star_ocean_fan: (Default)
So happy birthday to the intrepid hero of Star Ocean: The Last Hope. I wish I had some fiction ready, but alas, that will have to wait until next year. This midnight schedule I'm working is eating my time worse than any day and afternoon shifts combined, but I'll get the hang of it.

One more week until Otakon! I definitely will be on the lookout for any and all Star Ocean cosplayers. If you're following this blog and you're planning on attending, I hope to see you there!

A note to convention goers: If you see any Star Ocean characters at the con you're attending, snap a picture and send them my way! I'll be happy to share them with the rest of the fandom.
star_ocean_fan: (Default)
This is actually going to be one huge conversational topic. The ideas listed pretty much interconnect anyway.

So lately, I've been on this super hero kick. Last weekend, I'd planned on having a movie marathon that consists of Marvel's Cinematic Universe Phase 1. I ended up watching the first two Iron Man movies, seeing Iron Man 3 in 3-D last Saturday, and watching Captain America: The First Avenger and Marvel's The Avengers. Thor and The Incredible Hulk were left to the wayside, sadly enough. However, it's these movies that have sparked my questions and thoughts for Star Ocean. Because, personally, I think I could tie them together in some way.

For starters, one thing I've been wondering for the last couple of weeks or so is about comic books. Are they something that continue to exist in some form or another? Or do they fade away as people look for other ways to distract themselves from the horror of their lives? Of course, as I ask myself this question and pose it in this entry, I believe that comics will continue to exist so long as the human race continues to exist. I also believe that many heroes would receive reboots. It's currently happening with The Avengers, Captain America, Iron Man, Batman and Superman. I have no reason to think that it wouldn't continue a hundred years into the future.

That leads me to Edge Maverick and Crowe F. Almedio. While they don't necessarily strike me as the geeky type, a part of me could see them reading comics as a way of entertainment while things like computers were repaired, replaced, or completely reinvented. It's World War III, or at least post-World War III. The internet may no longer exist. I can also see Edge identifying greatly with Steve Rogers, aka Captain America. (If you're not familiar with Captain America, I highly recommend renting the Captain America movie and watching it. Yes, my inner geek is shining through at this moment in time, and I don't intend to give away spoilers for those who haven't seen it.) Crowe, I can see respecting Tony Stark and Nick Fury and definitely loving Bruce Wayne. Reimi would sympathize with Bruce Banner in feeling like a monster and Rogue in being unable to touch another person and feel safe about it, but I can see her wanting to be more like Wonder Woman - strong, confident, and determined.

So what would comics look like for the World War III and post-World War III eras? Internet access could work both ways in either being non-existent to the public or the only means for information and entertainment. Would comics be digital? Would they still be paper? Or would they be both, like they are now? Really, anything is possible when it comes to comics. Personally, I would like to think that there would be a revival for the paper form, but I'm not one hundred percent certain how it would happen in the Star Ocean universe. Nearly every single renewable resource has been trashed or contaminated beyond the point of use.

In watching Captain America: The First Avenger, which is set during World War II, I've wondered what would spark World War III. Would it be a surprise invasion, much like what Germany did to itself and its neighbor, Poland? Or would it be something everyone could see coming, like civil unrest that just escalates? What heroes would we see emerge in the entertainment industry? Would Captain America be the same guy from the 1940s or would he receive a new back story? Would someone new emerge out of the horrors that follow in the days of fighting? And just how long would World War III last? Using nuclear weapons at the start wouldn't make it much of a war, in my personal opinion. For me, there would need to be something that would trigger the fighting - an invasion, civil unrest, or a repeat of history. (And don't think it wouldn't happen. If I made this blog political, which I have absolutely no intentions of doing, my fellow Star Ocean fans would hear what I think of current social and economic trends and attitudes. History does repeat itself if we fail to learn from it the first time! Also, please don't ask me about my political views. You may not like what I have to say, and that isn't what this blog is for anyway.) The use of nuclear weapons would be a last resort and the one event that would trigger the political leaders of the Star Ocean universe to come to a compromise. (Yeah, I'm not totally buying into nuclear weapons were used from the very beginning to the very end of World War III in The Last Hope's opening sequence. There wouldn't be anyone left if they had.)

Of course, this all very much speculation on my part. Other fans may have other ideas about things like comics in the future and the way World War III plays out for the Star Ocean universe.

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Merchandise Notation:

As of right this moment, while I will be keeping an eye on eBay for the Star Ocean figures, I'm thinking I'm going to place the majority of my Star Ocean purchasing on hold. I will still try to pick up a few things here and there. However, I'm feeling a tad bit wary of anything that says it's from Hong Kong and China, not Japan. This is mostly because China's been known to sell knock-offs for dirt cheap, and, while the bootleg items would be nice, I would rather much have official items when and where I can.

What does that mean?

I'll simply be buying from those who bought the official merchandise that's either in the U.S., Canada, and Europe or from sellers located in Japan. I also want to see what I can get when I (finally) take a trip to Japan. That means, as of right now, I'll be looking at buying video games (not that I need to get that many more of them), manga (so long as it isn't listed as Chinese - don't ask me why it would be listed as Chinese manga. I don't know), and doujinshi. Kind of sad, too, since there's a watch up for sale, but since it might not be official . . . yeah. I'm not going to be buying it.

And, yes, this is very important. I believe I've mentioned it before, but I'll say something again. Most official Star Ocean merchandise isn't going to come out of places like Hong Kong and China. It's going to be bootlegged. When I started this journal, started seeking out Star Ocean memorabilia, I found a website with some very interesting items, and they were posted by someone who had been in Japan at the time of Till the End of Time's release. Given her knowledge, I'm inclined to believe her when she says if it's out of China or Hong Kong, it's probably not official. (Although, I'm not saying such things wouldn't be nice to have . . . I'd just be very dubious about calling them official.)

Also, I will be moving sometime over the summer as well as attending Otakon. Funds are going to be quite limited starting next week for the foreseeable future, but it's something I'm very happy is happening.
star_ocean_fan: (Default)
I will blame Kojika for this.

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The Creator Complex

Last year, when I first started this journal, I wrote an entry about how I didn't think or believe it to be possible for Luther to be behind the Grigori in The Last Hope. In fact, I will still maintain that he wasn't behind the Grigori, that one of his competitors managed to infect the Eternal Sphere with them (a discussion for later). It's entirely possible, too, for someone to try and sabotage Luther, Sphere 211, and the Eternal Sphere. However, for this entry, I will entertain the possibility that perhaps he was behind the Grigori and the potential reason for it.

You see, this actually is inspired by a request I've made to Kojika. As I'm currently short on time in the mornings and in the evenings before and after work, I don't want to spend a lot of time searching for wigs for cosplays. My request to her was to help me find one that I could use interchangeably between Edge and Luther or at least the one her Edge cosplayer used at YoumaCon. My logic is that it would work well for either Luther or Edge, and I really would like it if I didn't have to purchase two wigs for two different characters.

