I am sorry for the long wait. We’ve had the absolute worst heat wave. 42C every single day for the past week, and a terrible storm on Tuesday did nothing to help. It actually made things worse, this was my highway (yes, highway) offramp, here is a video. Some poor people decided to take the surface road, needless to say, it didn’t end well. All of this has lead to long blackouts. So I couldn’t do anything. Thankfully, the weekend arrived and power is now stable (still hot though), Monday and Tuesday are holidays, os it gives me extra time for this. We also got an eclipse on Sunday! But please, now, enjoy…
Tuesday - 20th (Black Night): I woke up to see that there were several videos from last night, I wanted to watch them all, and the the dresses from the night before (I hadn’t even seen them, I only saw ants move across a stage), but I had to leave early to go to see a family member of mine. He lives near Shibuya. He’s been living in Japan for over 50 years, and I hadn’t seen him since I was a kid. So I went (very difficult to find the platform for his train line in Shibuya Station, its at the very end). I got off and it was a pretty small Station, a lot of people my age, though, because there was a university nearby. I loved that I came to see him because I was able to walk through some very Anime-like neighborhoods, crossing the train tracks, and everything. I found the house (at the very end of his complex). I brought him some food from Argentina, and we spoke for awhile, it was a nice experience. After leaving, I went back to Akihabara, where some redditors (shackonthetarget, zarcka_metal, bogdogger, and... I don’t know the username of you other, sorry, if you see this please tell me) were in a Maid Cafe, I decided to join them. When trying to find the building, I saw a maid outside giving out fliers, I asked her (she spoke better English than my hotel staff, lol) she directed me into the building behind her. It was floors and floors of games, and I just could, t find where I had to go. Turns out, you had to get on the elevator on the first floor :/ I finally got there, and saw them. I really can’t speak perfectly about this, it was a really weird experience, especially since I haven’t seen any Anime. I knew none of the phrases they were saying, but… its something I think everyone should do in Japan. The food was adorable, and so were the maids. We were able to keep the bunny/cat ears. Can’t say I have put them to any use. lol. The coolest part was that they were playing BABYMETAL over the speakers for us (we didn’t even ask), and one of them went on stage and sang Headbanger!!! She knew all the moves! That was seriously a really cool part of the trip, Thanks to shackonthetarget for the idea! After eating, we then headed just half a block over to… Trio :) Well, in reality, we kinda did more in the rest of the building (Akihabara Radio Kaikan). Mostly in the rest of the Anime shops. Shackonthetarget was very excited at all the things sold. Now that I have seen some Anime, I understand, and know some characters. But at the time, I didn’t really know any. But it was still super funny the NSFW positions some Anime girls were put in, like, not even subtle.
Tokyo Dome After that, we headed to Tokyo Dome. It didn’t stop raining (thanks typhoon). I went with some to a 7/11 (like I didn’t know enough of them already), because they had to take out cash (The Maid Cafe was not cheap). Everyone went to their hotels, and I waited there for like half an hour. I saw a billboard in the middle of the “mall” in Tokyo Dome City, it was Himeka!!! I am sad to say I can’t find the picture I KNOW I took… Oh well… I waited until shackonthetarget and zarcka_metal came back, and we went to an English pub there (called The HUB). They had this on the wall, which I couldn’t stop laughing about (technically, Celtic does use it from time to time, but that chant is associated way more with Liverpool, lol). They were playing BABYMETAL too, and with reason, since it was full of kitsunes. We spent like and hour or two talking, and drinking. An hour before the show was going to start we headed to the Dome. I was laughing because of the amount of people who had an extra ticket for the show,. They were trying to give them away for free (they were all gate 41, my section, lol), if only I had known. Some were exchanging them in the Tokyo dome Hotel lobby. One person in the group (was it BigBobby2016?) couldn’t find the hotel. We were laughing our asses off because this is what you see from the Tokyo Dome, there are no towers even close to the height in the area, and the name is on the top, lol. We separated at this point, I stood at the entrance for a few minutes, maybe I could see a famous BM fan, or the ones I knew. I did get to meet the girls from the video circulating at the time (no picture, I didn’t want to put them, or their parents in a tight spot, they are young after all. I did catch them in a video I took, though (only briefly). No line this time, since we entered much after the gates opened. This seat was much better than yesterdays, I would say one of the best seats, I had the middle (front) of the stage directly in front of me. I was high up, but this meant I had a great view of the entire stadium, especially considering I was just before the veranda, and next to the aisle. And as I waited for the show to start, I saw a familiar face, gardiguy, he got one of the free tickets, and was a few seats behind me, so I went over to him and talked a bit. He was actually supposed to be at the Sumo championship, he said he had fun, but that he got bored (the presentations take ages for a 5 second fight). I had told him he would prefer BM over that. Then, maron-metal ’s wife appeared, Eriko. She had the other seat next to gardiguy, we talked a little more, but I left as the “owners” of the seat came, not before taking a picture! Sorry Eriko, got you with your eyes closed :/ We were also sending pictures of our views (on the Line group), and look at the terrible seat sho-taBlue got, poor guy. As you can see in the picture, I wore the Argentina jersey. I had actually wanted to take the flag I had, but I didn’t want to get into any trouble, or bother any one around me. This was a great compromise. Plus, I knew I would be easily spotted. And, I was, I can see myself in the ProShot!!!
