How it started, why it ended, and what to expect from the reboot
Over the past month the followers of this blog have quadrupled (wow) and many of you are asking “why did you end Thermohalia?”. Since I deleted the thermohalia tumblr a while back, a lot of those explanatory posts have been lost, so I figured I give everyone more context about what happened. Here we go!
Random Tip: Begin your campaign with a by-the-numbers story arc.
My office 5e campaign just wrapped up it’s first major story-arc. There are still threads that can be followed up on, and there are indications of a greater threat in the world of Edhenon– but we came to a satisfying resolution on a goal the players have spent four levels trying to accomplish.
The arc was pretty generic: The characters were attempting to join an adventuring guild in the city. There were side treks and mini-missions involved in that, but everything was built on gearing for their initiation event.
This required very little brainpower as Dungeon Master- Generic bad guys, generic macguffins, generic “Help us!” situations.
Over the last few months of play, the players have been able to learn about and fine-tune their characters personalities and their wants*, and I’ve able to quietly absorb all of that information. Now, as I’m setting things up for a second major arc, I’m filled to the brim with ideas on how to make their lives more interesting, and the consequences more personal.
The training wheels are off, and I can now hurt much more than the characters’ HP.
(*Player Pro-Tip: What your character wants is so much more important than your backstory. I’ve seen players fill up pages with backstory, and no idea of their personal direction forward. Don’t be that player!)
I’m kind of obsessed with the Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon manga (or Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon for those who prefer the Japanese title) and Naoko Takeuchi is ace at drawing kisses. I wanted to see all of the kisses in one place, so I decided to make a master post. I’ll be listing them all from beginning to end, with what Act and story arc they belong in. So… enjoy! (This is a REALLY long post, so I’m putting it under a “read more”)
Robin: Diabolical! How would you like it if I followed you everywhere and listened in on your conversations!
Batman: You do.
Super Sons #5 - a nice breather episode after the last one. Jon and Damian are both grounded, Jon ends sneaking up to talk with Damian because he hates moving….and of course, they’re arguing. This leads to both Alfred giving them a nice lecture on how their fathers couldn’t stand each other for years. And then fathers themselves showing up to talk to them. It’s actually a sweet epilogue to the first story arc, ending on both Super Sons being allowed to have their own adventures…as long as they stay together.
This is a recipe for a disaster. Hilarious disaster but a disaster none the less.
The first story arc reaches an epic finale in volume 6, as Richard Aldana decides to move into the lion’s den to rescue Marianne and Adrian. He brings H and Cristo with him. Cristo will have his face revealed by the way, and trust me, you’ll be surprised.
Last Man 6 is as spectacular and addictive as ever. At the end there’s a huge cliffhanger leading into the second story arc. Unfortunately, much to my dismay, First Second Books has decided to quit. It’s probably due to low sales. The American audience was probably equally puzzled as the Dutch and Flemish by this amalgamation of styles and genres. Unfortunately so, because it really is one of the greatest comics of recent years. The fact that First Second Books decided to include the last 40 pages or so, rather than cut it short to give it a happy ending, gives me a sliver of hope that they might pick it up again if the upcoming game and television series manage to put the franchise back on the map. Until then, I can only hope Reprodukt—the german publisher—has more succes and will continue beyond issue 6.
rules: reimagine your founder (or a sim you made as an adult) as a teen! maybe even on prom night? & tag ‘the edge of sims’
Willow was bullied pretty severely as a kid. I guess Apple Loosa Pie just wasn’t the place to be for a young, homeless catgirl… She spent a good portion of her childhood trying to embrace her catty tendencies, like her mother did, but she just couldn’t handle the bullying. By the time she was 14, she was smashing her ears down under a hat and hiding her nose the best that she could with makeup. It didn’t help; nothing did. Still, she hoped that one day she could move away and stop being known as “Willow the weird cat.”
Many great writers have worked on Birds of Prey. It’s an all woman hero team and a title that features Black Canary without focusing on her relationship with Green Arrow. Definitely check out Gail Simone’s run, which starts with #56 and goes through #108. Here’s Simone’s first Birds of Prey story arc, OF LIKE MINDS.
