Pokémon Adventures Round 8

Writer: Hidenori Kusaka
Artist: Mato

Misty is rich! And has maids! And the maids eat at the table with her! But where are her parents?

Misty takes Red home after the Mt Moon encounter and wants to discuss a strategy for taking out Team Rocket, but he’s too full of himself to listen. That night, she secretly attacks him with her Gyarados to prove a point. The next day, he insists on taking on the “moron” Cerulean City Gym leader, not realising it is Misty! She takes him down with her Starmie, but bemoans that she isn’t strong enough to fight Team Rocket alone. The two agree to train together to hone the skills they’ll need and, a few days later, Red continues on his journey – with a shiny new Cascade Badge!

So… Misty is rich?!

What I enjoyed most about this Round was the contrast between Misty, a Gym leader, and Red, a trainer. Regular trainers are out on their own quests, their own adventures, but Gym leaders see a bigger picture and must consider a broader range of issues. Misty knows enough to realise that just because they were able to beat the grunts at Mt Moon it doesn’t mean they’ll be able to beat every Team Rocket member they face… but Red barely sees past himself.

What I disliked the most was the feeling that Gyms are pretty isolated. In the games, the Pokémon League encompasses the Gym system plus the Elite Four. Presumably, Gyms are accredited, their leaders appointed and in some form of contact with one another to maintain standards – we see this in the games when Gym leaders are amazed the player has a badge from a different Gym, and in the pre-requisite for fighting the Elite Four being the attainment of all eight regional Gym badges. But here, it seems like Gyms are self-governing, isolated bodies… so I’m not surprised that Misty has no idea a fellow Gym leader is a leader in Team Rocket, or that the Elite Four are evil. That’s disappointing.

Pokémon Adventures Round 7

Writer: Kusaka Hidenori
Artist: Mato

What what what what? Was that Koga, as a leader in Team Rocket?!

Red and Misty have reached Mt Moon in their quest for a Moon Stone, but oddly need to use Flash, which apparently Red’s Pikachu can do. There’s at least one Diglett in Mt Moon, too, which is a bit different to the Generation I games!

They stumble across some Rocket grunts, one of whom commands a Rhyhorn. The lead Rocket grunt uses an injection of some sort to evolve the Rhyhorn into Rhydon and Misty attacks it with Staryu, but is knocked unconscious by Rhydon’s Drill Horn. Red uses his Pikachu to easily defeat the Rockets, the leader of whom (the trainer of Rhydon) takes off his mask to reveal his face as Koga.

Outside Mt Moon, Red reveals that he pocketed a Moon Stone during the battle.

My favourite element of the Round was the apparent revelation that Koga is in Team Rocket. He hasn’t been named yet, but it clearly appears to be him. He has a very distinctive hairstyle. But Koga isn’t the sort to train a Rhyhorn… that said, they are available at the Safari Zone at Fuchsia City, where Koga is the Gym leader, so it sort of makes sense.

My least favourite element was how Red was again able to defeat Rock/Ground-type Pokémon with his Pikachu. How? Pikachu used its tail to cut a massive chunk out of the cave ceiling, which I could potentially attribute to being Iron Tail or something, I guess. It is a Steel-type move – but Steel wasn’t introduced until Generation II – and we have no idea how Pikachu would know it, but it did know Flash, so… you know… Steel is effective against Rock, which would make it all make sense. But that’s a lot of assumptions.

Pokémon Adventures Round 6

Writer: Kusaka Hidenori
Artist: Mato

A rampaging Gyarados has attacked the route between Pewter City and Mt Moon, and Misty and her Staryu are struggling to control it when Red and his Bulbasaur arrive to save the day! While Red delays the Gyarados with Bulbasaur’s Leech Seed, Staryu recovers and the four team up to stop and capture Gyarados. When Red wonders what a water-type Pokémon would be doing in that area, Misty reveals it belongs to her, but was stolen and turned malevolent.

It raises a few questions, most notably how Red could capture the Gyarados if a) Misty was its trainer and never released it; and b) if it already had a trainer other than Misty who also hadn’t released it. Odd indeed.

