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A Psychological Analysis of Lana Rain’s Perspective on Romance in Society

It’s time for psychology and a drop of sociology while we’re at it. Let’s analyze Lana Rain’s video: “Why our perception of romance is harmful towards our mental health.” 

The only thing I want to say before diving in is that, overall, the video is quite accurate. For a rant/opinion video, I was genuinely impressed. So far as I know, everything she said was anecdotal evidence that she herself perceived and experienced. I don’t believe there was any academic foundation to it and that’s the most interesting part about psychology and sociology. 

The fields are incredibly nuanced so to be a professional in either is tough. Even if the DSM-5 was your bible, you’re going to sink rather than swim without the research component that comes with higher education. Still, you don’t need such roots to understand certain concepts. After all, as humans, we created the rules of society. The definition of normal is something we make up (and change over time). It’s for that reason that just by being aware and conscious of the society we live in, we get a sense of how it functions. As individuals within it, even if we’re not actively aware, our subconscious catalogues information and changes behavior. Anyway-

Preface TL;DR: The video is surprisingly accurate and I was impressed.


**The quotes taken from the video are in loose chronological order. I did group some since they encompassed similar psychological concepts. 

“…society completely looks over and treats it [unhealthy romantic tendencies] as part of its culture without question.” [0:58]

“…when viewed from another perspective, it’s one of the most heartbreaking things to witness.” [1:27]

Completely factual. This is called, as you might expect, cultural blindness, and it’s far from rare. We can predominantly see this when we view religious practices in other nations. A classic example is the treatment of the body after death. In the United States, cremation or burial are the norm. Look elsewhere such as Tibet and you find something called a sky burial: a ritual where the body is consumed by birds (scavengers and decomposers). 

When we come across something that’s different, the first question in your mind should be “why?” Most of the time, there’s a great reason. Tibet’s geography is conducive to burials. It’s incredibly rocky there and would require much more effort as opposed to the land in the US. People also cite the lack of forests (and hence fuel) as to why cremation isn’t popular in Tibet either. (However, the problem cited in the video doesn’t have a great reason to support its continuation.)

“It’s romanticized to oblivion…” [1:04]

“The concept of love; it’s completely taken over everything. From our media, our music, movies, games…” [1:35]   

“The perpetuation of the topic is literally unescapable. Unless you live under a rock, there’s absolutely no way you can’t be tainted by the world’s perception of it.” [2:00]

Spot on. Much of the video can be evidenced by Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory. As you can tell, he cites society and culture as the primary influencers on development. How we are raised and what information we take in will inevitably affect what we value. Hence, the comment about it being inescapable is wholly accurate 

[*Author’s Note: The sociocultural theory is very compelling and this video certainly leans into it; however, it’s also supported on a cognitive level. I feel the need to say this because, as everyone knows, there’s a multitude of factors in development. We can nearly never attribute the cause to only biological, psychological, or sociocultural.] 

Interestingly, she noted Disney specifically as a source of negative influence [1:50]. I mentioned the Disney Princess Effect in my other article about anime and sex-role adoption and she shows a definition of it here, but I think it was a bit misused. The topic of the video is more about love than role-adoption, but I understand the sentiment and it still manages to work-

Look at a Disney film. Even if it’s not love at first sight, the man and woman become a couple very quickly. By the end of the movie, it’s practically marriage and they’re in a steady relationship. One of the main problems here is the time frame. It’s a very steep rise from “like” to “love.” Thus, it falls into passionate love more than companionate love, intimacy and sexual attraction v. trust and concern for your partner’s well-being. This is more strongly shown by other media where sex is seen as a goal in a relationship rather than part of the natural progression. 

Lana’s point about finding a “Prince Charming” is also poignant as it can (and has) lead to mental disorders: bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, etc. The former’s symptoms are acts such as self-induced vomiting in order to maintain a certain body weight after sessions of overeating. Anorexia nervosa is the purposeful starvation of one’s self to lose weight. 

“From birth, you’re thrown into a world that already makes it really hard for you to like yourself because everyone else’s issues and turmoil makes them neglect or mistreat others around them.” [2:13]

“When one of the first things you’re taught that is valuable is getting married for religious values and that having a girlfriend or boyfriend is fun or desirable, you’re kind of made to feel like you’re not supposed to focus on your own problems and self-love and happiness comes from indulgent external sources.” [2:51]

This is a great showcase of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. At the top is self-actualization: what all people should aspire to. It can be defined as “being the best one can be.” Lana makes a great point that society has created a different chart. Instead of love being separated from self-esteem and self-actualization, the three have been made equivalent. Thus, we stop at love and don’t reach for the top two tiers of the pyramid. There’s no further improvement of ourselves. 

“…coupled with the fact that, in a lot of cases, people already try to put you into a certain mold before you can even decide what you want for yourself.” [2:30]

Two terms to discuss here: modelling and shaping. They sound alike and they both deal with the same thing: the modification of behavior. Basically, modelling is learning and imitating what we see. Shaping is purposefully modifying what was learned to illicit a different behavior or thought process. I actually don’t see a need to go much further in explaining that because I believe we’ve all experienced it from parents and teachers alike. It’s the self-fulfilling prophecy in action.

