star_ocean_fan: (Default)
It's the middle of the week, things are still the same on the work front, but the writing front is still taking a beating.

I think sometime this weekend, I'm going to post convention listings, not just for the U.S., but Canada, the U.K., Europe, and Japan (if I can find any - animecons.com isn't showing any just yet). I'm also aiming to hammer out some details as to which conventions I'll be at this year so if any of my fellow Star Ocean fans want to meet up, they can let me know. Granted, it won't be until August for me to get out there, but I'm going to see what I can do. I'll also include whether or not I'll be cosplaying for any of those events and which cosplays will be in rotation. Note: Figure that, once I start cosplaying, my Fayt Leingod cosplay will be a definite for me for some time to come. My dream is to cosplay him every Saturday for each event, be it in his original outfit or in one of the variants I create for fanfiction purposes.

In the meantime, I hope everyone has a wonderful Wednesday. The weekend is almost here!
star_ocean_fan: (Default)
I'm certainly not a happy camper right at this moment, but, oh! The joys, the joys!

All things considered, I really can't complain too  much. After a brief few weeks of not working (but still not posting - bad me), I'm back to working again, and I feel like I just never have enough time in the day to do everything I need to do. That's nothing new, really, but a few things are that I'm hoping to overcome.

That said . . . well, it's time to get back into the groove of Star Ocean.

News:
As everyone knows, there really isn't anything new, game-wise. Sad, but not entirely unexpected, either. Other games are enjoying more popularity than the Star Ocean series. I am tempted to fire off another email to Square Enix and to find out at which conventions they'll have representatives. I can't promise I'll make it to those particular conventions, but I can promise to try. (Note: In the event that I do get to a convention where Square Enix has representatives and panels, I can't promise I'll come back with any kind of news. Their biggest selling point to keep fans interested, it seems, is the Final Fantasy series. Nothing wrong with it, but, as we all know, there are other games in addition to that.)

Cosplay:
The wig for my Fayt Leingod cosplay has long since arrived. It's still in its plastic bag and is awaiting washing. I do have the material, some thread, and a pattern to sew Fayt's white shirt. I haven't started sewing yet because, well, one, I'm feeling particularly lazy about it on my days off. Two, my sewing skills are lacking, and, three . . . I'm not quite ready yet, weight-wise, to make the shirt. The material I bought was a little on the expensive side, and I have no way to get back to Jo-Ann's for a while to get more if I screw it up. The beginnings are here! That's something!

Also, I have some cosplay photos of Leon from Star Ocean: Second Story by Brittany Peterson to post. Thanks to Brittany in advance for sending them my way. I haven't forgotten that they're in my inbox! It shames me to admit, but I just haven't been very motivated lately to  much of anything regarding any fandom I enjoy.

Merchandise:
I have added to my Star Ocean collection. I do recall saying that I'd settled on something to purchase. The figures have long since arrived and a photo of them taken. However, I'm not entirely happy with the backdrops I have (meaning, I don't have any whatsoever) to take pictures of my Star Ocean stuff. The lighting (and the walls) of my home make everything look yellow when I take pictures. Given that my collections (no matter what they be for) are very dear to me, I want to take the best photos possible. This is stuff I'm proud to own. I want my pictures to reflect that. Plus . . . I want to get more stuff.

Conventions:
Ah, the wonderful thing about plans is that they're subject to change at a moment's notice. Regarding my tentative convention schedule, I will be taking NMACon off of the list. This is mainly due to the fact that I have no idea where I'm going to be living come September, be it in Oklahoma, Washington, or Pennsylvania. YoumaCon may be off that list as well. It just depends on where I end up after the summer. Otakon, however, is still on that list. It's been a long time since I've attended a really good convention and over a year since I've attended any conventions at all. I'll keep my fellow fans posted as to which conventions I'll be attending.

Conversation Topics:
Still working on that. I wrote a lot of things last year, and I may go back to some previous ones to see if there's anything I can or change. Plus, with the working (and totally into watching The Avengers and Captain America: The First Avenger), I haven't played much in the way of games. Planning a weekend, though!

Ask the Star Ocean Character:
I'm going to keep this on hiatus for another month. I'm still accepting questions for Adray Lasbard, but, until I can get myself to where I can post and write in the hours before and after work, I can't promise when I'll have everything ready. Roger's segment is done. All that remains is to prepare the character facts and study.

Fanfiction:
Yeah, I haven't been doing very well wit this, either. Nothing for the birthdays or holidays or even on Destinies. I feel so horrible about that. Need to change it, and I will.

That concludes this for today. Hope everyone is having a wonderful Monday and drinking lots of caffeinated beverages!

~Dragonfly
star_ocean_fan: (Default)
It's a few days late, but that's all right.

