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Music / Re: What are you listening to
« on: January 21, 2021, 07:19:07 AM »
So, now that I have gotten the obligatory piece of writing done as my first post for the year, I can move onto what I'm REALLY here for: to talk Music!

It's been a few weeks since my last post here, but, because it was the Holidays, not a lot of new music released in my sphere...

What I have seen is a bunch of Metal cover-songs that I've actually been enjoying a fair amount:

Affiance - "Take On Me" (A-ha cover): You know, I think there are very few vocalists in modern metal who could convincingly cover this song. Luckily Dennis of Affiance is one of them. This is actually a pretty good cover, where the metal instruments don't go overboard and respect the original song a lot. I feel like they were a little more transformative with 2018's "Breaking the Habit" (Linkin Park cover) and 2016's "Africa" (Toto cover), where I very much enjoyed their added creativity, but I think this slightly more reserved cover is very well done too. Affiance were one of the first melodic metalcore bands I got into when I was first exploring metal, and whilst I find their own music a little formulaic now so don't listen quite as much anymore, I still look forward to hearing a new realease soon.

August Burns Red - "Chop Suey" (System Of A Down cover): Now... for a band known for covering Christmas songs during the holiday season (see "Carol of the Bells"), I did not really expect them to do covers of anything else, let alone one of the most renowned Alternative/Nu Metal songson the 2000's. Of course, a cover of such a tune by one of my all time favourite metalcore bands was always going to be awesome. We also see vocalist Jake Luhrs display his new found prowess with clean vocals - something the group dabbled in on their recent album too. I like it a lot, although I hope that they don't move too far in that direction, as it seems the stunning lead guitar work by JB Brubaker tends to take a back seat during those sections for much more formulaic melodic metalcore strumming. They make up for it here in great guitar layering.

Khemmis - "Rainbow in the Dark" (Dio cover): Before 2019, the only Dio song I knew was "Holy Diver", which, well... it's very 80's... I actually like Dio's vocals on it, but considering my first introduction to the song was Killswitch Engage's cover of it, let's just say that the original felt a little anaemic. Then I saw Wynchester open up for Tenacious D, and end with a country cover of "Rainbow in the Dark", I found yet another Dio song existed! I liked their cover a fair bit, but you know me... I listened to the original and thought "pretty good... interesting strings... sounds like the 80s..." and went a-searching. Khemmis are a relatively new find for me. They are like a slightly doomy version of Iron Maiden, a bit like if Pallbearer had soaring lead guitars and vocals. They slow the song down a little, but they just make it sound MASSIVE, and I love it. Plus they get rid of those squeaky strings for awesome guitar tones!

Fleshgod Apocalypse - "Blue (Turns To Red)" (Eiffel 56 cover): For my final cover we step off the edge into the extreme. The orchestral death metal extrodinares take a shot at their fellow Italian's iconic 90's pop hit "Blue (Da Ba Dee)", and oh boy, it sure is something! I actually think that the intro, chorus and post-chorus all work quite well, and the ourto chorus steps it up even more if such a thing is possible. It's very in your face, but the high-speed riffing encompasses the familiar melody expertly, and even the death-growls sound pretty great. I'm just... not a fan of the verses... Look... You didn't here me say this but... the drums are too much in the verses... shhhh ok! The thrash beat is just too loud, too forward and with the bass it is all just too busy. I think the growls could have been cut from the verses also. Give the song some room to breath here, let Veronica do her thing (Her operatics could have been added as extra background layering in the choruses also...), and I think it would have turned out a lot better for it. On another note; Fleshgod Apocalypse - "No": Yes. That is all.

There is one non-cover related band that I wanted to highlight actually. I don't know why it took so long, but I've finally gotten into the Finnish Folk Metal band Korpiklaani, after being recommended the tracks from their upcoming album "Jylha". I don't understand a word of it, but heck if it's not just a really REALLY good time to listen to! What's really cool on this release is that all the singles so far; "Niemi", "Levaluhta", "Sanaton Maa", have sounded quite unique from one another. However, I implore you. Please, please, PLEASE go back and listen to their 2012 track "Ievan Polkka"! I promise you that this is some of the most fun I've had listening to music in a long time.

