Tag Archives: dragon ball z

You Can (Not) Watch Inuyasha

Now, thanks to some dedicated viewing, no one can say I haven’t watched every single episode of Inuyasha. And, as a result, I’ve determined I’ve wasted my life.

I think 200 episodes of an anime does that to you.

Let’s start at the beginning: Inuyasha is an anime that first premiered in the US on Adult Swim in August of 2002. At the time, I was a college student, not quite drinking age, and, oh yeah, a gigantic nerd. Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block had started a year earlier, and with it came Cowboy Bebop, not only one of the best animes ever made, but possibly one of the greatest series ever released in any format (the absolute greatest being, obviously, Fish Police). On the buzz of Cowboy Bebop alone, I’m pretty sure I dutifully watched all Adult Swim anime through the next five years, expecting that, logically, another series must come down the pike that is at least half as good as Cowboy Bebop. That…. Never happened. But back in 2002 I didn’t know that, and Inuyasha looked like a contender. It’s got time travel! And demons! And it’s from the Ranma ½ author! This is gonna be great!

Inuyasha wasn’t great. Inuyasha was for babies.

I also ate it up with a spoon.

Actually, let’s go back to Ranma ½ for a moment. Ranma ½ was author Rumiko Takahashi’s previous manga that was adapted into an anime. It was an often hilarious story about a boy and a girl and the boy occasionally becomes a girl when splashed with water. It was a great little series, but it was nearly impossible to watch in America, because it wasn’t premiering on any television networks, and the age of the VHS was not kind to any bit of media longer than two hours. If you were lucky, one of your friends (the one with an unkempt beard, obviously) had some bootleg VHS tapes of the sub that he totally scored at one of those “con” things (or maybe on IRC). Otherwise, you were never going to see poor Ranma, and the best you could hope for would be a confusing SNES game or maybe some online discussion about what clearly must be the best anime ever.

BARFAnd this was the bizarre world of the late 20th Century. Anime wasn’t kept overseas because companies (likely correctly) believed that there was no profit to be had in importing “Japanimation”, anime was unattainable because it was too adult for our stupid American minds. We got Sailor Moon, but did you know that the original Japanese version was gay as hell? Zoisite is a woman, and those “cousins” are a little bit closer than you’d expect. And Dragon Ball Z! I heard from a friend of a friend that Vegeta and Nappa totally kill people in the original! And Goku gets all bloody, too! And… and… and can you just imagine what those shows we didn’t get look like? Ranma ½ is totally about trans culture! We stupid, prudish gaijin wouldn’t understand!

But, having watched Ranma ½ as an adult years after the fact, I’m forced to admit that the series is merely “good”. It’s hilarious, fun, and occasionally really pretty, but it’s nothing revolutionary. The whole “transformation” thing is treated like a burden by absolutely everyone afflicted (whether they transform into a woman or a piggy) and the majority of the action is focused on the madcap hijinks and how every third man and woman on the planet is inexplicably attracted to Ranma. Aside from some vaguely homosexual notions (is it “gay” if a boy is attracted to a boy that happens to currently be a girl?) there is absolutely nothing earth shattering about Ranma ½, and it’s just… good. Ranma wants to be the best martial artist he can be, and Akane is his obvious match that just happens to have the ability to embarrass him at a moment’s notice with a splash. Story as old as time.

BARKInuyasha is basically the same setup: you’ve got the powerful man (half demon) who can kill anyone in the world with his magically powerful sword, and you’ve got the woman that he obviously loves, who incidentally has the power to bring him to heel instantly (“sit, boy”). And then it takes Ranma ½’s knack for creating a strong supporting cast, and transforms it into a JRPG. We’ve got a big bad that literally craps out clones with random and interesting-to-fight powers, and a party of support staff that is useful for monster identification, exorcisms, and the occasional gigantic spinning top. Throw in a saber tooth kitten that doubles as an airship, and you’ve got Final Inuyasha VII in a nutshell. It’s pretty typical shonen stuff, and the fact that it stars a girl just starting junior high should give you a tipoff to the intended audience.

