Ongoing Investigations: Case #216

narutaki If you haven’t heard the fabulous news, UNIQLO currently has Fist of the North Star t-shirts! There is a great variety to choose from (of course Raoh is the best) printed on a multitude of colors. They all pretty much fulfill the in-your-face-ness of the series. One feature that all the shirts have is a tag on the right-side, you can see it above, which has the Big Dipper constellation on it.

The best things about the Raoh t-shirt: Raoh, the lettering, Raoh, the panel layout of this iconic scene, Raoh, the words “There is no regret in my whole life!” on the back, Raoh.


I finished out my trio of free games with a copy of Psychonauts. It was actually me discussing buying the bundle just to get Psychonauts that made my roommate mention that he had extra copies of the games in the first place. Several years ago I had played Psychonauts up to the start of the asylum and then for some reason I stopped playing. For the life of me I can’t remember why I stopped playing. But I remember that I really wanted to finish the game but I never did.

It is interesting how much I remembered of the game once I sat down and started playing it again. I remember really struggling to get a lot of the collectible items in the game the first time but getting most of them effortlessly this time around. Also remember the power ups I got from collecting psi-cards being much more alluring the first time I played whereas they just seem like minor gimmicks and slight almost ignorable boosts in retrospect.

That said collecting all the figments in any levels is AMAZINGLY annoying. You clearly don’t have to do it to progress. But games like this give me a strange OCD wherever I play them. The problem is with the really complex backgrounds it is really easy to miss one or two random figments because they seamlessly blend into the background. Milla Vodello’s stage is super guilty of this with its crazy 60s psychedelic palette. But the Waterloo stage was also REALLY a pain especially with that one sneaky figment hiding out where you would normally never look. Collecting things like the vaults and bags is far easier and far more valuable as they give you nice bits of background information for all the characters.

But I still wound up trying to get them all this time. Although I was willing to use a fragment guide this time because I know how frustrating it can be without one.

Still the game is very inventive and engaging like I remembered. While the main game takes place around the psychic summer camp the various mindscapes let them play with a whole bunch of different genres and their toolboxes. The fact that you go around like a kaiju in the Lungfish world or play in a paranoid conspiracy world all in the same game in quite invigorating. Although the basic mechanics are the same in each world are very varied themes to each mindscape keeping the game fresh.

Also Psychonauts has a strong sense of humor. It is just one of those games where it is fun to go around and explore to see the random conversations and nice little bits of artistic flourish that show a nice amount of care was put into the game. And when they go for parodies they are usually well done.

But then my roommate reminded me of the MAJOR criticism with the game just before I hit it. The last stage is unexpectedly and annoyingly difficult out of nowhere. And at times unfairly hard just to be unfairly hard. For crying out loud there is an escort mission in a game where they had never been one before that point. Apparently this is even the kinder and gentler PC version. The original console version was even worse. I don’t want to even imagine that controller smashing level of persistent aggravation.

Still I preserved at got a 100% completion rate. I was glad to go back and finally cross that game off my do to list. Not to make it seem like a chore. I had a good time replaying what I did play before. It was still as fun as the last time. I’m just glad that I could correct my mistake of not finishing what I started long ago.

The Ongoing Investigations are little peeks into what we are watching and reading outside of our main posts on the blog. We each pick three things that we were interested in a week and talk a bit about them. There is often not much rhyme or reason to what we pick. They are just the most interesting things we saw since the last Ongoing Investigation.

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Our 7 Favorite Post-Apocalyptic Series

Narutaki and I mainly made it out of Hurricane Sandy relatively unscathed. We were far from the flood zone and the worst thing that happened to us was we losing power for a few hours. But since then my life has changed. My commute was a nightmare the week after the disaster and since then my job has radially changed. Sometimes just because you are not hit by the disaster does not mean you are not effected by it. And so it got the both of us thinking quite a bit about disasters at the end of the world. Therefore we thought we would write-up a little list of anime that deal with what happens to the survivors after the world ends.

With all the devastation in New York and New Jersey, it is no wonder the apocalypse has been a topic of discussion. Making it through is surreal with things you’ve seen in fiction happening on the news. Coming out unscathed just means you try to help those that weren’t as lucky. And things are still not back on track in the region and won’t be for a long time to come. Thankfully things didn’t turn into any of the scenarios below.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #094

From the first episode Durarara!! seemed to say “watch me” and watch I did, even when I wasn’t sure how I felt about the show. And I ended up enjoying it at the beginning, but a weak second half marred Durarara!! making me wish it had ended on its 12th episode. Eventhough the story of Celty’s head and the gang wars in Ikebukuro are connected through the characters, the characters whose stories come to light in the later half can’t stand up to the ones highlighted in the first. They just plain aren’t as interesting. I’m sorry if this is coming off rather vague, but without throwing out spoilers it’s the best I can do. In fact, what Durarara!! did best was surprise me with many of the reveals throughout. It had a good sense of timing and suspense and, of course, the atmosphere was thoroughly brought to life. But I felt the atmosphere and story were leading and not the characters. But if they decide to spin-off Celty and Shizuo into a crime-fighting team anime, I’d be down.

hisuiconDurarara!! finished and it seemed to have the audience divided on their reaction. While I do not think the second half was a strong as the first I did not take to it as poorly as other people did. I think the main problem with the series is the first light novel hooks you into this supernatural world mixed with the everyday life in Ikebukuro. The second light novel is content to deal with some of the more mundane characters which took out some of the flair that the first half had.  While I felt we had to start dealing with the high school trio they could have had some stronger B plots along side that to liven things up. The other main problem was they introduced characters that were the light novel but do little to nothing in the anime. Shinra’s dad and the motorcycle cop don’t really do much especially considering how much screen time they got. I assume they were in the light novels and introduced at the time in as setup for later novels. But unless they make another season they come off as extremely superfluous. I would rather they cut their scenes and work more on what they had already. Despite all of that I enjoyed the series. I am curious to know what happens in the later books. Izaya clearly has more up his sleeves, we never really learned anything solid about Simon, and of course more Celty and Shizuo is always welcome. Considering how horrible the light novel market has been the only hope of seeing later novels is if the make a sequel.

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