Other Media Suggestions – Farla


If you’d like to suggest non-book media you want reviewed, here’s the place.

If you’re not interested in those at all, then glare angrily at the people making suggestions and go vote against it in the poll again.

Current List:
Sailor Moon
Yume Nikki
The Witch’s House
Mad Father
The Crooked Man
The Mirror Lied
Mermaid Swamp
Fresh Pretty Cure
Mirai Nikki
All the ways the zombie genre has failed me
Legend of the Galactic Heroes
Star-Stealing Prince
Senki Zessho Symphogear
Madoka movie
UnderTale (demo)
Rule of Rose
Vacant Sky
Alice Is Dead
Aquarion Evol
The Mother RPGs
From the New World
Queen Mary’s Script
Dreaming Mary


    1. illhousen says:

      Fucking banshee. I didn’t know you can hide under bookshelf, so instead I cunningly led it around into dead ends and desperately dodged it so I could escape. Managed to get all the way to the door, too… Wasn’t until I stumbled on a puzzle later and looked up a walkthrough that I realized it was utterly unnecessary.

      Otherwise, good atmosphere, and when you actually know what to do, the game is easy, which I like: there is just enough danger to keep you on your toes without it turning into frustration from dying all the time.

  1. Keltena says:

    This rec may be redundant considering it was one of the most popular shows of the year, but if not, I feel like you’d like Re:Zero? It’s in large part a takedown of the isekai genre (“ordinary protagonist trapped in another world”, a la Sword Art Online), but played as a psychological thriller. I’ve been watching it with my brother, and so far I’m really impressed by the pacing and how good a job it does at writing characters who act like real people instead of just jabs at anime clichés. (I swear one recent episode felt exactly like reading you or Act struggling through terrible protagonist-centered morality, except with the narrative actually agreeing.)

    1. Act says:

      This is Farla’s post obvi, but I was looking at RE:Zero and having a hard time telling whether it was another “guy falls into alt world, gets harem” or something more clever. Nice to hear it’s the latter.

      1. Roarke says:

        Yeah, it’s… fairly valid. I’d vouch for it. 

        edit: it ain’t perfect, and it does slip up on things it’s not specifically trying to call out/satirize. But overall, good.

      2. illhousen says:

        Well, I’ve watched it. The first twelve episodes are the usual fare for the genre. More self-aware and clever, but still the usual. Thirteenth episode switches gears rather drastically, and from then on it’s a downhill with the protagonist being forced to confront his flaws and realize what a dipshit he is before he gets better.

        I’m not sure it was decisive enough considering certain stuff from later episodes, though. Part of the problem is the usual thing where time travel drains tension out of the story. A perfect ending can be always achieved as long as the protagonist stays determined and dies often enough. A lot of bad consequences are outright erased (though not all, but the ones there were seem to be fixed by the end).

        It also has the most ridiculous villain I’ve seen in a while. Like, I’m pretty sure Fate/Zero Caster would look at that guy and go all, “Dude, cut it down. Not coooool.”

        And it only resolves the protagonist’s inner conflict, with a lot of threads left hanging, so it feels more like the first part of a trilogy or something than a complete work. Also a consequence of time travel which forced the show to tread the same ground over and over.

        Overall, I’d say it’s worth watching, but don’t expect it to be great.

        1. Roarke says:

          I’m not sure it was decisive enough considering certain stuff from later episodes, though. Part of the problem is the usual thing where time travel drains tension out of the story. A perfect ending can be always achieved as long as the protagonist stays determined and dies often enough. A lot of bad consequences are outright erased (though not all, but the ones there were seem to be fixed by the end).


          Our reports showed a massive anomoly in the space time continuum. Timelines jumping back and forth, starting and stopping… until one day, everything ends. Heh heh heh… That’s your fault, isn’t it?