VIDEO SHOWING HOW BM GOT HERE So, I sat in my spot, put on my corset, and had the Onedari Dollars, and Awadama Balloons in my pocket; since they weren’t played the day before, I knew they would be played today. So… the lights started dimming down again… Ohh the excitement filled the air… Show Start: Koba appeared again… I can’t remember, but I’m sure at least 99% of what was said was the same as Red Night. Then, another video started… with the BABYMETAL DEATH Intro. Fuck Yes!!! The best song to start a show with!!! Every time I hear it, I get goosebumps. The video started explaining how the whole world joined here this night, I felt so good being a part of this. The woman in the video asked if we were ready to headbang? “Yeah!!!” Then again: “the Fox God can’t here you. Are you ready to Headbang?!” “YEEEAHHHH!!!!” Everyone screamed! Song 1: I can’t explain how loud I shouted every single letter: “B” “A” “B” “Y” then, the “M” that the Japanese pronounce more like an “L-O”, that ones kinda tricky. And so on… In my section, most people didn’t jump, but I wasn’t about to let that change me, I jumped like I was in THE ONE section, almost hitting the person next to me each time. Then came “Death” (desu) ”Death” “Death”… I love it with that long outro with the lights behind the girls. Song 2: Awadama Fever, all I can say about this song is: “AHH… YEAH! Tondeke, ba ba baburu gamu!” (I don’t care its a Su part, I sang anyway!) Plus, I really enjoy the middle break, and the “1, 2, 3, 4 !” ..n “Hii fuu mii yoo!” I love this song because since most movements are with the arms, and not too complicated, Su can join in the choreography with Yui & Moa, more-so than usual. (I just noticed in the second video almost at the end the little dance Yui does… Love it!] Song 3: Ohh yeah… I could hear a “motorcycle” (at least, thats what I think of when I hear it). One of my favorites is coming, and I think supremely underrated… Uki Uki Midnight!!! I love electro-pop, plus some added Metal in the background, you get a masterpiece. Again… I thought I was going to lose my voice completely… only 3 songs in, and they were some of my favorites… I knew the Ainote perfectly, and shouted every, single, one. “You and ME”! Plus that end segment is one of my favorite BM moments… (I hope they add a little more of the wide shot with the lights in the Delorean) This is turning in to an awesome show! Song 4: We could hear drums… that means its META time. I gotta say, at this point I was thinking “great, a “slow” song” (one I particularly never got the feeling for). Ohhh, boy, was I wrong. I the only choreography was the slow walk back and forth, but these little “jiggles” by Yui and Moa… they caught me. And the deal was finally closed wth the “oooohhhh… oooohhh…. “ chant. (THAT I APPEAR IN!!!) That part was just too impressive, I did not expect anything like it. By FAR one of my favorite moments of the shows. I wasn’t too fond of Meta Taro, but when you heard all the stadium singing in unison, it gave a new meaning to song, I will never forget that. Song 5: Sis Anger Another one I couldn’t really “get”, sadly… I still can’t get it. To me they removed from this song the reason I listen to BM… Kawaii + Metal, Pop + Metal. I am not saying I dislike the metal portion… I love it, but I don’t like how they changed the girls’ tone of voice. I do love the intro though… I’ll get it at some point… It did give us this gorgeous Yui silhouette… Song 6: Another amazing intro… (I LOVE INTROS!!!!) They really hype the song more than if it were just played… I think context is as important as the main subject. It was Mischiefs of the Metal Gods. Boy… are their mischiefs good. The Kami band (to me) has become such an essential part of BM. I can’t imagine BM without them… Boh is just…. The best. His part with everyone clapping is just freaking amazing! It makes a guy shed a tear how he can play with both hands. But don’t think I don’t share any love for the rest. Ohmura always goes crazy, even when not in the spotlight. LEDA is methodical, he is always 100% concentrated on what he is doing, throwing a face every now and then. Song 7: Obviously… after a Kami solo… comes Su solo. Another INTRO!!! This time its a slow piano + orchestra intro. It really is music to present the queen. Yui and Moa get some hijinks stories, a perfect fir. While the Queen gets proper Royal entry music. I am conflicted, but if someone asks me my favorite song, its either Akatsuki, or Kimi to Anime ga Mitai (I know, completely different). One wasn’t (and might never again be) played. So Akatsuki definitely was going to be my favorite. The thing with Su solos is the lack of