rallamajoop: (Aqua)
As usually happens when it comes to me and con reports I am already more than a month late in posting about this year's Supanova, so I'll cut right to the chase regarding how the Saturday went this year: we went and won the Perth heat of the Madman Cosplay Championships.

We were not expecting to win. Short of WCS, the Madman comp is the biggest cosplay competition run anywhere in Australia, and to illustrate just how high the standard can be here is a picture of the contestant who came third in the final last year. Meanwhile, there's us, entering with the same Birth By Sleep costumes we wore to Wai-con on a whim based largely on a cracked-out skit idea conceived in the car late one night on our way home from a lot of karaoke.


Fig 1: As you can see, this was a very serious skit performed by very serious people.

Turned out the judges loved it. What can I say, it was immensely flattering to hear our names called out as the winners.

Full skit video and more photos under the cut )

Still to come: Sunday cosplay report
rallamajoop: (Aqua)
Now that Wai-con's behind us and we've got free time again we're getting down to the serious business of playing through the copy of Birth by Sleep: Final Mix that came in just before the con. Not much to say about it yet since we're still a long way short of reaching any of the new material, but it has reminded me that I never did get around to typing up all my thoughts on the last version of the game we tried out, being the English version, or how it compared to the Japanese. Short answer: surprisingly well.

We have a long history of hating on dubs around our place so it's nice to find something to be positive about in one for a change, for example: Mark Hamill, Evil!Spock, widdle!Sora and Riku, that incomprehensible mouse from Cinderella, and of course, AQUA. )


While I'm on the subject of BBS (because clearly a 4000 word review plus another thousand on the dub is not nearly enough), during the lead-up to Wai-con a comment showed up on my original review asking (perhaps unwisely) what I'd thought of Vanitas, a character the commenter was particularly fond of and whom I'd barely mentioned in my own spiel. The comment was anonymous so the odds they'd notice a reply now that I actually have time to write one are probably not that great, but it did manage to get me going on that old subject of Stuff BBS Could Have Done Better, so for the sake of the argument, here's my thoughts on the subject.

My Thoughts On Vanitas )
rallamajoop: (Aqua)
On to day 2 of Wai-con and the costume that has been the primary reason why I haven't gotten hardly anything else done around here for the last couple of months.



More photos and the usual making-of rambling )
rallamajoop: (Ky cosplay)
Still haven't found the time to write up anything detailed about Wai-con, possibly because a week later we are still recovering (if we've both been suffering from mild but persistent cases of post-con blargh it would explain a lot). Fortunately a lot of the con experience can be summed up pretty well using only three photos.

Avatar, Birth By Sleep and Guilty Gear cosplay below )
rallamajoop: (Aqua)
As I was saying, we recently finished playing Birth by Sleep – the latest Kingdom Hearts instalment – in Japanese, of course, as the English release isn't due out for months, but my PSP now connects up to the TV so [livejournal.com profile] pinneagig can translate as we go without one of us having to peer over the other's shoulder the whole time. This was a game with a lot of expectations riding on it. I have been looking forward to playing it ever since seeing the closed theatre preview at TGS '08 well over a year ago, and after the misery of 358/2 Days, a Kingdom Hearts game that doesn't make me fear the whole franchise has gone to hell is way overdue.

My brief summary was: the loading times suck, the story is based around some good ideas and some great moments but falls down badly in the execution in a lot of places, the characters are thoroughly likeable, and the gameplay is beyond excellent. Here's the long version, point by point. Contains spoilers, but I've tried to keep them vague where the details aren't crucial, and whited out anything important. Highlight the text to read it.

