Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Southfield February 26, 2018 City Council Meeting

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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

February 12, 2018 Southfield City Council Meeting

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

It's Long Time We Reexamined Dot Hack

I am an isekai apologist. I love Sword Art Online and all of the knock-offs it inspired but when I listen to people give their point by point breakdowns on why they don't like it I can't really disagree with them. All of that stuff is true. But I also believe that the core conceit of being stuck in a video game has a lot of interesting possiblities and SAO does deliver on enough of them to be engaging.

That being said even I'll admit that season after season the genre gets more and more watered down and hard to like as it copies more and more of the elements that didn't work in SAO.

... Our jaded programer protagonist who kind of hates MMORPGS because they are his job and actually kind of made Death March To Parallel World kind of interesting for 2 episodes is getting a harem ... with slave girls. Yaaaaaaaay.

And I think okay if I were to use all commentary, all the critique to fix SAO, to make it a show beyond otaku instant gratification what would it look like?

What if they made it so Asuna spent more time doing guild stuff and could show off how badass she was?  What if they made it so that instead of fawning over him Kirito's harem actually did plot-relevant stuff? Heck what if instead of just saying he has trouble dealing with people ... while having nearly every female character want to date him Kirito actually did have trouble dealing with people and all of his friends had lengthy discussions about why they hang out with this guy who can't help himself from pissing them off?  For that matter what if he actually had a personality that made him act in ways that weren't a just generic hero stuff? What if there were a character in the story specifically designed to do all the crazy hacker stuff required to solve the plot rather than the 15-year-old kid hero whose primary qualification amounts to being really good at playing video games? What if the story focused a lot more on the existential horror and dread of not being able to go back to the real world and why that was happening rather than spending a bunch of it's time in a log cabin in the woods playing house?

I would probably end up with something that looked a lot like .Hack specifically .Hack//Sign the first anime iteration of the franchise.

That's not to say that .Hack is perfect. Even //Sign which is both arguably the best of the .Hack franchise and the one that least requires knowledge of the property as a whole ends in a way that requires you to play the games... that were released on PS2.  And yes for a fantasy show ostensibly about an action-heavy video game it is very talky.

Also I want to differentiate between isekai or trapped in another world stories and what I'm going to dub cyber isekai or trapped in another world stories where the world in question overtly runs on video game rules.  Trapped in another world stories have a long history even in anime and I dislike that everybody pretends like it started with Sword Art Online which by the way is kind of why I'm writing this. Heck even if you just wanted to stick to dude stuck in a vaguely video gamey world Digimon has you beat.

All the same rather than saying SAO is the progenitor of modern (cyber) isekai I would say .Hack did it first and better warts, and all.

One of the biggest problems people have regarding .Hack//Sign is especially compared to modern stories it doesn't feel like it's about video games. It's not fun.  No. No, it's not.  It's a story about the segregation of offline and online identity and communication and how that divide is an illusion. About how even in a game whose entire purpose is escapism these characters, these miserable saps,  can't run from who they are in the real world. Because more than an isekai story or even a fantasy story .Hack is a post cyber-punk story.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

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