But Inuyasha did not headline a children’s channel here in America, it was the latest from the very mature Adult Swim. You know, the network with that guy from Fiddler on the Roof complaining about his nipples? Totally mature. And this coupled wonderfully with Inuyasha’s completely insane pacing issues. Inuyasha is definitely an ensemble piece, but its first consistent supporting cast member is not introduced until episode 9. After the tiniest bit of teasing, the villain of the piece eventually arrives during episode 16. For a show that is airing an episode a week, that means approximately four months before the main conflict of the series appears. Four months! In that same amount of time, I’m pretty sure our esteemed president started seventeen nuclear wars! And you could easily make the argument that Inuyasha’s cast isn’t complete until the introduction of the Robin to Sesshōmaru’s Batman, Rin, who appears somewhere around episode 35. By that time, the series had already repeated about six trillion times, and we desperate viewers were convinced those Saiyans were never going to get off Namek! It was infuriating!

And, for some reason, I thought that was the most adult thing of all.

MrowWhen I was growing up, soap operas were derided as lowbrow claptrap. Granted, no one exactly talked about “daytime soaps” in the same way modern man derides anything involving the Kardashians, but it seemed to be constant undercurrent in our other media. I can’t tell you how many times I saw the gag of someone stays home from work or school for a few days, they get dependent on some fictional soap opera, and then everyone has a good laugh about this character’s new, fresh failure of an addiction. Liking soaps is so lame! And, around this same time, serialization was just starting to creep into “normal” media. Star Trek The Next Generation generally forgot its definition of gods, universes, and time travel from week to week, but Star Trek Deep Space Nine was lauded for carrying a cast of characters forward with deliberate callbacks and gradually accumulating motivations. HBO made a killing with The Sopranos, and it was based on intricate storytelling and some poor intern who had to remember which characters were dead at any given moment. And, from my own limited recall of the past, I feel like the first series I ever watched that really cared about continuity was Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the very mature story of a teenage girl jumpkicking vampires until everyone had feelings about everything. Mature storytelling isn’t just ongoing soap opera mush, it’s the elaborate weaving of a million threads that explain why Xander just made a fart joke (it’s because of daddy issues).

Naturally, this lead me to believe Inuyasha’s glacial pace was some apex of sophistication and art. Despite the fact that basically everything you would ever need to know about the series happens in the first two episodes (Inuyasha and Kogome secretly love each other, the cast will be happy forever after we kill every last monster in feudal Japan), I kept watching Inuyasha for… something? I guess I thought they’d eventually reassemble the sacred jewel and then… I don’t know… go to the beach? Or start a new, more interesting plot that wasn’t just Adventure Story #1 (collect all the shiny things)? I don’t even know what I wanted from Inuyasha, I just wanted to see that story move forward and… end. Hey, maybe I didn’t enjoy the show at all! Maybe I just wanted to check off another box on the ol’ “list of shows I done watched”. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Inuyasha consists of 167 initial episodes, and an additional 26 that were produced three years later. With weekly viewings, that all adds up to too damn long to spend on any one piece of media. I moved on. … Or I just let my cable subscription lapse.

What?But, because I am a completionist at heart, I decided to take another stab at it. I decided that I’d watch Inuyasha from start to finish, and see how it all really ends. For anyone curious, here are the bullet points for how Inuyasha’s overarching plot:

  • Kagome travels back in time, and encounters Inuyasha, a half-demon dog that was formerly smitten by Kikyō, who was reincarnated as Kagome.
  • They fall in love and form a kinky dom/sub relationship immediately.
  • Inuyasha picks up a magical sword, which is coveted by his brother, Sesshōmaru, who incidentally has his own magical sword that can freaking raise the dead (but is only used, like, once).
  • Kagome and Inuyasha gain three allies: Sango the demon huntress, Miroku the lecherous monk, and Shippō the walking stuffed animal. They are additionally joined by an unevolved litten, and the occasional fleaman.
  • Kikyō is revived, and, drama bomb, Inuyasha has an undead ex wandering around.
  • Naraku eventually shows up. He’s basically Kikyō’s jealous “nice guy” ex, except he possesses the ability to absolutely never die.
  • Nothing happens for 130 episodes.
  • Inuyasha’s sword turns into a dragon (?) that can puke Hell (?).
  • Naraku, the villain who will not die, dies.
  • Kagome gets a new school uniform.