        2. Keltena says:

          Yeah, my brother and I finished it last night and it does get more confused and waffly about its themes as it gets towards the ending, and it’s really obvious that they were running out of space and had to slap something ending-like onto the end of that last arc. (At some point maybe I’ll look up the original novels to see if they’re more solid on that front.) I still found it definitely worth watching just on the strength of the pacing and characterization (that, and how damn satisfying that turning point you mention is), but yeah, be aware that it wraps up really awkwardly wrt both some of the themes and the larger-scale plot threads introduced being left hanging.

  2. Gust says:

    Since you’ve done a lot of RPGmaker horror games, how about Corpse Party? Used to be a RPGmaker game, but then it got a polished console port that changed up the story a little. I thought it had some nicely creepy moments, some glaring issues, and irritating anime cliches that clash with the horror. Can probably be emulated with a PC emulator, but LP Archive has a let’s play that covers a lot/all of the content.




    There’s some weird issues with it but I don’t really want to spoil them.


    1. Nerem says:

      One of the big things the console port did was add Seiko, and more or less made Naomi the main character of the overall story. Seiko’s addition was related.

  3. illhousen says:

    Since you talked about using format in horror stories, you may be interested in checking out Sara is Missing game: https://monsoonlab.itch.io/sim

    It’s pay-what-you-want with free option available. Best plaid on Android devises, the Windows version didn’t agree with me for some reason.

    I’m curious about your thoughts on it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Simoun: obscure anime from 2006 about a society where everyone is born female and chooses whether to stay female or become male at seventeen. Priestesses of the country who haven’t chosen a sex yet get to pilot “Simoun” to pray to the gods, but have to use them in battle when war erupts. Also, the Simoun are piloted by two girls at a time and are activated by… the pilots kissing. Yeah. (It’s not one of those anime, thank god; there’s practically no rampant sexualized crap like in modern anime, nor is lesbianism used as just set dressing to attract more viewers, but… still. Apparently it’s because Simoun was initially intended to be a yuri fanservice show before the producers decided to just take the absurd premise and run with it. Either way, the result’s pretty interesting.)

    The anime focuses on religion, adulthood, class issues, among other things (the gender thing gets some commentary, but is more treated as just a part of the setting; whether or not that’s a positive is up to the viewer, I guess). It’s 26 episodes long, so a bit of an investment, but well worth it in my opinion. Soundtrack’s also worth a look if you like classical/orchestral-esque stuff.

  5. Gust says:

    Anatomy by Kitty Horrorshow. A lot of her games have earned praise, but this is the most accessible of the lot. Most of them are free but Anatomy is $3. No jumpscares, no monsters, no deaths. It’s just you wandering around a house. Still manages to be horrifying. Starts out like a standard indie horror, but it gets worse.

  6. Roarke says:

    Darkest Dungeon. It’s a turn-based RPG about the stresses of dungeon diving. You manage a roster of heroes and send them on missions, controlling them in combat and exploration like normal.

    The big shtick is the Stress mechanic, where fortune/misfortune have a tangible effect on your heroes’ mental state and can quickly cause ventures to spiral out of control.

    The setting chosen for this game is Lovecraftian. The premise is that your ancestor dug up an unnamable horror and needs you to come seal it away.

    It’s really, really good.

  7. SpoonyViking says:

    The 2014 “Ms. Marvel” series. The 2016 series is written by the same author, but I haven’t read it yet, so I don’t know if it’s as good.

  8. EdH says:

    May I recommend Dungeon Meshi? It’s episodic (until later stories) but it’s about a fantasy adventure party learning to eat the dungeon’s monsters while trying to defeat the red dragon that ate the main character’s sisters. It’s got flaws, but it’s proven very interesting and fun to read.

  9. JWalker4978 says:

    May I recommend Worm? It is an interesting and somewhat popular (and really long, and somewhat poorly edited) web original by WildBow (John C. McCrae) about superheroes. Some say that it is boring, that the main character is a Mary Sue, that the morality is protagonist centered, and that the plot is implausible, while others say that it is a great story with intelligent use of powers and well thought out characters. In my opinion, the beginning was mediocre, the middle was great, and the ending was mediocre again (but that’s probably because it was so long and I got tired of it).