participation. Black BM songs are essentially 50% crowd participation (4 no Uta is like 90%). But this seems like I say it is bad… NO! We are watching a spectacle. With MoiMoi, we have fun WITH them. With Su… I would see we watch her have an inner battle… could be anything, only she knows, but we do see her get better and better at it. Every time she gets on the stage she immediately steals the spotlight, and doesn’t waste it one bit. Song 8: Onedari Daisakusen. My favorite Black BM song. I love this song, but with the lack of fancams and it not being in the WOWOW broadcast… I can’t seem to remember much. I can tell you my favorite part is the break in the middle with: “One for the money, two for the money…, money, money, money…” and then the “Katte! Katte! Katte! … Chodai! Chodai! Chodai!…” Song 9: No Rain No Rainbow. Another song I had underestimated. Note, I loved this song. Its the only BM song my family can listen to, I have played the Budokan Live for the past year, can’t wait to be able to switch to the Tokyo Dome version; of they liked Budokan, they will love Tokyo Dome’s version. When I say I underestimated it, its because I didn’t believe it could be THAT much more impactful live, since its a slower, less loud, song. But I was entirely wrong, I would say its one of the songs that most improves in the live version. You can feel Suzuka put all her strength into the vocals of this song, killing every note. The same goes for the Kami, they seem to be involved emotionally into the song as well, the guitar duets really shine in this one. Since it wasn’t released in WOWOW, I did a little “Remaster”; adding the Intro, and using the best video I found, with the bootleg audio. I am truly sorry for those that were saluted by the Queen at the start of the song, we know that is impossible to survive, RIP. Song 10: Doki Doki Morning. The one that started it all some 6 and odd years ago. Amazing they can still play it with such spirit after all these years. You can (obviously) see a huge improvement. Moa now remembers when to start, lol The three girls reappeared, all on the upper stage! How are they gonna dance up there? Its so small! Somehow, they found the same to do so.This song was so fun, after a very emotional No Rain No Rainbow, it brought everyone back up! Song 11: “Kitsuneeee…” Ohh shit…. Here comes the fan favorite (at least, under my understanding). By far… no other song is close… Megitsune. This song was even more powerful given we visited the shrine where they filmed the MV the night before. As soon as it started with just the first “SORE!” I immediately knew it was everyones favorite, far louder than anything else I had heard up to then, everyone was putting all their strength here. The best part: I didn’t expect a C&R at all… but we got one! Just after the slow part of the song: “Are you Ready? Are you ready TOKYO DOME!?!!” I don’t even know what Yui or Moa said, but I shouted with everyone anyway! “Soiya Soiya Soiya Soiya….” “SORE!” (X2!!!) I expect the doubled “sore” part even less… But I’m so glad we had it… it really helps. Song 12: Gothic Music? You better bet its some Head Banger!… “but I had head banged too much, how can this song live up to its name now?” Ohh… if only I could have shut my mouth… I barely knew what was about to come. The first part… completely standard. Same callbacks as always (only louder because there was so much more people than always. Then… the longest headbanger in history. My arm hadn’t even been able to rest from the night before… I really thought my arm was going to literally fall off. I had to switch arms… I just couldn’t continue with both. I knew at this point how much THE ONE must train their heads and arms for this. I was doing some major amateur work. I also noticed the Kami was into it too… the 3 (Ohmura, LEDA, and Boh) were on the floor (must be really hard to play). Again, no idea what Yui or Moa were saying… lol. Even Su got some talk in! Sadly (or thankfully, at least) a guy who was on the floor bowing down over and over was shown only a second on the WOWOW broadcast. But I remember clearly from the show, he was shown on the big screen for a VERY long time, must have been well over 30 seconds. There was also smoke, but I was surprised MoiMoi didn’t get an upgrade and get some cannons by this point… (Note for Koba next time ;). Song 13: The “oh so famous”piano Intro (with Sus voiceover) started. First I thought it was odd it was in English, though the whole show was like that. But more importantly, I clearly saw they changed what was usually said to include the lighting of the corsets. (Talking about “linking our hearts together”) Actually, the