“You’ll then start to actively seek and force relationships before an actual bond is even made because it’s the socially acceptable thing to do.” [3:34]

Conformity at its simplest due to normative social influence. We want to gain approval from the in-group that is our society as we know that the out-group is perceived as different and is disapproved of. 

“How a real relationship forms is knowing someone over time and getting really close to the person, creating a best friend kind of bond. The relationship itself should not be the first thing on your mind when meeting someone you like. It should be a consideration after a lot of meaningful time after that person.” [5:06]

Perfectly describes the passionate v companionate love I described earlier. 

“Considering a relationship as an object to obtain is really poisonous for the world because it makes people forget the idea of focusing on themselves and the concept of self-love which is already hard to obtain with how everything is right now.” [5:48]

 Another great summary of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. 

“Sometimes it’s good to take a step back from your everyday routine and give some thought that not everything that is told to you about how life should be necessarily needs to be that way.” [6:49]

And that’s a good summary about cultural blindness. 


Alright! That wraps up my backing of the general message of the video. Hopefully you found it enlightening. If I could ask for anything, I’d hope that you learned some psychological concepts and begin to think of how they affect you in your own life. Here’s hoping Lana reads this.

Stepping Into VTuber & Idol Culture

*Art by Ui Shig: Twitter, Pixiv

At the beginning of 2020, YouTube’s recommendations led me to discover a girl named Ars Almal. Little did I know that I would be stepping into an entirely new world I was yet unfamiliar with: the world of VTubers and idols. 

I’m sure you’re familiar with the concept of virtual youtubers. Kizuna Ai’s popularity soared years ago and I’d say that her name is pretty well known even now. Since then though, I never thought much of it. When I saw Ars, I just figured that another person was using a virtual avatar. It wasn’t that weird. Many streamers use (or have used)  face tracking software to function identically to facecams without giving away what they themselves actually looked like. So, what’s the difference? What’s this culture I’m talking about? 

Well, she’s not just “another person” using a virtual avatar. She’s part of a company that uses virtual avatars. To be even more specific, the company is actually an idol agency called Nijisanji. Are you keeping track of everything?

Nijisanji 「にじさんじ」consists of quite an extensive amount of idols: male and female. To take a peek at the cast, check out their site or watch their official music video. It’s actually mind boggling. I doubt I’d be able to name even 10%. 

That said, there may be a reason for it. There’s actually another company called Hololive 「ホロライブ」Can you guess what they are? Yep! Another idol agency that uses virtual avatars! You can check out the cast here: link.

Hololive and Nijisanji idols also have crossover streams sometimes. So far as I know, it’s not a business move (Though the companies may have to approve? The idol industry is scary. More on that later). Some people are just friends with each other and happen to be in different companies. There are also a bunch of other idol agencies besides those two that I don’t even know of. My limited knowledge of Japanese hampers me, but I’m learning, and sometimes watching them does help. 

Do I have a preference between either companies? That’s really tough to answer. If forced to choose though, I think I have to say Hololive. There’s a select few that I just love to watch, regardless if I can understand them or not. So, for some recommendations:

Korone

She’s just a ball of excitement. She does in fact have a unique dialect which I adore as well. Whenever I watch her, I fee; that she’s genuinely having fun. Moreover, the viewers aren’t just along for the ride. She interacts with her chat a lot and even tries to communicate with her foreign audience. 

Okayu

She’s always so relaxed that I feel comfy too. Even her outfit matches that comfy vibe she exudes. Moreover, her voice is really pleasant to listen to. Okayu often collaborates with Korone so their dynamic together is amazing. I’m sure you could tell by the previous video, but here’s another that shows how close they are.

Coco

Coco? She’s a bit different. She’s more lewd, vulgar, and satirical. One of her weekly shows is a news program where she goes over some Hololive stream fails and funny moments so that everyone can laugh together. Her grasp of the english language is really good (probably fluent?) and likes to curse. I’ll put two videos below that hopefully captures who she is. 

Nijisanji also has some members I absolutely love too! 

Ange Katrina 

Ugh. I talked about in my Waifu article how I loved deeper voices. Ange’s voice? Nothing more needs to be said. Watch the video. 

Dola, Yashiro, Kuzuha, and Himawari 

I’m gonna talk about all four of them together because their dynamic is amazing too. Since they’re all really close friends in real life, they’ve developed a sort of family structure, parents and children. They have no problem joking around and naturally mesh. I’ll put two videos here for them too because I can’t do them justice with just words.


I mentioned before that the idol industry is a bit scary. That’s not a lie or overblown. At the end of the day, these personalities are treated as idols and they have to follow certain rules: legal and cultural. I forget this a lot as a foreign fan and there’s a dark side to the fanbase. They can be demanding at times or wary of female idols having boyfriends. It sounds absurd even as I write it, but it’s true. That’s why I hope that if you find a VTuber you enjoy, please support them, especially when they’re at their worst. 

