Paleozoic Within the Flesh

Duel 02; Utena vs Saionji; “Choix”

Cambrian. Ordovician. Silurian. Devonian. Carboniferous. Permian.

Paleozoic!

Stromatolite, Lycopodium, Selaginella, Trilobites.

Ammonite!

https://i1.wp.com/www.fossilmuseum.net/Fossil-Pictures/Ammonites/Ammonite-5/Ammonite-5-1024.jpg

Okay, so in less excited terms, the first list (Cambrian…Permian) are all parts of the Paleozoic Era, which precedes the Mesozoic Era (Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, which are also listed in the song). The second list are all critters or plants from the Paleozoic Era. Ammonite is the creature whose perspective it is in the second half of the song. “Rose of the sea. Lily of the sea. Apple of the sea. Bud of the sea.” “Paleozoic Within the Flesh.”
So what we know about this song is that it’s talking about ancient creatures and times, all of which are extinct.

Get the hint now? Extinction is the theme of this? Hmm… How does that relate to this battle?

Well, from my perspective this is then about Saionji. He had the Rose Bride for a time, but now, to her he is extinct. She belongs to Utena now. This whole battle is Saionji trying to deny the fact that she doesn’t actually have feelings for him. But ultimately, he is extinct.

Phew! That one was a lot simpler.

Hint: There is more, but I’ll talk about that in Miki’s duel song…

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When? Where? Who? Which?

Duel 01; Saionji vs Utena; “Amitié”

I kind of wish I had tried to interpret this song before watching the rest of the show. Here in the first episode of Revolutionary Girl Utena, all we know about Himemiya is that she is submissive and involved in this mystical, semi-magical association with the student council and other shady figures to be the rose bride and the prize of duels. From the best I can tell this song is foreshadowing what we learn about Himemiya throughout the rest of the show.

First, much of the song seems to be set in a first person, and while it’d be hard to tell just from what we would have known about Himemiya at this point that the person is Himemiya. Why do I say this song is from the perspective of Himemiya? Well, allow me to explain!

Now, I looked at multiple translations and there were some inconsistencies, but the most significant line in my opinion is, “kioku no ori no chi no nagare sennen shifuku no yurikago no” Which has been translated in the official? subs and by a translator on animelyrics.com (http://www.animelyrics.com/anime/utena/rguwwww.htm) respectively as:

“I am an actor / Just like the sphinx / in the eternal winter desert” or “I am an actor cast eternally / as a Sphinx in the desert winter”

The Sphinx is a mythical creature which exists in both Egyptian and Greek mythology. In the former, it is seen as benevolent but powerful. In the latter, it is seen as cruel and powerful. It’s difficult to say which is being referred to here, but I’m not certain that it is entirely relevant. The word that I think implies it doesn’t matter which it is would be “eternal” or “eternally.” Himemiya, as we learn later, is kind of this fairytale character who never ages and is potentially immortal. I think the reference to a Sphinx is more in that we have statues of a Sphinx that exist today, making it thousands of years old, and that Himemiya has been living as an actor in the “desert winter” for thousands of years.

In either translation, to me the more important part of the line is the desert winter. These two words individually have a connotation of loneliness, which I don’t think when put together is lost. Each refers to a separation from others, a spiritual coldness if not a literal one. This metaphor is helped by the use of the word actor, which can be used as a separator from the rest of the world. Someone who is an actor is not being true to themselves, they are simply playing the role they have been assigned.
Now, put these two pieces together and the core idea is, “I am immortal and alienated.”

Anthy photo RevolutionaryGirlUtena-Anthy_zps1b722186-1.jpg

This may be the standout line to me, but I thing the rest of the song backs this concept up. “You know the winds of sadness” or “Now you know the sad winds?” Wind has the implication of transience, so maybe this is saying something about a sad past? Jumping back to the first line, “The flow of blood of memories” or “The flowing blood from the cage of memory” gives, to me, a similar feeling. Our consistent words here are blood, flowing, and memory. So how are memories and blood comparable in their flowingness? Both are unique to an individual (blood type; what memories we have) and are transient in nature (we lose blood and memories easily). The forlorn observation of the transience of life that these lines convey are similar to A. Himemiya’s story and B. the line about the Sphinx.

The two translations disagree on where the third paragraph begins, but the core of what that paragraph is saying is “Born into the world! / Born into the moment! / Over and over again!” and “Born into the world; born in an instant / To repeat again.” At the end of the Utena TV series it is revealed that Utena’s journey has been made before by others, meaning a repetition of Himemiya’s story. Himemiya is being metaphorically born into the world over and over again to fill her role as the Rose Bride. This reiterates the immortality and jadedness to reality that the rest of the song seems to portray.

Before someone tells me that by the end of the show, Himemiya has changed, I know. I should have clarified: this song is from Himemiya’s perspective at the beginning of the show and from before the show. Himemiya is seeing Utena and thinking to herself, “This is just another duelist.” She doesn’t feel inspired yet from their friendship. All she feels is that coldness.

https://i1.wp.com/i73.photobucket.com/albums/i232/YamPuff/anthy-1.jpg

SO. That was a lot of reading into some esoteric and possibly symbolic but hard to tell lyrics of a duel in Revolutionary Girl Utena (Hey! Esoteric and possibly symbolic but sometimes hard to tell is like, the whole of Utena)! Mind you, this is entirely my own interpretation and the thought process I went through when reading and thinking about these lyrics. You can find an English translation of all the Revolutionary Girl Utena songs on animelyrics.com/anime/utena. No promises, but if you liked this I might make more!

