Why I Love JRPG’s And You Should Too

These games help you learn how others think, give you freedom to do many things (certain games), and explore different perspectives on life/faith in a fictional and safe setting.

It’s been a long time since I’ve written an article that isn’t from another website. This blog started out as a place to express my thoughts on faith and gaming, but God opened doors for me to be on staff at other sites. I’m grateful for the opportunities, and I will continue to participate in the larger conversations than what my small blog is part of. I have so many ideas that I want to do, honestly I don’t even want to list them because I don’t want to pressure myself into something I may not need to do. We all have plans, but are they God’s plans?

Proverbs 19:21

21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

I am still on staff at Beneath The Tangles, but not so much as a writer anymore. I am helping out posting on their Facebook page, checking comments, praying for the site/staff and any other activities. I will be posting now and then, but I hope I can use this change to write more here and work on other projects. Something that I did want to write about though, was my love for JRPG’s!

For those that have frequented my articles, you might notice that JRPG’s are my main genre of choice for video games. I suppose it’s the love of the characters, plot and challenges that keep me hooked. The journey of the party, what trails they face and how they grow is something that is hard to find in other games. I enjoy reading, and when I play a great role-playing game, I feel like I am inside that game’s world. If I could meet the character in real life, I bet I could know how  they would react to certain situations based on their attitudes.

Not every JRPG is made equal though, as we have all played some bad games  we wished we never had. Lately, there have been some good ones to pick up, and others not so much. Seeing that a new Star Ocean game was released, I was looking forward to another space opera! Unfortunetely, with the bad reviews it received I don’t see myself getting it. I wanted another epic adventure like the one I had with Claude and Rena, or Sophia and Fayt, but I don’t see that happening again. One game that has interested me is Ni No Kuni, drawn by the renown Studio Ghibli. The beautiful animation, well-done voice overs and fun story make this game a treat. I am not very far in it, I believe about 10 hours or more, but I can see why it scored so well with Metacritic. Personally, I don’t mind the fantastical world but there may be Christians who will not like the magic that’s used. There are runes which have symbols on them, but think of the magic used like Lord of the Rings, it’s there but isn’t the focus nor is full of incantations or witchcraft. They are just abilities and are in the range you would see in a Disney movie.

Ni No Kuni

This was a short post only to express a little on how I feel about this deep type of video game. There are always new ones coming out on all consoles or mobile, so look for ones that interest you the most. There are some that get too much into demonic or have sexual content, but here at Gaming and God I will do my best to recommend ones that are clean. The gaming industry often doesn’t make games that have similar biblical morals to believers in Christ, so it’s important to do your research before you pick up any game.

God bless, and share with me your favorite RPG below!

Dragon Ball Super: The Fear of God | Beneath the Tangles

Source: Dragon Ball Super: The Fear of God | Beneath the Tangles

Who would believe that 33 years after the Dragon Ball manga first started, the most recent incarnation, Dragon Ball Super (DBS), is still one of the hottest anime out there. I would dare say that if you speak to anyone who is a Dragon Ball fan, they are watching this show (which means all those many people who don’t watch anime but will watch this one). One character that got my attention, and is something new that DBS is exploring, would be Zen-Oh. He is basically the creator of the whole Dragon Ball universe, along with all the other universes that were revealed to exist in the series (12 in total so far). I will be mentioning a few details of the new arc that just started, so be warned—there are a few spoilers, but nothing too important.

So far, very little is known of Zen-Oh except that he’s the blue, short, and happy (sort of), ruler of all that exists. Everyone that knows him is deathly afraid that he will wipe them from existence. Surprisingly, most of those that weren’t deities or angels in the DB universes weren’t aware of him at all. They did not know he existed nor the extent of his power, (even Beerus bowed in fear of him). Goku, of course, became friends with him and accidentally gave him the idea for the universes to have a battle among themselves. This caused a lot of anger among the contestants because the loser would have their entire universe wiped out by Zen-Oh! Being convinced this would be a fun way to see some fights, Zen-Oh agreed to the Ultimate Power Tournament, which is underway in this current arc.