There, of course, is more to the conversation, but, for the sake of brevity, I won't get into it. Suffice it to say, Kojika did send me a link for a wig that would suit my Edge Maverick cosplay very well. Sadly, I'm not so sure if it will work for Luther. My comments were one would think it would work well for Luther as well since he does have a Creator complex.

A Creator complex.

Now, as most players for Till the End of Time are aware, Luther is a megalomaniac. He's a control freak who wants everything to perform in a certain way, and when it isn't, well, he isn't a happy camper. The only way, in my mind, that Luther would ever send the Grigori into the Eternal Sphere is if he knew that a part of him, someone he created in his physical image, could destroy them. He isn't just a game designer. He's a gamer. What better way for him to play than creating an AI or two (or three) in his image, setting up the right personality parameters, and going from there? Some gamers do like to be heroes.

I know. It sounds strange that Luther would create Edge in his image. It's not as farfetched as one might, though, considering the similarities between Luther and Fayt. Luther and Fayt are polar opposites (Creator/Destruction).

Of course, I really don't believe Luther created the Grigori. They are responsible for abnormal evolution - anomalies, if you will. Luther wasn't all that fond of anomalies.

Then again, this is just my take on a potential reason for Luther being the cause of the Grigori and not one of his competitors. It's my interpretation of the character and mine alone. If others agree, that's fine. If they don't, that's fine, too. It's all about how we interpret things as individuals anyway.

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Cosplay/Merchandise Update

I finally settled on what Star Ocean merchandise I was going to buy first. I'll be ramping up for cosplaying, too. Wigs are first. I'll post pictures as soon as I have them.

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That's it for today and perhaps this week. Still not managing my time as well as I should be, but things will fall into place. Have a great weekend, everyone!
star_ocean_fan: (manga Fayt Leingod)

Endings

As my fellow fans know, there are multiple endings for each playable character in the Star Ocean games. I'm not going to delve into each ending that's available and how to earn each potential one. It's something for another time, really. Rather, this is about disappointment.

You see, on my play-throughs for Till the End of Time,I've gotten the solo endings for all of the playable characters. I've even gotten the ending where Roger's still stuck in the cage because I never rescued him. (It's rather humorous, really.) I've not gotten the endings for Fayt with this character or that. The only reasons for me to aim for all of the endings is for some post-game battle trophies.

In going over the potential endings for The Last Hope and Till the End of Time, I'm rather disappointed in the endings for game three. Not that they're available but we don't get all of the potential endings. Does Luther really die at the end of the final battle? Is he in a coma somewhere instead? We know it's dangerous for him to do what he does in between the first fight and the last. Blair tells us this when she expresses her concern for her brother. But we never know if he's sent back to the 4-D realm, dead, or stuck in limbo after that final blow is delivered. (It's left up to us to figure it out if we're really wanting to know.) Heck, we don't even get to see if Blair has an ending.

I realize that it might be strange to bring up endings for non-playable characters and expressing this disappointment years after I've defeated the game. Repeatedly. Still, there are reasons for this.

1 - When going through the Urssa Lava Cave (post-game), an alternate universe Fayt fights with Luther at his side (if Fayt doesn't earn enough affinity points to gain an ending with someone else).

2 - Blair and Luther are essential to the story, even though their appearances are more than halfway through the game. Without Luther's decree and Blair's help, we don't have a game.

3 - This one is the kicker for me on this. In The Last Hope, Crowe gets an ending. Yes, the player has to earn the endings for Reimi, Arumat, and Myuria to see Crowe's ending, but he gets an ending all the same. Crowe isn't a playable character yet he gets an ending. Why? Because, though he's an NPC, he's essential to the story, and his ending leads up to the events of Fantastic Space Odyssey/First Departure.

For me, this just isn't right. I want a Luther ending. I want a Luther/Fayt ending. That, however, will be left for an entry for Game Talk. I'm not quite as done with that as I thought I was going to be.

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What is your favorite Star Ocean moment? - Response

I have two favorite moments for Star Ocean. One is for Till the End of Time. The other is for The Last Hope.

Spoilers )



Those are my favorite moments so far in the Star Ocean Universe. I'm sure more will be added in the future.

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The Star Ocean Universe asks - What do you think Edge's powers are based on what you've observed in the game?
 

star_ocean_fan: (Immoral Feather)
Yesterday, I asked this question: Who is your favorite Star Ocean character? Today, I answer my own question (though I'm sure some people already know the answer, and I know that some people do).

I've mentioned before in gaming tips that I have a penchant for controlling the main character of the game. Most often, that is the hero of the game. I'll change it up every now and then, based on what I want or perhaps will need to do. For the most part, however, I like to control the hero of the game. That, of course, may lead some people to believe that my favorite character of any game is the hero.

When it comes to the two Star Ocean games I've played, that belief is true. I have a penchant for swordsmen. It also means I have more than one favorite character. (Who doesn't have more than one favorite character?)

From Till the End of Time, my favorite character is Fayt Leingod. He's tied at number with Luther Lansfeld. Of course, when it comes to writing fanfiction and pairing, Luther and Fayt are my OTP.

From The Last Hope, my favorite characters tied at number one are Edge Maverick, Crowe F. Almedio, and Myuria Tionysus.

I do tend to gravitate towards the main protagonist in a game or a book. There's something about that character I identify with more than I do other characters. Mind you, Star Ocean was not my first ever RPG. That goes way back to the beginning of personal gaming systems, like the Nintendo, and the release of Dragon Warrior (Dragon Quest in Japan; became Dragon Quest in the U.S. with the release of Game 8 on the PS2) for that system. However, upon playing Till the End of Time for the first time (at a friend's house), I became enamoured with it. I also became quite enthralled with Fayt Leingod. He was emo, but he wasn't emo. He wasn't as filled with angst as they could have done with him . . . at least, he wasn't in my opinion, and there was a lot the game's developers could have done with him for everything endured. Yes, he displays character growth, but the premise behind Till the End of Time's plot is very weak.

Luther wasn't really on my radar for a favorite character. It wasn't until I read a fanfic called The Devil's Thrill where he and Fayt started to bond and realize there was a potential connection between them that I became a fan of Luther and of the pairing Luther x Fayt. Plus Luther has blue eyes. I'm a sucker for a guy with blue eyes. (Yes. Fayt's eyes are green. His hair is blue. Blue is my favorite color.)

I do like most of the other characters from Till the End of Time. I'm just not enamoured with them the way I am with Luther and Fayt.

I like Crowe F. Almedio because he's something of a mystery for me. There isn't much that he isn't able to do, from what we can see of him, but what little interaction we have with him and Edge is just priceless for me. He's got the kind of confidence any person can respect and admire.

Myuria is a favorite for me as well because she's not only a strong woman, confident and beautiful, but intelligent. Yes, when it comes to her husband's death, she is ruled by her emotions and a misunderstanding, but, when she realizes her mistake, realizes what she thought was wrong, she's contrite and ready to forgive. She's mature enough to not be angered by little details or actions of a guy she has feelings for but lacks the courage to tell. Which, in my mind, if Myuria wants a guy, she could have him because she's just that awesome to me.