Loading Times )

Battle System )

Story - The introduction )

Characters: Terra )

Characters: Ven )

Characters: Aqua )

Final story thoughts and conclusion )
rallamajoop: (Aqua)
Our copy of BBS finally came in a couple of weeks ago, so you can maybe guess how we did at getting anything else constructive done in the evenings of that fortnight. Going to be posting one of my usual lengthy reviews as soon as I finish getting all my thoughts in order, but to give you the short version: the loading times suck, the story is based around some good ideas and some great moments but falls down in the execution in a lot of places, the characters are thoroughly likeable, and the gameplay is beyond excellent. On the balance of it, we had a lot of fun with it, despite several niggling issues that I can only hope are among the things to be tackled in the changes for the English version. Not on par with KH2 for shear satisfaction and fangirl glee, but well and truly clear of the mess that was Days. (Of course, the same is true of a lot of really bad fanfiction, but this is still a relief.)

A couple of points that probably aren't going to fit into a proper review anywhere, for one, this game is so very Star Wars. Mostly in a fun kind of way - it's not like it feels too rip-off-y or anything, but the keyblade users are totally Disneyverse Jedi, with their magic swords and their masters-and-students, and all the flying around world to world to fight evil and lots of talk about sensing good or evil in people and wrestling with the Dark Side Of The Force-Slash-Heart, and that one creepy looking guy in their ranks who is so obviously evil that it's a bit embarrassing how no-one notices. And you've got their Obi-Wan-type Master guy, who's trying to keep Terra from going the way of Anakin while Xehanort-Palpatine messes with his head to drag him to the Dark Side while claiming he's totally got nothing to do with the mysterious Darth-Vanitas who's running around being evil, and I think this means Yen Sid is Yoda, and maybe Ven doesn't quite discover Darth-Vanitas is his father but it comes pretty close. Not quite sure where Aqua fits in. I guess she'd be Amidala, except Amidala was never a Jedi, let alone a Jedi who outranks Anakin and never falls hopelessly in love with anyone. Somehow despite all that familiarity and connections to really bad SW-prequels there was very little in the Star Wars stuff that I didn't enjoy. Maybe it's the complete absence of bad romance or Jar Jar Binks.

On a similar note, compared to KH1 and 2, it's amazing just how un-shippy this game is. In the main KH games you've got the fairly unambiguous 'official' ship in Sora/Kairi, the perhaps even less ambiguous slash alternative in Sora/Riku, the special-bonus slash ship in Axel/Roxas, a big chunk of conflict coming out of Sora and Riku being manipulated into fighting over Namine in CoM – and they're just the most obvious options. So in BBS, I was thinking they'd likely be pushing Terra/Aqua, and some of those early scans looked very Terra/Ven, and when you play the game it is abundantly obvious the trio would all go to the ends of the earth for each other at the drop of a hat. But if you put that aside, the vibe you're left with is so very sibling-y that I came out with very little desire to ship anyone. You can probably find evidence for any combination if you want to see it (and people will, let's be honest) – but Ven still comes across more like the kid brother than anything else, and Aqua has no overt romantic interest in either of the boys. Honestly, it makes a nice change.

Though I will be just a little disappointed if the game doesn't inspire a whole lot of OT3 fic.
rallamajoop: (Ky cosplay)
Wai-con was the weekend before last. (Today's post brought to you by the experience of receiving a rent inspection notice three days after the con and realising a) you are not getting anything but cleaning done until next week, and b) you should just thank your lucky stars it didn't happen last week. House looks much neater now though ;)

I'm hitting the point with Wai-cons where the majority of what I have to say about them starts to get a bit repetitive* – we came, we saw, we cosplayed, we sold lots of stuff, we won prizes, we (mostly) failed to melt in the heat**, we took photos, we caught up with friends*** – we basically had an awesome time.

*A few more, and pointing out the repetition is going to be a bit repetitive - oooh, recursion!
**Thank god we brought a standing fan to stick behind the stall this year. I'm all for having the con in January rather than December, but the weather is not on our side this time of year, and Ky has this real neck-to-ankle thing going on that is not well compatible with the heat.
***Sometimes in something of a drive-through fashion as people rushed past in opposite directions. Cons, they keep you busy.


So let's get straight down to the photos.

