Serialize Thyself – I am Lain

Close this World. Open the Next

Lain was one of the first anime character I ever felt a connection with, strange right? Well if you don’t know Lain then maybe it doesn’t sound strange. As fans of any medium we will find characters we identify with. We see our courage and morals in the valiant hero of an action series or the worse parts of our own personalities in the villain of the same series. I myself usually find myself identifying with anti-hero type characters probably because to a certain extent I see myself as one in my own life.

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I know I am the main character of the story that is me, but at the same time I can’t see myself as a hero. Yes I do try my hardest to stick to my own moral code and do the right thing, I live with a belief in truth and responsibility for my own actions. If I’ve made a mistake I own that mistake and analyze why that mistake was made and try and figure out what I can do so I do not make that mistake again. I also consider myself a silent watcher even if at times I can be the loudest in the room, though I find that aspect of my personality quietening down as I grow older.

I guess one way to describe it is, at times I can be like a politician.

What do I mean by this statement? Well I can assure you it is not the pay packet though that would be wonderful, no by that I mean I can at times say a lot without really saying anything at all. I am the kind of person who when I want I can fade into the background and just listen to what is happening around me, then speak out when the time is right.

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This is the kind of person I see in Lain. She is not popular and she does not follow the trends like everyone else around her at school, which in hindsight was a lot like me back then. When people talk about things like peer pressure, I must admit I have a hard time understanding the very concept of it. Being pressured into doing something you know is wrong just because those around you at the time want you to? Even as a teenager my mind would immediately go to ‘Ok if I do this now, what will happen later?’ or ‘If I do this now I will get caught eventually and I know I will get in trouble. What kind of trouble will I get myself into?’ and even ‘If I do this will someone else or myself get hurt for it? I don’t want to hurt anyone.’

Lain see’s the wired as an opportunity to escape the not knowing of those around her, on the wired you can find out anything about anyone. This influx of information can be calming to certain people, if you know something or understand it on a certain level then you lose the fear of not knowing and there is a comfort in that.

This is the beginning of my new writing project on here, titled Serialize Thyself. Through this series of writings (I don’t know yet how many posts there will be) I will be writing about different parts of the anime series ‘Serial Experiment Lain’. This series is my all time favorite anime and I have watched and re watched the series countless times, as well as watched countless videos analyzing the series, reviews and the series as well as read page upon page upon page of fan theories and other discussions on the series. Welcome to the rabbit hole that is Lain.

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Are you Lain too?

Let’s Strip’em in Akiba!

I won’t be reviewing many video games here, not to say that I don’t enjoy video games but I am more of a casual gamer than anything serious, but I just really wanted to talk about this game that it seems none of my friends have even heard of, which is a shame because this game has been so much fun to play!

Vampire like monsters known as ‘Synthisters’ are attacking those who love Akihabara and it’s up to the protagonist; who has been tricked into being turned into one himself, to protect the town he loves along with his friends of the Akiba Freedom Fighters to defeat these foul creatures and there only weakness is direct exposure to sunlight so to defeat them you have to strip them down!

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If you think that premise sounds ridiculous you are right it is a ridiculous premise, but sometimes the most ridiculous of ideas can be the most fun. I have had a blast just chilling out and just playing as well as laughing at this fun game. That being said the gameplay is not perfect, though it does have some brilliant replay ability which I will mention later in this review.

The inability to skip scenes and dialogue can be a bit jarring when all you want to do is get back to the action part of the game, especially once your replaying the game again. Also the in battle mechanics I found to be though fun for a beat em up style game lacked a proper targeting system against enemies which at times made it hard to set up for ‘strip combos’ which are needed for certain achievements in the game so if you are chasing those it can get difficult.

The real star of the game however for any anime fan I think though is the setting itself, Akihabara. It is made obvious as you walk around the environments in the game that the creators have a real love and appreciation for Akihabara and as you can see on the official website for the game the areas really do recreate a life like district, just look under Akihabara life.