At a Pokémon Center, Red and Misty contact Professor Oak via PC and he explains that he thinks Team Rocket is behind it, and that by travelling to Mt Moon and finding a Moon Stone, Red might be able to derail the villain team’s plans. Misty decides to go with him, as it is on the way back to Cerulean City and she wants to know who got her Gyarados and how they made it go berserk.

The thing I liked most about this round was seeing that Misty was familiar with moves and types beyond water. She’s exclusively a water-type trainer in the games (although Gyarados obviously bucks this trend, being Flying-type as well) but it shows what a Gym leader really needs – broad knowledge of Pokémon, moves and types. Especially after Red is surprised at the idea of her going to Mt Moon and she mentions that she trains Water-types and Mt Moon contains mostly Rock-types – Red doesn’t yet know she’s a Gym leader, and is surprised by her knowledge, presumably ’cause she’s a girl. It’s great to see that she’s one of the most knowledgeable characters in the manga so far.

What I liked least was Gyarados managing to break free of Leech Seed. It doesn’t do a Rapid Spin or use Haze, which to my knowledge are the only methods of breaking free from it (unless the Pokémon is controlled by a trainer and gets swapped out). Given the attention to battling mechanics elsewhere in the round, this seems like a jarring oversight.

Robotech #3

Writer: Brian Wood
Penciler: Marco Turini
Publisher: Titan Comics

Okay, so I have two questions.

Where did the giant fish come from? Was that in the anime? Rick and Minmei don’t even seem remotely concerned that there was a giant fish floating around in space that they could eat.

Rick and Minmei were in the unused cargo bay… for two weeks?! What did they do for two weeks? Wouldn’t they stink? Where did they go to the toilet? I don’t remember such a long wait from what little I recall of the anime…

Otherwise, this continues to be great. I love the art. I love that I don’t remember enough of the anime to recall what happens next, but also that the bits I do remember seem to be being told a little bit differently here, enough to make this interesting even for rabid fans who remember every skerrick of the anime.

I really can’t fault this comic in any way, and it has me champing at the bit to watch Robotech again… but it is pretty low on the queue at the moment.

I’m very (I want to say Veritech instead of very) excited for the next issue now, and can’t wait to see how full-scale space combat gets handled in the art.

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge

Author: Mem Fox
Illustrator: Julie Vivas
Publisher: Scholastic Australia

ISBN: 933-0-3030-0308-0

Oh, now I remember this book. Never been a big fan.

Kid lives next to an old folks’ home. Gets on well with the old folks, but likes once in particular, because she has four names – just like him. Weird reason to like someone. He tells her all his secrets, which works well, because she’s lost her memory.

He asks his parents and the old folks what a “memory” is, and rather than give him a proper answer, they give him stupid, affected ones. He then does acts on this, finding things that much what they describe, and giving them to the old lady – who gets her memory back as a result.

Except, you know, she doesn’t.

The book confuses “memory” and “a memory” repeatedly. That’s fine when people are misinforming the boy about what a memory is, but doesn’t work when it claims the woman got her memory back – she actually simply recalled some individual memories, with aids.

I’m not a fan of books that mislead kids about things. This has no nefarious purpose behind it, but aside from saying “Hey, be nice to people!”, there isn’t a message – if the characters in the book answered questions sensibly, it could have had that message and one about memory, memories and why they may be important to and for people.

New The Sims 2 Setup

I’ve played The Sims 4. I really liked it; I couldn’t stand The Sims 3, and felt it really missed the point of The Sims, but The Sims 4 was quite good. I liked most of the new features, especially being able to accompany Sims on some Careers, but some of the new features weren’t to my liking. There was too much of an emphasis on playing as one Sim, rather than on household management and the like. It felt overall like a remake of The Sims 2 (and somehow needed less advanced hardware than The Sims 3) and if I could have turned off a handful of features it would have been a keeper.

But now I’m back to The Sims 2. I’ll let The Sims 4 percolate at the back of my mind and may play it again, but for now, The Sims 2 is the key.

I’m starting a whole new suburb: SimBurb!

