What Marianne’s been up to

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Other than obviously not posting here.  *cough*

Most notably, David and I hopped a flight out to visit Lori in our first non-mandatory-parental-visit kinda holiday since our honeymoon 5 years ago (shutup, it’ll be 5 years in a couple weeks).  A lot of fun was had…  We played Sims, I inflicted my singing on Matt, Lori, and their houseguests in Rockband, ate lots of bbq, and did a wee bit of gaming.  What we didn’t do is use the camera we got to use on the trip.  (d’oh!)  We also discovered that I’m apparently allergic to everything there, so next time there’s visiting, THEY are coming HERE.

And the downside, all the allergy stuff in my lungs aggrivated my asthma… So when I got back home, I felt worse and have been on a buncha meds trying to resolve the issue and NOT turn it into bronchitis.  Thanks for that.  >.>

On the home front, as I think I mentioned, Dragon Age is awesome.  Not that I’m the only person to say that, nor am I with the times since I’m playing the first, vanilla, un-DLC’d game…  But it’s awesome.  I’ve always felt that choices are interesting…  And Dragon Age has the perfect combination of choice, interesting characters, and strong story that just makes me go squee.  If only the combat did the same (Combat is seriously the thing I have to slog through to get more of the story.)  I haven’t explored it as thoroughly as some, only one full playthrough before succumbing to the siren call of the million alts.  But I’ve still many plans for things to do with it in the future.  Also, it’s got one of my most favoritest favorite things ever: the grey villain.  Seriously, villains who are so certain they’re doing the good thing, the right thing, and are following totally believable reasoning?  They make me squee.  Totally squee.  Squeefully squee.  It’s the choice that seems so easy to NOT make: why make a villain sympathetic when it’s so much easier to make them bad?  Because making them sympathetic instantly makes the story 1000 times better.  Thank you Bioware for remembering that.

Anime has been filling a lot of the rest of my time.  I’ve been on a watch/rewatch kick.  Current roster and recommendations:

Darker than Black (Season 1 subbed– on Hulu through the summer)  This was recommended to me about a year ago, actually.  David and I were poking through various sites after finishing Soranowoto and saw it on Hulu and it rang a bell.  When it was linked to me, it was to the dubbed version on Youtube, both of which were somewhat a turnoff and with the comment “Oh you like Higurashi?  You’ll love this.  It’s like Mage.”  And… It’s very much like original WoD Mage, but with an equal focus on the Technocracy/humans perspective.  The Contractors, the Reality Deviants on the show, are both treated as villains AND as the main characters.  The first episodes (as each episode is p1 and p2 of a story) made me go meh, but now as we’re about to finish the season, I’ve found I really enjoy it.  Supernatural/mystery/intrigue.  personal PG-13 rating for themes/violence.

Soranowoto (The Sound that Fills the Air) (subbed – Crunchyroll)  This was actually a winter Anime for us, but I never really got around to talking about it.  It’s a series that had several opportunities to take the easy route, but instead chose not to.  It’s set in a military base in a post-Apocolyptic world.  Due to the folklore of the town the base inhabits, all members of the unit are young girls.  It’s somewhat slice-of-life, and the characters remain likeable and friendly without ever falling into flat stereotypes.  It’s generally a light-hearted series, which it uses to strongly contrast it’s anti-war message.  (Strongly contrast like a kick in the gut… I cried like a baby through the few serious episodes.)  Slice of Life/friendship.  War occurs, violence in the background excepting a couple episodes.  personal PG for themes.

Time of Eve (subbed- Crunchyroll)  A short web-serial on the nature of humanity.  There are currently 6 episodes.  The story is incomplete, but it’s made by a one-man studio, so updates are understandably slow.  Set in a future-Tokyo where AIs are the new serving class and ubiquitously everywhere, and the opinions and restrictions society places on them.  It’s pretty, well-acted, and like Soranowoto, manages to be both lighthearted and have a deeper meaning without going flat or preachy.  Slice of Life/friendship.  personal PG for themes.

Umineko No Naku Koro Ni (fansubbed – Youtube)  I’m not here to discuss the larger issue of piracy or anything else.  However, for those who have issue, this IS pirated.  It’s not available in the US by any legal means, the version linked above is subtitled by a fan group.  All that being said, of the links presented here, this is my favorite, and my Rewatch.  07th Expansion, the creator of this series, is also behind my other most favorite, Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni (I’m not linking it– it’s on Hulu (or at least S1 is), but only the dubbed version.  And it’s universally regarded as the worst dub in the world) Rei/Kai.  Umineko is considered to be the spiritual sequel of Higurashi, often referenced as When They Cry 3, though the two stories have little to do with each other, excepting perhaps a few recurring characters, the repeating time theme, and some easter eggs in Umineko itself.  Set on a private island in the middle of a Typhoon, Umineko is a murder mystery.  It makes heavy use of locked-room murders and logic games in a battle to try and prove that the murders were done by magic, or by purely human means.  Also as a note, nothing is answered in this series.  Like Higurashi, it’s based off a series of computer games, two of which are yet to be released before a second season can be started.  Mystery/horror/supernatural.  This is a very dark series, without any happily ever after resolution.  Personal R for violence, gore, child abuse, and themes.

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