Mid 2024 Retrospective

Not as much writing done this half-year, apart from ongoing progress with a new Devil Children fan fiction section.

Black Matrix

If I was feeling particularly up for a spicy take, I'd put Black Matrix this way; from a storytelling and world building point of view, Black Matrix is everything that Megaten tried to be in the 90s. Coming off of Cross was such a good feeling, and seeing all the little ways it tied into OO's more character driven narrative after the fact was very satisfying.

Cross and OO exceeded all of our expectations going in as video games, and it is a real shame that these titles get so little coverage around the world. There are no fan sites left standing to my knowledge. While some members of Flight Plan came back to discuss their other marquee series "Summon Night", the Black Matrix folks have remained extremely elusive in the years since its heyday.

Now, I realize I'm raving about a very Japanese heavy game that is going to be effectively unplayable for a wider audience. Raindare has talked about summarizing Black Matrix OO's plot, but it is hard to do without trivializing the really good character interactions, especially when that narrative goes beyond chapter-by-chapter exposition and spills into background character dialogue, side quests, and too much for a novel to really cover.

Relatively speaking, Black Matrix (original, cross, and likely advanced) is a bit more friendly to a chapter-by-chapter summary, being both a substantially shorter game than OO and building around a self-contained, episodic format to its adventures rather than a serialization. Depending on Raindare's state of affairs we might try for one or the other, based on observations in subsequent play throughs.

As for the website, general Black Matrix updates are soon to follow. At this time, I'm working on getting scans of Machsoul99's doujin up on the website. Many of these contain sketches and art lost from her old websites, including the personal website and the temporary home and bulletin board for Black Matrix Cross. They're not quite as fun out of the context of the game itself, but it's better than nothing.

Comic BomBom

Somewhere over the course of writing about Devil Children, there's a bigger story behind where the manga came from. A monthly that was once the home of all Gundam and Mario manga, boasting tips and prize giveaways for kids and grown up children.

I have accrued a complete collection of 2001, 2005, a significant amount of 2000 and 2004, and have all but two volumes of 2002. There's far more out there, including very expensive bulk auctions for the elusive 1980s issues, though I'm likely to focus on the early 2000s between general interest, proximity to Atlus and cost effectiveness.

Out of this mass, there's a few oddities I've found like a Wario Ware manga that I was briefly disappointed in having, as I really do not want to attract the attention of certain active corporate entities and have no wish to do so by sharing such works. Fortunately, I found it was already published and shared through another source, by the author no less.

It did have me reflect though on how much of what's lost, in the historical record, on account of what the winners wish to leave forgotten. To borrow a term from Turn A Gundam that Japanese fandoms like to reference, some "dark" history seems it'd be best left alone. A paradox of retro hobbies.

Princess Maker

Did I mention I started spending a fair amount of time in a Princess Maker discord? Right, so they're cool people.

For better or worse I became something of a de-facto expert in Gainax co-founder Takami Akai's Ninelives and a certain period of Takami Akai's work, mainly because I was stubborn about verifying a theory from Raindare about who the original Devil Children planning company might have been and I did not want to half-ass it.

There is a new Princess Maker on the way, from a new developer in Korea that has decent connections to industry and perhaps their own Kickstarter platform. While I have no intention to contribute to another Kickstarter, the game appears to be well received enough so far, and the previews for it have been cute.

You might have heard the news that Gainax officially closed its doors. I'll admit I was surprised when it happened, if only because most Gainax staff seemed to have left or moved elsewhere by 2014 before the company officially went bankrupt.

My feelings on the office closure are of slight concern, mostly for where lost IP ends up. Checking the Japanese copyright office confirms that the popular works and all the works that were closest to Hideaki Anno in particular ended up in the right hands.

Unreasonably Optimistic Future Content Planning

There's a handful of things I want to get done in the coming months for the website, in no particular order:

Other big buckets to be eventually filled, besides the longer term Comic Bombom stuff being assembled as we speak.

No promises of what will get done when, but I think it reasonable to see all of these things done sometime. Eventually. If all goes well.

Is Search Worth It?

Probably not, if this site's referral statistics have been anything to go by.

We tend to get a fair amount of traffic from word of mouth, either through links embedded in our profiles, the Nightfall City directory that we link to below, or (of all things!) conversations on Facebook that we really know nothing about.

Our search referrals however have been consistently in single digits over a twelve month period.

If you happen to see this website fall off the listings of conventional search portals in the latter half of 2024, don't be surprised. We don't seem to make the kind of "content" that searches and AIs are interested in.