Thursday, February 27, 2020

Watching Anime As A Parent

Dressing like an anime character? Yup, she's obsessed.
It's interesting watching anime with my 11 year-old daughter. There are some times when I have to explain references or point out things that she wouldn't know (like what the heck was going on in an episode of Maid-Sama that we watched where they told the story (kind of) of Momotaro). The more fascinating bits are just how INTO the shows she gets. He most recent obsession is My Hero Academia, to the point that she spent some of her own money at Hot Topic to buy some accessories from the show.

She also spends a good amount of time that she's allowed to be on the computer watching various videos about her favorite shows. She wants to learn as much about them as possible, but I'm still trying to encourage her not to look up spoilers, as it might "spoil" the upcoming episodes (hence the name). Still, I'm happy that she has something that she can geek-out on and she also has several friends at school that share her interests, so it's great for her.

I still have to watch some of the shows before she does, though. Anime has a tendency to get into some areas that someone her age shouldn't watch. (I told her, for example, that there exists another anime about Momotaro, but there's no way I'm letting her watch Momo Kyun Sword just yet.) I'm looking forward to how her watching habits may or may not change as she approaches high school. As someone who seems to have inherited my "I don't give a damn about what others think" personality trait, she might just go more otaku on me, and I think I'm alright with that.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Racism In Star Trek

Star Trek has long been known to tackle societal issues, and racism is one that has come up a few times. Usually, as in "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield", it's fairly on the nose and shows the how ridiculous the very concept is. Here's an exchange from that episode:

While the above example is from an alien species, we have also seen these kinds of thoughts in humans, like in "Balance of Terror".

Usually this is completely shut down, as Kirk does with Lt. Stiles. One would think that humanity would have grown beyond that by the 23rd century, and I'm willing to say that, as a rule, we will have. What we see with Stiles above and Kirk himself in Star Trek 6 are more of a resentment that have grown out of experiences.

Stiles is carrying a grudge that members of his family were killed in the Earth-Romulan War (which occurred BEFORE the advent of visual ship-to-ship communication, not that you'd know it by watching Enterprise). Kirk has grown to resent Klingons due to all of his experiences with them, topped off my the death of his son. My own character in "Tales of the Seventh Fleet" was also bigoted in this way, due to his having grown up on Sherman's Planet.

So, what does all this tell us? From the evidence that we have of humans and their prejudices in the 23rd century I think that we can conclude that there is no longer ingrained or learned racism, but rather situational bigotry. In other words, certain individuals are shown to have a prejudiced way of thinking due to events in their, or their family's, lives. Does that make it right? Not at all, but it does seem to show that their bigotry, however wrongly, is predicated on experience and not just "X kind of people are bad" being handed down.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Remote Gaming

Since I moved to Florida (which has been great, thanks for asking) I have been lucky enough to still play in the monthly Pathfinder game that my friend Adam runs. I have been asked (and I'm sorry, but I don't remember by who) what I use to participate. There are two things, really.

The first is Skype, so that everyone can talk to each other. We use the video call function and Adam places a camera at the table (slightly elevated) so that myself and the two other remote players can see who's at the table. It's not exactly like being there, but it's close enough.

Secondly, for pretty much everything else, we use Roll20. Initially we just used it for the map function, but that has evolved to having us do as many rolls as possible using the built in character sheets. Yes, it's more work to get all of the data into the system after updating the physical sheet, but I think it's worth it. Using that system, a player can roll skills, saves, and attacks with all of the bonuses already built in.

A screenshot of Roll20 at the end of our last session. Yes, my character token is Cap-Wolf.
Here's an example of an attack roll for my character:

I'm a Monk and have a special weapon called the Satan's Claw, which adds a bonus electrical attack to each successful hit. As you can see, my attack roll with it was a 21 and, if that hits, then the damage would be 22 (Blunt Weapon) and 6 (Electrical). The green color indicates that at least one of the damage dice was a maximum roll. If the attack crits, that color is also green and the system automatically rolls to confirm it.

I also use this system when running our Marvel game (as heard on Class 1000) and from a GM perspective, it's great. I spent a couple of weekends getting every map that we would need set-up, including all of the NPC's. That makes running the game a lot smoother, sicne I don't have to stop and lay everything out while the players wait.

I know that some people use other systems, like Google Hangouts, but this is what I have experience with. If you've used some other way to play a tabletop game online, I'd love to hear about it.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Anime Recommendation: Astra Lost In Space

Lately my viewing habits have been a bit all over the place. We typical watch Live PD and Live Rescue every week, along with their spin-offs. There are some shows on Food Network that we work in, and try to catch up on various series that we missed (like Dark Shadows), but once in awhile we try something a little different. After reading a review in Otaku USA Magazine, Michelle and I tried out Astra Lost In Space (which is available as a Sub or a Dub on Hulu).

The basic premise is that a group of high school kids (it's an anime, so that's a default) are going to a space survival camp on another planet and end up marooned somewhere else. They all have different skills that enable them, if they can work together, to get back home on a ship that they found, which they name Astra.

Here's the opening credits:

The group not only figure out how to get home but they also have to figure out how they got lost in the first place. The characters, their backstories, and the mysteries they have to solve make for this a great series. It's not bad for kids, although there are some scenes/topics that might not be appropriate for younger viewers. Kira hasn't seen it yet, because we wanted to finish it before making that decision. I would have no problem with her watching it, though.

If you like sci-fi and mystery, then I would highly recommend this one.