Kemono no Souja Erin

So here is an underrated yet excellent series that I have been following recently. The anime bug hit me again a while back, so I was looking another evening fix. Kemono no Souja Erin came up on several lists of very good 2009 shows to watch, yet I had trouble finding decent information and reviews on it. I don’t think too many people are blogging or following this series, which is a shame because it is quite good.

Kemono no Souja Erin is a 50 episode series by Production I.G. It’s an anime adaptation of a novel series by Nahoko Uehashi (yay Wikipedia) centered around Erin. Erin is a precocious green eyed, green haired girl living with her mother Soyon in Ake, a small village given the task of raising Touda for the Grand Duke. Touda are semi-aquatic beats used as mounts in combat against the neighboring kingdom. As a general point of reference: They kind of look like the giant lizards that Obi-Wan Kenobi was riding in Star Wars: Episode 3 (but stickier and with horns).

Erin and her mother Soyon are outsiders. Soyon was born as one of the Mist people (thus the green eyes and hair), an aloof and not-so-well trusted people of mysterious ways and origins. She was accepted into the village only because she fell in live with and married the chief’s now deceased son. Though Soyon is well respected and even admired as a skilled beastinarian, her ancestry raises suspicion amongst the villagers. Her expertise with the Touda is pretty much the only reason why Soyon and Erin are permitted to still live in Ake, a fact that the villagers remind her of on a daily basis.

Erin aspires to become a beastinarian just like her mother. She is an overly curious and genuinely kind girl who cares for all living beings. The focus of Kemono no Souja Erin is on her journey as well as the trials and tribulations of raising animals. First of all, don’t judge this series based off of the art style or first few episodes. It comes off as a kiddy show because I suppose it kind of is, but overall I would consider it more along the lines of a series good for people of all ages to watch.

Kemono no Souja Erin starts off a little slow (not too unusual for a long series). The first 5 episodes focus on introducing the characters and the general setting while following the, “Touda problem of the week” formula. More interesting events don’t start to occur until around episodes 6 or 7. Kemono no Souja Erin actually has a fairly dark undertone that is slowly introduced as the series progresses. It paints a fairly strong message without being preachy

It almost feels like something Studio Ghibli might make in regards to the show’s general feel. It has a solid story with well developed characters. The art style is composed of beautifully painted pastel backdrops with fairly simple character designs, allowing the story to be fairly dramatic without being explicit or inappropriate for younger viewers. There’s no fan service, the animation isn’t flashy like most new series and there isn’t an excess of any forced anime cliches. There are a couple of comedic characters, but they are well balanced and develop beyond being laugh fodder.

Kemono no Souja Erin is different than new series that are currently out. It won’t cure anyone’s thirst for boobies or bloody shounen action, but if you are looking for a relaxing show with a good plot and good characters, give this one a try.

What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been

YAY FINALLY! WoWScrnShot_092409_090703What a long, strange trip indeed. I logged on early this morning for the sole purpose of getting the last 16 tickets that I needed in order to purchase all of the Brewfest regalia. The refund thing still works by the way. After obtaining Brewmaster, I refunded the gear and bought the Pony Keg and the Pint-Sized Pink Elekk. So now I officially have every single piece of Brewfest loot that I have ever wanted. I wonder if I should bother running Doombeard through all of these quests.

Though there were a few rocky moments, in retrospect, I had a good time running through most of the holiday achievements. The quests aren’t anything super fabulous, given that most are several years old, but they are a good break from my normal gaming routine and were also good for a fun trinket and/or a fistful of gold. Achievements such as the Lunar Festival coin collecting or trick-or-treating were time consuming and sent you to the far ends of the game world, but overall not all too bad considering that the reward is pretty nice (310%!)

The only activities I really truly detested were any drop based achievement heavily depended upon the RNG or achievements that involved massive spawn camping like the easter egg hunts for Noblegarden. Too be fair, Blizzard did patch nerf most of the annoying drop achievements (Halloween pet and the Brewfest mount). As for Noblegarden, only being able to play during absolute peak hours for that event meant that it took absolutely forever. I’m actually not sure why I bothered doing that…

Brewfest Tips

Graphical-oddityThe screenshot: While we were raiding in Ulduar this weekend, WoW did one of those complete graphical freak outs for a bit. Reloading my interface fixed most of it, but there was a still a bit of residual weirdness. For some reason several of the spell graphics were being replaced with my bank inventory screen, freaky. Did you know that the giant thing above Mimiron is a huge can opener? I didn’t, and I’ve been there how many times? lol.

I have been working on the Loremaster achievement once again bits at a time. I finally completed the 40 or so odd Eastern Kingdom quests that I was missing. Turns out that Keiya never did Searing Gorge or Burning Steppes. You see, the problem with alts is that I will frequently forget who did what, where and when. Up next? The 356 quests that I am missing in Kalimdor, QQ.