ComiXologist, captain of the digital editors, and die-hard Black Canary fan Jen made sure this title was included in our recs! She says, “It’s an out of continuity book by Paul Dini of Batman: The Animated Series fame. It feels like the characters from pre-New 52 with a team up between Zatanna and Black Canary. A really good one shot that begins and ends, so it’s nice to have the full story in one book from start to finish. This was published as a completed graphic novel rather than in single issues, and has some great bonus sketches in the back. A great place to start to get to know the character, in my opinion.”
There is so much I want to say about this play, but unfortunately all those things are major spoilers!! So I will refrain from doing that for now. So read on without fear, I’ll give a warning when the spoilers are coming up.
This play in one word: AWESOME!!
I have absolutely no regrets about staying this long in Japan and paying 10,000 yen just to see this play! At this point there is absolutely nothing I can complain about, I enjoyed this play from start to end!
CAST With half of the cast being from the previous play, and the other half being new to the team… things can go horribly wrong, or perfectly right… Thankfully it was the latter one. The old cast expanded on their existing characters and the new cast did a wonderful job at establishing themselves! Sure, it took me a moment to get used to the new cast, but… I can only say they did a wonderful job!
STAGE I loved this stage… They have a lot more moving props this time to created different places. It’s done really well! I actually have a photo of the “Honmaru” setting I took before the show started… (but it’s on my phone, so I can’t show it right now) Aside from that we have moving bushes, screens with projections and… folding screens…
SONGS/ MUSIC Like the previous play we’re welcomed with an opening song, and the play ends with a closing song… Both of these songs, I loved them! I may like these better than the ones from the Honnouji play, but I’d have to hear them more often. At the very least I can say I absolutely loved the dance routine! ^o^// They looked so cool! For the music they used a mix of old and new soundtracks. Which was pretty nice actually. Gave a bit of a nostalgic feel to certain moments. I’ve got to admit I don’t remember much of the soundtrack though. Let’s say that wasn’t really the thing I focused on. But, the fact I don’t remember it probably means it was a pretty good soundtrack and went really well with the event on stage.
STORY Story-wise I guess this musical was split in two parts. One part focusing on Sayo’s past and his struggles with it. Which is mostly a Sayo/ Yamanbagiri focused plot with Kasen butting in whenever he can and Ookurikara being pulled in by Sayo against his will. And the other part focused on keeping history straight. Which is mostly Mikazuki/ Tsurumaru/ Kasen/ Ookurikara/ Mitsutada/ Sada, but also has some Manba-chan and Sayo included, especially in the first act. Both story arcs were incredibly enjoyable to watch in my opinion.
So, the play starts off with a flash-forward
like the previous play. (which I didn’t realize until somewhere in the 2nd act, but…) And then the focus returns to the citadel, where Sayo’s story is set up, everyone sings and dances and we’re introduced to the new characters. I’m not going to go too much into detail, because honestly. I feel like the story is way to complex for that. After I watched the Musical (Mihotose no Komoriuta) I more or less could remember the flow of the story. For this one, I do remember the flow of the story, but I have absolutely no idea in what order everything happened. Mostly because you keep switching between different story lines. If you’re watching the play that’s not a problem, if you try to puzzle it back together from the top of your head, it is.
Anyway, all I can say with certainty: They really upped the comedy for this musical!! And it was awesome! Especially the first act is a really great mix of comedy and seriousness. Second act is a bit more serious, but then you have Mikazuki coming by and, well… xD Also, without going into the details… in this play we don’t get a War council scene (like in Honnouji), but… remember how in the Touken Ranbu Hanamaru anime you have this one episode where they have thing song about making Udon…? Well, they won’t be singing, but expect something similar! It’s hilarious! (And then they’ll take it a step further in one of the final scenes of the play! Look forward to it!)
And here ends my (mostly) spoiler-free review, now let me go into the bits that make this play absolutely awesome. WARNING MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!!
For the love of god, if you’re going to watch this play in the theater and haven’t spoiled yourself yet, please stay away from the next section. You’re going to enjoy it so much more if you don’t know what’s coming!! (I even would like to tell people who are waiting for the DMM live-stream or DVD release to stay away, but I suppose you’ll be spoiled anyway by that time, but…)
The first story arc will involve getting the “band” back together. “It’s kind of funny calling them the Runaways because it’s not like they’re the Avengers or the X-Men. They were not formed with a mission and a purpose. They’re just kids who ended up in the same boat,” Rowell said. “At the beginning of this series they are scattered to the four winds and half of them are dead. One of the challenges now is who are they when they’re apart? They got thrown together, but now they’ve been pulled apart. They’re trying to figure out who they really are without each other… This arc is very much about them choosing to be together.”
