Webcomic Review: The Adventures of Lil’ Chad

With all the bullshit that we’ve been hearing out of the likes of Disney, I’m for making alternative outlets of entertainment. But there is a challenge faced by those willing to make wholesome entertainment, and that’s making something that anyone is going to give a care about.

If something goes too far in being wholesome and family-friendly, they risk losing the interest of the intended younger viewers. It’s no secret that much of the entertainment that children consume today has a bit of an edge to it. This especially holds true as children discover anime. Even anime geared towards children, such as Yu-Gi-Oh, can have a dark element. It’s not counterproductive when you consider the fact that the world is a dark and dangerous place, a fact that the fairy tales of old did well to prepare children for.

Considering how saccharine The Adventures of Lil’ Chad is, it’s easy to see that it’s not going to do well in holding the interest of children. If given the choice between reading this webcomic and going outside, they’d take their magnifying glass with them and go fry some ants.

This webcomic is boring.

The Adventures of Lil’ Chad stars a little boy named Chad (of course) as he interacts with various characters in his family and neighborhood, and learns about the world around him. Which makes it sound like Yotsubato, except Lil’ Chad would be the empty, hollow, desiccated husk left over if Yotsubato had all entertainment value sucked out of it.

This comic’s right-wing politics become apparent in the very first installment:

That woman in the boots with the blue hair and with the “resistance fist” is the source of much of this comic’s conflict. She’s Chad’s aunt, and she just moved in because Chad’s parents help family out. She’s a left-wing feminist, whose preferred pronouns are “they/them”. And her name is Karen.

I hope you’re not making a drinking game out of this.

Chad’s Mom is Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Okay, not really. But tell me whether you see the resemblance:

Her personality is that she has none. That’s why her bio is about other characters:

Not that she’s at all alone, as none of the other characters have personality either. She’s just notable for having a deeper personality deficit than the rest.

Then there’s Chad’s Dad, Chad Sr.. Check out this beast of a man:

No, that is not Johnny Bravo. This comic wants you to believe that Chad Sr. got that way by lifting and consuming plenty of protein. I call bullshit. There is a limit to how far a person can get as a natty lifter.

Other characters include the male feminist Todd Soyer (yes, “soy” is in his name), Chad’s friend Ray and his father Curtis (both black, because this webcomic is not racist), and Chrissie, a 10-year-old girl who dresses like a trad wife.

Did a substitute teacher get chibified? Nope, that’s supposed to pass for a 10-year-old.

Look, we’ve got to talk about the panel layout. Here’s a full comic, presented in entirety:

The 4-panel comic layout has been criticized by popular cartoonists such as Bill Watterson for being restrictive, while some more optimistically view it as a challenge to work within. But I think we all know that most daily cartoonists aspire to see their cartoons become greeting-card sellers in the same sense as Maxine (who is funny), or Garfield (who is not). And they’re willing to cope with the limitations if that’s what it takes to turn their cartoons into goldmines of merchandise.

Webcomic artists are under no pressure from newspaper syndication to use a particular format. Meaning, these artists are free to use the boundless potential of webcomics with any panel layout of their choosing, or, as is sometimes the case, to abandon panels in favor of sequential drawings (such as Classes).

So, why? Why would a webcomic writer and artist agree together to accept a format that is universally seen as restrictive? Could it be that the writer and artist pair actually aspire to be under the thumb of newspaper syndication?

Speaking of, the writer had this to say about the process of producing The Adventures of Lil’ Chad in his blog:

I have never had more sympathy for George Lucas in my life before I actually had to revise and approve my creation for public consumption.

I was honestly taken aback by the sheer audacity it took for the author to make this statement. For all the problems that Star Wars has, it’s still a feat of worldbuilding, storytelling, and character development, and to top it all off, the production values are state-of-the-art. The Adventures of Lil’ Chad is dull and half-hearted, every step of the way, and can in no way be compared to the rich, chocolatey escapism dreamed up by George Lucas. I do not buy that the same kind of effort was put into this webcomic.

