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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Heartwarming Olympic Moments, etc:

What's the most heartwarming moment in the Olympics so far?  I'll proffer a few for consideration, but I bet you'll never guess the winner.

How about Yuzuru Hanyu winning men's individual gold in figure skating the first Olympics after he narrowly survived the Sendai tsunami and earthquake in Japan's worst disaster in ages?  His home town destroyed, his house destroyed, he lived in an emergency shelter for a while, and yet here he is three years later Olympic figure skating champion -- the most distinguished gold medalist in Japan's history of competition at the Games.

Or how about Evgeny Pluschenko leading the Russian team figure skaters to gold after being robbed of gold in Vancouver even though he was now well past his prime?  His one last skate in Russia to secure Russia, and himself, the figure skating gold he and they deserved was so special.

Or how about Yulia Lipnitskaia performing the most beautiful, perfect figure skating performance of all time during the team event at the tender age of 15, and then donning a red Russia hat and a smile for the crowd after her work was done?

Or perhaps it's the fact that Russia is now in first place in the medal count (though of course this ranking can vary in the future, at least right now they are in first place) in their first Winter Olympics as hosts, already surpassing the number of medals they received in Vancouver?

Or perhaps it's Poland suddenly getting four golds, twice as many golds as they've ever earned in their history combined, even though they've competed in every single Winter Olympics so far.  Talk about persistence paying off in the end!

However, the #1 most heartwarming moment in the Olympics so far is Slovenia winning its first gold medal in Olympic History.  Slovenia can finally call itself a winner at something.  Joining this elite group of 'nations capable of producing champions' before even Denmark or New Zealand have managed to do so.  Tina Maze didn't have it easy to fetch that first gold.  In fact, if she had been even 1/100th of a second slower she would have gotten silver -- instead she tied, for the first time ever in women's downhill skiing, exactly and precisely for first.  For Slovenia's first medal to be from such a distinguished and ancient sport as the downhill ski is just icing on the cake.  This wasn't aerials or ski cross or something -- this was the downhill.  The only 'true' skiing race in the Olympics, the one ski sport that rules them all.

Another thing I'd like to see this Olympics is for a country to win a medal for the first time ever, but it looks like such things are harder than one would expect.  Even after all the medals that have been handed out so far, they've only been divided between 26 of the 88 competing nations.  Nobody new has stepped onto the podium so far.  It's just the same old flags every time -- though there has been one new anthem, the Slovenian anthem.

In other heartwarming news, three 'value pack' games are coming out soon -- For the PS4, Dynasty Warriors 8 + Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends, remastered with better graphics than the PS3 version, is coming out April 4th.  For the PS3 DW8 XL is coming out, but obviously without the higher graphics or the bargain of two games for the price of one option.  I'd say the DW8 + XL value pack for PS4 is a great idea for anyone who hasn't bought DW8 for the PS3 yet.  If you haven't tried out Dynasty Warriors and you have a PS4 sitting around, now's your chance to get in on the game with the most content at the cheapest price imaginable.

But the PS3 has its own good news in this field.  In just a few days, Tales of Symphonia Chronicles comes out for the PS3.  The value to this game is phenomenal.  First off, it's two games for the price of one, containing both Symphonia and Knight of Ratatosk.  Secondly, the Tales of Symphonia game is based off of the PS2 version, rather than the gamecube version, and thus has all sorts of never before seen extra content for North American audiences, who never got a port of the PS2 version previously.  Thirdly, they added in even more additional content for both games on top of the PS2 extras, as a special bonus for getting the PS3 version.  Lastly, both games have been remastered in HD, just like they did for Tales of Graces F (which, if anyone doesn't know yet, may well be the best video game of all time.)  That's a lot of bonus content for just $40, and Symphonia is one of the stronger games in this franchise, so it's something everyone should experience at least once in their lives.

The PS3 also has a value pack from another RPG franchise -- Final Fantasy X/X-2.  Coming out in March, we get two games for the price of one again!  In addition to these two splendid games (FFX-2 is the best game in the entire Final Fantasy franchise, and FFX is pretty decent itself, and obviously is necessary to play in order to fully enjoy what's happening in its sequel X-2) are loads of bonus content.  This time we get the expansion pack versions of both X and X-2, neither of which was available in the USA until now.  In addition, new bonus content has been added just for the PS3 version of the games.  And lastly, both games have been remastered into beautiful HD, looking much, much better than they did the first time around.

Though not value packs, there's also good news in that FFXIII-3 is coming out stateside soon, as is Tales of Xillia 2, both for the PS3.  It's an RPG bonanza!  If you don't like old games, even remastered and value packed, then these two new games will suit your needs just fine in their stead.  2014 is the year of RPG's no matter which way you look at it.

Also heartwarming news for all, Yuru Yuri is getting a new anime.  It hasn't been finalized if this is a movie, ova, or tv season, but any Yuru Yuri is good Yuru Yuri.

In more heartwarming anime news, I've added two additional girls to my best 'anime voices' list.  The two lucky girls are Fuyuka Oura and Yuko Sanpei.  Fuyuka Oura puts on a stellar performance as the celestial mages Angel and Yukino in Fairy Tail.  Meanwhile, Yuko Sanpei plays an unforgettable role as the lynchpin of the entire Precure franchise, Cure Dream.  Yes Precure 5 is the heart and soul of the franchise, and Nozomi Yumehara aka Cure Dream, is the heart and soul of Yes Precure 5.  Whenever Cure Dream says anything it feels epic.  That's just how moving her voice is in this role.  Both of these girls have plenty of performances in other roles, but it was these two roles that pushed them over the top and really make them shine alongside the best of the best.  I'm always on the lookout for more anime voices and I'll go on adding them to the list whenever I'm sufficiently moved by their performances, but for now these two inductees will have to do.

The last heartwarming news is that the best selling manga, Terraformers, is getting an anime adaption.  I predicted this a while ago as a pretty obvious move by the industry, but it's good to see that prediction bear fruit.  In terms of popular non-anime content right now in Japan, only the Assassination Classroom manga, the Amairo Islenauts visual novel and the Prism Recollection visual novel haven't been promised an anime adaption yet.  In other words, 97/100ths of good Japanese art has or will soon have an anime adaption.  That's great work by the anime studios, in my humble opinion.  Thank you very much for keeping abreast of everything and improving it along the way, Japan.  Here's counting on you for the years to come as well~

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