At First Glance – Sword Art Online

Note: There are spoilers for the first episode of the anime in question in this article.
You have been warned.

Welcome back folks. It’s been a long time coming, but I’m back to doing these again. To keep it brief my attention was diverted elsewhere, and now it isn’t. Sorry for anyone who actually reads these things that my hiatus was longer than intended. As a quick reminder for those who are new or have forgotten, the idea of these “At First Glance” articles is that I watch the first episode of an anime I’ve never seen and give my thoughts on it.
Simple, right? With that out of the way, let’s get down to business.

Sword Art Online

Ah yes, familiar territory. Well. In that this is one of those anime I’ve heard of, but honestly had no idea what it was about prior to watching it. Basic premise is that the hot new Virtual Reality MMORPG in town, the titular Sword Art Online, has finally been released, and players are eager to jump on and play. However, it turns out the log out feature isn’t present.

At first it’s assumed this is just a glitch or a bug. However, an avatar of the game’s creator informs the players that this was, in fact, always intended to be an aspect of the game. Basically, the game dev is insane and wanted to be a god over this world.

Not only is the creator of the game, Akihiko Kayaba, totally insane and wants to be a god of a virtual world, he also made it that if anyone’s virtual headsets are forcibly removed, or the people playing the game have their life bars drop to zero, they die in real-life. Their only method of escape being to finish the game.


Oh, as an added twist, player avatars are erased through some random mirror item he gives them all, and everyone suddenly looks like they do in real life instead. The result of which is a joke that I honestly got a laugh out of, despite the fact I know it would’ve made others groan.

“Son of a-you’re a guy?!”

“You’re not seventeen!”

Trust me when I tell you that could’ve been handled a lot worse. Hell, there’s a few movies that are evidence of that. Anyway, with this revelation our hero, Kirito, goes out of his way to charge on ahead to level up as quickly as he can so he can get out of the game. And that’s about all it gives us really, as far as plot goes. The only other character we get a chance to see properly for now is Klein. With the bulk of the episode before the big revelation being Kirito teaching Klein the ropes of the game.

It’s honestly a nice way to let us get to know a bit about both characters’ personalities. It honestly got the point that when Kirito goes off on his own, I was actually disappointed that Klein didn’t go with him. Though I like fact they do part on friendly terms. Hell, Kirito even seems a little down that Klein has friends to worry about and isn’t going with him. Hopefully that gets touched on in later episodes. I mean, they weren’t exactly subtle about it, so if it gets ignored I’ll be disappointed.

Oh. Also. The anime doesn’t have an opening. No joke. I thought there was just a cold opening before an intro, but it never happened. In fact, I’m fairly sure what ended up being the outro may even be the intro for the following episodes.

So, did I enjoy SAO’s first episode enough to keep watching? Thankfully yes. The premise definitely has me hooked enough to keep watching. Though one thing I do recall hearing about SAO is that the first season is good, but the second is iffy. Whether I’ll agree with that is beyond me at this point, but who knows.

For those who care, Sword Art Online consists of 49 episodes over two seasons (25 in season one and 24 in season two) and is available in both subbed and dubbed formats. There’s also a TV movie, “Sword Art Online: Extra Edition”, and a film, “Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale”. Aside from that there are also five video games based on the franchise. Normally I wouldn’t bother to mention that, but the meta nature of video games based on a property that revolves around the characters being in a video game world is hilarious to me.

Well, that about covers it. If anyone has any suggestions for anime I should watch for this in the future, give me a shout and I’ll put it on my list. If it’s already on my list, I’ll bump it up in priority. However, if I’ve already watched it then I’m obviously going to have to decline.
I’ll see you next time folks.

Skeletroy’s Rearranged Memories #2

Rearranged Memories – King Dedede’s theme, New Messiah

Hey everyone, Skeletroy here again to reflect on a couple songs I did a while ago, and any other random memories and thoughts that come with them.

     3. Kirby Super Star – King Dedede’s theme

Original release date: December 1, 2015

Okay, on to songs that still hold up. Again, it’s not that the first two songs were bad, just not quite realized. But this one…this is one of my all-time favorite songs, from the first time I heard it at age 10 in Kirby’s Dream Land. The entire KDL soundtrack is fantastic, and really helped to showcase the Game Boy’s strengths when it comes to music. While the Game Boy has one less sound channel than the NES did, it was the PCM channel that was missing. I don’t think having the ability to play low-quality voice samples would have improved the Game Boy very much.  