Red Conquest as a MOBA

I think the core game mechanics of Red Conquest could be really interesting for a new MOBA game. Here’s why:

So the first thing that would come to your attention is that everything that isn’t a planet moves. Let’s make this a two-hero per team map, but three people per team. That third person could be the controller. You have two people using a hero with an ability set, and a third person who is directing where to position turrets within their side of the map to keep certain positions more secure. Also, aside from the map corners there are no hard barriers in Red Conquest. What if there were two lanes and asteroid fields in between and the controller had to position the turrets to watch for an opposing hero sneaking through? I’m imagining something like Foosball where you have a few lines that the turrets can be at and the controller would position the turrets along said lines. Maybe when your team takes an inhibitor, the controller can decide what super creeps are spawned? Maybe the controller can opt to skip a creep wave and devote money from that creep wave to repairing a turret?

All of these are just potential ideas. I think the core mechanics that set Red Conquest apart from other RTS would make an adaptation of it as a MOBA really interesting. I can come up with a billion other features this Green Siege or whatever you’ll call it would have. Anyway, short follow-up post to Red Conquest in general since while the idea of having all units in motion is not unique to this game, that combined with its other features give it a special niche in the RTS world.

Red Conquest – A Slice of my Childhood

Hello everyone! I was never much of a mobile app gamer, but there was a single game that I really did enjoy and play for hours: Red Conquest. This is a real-time strategy (RTS) game that is really awesome and I’d have loved to see a computer version of. It is set up like Starcraft or any other RTS where you start with just a base or maybe a base and a few troops and have to build your army and conquer your opponents.

Some of the features that make this game stand out include the fact that there are no squares. Like, seriously, everything you make just floats around in space. This means that everything you build is a unit, even if it exists to produce other units. Also, different races have different supply caps and production capabilities, meaning that the Zergiest race has extra incentive to win early and the Protossiest race has extra incentive to take its time. Since it was made as a mobile app, the supply caps are pretty low and the games are very short compared to most other RTS games. The tech tree is simplified mostly to the point that you can create one or two units and have all other options available.

https://i2.wp.com/www.touchmyapps.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/review-red-conquest-zoomout.jpg

So aside from game play I think it’s still a pretty great game.  The graphics are unconventional and make you really feel like you’re in space. Most of the units are transparent. Hey, in fact, the first time I used Photoshop was making my own fan ship (hehe, not the usual kind of ship I make) that I could imagine being in the game. The cut scenes, while pretty simple and with little animation, are pretty interesting too. Everything has a geometrical and abstract look in the game, which I consider a huge pro since I’m a massive fan of abstract art.

https://i0.wp.com/images.catinaboxgames.com/gallery/rcq/unit-types.jpg

Oh! And don’t get me started on the music. Even the less gripping songs are WAY better than any other app’s music I have heard, and there are a couple tracks in particular that I can easily say are my favorite game songs comparable to anything from Undertale or Ib.

So bottom line, this game is old and there aren’t any new updates (to my knowledge) that have been made in a while aside from making it compatible with the new iOS. Regardless, for a couple dollars this game is definitely worth your money if you like RTS games as a genre and would consider buying an RTS as a mobile app. I’ve never seen anybody on the multiplayer mode to play with, but there is a multiplayer mode out there if you and some friends want to organize something.

Even if you’re not really into RTS games I would still say get it, since it costs next to nothing and is so well-made for a completely indie mobile app.

 

P.S. I did some snooping around to see if I could buy the soundtrack. From everywhere I looked it has not been released, but I’ll give y’all a hint and say that on Mac, while your iPhone / iPad is plugged in, go to the Apps and right click on Red Conquest. One of the options that will pop up is “Show in Finder.” If you open the file for the app with archive utility, you should be able to see the files within the app. There’s a little more to go from there, but I’m sure you can figure it out after that. 😉

P.P.S. The most updated blog for the developers of this game is http://ciabsidequest.tumblr.com/

The Sleepy Residents of Birdcage Manor: Quick Take

This is going to be a bit different from other posts. It’s just a simple, straightforward review.

The Sleepy Residents of Birdcage Manor, a manga and novel, starts off with a group of girls who you quickly learn are kind of awful people. They go around tempting men to steal their money and even go so far as to attack one of their members when she announces she’s quitting. But soon you’ll find that this has little to do with the real story. The Sleepy Residents of Birdcage Manor

A. takes place in Birdcage Manor, and

B. is about the residents of Birdcage Manor. These girls are neither of these, aside from the main character.

Hehe. Anyway, I’ve only read the manga, but it’s a pretty interesting shoujo romance manga that reminds me in a way I just can’t place of Paradise Kiss and Kuragehime. I suppose the comparison to Kuragehime is a bit clearer – the two potential romantic attractions are brothers, one with black hair and one with blonde, and one crossdresses. Regardless, I loved both Paradise Kiss and Kuragehime, so the comparable vibes made this enjoyable simply from its similarity. I’d go so far as to say that even though I just labeled this as shoujo romance, this really isn’t shoujo. Some of the the more important themes are making a living, suicide, and trauma. This isn’t some lighthearted melodrama.

So there you go! Quick, hopefully not as rambling as I usually am. Tada!