Everything on my end has been, well, chaotic. Between work and running into a few snags here and there, posting and writing have taken a bit of a hit for time. I've also decided, when it comes to Destinies Intertwined by Fate, I'm going to repost it. I joined a writing group, and I've posted the prologue to the site for critiquing. My goal is to really polish the story up and maybe . . . just maybe have it printed in a novel form. We'll see, though. It's the kind of story I want to see published officially, but I have my doubts as to whether or not tri-Ace and Square Enix would go for it. I am, after all, leaving out Sophia.

I will have some cosplay photos to post soon . . . like on a day where I've not slept in until 10:30 in the morning. They're also not by me (yet). We're getting there, my fellow fans! We are getting there!

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Cosplay/Convention Meet-ups

Now, I realize that we are a small fan-base when it comes to the number of followers and whatnot. Still, I do believe that there are some ample opportunities for meeting up.

This isn't one of those, oh, let's drive to this place and get together type deals. It'd be nice, and it's certainly possible for those who live close to one another (I can reach Kojika's home in under eight hours, either by driving or taking the bus). However, it just isn't economically feasible when a person gets right down to it.

This little shout-out is for the convention goers. As mentioned in one of the last entries, my convention goals for this year are definitely Otakon and YoumaCon with the potential for NMACon. Most of these are local conventions for me (so if you're in the Great Lakes area and wish to meet up at either YoumaCon or NMACon, leave me a comment or a PM. I will get back with you on that) so getting there isn't too much of a big deal. I will try to aim for ShutoCon, but I have no clue as to whether or not I have to work that Saturday. Anyway, those are my convention goals. Like I said, if you're going to be at any of them, especially the local conventions, give me a shout-out, and we'll arrange something.

That said, I would love it for my fellow fans to utilize these journals as a way to meet up with each other, either at conventions or on your own time. In my mind, there is no reason to be shy about any of this. We're connected by a common love for the Star Ocean series. Let's share the love.

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An Issue of Translation

As many people already know, many of the games we love to play are designed and created in Japan. They're released to the Japanese audiences first, sometimes even up to a year in advance, before hitting places like North America and Europe. I don't need to remind my fellow fans that Star Ocean is one such series.

However, in starting this blog in the last year, I've come across a couple of complaints from my fellow fans about character names. The complaint is that some of the names get changed in the translation process, i.e. Ratix to Roddick and Souffle to Peppita.

This isn't an uncommon complaint, in my opinion, from the fans who know how to speak and read Japanese and therefore have played the games in the Japanese. It's something I wish that I could do, but that will take some time on my part. Also, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being able to play a game in both its original language and the translated version. That's just a matter of personal preference.

However, and this comes up from talking with my younger brother about games, names, and translations, I feel that the fans who can play the games in the Japanese because they can speak it and read it tend to forget that the average gamer does not read or speak much Japanese. Otakus might be able to speak some, but the vast majority of gamers tend to speak one language. I happen to be one of them. (And I don't count knowing a few words here and there from the Japanese, Russian, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, and French languages as being able to speak them.) The average gamer is going to look at a name like Souffle and wonder why the character is named after food. Souffles are food. There's no getting around that, and the average gamer who probably knows next to nothing about Japanese culture may not realize that the name Souffle is meant to sound exotic to the Japanese audience. Souffle isn't exactly exotic to English and French-speaking cultures. Heck, I'm going to add in most of Europe into that as well. It's just how it is.

For a moment, let's consider the latest of the Final Fantasy games of XIII, XIII-2, and XIII - Lightning Returns. In the original Japanese version, Lightning's name is Eclair. According to my brother, eclair is French for light. However, if you ask an American what eclair means, that person will tell you it's a pastry. If the translators had left Lightning's name as Eclair, I'm very certain that many people would ask the question, why is she named after a pastry? It's just how the mind works when you don't speak a certain language.

There is also one other aspect to translation that some people just don't get. This is coming more from my brother about the Final Fantasy fandom where fans have complained about how some of the names have changed, and it's in regards to the letters "L" and "R". I will use Till the End of Time for this particular example.

For those who speak Japanese, they know that there is no "L" in that language. Yet there are "L" sounds throughout the language. Azazer in the Japanese game was pronounced Azazel. Berial was Belial, and Belzeber was Belzebel. Just because there is no actual "L" in the Japanese language doesn't mean there isn't a sound for it. There were reasons for leaving the Rs in for these particular names.

Finally, there is one other aspect to translation that people really do need to consider, and that is meaning. In Till the End of Time, Luther was Lucifer*. For most English-speaking peoples, Lucifer is the name of the angel who defied God, tried to start a revolt amongst the angels, and was cast out of Heaven for his actions. A name like that with such a negative connotation isn't exactly conducive for selling games to people who claim Christianity as their religion. (That also touches upon another subject which has more to do with role-playing games and misconceptions in general than just name meanings. It's something I'm open to discussing . . . but I won't be writing about it in this particular journal simply because it heads into some completely different fan-bases.)

