Breakdown, breakdown! Let's analyze JoJo's Bizarre Adventure and do it shining justice!

January 16, 2017

Final Fantasy XV (AKA the 5-Year Anniversary Post)

Hello and welcome to Cross-Up, home of various posts on Final Fantasy!  I’ve been at this since 2012, and it’s so nice to know that even one person out there has read and enjoyed my posts on all sorts of subjects, like Final Fantasy!  I know I’m not the most popular guy out there that talks about Final Fantasy, but it’s been an honor to discuss in-depth what I think about games that have Final Fantasy in the title.  I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon because there are more Final Fantasy games on the way, and I hope that I can continue to grow the blog as I talk about Final Fantasy.

After all, it is my Final Fantasy to become more than just a Final Fantasy.  And as a Final Fantasy, this Final Fantasy has helped me realize that it’s a long road to evolve as a Final Fantasy.  So with the help of Final Fantasy, I’ll Final Fantasy my way to the Final Fantasy and treat the world to the Final Fantasy it deserves, because Final Fantasy is a Final Fantasy that Final Fantasy has in every Final Fantasy to Final Fantasy our Final Fantasy.

So Final Fantasy your Final Fantasy, because Final Fantasy is Final Fantasy, and Final Fantasy in Final Fantasy to Final Fantasy a Final FantasyFinal Fantasy, Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy.

…This is a post on Final Fantasy 15, so let’s talk about it.

Final Fantasy.

January 9, 2017

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Blogging (Part 5)

All right, I know the purpose of this little miniseries is to show that JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is greater than the sum of its memes, but…come on, man.  If it wasn’t for ZA WARUDO, it might never have gotten the legs it did in the west.

Okay, that’s a reductive way of looking at things.  I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t know much about JoJo until I found out about ZA WARUDO, and even then it stayed as a simple meme until the anime came out (an anime I’d eventually get around to in 2016, years after its start).  And I know anime; I can’t imagine what it was like for people who don’t know anime.  Anyone who gained exposure by virtue of rapid-fire screams, a cafeteria’s worth of knives, and a steamroller swan dive gained an irrepressible image burned into their very souls.  But I guess any publicity is good publicity.  If a meme opened the door to a wider appreciation of JoJo, then I think we should all count that as a win.

It’s no surprise, then, that Part 3 of JoJo -- Stardust Crusaders -- had some traction going into the big anime premiere (by which I mean David Production’s run, if it wasn’t clear already).  “Oh, this is where that ZA WARUDO thing came from, right?” Billy McCrunchyroll might say one cool October evening.  “Well then, maybe I should give it a look.”  And the rest is history.  Along with Stands, I guess.  Stands are cool, which I’m sure various people have discovered well before this post.

But is Part 3 cool enough to match?  That’s what I’m here to find out.  Or…report on, I suppose.  That seems like a better fit.

Let these SPOILERS fly free
With this hallowed post, STAND PROUD!  (With spoilers.)

January 2, 2017

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Blogging (Part 4)

I should probably start off this post by making something very clear.  There are tons of factors that decide whether a story -- a game, a movie, a book, a TV show, or whatever -- is good.  Even if that’s true, I think we can all agree that characters make up a good chunk of those factors.  As I’ve said, characters create opportunities; if they’re engaging, then they can take an audience to some incredible highs.  If they’re bad, then it’s the equivalent of jamming Mount Olympus into your eyeball.

It’s pretty easy to throw around the claim that “characters should be likable”.  And yeah, that’s a big part of it.  But let’s not get bogged down by strict definitions; “likable” doesn’t have to mean that the character is an admirable, noble member of society.  He or she doesn’t have to be a bang-up hero, because otherwise we would ignore villains by default.  It’s about making sure that, by writing and/or design, there’s something compelling about a character.  That should be understood by everyone, because it’s certainly something understood by JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and its creator, Hirohiko Araki.

