j’ai acheté des livres

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I was in Europe for the latter half of July to celebrate my cousin’s marriage. I hadn’t been over in about 15 years, so it was a really fun trip, got to see all my cousins, good stuff. I did have one specific goal while I was there, though: from past research, I knew that Chihayafuru was licensed in French, so I was hoping to find it. Lo and behold, I found it! And a ton of other manga not licensed in English that I severely wanted to own! Unfortunately, I was only in France for a couple days and books were exorbitantly more expensive in Switzerland, so I only made out with 1 Iris Zero volume, but it worked out since my valise was barely under the weight limit anyway.

I didn’t see it anywhere in the French stores, but in Lausanne’s Fnac I also saw The World God Only Knows, which was super exciting, but, again, super expensive. Maybe next time; one of my other cousins got a job in Paris, so I’m sure I’ll be over to visit sometime, and buy shitloads of more French manga haha.

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kodansha announces princess jellyfish

Kuragehime

At Anime Expo in Los Angeles, Kodansha USA has announced that it will translate and release Kuragehime, or Princess Jellyfish. Why is this worth me going out of my way to write a blog post? According to Wikipedia, Kuragehime is an ongoing manga with 15 released volumes. Kodansha USA has only licensed 12 of the released volumes, and they will be releasing as 2-in-1 omnibus editions, but still, they committed. Seven Seas has recently given some reasoning behind why they, as a smaller localization company, will not pursue a large series: it is a long-term commitment, book series tend to lose readers with every volume release, if the series turns out to be a market flop they may still be obligated to release the remaining volumes… there are a lot of major business-related reasons that makes going after a long series such a big risk. This is true for all manga localizing companies, though; even if we’re talking about VIZ or Kodansha USA, it makes no sense to pursue a business decision that will not be profitable.

For this reason, it’s a pretty big move for Kodansha to go ahead with Kuragehime, since that means they think it can be profitable in North America despite the pitfalls of series publishing. I will certainly check out the series when it becomes available, but, whether or not I personally enjoy it, I sincerely hope this venture works out for Kodansha USA. If it does, that’s direct proof that localizing a long series can be profitable, and might lead to other series in similar boats getting North American releases!

undead darlings kickstarter

Undead Darlings

So I am still a frequent visitor of the NIS America forums, and that’s where I found out about this project. A couple former NISA employees left to create their own game development/localization studio, called Mr. Tired Media (a literal translated of お疲れ様 “otsukare-sama,” a phrase meaning “good work” or “well done”), and this is their first game! Reading the description from the Kickstarter, this is a visual novel-style game with RPG/dungeon crawling elements. The battle system seems inspired by Wizardry and Phantasy Star IV, neither of which I have ever played, but it looks like that head-on style employed by Earthbound and Dragon Quest, games I have played :)

Here is the Kickstarter page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mrtired/undead-darlings-no-cure-for-love

The game looks pretty interesting, and I wanted to help spread the word to the 2 people who read this blog :) I think it’s good for the gaming industry to have more successful developers and more varied games, so I am definitely in support of this project. Hope it appeals to you too!

cube returning to diablo!

The patch 2.3 preview went up yesterday, and some great changes are coming to Diablo III: Reaper of Souls! The best one is the return of the Horadric Cube from Diablo II! The Horadric Cube was a really neat item that only got better as more patches and the Lord of Destruction expansion pack came out. Initially, it was just a curiosity, something with a limited number of alchemical tricks to create various potions or specific weapon stacks. You could also upgrade gems from one tier to the next. Of course, the most famous use for the Horadric Cube was to combine Wirt’s Leg, found in the ruins of Tristram, with a Tome of Town Portal to open a portal to the Cow Level.

Kanai's Cube

In Diablo III, we’re getting the “upgraded” cube, which apparently belonged to King Kanai. A new area, the Ruins of Sescheron, will contain the Tomb of King Kanai, where you can find this cube. Blizzard says that this cube will be able to transmute crafting materials from one type to another, and, more excitedly, break down legendary items and equip the passives on your character itself, outside of the skill passives! Since this will most certainly not include set bonuses, the most obvious choice will be the Ring of Royal Grandeur, whose legendary ability reduces the number of set items required to gain a set bonus. This will open up classes that rely on multiple sets to also gain the ridiculous benefits of the Focus/Restraint ring set, which provide a +100% damage bonus with a fairly low upkeep.

Other changes to look forward to include the removal of the Realm of Trials system (presumably you’ll be allowed to just automatically enter any Greater Rift rank up to the highest rank you’ve beaten), new Act-specific crafting materials, a Seasonal timeline and new rewards including portrait frames, and the additions of Torment levels 7-10! We’re currently in month 2 of the forecasted 3-4 month Season 3, so expect this patch to hit the PTR soon and come out as early as mid-August! As I have recently gotten back into Diablo III, this makes me all kinds of excited :)

See Blizzard’s official preview here.

incremental computer upgrades

So my current computer was built around January of 2011. Since I am not a hardcore PC gamer, it’s mostly lasted through the few games I have played through until now. There were some slight hiccups, though; summer 2013, when I was playing Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, my graphics card (MSI Hawk geForce GTX 460) would occasionally overheat and cause my computer to restart. Then, last summer, while I was into Guild Wars 2, my GPU start emitting a very high pitched whine after 5-10 minutes of play, and only then, which was both irritating and slightly alarming since it gave off the impression of potentially exploding if I let it go. I resolved this problem by picking up my friend’s leftover Radeon card (something probably a half year behind the GTX 460, but I can’t remember the model). Currently, I play Diablo 3, and the card is performing fine, though sometimes there is some video lag and the fan goes into overdrive while the game is running.

Since I’m not quite ready to upgrade my entire box, I decided to start with a new GPU and see how things are for now. I picked up an EVGA GTX 960 from NewEgg and also decided to splurge on a new monitor, which ended up being cheaper from Amazon.

computer

In talking to my friend briefly, he says the biggest near-future concern as far as GPUs go will be the advent of VR and 4k, but that won’t be coming for a few years at the earliest. I think I’ll be fine with whatever I decide to upgrade to, and just pay for more if the need arises. Honestly, if I do get more interested in video games, I will be more likely to pick up a Playstation 4 before I need to pimp out my PC.