a tale of the wind

Not a Poem a Day, 22nd January 2018.

Of my autistic son.

.

If you were a pomegranate,

I would peel away your leathered skin,

and find inside; jewels, juice, ruby depths,

and little seeds. Pith, bitter to the tongue.

But seeds and seeds, wrapped in wonder,

so hard to win, but sweet to the victorious.


If you were a jungle cat,

I would sit and watch your soft-pawed tread,

and watch your eyes to see a world I wish to reach,

an unmapped place of seas and caves,

and darkling thoughts, and stealth, and love,

and love the deepest thing of all.


If you were a book,

I would lie and tuck you by my side,

and puzzle out your palimpsest of words,

and find you have no chapter ends, no notes,

but that your tale is long and uncompared for wit,

and winding deep, and soft, and true.


But there you are, a boy,

and winding deep, and sweet, and

wrapped in wonder, full of love,

unmapped and uncompared.

Studio Ghibli films the signs should be watching rn

aries: tales from earthsea

taurus: the wind rises

gemini: whisper of the heart 

cancer: My Neighbor Totoro

leo: howls moving castle 

virgo: the secret world of arrietty

libra: spirited away

scorpio: princess mononoke

sagittarius: ponyo

capricorn: when marnie was there 

aquarius: kiki’s delivery service  

pisces:castle in the sky 

How many have you read?

The BBC estimates that most people will only read 6 books out of the 100 listed below. Reblog this and bold the titles you’ve read.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkein
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffeneger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchel
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

The signs as ghibli quotes
  • Aries: "The rough stone is inside you. You have to find it and then polish it" (Whisper of the Heart)
  • Taurus: "But even a couple of losers can survive most things if they’re together" (My Neighbours The Yamadas)
  • Gemini: "Inspiration unlocks the future" (The Wind Rises)
  • Cancer: "Once you've met someone, you never really forget them" (Spirited Away)
  • Leo: "A heart's a heavy burden" (Howl's Moving Castle)
  • Virgo: "No matter how many weapons you have, no matter how great your technology might be, the world cannot live without love" (Castle in the Sky)
  • Libra: "We each need to find our own inspiration. Sometimes it's not easy" (Kiki's Delivery Service)
  • Scorpio: "Deny death and you deny life" (Tales From Earthsea)
  • Sagittarius: "Everybody try laughing. Then whatever scares you will go away" (My Neighbour Totoro)
  • Capricorn: "The earth speaks to all of us, and if we listen, we can understand" (Castle in the Sky)
  • Aquarius: "You cannot alter your fate. However, you can rise to meet it" (Princess Mononoke)
  • Pisces: "Life is suffering. It is hard. The world is cursed. But still, you find reasons to keep living" (Princess Mononoke)
Blake from MiiVerse is the gift that keeps on giving

This man is a god.  His great works, in no particular order:

EDIT: I just found out that Blake has a Tumblr.  Credit where it’s due- neilnevins

Sea Witchery: a Brief Overview

Originally posted by mermaids-luv

At the request of so many followers, I have decided to mock up a little bit of information on Sea Magick and Sea Witchery.  This is just a brief overview to give you some information when wanting to research or begin working with the ocean, storms, the tides, and the many creatures associated with the sea. 

However, I will caution you that the many sea creatures (especially the Merfolk) are not very forgiving creatures, thus they can be pretty tough to handle for beginner, baby witches.  It takes an experience sea hag to get them to cooperate properly, so keep this in mind when studying them.

Once again, this is a brief overview and introduction to my craft and path.  if you have any questions, you can direct them to me via PM or ASK.

Let’s get started!

WHAT IS A SEA WITCH?

Traditionally, sea witches are witches who appear among sailors or others involved in the seafaring trade. Sea witches use witchcraft related to the moon, tides, and the weather, and are believed to have complete control over the seas. Many sailors fell prey to the sea witches curse on ships and were finally delivered to the one who rules all.  In some folklore, sea witches are described as phantoms, ghosts,or in the form of a mermaid. These creatures would then have the power to control the fates of ships and seamen.

As the name implies, sea witches are believed to be able to control many aspects of nature relating to water, most commonly the ocean or sea. However, in more modern times, sea witches can also practice witchcraft on or near any source of water: lakes, rivers, bath tubs, or even simply a bowl of salt water.

