Let’s Have a Cuppa: September 2020

Hello and welcome to all you beautiful dragons, it’s the 1st of the month which can only mean one thing. It’s time for Let’s Have a Cuppa. Grab your teas, coffees or any other beverage and without further ado let’s get into it.

August

As you all know August has been focused on Hyperdimension Neptunia for the 10th anniversary. That hasn’t gone as well as I hoped. My vision was a month filled with content surrounding a bit of a niche game series; that didn’t translate to reality. The main issues being that posts were being written during the month rather than them being prewritten, resulting in slow and limited content. As the month went on I started to feel that maybe I wasn’t as big of a fan of the series as I thought. Or it could’ve been burn out and me pressuring myself. Why am I like this? In the end I decided not to upload a post I’d spent a while working on. In the teaching of Marie Kondo it did not spark joy. Towards the end of the month I found myself looking ahead. A feeling of wanting to move on. This happens a lot apparently. I have plans for a similar themed month down the line and hope to make it more of a success. It’s all a learning experience.

First off the heat has been killing me yet again. Thank goodness autumn is right around the corner. Candles, cardigans, hot drinks and pumpkins. My body is ready. Besides being hard on myself my mental state has been pretty good. Self-doubt and worry still creep in from time to time but I won’t let that stop me. Doubt is a murderer of creativity and I refuse to let mine be a victim. Neither should you. Time, practise, hardwork and dedication are the way forward. No beginner is a master. Everyone levels up at different rates and just because progress is slow doesn’t mean you’re failing. Mistakes are how you learn and evolve. Remember that. I need to remember that. This has been your motivational pep talk for the month.

TV

August has brought a handful of new content to the TV screens. Some things I still haven’t watched yet, there’s so much to choose from. Season 2 of Umbrella Academy arrived. I immediately watched all of it and I want season 3. Please. I’m very tempted to read the graphic novel even if it’s vastly different from the show. Netflix added Lucifer season 5. This one I’m enjoying at a slower pace, don’t want to rush to that cliffhanger. Many years too late I’m finally watching Hellsing Ultimate. From the first few minutes it’s apparent why Alucard is so popular with the fangirls. I have joined them, Alucard is top husbando material despite being a monster with a bloodlust. After a lot of convincing I’ve gotten the family to sit down and watch Avatar: The Last Airbender. Progress is slow but when we all sit down and watch we’re having fun. I haven’t seen the show since I was a child and it’s like I’m seeing it anew. Stargirl has come to Amazon Prime in the UK and I am pleasantly hooked. It’s fun. That’s everything off the top of my head.

Games

Another month of not develving into anything new. Dead by Daylight and Overwatch have been the most played in August. Other than that I’ve been playing Neptunia games for the month, particularly Megadimension Neptunia VII. I’ve had that for 4 years and only recently finished it.

Books

If you follow me on social media you’ll know that at the end of July/early August I treated myself to 10 new books. Yes it’s a lot. I don’t have shelf space for them but I’ll deal with the consequences. Books are too important. It’s been awhile since I’ve bought new books to not read for several months. My current book is Heaven Sent: Atonement by indie author JL Rothstein. I’m loving it. Of course I’ll share my full thoughts when I finish it.

Music

Music has been very mixed. I’ve been listening to a lot of music with my brother. His tastes range from progrock to Death metal. I’ve liked some and hated others. Of course I’ve also listened to my usual stuff. A good sing along always raises spirits. Disney channel musicals have been a favourite.

Writing

In regards to writing I’m like a kid in a candy store at the moment. Moving from one thing to another and struggling to settle. I might be onto a winner now. I’m excited. Fingers crossed this one sticks. I’ve decided to continue writing short stories for writing competitions. Entering ones that line up with something I’ve already written during the year, alleviating pressure and stress. That also means more stories to share with all of you. I’m also going to write some screenplays and enter screenwriting competitions. Why not?

August Goals

Have we achieved our goals for the month? Amazing in some areas, terrible in others. Beginning of the month there were 2 posts a week until there wasn’t. This problem will easily be sorted once I start making posts in advance. A solution I should’ve realised sooner. Blog followers have reached 27. Not the goal of 30 but oh well. Just have to do better this month. Good news that we exceeded our blog view goal of 70. How many of those were me by accident? Hard to tell but I’ll take it. Twitter and Instagram followers have grown exponentially quicker then I thought. Going beyond my goals of 45 and 55 to 131 and 92. I’m stunned truly. Facebook likes haven’t changed but that’s my fault. I’ve gained one follower on Pinterest, although that wasn’t my goal but I’m still surprised and happy. I’ve decided not to post any chapters because I’m adapting my fanfiction idea into an original work that hopefully will be published one day. It already is an original work just need to change some names and concepts. It wouldn’t have worked for fanfiction anyway. Most people don’t read fanfiction for original characters and stories set in the same universe.

September Goals

Goals for September, keeping with the idea that small and achievable is better. Anything more is a happy bonus. No need for 2 posts a week because I’m working ahead. Don’t fear I will still be posting. I just don’t know how much or often. Let’s have 32 blog followers, adding just 5 more followers to our party. 80 blog views, not aiming too high as I’ve already stated, I don’t know how active I’ll be. On Twitter let’s aim for a nice round 150 followers. I think it’s achievable, there are many wonderful people within the writers community. Over on Instagram it would be nice to reach 100 followers. When that happens I’ll be doing a face reveal, at least on social media. If you look at my wordpress profile you’ll already know what I look like. Facebook and Pinterest follower goals will remain the same. I’m coming for you September.

Thank you each and every one of you, new and old, who are following me on this journey. From time to time self doubt somes to visit me and I question everything. Nevertheless I refuse to give up. Seeing growth, no matter how small or slow helps the fire in my heart burn a bit brighter. Burn stronger. I mean it deeply every time I say thank you. Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you all in the next post.

-Your Hostess-

Character Analysis: Neptune

Hello and welcome to all you beautiful dragons, today we’re doing something a little different. This is a character analysis of your beloved protagonist: Neptune from the Hyperdimension Neptutnia series. We’re asking two questions, how does the console and company (SEGA) affect her character and which of her forms is closer to her true nature? So without further ado let’s get into it.

First and foremost it’s unclear how much the unreleased SEGA Neptune influenced Nep’s character. There’s debate on whether she personifies the SEGA Neptune or a fictitious console created by the game developers. For the purposes of this analysis we’ll consider it a mixture.

Originally the SEGA Neptune was planned to be an intermediate console between the SEGA Mega Drive (Genesis) and the SEGA Saturn. It would be a Mega Drive (Genesis) combined with a 32X but the project was cancelled in 1995, not wishing to dilute the market for the soon to be released Saturn. There isn’t much information on the scraped console so it’s hard to speculate any personality traits derived from it.

On the other hand, the fictional Neptune console the game developers designed, made in-game by Planeptune, specs and features can be found. Visually the console is nothing like anything available in reality, an indication of Planeptune’s technological advancement and focus. It’s shaped like a D Pad with each side being a CD Port. The primary colour is a solid black with neon purple highlights. It has many features that gamers can only dream of existing. An A.I. operating system, capable of automatically performing complex tasks with a simple auditory command. The A.I Model Neptune is designed to emulate a real human. It’s starting configuration is energetic and optimistic, making it difficult to control at times. More time spent communicating with the console the more it adapts to the owners preferences and less errors occur. Among the many other futuristic features are, a multiple split-core processors that emulate human DNA, the memory is beyond comprehension and has the capability to play 4D games, audio and movies; but the only other important feature for our purposes is the Play Controller. It’s able to output movies, music and can tickle you. How very Nep?

Now it’s difficult to determine what era of SEGA Idea Factory might have considered for inspiration. Let’s assume more modern SEGA, beyond the Dreamcast days. Looking at the games released in that time doesn’t hold much water. There are many different franchises made and released by SEGA including arcade games. Amongst all of them are many games that can reflect both sides of Nep’s personality so it’s best to try to narrow down the scope. It’s safe to say SEGA is most known for Sonic the Hedgehog and maybe those are the only games that need to be considered. Between 2001 and 2003 SEGA shifted to third-party software development. Deciding to stop producing their own consoles, SEGA started developing games for third-party software such as the PS2 and Gameboy Advance. Then between 2003 and 2015 SEGA merged with Sammy (a pachinko and pachiclot manufacturing company). Eventually Sammy completely took over SEGA after buying it’s remaining shares. From there SEGA experienced many changes but nothing that would have an impact on a character inspired by the company.

