The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

The Child of the Wind: Revisiting Fuko’s Arc in CLANNAD At The Ten Year Anniversary

“Right now, Fuuko likes you more than a sea slug” —Fuuko Ibuki

When Fuuko tries to invite Tomoya to her sister’s wedding, Tomoya is initially dismissive and declines. However, as his efforts to help Nagisa gather the requisite number of drama club members falls short, he seeks out Fuuko and learns from Nagisa that Fuuko is the younger sister of Kouko Ibuki, who is Nagisa’s art instructor and moreover, Fuuko is supposedly bed-ridden from a car accident. The two decide to assist Fuuko by carving wooden starfish and passing them around as invitations to Kouko’s wedding, then recreating a high school experience for Fuuko with help from Sanae and some classmates. During the school festival, Kouko attends the school’s Founder’s Festival at Nagisa and Tomoya’s invitation, but cannot see or hear Fuuko. In spite of this, Tomoya and Nagisa convince Kouko to carry on with their wedding, feeling that Fuuko would have the same wish for her. As Fuuko’s condition deteriorates, her memories begin fading. Feeling their time is short, Tomoya and Nagisa prepare a birthday party for Fuuko, celebrating at the school during the night, and while they appear to have forgotten Fuuko by the next morning, they manage to recall Kouko’s wedding. On the day of the wedding, only Tomoya, Nagisa and Fuuko appear, although by means of a miracle, the entire student population attends to wish Kouko and her husband, Yuusuke, happiness. Fuuko disappears after thanking Tomoya and congratulating Kouko, while Tomoya feels that it is possible that Fuuko will recover. In CLANNAD‘s visual novel, Fuuko’s route is the first arc that players must complete: it sets in motion the remainder of the game, and also trigger the events of CLANNAD After Story, so players looking to get the full experience must sit through this section of the game.

Kyoto Animation’s adaptation of CLANNAD faithfully reproduces the events of Fuuko’s arc, which initially begins in a gentle, comedic manner. However, as Tomoya and Nagisa discover more irregularities in their experiences with Fuuko against what others are saying, it becomes clear that CLANNAD is involving supernatural elements into its story. This is most evident in Fuuko being able to freely interact with select individuals, as well as the environment; by the time this revelation is made, it spurs Nagisa and Tomoya to work towards fulfilling Fuuko’s wishes despite Tomoya’s general irritation at Fuuko’s antics. In doing so, the Fuuko arc begins to illustrate that underneath Tomoya’s cynical exterior is the heart of someone who genuinely wishes to help out. In asking Tomoya and Nagisa to attend her sister’s wedding, as well as prompting the two to begin addressing one another by their given names, Fuuko hints that of the possible pairings for Tomoya in CLANNAD, Nagisa is the best fit for him; even though the two are not a couple at this point in the story, they spend a considerable amount of time together as friends, getting to know one another better as he helps her resurrect the drama club. While discussions are numerous on whether or not Nagisa really is the best person for Tomoya, I personally found this to be true; Nagisa is able to bring out the best in him and find things to look forward to, and Tomoya’s encouragement is what gives her the confidence to accomplish her dreams.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • While my earlier CLANNAD discussions had twenty screenshots apiece, the talks for each of the arcs will be a bit larger, with thirty screenshots each. This will give me more time to explore some of the elements that I find to be worth commenting on, or else insert a few remarks about what I thought of a particular scene. Five years after watching CLANNAD, my own experiences in the journey of life has advanced in some areas, but in others, remain woefully unchanged.

  • In the early stages of the Drama Club’s revival, the club room remains quite empty aside from some boxes in the back. The members-to-be sit in a desk centred in the room, and the spaces arising from this arrangement give the sense that this is a fresh canvas for Nagisa to create from as she wishes. The cooler lighting suggests a sense of distance that is introduced when Tomoya recruits Youhei to help out, and their conversation here is to first find enough members such that the Drama Club can be brought back.

  • Tomoya never passes up an opportunity to prank Youhei, which is partially why he’s never on the receiving end of any beatdowns that Tomoyo or Kyou are likely to administer. Here, at Tomoya’s suggestion, Nagisa asks Ryou to join the Drama Club, but Nagisa’s hesitancy and the setup that Tomoya proposes leads both Kyou and Youhei to get the wrong idea. The misunderstanding is cleared up, and when Kyou asks her to toss Youhei and Tomoya in favour of her and Ryou’s help, Nagisa feels that for having started the journey with her, she can count them as friends.

  • After classes, Tomoya and Nagisa run into Kouko, who asks if the two are dating. Nagisa’s response is immediate and says that there are others worthier. As Tomoya’s single, Kouko feels that Nagisa’s odds with him are good, and subsequently asks if Tomoya finds Nagisa agreeable, putting both on the spot. Sharp thinking from Nagisa steers the conversation away from these waters. It’s a conversation that I’m somewhat familiar with, and in the aftermath of my MCAT, entering my fourth year, some folks wondered what my sitrep was. The story itself has been recounted countless times by now, and while I note that CLANNAD indirectly precipitated what would happen, it’s not too relevant towards talk of the Fuuko arc.

  • It is in conversation with Kouko that hints of the supernatural in CLANNAD begin materialising, when she reveals that Fuuko is hospitalised in a coma following a vehicle accident. Pieces in CLANNAD do not initially add up from a logical sense, leaving audiences wondering what’s going on. Nagisa becomes quite fond of hugging Fuuko when the opportunity presents itself, and with the impression that Fuuko chikd-like in nature, it foreshadows Nagisa’s maternal sense. Here, Tomoya and Nagisa diffuse a situation where Fuuko nonchalantly swipes the Furukawa’s neighbours’ surnames, leading Tomoya to swat her.

  • The race to carve starfish-shaped invitations for Kouko’s wedding with Yuusuke is on, and here, large wooden blocks await turning into invitations. The process of creating the shape with a small carving knife is arduous, although the hand-made quality reinforces the notion that Fuuko, and those helping her, are putting their genuine feelings into making the invitations – using a jigsaw would allow for a much larger number to be produced in a shorter time, but at the expense of the message that can be conveyed with hand-made carvings.

  • Whenever Fuuko begins thinking about starfish, her concentration is diverted from reality and can be subject to various pranks without being fully aware of them. Tomoya usually is responsible for said pranks, and while Fuuko resents their happening, she’s unable to prevent it. Fuuko is shut down in a similar manner when Nagisa hugs her, bringing to mind how cats grow limp when held by the scruff. Mother cats will do so to kittens to quickly move them safely and never do so as a disciplinary measure.

  • When Fuuko wishes to attend high school normally, she foreshadows her own supernatural presence. Not knowing the full story but sympathising with her, Nagisa asks her mother to help set up a mock class to give Fuuko the experience. Voiced by Kikou Inoue, whom I best know as Ah! My Goddess‘s Belldandy, Sanae is surprisingly adaptive and can convincingly take in the air of almost any profession or role asked of her. She plays a school teacher surprisingly well, and while it’s not immediately apparent, this also foreshadows at Sanae’s past interests.

  • A conversation between Nagisa and Tomoya leaves Nagisa embarrassed when she likens them to being Fuuko’s mother and father. It’s another hint of what’s upcoming; Nagisa is slowly growing more accustomed to Tomoya’s presence and is the first person to begin unearthing a side of him that folks previously did not see. A loud silence lingers between the two until they encounter Yuusuke, and it is here that both learn that Kouko is marrying Yuusuke’s. At their suggestion, Yuusuke agrees to try and convince Kouko to check out the Founder’s Festival.

  • The operation to invite as many people as possible to Kouko and Yuusuke’s wedding means going into overdrive and creating as many wooden stars as possible. The effort exhausts Fuuko, and she falls asleep while making one. Tomoya feels that it is imperative to bring Fuuko and Kouko together to work out what the mystery surrounding them entails.

  • To make sure Fuuko isn’t late for school, Tomoya carries her on his back, while Nagisa hauls the stars they’d made the previous evening for distribution at the school festival. Fuuko herself is hauled into one of the activities, giving the sense that she’s an ordinary student, and Nagisa helps her class as a waitress. The combined efforts of everyone mean that excitement for Kouko and Yuusuke’s wedding is tangible amongst the school’s student population: some folks have even started a Fuuko fan club and will go to the end of the earth to keep her from harm.

  • When Kouko arrives at the Founder’s Festival, she enjoys herself but is unable to see Fuuko. The mystery deepens here, as Kouko clarifies that Fuuko’s been in a coma for quite some time, leading to inconsistencies with what audiences share with Tomoya and Nagisa. The revelation changes Tomoya’s perspective of Fuuko, and while he’s still willing to play the occasional prank on her, he begins to view Fuuko as someone who’s quite precious.

  • This change in perspective is not unlike that of Makoto’s arc in Kanon, where Yuuichi kicks Makoto’s ass in all things related to pranks and finds himself growing irritated with her, but when he learns that Makoto is really a fox spirit taking human form and is rapidly losing her memories, he spends more time with her even as her cognitive capacities fail. In both Kanon and CLANNAD, supernatural elements contribute to both extraordinary challenges and their attendant miracles. We return to CLANNAD, where the quest to distribute the wooden stars as wedding invitations continue even in light of the unusual information that Kouko’s brought to the table, and here, Fuuko gives one to Kotomi.

  • Kouko expresses a desire to have a wedding at the high school with her fellow instructors and students. Tomoya asks about the kind of person Fuuko was, and learns that Fuuko’s never really been good around people. During the whole of the conversation, Nagisa is fighting back the tears, but the next day, Nagisa gets into a bit of a dispute with Fuuko about what is more adorable. In the eternal war between starfish and dango, I’d have to say that dango win: Nagisa can be a bit immature at times, and this early in the game, Tomoya lacks the familiarity with Nagisa to put her back on track.