MROWAnd that’s a ball game, folks. About 20 episodes of actual content, rising action, and consequences, followed by roughly 150 episodes of everyone standing around saying, “I really want to kill that one guy, but hoooow?” I’m going to lie and claim that I don’t mind “filler” episodes, but only when they’re actually entertaining. Your average filler Inuyasha slots into three categories:

  1. A random demon/furry is causing trouble, time to kill it
  2. A random demon is causing trouble, but it is disguised as someone that needs help. It takes a couple episodes for the gang to notice Team Rocket at it again.
  3. The We Hate Naraku Support Group sits around and shares stories about why they hates that varmint so much.

And that’s it! I’m pretty sure Naruto at least had ninja in its filler episodes, here you’re lucky if you go a whole three episodes without exploring an eight year old’s love life. Against all odds, the most interesting episodes wind up being the ones where Kagome visits her home time period and Inuyasha has to fight a bicycle. It’s absurd, it’s ridiculous, and it forsakes the entire premise of the series, but it’s actually entertaining. This might be the one anime in history that makes “the school festival” remotely interesting (step it up, Persona). It might not actually involve a single demon, but Kagome’s beleaguered friends attempting to interpret her ludicrous love life (which involves a dog man and a wolf man) is always a good time. And it only happens about ten times over 200 episodes. Inuyasha is … let me get out that calculator… crunch a few numbers… 0% good!

SpookyBut I’m not writing this article because I want to attack Inuyasha (lie), I’m writing this because I want to warn others. Let me be your canary, and listen to my last gasps of air. Don’t watch anime! Wait… no, that isn’t right, let me try again… Don’t watch anime that is hundreds of episodes long! It’s not worth it! Stories do not work like that! You’re just going to start logging every damn time Miroku can’t use his wind tunnel because of “Naraku’s poisonous insects” (91 times), and you’ll wish for death by the third season. Don’t confuse length for maturity! Don’t watch something just to say you watched it! Whatever ending you imagined, it’s better! I guarantee it! Don’t waste your life like me!

Anyway, article over, I gotta get started on Yu-Gi-Oh now.

FGC #329 Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3

Let's get ready to rumbleBehold the agony that is caring for something.

I’ve always loved Dragon Ball Z. It was “precious anime” in a time when the only alternative available on a weekly basis was Sailor Moon (which I also loved… but it was for girls… right?), and, even as Pokémon blew the doors off the import market, I always followed Dragon Ball Z. Why do I like it? Because… I have no idea why. I suppose it’s the same reason I follow comic books: I like the characters, and, even though I know in my heart that there is absolutely no tension (do you think Goku is going to power up just in time to stop this overwhelming force?), I just… I just want to see how Krillin is doing, you know? Akira Toriyama designs some interesting/shallow characters (and I’ve got the tattoo to prove it), and, yes, I feel like I would like to know exactly how that android became a park ranger. Even when the plots spiral completely out of control (did… did everyone on Earth just die? Again?) and four characters combine into two characters and then one guy eats the other one and… Oh, never mind, you’ve seen the show, right? It’s DBZ. It’s crazy. Maybe that’s all it needs to be.