Frank Wilson and his wife, Rebecca, have moved to an entirely undeveloped area. Frank wants to raise animals, and Rebecca wants to build an Education haven. But not long after that, Frank’s old nemesis, Joseph Guerrera, arrives with his wife, Marisa!

As always, my “rules” for the world vary depending on the specific characters. However, this place has a backstory! As a new settlement, the place needs to be developed and defended. So the base rules are:

  • All newly created Sims start in the pre-packaged blue “Ranch” 2BR 1BA house.
  • All Teen Sims must get a job in the Military career track as compulsory military service.
  • Teen Sims who reach adulthood with a school report of C or D must remain in the Military career and move to the Military Barracks lot as an adult.
  • Sims who were forced into the Military career due to school performance can retire if they reach the top of the track (General) but there must always be at least one General (meaning none can retire unless there is another one).
  • Sims who were forced into the Military career due to school performance can move off-barracks if they reach the rank of Astronaut.
  • Sims’ primary (Teen) Aspiration is selected based on their Skills and Personality, but Secondary Aspiration (only selected once the other three Rewards categories are filled) will always be Family, unless another rule prohibits it.

Career unlocks:

  • A Sim who becomes Mayor (top of the Politics career track) can set rules based on race/gender/personality, but there may only be one Mayor (if a new Sim reaches Mayor, the previous one must retire).
  • Sims can not open Business lots unless they are at least Senior Manager (Level 6) of the Business career.
  • A gaol will be opened once a Sim reaches the penultimate level of the Law Enforcement career (Police Chief). There may be only one Police Chief at a time (if a new Sim becomes Police Chief, the previous must retire or become Gaoler.)
  • Servos can only be built or sold by Sims that are or have been Mad Scientists (top of the Science career), however Servos can build Servos unless another rule prohibits it.
  • Sims may only become Witches or Warlocks if friends with a Cult Leader, and there may only be one Cult Leader at a time (if a new Sim becomes Cult Leader, the previous one must retire and cease any magick).
  • Sims may only become Werewolves or Vampires if enemies with a current or former Cult Leader, and only by enemies.
  • A university will only be opened once a Sim has become Education Minister and there may be only one Education Minister at a time (the previous one must retire).

Rules:

  • The rules for the gaol will be at the discretion of the current Police Chief Sim, based on his or her predisposition and relationships.
  • Rules for university attendance will be determined by the current or most recent Education Minister, based on his or her predisposition and relationships.
  • Mayors may fire Police Chiefs, Gaolers and Education Ministers but they may not “appoint” new ones.
  • Servos, Werewolves, Vampires and Plantsims are treated as races, along with Caucasian, Latino and Black for the purposes of any rules that affect race, although generally Werewolves, Vampires and Plantsims will be lumped together as one group.

Whenever rules change as a result of Sims’ achievements in careers, etc., I’ll post the new rules here.

There are also monthly events which may introduce temporary rule changes.

Seasons:

  • At all times, the in-game season will be the real-world Season in Australia.

Events (so far):

  • October 2017: Halloween
  • November 2017: Thanksgiving
  • First half of December 2017, second half of January 2018: Christmas and New Year

Uchuu Sentai Kyuuranger Space 22

My word!

What great gloriousness was that?

Gigant Houou, the Houou Station and their combined form have got to be the greatest mecha ever in the history of Super Sentai. Manabiru has got to be one of the most awesome monsters-of-the-week, too!

But… well…

I don’t like Ootori Tsurugi, right? We’ve covered this. I think at this point we’re supposed to dislike him. Fine. But the things he brings to the show are pretty spectacular. The thing is… I’d rather be without those things than accept him.

And that is how we know this show is utter genius. The staff behind this series have thought of basically everything. They’ve pre-empted all of my concerns, and I am about as critical a Super Sentai fan as they come.

Now, don’t get me wrong – as much as I love this show, I don’t like it’s “sore thumb” relationship to continuity. Next year I want a proper Super Sentai series in the proper Super Sentai continuity. But as an occasional thing? This is just amazing.

I basically can’t fault the show at this point. Even the things I dislike are handled in such a way that I see their essential utility to the show, so I can’t say the show would be better without them.

You win this year, Toei!