auronlu: (Fangsmirk)
Me and my bizarre shoulder kink. *hides face* I can't remember what possessed me to let slip this personal foible, but I can't really regret the indiscretion, since Flynn-the-Cat keeps catering to it.

Putting this here for ease of future ogling; thank you!

Back: Nyssa and Romana from classic Doctor Who
Front: Lulu and Fang
auronlu: (Fangsmirk)
Was feeling low, but fandom has not let me down.

Sazh Katzroy - Sunleth Waterscape
by ~shinyspikes on deviantART

In other news, while I've given up the pointless exercise of a wordcount since I'm not actually aiming for a particular wordcount, 900 words of epic battle-description spewed out last night, giving me high hopes for the next chapter of LHAD. Unlike most other key scenes that I had anticipated for years, it came out fairly effortlessly and was even better than the scribbled notes of five years ago. 

Now if I can just breathe life into the LINK chapter that leads to it. I keep massaging it like over-stimulated pie dough, and it's not working. Come on, everybody, how hard is it to sort yourselves into an adventure party and stay-behind party and pick up your traps and get MOVING already?! The Muster of Horse Stinking Rohan did not take this long. (At least it's not as bad as that chapter in FOTR where they all hop in the boats and start paddling away from Lorien only to realize — WHOOPS, FORGOT A POIGNANT FAREWELL SCENE! — so they turn back and have a picnic with Galadriel.)
auronlu: (Fang)
So I was pawing through more of [personal profile] leyna  's fantastic fanart thanks to the new LJ --> DW refugee friending meme.

I'm sure that I've recced her wonderful Lulu portrait in the past. (large image warning. Bonus: Fran portrait!)

It's worth digging through her whole journal. For Final Fantasy fans, I want to recommend a couple of Fang paintings, one with Vanille and one sparring practice scene with Lightning in which, so help me, Fang is tickling that exposed bit of tummy on Ms. Supersoldier's uniform. My interpretation is that Fang is attempting to seduce or simply pester, while Lightning doesn't know whether to break character and squirm or just chop off the offending foot. 

However, it's the Vanille/Fang "You Are My Only Home" painting that I especially wish to rec. Break out the angst piano, folks; it's the Last Lesbians in the World. 

>> Both Fang paintings here.

ETA: I just looked at the Fang/Vanille again, and you should go. Look at it now. Even if you don't bally know the characters. The colors are gorgeous. 

In other news, I have a happy dilemma: do I post all 4800 5100 words of Chapter 49 or break it into two installments? I may go with the two-installments thing for mugs and because that way I can keep working on the next chapter with more lead time. On the other hand, it really doesn't have a comfortable breakpoint.


2218 / 50000 words. 4% done!
auronlu: (Fangsmirk)
Here, have a clip from the yummy part of the curate's egg:

[ETA: Hope at 0:05: snerk. I never noticed that before.]

I've always had a hunch that there was a hint of Utena inspiration for the character. Someone at Squeenix evidently has watched the series, considering the sword-drawn-out-of-heart move in FFX (done by Jecht's Final Aeon, of all things.)

What really put me in mind of Utena was all of Lightning's rose petal imagery, which seems a little incongruous for such a badass. I noticed that Lightning's brand and her rose-shaped summons crystal appear just over the spot where Utena / Anthy draw their sword:

Of course, if the resemblance is not a coincidence, it's only superficial: Lightning is a heck of a lot more aware of the BS around her and is, on the surface at least, a cold cynic. She acts more like Juri than Utena.

I love the fact that Lightning takes Odin's sword and that she performs his Zantetsuken ("iron-cutting sword") finishing move used by that summons in previous FF games. And, hey, just noticed: Odin's horse-form has multiple eyes to make up for not having multiple legs in this iteration. Ah, FF and your creative mythology...

Also: does anyone have an animated gif userpic of Lightning kicking butt / smacking Snow?* I feel a need for a Lightning Smackdown icon to use when venting. (There's this old saying in chess: "When in doubt, push [a pawn]." I think Lightning's adapted it to, "when in doubt, punch the nearest blockhead.")