Edge is on my list, not just because he bears features similar to Fayt or that he could be Luther and Fayt's love child (not m-preg!), but because he shows character growth. He starts out cocky and overconfident. He makes a decision in which he gets knocked down, and he goes through a period where he's like, "I don't know what to do!" Then he comes back. It's very nice to see.

Fayt Leingod vs. Edge Maverick

For me, Fayt wins this little competition of which hero is better. Hands down. I like them both a lot, but, for as clueless as Fayt can be about things, I feel he's smarter than Edge when it comes to things happening. Yes, some of it's due to the fact that Till the End of Time is seven-hundred, sixty years into the future, but how much of an excuse can that truly be? Edge is a year older than Fayt (he's twenty to Fayt's 19). Granted, some of this has to do with the pacing of each game, but Fayt gets over his angst at what others are doing in their efforts to get him than what Edge does when it comes to a situation in which Edge lost either way.

That's just my opinion.

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The Star Ocean Universe asks: What is your favorite Star Ocean moment?

Response to follow tomorrow.

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Ask the Star Ocean Character For January - Adray Lasbard

There is a slight change for Ask the Star Ocean Character segments. Instead of weekly, the segments will appear once a month on the final day of the month. This will give people time to submit their questions, either here or at fanfiction.net.

The next character in the que is Adray Lasbard from Till the End of Time.

As per usual, the rules are as follows:

Limit three questions per person
No profanity.
Keep it clean (no sex talk)
Be nice
Have fun

Questions need to be submitted by midnight, January 28, 2013, and they can be submitted via comments, private message, or email (luthersfayt@gmail.com or thestaroceanuniverse@gmail.com).

One final thing - please let me know if you wish to remain anonymous or have a specific user handle you'd like for me to use. I will gladly keep the question asker anonymous or use the handle s/he has specified. Otherwise, I will use the name I know you by. This is something that I will be very flexible with because this is based on fan interaction as much as it is what I come up with for it.

For those of you wondering about the Roger segment, I have a few things I want to tweak on it, add to it, and I will post it as soon as possible.

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Birthday Reminders

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

More birthdays will be added in, and reminders will be posted.

Upcoming Holidays:

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

I've added in Earth Day to the list of holidays because of the message that lies behind The Last Hope. I think it's the kind of holiday that Star Ocean fans could have a field day with so I've included it for that purpose alone.

When it comes to the holidays and the birthdays, I am looking for the following: art, stories (one-shots), and poetry. The highest rating I will accept for stories and artwork is R. No explicit material please, and proofread your work. All submissions can be emailed to me at luthersfayt@gmail.com or thestaroceanuniverse@gmail.com and must be submitted no later than midnight the previous day. All genres except for smut accepted.

star_ocean_fan: (Default)
Taking a Moment

When I look out the windows of my home, one thing I can't help but notice is the scenery. You see, I currently live in the country, across the road from a farm that grows corn. Some distance behind the house is a tree farm. When I look out my window, I can see the sun shining on a warm, summer or cold, snowy day. I can look out and see when it's snowing or raining. The house I live in is old, bought by my stepdad's parents sometime in the sixties, so when the wind really gets to blowing, I can hear it. On those warm spring and summer days or in the colors of fall, I can head outside whenever I want and just soak it up. I can take a blanket out with me along with some notebooks and pens and write.

The Star Ocean games have really opened my eyes on what it is we truly have to lose, either to a rapidly changing climate or to war. I personally can't imagine what it's like to not be able to go outside when I want to, to feel the sunshine warming me up, to go swimming in one of the local lakes, to walk among the colors of fall, or to feel the clean, crisp air of a wintry day. I don't like being outside during the winter because I'm not overly fond of the cold, but it's still something I can do when the mood strikes me. The human cast members of each Star Ocean game - Edge Maverick, Reimi Saionji, and Crowe F. Almedio (The Last Hope - The Eldarians and Morphus also don't experience the same things due to controlled or harsh environments); Ronyx J. Kenny and Ilia Silvestri (Fantastic Space Odyssey/First Departure); Claude C. Kenny (Second Story/Second Evolution); and Fayt Leingod, Sophia Esteed, and Maria Traydor (Till the End of Time) - really do not have that kind of a luxury. For those from The Last Hope, Earth's atmosphere is in critical condition. People live in underground cities in order to survive. For those from the first three games, Earth's atmosphere is stabilized but controlled. Animals are vague memories. Trees grow, snow falls, but it isn't the same as what we in real life (and those fictional characters from the underdeveloped planets of Roak, Expel, Vanguard III, and Elicoor II) experience. Please note, also, that what we currently experience in our real lives isn't at all similar to what the fictional characters from Roak, Expel, Vanguard III, and Elicoor II experience. If there are any similarities, it would be to what our ancestors experienced hundreds of years ago when first coming to the Americas or before the discovery of the Americas.

I think the ones who would be the most amazed by natural weather in a natural environment would be from The Last Hope. Edge, Reimi, Crowe, Faize, and Arumat would, when they allowed themselves those brief moments, would truly stop, look around, and stare in wonderment at what they were seeing. Edge, Reimi, and Faize, for sure, would be, at first, afraid to walk on the grass because, to them, it's delicate and should be cherished. Such a fear would be overcome because they have their missions to complete, but it would also be something that they would take the opportunity to lay in and feel it against their skin.

This isn't to say the casts from the other games wouldn't take those moments to lay in the grass and go swimming because it is something I feel all of them would do. Of the human characters, the two I feel that would do it the most are, naturally, Edge and Fayt.This is mostly because I know the planets they're able to visit, and where some of the best places for them to lounge around and have a picnic, as it were, are.

It isn't lost on me that these characters live in the Eternal Sphere, the brain child of Luther Lansfeld of the four-dimensional realm. His world is just about as bleak as the majority of the playable characters for The Last Hope. For him, there is no concept of time. For Luther, he lives in a pristine, white and technologicall advanced world where nothing ever changes and that has left him bored and seeking something different, something flawed that makes it perfect. He and his team of developers create the Eternal Sphere, I think not only for money but because it gives them something to look forward to, to create, and to enjoy themselves. It makes perfect sense for me that he'd do anything to protect it (even if it means destroying or attempting to destroy it in the end).

For my fellow Star Ocean fans (and anyone who comes across this and reads it), take a moment. Take a moment and step outside. Feel the sun on your face, the cool breeze on your skin, and to soak up the colors of fall and spring. Go for a drive and find a nice spot to have a picnic. Be kind to Mother Nature because, as of right now, this is our only home in the universe, and, though the events be fictional, if we do not want them to come to fruition, we must be mindful of how we take care of ourselves, our fellow humans, and our environment. Let's not leave it for future generations to worry about.

