rainfall: A tiny bunny rabbit curled up in a cup. (bunny in a cup)
Also, speaking of Downpour (and Tales of Graces!), here's our liveblogging efforts of late:

SILENT HILL: DOWNPOUR
Day 6 | Day 7

TALES OF GRACES F
Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8

Downpour is coming along slowly -- in part because it is genuinely really fucking tense and sometimes I can only play it for an hour, whereas Graces can be played for four or more hours at a time, and in part because you can get so much more done in one hour of Downpour than in one hour of Graces (in terms of getting closer to the end of the game), and in part because Graces is the game everyone else we know is also playing and so it feels more urgent. X3

But trust me, it's not out of less love. I love Downpour an unhealthy amount.
rainfall: A girl stands in the midst of fallen leaves. You can't see her face. (Default)
...also, apparently they're all still alive over there.

Naturally, I'm glad; but part of their update makes me a little (unsure).

The rest of the 'Story' bar is primarily side quests, which are entirely new and thus easier to check.


...No matter how I slice this statement, it's kind of saddening.

The only conceivable reason it would take longer to "verify" the part of the game that's already in English is if you are quadruple-guessing the English translation.

And this bugs me.


There is an attitude in the fan community that a fan translation is always "better" than an official one. This is a stupid attitude, because a.) the people who translate things officially are almost always former fans who did fan-translations and b.) official translators sometimes have the opportunity to speak to the creators in order to clear up confusion. This means that if an official translation went with one version of an ambiguous line and a fan translation went with another, you should think twice before deciding the fan translation is right.

Mistakes still happen. The Pronoun Beast still ensnares many a good translator. (If our fan translators manage to fix it so that everybody knows Belius is a woman, consistently, throughout Tales of Vesperia, they will have my thanks.) And Executive Meddling can screw up a good translation by changing character names, adding jokes, changing genders... etc. But that isn't the fault of the people who worked on the translation. It does, unfortunately, make their version unwatchable / unreadable for fans in the know, but it isn't the translation that's inherently inferior to the work of the fans.


But I'm very, very sad about this news for Vesperia in particular, because I love its localization. I love Troy Baker's version of Yuri. I have nothing against any of the voice actors who worked on the original Japanese version, but I'm a little underwhelmed by them. (And some of Yuri's dialogue they're just going to have to make up, even if they don't like the Troy Baker version of it, because Japanese!Yuri does not always use words. Sometimes he just makes sounds and other characters seem to understand him anyway.)

And the thought of playing it with the localization carefully and thoroughly stripped away -- with a boringly-literal translation in its place, where half the jokes will fall flat because there's an asterisk telling me one of the characters made a pun on some word I don't know and no effort was made to recreate a similar joke in English -- makes me sad.

Ah, well. I'll still play through it again excitedly. I love Flynn far too much to miss out. c:
rainfall: A girl with a bouquet of flowers holds it up. (live in color)
I am preordering Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike.

I am doing this despite the fact that I loathe this movie.

Why? Because I want to demonstrate my continued interest in Tales of Vesperia to Bandai, that's why. c:


P.S.
I'm aware of the "Microsoft situation". I've heard a couple of different versions of it, actually -- one saying that it expired last year, one that it expired ages ago and that's why the PS3 Vesperia was released in Japan. And I've also heard the version where Microsoft only made the stipulation outside of Japan. (Which, IMHO, was a stupid thing for them to have hypothetically done? Japan was the region Microsoft was desperate to crack; 360s have been selling just fine elsewhere, and their 'tactic' certainly worked in Japan, where the 360 sold out for the first time ever as a direct result of the exclusivity. Why cockblock only every other nation?)

Anyway, there are numerous potential solutions to the problem, not the least of which is the expanded Vesperia getting a release on the Xbox instead. I don't care how it gets here, I just want it to get here. c:
rainfall: A girl in a hat reaches for the skyline of a distant city. (reach for the sky)
ALSO, IN THE VEIN OF LIVEBLOGGING:

Tales of Graces f, Day: 4, 5 - which is exceptionally long, because we just played it all damn day. Well, Kay played; I wrote.

COMING UP NEXT: Silent Hill: Downpour, where I will be most decidedly at the controls.
rainfall: A tiny bunny rabbit curled up in a cup. (bunny in a cup)
Between how many headaches Downpour gives me when I try to play it while tired (the swimmy camera angle + the tension is hard on meee) and how generally nicer it is to play something fluffy right before bed, we're switching it up so that Downpour comes first and Graces comes second! As such...