*Continue reading by clicking the link below!*

Source: Dragon Ball Super: The Fear of God | Beneath the Tangles

Something More: GiTS Bible Study, the Passion in FFXV, and Fear in Orange and Re:Zero | Beneath the Tangles

I hope to be posting more content on my blog for the time being. Here’s another Something More article from Beneath The Tangles. Hope you enjoy the variety of posts, including a few on video games!  God bless.

Source: Something More: GiTS Bible Study, the Passion in FFXV, and Fear in Orange and Re:Zero | Beneath the Tangles

Here we are, another month and almost half way through 2017! It’s unbelievable that time is going by so fast. I continue to do this column because as a Christian who is also a geek, I love that there are others who share my passion. It also confirms that God takes pleasure in all of this, because more and more content keeps popping up every month. I try to bring fresh posts so it’s not the same two or three sites every time. I also pray that you would be encouraged and receive from Holy Spirit as you read or listen to each one. Leave a comment below if you enjoyed this month, or if you want to suggest anything for […]

Source: Something More: GiTS Bible Study, the Passion in FFXV, and Fear in Orange and Re:Zero | Beneath the Tangles

Hotel Dusk: One Night Can Be Over 215 Miracles – Guest Post

*The following is a guest post from M. Daizen on the game Hotel Dusk. Enjoy the post, and if you are interested in submitting a guest post, just email me! God bless.*

The Nintendo DS is a game system that is full of many magnificent games, but sometimes, things can go above and beyond what is considered ‘magnificent’. It’s sad that some of these masterpieces have only been on the DS, but the moderately well known Kyle Hyde series was a truly beautiful gift from God.

This is a series with two titles, the first being Hotel Dusk: Room 215 and the second, Last Window: The Secret of Cape West (Sadly, Cing, the company that developed these games went bankrupt by the release of Last Window, and a limited amount of copies were sold). This is a story-based point and click adventure series featuring the sullen ex-detective, Kyle Hyde. Each game brings Kyle into an unexpected mystery to solve that brings his old instincts as a detective back into play. The two titles also take on similar but different settings. Hotel Dusk is in a rundown motel, and Last Window takes place in Kyle’s apartment building.

Both settings are the perfect places for Kyle to meet people (not to mention, the people are very realistically depicted both in dialogue and appearance) who appear unconnected to the mysteries he intends to unravel, yet the characters all end up connecting to each other and helping solve the mystery. Seeing this kind of communication transpire in the game, especially considering that these people begin as strangers to Kyle, taught me something about all people of our world. This game demonstrated that even those who you pass by in the hallways of a motel are all connected with a purpose, and a purpose to your own life. It tells me that God is not random. It tells me the joy of seeing that strangers you meet could have the potential to become your best friend in one sociable night (the story of Hotel Dusk takes place over the span of one night).

The characters in this series are by no means the only element that portrays the incredibility of life. This series has many puzzles throughout the game, and the way they fit into the game is genius. For example, there is a puzzle that you have to take the pieces out of a jigsaw puzzle frame, while one screen on the DS has the puzzle and the other has a blank table. The way to get the pieces on the other screen is to actually physically close the DS (activating sleep mode, so the game knows) to solve the puzzle! Continue reading

Project X Zone: The Unified Body | Beneath the Tangles

I know I have been behind on my writing lately! I finally got this short piece up on Beneath The Tangles about Project X Zone and the body of Christ.

When you have several game companies come together to make a game, magic happens. It’s occurred with Kingdom Hearts, King of Fighters, Marvel vs. Capcom, Smash Bros., and an obscure title called Project X Zone. This is one of those Japanese titles that didn’t get much advertisement because of how many uncommon characters are present. It’s also a lot of text to read because of all the dialogue between the characters. It’s a strategic game similar to a board game where you move your players to battle enemies across a battlefield. You have to plan your moves carefully—especially around the end of the game—to win. Too many wrong moves or missed opportunities will grant you a game over. It can get […]

Source: Project X Zone: The Unified Body | Beneath the Tangles

Something More: Faithful Fanfiction, Final Fantasy XV, and an Anime Testimony | Beneath the Tangles

My latest Something More post from Beneath The Tangles. I hope you enjoy, there’s lots of good posts here 🙂  God bless.