Manga Creations / MR War Arc: Sentai Revival!
« on: January 20, 2021, 07:56:32 PM »
Hello everybody!

I wanted my first post of 2021 to be a piece of writing, so here we go, continuing with some MR Canon side stories - this time about the revival of the Sentai. I promise that this will not be a long series.

Many thanks to Lego and Coryn for all the help in getting my head around all the Sentai related Canon, started by Litt all those years ago, so that I can build on it going forwards. I hope you all enjoy. :biggrin:


Deal with the Beast

The night was young but the sky was always dark in this part of the Net. It was the kind of place that, no matter the gait of one’s step, forced you to feel as though you were skulking. It was enough to make a man’s skin crawl. But Major Narcissus was not above such places. After all, he was a man of practicality, and sometimes it was practical to wade through the filth if it meant that you won in the end. Muck or no muck, he marched with perfect military precision, and if someone dared accuse him of skulking then he’d rip out their throat, because he was and it would not do to leave witnesses.
      The location was unassuming; a gaudy neon light show framing the large open doors, belching out the tumbling digital chimes of rolling slots. Specifically, this was the one-hundred and first best casino on the Net. Just competitive enough to draw in semi-noteworthy clientele, but not breaking into any “Top 100” lists. Just comfortable enough whilst still maintaining an air of sleaze. Cooking the odds and programming the dopamine just enough to look legitimate. They even went so far as to stage a pay-dispute class action lawsuit against themselves so as not to be left out among their peers. No doubt, their forward operating base in MangaRaiders City would be equally innocuous, easily escaping any notice by patrols. Major Narcissus was almost impressed. The average 4Kids acolyte, bless them, lacked the imagination required to see through an illusion so overtly on the nose as this.
      It was all a front of course. Whilst more successful casino sites were counting the pennies made from their high-rollers, the Clan were raking in the real credit through the one thing that really sells on the Net: Information. But, as much as Major Narcissus appreciated such a commodity (primarily in the form of the most convincing blackmail leverage or devastating military counter-intelligence), tonight he sought the Net-wide crime syndicate to procure the other thing that they were known for: Their army.
      Major Narcissus strode forth into the hazy warren of the gamblers’ den with purpose. It was designed, as any casino worth its salt, to always lead you to another machine or table if you took a turn away from the one you were at, to always point you inwards away from the exit, to swallow you up and feed you through a digestive tract for your wallet; but if you just walked straight… He stood at ease with his hands clasped behind his back as the concierge pressed the button to the elevator in the lobby at the back.
      An annoyingly pleasant jingle played as he ascended, first past the conference room floors, then past the general office floors, then into the many layers of hotel suites. There was nothing particularly discerning about the 18th floor; it was packed with perfectly serviceable suites just as any of the others were. Major Narcissus looked down to the small leaflet containing the room keycard he had been provided. It had “359” engraved in gold into the matte-black paper. He ambled through the plushly carpeted corridor, admiring the large, polished mirror framed ornately in real gold at the passage’s end, and running his fingers along the coarse quality of the chic wallpaper. The façade was so good because it was real, and the audacity of it he found marvelous. He toppled a perfectly arranged vase off of its stand, half hoping that it would be the thing to cause such a robust house of cards to collapse. It thudded mutely on the carpet without even a crack.
      With a singular, swift stomp it shattered into pieces anyway.
      The door was roughly two-thirds of the way to the end of the corridor, one amongst many. Not positioned at the back of the building, or in a corner, or particularly central either. Major Narcissus presented his keycard to the lock and was rewarded with a little green light and the satisfying sound of the automatic latch releasing. But what greeted him on the other side was not a fresh hotel room. The stainless steel of an elevator door slid open unceremoniously and he stepped inside. He stood, centred, and ignored the lurch of his insides as the elevator began its descent. There was no music this time.
      The journey down took almost twice as long as the journey up, for it brought him as deep once again as he had risen. No doubt that the operation The Clan ran here spanned many layers below the surface; the real offices for their call centres, message designers, data analysts, brokers; the offices of their infamous Phishing Trip Agent; and the barracks for their army of field agents, the Spam Ninjas. If he was lucky he may even lay eyes on one of the “nests”. The strange creatures grew in and hatched fully formed, clothing and all, from large, metallic eggs fed by grotesque blue roots. The breeding facility here was sure to be vast; a sight that was sure to be as stomach turning as it would be inspirational for the military mind. However, disappointingly, as Major Narcissus alighted the elevator, all that was on display for him was a vast and dark warehouse space, in the centre of which a spotlight shone down upon an ornately carved wooden desk flanked either side by two red velvet, armless chairs with legs to match the desk. It was still a good two-hundred paces away.