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Some Things the Developers of Star Ocean Got Wrong

This is a nitpick on my part, and it's aimed at some of the scenery we see in the games. It isn't about the characters or the overuse of "gentically altering an individual for this reason or that". Heck, it isn't even how poor of a villain Luther is compared to the Apostle of Creation or even Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII. Rather, this nitpick is about some of the environments created for the underdeveloped planets.

The grass is often too short.  The grass in various places on Aeos, Roak, Vanguard III, Elicoor II, and any other underdeveloped planet, even in parts of Lemuris, is too short for the given areas where we see it.

Now, you might be thinking that I'm being a bit ridiculous about this, but think about it: In the summer, when there's the right combination of water and sunshine, grass grows. And it grows. It will continue to grow as long as someone isn't mowing the lawn either on a frequent or infrequent basis. If the seaons don't consist of constant weather change or only experience mild winters with little snow, grass can grow to be as tall as wheat without someone tending to it. There are places on Aeos where the grass should be taller than Edge, on Elicoor II that reach Fayt's waist, and so on. Everything is neatly trimmed despite not having enough human or humanoid traffic to warrant it being so, especially on Aeos and in the fields between Arias and Peterny and Peterny and the Sacred City of Aquios. (There are no signs of any kind of livestock in Till the End of Time to warrant the grass being short, either.)

If anyone knows anything about a wild, untamed wilderness is that the grass is at least half the height of an adult human. In ancient forests and in rainforests, this doesn't hold true, not when the trees are tall and their branches thick and filled with fat leaves. This makes some parts of Aeos and Elicoor II very accurate, but there are many patches of land that just look like perfectly manicured lawns. Aeos was likened, by Reimi no less, to Earth's Jurassic era. There should have been many areas with grass reaching the tallest character's chin.

Also, there's the lack of huge piles of snow in places like Airyglyph and Lemuris. Now snow is something that can fall in a somewhat neat way. It can also form a crust, so to speak, so people can walk along the surface without sinking with every step. For these places, the snow should be piled higher than what it truly is. I've only been through mountainous areas a few times in my life, in the spring and in the summer, but, in the distance, when I've looked upon those mountains, I've been able to see the snow. Wind Swallow Valley is the only place that has the right amount of snow for a cold planet. Airyglyph, between the castle city and Kirlsa, not so much.

This leads me up to another thing I feel they did wrong, something I'm sure I've mentioned before - the lack of farms. It's definitely implied that farming takes place. If it didn't, players shouldn't be able to buy things like steamed buns, apple pies, or any other restorative item and, for The Last Hope players, item creation ingredients available. Now, I know that, when one steps into the village of Triom The Last Hope, there are visible gardens. That explains how one can buy (for the short time) certain things at the shops there. It doesn't explain how the shops in Woodley come by their items for sale or in the shops on Roak or En II (or the shops in the other games, for that matter - Whipple on Vanguard III, I believe, has an area for farming, but that's it for Till the End of Time). Where are the farms? Where is the wildlife that often makes up forests and fields and deserts? Yes, we have the monsters to fight? On Aeos, where are the mammals? I've seen snakes and bugs and have heard birds on Aeos and Roak - one can even see water spouting up in the oceans in the distance on Roak - but there are many things these areas simply lack that, while minor in terms of details, could enhance the game so much more.

Please do not get me wrong on this. I realize that a lot of what's been left out has been done intentionally due to different factors - money, storage space, and the like. It's especially true for the older games where everything is saved to a memory card, but the platforms are changing. Information earned throughout the gaming is stored into the consoles themselves, but the graphics are all on a disk. I rather like seeing how realistic a different planet could be. Every time I play, no matter how many times I play, I see those wonderful graphics for these inhabitable planets, and every single time I think . . . I want to go there. I want to see those strange yet similar oceans for myself. I want to go swimming in them. I want to stand in the shade of those tall, ancient trees, to smell the strange scents of flowers not found on Earth, and to simply experience as much of everything about that planet as I can. Imagine how intense it would be if those little things - tall, untamed grass; wild herbivorous animals roaming in the meadows; huge piles of snow that are a work out to walk across; farms growing unique grains, fruits and vegetables with similar yet different kinds of livestock - were there to add to that experience?

It's only my opinion, of course.

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Ask the Star Ocean Character For January - Adray Lasbard

There is a slight change for Ask the Star Ocean Character segments. Instead of weekly, the segments will appear once a month on the final day of the month. This will give people time to submit their questions, either here or at fanfiction.net.

The next character in the que is Adray Lasbard from Till the End of Time.

As per usual, the rules are as follows:

Limit three questions per person
No profanity.
Keep it clean (no sex talk)
Be nice
Have fun

Questions need to be submitted by midnight, January 28, 2013, and they can be submitted via comments, private message, or email (luthersfayt@gmail.com or thestaroceanuniverse@gmail.com).

One final thing - please let me know if you wish to remain anonymous or have a specific user handle you'd like for me to use. I will gladly keep the question asker anonymous or use the handle s/he has specified. Otherwise, I will use the name I know you by. This is something that I will be very flexible with because this is based on fan interaction as much as it is what I come up with for it.

For those of you wondering about the Roger segment, I have a few things I want to tweak on it, add to it, and I will post it as soon as possible.

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Birthday Reminders

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

More birthdays will be added in, and reminders will be posted.

Upcoming Holidays:

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

I've added in Earth Day to the list of holidays because of the message that lies behind The Last Hope. I think it's the kind of holiday that Star Ocean fans could have a field day with so I've included it for that purpose alone.

When it comes to the holidays and the birthdays, I am looking for the following: art, stories (one-shots), and poetry. The highest rating I will accept for stories and artwork is R. No explicit material please, and proofread your work. All submissions can be emailed to me at luthersfayt@gmail.com or thestaroceanuniverse@gmail.com and must be submitted no later than midnight the previous day. All genres except for smut accepted.
star_ocean_fan: (Default)

Fanfic Writing Tip #9 - Leaving Reviews and Letting Your Work Stand on Its Own

At some point, fanfiction writers read fanfiction. In fact, reading fanfiction inspires other fanfiction writers to actually write instead of dream/daydream the scenarios in our heads. I know that's how I finally got my start as a fanfiction author.

Now, there are many things I see when browsing sites like fanfiction.net, things I don't necessarily like or think an author should be doing when writing summaries and author's notes. Things in summaries like "plz read and review" are not appealing to me, and they don't draw me in to read the story. Reading in an author's note "I'll update after I receive X number of reviews for this chapter" or "What's your excuse for not reviewing?! Review, gosh darn it!" are the kinds of things that inspire me to either not pick the story up again or leave a very harsh criticism of the work and the writer's attitude. (What one may think of as being cute and funny doesn't necessarily come across that way in black and white.)