In addition to their powers over water, sea witches could often control the wind. A common feature of many tales was a rope tied into three knots, which witches often sold to sailors to aid them on a voyage. Pulling the first knot could yield a gentle, southeasterly wind, while pulling two could generate a strong northerly wind.

Sea witches often improvise on what they have, rather than making purchases from a store or from another person. Common tools include clam, scallop, or oyster shells in place of bowls or cauldrons. Other items include seaweed, fishing net, shells, sea grass, driftwood, pieces of sea glass, and even sand.

Other types of titles they use are: sirens, water witches, storm witches, and sea hags.

DO SEA WITCHES HAVE CERTAIN PERSONALITY TRAITS?

Eh, there isn’t really a specific type of person the sea calls to, however I have met many sea witches that would be described as walking contradictions.  Much like the sea, we can be quite flexible, but also forceful.  Moods tend to fluctuate with the tides and lunar cycle.  Hags both enjoy and love music and poetry; are quite expressive with their emotions, but also don’t easily award entry into their hearts; and can easily win the attention of a crowd, but then seek solitude in the comfort of their own homes.  You would be hard-pressed to find a stagnant sea witch–they’ll always be on the move, searching and discovering.  However, be warned: if you fall in love with one you must understand that a sea hag’s heart belongs to the Sea first and foremost, forever and always, and it calls to them over the span of lifetimes.

WHERE DOES THEIR POWER COME FROM?

For the most part, sea witches draw their power directly from the source: the Ocean.  You’ll find that many of them, even landlocked sea hags, have trinkets from the shore and enjoy baths, storms, and the moonlight.  Of course, there are many different kinds of sea witches all over the world and it really just depends on what seafaring folk culture they subscribe to that determines their power source.

DO SEA WITCHES HAVE SPECIFIC DEITIES THEY WORSHIP?

I am not even lying–there are HUNDREDS upon HUNDREDS of water and sea deities that sea witches call upon for aid and worship.  Probably the most popular would be Poseidon, Neptune, Lir, Gong-Gong, Hapi, Sobek,  Agwé, Aegaeon, Delphin, the Gorgons, Samundra, Pariacaca, Watatsumi, Rongomai, Njord, Nix, and even Davey Jones.

One of the beauties of being a sea witch is that you can call on many ancient and powerful deities to aid you in your craft.  However, I do advise that you make sure that these deities do not come from a culture/religion/belief system that is closed.  You can check out a full list of water/sea/storm deities here.

WHAT ARE SOME TOOLS SEA WITCHES USE?

*TAKES A DEEP BREATH*

Water (salt, fresh, or storm), sand, sea shells and cockles, sea glass, driftwood, ship wood, compasses, maps, mirrors, bowls and chalices, sea weed, sea grass, fish and fish bones, coral, telescopes, sand dollars, pearls, bath salts/bombs/goodies, sea salt, linen, umbrellas and mops, windchimes, ropes, weather vanes, and blood are just some of the few tools we use in our practice.

TELL US ABOUT MERMAIDS!

The Mer or Merfolk are probably one of the more popular topics when it comes to sea witchery.  I get questions all the time like “DO YOU TALK TO MERMAIDS?” or “HOW CAN I GET A MERMAID TO BEFRIEND ME?” or “AREN’T MERMAIDS JUST THE COOLEST?”

The Merfolk are an integral part of sea witch culture, but they aren’t the end all be all when it comes to water spirits/fae/demons/entities.  There are so many to work with and all have interesting backstories.  But let’s talk about the Merfolk for a moment…

Depending to what you school you subscribe to, the Merfolk (also known as mermaids) could be fae, demon, or simply water spirits.  Some believe that  the Merfolk are a species of kithain (also known as changeling or fae.) Ancient and unknowable, the Merfolk pose something of a problem to both fae and human alike. The arrogance of the mer is tempered only by their truly alien natures.  The Merfolk claim that they are the sole legacy of the Tuatha De Danann, the oldest fae on Earth, dreamed long before any human ever set foot on land. When curious people ask how this could be, the merfolk are disconcertingly vague and ambiguous.

As I have stated before on the blog, the Merfolk are certainly an odd lot. The product of a totally alien mindset, the mer are simultaneously deadly, serious and playful, highly ritualized and completely free spirited, repressed and yet libidinous as a drunken prom date. The first thing one will notice about a mer is his incredible arrogance. Of course, as far as they are concerned, they have every right to be arrogant. After all, in their minds, they do rule the world.