All different types of anime culture are featured in the game as well, from Idols and their obsessive fans, to figurine collecting, manga, maid cafes and even Yaoi Fangirls. As well as the main story which can unfortunately get very predictable at times if you know your anime tropes as well as a fan should the side stories bring welcome excitement, at times tension and sheer hilarity!

Now as for fun extra’s for anime fans, well I don’t know if it is included in any of the other releases but for those with the PS4 edition of the game you have the option upon finishing the game for a very interesting alternative skin for your character.

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(One side note that slightly annoyed me I must admit, even when your playing with a female as your main character the story and characters will still progress as though you are male, even NPC’s will still call you he)

All in all I found Akiba’s Trip as a fun gaming experience and would recommend it to all anime fans to get a fun glimpse into something a little stupid and zainy but sometimes stupid fun is the best way to just chill and relax.

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Thankyou for the Support!

I know it’s nothing too exciting to report but Yaoi Playground has just hit 10 followers for the blog! As I said ten is not really that big of a number but to know that I have a growing audience just puts a smile on my face.

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I don’t know what exactly I was expecting when I started this blog, honestly I just wanted to share my opinion on anime and as well as other things within the fandom and beyond and just know that I have this support is just mind  boggling.

Offline I must admit I have been feeling very down on myself lately with stress in my life that has been going on for far longer than it should be but this blog has been a welcome escape for me so again thank you to everyone! I especially however want to give a big thanks to Aria Cross and her wonderful blog Fujinsei and for her event the Blog Carnival at the beginning of this month which introduced me to some wonderful blogs and bloggers as well as allowed me to share my work with the greater ani-blogger community.

The Art of the First Impression and My Hero Academia

A lot can hang on the power of a first impression. From getting a job, to dating to finding a new anime to sit down and watch we judge many things on our first impression. It is because of this that I see many anime fans going by what they call ‘The Three Episode Rule’; if an anime has caught their interest within the first three episodes they will more than likely continue and finish the series. On this subject I highly recommend reading Do Stories Really Get Better?  which got me thinking about anime first impressions before I started watching the first episode of My Hero Academia.

The first episode without giving away any spoilers for those who have not watched it yet, takes place in a world were a large percentage of the population has super powers. This has given birth to the rise of both Heroes and Villains. So does our story focus on one of these young heroes in the making? Well sort of, you see Deku wants nothing more than to be a hero like his hero All Might there is only one issue  Deku was born in the small part of the population without any powers, he is completely ‘normal‘. (I put normal in quotation marks here because normal is described as what is normal by the mass populace and it seems as though it is more normal in this world to actually have powers)

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This set up alone already peaks my interest because I am as stated previously am a fan of not only character driven stories but also under dog stories which I can see this being. The only thing that might stop me from completely getting into this show in all honesty is it’s genre. Don’t get me wrong I like and even love a many shounen animes, but if this turns into a long running series like Naruto or Bleach with an on going seemingly never ending narrative I can see myself growing bored and dropping the show.

Will the Phoenix Wright Anime Welcome Newcomers or is it just fan Pandering?

One thing I must admit I worry about when I write reviews here on my blog is whether as a fan I can be subjective enough to give a good review of something, and not entirely let my emotional connection to a piece influence me completely when critiquing something.

What do I mean by this? Well say I was to review something that was critically acclaimed, loved by millions around the whole world and I personally thought it was meh? I would have to stand back and try and see why everyone else loves this thing so much and if my dislike to it is my own personal taste and perhaps it is a masterpiece and I just don’t see it. It could also however just be crap and people are loving it like a flock of mindless sheep each perpetuating the same response to the creation because that is the popular thing to do in that moment. If things like trends come and go can the same be said about whether something is good or not? Sometimes a movie will be a total bust at the box office but decades down the line will become a cult classic.