      The clip of his boots rang like gunshots across the space as he casually, but purposefully, made his way. When he reached within ten paces, a shadow stirred from the dark on the other side of the desk, materialising into a woman as she stepped into the light at precisely the moment that Major Narcissus did, so that they both took their seats synchronously. She was dressed elegantly in a fitted, high-collared, black dress and matching buttoned blazer. The dress split to reveal her well-toned left thigh, which she had subsequently crossed. Her dark hair was expertly and pristinely pinned into a bun. Only a few very well covered lines on her face, and at the corners of her dispassionate eyes, betrayed age on the she-dragon. She was indeed fierce, one of the twelve leaders of the notorious crime syndicate, holding, quite deservedly, the title of Dragon. To anyone outside of the Clan, she was known as Auntie or “Oba-san”. She presided over clan territory in a sector of the Net that encompassed MangaRaiders, and thus was Major Narcissus’ target for parley.
      “The Lost Chorus is grateful for your hospitality Oba-san.” After a slight bow of the head he motioned at the surrounding gloom with his eyes, “love what you’ve done with the place.” He let a well practiced smile veil his face.
      The matriarch of the Clan put on a smile of her own, but she couldn’t hide the edge of genuine pride within it from him. She evidently felt quite confident in this space, proud of her operation. After a few more boring moments, she decided to grace him with a response. “What place?” Major Narcissus could only grin at that. The moment he stepped foot within the building above, her peons had probably begun packing and clearing away every modicum of evidence that there was ever a base hidden here to begin with; ready to cast off such a perfectly constructed cover without shedding a tear. Shame. It would take some small amount of effort to locate their new hive. “Shall we dispense with the pleasantries, Major? I hear that you are a man of action, and business, no?”
      “Of course, esteemed matriarch. No doubt you are aware that the Lost Chorus, in the name of 4Kids, has conquered the once deviant city of MangaRaiders.” A microscopic twitch of her eyebrow let slip her thinly masked envy. “All but a few of the miscreants have been forced into submission, but therein lies the problem. The rebels are like tiny spiders, scuttling around and weaving fragile webs in a commendable, yet futile, fight to hold back our tightening fist.” He waved the notion away, “they will ultimately not be able to divert our... righteous path. However, that does not mean that they should be ignored. Among them, there are a small number that have succeeded in taking something most important. Something that could become quite the problem for all if left unrecovered. I believe you are quite familiar with the group? These so called ‘Sentai Raiders’?” At this the Dragon could not contain her sneer..
      He continued, “What... concerns us is that, with all efforts focused on securing the site and ensuring the productive obedience of the populace, the Lost Chorus just does not have the time nor man-power to spare on pinning these vexatious varmints down. Their movements appear impossible, seen at one moment somewhere in the city only to pop-up moments later in a completely different quadrant. Their frankly ridiculous armour obscures their identities and, although we have been successful in suppressing knowledge of their exploits from spreading thus far, there is much risk in letting the already quelled populace find out about them. They are an elusive problem, and it seems not just for us; it would appear that they leave a trail of ninja bodies in their wake.”
      Major Narcissus let the statement hang in the stale air, hoping that he was pushing enough buttons. He leant forward and rested his elbows on the fine, lacquered desk. Steepling his fingers, he pushed further.
      “Now, I would never suggest that Oba-san would have sent operatives into a zone under Lost Chorus occupation, after all, any old ameteur can grow up a few thugs in black wraps these days.” That placed a subtle sheen of perspiration on her brow. “But what if the city did not have to remain closed to the Clan?” Now, would she put two and two together? Move on the opportunity presented? Her response was slow and careful.
      “Their voice is small but strong, not easy to remove.”
      Major Narcissus stifled a sigh. It seemed that the Clan’s survival was more a product of timidity than of creativity. The casino front had been so promising but now felt infinitely less impressive. “Oba-san, Oba-san, I understand. You did not become so successful through rash decisions. But we find ourselves at a rare moment, where the Raiders can no longer deny us. They are few, we are many. They are weakened, whilst we are stronger than ever. The Lost Chorus has set the snare and tied the noose, all that is required now is a little moxie and some necks for hanging.”  Leaning back in his chair he playfully hummed the tune to “Itsy, bitsy spider”, watching as the cogs turned in the Dragon’s mind.
      “So…” she said finally as the pieces clicked into place, “you wish for us to flush them out?” Moxie indeed...
      “With all due respect, Oba-san, these… leeches siphon power from my dearest, dearest Tan. This is not a time for half-measures. No. What I wish for is a flood!” Major Narcissus did not mind the venom that was creeping into his voice, he had her now. “I want them... to drown. To be battered and broken by the torrent. To gasp painfully for those last precious gulps of air as the raging maelstrom drags them under. To flail uselessly as they sink into the depths of despair. And, at that moment, when they know just how utterly defeated they are, we shall strike in one final, glorious display of might to bring their end.”
      A vile grin cut its way across Oba-san’s face, to match his ugly own. Without breaking her eye-contact with Major Narcissus, and with practiced grace, she raised her hand from her lap, casually holding it aloft. Then, after a brief pause, presumably for some sort of superfluous effect, she snapped her fingers. The bright white spotlight over the table immediately snuffed out, replaced only barely by a diffuse red glow throughout the expansive chamber. An endless sea of shadows surrounded the pair of them at the table, stood perfectly still and waiting.
      The dam would break upon MangaRaiders.
      The Sentai would be crushed beneath the weight.
      MR-tan’s power would be wholly his.
      Through his scarred and pallid skin, Major Narcissus’ blood flashed a vile green.