  10. John Smith says:

    Pact. Also by Wildbow. Half as long as worm, a bit dark. Wildbow considers it worse than his first story.

    1. JWalker4978 says:

      I feel that it is quite interesting. It gets very slow at points, but the characters express an interesting worldview.

  11. Keltena says:

    I was backreading some of your Pokémon blogging, and some of your issues with the game design made me think that Pokémon Reborn might be up your alley? It’s a fan game made in RPG Maker with Pokémon Essentials, and it has… well, pretty much my ideal difficulty and game balance, though I’ll admit I might not be the best standard for that. (For reference: Last Scenario, which this blog reviewed way back in the day, is pretty much my gold standard for difficulty, which I’m pretty sure is a bit skewed from the average gamer.) But I think Pokémon Reborn does a good job of staying difficult in a fair way by using mechanics like level caps and careful distribution of pokémon to encourage the player to problem solve and come up with individualized strategies to beat the harder fights, rather than just grab the strongest pokémon available and grind until you can steamroll everything. (The game’s main unique selling point, Field Effects—basically more in-depth implementations of the mechanics moves like Electric Terrain introduced—do a similar thing by making various moves and pokémon viable in new ways.) But more importantly to me, Pokémon Reborn actually captures the feeling of exploration and wonder that made the original Pokémon games feel so special to me better than any of the official games for the last few generations? It’s a plot-heavy game set mainly in a gritty, polluted city, but the combination of the freedom it gives you to explore whatever parts of the map you can physically reach and the sheer amount of sidequest/optional content you can find if you go exploring draws out that exact same feeling from when I was a little kid and every cave I found to explore off the path was new and exciting. (It also has really good puzzle design for most of the dungeons and gyms, which a lot of RPGs seem to struggle with.)

    The writing is… a mixed bag. The game has a large cast that mostly tend towards simplistic character tropes (some of whom get some surprisingly solid writing, but some of whom are just grating), and it leans too hard on the darkness of its premise for impact sometimes, especially towards the beginning when it hasn’t done anything to earn it yet. And there’s one storyline that’s a complete train wreck of skeevy treatment of mentally ill kids, which is just great. :/ On the other hand, it also does some things I like a lot, like putting more effort than usual into treating random NPCs as people with their own lives through things like sidequests and continuity details. (Overall, I kind of get the impression that the dev is a better writer in many respects than the format and characters she’s working with here really allow her to make use of.)

    Side note: if you do plan on trying it, you might want to wait until the next episode is released to do so. The game is updated one episode at a time (an episode generally containing a stretch of story + a couple new areas, a gym battle, and a chunk of new sidequests), and while the dev’s reliable enough I actually don’t think there’s any worry of the game not being completed, Episode 17 is already well underway and comes with the major update of adding Gen VII to the whole game.

  12. mcbender says:

    I’ve recommended Pokemon fangames here before (I think in just a random thread, so hey, maybe I’ll actually do this in the right place this time), but I’ve just played and reviewed the Pokemon Sage demo that released earlier this year, and honestly I cannot recommend this thing enough. It was an utterly fantastic experience and blows all the previous Pokemon fangames I’ve seen out of the water.

    Here’s my review:

    There’s only a demo right now, and there’s no indication of when the full release will be ready (but I suspect it’ll be quite a while), so that might put you off. But honestly, I thought the demo was substantial enough to be a pretty good experience in its own right.

    On top of that, I was seriously impressed by how not sexist it was, especially considering its origins (I go into this more in the review). I tried to use some of the metrics Farla’s previously used to assess sexism in Pokemon games and it’s done quite well so far.

    Long story short, this is a thing that I liked and I think you all will too.