Megadimension Neptunia V2
Megadimension Neptunia V2
Megadimension Neptunia V2
Megadimension Neptunia V2

Above are the four different forms of Neptune. Her human form, Goddess form, Next form and older Neptune. It’s hard to connect her design to SEGA. The closest is the white and blue colouring in reference to the company’s logo. Except this blue is the wrong shade. Neptune has a light blue colour whereas the SEGA logo sports dark blue. Yes Neptune has a lot of D Pad imagery but D Pads are a staple for most controllers nowadays, including the ones with joysticks. So SEGA barely influences Nep’s character design.

It’s clear to see the bigger influence is the fictional Neptune console created by the game developers. Neptune’s goddess form and older Nep are the best examples with the black and darker purple colour scheme. Her goddess lost purple form resembles the console the most with the see through purple screen on her stomach. Older Neptune’s outfit is basically a pallet shift of regular Nep’s Parka dress with a few details and shapes changed.

Neptune’s personality has already been touched on in a previous post, be sure to read that for a more indepth take on Nep’s personality. To recap she is a happy-go-lucky girl with a strong sense of justice. She’s a bit ditzy but confident and optimistic. In her goddess form, she’s more mature and calm. She takes full advantage of her intelligence and observation skills. So what influence did SEGA have when creating Nep’s personality? As previously stated SEGA is bound to have released and/or developed games that fit both her forms personalities so we’re just going to focus on the company’s mascot: Sonic the Hedgehog. For those unfamiliar with the Sonic games it might be hard to see the similarities. Sonic is a free-spirited humanoid hedgehog with a strong sense of justice and adventure that’s gotta go fast. Couldn’t resist. Sonic can be reckless, charging into situations and fights without thinking. Generally Sonic is easygoing, cool, carefree, impatient and hates being bored. He has a lot of self confidence which results in an inflated ego, sass, quick-wit and cockiness. Quickly multiple parallels start to appear between Neptune’s and Sonic’s personalities. They’re both super confident, easy going and have a strong sense of justice. Looking at other characters in the Sonic series there isn’t an exact character that matches Purple Heart. There are similar traits here and there but nothing on the level of Neptune and Sonic. So it can be assumed that Idea Factory took inspiration from SEGA’s mascot character, Sonic, when personifying SEGA and the fictional console they made for it. Of course it’s also worth noting the fictional Neptune console. A console that’s A.I operating systems default configuration closely resembles Neptune’s personality, energetic and optimistic.

Finally, Neptune’s true nature needs to be determined, something which isn’t really that difficult. All that’s needed is older Neptune. Older Neptune is from the Ultra dimension and because CPUs are created in that dimension and not born Neptune never became a CPU. As Neptune has gotten older her personality has become a combination of her energetic self and Purple Heart. Leaning more towards the human form of Neptune that players are familiar with. Even though Neptune is believed to be a bit ditzy by other characters there are moments she uses that to her advantage. This information partnered with what can be surmised regarding the relationship between SEGA and the designing of Neptune, it can be assumed that Neptune’s human form is her true nature. Purple Heart is a mature, calm damper on her energetic nature when she needs it. Despite this, at times Neptune’s true nature will leak through when she is in her goddess form. For example, when she transforms into Purple Heart just so she can ride a rollercoaster.

In conclusion, it has been determined that SEGA’s influence on Neptune’s character largely stems from their mascot character Sonic the Hedgehog. And as for Neptune’s true nature it can be determined that it shines through in Neptune’s human form. The energetic, optimistic and friendly protagonist players love.

Thank you for taking the time to read about Neptune.This took a bit longer then I would’ve liked but what can you do. I’ll see you all in the next post.

-Your Hostess-

Image Source: https://ideafintl.com/nep-v2/characters/

Cover image: Hyperdimension Neptunia sprite

Ranking the Goddesses

Hello and welcome to all you beautiful dragons, today I’m starting a waifu war. That’s not my intention but when you rank characters it’s a risk. The point is people have different opinions on waifus. This is a joint piece featuring myself, The Hostess and Saethyrax the Daydreamer. The main order was decided by me and if Saethyrax’s opinion differs it’s written in red next to the black. Similarly sections he’s written are in red. This is also a great way to introduce the characters to anyone who doesn’t know the series.

12. Peashy

Source: Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory
Source: Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory

“Boo! Play with me too!” – Peashy

“Oops! I forgot! I wasn’t supposed to say it’s nice to meet you. Forget that I was nice, okay?” – Yellow Heart

Peashy is one of the CPUs for Planeptune in the Ultra dimension. She personifies a PC, easy to figure out from her name. Peashy is pretty much a child and not the adorable kind. No, she’s an unruly kid that freely tackles others and breaks things. Peashy can be annoying. Her energetic and outgoing nature compliments her combat style, punching/fists. Despite her tough act she can be very emotional and burst into tears. To reiterate she is a child. An annoying child. Granted Yellow Heart’s design is cute and she has impressive “assets”, if that’s your thing. Underneath that she’s still Peashy. When she transforms her personality barely changes. There’s no hate for Peashy but she is annoying. That lands her at the bottom of the list.

11. Ram

Source: Hyperdimension Neptunia: Victory
Source: Hyperdimension Neptunia: Victory

“Get frozen into a glacier, dummy!” – Ram

How dare you make Rom play hostage and make her cry! You’ll pay, dummy!” – White Sister

Ram is one of the CPU Candidates of Lowee, the younger sister of the Lowee twins. Both sisters personify the Nintendo DS handheld systems. Ram is the more dominant twin, taking charge in conversations. She leans closer to the more aggressive side of Blanc’s personality. Although no one can compete with Blanc’s rage. Again she’s a child so she’s playful and in her case bratty. This brattiness and her big headedness can make her unlikable. On top of that she freely dishes out insults. Ram is akin to a steamroller. She’ll take over a conversation, sprinkle in some insults and not listen to reason or other people’s opinions. She does have her good points. She will do anything to protect her sister. She can be cute, if she would shut her mouth some of the time. Bottom line when you compare Ram to the other CPU Candidates she is the least likable. 

10. Rei Ryghts

“Oh dear! I’m sorry, sorry, so so sorry!”- Rei Ryghts

“Your low-class whore personality makes it debut, I see. This is why you CPUs are vulgar whelps.”- Blue Heart*Only assumed based on the established naming convention.

Rei Ryghts was the CPU of the forgotten nation of Tari and the main antagonist of Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory. She personifies the Atari 2600 console. She led the villain group of Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory unaware that she was even a goddess having forgotten long ago, believing herself to be just a normal human. 

Rei has a drastic personality change when she transforms into her goddess form. Rei’s personality is quite gentle in her human form. She lacks confidence and has trouble conveying her ideas to her allies, who constantly tease her on a daily basis. In her Goddess form however, she becomes incredibly aggressive, arrogant and abusive towards others. She also loses her confidence problems when she’s transformed. Rei’s CPU personality would sometimes leak through to her human form, totally changing outward impressions of this normally kind, soft spoken girl. Rei’s reason for being a villain is because she failed as a CPU, she believed all CPUs were doomed to fail.

Rei is more interesting than the previous two. When there’s a large difference between a CPU’s human form personality and Goddess personality it makes scenes and encounters more entertaining. However Rei is an antagonist. A good antagonist but still one all the same. Of course the hero characters are going to out rank her.

9. Vert

9. Nepgear

Source: Hyperdimesnion Neptunia
Source: Hyperdimesnion Neptunia: Mk2

“Perhaps the world can wait just one more week while I speed through that game…” – Vert

“Wh-?! Breasts are symbolic for both maturity and fertility. The size of my bust equates my aptitude as a goddess.” – Green Heart

Vert is the CPU for Leanbox and personifies Xbox consoles. On the surface she appears to be the oldest and most mature of the CPUs. She’s kind, regal and loves her tea. Around the other CPUs she happily takes a big sister role, not having any younger siblings herself. Once you look beneath the caring, wise and sometimes playful Goddess you see that she has a serious gaming addiction. Locking herself in her room for several days, skirting her duties as CPU to play games. Due to her lack of a younger sister Vert tries her best to steal Nepgear as the sister she never had. Maybe if Microsoft attempted a handheld console that would change for poor Vert. Something else you quickly begin to realise with Vert is that she can sound quite pretentious, especially when talking about herself. Being proud of your beauty and “assets” is all well and good but maybe don’t mention it every time you level up. Vert is my least favourite of the main Goddesses. No hate, just a preference for more entertaining personalities. That is why she is here.