[It’s for that reason that Coco is actually really great. When she makes fun of mistakes, she does it so that the community treats it as what it is: a funny accident. That’s the brilliance of her satire.] 


One last thing before I send you off. Very recently, an idol named Chinami Achikita has recently graduated. If you don’t know, graduation in the idol industry means that they’ve moved on from being an idol. To be honest, I don’t know much about her. I don’t believe I’ve ever watched a video with her in it. Nevertheless, I wanted to mention her because I want to wish her good luck in her future endeavors. When she graduated, she opted to delete all her videos and now only one music video remains, swayed last minute on her final stream to keep it up. 

Despite not knowing her, I found this to be really saddening. Maybe it’s just because of my personal values, but the deletion of all that work and having no footprint is tragic. I hope her fans remember her and the entertainment she provided. A prayer that she moves on to bigger and better things. 


Hopefully you’re able to enjoy the world of VTubers and Virtual idols now. It’s a wild ride but a pleasant one nonetheless. Go forth to find a personality you love and report back! I want to hear who your favorite personalities are!

UPDATE: The Site Until April

Informal update time! 

6 uploads in one month? That’s crazy (for me)! Should I have spaced them out more and varied the topics? Definitely. I mean, I mentioned Fate three articles in a row. One of them wasn’t even about Fate! But don’t worry, I won’t mention it again in this article. Promise.

Anyways, why the update? Basically, I might not publish again for the rest of the month. Now, hold on. This is a good thing! I’m not stopping because I’m burnt out or anything like that. I’m taking the time to create something really big. I’ll share the details with you now because (1) I’m excited, and (2) I don’t think there’s any reason to withhold the plan. 

The first article I ever wrote on this site was an analysis for a VN: Katawa Shoujo. Since then, and even before, I’ve always joked around saying how crazy it would be to have a legitimate degree in visual novels. I can’t exactly give people a degree, but I can teach a class which I think is much more important (though society at large doesn’t necessarily agree). 

The plan is to create online lectures for everyone’s consumption. The rate will be 1 video per week for [x] amount of weeks. I haven’t decided on the exact time frame yet. I’ll upload the lectures to YouTube and the transcript to this site. If I can, I’m also thinking of livestreaming the lectures beforehand so people can interact. Don’t hold me to that though since I don’t know how my setup will fare. 

Let me make this clear though. This will essentially be a 101 course. It doesn’t teach how to make VNs. It goes over the components of VNs, what you should keep in mind, gives good tips, and provides locations for various resources. If there’s a desire for more, that’s when I can branch out into more advanced courses. For now, I want to keep the material as accessible as possible. This 101 course will be completely free for all with no conditions. I have a whole syllabus made already but still need to see if the order of the topics is good. 

Doesn’t this sound fun? I think so! I’ll need to get used to hearing my own voice in playbacks, but that’s a problem for me. Before I end this article, I’m gonna give myself wiggle room. Don’t expect this before summer and it may take even longer than that. I wanna make sure everything is as high a quality as I can make it. 

What do you think though? Are you interested in VNs? Will you be tuning in? Maybe even interacting if it’s live? I sure hope so.

Fate/Grand Order – Babylonia EP 20 – Critiques & Physics

This article contains spoilers for Fate/Grand Order: Camelot, Babylonia, and Solomon. 

*Author’s Note Post-Writing: I worked a lot more on this article than I thought I would. I think it’s my longest article so far. Weird seeing how it’s an episode review. Kinda. It turned into a full blown analysis… Also, there’s some cool math down below.

An episode review? That’s a first for me, but I really want to talk about Episode 20. Is there enough material to even consider writing something for a singular episode (relative to how I usually write)? You have no idea. If you’re not too big a fan of Babyonia, don’t worry! This is probably my last article on it unless Episode 21 is exceptional. The third Heaven’s Feel movie and Camelot movies on the other hand… 

Listen. I loved Episode 20, I really did; but I wouldn’t be writing this if that was all. I have some major gripes as a general anime watcher and as an FGO player. Let’s get started.

What Went Wrong?

It hurts to critique, but there are some obvious flaws about the anime in general that are accentuated in Episode 20. The top two among them: the music and quality of art. These two things are fundamentally important and viewer impressions are based, in large part, on them. That’s why the Episode is such a mixed bag of emotions.

MUSIC

I’ll bang out the complaints about music straightaway since it’s a simple critique: there’s not enough variety. This might be because I’ve heard a lot of the tracks in FGO (they remix FGO OSTs or put in hints of the original score for some songs), but I still think they’re reusing some tracks way too much. It’s not like any of them are bad, but they’re far from standout. Prover and Tell Me by Milet work really well as inserts, but what’s the equivalent to, say, the Unlimited Blade Works track or The Sword of Promised Victory?