I’m tired of the Mon-el hate really, some argument are on point, sure (CW pretty white male cliche, replacing the black love interest,…), but it’s too far too soon. I have my share of NOTPs and male characters I loath (mainly Hook/CS) but seriously Mon-el/Karamel is nowhere near that level.
It’s not toxic, it’s not abusive, he does take no for an answer and gave Kara space, he wasn’t angry at the rejection (what make me dislike Winn so much in S1). Mon-el isn’t a “vilain who whant to change only to get in Kara’s pants”, he respect her and her feelings, he still want to be her partner, he was honest and nice. We saw plenty of times that Kara and Mon-el are really at ease with each other, he’s fun, he never “force” himself on her, he makes her laught, they trained together, they’re friends, he didn’t fall in love in 2 days, it was gradually, he’s in awe of her. He see her as a mentor, he’s learning from her, to me it’s not the “bad boy changes for the good girl” trope, Kara is really the hope/light that make people wanna be better, she inspires people and even if she doesn’t want anything to do with him romantically, he will still go down that road
I don’t agree with people saying he’s taking over Kara’s story. First, the arc/season isn’t over and second, Kara training someone and being a mentor was always supposed to be her destiny (with Kal-el). It’s a big part of HER story, how she can gives hope to other, how she can inspire them, how seeing her fight like she does (even without power) can push other poeple to do more (Mon-el, James, Lena, etc.) Daxam, Mon-el/Lar Gand/Valor, Daxamites etc. are part of the “Super” Universe with Supergirl, Superman, Krypton, Kryptonians etc. they are part of Kara’s story. Even if Mon-el is in the middle of it, it’s still a big comics Supergirl story and I’m super excited for it (that’s why I love DC shows to begin with, the universe and all those comics stories). So I don’t believe in reducing it to the romantic aspect, we’ll see at the end of the season/arc of course (and I’ve been hurt before ….*cough* Dark Swan “arc” *cough*), I can be wrong, but I kinda trust the Supergirl writers and I really can’t wait fore more!
Anyway, all of this to say that while I get why some people might not like him, I don’t get the true loathing part. I think it’s way over the top. He’s not at all that bad.
I have another crazy Watanabe-sensei Yowamshi Pedal psychoanalysis. In my last rant about Imaizumi’s lost love, I mentioned Teshima and Aoyagi, and how they represented the abilities of the author. Someone asked me what I meant by that, and I guess I’ll write down what I’ve thought about T2 so far while reading the comic: T2 are his abilities.
*Teshima is how the author sees his abilities as a cyclist.
*Aoyagi is how the author sees his abilities as an artist.
I’ll try to back these claims up with evidence below. When Teshima first met Aoyagi, they were both on the lower end of average and could barely keep up with everyone else.
Aoyagi is a sprinter (Watanabe is known for his very quick drawing style…usually done drawing for the day before noon and then his assistants clean it all up). His problem is that he overdoes it and gets overwhemled very easily. He looks up to Todokoro senpai with a sense of longing: he wants to be bigger, flashier, skillful, and number one! He also is talented but has no inspiration, and is almost completely mute. Without Teshima, he cannot express himself to others in his world. Early on in the comic, he can only express himself to the reader through his smart-ass facial expressions and that can only be drawn, not written. Aoyagi mentions later in the comic when he starts to talk more, that he would be nowhere without Teshima’s dreams. Oh yeah, and in the Pedal universe he is also an excellent artist as well with a perfect score in illustration class. More than once in the universe, he is depicted as an artist. Canonically, his favorite activity outside of cycling is visiting art galleries.