8. Nepgear

8. Vert

Source: Hyperdimension Neptunia: Victory
Source: Hyperdimension Neptunia: Victory

“What the goodness?” – Nepgear

“I still have a ways to go… I have to try harder…” – Purple Sister

Nepgear is the CPU Candidate for Planeptune, personifying a fictitious handheld console, N-Gear, based on the unreleased Sega Game Gear. Nepgear’s personality is the opposite of her older sister. She’s organised and hardworking, most of the time being the more mature/responsible out of the two. Nepgear is a simple character. She’s genuine, kind and a reliable girl who deals with major self confidence issues. This low self esteem means that she gets pushed around or requires encouragement from her team to push through. Making Nepgear a bit of a doormat. Nepgear is a tinkerer and is pretty good with technology, occasionally using these talents to help out her sister and friends. Nepgear is pretty much the nice doormat who is overshadowed by other characters. Sorry Nepgear you’re not a little closer to Neptune this time.

7. Noire

7. Rom

Source: Hyperdimension Neptunia: Victory
Source: Hyperdimension Neptunia: Mk2

“Who are you calling “socially inept?!”- Noire

“As soon as we’re done here, this guy’s fired.” – Black Heart

Noire is CPU of the nation of Lastation, she and her nation personify the Playstation series of consoles. Noire fits the role of your typical tsundere for your regular anime gaming needs. Out of the main 4 she is the hardest working, a lot of the times putting work before her own well being. During her time off from Goddess work she either plays games, spends time with her sister or does cosplay, she prefers to keep her cosplay hobby a secret though. In the remake of the first game she is the first of the other three goddesses to befriend Neptune and in later games is usually the closest friend Neptune has out of the other goddesses, even if it doesn’t seem it on the surface. I will say, out of the costume designs I like Noire’s the best.

I agree. I like Noire’s costume design best, there being some exceptions here and there. Personally I’m not a big Tsundere person. There are some who are my favourites but generally I find Tsunderes unnecessarily mean. Being cute for just your crush doesn’t make up for that in my book. So there are characters I like more than Noire.

6. Neptune

6. Noire

Source: Hyperdimension Neptunia: Victory
Source: Hyperdimension Neptunia: Mk2

“No matter what happens, we’ll make it through with my protag ruleset!” – Neptune

“Why bother with statistics when reality has already given you the answer?” – Purple Heart

Neptune is the CPU for Planeptune and personifies a fictitious Sega console that is based on the unreleased Sega Neptune. She is carefree and playful, appearing to act immature most of the time. Her ditziness combined with her strong sense of justice means Neptune acts before thinking. Sometimes that works out in her favour and others leave her needing help. Her friendly, happy-go-lucky nature means she makes friends pretty easily, quickly giving them cute nicknames. Her optimism and confidence are traits that Nepgear and others admire about her. When she transforms into Purple Heart her personality changes dramatically. Purple Heart is much more mature and serious than her human form. She can take a step back and assess a situation with keen observation and in a rational manner. Maintaining her strong sense of justice and confidence, possibly increasing with transforming, results in Purple Heart having an inflated ego, believing that no one can beat her. Oddly I like Purple Heart more then Neptune, something to do with her taking situations seriously. Neptune see’s everything as a joke or a game. That’s entertaining and sets the tones for the games but not enough to have me calling Neptune waifu.

5. Uni

5. Neptune

Source: Hyperdimesnion Neptunia: Victory
Source: Hyperdimesnion Neptunia: Victory

“It’s not like I wanted to come to this concert or anything.”- Uni

Uni is the CPU Candidate of Lastation, making her Noire’s younger sister. She personifies the Playstation handheld consoles. Uni is only really similar to Noire in that she’s a little bit tsundere, there are other similarities between them but no other obvious ones. Uni comes off as an ordinary teenage girl desperately trying to live up to her sister’s expectations, even missing out on making friends to do so. Despite her lack of free time, she has managed to become best friends with Nepgear.

Uni is the only of the goddesses that prefers to use ranged weapons, though in some games she forgets you’re supposed to shoot enemies with it not whack them. In her human form she uses rifles and in her HDD form she uses a BFG (If you don’t know this acronym, what rock have you been living under. No, not the giant.) the likes of which rival most other BFGs you’ll see. The fact she uses such a heavy weapon shows that even though she looks about 16 (hard to tell but she looks younger than Compa, who may be in her 20s) she’s stronger than most people in their prime. Interestingly, she’s the only goddess to get “smaller” when she transforms.

Uni is a great character and the only reason I can give that she is in this spot is because she has tough competition. She’s beaten by cuteness, entertainment and personality differences.

4. Rom

4. Uni

Source: Hyperdimension Neptunia: Victory
Source: Hyperdimension Neptunia: Victory

“Ram, when you’re a meanie… I don’t like it…” – Rom

“Let’s… do our best.” – Rom

Rom is the other CPU Candidate for Lowee and older sister of the Lowee twins. Both sisters personify Nintendo handheld consoles. Rom takes after the more soft spoken and serene aspects of Blanc’s personality. She can be quiet and even seen as shy. Although Rom mostly follows the lead of Ram she does have her own free will. Rom doesn’t always agree with how Ram acts or what she does but let’s her sister do what she wants anyway. When push comes to shove Rom will be the one to get Ram to listen to reason when she’s too busy steamrolling. She is exceedingly polite, calling everyone Miss or Mr. Rom is a precious cinnamon roll that needs to be protected from this world. Rom is my favourite CPU Candidate because of how adorable she is.

3. Uzume Tennouboshi

Source: Megadimension Neptunia V2
Source: Megadimension Neptunia V2

“I’m pretty hungry.” – Uzume

“It’s Uzume’s turn!~” – Orange Heart

Uzume is the CPU for Planeptune in Zero dimension. She is the personification of the Sega Dreamcast. She comes across as a tomboy with the desire to appear cool so that she’s seen as reliable. Uzume puts all her friends and people above everything else, willing to die in order to protect them. Only those closest to her can catch a brief glimpse of her relaxing. All of this is a mask she created when she became the only CPU left in Zero dimension. Her true nature comes out to play when she transforms into Orange Heart. In her Goddess form Uzume is this cutesy, adorable muffin full of innocence. A girl of pure heart that wishes everything is okay. I fell in love with Uzume. Her personality change is a bit of a whiplash but just made me fall harder.

2. Blanc

2. Plutia

Source: Hyperdimension Neptunia
Source: Hyperdimension Neptunia: Mk2

“I’m now writing a battle harem, slice-of-life novel. It will be epic.”- Blanc

“Tch! It’s the damn game’s fault! We’re playing the boxing game next! Left, left, right hook, uppercut!!!”- Blanc enraged, her usual state.

“Shut it! I can’t stand the way you talk all high n’ mighty, Thunder Tits!” – White Heart, shouting at Green Heart

Blanc is the CPU of Lowee. She personifies the Nintendo consoles, mainly the Wii. She’s the most aggressive out of the CPUs. She’s got a hair trigger personality, meaning that one moment she’s the calmest person you’ve ever seen, then in a blink she’s rage incarnate. Her volatility makes her difficult to work with, but she will work with others if it’s for the fate of Lowee or Gamindustri as a whole. The other CPUs, mainly Vert, like to get her riled up just because they think it’s funny. She is probably the toughest out of the CPUs, I personally have had her hold out way longer than the others in losing combats.

Blanc likes to read and aspires to be a writer, she’s not very good though and nobody buys her books. She is very caring about her younger sisters, even if they drive her up the wall frequently. As the games went on she’s become a lot more open, spending more time with her fellow goddesses and generally having fun.

Blanc is extremely entertaining and funny, this comes from her quick changes in personality. I see some of myself in her. She’s an avid reader and dreams of being a writer. Although an extreme and exaggerated, Blanc is an example of the idea that it’s the quiet ones to watch out for. Quiet people can be nice and polite but if you anger them it’s scary. I know, I’m like this, not as short of a fuse as Blanc. As much as I love Blanc there is one more who holds the top spot in my heart.

1. Plutia

1. Blanc

Source: Hyperdimension Neptunia: Victory
Source: Hyperdimension Neptunia: Victory

“Nice to meet you! I’m Plutia. Actually, Neptune isn’t the main character, I am!”- Plutia, bonus voice

“Hey Blanny. Look at me. Let me see your tear-stained face and bright red eyes…” – Iris Heart, teasing the Blanc of her dimension

Plutia (Pururut in Japan) is the CPU of Planeptune in Ultra dimension, which is based on the 80s. She personifies the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis for you guys in America). Plutia is a very kind, cheerful and easy going individual. She seems to be constantly tired to the point that she doesn’t even bother to change out of her pyjamas, yes that dress is her pyjamas. Plutia has one of the largest personality differences between her human form and her HDD form, Iris Heart. Iris Heart throws all of Plutia’s kindness out the window, being a sadist with a massive superiority complex. Iris Heart considers all the others her pets, there to be “played” with. Iris Heart speech is generally  quite lewd, tending to make dirty jokes or speak in innuendo. You’d be forgiven for thinking Plutia and Iris Heart were different people. Plutia does have mild sadistic tendencies but not to the extent of Iris Heart. Plutia’s hobbies include making dolls, spending time with her best friend Noire (Ultra Dimension) and napping, who’d have thought.