whole thing was mostly changed. At this moment the corsets lit up (with RED this time!!). Sadly, I have to say my corset didn’t work this time :( Its difficult to see with it on, so I took it off for a second, and saw the light was NOT working… Oh well, nothing I can do now. Then, Su appeared, and Yui and Moa on the end of the coffin platforms! At this moment I looked at the crowd, to see if thy would maybe move the chairs to the side and MOSH! Nope. Yui and Moa started their run, and the whole stage was “set on fire”. Actually, small fires remained through the whole song. Encore: A sad part, to see the end of the shows. But the crowd was as wild as ever, and the Kami and the girls were really loose now. I clearly remember (and am helped by the pro-shot) Su’s face after the first set of “We are BM!” First she. Had the biggest grin on her face, and she immediately turned into a “your damn right we are” face. You could see her through the entire thing, she was ecstatic. I talk more about Su, because even during the songs (especially Black BM) you get to see Yui and Moa act more. But thats not to say they (and even the Kami) weren’t letting all the energy left out! I was in awe looking at the entire stadium, everyone shouting in unison “We Are BM!!!” Ever since I first saw the Budokan Blurays this had been a dream, to be in Japan shouting the famous phrase. I was so into it, that I missed the, now incredibly famous moment; Su’s slip. I did see her on the floor, though, since the whole stadium shouted: “Oooohh” as soon as it happened. Then Yui almost slipped as well! MoiMoi grabbed each other, and trying not to slip themselves. They got to the end, hugging each other. This is, by far, the most memorable moment of the trip. And then Su giving Yui and Moa a moment with the Mic. They seemed thrilled she would offer it. And add some confusion with Moa. They then went to the center stage, did a “We are BM!” Again, and disappeared! But we were not alone, for the Kami came out, poor LEDA slipping in the same spot as Su.
End Just so you know why things might get a bit moody from here on out, while I wrote this, I was listening to X Japan’s Tears,Say Anything and Art of Life, a deadly combination. X Japan has a HUGE role in BM existence; if you can, please go see them at Wembley on March 4th.
When it ended, this time I wasn’t as… pensive, as last time. I didn’t have ANY type of BM blues, like the day before, because this time, I had something to do. With the meet up group, we were set to meet outside the stadium. Before leaving my seat, I (having nothing to “lose” now), I took 3 pictures (I don’t know why I didn’t just take an F***ing Panorama). So, I started While trying to get outside, the pressure from inside and the wind pushed you out, lol. As I got down to the bottom of the stairs, some guys saw my t-shirt and shouted: “Vamos Argentina!!!” I was laughing so much, and answered with a fist in the air:”Asi me gusta! Vamos Japon, tambien!” Everyone around us had a horror look on their face, like I was shouting like some demented preacher. Too bad I didn’t stop and take a picture, I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss my group. I got to the entrance, and waited 2 minutes before aunthor appeared. He told me he had seen me in the stadium, that he was just a couple (couple much) seats behind me. Too bad I didn’t know at the time. We were set to go to the HUB pub. We went there (just a few hundred meters away), still raining. The place was packed, with no sign of our group. They sent a message, they were looking around the Suidobashi station for somewhere to eat, so we headed there. The station was packed, again. While we waited I went over to a guy selling sets of printed pictures of some BM shows. Koba would have probably gone livid if he saw this (remember Mexico). We got a message. They had found a restaurant, on the other side of the station from Tokyo Dome. They sent a picture of the front so we could spot it. We walked towards it, trying too find it, and we spotted Kentosdad, who had came outside to signal us, in case we missed it. Bless him, he was waiting in the heavy rain; he even stayed outside for others that were coming. We went upstairs, again, you had to remove your shoes before going inside. We entered and found our group, we took up an entire section (4 tables) of the restaurant. AS I was sitting down, I realized I hadn’t used any of nabazul s gifts :/ * Yelp . Ehhh…. Better not say anything. *:()** Everyone was trying to get everything they saw during the night out at the same time, it was impossible, but we finally could talk slowly about each part of the show. I remember