But maybe you can if you can look at this and call it “quality art”:

There’s no shading. Most of what’s geometric is viewed head-on, I suppose because drawing anything besides a right-angle is hard. I know that the rules of anatomy and proportion can be relaxed by saying that you’re going for something stylistic. But the colors are so garish that I suspect that this comic would be better if it were greyscaled.

Because I was curious, I opened the above panel with paint.net, then went to Effects > Color > Quantize, then turned the color all the way down. This was the result:

Sure, it still looks like crap. But it has a certain charm, like a cheap-o cartoon in a print college newspaper. And it’s much easier on the eyes.

Oh, and if you’re up for lulz, disgraced internet celebrity Jack Murphy actually makes a couple cameos. Which makes me suspicious that the author might be a member of Jack’s cult, The Liminal Order.

The above panel gains a new dimension in light of Jack’s cuckolding controversy.

Most of the comics follow the formula to either building up to a right-wing zinger or to a heartwarming moment. None of which I actually found funny, except the second issue, and none of them seemed more insightful than issue 14, which pointed out that steak is a whole food.

As a bit of an aside, I can point out that Chad’s family seems to have something against carbs. As in, they don’t have any, except on rare occasions. What I’m getting at is, don’t take dietary advice from comics.

As the token left-winger, Karen is the frequent butt of the jokes, assuming that Todd isn’t having aspects of his masculinity questioned. But there’s an actual point of character development after Todd is shrugged off by Karen, but rather than call her the next day, Todd takes a level in badass and benefited pretty hard from newbie gains.

Though it could be argued that he had more of a personality before, as the author seems to think that developing in character means becoming more like Chad Sr., Curtis, or Jack Murphy (pick one, all three are nearly identical).

There are also a few holiday specials. If the comic artist aspires to turn syndicated and eventually get their shit printed on overpriced greeting cards, it’s to be expected.

At the point where I left off, Karen leveraged her position as teacher to get an appearance on Chrissie’s live podcast.

Which is creepy on it’s own, but gets even creepier considering that the podcast studio appears to be in Chrissie’s home. Of course, Chrissie’s show would run afoul of the COPPA by reason of the fact that she’s 10 years old. Chrissie’s parents need a talking-to for allowing their elementary-school-age daughter to have such an online presence, assuming they’re the ones who bought her all that expensive shit pictured above.

But you know what? Maybe I’m overanalyzing things, again. Maybe it’s just a shit webcomic, and it’s another comic where the suspension of disbelief favors children being precocious, as was the case with Assigned Male, and other webcomics whose authors have long since forgotten what it’s like to be a child.

For those of you who decided to skip ahead to the score rather than read my review, here’s an arbitrary number that describes how I feel about this comic:

2 out of 10

This is one of those instances where a duo of artist and writer is involved in the production of the webcomic. Between the two, I think the art has the highest potential for improvement. After all, art is something that usually improves well beyond the kind of thing we see here, with a little practice. Improving shading, giving more attention to anatomy, proportions, and backgrounds, can each go a long way. From what I’ve seen so far, the potential is there.

But as for the writing, it’s just stupid. People usually grow up consuming entertainment media, and usually as a result they develop an idea of what makes a decent story and what makes characters interesting. If a person doesn’t learn these lessons after two decades of consuming media, it’s hard to tell just how much more it would take.

A New Trailer for Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Just Dropped. Here’s What I Think.

As the graphic above taken from the latest promo trailer shows, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are have gotten cover arts, and are available for preorder on Nintendo’s eShop, which is great for those who have already made their minds up.

But as for the promo itself, here it is:

Okay, honest opinion: I’m somewhat underwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still looking forward to the next games. It’s that this trailer didn’t get me as excited as the first one. However, it seems my opinion isn’t the popular opinion, as typical Pokémon fans seem to be gushing over the newest promo spot. It does have it’s great qualities.

For one thing, I might be imagining it, but the character models look a lot better, particularly the outfits. I remember that the models for the Pokémon themselves looked great in the first trailer. Also, it’s great to see more natural movements for the human characters.

Speaking of human characters, we have two new professors. They both seem pretty cool, and they seem to have different themes: one is a cave woman, and the other wears a futuristic getup. Also, is that calculus on their dry-erase boards?