Other mythologies tell us that mermaids are the bane of seamen.  These half-fish, half-women lured countless sailors to their deaths. Breathtakingly beautiful humans from their torso-upwards, their lower bodies where those of fish, complete with scales. Men find their songs irresistible and follow them willingly into the sea. Mermaids can be caught and held in exchange for the wishes they grant. The males of the species, Mermen, are regarded as vicious creatures who raised storms for the purpose of sinking men’s ships.  Occasionally they are successfully courted by human men. The offspring of such pairings are often granted great powers in healing by their mothers.

In short, mermaids are extremely beautiful, temperamental, powerful, and dangerous.  They are not to be confused with Sirens, either, and find contempt at the very accusation.  I will probably go into more detail about Merfolk magic in a different post.

WHAT ARE OTHER WATER SPIRITS THAT WE CAN WORK WITH?

Again, like the deities, there are so many different kinds of water spirits and this topic in of itself could be an entire article.  So, here is a brief list and some traits about my favorites…

SIRENS

In Greek mythology, the Sirens (Greek singular: Σειρήν Seirēn; Greek plural: Σειρῆνες Seirēnes) were dangerous creatures, who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. Roman poets placed them on some small islands called Sirenum scopuli. In some later, rationalized traditions, the literal geography of the “flowery” island of Anthemoessa was somewhere tucked in a cape, with rocky shores and cliffsides.

Sirens were believed to combine women and birds in various ways. In early Greek art, Sirens were represented as birds with large women’s heads, bird feathers and scaly feet. Later, they were represented as female figures with the legs of birds, with or without wings, playing a variety of musical instruments, especially harps.

UNDINES

These are the elemental spirits of water. Their magic centers upon this element, whose course and function they can control. Undines exist within the water itself and cannot be seen with normal human vision. Their homes are typically within the coral caves in lakes or upon the banks of rivers, though smaller undines may choose to live under lily pads. Their appearance is similar to human beings in most cases, with the exception of those living in smaller streams or ponds. Undine clothing is shimmery, reflecting all the colors of water though green is typically the predominant color.Every body of water is home to undines, from ocean waves, to rocky pools, to marshlands, to rivers, to lakes and ponds. Even waterfalls and fountains have an undine living in their midst.

SELKIES

The shapeshifting selkies, who are also known as silkies or roane (Gaelic for seal), occupy the seas surrounding the Orkney and Shetland isles. The exact nature of their undersea world is uncertain, though some believe it to be encased in giant air bubbles. Their true forms are those of faeries or humans, though they take the form of large seals when traveling the through the oceans. In particular: great seals and grey seals are said to take human forms. Older tales tell that selkies are only able to take on human forms on certain nights of the year, such as Midsummer’s Eve or All Hallows.

Occasionally they encounter humankind, sometimes becoming their mates. A human male may take a selkie female as his wife if he finds her seal skin on the beach and hides it from her. In the end she always recovers the skin and returns to the sea, though she may return occasionally to watch over her human family from the safety of the waves.

A human woman may bear the child of a selkie male if she weeps seven tears or seven drops of blood in the nighttime sea. Such relationships are rarely lasting. Seven years hence, the selkie would return for his child, offering the mother a fee for nursing her own babe.

BEANSIDHE/BANSHEE

One of the most dreaded and best known of the Irish faeries is the Banshee, properly named the Beansidhe literally, “woman fairy.” The Irish have many names for her (perhaps they feared invocation of her true name may invoke her presence?) They included: Washer of the Shrouds, Washer at the Banks, Washer at the Ford and the Little Washer of Sorrow. The Scottish called her Cointeach, literally “one who keens.” To the cornish she was Cyhiraeth and to the Welsh either Cyoerraeth or Gwrach y Rhibyn, which translates as “Hag of the Dribble” (to the Welsh she sometimes appear as a male). In Brittany her name is Eur-Cunnere Noe.

The Beansidhe is an extremely beautiful faery, possessing long, flowing hair, red eyes (due to continuous weeping) and light complexions. They typically donn green dresses with gray cloaks. Their wailing foretells of a death nearby, though it never causes such a death (which is why they are wrongly feared.) 