Yes. I will admit right here, right now that reviews are gravy. They're awesome, and they go a long way in boosting a writer's confidence and inspiration. Those seeking professional publication will ask established author's for a quote to garner more sales. Book reviews either boost sales or decimate them. However, in the online world of fanfiction publishing, writers aren't paid, except in reviews, and the only things reviews are good for are pointing out where we've made mistakes and ego-boosting. To me, it's in bad form to require a reader to review your work and to require reviews in order to update. That says, in my mind, "I'm a review whore. That's the only thing I care about so that's why I'm writing this story", when that may not even be true. (These are also the kinds of writers who annoy me because I will leave a review and it isn't what they want in a review. They're also the ones that tell me "it's just for fun. Don't like it, don't read it." To that, I say, "Don't want people leaving you their honest thoughts, don't ask for reviews". Yes. I have a slight mean streak.) Readers are in no way obligated to read a person's works. They're in no way obligated to leave a review.

Let your work stand on its own. Write the story. Let your skills at summarizing and writing a compelling tale lure the reader in. Pack it with emotion. Give the reader a reason to write that review to you based on the emotions you've drawn out of that person, not because you need your ego-stoked.

Addendum to last week's writing tip.

Last week I wrote about writing in a logical order and using logic to write your story. That is something that will only go so far, and I was reminded of that when I read last week's Daily Kick by David Farland. There are times when logic will need to be thrown out the window, and it's often based on the kinds of situations the protagonists and antagonists find themselves facing . . . Unexpected reactions to conflict are good. Writing a single parent leaving his two-year-old child sleeping at home alone is still bad, though, because then the reader is expecting something bad to happen while he's gone and then nothing happens and there's a feeling of being cheated out of something really good.

Also, please note, I'm coming across as harsh, and my intentions are to actually help people with their fanfiction writing. I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds the behavior I've encountered in the last decade of fanfiction writing and reading to be annoying . . . I just happen to be quite outspoken on a lot of issues. So while I may sound harsh (it's the disadvantages of text-based forums and formats), it isn't my intention. Writing fanfiction may be for fun . . . but the reasons for reading don't ever change.

Next week's writing tip . . . Writing Songfic

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Halloween In the Four-Dimensional Realm

Given that the world of Star Ocean is nothing more than a fabrication, a multi-player game, the brilliant child of the brain trust at Sphere 211, it isn't too far of a stretch to think that Halloween exists in the four-dimensional realm. It isn't too hard to believe that the creators of the game implemented many holidays and traditions into the game they themselves celebrate. To do so gives the game a sense of familiarity for the players.

How do I see Halloween in the four-dimensional realm? Well, I don't see the likeliness of a real pumpkin being carved into a jack-o-lantern. Maybe there would be what we see in stores like Wal-Mart and KMart . . . ceramic, glass, plastic, plastic covered in glitter . . . If it's a "real" pumpkin, chances are it was fabricated from a replicator.

Ghosts would probably be no different than what we see . . . white sheets or ephemeral wisps depicted in paint . . . something fleeting.

Zombies, ghouls, and demons wouldn't change from what the players see in their gaming experiences. Witches would have gone from ugly old crone to cute and sexy little caster.

All of this would translate into what the worlds and cultures in the Eternal Sphere would see for their Halloween traditions.

Now, if you ask me who would celebrate Halloween out of the four-dimensional beings we encounter in Till the End of Time, I'll address that in the Halloween costumes sections.

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Halloween Costumes, Part Four, Segment One

By now, we're seven hundred plus years into the future of the Star Ocean series. Customs have been traded and upgraded, new holidays added into schedules, and more than one culture celebrates All Hallow's Eve. For this part of the Halloween Costumes segment, I'll be focusing on the following characters: Maria Traydor, Peppita Rosetti, Sophia Esteed, Lieber, and Marietta. I'm also going to toss in Belzeber and Flad, from the 4-D realm.

First up is Maria.

Of this particular group for today, I actually find her the hardest to determine the kinds of costumes she'd wear to go trick-or-treating. Her personality is far different when we first encounter her than what it was as a child. Was she the princess/ballerina type? Personally, I think her parents might have raised to be a little of both the girly type and the boyish type. Her mother is a scientist, her father a soldier . . . heck, she could have dressed up as a soldier-scientist hybrid as an homage to her parents. I do think princess and ballerina, too . . . maybe even a Featherfolk or Lesser Fellpool, too. This would, of course, continue until the destruction of her home and the deaths of her parents. I do feel that Cliff and Mirage would try their best to get Maria to go trick-or-treating once she's in their care, because it would offer up a sense of normalcy after everything she's endured. I'm just not sure Maria would go for it because of everything she's endure. Losing your parents at a young age and in a violent manner like that tends to force a child to mature emotionally in many ways than it would others who haven't lived through such trauma.

Peppita is a little easier for me to decipher. She wants to be famous, and she's learned to dance. Princess or ballerina or even dressing up as a famous dancer/singer/actress would be her style.

Sophia is also very easy for me, and I can see her insisting upon themed costumes with Fayt, much in the same way Reimi would with Edge and Crowe. Fayt would have an easier time drawing the line on what he wouldn't want to hear for costumes with Sophia. It would simply depend on what she'd want to dress up as for Halloween, and I can see her wanting to be a princess. Almost every single year. It is a fascination with her, princesses. (This is based on the kinds of responses Fayt can give her when she's joined the party and in places like Aquios and Airyglyph.) And the dress would be pink or maybe pale blue or lavender . . . but mostly pink. I'm pretty sure that's her favorite color. (She wears a lot of it.)

Lieber . . . Oh, Lieber . . . yes . . . I believe Klausians, after years of dealing with Earthlings, would celebrate Halloween. Lieber, before meeting Cliff and Mirage and falling in love with Maria, would want to be something . . . dynamic . . . heroic . . . noteworthy. He's very  much a romantic at heart. Knights, poets . . . elves . . . those would be what he'd want to dress up as for Halloween.

Marietta is another one I'm finding a little difficulty in determining. In truth, interactions with her (and Lieber) are on the limited side. Still, I think Marietta is tough, despite some of her cringing in a crisis (but then who doesn't?) . . . a pixie or a fairy from Klausian folklore would be cool. She has the features for something so delicate (at least in modern day Disney portrayals) . . . I could also see her (or even Sophia) wanting to dress up as Raggedy Ann, if that somehow is revived after World War III . . . and I think a fighter pilot. She becomes a member of Quark and is the communications officer on The Diplo. A fighter pilot isn't too far-fetched.

Flad is still a kid so I'm sure he'd head out trick-or-treating to his neighbors' homes. He'd be dressed as either his character persona from the Eternal Sphere or some other kind of character, i.e. elf, menodix, etc . . .

Finally, the second add-in for this, Belzeber.

Out of the enemies I've encountered in Till the End of Time, Belzeber has to be one of two of the power-hungriest characters (the other being Duke Vox). I don't lump Luther, Azazer, or Berial in that category for other reasons, which will be discussed at a later date. As the child of a powerful information technology magnate, Belzeber would be the child of entitlement, and his costumes for Halloween would reflect that - corporate businessman every year. He might switch it up every now and then, depending on who his friends are (which I do see him having Blair, Luther, Azazer, and Berial for a group of friends . . . for a while) . . . he might dress up as the hero to Luther's villain . . . but I don't see him deviating away too much from what he truly wants to be in his life - a powerful businessman controlling the 4-D realm.