The trailer shows 4 different player characters taking off in different directions, showing that as many as 4 players can interact in the same field at a time. This also shows that there will be plenty of customization options for physical features such as skin tone, hair style, and hair color. There are also a handful of clothing options, but I’m still not impressed with them. Something like a studded jacket or round shades would be cool.

The trailer also showed a few new Pokémon, including a pig-like critter named Lechonk, a new Pikachu look-alike named Pawmi, and an adorable little olive named Smoliv. Of the three, I think I like Smoliv more. Maybe because olives are tasty.

The trailer briefly shows a battle scene with the typical options. Apparently, the battles are going to be turn-based, but it’s not clear whether it’s traditional turn-based RPG fare like Pokémon has traditionally done, or something more akin to Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Between the two, I don’t have much of a preference, though Pokémon’s traditional battle formula is pretty well-tested, while the one in Pokémon Legends: Arceus still seems experimental.

After that, we see some trainers running about in environments populated by Pokémon. The environments are great as far as something stylized goes, but certain features might still need work. After all, as we’ve already seen, Pokémon fans can get pretty picky about how well the trees are detailed!

But then, we see the perspective speed along some environments, as though to take us to see some far-off features. If you would have guessed that we’d get to see some new legendaries, you’d be right:

The new mascot legendaries are named Koraidon (the scarlet one) and Miraidon (the violet one). Apparently the themes of these games are past and future.

The models for these Pokémon are pretty well-textured. Also, check out Miraidon’s eyes.

Overall, it’s not a bad trailer. I was a bit underwhelmed, but that’s just me. I suppose it’s only natural that a second trailer for a Pokémon game would reveal more about the region, lore, and characters, and save the nerdy stuff like gameplay elements for another time.

However, those gameplay elements do matter. It’s going to make a big difference, especially to competitive players, whether elements from previous games such as Dynamax, Mega Evolution, or Z-Moves make a return. So far, we haven’t seen a sign of any of that, or of a new battle mechanic.

But I suppose that a Pokémon game that allows for free exploration rather than confinement to linear routes might be a sufficient selling point for me. After all, I’ve been wanting to see this in a traditional Pokémon game for a long time, and Pokémon Legends: Arceus nearly pulled it off.

But as far as the community as a whole is concerned, it seems that GameFreak has done a great job with this new trailer. Here’s looking forward to the next one.

Johnny Depp Wins Defamation Suit, Amber Heard Wins Partial Victory

It looks like making stuff up about people and attempting to destroy their reputation is still a bad idea. This is the takeaway from the verdict earlier today in the trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, wherein the jury awarded Depp $15 million in damages. Heard also won $2 million in damages, but all things simplified, the victory went to Depp, overall.

The trial came after Amber Heard had written a defamatory op-ed which was published by The Washington Post in 2018. If The Washington Post bemoans that “Democracy Dies in Darkness”, it might behoove them to stop bullshitting if they want anyone to take them seriously. That and change their edgelord tagline. “Democracy Dies in Darkness”? Please.

In Amber Heard’s original article, she claimed to be a victim of domestic abuse. While Depp was not specified in the article itself, the implication was strongly against him, considering that Heard had previously accused Depp of domestic abuse in 2016.

One interesting point about this is that Johnny Depp accused Amber Heard of being abusive towards him. Believe it or not, women are capable of being abusive against men. And in many cases, they get away with it, due to the perception that it’s rarely the case. In the cases where the man succeeds in escaping, the woman often makes claims of abuse against the man, in an attempt to save face and get revenge (putting aside, of course, the inconsistency with the notion that the escaping party was the one that was abusive).

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Amber Heard really was abusive. I don’t know all the facts of the case, but from what I’ve seen in the livestream, Heard had a certain vibe about her that I didn’t like. Usually, the dignity and decorum of a courtroom is humbling. However, Heard had a certain vindictive air about her, easy to see in her body language and facial expressions. She very much looks like the kind of woman I’d want to escape from.

It’s a bit personal, but I was once in a short relationship with an abusive woman. Matters escalated to the point that I had to phone in a friend to help me get out of there. After I had escaped, the woman attempted to slander me to a congregation that I had attended. However, she left that church shortly afterwards, possibly because she had trouble getting anyone to believe her.