xacto_knife talking about how everyone was off-sync in the Megitsune “wave”. I had noticed it too while we were doing it, everyone was moving off-beat. Everyone was shouting when they had their arm behind their head, when it should be in front of their head. At the time I thought it had to do with the time it took for the sound to move across the stadium, but if you see in the video, even the people some rows back were doing it wrong (while the front row was doing it right). We talked about why the baseball net was still up? It kinda blocked the view for some. When everyone had arrived we finally started ordering. Poor kentosdad had to order everything from this tablet on the table, there were so many orders! Looking around us, most of the tables (if not all) were BM fans. Some were getting quite drunk, from what one could hear (shouting) lol. A couple (a man and a woman) in a table next to us were curious. They asked some questions, where we were from, and whatnot. Some from our group gave them their fan creations. I think pepcok s chains, and DaemonSD s pins/keychains? After this they wanted a picture with all of us, we obviously obliged. I can’t remember why, but we took another picture without the guy, but with the girl. Not that I’m complaining. I can’t even remember what we ate that night, had so many thoughts crossing through my mind. We stayed there talking about the shows until like 12, when some of us had to leave (because trains stop at like 1 AM, don’t want to be left stranded). We all said our goodbyes, and those who didn’t stay in this area headed to the station. I went on the train with Kentosdad, and someone else (who was it?). This other person got off at the first station. And I continued with Kentosdad to Akihabara (2nd station). Knowing this was the end of my journey, I thanked him, and we waved goodbye. I got to the hotel around 1:30AM. I got a picture of an almost deserted Akihabara Station. I kinda stayed there for a minute watching, knowing this was my last night. When the trains stopped passing, I decided it was time, and went to bed.
Wednesday (9/21)I woke up to see this. Busted… lol (look who is in the background). Lets just say… someone * cough * kentosdad * cough * had called in sick for Tuesday… Needless to say, I don’t think BM fever is an acceptable condition to leave work. I knew I would return home in the afternoon, so I packed my things, checked out, and left my bag in the lobby. Before I left, I had to do one last stop in Trio. I went over, and I happened to meet two foreigners there. It just so happened they were suzukayuimoa and fukei-metal. The funny thing is, we didn’t know each other were redditors! We only found out when I recognized suzukayuimoa in his post, and fukei-metal happned to appear in the comments! What a small BM world. I ended up buying the Land of the Rising Sun T-shirt. I really liked it, ever since I saw the Japan map in the back. But I was really still searching for the Doodle sweatshirt, I didn’t find it anywhere :( ( However, I just bought it last week on Buyee :).) We went together a little, around Akihabara, entering a few shops with some BM things. I forgot to take pictures this time :/ We ended up separating when we entered a shop, I decided to stay for a while longer to buy friends any family gifts. As soon as I got everything I wanted, I left back to my hotel. But, I just couldn’t, I had something in the back of my mind controlling me, saying: “You must buy something else.” Sigh… I went back to Trio… Thankfully, I had the mindset to buy something cheap, so I ended up getting this Yui SG “signed” postcard. Ironically its something I am very grateful to have purchased, I love the little postcard. At this point, I didn’t have time for any more detours. I went back to my hotel, and got my bag from the lobby. Before leaving I noticed that the Halloween decorations were already up (over a month before October 31st), quite off for me for it to be so early. I took the train from Akihabara (Yamanote Loop), to Tokyo Station. There I went down to the Narita Express (its direct to the terminals, and its made to take bags, unlike regular trains). As it went by the buildings, I got my last sight of a landmark, the gigantic Tokyo Skytree. I watched as it went by, it seemed to never want to go away… I forgot to mention that, the 19th, I had sent one of my bags to the airport (full of new clothes and gifts). First thing I did at the airport was go and get it. They are really fast, and cheap, what an amazing service. I found the JAL check-in area, and as soon as the staff member started checking me in, he was like: “Argentina?! You have a long way to