The Professional Gamer - February 9, 2019

Well, this has been a fun end to a week. I had a quick day trip out to Albuquerque (via plane) to have a look at a project site. I'll be posting this on Saturday afternoon, but as of late on Friday, I'm on a train heading from the Denver Airport back to my house. In other news, I caught back up on the seasonal anime. Well, for the most part. I have one more episode of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime to watch. Come to think of it, I guess I'm not actually watching a whole lot of anime this season. I'd change that, but it might mean watching some of the shows that, at least on first appearance, seem a little trashy. This intro has gone on long enough, let's get to the meat. Spoilers abound for Mob Psycho 100 and Slime; you have been warned.

First up is Mob Psycho 100, which has been an emotional ride in the last few weeks. Shigeo was really tested and presented with an alternative way to live his life and use his powers. We'd seen him start to question what might happen to the world if he was to become selfish. "Who would be able to stop me?" he asked. Then, just a few episodes later, an evil spirit is trying to show him how terrible the world is, and how he should use his powers for his own benefit. In the end, Shigeo not only rejects this premise, but turns it around. He sees the wonderful people around him as a gift, and remonstrates himself for not thanking them enough. Through all of this, we see a somewhat different side of Reigen too. He still seems to be rather exploitative of Shigeo, but there seems to be a greater sense of care behind it. The fact that Shigeo has taken Reigen's edict to "never use his powers against humans" to heart, is a huge part of Shigeo’s character. The fact that one of Shigeo’s guiding principals comes from a man like Reigen is incredible. I suppose everyone is rather lucky that Shigeo took up with Reigen and not someone with serious ambitions. I look forward to seeing how this character development continues.

On another note, this season of Mob has been amazing for its animation and visual effects. The fight in the world of the subconscious is fluid and complex, looking more like the quality of animation that I expect in a feature length project, rather than a television show. The success of the first season seems to have provided the folks who control the money with incentive to invest in this property, to ensure that it is off exceptional quality. I just hope that the last few episodes didn't blow the entire budget and we'll have stick figures animated at 12 frames per second for the rest of the series.

This is the part where I put my recommendation. Mob is an enormously fun show, which manages to include both comedy and poignant emotional beats. It is a bit hard to classify. I can't just say, "If you like comedy, this is the show for you." Like most shows of great quality, Mob is complex, offering action, comedy, slapstick, and drama, usually all in one episode. You should watch Mob Psycho 100. You may have a bit of catch up to do, if you haven't seen the first season, but there is nothing else that would be a better use of your anime viewing time right now.

Moving on to That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime. I have previously discussed how this show seems to be moving from an RPG inspired isekai to something more akin to a strategy game. Now, having watched a few more episodes, I'm not sure that this has been the best decision for the show. If nothing else, a lot of things feel too easy for Rimuru. The thing that really stuck me, was the short development time for the Max Potions, and then subsequent lack of exploitation. In the space of a single episode, they had solved the problem of refining the herbs to the level necessary for creation of the Max Potions, and then promptly stopped caring. I have to assume that researchers had been working on that problem for awhile. Finding solutions to issues like that usually take some time. At least in our world. And you better believe that someone would exploit that development. Powerful creatures in the world would certainly pay handsomely for a potion that can restore even their massive hit point pools during battle. Imagine the Demon Lords stocking Max Potions for their favored lackeys, or Kings purchasing them to keep their champions on the field.

I also take issue with the tendency for everything to look more human as it becomes more powerful. This choice feels more centered around a desire to make the female characters sexually appealing than to make them compelling and interesting. On a similar note, the Demon Lord Milim’s costume is off-putting. Why does she walk around in clothes that don't even fit her properly? Again, this is a choice made that intends to reward the male gaze rather than create a compelling character. I don't think that skimpy clothing is wrong, but it needs to make sense with relation to the character. Milim is a kinda goofy and child-like person, and a skimpy outfit doesn't make sense in that context.

As you may have gathered, I'm not as excited by Slime as I was earlier in the series. My recommendation is therefore made with some reservation. If you really care about politics and strategy, this might still be a good series for you. If you enjoy breast physics, there might be something for you here as well. As for me, I'll probably finish watching this season due to the sunk cost fallacy and a sense of inertia. But at this point, if you aren't already watching, I don't recommend picking it up.

The last little bit of news that I would like to share is that I've successfully paired one of my old WiiU Pro controllers to my computer and figured out how to play Stardew Valley with it. I never got super into Stardew Valley, in part because I have never been a big Harvest Moon fan. I think they are fine games in concept, but they don't hold my attention very well. On top of that, I was not a fan of the mouse and keyboard control scheme in the PC version. Now that I have a portable computer and a controller, I'll be much more inclined to play it. Maybe Crystal and I can try out the co-op? We had been planning to for some time, but never got around to it.

And that's it. I'll be spending my time tomorrow running around: first with an 11 mile training run, a breakfast meeting, and then heading out to my favorite running store to get some new shoes. I hope to catch you all again next time. Until then, have a great week and game on.