The Super Star version of King Dedede’s theme added the final section to the song, which is why I credit it in the title. This was another attempt at a different musical direction, but wasn’t as much about trying to make it different as it was an attempt to match the musical style with the subject matter of the game, which is one of the overarching points to the SNES thrash project. Kirby games are cute, so I wanted to make “cute metal”, now given the moniker of “dreamland thrash”. It was a pretty fun experiment, meshing vibraphone, piccolo, and strings in with (simulated) heavy guitars and drums. There’s actually another version of this song locked away in the vaults. I wasn’t sure whether to go with the piccolo, or if I should use a trumpet instead. Considering how much I use the trumpet in other genres, I’m pretty happy with the choice I made here.


  1. Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge – New Messiah

Original release date: December 24, 2015

Another Castlevania song already? Yeah, I thought it’d be funny. Hopefully some of you thought so too, as I’ll be repeating the joke at least twice more. On a more serious note, this is where I began to turn the corner to really thinking about making these songs as intense as possible, and I have JimmyTR to thank for it. I was working on a song for his character for Adver-tainment (the TR crew were all going to be main characters in the second season), and Jimmy wanted it to sound as death metal as possible. Since the plans for the show were shelved, the song in question is currently unreleased *cough*August 2017*cough*.

This was very much an eye-opening moment, and led me to looking at each of my songs that were in progress to see if I had either the available space (120 measures maximum) or if it was enough under the maximum tempo (up to 300 bpm) to be able to double the tempos. This is why it’s handy to be working on a hundred songs at a time – after I double the tempo, I have to manually move every single note on every single track (of which there are thankfully only eight), and double the length of each of them to fit the new tempo…as you can guess, that takes quite a while. But then the fun really begins, as I see all the spaces in between the drum parts that weren’t there with the original slower tempo, and I start playing around to see what I can do. I love how this song turned out, but at the same time I kind of feel like I overdid the drums just a bit.

That’s going to wrap things up until next time. Coincidentally, I released another Kirby song today, you can listen to it here! Thanks for reading and listening!

Skeletroy’s Rearranged Memories #1

Hey everyone, I’ve been off doing my own thing for a while and haven’t posted much to the site in a while. I started a project called SNES Thrash Remixes which was an offshoot of Adver-tainment, which may or may not see the light of day as season 2 is just too much work. Anyway, I wanted to start posting the songs I’ve done to the site, and so to catch up I’ll be doing two old songs per post, along with two paragraphs for each, reflecting my past memories and more recent thoughts. These aren’t set in stone though, I’m just going to write about whatever comes to mind and hope for the best.

  1. Castlevania – Wicked Child

Original release date: October 1, 2015

Oh, the difference a day makes…or in this case, a year. I was working on a lot of video game cover songs to use as background music in another project, and wanted to start releasing some of them. SNES thrash remixes was conceived as Song of the Month, as I didn’t want to overwhelm myself with working on a huge project. It wasn’t long, however, before I found that doing all the music itself was another huge project inside of the first one. I remember thinking “I sure hope I can keep this pace up”, which seems laughable now. Simple math shows that it would have resulted in a twelve song album each year, and that seemed like a pretty good result to me. That also seems laughable now, as more simple math showed me that I’d probably be at it for the next 30 years if I only released 12 songs a year.

At the time of its release, Wicked Child was the best song that I had put together. At the time of this writing, it’s the only song to have a second version released. I wouldn’t say it’s because this version is bad, it’s more of a case where I hadn’t given it enough time but didn’t have enough experience to realize it. A good song is like a good hot meal, sometimes they need a bit of simmering time at the end to really bring all the flavor out. I hadn’t fully realized the “Castlevania sound” I wanted until a year later, when I did the entire soundtrack to the first game. So basically I redid this one so it wouldn’t stick out compared to the rest of the soundtrack.

  1. Metal Gear Solid 2 theme

Original release date: November 1, 2015

When I was younger and had dreams of being a world famous rock star, I had a binder of notes for ideas about releasing albums. I’ll most likely be revealing the details of a lot of these ideas, as it’s been almost 20 years since I’ve written them. One of those ideas was to first release a fairly standard album that kind of tiptoed around the different sounds that would be attempted later, then to go all out with those later albums. The second would be more of an acoustic style album, the third would be more metal, etc. Granted, it’s not the most marketable strategy when you consider how people as a whole fear change, but I never wanted to be pigeon-holed into repeating the same thing simply because it’s what people want.