And thus concludes today's segment of Halloween Costumes, Part 4. Tomorrow will see Cliff, Mirage, Robert Leingod, Ryoko Leingod, Blair, Azazer, Nel Zelpher, Roger S. Huxley, Adray Lasbard, and Clair Lasbard.

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Halloween Fanfic Entries

This was written as a surprise giftfic for missnox!

Title: Halloween Culture Shock
Characters: Albel Nox, Fayt Leingod, Maria Traydor, Sophia Esteed
Pairing: Albel Nox x Fayt Leingod
World: Till the End of Time
Rating: PG13
Warnings: male/male relationship, language, violent urges (It has Albel in it!)
Disclaimer: I don't own Star Ocean - Till the End of Time. The game and the characters from the game belong to tri-Ace and Square Enix respectively. I don't profit financially from writing this.
Summary: Albel receives a culture shock when Fayt invites him to celebrate Halloween on Earth.

Read more... )

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This was written as a surprise giftfic for Rachel Snowden on deviantart.

Title: A Trick For a Treat
World: Till the End of Time
Characters: Albel Nox, Fayt Leingod, Sophia Esteed, Maria Traydor, Lieber, Luther Lansfeld
Pairing: Albel Nox x Fayt Leingod, Maria Traydor x Lieber
Rating: PG13
Warnings: Language, male/male relationship, violent tendencies
Disclaimer: I don't own Star Ocean - Till the End of Time. The game and the characters from the game belong to tri-Ace and Square Enix respectively. I don't profit financially from writing this.
Summary:  Albel decides what he wants the most for the Hallowed Night’s festivities.
Author’s Note: The Hallowed Night is what I’m calling Elicoor II’s Halloween-type holiday.

 

Read more... )

 

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This was written as a surprise giftfic for Charryblossom over at deviantart.com

Title: Lonely Hallow’s Night
World: Till the End of Time
Characters: Albel Nox, Nel Zelpher, Clair Lasbard, Adray Lasbard, Tynave, Farleen, Fayt Leingod
Pairing: Albel Nox x Nel Zelpher
Warnings: mild language, implied sexual situations
Rating: PG13
Disclaimer: I don’t own Till the End of Time or the characters of Fayt Leingod, Tynave, Farleen, Nel Zelpher, Clair Lasbard, Adray Lasbard, or Albel Nox. They belong to tri-Ace and Square Enix. I don’t profit financially from writing this story. I do profit from surprising people with these stories. XD
Author’s Note: Canon pairing. Not much else to say about it except I could have used Charry’s character, Charry, but I never asked her for permission to do so . . . plus I know from her cosplay photos, she’s an Albel x Nel fan.
Summary:  Nel and Albel stare at the moon on the Hallowed Night.

 

Read more... )


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This was written as a surprise giftfic for Kojika on deviantart.

 

Title: Carving the Pumpkin (Part Two)
World: The Last Hope
Characters: Edge Maverick, Faize Sheifa Beleth
Pairing: Edge Maverick x Faize Sheifa Beleth
Warnings: Male/male relationship, implied sexual situations

Rating: PG13
Disclaimer: I don’t own the characters of Edge Maverick and Faize Sheifa Beleth or Star Ocean: The Last Hope. They belong to tri-Ace and Square Enix respectively. I don’t profit financially from writing this story.
Summary: Faize and Edge share some time alone on The Calnus and discuss the ways to carve a pumpkin.
Author’s Notes: Yes, I know I have a story up called Carving the Pumpkin, featuring Luther Lansfeld and Fayt Leingod from Till the End of Time. The idea of carving a pumpkin with Faize was just as appealing to me, and I’m not above rehashing story titles where appropriate.


Read more... )

 

 

(more fanfic in another entry)

 

star_ocean_fan: (Default)
Today's going to be a short entry since the next Ask the Star Ocean character segments won't be ready until November 2.

Explaining the Concept of Halloween

I think it can be agreed upon that all cultures have myths, folklores, holidays and traditions that surround such events. Oral story-telling has kept alive many traditions from the ancient worlds of Rome, Greece, Egypt, Celt, and Norse worlds. As more people learned how to write, the traditions were kept alive in the form of books. As long as we have those written texts available to us in case we wonder how come such traditions exist.

In the Star Ocean universe, most of the books no longer exist. Because they no longer exist, the characters may not completely understand why some holidays and traditions are still celebrated. They'll know what they're told by their parents, who will know what they were told by their parents. How many will know the reasons for the celebration of Halloween, or Samhain, would remain to be seen. This is, so everyone knows, is speculation on my part because we don't get to see holiday celebrations in the games, and we're left to write and draw our own fan works. Also, I don't know how many people in real life know why we have the Halloween traditions that we do. If you don't know but want to, please send me a PM, and I'll be happy to talk to you about it.

Anyway, this brings me to Edge and Reimi trying to describe the holiday of Halloween to Faize and Lymle and everyone else in their crew. How does one explain why humans dress up on Halloween? How does one explain why people give out treats? I imagine the conversation would be awkward at first, depending on how many of the people are recruited. Faize, Myuria, and Bacchus, I can see asking the hard questions of "Why" and "When" and "how come". Lymle and Meracle would be more interested in wanting to get the treats. (Who can blame them, really?) As for Sarah . . . she is the tricky one. Out of the entire recruitable cast, I think she would actually be the one to know because it might sound like something similar to a holiday on Roak. Lymle might actually get why, too, and I say that because they're both from underdeveloped planets. The notion of spirits walking with the living wouldn't be too farfetched to them.

This, of course, goes without saying when it comes to encountering cultures that are different from our own. The ones I see having the most difficulty in explaining the traditions and concepts behind Halloween are, of course, The Last Hope cast. However, Ronyx J. Kenny and his son Claude would have troubles explaining it to alien races, depending on how advanced the civilization is compared to the likes of Roak and Expel. The only one who might not have any troubles at all would be Fayt, from Till the End of Time, and that's because I feel he could ask Blair the same questions Bacchus, Myuria, and Faize would ask Edge and Reimi.

Ah, the joys of Halloween! :)

That's all for today. I'll be back on Saturday with more! Thanks for reading and have a wonderful weekend!

star_ocean_fan: (Immoral Feather)
I apologize for that. I've had a lot on my mind lately, most of it centering on writing original material, some health issues, and searching for work. I don't like being limited to talking about two games for Star Ocean when there are four major games and one side game (Blue Sphere for the Gameboy). Oddly enough, for me to be able to talk about the first two games (and possibly Blue Sphere), to start on the cosplay, ball-joined doll, and crafts I want to do, collect the merchandise and doujinshi . . .  all of this requires money, of which I have very little right now.