SILENT HILL: DOWNPOUR Day Two (two hours) / Day Three (two hours)

TALES OF GRACES F Day Two (three-ish hours) / Day Three (three-ish hours)


I think this (me playing, Kay blogging) is working really well so far, except for the part where I dragged my heels between games trying to reply to people on the previous game's post. X33 Maybe I'll wait to reply to people until the next day. :D
rainfall: A tiny bunny rabbit curled up in a cup. (bunny in a cup)
We're now starting Tales of Graces f, and Kay is doing a live blog of it over here, so go read! Enjoy our harried commentary as we try to play two highly-anticipated games in one night. 8D
rainfall: A pair of hands holding an ornate teacup. The red fingernails and green shirt match the teacup's design. (teacups)
Don't ask me how or why, but this morning I started thinking about gender in Tales of Vesperia.

A few months ago in Marina, someone asked Yuri point blank whether his life had ever been easier for him just because he was a man. He thought about it, and so did I; and then he said, "No, not really."

Because in Tales of Vesperia, gender roles seem to be pretty damned egalitarian.


Point the first: Estelle was going to be Empress.

Estelle and Ioder, in ToV, are completely equal candidates for the throne. Estelle is preferred by the Council of Nobles, possibly because she has the pink hair that signifies the potency of her inherited powers as a Child of the Full Moon (thereby possibly making her royal blood bluer), but just as likely because she was recognized as being more naive (and malleable) than Ioder.

Meanwhile, Ioder is preferred by the Imperial Knights.

These two groups have equal power in ToV (and an imbalance in that power, shifting it towards the Council, is one of our underlying plotlines), both being subordinate only to the Emperor or Empress.

Never once in the entire game is there ever made any mention of Ioder being better-suited for the throne because he's male, or any mention that Estelle would have to marry. In fact, when I say "Empress", I think I may be pulling that out of my ass; I'm not completely sure they don't just say "Emperor" all the time and that Estelle would have ended up "Emperor". I like the word Empress, but I'm just saying: they only ever call her a candidate for the Imperial Throne. There is so little mention made of her being a "woman Emperor" that they never use a gendered term for it at all.

In a society with sexism present, you would expect this to be made an issue of. In a truly sexist society, you wouldn't expect Estelle to be a candidate at all.


Point the second: Kaufman, Belius

The Empire is, of course, only half of the game's governing body. The other half, opposed to the Empire for most of the game, is a coalition of Guilds called the Union. One of the five master guilds is run by a woman (Fortune's Market) and one is a question mark (we know nothing about the Soul Smiths and hardly ever hear their name).

And then there's Pallestralle, the only major independent Guild, which is also run by a woman. And I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Belius is, in fact, KNOWN to be female by everyone, and that it was a translation hiccup that caused the game to spend half of its time referring to her as "that person".

If the Soul Smiths isn't run by a woman -- and from now on my personal headcanon is that it is -- then the imbalance is caused only by the fact that two of the guilds are secretly run by the same man, so there's only actually four leaders, split -- for all we know -- evenly down the middle.

Again, there are no mentions ever made of it even being unusual that they're leading.


Point the third: Sodia, Casey

In the Raven novel -- and nowhere else -- we are told that female knights usually opt to be mages rather than swordsmen or arches. Casey, it notes, is an exception to this general rule; and so too is Sodia. But in neither case is there ever any actual surprise directed at these women, let alone noticeable prejudice. Much noise is made throughout Vesperia about how Alexei, Schwann, and Flynn are all commoners rather than being noble-born, but nobody ever spares a sneer for Sodia or Casey.

Not to mention Estelle, who is a princess but was still trained to defend herself with a sword and a shield.

So this tells me that, rather than being something women are forbidden to do, it's something women are less inclined to do, which I don't mind or consider to be evidence of sexism. I also think it's tremendously significant that the writers, upon deciding to make this part of the Knights' gender makeup, also decided to make the only female characters we actually know both exceptions to the 'rule'.

It's hard to feel, in that situation, like the point wasn't to show us that women can do whatever they want, rather than that they usually take roles that don't involve direct combat.


Point the fourth: Karol and Estelle's crossdressing

Karol is embarrassed to be told to seduce the guard, especially after he just suggested one of the girls do it, but there's never a horrified moment from anyone about the idea of Karol wearing girls' clothes. And no one objects at ALL to the idea of Estelle playing the prince: in fact, since the outfit fits her perfectly, the original actor who played the prince was probably also a girl.