ETA: Goodness, what a rambling post.
auronlu: (wishes)
 Apparently, everyone hated the curate's egg that was XIII, or couldn't forgive XIII-2. (For various valid reasons, and yet...)

Whereas I loved the characters in XIII (and yes, the shiny graphics and battle system), and had my heartstrings yanked everywhere and all my game kinks satisfied by the mythic/epic/personal angst blend of XIII-2. I enjoyed seeing a kickass female character receive the Sephiroth over-the-top treatment (only on the side of good). Lightning's Valkyrie badassitude rocked my world. I loved XIII-2's time travel and all the bewildering paradoxes and alternate universes. I loved the CJ Cherryh style climax. I just didn't want a Tasha Yar ending. I couldn't believe, from all the heavy-handed hints about hope and sisterhood, that the saga would just end THERE. Obviously, SE has GOT to resolve the story, can't leave it like that.

All I asked for is good characters, good world, good story, and emotional punch. The long-delayed reunion between the two sisters, when OF COURSE Serah had to make a terrible choice? Third time I've cried in a video game, ever. And that sad song in the epically dark future singing about being the last child in the entire world ever born? Yes, gotcher angst right here. That whole sequence from Serah and Noel getting separated until the story dissolved into token crack epic battle with boring Big Bad was one of my favorite game arcs ever.

I like the XIII series. I know, it's not old school FF or glory days FF (although the angst, characters, and mythic overlays remind me of X). It's its own thing. I just hope to gosh they finish the Lightning game on the PS3, because I'm not sure I can justify a new console to find out how the story ends.
auronlu: (Blah)


So, First_Seventh has just finished up FFXIII and has all sorts of facepalming and great meta, and I stupidly keep forgetting to log in on DW to reply, so half my comments are on her LJ mirrored posts instead. (Because REASONS, as Sev says.)

So the posts are: 

so I beat FFXIII.


 FFXIII: the "Rec Me Fic" edition

This game. This franchise. So FULL of Curate's Egg goodness, so TERRIBLY flawed. But it never fails to give me MYTHIC ARCHETYPE META CRUNCHY GOODNESS.

Unsurprisingly, the Clash of the Titans Athena Owl that keeps spying on the party in FFXIII caught my attention.

I finally got around to writing up my META ON THE WEIRDASS MECHA OWL.

And the best part? It's work. I'm allowed to write articles on anything, and if they get traffic, they're not me-wasting-time, they're work. So I earn  chicken feed, but whoa. (Am I allowed to earn anything via fandom, or are only Big Name Fans at cons allowed to do that? Oh, whole other issue.)  ((Except I don't actually earn any from your visits this time, unless you go crazy and click on the Clash of the Titans owl and go to Amazon and buy a g-string, garter belt, black lacy bra and BANANA YELLOW FISHNETS like some anonymouse did from on of my pages yesterday, because the ads only start paying after the article exists on the first of the month, grrr. But that's not important; I just want to talk about THE OWL.)) 

Anyway, skittering away from work/fandom issues, go read my theorizing on the creepy owl. I think it's actually the secret Big Bad of FFXIII. (Except really, the big bad is Vanille.)

auronlu: (Looks Could Kill)
Hey, Sissy.

Look whom I've acquired for a sparring partner:

I will spoil nothing, but Nabaat is absolutely everything you could ask for. She will beat the pulp out of you with a sneer and a smile.

It's so good to hear that Evil Lulu voice once again, purring while she's playing with her food. Paula Tiso is a scary, scary woman. She has lots of fun battle quotes.

Apparently, like you, I have a masochistic streak. I don't normally enjoy getting my party decimated every few seconds in a long grinding boss battle. I feel proud that I kept them hanging on for a good twenty minutes before I gave up -- for now -- since she was healing faster than I could put a dent in her. I must study strategy ... there must be SOME way to get past her
defenses. Even if I never manage to beat her, it's fun dueling with her.

Also, I can use her to help me get back into Lulu's headspace for writing LHAD. I depend so much on character voices.