  • As preparations for the wedding plough forward, Kouko informs Nagisa and Tomoya that Fuuko’s condition has worsened, reducing her odds of waking up from her coma. Presumably from overexerting herself trying to project a Force Ghost, Fuuko’s placed a great strain on her body. The pattern of setting up a fall right as things are proceeding smoothly is not unique to CLANNAD, although CLANNAD certainly has a way of evoking a powerful response from audiences. Quick to tears, Nagisa takes the news quite hard, and even the normally-stoic Tomoya begins tearing up.

  • Tomoya comes to the realisation that Fuuko’s efforts might have resulted as a desire to see her older sister happy, and so, while she’s not physically present, the strength of her feelings allows her to manifest as a physical presence. While hanging out with Youhei later, Youhei remarks that he cannot help but feel as though he’s forgetting something. Fuuko’s ability to maintain her presence seems tied with her health, and corresponding with abrupt decline, people begin losing their memories of her.

  • It would appear that the strength of Fuuko’s memories is directly tied to how close people were to her, and while the remainder of the student population is beginning to forget, the Furukawas, Tomoya and Youhei manage to retain their memories longer than most. Nagisa fears losing her memories of Fuuko, treasuring their time together, and Tomoya reassures that Nagisa that they won’t forget, encouraging her with optimism that they’ll be able to see things through because Kouko’s wedding is close. Relative to his interactions with the other female characters, Tomoya’s unconscious decisions to look after Nagisa suggests that he is drawn to looking after and supporting her, even though the two aren’t really close yet. Similarly, while Nagisa isn’t terribly fond of Tomoya’s way with words, she likes the fact that his actions are always considerate and his intents are kind.

  • Fading memories and the attendant increasing sense of loss are mirrored in darkening lighting conditions and pronounced shadows inside the school, but when Fuuko, Nagisa and Tomoya leave classes, they set off under a warm evening’s light. Oranges and yellows give the sense of a quiet end to a day where the three can share yet another memory together; the mood lightens when they decide to go buy something for Fuuko. They settle on a small birthday party kit, which Fuuko finds agreeable.

  • Watching CLANNAD again frame-by-frame reveals some minor inconsistencies in the animation, although on the whole, the animation quality in CLANNAD is of an incredibly high standard. Known for their top-tier animation, Kyoto Animation’s quality and consistency were among the strongest in the animation industry a decade ago, featuring detailed backgrounds and making use of animation that only became more commonplace recently. Some of Kyoto Animation’s recent titles, including Hibike! Euphonium and Koe no Katachi are so detailed that they rival Studio Ghibli and Makoto Shinkai’s films in terms of detail.

  • While the memory loss has been a nagging feeling for audiences since Youhei mentions it, the enormity of its impact is not really felt until Sanae collapses in tears and says that, try as she might, she can no longer remember Fuuko. Her anime incarnation greatly resembles Belldandy, and the melancholy here is compounded with the use of colours: red tinges appearing in the evening light indicate that the sun’s very nearly set, and is a fantastic visual metaphor for how Fuuko’s presence is disappearing.

  • Thus, after the sun sets, Nagisa and Tomoya are left wondering what options they have available to them; after deciding where the best place to go is, they settle on returning to school. The moment admittedly brings to mind Poe Dameron’s quote from The Force Awakens, where, during the assault on Starkiller Base’s Thermal Oscillator, he rallies his fellow pilots after they learn their attack run has no effect on the target:

“Remember, when the sun is gone that weapon will be ready to fire. But as long as there’s light, we got a chance.”

  • Star Wars isn’t known for having the best dialogue in the world, and I remember it best for things like The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis The Wise, that spinning is a good trick and the importance of having the high ground, but The Force Awakens and Rogue One have acceptable dialogue now, so I’m hoping that The Last Jedi will follow in this pattern. Back in CLANNAD, Fuuko wastes Tomoya after Tomoya’s prank on her backfires.

  • For me, this was the magic moment in CLANNAD, nine episodes in. There was something indescribable about the light cast by the candles that Tomoya and Nagisa light. They decide to have celebration commemorating Kouko and Yuusuke’s wedding, and here, Fuuko sees something that Kouko spotted: the distance between Nagisa and Tomoya has lessened somewhat, leading her to wonder why the two aren’t calling one another by their given names yet.

  • Five years after watching the scene where Nagisa, Fuuko and Tomoya spend time together in the drama room, I think that the magic comes from the symbolism that is present in this moment: if the light is representing the strength of everyone’s memories of Fuuko, then darkening skies visually indicate that people are beginning to forget. Against this, the act of lighting candles is then important for the fact that Tomoya and Nagisa are willfully trying their best to remember, even as the candles deplete; they spend Fuuko’s last moments close together.

  • The next morning, Nagisa and Tomoya have forgotten the events of the previous evening. The cold, grey ambiance in the classroom is a far cry from the inviting warmth candlelight cast in the room: the closing distance between Tomoya and Nagisa seems undone somewhat, as seen when the two address one another as they did prior to Fuuko’s suggestion.

  • When they recall Kouko’s wedding, Fuuko reappears before Nagisa and Tomoya’s very eyes. The cool morning skies give way to warmer hues that signify the return of something important, and encouraged by her return, Nagisa warmly hugs Fuuko.

  • On wedding day, only Tomoya and Nagisa show up for the proceedings, with the rest of the world seemingly having forgotten about the wedding. However, when the ceremony is over, and Yuusuke and Kouko are wedding as husband and wife, Kouko, Yuusuke, Nagisa and Tomoya are treated to a sight that can only be described as a miracle. The first sign that things have turned around is the arrival of Botan, who is accompanied by Kyou and Ryou.

  • Here’s a bit of random trivia about my blog and the way I romanise things: while I usually roll with macrons for long vowels in Japanese on my blog, such as “ō” in place of “ou” (おう) and “ū” for “uu” (うう) CLANNAD remains one of the exceptions owing to the way that it’s romanised. Quite simply, I’m used to spelling out things the long way: Kyō and Ryō look a little different than what I’m accustomed to, so in CLANNAD, I’ve chosen to pick one style and be consistent with it. Another bit of trivia is that I learned Japanese during my undergrad formally and so, have a bit more of a consistent approach in romanisations, whereas with Cantonese Chinese, I grew up with it, and so, struggle to convey things: I’ll likely stick with the jyutping system.

  • I’m thankful that I do not review Cantonese movies, otherwise, I’d get my ass kicked. For now, we return to CLANNAD, where an entire group of students have arrived to watch Kouko and Yuusuke get married. Sharing her sister’s happiness with the world has succeeded by dint of Fuuko’s determination and substantial assistance from both Tomoya and Nagisa: in CLANNAD‘s visual novel, this is supposed to unlock the globes of light that players can collect as karma points, as well as allowing Fuuko to randomly appear at inopportune moments to lighten the mood up.

  • In a fitting close to CLANNAD‘s first true arc, both sisters are able to see one another; Fuuko congratulates Kouko and disappears, but not before thanking Tomoya and Nagisa one final time. With her life force no longer spent on projecting a Force Ghost, Fuuko is able to focus on recovery, and Tomoya feels that she will reawaken later. I realise the rest of the world counts Fuuko an ikiryō (literally, a living ghost), but as I am not versed in Japanese lore or anything occult, I’ve chosen to fall back on what I do know. With this being said, Fuuko is not a true Force Ghost, being neither deceased or Force sensitive. With this CLANNAD post in the books, I will be returning in mid-January to write about Kotomi’s arc, and in December, my focus will continue to be directed towards Yūki Yūna is a Hero: Hero Chapter, my journey continuing journey through Tom Clancy’s The Division and my experiences with Battlefield 1‘s “Turning Tides” DLC.

With its combination of humour and poignancy, the introduction of the supernatural as being a very real part of their universe and a remarkably enjoyable soundtrack, CLANNAD‘s first arc draws to a close. While it might only be the first act, CLANNAD wastes no time in delivering a highly poignant narrative whose resolution comes about not because of deus ex machina, but because of Tomoya and Nagisa’s joint efforts in seeing Fuuko’s wishes through to the end. As much as Tomoya would rather not deal with Fuuko, Nagisa’s gentle insistence and his own desire to help overcome his general annoyance with Fuuko: the arc shows the true nature of Tomoya’s character and consequently, will continue to reinforce the notion that while there are miracles within CLANNAD, these miracles only occur because Tomoya takes the initiative to make things better and finish what he’s committed to. This aspect of his character is intended to bode well for Nagisa and her wishes to restart the drama club: Tomoya isn’t the sort of individual to give up, and is very resilient, making him the perfect partner in helping the gentler but also more hesitant Nagisa reach her dreams.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus- Capturing the Ausmerzer, Final Impressions and Reflections

“Lady…that the best you got? Then your best won’t do. You’re among wolves now, and these are our woods.” —William “B.J.” Blazkowicz

After returning to Eva’s Hammer, Blazkowicz is treated to a surprise birthday party, and Wyatt subsequently goes missing. Blazkowicz finds him hidden in the shooting range, and after talking him out, the Resistance prepares to mount an assault on the Ausmerzer. During the preparations, Sigrun reprimands Grace when the latter calls her a Nazi one time too many, earning Grace’s respect, and after boarding the Ausmerzer, the Resistance disables its automated defense system. After reaching the upper levels, Blazkowicz destroys a pair of Zerstörer robots defending the bridge, and reunited with Anya, the Resistance succeed in capturing the Ausmerzer. Later, they travel to the studio doing a live broadcoast of General Engel’s interview for television, and Blazkowicz executes her with a hatchet, avenging Caroline. Wyatt gives a speech about the Resistance’s plans to liberate the world from Nazi rule, and Blazkowicz recovers his mother’s ring from Engel, proposing to Anya. This brings The New Colossus‘ campaign to an end after a sixteen hour long journey; it’s been a while ride whose gameplay mechanics and set-pieces have evidently improved upon those of its predecessor. The game simply looks and feels great, from the shooting to the settings. On the other hand, The New Colossus‘ narrative and pacing exude a different feel than those of The New Order: humour is present to a much greater degree to convey a sense of hope that was absent in earlier games, and this seems to mirror that, as Blazkowic works towards rallying the world against Nazi rule, the possibility of returning liberty and freedom to the world merits a few more smiles and laughs. The ending suggests the possibility of a sequel, where Blazkowicz finally realises his wish to live an ordinary life in a world free of Nazi rule.