ART & ANIMATION

Same as the music, there’s not a lot of bad animation. It’s just that there were very noticeable dips which detracted from the overall experience. CloverWorks took an all-or-nothing approach and, in this instance, it didn’t work for me. King Hassan’s appearance was the most egregious. In fact, all scenes he was in lacked that impact FGO players loved him for. 

Compare this close-up shot from Episode 19 to the one in Episode 20:

They’re worlds apart and it’s really disappointing that Gramps doesn’t appear in consistent high-quality. He’s a Grand, a servant summoned specifically to fight a Beast. Yet, all he really does is apply the concept of death to Tiamat in a moment that goes by quickly. This isn’t the absolute, no-nonsense, powerhouse, master swordsman we know him to be. 

He clouded the skies in Camelot, completely nullifying the Gift granted to Gawain by Rhongomyniad. During that time, Gawain couldn’t lay a finger on him. Then, when Gramps cleared it as his assistance was no longer needed, Gawain still couldn’t touch him. The only reason he wasn’t killed was because of Gramps’ adherence to the Lord’s code. Do you know how powerful Gawain is? His swordsmanship is the best of the Round Table, matched only by Lancelot and far above Artoria. In Fate/Extella, under the light of the sun, only Karna can match him. Yet, Gramps doesn’t look great at all. 

Another scene that looked pretty bad was Fujimaru’s action scene, where you can tell that the budget was diverted. It doesn’t help that the scene the budget was diverted to occurs at the same time which results in the juxtaposition of high and low quality. 

Again, I’m not blaming CloverWorks for this, but I do find the lack of quality to be interesting. Isolate Fujimaru’s scene from Ereshkigal’s. If CloverWorks produces mediocre (or bad) quality scenes, it doesn’t usually look like that. From what I’ve seen in their Babylonia adaptation, they still retain flow even if they have to abandon detail. It’s peculiar that this is the exception.

I also had a slight problem with Gilgamesh’s Gate of Babylon, specifically when his Archer variant is first introduced and he’s firing downward upon her. It just looked like the projectiles were going too slow. (I have a picture a bit farther below) That said, it was an extreme wide shot so perhaps it’s merely perception. But I’m not satisfied with that theory so I decided to do some math.

In FGO Material IV, Tiamat is said to have a height of 60+ meters when in her draconic form. I’m uncertain as to whether this is her height while on her hind legs or on all fours. I’ll calculate both:

Assuming She’s 60+ Meters on Her Hind Legs

(Also Generously Assuming No Contraction of Her Legs)

To calculate the speed at which Gil’s treasures are fired, we can use the simple formula:

Velocity = Distance/Time

Speed is our unknown and the Distance is at least 60 meters. All we need now is time and we can find speed. 

This the scene I was talking about up there.

I recorded the time it took for a projectile to go off-screen, starting at the height of Tiamat’s head. These were the values recorded:

0.88 seconds

0.75 seconds

0.97 seconds

0.62 seconds

0.74 seconds

That gives an average time of 0.792 seconds. Put that into the formula:

Velocity = 60 meters / 0.792 seconds

Which gives us an approximate answer of 75.7576 meters per second. I’m not that used to the metric system for daily life though so let’s convert to imperial by multiplying by 2.237. That gives us 169.4649 miles per hour. As a reminder, that’s a minimum since her height is 60+ meters. Therefore, Gil’s treasures travel at a speed of >169.4949 mph or >75.7576 meters per second.

Assuming She’s 60+ Meters on All Fours

(Still Generously Assuming No Contraction of Her Legs)

This is a bit more difficult to calculate since we need to find the individual length of her legs. Difficult, but not impossible.

Using a CG from the game, I quickly scribbled and wrote up proportions.

Since green is her height in pixels, and we know her height in meters, we can convert. 

628 pixels = 60 meters

1 pixel ≈ 0.0955 meters 

Therefore, the length of her leg:

427 x 0.0955 = 40.7785 meters

Add those together in order to simulate her approximate height when standing on hind legs and we get 100.7785 meters.

Apply this once again to the Velocity formula:

Velocity = 100.7785 meters / 0.792 seconds

Which gives us an approximate answer of 127.2456 meters per second. Convert to imperial and that’s 284.6403 miles per hour.

That sounds really impressive. It is. But even more impressive is the fact that some of his treasures are able to achieve fighter jet speeds. Anyway, I concede the point this time. Gil’s weapons are really fast and it’s the extreme wide shot messing me up. Good job CloverWorks.

NOTABLE ADAPTATION DIFFERENCES

Fujimaru didn’t do anything in the mobile game. He commanded his servants, but he certainly didn’t STAB TIAMAT IN THE HEAD. That’s fucking ridiculous. And you know what? I don’t know if I hate it or love it. It’s a cool scene because we see Gil’s treasures are batshit overpowered and Fujimaru gets his own hero moment, but he isn’t that type of hero at all. 

Another thing I can’t make heads or tails about: Gramps biting the head off a Lahmu. WHAT?! That has never been hinted at. EVER. It’s absurd! He’s King Hassan! I know that’s a title given to him, but… WHAT?! What maniac would think Gramps bites things to kill them?!

