Music of the Week #472

Just a couple more

I’ll be free of obligations in around a month so just a couple more weeks until I can probably get back to reminiscing about games I’ve played, although being busy really put a stopper on any progress I was barely making to begin with. But I did manage to binge watch/read through Kanojo Okarishimasu and realized how little was going on but it still made some sensible character relationship dynamics that I did revel for a couple minutes on, which is saying a lot compared to some other series of this nature. Let’s hope I can still remember these thoughts when I’m through.

So now we’re at the actual final boss theme of CS2 and we already went over the Reverie Corridor and how the final boss itself acknowledges this pointless and time-consuming endeavor of playing through two extra sections of gameplay to get the true ending, one that ends off on such a banal and happy note that while melodramatic, does leave the story off at an interesting spot as Class VII is over and everyone goes their separate directions in life. This actually might have some weight to it if Class VII actually did go a while without seeing each other for a while but CS3-4 and Hajimari makes this scene a lot less impactful compared to the likes of 3rd’s ending and its series of farewells. One of the biggest kicks in the teeth is Crow as to no one’s surprise, he comes back. Falcom didn’t even try to hide Crow being anyone else yet they wanted to sell the idea that he was dead in CS2 so hard by giving him an insert song for the first ED sequence and also having his ghost show up.

Music of the Week #471

Even busier

I forgot to mention last week how I started watching Tonikaku Kawaii, the latest adapted series of one Hata Kenjiro of the Hayate no Gotoku fame. It doesn’t seem to fall prey to the unsatisfactory choice problem that made HnG’s ending a bit predictably contentious but who knows how this will turn out given how much HnG morphed over its serialization. At the very least, the main couple get married this quick.

One of the prevailing problems I heard with CS2 was that it just wouldn’t end and that is partly true. Despite me calling the final fight where Crow bites the dust as the final fight of the game, the truth is that there’s one more rail-roaded segment and the real final segment called the Reverie Corridor. To address the former first, CS2 features a treat for fans of Zero and Ao where Lloyd and Rixia are playable and they end up fighting Rean and also namedropping a ton of characters in Crossbell. A somewhat exciting prospect of seeing these legacy characters in 3D but the fun thing to note out is that many western fans would have no clue as to who these are since Cold Steel 1-2 was translated before the Crossbell games so this scene of seeing the Crossbell cast be referenced is sadly lost on a majority of fans in the west. The 2nd epilogue however has Rean back with his classmates and pretty much anyone with a unique model or was playable previously to go through one last dungeon. The unique mechanic being that you’re allowed to buy these four immensely costly items to replace anyone equipped with them to be played as Lloyd, Rixia, Vita, and then Crow. My gripe about Crow not dying will come into play next week when a more relevant song pops up but just know that CS2 is often lambasted for not picking a good time to end.

Music of the Week #470

All aboard the hate train

Despite saying how much I’d like to quickly talk about the two series I did watch in light of me having very little to watch this season, I’m probably going to be really busy again so who knows when that will happen. At most, I’ll get those two series done in a single post whenever possible. Some development in the Jojo animation portion where a new event/announcement is scheduled for the far-off Spring date of April and I can only hope it’s Stone Ocean because I actually do like that part.

The reveal that happens immediately after Crow’s death doesn’t entirely factor into things as much as you’d hope but as far as Cold Steel 2 is concerned, it left things at a decent narrative point in the future of the characters. Rean turns out to be the son of an astronomically important figure and Crow has quite literally died for nothing in light of the story’s recent events. With Rean now put on a pedestal as a political figure who has “saved the empire” the extra two scenarios feature a continuation of the plot and the one following the revelation has the full on annexation of Crossbell by Erebonia, with Rean partaking in the act. As I just mentioned, CS2’s endings on their own without knowing what happens in future titles paints an interesting saga to be told but I cannot reasonably say that what they went with was what I had hoped. Because death does not mean anything anymore in the series.

Music of the Week #469

The end of Summer

I suppose I could make an extremely quick posts regarding the two series I kept up with this season mostly to break up the monotony of me complaining about Cold Steel every week. Depends how my weekend ends up because it’s looking pretty free right now. Before the weekend arrives however, I got to be really mad because one of the biggest problems with Cold Steel has to be addressed

So what the hell is my problem with Crow after taking up a bunch of headspace in our characters’ worries? He dies. At the end of CS2, Crow dies after fighting you twice, then joining you for a bit, and then gets offed by the final boss. This would be one of the few moments of emotional payoff but it’s not like Crow was honestly that close with everyone, he only joins up half a year in and he already had a close group of friends with Georg, Angie, and Towa. Hell, he has his own band of mercenaries he’s supposed to be chummy with. Once again, the game tries to bill the Rean and Crow unrequited friendship angle so hard that their conflict is entirely pointless and felt so weak if he himself had no stake in whatever he was doing after his task was completed. Then he bites the dust, and honestly? That’s fine. His death can serve as a jumping off point for the rest of the characters that for all their speeches about saving everyone couldn’t amount to saving one of their own. While feeling pointless, the finale was pretty nice. Hard to mess up giant mech battles right?

