The Professional Gamer - May 2, 2016

Hello readers!  I’ve managed to have a week with a more normal work load, and therefore had some more time to enjoy myself.  To start with, I’ve spent a few more hours in Elite: Dangerous and manage to get myself to within about 2 million credits of my new ship goal.  I only need about another hour to get myself to my goal, and start the process of searching the galaxy for my new ship and all the equipment that I want for it.  Then, I’ll be off to make a living as a bulk trader: stocking up on goods in one station and hoping that I can make a profit on them by carrying them to another system.  I may keep my existing ship so that I have an option to go back to if I find that I’m not enjoying life as a merchant.

In other space news, we had the first session of our Traveler game this past weekend.  Everything seemed to go fairly well.  Most of the session was dedicated to role-playing the characters and introducing the world, with only a few skill checks to see how things went.  Next session should get us much more involved in the rules system, and therefore have a much greater chance to bog us down with making sure that we’ve learned how to play the darn thing.  I’m expecting the players to spend some time negotiating commodities prices, searching for delivery jobs, and booking passengers on their vessel before heading off to one of the neighboring systems.  Who knows, we might have a space combat.  But that will depend on the random encounters table.

And finally, I’ve discovered a rather bizarre little anime to watch.  The show is called Dagashi Kashi, and the plot is a bit hard to explain.  To start, “dagashi” are inexpensive Japanese snacks, sort of like penny candies, both in terms of size and price, as well as a degree of sentimentality attached to them.  The show centers around Kokonotsu, a middle school boy who dreams of becoming a manga artist.  His father, Yo, owns a dagashi shop in a small town, and wants Kokonotsu to take over for him.  Hotaru, daughter of a snack manufacturer, comes to the town to recruit Yo.  Yo says that he can’t leave unless Kokonotsu agrees to take over the shop.  Hotaru agrees to convince Kokonotsu to take over the shop in exchange for Yo coming to work for her father’s company.  Hotaru is passionate about the snacks, and spends most of the show trying to kindle Kokonotsu’s passion for dagashi.  In spite of this somewhat odd and convoluted plot, much of the show is basically a love letter to the dagashi themselves.  So, if you are interested in the niche world of Japanese snack foods, it’s a fun watch.

That’s all for this round.  Have a great week and game on!

The Professional Gamer – February 15, 2016

Hello, readers!  I’ve been at the inaugural Colorado Anime Fest.  I’ll have a full article about my experience here a little later this week.  Other than that, I’ve spent my time this week watching Snow White with the Red Hair, and flying around some more with my space truck.  Also, since we are starting to get close to spring, I’ve started reading more gardening books, and have started some herbs to keep in pots in my house. 

Snow White with the Red Hair is very enjoyable.  I like seeing that the two lead characters, who maybe have some romantic interest in each other, also have plans and goals that do not simply revolve around the relationship.  Without relying on the typical "love conquers all" trope, the creators are much more free to develop the characters as individuals.

My adventures in space trucking in Elite: Dangerous continue apace.  I've been a bit more busy this week, especially with helping Crystal get ready for Colorado Anime Fest this weekend.  So, I haven't moved much further towards my goals of a new ship, but my rare trading scheme still seems to be working well as a means of earning the needed capital.

Look for a full article from me about Colorado Anime Fest to come out later this week.  I took a few pictures and had a lot of fun at the cultural track programs.  I hope to see you all here again later this week.  Game on!

In Review - Gekkan Shoujo: Nozaki-kun

So, I started this article several months ago, and I managed to forget to post it all.  Anyways, here's my review of my favorite anime of the last year.

What do you do when your high school crush is clueless, and treats all human interaction as a chance to research for his monthly shoujo manga?  If you are Chiyo Sakura, you go over to his house and start helping him draw his manga.  This is what happens in the first episode of Monthly Girls': Nozaki-kun, when Chiyo attempts to confess her love to her classmate Umetaro Nozaki, but instead tells him that she is "his biggest fan".  Nozaki gives Chiyo an autograph, and invites her to come to . During the rest of the series, we see the development of Chiyo and Nozaki's friendship, as well as an exaggerated look at the life of a manga artist.

The animation quality in the series is great, and the character designs are intuitive and believable.  So far the series is only available subtitled; the Japanese cast is great, so don't let that turn you off.  The soundtrack is generally unremarkable, playing a supporting role, while not being terribly notable.  The series is great fun, and probably the best recent entry to the high school comedy genre.  Overall, I give this series a 4.5 / 5.

Kämpher Review

What is Kämpher?  In our case it is an anime adaption of a manga by the same name, and this is my not so flattering review about said adaption.

So jumping right in, this story focuses on one Natsuru Senō.  He is given a stuffed animal from the EntrailNatsuru Transformation Ending Animals series (think stuffed toys that in some way committed suicide or died horribly) by the love of his life, Kaede Sakura.  Turns out the new "toy" is actually a messenger for the Moderators (ooohhhh, spooky and ominous).  As the owner of this messenger Natsuru is turned into a Kämpher.  This includes the wonderful accessory of a blue bracelet, and it also turns him into a girl.  What?  Kämphers must be girls.  It is somewhere in the rules, they are sure of it.  So now we have a boy who turns into a girl and gets the ability to throw fire. Natsuru must fight red Kämphers lest he be killed himself.  At this point it seems like it can be a cool anime. Ah the misgivings of the uninformed mind.

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