On a less serious note, Fou. Fou is adorable and I love him, but we got to see him use his powers a little prematurely. Until the end of Part 1 of FGO, we don’t know what or who he is. We don’t even know he’s special in any way. For Fou to teleport Fujimaru is unravelling the surprise a bit too early. Oh well. Solomon probably isn’t getting adapted anytime soon though so maybe they just gave us that as a bonus. 

Lastly, Fujimaru’s conversation with Tiamat. Love it. Don’t care that it wasn’t in the game. Anything we get with a sane Tiamat is beautiful and she’s beautiful and I love her. 


Now, I could make this article extremely long and talk about what I liked in-depth, but I’ll just touch base on them.

GENERAL

Tiamat’s CG looked a lot better than previous episodes.

The SFX sounded great and a lot more varied.

SPECIFIC

Ereshkigal’s Noble Phantasm was well used.

Ereshkigal’s death was beautiful. 

Merlin using Excalibur and alluding to his training Artoria was lovely.

Merlin’s NP itself was great. (But I’ve heard that “incantation” so many times in the game that I hate it.)

Gilgamesh using Ea is always a win. No holding back!

The conversation with Tiamat was amazing!


Long story short, I liked the episode. I feel iffy about some changes and a bit sad about the inconsistent quality, but it was undoubtedly enjoyable. Did you enjoy Babylonia? Did you play the game? Is Tiamat a waifu?

Fate/Grand Order – Absolute Demonc Front Babylonia – The Best of Humanity

*This article contains heavy spoilers for Fate/Grand Order – Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia.

Siduri is unequivocally the best character of Babylonia. In a cast filled with standouts, husbandos and waifus alike, she takes the spot for best character. Not best girl. Best character. This either sounds completely absurd to you or you fully agree with it. Let me explain.

Since we’re talking about the all star cast, let’s list them:

Gilgamesh

Enkidu

Merlin

Ishtar

Ereshkigal

Quetz

Gorgon

Ana

Mashu

King Hassan

Ushiwakamaru

Leonidas

Benkei

When I first wrote this list, I separated a few characters into another group since they weren’t as popular as Gil or Eresh. Yet, with these characters coming to life on screen, they’ve all garnered many more fans. (Even Benkei! A lot of his story was cut from the anime, but even he got a cool moment the audience loved). As a minor tangent, I think Quetz gained the second most fans from the adaptation. CloverWorks did a great job with her NP(s) and everyone was in awe. 

Who gained the most? Siduri. 

All F/GO players who have played through Babylonia beforehand know the tragedy of Siduri. We all remember her and what she did. Thus, we waited with dread about how poignant the anime’s portrayal of it would be. Miraculously, it was phenomenal. I’ll bear the flak if anyone disagrees, but I believe every player loved the beautiful scene. Would it hit as hard to non-FGO players? Actually, it’s very close.

Since Siduri was never introduced to players beforehand, all backstory and emotional attachment had to be formed in Babylonia’s narrative. That means her story arc starts and ends in Babylonia, leaving no room for people (even anime-only watchers) to get lost. There’s only one minor reason it wouldn’t be as impactful.

The Flashback of The White Flag

This was a small directing mistake that’s done a lot, but I’m not surprised. It’s the classic: “I don’t trust the audience.” They didn’t think we’d be able to connect Siduri’s initial waving of the flag (back in episode X to the Lahmu’s gesturing. These sorts of “mistakes” will most likely never be remedied as they’re somewhat useful. The entire reason it’s made so obvious is for less astute viewers to catch on. What that means for detail-oriented watchers though is that the reveal of Siduri being converted is wasted. Instead of the heartbreaking reveal and realization occuring at the end of Enkidu’s chase (which subverts the expectation of his death), it jumps the gun. 

I’ve said all that, but a tragic death doesn’t constitute being titled best character. Why is she so compelling? The answer is simply thus: she’s human. 


All of the cast that I listed were/are/can be servants. At the minimum, that means they have all gone through mythological trials and tribulations in their lives. Their lives have been meaningful enough to be recorded in history. Siduri has no great feats; however, she still fits comfortably among the heroes of old. Her actions, though not on a comparable scale, embodied heroism despite being a human with no special powers. [Let’s ignore MC-kun (Ritsuka Fujimaru) for now since he’s supposed to embody the player. Besides, even he has some ability as a magus, even if average.] 

The entire reason she died is because she chose to sacrifice herself for the people of Uruk. It wasn’t a spur of the moment decision. She knew that by leaving Gil’s side at the throne room, her death was cemented. She didn’t need his clairvoyance to know it either. 

Gilgamesh is described by Merlin as, “A judicator who tries to keep humans on a fair scale. That’s why he protects mankind, but he doesn’t favor individuals.” Yet, as Siduri proclaims that she will go assist with the evacuation of citizens, he shouts in disapproval. Does that sound like he doesn’t favor Siduri? No. That was a completely emotional outburst as he foresaw the outcome which doesn’t go unnoticed by her. In her mind, she accepts everything and with a smile that shows full understanding, Gilgamesh has no choice but to concede to her.