In conclusion, there are reasons for why names are changed in the translation process. There is nothing wrong with liking the Japanese names or meanings over the translated names and meanings. Again, that lands into the area of personal preference. I simply ask that my fellow fans, the ones who do prefer the Japanese over the translated, please remember the average player isn't like they are and respect that for many Ratix is Roddick and Souffle is Peppita. No one has to like the reasons for why something is done the way it is done. The respect, though, needs to be there. Otherwise, we're just chasing people away.

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Birthday and Holiday Reminders/Submission Rules for Cosplay, Fan Art, Fan Fiction, and General Star Ocean Photography

Birthday List - covering January to June

January 1 (Late; assigned by me) - Crowe F. Almedio
January 23 (official) - Claude C. Kenny
January 25 (assigned by me) - Ilia Silvestri
January 31 (assigned by me) - Ryoko Leingod
February 3 (official) - Faize Sheifa Beleth
February 15 (assigned by me) - Peppita Rosetti
February 16 (official) - Noel Chandler

February 29 (official - can swing to either February 28 or March 1) - Precis F. Neumann
March 2 (assigned by me) - Roger S. Huxley

March 16 (official) - Meracle Chamlotte
March 28 (official) - Reimi Saionji
April 10 (assigned by me) - Adray Lasbard
April 24 (official) - Arumat P. Thanatos
May 5 (official) - Bacchus D-79
May 7 (assigned by me) - Blair Lansfeld
May 13 (official) - Rena Lanford
June 1 (assigned by me) - Cliff Fittir
June 29 (assigned by me) - Maria Traydor
June 30 (official) - Lymle Lemuri Phi

Upcoming Holidays:

New Year's Day - January 1
Valentine's Day - February 14

St. Patrick's Day - March 17
Easter - March 31
Earth Day - April 22
Mother's Day - May 12
Father's Day - June 16

As of right now, I will be hosting a make-up day for birthdays and holidays. You can submit the birthday and holiday themed stories for the listed holidays.

Regarding: Fanfiction, Fan Art, Fan Poetry, Cosplay, Fan projects

I really don't have very many rules regarding what I'll accept for fan-related material. It does have to be well-written. I won't just post whatever happens to come my way for any of this. This is an open journal. You do not need to be a follower in order to read or comment on what I'm writing. I would very much like to keep it this way because one never knows when a fourteen-year-old might become smitten with Star Ocean.

So here are the rules for submitting fan-related material like fiction, art work, cosplay, and other projects.

1 - No smut. Period.
When it comes to art and photography, no nudity. There are sites out there already dedicated for such themes.

2 - All pairings are accepted.
I
don't care if it's a pairing I don't like or that I can't see for whatever reason is in my head. If you've taken the time to write it or draw it, I will post it. That means I will accept heterosexual pairings (Edge x Reimi), xeno pairings (i.e., Edge x Myuria), yaoi pairings (Luther x Fayt), and yuri pairings (Maria x Sophia).

3 - No character-bashing.
This is a little . . . sticky. Yes, you can portray Fayt or Edge or whoever as an S.O.B. - providing there's a reason for the behavior. If you're just doing it because you don't like the character, well, take it to a different site. I have goals in mind for this journal. I'm not about to risk those goals for someone who just wants to be a jerk about a character s/he doesn't like. Remember that people do have their likes and dislikes.

4 - As was mentioned above, all stories must be well-written.
By that, I mean you've taken the time to craft your story. There are no errors in spelling, punctuation, or sentence structure. I don't care if it's just fanfiction. Seriously, just because it's fanfiction does not change the reasons for why people read. Just because it's free for everyone to read (meaning you're not charging them to read it and thus you're not being paid to write it) doesn't mean you should skimp out on the technical parts of writing. Write like you care, or I will throw my pocket grammar guide at you.

5 - Themes/Genres and Crossovers
I will, for the most part, accept nearly every single theme that there is. If it's an alternate universe story, I'll accept it. If it crosses with another fandom, I'll accept it. If you're crossing Till the End of Time with First Departure somehow, I'll accept it.

Now, there are some themes out there that do venture into the adult/mature audience category that I will accept as well. Anything with graphic sex just isn't in that area. Tackling current social themes (bullying, body image issues, etc . . .) are definitely accepted.

6 - Cosplay
I definitely would love, love, LOVE it if people submitted their cosplay pictures to me. They can be from conventions or personal photo shoots. It's all cool. If anyone does the how-to as the cosplay is created, definitely would love to share those, too.