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The reason I bring this up while talking about the anime I must admit I have been looking forward to the most this season is because I am a huge fan of the Ace Attorney series of games, I have been ever since I played the first game on my DS. I was instantly hooked on the who done it game play of solving the case and fell instantly in love with many of the characters and the humor the amount of times I got told off by family members for laughing so hard at the games dialogue are far too many to count. Then there was and is the yaoi fandom around the games, oh of course I’m going their. Personally I was a fan of Gumshoe x Edgeworth (and this was before the Edgeworth game came out)

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I have watched the first episode of the anime series and I see that it has stuck right to it’s roots with the game and as a fan of the games I find this absolutely brilliant, but as an anime fan I find myself wondering, will those who have not played the game get all the in jokes? All the game references? Will they be able to follow the plot of the series without any insight of the characters from the games? Only time will tell I suppose, but I’ll be sure to let my readers know if I have any Objections! to the series.

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Greatness can come in a Small Package

I have found myself within the last month watching a lot if anime with short episodes, and when I say short I mean it, most of them don’t even hit the ten minute mark. Orenchi no Furo Jijo,  She and Her Cat ~Everything Flows~ and even Makura no Danshi to name a few. (The last I will admit has become a somewhat guilty pleasure of mine, also Yuichiro Iida is my favorite)

I will write about all of them eventually I promise my reader, but this review is about a short episode series that even has a short season of only four episodes each lasting five minutes or less.

This boy is a Professional Wizard is the fourth in the Kono Danshi/ This boy series. The others including This Boy Can Fight Aliens, This Boy Caught a Merman and This boys Suffers from Crystallization.

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The most obvious and eye catching of all these titles is defiantly the bright and vibrant color pallet of the art throughout them, and these bright colors act almost as a mask to the dark and emotional themes these anime tell. They all have a theme of overcoming that which challenges us most whether that be finding out who we are or what our worth is to ourselves and those around us.

This Boy is a Professional Wizard covers a similar issue with a main character who put’s all his self worth into one aspect of his life and see’s himself as useless in every other part of his life. This is a struggle that I think many people can relate to. We get praised in one thing we do by those around us constantly but no one seems to notice the other little things that make up who we are. When others don’t see these parts of ourselves as important we ourselves begin to feel that maybe there is no worth in those parts of us.

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For as long as I can remember people have treated me differently offline the moment they hear four letters about me, ADHD. People hear those four letters and automatically assume I’m some hyperactive day dreamer who cannot focus on anything so I must be an idiot. I like to think this is far from the trut about me. I might be easily distracted but that does not make me stupid it just takes me a little longer to work things out.

It can be just as easy for ourselves to make assumptions about ourselves based on how those around us see us. Sometimes peoples assumptions about us can be so far from the real us that we begin to question how we project ourselves to those around others and we might even start hiding parts of ourselves that we believe those around us will never accept.

Learning to accept ourselves can be one of the hardest things in the world to do, but it is also one of the most important things we can do for ourselves. If we believe in ourselves then nothing anyone else can say about us can tear us down and maybe we can even let others in and love us for who we are.

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April Update

So I’ve kind of come to a decision about Yaoi Playground here. At the beginning of each month I’m going to be posting an update to let everyone know about what I’m working on for the blog and how I think things are going. (plus it gives me an excuse to share some of my favorite Starscream art in the featured image 😛 )

First I want to talk about a writing project I have in  the works for this blog that I have been spending the better part of the last two months researching (to anyone who follows me on twitter you would have seen me mention working on this) Hopefully the first part of what I am hoping to be an on going series will be posted mid this month.

Second I will be writing a few more posts about anime I am looking forward to and plan on watching in the upcoming anime season as well as some first impressions of a few that have already caught my interest. I also have two yaoi reviews coming this month one of which was an anime that aired last season.

Thirdly, not all my writing is here on Yaoi Playground. I’m a fanfic lover, reader and writer. I have written a lot of different fanfiction over the years but it was only last year that I started sharing my stuff online again (i use to post over a decade ago under another online name). So of course naturally some of my writing time is used for fanfiction writing, also to those who are curious, I post my best stuff (well best in my opinion) on my Archive of our Own page.

I am a lover and supporter of all those who write within the fanfiction community.

So this will hopefully be a busy month here at Yaoi Playground, plus I also have my birthday to look forward to this month yay!