Additionally, both the description of Karol's female costume in the 360 version and several extra scenes in the PS3 version all imply that Karol kind of likes being pretty and wearing a dress. X3


Point the fifth: Flynn is the worst cook in the game

(Note: This IS also true in the 360 version. You just have to read between the lines during the skit you get for having Yuri cook repeatedly -- he never mentions Flynn's name, but he's obviously talking about him -- and complete the Wonder Chef Cooking Battle in Dahngrest with Yuri. Flynn will be the Empire's cook, and if Yuri wins you'll hear all about Flynn the Disastrous cook.)

Flynn is a type of cook that is always, always female in Japanese media. He is the enthusiastic, hopeful, but horrible chef who always puts the wrong ingredients into his food in a puppy dog-like attempt to make it taste better. This type of cook is always female because it subverts the expectation that a sweet woman will necessarily be a good homemaker.

I can't even put into words how much I love the fact that the disaster chef is male and Flynn.


The fact is that gender is never really mentioned in Vesperia, and it is mentioned in other Tales Of games: for example, in Symphonia, there are multiple scenes to the tune of men being useless for traditional manly duties. (Presea and Colette, both possessing unnatural strength for plot reasons, are shown more than once to lift enormous objects effortlessly, and male characters around them become insecure. "I've lost my confidence as a man," says Lloyd. "Me, too," says Genis. "Men are so useless these days," says Raine.)

So, I'm going to go ahead and say that there COULD have been gendered roles in Vesperia, and that we go out of our way to avoid them.
rainfall: A tiny bunny rabbit curled up in a cup. (bunny in a cup)
One more skit! Because today was kind of lame and translating cute skits makes me feel better.

SPOILERS FOR RAVEN-RELATED EVENTS BEFORE ZAUDE.

Which One Is He, Really? (scenario skit about SPOILER spoiler SPOILER) )
rainfall: A chaotic pile of generic crayons. All the colors of a child's rainbow. (crayons)
Because why should not having a tumblr leave me out in the cold, really.




Yes, this. 110%. In Abyss, SO MANY of the men have long hair. It's often even styled in kind of a feminine way. (Regal's noble bow. Peony's hair beads. Dist's A-line bob. Zelos's headband and his costume!braid and Jade's costume!braid...) I love this so much. Redefining what makes a man masculine is so lovely.


MORE CONFESSIONS THOUGHTS IN HERE )
rainfall: A pair of dark shoes with bright flowers in them. (step out in style)
This is not a productive post. It is, however, a table of Tales Of terminology as it exists in both the Japanese and English localized versions Tales of Vesperia. This kind of thing is why I prefer the dubs.

KanjiEnglishJapanese
特技 (Tokugi)Base ArteSpecial Technique
奥義 (Ougi)Arcane ArteSecret
スキル変化技 (Skill Henkawaza)Altered Strike ArteAltered Technique Skill
下級魔術 (Kakyuu Majutsu)Novice Magic ArteNovice Spell
中級魔術 (Chuukyuu Majutsu)Intermediate Magic ArteIntermediate Spell
上級魔術 Joukyuu Majutsu)Advanced Magic ArteAdvanced Spell
スキル変化魔術 Skill Henka Majutsu)Altered Magic ArteAltered Spell Skill
バーストアーツ (Burst Artes)Burst ArtesBurst Artes
秘奥義 (Hi Ougi)Mystic ArteMysterious Secret


...Yep.

So, the names were changed. But I have to say I kind of like the consistency in Vesperia's localization.
rainfall: A girl holds flowers in front of her face and peers through them. (little white flowers)
I picked this out to do some Japanese practice at random, little knowing I was going to be lucky enough to get one of the skits where they talk about how much Flynn also loves fighting. Bonus flusterable Rita. ♥

Unexpected (A skit about Flynn's sekrit love of fighting) )
rainfall: A chaotic pile of generic crayons. All the colors of a child's rainbow. (crayons)
To list all the reasons why I cannot take this movie as canon would make a very long entry all on its own, but a moment ago one small, yet crucial point crystallized for me. Allow me to share.