Adding In: As I'm still very much in the dark for First Departure, Second Story/Second Evolution, and Blue Sphere in terms of game play, when you submit a photo, please let me know who the character is and what game the character is from as well as where you took the photo (i.e., backyard, lake, convention, etc . . . I don't need to know your personal address) . . . I know only a few characters from each, like Claude, Rena, Ashton, Roddick, Dorne, Ilia, and Ronyx. Having the names to go with the characters portrayed will be very, very helpful. Thanks!

Most importantly, to me, is that people are having fun and sharing the love for Star Ocean. That's what this is about - bringing fellow Star Ocean fans together. I will definitely let everyone know when I'm posting their works.

One more thing - no personal attacks, no being mean to the author/artist/cosplayer for any submissions. Be respectful of each other at all times. As of this moment in time, we are not a very large fandom when compared to the likes of Hetalia: Axis Powers or the Final Fantasy series. We don't have to like a particular character or a particular pairing or even a particular Star Ocean game, but we must remember that there will always be someone out there who does. Disrespectful attitudes will certainly not be tolerated.

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Ask the Star Ocean Character Reminder - Adray Lasbard from Till the End of Time

Roger's segment is coming! I swear that it is! If you have some questions for Roger, I'll still accept them and add them in before I post it. In the meantime, I'm accepting questions for Adray Lasbard from Till the End of Time. Is there something about him you'd like to know? Please ask! Questions can be submitted via comment, email (luthersfayt@gmail.com and thestaroceanuniverse@gmail.com), or private message. Limit three questions per person, no profanity please. All inquiries must be in by midnight of March 28th, 2013.

star_ocean_fan: (Default)
As the subject line says, I'm making some adjustments. It isn't that I want to do this. It's that I'm still not getting the balancing act figured out yet between journaling, writing, and work. I'm not complaining that I'm working. I love that I am . . . I'm complaining about not getting up when I want to because I'm tired. I may have to trick myself after today. :)

Anyway, here is the deal. Come hell or high water, I will be posting Roger's Ask the Star Ocean Character segment this month. I hate to do it, but I haven't had a chance to ask people in other places yet . . . Adray's segment will be postponed until March 31st, 2013. I don't want to do this, but, given how busy I've been during the week, it's something I need to do in order to give others a chance to submit questions and the like.

Now with that, I want to mention cosplay.

I previously noted that I am accepting submissions for a variety of fan-related projects - fiction, art work, poetry, cosplay, plushies, etc . . . The rules for this were posted in the previous entry. What I would like to do is, at least once a month, post a cosplay corner. The frequency in which I post the cosplay corner will depend upon how many photos I get. There is no deadline for anyone to submit anything when it comes to cosplay (or other fan-projects; just holidays and birthdays). Submit the pictures whenever you want and as many as you want. If you attended a convention and want to report on the doings of that, my only requirement is that it's well-written. Unless you specifically ask me to do so, I will not proofread it as I am very short on time in the hours before and after work. Until I can start tricking myself into getting up earlier.

And that concludes the adjustments I'm making for this blog. Have a few other new projects in mind, but we'll see how everything goes in the next few weeks.

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Merchandise and Personal Cosplay Update

One thing that I was looking forward to with landing a job was resuming my searching and purchasing of Star Ocean merchandise, both official and unofficial (doujinshi falls under unofficial). Yesterday, I surfed through eBay, found a few things to save in my watch list. Right now, it's a matter of getting enough saved and deciding what I want to get first. It's also being smart about my money, too.

Also, I'm gearing up for my Edge Maverick, Fayt Leingod and Luther Lansfeld cosplays. Luther will definitely take me a lot longer than what either Edge or Fayt will - I have PVC figures of Fayt and one of Edge as well as the strategy guides for Till the End of Time and The Last Hope. I have a handful of screenshots for Luther. I know which is more beneficial for me in getting everything I need. (I'm also gearing up for another cosplay for another fandom, too. That one is going to be just as fun.) Right now, for Luther and Edge, it's finding the right wig that I can interchange between both of them.

Note: I do plan on creating variants for established characters. It will be fun.

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Convention Update

So my plans this year for conventions were to attend ShutoCon, which is in Lansing, Michigan, Otakon, and YoumaCon, which is in Detroit. It looks like ShutoCon is out. It's coming up in April, and I may be working that weekend. I would have to double-check when I get to work. I may supplement with NMACon to make up for ShutoCon. It just depends on what my finances will allow me to do for the interim. Otakon, however, is the big one that I really want to attend.

I will keep my fellow Star Ocean fans updated on the whole convention thing and whether or not I'll be cosplaying.

This concludes everything for today. Happy Hump Day, everyone. Tomorrow, I will be getting to the last question I asked. If you're just tuning into the Star Ocean Universe, here it is once more:

Question: What are Luther's true motivations for trying to destroy the Eternal Sphere?

Friday and Saturday look very iffy on the posting fronts. We'll see what happens.

