February was a whirlwind of emotions and feelings. Early on, something really sad happened. I cried for [redacted], over and over again. My mind begin to sink into the abyss, drifting further away from the passion I once had. What woke me up though, was Sword Art Online. Its movie, Ordinal Scale, released in theaters on the 18th. I wasn’t prepared, nor was I in the mood, for it. Still, from a friend’s encouragement, I went to watch it on release day. This entire event made me realize things I had forgotten about and showed me the strength I needed to move forward again. The reasons why I came to Japan are all around me. I must to attain the ability to reach out for them.
So, due to the events during this month, the way I spent my free time changed in two major ways. One, I stopped building gunpla. Two, I focused on games, especially SAO:HR.
On the night of the 6th was the time of my exposure to an unbelievably shocking event. I cried, over and over. It was a reality too much for me to handle. Seeking emotional support, I contacted my friend, GameMaster, who was miles away across the ocean in a different time. While crying I mumbled sounds out of my month, and he listened. Sorry I woke you up pal, but thank you. The next morning, I talked to my closest classmate, March, about the topics of sadness and death pertaining to anime. Because I couldn’t bare being alone with my thoughts anymore, I visited March’s house to hang out over the next few days. I feel very grateful towards him, giving me food and helping me, talking to me about various topics. He recommended me a few anime to watch: Aria, Gurren Lagann, and Fullmetal Alchemist, the last of which I watched 2 episodes of.
Throughout the month, I have been trying to play PSO2, to continue on the story of Episode 4 that I had left on hold for so long. However, my PC has issues with the game (or vice versa), and the game often closes by itself for no reason and no apparent pattern. I was only able to progress a tiny bit of the new parts after reviewing some cutscenes up to where I left off.
About other miscellaneous things, this month on the 12th, the new Super Sentai series, 宇宙戦隊キュウレンジャー aired. I saw the PV and was curious, so I watched the first episode. Super Sentai is as cheesy and flashy as always! I was curious about the 9 characters, so I think I will watch a couple more episodes until the entire team is formed.
On the 15th, I spent some time checking out R18+ browser-based social games on the PC. I don’t play any mobile games and although I kind of want to get into one, there hasn’t been any game that genuinely interested me. The same goes for the PC browser-based social games. To me, the two most enjoyable elements of these games are the ADV story scenes and the fluid character animations during battle. However, the former is at most, partially voiced with a boring story and lacking in special effects, while the latter is uncontrollable by the player and becomes repetitive.
I played Gundam Breaker 2 with my little brother only twice this month. First on the 3rd, where we played a couple story missions and one challenge mission. We fought against the Rafflesia, but it was surprisingly too easy. We opened the next area, Island Iffish. In the shop, I unlocked the Akatsuki and the Rozen Zulu. Although cool that the Rozen Zulu is in the game, it is disappointingly weak. Lastly, we played the add-on mission for F91. Immediately, I built its beam rifle and played with it. The F91, especially during its MEPE state, is very fast and incredibly fun to play. However, its health is so low, I die in just a couple hits. I will have to load the F91 up with HP modules for it to be an effective unit. The second time we played was on the 17th. I first talked to my brother about my current situation and my hopes of changing it. In the game, we played 2 story missions plus an add-on mission. Since the mission with Rafflesia, the new missions unlocked were filled with Bugs, which were a pain to fight. I unlocked 00 Raiser, but I am missing its weapons so I temporary equipped it with Exia’s sword. I love the quantizing effect on its dash. The add-on mission was for the S-Gundam, where I got all of its parts and the Smartgun CAD chip. I tested it out in a quick mission. Since the gun overheats so easily, its true potential lies in all the option attacks built into its parts.
February 18th 2017 was the date Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale released in theaters. The event of this movie reignited the flame in my heart. I had only remembered about the SAO movie coming out one week ahead of time, and by then, all of the advance ticket bonuses were all sold out. I purchased the advance ticket by itself a day before the 18th. Yet another occurrence of missing out on the bonuses and almost being late to something I looked forward to. These were the things I came to Japan for, but still fail to be a part of. This was unforgivable to me. I couldn’t forgive myself. I decided to go watch the movie, regardless of my own psychological feelings. And I am glad I did. The movie was nothing short of epic. It showed me what strength and passion looks like, the possibility of what I can achieve someday. It blasted away the cloud of staleness.
On the morning of the movie’s release, I woke up early and headed towards the theater in Makuhari, the Makuhari Cineplex. I arrived before the doors were opened, lining up with about 10 people ahead of me. When the doors opened, I lined up to schedule my viewing for this evening, and then walked over to the tiny gift shop area. The Augma and dogtag metal keychain were already… sold out? Strange I thought. I continued looking around and then lined up to ask for the merchandise I wanted to buy. There were only 3 or so people ahead of me, but by my turn the tapestry was sold out. It was there before I lined up. Only 30 minutes have passed since the theater opened, plus there weren’t very much people, and yet multiple items were already sold out. The logical conclusion is that the supplies were incredibly limited to begin with, that is just strange. Anyways, I will show you the goods I ended up with in this month’s loots update. On the last day of this month, I watched the movie a second time with my friend March who had the day off to see the movie.