We open with a piece that was meant to be a two paragraph prologue... but I was having too much fun exploring villany, so it ended up as 3 pages!

More to come!

MR Pub / Re: Happy New Year MangaRaiders!!
« on: December 31, 2020, 07:45:01 PM »
I know that the past year has been trying for a lot of people, and so I wish everyone good health and good cheer for the year to come.

I am so happy that I made the decision to re-join the forum and get back into writing and reviewing last year; it was a great remedy for all of the lock-downs... As a result I got to see some of the best ever work being shared by members since I joined back in 2014. So I wish everyone good health and good cheer going into the new year, and I look forward to seeing what this great community will be sharing in the coming months!

Cheers :biggrin:

MR Pub / Happy New Year MangaRaiders!!
« on: December 31, 2020, 07:38:49 PM »

Wishing a very heartfelt happy new year to all MangaRaiders.

break Room / Re: Merry Christmas MangaRaiders - 2020
« on: December 25, 2020, 08:34:03 AM »

Merry Christmas MangaRaiders new and old. I hope that today of all days in 2020 you are all happy and healthy, and that you don’t feel too far from your loved ones. All the best  :x-mas:

Manga Writer workshop / Re: The Christmas Story Writing Challenge 2020
« on: December 13, 2020, 10:55:07 AM »
I don’t know if I missed the boat on this one, but despite how busy I’ve been I’ve managed to bash out a little something!



