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Asia

Are Japan and Korea really colonies/puppet-states of the USA like so many Chinese users say?

No, Chinese netizens just have an unfortunate inferiority complex so they feel the need to put down other countries to make themselves feel better about their country. What does US Puppet state even mean anyways?

Usually when Chinese netizens say this, it means that the US military has some control over that country therefore it’s a ‘puppet’ state. Well how many countries does the US military have a presence in?

Where in the World Is the U.S. Military?

Over 70+ countries. So I guess that’s a lot of US ‘puppet’ states eh?

In day to day life, this doesn’t really matter or have an effect on the lives of normal people. Yes, Korea shares joint command of their military with the USA and Japan’s constitution was written by the USA, but that doesn’t mean either country just bows down (as Chinese people like to say ‘like a dog’) to the US’s demands.

In fact, Korea can and has turned down demands from the US before: South Korea refuses to pay US$5 billion to cover cost of US troops

In every other way, Korea/Japan elects their own president, runs their own politics, and the USA has no influence in that.

I think China often uses this putdown to Korea/Japan because they are jealous that Korea/Japan developed much earlier than they did and still have higher GDP/capita so per person, Koreans/Japanese are still generally more well off than Chinese are. Plus, their soft power is far more recognized globally than Chinese soft power (Chinese wuxi isn’t exactly in high demand like kpop concerts or Japanese anime are).

So what can a Chinese do to make themselves feel better? Well, accuse those countries of not being independent, that’s what. And especially since USA is China’s enemy right?

Well, actually USA is China’s biggest trading partner – so much for being independent from the USA. It’s kind of a moot point to accuse other countries of being too dependent on America when your own country imports $150B worth of goods from America every year.

 

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General

Yu-No – a girl who chants love at the bound of this world Review (for Nintendo Switch)

Image result for yuno a girl who chants love

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: ELF Corporation (original) / 5pb (remake)
Release: Dec 26, 1996 (original) / Oct 1, 2019 (remake)
Price: $60 USD

So I guess I’m now a regular reviewer of visual novels. Heh, well I just got another good one to add to my review collection. 

Yu-No: A girl who chants love at the bound of this world (unwieldy title, I know) is a classic game that originally came out for the beloved NEC PC-98 in Japan back in the mid 90s. It was originally an Eroge game that got the sex scenes removed and re-released as a just a regular visual novel with a lot of perverted dialogue and scenes still intact. Yeah, similar to how Muv-Luv also turned from an Eroge into a beloved visual novel series I guess. This game has now been remade and released in Japan in 2015 and now released here in the West this year 2019.

But man, there are still alot of perverted scenes left in. I don’t mind it too much – but some people might take offense to it. It’s literally just the sex scenes removed and the rest of the Eroge dialogue remains intact – and yes the boobs/skirt/legs are almost always clickable on a woman.

One such perverted scene still in the game
One such perverted scene still in the game

But other than that, it’s a great game. A pioneering time travel / sci-fi visual novel that must have been the inspiration for Steins;Gate and so many others. 

Plot: So the plot is that your father Koudai Arima is reported dead – but you, Takuya Arima ‘the walking libido’, soon receive a package containing a time travel device called the Reflector. You suspect that your father is not really dead at all and he’s somewhere – but you must find him. 

The main goal of the game is to collect 6 different jewels in different timelines – you already start out with 4 jewels in the device – making 10 total. Each jewel can be used at any point to essentially ‘save’ the game so that you can come back to it later. But you have to make sure you don’t use up all the jewels – if all jewels are used then you are stuck and you can’t power the Reflector device anymore. Loading up a jewel frees up that jewel so that you can use it again. So there’s essentially a limited number of save slots and you have to be careful with where you save. Using the Reflector device was a little confusing at first but then I figured out how to use it and man it must have been pretty revolutionary at the time for visual novels to have such a feature. 

Similar to Steins;Gate you can essentially time travel between different parallel worlds – there’s a certain time limit that you have before you get ‘chaos corrected’ back to the beginning of the game – but you retain your items from each timeline – this is essential because there are parts in one timeline that might require items from another timeline. There are multiple endings within each route. You need to go through all the endings in order to get all the items you need to get all the jewels which are hidden within each route. Once you get all 10 jewels – you are transported to the Epilogue – which is another lengthy playthrough in itself but its quite a different experience from the main game – so this game definitely has a lot of replay value to it.

Gameplay: It’s a point and click adventure style game, similar to Root Letter and other mystery / investigation type games, so its more interactive than the typical visual novel.

One such interactive scene
One such interactive scene

Characters: Well, similar to Muv-Luv this was originally an Eroge – so obviously its full of women wearing short skirts and school uniforms. But you knew that right? There’s also your obligatory annoying ‘best friend’ guy character that’s there as well. The girls are your typical tropes: a tsundere, a ‘mysterious’ girl, a ‘hot’ teacher, a ‘hot’ stepmom, etc but that’s expected given this genre. 

A nice candid moment
A nice candid moment

Graphics: I’m torn. The original graphics from 1996 just scream 80s/90s Japan. the NEC PC-98 is famous for these kinds of graphics. I am a 90s anime lover so naturally I prefer the old look better. It has such a nostalgic charm to it. But the remake isn’t bad either – it’s done in a more modern style and you can take a look side by side to see which you prefer. I wish there was an option to use the old graphics though.

the original PC98 graphics compared to the remake
the original PC98 graphics compared to the remake

Music: Amazing. You can choose between the remade soundtrack and the original soundtrack from 1996. I prefer the original – but the remake is done pretty well. It perfectly fits with the mystery / sci-fi style of the game. 

Conclusion: This game is a 10/10 from me. I literally could not put it down since I started it. I am a sci-fi visual novel lover and a big fan of Steins;Gate so its obvious that this game would peak my interest as well. This was the original sci-fi visual novel that was very influential on subsequent visual novels. I wish there was an option to use the original graphics but the remake does pretty well recreating all the characters and scenes, the music is awesome, the gameplay has a lot of replay value and the characters – while not super original – you have to remember it was originally an eroge title – are ok for what they are which is bringing the story together. There’s a lot of perverted dialogue and scenes – but if you are comfortable with that, it’s not that bad. A solid game that will take you a while to reach 100% completion (and a bonus if you do!).

 

 

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Asia

Why is KakaoTalk more popular in Korea than in Japan?

You’ll notice the messenger apps used around the world have a rather nationalistic slant to it. China uses WeChat (and blocks Kakao and LINE) because WeChat is developed by a Chinese company, Tencent, and the Chinese government wants to monitor all the messages on its platforms – WeChat complied hence it has a strong national interest to keep WeChat in use by mainland Chinese people.

Taiwanese and Japanese people use LINE – which is by Naver (actually a korean company who expanded to Japan) – LINE is dominant in Japan as it is made by Naver Japan and has a strong presence in Japan. Taiwanese has a strong historical connection to Japan and naturally they use the same chat software.

KakaoTalk is by Kakao Corp a Korean company and because of its domestic heritage is heavily advertised and very popular in Korea. Koreans do not use WeChat or LINE because among other reasons, national security (Chinese government spy on WeChat, Japanese government spy on LINE) and nationalistic reasons (Korean government spy on Kakao so it has national interests to push it to Koreans).

KakaoTalk is not as well known outside of Korea as WeChat and LINE and the reason for this is simply because WeChat has a lot more users (way more Chinese people) and LINE being from a bigger company has more resources to expand abroad. KakaoTalk has to compete with not only WeChat and LINE but also Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Viber abroad, and it just doesn’t have the resources to beat those companies.

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