Saturday: Overture!Sol and Ky, A.B.A. and Lina Inverse )

The big highlight that was new and different this year was the Eminence concert on Saturday night – and I really didn't realise just how much I was going to love the performance until we were were there. The evening started with the My Neighbour Totoro theme and ended with Super Mario - just to give you an idea of the range, and honestly, everything they played in between was gorgeous. But there's an extra layer of fannish squee to hearing songs you know – and an extra double-layer on top of that when it's connected to a movie or a game you love, so the high point of the night for me was The Dream That Time Dreams from Chrono Cross. I'm not much of a CC fan, but Chrono Trigger was the first real RPG I ever played and will probably always be one of my all time favourites, and what I'd forgotten about that particular piece is that it's actually a remix of the Chrono Trigger theme, extended with some beautiful orchestral segments. *_* It's a crying shame none of the CDs for sale after the event (and we bought *two*) had their rendition of that particular song. We have the in-game mp3 of it, but it doesn't begin to measure up.

Sunday: Guilty Gear!Ky, Trunks, Dissidia!Tifa and Sora (+extras) )

So that was about it for Waicon 2010. As always, we owe a lot of gratitude to everyone who helped mind our table during the day, especially Ken and [livejournal.com profile] velithya.

We have lots of bit photoshoot plans for these costumes. Going to wait until the weather's cooled down a bit though, 35+ degree heat is not good cosplay weather.
rallamajoop: (*twitch* [jaseroque (mostly :P)])
Despite a lot of objections from me about how we're only going to encourage Squeenix if we keep giving them money for this crap, [livejournal.com profile] pinneagig ordered in the Japanese version of Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days a little while ago to see how it held up against our first impressions. Neither of us were very surprised when the game proved to be every bit as bad as we'd feared. If anything, it found a number of ways to be worse – the finished product is frankly so bad it doesn't deserve a full review. Xion* is every bit as Sue-ish as we could tell she was going to be, swiftly takes over very nearly the entire plot of the game, and yet never once gives us any useful new insight or development of any character we actually care about. There's very little point going through all the specifics; though [livejournal.com profile] pinneagig's own review includes a full Sue-tally summary of all Xion's worst achievements, which really needs to be seen to be believed.

* In my sole attempt to maintain something remotely approaching journalistic neutrality, I am going to be good and try very hard not to call her Xarmy for the rest of this post.

Spoilers below, and some reflections on the history of Sues in the KH-verse )

In better news, now that Days is out we're finally getting some new news on Birth by Sleep, which continues to look much more promising. But they had so better have a better explanation for Ven's connection to Roxas than what they served us with Xion, that's all I'm saying. >(
rallamajoop: (Aqua)
As mentioned in previous Japan trip reports (I've only got a couple left to go now, I swear!) one of the many trip highlights was personally getting to see the trailers shown in Squeenix's closed theatre at the Tokyo Gameshow. I'm not going to bother going into too much scene-by-scene detail, since my memory is not that photographic and there'll be places all over the web you can find those kinds of summaries by now (not to mention low quality video versions all over youtube). But I (and the rest of our party) did come out of there bursting to talk about it, and we all know how much I love editorialising, so I'm going to focus more on what we thought of it all.

Like many Square Enix fans I’ve had some mixed feelings about a lot of their recent products. They’ve been responsible for producing most of the games that have ever made my all time favourites list (Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VII and X, Kingdom Hearts II, The World Ends With You), but also a lot I’ve never managed to muster more than ambivalence towards at best (most of the rest of the FF series, including spin-offs) and a good few others that have made me want to take to their lead designers with the Clue-bat of How Not To Destroy Everything I Ever Loved (Chrono Cross, Final Fantasy X-2 and XII, everything they’ve done with FFVII since 1997, and the last five minutes of WEWY). Each to their own and all that, since even most of the rest of titles have their own devoted fans out their somewhere, and their good games still remain really, impressively good – but the bottom line is that it’s very hard to be impressed by the shameless hype-mongering they’ve been keeping up in recent years by releasing all their newest trailers only in the UBER EXCLUSIVE closed theatres at events like the TGS, for which seats are so limited that we missed out on them completely on the first day and had to leave the hotel at 5:30 AM to make it through the queues on the second. The point I’m building up to is that those trailers were going to have to be really damn awesome to make all that bother seem worthwhile, so getting halfway through the show and already finding myself thinking “Wow, this was completely worth everything!” in between a whole lot of completely fangirlish incoherence was a very welcome surprise. Whatever’s actually in store for us once all these games make it to the shelves, they definitely know how to put on a good show.