And, given the sheer scope of Dragon Ball Z, it’s easy for the average fan to get… shall we say “caught up” in the fiction. Goku’s battles may be technically straightforward, but there are also 291 episodes involving the minutiae of power levels, multiple warring factions, varying galactic civilizations, and an ever-present need to account for the four star dragon ball at all times. You could teach an entire class on the various forms of the average saiyan, and follow it up with a lecture on the socio-politico ramifications of the universal rule of Frieza. And is Vegeta the greatest hero ever, or just a huge asshole? Does deliberately exploding in the name of good absolve you of your sins of committing galactic genocides? And that’s all before you even get into the auxiliary materials, like trying to wedge the movies into a proper timeline, or debating whether or not GT is at all canon until the heat death of the universe (which may be caused by Goku). And the kick of it is that, until the fairly recent release of Dragon Ball Super, the DBZ series was done by the time it hit our shores. Even GT was pretty much out the door by the time we were fooling around with the Playstation, so this wasn’t even a “living” franchise, it was just nerds debating the particulars of a series that seemed to already bore its very creator.

Ginyu forever!It was likely this “Dragon Ball is dead” problem that led to a complete lack of decent DBZ games on our shores. Goku made his way to a number of systems in Japan, but, over on this side of the Pacific, all we had up through the Playstation was one Dragon Ball GT game that was… confusing. Released before the Frieza Saga had completed over here, attempting to decipher why Vegeta was now a monkey, a different color, and also known as “Baby” was… a little confusing. And that was before you even got to that chirping pink dude named Buu. Likely due to said confusion, Dragonball GT for the Playstation 1 didn’t exactly set the world on fire, and became a rare “forgotten gem” of the system. Or maybe it was only a gem for anyone that didn’t actually play the game, because it kinda sucked.

But we finally got a “real” Dragon Ball Z game in 2002, Dragon Ball Z Budokai. And it was good! Well… that might be a stretch… It was passable! It was not bad! Or it was not bad enough that I particularly noticed how bad it was! Hooray! Look, it was exactly what we wanted for years: an opportunity to play through the story of Dragon Ball Z with all our favorite characters, and then, when that got boring, an opportunity to see Cell fight Frieza and then kill Yamcha. It was canon and dream match all in one, and, while the gameplay wasn’t all the exciting, it was what it needed to be. You could fight as any one of many Gokus, and then conquer the universe through the amazing power of blondeness. And there was a vaguely JRPG-esque equipment system, too, so you could pretend like numbers go up was the point. Something for everyone!

Yeah yeah!So, naturally, DBZB got a sequel… and then another sequel… and then a whole new “rebooted” franchise with a new developer… and that got a sequel… and then we made it all the way to Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3. This would be 2007, and, if you’re paying attention (and I’m making sense), that means we had six Dragon Ball Z games in five years. From famine to feast! And, unfortunately, while some could likely tell you the exact differences between each title, to an outsider, this was basically five years of releasing new revisions for Street Fighter 2. Just replace Dee Jay with Android 8, and you have the basic idea. Yes, there was that “reboot” in there, but this was still the same characters and same plots and same “just keep hitting punch” gameplay, and, let’s be honest, DBZ was never Ibsen. Throw in all the what-if stories you want, it’s still just dudes punching each other until Goku shows up to really punch everybody.

As one might expect, I was kind of burned out by the release of DBZBT3. If memory serves, I didn’t even buy this game when it was remotely new, and simply fished it out of a clearance aisle somewhere in my travels. After years of other shallow DBZ games, I’m pretty sure I gave it a precursory play, enjoyed a few versus matches with the AI, and gave it up forever. I’m almost certain I didn’t play the game with another human even once, which, for a DBZ fighting game, is fairly damning. Sure, this title has more characters than any fighting game ever, but they’re all the same. And when you’ve got “Unnamed Frieza Henchman” on the roster, you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel (a barrel that, incidentally, once contained giant monkeys).

OuchSo when ROB rolled this game, I figured I’d just play a few rounds, write a few thousand words on silly DBZ facts, and go grab some ramen (DBZ has a tendency to make me hungry). And the plan was moving along swimmingly until I decided to check the Gamefaqs “cheats” page. May as well see if I’m missing anything, right? Well, considering I had unlocked nothing in this game previously, I stared at the list of the characters I could be using if I just put in a little more effort. General Blue of Dragon Ball! The Pilaf Machine! Evil King Piccolo! Vegeta’s dad from the planet Vegeta who is also named King Vegeta! Spike the Devil Man! All I have to do is put in a little effort, and I too could be playing as Spopovich (you know, that one muscular bald guy? Not Nappa)!