go, I do not envy you” Lol. Before going through passport control, I explored the shops a bit. I went into the Pokemon shop, and played a bit with this… odd game. I then tried to find a place to eat. I found this restaurant with a beautiful view over the airplanes.This cost less than $10 at the airport!!! How is this possible?!?! I went inside the Terminal, passing passport control, and passed a shop which had tons of people going nuts in it for some reason…??? I finally got to my gate, and saw this beautiful JAL 777, next to our plane (booked from our view). I was a little early, so I watched a bit of news, and even the Sumo wrestling gardiguy had seen the day before! But, it was finally here, time to board. I can’t say I was amused getting on a 787 this time… I did carry something with me, though, the Wembley memorial T-shirt. By this point the shirt was completely sweaty, and I did bing a spare shirt, but I did not want to take it off, I wanted to keep it on, forever. Then, the moment had to come at some point, we took off. I watched, with tears in my eyes, as this magical place, where I had met incredible people, and had the time of my life, was being left behind me. I was reanimated by watching some of my favorite shows to distract me, I just couldn’t listen to BM at this moment, it would not brighten up my day, and I never want BM to be associated with any negative thoughts. The amazing Japanese food from JAL lightened my mood up again, as a final Japanese farewell. Then, we crossed the International Date Line, I was once again back in my side of the world. Finally arriving in New York 14 hours after we took off. I did have a bright point here, I always love saying this: I left Tokyo at 6:30PM, and arrived in New York at 6PM, the SAME DAY. (mint-flavored time machine, maybe?) This time, I was in no rush, I had plenty of time to get to my gate, and the excitement obviously isn’t there anymore. I did get this beautiful picture of the sunset I had seen twice, now. I was sadly reminded why I viewed Japan so highly. Since I had to change terminals, I had to do TSA again. I can not describe the disgusting attitude these specific “staff” members (more like bullies to me) had towards people. There were quite a few foreigners who didn’t speak English there (yeah, I know, how dare they? at an AIRPORT?!?!? Who do they think they are?) /s I had to translate to some Spanish speakers, since the staff made no attempt to help them. Too much on that, lets continue. Since my sense of time was screwed (it was currently the evening, but for me it was the morning), I went over to a store and got a Strawberry milk (my favorite every time I go to the US), and a chocolate bar. I spoke to my dad, and he was telling me not to eat fats. I was like: “I have no idea what time it is, and barely recognize where I am, I’m gonna eat whatever I want, haha” (he understood I was mostly joking). I waited for my plane, and heard some commotion in the gate entrance, I wouldn’t have guessed in a million years who it was. I heard someone say “Macri, sos un capo!” This can’t be?!? (Macri is Argentina’s current president). Since I didn’t see him, and I was in coach, I didn’t know if it was truly him, or just some celebrity with security and someone got confused. I hadn’t even realized, but as soon as the flight took off, I crashed, this had never happened to me before, much less on a flight. I ended up waking up very close to reaching Argentina. I was waken up by the breakfast service (I was thinking of dinner, lol). As soon as I got the food, I knew I had come back to reality hahahah Watching the map this time didn’t help, either. Getting ever closer to home. When we landed, and got to the gate. It ended up being true, the president WAS on the flight! A cool anecdote to end this incredible trip on. When I arrived back home, first thing I did was go into YouTube and look at the Shibuya Crossing live broadcast I must have stared at the feed for a good hour before I realized I had stuff to do. The BM blues are real people, and I had to add to that Japan blues. They both hit hard once I returned. I watched every single fancy I could to relive those memories. I kept watching all the pictures I had taken and remembered every beautiful moment. Thankfully, to soften the blow, I also stayed in contact with the amazing people I met at the meet ups, and they shared great pictures of the amazing time they were having in Japan. We actually continued speaking, remembering the important parts of the trip. I also got to keep the amazing “toys” Koba let us keep! And brought some snacks (I still have a lot, I just can’t get myself to eat them!).