This was the mindset I revisited with Song of the Month, albeit on a much smaller scale with the concept applied to individual songs instead of full albums. I went with MGS2 because it was about as different from Wicked Child as I could do at the time. Due to it being so different though, it was quite a challenge to get the final mix just right. This was a real challenge, learning how different sound levels needed to be to sound right as an mp3 compared to it pretty well always sounding right through DS speakers. It took something like 40 tries to get the final mix from my DS to the computer. Unfortunately, this song also suffers from “didn’t find my voice yet” syndrome, and will see an eventual re-release when I do a proper “military metal” album.     


Thanks for reading and listening! I released a new song today, and although it’s going to be a while before I get to it in this series, you can check it out here:

At First Glance – Danganronpa The Animation

Note: There are spoilers for the first episode of the anime in question in this article.
You have been warned.

Welcome back folks. As a quick reminder for those who are new or have forgotten, the idea of these “At First Glance” things is that I watch the first episode of an anime I’ve never seen and give my thoughts on it. Simple, right?
With that out of the way, let’s get down to business.

Danganronpa: The Animation

Yet another that wasn’t on my list, but one I’d been vaguely curious about for a while. And hell. Halloween is pretty close. As good an excuse as any to talk about this anime, right? Right. That said to be honest I knew nothing about this anime going in. Hell I was completely unaware that this anime is based on a video game series. I really had no idea what I was in for.

The plot of the show is basically that 15 high school students find themselves being accepted to Hope’s Peak Academy, only for it to turn out they’ve basically been abducted. The show primarily follows Makoto Naegi, a fairly average guy compared to the collection of characters surrounding him. Ultimately the teens are told that they’re at the school to stay, for life. And the only way they’ll ever get out is by killing another student. Thus the anime follows their quest to find a way out before they end up being driven to kill each other.

Also, the “principal of the school”/main antagonist is a little….demon…teddy bear….thing, called Monokuma. And really, aside from Monokuma’s supernatural nature, this whole thing seems very Battle Royale inspired to me. Obviously not just straight up “ripping it off” or anything, but you know. Teens in a situation where they have to kill each other. Hell they even have a thing come up at one point that reminds us no one has died yet.

As far as most of the cast go, most are fairly standard fair for this sort of thing. The two stand out exceptions are as follows. Hifumi Yamada, a quite portly manga artist who seems like he almost has a bit of a cat face (by anime standards anyway). And Sakura Oogami. A buff as hell, very masculine-looking woman who I myself even mistook for a man in drag until she first spoke. Can you really blame me though?

I mean…..come on.
You can forgive me for assuming she was just a buff cross-dresser at first, right?

I’d argue both characters’ designs are the most interesting purely because of how different they are to literally everyone else. Say what you want, and I’m not really saying I don’t like anyone else’s designs, but everyone else does fall into fairly standard design territory for something like this. I could probably keep going on that but I think I’ll stop before I start to ramble.

Monokuma himself is interesting and seems like a character I’ll love to hate. I hope we learn more about him later on, but if not that’s fine too. I can’t say too much for the other characters so far, but there are some I feel might grade on me, and others that I’ll grow to like. The main character, Motoko, honestly seems like the least interesting character at first glance. Not bad per se, just not as interesting. That said I’m assuming he’ll get more interesting as the show progresses.

I don’t really want to make predictions about where I think the show will go and who will die, though I’m assuming pretty much everyone will somehow. However, I would like to make one assumption. After seeing them interact so much, it occurred to me that this show probably has a moment where Sayaka Maizono, a school idol star, will try to kill Motoko because she can’t take it anymore. Not going to assume whether I’m right or wrong, but it seems reasonable.

That’s about all I can think of for now. So, will I keep watching this anime? Yes. The first episode definitely did its job of hooking me in. Even just out of morbid curiosity I can’t help but want to watch the whole thing now. For those wondering, Donganronpa: The Animation consists of 13 episodes. A follow up anime called “Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope’s Peak High School” also exists, which consists of 24 episodes. Both anime are available in dubbed and subbed formats.

Well, that about covers it. If anyone has any suggestions for anime I should watch for this in the future, give me a shout and I’ll put it on my list. If it’s already on my list, I’ll bump it up in priority. However if I’ve already watched it then I’m obviously going to have to decline.
I’ll see you next time folks.

At First Glance – K-On!

Note: There are spoilers for the first episode of the anime in question in this article. You have been warned.

Welcome back folks. As a quick reminder for those who are new or have forgotten, the idea of these “At First Glance” things is that I watch the first episode of an anime I’ve never seen and give my thoughts on it. Simple, right? With that out of the way, let’s get down to business.