Until the next time!
star_ocean_fan: (Albel Nox)
Attention conventioneers!

Kyle Herbert, voice actor for Dias from Second Evolution and Arumat P. Thanatos and Crowe F. Almedio, will be appearing at AnimeWorld Indianapolis, which will be July 5-8, 2012. From his website, here is his complete convention schedule:

PORTCONMAINE   June 21-24, Portland, Maine

ANIME EXPO   June 29-July 2, Los Angeles, CA

ANIMEWORLD EXPO   July 6-8, Indianapolis, Indiana

ANIME FESTIVAL ORLANDO   August 3-5, Orlando, FL

MOTAKU   August 17-19, Kansas City, Missouri

ALCON    September 6-9, Leicester, UK

RURONIKON   September 14-15, Edinburg, Texas

ANIME BLAST CHATTANOOGA   November 9-11, Chattanooga, Tennessee
 

* * * *


Agriculture on Underdeveloped Planets, Part 5 - Elicoor II

I now come (finally) to the last planet on the list of underdeveloped planets that I'm familiar with in the Star Ocean series - Elicoor II. This is only for the interim, until I've had the chance to play Second Story/Second Evolution and to get to know the underdeveloped planet/s in the game. I'm looking forward to exploring Expel and learning more about the Twelve Wise Men.

Back to Elicoor II . . . as with Vanguard III, we know that there is farming taking place. In the peace talks between the queen of Aquaria and the king of Airyglyph, the Holy Mother remarks that the war has taken a toll on the Glyphians and that their harvests were meager. Farming, specifically the lack thereof, is why Arzei has waged this war in the first place.

While, as is usual in the Star Ocean games I've played, we don't see the farm lands and livestock, the fact that this tactic is employed in Till the End of Time as one of many reasons to wage a war gives the game a sense of realism I find a bit lacking in The Last Hope, though not too severely. The mention of agriculture, of farming and providing food for a person, a family, a country, is something that dates back to the dawn of man. The ability to farm, to provide, no matter the country, no matter the planet, is something that can unite people or send them to war.

Since the land and atmospheric composition is always similar to that of Earth on the underdeveloped planets (it's the only way carbon-based life forms such as ourselves are able to exist), it stands to reason that the food stuffs grown there will be similar in taste, texture, and smell as they would on Earth. As with the other planets, I believe that, if they'd place such things to at least walk by in the games, we'd see fields with grains similar to wheat, rye, and rice as well as vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, potatoes, gourds like pumpkins and squash, and fruits like tomatoes, cucumbers, apples (we can buy apple pies on Elicoor II), blueberries, and blackberries. For livestock, we'd definitely see animals similar to sheep and cows. They just wouldn't be similar in appearance as to what we have on Earth.

And I bring up livestock because there's a slight inconsistency between the game of Till the End of Time and the seven volume manga as written/drawn by Akira Kanda. In the game, there are horse-like animals called lums. They're treated like horses, used for riding into battle, and they're as tall as horses . . . but they have horns like rams. In the manga, they're drawn as horses. I don't know how much was tweaked between the initial release of Till the End of Time in Japan and the director's cut of the game, but I'm quite certain the tweaks were more to do with the programming than with the game's animation. Why Kanda left the horns off of the lums, I'm not sure . . . perhaps to make the animals more believable to the readers buying the manga who probably hadn't played the game just yet.
 

For some people, it might seem strange and more than a little silly to nitpick about such details in a video game. After all, depending on the animation style (Till the End of Time is CGI compared to games like Dragon Quest, which can add things like cows and sheep), details like grain fields, animals in the wild, etc . . ., can add to the loading time of the game. (We've been there before . . . the frustration of waiting for a scene to load . . .) It's these little details, though, that can make or break a game.

Of course, it isn't just up to the game's designers to add these details. We, the players, hold some accountability in that, to use our imaginations on what it is that we can truly find in the games. Also, if we choose to write fanfiction, we add to our accountability on what we can find if we're exploring the pre-created planets of the Star Ocean universe or the planets that we create for ourselves.

* * * *

Finding Forgiveness - Maria Traydor

This is just a brief look at why she aggravates me as much as she does.

A lot of my aggravation with Maria stems from the lack of character growth and development. She enters the picture partway in the game, already at a certain level, and as the Captain of The Diplo and leader of Quark. We learn a bit of her background after saving the Sacred Orb of Aquios from the Vendeeni, but we still don't get to see much in the way of development with Maria.

One thing that does bother me is how Maria seems to be so anti-forgiveness. At first, she doesn't want to forgive the Leingods and their research team for the experiments. She's harbored the anger and resentment in her for years (which, it shouldn't have taken her "hours" to get over, as it were), but that part is understandable. That was something that's impacted her life, skewed her perceptions of herself, and has her doubting why she's in this world in the first place. As someone who's had that happen in her life, I can relate to how she feels about that, and it's hard to let go.