The New Colossus‘ return to America opened the floor for exploring what things might’ve been like under Nazi rule, illustrating the core element that the United States was built on and its importance in the American identity. Political commentary and so-called attempts to promote a particular perspective aside, The New Colossus shows that America is defined by its freedoms and liberties: America under Nazi rule prima facie seems unchanged, save the fact that flags with the Swastika are flying everywhere, and culture seems to have only diverged somewhat. However, as players explore the game further, hints of the oppressive Nazi regime become increasingly apparent. Mandatory language laws, imprisonment and execution of racial minorities and the constant lack of personal privacy are rampant. Individual liberty is the single most critical aspect of the American identity. This entails the right to express oneself, choose their own leaders, following their own beliefs or the right to be treated equally – under Nazi rule, liberty is nonexistent. This is what Blazkowicz and his resistance are fighting so hard to bring back: it is not customs, pastimes, culture or cuisine, but a firm belief in freedom that defines America. So, the suggestion that The New Colossus is a political commentary on how modern-day America and the Third Reich are no different is untrue, and individuals who would contend otherwise are evidently unable to grasp the bigger picture that The New Colossus conveys in its narrative.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Sigrun’s knowledge of evading the ODIN system allows the Resistance to bring Blazkowicz and Anya close enough to board it, high above the city below. When I first started this mission, my initial inclination was to run for the boarding platform, which was rapidly closing, but this led me to fall to my death. So, I ended up waiting for Anya to open the platform. Because this post deals with the Ausmerzer mission alone, I’ve chosen to go with twenty screenshots rather than thirty.

  • With every weapon upgrade available and each of the contraptions upgraded, I finally felt ready to take on the Ausmerzer; the mission starts in the same area that Blazkowicz traversed while trying to disable the electromagnet holding Eva’s Hammer in place during the second mission. I’ve long become familiar with the enemies at this point in time, and I’ve found that the Sturmgewehr, when fully upgraded, is the best weapon in the entire game for its versatility. The jungle-style magazine boosts ammunition capacity, the marksman optics facilitate long-range combat and the armour-piercing rounds makes it possible to eliminate heavy opponents quickly. Combined with a high rate of fire and reasonable hip-fire accuracy, dual-wielding the Sturmgewehr is probably the most useful for dealing with unexpected situations.

  • Here, I reach the first of the ODIN terminals, sweeping and clearing anything that moved. The old areas of the Ausmerzer are familiar, but after Blazkowicz reaches the first terminal and enters the password to deactivate half of the weapons, Anya prepares two elevator pods so that they can reach the next control room, set in a new area of the Ausmerzer.

  • In German, ausmerzen is a verb for “to weed out” or “eradicate”; “Ausmerzer”, then, is probably taken to mean “Eradicator”, befitting of the airship’s purpose. Once the first terminal was found, I found myself facing a horde of soldiers and switched over the the Kampfpistols, emptying nearly my entire stock of ammunition on them. Similar to The Old Blood, there are few occasions in The New Colossus where these explosive launchers are really able to shine: the damage makes the Kampfpistoles best suited for crowd control and damaging heavier opponents, but ammunition is scarce. For their power, Kampfpistole rounds are wasted on most soldiers.

  • A Supersoldaten begins attacking the pods and rips the top off the one that Blazkowicz is riding, but I came prepared. In TheRadBrad’s playthough, he used the Dieselgewehr to kill it, but the blast damage whittled at his armour. Conversely, I struck with the Sturmgewehr: its armour-piercing rounds made quick work of the Supersoldaten and dealt no splash damage to me. After reaching this point, it’s a massive firefight to clear the area of Nazi soldiers.

  • The ram shackles are powerful enough to reduce victims into a pile of meat and blood: after locating the second ODIN control center, I sprinted in and ran towards a soldier in here, who met the same fate as Corpse Party‘s Mayu Suzumoto. While both similarly feature their share of blood and gore, the separation between the two titles is that in The New Colossus, players are responsible for turning folks into bloody chunks, while in Corpse Party, players usually find classmates reduced to the same and must evade the supernatural forces responsible. Consequently, if Blazkowicz were introduced into Blood Corpse with his superior arsenal, the game would necessarily be reclassified as an action adventure – even the likes of Sachiko would be no match against the Dieselkraftwerk.

  • Will I play Corpse Party, one asks? The game normally retails for 17 CAD and reaches a minimum price of 11.04 CAD on a discount. It is not compatible with a Mac and has low system requirements, while reviews are exceedingly positive. Being an RPG with multiple endings that require some thought to get right, rather than a steady aim and quick reflexes, my bet is that I’ll end up with every bad ending conceivable if I play Corpse Party because my gaming skillset is making headshots, not working out optimal decisions in games with branching storylines.

  • It took me a little while to work out where to go after the ODIN systems were disabled, and in the end, I noticed a crane reaching towards the centre of this room, allowing Blazkowicz to access a pod. Climbing up a ladder here will finally take Blazkowicz to the Ausmerzer’s upper deck, and it is here that the final level begins to shine, matching the spectacle seen in The New Order‘s final mission to assault Deathshead’s compound. In The New Colossus, the visuals are even more impressive.

  • While presented as a terrifying flying fortress, it is here that players see for themselves the Ausmerzer’s arsenal: large guns are mounted on the deck for bombardment, and the airship has a distinct feeling similar to that of a ocean-faring battleship. With the open skies above and a large city below, the scale in this level is truly breathtaking. Of course, there’s no time to admire the scenery: the entire airship remains to be captured at this point.

  • The Zittadel robots no longer intimidate me, and while I could have destroyed it using conventional weapons, it seemed so much more fun to pick up the Lasergewehr and annihilate it in a head-on attack. Here, I focus fire on the missile launcher to deprive it of a long range assault: AP rounds from the Sturmgewehr are effective, but having a Lasergewehr makes this battle trivially straightforwards. Because they were so entertaining to use, I have an excess of 300 kills with heavy weapons in The New Colossus, whereas in The New Order, I stuck with standard weapons.

  • One of the perks available only in The Old Blood was the fact that players could carry the MG46 machine gun in their inventory, had they accumulated enough kills with it in the game. The weapon was only marginally more powerful than standard weapons and as such, I never did run too often with it. Conversely, in The New Colossus, heavy weapons were definitely worth using, and while each of the different weapons have their unique points, the Lasergewehr is the most versatile: the Dieselgewehr and Hammergewehr are both fun but better suited for close ranges, while the Übergewehr requires a bit of skilful timing to use owing to its slow firing rate.

  • With my heavy weapons perk levelled to the maximum possible, I was able to carry a ridiculous amount of ammunition for them. The slower movement speed was offset by the vast amount of firepower available, and unlike The Old Blood, these weapons definitely feel powerful. It becomes possible to hold down the trigger and watch as untold amounts of destruction unfolded; the deck here was cleared in no time at all.

  • One detail that I began noticing with the Schockhammer is that, when the rotating barrels are engaged to allow the shotgun to fire all three barrels at once, the weapon goes through three rounds per pull of the trigger, and this is reflected in the shells being chambered in the magazine. Subtle elements, such as weapon chambering animations, never cease to impress me; I am always fond of games that make the effort to add these animations to weapons.

  • The sheer amount of chaos on board the Ausmerzer is such that I’m glad that there are no weapon upgrade kits here to collect: the mission’s entire focus is on capturing the Ausmerzer. Compared to the specific weapon upgrades of The New Order and The Old Blood, the kit-based system of The New Colossus is superior in that it offers players a choice in upgrading their weapons to best fit their play-style. While natural progression will eventually see all of the upgrades unlocked, providing options allow players to pick and choose their preferred weapons to upgrade early in the game.

  • I acquire another Übergewehr on board the Ausmerzer, and look back on the parts of the ship that I’ve already progressed through. I’ve heard people state that the Übergewehr is a black hole generator, but this is ludicrous. Documentation properly describes the weapon as using a combination of electricity and diesel fuel to create a powerful energy blast capable of igniting and vapourising even heavily-armoured enemies outright. Overall, the heavy weapons of The New Colossus are much more fun to use than the MG46 and MG60 seen in its predecessors.

  • When the doors open and pods containing Supersoldaten were launched, I immediately began charging the Übergewehr. There’s a small mechanical indicator on the weapon that shows whether or not the weapon is fully charged: the Übergewehr won’t fire until this indicator is filled, and in the heat of battle, it can be a little difficult to determine what one’s firing state is. Here, I use the weapon to one-shot a Supersoldaten using the Übergewehr’s main energy blast. After a number of these pods are launched, two Zerstörer (“Destroyer”) robots, the level’s bosses, come out in full force. It’s the toughest fight I’d faced in The New Colossus, even with fully upgraded weapons and contraptions.