If a famous person like Johnny Depp may have been in a relationship with an abusive woman, and I’ve had an experience with one, I wonder whether this is more common among men than we know. If what Depp had to say was true, then it would seem as though fame and success are no guarantee of protection from abusive people.

It’s interesting to see that some more spurious outlets are pointing to Heard’s victory of $2 million as a “Win For Domestic Violence Victims”, as though this somehow eclipses Johnny Depp’s much greater victory. And, as though throwing a vodka bottle at someone, severing their fingertip doesn’t count as domestic violence.

The dubious journalists aside, the verdict is yet another culture war victory. Perhaps news outlets will be more careful about the veracity of the content of their op-eds. But considering that the MSM played up the Russian collusion hoax for years, I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

This Promo Video From the US Army About Psyops Is Actually Pretty Lit

Step 1: Watch the video embedded above.
Step 2: Know what I’m talking about.

It’s almost as though the US Army’s Special Operations division has hired those guys from Anonymous to make a creepy promo video for them, reminiscent of the days of Project Chanology. The only things that seemed missing from it was a Guy Fawkes mask and a monologue from MS Sam.

But what really caught my eye was near the beginning of the video, at about 20 seconds in, which called out the violence against the Tiananmen Square protesters. This was followed up by Ronald Reagan’s demand to tear down the Berlin Wall. As we know, the Berlin Wall did come down, and the Soviet Union didn’t last much longer after that. The video concludes with the toppling of the Saddam statue that followed the US invasion in 2003, and the capture of Ghaddafi in 2011.

Could it be that the US is finally starting to take the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) seriously? And has it finally become as obvious to them as to just about everyone else that the CCP is attempting to influence the western world through entertainment and social media? If so, it took them long enough. If I was able to figure it out, it wasn’t much of a secret.

While we can talk about how creepy Psyops are, it’s a fact of life in today’s world. And it’s great to know that the US Army actually took notice as far as the CCP goes.

Even if you have a problem with the current administration, it’s still easy to see that it’s still worlds better than what’s going on with the CCP. For all its flaws, the US government is better than most governments out there, and it’s certainly better than the CCP. Between the two, I’d far prefer that the US win out.

It’s because of this that I’m concerned that the US intelligence apparatus has the appearance of being fractured. It’s a problem that’s shared with much of American government, but US intelligence appears to be very disorganized. The sheer number of agencies involved in intelligence doesn’t give the appearance of efficiency. The NSA, the CIA, the FBI, even the Post Office are all in the surveillance industry.

In American government, the sheer amount of bloat is legendary. From what I hear, it’s bloat that actively gatekeeps in an attempt to keep more intelligent people out, by reason of the fact that intelligent people are more likely to question the bloat. Of course, hiring idiots is counterproductive. But in environments where revenue is consistent as matters drag on, attempts to streamline processes will be met with resistance.

If you’ve worked in government, it wouldn’t surprise me if you saw someone introduce an idea that made a process more inefficient, then that person later got a promotion. Or engineering, for that matter. Inefficiency can be pretty clever at disguising itself as ingenuity.

The above promo video comes just as companies like Netflix are starting to dumpster the woke shit. I don’t doubt that the woke garbage that’s been attempting to destroy American culture has been a product of foreign influence. Whatever is responsible for it, it’s great to see more and more people wising up, to the point that apparently even the US government is taking note.

Or, maybe I’m seeing something that wasn’t intended, and I’d have a few things to walk back if it ever happens that the CCP takes over the world.

Updated Pride Flag Now Includes Ukraine Colors

The pride flag has seen numerous iterations, it being the official flag of “current thing”. Expressing support for Ukraine by displaying the colors of its flag is the new “current thing”, so it’s only natural that it be included in the increasingly-inclusive pride flag.

Putting aside, of course, that the Ukraine doesn’t legally recognize same-sex marriages.

How displaying a couple arbitrary colors is supposed to support a country that’s under attack by an imperialist aggressor is not a bad question, but as we all know, virtue signaling takes no effort. Otherwise, we’d be seeing almost no virtue signaling out of anyone.