Plutia is my top girl. I love her character design, her personality and her HDD form brings a new dynamic to the group. It’s pretty clear by now that the cuteness factor influences my likes and Plutie’s got that, even with her sadistic tendencies.

Here we are at the end. Who are your goddess waifus? Do we have similar tastes? If you didn’t know the characters before I hope you do now. Thank you all for reading. Sending you love and light and we’ll see you in the next post.

-Your Hostess-

-Saethryx The Daydreamer-

Neptunia 10th Anniversary Month

Hello and welcome to all you beautiful dragons, today I have a very special announcement. August 19th is the 10th anniversary for the Hyperdimension Neptunia series. To celebrate, this August we’re going to spend the whole month talking about this great series.

There are so many entries within the Hyperdimension Neptunia series, including the main games, spin off games, a 2013 anime and a manga. Hyperdimension Neptunia is a mix between RPG and visual novel. During main story events most of the visual novel sections are fully voiced, in the English version.

Each game has its own story but the story structure for the main games can be generalized, sort of. Hyperdimension Neptunia takes place in a world where major gaming companies have been reimagined as nations ruled by goddesses. The goddesses, in true anime form, are a human girl anthropomorphism of their nation’s console. Our protagonist Neptune and her nation are based upon Sega, if were still a competing company in the console war, with Neptune being based on the unreleased Sega Neptune. In every game there is always a threat that arises which the goddesses must unite against to protect the land of the series, Gamindustri. Sometimes they end up going to different dimensions and help protect that world before finding a way home. The spin off games vary dramatically on what you might get.

This is a brief introduction to the series. There is so much to cover over the next month why rush with sharing all the information now. Hopefully you’ll discover a new series or a game to try out. Maybe you’re already a fan and just happy to celebrate with some fellow fans.

After what happened in June, having a project will be good. At the least keeping focus will be easier. As part of the celebration we’re doing a 30 day challenge. Go to teatimewithdragons on Instagram to take part. Thank you all for reading and we’ll see you all in the next post.

-Your Hostess-

Let’s Have a Cuppa: August 2020

Hello and welcome to all you beautiful dragons to another Let’s Have a Cuppa. We’re into the final month of summer and the British weather can’t decide if it’s hot and sunny or mild and raining. Difficult to plan around. There’s not much else to say so without further ado let’s get into it.

How are you all? Safe and well I hope. After several months apart I’ve finally reunited with my two local best friends. Words can’t describe what a joyous moment it was. Video chat is fine but nothing compares to in person. Some of you must have experienced this feeling by now? Like us, I’m positive you, your friends and family were keeping safe whilst together. It may be awhile before I can travel to see my other close friends but that only makes when we next see each other more special.

For this month I have a very important announcement. My younger brother will be joining me as a content creator. If you haven’t already read his introduction go check it out. Here’s the link: https://teatime-with-dragons.com/2020/07/31/a-new-dragon-is-summoned/ We’re really close and he actually gave me the name for this blog. We have very similar interests, we’re both very proud geeks. I’m so happy to have him as part of the team.

So what have I been up to? There have been a handful of shows I’ve been watching throughout July. Still working through Batwoman. After a bit of a break I’ve really gotten back into it. Hush is now on the scene, still a bit weird considering he’s a Batman/Bruce Wayne villain. There have been a few odd story choices but otherwise a decent show. Another show on Sky I’ve been watching is Penny Dreadful: City of Angels. It’s not bad but I’m finding it a bit boring. I’ll watch it but I’m not in a hurry to. Not my first choice. Natalie Dormer (From Game of Thrones) is doing a fantastic job. The whole cast is amazing. It’s just not my type of show. Over on Netflix you have Warrior Nun. I devoured that show. Ava can be a bit annoying at times with her reluctance but the supporting cast more than make up for that. Season 2 is needed. Anyone who hasn’t watched it yet, go do that. Also on Netflix is a fun action packed film called The Old Guard. You follow a group of immortals trying to help the world and stay hidden, including Charlize Theron as the badass leader and a truly beautiful gay couple. It is set up for a sequel or TV series. I would welcome that and I’m pretty sure a good portion of Tumblr would agree. I haven’t gotten around to watching Cursed yet. Season 2 of the Umbrella Academy started yesterday and I’ve already blitzed through half of it. Finally I finished JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 4. It’s safe to say I’m deep now into the JoJo’s fandom. I’ve already started Part 5 and quickly weezing through it. What have you been watching? Any recommendations? What are your opinions?

Besides my usual games that I regularly play with a friend and my brother, I’ve mainly been playing The Last Of Us Part 2. Surprise surprise. I’ve written a long post on it that you can check out here: https://teatime-with-dragons.com/2020/08/01/thought-corner-the-last-of-us-part-2/  Other than that I haven’t really been playing much. I’ve recently gotten back into a game series in preparation for this month. Be on the lookout later for a post about it. What games have you been playing? What are you looking forward to playing this month? Or planning on replaying?

I feel I’ve been more book focused through July. Even if I’ve only read one book. I’ve just been overwhelmed by this feeling of wanting to read. You know that feeling. It’s reflected in my recent purchases how book obsessed I’ve been. I aim to read more, a goal I’m forever chasing. How much I read really depends on how long the book is and how hooked on the story I am. We’ll see what August brings. I’ve finished A Court of Mist and Fury and already chosen my next adventure. You can find my post on it here: https://teatime-with-dragons.com/2020/07/31/thought-corner-a-court-of-mist-and-fury/  What have you been reading lately? What’s on your reading list for August?

At the start of the month I thought July was going to be another Celtic themed month musically for me. I was wrong. I found some beautiful pieces but I wasn’t as obsessed for as long as I thought I’d be. No specific style or new things emerged music wise. Taylor Swift recently released a new album that I want to listen to. Probably sit down and listen. No spoilers please.

So with my writing I have done some work on my first novel. There will come a point when I’m writing non stop but for now it’s a slow process. My main focus is this blog, hard to believe with the sporadic upload schedule. I’ve figured out the way I want to go with my world building but there’s still so much to do. It’s always in the back of my mind. Lately I’ve had the desire to try and adapt A Court of Thorns and Roses into a script. I just love that series can can’t believe it hasn’t been adapted yet. Alongside that I’ve been wanting to work on a JoJo’s fanfic that’s been lurking in the back of my mind for some time. I haven’t written any fanfiction before and nows probably an odd time to start. Something set in the same universe but with original characters is the kind of fanfiction I would write. Last month I set two goals related to my writing. I have achieved neither of them. This month I’m going to set the simple goal of uploading one chapter for my fanfiction. Hopefully there will be more and I can keep a regular schedule with it.

Looking back on the goals I set to achieve, July has been pretty good. 25 blog followers was the goal and that has been achieved. Thank you all of you. 25 Twitter followers was the goal and we have surpassed that with 32. Amazing! Instagram hasn’t been as successful. 55 followers was the goal and 47 is what we achieved. Still a good number. As for at least uploading 2 posts a week I think you know how that turned out.

Now we look to the future and set the goals for the month of August. First on the blog. Let’s go for 30 followers, 70 views and to maintain the goal of at least 2 posts a week. On Twitter let’s aim for 45 followers. On Instagram let’s keep the same goal as 55 followers. For the Facebook page to have 5 likes. On Pinterest to have 5 followers. All small and simple goals that are achievable. I have plans for the month of August, all will be revealed in due time.

Thank you all for being here and joining me on this journey. July has been an okay month so let’s make August even better. I’m sending you all love and light and I will see you in the next post.

-Your Hostess-

Image Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/macro-photography-of-clear-drinking-glass-with-lemon-fruit-and-black-straw-1194030/ Photographer: thiszun

Thought Corner: The Last Of Us Part 2

Hello and welcome to all you beautiful people. The time has come at last. It’s time to talk about The Last Of Us: Part 2. A game that has greatly divided the community. Today we’re going to look at the many different aspects of the game and touch on the parts that have sparked rage in many fans. So without further ado let’s get into it.

Spoiler Warning!

For any non Playstation players or those who might not know, The Last Of Us: Part 2 is the long awaited sequel to, you guessed it, The Last Of Us. Fans have eagerly awaited this sequel since the initial release of the first game back in 2013. Well maybe not all of them; some think a sequel was unnecessary. That might be true but Joel and Ellie’s story touched so many hearts that people wanted more, I certainly did. In June 2020 developers Naughty Dog and writer and director Neil Drunkmen released what fans had been waiting for. The reception was… mixed. A number of critics and fans praised the game, whilst a good dose of players felt disappointed.