Taisa stood on the sidewalk, braced against the brisk winter cold. Bouncing lightly on his toes, he blew into his cupped hands and then rubbed them vigorously to get some blood pumping. Dawn had broken gloriously upon this Christmas morning, marking nearly eight hours since he had shared a long goodbye with his family on Christmas Eve. He had enveloped his daughter in a hug filled with love, offered his son a fatherly squeeze on the shoulder, and stolen a kiss and blush with his wife; and then he was away to the streets. He did not mind braving the night, even on the Holidays. His task was an important one, and he did it for his family’s sake.

Bundled snugly in a scarf, hat, and gloves, all of which had been gifts he had received over the years in preparation for this task, he began his journey on the metro. He swayed to the familiar rattle of the tracks, knowing exactly when to brace against the more forceful throws. He spent over three-quarters of the year, every year, commuting on this route after all. He alighted downtown and exited the station, and began walking the two blocks over towards his destination. The winter night sky was blessedly clear - rain could really bring down the mood - but the moon and stars never stood a chance in the contest of who could shine the brightest, when pitted against the sparkling, technicoloured sea that was the city at Christmas. Not a tree nor awning escaped being decorated to take part in the battle of illumination against the heavens.

Taisa paid little mind to the multitudes of couples ambling romantically about the glamoured gardens and under quaint archways. He had done his fair share of that when he was young. Instead, he headed for a crowd of people gathered at the tail of a long line that snaked down the highstreet. There was a gentle din of polite conversation, which hummed a low bass tone in the air for some glitzy Christmas pop-music, blaring from various store-fronts, to bubble on top of. Taisa was not a tall man, but in stretching to scan the tops of the crowd, he was able to pick out some of his acquaintances with the same idea tonight. Mr. Piero, his neighbour from across the street, was easy to spot, even from behind, on account of his lanky height and his uniquely reddish hair. A grumpy, lonely man, but he would be amicable tonight. He must have gotten here early in the afternoon to be so far ahead.

He had made good progress throughout the night, as the crowd gradually funnelled into an orderly line that moved him step-by-step like a conveyor belt through the streets. Now that night gave way to day, trading the embracing glow of a million tiny, coloured lights for the gentle caress of a distant winter sun peeking through spatterings of fluffy low clouds, Taisa’s goal was in sight and the world had one final gift to impart upon those braving the line.

It started as one, which tickled his nose. Within sixty seconds several more had fluttered their way down to land on the shoulders of his coat. Within minutes the sky was swirling with crystalline flakes, drawing joyous laughter and gleeful “ahhhhh”’s from the crowd. It would take a while yet for it to tuck the city beneath a white blanket, but come this evening it would be a sight to behold. Taisa smiled at the sky and took a deep, rewarding breath of the crisp, cool air. This was going to be a good Christmas time. The doors stood open in front of him.

There was a promotional sign out the front, but he already knew what he was here for. Everyone in the line did. He took the final steps through the portal and up to the counter. To his right, across the white-tiled floor, stood an effigy of the legendary man himself, dressed up in seasonal red and white wool. The cashier was dressed in a similarly red uniform, and she wore a pretty smile and tired eyes. She greeted Taisa with a well practiced enthusiasm.

“Welcome to KFC, one Party Barrel coming right up!”

Merry Christmas   :biggrin:

Welcome Center / Re: Hello, everyone! New member
« on: December 10, 2020, 05:47:46 PM »
I completely misread your post! I must have been extra tired...  :sure:

Sorry about that. Well, even more so, I look forward to reading whatever you choose to share!

Welcome Center / Re: Hello, everyone! New member
« on: December 09, 2020, 04:53:14 PM »
Nice to meet you BlueJay, and welcome to MangaRaiders.

I look forward to seeing your drawings :)

Manga Art Gallery / Re: Kesashi's Gallery
« on: December 06, 2020, 08:53:00 AM »
Ah a combat wheel for commands is a good idea! I think this will work really well for a game like yours.