  13. Act says:

    I’d be really curious to hear your feelings on the setup of Monster Hunter Stories, Monster Hunter’s new monster-raising game, vis a vis some of the major issues with Pokemon. I was originally just super excited to ride around on a Rathian because I’m a fangirl, but I’m surprised by how much I like the game (even if some of the lore doesn’t make any sense…).

    You get monsters by raiding nests for eggs, hatching, and raising them, which bypasses the issues of making them join you by force. Only one or two societies knows how to raise monsters as pets, and within your society only people who show a lot of aptitude for communicating with monsters get to, so you don’t have a glut of people running around and small children abusing animals.

    I also thought the tack the game took around how they fit into society was good. While Pokemon is apparently post-scarcity, MH is still tribal, so they do need the materials from monsters for building, eating, and clothing, plus some monsters become dangerous and that’s when Hunters are called in. But the consistent message is that monsters are a part of nature that should be respected even when we need them for food/clothing/whatever, and when they’re pets, they should be treated as sentient beings with thoughts and feelings. The antagonists are people who seek to control monsters without regard to the monsters’ well-being.

    There’s a ‘kinship stone’ mechanic where Riders who raise monsters are special because they have a device that harnesses energy from positive interactions with monsters; basically, the game rewards you with better battle results for being in sync with your monsters and punishes you when they take damage.

    Also! This is really interesting, but all wild monsters are referred to as ‘they,’ never ‘it,’ which I thought was neat.

    The game also does great with both female and nonwhite characters? The MH games have always been pretty good about this (silly armor on female is basically always silly on male too), but basically all the good guys late in the story are capable women (Lilia, the captain of the scriveners, Avinia, the woman in Abarax whose name I don’t remember) while the bad guys are men. Cheval in particular feels like a direct commentary on other games’ approaches.

    Anyway, I was expecting reskinned Monster Hunter, but the game is surprisingly thoughtful and does some things really great, so FYI!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Shojo Kidan (A Girl’s Strange Story) and Shojo Gidan (A Girl’s Fake Story), a pair of games made by the same person who made .flow. They’re more typical horror-mystery games than .flow’s open exploration, and there’s things like multiple routes to investigate. Recommended order is Kidan first, then Gidan.

    English translations can be found on Uboachan’s /og/ board. Gidan needs the Japanese version of the RPG Maker VX Ace RTP installed to be run.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Unsure if unfinished games are exactly recommendable, but: Divinity Fatum. RPG Maker VX (either vanilla or Ace) game, no RTP required. Starts off as a gloomy open-exploration sort of game with horror elements, then starts getting more plotty and linear as it goes on. It was meant to be three separate games, but the creator decided to merge them all into one. It’s been a while since I played it, but I remember it flowing mostly alright, but without an ending it’s hard to tell as a whole. Game content itself is a social commentary thing. Has quite a few sexualized female character designs, but the roles are rather varied from what I remember.

  16. SpoonyViking says:

    It’s not necessarily for a review, I just want to advertise a great webcomic: “Megan Kearney’s Beauty and the Beast” (http://www.batb.thecomicseries.com/). Just like the name says, it’s a retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” (the original fairy tale, not the Disney movie), and it’s a wonderful read!

  17. SpoonyViking says:

    Merry Christmas, folks! :-D

  18. Anonymous says:

    Games by Moga/Carrionblue

    Better, more complete works can be found at https://rpgmaker.net/users/CARRIONBLUE/games/, with misc others (mostly small) found in various other places such as her Tumblr and Uboachan. I’m Scared of Girls and Ghost Suburb II are my personal recommendations.