Visuals

The scenery is absolutely gorgeous. Granted graphics don’t make or break a game but they certainly help. Loyal fans look back on The Last Of Us and remember the incredible locations and stunning views. 7 years later this post-apocalyptic world looks more beautiful than ever. An example of how much the graphics have improved can be seen right from the off set with the scene of Joel saving Ellie in Salt Lake City. The 2020 version displays huge improvements: sharper visuals, the lighting and shading and the characters looking even closer to real people. We’re verging on an era where video games look so real they just become playable movies. Making it difficult to tell whether it’s computer generated or live action. With some games already achieving this feat.

There are so many stunning views it’d be hard to pick a favourite. Near the top world be at the beginning; Jackson with and without snow. Gorgeous. Most of the sights to see are within a beautifully destroyed Seattle. Stunning in it’s own way.

https://www.ign.com/articles/the-last-of-us-2-walkthrough-chapter-1-jackson-patrol

With the large buildings and spaces to admire it’s easy to get swept away looking around, missing all the intricate tiny details. This game is full of details. The team behind The Last Of Us Part 2 clearly put a lot of work into it. Some examples include leaving footprints in the snow, Ellie squinting when zooming in, clothes and hair when in contact with water, blood seeping through bandages, Ellie physically puts things in her backpack. There is so much more. Things that take multiple playthroughs to notice.

Gamplay

The gameplay skeleton is still there, the way you learnt to play in The Last Of Us. Building on that skeleton, the developers added some things and altered others. A major change is the ability to go prone. Instead of just crouching you can also go prone letting you crawl around in tall grass, making it harder for you to be seen. You can also shoot whilst prone. Play your cards right and you can clear out an area by being on your stomach. If you’re forced into hand to hand combat with infected or other survivors it’s made easier with the ability to dodge attacks. You can even dodge Clickers from grabbing you. A detail that should’ve been there from the beginning.

You play as two different characters which, of course, have different play You play as two different characters which, of course, have different play styles, weapons and craftables. Ellie is built for stealth and hiding. She still has her unbreakable knife, perfect for stealth takedowns. She can craft trip mines, place them and lure unsuspecting enemies to them. In addition Ellie can craft smoke bombs used for either escaping, hiding or running in for an attack. The standout Ellie specific guns are the bow and hunting rifle. Bow is the obvious choice for stealth, arrows are easily crafted. The hunting rifle is powerful and easy to aim. Finally Ellie can swim now. Is it bad they took away one of her weaknesses? No. Not only would it be a bit frustrating for the player to maneuver around a flooding city as a character who can’t swim but living in a post-apocalypse world knowing how to swim would increase your survivability. Also Joel would’ve been a terrible dad if he didn’t teach her. He gets flashbacks to manueving her around on a pallet and that one time she almost drowned. Ellie feels like a more developed version of her setup in the first game. It’s good that she isn’t a carbon copy of Joel. The developers made her her own character.

Abby is the one that feels closer to Joel in her set up. She’s built for aggressive play. She has to craft shivs which means you have to use them Abby is the one that feels closer to Joel in her set up. She’s built for aggressive play. She has to craft shivs which means you have to use them carefully. Pretty much need to save them for Clickers similarly to the first game. Her craftable throwable is a pipe bomb, a very direct explosive. Some Abby exclusive weapons are the flamethrower, a double barrel shotgun and a crossbow. Unlike Ellie’s bow, ammo for the crossbow can’t be crafted. So aim for those headshots. The double barrel shotgun is powerful and good to have if been swarmed. The flamethrower is the best weapon to use against Bloaters, a luxury Ellie doesn’t get. Abby has a fear of heights, not quite crippling but it’s extreme. Her phobia is seen several times throughout the game.

In order to unlock new skill trees you have to find training manuels shattered throughout the game. A cool way of doing it. Ellie’s skill trees are more stealth focused where as Abby’s is fighting and weapons based. Refelecting the set ups the developers made for each character.

The gameplay in The Last Of Us always felt a bit repetitive, Part 2 is similar in that regard. Some enemies have been added that change the dynamic a bit but ultimately it’s still the same. You go from one group of enemies, whether infected or survivor, to another; killing them either in stealth or head on. It must be difficult to play The Last Of Us 2 with a pacifist approach, especially since some enemies you have to kill. Between enemy encounters is either story progression and/or supply gathering. There are some very minor bits of puzzle solving. Restarting a generator or getting to an area for supplies and collectables.

The improvements to the gameplay in Part 2 did make enemy encounters more enjoyable. Going prone being a big help. Two things there should’ve been more of are areas where water is used as cover and having the ability/choice to send infected after enemy survivors. Overall like most people I don’t play this series for the gameplay. The story and characters are what most people want.

Enemies

Let’s talk about the enemies. First the survivors; we have the WLF, Let’s talk about the enemies. First the survivors; we have the WLF, Seraphites (Scars) and Rattlers. All have both male and female soldiers. Yes there is gender equality in the groups of enemies you slaughter. Progress. The developers have also named all of these survivors across all factions. No longer can gamers go on guilt free killing sprees of nameless fodder. Although fighting them isn’t all that different, each faction has their own personalities and way of survival.

The WLF don’t live all that differently to Jackson. They have agriculture and power. Unlike Jackson they are fighting a civil war. They’ve formed an The WLF don’t live all that differently to Jackson. They have agriculture and power. Unlike Jackson they are fighting a civil war. They’ve formed an army/melicia to protect their people against the infected and the Seraphites. The WLF are the first to introduce dogs as an enemy. Dogs can follow your scent trail, allowing them to quickly find your hiding spot. Really you want to take them out as quickly as possible. At first I felt bad about killing the dogs but swiftly got over that when they became annoying. Use explosive arrows to take out both the dog and they’re handler. No longer a problem.

The Seraphites are a religious group at war with the WLF. They verge on cult territory. All follow the teachings of a woman who believed she was a prophet. Their primary weapons are melee and bows and arrows. They have a few guns but it goes against their rules to not use anything from the ‘old world’. During combat they communicate using whistles. Getting hit with an arrow slows you down and you have to pull it out. Seraphites have a unique enemy. A bigger person with a sledgehammer. They’re a little bit harder to take down. Ellie can’t engage them in melee combat so best to shoot them. Abby however can and faces off with one on Seraphite island that just does not want to die.

The last faction are at the tail end of the game, the Rattlers. At first I thought these people were cannibals but now I’m not so sure. They take people they find in Santa Barbara prisoner but I don’t know what they do with them. Abby and Lev were there for a few days before they left them to die. The Rattlers didn’t seem like good people. Getting enjoyment out of hurting people and teasing the infected aren’t good signs. They might have kept infected as pets. This group didn’t have any new enemies, too late in the game, but they had dogs. Plus they had infected chained up, giving you the option to release them upon the survivors during encounters.

Speaking of infected, there have been some very good additions and changes. Runners and Clickers are pretty much the same as the first game. Stalkers are now harder to detect and act like stealthy predators. No longer are you left wondering what’s the difference between Stalkers and Runners. A new type of infected has been added called Shambler. Shamblers are individuals who have been infected for several years and dwell around areas with water. They expel large spore clouds that can cause acidic burns. Upon death the spores explode. Best kept at a distance. I don’t know if I’m the only one who thought this but I never saw Bloaters as a boss enemy in the first game. I just thought they were a rare tougher enemy, similar to the sledgehammer Seraphites in this game. My mind changed when Part 2 gave Bloaters arenas like areas when fighting them. Definitely a boss fight, no doubt about that now. Their charging is also a lot scarier now. Finally, one more new infected was added: The Rat King. That thing is a beast. It’s a Clicker and Bloater fused together to make this giant behemoth. During the Rat King boss fight I was either screaming or yelling. I did not want to fight that thing. I didn’t like it. Truly a fantastic enemy.

Collectables

It’s a small thing but let’s not forget about the collectables. Besides the training manuals Ellie and Abby have their own unique collectable items. Ellie collects superhero trading cards, which are awesome. I’m nowhere near having all of them but I did find an interdimensional whale. Enough said. Abby collects coins, specifically she’s after coins from each state. A hobby she uses to feel connected to her dad.

Characters

Let’s start with our main girl: Ellie. Ellie goes on a significant external and internal journey. She’s experienced loss before but nothing on the same level as losing Joel. After that moment Ellie’s only want is revenge. She arrives in the anger stage of grief and refuses to move. Like with most characters experiencing grief, what Ellie really needs is to accept his death. Accept and move forward. Thankfully she gets there, eventually. She’s not the same person on the other side though. With all the death that she causes it would be concerning if she didn’t change. She kills a lot of people over both games but there’s a difference between the intimite one on one kills and torture Ellie does and the random groups of enemies she has to get through. A major turning point is when Ellie tortures Nina to find out where Abby is. The camera angle, the red lighting, the fact the player has to push a button for each swing of her crowbar highlights that Ellie is crossing a line. She’s going to kill Abby and nothing will stop her. She will do whatever it takes.