But… I know it’s a lie. I know that I’m not going to play this game again, and any “achievements” would retreat as soon as I removed that disc from my Playstation 3. I know there is inevitably going to be a better, more improved DBZ game in short order (note: I am not talking about any particular game at this moment, but they keep happening). And, most of all, I know that I’m not going to play this game with anyone else, so these unlocked characters are exclusively for my own masturbatory enjoyment. And it wouldn’t even be for that much satisfaction! All of these characters play practically the same, and, while I acknowledge there are differences and “unusual properties” involved in the creation of these fighters, I’m certainly not going to put in the time to learn the intricacies of 98 characters in 161 forms. I wasn’t going to do that when this was the latest n a deluge of DBZ games, and I’m not going to do it now that it’s a decade later and outdated as hfil.

But the drive is still there. There are fighters to unlock… and I want to unlock them. I need to unlock them. I’m a Dragon Ball Z fan! How could I turn down the chance to play as every stupid version of that stupid monkey man that won’t stop endangering all of his stupid offspring? How can I still call myself a man after ignoring the cast of OG Dragon Ball in favor of that spiky dragon from GT? What kind of monster have I become that I won’t unlock the Ox Princess!?

Who?Spoilers: I narrowly resisted wasting any more time with this franchise. And, in my heart of hearts, I know that’s only because there are some other games I want to play right now. Heck, I’d argue that the “three a week” format of the FGC is there entirely because… Well, because of this game. Sorry, Mercenary Tao in Cyborg Form, I’ve got places to be, no time to play with you now. Go save and/or destroy the planet on your own time.

So, anyway, if anyone knows a way to rewire my brain so I care about completing things that actually help people, please let me know.

FGC #329 Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3

  • System: Playstation 2 and the Nintendo Wii. Ah, those halcyon, awkward years.
  • Number of players: I want to say two. There might be some four player team nonsense in there, but it’s ultimately a two player game.
  • Favorite DBZ character (premiering in this game edition): Arale is in this! You know, the purple haired android from Dr. Slump! Who I’m convinced is somehow related to Lucca of Chrono Trigger. Though I’m not sure she actually counts as a DBZ character… Um…. Let’s say King Cold. He’s ridiculous.
  • The manHow about that roster: I love the little ridiculous distinctions between some characters. It makes sense that Gohan or Goku get different versions for different ages, but it seems a little odd when you’ve got Piccolo hanging around at different points in his (immortal) lifespan. And Trunks gets different “forms” for sword or no-sword with or without spiky hair. However, for better or worse, there is still only one Krillin. He’s a pretty stable dude.
  • Did you know? Zangya, that girl from Bojack Horseman Unbound, has a win quote that repeats “Don’t ya wish your girlfriend was tough like me? Don’t ya?” That… almost makes the entire game worth it.
  • Would I play again: Never. I like this game, I like what is happening, and I like Dragon Ball… but I know a better DBZ game is always around the corner, and I still haven’t even gotten to Xenoverse 2 at all.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Kirby & the Amazing Mirror for the Gameboy Advance! Eight angry eyes, all staring back at you! Please look forward to it!

That's gonna smart

FGC #016 Lunar Silver Star Harmony

Mia has got it going onGather ‘round children, and listen to an old man tell a tale of a bygone age.

The year was 1993, a halcyon age, when a fresh faced Bill Clinton took the oval office, booting out a terrible Bush that we would never hear from again. Raymond Burr had left this mortal coil, but Kenny G’s Breathless was keeping us all in high spirits. And a little film called Jurassic Park made big waves at the box office with its door opening raptors and lawyer devouring lizards.