Conclusions: The trip was something I needed, I needed that culture shock. No culture is perfect, and I know its 100% different living than just being there. A few days to have fun. But there are some things that don’t change: being able to walk through the streets with a phone in my hand, no matter the hour, or if the street didn’t have any lights, it didn’t matter. People acting “civilized” on public transportation (I will never forget the songs at train stations, I even downloaded them!), as if other people mattered. People treating you like a human being at shops and restaurants, trains/buses not arriving 40 minutes late, and then going slower than 40km/h. This was a different world altogether. I mean, I noticed this before I even came back. In the New York Airport (JFK), I went to a store, and the prices were absurd, remember what I ate in Narita for less than $10, well, here they were selling a 300ml coke bottle for $5 (I won’t even tell you what it costs in Argentina, because I already showed you in part 2). When a customer complained about this, the clerk told the customer, and I quote: “Fuck off, if you don’t like it, don’t buy.”. But, even better, the second landed, I am not kidding, the baggage handling union started a strike, the only reason I got my bag that day, was because I happened to be flying on the same plane as the president! So, apart from giving me an amazing time and memories, it was really a life lesson. I had often questioned the “need” to break my ass off studying, and at work, I was kinda lost. But this trip really opened my eyes. If I ever want to actually improve my quality of life and reduce my stress with the most basic things, I have to work as hard as I can to get the hell out of here. It doesn’t need to be Japan, but I really can’t live here for another 20 years, I just… can’t. Sorry to lay that on you guys, I got into a little rant. I was a bit sad that I didn’t go to the afterparty on Red Night, or that I didn’t meet anyone outside the stadium. But I still love all the people I met in the meet ups! When I left for Japan, to me, this subreddit was a community, people who helped each other in their time of need, and always there, to discuss a (probably at times not healthy) love for a band. Not just any band. A unique kind of band. A band that moves people enough to change their entire lifestyles, to make any accommodations possible for the sake of even getting a mere glimpse of the members. However, when returning, I realized I was wrong. We are more than that, we are a big family, that traverses “generations, boundaries, time and space itself”. Its not just that. I take all of you as part of tightly nit family. You guys did everything possible for me to have an amazing time at Tokyo. Thanks to every single person who helped me! Honestly, just being able to be with the community is a major part of why I want to go see a BABYMETAL show again. I don’t think any other band has this type of community. I am waiting for them to come down here so I can meet the local BM community. I have met some though Facebook and WhatsApp groups, but I hope to see them in person. I have started a Spanish subreddit (/BABYMETALespanol), though I have just started with the Wiki for now, and this is the first time I mentioned it publicly. I also want to see everybody again, and hopefully new kitsunes whenever my next trip is.
I think I speak in name of everyone when I say: I need the Blu-rays, right NOW!!!
Here is an album with all the pictures of this post.
Thank You for reading this post. And special thanks to all those who read the entire 6 posts. Lets hope my next trip is not that far away. But, until then; Put Your Kitsune Up! 🤘
SEASON 4 CHALLENGER REVIEWS: 1 Nova (21-7) Furthest Playoff Position: Quarterfinals The Challenger Conference title winners. This season 4 expansion team, piloted by Hydro, formed itself entirely of newcomers: Novakade, Wam, and Archeopsor (Arco). Amidst all of the apparent interest of old, known talents in the conference, these new kids on the block came out running, quickly establishing themselves in the top 8 power rankings and earning Sky’s designation: dark horse. With a few stumbles along the way (Nova vs Meme Squad, Average Joe’s Gym) and other close, but understandable, losses to top teams, Nova finally went full stride with a 9 game win streak to clutch the conference title. And yet, amidst all the new found hype, Nova made their playoff exit in the quarterfinals to Century, a top team that they seemed to have finally figured out at the end of the season. A 4-1 loss in the Bo7, Nova held most of the games close, with the mechanically skilled Hydro facilitating most of the attack. Nevertheless, it would seem that Nova was somewhat outplayed by the team play of Century and the versatile ability of RookieMistakez. It’s tough to say how this team would have fared against different opposition, but in hindsight the strong season finish will most certainly raise this teams stock as a destination for free agents and hopefully further their playoff opportunities. That said, Nova will be finding itself in a difficult situation as the new major league cut-off will probably move Hydro up to Paradox. With this in combination with a low draft pick and the potential of other current members to leave the team, expect Nova to be an active recruiter in the free agency. 