As her other names might suggest, she frequently appears as a washerwoman at the banks of streams. In these cases, she is called the Bean Nighe (pronounced “ben-neeyah”). The clothing she washed takes different forms depending upon the legend. Sometimes it is burial shrouds, others it is the bloodstained clothing of those who will soon die. This particular version of the Bean Sidhe is Scottish in origin and unlike the Irish version, she is extremely ugly, sometimes described as having a single nostril, one large buck tooth, webbed feet and extremely long breasts, which she must throw over her shoulders to prevent them getting in the way of her washing . Her long stringy hair is partially covered with a hood and a white gown or shroud is her main wardrobe. The skin of the Beansidhe is often wet and slimy as if she had just been pulled from a moss covered lake. They are rumored to be the ghosts of women who died in childbirth and will continue to wash until the day they should have died. The keening music of Irish wakes, called caoine, is said to have been derived from the wails of the Beansidhe.

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON TO TAKE AWAY FROM THIS?

The Sea giveth and the Sea taketh away.  The sea is both mother and reaper, passionate and cold, serene and turbulent, loving and cruel, generous and vicious.  And if you meet a sea witch, you’ll know this to be true:

Neither chains of steel, nor chains of love, can keep her from the Sea.

The Tale of The Three Sisters

…who were traveling along a lonely, winding road at twilight.

Though the sisters shared a name, they did not share a heart.

The eldest sister had a dark heart. 

She relished in cruelty and pain, in the power it gave her.

The second sister had a rebellious heart. 

She believed in love, hoping it would grant her the freedom she was desperate for.

The third and youngest sister had a wise heart.

She was strong, but reserved, and knew when to be silent.

There were once three sisters who were traveling along a lonely, winding road at twilight.

To be continued…

My thoughts and opinions on Xenoblade Chronicles 2 thus far.

The game’s only about a month and a half away from being released, and Super Mario Odyssey releases in just about a week. These are two of my most anticipated games for the Switch. Now, it’s pretty obvious that nearly everyone’s really excited for Odyssey. 

But as for Xenoblade 2…not so much. 

From the artstyle, and character designs, and the voice acting…lots of fans and gamers alike are pretty much giving it The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker treatment. From Youtube comments, social media sites, and game message boards…many fans weren’t happy with it. I was one of those people when the game was first announced. I kinda thought the artstyle looked way too generic, anime, and similar as to games like Tales of Berseria.

However, I did some research and mostly figured out as to why Xenoblade 2 looks the way it does. In the most recent interview with Monolithsoft director/writer, Tetsuya Takahashi said a couple of things as the reason he chose the direction he made with the game.

The Tone:


Let’s start with the overall tone of the story. No doubt that the bright and cheery look of the game has thrown off many people into thinking the plot will be “kiddy” or “generic, shonen, harem, fanservice, etc.” trash. All Xeno games up to this point has stories that were more serious, dark, and adult themed. This here ties in with what Takahashi has to say:


“A young adult story with a taste of boy-meets-girl. Lately it feels like all I’ve been doing are games full of devastation, like where your hometown burns down at the start, or the spaceship you’re riding crashes (oh wait, that is all I ever do). Sometimes I just wanna try something different! I’ll leave the stories about the solemn old men and stylish hot guys to someone else (even though there’s way more demand for that stuff), and go ahead with this.”

“ I want to make something that people can look back on fondly one day as something that really shaped their lives. Something like what I loved as a boy, like Oliver! (by Carol Reed) and Galaxy Express 999 (by Rintaro). — That’s why I started working on this game. “


So it seemed that Takahashi wanted to try his hands on making a more light-hearted, character-driven plot. Which mostly explains the more brighter tone of Xenoblade 2. He draws inspiration from this due to some young adult/coming-of-age books and films he experienced as a kid. Mostly in his case, the 1968 musical, family drama film Oliver!, and the 1977 adventure, space western anime Galaxy Express 999.

In addition, we’ve been getting quite a few JRPGs this year in the similar tones that Takahashi mentioned. 

While it would be nice to have Xenoblade 2 following this trend, I can kinda understand where Takahashi’s coming from. As someone inspiring to become a writer myself, making the different story with the same tone and setting can be tiresome. Sometimes the creators just wanna to go with something different. even if their fans won’t like it.Plus, making original stories in this day and age is pretty hard to do. 


People who’ve read tons of books, watched a lot of story-driven cartoons, movies,or anime, or even play many plot-heavy video games for years already know so many tropes and cliches these days. Writers have to borrow some old tropes from movies and such from the past, and figure out ways to add a unique twist to it. Sometimes it succeeds, while other times it fails. And this is pretty much the similar route Takahashi’s going with.