So some updates on me:

1 - I'm obviously still broke so that takes YoumaCon out of the picture for me this year and possibly Anime Apocalypse in December. Anime Apocalypse is going to be on a "maybe" list - it depends on what happens between now and the first of December in terms of a cash flow. I really do want to get back into the convention circuits so I can meet new people and catch up with friends. However, the lack of cash coming in is hindering that, and there are some other things taking priority over heading out to conventions. That could be changing soon. I received a phone call for a job interview today so I'm crossing my fingers!

2 - Health status: I'm still alive, still relatively healthy. I just now have to watch my caffeine intake and take a water pill due to my blood pressure running on the high side. I really should start taking my healthy living cues from Fayt. He's such a healthy, albeit fictional character. I think we could learn a thing or two from some of our favorite characters . . .

3 - There has been some tragedy in my family. I'm not going into details about it. Just know it was a sad time for one of my family members, and it's the kind of thing I don't ever wish on anyone.

4 - Writing progress is questionable. It depends on the story. That could change, depending on how the job interview for tomorrow goes. Yes. I am crossing my fingers that this pans out for me. The heavens above know I could use something to keep myself going. (Not working sucks. I realize I'm looking at a minimum wage job, but I don't care. Work is work.)

Beyond that, not much is new. I have no other reasons for not updating this journal regularly.

So onward with the entry! 

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Writing Conversation - What Would Everyone Dress Up as For Halloween? Part One

In the spirit of the upcoming holiday of Halloween, I'll be writing a four-part series on what I think the humans of the Star Ocean universe would dress up as to go trick-or-treating. Some of it will be guesswork, since I still haven't played First Departure and Second Story/Second Evolution, but I will pose the question to Kojika, who has played the games. If you have thoughts, please feel free to leave me a comment on what you think and why.

First of all, I'd like to say that, on the subject of Halloween, it is a holiday I think would survive in a post-apocalyptic world. It's something that, by this point in time, people will have celebrated for at least a century and more than a few decades. It would bring about a sense of normalcy after such a great deal of catastrophic destruction. Whether people would remember why the holiday is celebrated is another subject entirely.

To start, I'll be writing in the series' timeline chronological order, not in publishing chronological order. (This gives me something to actually start with since I'm familiar with the characters of The Last Hope.)

Halloween would be, in the future, like it is now - a fun time of the year that signifies change and is one of the few times where it's socially acceptable to dress up as something else. (Conventions are excluded because not all people believe it's okay to dress up for such a thing. I know a couple of people who are like that. Only the dedicated dress up year-round.) It would also be the one time of the year where people could forget about their troubles.

Since they grew up together, it isn't hard to imagine Crowe, Edge, and Reimi along with her brother trick-or-treating as a group. What would be interesting to see is if they would be coordinated in their costumes. Would Reimi insist upon a theme or would they be random? I can't see Crowe and Edge (mostly Edge) always agreeing to be what Reimi wants them to be for Halloween.

And just what do I think Reimi would want to dress up as for Halloween? A couple of costumes come to mind. If any of the Disney movies are still available, I can see Reimi wanting to be one of the many princesses, from Snow White to Ariel, from Aurora to Belle, and everyone else who she would see as beautiful, strong, independent, and pure. (Remember fellow fans, she thinks she's a monster because she knows what she is.) If not a Disney princess, then a fairy tale princess of some kind. Anything that would make her feel beautiful about herself, albeit if only temporarily.

Heading down the non-princess route, there are also the bride, bridesmaid, flower girl, housewife, chef, and maybe a delicate fairy or a ballerina. Reimi is quite the girl - feminine, pink, frilly, cute - and, as I said before, it would come down to her wanting to feel beautiful about herself. Costumes at Halloween would reflect that.

Between Edge and Crowe, I feel like Crowe would be the one more likely to accommodate Reimi in her requests for themed trick-or-treating. In my mind, it would depend on how soon he knows about being a Seed of Hope and if he knows. That's the one thing, for me, that remains up in the air, only because Crowe remained as an NPC throughout the whole game. I'm leaning towards "yes" because he's got such an excellent poker face, but it'll be unclear  and up to the player in that regard. However, I think he'd only accommodate Reimi so far based upon what he knows. Crowe is very much a leader-type character, and it would most definitely reflect in his Halloween costumes. With dreams of heading into space, that, too, would play a factor in the kinds of costumes Crowe (and Edge). Crowe definitely sees himself as some kind of a hero, but he's also quite modest about it.

Both Edge and Crowe would be Reimi's knights in the times they accommodate her for themed Halloween costumes. I can also imagine both of them dressing up as ninjas, samurai, archeologists, adventurers, pirates (what little boy doesn't want to be a pirate for Halloween? What little girl, for that matter, too?), and any kind of modern military soldier (including rank). There might be some of the cutesy stuff in there because of their parents - pumpkins, ghosts . . . typical Halloween fare - but, of the two, I think the only one who would want to dress up as something "evil", for the fun of it, would be Crowe. He's got vampire written all over him!

So what would our intrepid heroes and heroine receive as Halloween treats? Companies like Hershey's, Nestle', M&M/Mars, and Brach's are no longer in business. What would people hand out for the youngsters out and about on Halloween night? Well, if the building in Antarctica survives (it contains the seeds for all fruits and vegetables as well as herbs, grasses, and the like), I can see people giving out fruits like apples, oranges, bananas, pears, and plums. There would also be homemade caramel corn, popcorn, popcorn balls in a variety of flavors, cookies, cupcakes, and homemade candies.

As for the non-human characters, if they were to visit Earth, they wouldn't need to dress up for Halloween because everyone would think they were already in costume. The discussion for how Edge and Reimi would explain the concept of Halloween will be another entry.

Kinds of costumes and treats are definitely open to discussion. Feel free to leave me a comment on what you think.

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Writing Fanfiction Tip #7 - Write in a Logical Order And Use Logic

I recently wrote a review on a story where certain events didn't follow in a logical order. In the story, a new parent, a recently divorced dad, has moved, with his two-year-old son, to a new town. While the dad is trying to cook Ragu and pasta, the son goes outside to play, and he finds a kitten. Like a two-year-old, the boy takes the kitten back into the house, and the dad wonders where his son found the critter. This, naturally, leads to the dad asking the boy where the kitten was found and to the discovery of a dead mother cat with the rest of the litter still alive. Concerned over the kittens, the dad takes them to a local vet to find out what he needs to do in order to keep them alive. Cue the dad heading home, finishing dinner, giving his son a bath, putting the child to bed, and then heading to the pet store with the two-year-old left home alone.

This isn't a logical procession in events. Everything is okay until the dad returns home, finishes preparing dinner, and gives his child a bath so he can go to bed. It's after the child is in bed that he realizes he needs supplies for the cats in his care. Of course, my biggest problem with the procession of events is the fact a two-year-old is left unattended for at least twenty minutes as the parent rushes to the pet store with one of the kittens in tow. For someone who is a parent or who has helped to take care of young children, this is a major no-no and likely to offend and anger the person reading. It's also going to have the reader scratching his/her head, saying, "This doesn't make sense. No parent would leave a two-year-old, even sleeping, home alone. Too much can go wrong in a short amount of time". It doesn't matter if a person can be scatter-brained at times. People in real life have those moments, but I can speak with authority that a "new" parent or a single parent isn't going to leave any child under the age of 12 home alone.