Brewfest is here and if you are anything like me, it is the very last holiday achievement set needed in order to obtain the much coveted Violet Proto-Drake. A couple of things that I’ve noticed:

  1. Unless Blizzard changed this: The Brewfest regalia is under the same two hour return policy as every other piece of token gear. So buy your items, do the achievement in Dalaran, then return them for a full refund. This way, it should be very easy to obtain enough tickets to get the pets or Brew of the Month Club membership if you didn’t do that last year.
  2. An addition apple bucket was added to the Ram Racing route this year. There are 4 buckets: The 1st one is in the tent, the 2nd one is near the fence, the 3rd (new) one is inbetween the hills and the 4th one is in the NPC camp past the keg tosser. Use the 2nd and 3rd buckets.
  3. The keg thrower has a huge range so you don’t actually need to run up to him. What I usually do is do a 180 jump spin when I’m getting close, it will shave a few seconds off of your run. You can do the same thing with the turnin NPC, though I think his range is quite a bit shorter. Jump spinning is faster than manually turning.
  4. Per usual, once you complete all 4 locations for the Brewfest barking daily, you are free to dismount and run back to the quest NPC using your own mount without any penalty.
  5. As mentioned before, don’t worry about farming the mounts from Coren Direbrew for the achievement. Buy the Fresh Brewfest Hops from the token redeemer for two tickets.

The barking quest yields 15 tickets, the invasion yields 10, and 35 tickets are easily obtainable from Ram Racing. That’s around 60 per day. What is the keg run theoretical max? I got 19 turn-ins on my hunter earlier and I am pretty sure that I can squeeze out 20 by cutting a few more corners but I don’t imagine being able to run it too much more than that. Oh well, I’m sure there’s a YouTube video of some dude doing 30. Anyway, here is a macro that I’ve been using for the sake of not having to drag several things onto my button bar every day:

/tar dark iron guzzler
/use Complimentary Brewfest Sampler
/use [mounted] Ram Racing Reins

Assuming that you have a Complimentary Brewfest Sampler, it will automatically target a Dark Iron Guzzler and toss a mug during the invasion. It will also spank your goat during the keg race. It should be fairly easy to add in the other non-daily quest items if you so wish.

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0


Since there’s absoutely nothing on normal television to watch and no new games that I’m interested in playing, I’ve been on an anime bender lately. So bear with me while I make an entry or two about several things that I liked.

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is a disaster themed 11 episode drama by BONES, the same studio that has produced the Cowboy Bebop movie, Fullmetal Alchemist, Soul Eater, etc. It’s airing in the noitaminA block on Fuji Television (Higashi no Eden, Honey and Clover; I guess it’s a drama time slot?).  I ended up marathoning most of this series earlier this week. It’s one of my favorite series of the season, if that means anything considering how little anime I’ve picked up recently…

The premise of the story is revolves around the prediction that there is a 70% chance that a magnitude 7.0 or greater earthquake will hit the Tokyo are within the next 30 years. Tokyo Magnitude depicts a series of events and consequences that might occur if a magnitude 8.0 quake hit a large metropolitan area. Much of the story itself is supposedly based on interviews, data and research from actual earthquakes.

The story is centered around Mirai, a middle school freshman just about to start summer vacation. While taking her little brother Yuuki, a cheerful third grader to visit a robotics convention in Odaiba (a man made island in Tokyo’s bay), the quake hits. Somewhere along the way the meet Mari, a motorcycle deliver woman who lives with her mother and young daughter. Together they must get home to their families.

There is a lot that Mirai should be thankful for: a loving family, the privilege of being able to attend a very prestigious school and a stable social life, but she’s not and spends the entire first episodepissmoaning about every little thing whenever she doesn’t get her way. But, that’s pretty much the point I guess. Mirai’s characters leaves a lot of room for personal growth and realization. Take note of the relationship between Mirai and Yuuki throughout the series.

Take the disclaimer at the beginning of each episode with a grain of salt. Tokyo Magnitude is best viewed as a fictional representation of a large natural disaster with a high degree of realism, rather than a documentary or simulation. If you want to nitpick, the story takes a dive in believability during certain segments of the show (particularly during the second half). But the focus of the series isn’t in the authenticity of every single small detail, but rather the in how the characters develop react with each other and the environment (it is a character dramaafter all).

Tokyo Magnitude is a fairly short series at 11 episodes, but it doesn’t feel short because it is very well paced. There’s not really any filler and nothing drags on too long. Some of the drama is a bit drawn out at times, but overall it’s interesting, consistently well animated and a very good series.

geoDefense Swarm

geoDefense Swarm by Critical Thought Games is finally up on the iTunes app store now. It’s an open level version of the original game; So instead of blasting creeps along a single pre-defined path, it is up to you to create a maze of obstructions in order to fend them off.