(speaking of voices, I noticed Elma/Drace/Yunalesca is voicing a couple minor npcs, including the Mystic in Serendipity, Shelinda has been reincarnated as one of those scary choco-call-girls in the casino, handing out prizes; and I'm 99% sure that Yeul is Shelke. Maroda pops up a few times as various npcs on guard duty. No sign of O'aka/Maechen/Old Dalan/Lt. Broccoli/Dwight Schultz, though. )

Edit *peers at IMdB* Good heavens. I went to grad school with Choco - loco - lina. I see Lucil/Dona, Axel/Reno/Isaaru, and most of the FFX voice crew listed as additional voices, and yes, Dwight Schultz IS there somewhere, phew. As is Gideon Emery (Balthier). Also... Caius is the VA for Red XIII in Advent Children. Snerk.
auronlu: (Sisters)
[Don't worry, no spoilers.] Sometime during the final third of Final Fantasy XIII-2, I suddenly paused and realized: I love this game as much as X. 
 I care about the world, the characters, and the myths. Everything that was wrong with the first game was fixed, at least for me.
XIII had one of my favorite end sequences ever. (Okay, I'm biased. LESBIAN SQUEE FANG MMRPHLE MMRF.) 
Both games had strong female characters and female leads. Moreover, the relationships between female characters, whether they're lovers or dear friends or sisters, are major plot-driving themes, the way het "boy meets girl and finds twue wuv" is usually a major plot thread of previous editions of the franchise.  (Well, there's a fluffy het ship as well, but it's not THE STORY.) 
Now, having just had my ass utterly and completely handed to me in xiii-2's final boss battle, I'm going to spend another two weeks on sidequests and minigames that I actually enjoy (take THAT, X-2) to level up. And maybe even find some linking books to new MYST Ages gates to other times/places I haven't yet explored. Time travel done well is one of the reasons I love this game.
I confess, because it's Squeenix, I'm waiting for some fatal mistake to mar XIII-2 before it's over. Is the ending going to suck with great suckitude, to balance out the previous game's great ending after far too much slogging to get there? I... I dare not get my hopes up. But holy cow and all kinds of swearing, the last couple of hours of the game have left me physically hyperventilating again and again. 
...Not ONLY because my previous-owner-customized, used, back-compatible PS3 has a bad habit of freezing at awkward moments far from the last save. It froze TWICE during the hour-long final epic boss battle sequences, forcing me to replay a big chunk. When I finally got to the really-truly-last boss battle, my party was creamed like a soap bubble hit by Mega Gigaton. (Again, twice. I tried a different strategy and still died after putting up a heck of a fight.)
auronlu: (wishes)
When did I go and get hooked on cosplay?

auronlu: (finishthatsentence)
In discussing a mutual obsession with Sissy, I have come up with an AU plotline for Final Fantasy XIII which would've made the endgame more satisfying and fixed at least one problem that probably jumped out as a sore point for most game players, even those who are not in any way hung up on Paula Tiso.

Fixing the Colonel Nabaat Problem... )

auronlu: (Plot Device)
I was soooooo not expecting to like this game. I'd picked it up, just, you know, for mindless monster-slaying and adrenaline, to get myself in the mood for writing action. I assumed it was going to be poorly put together fanservice with no plot, with that vaguely dead and hollow sensation I've come to expect from excessive CGI.

Vague enough not to be too spoiler-y but cut just in caseā€¦ )

I've heard the ending is disappointing. I hope I don't eat my words, but right now? I don't care. It's given me much, much more than I expected. I don't care if it crashes and burns in a steaming pile of fail, because I appreciate that this game attempted to present an old trope, time travel, in a new way. You couldn't do it with a book, or a movie (although Time Traveler's Wife tried to do so), or even a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure, because settings and bits of the different timelines are changing and interacting with each other. I've played other time travel games, but they were still basically linear stories.* This feels truly four-dimensional.

*All right, I realize that Kingdom Hearts II was structured in a somewhat similar fashion, but the different worlds were mostly unrelated, apart from the protagonists and villains hopping between them. This is much more complex, with greater causality and linkage between the different worldbits.

auronlu: (wishes)
This is a repost of a comment I made buried waaaay down in an LJ discussion. I thought I'd throw it out here. I don't think there are significant spoilers.

