A Trick of the Shoopuf

In “Silence Before the Storm” from the Final Fantasy X soundtrack, I think Nobuo Uematsu was channeling his inner ’70s Genesis. This rearranged version from the PS3 HD edition of the game is one step closer to my dream of hearing it played on actual 12-string guitars and mellotron.

[ Song of the Week ] Pet Shop Boys – “Axis”

from the album Electric (2013)

After the mellow Elysium album, the Pet Shop Boys proved they could still burn up a dance floor with their next album Electric. Will the minotaur-looking dancers haunt your nightmares?

This video edit of the song is nearly two minutes shorter than the original album version.

Genki Rikku

Ever since the Final Fantasy series went to 3D character models, voice acting, and fully animated cutscenes, I often find that the cute and bubbly characters become favorites of mine, even if they aren’t my top favorite from that particular game. In FFVII it was Yuffie, in FFVIII it’s Selphie. FFXII has Penelo, and FFXIII has Vanille. FFIX didn’t really have one that I can remember, but Eiko was just super cute.

At the moment, I’m in the middle of a replay of Final Fantasy X, which I have only played once before, but I remembered it being my least favorite of all the Final Fantasys I’ve completed. It’s actually faring better on this replay, though I still loathe blitzball and think the exposition is drawn out way too much (with too many cutscenes to boot), making the first 20-25 hours an absolute chore to get through. Thankfully I’ve just gotten past all that again.

Speaking of too much exposition, I think this post falls into that category as well, amusingly enough, since the point of all this is really just to say that Rikku is my favorite character in Final Fantasy X. Since she’s the last to join the party, that’s sort of my reward for getting through all the tedium before her main appearance. (Also, for what it’s worth, I prefer her game engine rendering over her FMV rendering.)

(minor spoilers in the video clip below, if you haven’t played the game yet.)

Well, that’s an awkward thumbnail for this video clip

I also only recently found out that for the english dub, she was voiced by none other than (a much younger) Tara Strong. On this replay, her voice sounded familiar, but I couldn’t place it. I didn’t know who she was the first time I played FFX, but since then Tara has voiced some of my favorite animated characters, including Raven (Teen Titans), Unikitty (Unikitty TV series), and most notably Twilight Sparkle (My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic).

My only disappoinment is that I seem to remember Rikku going from my favorite character in FFX to least favorite in FFX-2, since the dubbing direction went too far with her personality in that game and she was no longer cute and bubbly but super annoying instead. We’ll see how that replay fares once I get to it in a few months…

Pretty Soldier of Wisdom

Art Nouveau Ami-chan. Are those lilies for Mako…?

My favorite of the original five characters in Sailor Moon is Ami Mizuno – Sailor Mercury. It didn’t start out that way, though. When I first saw the series years ago, my favorite character was Makoto (Sailor Jupiter). Of course I still like Mako, but over the years the kinds of characters I gravitated towards changed little by little, and the gentle Ami known for her book smarts became my favorite of the Inners.

[ Song of the Week ] Steven Wilson – “Drive Home”

from the album The Raven that Refused to Sing (and other stories) (2013)

A beautiful and tragic song with a beautiful and tragic film to go with it, animated by Jess Cope. What may be my favorite guitar solo not performed by Steve Hackett is in the second half of the song. (Guthrie Govan has earned that second step on the podium.)

Pretty Soldier of Love and Justice

In the name of the Moon, she’ll punish you!

I’ve recently begun a series rewatch of the original Sailor Moon. Not only do I get to relive my earliest days of being an anime fan, but when the end of this year comes around, I’ll be able to go all the way to episode 200 with Sailor Stars for the first time!