I really like geoDefense, it’s one of my favorite iPod Touch games. A while back I was on a tower defense bender and tried out virtually all games of this genre on the app store (the ones with a free demo that is). This one was my favorite by a fairly large margin. It’s harder, fast paced and require a fair bit of thought and strategy for many of the higher levels. The vector graphics are also colorful, clean and well presented.


If you are still unsure, it’s only $0.99. It includes 30 levels across three difficulty groups. There are several new features not present in the original. I don’t know if this is the permanent or promotional price, but either way it’s well worth picking up.

Keiya’s “Bucket List”

WoWScrnShot_090209_210633By the way, not WoW related but, if any other Drupal user was having trouble getting Lightbox2 or Thickbox working after upgrading the Drupal Image module to 6.x-1.0-beta2, there is a patch for the issue here. Commenting out lines 641 through 644 in image.module works too.

I don’t really like the way the paladin tier-8 helm looks or the set in general for that matter. It’s one of those things that looked great conceptually, but didn’t translate very well into the WoW graphics in-game. I mean, look at me, I look like a half-wit shaman. If I am going to be wearing a dress, they could have least have given me my sexy tier-8 midriff back,QQ.

Oh also: I’m pretty sure that this like was already posted on and probably dozens of other blogs by now but, here is a great resource for macros: Fitzcairn’s Macro Explain-o-matic. Copy-and-paste your favorite macro into the text field and the site will explain exactly what it does in plain non-technical speak English.

I think I forgot to mention this change in the BlizzCon posts; It was shown on the Cataclysm videos and discussed in the art panel but apparently, the water effects will be getting a major overhaul in Cataclysm to put them on par with water effects present in newer games. I’ve gotten used to many aspects of WoW’s graphical appearance, including the water. It plays such an important part in the look and feel of most zones. Very swank.

So preparing for Cataclysm: Since the old world as we know it is going poof, it’s probably not too unreasonable to suspect that some or all of the 1 through 60 pet quests will vanish as well. Sadly, I never bothered getting the Mechanical Chicken, Smolderweb Hatchling, Sprite Darter Hatchling or the Worg Pup when I was questing. There are quite a bit of mob drop pets that I don’t have, but I don’t really feel like spending days farming for them.

I kind of want to complete Loremaster before the expansion hits, but fat chance that this will ever happen. I can probably knock out the Eastern Kingdoms if I can ever find the 44 quests that I am missing, but I’m only 344/700 inKalimdor. If the weather sucks and I am really really bored one weekend, I’ll pop in a few favorite DVDs and marathon grind them out. I also still need to revisit many of the old world 5-man instances for the Classic Dungeonmaster Achivement. I still need: Wailing Caverns, Blackfathom Depths, King of Dire Maul, Ragefire Chasm, Shadowfang Keep, Razorfen Kraul, Scarlet Monastery, Zul’Farrak and Scholomance.

Linode Follow-Up

One of these days I should do a follow-up response to the ever so popular WoW vs FFXI post from 4+ years ago since folks still seem to respond to it o_O. I’ve been pleased with how WoW has noticeably evolved as a game over the past 5 years. I’m curious if FFXI players feel the same way about their game or if it has stagnated, especially in lieu of the FFIV MMO announcement.

It’s hard to write responses to responses to topics like that because most people, myself included are naturally biased towards the game that they play. Not too many people do high end content across multiple games simultaneously. I can’t imagine how much time that would take, it’s hard enough as it is squeezing WoW time in. Anyway, the main topic of this post:

I swapped web hosts around two months ago. I was previously hosted with Hostican on their basic shared hosting plan and am now on a Linode VPS server. In a nutshell: Shared hosting means that there is a web server with many folders on it. Each user is assigned one of these folders.

Shared hosting is great for small sites: It’s cheap, easy to use, and (usually) fully supported. But while most shared hosting solutions offer near unlimited bandwidth and disk space, the CPU quota per account is usually very low. Shared hosting is also very inflexible in terms of server configuration if you wanted to say…use something other than Apache or install server toys for the hell of it.

Linode offers Xen powered VPS hosting (Virtual Private Server). This means that there is a big machine divided into many smaller pieces. Each of these pieces is essentially a separate server with its own IP, CPU allotment, RAM, disk space and operating system. It bridges the gap between shared hosting and a dedicated server (way too expensive).

I’m on a month-by-month payment schedule for my Linode because I wanted to try it out before purchasing a longer commitment. Since I’m pretty happy at the moment, I think I will just go ahead and pay for a whole year since it’s cheaper. Anyway, I’m very happy. The server was fairly easy to setup and is fairly easy to maintain…I don’t really have to do a whole lot to it other than pretty basic maintenance and stuff like that.

Obligatory self promotion: I have a referral code if anyone by chance is interested in signing up. I would highly recommend using them as a VPS host if you have Linux knowledge or are interested in investing time to learn.