  • Armed with Übergewehrs of their own, the Zerstörer robots can one-shot Blazkowicz. The Übergewehr, while powerful enough to kill everything else in The New Colossus in one shot, will not destroy the Zerstörer as easily. While slow moving and slow to fire, the fight is compounded by the endless number of soldiers and Supersoldaten that join the Zerstörer. This fight was absolutely overwhelming and it took me a few attempts to get it right: victory is not achieved by superior firepower (least of all with heavy weapons, which slow the player down) alone, but rather, clever use of the available environment to evade and gain better positioning.

  • I managed to kill one Zerstörer using the Übergewehr, which earned me an achievement. The second one, I destroyed in conjunction with the unending reinforcements using the Sturmgewehr. There’s an entire floor below the top deck, and escaping in here to avoid enemy fire, as well as thinning out the standard soldiers, are an essential trick to completing this battle. The boss fight is much easier with the Ram Shackles, since players can batter soldiers to death while beating a hasty escape. After I figured out the environment, and fell back on the old DOOM strategy of shooting the remaining Zerstörer until it was destroyed, I finished this section to finally capture the Ausmerzer.

  • With the Ausmerzer under the Kreisau Circle’s control, there is one final loose end to deal with: General Engel herself. By a bit of a hilarious coincidence, one of my old classmates has taken this surname. The irony comes from the fact that I did not particularly get along with this individual or their friends (followers, really) too well, since they regarded themselves as being the height of popularity and set the standards for what was “in”, whereas I believe that people should make their own decisions regarding brands, life choices and politics.

  • This was the easiest final fight ever: Engel does not stand a chance against Blazkowicz, and this was one of the most violent things I’d seen since The Animatrix‘s Second Renaissance. On the flip-side, Blazkwicz avenges both Caroline and Super Spesh, setting the stage for an opportunity to finally liberate the world. I’ve heard negative reception towards the cliffhanger ending, which is reminiscent of Halo 2, but the possibility of getting another Wolfenstein game a few years down the line is an exciting one. I look forwards to seeing how this journey ends. With The New Colossus‘ campaign at an end, I will be returning in the future to talk about two other aspects of The New Colossus not covered during my campaign run. Looking at the calendar, we’re now a month away from Christmas. There’s quite a lot to do before Christmas arrives, but I look forwards to a peaceful Christmas with family that I foresee spending in Battlefront II or The Division, as well as relaxing with a good book in hand.

Overall, my final verdict for Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is that this is a game well worth the price of admission: while perhaps not quite as focused as its predecessors from a narrative perspective, the story nonetheless fits together in a satisfactory manner to reinforce the idea that Blazkowicz’s war is finally beginning to turn in a favourable direction. Between the world-building that further explores what a world under Nazi rule might be like and a large cast of characters that offers no shortage of humour to the journey, The New Colossus might not have the same sense of sombreness or urgency of its predecessor, but it replaces this with hope, suggesting that a world liberated from Nazi rule might very well be close at hand. This looks to be setting in stage a continuation, and I would welcome another instalment in the Wolfenstein franchise. In conjunction with generally solid gameplay (the game is an overall improvement over its predecessor in every department except for indication that damage is being sustained) and fantastic audio-visual elements, it was a superbly entertaining journey to pick up weapons and absolutely shred Nazis. With The New Colossus now in the books, there’s actually still a few things remaining before I can say I’ve fully finished the game: I’ve got a few Übercommanders left to finish off, and because I bought The New Colossus on Day One, I got Episode Zero to complete, which serves as an introduction to each of Joseph Stallion, Jessica Valiant and Gerald Wilkins, who are playable characters in the upcoming DLC.

Spectacular Days- Yūki Yūna is a Hero: Hero Chapter First Episode Impressions and Review

“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. We are today’s Hero Club! I only have one question. Where is Mimori Tōgō? You know where Mimori is? You know who she is? You know where I can find Mimori? I need to talk to her about something.” —The Joker, The Dark Knight

Life begins settling into a new routine after Yūna and the others return to their daily lives in the aftermath of their triumph over the Vertex. Sonoko transfers into their middle school, and immediately takes a liking to Yūna. However, both Sonoko and Yūna begin feeling as though something is missing; whether it be the fact that Itsuki originally partitions a cake made during home economics class into sixths, Sonoko subconsciously making three portions of noodles or a particular phrase impacting Yūna, it soon becomes clear that Mimori Tōgō has been absent from proceedings, forcibly removed from their memories. They recall that Mimori had longed to atone for her actions during the final battle, considering them inexcusable in light of the situation, and had taken up the mantle of a masked crime fighter to help out. Their memories return shortly after, but Mimori’s precise fate remains unknown to the others, and the camera cuts to a girl, who may or may not be Mimori, imprisoned in another dimension. Originally anticipated last week, Hero Chapter‘s first episode brings the sequel off to a flying start. With only a half-season’s worth of space to explore the narrative and detail what happens following the events of the first season, Hero Chapter wastes no time in establishing a new status quo that has materialised: Mimori’s fate is the focus, and unless I’m very much mistaken, the first challenge the Hero Club faces will be reuniting with Mimori given this first episode’s events.

The unique juxtaposition between the light-hearted and the dramatic had been an integral part of Yūki Yūna is a Hero. Therefore, it is unsurprising that much of the episode is given to the easy-going and hilarious antics that are central to the Hero Club. Sonoko feels right at home with Yūna and the others, partaking in jokes and initially drawing much awe from this generation of Heroes. Sonoko admits that she’s longed to live a normal life after being immobilised in the wake of engaging her Mankai on twenty occasions to save Mimori and the world. However, it seems that her friendly and playful manner has endured; from her enthusiasm in joining Yūna and the others in their play, to helping them study, Sonoko has fit right in. However, her initial presence also raises the question that remains on the audiences’ minds from the first moment the Hero Club is shown: where is Mimori at? While it’s a little surprising to see Yūna and the others blissfully unaware of this in the episode’s beginning, it turns out that each of Yūna, Karin, Fū, Itsuki and Sonoko are subconsciously aware that one of their number is misssing. Manifesting in subtle manners, this sense becomes stronger, and by the episode’s end, it’s quite apparent that Mimori’s absence is significant. At this point in time, episode titles for each instalment in Hero Chapter are available, giving some insight as to what future episodes entail, and my best guess is that audiences will have a chance to see what happened from Mimori’s perspective in the upcoming episode.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • It’s been a while since I’ve done episodic reviews, with last year’s Brave Witches being the last anime I followed in this format. Being an episodic review, this one (and the other upcoming five) has twenty screenshots, and I remark that this is probably one of the first Hero Chapter talks out there, coming ahead even of Random Curiosity. I’ve chosen not to do episodic reviews for Washio Sumi Chapter, since I covered all three movies previously, and as such, I had a bit of open time in this month’s first half. I ended up capitalising on that time to play through Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, and looking back at my journey, it was well worth the price of admissions – aside from just being a good game in general, the start of December is looking quite busy.

  • It’s amusing that Sonoko and Yūna get along with one another so well, and par the course for an episode out of Yūki Yūna is a Hero, the opening moments are filled to the brim with amusing facial expressions, comedy and antics worthy of Pure Pwnage. It seems quite a world away from the suffering that Heroes experience from fighting in a system whose mechanics are not fully explained to them, and the first episode opens with the girls performing a play for kindergarten students, as they’ve done previously.

  • Fū was once an excellent student, but the stresses caused her grades to plummet. Sonoko is helping her study and prepare for the transition into high school; they’re seen working on matrix operations with complex numbers (described by the expression a+bi, for real numbers a and b, plus the imaginary i being the solution of the expression x² = -1). Despite nailing that course when I was an undergraduate student, I’ve not done linear algebra or matrix operations for quite some time, much less linear algebra on matrices with imaginary values, and so, I’m thankful that Hero Chapter only mentions these in passing.

  • In the opening episode to Hero Chapter, Karin and Fū tie for the category of most “funny faces made”; Karin is reacting to the fact that Sonoko practises ventriloquism with a stuffed animal here. While seemingly out of place, it’s worth remembering that everyone in Hero Chapter is of middle school age. Even adults have stuffed animals that they’re fond of, and while the biochemical mechanism isn’t well-characterised, some studies suggest that it’s a form of essentialism, where objects can have additional attributes, such as memories and emotions, associated with them. Similarly, the tactile feedback stuffed animals give evoke memories and feelings of care and nurture; our fondness for stuffed animals is shared by other mammals, as well.

  • After a baseball game, Karin and Yūna return home, sharing their enjoyment of the day’s events and complimenting one another on their performance. Yūna’s life philosophy is that “You’re likely to succeed if you try”, and it’s the fifth tenant of the Hero Club. The Hero Club’s tenants are similar to my karate club’s dōjō kun, where we have five tenants as well. We recite them in Japanese before the start of class and once more in Cantonese at the end of class. When Yūna spots a girl in a wheelchair, she pauses, evidently remembering Mimori.

  • Even only a handful of minutes into the episode, Mimori’s absence is noticeable, and it is quite striking that even Yūna does not seem to be overly concerned that Mimori isn’t around, especially considering their promise to never forget one another. Here, Itsuki brings cake from her home economics class to share with the others.

  • It’s been quite some time since I baked things for a home economics class, this would have been in middle school, where I made a banana bread in my first practical class, and we eventually reached cookies and cheesecake. I’ve never really been too unskillful with basic baking, since it’s a simple matter of properly mixing the right quantities of ingredients together and then sticking the results in the oven for a period of time. Of course, one can’t subsist on cake and pastries alone, so in subsequent years, I took cooking classes so as to better prepare meats and vegetables.