Why the movie ruined Yuri Lowell )

See, it's things like this that kept me from enjoying the movie: I don't hate it for being noncanon, it's just that the way in which it is noncanon was -- at best -- thoroughly uninteresting to me.
rainfall: A girl stands in the midst of fallen leaves. You can't see her face. (Default)
omgomgomg

I finished itttt. I HOPE YOU LIKE IT. I also submitted it for [community profile] kink_bingo, nervously, because it's not for another writing comm and it's brand-new as of like ten minutes ago but what if I'm still doing it wrong aaaah.

Fair warning before anyone but Apa clicks: that up there is some Alexei/Flynn mind control dubcon. Eheheheh. I'm so proud of it, actually, like. Ridiculously proud. DON'T READ IF YOU HAVEN'T REACHED THE SHRINE OF BACTION YET!
rainfall: A girl stands in the midst of fallen leaves. You can't see her face. (Default)
This scene is one of several that takes place in Zaphias, if you return there after the events at after Aurnion. In Kouli's guide, it's the extra event that occurs when you "check the fountain" in the Lower Quarter.

As before: When we go back through the game, I'll add better descriptions of what's going on during this scene. I was too preoccupied on my pass through it copying down all the dialogue, and I know I missed out on the action. :(

Also, note that Hanks drove me a little bit crazy in this scene because he doesn't use nouns. He uses pronouns. It's clear if you squint for a while who he's talking about where, because of context and his word use, but I slotted in names to make things a little easier on you!

Thank you forever to [livejournal.com profile] kupoke, who helped me with a couple of the tricky lines and reassured me about everything else.


Translation! )
rainfall: A pair of cartoony arms encircle the words "A huge hug for you." (huge hug)
In order to get this scene, you'll first need to:
  • cook at least 600 times (with anyone) and MASTER three recipes with Patty
  • stop in at Nordopolica at some point after getting your "airship" and talk to the flopsweating young man near Fortune's Market.
  • head to Zaphias after Flynn joins the party permanently and stop in at the inn to talk to the woman who behind the counter


When we go back through the game, I'll add -- better descriptions of what's going on during this scene. I was too preoccupied on my pass through it copying down all the dialogue, and I know I missed out on the action. :(

Translation! )
rainfall: A girl stands in the midst of fallen leaves. You can't see her face. (Default)
Aselia has a great list up of Flynn's new skills and artes; you can compare them to his Xbox 360 artes, if you'd like. (I've heard that his speed was also improved greatly in the PS3 version, but during the actual battles he and Yuri had in the Xbox version, I was too distracted by their battle dialogue to notice anything Flynn was doing physically.)

The second I had Flynn available to me, though, I switched him into my party and then never removed him again. Below the cut, my thoughts on his AI and the adorable quirks in it.

There are probably spoilers here! )
rainfall: A girl stands in the midst of fallen leaves. You can't see her face. ([hiyori] contemptuous)
EDITED because I am tired of feeling guilty all the time for the contents of this post. It wasn't, when I started it, supposed to be an attack -- and that is kind of what it turned into. So, I'm sorry for that. It's just... I really loved [livejournal.com profile] talesofdressing, I really enjoyed the interactions of some of its characters. (And the others, it wasn't like I disliked them, just that I couldn't really get into them, since I wasn't familiar with their games; I've played Symphonia, and Abyss, so I'm a newbie to the series, no question.)

So it hurt and frustrated me to see things go kind of downhill -- especially when they were going downhill for a particular Peony, who I picked out early on as being the best of a couple of quite decent Peonies, and a particular Natalia, the strength of whose Natalia voice I admired.

Yeah; that's right. My multipage rant about Natalia alone stemmed from love, and feeling kind of betrayed. And terrible for Peony, because a lot of what's happened to and with Natalia recently has detrimentally affected him. Which just... sucks, for pretty much everyone involved.

But let's see if we can try this again without the name-calling. :(

I like dissecting AUs. I like shoving the pieces around, and seeing how they'd fit together differently. I like to change one event in a character's personal history and watch it spiral out to change everything. It's interesting.

[livejournal.com profile] talesofdressing makes it a bit harder to do that -- as I kind of now know from personal experience. It's really easy to slot a character in there, thinking you pretty much know where you're going with it, and realizing as they start interacting with other characters that you were pretty much totally wrong. You find yourself flying by the seat of your pants, and details change pretty quickly.

Maid-Type Characters )

Natalia, Pregnancies, Marriage )

About Attention-Whoring )

And, I guess that's everything.

Ooh, I feel better now. ♥

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