    Her games have a very strong and cutesy (if psychedelic and eye-straining at times) aesthetic and often effective atmospheres, and plus witty dialogue and intriguing, open-ended storylines, and I find those are her strongest points. Level design and gameplay tend to fall flat and clumsy often, and I often wouldn’t recommend her games for those, but I’ve found some worth in pushing through the tedium (in most cases; Safety: Life Is A Maze, for example, I found too tedious and difficult to endure) for the bits of dialogue and story. Maybe not great games overall exactly, but the ones I played made for nice little experiences that left me thinking and chewing on the themes and ideas brought up, so I’d say they’d be worth checking out at some point.

  19. rotring says:

    I’d be interested in your thoughts on Mockingjay movies, as I was delighted by your Hunger Games reviews. They left me wishing you were the editor of that mess.

    I’m happy to see Sailor Moon on the list; I hope you’ll cover both manga and anime, since both have their strengths and weaknesses.

  20. Indiscretion says:

    Camp Camp by Rooster Teeth. It’s a webseries of 10 minute animations, and has a  offbeat Gravity Falls feel to it and some nice self-awareness with society.

  21. AnonymousReader says:

    I don’t know if this is particularly relevant to you, but the number of pokemon reviews has made it kind of hard to follow your blog. I stopped because of them a while ago though I used to read it religiously. I completely realize that might not matter much to you. This is your blog and you should definitely do whatever you want with it.

    But if it is relevant to you, I thought it might be worth giving you a heads up that’s happened to me so might be happening to other people? I don’t know if there could be a not-pokemon tag or something?

    Anyway, I really have enjoyed reading your blog over the years and I appreciate you writing it.

    1. Act says:

      I think this is at least partially my fault — when I wasn’t dying the fanfic-to-other-stuff ratio was a lot more balanced. Unfortunately I still have months of treatment left :( I miss y’all.

  22. SpoonyViking says:

    General recommendation: Kieron Gillen’s graphic novel Three (he’s the same guy who wrote the Kid Loki stories for Marvel). It’s a damn good story on its own right, but it also completely overturns Frank Miller’s 300 and all its pro-fascist and pro-imperialistic propaganda by working off actual History.

  23. Socordya says:

    The manga Urasekai Picnic might be of interest to you. I thought of you because the “otherside” world that characters explore reminds me somewhat of Annihilation. The main characters are also all women and I think (not sure) in 34 chapters the work has not yet cleared the reverse Bechdel test.

    1. illhousen says:

      I’m currently reading the light novels. They’re pretty fun if a bit yuri-baity. As in, some of the character motivations and actions make more sense when you assume romantic interest, and the novels generally hint in that direction, but, so far at least, the possibility of said romantic interest is not acknowledged or spoken of at all in the text.

      I found the anime to be rather lackluster: the novels rely a lot on internal narration to convey character motivations and exposition, which didn’t translate well. Also, the monster designs are pretty tryhard.

      I haven’t read the manga yet. How does it compare to anime/novels?

      1. Socordya says:

        I haven’t read the novels or watched the anime. The manga also does hint at gay romance (in fact it’s tagged “yuri” on mangadex), but it’s worrying that it’s only bait in the novels and never realized, hopefuly the manga will go another route. At least they’re keeping it tasteful (i.e. not blatant fanservice).

        The monster design in the manga is okay, I guess. The main interesting thing to me is the idea that’s been raised that the Otherside is messing with the characters’ perceptions and that the monsters’ appearance is basically just projection based on urban myths and human fears, as well as how it “uses” people who have already been lost to the Otherside, plus the mystery of the “blue light” and what it’s trying to achieve/communicate.

        1. illhousen says:

          TBF, I’m only on second novel, so it’s entirely possible the romance would be developed properly later. I’m just side-eyeing it since the prose gives me an impression of dancing  around the possibility of characters being gay. I’d be happy to be proven wrong, though.

          The perception stuff is interesting, yeah, and the blue light is suitably spooky and mysterious, no complaints here so far.

  24. Ginger says:

    I would like to recommend Outer Wilds, as well as the Echoes of the Eye DLC. Honestly on my own personal list of one of the best games I’ve ever played.

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