  • At present, I would say that I’m passable at cooking: my cooking certainly hasn’t killed or injured anyone, which is a good sign, but I’m a bit slower at chopping vegetables and stripping excess fat from meat. One of my goals in the upcoming year is to cook more so I can be more proficient. Back in Hero Chapter, Itsuki gets a positive result from her friends, who enjoy her cake. Following Yūna’s reaction to a wheelchair, Itsuki suddenly wonders why she’d made six slices rather than five, and while Sonoko’s evidently superior math allows her to divide up the final slice, it’s another sign that that Mimori’s absence is troubling.

  • The Great Bridge was destroyed during the battle when Sonoko engaged her Mankai to take on an increasing number of Vertex during Washio Sumi Chapter‘s final moments in the name of protecting Mimori and everyone’s memories alive. The exertion leaves her catatonic and bed-ridden, with the miracle at the end of Yūki Yūna is a Hero fully restoring her functions. However, the bridge remains destroyed, and a war memorial has been erected at the site to remember those who died during Vertex attacks.

  • Prior to her first play with the Hero Club, Sonoko visits the memorial where Gin’s headstone is located. Her death in Washio Sumi Chapter‘s second act was a particularly difficult one that forced the Taisha to update their system. Like all revisions, the changes brought new advantages and disadvantages that drove Fū and Mimiori over the edge in season one. The sheer number of tombstones here could be a grim and somewhat macabre reminder of just how lethal the vertex are.

  • When Sonoko is absent, the Hero Club considers postponing the day’s performance, especially in light of the sense of unease that Yūna feels. However, when the instructor of the kindergarten class appears, Yūna decides to proceed with the performance, speaking of her commitment to the Hero Club and responsibilities. It’s an admirable trait, and in conjunction with her sense of integrity and perseverance, Yūna is a capable Hero who looks after both her teammates and the objective.

  • The Hero Club’s plays are highly enjoyed by both children and parents alike; their activities are diverse and varied, ranging from helping out at charity events and volunteering to entertaining others. When first introduced in Yūki Yūna is a Hero, the Hero club’s everyday activities belied its true purpose. Here, Fū plays the role of Satan, while Yuūna is the hero who stands up against evil even as her list of allies grows thin. A line in the play causes Yūna to remember what Mimori said to her earlier, and overcome with emotion, Yūna finds herself in tears, unable to continue with the play.

  • Sonoko arrives mid-play; of the Heroes present, she remembers Mimori and works out what Yūna is feeling. Yūna herself earlier had a flashback to a conversation that she shared with Mimori where Mimori made a promise to a comatose Yūna to be together forever.

  • A glance at the calendar shows that Hero Chapter‘s first episode was originally expected to release last week, but a recap episode intended to help viewers reacquaint themselves with the first season was shown instead, leading folks to wonder if Hero Chapter would only consist of five episodes. This is not the case: looking through materials show that there will be six episodes to Hero Chapter. We’re now a month away from Christmas now, and it’s been a bit of a rough week for me. I’m glad it’s the weekend, which will give me a bit of time to recover, regroup and return to work on Monday to take on the new challenges that have arisen.

  • Because this post is about Hero Chapter, I won’t go into more details pertaining to what happened except that I wholeheartedly hate folks who pretend to know more than they do, can’t actually get the job done when the moment calls for it, and have the audacity to look down on others in spite of their own shortcomings. It’s a consolation that we won’t be seeing this particular individual again. Returning to Hero Chapter, Sonoko and Yūna share the truth with the others to bring everyone into the loop.

  • The body language, facial expressions and camera placement illustrate the sort of pain and corresponding courage that Sonoko and Yūna have for sharing their knowledge with Itsuki, Fū and Karin. The truth can be difficult to express at times, but time and time again, being truthful is important, saving critical time and enabling issues to be properly addressed rather than being dismissed and allowing them to grow into unmanageable problems.

  • Sonoko’s appearance is to Mimori and Yūna’s pleasant surprise: Yūna is overjoyed to be meeting one of the most prolific Heroes of all time, while Mimori is reuniting with an old friend she’d forgotten about. After a theatricality-filled entrance and introductions, Sonoko continues to refer to Mimori as Washi, her nickname derived from her old name Sumi Washio. When the final act to Washio Sumi Chapter concluded, I said that I would stick with the convention of referring to Sumi as Mimori.

  • Through the flashback, it is suggested that shortly after the events of the first season, everyone returned to their everyday lives together, but at some point, Mimori was removed from the proceedings, and everyone’s memories were imperfectly modified. This suggests that the Taisha, whatever their capabilities might be, have limitations, and while seemingly trivial for now, it could return later this season.

  • Yūna’s naïveté is one of her more endearing qualities, and when the club brings in a certain “National Defense Mask”, they learn that Mimori is trying to step up her game and recompense for her actions during the first season’s climax. Yūna seems blissfully unaware that this individual is really Mimori. It’s interesting that shortly after this incident is discussed, the flashback draws to a close, and the scene transitions into another dimension or universe, where a young girl is subdued and held amidst flames.

  • Some folks believe that, it this is Mimori, it’s a warranted punishment for Yūna, while others have better argued that Yūna’s actions were justified and well-chosen. I wasn’t around to see discussions for Yūki Yūna is a Hero‘s first season, but it looks like some are letting their emotions get the better of their judgement already in Hero Chapter. It’s still early in the game to be passing judgement on the characters, and so, with the first episode in the books, it’s onwards to the next episode. In the meantime, I’m going to aim to finish Wolfenstein II and also get a ways into The Division, which I picked up earlier this week during the Steam Black Friday sale.

I found myself quite impressed with Washio Sumi Chapter when the movies were screened earlier this year, despite the lack of world-building with respect to why the Vertex and Heroes exist to begin with. While the first episode of Hero Chapter does not cover this, I’m nonetheless going to give this sequel the benefit of the doubt and remain optimistic that there will be some explanation of what drives their world. The fact that Mimori is imprisoned in some alternate dimension suggests that Yūna and the others might finally be able to learn more about this conflict: Yūki Yūna is a Hero has always been solid from a thematic perspective, being quite clear in what messages that Yūna and the Hero Club’s experiences are intended to convey, but in spite of their fascinating world, audiences who’ve only seen the anime tend to be shafted as far as background information is concerned. If omitted, this diminishes the strength of the themes that Yūki Yūna is a Hero is aiming to present to viewers; not knowing more about the world that the Heroes are fighting to protect takes away from the urgency of their fight. This is the importance of the world-building, to help audiences understand and develop some connection to the world that lets them appreciate what about Yūki’s world that is worth fighting for. With this being said, if Hero Chapter chooses to go in a different direction and the execution is satisfactory, I wouldn’t hold it against Hero Chapter.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus- Review and Reflection after the Manhattan Bunker, New Orleans and Oberkommando Venus Base

“Welcome to the Oberkommando. Population: shitload of assholes. You got my ODIN codes, assholes?” —William “B.J.” Blazkowicz

With a powerful new body, Blazkowicz is sent to a Nazi bunker in Manhattan to retrieve a file on New Orleans and learns that the Nazis have a plan to systemmatically eliminate everyone in a large walled ghetto there. Travelling to New Orleans with the Kreisau Circle and fights his way through the occupying Nazi forces to meet up with Horton Boone and his resistance members. Blazkowicz’s combat efficiency impresses Horton, and after a few drinks, he gets into a shouting match with Horton that culminates with Blazkowicz earning his respect. Horton and his crew agree to join the Kreisau Circle, and Blazkowicz uses a captured Panzerhund to distract the Nazis while Horton’s people evacuate to Eva’s Hammer. He returns to the Eva’s Hammer and uses the nuclear cannon to generate a shockwave that pushes the submarine back into the ocean ahead of the Ausmerzer’s arrival. Back on board, the Kreisau Circle learns that the Ausmerzer was originally built to suppress resistance forces and would be a powerful asset if captured. However, the Ausmerzer’s ODIN defense system must first be disabled, and to this end, Blazkowicz travels to Venus under the guise of an actor auditioning for the role of Terror Billy in a propaganda film. He comes face-to-face with Adolf Hitler himself, although far from being the mastermind of the Nazi’s rise to power, he’s now degenerated physically and mentally, suffering episodes of psychosis and a persistent cough. After a tense audition where Blazkowicz brutally kills a Nazi soldier for a scene, impresses Hitler and is given the part. Blazkowicz later steals away from his quarters, fighting his way through the Venus facility and reaches the Oberkommando Base, located on the blisteringly hot surface of Venus, where he finds the codes for ODIN.

This is where I am so far for The New Colossus, and like The New Order before it, I’ve advanced through the game at a high pace – The New Colossus is engaging in its story, and the colourful cast of characters have been the game’s strongest point, adding much humour to an otherwise grim world. The second half has definitely been a blast, and while perhaps similar to The New Order in essentials (stealing a powerful Nazi war machine to supplement the Kreisau Circle and travelling to a facility in space to acquire codes required to make this endeavour possible), the second half of The New Colossus is coherent, focused and clear as to what Blazkowicz’s goals are. One of the aspects that is absent in The New Colossus are over-the-top boss fights mid-game: so far, the toughest enemies I’ve encountered so far are the Zitadelle robots, which can be easily defeated by making use of an AP round-equipped assault rifle to eliminate its weapons. By comparison, The New Order had Blazkowicz fight the London Monitor in a titanic battle. While the lack of memorable bosses in The New Colossus prior ot the the finale is noticeable, The New Colossus offers an excellent set of Übercommander assassination missions, in which Blazkowicz returns to previously explored districts to kill off a high ranking officier, as well as side-missions that allow him to explore Eva’s Hammer in more detail. The additional world-building provides further depth to the world that Wolfenstein II is set in, and I’ve found it to be superbly enjoyable to revisit old locations with upgraded weapons and contraptions.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • After getting a new body, gameplay changes slightly as Blazkowicz regains access to 100 health, but loses the ability to pick up additional armour. Dropped in New York without an air filter or powered armour, the return to Manhattan has Blazkowicz picking up health packs every so often to ensure that he does not succumb to the radiation. Of the three contraptions, I picked the battle walker, which allows Blazkowicz to gain the high ground in combat and access locations that are otherwise out of reach.

