Living the Good Life, Episode 138 (August 3, 2019): Excellent productivity!

Another good week, this bodes well! As always, the lowdown…

WATCHAN:

Jojo ep. 38: Huh, this is weird. In the last episode, 37, Diavolo had just had the crap punched out of him, but now it’s Mista, Abbacio, Narancia, and Fugo chilling in Italy and just hanging out. A flashback or something? Well, then it’s back to Giorno beating Diavolo, and then a really sweet new rendition of the OP with some extra scenes featuring GE Requiem!

So Giorno punches Diavolo into a nearby river, and it seems like D is barely alive…he crawls into a nearby sewer drain to escape, and then runs into some druggies, who stab him. For some reason, he can’t bring out his stand to just kill them easily, maybe because he’s wounded? He just gets stabbed to death, which is pretty pathetic…Then he suddenly appears on a hospital bed, where a lady doctor does an autopsy on him–which kills him, of course. Then he ends up in a city where he gets run over by a car!

According to Giorno, Requiem’s ability is that it set causality so that Diavolo’s “end is that there is no end.” I’m trying to figure out how it works, it seems like there’s an extremely idiosyncratic interaction between King Crimson’s ability and GER’s.

So King Crimson can chop a certain span of time out of everyone else’s subjective experience except for Diavolo’s, and the effects which happen *after* that time skip remain, while the events that directly occurred during it disappear. So for instance, if an attack takes 10 seconds to kill Diavolo while leaving a crater in the ground at the 11th second, Diavolo sees those 10 seconds with his prescience and dodges the attack, then erases the 10 seconds from everyone else’s perception, so only the crater is left at the 11th second. However, he can also do whatever he wants in the 10 seconds of chopped-out time. So he can use his prescience to see that his enemy is going to move in a certain direction for 10 seconds, select that period of time to maintain control over. The enemy can’t change his course because he doesn’t have Diavolo’s power of prescience or his mastery over the specific span of time. So the enemy makes his move, unable to perceive what Diavolo is doing, while Diavolo aims his attacks and punches out the enemy’s guts. So the enemy ends up in the location he would have at the 11th second (the “effect”), but has no idea of what happened during the 10 seconds Diavolo controlled, and it seems to him like he’s been attacked for no reason at all while Diavolo is triumphant.

But what GER does is erase the effects of everything that happened after a certain period of time. So let’s say an attack was begun at 3:00:00 PM that hits, penetrates, and kills Giorno over the span of 10 seconds, ending at 3:00:10 PM. GER just resets time completely, so Giorno is in the exact same state he was at 3 PM and can unleash an attack of his own before his enemy can kill him. More importantly, GER is immune to Diavolo’s combination of prescience and mastery of time–whenever Diavolo selects a certain chunk of time to control, GER can change his actions and do whatever he wants.

So what it seems to be is that Diavolo used his King Crimson power, using his prescience to see what GER was “going” to do and attempted to punch Giorno to death, but GER, unlike every other stand and human in the series, can move around in the chunk of time Diavolo controls, and took him and King Crimson by surprise, punching Diavolo to death. So if Diavolo started controlling time at 3:00:00 PM to 3:00:10 PM, GER counterattacked and killed him at 3:00:10 PM. But GER also resets its enemies to the state they begin at the time GER chooses. So GER sets Diavolo back to where he was at 3:00:00 PM…but that was when he was starting to use King Crimson’s ability to control a chunk of time! So it seems like he’s been stuck in a recursive loop. I think what happened was that Diavolo got “stuck” in that chunk of time he thought he controlled but which was wrested away from him by GER. And since it ended with his own death, in order to preserve the causality of the universe in a general sense–to ensure that the chunk of time, which recursively repeated over and over because Diavolo was using his ability–Diavolo was sort of cast away into universe after universe after universe, where he would die every single time in a different way. This was to preserve the infinitely repeating effects–since GER assumedly didn’t want to spend all of eternity killing Diavolo over and over, he set it so that the same end result (Diavolo’s death) would occur all the time, just in different ways–stabbed, autopsied, ran over by a car, etc.

