I haven't finished episode 2 of Republique yet. But I will. I just don't feel right giving a review of a game I haven't finished playing, even if only episode 1 really needs the review.
Anyways, while everyone is in awe of the amazing wonderful thing that is the internet, it's also well-known for the rather infamous downsides. The internet in and of itself is the best living epitome we have for the double-edged sword. While communication and one's ability to network has been greatly expanded, we are also aware of the increase in lies spouted as truth (remember Kony?), cyber-bullying and porn. Lots of porn. Even if they have no idea it has a name, everyone painfully and traumatically learns of Rule 34 *shudder*.
For those who don't know, Rule 34 is as follows. Ahem. "There is porn of it, no exceptions."
There is also another, bizarre facet that only heavy users of the internet are aware of...the internet loves weird stuff. I personally love indulging my curiosity into the weird. After discovering this video some years ago, I was somehow deluded enough to research and figure out what bizarre clash of the creative and insane produced it. It's basically a product of NikoNikoDouga, a Japanese website (why is no one surprised it's Japanese?) that began as a subsection of Youtube and spawned off into its own beast. Now, the Japanese content creators that visited the site indulged in 2 main strands of the creative. The first was vocaloids, creating songs out of artificial voice and note generators and even creating the characters to fit the voice, with which they then made (and still make) music videos. Awesome. The second big strand was to take anything big at the time and edit the video with mixed in footage from porn videos starring Billy Herrington. Why those and why him? No clue and I'm not curious enough to figure that bit out. Anyway, after someone made a creative vocaloid music video tribute to the anime Initial-D, some other bright spark...decided to mix this with edited Billy Herrington clips. For some reason. And that resulted in the video I linked.
So what made me go off on this little story and reminiscence of how I wasted my time in Uni? Simple. Sometimes my interest in the marginalised, forgotten-about and downright abandoned by pop culture results in my discovering some delightful little gems. Including finally discovering a movie adaptation of a video game that improves on the source material.
Yes you read that right. Normally a video game adaptation into a movie is applauded when the story just about makes sense. This one improves on the original source material.
What is the game? Galerians. Released for the Playstation in the year 2000. Right off the bat it's noticeable that this came right at the end of a decade infatuated with a dark, gritty dystopian future and the electronic rave you hear in the intro plants it very firmly in a 90s mindset. Galerians is a survival horror game...um, I think. The entire logic of that premise is defeated at the outset when you discover you play as a young boy with incredible mind powers (last time I checked, the point of a survival horror game is that you play a powerless character at his wits' end). Admittedly, the premise is sort of interesting. You play as an over-powered boy with amnesia, being experimented on in a hospital. So the game involves finding out how and why you got there and what the purpose of the experimenting is. Meanwhile it feels like the entire city either wants to kill you or doesn't care what happens to you. This entire premise is defeated by terrible voice-acting (if you thought Resident Evil was bad...), terrible plot-pacing, non-existent logic and no characterisation of anyone whatsoever. The main character...called Rion (oh my God, it's clearly a bastardised Japanese pronunciation of Leon, why doesn't this bother anyone?!?!) gets no empathy from you in any of his actions or decisions...if he takes any decisions, maybe. There's supposed to be an unsettling mood derived from his constant need to shoot himself up with drugs but the entire image just comes off silly. (The injection needle looks like a glue gun for children.) Also, his only character trait is to look angry. Also also, it's got the most hilarious boss-fight I've seen in years (check out his fight with Rita).
How did I find out about this game? It was covered by Retsupurae on their Wrongplays segment. Basically, they riffed over the footage of someone else's longplay (recorded especially for them). After finding out about the dubiousness that is this game, I was surprised to learn it got both a sequel and a movie adaptation.
But the movie, titled Galerians: Rion, is seriously enjoyable. In Japan it was originally a 3-episode OVA (or televised special) but it meshes together as a movie really well. Also, rather unusually for Japan, the animation is completely computer-animated. Someone looked at the story and gave it wonderful tuning, fixing the pacing and logic errors of the story within the original game, then had the characters look exactly like their game counterparts, but giving them more room for development. Rion even acts far more understandably and logically. (There was even a very daft element about talking to a doll that was removed.) The music is good, the presentation is great, the cinematography very well crafted, battle scenes intense. Considering that the core elements involve restoring lost memories and drugging oneself, well, the movie is understandably rather trippy. It was also only afterwards that I realised that...well Rion and a certain other character only did things. They were agents only and not subjects, so they had a character arc but no character to fill it with. Considering the movie is only 70 minutes long, they could have done with another 20 minutes to develop the pair as characters of their own. But I cannot stress this enough: I enjoyed the movie greatly and left me very satisfied - far more than any other video game adaptation I have seen.
Go ahead and watch it, Galerians: Rion is on Youtube :)