  • The other two contraptions are the constrictor harness, which allows Blazkowicz to squeeze into incredibly tight quarters such as vents and openings closer to the ground, and the ram shackles that offer the ability to ram through some doors and boxes. My choice in the battle walker was made because it seems the most fun to use, bringing to mind the Bamboo Boogie Boots from Futurama. The ram shackles are the best suited for a highly aggressive play-style, while the constrictor harness is fantastic for stealth. It is possible to acquire all contraptions and upgrade them, and this is something that I ended up doing.

  • Panzerhunds make a return as mini-bosses of sorts in The New Colossus, although by now, I have no shortage of options in dealing with heavy enemies. The battle walker allowed me to climb onto hard-to-reach places or maintain a superior vantage point over the battlefield. Together with the Hammergewehr, I absolutely massacred the Panzerhund here. I’ve read that the lowest difficulty is the best way to enjoy The New Colossus, but I would have to disagree with this remark: normal difficulty is fine.

  • Collectable concept art, star cards, Nazi Gold and Max’s toys are scattered throughout The New Colossus, and while I’ll pick them up if I find them, my greater priority is on collecting weapon upgrade kits, since those directly affect gameplay. I missed a few during my playthrough, but thanks to the Übercommander missions, I’ve been able to collect everything, allowing me to fully upgrade all of my weapons. The constrictor harness can be found here, and I used it to take out the Übercommander on this map, as well as to help me find the second of the upgrade kits.

  • Here, I find the Kampfpistole to complete my collection of weapons. Returning from The Old Blood, the incarnation in The New Colossus now has a six-round magazine, and while initially appearing to be a downgrade from its predecessor in The Old Blood for firing grenades, the Kampfpistole can be upgraded to fire rocket-propelled grenades. The weapon is based off the Sturmpistole, which was a modified flare gun that was intended to be an infantry-portable anti-tank solution that could further be mounted as an under-barrel attachment, as seen in Brave Witches.

  • Reaching the end of the Manhattan Bunker with the New Orleans folder in hand, there’s a short elevator ride that takes Blazkowicz back to the surface. After returning to Eva’s Hammer, I spent a fair bit of time unlocking Übercommander missions with the enigma codes I amassed. Before heading to New Orleans, I cleared out Manhattan, Roswell and Mesquite: the missions don’t feature auto-saves, and the Übercommanders are armed with the Kampfpistole. On some missions, I was forced to take them head-on and died more times than I cared to count, but I managed to finish the Roswell mission without being detected.

  • Under Nazi occupation, New Orleans is distinctly woebegone, with empty streets and boarded up buildings. For some reason, I’ve inexplicably associated the Deep South with Tango-Victor-Tango, if only for the fact that one of my friends introduced me to the site and Marble Hornets and I began playing Left 4 Dead 2 during the summer days, when the weather up here in Alberta elicits the sort of atmosphere seen in the Deep South. Marble Hornets is set in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Left 4 Dead 2 takes players through the swamps and cities of Louisiana. Thus, playing through New Orleans in The New Colossus elicits memories of summer evenings spent browsing Tango-Victor-Tango and watching Marble Hornets long after research hours ended when I was an undergraduate student.

  • I remember seeing gameplay footage set in New Orleans during demos back during the summer and found myself highly impressed with the visuals. Compared to The New Order, lighting effects and details are slightly more sophisticated, and I originally wondered if my computer would be able to handle The New Colossus. While we are on the topic of Tango-Victor-Tango, the last week was a little hectic after one reader sent me a request to help fact-check for the Hai-Furi page there; they were looking for some assistance in determining which of the technical examples were legitimate and which ones were fallacious. I spent most evenings looking through examples and verifying them in place of my usual relaxing.

  • In the end, I managed to corroborate most of the information save two claims: that methane clathrate (“burning ice”, or “gas hydrate”) deposits were not located anywhere near Japan, as well as the assertion that Akeno, Moeka and Mashiro’s nicknames (“Mike”, “Moka” and “Shiro”) are common cat names in Japan. The former is untrue, as geological surveys have in fact found the presence of some deposits, and the latter is also untrue: a year-and-a-half after Hai-Furi ended, I still haven’t found anything to suggest that Akeno and the others are named after cats beyond one bogus “discussion” whose author claims that “the cat theme is there and intentional, though – it extends to the entirety of the Harekaze crew”.

  • After twelve episodes and two OVAs, cats have a practical, rather than symbolic role in Hai-Furi, so I’m going to leave the discussion there and transition over to talk of dogs, specifically, mechanised ones. Panzerhunds have been trying to kick Blazkowicz’s ass throughout all of The New Order and most of The New Colossus, so when Horton gives Blazkowicz a captured Panzerhund to ride, the game kicks things into twelfth gear. The Panzerhund can pick up armour off defeated enemies to restore its armour pool to prolong its usefulness in combat.

  • It is incredibly satisfying to use the Panzerhund’s flamethrower to incinerate enemies: the flames are so intense they can burn through the Supersoldaten in mere moments, and even explode a heavily armoured vehicle carrying Nazi soldiers. However, all good things must come to an end, and eventually, the path becomes too narrow for the Panzerhund to fit through. After entering an abandoned factory and fighting off a horde of Nazis, Blazkowicz makes his way into the sewers of New Orleans.

  • It turns out that the massive robots I’ve been fighting are called “Zitadelle” (German for “Citadel”). Their armaments allow them effectiveness at all ranges; while they are intimidating with their size and loadout, they can actually be destroyed quite quickly. My preferred tactic is to use the Sturmgewehr’s AP rounds in single-fire mode and blow off the left arm first, limiting its attacks to close range, and then destroy the remaining arm, which causes the entire thing to explode spectacularly. The stealth approach is a bit riskier, involving sneaking up on it and severing both of its fuel lines. Igniting the fuel also allows for the Zitadelle to be destroyed quickly.

  • I originally was not intending on playing The New Colossus entering the weekend – Yūki Yūna is a Hero: Hero Chapter was scheduled to release, and I was aiming to have a post out for the first episode of Hero Chapter out that evening, but we ended up with a recap episode, and so, I ended up taking the time to advance further in The New Colossus. I’ve previously remarked that I have plans to blog about Hero Chapter in an episodic fashion, and while no new episode was aired, I did see that another anime blog had a talk out for the recap, published while I was still at work. If this is the case, I do not think I’ll be able to offer the fastest discussions on Hero Chapter, but I think I can make interesting, insightful posts nonetheless. I will try and see if it is viable to get posts out on the same day that episodes air, although it is possible that Saturdays are when the posts will be published, as well.

  • While the section through the New Orleans sewers is short, they nonetheless bring back memories of the sewers from Enter The Matrix. The last time I completed the game was back in late 2015, and I’ve been meaning to do a pair of talks on the game, but the opportunity has not yet materialised. A Matrix reboot is supposedly in the works, and it could be time for me to take another look at a game that I greatly enjoyed when I was younger, back in the days when dual core processors and high speed internet was just beginning to become commonplace. The ram shackles can be found here for observant players, and folks who missed it can always return to claim it during an Übercommander mission.

  • At this point in The New Colossus, I’d upgraded enough of my weapons so that even Supersoldaten were not much of a threat: the Schockhammer X, when fully upgraded, features a forty-round magazine and can fire three shots with each pull of the trigger. It will annihilate almost anything downrange, and after I cleared out the area here, I found another weapon upgrade kit inside the house, in a small room to the left. This is one of the upgrade kits that are more out of the way, and in my experience, was the second most hidden one.

  • Adolf Hitler is depicted in the game, and far from the powerful dictator who commanded the Third Reich, the Führer now is a wretch of a man, troubled with a failing body and neurodegenerative disease. Critics have praised this particular direction, suggesting that it’s the perfect caricature of one of the most vile individuals calling themselves a leader in history, and for this, I find that this particular incarnation of the Führer is ill-suited to be the antagonist of any sequels, being relegated to a pathetic and somewhat comedic role. There’s an easter egg here for folks who are inquisitive.

  • The Oberkommando base on Venus is a familiar concept, being similar to the Moon base from The New Order. However, the different environments mean that the Venus base and Moon base are completely different from one another. The presence of a Nazi facility on Venus also attests to just how much of a technological advantage they have over the world, and to have constructed a base on Venus, of all places, is a nontrivial feat: consider that we’ve not returned to the moon since the last Apollo XVII mission in 1972.

  • The interior of the Venus facility feels a little bit like the average space museum, with all of the surface relief models and satellite replicas. The page quote here comes from a point during this mission when Blazkowicz closes in on the Oberkommando center, bringing to mind his comments on the Nazi moon landing in The New Order. Present in the new Wolfenstein games since 2014, I’ve been a big fan of the random quips that Blazkowicz will make during the course of a mission.

  • The engineering in the Venus base is incredibly detailed, and really gives the sense that it was designed to withstand the extreme pressure and heat on the surface. Hallways are composed entirely of steel and look like they’re designed to withstand high pressures, with HVAC components visible here and there to hint at how much resources are directed towards keeping building interiors cool. Windows are small, compared to the large windows and high ceilings of the lunar base seen in The New Order. It’s apparent that Machine Games investigated architecture suitable for conditions on Venus, and the interior of the facility screams Venus, with its yellows, reds and tans, compared to the greys, whites and blues of the moon base.