Seeing Ellie in flashbacks and on the farm show just how consumed by anger and grief she is throughout her time in Seattle. In those moments we see her goofy pun loving self again. There’s nothing better than her excitement and wonder at the Wyoming museum.

At the final confrontation I was so proud of Ellie for letting Abby and Lev go. She was so close to what she wanted but didn’t go through with it in the end. Even if she had it wouldn’t have made her feel better. It wouldn’t have brought Joel back.

Ashley Johnson, Ellie’s voice actor, is incredible. She does such a good job which is highlighted even more by the use of motion capture. She puts her all into this performance, right down to the facial expressions.

Now for our other main character: Abby. Abby is a bit similar to Ellie. Not in termNow for our other main character: Abby. Abby is a bit similar to Ellie. Not in terms of personality, they’re quite the opposite in that regard. No Abby is also easily consumed by her want for revenge. 5 years Abby focused on getting revenge on her father’s killer. She throws herself into training with that goal in mind. Finally she does get that revenge but at a cost. Torturing and killing Joel haunts her long after she’s left Jackson. That might explain some of her actions when she’s back in Seattle. She’s one of Issac’s, the WLF leader, most trusted soldiers but goes awol to make sure Owen is safe. Everything else kind of spirals out from there. After she finds Owen she does something she never would’ve done before, she goes back to save two runaway Seraphites that she runs into. Unexpectedly for her she bonds with them and those relationships change her. Meanwhile across Seattle she’s losing all of her other friends. I do believe if Dina hadn’t been pregnant Abby would’ve killed both her and Ellie.

Abby is not my favourite character, not just because she murdered Joel. I just didn’t bond or connect with her. Sure you see her side of the story but that doesn’t mean you’re suddenly going to be okay with her actions. She’s very goal orientated, seen with her obsession for revenge, hunting down Owen and in a flashback insisting they return to training. None of that free spirit goofiness that Ellie normally possesses. I like her more when she’s with Lev but that’s probably because I like Lev.

Whether you like Abby or not we can all agree that Laura Bailey, Abby’s voice actor, did an amazing job. Just light Ashley she gave her all in that performance. It’s heartbreaking to hear that she has been receiving death threats. She is one of the nicest human beings on the planet. A beacon of light who doesn’t deserve this abuse. Actors are not the characters.

The only other characters I want to talk in depth about are Joel, Dina and Lev. I like Jesse but there wasn’t really much to him. I loved Tommy in the first game but he wasn’t around much in this one. In fact his actions were reckless and nearly got him killed. The only one of Abby’s friends I liked was Manny, he was entertaining and I was a little sad when he died. Not enough to shed a tear though. And finally Yara. I liked her too, just not as much as Lev. Honestly she went through so much I didn’t think she had to die. In the end she did sacrifice herself to protect Lev, her driving character force.

I’m happy with what we see of Joel, him being best dad. That’s all I want, all I could’ve asked for. Fair enough he deserved better and I would’ve preferred he was in the whole game, like most people. Some have touched on the subject of why Joel wasn’t cautious/suspicious of Abby. It’s because he saw a girl the same age as Ellie, why would he be suspicious. That comes back to one of the stand out lines of the game, “I’m just a girl. I’m not a threat.” You can see Joel’s attitude change when he sees the rest of Abby’s crew. It’s too late then, Joel’s fate is sealed. No amount of him showing kindness to Abby will quiet her burning desire for revenge. Maybe it would’ve been different if he was pregnant. I’m kidding.

I really liked Dina. Her and Ellie just clicked. I would even say Dina is a perfect match for Ellie. She’s smart, can look after herself and most importantly has good banter. My gripe with Dina reveals she’s pregnant and from then on is basically out of the game. Don’t let me explore a destroyed city with my ship and then have the upbeat half stay behind at the theatre. I wanted more travels with Dina, that’s all I’m saying.

Finally let’s talk about Lev. I adore Lev. He needs to be protected from this world, especially a post-apocalyptic world filled with zombies and cannibalistic survivors. Amongst all the anger and hate about the story people are forgetting about Lev. Lev is another step up in the LGBT representation in The Last Of Us series. I’m so happy that I haven’t seen articles popping up left and right questioning if the inclusion of a tansgender character is necessary. Lev is an amazing character and good representation. Just because the apocalypse happened doesn’t mean there aren’t transgender people, similarly to there still being homosexual people. Lev’s story even resonates with our modern day. Lev’s treatment from his religious society is something still seen in our own reality. Shocking really. I hope there are those who feel seen through Lev. Beyond that Lev is incredibly brave. Still a bit naive but he stays true to himself. I’ll say it again, I adore Lev. His bond with Abby is lovely and that is the main reason I enjoyed Abby’s half of the story.

Story

Alright, the time has come. Let’s get into the story. You start in a semi good place. Jackson is thriving, you can pet a dog and absolutely destroy some children in a snowball fight. Ellie’s ordinary world is perfectly established. The only problem is her and Joel’s relationship is strained, something you don’t know the full picture of until later. Then we switch to Abby, a character you’ve never seen before. We know she’s looking for someone. My first thoughts were this is our villain and she’s looking for Joel. I was correct.

So our inciting incident of Joel’s death happens. The event that has caused many people to hate this game, send death threats and what not. I’ll be honest I didn’t cry at Joel’s death. I was sad, don’t get me wrong but shock overwhelmed the feelings of sadness. Shock that it happened and how. Let’s think about why that is. Joel and Ellie were happy and safe in Jackson. They have no reason to leave. Something extreme had to happen for there to be a story. Unfortunately the character who had to die was Joel. His character arc was complete. He’d accepted the death of Sarah and moved forward. Now Ellie has to experience a similar pain. Could a different story path have been taken? Yes, but we can think about those later.

After the traumatic inciting incident Tommy leaves for Seattle and Ellie goes after him with Dina. Then you have 3 days in Seattle and between each day you have a flashback section with Joel.

I’m perfectly happy with day one. You have a bit of puzzle solving. There’s a slightly open world section that you explore on horseback with Dina. Why isn’t there more of that in this game? Ellie’s 15th birthday is also a great section from start to finish. Heartwarming and magical. After that it gets repetitive. Day 2 and 3 is Ellie going to different locations looking for Tommy, actually she’s hunting Abby/looking for someone that knows where she is. I like the use of pathetic fallacy leading up to and on day 3. This storm is hitting for the climax. You find out that Ellie discovers the truth about what happened with the Fireflies in Salt Lake City. Something that could’ve been handled better. Ellie’s part of the story is very much her seeking revenge and grieving Joel with a bit of guilt thrown in. Ellie doesn’t find Abby in the end but she does leave a trail of her friends’ bodies in her wake. So Abby finds her at the theatre. She shoots Jesse in the eye and holds Ellie and Tommy at gunpoint. At this point we switch to Abby’s half of the story.

Unlike Ellie, Abby has a different goal for each day. Day 1: Find Owen. Day 2: Help Yara. Day 3: Save Lev from Seraphite island. A nice change of pace. Between her days we see she’s still dealing with her dad’s death and moments from her past. Mostly her relationship with Owen. Abby’s sections where she has to face her fear of heights instead of fighting enemies is refreshing. Short lived but refreshing. Finally the boss fight with Ellie is great. Different but I found it great. Facing off in different areas of the theatre with Ellie cycling through all her specific weapons is fantastic. A step up from David’s boss fight. Of course I wasn’t comfortable fighting my girl but that might be part of the point. In the end Abby let’s Ellie and Dina go.

Seeing Abby’s side of the story is a way to get the audience to understand her motivations and empathise with her but I don’t think that’s the whole picture. The goal is not to paint Ellie as the bad guy. It’s showing you that in this devastated world there are no good guys or bad guys. Both protagonists thought they were doing the right thing. They were seeking justice. They are the heroes of their own story and the other one is the villain in their eyes.

The story isn’t over yet. Ellie, Dina and JJ become a happy family on the farm Dina dreamed of. Unfortunately Ellie is still processing her grief and guilt. With a push from Tommy she leaves for Santa Barbara in search of Abby. The time on the farm is special. It’s happy and beautiful. A place both Dina and Ellie can live happily ever after.

In Santa Barbara Abby and Lev learn the Fireflies are regrouping on Catalina Island but are quickly captured by the local faction before they can leave. Lucky for them Ellie arrives just in time to save them. The harmony is short lived because she still wants to kill Abby. Our final fight is two exhausted, dying women punching each other to death. Not the most climatic end but a fitting one. Ellie wins but decides to let Abby and Lev go. Our final scene is Ellie returning to the now empty farm. Here you see her acceptance. The right way for the story to end.