However, as it is, the current flag doesn’t adequately express the true virtues of the pride community. For one thing, the pride community prides themselves on group action. Thus, their flag would better represent them with a pattern of four similar flags. What’s more, the pride community is about togetherness in embracing superficial differences. Therefore, it’s appropriate that these four similar patterns be arranged in a manner representative of arms encircling.

With these considerations, a more accurate pride flag would look like this:

It’s obvious that this flag is more representative of the virtues of the pride community. Years from now, when the pride movement is looked back upon by historians, they’ll see this flag and have little doubt as to what it was really about.

Rather than be left behind, the pride community feels obliged to update to the most current flag, or risk being seen as not inclusive of current thing. What they do with their old flags, I don’t know. Perhaps there’s some colorful landfill somewhere to which the outdated pride flags are sent when the typical NPCs undergo their updates.

In any case, there’s yet another new flag to replace their old ones. And it will be their current flag until some Tumblrite thinks of yet another color band to add to another revision. Which could mean they’d have another flag as soon as next week.

Study Finds That Testosterone Treatments Turn Democrats More Conservative

It’s not going to surprise a whole lot of people that the chemical that makes men more manly also makes men tend more towards conservatism. But now, we have a study to prove it.

The study, published by Professor Paul Zak of Claremont Graduate University, demonstrates a clear connection between testosterone levels and the political preferences of males. The 136 males participating in the study disclosed their political affiliations, then were either administered a synthetic form of testosterone or a placebo.

In an outcome as surprising as the setting of the sun, the Democrats participating in the study that took testosterone felt less warmly about their own party by 12 percent, but felt more warmly about Republicans by 45 percent.

Democrats happen to be the most compliant people, and compliance in males correlates with a lack of testosterone. I’m stating the obvious, of course. But maybe a study is already underway which will demonstrate the connection.

Come to think of it, it was mainly the Democrats that insisted on shutting down gyms and confining people to their homes during the Coronavirus Apocalypse. An apocalypse that I survived, by the way. And you probably did, too.

The study showed the strongest shift in Democrats that were weakly affiliated, and the effects waned among those with stronger Democrat leanings, and among weakly-affiliated Republicans.

Come to think of it, many of the Democratic policy positions tend to decrease the testosterone of those affected. When men pretend to be women, there isn’t much expectation that those men would have high testosterone. And of course, those men have a home in the Democratic party! When men become obese, their T-levels tend to crater. But they’d still find company among Democrats who tout the “healthy-at-any-weight” bullshit that actually kills people.

Also, consider the fact that Democrats are the ones actively trying to trick young boys into having themselves neutered. Could it be that Democrats are trying to castrate for themselves a set of lifelong loyalists?

Considering the role of the gonads in testosterone production, it would follow that the fastest way to turn a man Democrat is to have him de-balled and de-pricked. And who knows how many professing Democrats have already underwent the process?

The Collapse of Twitter May Be Imminent.

Elon Musk just revealed that when Twitter audits for bot accounts, they only poll 100 accounts at a time. Because of this, Musk is putting the deal to buy Twitter on hold, and subsequently, Twitter is accusing him of breaking a non-disclosure agreement.

Oh, no! Don’t go telling people that the product you plan on buying might be faulty!

When a platform is as huge as Twitter, 100 is a trivially pathetic sample size, especially when sampling for bots, which is a huge problem for Twitter.

But the problem goes beyond just Twitter being annoying for humans to use. The fact is, advertisers pay a premium to advertise on Twitter because of Twitter’s perceived value. For advertisers, to be seen by more human eyes means more value. However, if a huge chunk of Twitter’s value is actually bots, then that’s a huge chunk of Twitter that advertisers would consider absolutely worthless.

When you know this, you see a greater problem. If Twitter is only putting forward a pathetic, statistically insignificant attempt to poll for bots, Twitter may be greatly overstating its own value to advertisers.

It might not be overselling it to say that Elon Musk may have just uncovered the greatest fraud the tech world has ever seen.

In any case, I think we can agree that when a platform’s daily active user count is in the hundreds of millions, a sample size of only 100 is pretty pathetic.

There are a lot of advertisers and investors who are going to be pissed.

Ultra MAGA Sounds Ultra Awesome.