Sure the story might end up being “shonen,” but knowing the guy…I’m sure the story might end up being good. I can’t say for certain why, but I do have some faith in him. Speaking of such, let me explain the next thing many people have against Xenoblade 2.


The Artstyle/Characters:


If it’s no surprise, Xenoblade 2 has a cast of a mostly kids group instead of young adult and such. Which sets a lot of people off, and makes them think that the cast might not be as likable. Especially the main character, Rex himself. And no, this isn’t about his pants. No matter how ridiculous they seem.

Many gamers nowadays come to conclusions that having a young kid or teenager as the protagonist is a sign of something bad. Mostly due to the fact that they might be whiny, bratty, or angsty. But before I dive deeper into this topic, let me talk the main character of the original Xenoblade, Shulk.

There was a time in JRPGs last gen where many main characters would end up being too unlikeable. They were either very one-dimenional, oblivious, annoying, idiotic, cowardly, or overly negative with zero character development. Takahashi’s goal for Shulk was to make a more likable and relatable protagonist than in most JRPGs. He was originally going to be a silent protagonist, but Takahashi rejected that idea. 


He figured in order to make Shulk a more likeable protagonist, Takahashi tried giving Shulk a bit more of positive interactions and words of encouragement, especially in battle. Takahashi tried to make Shulk react much like he thought players would react to the scenarios. This was followed by giving him a bit more of a intelligent personality so he could interact with the world and characters better. Takahashi even took advantage of getting feedback from the Super Mario Club, whose assured that his intake for Shulk was positive.


Unfortunately, Shulk’s character got mixed reception from game reviewers. Some saying that he was pretty darn enjoyable with a fantastic voice actor and character growth, while others saying that he was rather “a  vanilla, personality-less, unequivocally bland warrior” who “makes other JRPG heroes look like Marlon friggin’ Brando.


However, Shulk does get pretty great responses from the fandom these days. Mostly getting praise for not being an idiotic, whiny brat, or some emo-ish ultra hot obnoxious macho man…who’s very mature, intelligent, and quick-to-the-bone instead.


For the most part, I’m one of those people as well. While Shulk may have seem bland or generic form an outside stand point, playing the game for myself, I was actually surprised by how likable and down-to-earth Shulk was. His interactions with some of the cast was nice as well. For example, with Reyn, him and Shulk felt like real close friends. Brothers even. With Dunban, Shulk looked up to him as a mentor and a hero. Dickson also felt like a father figure to him. Shulk wan’t just some one-dimensional character…he felt like a real person. This, lead by his incredible voice acting, made Shulk one of my favorite JRPG protagonist of all time.


It’s just too bad the Super Smash Bros. version of himself gets a bad rep.


Now where was I…? 

Oh yeah, Rex.


Now it’s no surprise that compared to the more mature/older main characters from the previous games, Shulk and Elma, many people think Rex will probably be some annoying, bratty, angst kid like I said. And as I said before, this is the issue people have with making a kid as the protagonist in JRPGs nowadays.


Although, thinking about what Takahashi said about trying to make Shulk a likable protagonist, I think I can see Rex being handled in a similar manner. For a better example of a kid protagonist done right, Oliver from Ni No Kuni is one of them.

Some of the things I liked about Oliver was his honesty, determination, courage, kindness, strong sense of justice, and character development. He never strikes me as the whiny/bratty type when I got deeper into the game. He stroked me as a brave and sweet kid. And while he may not be the best JRPG protagonist out there, I really did like how his personality and character was handled, especially for someone his age.



I think I could see Rex being as well-developed in a similar way, especially with Takahashi saying that he’s a lot more mature than people let on. But only time can tell how Rex’s character will be handled, since we know very little about him.


Speaking of characters, let’s talk about the artstyle. 

This is the major thing Xenoblade 2 gets a lot of flack about. Compared to the more realistic styles from Xenoblade 1 and X, going to a more “childish” anime look was a major kneejerk to a lot of fans. It’s no surprise that a lot of JRPGs these days are going in for more anime-esque artstyle to gain popularity, which is getting a lot of negative response. Fire Emblem Awakening and Fates being prime examples of this.