  • At its surface, Venus has an average temperature of 462°C and a pressure of 92 atm. The atmosphere is largely carbon dioxide, with traces of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen. Precipitation takes the form of sulfuric acid, which is highly corrosive and can cause severe burns. In The New Colossus, Blazkowicz dons a special suit in order to traverse the facility’s exterior, and while it is not implausible for a suit to withstand extremities of temperature, I find its construction to be most impressive, given that it can stand up to Venus’s atmosphere, which exerts an equivalent of the pressure found in the oceans down at a depth of one kilometer.

  • One of the nuances about Venus is that Blazkowicz must be mindful of the amount of coolant remaining in his suit: it depletes over time, forcing him to resupply at special stations. Running out completely results in a painful death, but it seems that moving around at high speeds and taking damage in combat thankfully does not appear to have an impact on the coolant supply. It is possible to instantly restock on coolant by entering a building, and while it can be easy to neglect coolant levels mid-combat, The New Colossus provides cues for players: Blazkowicz will remark that it’s a good idea to resupply or that it’s getting hot when he’s low, and an alarm will go off if levels are critical.

  • In The Old Blood, the Kampfpistole could not be dual-wielded, so when they made it an option to pair the Kampfpistole with another weapon and even use two at once, there is the possibility for limitless destruction, allowing Blazkowicz to reduce entire groups of enemies to puddles of blood and chunks of meat. Fully upgraded, the Kampfpistoles can put out six rockets at a time when dual-wielded, with each Kampfpistole firing three rounds at a time for massive damage.

  • This ladder goes up a shaft leading to the next section, and it is here that the best-hidden weapon upgrade kit is located: it’s found halfway up the shaft on a ledge adjacent to the ladder and can only be accessed by climbing to the top and hopping back down. There are a total of twenty one weapon upgrade kits in The New Colossus, and while I’ve heard of players farming Übercommander missions to acquire more, one only needs twenty one to fully upgrade every weapon. The last upgrade kit is found in one such mission, and can’t be missed, being on the way to the Übercommander.

  • Admittedly, the exteriors on Venus bring to mind the terrain and landscapes of Mars in DOOM: this is the closest that Wolfenstein and DOOM will come; while the games original incarnations were quite similar in mechanics, their narratives differed greatly, and both games contributed to the development of modern shooters.

  • Scattered throughout the Venus base are large spherical fuel tanks that explode when shot. A well-placed explosion can eliminate an entire group of enemies at once, earning players environment kills that contribute to a perk that reduces explosive damage taken.

  • The Übergewehr is the ultimate weapon in The New Colossus, being more or less the Wolfenstein incarnation of DOOM‘s BFG 9000. Like the BFG, it is so powerful that it can reduce entire groups of enemies and even Supersoldaten into unrecognisable piles of meat and blood. However, unlike the BFG 9000, Blazkowicz cannot carry the weapon in his inventory, experiences reduced movement speeds while wielding it (like all other heavy weapons), and there aren’t any powerful bosses to use it on. It must be charged before firing, and creates a massive energy sphere that vapourises anything it touches. The scene where players are presented an opportunity to try it out is also reminiscent of DOOM, where players can try their newly-acquired BFG 9000 on a room full of possessed.

  • As I wander deeper into the Oberkommando facility, I’ll also take this time to remark that its been a bit more than a week since the Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka??: Dear My Sister OVA began screening in Japan. With the home release (and correspondingly, my review) likely to come in Spring 2018, I remark that discussions on the OVA has been fortuitously light. With this in mind, at least one English-speakers have already seen it, having reserved tickets ahead of time and traveled to Japan with the sole purpose of seeing the film. While one might perhaps admire their tenacity and disposable income, I simply don’t have the time to do something of a similar scale. So, for folks wondering when I’ll write about Dear My Sister, the answer to this is that it’ll be close to the home release: ordering BDs is rather more economical than spending an excess of two thousand Canadian for one 50-minute long OVA.

  • It’s actually a bit surprising to learn that I’ve spent roughly fifteen hours in The New Colossus and I’ve still got quite a bit to do before I finish the game: I spent most of the past weekend in The New Colossus. Most of Saturday was devoted to looking around for a new tree top ornament with LED lights, which I was unsuccessful in finding, and then visiting a local meat shop to buy some spicy kebabs and chicken wings. Despite the lateness in the day, the clerk gave us a sample of their meatloaf, which tasted quite wonderful. I nonetheless managed to get a good way into the Oberkommando mission after a hearty dinner of fried chicken and fries with a nacho salad to start – it’s always satisfying to spend a Saturday evening gaming following a crunchy and flavourful fried chicken, which seems the perfect accompaniment for shooters (after washing and drying the dishes, of course).

  • Contrary to complaints about things on Steam reviews, the amount of content in The New Colossus is nothing to sneeze at, and it looks like that I might not be able to finish The New Colossus‘s campaign and Übercommander missions before the hopefully upcoming Steam Black Friday sale, where I’m looking to pick up The Division. I’ve mentioned this in passing previously, and while I didn’t think the value was there when the game was going for 35 CAD during last year’s Winter Sale, the game has seen discounts to the tune of 60 percent off, which corresponds with a price tag of 28 CAD, which is rather more reasonable. Coupled with the fact that this time of year, leading up towards Christmas, ties in nicely with the atmosphere in The Division, it feels like the time is right for me to experience a game I’ve not played since the open beta back in February of last year.

  • As for Star Wars: Battlefront II, I’m still on the rocks about whether or not I’ll be picking it up. The crisis with the loot crates notwithstanding, the gameplay looks mechanically solid, and the Christmas season seems the time to be playing a Star Wars game. I’ll make a decision on Battlefront II closer to The Last Jedi‘s première, when the game will likely be sold at a discounted price. Back in Wolfenstein, I’ve upgraded all of my weapons and have all of the contraptions upgraded as well, meaning that I’m more or less ready to roll onwards and finish the final mission on board the Ausmerzer. I will be returning once I complete The New Colossus to do a final impressions on the game overall. In the meantime, Hero Chapter‘s first episode is set to air this Friday, so I’m looking forwards to seeing what this entails.

From a technical perspective, The New Colossus is an incredibly fun game that definitely has earned its place in the sun as a worthy predecessor to The New Order. The biggest strengths in the game lie in the world-building, which expands upon what was seen in the first game, and the cut-scenes were as entertaining to watch as the shooter elements were to play. Notably, The New Colossus is able to strike a balance between comedic and serious moments more so than its predecessors – finally, we have a game that feels consistent with the marketing and advertising, and the humour interspersed throughout the game conveys a sense of hope that, with Blazkowicz and his raggedy-ass bunch of resistance members, there really is a possibility to liberate the world and return liberty to its people. The New Order ended on a somber note; defeating Deathshead did not stop the Nazi stranglehold over the world, and similarly, The Old Blood concluded with Blazkowicz joining Fergus for the ill-fated run on Deathshead’s compound. Both games had easy-going, hilarious advertising campaigns, and the games themselves left me feeling a bit melancholy, knowing that all of Blazkowicz’s effort notwithstanding, his dream of ending the war and settling down to start a family would not be realised yet. The change in atmosphere in The New Colossus, seemingly irreverent, actually gives the impression that the world Blazkowicz dreams of building might not be an impossibility after all.

Wake Up, Girls! New Chapter! Review and Reflections At The Halfway Point

“Lighten up, just enjoy life, smile more, laugh more, and don’t get so worked up about things.” —Kenneth Branagh

Mayu and Shiho initially find it difficult to act in their assigned characters for the television drama “The Dreaming Duo”, where Mitsuki and Yoko are share dreams and come to realise their love for the same guy. However, with inspiration, Mayu begins to act more fluidly for Yoko’s role, inspiring Shiho to do the same as Mitsuki. While the two agree on their relationship being a strictly professional one, the distance between the two lessens as the two work on their drama, which finishes shooting on a high note. Later, Junko arranges for a Sendai tour with WUG to inspire local fans. A scheduling conflict prevents Minami from attending, and during a performance that evening, Nanami steps in to substitute for Minami. While she falls on stage, her actions earn her endearment from the audience. After WUG announces their plans to release a new album, Ayumi gets lost at the inn and comes across WUG’s zoo costumes. Mayu accidentally spills tomato juice on one and assumes it’s Yoshino inside, deciding that it’s best to visit the hot springs and wash it off before staining occurs. Ayumi manages to escape, but is inspired by Mayu’s words about idols and their duty to bring smiles to their audiences. The next morning, she tells Mayu of her intentions to become an idol and Mayu wishes her luck. This is where things stand at the halfway point in New Chapter!, a series that has managed to retain its charm owing to its sincere narrative and honest characters.

The past three episodes predominantly deal with Mayu; she’s the most experienced of WUG members and, despite being one of the more soft-spoken members, has numerous insights into what expectations are in entertainment. This sort of maturity and professionalism initially caused her to butt heads with the other WUG members during the first season of Wake Up, Girls!, but time has allowed even the taciturn Mayu to open up. By New Chapter!, Mayu is sharing how she feels about her schedule and is expressive about concerns she may have with her duties, in turn allowing the others to support her in their own way. Similarly, having recovered her sense of purpose as an idol, Mayu sees their duty as putting smiles on the faces of their audiences, and that the WUG’s presence can be projected by each and every member. Capable of reassuring others in WUG, Mayu’s definitely been a source of inspiration to those around her, and also outside of the group; Ayumi is star-struck whenever she meets Mayu in person, and a part of this is that Mayu is remarkably kind, humble and approachable. Having found her joy in being an idol once again because of her time in WUG, Mayu is able to put her heartfelt feelings into her performances that, together with the others in WUG, have allowed the group to retain a loyal following, and from an external perspective, these same aspects within the anime have allowed Wake Up, Girls! to similarly retain a loyal following in reality.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • For the record, if The Dreaming Duo were real, I would likely watch it. In this drama, the normally-quiet Mayu plays the spirited, energetic Yoko, who is on the basketball team, and Shiho, who usually is more forward with her opinions, is Mitsuki, a reserved student fond of the arts. The roles are opposite of their characters, and while they initially have difficulty adjusting, the directors notice the improvement once both begin empathising with their respective characters.