The one thing, though, that has me bothered about Maria and her anti-forgiveness . . . campaign, as it's striking me, is that she's adamant about it. After the events of the 4D realm and Styx and the return to Elicoor II, if you head to Kirlsa and to the inn, you can find Maria there and talk to her.

I bring up the events because she doesn't always say the same thing, depending on what has or hasn't passed. For this particular conversation (which isn't an actual event, just dialogue between her and Fayt), returning to Elicoor II after returning to The Calnus on Styx is necessary. Upon initiating the conversation, Maria mentions how they shouldn't forgive the 4D beings/Luther for trying to manipulate their minds, their actions, and their world.
 
Now, originally, initiating this conversation never bothered me on my first play-through. I loved the game, but the love wasn't to the point where it is today (the writing of fanfiction in the form of poems, one-shots, and mult-chaptered stories, choosing pairings that I absolutely adore, collecting merchandise, wanting to create my own merchandise, and cosplaying). So I never paid too much to the emotions driving Maria. However, now that I've delved into fanfiction writing, choosing the pairings that make me happy for when I write, and trying to figure out the intricacies of personalities, I find her unwillingness to forgive people at this point a turn-off. I understand her hatred towards the Leingods, but she's taken the leap from hating them to understanding and "slowly" accepting what they did in a very short amount of time. There is a very fine difference between what the Leingods did and what Luther is trying to do with something he created.

And what Luther tried to do isn't all that different in how people operate today. We do try to influence the behaviors and thoughts of others, be it religiously, politically, or financially, to get that which we desire. If we were to be unforgiving of every person who tried to manipulate us into thinking or behaving a certain way, we'd be very lonely.

I will chalk Maria's mannerisms up a lot to the way she was raised after the death of her parents. It isn't for any child to live on a ship with no true parental figure. That kind of thing can have an impact on a person. I liken it to that of living in foster care, only she didn't have to move from home to home to home.

Maybe, if there's a sequel to Till the End of Time, we can see some more emotional growth and character development with Maria. Aside from seeing some qualities in her that I see in me, I don't find much to like about Maria.

That's just me.

star_ocean_fan: (Immoral Feather)
As promised, conventions from the end of July, beginning of August through the end of the year.
Read more... )
** - added in by me.

These are conventions in the U.S. only! To find out where there's an anime convention in your part of the world, please check out animecons.com for further details.

star_ocean_fan: (manga Fayt Leingod)
What's There But Isn't There? - Why Luther and Fayt Never Stood a Chance of Winning Against Each Other (SPOILER ALERT!!)

This is a fairly recent theory on my part - try like in the evening hours of last night while playing Till the End of Time. I did something that I hadn't done in previous play-throughs. I got the message from "B" that I had access to Sphere 211, and I could go there anytime I wished. This, of course, after taking my time on Elicoor II, going to Styx, playing in the arena, and then going back to Styx. I finally decided to progress this particular play-through, but, instead of heading to Sphere 211 right away, I returned to Arkives. I wanted that Smithy Hammer for Item Creation.

Upon my return to Arkives and reaching the second "level" of the city, I spoke with a guard who was, oddly enough, spooked, for lack of a better term. He started to ask questions about how to analyze something that was there - that he could see and touch (and perhaps even smell) - but wasn't there at the same time - his scanner read it as air, basically. The piece of fabric he held in his hand, something he could see and touch, wasn't registering for analysis.

This has me thinking about a couple of different things. One is that this guard's words are proof that, without Maria there initially, the group wouldn't exist. It's something that we already knew as well, but I don't ever remember speaking to him before so it's like . . . wow. I didn't know that! Two, it would make proving their existence is viable to someone like Luther, who's certain of himself and his place in his world, almost impossible. Because of his job, not only as the Owner of Sphere 211 but also because he's one of the lead programmers. Luther therefore is stuck in his Workspace however many hours a day (giving his control-freakishness, I'd say he's at Sphere at least sixteen hours a day), as many days in a row as possible (which, if it's like our seven days a week thing, it'd be seven . . . yes, I do envision Luther as a workaholic). Because of this, Luther has begun to rely more on a computer screen to tell him what is and isn't real over his senses. He could stand there, look at Fayt and his friends all he wants, fight them in battle and feel the sting of their weapons, but his mind would still refuse to register it as real. He said it himself - the Eternal Sphere is a fabrication. It's how he's meant for it to be, and for it to adapt and become more isn't unacceptable. It's simply unthinkable.