Assorted KH mobile games )

Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days )

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep )

Dissidia: Final Fantasy )

Final Fantasy XIII )

Final Fantasy Agito XIII )

Final Fantasy Versus XIII )

And that was it for the trailer session (please make sure you’ve picked up all your belongings and head for the exit to your right, and oh, btw, the large guy in the Squeenix shirt wants a word with you about that camera he saw you sneakily trying to use in there…) To summarise, really looking forward to Birth by Sleep and Dissidia, definitely interested in all the FFXIII games, not especially fussed about the mobile phone games or Parasite Eve, and majorly disappointed with 358/2 Days and the idea they want us to buy yet another version of AC.

To round off the day later on, most of our group headed on to the official Squeenix Store in Shinjuku (excluding me and [livejournal.com profile] velithya who were camped out by the ArcSys booth asking their staff difficult questions MORE ON THIS LATER), and came back laden with bags in which the full ‘Square Enix Projects’ name had helpfully had the letters ‘A’ and ‘R’ partially blacked out to demonstrate the correct spelling.


The same thing again courtesy of the official website


And verily, we did laugh all our arses off about that too.
rallamajoop: (kingdom hearts)
Guilty Gear may not be the best series out there for crossovers, but there are a couple of other neat series out there I’ve been following which can be validly crossed over with anything, and Guilty Gear can’t even pretend to be an exception. >D

Kingdom Hearts/Guilty Gear – It’s all about buckles and belts (and gay) )

Doctor Who/Guilty Gear: Wait, you mean there are characters *other* than Sol and Ky in this universe? )

The third of the series I’m known to maybe-write-the-occasional-fic for which can be crossed over with anything you like would be Tsubasa/xxxHOLiC multiverse, but there even my imagination appears to have given out.
rallamajoop: (Default)
You know those fic requests memes you see floating around on LJ. They generally say something along the lines of:

"Give me a character / pairing and / or a short prompt / outline of a scene / crossover idea / a summary of a giant epic / your favourite cliché / a fic I’ve written before / some other prompt-ish thing, and I’ll write you a sentence / drabble / ficlet / list of five (or more) things / first part of the story / last part of the story / sequel / missing scene / alternate version / whatever."

I always wanted to try one, but now that I finally feel like it’s a decent time for me to try it, I’m having trouble picking one out of so many different variations. So instead I’m going to say: send me a prompt of any kind or combination in that list (or any other kind you can think of, really) and I’ll see what I can do about coming up with something to go with it.

I’ll probably be aiming for something sentence to drabble length, but since this is my first go at anything remotely request meme-ish, the basic plan is to just see what comes to me. Obviously, I can’t make any promises that I’ll necessarily come up with something for any possible request, but I’m happy to have pretty much anyone show up to request whatever – although I will warn people that prompts involving smut or particularly weird pairings are most likely to result in me staring at the screen feeling embarrassed for a bit, and then going to work on something else.

Fandoms I've written for before - another one of these lists that is probably mostly for my own amusement )

Prompt at will.
rallamajoop: (Default)
Kinda late for a 'what I wrote in 2006' thing, but I like making these lists - it makes me feel like I've achieved something.

The complete list, plus bonus blather )
rallamajoop: (kingdom hearts)
Way back when we posted our first pics of our homemade Heartless with the glowing eyes, we promised everyone we'd put together a pattern for it for anyone who wanted to have a go at making their own. Well, it may have taken us... shall we say, a bit more time than we'd planned - but at long last, the pattern is finally up.