So after all that, Giorno hears Narancia, Bucciarati, and Abbachio congratulating him from the afterlife, and then the story flips right back to Fugo, Abbachio, Narancia, and mista hanging out. Hmm. Bucciarati arrives and tells them they need to investigate Leaky-Eyed Luca’s death, which means this is taking place right at the beginning of the series. However, before he can do that, he meets with this nice old dude who thinks a weird sculptor killed his daughter. His daughter started dating the sculptor, but one day killed herself by throwing herself off a building while clutching one of his sculptures, so he thinks the sculptor caused her suicide! It’s a weird story, so that’s why he didn’t go to the police, but Bruno thinks it’s an evil stand user so he agrees to investigate. But he knows there’s always something more to these kinda situations, so he says he’ll investigate to see if Mr. Sculptor really is guilty. Well, just as they set off, Mista suddenly touches a weird stone ball with the words “Bad Luck” etched on it that appeared out of thin air on his seat! And when they drive to see the sculptor, named Scolippi, the stone seems to be following them! Yeah, definitely something weird going on…Mista asks Bruno what kind of sculpture the girl committed suicide with, and Bruno said the father didn’t say…Bruno enters Scolippi’s apartment building and sees the rock, and when he fires at it…it turns into a sculpture of Bucciarati! Yep, definitely a stand problem…

Jojo ep. 39: Picking up right where we left off, Mista finds Scolippi hiding and starts threatening and interrogating him, but it seems like Scolippi’s innocent…he’s a stand user, but his stand just manifested by itself and acts entirely out of his control. Mista doesn’t believe him and shoots through his hands, but the Bucciarati-shaped rock disappears anyways. Scolippi uses a phrase from michelangelo (the famous artist) to try and say that his stand-stone doesn’t actually have any power of its own, it just displays a certain person’s destiny; if it showed Bucciarati it meant that B was gonna die violently soon. That’s how his girlfriend died…the rock showed her that her own father was going to die from a disease if he didn’t find an organ transplant, so the girl killed herself so her father could use her organs! Whoof…so Scolippi wasn’t a bad guy, but man, that’s a pretty harsh outcome of fate ;-; Mista doesn’t believe him and keeps beating him, but when he tries to call Bucciarati and finds out that B is close by, just as Scolippi said, he finally comes around.

B’s entered the building and is about to touch his fate rock–which would just kill him immediately instead of his destined violent death later–so Mista uses his gun to blow it away, and then when it comes back, grabs it–it won’t kill him because it doesn’t look like him. He throws it–and himself–out of the window and falls several stories, but he manages to survive when he lands on the soft hood of a car Fugo nearby drove under him to save him, and the rock itself shatters on the hard pavement. It seems like they’ve banished the curse of the fate rock…but its shattered shards reform into the faces of Bucciarati, Narancia, and Abbachio, so we know those three are gonna die eventually…;-;

It seems like the whole thing was a reminiscence Giorno had as he was looking at the arrow that gave him his upgraded powers. In the present day, Trish and Mista notice the fate rock hanging around nearby, and Mista worries it means someone else is gonna die soon! Trish seems to have disappeared, but fortunately, she just went inside Coco Jumbo, who was hiding behind that rock–and who still seems to be possessed by Polnareff. Well, actually not…Coco Jumbo is back in his body, but Polnareff is still hanging around as a ghost living in the extra dimension–ghosts are a real thing in Jojo, as part 4 demonstrated. P can still talk to folks as a ghost, it seems. Giorno agrees to keep the arrow inside Coco Jumbo where Polnareff can look over it, and Trish and Mista go back to the coliseum happily (they don’t realize that Bucciarati is completely dead, as they never knew he was undead in the first place), and the last shot of the series is of Giorno wearing a black version of his costume, sitting on a throne with Mista keeping guard as a important man in a suit kisses his ring. It looks like he’s achieved his dream of reaching the top of Passione…

Man, man. This was a really fun ride. I think it matches Part 4 as my favorite Jojo. Diavolo wasn’t as strong a villain as Kira Yoshikage, and at this point Stand powers have gotten really confusing, but god damn the aesthetics, music, and fight choreography came together MASTERFULLY. The OPs and EDs alone were worth it. I’d say this series gets a 9 overall.

