than Twilight and its many clones.

Which brings me to the question: What puts a book in the Young Adult fantasy genre?

So, I go to the Interwebs and seek the collective knowledge of the English speaking world. Almost every definition of Young Adult fiction ran very fast and loose. Then there’s the offshoot category of New Adult, which is aimed at the 18-25 (or 18-30, depending on who you ask) age range.

Here I am, staring at these categorical lists and thinking, “Aren’t most books supposed to fulfill these requirements?” Other than deal with issues that are mostly unique to teenyboppers or proclaim to aim to a teenaged audience, that is. On top of that, these lists seem limited to Young Adult Literature, which is a slightly different beast than Young Adult Fantasy.

Again, I’m brought back to a question. What is the difference between Young Adult Fantasy and the rest of the Fantasy genre? Is it only the age of the protagonist, limited to under the age of 18? Is that all to it?

If that’s the only factor, then Black Mark is not a contender for the YA label. The protagonist is 17 for all of a few chapters in the beginning of the first book and he’s in his early twenties before the series ends.

Is the age of the protagonist really the only difference between YA and the rest of the genre? Or is there something more?

Anime Knockout! Fall 2013 Week 3


Welcome to the third week of the Fall 2013 season of Anime Knockout! Every week, we will review the new anime of the season, rate them, and kick the weakest show off of the queue.

Spoilers ahoy! So, if you don’t want to know what happens, come back after you’ve seen this week’s episodes!

For the Fall 2013 season, here is our chosen lineup:


Arpeggio of Blue Steel
Beyond the Boundary
Galilei Donna
Gingitsune: Messenger of the Gods
Golden Time
Kill la Kill
Log Horizon
MEGANEBU!
Nagi no Asukara
Samurai Flamenco
Strike the Blood
Walkure Romanze
Wanna be the Strongest in the World

Continue Reading →

Laguna’s Cut

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From the Final Fantasy wikia on Laguna Loire:

“Various examples of unused backgrounds hint that Laguna may have possessed a lime-green convertible truck during his time in Winhill. Laguna’s black-and-white intro picture depicts him driving said car and the artisan in Shumi Village, one of the places Laguna spent time in, has a miniature model of it. The car can be found in the garage in Ellone’s parents’ house where Laguna resides during his stay at Winhill if the location is hacked into the game. The car, however, is never used as Laguna’s car in the final game.”

Wait… What?

I knew about the truck showing up as a toy model in the Shumi Village and that it was something that was connected to Laguna during FFVIII’s development. It also explained why the shops sold fuel, even though you rarely used a car in the game. I did not know about the garage, or the full-sized model, or the rendered background version of it. How late in the development was this piece cut?

I always figured that Laguna’s story had suffered some major cuts by the final release. In a way, I can see why. A story about some dude and his war buddies traveling across the world to save a little girl from an evil sorceress and ending a war (perhaps even saving the world) in the process really is a game that could and should stand alone. To see that it was pared down after so much work was already put into it makes me wonder if someone on the higher level looked at the development and said, “Wait, why are we doing two games at once? Which one are we making? The teenage romance or save the princess?” Looks like Laguna had a habit of stealing spotlights even before the game’s release.

Squaresoft (later Square-Enix) seems to have a chronic problem when it comes to preproduction. It’s like they get a group of guys together, throw around really cool ideas, and then start making the game, hoping that enough of the ideas will gel together into a coherent whole by the time they get to the release date. Every Final Fantasy from FFVII onward has been plagued by this and it seems to get worse as the years go on.

As to the green truck, it does look like a cheap little rig that’s been owner-modified for some adventuring. Rather fitting for Laguna. It’s too bad that we never got to see the entirety of his story.

 


Welcome to the second week of the Fall 2013 season of Anime Knockout! Every week, we will review the new anime of the season, rate them, and kick the weakest show off of the queue.

Spoilers ahoy! So, if you don’t want to know what happens, come back after you’ve seen this week’s episodes!

For the Fall 2013 season, here is our chosen lineup:

Arpeggio of Blue Steel
Beyond the Boundary
Galilei Donna
Gingitsune: Messenger of the Gods
Golden Time
Kill la Kill
Log Horizon
MEGANEBU!
Nagi no Asukara
Samurai Flamenco
Strike the Blood
Walkure Romanze
Wanna be the Strongest in the World

Continue Reading →

Anime Knockout! Fall 2013 Week 1

 

Here it is! The first week of the Fall 2013 season of Anime Knockout! Every week, we will review the new anime of the season, rate them, and kick the weakest show off of the queue. Remember, a 5 is average and standard, while a 10 is legendary.

Spoilers ahoy! So, if you don’t want to know what happens, come back after you’ve seen this week’s episodes!

For the Fall 2013 season, here is our chosen lineup:

Arpeggio of Blue Steel
Beyond the Boundary
Galilei Donna
Gingitsune: Messenger of the Gods
Golden Time
Kill la Kill
Log Horizon
MEGANEBU!
Nagi no Asukara
Samurai Flamenco
Strike the Blood
Walkure Romanze
Wanna be the Strongest in the World

Continue Reading →