Saturday, December 20, 2014

Artist Spotlight: lottie pencheon and her Funny Love Parappa minicomic

There are a lot of words in the title of this article that might not make a lot of sense when strung together, but I hope you paid special attention to the "Parappa minicomic" bit. When artist lottie pencheon announced on Twitter that she was going to publish (digitally! and for free!) a short Parappa the Rapper fan comic that deals with Parappa coming to terms with his sexual attraction to flowers, I was immediately intrigued. Not only do we not often see Parappa-related fan works these days, especially in English, but a potentially NSFW Parappa-related fan work? Sign me right up!

Funny Love, which culminates in Parappa masturbating to a bouquet of flowers, is probably not for everyone, but lottie's depiction of the cute PlayStation mascot dealing with some of the difficulties of coming of age is surprisingly striking. It's funny, sweet, and a little bit sad, and if you're not scared away by the premise, head over to lottie's site and give it a read!

lottie was kind enough to chat about Funny Love with me, and here's what she had to say:

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Surprise! Steins;Gate English version coming to PS3 and Vita in 2015

Talk about a surprise announcement! Just before the holidays, UK publisher PQube has announced that they will be working directly with developer Mages to bring acclaimed visual novel Steins;Gate to PlayStation 3 and Vita to both North America and Europe in 2015.

So far, other details are scare: According to Siliconera, who followed up with PQube, it's not set in stone whether the release will be physical, digital, or both, but PQube representative Geraint Evans is adamant that they will strive to release a physical version if at all possible.

What makes this announcement particularly surprising is the fact that JAST USA already released their own English version of Steins;Gate for PC earlier this year (both physical and digital), but at that time there was no word of a console release. When speaking with Siliconera, Evans said he was unsure at this point if they would be using JAST's translation.

(gif from the Steins;Gate anime adaptation)
Steins;Gate is about the self-proclaimed mad scientist Rintarō Okabe (pictured above) and his group of tech-savvy friends who discover they have the ability to send text messages back in time and effectively alter the past using a modified microwave. The game is a classic visual novel with gorgeous visuals and a story that advances through a text message-based system where what messages you choose to respond to determines the direction of the narrative. 

As someone who doesn't really enjoy playing games on my computer, I'm extremely exited for the console version of Steins;Gate. It will be the perfect game to play on the Vita, and it's always great to see more visual novels come out in English! For more updates on the 2015 release, like the official page on Facebook.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chic Pixel Fundraising Sale

It's high time for me to clear out some things I've amassed over the years, and instead of skipping right to donating it all to the local Goodwill, I thought I'd offer everything to Chic Pixel readers first. In the interest of clearing everything out, prices are dirt cheap and negotiable with discounts for multiple items, so please take a look! If you've been considering donating to Chic Pixel in the past, why not grab a cheap manga or anime and support the site at the same time? 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Square Enix Announces Theatrhythm Dragon Quest

After Square Enix was heavily applauded for the Nintendo 3DS rhythm game Theatrhythm Final Fantasy and subsequent Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call, some fans mused about the possibility of Theatrhythm-like games focused on different series. Well, apparently Square Enix had the same train of thought, as today they announced the next game in the rhythm series, Theatrhythm Dragon Quest!

gif via Tiny Cartridge
There's not much information about the game yet aside from the teaser site that reveals that a trailer for the game will debut at Jump Fiesta on the weekend of December 20th - 21st. Not only that, but it will be playable, as well! The game already has a release date of March 26th in Japan, and will retail for 5,800 yen.

What I find interesting about the teaser site is that while it plays a revamped version of Dragon Quest's iconic theme, it doen't have the same funky vibe that the revised Final Fantasy prelude has in Theatrhythm Final Fantasy. Does this indicate a more traditional direction for the menu/background music in Theatrhythm Dragon Quest?

Also, it can't be said enough how adorable the Dragon Quest monsters look in the big-eyed Theatrhythm art style!

Do you think Dragon Quest has enough catchy tunes to make as meaty of a game as Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy? Unfortunately, none of the Dragon Quest games on 3DS have made it into English yet, so localization chances might not be so good for this one... Then again, as a rhythm game it won't have anywhere near the amount of text as an RPG, so maybe Square Enix will throw us a bone!

Dissecting Studio Khara's Japan Animation Expo short "ME!ME!ME!"

A self-indulging celebration, or a critical look at otaku consumption practices? "ME!ME!ME!" is a short animation that debuted on November 21st as part of the Japan Animation Expo, a project between famed anime director Hideaki Anno's Studio Khara and Dwango that showcases young animators. While two shorts came before it, with one more releasing every week until all 30 have been posted online, "ME!ME!ME!" has undoubtedly been receiving the most attention for its striking visual style, catchy soundtrack, and dark themes.

The buzz surrounding "ME!ME!ME!" is almost certainly justified, but when poking around the internet, I didn't find much in the way of long-form discussion outside of forum threads about what I found to be very harsh condemnation of the specific style of media consumption exhibited by the protagonist of the video. Instead of focusing on my personal interpretation, however, I thought it would be more interesting to kickstart discussion by using this article to attempt to illustrate just how complex "ME!ME!ME!" is. 
character art of the protagonist
"ME!ME!ME!" is very much a music video for "ME!ME!ME! feat. daoko" by TeddyLoid, a DJ and electronica musician notable for his contribution to the Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt anime, a series which shares a number of similarities to the short. Directed by Hibiki Yoshizaki, a member of Studio Khara who has previously worked on the anime Yozakura Quartet and Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo, and animated by members of the Little Witch Academia animation team, "ME!ME!ME!" is a real star-studded effort. Megumi Hayashibara and Kouichi Yamadera have provided voices, as well. 

Before reading on, I highly suggest watching "ME!ME!ME!," and if you already have, why not watch it again? At the time of this post I've seen it about five times, as I found that it moves so fast that it's extremely hard to pick up on everything the first or even second time though. Keep in mind that the video features many animated naked women in suggestive poses, along with a couple brief but graphic scenes of gore, making it most definitely not work viewing material. I'm being careful of the number of nude/gory stills I include, but be warned that due to the content of the video and in the interest of opening an informed discussion, it's not possible for me to omit them entirely. I've also included a whopping 45 screenshots, so beware that the rest of the post is quite image heavy!