So on the topic of player power tied to cosmetics, I think it's an interesting idea, but it also innately brings issues... So, obviously, everyone have their own tastes and preferences when it comes to style and aesthetics. So what happens when someone likes the look of a specific regalia on one of their characters, but they want to use the skillset/stats conferred by another regalia? My brother is a person like this, for instance when he was playing The Witcher 3 he hated the look of 90% of armour sets in the game, and stuck with wearing the 1 set he liked the look of despite the fact that other sets were more powerful; did not stop him complaining about the "lack of cool armour choices" though... Obviously he still loves that game, but I feel that in a game where the outfits are a large focus you might find that this problem gets amplified a bit. I'm not sure how I feel about Transmog as a fix for this either... as this significantly detracts from any narrative design that goes into making the different items meaningful... I'm not really sure what the most ideal option is here, and I hope that you successfully pull off your design philosophy here. Perhaps having regalia usable by lots of different characters will alleviate this issue entirely in practice - if players are always able to find a character that they like the look of the regalia on, as well as the skills that it brings.

In terms of options for approaching conflicts/challenges, I think that combat and exploration are great pillars to design an action-adventure game arround. But I also think that there are other ways to engage with the world to drive a narrative, and if you can only engage through fighting or looking then a game can become a bit one-note. The obvious suggestion, especially since yours is a party based game, could be puzzles that involve coordinating multiple team members (depending how much control over them you have) - can be as simple as standing a few characters on pressure plates to open a door, a la Divinity Original Sin II; or more linear or one-off mini-games/puzzles as seen in the newer Final Fantasy games maybe. Obviously puzzles play a huge role in the new, big adventure games such as Zelda, Fenyx Rising, and Genshin. In terms of exploration, I think that Guild Wars 2 and Grim Dawn both do a fantastic job with implementing secret dungeons and hidden areas. In GW2 they also have jumping puzzles which are actually quite fun. Grim Dawn is one of my favourite games at the moment, and they have whole areas that are completely "off map" that are really fun and rewarding to find. Grim Dawn also has materials that you pick up throughout your adventure, that you can invest in rebuilding bridges, excavate rubble from blocked paths, blow open locked chests, trade with a specific NPC for an item, or use to purify shrines etc, so fighting and collecting these materials through natural play can be used to directly impact your game-world outside of boring fetch quests - and it's even better because these materials each have multiple uses, so it becomes a decision on behalf of the player on where they are going to use these materials; balancing what they will gain against what they might miss out on. It seems in a lot of action-adventure games, players also seem to really appreciate moments where they can choose not to fight, either to take a different approach to solving a problem, or to make a choice to ally with an npc rather than fight to them. Again, this helps to break up monotony in action games and allow players a sense of freedom. Lastly, if you want to keep things very action orientated, then changing up the pace of that combat with challenges can lead to some very different feeling experiences. Grim Dawn has challenge shrines, Doom has the Rune Trials, Guild Wars 2 has Adventures. They essentially temporarily force the player to engage in specific styles of play, and if done well, can be utilized to break monotony and have players engage in all of the game's systems and mechanics. Mini-bosses and Raid-bosses with enrage timers or phases also can be used to engage players in this way.

Lastly, I don't play Genshin, but a Youtuber I watched for Warframe content now plays it, and he made a video on how to more efficiently spend your money in that game. I will say, it's nowhere near on the level of predation as some mobile games I've seen, but even optimising your spending (which not everyone will be aware of how to do, even if they do not fall prey to the predatory practices that are there) makes it so on average it costs $20-25 to get a character that you actually want... 1 character!? It's a shame, because I think that the game looks kinda fun, and I like character collections, but there is no way that I can justify that kind of monetary investment for a videogame... It reminds me very much of Warframe, which now that I am out of, I have no intention of getting back into if I have to pay money...

Develop Your Story / Re: Zingarth (Story hoping to draw)
« on: December 04, 2020, 09:59:36 AM »
Heya KeanFox!

Been a while since I have looked at new story ideas here, and I usually avoid doing so until there is an actual chapter written, but you've put a lot of effort into planning this out so I wanted to offer a few comments.