Shalom my dear readers. That’s “hello” and “peace” in Hebrew! It’s time for your monthly round-up of incredible articles. From anime to video games and others, we’ve got you covered. As always, feel free to submit your content to us via email, Facebook, Twitter, or comment. Regardless of the form of communication, we will get back to you. I had a little bit of a hard time deciding on which post I should feature this time. There were several good ones, but it wasn’t until I read Lady_TeresaChristina’s testimony that I made a decision. She used various anime characters to portray different parts of her life, whether it was something good or bad. Not only are her words transparent and you […]

Source: Something More: Faithful Fanfiction, Final Fantasy XV, and an Anime Testimony | Beneath the Tangles

Anime Secret Santa 2016: Space Dandy

Space Dandy

(2014 – 24 Episodes)

There’s a blog called Reverse Thieves which I came across, thanks to my fellow staff members at Beneath The Tangles. Every Christmas they host an annual Anime Secret Santa project where bloggers sign up, are given someone’s MAL list (My Anime List) and are to look at their own to see if there are shows they haven’t seen but might enjoy. So if someone has watched a lot of comedic or dramatic anime, you pick a few that they haven’t seen for them to review.

My own MAL list consists of many varieties of anime, not specific to one or two genres. I like to jump around and try different styles to see what else is out there. I am not a fan of slice-of-life nor violent or very supernatural shows, but I do like comedy and deep stories with characters that you feel for. I was hoping to watch a hidden gem that I had never heard of that would blow me away, but instead I got something…else.

space_dandy_promotional_image

Dandy in all his glory

Space Dandy! This was a program that premiered on Adult Swim, which is part of Cartoon Network. I was weary of watching it, because presentations that are on that block are often vulgar, silly, or make no sense. Sometimes they have some good anime, like Attack on Titan or One Piece, but Space Dandy wasn’t one I was familiar with. I did not finish all 13 episodes for reasons I will explain below, but I can safely say my suspicions were verified after watching episode 1. It’s about a young guy who thinks he’s hottest and  most amazing person in the galaxy, going to a popular intergalactic bar franchise called Boobies (yes, the name says it all) or other locations looking for unregistered aliens. Once he finds them, he can turn them in for a bounty and get paid, but he’s been pretty out of look lately and only gets in trouble.

His crew is made up of a logical yet sarcastic robot named QT and a cat looking alien, Meow. Very original, I know! They are pretty funny and just going along for the ride that is Dandy’s personality, because that’s what keeps the show going. He is the center of every episode but for me, it got boring pretty quick. Each episode is a separate adventure unrelated to the others in most aspects, except for the enemies that are consistently after them. I didn’t expect much from this show after the first two episodes, except cliche humor or silly comments from Dandy about how amazing he is.

aloha_oe_crew

The Space Dandy Crew

I can see why this show would be aired on Adult Swim, which has programming late at night when most people are pretty tired or falling asleep. In this way, you could watch some weird and dandy show (see what I did there?) while drowsy and you won’t pay much attention to it. At times, I almost felt like this anime was created just for that block of television since it matched so well with their other shows.

I attempted to watch the entire first 13 episode season, but couldn’t get myself to finish it. I will give it another try later on, so for now I can only recommend it to those who don’t mind an anime that takes itself seriously. There are many funny parts, perverted scenes aside, and the animation isn’t that bad. Dandy isn’t someone we can look up to, but his determination to go where the action is, reminded me as a Christian to be fearless and not worry about what will happen next. Fear holds us all back, so I have been repeating this verse to myself out loud whenever I remember:

2 Timothy 1:7

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Watch if you:
(+) Enjoy silliness and comedy
(+) Enjoy space adventures or anything space related
(+) Aliens.