Teshima is an average cyclist, but believes he has no natural talent. He thrives on wanting to be an elite, and his desperate longing to do so is really the only thing keeping him in the game. In order to stay relevant in the biking world as more than an average cyclist, he needs Aoyagi’s talent. Teshima takes storytelling initiative: He meets people, does impressions, is a natural leader and wants to ultimately help others. Watanabe has said himself that “Teshima is the character that fires him up/is the character that he wants to become, because he himself is average (in regards to cycling).” I don’t need to psychoanalyze that Teshima is supposed to represent his abilities as a cyclist, because he admits it with his words! Also, and this is huge supportive evidence of what I’m talking about: Watanabe himself rides a Cannondale, and that’s Teshima’s bike!
This pair likely represents the fact that Sensei is a biking star mostly because of his drawing skills in regards to Yowamushi Pedal (Teshima needs Aoyagi), but without cycling on a regular basis, he would have nothing to draw, and no story to tell (Aoyagi needs Teshima). At the moment he sees himself as a manga-ka and an athlete, and neither without both. His abilities are a team of two.
If the evidence for the two characters being art and cycling is strong enough, you can see the author using them to overcome some struggles:
The fact that Aoyagi is always on the podium while Teshima is the one who planned out his strategy signifies his booming success as a manga-ka but with biking as the entire base of it. When his artistic manifestation Aoyagi has guilt over being the consistent winner between the two of them, Teshima takes his hand and tells him that the only thing that matters is that they’re up there with the elite.
When T2 failed to cross the finish line and injured themselves during the first story arc, it was meant to be a sort of sacrifice to show the reader that for every winner, there must be a loser. The sad part about this scene was the fact that Tadokoro, who I’m pretty sure represents masculinity to the author, had to be there too. That moment probably represented a time when the author’s abilities weren’t strong enough to achieve a goal in the past (a deadline, race, relationship, opportunity, etc) and he felt like a personal failure as a man. This is why the three of them had to cry together, not just Teshima and Aoyagi.
As the second years became third-years, their designs changed. I know that editors are often the ones responsible for this, but in the manga it’s a significant enough change for it to be of the author’s own volition: He is finally getting confidence in his abilities! This might have to do with the fact that Yowamushi Pedal was a huge success.
Aoyagi has grown, is more beautiful, talks more, has new powers, and is able to change styles and shapes to a hilarious degree. What has happened is that Sensei’s drawing abilities have gotten massively better than they used to be when Yowamushi Pedal first started. I’m sure the author knows it, and gets more pleased as he looks down at his work. This is why he lets Aoyagi shine more, and uses him to showcase his different drawing techniques in the manga. He even has illustrative premonitions now, for instance when he was afraid of Doubashi.
Teshima is also more confident, but admittedly not as much as Aoyagi. Working hard and being average hurts. Still, he has accepted that he is an average cyclist as long as he can influence others around him to try their best. This is his leadership ability, and it’s also Watanabe’s ability. He now knows that he has influenced tons of people to go out and try to ride a bike even if they feel average. There’s less anger in this character than there was before, and that has to do with the fact that Watanabe-sensei has made peace with his role as a cyclist in his life.
I know this all sounds crazy, but I don’t think that all stories are like direct reflections of the author like this one is. For example, Haikyuu or Baby Steps is less of a therapy piece and is more about the main characters and highschool sports. Harry Potter on the other hand is a therapy piece, and so is One Piece and especially Yowamushi Pedal.
I have a feeling that if the original female Kotori girl was the main character instead of Onoda, Yowamushi Pedal wouldn’t be as much of a self-reflection of the author. It would have been more of a cute, romantic, more formulaic sports manga. Onoda being there feels like him being able to teleport into his issues and deal with them. He’s working his way up to Manami.
Onoda is him in the present allowing him to deal with his past, Makishima is his physical appearance, Tadokoro is masculinity, and he’s not psychologically in a spot to be able to deal with what Manami is yet but I think he’ll get there eventually.
Quick side note on Manami: Watanabe originally intended for Manami to be the “evil bad guy antagonist,” but according to him, that evil couldn’t come out on the paper. He also mentions that Manami is the hardest character for him to draw, and he blames that on the fact that Manami has a lot of hair. This is coming from a guy who draws *Midousuji*. I believe that subconsciously, Sensei is actually scared of what Manami represents. This is why he finds him difficult to draw. I have a pretty good idea of what I think it is, and it’s the foundation of why I think Sensei is (successfully) working out his demons in the manga.