Even when Gilgamesh was a child who took the throne, she was there to watch over him. Even as Enkidu, a being devoid of a soul was brought in, she welcomed him with open arms. Even as Gil left Uruk to find immortality, she waited for him to return and maintained Uruk in the meantime. And when he finally did, she scolded him for shirking his duties and, in no uncertain terms, told him to do his job. She scolded him. I can’t express that enough. She is respected by all the citizens of Uruk as well as the gods and goddesses. When Ishtar and Gilgamesh threatened to fight each other once more in the Singularity, she stopped them easily with a few sentences. Let me remind you that Ishtar caused the death of Gil’s only friend, yet neither are able to oppose Siduri. 

Furthering how pure of heart Siduri was, let me clarify that it isn’t wrong to say she died twice over. While protecting the citizens, she died once as she was converted into a Lahmu. Then she died once more as a Lahmu. Through all of that, she retained her sense of self. Nothing could corrupt her. If you’re more familiar with these terms, it’s as if she was under Madness Enhancement but was able to control what she did. That’s literally Heracles levels of willpower as seen in Fate/Stay Night. Overall, she got little screen time. That said, every moment we did witness was as poignant as ever. 


Now that we’ve established who Siduri is, how do we incorporate a character like her into our own stories? 

First, we demonstrate hopelessness. We can see an abundance of examples of this everywhere in Babylonia. That’s literally what Babylonia is: a hopeless situation where the people of Uruk still continue to resist the gods. 

“I will say it once again. Uruk will fall! It is a fact that we can no longer change!” 

Gilgamesh, Fate/Grand Order – Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia, Episode 18

“Everyone has tried everything under the sun to get even this far. But it’s still not enough” 

Merlin, Fate/Grand Order – Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia, Episode 19

Second, carefully distinguish your character. Once you begin writing, you need to actively pay attention to the character you’re creating. Think back to Ritsuka Fujimaru and Benkei. They aren’t the same as Siduri. In the game, Fujimaru is depicted as a survivor who barely manages to scrape by. He’s performing his tasks out of necessity and survivor’s guilt; only later developing the courage to stand fast by meeting other servants. Hitachibou is also driven by guilt and regret about leaving Ushiwaka and Benkei. 

Siduri is unlike either. She didn’t help out of necessity or because she would feel guilty. She helped because that was her nature. To not be compassionate and selfless didn’t make sense to her. 

Third, watch your scale. A small reminder that characters specifically like Siduri are best left as side characters. What she did was, in the scope of the narrative, small. While she saved Enkidu, it isn’t as if she held back an army. She defeated three Lahmu that were playing around with their prey. Two were ambushed and the other traded stabs with her through the chest. 

*Also remember to plan out the history of a character too. It’ll have implications on the future, add depth, and allow you to get a better feel for them. 


What better way to end the article than with the special ED made for her? Both the visuals and song were used for this tribute and only recur when Siduri is mentioned. Undoubtedly, best character.

Defining My Waifus!

Still testing different schedules and stuff for the site. Probably will never stop testing. This time I wanted to write something that required a little less work than usual. Go read the article and stop reading this little author’s note.


What Does Being A Waifu Mean?

It’s subjective. Yeah, I know there’s an implied level of subjectivity when talking about entertainment, but waifu wars are dark and cruel things. Best not to take liberties just in case. So, with that said, all these things constitute what a waifu means to me. Revised title!

Defining My Waifus!

I’m actually pretty strict about calling a character my waifu and the number of waifus I can have. In a single series, I usually limit it to a single waifu who then gets the distinction of being best girl. Any more than that and the title of waifu gets distilled. In rare cases though, there are times when multiple characters all hold equally high waifu potential and thus are all waifus. More about that later. For now, let’s list off a few of my baseline waifu traits.

Appearance

I don’t have any restrictions about appearance (besides characters who show too much skin), but I usually divide waifus into two subcategories: cute or hot. To some people, these are somewhat interchangeable terms but to me, there’s a big separation. For example:

CUTE

Inaban from Kokoro Connect is a great waifu.

HOT

Carmilla from Fate/Grand Order – Check out the artist!

When there’s a cute waifu, she’s usually a bit younger than a hot waifu. They aren’t necessarily super developed physically either. This youthful appearance could be a result of the artstyle though and as such, waifus can be classified as both cute and hot due to fan art. Even outside of fan art though, there are waifus who ride the line in official art between cute and hot. This gives them bonus waifu points. Mashu is a great example of this. 

CUTE & HOT

Mashu from Fate/Grand Order – AKA Best Kouhai

As a rule of thumb, a good waifu looks unique. Even outside of their usual outfit, you can easily tell it’s them. This extends to a change of hairstyle as well. Therefore, even more bonus points for additional designs, canon or fan art!

Hm. What other things get bonus points for me… Oh. Right…

The ability to crossdress! This might be an interesting opinion, but I love a waifu that can pull off a suit.

