Persona 4 Golden is probably my favorite game of the year, though it was technically released a few years ago. I started playing it in January after finishing the spin-off P4 game Dancing All Night (which is also great). Though the gameplay is fairly repetitive, you’re basically dungeon diving for each of your team members most of the time, it’s the story and overall immersion that drew me in.
For P4, you’re attempting to solve a series of murders taking place in a small town you’ve been shipped off to for a year. Along the way, you meet new kids at school who will eventually become part of the investigative team. The big hook to the Persona games is the need to form social links with people you meet over the course of the game. Each person you connect with has a side story that when progressed, strengthens your ability to form new Personas, which are the beings you use to fight with in battle. Battles can be pretty tough, so developing new Personas with stronger abilities is a must.
You get to know your friends and people of the area pretty intimately throughout the game, so when it ends, it tugs at the heart strings a bit. I wouldn’t say I cried at the end of Persona 4 Golden, but I was definitely a little sad when the train pulled away from the station with my character on it.
I finally got around to putting the Shurakoma Yo-Kai Watch model kit together a couple of weekends ago. It was fun to revisit that part of my life: model building. Aside from the random kit I may have put together over the years, or the Warhammer 40K minis I started messing with a couple of years ago, I haven’t really messed with model kits since I was in high school.
These Yo-Kai kits are snap-together, which I wasn’t too sure of before putting Shurakoma together. It was actually a great build though. They really thought about how all of the pieces should go together, and aside from a few random loose accessories, the overall form is pretty rock solid.
I’ve since ordered a few more kits from the store in LA. All of them have been great builds, just like Shurakoma was. Now I want even more. Until the new wave of standard Yo-Kai toys hit shelves this year, these little model kits fill the void I have for collecting more Yo-Kai Watch stuff.
I love cycling. Well, I love watching cycling. My dad got me hooked on the Tour de France several years ago before I moved back up, and I’ve tried to watch the smaller races as they happen as well.
What does this have to do with anime? Well, there happens to be a cycling anime called Yowamushi Pedal (Weakling Pedal). It tells the story of a young boy just starting high school. He’s really into anime and manga, but the club at school was shut down due to lack of interest. He’s devastated. Through a series of unexpected events however, it turns out he has a natural ability to ride bikes. Wanting friends (and having genuine fun doing it), he decides to join the cycling club.
I honestly don’t think I’ve had as many emotions with anime as I have while watching Yowamushi Pedal. I’ve caught myself grinning from ear to ear as little Onoda rides and races with his friends. Some dust must have gotten in my eyes a few times as he’s crushed by disappointment, or as he breaks that impossible barrier while riding. No one can believe the things he can do, while he’s just just happy to have friends and be able to spend time with them.
If there’s a case to illustrate how anime can be a viable format of entertainment, with all the emotion of a true crime drama or syndicated comedy, Yowamushi Pedal is it. It has brought genuine happiness to my life in the short time I’ve been watching it. These days, with all of my seemingly never ending maladies, Onods’s “Little Engine That Could” story is as uplifting as it is inspiring.