K-On! poster

Yep, another music-centric anime. Almost feel like I should’ve covered this after Love Live! School Idol Project instead of after Gurren Lagann, for the sake of a running theme if nothing else. Ah well.

Plot wise, K-On appears to be a slice-of-life high school anime centering around the members of the Light Music Club at the fictional Sakuragaoka High School; showing how they develop musically as a band. Unlike Love Live where a club is formed to try and gain interest in the school, K-On’s “Light Music Club” is simply an existing club that the main cast actually save from being cut by joining, as there were no members left after the previous members all graduated. The first episode itself basically details the events that lead to the formation of the band.

The group itself, at least in episode one, comprises of four members. Ritsu Tainaka on drums (self-proclaimed leader of the club/band), Mio Akiyama on bass guitar, Tsumugi Kotobuki on keyboard, and Yui Hirasawa on lead guitar. However, in this first episode, Yui admits to not knowing how to play guitar. In their desperation the others simply reassure her that they’ll teach her how to play so she’ll join.

I must admit I really do like this whole set up. The idea of only two people in the group (at least to start with) previously knowing each other, and the other two being essentially random people works really well, as it will allow us to see their friendships develop over the course of the show. I also like how they tease some sort of meaningful reasoning for Ritsu and Mio to want to join the club, only for it to turn out to be something Ritsu dragged Mio into instead.

Whilst the more “we made a promise” reasoning would’ve been fine, it was hilarious to find out that the flashback was either Ritsu remembering it wrong, or just putting on an act in front of Tsumugi to tempt her to join the band. Which is actually another thing that’s interesting to mention. Despite not being the main focus, Ritsu is primarily the driving force behind anyone else joining the band in this episode. For one thing she roped Mio into joining (even ripping up an application she’d filled out for the Literature Club), and falls short of begging Tsumugi to join, when it turns out Tsumugi was actually looking for the Choir Club.

It’s the combined efforts of the three that convinces Yui to join though. The funny thing being, they do a little performance for her (instrumental only) as a way to bait her into joining, and it really doesn’t sound all that bad. But instead of being nice, Yui is brutally honest and admits she thinks they didn’t sound all that great, despite this being what actually wins her over. I honestly laughed really hard at that moment, it was really well done.

As far as the actual characters themselves go, something tells me people probably get annoyed with Yui quite a lot. With her whole clutzy/meek personality it seems like she could easily be a divisive character, but I like her. That said all of the characters so far generally seem very likeable to me; but that could always change as the series goes on. I do generally like slice-of-life anime though so I’m fairly optimistic about the rest of the show based on this first episode alone.

If I’m honest I can’t really think of much else to say about the anime based on the first episode. So on a final note, I must admit K-On! is an anime series I’d always been fairly indifferent on when it came to giving it a try, but I can safely say I am glad I decided to give it a try when I started doing these “At First Glance” things. I enjoyed the first episode and I do plan on watching more of the series.

I would also definitely recommend people check this show out if it sounds like something you’d be interested in; though slice-of-life anime aren’t for everyone. The anime itself is available in both dubbed and subbed formats, and contains 36 episodes in total across two seasons (13 in season one, 26 in season two, which is referred to as “K-On!!”). If you’re interested there is also an OVA made after the first season, and a tie-in movie was also made that takes place during the events of the second season.

Well, that about covers it. If anyone has any suggestions for anime I should watch for this in the future, give me a shout and I’ll put it on my list. If it’s already on my list, I’ll bump it up in priority. However if I’ve already watched it then I’m obviously going to have to decline. See you next time folks.

At First Glance – Gurren Lagann

Note: There are spoilers for the first episode of the anime in question in this article. You have been warned.

Welcome back folks. As a quick reminder for those who are new or have forgotten, the idea of these “At First Glance” things is that I watch the first episode of an anime I’ve never seen and give my thoughts on it. Simple, right? With that out of the way, let’s get down to business.

Gurren Lagann

Gurren Lagann

Ah yes, another anime that I’ve heard of quite a lot but just never gotten around to watching until now. Fun fact, I actually flat out considered buying this anime on a whim a while ago. I didn’t, but I considered it.

As I don’t really want to know where the show is going from here (and I mean that in a good way), the briefest summary I can give is that Gurren Lagann follows the adventures of Simon (pronounced “see-mon”) Kamina and Yoko on their adventures on the surface world of their home planet…and possibly beyond for all I know. The first episode specifically introduces us to the three, and details the events that lead to Simon & Kamina reaching the surface; having lived their lives entirely (or almost entirely in Kamina’s case) underground in Giha village, their hometown.