And that's something a writer, any writer, must always be aware of whenever starting a story. What kind of a logical order will events take place? In the story I reviewed, for me, the logical order of events, after the trip to the vet, the dad should have gone to the pet store to get the necessary supplies, with his son in tow, after the trip to the vet or at least take his sleeping son with him when he left to get the supplies. What this tells me, as a reader and as someone who's lived with a two-year-old, that the writer of the story doesn't know what she's talking about when it comes to children and the various things that can go wrong if a parent takes his eyes off his son for a scant minute. (Note: a two-year-old can drown in a bucket of water only a quarter filled in under two minutes.)

Now, it might seem mundane and more than a little nitpicky on a logical procession of events, especially over something as simple as heading to the store. Sometimes authors will try to do something that will create a conflict or add to a conflict, but it comes at the wrong point in the story or it isn't exactly true to how a person in a similar, real life situation might behave.

Here are two examples.

Character A is an experienced bank robber and is planning his next heist. Like anyone who's attempting or has attempted the same thing, he doesn't want to get caught, and he takes the necessary precautions he's always taken before. The character in question isn't going to walk into the bank, guns ablazing and then remember to put the mask on his face to conceal his identity in the middle of the crime. Yes, doing such a thing would create a problem for him, but it would be more interesting if he happened to walk into the bank for some other reason than robbery and be caught in the middle of another robbery.

Character B is a firefighter and needs to check her equipment to be sure it's functioning properly. She isn't going to gear up, run into a place that's on fire, and then stop to ask herself if she's got enough oxygen in her tank onceshe's entered a burning building.

If you've never been in a particular situation before but want to write about it, start asking questions. If you're writing about a man who's married, a parent, but is going through a divorce, ask someone who's gone through a divorce what it was like. If you're curious about police procedures, ask your local cops or utilize a search engine. Fanfiction is something that's free for anyone who has internet access to read. If you're not getting it right, you're going to lose a reader and end up with the kind of review that I left for the author of the story with the dad and the son and the new acquisition of kittens - not a very nice one.

It's just something to think about when you start writing.

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Halloween

I'm looking for Halloween photos, artwork, fanfiction, and fan poetry for display. Photos can be of Star Ocean carved pumpkins, figures with Halloween decorations, and the like. Cosplay is definitely welcome. The only requirements are the works must be themed for Halloween and must be related to Star Ocean (obviously). Fanfiction should be limited to one-shots and vignettes, but I will accept multi-chaptered stories so long as they're complete. They can be submitted to me at luthersfayt@gmail.com and I'll accept submissions until October 30th.

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Doujinshi Call Out

Looking for doujinshi titles. Pairings doesn't matter. Rating doesn't matter. I'm trying to compile a list of all Star Ocean doujinshi. Any and all help is appreciated. You can PM me, leave me a comment, or email me what you've got.

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Convention Talk - Creating Your Cosplay

Finally! The long-awaited topic of how to create your cosplay is finally here! I know. It took me long enough, didn't it?

First of all and foremost, to start with, the most obvious thing to do if you're going to create your own cosplay is pick your character. The type of character you choose, from what I've been able to discern from others, will determine the the type and costs of materials you'll need in order to create the costume. Are you choosing Sophia? Albel? Nel? Reimi? Claude? Crowe? Arumat? Bacchus?

Once you've answered that question (and, chances are, you already know this in advance), then you can answer the question of what kinds of materials do I need to buy or will I need to buy? Will I need to find a sewing pattern? Naturally, if you're going to be sewing, you'll need fabric and thread to match the color. Other materials include vinyl (or leather, though it was recommended to me to avoid leather), plastic canvas, craft foam, paint, paint brushes, sewing needles, yarn, knitting needles or a knitting loom, embroidery thread, and maybe an empty two-liter bottle. This last item is completely dependent upon which character you intend to cosplay, and everything listed is just for the outfits of the characters. If you plan on creating the weapons to go with your cosplay, you'll definitely need additional materials, i.e. wood, sand paper, maybe cardboard, and additional paint, perhaps even craft foam and plastic canvas. (Wood and cardboard are tricky to work with because, once you screw up, you have to buy more and start from scratch.)

Please remember to take caution when you're buying the materials to craft your cosplay. The overall idea is to make something that you can wear more than once and maybe outside of conventions, too. When it comes to materials, you get what you pay for in terms of quality, and I'm not talking about the vinyl or the plastic canvas. I'm talking about the fabric and thread used to create the base of the outfit. Keep an eye out for sales at your local fabrics store. Yes, for many Americans, it's cheaper to go to Wal-Mart than to some place that actually sells a larger (and decidedly more expensive) selection of fabric, but your local fabric stores do have sales. They do also offer up coupons and additional percentages off. Be smart about buying your materials. Go for quality but get it as cheaply as you can, when you can. If you plan on creating more than just one cosplay, it isn't a bad idea to stock up on materials

Now there are some things you may not or just won't be able to make. For example, let's say you're creating Albel Nox (once again). You've bought the wig and the right kind of foot wear, have the materials to sew his outfit, it's done, but you don't have the materials for his gauntlet (nor the time, the money, or maybe even the know-how to fashion them before the convention). How do you come up with that one crucial element that separates Albel from the rest of the Star Ocean gang?

You can start by checking your local boutiques for arm-length gloves either white or violet. If you can find a white pair that covers as much of your arm as needed, you can find the right color dye so that it looks appropriate. And don't forget that, for Albel and Sophia, thigh-length stockings are in order, too. Kojika, for her Claude cosplay, found moon shoes to fit her for an appropriate look.

All of this, of course, is only necessary if you plan making your own cosplay for your next convention and is what I've learned in talking with the experienced cosplayers I know (whom I'm also very proud to call my friends). If you're buying the materials so someone else can create the costume for you, talk to that person and find out what they need and how much of it so they can do just that for you. If you plan on heading to one of the many cosplay costume sights on the web, then the best advice I can give to you is to do your research on customer satisfaction. How well did the company craft the cosplay for others? Would the customers recommend the site again? Remember, it's your money that you're spending, and I guarantee that you'll have a ball at your next convention.

Next convention talk . . . to be determined.

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Ask the Star Ocean Character Call Out, Triple the Fun: Deputy Director Shimada, Bacchus D-79, and Peppita Rosetti

Taking questions for the following characters: Deputy Director Shimada, Bacchus D-79, and Peppita Rosetti. Questions can be submitted via PM, comment or email. The only rules are a limit of three questions per character, keep it clean and "polite", and the questions must be submitted by PM, comment, or email. I'll be taking questions until midnight of October 31, 2012.

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