  • The dynamic between Mayu and Shiho is similar to that of Mythbusters‘ Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman: Shiho outright tells Mayu that their working together will not be a sign that their relationship has mended, to which Mayu accepts. I was reading an article about how Savage and Hyneman do not get along with one another outside of work hours, but nonetheless are successful in working together as professionals. Like Savage and Hyneman, Shiho and Mayu respect one another’s work ethic, follow similar processes in getting things done, and value getting the job done well over their own egos.

  • Mayu’s busy schedule means that she misses preparing for breakfast on at least one occasion, but here, her teammates step up to the plate and help her out. The dynamics amongst WUG are give-and-take, and in between her work on the set, Mayu also participates in the other activities that WUG typically engage in.

  • I’m not sure what I’m looking at here; one of the stills shows WUG recoiling from shock and horror after touching something unknown for a television programme. This sort of show is a bit less common on this side of the planet: when I was in Japan, a great number of their channels were running game and talk shows. Japanese shows tend to be a bit flashier and text heavy, giving a much more excited sense compared to similar  shows in North America, which by comparison feel a bit more austere.

  • Shiho is momentarily recalled to I-1 Club when Moka sustains an injury, but as it turns out, the injury was relatively minor, allowing her to return to her usual duties. As the two embrace their roles further, they begin gaining a feel for the characters and occasionally offer suggestions to the directors to create a more natural scene. While the directors are initially appalled, the scriptwriter approves of the changes.

  • When the principal photography is complete for The Dreaming Duo, Mayu has a chance to speak with one of the project’s managers, who admits that the decision to cast Mayu and Shiho were originally motivated by a want to draw in more viewers using well-known names, but they ended up getting more than expected through both girls’ dedication towards their roles.

  • Ayumi, Itsuka and Otome find themselves tiring out on a walk for their physical education class and begin losing resolve upon hearing the distance remaining in the walk, but when Ayumi learns of WUG’s plans to do a bus tour of Sendai, Ayumi immediately gains a second wind. Of the three, it seems that Ayumi is the most interested in WUG, and she runs into Mayu herself while playing an extra in The Dreaming Duo.

  • Minami is tied up with a food show and is absent from the proceedings for most of the WUG Sendai tour. Kouhei does his best to keep the show running, and the day begins smoothly. On board the bus, Ayumi and her friends encounter some high school students from Tokyo who’ve become fans of Minami, and they quickly hit it off with one another. The remainder of the folks on this tour are male fans of WUG, and I will note here that, while their antics are a riot, I usually do not feature the vociferous WUG fans from the family restaurant because there’s not much I have to comment about them.

  • The first event on the WUG Sendai tour is a SCAVENGER HUNT type event, where participants must find each of the girls, dressed up as an animal, and collect a stamp from them. Each of the girls end up encountering difficulties in striking a balance between being out in the open and being well-hidden enough so the event is fun for the participants. As an aside, Wake Up, Girls! Zoo! was a spin-off that I ended up watching a ways back. Light-hearted and fun, each episode was a riot, and I also greatly enjoyed the theme song, as well.

  • Ayumi grows weak-kneed when coming face-to-face with Mayu herself. Her tendency to be star-struck has hilarious consequences within New Chapter!. Today’s post marks a three-streak, one of the longest I’ve had this year; in spite of a weekend packed with activities, I somehow managed to get a post out each day. Of course, this pattern won’t be the norm: posts take at least two to three hours to write, and this is why I won’t be writing about Far Cry 4 as of yet, even though I finished the game just yesterday.

  • Today’s events included going out for dim sum and then taking a short walk under the warmer weather: things have warmed up a little over the past week. The last time I had dim sum at this particular restaurant was back in February, and while dim sum appears unassuming, it is quite substantial – we ordered the usual suspects today (炸蝦角, 蝦餃, 燒賣, 鳳爪, 叉燒包 and 腸粉), plus a sticky fried rice. I’m especially fond of 炸蝦角 (jyutping “zaa3 haa1 gok3”), a deep-fried shrimp that goes great with mayonnaise. Dim sum is, in the words of Adam Richman, a Hong Kong institution, and that one can get Dim Sum in Calgary rivalling the quality of Hong Kong Dim Sum is downright amazing.

  • I’ve seen this technique used before in the Hai-Furi OVAs, and of late, constraints in New Chapter!‘s animation budget have become quite apparent. There are photograph-like scenes such as this, re-use of footage seen earlier and numerous stills while the characters are engaged in conversation. In spite of obvious shortfalls in animation, New Chapter! more than delivers the spirit and fun; from a certain point of view, the choppy animation can be seen as a bit of a visual metaphor for the rough-around-the-edges-but-sincere nature of WUG.

  • WUG performs First Rate Smile, a song that Tasuka wrote for them as their debut piece. Upbeat and energetic, the song is later given to I-1 Club to perform, as WUG is tasked with an even tougher song (Seven Girls’ War, the opening song). For the longest time, First Rate Smile could only be heard in the I-1 Club incarnation, although with the Wake Up, Best! album that released in March 2015, a full year after the first season aired, audiences finally had a chance to listen to the WUG version of First Rate Smile.

  • Upon seeing the disappointment in the audience at Minami’s absence, WUG decide to ask Nanami to perform in lieu of Minami on account of her sharing a similar stature, but Nanami stumbles and reveals to the audience that she’s not Minami. Far from drawing the audience’s ire, this action results in the audience cheering for Nanami, as well. Soon after, the real McCoy arrives, with Junko having exhorted transportation crew to get them to the hotel ASAP.

  • At the time of writing, WUG’s real-world equivalent have released numerous albums for the music of Wake Up, Girls!, and performed at several venues where they became a sleeper hit: their real world performers seem to embrace adversity, and as one article on ANN succintly puts it, the group turns disaster into dreams. Born of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake, the project was initially to help with rebuilding Sendai. It was on the verge of failure and turned to recruiting voice talent in the Sendai area. The experiences and tribulations that the production team saw fed into Wake Up, Girls!, and in retrospective, it would seem that the reason why Wake Up, Girls! is so authentic and genuine is because it is inspired by real events.

  • New Chapter! is no Murder on the Orient Express, a recent film adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic – Miyu finds Mayu after she accidentally spills tomato juice on Yoshino’s polar bear costume, a consequence of Ayumi hiding inside it after getting lost, and the girls must promptly remove it before the stain becomes a permanent feature. The reason why tomato juice is so difficult to remove is because of the pigment lycopene, a long-chain non-polar hydrocarbon. These molecules are hydrophobic and will cling to other similar non-polar molecules, such as those making up plastic containers or the fibres in clothing.

  • The guide to removing tomato juice stains are numerous, and the precise method will depend on how old the stain is. In the case of a fresh stain, the combination of water and detergent will be sufficient. After Mayu takes Ayumi to the baths, her fear of getting discovered leads her to hide. By a stroke of luck, the other WUG members arrive, and in the chaos, Ayumi manages to escape, leaving Mayu to wonder what really happened, but before she gets clear, Ayumi overhears Mayu speaking to the others about what being an idol means.

  • Future assignments will leave the girls with less time spent performing together, leading Miyu to feel depressed, but when Mayu reminds everyone that they’re WUG regardless of where they are, spirits lift considerably. One of the things about being an idol, then is also being able to help one’s teammates and oneself smile: if the point of the business is to give a bit of happiness to viewers, then those doing so must first learn to find their own happiness. Mayu is able to appreciate this, and her presence in WUG is a reassuring one.

  • The next morning, WUG participate in signing autographs for their fans. The tour ends up being a successful one, and it seems that Mayu is quite unaware that Ayumi was responsible for the previous evening’s escapade. Seizing the moment, Ayumi declares that she wishes to be an idol – from our perspective, we roughly know what idols in Wake Up, Girls! must experience. I’ve heard that Ayumi and her friends will form their own group, “Run, Girls, Run!”: their presence in New Chapter! seem to be about the positive impacts that idols can have as role models.

  • I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this before, but ever since Wake Up, Girls! first season, Mayu’s been my favourite character. While still relatively off the beaten path, discussions about Wake Up, Girls! that I’ve seen have been quite positive. Time is moving at breakneck speed: we’re very nearly halfway through November now, and we’re rolling into December very soon. This anime season has passed by quickly, and I’ve found the other shows I’m watching to be enjoyable. With this post out the gates, I will be turning my attention towards Yūki Yūna is a Hero: Hero Chapter now – I’m curious to see both whether or not I can make an episodic review work, as well as what Hero Chapter entails.

With the next major goal being the production of a full WUG album, I’m looking forwards to seeing what directions New Chapter! will be taking. By this point in time, WUG has become accustomed to truths within the industry, but their cumulative experiences allow them to appropriately address whatever challenges come their way. The togetherness that is central to WUG’s strengths during performances have become somewhat of a crutch for WUG, and having foreseen this, Junko and Youhei have arranged for the girls to perform and work independently to increase their self-reliance. At the halfway point, this appears to be effective: the girls have definitely become much more resilient and adaptive. Mayu similarly reminds everyone that WUG will be WUG as long as everyone believes in one another, regardless of whether their working alone or performing together. While where all of these lessons and learnings will end up remains open for speculation, one thing is likely to be true: WUG will definitely find a way to overcome adversity that will invariably come their way as the series moves into its final episodes, and it will be enjoyable to watch how WUG goes about solving problems in with their own unique approaches.