Skip if you:
(-) Don’t enjoy perverted comments
(-) Want a serious plot with deep, meaningful characters
(-) Prefer your anime making some kind of sense….

Content to Look Out For:
(-) Fan service when Dandy goes to his favorite bar, “Boobies”. Take a guess why it’s called that.

Mega Man ZX: The Light That Remains | Beneath the Tangles

The Mega Man franchise has been one of my favorites ever since I was a kid. I recently purchased a Nintendo 3DS so I can finally catch up on all the Nintendo games and Japanese ports not available on any other system. The list of games that I have been craving to play is pretty long, and one of those is Mega Man ZX. This series starts years after the end of Mega Man Zero 4, which was a fantastic series by the way! The original Mega Man for the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) was about a blue robot infused with a blaster on his arm. He would battle eight robot masters that were created by the evil Dr. Wily and […]

Source: Mega Man ZX: The Light That Remains | Beneath the Tangles

Berserk And The Nature Of Life

*The following is a guest post from M. Daizen who contacted me via email. He wrote about the manga Berserk, which isn’t one I’ve personally read. It was recently redone in 3D and after checking out the anime, I cannot recommend it as a Christian to other believers. That is just my opinion, but there are always nuggets that can be mined like the ones here. Enjoy the post, and if you are interested in submitting a guest post, just email me! God bless.*

Berserk is an incredible work of fiction that has influenced many future works in gaming, manga and writing, and it is easy to see why. It is a dark fantasy that shows its beauty in every page through the feelings that it triggers inside everyone’s hearts.

From the first page, you can sense a sort of excitement seeing the main character, Guts, angry and fighting in a world of suffering and pain. The series introduces him in the middle of his life, yet you feel the urge to follow him and his vengeful rage everywhere he goes; where did he come from, and why is he torturing himself in order to constantly kill brutish demons with a sword that weighs almost five hundred pounds?

The beginning chapters are an incredible experience to read. The dirty battles, people, and of course, the artwork, only gets better. To anyone willing to read this series, you will understand this straight away.

This series has had multiple adaptations as an animation, but I can assure you that the manga is the greatest and original way to experience Berserk. Another thing you must know is that the chapters did not start getting officially numbered until about 15 chapters in, so the “Chapter 1” is actually much later than where the first few volumes actually begin. Know this, because otherwise it could get more confusing considering that after the first bunch of chapters, it starts the “Golden Age Arc”, which is a flashback of Guts’ entire life since he was born up to where the series started.

Now, this Golden Age Arc shows a truly tragic and incredible life of a human growing up where he is always made to feel like an outcast to the world. Guts is made to look like the abomination of darkness throughout the entire series, yet that is what ironically makes him the hero.

Below are two different explanations of what the series is about.

  1. Guts’ constant turmoil between two feelings. One is revenge toward his former friend, Griffith, who ended up killing almost all of their companions for his own gain. Griffith also raped Casca, the woman who Guts loved, causing her to lose her mind.

This revenge is always in a balance between his desire to restore the mind of Casca. He finds, however, that his revenge on who defiled her always comes to distract him from actually helping her.

  1. This series is also about the opposition of fate. Throughout the entire series, fate is precisely what Griffith follows, and precisely what Guts wages a war against. The glory of this series to me is seeing how fate is always working in Griffith’s favor, yet the one man who disrupts it is Guts, and I bet that any reader wants Guts to be the one to succeed after seeing the tragedies that Griffith caused throughout the series.test

In my own personal experience, the way this series tackles fate is something that expresses my relationship with God in a unique way. I believe in going with the flow and accepting things that I can’t control, but Guts showed me the other side of the spectrum that I believe in more strongly–that the world is your oyster. Life is what YOU choose, and God is within all of us. Every essence of a person came originally from God, thus every part of a person, and everything that they do, comes originally from the will of God, even when people make decisions that God dislikes.