So now that I’ve said all that, let me make a claim about Battle Tendency.  A huge chunk of the named characters are assholes.  And that’s awesome.

Your next line is…
What?  You didn’t tell me there were SPOILERS in this post!
…Except I kind of did.  I lead in with this red text for a reason, people.

December 26, 2016

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Blogging (Part 3)

“There’s no way Joseph is the best JoJo.”

I’m not usually one to play the contrarian, even though it seems like that with some of my less-than-ideal opinions (like anything that has to do with Naughty Dog).  I’d like to think that I’m able to rise above preconceptions and biases to speak clearly and honestly about subjects.  But for the life of me -- and even now -- I cannot say that Joseph Joestar is the best lead JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has to offer.

Hear me out on this.  Joseph is the hero of Part 2 -- Battle Tendency -- which ran from 1987 to 1989 in manga form, and from December 2012 to April 2013 in anime form.  The former came out forever and a day ago, while the latter is fresher on people’s minds (thanks to all sorts of memes, to generalize).  Either way, there’s a LOT of content to go through.  Remember, there are eight different JoJo sagas out there, with the latest of the bunch still in production.  There’s a ton that people still need to be exposed to and given the chance to digest.  Even if we peel away 75% of the context of each arc, we still need to put every JoJo under the microscope.  Those who are 100% up to date with the manga can probably do that, but for everyone else?  How can you say “Joseph is the best” when at a bare-ass minimum, we’ve still got to get through Giorno, Joylene, Johnny, and Gappy Josuke?

Now, you can say “Joseph is my favorite JoJo so far”, because that’s much easier and more credible to quantify.  It’s an opinion with good grounding.  So with all of that said, I’ll declare this: no, Joseph is not my favorite JoJo so far.  But he’s still a good, good, good, good, damn good character.  And the same applies to Battle Tendency.

Like a bloody SPOILERS
Burning like a bloody SPOILERS
Some SPOILERS pound through your veins…and this post

December 19, 2016

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Blogging (Part 2)

Can I just take a minute to gush about how much I love Hamon?

Sure, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has long since earned fame for its Stands.  But having watched and enjoyed Phantom Blood, I still feel like Hamon’s the cooler power of the two -- and that’s saying something, because I agree that Stands are rad.  The “power of the sun” not only lets its users fight with supercharged energy and beat down vampires (and zombie grunts), but also gives them a chance to interact with items in the environment in all sorts of zany ways.  Lots of creative applications, to be sure -- as Battle Tendency proves later on -- and it’s the sheer unpredictability that makes it a treat to see in action.

I also love how Hamon’s weakness is an obvious one.  It’s made possible through the proper breathing techniques, so if you can’t breathe, you can’t use it.  I mean, yeah, pretty much every living being is crippled if they can’t breathe, but the applications of it in JoJo add a layer of tension to battles.  When mere chains or a dip underwater become a credible life-or-death situation, you know you’ve done well in storytelling.

Also, this doesn’t have much to do with anything yet, buuuuuuuuuuuuuut…cripes, JoJo does NOT shy away from the body horror.  Thank god for the censorship, because sometimes it’s seriously hard to watch without cringing so hard my eyes clamp shut.

Anyway, on to Phantom BloodAgainWITH SPOILERS.  Again.

December 12, 2016

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Blogging (Part 1)

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is more than just memes.

I repeat: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is more than just memes.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you it’s a masterpiece, or the greatest thing ever (in the anime/manga world or otherwise).  I know I’ve said this before, but I have to make it absolutely clear: paring down JoJo to a bunch of images and out-of-context YouTube clips is a huge disservice to it.  It’s lasted this long for a reason.  It has fans for a reason.  It’s got a brand new, still-in-progress anime for a reason.  There are many, many, many things you can pull from a decent-sized chunk of said anime -- most of it accidentally hilarious -- but if you look at it as a whole, it’s truly something special.