If you were to hear the phrase “Ultra MAGA” being thrown around, you’d probably think that it’s something a Trump supporter would have invented to talk themselves up. And as they did, they’d probably sound something like this:

“I’m not just MAGA, I’m Ultra MAGA!”

So, you’d probably be shocked to hear that the term was intended as an epithet designed to bring down Trump supporters. And that the term was concocted by the Biden Team. And it took them six months to think it up.

It’s extreme failure meets an abject lack of creativity. And it’s just the kind of thing that you’d expect from the Biden administration, considering that nearly everything that they touch turns to plop.

Normally, you wouldn’t want to surrender naming rights to one who is antagonistic, considering that if what they were to come up with were to stick, it would just make you look bad. One example I can think of off the top of my head are Japan’s “Herbivore Men”, a group of men who made the deliberate decision to forgo relationships with women. The term “Herbivore Men” is derisive, and intended to imply underdeveloped, effeminate men who decide against expected, natural male behavior. It’s because of this that it can be quite amusing to hear MGTOW tout the Herbivore Men.

If you think that Ultra MAGA sounds so awesome that you want it on a T-shirt, someone already thought of that:

There is a notion that comes up when bringing up the Biden Team’s latest failure (which happens so often that the dubious honor might actually go to a newer failure by the time this article is posted). This is that the left can’t meme.

They can try, but the left has a hard time memeing. They’re bad at it. The reason why they’re bad at memes is for the same reason they think that “Ultra MAGA” would be an effective insult. And that reason is simple: The left lives in a carefully-insulated, hermetically-sealed echo chamber.

The left has spent so long hating people who are pro-MAGA, that they view MAGA as an insult. In the minds of leftists, it’s such a charged term that it’s not something that they’d call a friend or family member. And considering that the left refuses to so much as hear what someone on the right has to say, the implication when they use the term MAGA is that they’re shutting someone out of their lives.

When you understand the insular tendencies of leftism, it makes intuitive sense that they can’t meme. To meme is to use a humor device that is a variation of another humor device. But to succeed in such an endeavor, a person needs access to source material. A person who is closed-minded is less likely to seek out ideas, and therefore tends to have a diminished pool of source material from which they may develop memes.

What’s more, the left’s stronger tendency towards “cancellation” of those who run afoul of their ideology raises the stakes for any leftist who might attempt to meme. Leftists are constantly on the prowl for anyone who would say anything that might offend them, and for any opportunity to dogpile the offender, even if the offender is a fellow leftist whose devotion wavers slightly. It’s because of this that when a leftist memes, they must constantly look over their shoulders to make sure that they’re not letting anything slip that has any potential of being misinterpreted. If they were to slip up, even slightly, their digital reputation would be completely destroyed in the time it takes for them to put their device on the charger for the night.

Those on the right are generally more open to the fact that there are people out there who will have ideas that aren’t their own. It’s because of this that they can see a meme that they find personally upsetting, and are less likely to respond to it or call it out, unless it’s a tremendously bad take which sufficiently baits them into responding. Who’s immune to being trolled, after all?

Care to guess whether the MAGA crowd is upset that they’re being called “Ultra MAGA”? Of course they’re not, they view it as a compliment! This stands to reason, considering that it was the MAGA crowd that uses the term “MAGA” to describe themselves. In fact, the MAGA crowd considers it a huge victory that the best that the Biden Team can come up with, after six months of careful plotting, mustache twirling, and hand wringing was for the Biden Team to call their own opponents by their own name.

This is about as stupid as it would be if the most racist president in American history, the Democrat Andrew Johnson, decided to refer to Republicans as “Super Abolitionists”!

After six months of thinking about it!

Win: Netflix Adopting Anti-Censorship Policy, Encourages Woke Employees To Take a Hike

In a major culture war victory, Netflix is updating its “culture memo”. In addition to updating the title to “Netflix Culture: Seeking Excellence”, the company has announced a stronger freedom of expression stance, as noted in the document’s Artistic Expression section:

“Not everyone will like — or agree with — everything on our service,”

This nicely sets the tone for what’s to come. Free expression means there’s going to be a wide assortment of entertainment options on the table.

