4 min read

S1:E1* For Real This Time

S1:E1* For Real This Time

More than half a year ago I recklessly promised a new approach to this blog in the form of weekly or biweekly newsletters, but little did I expect that the consequences of the pandemic would cascade into every life decision that I had yet to make. Panicked by plans suddenly deferred, I spent the better part of these last six months trying to figure out what I'd do next, and eventually arrived at the conclusion that maybe "nothing" is okay, too. Having recovered from the shock of that revelation, I'm finding my way back here, and with the far more selfish ambition of just sharing what I feel about what I'm doing here and there. So without further ado, here's another crack at writing a newsletter.

My Latest

"A Future in Wallachia: Castlevania's Unexpected Hope": While I didn't expect the latest season of Netflix's adaptation to make my heart melt, its optimistic yet satisfying resolution for just about every one of its characters makes a haunted 15th Eastern Europe almost seem livable.

These two aren't the only happy couples by the end of Season 4! I've gotten used to cliffhangers on Netflix, but this is a welcome change of pace. (Source: Castlevania via Netflix on Twitter)

"Character Bios" for my Fire Emblem Hack: While the last few months were hectic, I finally had the space and patience to begin creating my very own Fire Emblem hack. Using a portrait creator that lets you mix and match existing sprites from the Gameboy Advance games and some Photoshop, I designed an entirely brown roster of heroes. Originally, I'd planned to document my process in a separate blog, but I figured the goals of Chairo+ and of this hack are one and the same. Check out the hack tag for more updates.

What I'm Watching

Nomad: Megalo Box 2: I would call Nomad a sequel rather than just a new season, as its story not only takes place seven years after Megalo Box, but also departs from its predecessor's predictable yet satisfying underdog storytelling as it focuses more on the drama between characters than the sport. Inequality, racism, and the corruption of big tech remain prominent themes, but cast an even greater shadow than before as we witness their permanence regardless of what happens in the ring.

A shot of Joe seven years later in Nomad's first episode, "Los fantasmas tararean un réquiem." The series' use of Spanish – in its titles, outro, and throughout the story – deserves a closer look, especially considering its representation of immigration and refugee issues. (Source: Megalo Box)

The World Ends With You: When it comes to milking a franchise, Square Enix comes second to none – nevertheless, I find myself enjoying my third (ninth?) trip through the Reapers' Game, now spread across twelve episodes. It seems like the better way to catch up fans than its Nintendo Switch port before NEO is released this summer, and although that's all I was looking to get, I've appreciated how the series has approached different mechanics of the game through exposition – though I can't imagine it makes much sense to newcomers!

What I'm Reading

Witch Hat Atelier, by Kamome Shirahara: My sister recommended this one to me, and after reading a sample online, I decided to buy the first volume. I was drawn to its art style, detailed and elaborate without feeling busy, as well as its premise – a girl Coco, who dreams of becoming a witch despite lacking magical abilities, discovers that even the long-gatekept craft can be mastered with time and practice, just like the dressmaking she grew up learning from her mother. I'm looking forward to buying the next volume!

According to Shirahama-sensei, Coco's birthday was on the 25th! Happy birthday, Coco!

What I'm Playing

Fire Emblem, Blazing Blade: I'm the kind of person who would give you sh-t for watching The Office again for the fifth time, or tell Harry Potter fans to read another book, but evidently I have the same sort of problem when it comes to Blazing Blade, which I finished twice over the past few weeks. While I could argue that each playthrough offers variations in terms of which characters you bring to battle, my game data suggests I gravitate towards the same strategy each time. With Genealogy of the Holy War's Switch port, some anticipate the Gameboy Advance games arriving...eventually.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses: I've been held captive by Three Houses ever since I decided I would not only play through all four paths, but also collect every single support conversation on the way. Let me be the first to say that it's not worth it – even so, I can't bring myself to stop, especially now that I'm just a few chapters away from freedom. The only real motivation left is the satisfaction of finally moving on to another game guilt-free.

Out of respect for the franchise's first brown protagonist Khalid, I have to finish his story strong! (Source: Nintendo

Header GIF from tenor