So here’s the big question, and one that I hope to answer over the course of this miniseries: is it really as bizarre as the title claims?  It’s hard to say for now.  But if I’m going to come to a conclusion, I’ve got to start somewhere -- and it might as well be at the beginning.


December 5, 2016

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild VS Horizon: Zero Dawn: Hell in a Cell (Part 2)

This post is probably going to oust me as a hypocrite (well, more so than usual).  I can see it now.  I mean, even though The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild isn’t officially being called an open-world game, it shares a good number of traits with the subgenre.  Plus, being called “open-world” carries a lot of baggage with it these days.  Ubisoft and its AAA contemporaries have run what was once a good thing -- if not a symbol of progress for the medium -- into the ground, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the mere concept is enough to make someone’s eyes roll so fast that they could break the sound barrier.

I’m pretty sure I’ve taken shots at open-world games as well, so the fact that I’m excited for Breath of the Wild means that I’m a dirty liar in need of a bath filled with holy water.  More to the point, I’m a hypocrite because this game appeals to me, but I’m about ready to write off the superficially-similar Horizon: Zero Dawn for what may come off as arbitrary reasons.  In my defense, it’s not as if I love one and hate the other; it’s just that I feel like BotW appeals to me more.  And while I’m pretty confident that Horizon will eventually be a solid game, it feels redundant -- and significantly less special -- in the face of BotW.

I guess now I’ll have to explain why.  So let’s go ahead and step back into the ring for another smackdown.

December 1, 2016

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild VS Horizon: Zero Dawn: Hell in a Cell (Part 1)

I think I’ve sent myself on a guilt trip.

The dust has long since started to settle on E3 2016, with no shortage of information to parse through.  Granted some things were still a no-show -- a new Sonic game is on the way, but Sega just teased an announcement of an announcement of an announcement to screw with everyone’s heads -- but I doubt anyone will go on a rant about how the industry’s major players kept all their cards close to the chest. 

And that’s where my guilt comes in.  At last year’s E3, I was intrigued by Horizon: Zero Dawn.  Very intrigued; it was new, it was different, and it looked as if it had plenty to offer for gamers vis a vis robot dinosaur hunting.  I’d assume that’s not all you’ll be doing, but if that’s the core gameplay, then it seems all right.  Well, that’s what I’d like to say; cut to a year later, however, and I’m suddenly not so intrigued by it.  What would’ve once made my eyebrows slide up my face now makes me go “Ehhhhhhhhh…” and “Awwwwwwwwwww…”  I don’t understand what happened, and it’s kind of tearing me up inside.  That’s especially true, because -- at least on a superficial level -- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild ticks some of the same boxes, yet my hype is breaking through the atmosphere.

What the hell’s going on?  Well, I intend to find out with this LONG overdue post.  Even though I already kind of have an answer, but let’s pretend we’re going in raw.

November 28, 2016

Tales of Zestiria: I Want You

I have a lot to thank my mom for, but I’d wager that my general avoidance of sweets is one of them.  It’s not that I have anything against candy (except chocolate, because I’m secretly history’s greatest monster), but I don’t go out of my way to get my hands on it.  Same goes for stuff like cake and ice cream; honestly, a few weeks ago I had Pop-Tarts for the first time in years.  As a result, I’ve never known the pain of cavities.  Likewise, I’d imagine that axing the most heinous of food groups has helped me keep my figure svelte and lithe -- and not at all comparable to a skin-clad sack of bones.

Still, I know the taste of sweets.  I know the effect.  There are just some foods out there that are pure bliss in edible form; I’d count a warm blueberry muffin among them, for example.  Will eating sweets lead to regret later?  Possibly.  Probably, if they aren’t eaten in moderation.  On the other hand, sometimes you just have to indulge and take in whatever you can get.  Sometimes you just have to spoil yourself.

That’s what Tales of Zestiria does for me.  Because the more I think about it, the more I realize I’m absolutely in love with this game.