“While every title is different, we approach them based on the same set of principles: we support the artistic expression of the creators we choose to work with; we program for a diversity of audiences and tastes; and we let viewers decide what’s appropriate for them, versus having Netflix censor specific artists or voices.”

As I pointed out before, if there’s a work of artistic expression that’s not for you, you don’t have to consume it. You curate your own entertainment choices. Notice how Netflix stated their support of artistic expression, and are now allowing consumers to tailor their Netflix experience according to their own preferences? That’s in stark contrast to the woke position, which involves curating everyone’s experience for them according to the mentality of the vocal few.

While that already says plenty, the concluding paragraph of the section drives the point home:

“As employees we support the principle that Netflix offers a diversity of stories, even if we find some titles counter to our own personal values. Depending on your role, you may need to work on titles you perceive to be harmful. If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you.”

While this is progress by reason of the fact that Netflix is now adopting a baseline free expression policy, this becomes a huge game-changer with that closing sentence:

“If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you.”

Netflix is now telling its staff that if any of them have the woke mind-virus, and it could interfere with their ability to do their job according to their updated principles of artistic expression, then those employees can take a hike.

Obviously, Netflix is making this move because they’re recognizing that siding with the woke is a bad idea. For one thing, Disney went woke to the point of becoming politically involved, and as a result, they ended up losing Reedy Creek. That was an important turning point, as companies looked on and saw that taking certain positions could result in consequences that might hurt their bottom line.

In fact, it was just days ago that PR firm Zeno advised clients, including Coca-Cola, Hershey, Starbucks, Salesforce, and Netflix themselves that it would be a better idea not to make a public statement on controversial topics, and to avoid discussing such sensitive topics with the press, if they were to seek comment.

This development also comes in light of Elon Musk’s planned purchase of Twitter, with Musk planning on restoring the platform to free speech principles, and restoring the accounts of political figures who were unfairly banned, such as Donald Trump.

Of course, the change is likely financially motivated, as in Q1, Netflix saw it’s first decline in subscribers in over a decade. Obviously, siding with the woke hasn’t been helping them, but neither is the fact that alternatives like Daily Wire have sprung up, determined to compete with the likes of Disney, considering that Disney is determined to present dubious sexual content directly to minors.

It was a few months back that I anticipated that institutions would turn against the woke, realizing that the woke ideology isn’t benefitting them. What I didn’t anticipate is that the change would begin to come about so soon!

Review: Z.H.P.: Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman

Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Genre: SRPG, Dungeon Crawler
Rating: Teen
Platforms:
PlayStation Portable, Nintendo Switch (bundle), Steam

(Spoiler-free review)

Nippon Ichi Software (NIS) has just dropped another one of their classics, this time a dungeon-crawler that made its debut on PSP: Z.H.P.: Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman (ZHP).

The original release on PSP didn’t get the attention that it deserved, which had to do with the fact that it didn’t get a lot of marketing behind it. That and that NIS was still a relatively-obscure game company. There’s also that SRPGs aren’t very popular outside of Japan. Also, it was originally released within days of a major sports game. And there’s the fact that the American localizer, NISA, only shipped one copy to each retailer.

The original release had a lot to go up against. However, the game itself has a lot of heart, and it’s now available on multiple platforms. By the looks of it, what NIS was thinking for this game was “straight port”. Which is fine, as the original game holds up well since its original release. But those who prefer crisp graphics in their anime-style games might by taken out of the action by the aliasing.

ZHP begins with a hero, the Absolute Victory Unlosing Ranger, on the way to save the Super Baby from Darkdeath Evilman, to save the world in so doing.

Except, the Unlosing Ranger gets struck by a car on the way to the final battle, and dies. But in his final act, he hands his morphing belt to a random passerby, passing on the torch of the Unlosing Ranger to someone who will fight on his behalf!

But to the shock and dismay of the onlooking world, the new Unlosing Ranger loses the battle, and is ejected far away! When he comes to, he finds himself in a strange world, where a girl begins coaching him for a rematch!

Over the course of the game, the main character (whom you can name) makes repeated attempts at the final boss, but as he repeatedly fails, he takes on progressively more difficult dungeons to train. As he does so, he ends up solving problems for people on earth, as the bizarro earth that he finds himself on is connected to his own earth.