Considering that this anime was made by the same team (albeit not the same actual studio) that made Kill La Kill, I must admit I was expecting something much more over-the-top than this ended up being. Don’t get me wrong, it is still  ridiculous and over-the-top, but in a much more subdued way than the in-your-face Kill La Kill is. I must admit I was actually kind of glad when I realised that was the case, rather than let down. I mean, it could always get crazier from here, and I wouldn’t doubt it, but this first episode was fairly subdued in it’s over-the-top aspects.

As far as the characters go, I feel like out the main three there isn’t a character I’ll
end up hating. At least it doesn’t feel that way going by this one episode. Simon is
the typical meek character that you know will have some kind of arc where he
gains some confidence. Kamina is the cocky, overconfident cheerleader who just
charges into everything blindly, and Yoko is the strong, badass young woman who probably doesn’t take shit from anyone. That and probably has the most actual combat experience of the three. Hell I assume she’s the only one with ANY combat experience. It’s a varied enough group to work and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what kind of adventures they have.

One thing I kind of like is that Simon just sort of gets dragged into all this mess. He seemed fairly content with his life, even if he clearly wishes for a better one. But even then he doesn’t really seem to yearn to leave his hometown or anything. Even when they finally do end up on the surface world at the end, it’s partially just a result of fighting with the creature that falls through the “ceiling” into their hometown rather than them actively trying to get there.

Another thing I like is that even though Kamina can be a bit of an arsehole, it’s at least the loveable kind of arsehole right now, so his antics come off more as being funny than wanting someone to strangle him. Even when he hits on Yoko, it’s clear if she wanted him to shut up she could do it fairly easily. Hell, Yoko is clearly not a submissive or passive woman at all. She doesn’t even mind when Simon ends up on top of her by accident due to their little mech crashing to the ground (possibly because he doesn’t try to grope her or she finds his embarrassment to be cute), and then buries his head in her chest when she realises there are giant monsters looming over them.

All-in-all I’m definitely looking forward to watching more of the show, and am also glad I finally gave this show a try, which means the streak remains unbroken for now. If you’re into mech-based anime or general action-adventure anime I’d say give this one a chance if you’re not already a fan. The series is 27 episodes long and it’s available in both subbed and dubbed formats for those who care. Hell, like some anime Gurren Lagann even has two movies that condense the events of the series down into movie form if you can’t get enough of it.

And that about covers it I think. f anyone has any suggestions for anime I should watch for this in the future, give me a shout and I’ll put it on my list. If it’s already on my list, I’ll bump it up in priority. However if I’ve already watched it then I’m obviously going to have to decline. I’ll see you guys next time with my thoughts on the first episode of the anime series “K-On!”.

The Two Pages Podcast – #5 – Two Pages of Leprechauns

Skeletroy, Tom, Maeve La Fey, and Grant have returned to read more funny stories! Also, Skeletroy is looking for some new writers for next month’s episode, “Two Pages of Fools”; please leave a comment if you’d like to be part of the show!

Grant’s story – 6:30
Maeve’s story – 14:55
Tom’s story – 29:50
Skeletroy’s story – 42:22

The Two Pages Podcast – #2 – Two Pages of Celebrations

Skeletroy and friends gather again to spread some holiday cheer and tell some more stories!

Tom’s story – 4:12
Grant’s story – 15:16
Debbie’s story – 29:49
Skeletroy’s story – 41:04

To read more of Debbie’s stories, click here!

The Two Pages Podcast – #1 – Two Pages of Halloween

It’s Skeletroy’s newest podcast! For this debut episode, he recruited ThatRuled regulars: NNTV’s Chris, Graham, Thomas Fyrehart, and Grant Beard talk about Halloween a bit, and share some original two-page short stories.

Chris’ story starts at 10:21.
Graham’s story starts at 18:18.
Thomas’ story starts at 26:58.
Skeletroy’s story starts at 39:09.

Inked Editorial: Is The Punisher Ballsier Than Batman?

Ink gives you his perspective of Batman’s “No Killing” rule.

Editor’s Note: I apologize for the poor Green Screen Quality.  There were technical difficulties involved and the current state is better than it would have been, had I uploaded the original render of this video.
This video does not count as the return from hiatus.  Editorials are not canon.

Adver-tainment! Episode 2

Skeletroy looks at some cereal ads.