So, without further ado:

The pattern and some other links )

And (because there's never any end to the fun you can have with a posable Heartless) yet another set of photos )
rallamajoop: (kingdom hearts)
The Heartless wants you all to have a Merry Christmas!



(It still wants your soul to be consumed by darkness. Just in a festive sort of way)


Lisa's got some more photos of our decorated Heartless up here too.


I dressed up the pipe fox too, so we took a couple of pics of both of them )
rallamajoop: (kingdom hearts)
Not technically Christmas fic, but there’s enough of a homecoming theme to this that this felt like an appropriate time of year to share it. Again, thanks go to [livejournal.com profile] thano for betaing this for me.

Title: The Long Way Home
Summary: Behind the scenes, the Traverse Town crew had their own story to tell during the events of Kingdom Hearts.
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Everything up to the ending of the first game
Notes:
The fourth and final part of the ‘Of Flower Girls and Falling Stars’ series. Contains a few scattered references to previous parts, though not so many that it doesn’t stand on its own reasonably well. The timeline jumps back and forth a bit, but I don’t think it gets too confusing.

Previous parts )

The Long Way Home )
rallamajoop: (kingdom hearts)
Thanks go to [livejournal.com profile] thano for so kindly offering to beta this for me.

Title: Cloud
Characters/Pairings: All the FF crew (Cloud, Aerith, Leon, Yuffie, Cid and Tifa), some slight Cloud/Aerith (and maybe some even slighter Cloud/Tifa).
Summary: Traverse Town gets a lot of visitors, but few of them ever stood out so much as this one.
Rating: PG
Spoilers: References to both games, but nothing too specific.
Notes:
This is the third part of the ‘Of Flower Girls and Falling Stars’ series, but it stands well enough on its own that there’s no great need to read the previous sections first. A lot of the inspiration for this fic came from some things Nomura mentioned about Tifa in this interview here and the extra scene in Final Mix where Aerith confirms that she has met Cloud, knows he’s looking for someone, and even knows there’s someone looking for him as well. The rest is pure speculation.

Previous parts )


Cloud )
rallamajoop: (cosplay)
So, I know [livejournal.com profile] yiji_chan has a pattern and we gave [livejournal.com profile] k_chan009 a copy to share with [livejournal.com profile] mihatenu_juri, and I can't remember clearly who picked them up at Waicon, but did anyone else want a copy of the pattern for the Heartless plushie? Quite seriously, we want to encourage as many people from Perth to make these as possible - we have this dream of assembling an army Heartless for KH photoshoots. You cannot tell me that would not be an awesome prop to be able to bring along, and the more of them there are the better.

Since it really doesn't take too long for me to do, I'm also pretty happy to do the wiring on the light-up eyes for just about anyone who needs a hand with that, just as long as they can pick up the components for me (any Dick Smith's should have them) and are prepared to bring the finished version to a photoshoot or two.

So, any takers?



In other news, I showed up at work on Monday and it turned out nearly everyone else was already on leave for the year and no-one could think of anything they needed me to do. So it looks like I'm on holiday early. Cool.
rallamajoop: (kingdom hearts)
Finally got the second part of Of Flower Girls and Falling Stars this back from the beta and finalised! This was going to be posted as a single part, but it appears I've broken the LJ character limit, so the second half will have to go up in a separate post. Never imagined this thing was going to get so long. ^^;;

Title: Of Flower Girls and Falling Stars
Part: 2 of 4
Characters: Aerith, Cid, Squall and Yuffie, plus the Disney castle crew.
Rating: PG
Summary: Nine years is a long time to spend not knowing what happened to your world, but you find ways to fill in the time.
Warnings: A whole lot of speculation, copious use of Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters (who, in case anyone had missed this, quite definitely do *not* belong to me). No major spoilers to be found here though.

When they arrived, Traverse Town was little more than a firm place to stand in the endless nothing of the cosmos. )

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