Many of the game’s so-called “final battles” are actually mostly scripted. The main action in ZHP takes place in the stages, which function as dungeons would in classic dungeon crawler RPGs, with each dungeon having their own bosses.

When the main character leaves a dungeon for any reason (win or lose), he reverts back to level one. Which may seem like lost progress, but as this occurs, he gains stored levels, which increases his stats when he’s at level one. As he levels up in dungeons, his stat increases are based on his level one stats, so the game encourages the player to become “king of level one”. For this and other reasons, a failed dungeon run isn’t always a total loss, and the game encourages stuck players to keep trying, even if things don’t seem so well for the poor main character.

Be warned, as this is one of those dungeon crawlers that features the concept of “perma-death”, where your game saves as you enter dungeons, so if you turn the game off because your current run isn’t going well, you lose equipment that you brought with you! What’s more, if a dungeon run ends in failure, you lose what you find! There’s a facility that can be obtained and upgraded that can reduce the penalties, however.

It’s because of this that I find it hard to recommend the PSP version. At one point, I got discouraged from continuing when the battery cut out for a brief instant, which was enough to cost me some powerful equipment. Now that this game is available on some more dependable hardware, I think it may be worth giving another shot!

Speaking of, the Steam version might be the better of the versions available, by reason of the fact that you can buy it as a standalone game. The Switch version is available as part of a pricey bundle. It’s a sweet deal if you’re interested in the classic RPG Makai Kingdom. But if you’re not, then you’re probably better off going with the Steam version.

Like many other NIS games, you’re capable of getting your character to level 9999, with stats in the millions! But because the boost lasts until you clear a dungeon, you’d mainly want to go for it if the dungeon would otherwise give you trouble.

While there is only one playable character, there are many, many customization options that make that one character seem like plenty. For one thing, there are numerous equips that change the hero’s appearance and grant him new abilities. There are also unlockable costumes which can effect his resistances. There’s even a body modification facility, which plays a huge role in stat optimization.

In dungeons, you progress floor-by-floor by finding the stairs on each floor, which leads to the next floor. You’ll find pick-ups about, but there are also enemies to watch out for. Shocker, right? When you engage them, you can go blow-for-blow against them, or use special attacks.

This sounds like simple fare, but there are things to watch out for. For one thing, the main character steadily expends energy, which occurs at an increased rate depending on his actions. Items can replenish this energy, and it’s not a bad idea to take such items with you into dungeons, because you cannot count on reliably finding more, due to how the dungeon floors are randomized. Also, equipped items can wear out with use, with wear represented as a percentage on the HUD. Their effectiveness can decline as they wear down, but there is a facility that can repair them. One valuable item is headwear that passively conserves energy.

At this point, you probably got the idea that this game is for the nerds. That sounds about right.

Another of the game’s highlights is the story, which is packed with humor. It can also get a bit preachy at times, in a way that it “hits different”, and may even hit a bit close to home for some players. I could say more about it, but spoilers. I’ll point out that much of the humor and dramatic elements are at the main character’s expense. The guy fights an uphill battle to get some respect.

For the NIS fans out there, yes, Asagi Asagiri is in this game. But that’s not much of a surprise, now is it? If you get the Switch bundle, you can also see Asagi’s NIS debut in Makai Kingdom, so you can see just how hard the poor girl fell from her starting point. By the point ZHP was originally released, she wasn’t taking things very well.

My opinion is that if you’re into JRPGs, SRPGs, or are just into Disgaea, ZHP is worth giving a chance. It’s definitely one of the finer RPGs from NIS’s catalog of classics.

For those who like skipping ahead to the score, here you go: Z.H.P.: Unlosing Ranger Vs. Darkdeath Evilman gets a score of 8 out of 10.

There are multiple endings that can be accessed by playing through the game at least once. Replaying through story stages many times doesn’t appeal to me, so I didn’t much bother with that. However, there is a lot of content outside the main story, and there are extra dungeons for players who might appreciate a challenge. This adds replay value to this game, and does a lot to make it worth the price of admission.

That’s the great thing about this style of game for those who would find it interesting: they’re usually packed with value. And ZHP certainly is.