It’s no surprise to the older side of the FE fandom out there that the reasons Awakening and Fates get so much popularity is due to the fact that the games went in a more anime-ish approach with the characters and story, while making the games easier for newcomers to play…this choice made the veterans real upset about the direction the series has been going in lately.

And despite Shadows of Valentia going for a more classic approach with the characters and story, the gameplay and lack of many support conversations made the game not sell as much as the previous titles.


The anime artstyle approach that Xenoblade 2′s going with is making the fandom feel the same way. However Takahashi had this to say about the  artstyle change:


“Targeting a wider audience was one of our goals but we wanted to make it to where the characters had more facial expressions. Masatsugu Saito’s character design is a way to make the protagonists more expressive.”


For those of you who don’t know Masatsugu Saito, he was the guy that did the animation for the CGI anime film, Escape From Paradise.


As far as video game designs, I think he only did one character design for Fire Emblem Awkening, which was Celica.

Not sure if this counts, but I believe this is the first time he’s designed characters in a video game. 


Many see this a negative thing, but I think the reason Takahashi chose Saito was probably for the eyes.

In most games, using cel-shading artstyle can be a way to make the character a lot more expressive. Which I think might be a good thing, because if you can recall in Xenoblade X, the characters expression in cut-scenes mostly stayed the same. 


This was a major issue lots of fans and myself had with this game. While there were cinematic cut-scenes, the characters mostly had expressions like this 75% of the time, compared to how much more expressions there were in Xenoblade 1. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the characters in X, I was just mostly disappointed in the lack more expressions in the cut-scenes. And the more realistic visuals, heavy focus of exploration with the lack of a proper main story were probably to blame for this.

Whereas in Xenoblade 2, the characters show more a lot more expressions. The eyes and the artstyle help this out for the most part. 

Visuals also getting improvements for not just the lighting and shading, but also for the facial expressions. While this may not change a lot of minds about how they feel with the art direction in the game…let me show another game that’s gone though a similar processes.


The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.


This is a game that received a massive amount of negativity for a reason.

Before Wind Waker was announced, Nintendo showed a tech demo in 2000 about how a Zelda game would look on the GCN. This was something Zelda fans were excited for the realistic look. It was every OOT/MM fan’s dreams…but alas…they’re hopes and reams were crushed when Nintendo showed…


This.

The Wind Waker’s cartoony artstyle made Zelda fans cry and scream in rage like never before. Everyone thought that Nintendo was losing their touch. Of course, despite the positive reviews the game got, hardcore Zelda lovers still weren’t interested. Of course, over 10 yeard from now, many people now consider the game to be an ageless classic despite some gamers still not a fan of the artystyle


Later in the years after Wind Waker was out, fans rejoiced when Nintendo announced the more realistic The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.


While I enjoy both The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess for different reasons, and I promise this isn’t a WW vs. TP debate, I will say there is one aspect I loved in The Wind Waker more:


Toon Link’s facial expressions. 


This easily is one of the reasons why I love this version of Link. Nintendo chose this artstyle to a similar reason of Takahashi’s, to make the characters more expressive. And they nailed it. Even without any dialogue, Toon Link’s face would speak for itself. I could tell if Link was happy, sad, scared, shocked, meme worthy, or even annoyed just by his facial expressions alone. They couldn’t have done something like this in a more realistic artstyle as much.


And this is the same thing with Xenoblade 2. Had they used a more realistic style, the characters wouldn’t be as expressive. Do I still think Monolith Soft could’ve went with a different artstyle? Yes, but now I understand why they went with this style.


TL;DR 


I’m really hoping people will give Xenoblade 2 a chance, instead of giving it The Wind Waker treatment. Yes, the graphics and character designs aren’t the best…but honesty, did the previous Xenoblade games get any praise though for those similar issues?

C’mon now…let’s be real here…

But hey, at least Xenoblade 2 still follows the trend of having some freaking gorgeous environments. Combine that with the gameplay and music, and I’m cautiously optimistic for this game along with Super Mario Odyssey. Don’t let me down, Monolith!


Additional Notice:

Also..the cutscenes in this game look freaking awesome.

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Studio Ghibli (1986 - 2014) (Click images for better quality!)
↳ Ghibli means ‘hot wind blowing through the Sahara Desert’. The name was used for Italian scouting airplanes during World War II. Miyazaki, who loves airplanes (and Italy), named his studio after it.

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Ghibli Art