So far in the game Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization, I have continued exploring the Rustoria plains. On the 5th, I went through another valley and stubbornly challenged a Named Monster. Like the other NMs, it was a tough battle despite the level gap being small. What makes the boss battles difficult is not because of the monster but because my partners kept dying from their inability to avoid attacks, which in turn shuts down my ability to regain SP. Without SP the player is powerless. Anyways, I proceeded into a cavern that appears to lead into the castle that was visible in the distance the whole time while traveling across the Rustoria Plains. By the 12th, I have passed the cavern and arrived at the entrance to the ruins of the castle. I realized that there isn’t much reason to explore every corner of the field in this game, as the map contains markers that pinpoint all searchable points, chests, and even monsters and bosses. This game doesn’t appear to be the type that contains hidden items or rewards exploration. At the castle ruins, I challenged more NMs, but failed and game overed a couple times… Giving up and proceeding along, I finally arrived at castle throne room. For sure a boss fight is coming up. Either that or an important story event. The next time I played on the 19th, I indeed fought a boss monster, Vice The Kobold Lord. Much like Infinite Moment’s floor boss fights, you team up with a few other AI parties in addition to your own party for the boss fight. The battle itself was fun, not too difficult or too easy. So having defeated the boss of Rustoria Plains, the next field, Oldrobe Forest, was unlocked.
Before I continue playing more of SAO:HR, I decided it was time for me to update the game. I wanted to get a feel of the game just as it was when it came out, and having cleared the first field in addition to the Ordinal Scale costumes being added into the game for free, it was a good timing to do so. On the 21st, I dived into version 2.01 of SAO:HF, which contained a lot of updates. Most surprising and pleasing to me, was the improved combat experience. The movements feel like they have less delays and sword skills became more powerful. New features included the ability to guard and charge your SP fully at will. Because of the update, battles became much more fun. The next day, I installed the DLCs for the Ordinal Scale costumes as well as activated the maid costume 1st edition bonus. Oddly, in order to change your partners’ equipment, you need to attain level 5 friendship with that character, when I remember that being at level 4 in the previous games. So I spent the day dating with Asuna until she reached level 5 friendship for her to equip the Ordinal Scale uniform. Such a cool bonus. As for the Oldrobe Forest field, it is a dark and creepy forest, not the most pleasing aesthetically. I felt that I wanted to beat this area sooner rather than later. Still, there were some interesting locations, such as the area with autumn colored trees or waterfalls and creeks I encountered on the 21st. Eventually, I reached a building with poison gas coming out of it and triggered a scene with receiving a message from Argo. On the 26th, back at town, a few cutscenes occurred in session. What appears to be this game’s antagonist character was introduced and Premiere’s character slowly develops, enabling her to join your party and fight out in the fields. To proceed beyond the building with poison smoke, I need to find a certain monster that will drop a certain item.
I love the series Sword Art Online, but I also love the other series by the same author, Accel World, just as much. Being all this excited about SAO also brought upon the same feelings for Accel World. Before coming to Japan, my brother and I were in the middle of watching Accel World (rewatch for me) and I took the time now to finish the last 4 episodes of my rewatch. Then, on the 21st, I watched the Accel World movie, Infinite Burst (although on my PC and not in theaters as it has been months since its release). To put it simply, Infinite Burst was absolutely meant for the fans who were completely caught up with the story in the novels. For people like me who only saw the TV anime, this movie was confusing from beginning to end, with many new and unexplained characters. Only reading the wiki after the fact did I understand what was happening. The TV anime went up to volume 4 of the novels, while this movie appears to take place after volume 21. The story gap is not at all trivial… Meanwhile, the story of the movie was not sophisticated, but instead the focus was on the high quality action scenes and character appearances. In a way, I am a little sad because I want Accel World to receive a second TV anime season and onward. In other way, I really want to read the novels for Accel World to understand the movie and to continue enjoying Accel World from the lack of more anime seasons. Oh, I also need to play the Accel World PSP games someday.
Throughout this month, I have continued reading the first volume of Bakemonogatari, and on the 23rd, I finished the second chapter, Mayoi Mai Mai. Ah, the book is so good. And I learn a lot of new things about the characters and the story from the book that I didn’t realize from the anime. Next is Kanbaru Suruga’s story.
Since that certain night in the beginning of the month, I have been bearing an enormous emotional weight. With time, I came to accept reality. With friends, I found zones of comfort. With SAO:OS, I saw the star I want to walk towards. The world won’t wait for me, and so I must dash forward.
Here are the anime I watched this month:
- 鉄血のオルフェンズ2nd (ep.15~17)
- ロックマン・エグゼ (ep.4~25)
- アクセル・ワールド (finished rewatch) & アクセル・ワールド Infinite∞Burst
- 鋼の錬金術師 (ep.1~2)
The movie I watched in theaters:
- ソードアート・オンライン -オーディナルスケール-
Continued reading this novel:
- 化物語[上] (ch.2 まよいマイマイ finished)
Briefly worked on this model:
- [HG] バルバトス (modifications)
Enjoyed the following PSV games:
- -PSV- ソードアート・オンライン -ホロウ・リアリゼーション-
- -PSV- ガンダムブレイカー2