Mordred from Fate – Check out the artist!

That might be a good transition for the next category-

PERSONALITY

Tomboys. I don’t know what sparked my love for them. I’m not gonna psychoanalyze it too much though. Just know that being a tomboy grants significant bonus points. In fact, most tomboys are the de facto best girls of a series. Just look at Nisekoi. Tsugumi was unequivocally the best girl and if you don’t agree? Well. Get off my site. (No, please! I don’t mean it. Not fully…)

Have you seen the overlap?

Partially in line with tomboys, a great waifu has that kick of sass and sarcasm. That doesn’t mean they don’t blush when you flirt, but that they flirt back through their embarrassment. They can tease you and don’t take bullshit lying down. So, surprise surprise, bonus points!

But that goes the other way too! That’s right! There are times when I need to detract waifu points! This might be a bit controversial, but I don’t want a waifu who needs protection. It’s a bit different than my dislike of the damsel in distress trope. With that, it’s more a disdain for the writer. With this, it’s a matter of my philosophy in regards to romance: In a relationship, there shouldn’t be dependence per se. Well, I’ll actually be writing something about romance soon so- No proper explanation here.

As a slight detour within the category, I love when characters have a distinguishable serious and comedic side to them. Seeing someone who’s usually so happy-go-lucky turn serious is an absolute boost to their waifu potential. 

Look. It’s Mordred from Fate again. Can you tell I love Mordred? Because I love Mordred.

What happens when multiple characters, after the addition and subtraction of waifu points, hold a similar level of waifu potential? It’s actually extremely rare. The only time there’s such a large cast of distinct female characters are usually harems which (99% of the time) are disqualified because they are boiled down to stereotypes. Either that or they’re fine with polygamy. (Is polygamy becoming a more accepted thing now? Not sure, but not my thing.) 

There’s an exception in the notorious harem: Infinite Stratos. Best girl- Charlotte Dunois!

Visual novels bypass this with their different routes. I can use Persona 5, a game with multiple waifus, since VN is used as a subgenre.

There are in fact 3 major waifus:

If you’ve heard of Persona 5, you may know that the cast is full of teenagers. However, those girls aren’t teenagers at all. I- Well. Chalk that up to my tastes again… Everyone knows a mature waifu is the best. Right? Mature waifus have that air of class and relaxation that inferior waifus don’t have. They aren’t awkward and are able to support themselves. I’m also a sucker for a slightly deeper voice. Thanks Miyuki Sawashiro.

There are others cases such as when a franchise becomes so vast that picking one sole waifu is impossible. I’m looking at you, Fate. THAT SAID! I can claim that characters are waifus; however, I truly have one waifu above all. MoMo.

So, what have we learned in this super educational article? My waifu tastes? Yes. Is that it? Probably.

Waifus are tragic because they’re fictional. Yet, that’s what makes them so great. They are an ideal that you can fall in love with. Any restrictions or stuff like that is decided by you. No matter who your waifu is, cherish them. What do you look for in waifu? Do you have any specific traits you love to bits?

Steam’s 2018 Policy Change – The Current State of Affairs

In June, it will be the 2nd Anniversary of Steam’s 2018 policy changes. With me sporadically coming back to my Curator, it’s time to assess the current state of the Steam Store in reference to VNs.

If you don’t know, my WordPress site isn’t the first presence I had on the internet. I initially started on Steam as a reviewer. Like all things, it began as a hobby. I never thought something would actually pan out from it but since September 2, 2015, its amassed a following of over 800 people. This led me to meet some amazing individuals like Tony Huo, Kitty Skies, Liah, Sam K., and groups like Fruitbat Factory, NekoNyan, and even SNK themselves. 

VNs and anime games in general were a very small collection on Steam when I started. There were few major titles and only a handful of indie games. Moreover, any VN that contained vaguely sexual content (including merely text) was heavily censored. This led to the selling of incomplete games, holes in dialogue covered up by patchwork if at all. To get this missing content, you’d need to leave the Steam site entirely, go to a different seller, buy the 18+ content and install it to the appropriate Steam directory. Sometimes, there wasn’t even an 18+ patch individually for sale and to get access to it, you needed to buy the complete game again uncensored. It’s for that reason that JAST, Denpasoft, and MangaGamer, were so popular.

The Fruit of Grisaia still doesn’t contain an on-site 18+ patch. Instead, you’ll need to head over to Denpasoft and buy the Unrated Version.

Eventually, more anime and VN content made it onto Steam and when it looked as if it was truly gaining traction, Steam started issuing mandatory censorship and even (in rare cases) takedown notices. That’s when the audience made itself known through the petition here. Sitting at 21,135 signatures, it was a fairly vocal cry and Valve soon made a response.