First off, I absolutely love the artwork you have posted here, the first 2 pictures in particular really drew me in (I could imagine hanging them on my wall!)

I also really like the look of your magic system. I'm rather partial to glyph/rune-based magics, and I think the method of combining glyphs for varied effects is pretty neat. It also allows you to scale your characters' magic powers in a steady and structured way throughout the story - they can start with learning basic glyphs, then some more complex ones and some minor combinations, and then they can start combining them in more and more creative ways to produce greater effects. Moreover, the magic seems fairly well tied into the world building, which is always better than having a magic system that arbitrarily sits on top and separate from the actual world. It gives an added element of discovery to your story: characters can re-discover how to power up some of the old machines that remain in the world from the past, which can be far more complex and high tech than anything that was allowed to survive to the present day in your world - so a great opportunity for treasure hunting plots and powerful artifacts etc.

Your backstory seems solid enough, with no major holes that I think would need patching. Nothing ground-breaking, but not bland either. It sets a solid foundation for the state of the present day world, which is really what you want from it. A recommendation I do have however, is to write out some short stories from the Coelux Society, and flesh out some of their discoveries. And also some short stories from the war between the nations. Then populate your world with these stories so that your characters can encounter them. It will make your world feel like it has been living and breathing for all of those centuries prior to the present day story.

Lastly, I think you will need to expand on planning for your present day story a little. At minimum I would suggest creating a much larger cast of side characters - such as teachers, friends, aquaintances and rivals; the various faction leaders and several faction agents; and then also major and minor antagonists. You should try to work out a general personality, motivation and short/long term goals for each of them so that when they populate your world, even if they aren't the focus of your plot, your story feels rich and lively - otherwise you risk everything feeling flat...

Also, I feel like fleshing out better plans for character arcs for each of your main characters is important, or at least having a better idea of what story your characters are going to play a role in shaping. Being "put in weird situations" is very vague and I feel that you will struggle to generate a compelling narrative with this as the foundation. I recommend:
- Give each character a goal that will motivate them to take specific actions throughout the plot of your story: i.e. "What does your character want?"
- Come up with some hurdles that the character must overcome to reach those goals: "i.e. "Why can your character not have what they want?" - Think more along the lines of a character flaw or a tie to the past or a lack of strength etc. These are different to random challenging situations the characters may find themselves in, which do not progress the character narratives very well but can be used as one off learning opportunities to facilitate the next point:
- Come up with a story arc that will develop the character so that they can conquer the hurdles and achieve their goals: i.e. "What is your character doing to get what they want?"

Magic school settings are fairly solid blank canvases for a broad range of storytelling opportunities, and situated in a well conceived world such as yours I think that there is a good foundation for a really compelling story here. I look forward to seeing you pull it off.

P.S. If I have time I can proof-read a bit for free once you have a draft of some chapters written.

Manga Talk / Re: what manga are u reading now?
« on: December 04, 2020, 06:14:44 AM »
Just finished off Dorohedoro. I was super impressed by the Anime on Netflix and I couldn't wait to see if there would be another season so I just marathoned the whole manga from start to finish!

What a wonderfully bizarre bloodbath!

I'm not gonna lie. Dorohedoro is just plain odd. Unapologetically so. I'm pretty sure it was all just the fever-dream of a person who is really REALLY obsessed with Gyoza and possibly mushrooms... But it actually tells a rather compelling story with mystery and action and magic and mafias. I enjoyed the art style of the series, which was nice and detailed with a slight old school manga vibe - which I'm usually not a fan of, but for some reason felt good to me in this series.

Warning: There is a fair amount of female nudity towards the end of the series, and a little bit throughout, but for some reason this never really came across as being sexual in nature... it was kinda just there.

Manga Writer workshop / Re: Writing Advent Calendar 2020
« on: December 02, 2020, 06:14:38 PM »
This is a neat idea! I haven't really looked at my own stories for a while...