Preface this by the fact that I find I like games for the following reasons, in the following order: Characters (including their interactions, backstories, psychology, memorable lines, voices); myths and archetypes; setting (I am a graphics junkie, but also care deeply about worldbuilding); story; game mechanics; plot. (You can sell me on a childishly simple storyline, plot holes, or a story that's been done a million zillion times, if you do other things well.)  

Repost... )
auronlu: (wishes)
I was just checking to see why some Russian fanblog was linking to some of my Squidoo pages, and I found this, obviously not by the blogger.

Spoilers, except it's so incomprehensible that I don't think it matters...

I'm on a horse. )

Yes, I realize everyone else has probably seen this meme already. I'm always late to the fandom party.
auronlu: (wishes)
Final Fantasy XIII script question for someone who knows/has played the Japanese version.

Spoilers thru chapter 9... )

ETA: hee hee, just found an Undub. Instead of "Tell that to my jaw," the Japanese version is "I'm going to get hit again, aren't I?"
auronlu: (wishes)
I'm pretty sure this scene was actually in the game.

Alas, they had to cut out the "Stick Pie in Snow's Face" minigame because there wasn't enough room for it in the XBox 360 version.

I do like the mocking of the stereotypical Hero trope with Snow's character... in theory. In practice, PIE IN FACE.
auronlu: (Default)
So, mad Russians finally drive me to Dreamwidth. I've always felt favorably about it, since most of the FF gang has migrated. I'm just bummed because I had my LJ set up exactly the way I like it, and it's a permanent account, so, all the icons forever. But usericons are minor.

I shall of course cross-post, and keep checking LJ -- in fact I'm still checking LJ first, before DW, because my brain is hard-wired to think of LJ as "home base." But I don't trust its stability. From now on I shall treat DW as the primary account and LJ as the mirror.

So there's that.

Second thing is that I'm playing my way through FFXIII, finally. I meant to keep a game journal, but, well, I didn't. It is such a curate's egg of a game, but for the most part I'm enjoying it. I want to tell [personal profile] heavenscalyx to play it, except portions of it would make her and Rose scream. But there is a canon lesbian relationship in the party, at least as canon as Sailor Moon (original, not English dub). It's a pity one of the pair is a bit of a sap, but I am happily focusing on their ship and not the parts of the game that work less well for me. I am relieved that several of the characters have turned out to be less annoying than they were for the first hour of playing time.

And, oh, Fang. Square finally gave me the female character I have been waiting for. Except I wish she had magic, too, but I guess that would be too much Mary Sue in one package.

Also, is it my imagination, or was someone dressing Lightning in Utena clothes? Plus roses and rose petals.

I'm up to, uh, the Palamecia, Luck Be a Lady bit. Trying to figure out which combinations of characters are useful and failing miserably...I keep running around in the first spot where you're allowed to mix and match teams, and dying because I've screwed up. I did too much level-grinding with Lightning + Fang + Hope and learned every way to use them, and now it seems like trying any other party, I'm missing all my favorite tools.

LHAD is jammed like 20 keys of a typewriter smacked there by an exuberant 6-year-old. I'm half regretting posting the last chapter: I loved the first half of it, with the gang gathered on the bridge of the airship decompressing, and that was fresh, new, scene so easy to write. The second half was difficult because I'd written Lulu Post-Sin 4 years ago, almost the first thing I ever wrote, and I've had years and years to build up various alternate versions of that moment, each of which had some emotional punch, but trying to pick and choose and stitch together all of them, I feel like I lost something. I'm almost tempted to retcon and post the original version of that scene, if it would let me move forward. So frustrating. I fear it may be that way all the way to the end. I wrote early drafts of the concluding chapters first, and I find the part of a story i've written and visualized and imagined the longest is the hardest to write when I get to it, because I wind up trying to connect all the patchwork pieces, favorite moments and cool lines of dialog like a quilt, instead of blazing a path forward.

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