EATAN:

TIMAN:

Ooof, Star’s busy IRL, there’s some construction work she has to deal with at her office job so it takes her more time to do her work, so not as much time for anime ;-;

PLAYAN:

Not much this week.

READAN:

Of Dice and Men by David M. Ewalt. This is essentially a broad introduction and historical overview of the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game marketed towards laymen, non-academic readers who don’t know much about the role-playing game (or RPGs in general) and who require an explanation of how such games work and what their appeal is.

I put particular emphasis on ‘non-academic.’ Aside from being written in a jaunty, relatively informal, and easy-to-understand style, the book doesn’t go into the sort of in-depth analysis one could find in a more academic text. It’s well-cited and marshals evidence for its claims, of course, but just gives readers the broadest, most general descriptions of what it’s explaining. For instance, it mentions Gygax being inspired by Lord of the Rings for the precursor he made to D&D (Chainmail), but doesn’t explore some of Gygax’s lesser-known influences, like the Grey Mouser series, nor describe the development of fantasy literature as a whole (from pulp magazines, horror novels, etc) and its relationship with role-playing games. There’s some description of old wargames like Kriegspiel, but not much details on who developed them or how aside from notes on H.G. Well, there’s a general overview of Gary Gygax’s life but not much detail on his marriages and children, and so on.

This isn’t a bad thing, of course–if you’re a layman who just wants some light reading on an airplane or something, such an approach makes Of Dice and Men very good for you. The structure of the book also assists in that regard. It’s as much of a semi-biography of Ewalt as it is a history of D&D; every chapter starts out with a vignette of a campaign he played with his friends so neophytes get a good idea of how the game works from the point of view of a player. The humor of these vignettes (Ewalt is a pretty funny guy, and his game friends seem to be as well) keeps the reader engaged as Ewalt ties them into each chapter (D&D’s forebears, how Gygax started TSR, his run-ins with the satanic panic stuff, how he eventually left TSR, how TSR declined and then rose up again in the 2000s, and lastly a behind-the-scenes peek at an upcoming game system–well, one that was upcoming when the book was written; it was published in 2013). Still, less-patient readers who really want to get an exhaustive understanding of D&D’s history and development may find those vignettes tiresome and just skip them over. Additionally, I thought the chapter on LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) felt a bit disjointed, Ewalt didn’t really connect his personal experiences with a LARP group to D&D very clearly, nor did he clearly explain how LARPing grew to be associated with D&D in particular. These aren’t game-breakers (heh), though, just minor things. I’d give this book 4 stars.

One Important Takeaway: D&D was and is a team effort, both in the play and in the development. Though everyone knows Gary Gygax, it seems like David Arneson, especially his Blackmoor game, played a major role in D&D’s early success, and judging by the description of DnD next, a whole host of playtesters, writers, and statisticians (both professional and fans just wanting to help out) was necessary to ensure the product’s success.

WRITAN:

Making corrections to my draft of my book–my editor recommended I get Grammarly. It’s sorta useful, but I think I have to pay to access “advanced criticisms.” Ah well, at least the basic ones are of some use. I’ve also been very busy with some other stuff, but that can be shown off next week.

What made this week good, though, is that I managed to finish Ewalt’s book in a single night! That bodes well for my ability to quickly get through my reading backlog 😀 Still, I may have to hold off on reading…even though classes don’t start until August 26, I have a bunch of stuff to do:

1: Make sure they’ve received my health insurance waiver

2: Make sure they acknowledge I’ve completed orientation

3: Actually pay my bill–the health insurance waiver thing is annoying, if I can’t get it removed I may have to renege on going back to college, which would be annoying but not the end of the world. We’ll see.

4: Get my student ID card

5: Start studying off the syllabi–the more prepared I am before classes start, the better.

Well, I’d better get started on all that…let’s see how it goes.

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