No, the problem is that he didn’t stay dead.

Music of the Week #468

Busy time is over, for another month at least.

Oregairu finally ends and it amuses me how it ended within 11 episodes while the light novels suffered through a couple years of breaks in order to get to this point. There wasn’t really anything like the previous seasons/novels as Hikigaya has every smugly accepted the types of flaws he has and now zeroes in on whose wish he wants to grant between Yui and Yukino all the while weaving through these mental hoops of trying to do things one’s own way and lessening the image of Yukino from a perfect student into a helpless wreck. Guess it’s a good change of pace from the immense amount of pretense in the 2nd season but might drive away the people who got used to that now that Hikigaya is significantly more cheery.

Ah at last, the lynchpin of bad decisions and one of the largest components of why Cold Steel stands in such a bad light with me. Blue Destination is more or less considered the motif of the Cold Steel saga, or at least, the first half of it. Crow Armbrust is the 2nd of the late-addition members Class 7 receives around the mid-game of CS1 and honestly, he’s fine in CS1, he provides some much needed character in an otherwise inoffensive to a fault class roster. Crow’s true worth as a character comes at the very end of Cold Steel 1, the best part of the game, where he’s involved with a big plot that gets a certain somebody killed and thrusts the series into CS2. But then his character just stops there. Instead of being seen as a villain, he is shown as some lost lamb, someone coerced into evil that can be brought back to the good. His tenure as villain also ends as he outright states that with his goals met, he’s only sticking around the actual villains out of obligation. So instead of treating him has a proper villain or rival, as much as the artwork would like to suggest, Crow is more or less Rean’s unrequited boyfriend who becomes the topic of a lot of conversations and emotional weight in CS2.  This wouldn’t be so much of a problem if Crow’s character actually meant something more but we’ll deal with the biggest issue next week.

Music of the Week #467

Too much

Currently have a lot of my plate so I won’t waste time recounting what little happened in the past week. I will say that I looked ahead for the Fall 2020 season and found even less things to watch than this season which doesn’t bode well for the continuance of this site, but in the end, I guess I could talk about more games for that season as well, who knows.

What isn’t uncertain is how convoluted Cold Steel 2’s development is. The game spells it out that the evil organization that has been around since Trails in the Sky is enacting a two-part plan involving both Crossbell and Erebonia and the plan in Erebonia only gets more annoyingly confusing because it’s two-part plan in a two-part scheme that has to do with awakening not one but TWO incredibly powerful mcguffins that have technically been fused into one form. Said one form however is actually now split into 7 giant mechs and you see where this goes. Actually, you probably don’t but I don’t blame you. Trying to insist that this needlessly complex plan, all for the sake of recreating Highlander but with robots has to be some literary failure because this is what 5 games have amounted to. Seeing the development of Hajimari no Kiseki only reinforces my question of why CS1-2 needed to be like this when the meat of the plot is fulfilled much later.

Music of the Week #466

Fug

So despite all my talk about being busy and all, my results haven’t been so stellar and it seems to me that I’m not working as hard as I thought I was. Due to that, I really want to double me efforts but that of course means doing less stuff on here. Not like that there’s that much I’m doing and it’ll be a good bit before I can get back to talking about the games I managed to play. Truth be told, there’s only two more to go so there wasn’t much else to look forward to from me. I haven’t mentioned them in a while but both Uzaki and Oregairu are still fun to watch on a weekly basis, especially since Hikigaya and Yukino seemed to have worked things out so a level of pretense is finally gone.

This week’s tune is the one that exclusively plays in the character-specific final bonding moment. I told everyone how much this particular issue in the last game irked me because of the things that occurred early in CS2 that made it so that Rean shared an important moment with EVERYBODY in 1 so how does 2 top this and make me even more mad? Well, let’s take the female characters for example. One half-semester of school doesn’t really make for a believable time-window for these sorts of games for a full romantic relationship to blossom so the most of what you’re left is with Alisa saying that she’ll have something important to say to you once you reunite. Now that the kids have spent more time with each other, reciprocation is now a factor and now the guys once again bro it up while the girls flat out confess. Once again, this is no real sin on its own and it’s what happens in CS3 that makes this retroactively bad: CS3 has it all go back to Square 1, either counting none of the girls confessing, or Rean accepting everyone’s confessions and just keeping the playing field active instead of committing so he can diddle his female students as a teacher or something.