Likewise, Fayt wouldn't be able to convince Luther that he and his friends are real and not just mindless AI programs. Not just be standing in front of him, slapping him on the arm, or anything else like that and definitely not while Luther's allegedly projected into the Eternal Sphere, as Blair thinks. I think that if there had been some sort of a confrontation between Fayt and Luther alone in Sphere 211, before the final battle, it might have made a slight difference, but that isn't the case we see in the game. Luther escaped to the Eternal Sphere. He used Belzeber and Berial as distractions. So long as Luther relies on a computer to tell him what's real when it comes to the Eternal Sphere and not his senses, it will always be an uphill (and potentially losing) battle for Fayt.

Still, the existence of 3D beings in 4D space is baffling for someone like Luther. He would want answers. Whether his computers could give him those answers, since they're unable to actually analyze something as simple as cloth. What would they say about something like tissue and blood? Would they even be able to scan Fayt and his friends from head to toe and have the computers tell them anything?

It's interesting to consider.

* * * *
 
Fanfiction Writing Tip #3 - Proper Grammar, Punctuation, and Spelling

Not to be a grammar Nazi - and, yes, they do exist - but if there's one thing that could turn me off from a fanfiction quicker than a person turning a light switch on or off is it's poor spelling, sloppy grammar, and little to no punctuation in a sentence. I realize that a lot of people write fanfiction for fun. It's meant to be fun, but even something written for fun should follow the rules that have been applied to writing since the inception, writing, and translation of the scriptures found in the Bible. Even cavemen followed some form of logic when leaving behind cave paintings, same as the ancient Egyptians. All professional authors follow these rules, be it on their own as they write or in the form of their editors.
 
So why is this important? Why would misspelled words, sloppy grammar, and lack of punctuation drive someone away from reading a story? In a word: readability.

And readability isn't subject to personal preferences or opinions. If you're someone who wants to go with the "only 2% of the population reads everything word for word", understand that's a good chunk of the population. I wrote once, in another journal, that, if the world's population was somewhere in the ballpark of 2 trillion people, that's 40 billion people who read everything word for word. Those numbers include authors, editors, and agents. And please don't be fooled into thinking that because authors, editors, and agents fall into the realm of paid professionals they don't read fanfiction. I can guarantee that there are some out there who do. J.K. Rowling reads fanfiction based off of her Harry Potter series. If she reads, you can be sure she isn't the only one. I've also had a friend tell me that one of her other friends was discovered through her DragonBall Z fanfiction. This woman now writes professionally. (If asked, I will provide the author's  name and her titles.) Utilizing proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation matters almost as much as coming up great story ideas. If you don't care that your story is riddled with misspelled words, sloppy punctuation and sentence structure, I can tell you right now that no one who is of worth in the writing world will care to read your story.

Here's another way that I can put it: Fanfiction is a form of creative expression. In fact, all writing is a form of expression, be it to relay facts or to invent new worlds. The clearer you can convey your ideas, the better others will understand what you're trying to say, why you're trying to say it, and the more they will enjoy your works. If you're coming across as a five-year-old on a perpetual sugar high, the only ones who will enjoy your works are your friends that you beg to read your stories and leave glowing praise on something that could otherwise be construed as a piece of garbage.

Here are some examples:

(not from any particular works - just something I came up with for demonstration purposes)

"Die, data!" Luther yelled as he ran towards Fayt with his spear pointed at the other mans heart "You won't ruin my pefect pardise!" Before Fayt could react Jalayla his girlfriend and best lover in the world jumped in front of him and deflected the Creator's spear with effortless ease and smiled smugly as the blondhaired sputtered and howled in rage and tried again but kept deflecting him because like FAyt she'd grown stronger thruout her journey to this point.

Bad, yeah?

(from Chapter Two of Wizards, Warriors, and Rogues)

This time, Luther did spit the blood from out of his mouth. The watery red substance landed just below the strange angel’s feet, but he seemed to either not notice or not care about such an action. Instead, the man backed away a few feet, a smirk on his face. Luther’s hand wrapped around the hilt of his sword. Once their battle began, his spear had proven useless, heavy, and unwieldy so, as quickly as he could, he created a sword for himself. Oddly enough, it looked very much the Divine Avenger blade the data known as Fayt Leingod had wielded in their battle. He rose so that he could face his opponent one final time, his footing unsteady, but Luther fought his weariness. He leveled his gaze at the stranger and pointed his blade at the man.


Much better. :)

Writing for fun can be fun, but remember, when posting in a public domain,  writers are subject to the opinions and thoughts of others. Following the rules to convey their ideas clearly will garner more positive reaction than something that looks like a five-year-old wrote. Write properly so that the only complaints a reader has are the subject matter, not your intelligence.

* * * *
 
Convention Talk, Part One - The Fun of Conventions and a Short List of Upcoming Events

Last week, I displayed pictures of Star Ocean cosplays created and worn by my friend Kojika. For the most part, the cosplays were created and worn for conventions. Cosplays aren't just worn for conventions but for other reasons as well, but today, I'm talking about conventions.