Guts, without even a thought, is always opposing fate, not to mention, opposing it to Griffith, who eventually becomes a God from the power of a necklace that had a power to connect to the entity of fate, crowning him as the fifth ‘Godhand’, which are human beings incarnated into powerful demons that control fate (though ironically, Griffith is often portrayed as hero in a fairy tale). Guts also fights, and beats, a religious pastor who becomes an angel and deems Guts an evil demon. Guts doesn’t give a single crap about who is titled a god or an angel of god, and doesn’t care about how sinful everyone says it is to oppose fate.asdf

By many, he would be considered the most sinful being on the planet, but ironically, this personality makes him sprout out as a true God. A true angel. I felt love, excitement, and sympathy for him, seeing that he fights for good in his own way. You feel these things directly from your heart, and your heart is the heart of God. This whole idea is the glory and genius of Berserk.

It’s also intriguing how the series teaches this considering how desire is treated in it. The Godhands come to people when a person’s ego has met a collapse, then they offer this person the thing they want more than anything; however, they must sacrifice the thing that they can’t bear to give up. This whole situation is the perfect way to show what ego can do to somebody.fdsf

I believe that if you do something that you know is right in your heart, you do it out of a desire, but not an ego-based desire. One’s deepest desires also show a person who they truly are, and when one faces the Godhand, they must face every dark part of themselves before satisfying that ego-based desire, and that causes them to realize how that desire they had wasn’t truly making them happy.

The other main element of this series that I can say stands out the most is sexuality. Casca is raped, but what causes that to be so relatable and sad to Guts is the fact that when he was only a small child, he was raped. The rape in this series shows both the reality of the world it takes place in (Berserk takes place in Europe at the end of the 100 Year War), and most of all, inspires sorrowful feelings within the reader that connect you to the character.fdsfs

I myself have been sexually abused in my childhood, and this series was a gift from God knowing how well I related to Guts. I have even become grateful about my personal abuse because the type of emotional joy and experience that I’ve gained thanks to works of fiction like Berserk. I’m not judging that other abuse victims would feel the same way from reading this series, but I think it truly shows how our inner darkness can bring about light (which this series repeatedly talks about).

There is a scene where Guts and Casca have sex by a beautiful waterfall, and during this time, Guts has flashbacks of the trauma he went through when he was raped. He starts getting aggressive with Casca, but she listens to his feelings and learns what happened to him, understanding what had happened to him and resulting in them both having an incredibly happy experience. Guts actually had a dream about a positive memory in his childhood before he was defiled.ytryrtyrt

When I read this part, it was the one of the couple times that I cried while reading anything. It taught me about the inner child inside all of us, that becomes restricted when repressed through bad experiences. Our inner children are still inside us though, and they never die. As Guts’ came back to life during that scene, mine did a little too.

There are a lot of other details to speak about how sex, family, and other feelings arise in this series, but the author, Kentaro Miura, truly gets it. He understands life. He understands God. He understands why God fills our lives with darkness as well, and I am grateful for every piece of darkness and light that God has gifted us with in this lifetime, because if Berserk is life, then life is beautiful.

~ M. Daizen

12 Days of Otaku Christmas, Day 9: NIGHTS Into Dreams | Beneath the Tangles

This is my first post on the 12 Days of Christmas over at Beneath The Tangles. It was a little tricky finding a game with some Japanese reference that has to do with Christmas. Even though I never played this game, I know of it, and thought it had a nice message that relates to our Savior. Be sure to also check the other 12 days, and enjoy!

This will be my first time adding my thoughts to the 12 Days of Christmas annual series here at Beneath the Tangles. As I am more inclined to play video games than watch anime (though I have watched over 100 anime), I decided to write about a certain game that is pretty short. One of the systems by SEGA that didn’t do too well here in the USA was the Sega Saturn. SEGA released several games that are cult classics today on that console, and one of those was NIGHTS into Dreams. This game was all about dreams and nightmares, in which a boy and girl enter another world to stop the nefarious plans of Wizeman with the help of Nights–the jester-like character that you […]

Source: 12 Days of Otaku Christmas, Day 9: NIGHTS Into Dreams | Beneath the Tangles