Regarding the issue of what constitutes a game, the portrayal of sexual content (both clearly in reference to VNs), politics, racism, gender, violence, identity, and how to assess the minimum standard of quality; they went back to their roots and stated:

Valve shouldn’t be the ones deciding this. If you’re a player, we shouldn’t be choosing for you what content you can or can’t buy. If you’re a developer, we shouldn’t be choosing what content you’re allowed to create. Those choices should be yours to make. Our role should be to provide systems and tools to support your efforts to make these choices for yourself, and to help you do it in a way that makes you feel comfortable.”

These words opened the floodgates for VNs from prominent publishers who had noticed the want of VNs. However, with those VNs, this broad approach from Valve allowed quite a number of developers with ill intent to litter the store with what I can only describe as utter garbage. This isn’t an attack at unoptimized or flawed games. Everyone makes bad games. Everyone’s a novice at some point. That isn’t what I mean. I’m talking about games that have no passion behind them. Games that are merely asset flips. Games that prey on audience expectations and offer nothing in return.

You can see Liah’s art on the left. In this case, she posted it as a free asset that you could complete monetize. However, it’s a complete waste for it to be used in Anime Girls Loot Box Simulator. All you do is select a “crazy job,” get currency, and open loot boxes which have more free art inside them. It doesn’t matter if the game only retails at $2.99 It’s terrible.

*Slight tangent, but as of the publishing date, Liah is going through some trouble with people charging money for art she made free to all people. Please show her some support.

It honestly sickens me because both users and other Curator groups do nothing about it. If offered a review copy, they praise it with honey coated words. Users too, ironic or not, boost games with positive reviews and you can’t help but to think Valve hasn’t cracked down hard enough on review bots and alt accounts (Admittedly, this is unfounded and evidence swings truth in the other direction). This only increases the chances a consumer buys a garbage product.


This was my perspective one year ago and looking at the current state of Steam, nothing has changed. Absolutely nothing. Not the Curator groups, not the dubious reviews, not the games. More high quality VN and anime games are available, but that doesn’t dismiss the others which should fall below the minimum standard of quality.

What to do then? What to do?

This isn’t a simple problem. Valve themselves, like I had mentioned, stated that the assessment of quality was difficult. To allocate more staff to that stage of game submission won’t help in assessment nor will it provide an adequate long-term solution. To tackle this is beyond me and I feel as if all I can do is express my dissatisfaction which is largely pointless. 

At this point, there exists Steam Labs which tries to recommend quality products among other experimental programs. Could that possibly solve the problem? If it offers only good products, then the low quality will still be allowed, but at the least it’s put to the side. It doesn’t sound great and that’s because it isn’t. New games without reviews, especially those self-published by indie developers, can sit without reviews for months. Even if they are reviewed, there needs to be more than a handful for Steam’s algorithm to give a proper rating. That means those games will be in limbo and if, by chance, it somehow manages to gain traction after so long, the developer will most likely have moved on to making their next project. 

My main issue once again is this: Low quality games are brought onto Steam.

The problem we’re faced with then is: Quality can’t be properly assessed.

With an inexhaustible amount of resources, we can go a route like this:

When a game is submitted to Steam, after the safety (Whether it contains malicious software) is ascertained, the type of game it’s supposed to be should be noted.

This is then sent to a group of players who are experienced with the noted genre. These serve as a sample of the overall Steam population. Those not familiar with the genre (or at varying levels of experience of knowledge) should also be part of the sample so it’s fully representative.

After [X] amount of playtime, their opinions are recorded and this determines whether the game will pass. *Those in the sample must be fully aware that their own opinion of a game’s content and the quality of the game are not one in the same. 

Developers should receive this feedback (Regardless of whether the test is passed or not). If it didn’t pass, developers may try again in [x] amount of days/months. If the product is continually submitted with no attempts at improvement, it’s removed from the pool and not to be considered.

Theoretically, this would be decent. The thing is, we don’t have infinite resources nor an infinite amount of time in which testers can play. Thus, the submission process would slow down infinitely and cause a constant backlog. More games are submitted to Steam than we know and even an hour of playtime is extensive. Moreover, a loosely similar system exists already on Steam: Early Access. This is the only way enough playtesters could even be found. After years of it being in existence and with the sample size being the whole community, it’s clear that this isn’t a good option and very easy to exploit. 

I’m extremely tempted to say that the solution to be found has to do with community approval, but that was tried too in the now faded Steam Greenlight. It’s irrelevant that most Greenlight products had no test or demo builds. It’s still open to exploitation. 

Honestly, I don’t have a clue. For most intents and purposes, I’m a reviewer that knows psychology. I’m out of my depth in tackling a platform wide problem. Still, it’s really irritating. This is the second article I’ve ended without giving a good answer. I’m certain Valve has thought about this extensively and have determined the best course of action is doubling down on personalized recommendations and promoting products deemed good by the community. It just doesn’t sit right with me though…

If you have an answer or suggestion, I’d love to hear it. It would be great if we could bring more attention to this because I think these low quality games are something we like to keep out of sight, out of mind. Maybe it isn’t a problem? Who knows? What do you think?

Hopefully, I’ll be able to follow up on this article with more concrete and less idealistic answers.