My first convention was BotCon 2000, which took place in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It was a very fandom-specific convention, a bit on the boring side, but it was also fun. My friends and I, while I don't remember seeing much in terms of cosplay, still had fun. We missed a couple of the panels, lived off of fast food, and wandered the Dealer Room and Artist Alley for a while, and simply hung out with each other. We didn't know very many people there, either, though one friend and I would later learn a couple of people we would meet in the months following BotCon were at the convention itself. Still, we invented some of our own fun and enjoyed ourselves. It was in the following years, 2002-2004 as well as a few Cybercons tossed in for good measure, that I saw anyone dressing up as favorite characters from the show. Cosplay, though, was still at a minimum, quite possibly due to the fact creating a Transformers cosplay (unless it's for a human) is going to be quite extensive, expensive, and time-consuming. The two guys I saw dressed as Rumble and Frenzy at BotCon 2004 were talking, at the time, of having to do a little bit more in order for them to be complete for the next convention they were heading to after that event. If I remember correctly, it was their feet that needed to be finished. I digress.

However, this isn't likely to be the case for a generalized convention like Comic Con, Anime Expo, and Otakon. When it comes to cosplay for a more generalized convention, the attendee is going to see a great variety, especially at the more popular of said conventions. When it comes to cosplay for such events, you'll find everything from comic books and movies to video games, manga, and anime. Heck, you'll even find cosplayers dressed up as their favorite JPop and JRock artists. There will also be a larger variety events scheduled - voice actors, gaming rooms, writers' panels as well as events for cosplayers, just to name a few. When my sister and I attended NMACon last fall, they played Anime Truth or Dare, which was quite interesting.

Also, when it comes to the larger conventions, the dealer rooms will be larger, filled with a variety of merchandise from the insanely popular to the obscure and rare. The Artists' Alleys will be larger, too. You could spend two hours alone just wandering from table to table. As I've not yet been to events like Anime Expo, Comic Con, or Otakon, it's my guess that it could take two hours to cover just the dealer room. I would dearly love to go to these events at least once or twice and also hit up some of the smaller conventions (when compared to the likes of Comic Con and Otakon) like OhayoCon, ShutoCon, and YoumaCon or any of the smaller Comic Cons, like the Emerald City Comic Con held in Seattle, Washington, or the Motor City Comic Con, held in Detroit.

I feel that the fun in these conventions not only comes from being able to travel - because, well, I love to travel and I'd love to be able to travel more than what I currently can right now - to different places or the same places, whichever may be the case, but also in the people we meet at such conventions. It could be meeting new people, it could be the people we've known for years and years, or the ones we just met a few months prior and just wish to gather. It's the people who make the conventions, and it's the fan events, like Anime Truth or Dare and Human Anime Chess, that also make the times memorable. I feel fortunate that I've been to the slightly major convention of BotCon and the smaller Cybercons and NMACon, but each convention is a new experience. If you've never been to a convention but would like to, I definitely recommend that you find the one that will best suit you in what you want to see and experience.

To conclude this, I'm including a list of upcoming conventions from the end of this month to the end of July. Some of these will be local conventions for specific areas as well as some of the major players. I'll be writing at least one more Convention Talk segment with a conventions list from the beginning of August until the end of the year. I'm also going to provide a link to a website dedicated to listing conventions worldwide.

For that, go to animecons.com . You can search by region and country.

Here are some upcoming anime conventions, their dates and locations. Remember, you don't always have to be pre-registered to attend these conventions, and you don't have to attend every day, especially if they're in your local area. Pre-registration simply gets you in the door faster and is cheaper if you plan to be there for every day of the event.

Conventions, Schedules, and Locations )


 These are the conventions listed on animecons.com, with the exception of the Motor City Comic-Con (which I learned about through a friend). If there's a convention in the U.S. between now and the end of July that should be on the list, please leave me a comment or send me a PM to let me know. If you're interested in conventions worldwide, please let me know, and I'll get that list up as well.

Convention Talk, Part Two will discuss the costs of attending a convention - not including what it would take to find a cosplay outfit, either by commission or by creating it yourself.

* * * *

Fanfic: Goodbye
World: Till the End of Time
Characters/Pairings: Luther Lansfeld, mentioned Fayt Leingod, implied eventual Luther Lansfeld x Fayt Leingod
Rating: PG
Warnings: implied m/m situations
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Till the End of Time or the characters of Fayt Leingod and Luther Lansfeld. They belong to Square Enix and Tri-Ace respectively. I don't profit financially from writing or posting this story.

 

Read more... )

 

********

Next Monday: Convention Talk, Part Two - The Costs of Attending Conventions

Tomorrow: All About Arumat - Happy Birthday to the Captain of the 13th Armored Division
 

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