Overall not a bad story. It’s nowhere near as good as the first game but that would’ve been a hard feat to accomplish. I would’ve liked to have the days grouped together rather than the character’s sides of the story. See if that would have affected the emotional impact of character deaths. Different stories they could’ve told range from an attack on Jackson forcing the town to relocate to another immune person showing up. The only limit is the creators imagination and apparently it stopped at revenge story. One aspect I missed was seeing all over the country but I’m just fine with one city. Sometimes it’s good to focus on the impact on one location.

Something else to touch on across both games is the vaccine plot point. Even with our technology today we don’t have vaccines for fungal infections and deceases. How do a group of doctors, who didn’t finish their studies, expect to make one with post-apocalypse resources? Their rush to cut out Ellie’s brain to make this “vaccine” doesn’t make sense either. Surely they’d want to run more tests, think about this more. As far as they know they only have one shot. Why risk their only immune person? Why did no one wake Ellie and let her make a decision? She’s 14, she’s old enough to make a decision about her own life. Why are all these adults making it for her? On another note, why is everyone acting like Abby’s dad is the only doctor that can make this vaccine? There must be other more experienced doctors still alive. Plus all the vaccine’s going to do is protect all the people that haven’t been infected. What about the millions of already infected people? You’d need a cure to help them. A cure that would be impossible to synthesise. 

In conclusion I enjoyed The Last Of Us Part 2. There  were many improvements from the first game. It’s just such a shame the story wasn’t one of them. I would still recommend this game to people, just make sure you also play the first one. The Last Of Us Part 2 gets a Sapphire dragon from me. Not all the way up there but still a fantastic game.

Huge congratulations to anyone who made it this far! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my longest post so far. I’ll see you all in the next one.

-Your Hostess-

Image Source: https://www.techradar.com/reviews/the-last-of-us-2-review

https://www.ign.com/articles/the-last-of-us-2-walkthrough-chapter-1-jackson-patrol

Thought Corner: A Court of Mist and Fury

On an Earth greatly different from our own exists the land of Prythian where humans and Fae dwell, separated by a magical wall. In the north the immortal Faes have split the territory into courts and fights amongst themselves. In the south humans live in fear and hate of the Fae. What happens when these two worlds collide?

Hello and welcome to all you beautiful people and if you haven’t figured it out yet we’re looking at A Court of Mist and Fury. This is quickly becoming one of my favourite series. I’m excited to talk about it. Hopefully you’re excited to read about it. So without further ado let’s get into it.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas is the second instalment in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. First published in 2016 and loved by many since. Thorns and Roses was good but Mist and Fury is on a different level. This is the one that made me realise why this series is so loved. I highly recommend the first two books to any YA Fantasy fans out there.

Spoiler Warning!

It’s been three months since the end of A Court of Thorns and Roses and Feyre isn’t doing so well. Within the first few pages you’re met with one of the major themes and the reason why this book is so good. Feyre and her fight with PTSD. It’s ugly, it’s heartbreaking and it’s rewarding when you see her emerge stronger than before.

While she’s with Tamlin, Feyre becomes a husk of herself. She’s plagued by horrifying nightmares and puking out her guts the rest of the night. She’s told what to do, what to say and where she can go. She stops painting, her passion. When she does do something that she thinks is right Tamlin scolds her for doing it. He just makes her situation worse. No one sees what’s happening to Feyre. Or they do and aren’t doing anything. In fact you can see it’s the latter. Everyone’s too afraid of Tamlin, too scared to go against their High Lord. No one even helps Feyre adjust to her new life as a Fae, let alone teach her how to read and write. Whilst she is in the Spring Court Feyre is kept in a prison that is draining the life out of her. This place that grew to feel like Feyre’s home has become what she thought it was when she first arrived.

Thank goodness for Rhysand. It’s very fitting that his first appearance is him crashing Feyre and Tamlin’s wedding. What a man. Or fae. What an entrance. At this point he’s still seen as a bad guy but Feyre’s health greatly improves while she’s with him in the Night Court. And what happens when she goes back to the Spring Court? Tamlin demands information from her. Then basically puts her on lockdown with guards following her around the clock. Finally Tamlin does something that he probably wanted to do as soon as they returned home; he uses magic to trap her in the house. Not okay. Beyond not okay.

After Feyre explodes with darkness, Alis contacts the Night Court and Mor comes to get her. This is when the story kicks into high gear. Feyre chooses to cross the threshold, allowing so many truths to come to light, more lore to be explored and she meets the Court of Dreams, one of my favourite found families.

Feyre finds her home, her family here. A place of love. A place of freedom. Ultimately a place where she can heal with other hurt people that are committed to healing themselves. They also teach and train her. She learns to read, write and utilise the powers she has. Whilst in the Night Court’s city of Velaris Feyre grows beyond the survivor she once was.

I’m not going to talk about every little detail of the plot, that would take some time. So some of my favourite moments include the Weaver’s cottage, visiting the Summer Court, Starfall, believe it or not but the visit to the Court of Nightmares and pretty much any dinner table scene. I find Sarah J Maas is fantastic at writing dinner table scenes. Both tension filled and fun ones.

The characters are well written and I want more of them. Even Jurian and the King of Hybern have a strong presence for the brief moments you see/ hear from them. Speaking of those two, they did not disappoint. I can tell they’ll be great and fun villains in the next book. I know there is still more to learn about all these characters.

I’ve already talked a lot about Feyre, she is one of my favourite characters. She’s a powerful lead who goes on an important inner journey. I commend Feyre for her sacrifice, it was heartbreaking to read. And to risk going back to the Spring Court. You can’t say she isn’t a strong female character when she sacrifices everything for everyone else. Her sisters, her mate, her family and all the people in the Night Court. A true High Lady. By the end of the story Feyre’s angry. There is so much rage built up inside her but she can’t release it yet. Now she has a game to play. One I look forward to seeing how it plays out.

I never liked Tamlin. He had his moments but ultimately I found him boring. Now you see he’s also a selfish coward. I’ve already touched on some of the things he does at the beginning but that’s all overshadowed by his decision to make a bargain with the King of Hybern. He offers all the humans south of the wall to the King on a silver platter all so he can have Feyre. The whole time he treats her like an object, his property. He even says “She’s mine”. No. Just no. Tamlin can get out.

Lucien can join him. I really liked Lucien and probably will again if he redeems himself. I’m just so disappointed in him. He just sat back and let Feyre waste away. Didn’t fight for her, didn’t defend her He was supposed to be her friend and he did nothing. He just became a lackey for Tamlin. He even lost his cockiness and humour eventually. The things that made Lucien likeable disappeared. If he ever hopes to be a mate worthy of Elain he needs to change. I hope Lucien gets some character development in Wings and Ruin.

Rhysand has always been one of my favourite characters, besides Feyre. I’d perk up whenever he appeared. I never once thought that he was a bad guy, I just felt he had underlying motives. There was more going on beneath the surface. Low and behold that turned out to be the case. He’s been through so much pain, heartache and torture. He’s the most powerful High Lord and yet he only uses his full strength when he has to. He’s also one of the nicest, not on the same level as Tarquin but he’s up there. It’s a shame most of the land doesn’t know that. Rhysand represents everything that Tamlin isn’t. Rhysand wants to move Prythian into the future. To make significant changes. Tamlin just follows tradition. Rhysand also always puts Feyre first and considers her feelings. Probably why he couldn’t make a decision on when to tell her that she was his mate. Knowing how Lucien reacted when he felt that Elain was his mate, Rhys must have a lot of restraint and self control. Already I can’t wait for him and Feyre to reunite.

The Court of Dreams is one of the best found families I’ve read. Did I mention that already? All have gone through their own hardships. Each bear different wounds but they still live to the fullest. They would die for each other. Even Amren. I know Cassian and Nesta get together and I hope the same is true with Azriel and Mor. The looks are too much. Or are they too little?

In conclusion I loved A Court of Mist and Fury so much that I’m giving it a turquoise dragon. That’s right, the top one. There’s romance mixed with fantasy and a good amount of action. The exploration of PTSD and trauma in general is compelling. How important being with the right people can be. Thank you all for taking the time to read this. I’ll see you all in the next post.

-Your Hostess-

Time to Meet the Vampire Lestat: A Book Thought Corner

Hello and welcome to all you beautiful people, today is my first attempt at a book thought corner. It’s not a secret that for a while I’d been reading The Vampire Lestat. Before my heart palpitations, I turned over the last page and quickly moved onto my next adventure. I have one more thing to do, however before I can firmly put The Vampire Lestat on my read pile. So without further ado let’s get into it.