Well my most recent story takes place in 19th Century London... So nothing too exciting there! You've got the Ports in operation, Tower Bridge under construction, the first line of the London Underground being dug and built, alongside the already established Palace, Parliament, Museums, and Theatres in the more affluent central areas.

There was a lot of poverty at the time in the East-End, with a high density of people packed into the squallor of tight, run-down warrens. This spawned the Jack the Ripper murders towards the end of the century, and I think is a great setting for some eldritch magics working behind the scenes in the dark and grime, especially considering the eclectic cultures that immigrated into London at the time.

Now that I work in the Whitechapel area, I walk past a closed-down building called the Whitechapel Bell Foundary every day. This is where Big Ben, the bell in the Palace of Westminister, was recast in 1858 (and then again in 1862 after it had cracked again...). I imagine this would have been quite a prestigious industrial workplace back in the day.

The Metropolitan Police Whitechapel (H) Division, was also a key ahub of activity at the time, and interestingly, provides the earliest example of criminal profiling (according to wikipedia...), regarding the Whitechapel Murderer.

A little bit of an unconventional response to that prompt I'm afraid...

So my journey with The Wheel of Time came to an end last night. All 14 books down and I can honestly say that I am glad that I read it. I think that Brandon Sanderson was the right choice of Author to see the series to its conclusion also; I don't think that many other authors could have managed to pull it all together like he did. There were a couple of times that slightly too modern words crept in, as was expected when he stepped in, but overall I think he managed to keep the feel of the series pretty consistent.

Regarding the ending (minor abstract spoilers)

So I came away from the ending of The Wheel of Time feeling that I had experienced something akin to the ending of the TV series Ripper Street; i.e. A melancholic reminder that, despite the conclusion of a grand narrative, the world keeps on turning. I think, though, that I really enjoyed this for Ripper Street because the story had been short and concise and not quite so epic in proportions, whereas, in the face of such a long, tumultuous, monumental journey as travelled in The Wheel of Time, with such high stakes and tensions wound up, and a couple of rather hard to swallow events still being fresh, such an ending felt rather abrupt here... I was reminded of the very fan service heavy epilogues of Naruto and Shaman King, where you see how life has moved on since the conclusion of the story. I think that personally I was longing to see something like that here to ease the bittersweet feelings and give me that easy sense of satisfaction after such an investment. But, I would be remiss to say that the ending The Wheel of Time got was not completely fitting. And really, just like The Lord of the Rings, The Wheel of Time is all about the journey, and probably even less about the destination.

That all said, as glad as I am to have read it, and although The Wheel of Time is undoubtably a foundational cornerstone of modern fantasy literature, and has some of the best and most in depth characterization ever conceived in fantasy, and is an epic, immersive journey that the reader will not just read but truly experience, I don't think that I would actively recommend this series to people generally... It is just such a commitment. From the sometimes difficult writing style, to the exhausting at points story, to the real slump in the pacing a couple of times in the series, to the very down-to-earth results of plot threads rather than huge heroic triumphs, not to mention the time and monetary investment for a book series this long... It all can really be a bit much unless you truly want to commit yourself. As fantastic as The Wheel of Time is, I just don't think it will be worth it to most people...

If you are truly interested in fantasy, this is probably a series you should read before you die, otherwise fantasy has come a long way with its themes, plots and narratives, and authors have become very proficient at telling great stories in less than half the pages. Brandon Sanderson's "Mistborn", Mark Lawrence's "The Broken Empire", and Luke Scull's "The Grim Company" to name a few, although none quite entangle the reader so closely with their characters or immerse you so deeply in their worlds, are very competent, enjoyable trilogies that are more focused whilst building on the legacy left by Robert Jordan.

Welcome Center / Re: Hello everyone
« on: December 01, 2020, 12:28:15 PM »
Hey there, welcome to MangaRaiders!

Wow, the forum has made it on to Reddit!? Cool!

I hope you find your time here productive :)

MR Pub / Re: Chit Chat 2020
« on: November 29, 2020, 03:55:09 PM »
I haven't even thought about presents or wrapping or cards or anything yet!  :sure:

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