But all was not well on the homefront. The console wars raged on, and, in an effort to put Nintendo in its place, Sega had released the Sega CD, the first CD based video game system that anybody cared about. There may have been over games or systems based on CD technology, but they were too Bluthian, or too likely to eat an octorok. The Sega CD had reigned supreme for its format so far, and we’d still have a full year before the Playstation would bring us CD bliss in the form of… I guess Jumping Flash? It all kinda blends together… Er-hem. It was then that Sega CD, with the aid of Game Arts and Working Designs, brought us Lunar: The Silver Star, a JRPG that was packed to the breaking point with action, humor, and, most importantly, anime.

Yes, there was a time when “anime” was a selling point! Well before the age of flashing fluorescent loli panties, there was a time when “anime” was considered the most mature medium available stateside. After all, we had imported such high brow programming as Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z. There were rumors that these programs were even more mature in their native Land of the Rising Sun. Sailor Moon featured a couple of villains emphasizing the “couple” aspect in America, but in Japan, this hetero couple was much more homo, because that kind of thing was allowed in children’s programming art over there. And Dragon Ball Z? We were stuck with a sanitized version, people actually DIED in Japan! Can you even imagine it? Japan allowed such weighty topics as same sex relationships and death in its shows, while all we were stuck with was Bonkers (totally nuts!). And if you were really lucky, maybe you had an older sibling who got a copy of… don’t let your parents hear I told you about this… Akira. The subtitles might distract you from the gorgeous art and horrifying story of a teenage boy dealing with gangs and giant stuffed animals. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s got nothing on Tetsuo.

Unfortunately, Sega CD may have held the CD universe captive, but it failed to captivate a good number of consumers. If you were lucky enough to have a Sega CD and Lunar, good for you! The rest of us, though, had to wallow with our Super Mario All-Stars and Secret of Mana and Kirby’s Adventure. Oh, the horror, the horror. Lunar would forever be a fleeting dream born of the pages of Gamepro.

So much attitudeBut the dream would come true: six years later, Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete was released on the Sony Playstation. First of all, congratulations Lunar, and welcome to a system that, by this time, everyone and their granny owned. I think my cat had a Playstation around then (he was looking forward to Umjammer Lammy). And another point in Lunar’s favor? Anime fever had reached a boiling point. No more was anime just something that lurked around 6 AM on Sunday morning or some Sci-Fi channel showcase, no, now the likes of shows like Pokémon (and Digimon!) and programming blocks like Toonami (err… maybe just Toonami… but it was important!) had legitimized anime like we’d never envisioned. Now even your racist uncle had stopped saying “japanimation” and was looking forward to the next Gundam movie. In a few short years, we’d be watching Cowboy Bebop, and postulating where this unbelievable medium could go next.

At this time, against all odds, anime had not penetrated video games to the point one might expect from a Japan dominated medium. Yes, there were games that featured anime cutscenes or anime inspired art assets, but, by and large, the advent of the 3-D age and Final Fantasy 7 breaking all records forever had inspired a polygonal universe that may have had big eyes and small mouths, but they were blocky and not… drawn. By contrast, Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete was gorgeous.

Well, at least in its cutscenes.

HIGH FIDELITYLunar’s moment to moment graphics was fairly lacking. Seriously, half the towns and dungeons in Lunar could have existed on the Super NES, and we’re not talking Chrono Trigger here, we’re talking Final Fantasy 4. The battle sprites were diminutive and barely animated, and even horrible, rotten, no-good Beyond the Beyond had done its best to pull in some hardcore graphics for its battles. But the cutscenes! Wow! There was some stunning animation and at least passable voice acting (which, admittedly, was a boon at the time), and even out of the battles, the writing was a sort of “best of anime”. Bear with me here, but there was a time when things like battling gods, silver-haired betrayers, and “hot springs” were new and novel, as opposed to “just what happens, every single time”. And, setting aside all the controversy and nonsense since, the localization was excellent, and, yeah, I was a teenager at the time, so maybe I could tolerate a Beavis and Butthead reference or seven. I’m a big fan of “play video games for the game and not the story”, but there was a long forgotten age when the craft of these stories seemed worth the price of admission alone.

This is what we refer to as the Pre-Xenogears Era, incidentally.