The Vampire Lestat is the second book in The Vampire Chronicles series by Anne Rice. First published in 1985, approximately 9 years after it’s predecessor. Narrated by Lestat, the story is his autobiography, book ended by his present day life in the 1980s. He tells us his tale beginning in rural France, then journing to Paris and even making his way to Egypt. Going forward it’s inevitably that I’ll be comparing this to the first book.

Lestat de Lioncourt - Wikipedia
wikipedia

The best place to start is with our illustrious narrator. Lestat is a romantic searching for meaning, both in life and death. He consistently refers to the Savage garden, a phrase I interpret as a way of describing vampiric life. The twisted version of the garden of Eden. Lestat warns at the beginning of his tale that his speak/writing style might be inconsistent. I didn’t really notice or pick up on that. It would’ve been interesting to see a more 80s style mixed in with the 1700s style. But at this point I don’t think Lestat is that integrated into the time period. Lestat was always an entertaining character and having him as narrator is more interesting. I’d happily trade Louis’ brooding of good, evil and morality for Lestat’s musings and search for a purpose. Honestly I gained a new appreciation for Louis from the way Lestat talks about him. I too would rather gaze at him putting his brain into overdrive then reading the thoughts he’s racing through. I am fascinated to read stories/events from different perspectives because everyone perceives things differently. I know people say there are discrepancies between the first and second books, I didn’t notice them however. And isn’t that what’s important? Enjoying the story rather than getting hung up on the details.

Which brings me to the point this is a reboot for the series, the true beginning of The Vampire Chronicles. If the 9 year gap between the books isn’t enough to make you think that then let me point out some other things. First we have a new narrator, Lestat, who as far as I know remains the protagonist throughout the rest of the series. I at least know that’s true for Queen of the Damned. We get an indepth look at Lestat’s origin story. Through him we meet another prominent character from the first book and witness his origin story. We even have an origin for the Theatre of the Vampires. Lestat is chock full of origin stories, lore and call backs to the first book. All things that lay the brick work for an even larger story, clearly bearing the rules of the world to the reader. There’s important information that the reader needs in order to move onto the next book. So The Vampire Lestat serves three purposes: introduce Lestat as the nex protagonist, establish the rules of the world and setting up Queen of the Damned.

Now for the writing and style. Both times I’ve been enthralled by the storytelling. In the beginning. The detail is incredible and aids the reader in creating a full picture. My problem is that the further into the story I get, the more long winded I find the writing. I want to move onto another story but at the same time I want to finish the book I’m currently reading. It’s just a shame that the fun of reading turns into a chore. I must say it’s wonderful that Rice added parts to The Vampire Lestat. Then split those parts into sections. Makes life so much easier for chapter readers like myself.

Can you skip Interview with the Vampire? A friend asked me that. Storywise I’d technically say yes. From what I’ve read so far all the important information is in The Vampire Lestat but I would encourage people to still read the first one. You miss out on Daniel, Claudia and great Lestat content. Some of my favourite scenes so far were in Interview.

Overall I would give The Vampire Lestat a Peridot dragon. I like the stories and the characters but loosing the desire to continue reading isn’t a good sign. The end really caught my attention however. I plan on reading Queen of the Damned and looking forward to it. Any vampire fans looking for something outside of teen romance should give The Vampire Chronicles a go. If you have a short attention span however this might not be the book series for you.

Peridot - Wikipedia
wikipedia

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I’ll see you all in the next post.

-Your Hostess-

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lestat_de_Lioncourt#/media/File:Tom_Cruise_as_Lestat.jpg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peridot

From Review to Thought Corner

I have a confession. I don’t like reviews. I definitely don’t like writing reviews. I never wanted to write reviews. I never wanted to classify what I write as reviews. Then I started writing blog posts. Reviews seemed like the professional thing to do, if you can call the ones I’ve written so far reviews. No more. I’m going to give my original idea a spin. To some my posts may still read as reviews but I will no longer concern myself with that label.

Why not reviews?

What type of reviews have you read? Probably either helpful or unhelpful ones, right? Of course you have the critics, professionally published online in magazines that don’t really reflect the mind of the average audience. All over the internet you can find bloggers, youtubers and even on some sites that ask for reviews people giving detailed thoughtful insights. Those are the helpful ones, the ones that are interesting to read. Then you get the unhelpful reviews. Mostly negative opinions that don’t give you any insight into their experience or the experience you might have. They just attack the work, creator or both. Negative one word reviews are the most annoying in my opinion.

The thing is all these reviewers have already formed their opinion and what they write only reflects that view they’ve chosen. Positive reviews encourage readers to use or watch something and negative reviews deter the reader. I mean that’s the purpose of reviews. To help someone make an informed decision before buying something. There’s this idea that reviewers, professional ones at least, know what they’re talking about. I’m subconsciously adding that expectation and pressure to myself when I work. I also want to go beyond just helping people make an informed decision. I want to spark discussion. Bring people with similar interests together. Think beyond just my opinion. Imagine ways something could be improved. Looking at story and character elements, how they work. Why the creator chose to direction they took.

I’m no longer going to write reviews. From now on I’m calling them thought corners. A space where I write my thoughts on something, analyse and fantasize what could’ve been done differently. The name change might not seem that different from reviews but it’ll make a world of difference for my mental health. ‘Thought corner’ eases my overthinking and worry of saying or getting something wrong. I am taking something and making it my own.

While I’m writing this I have also settled on how I’m going to rate things, for now. I didn’t want to rate ouf of 10 or use stars. Too basic for me. I thought about it for a while and came up with an idea. Birthstones. I know that means the scale is out of 12 but I can do what I want. Like I’ve said in a past post, I won’t know if my ideas work unless I try them. Here is the order of birthstones for those who don’t know:

1- Garnet

2- Amethyst

3- Aquamarine

4- Diamond

5- Emerald

6- Pearl

7- Ruby

8- Peridot

9- Sapphire

10- Opal

11- Topaz

12- Turquoise

Worst to best is from top to bottom. Sorry if that upsets anyone. I think this will be a fun and unique way to rate things. It’s also a way for me to combine the magic of fictional worlds with the little magic we have in ours. It might be a bit odd that something terrible has a Diamond or Amethyst rating but weirder things have happened.

Thank you for all those reading my ramblings. My first book thought corner will be up soon. I’ll see you all in the next post.

-Your Hostess-

Let’s Have a Cuppa: July 2020

Hello and welcome to all you beautiful people. See, I told you. I said I’d post this on time.

How are you all? Safe and happy I hope. If not, that’s okay. To quote Mor from a Court of Mist and Fury “There are good days and hard days… Don’t let the hard days win.” I’m about halfway through that book now and I love it. A big step up from the first one. What are you reading at the moment? Anything interesting? Would you recommend it?

We are now well into summer, at least in the northern hemisphere. I do not cope well in the heat. I’m a winter baby, I melt in the summer. Funny enough that’s only when I’m inside. Walking under the sun I don’t mind the heat so much. How are all of you coping? Enjoy the sun when you can just make sure you’re also looking out for other people. Just because the weather’s nice doesn’t mean the spreading of disease stops.

The only thing I didn’t talk about in my June post was music. I’ve taken a leaf out of a friend’s book and set up a Spotify playlist for the month. Something I plan to do each month. So songs I listen to on repeat/obsessed with get put in there. I constantly add to it as the month goes on. I’ve really gotten into a style of music dubbed bardcore. Imagine your favourite pop song but with a medieval sound and old english lyrics. That’s bardcore. It’s amazing. My musical obsession for the month has been SIX. I know with Disney adding Hamilton I should be excited about that but my heart yearns for a different historical musical. One frontlined by six powerful wives that are adding the prefix to history.

So aims over the month of July. Uploading At least 2 posts a week would be ideal, even if just overall that’s what the number divides into. That would work out to 8 posts in total over July. Do able. I want to increase the number of followers for my blog to 25. Increase my Twitter followers to 20 and my Instagram followers to 55. I would include likes on my facebook page but I’m not too fussed with facebook. These may seem like small goals but slow and steady wins the race. If I set ridiculously high goals that I’m unlikely to achieve I’m going to feel very good about myself. Defeat will start deeping in. Defeat will lead to self-doubt and I don’t need more of that in my life. Away from my blog I aim to start writing my first book. I will finish my world building, know it inside and out. Then I will start writing with a goal of 5,000 words by the end of July. I see all these goals are very achievable.

July looks to be a very active month. If there is anything you wish to see a post on let me know. A movie, TV show, video game, anime, book and so on just let me know.

Thank you all for reading and being here. I will see you in the next post.

-Your Hostess-

Image Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/lemon-iced-tea-with-lemon-fruits-792613/ Photographer: Barbara Webb