Unfortunately, the good times couldn’t last forever. Anime took a turn for the… bad… somewhere along the line. It’s not the lolis or panty shots or incest or whatever else is being turned into an image macro as we speak, it’s more or less that anime has become a nonstop parade of the exact same tropes, over and over into infinity. And the worst part is that the medium seems to celebrate this routine, if the narrator excitedly announcing the next episode involving a hot spring is anything to go by. Oh, gosh, I wonder if these two female characters are going to get into a battle over breast size!

Ghaleon is such a scorned mageIt was into this world that Lunar Silver Star Harmony was released in 2010, eleven years after its predecessor, and it flopped harder than Land of the Lost. First of all, yeah, it was released on the PSP, a losing proposition to begin with, and at the end of the PSP’s lifespan to boot, which, really, why bother? Then again, Lunar kind of seems drawn to failing systems (there was a Saturn version in Japan), so maybe that’s just par for the course. I guess we were just never meant to have a Lunar game on the DS (I guess we were just never meant to have a Lunar game on the DS, we clear on that?). But, dire system aside, an anime inspired JRPG “now” happens about every seventeen seconds, and half of those games are a minefield, as, without some research, you don’t know if you’re buying a game that’s any good or just a dating sim with a battle system duct taped on (and I’m being generous with that description). Lunar Silver Star Harmony was doomed practically from birth, bromide trading cards or no.

It’s a shame, too, as Lunar Silver Star Harmony is easily the best version of the game. The cutscenes of the PSX version are retained, but the remaining graphics are completely fresh, so now battles and towns and “sprites” all look like they’re out of game that was designed slightly later than 1992. The battle system even acquired some additional nuances and “super moves” that dramatically increase the utility of certain elf girls. And you can (briefly) play as the original legendary four heroes! It’s everything I dreamed of when I played the game back in ’99.

But, even though our parties desire it, it will never be 1999 again. Anime has settled into the same position as our dumb western television, 98% crap and 2% something actually worth seeing, and the idea of an “anime game” setting the world on fire is just as ludicrous as a licensed Hannibal 3DS game being worth our time. Sometimes games get better, but the world around them gets worse. I guess that’s why we’ll all have to move to the moon…

FGC #16 Lunar Silver Star Harmony

  • System: Lunar is the Triple Goddess of video games. Lunar Silver Star for Sega CD is the crone, the origin, but too old and feeble for anyone to look at her. Lunar Silver Star Complete for Playstation is the mother, the one everyone imagines and looks for and is generally well remembered. And Lunar Silver Star Harmony for the PSP is the maiden, because ain’t nobody has touched that one.
  • Number of Players: One across the board. Come to think of it, kinda surprised they didn’t try for some weird wireless mode on Lunar Silver Star Harmony like every other PSP game.
  • Hammer TimeFavorite character: Either Kyle or Jessica, as they’re kind of a duo. Jessica might win just a little bit for being a violent white mage, but Kyle is such an… idiot that he’s hard not to like.
  • Not Ghaleon? No, not Ghaleon… Magic Emperor Ghaleon!
  • Complete release history of Lunar Silver Star and you’re not even going to mention its randomly remade sequel? Nah. Probably because Working Designs decided to release that game, to my recollection, well after the sun turned into a blackhole and destroyed all of humanity, I often think of Lunar Eternal Blue as entirely its own entity. Though I still have and occasionally wear the medallion that came with that game, as I am an incredible nerd.
  • Did you know? I want to say this is the first game I ever played with a “Rememberizer”, which, in game, is just a shortcut to rewatching all of the cutscenes at your leisure. This was a revelation in the days of tiny memory cards and a complete lack of youtubes. That… seems really absurd now.
  • Would I play again? Man, what’s a guy got to do to make a game come out on the Vita download service? Portable is definitely the way to go with this game, and I’d be all about it if it didn’t require busting out the ol’ PSP. It makes the weirdest grinding noises!

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Dick Tracy for the NES. Get ready, gumshoe, we’re gonna dust some knuckles! Or something! Please look forward to it!