2 OWA (20-8) Furthest Playoff Position: Semifinals A team continually lauded throughout the past few weeks (mostly by their major affiliate), OWA had an overall successful season and a strong playoff attempt. Comprised of mostly old (Poke/Meconium, Extreme Gamer, Kemperson) and one new (LuckyPayDay) player, OWA quickly distanced themselves from a 1-3 start and grinded their way into the hellish 6 team death group of the top Challenger Conference. Ultimately, in the final weeks of the season, OWA found a second place finish after being edged out by Nova for the title. A great finish for both morale and reputation. Now for the controversial shit: Extreme Gamer. As the top goal scorer (90) and spiritual leader of the points per game column (2.04), this boyo appeared to single-handedly lead OWA to numerous wins against top teams such as CO2, Century, B Squad, and Snowmen with many other close victories in between. However, the apparent difficulties of this player were made known with his outstandingly salty loss to Century (2-4) in the semifinals. In what shouldn’t be considered anything but a great season for the team, Mr. Gamer has now sadly capped his RLPC career with a double ragequit (the semis and the entire fucking league) to the amusement of the onlookers. However, to not overshadow, the good-spirited core of Kemperson, Meconium, and LuckyPayDay remains. I am interested to see how this team changes without His-most-excellent Gamer, and am hopeful that they will stay together. Call it a hunch, but I feel as though Extreme had a bit of a stifling effect on team play and his absence may allow for a more interesting dynamic to develop. Similar to Nova, look for their off-season activity in the free agency with a bit more potential for a draft pick. 3 CO2 (20-8) Furthest Playoff Position: Quarterfinals Rough. I can personally say that, when playing at their best, this team is one of the, if not THE, best team in the minor league. With a preconceived group of King Sikk, FreshoutofLuck, and TDS Richard, this team was ready to continue CO2’s legacy of joint-minor league champions (and maybe get rid of that silly old “joint”). Straight from the get-go, it became clear that this front 3 had great balance and excellent chemistry as they put up outrageous offensive (72% Goals Assisted, 162 Total Goals, 2.96 Goals per Game) and defensive stats (Second lowest GPG Against and lowest ShotsPG Against). With some reasonable, and some head-scratching, losses, they achieved a strong third-place finish but ultimately exited the playoffs in a 7 game quarterfinal against OWA. Obviously, there are a lot of factors that contribute to a team playing well, but one thing I’ve heard that would continually plague this team was their rotation. In review of the quarterfinals, the goals and assists were there but so too were the goals against, a good sign that this team needs to find a more careful balance of defensive rotation while still maintaining their dynamic offense. This would, of course, be best achieved through practice and more play time together. While I would ideally love to see this team stay together and grow, there are some troubling signs on the horizon. Recruitment from TDS Richard points to a split up for next season. If this plays out, the team may be tasked with finding players that makes up for King Sikk’s outstanding ability to put the ball in the net (63 goals) and FreshoutofLuck’s equal ability at keeping the ball away (62 saves). P.S. Sifzy, you are not forgotten. 2.5 points per game (yes, with only one series played) has snuck him into the top spot on the leaderboards. Incoming 200+ points next season. All jokes aside, I would be interested to see how CO2 operates with some more Sifzy in their game. 4 Century (18-10) Furthest Playoff Position: Minor League Champions The hardest one to write about for obvious reasons, Century won the entire minor league championship quite handily despite being the 4th seed in the conference. Freshly formed from current league players OkaySpiderman, SquirtinBurton, and RookieMistakez as well as draft pick Whiskers (Whiffskers), the team put on dominant performances from quarters to finals that put both championships in the Aerial Aces franchise. When analyzing this team, it’s easy to look to the outstanding player that is RookieMistakez. Minor All-Star Player, nominated (and probably deserving) League MVP, second in goals, third in points per game, this player was the largest part of Century’s season. However, it is also very important to look at the team behind him. The constant pressure of Whiskers, defensive play of Squirtin, and disruptive ability of Spidey really allowed Rookie to play his game and advance Century to and through the playoffs. Obviously, there can be much speculated about some of their more interesting losses (Century vs Boost over Ball, Toxic Waste 2.0 X2), but results are results and winning it all doesn’t give a big opportunity to criticize. Logically, winning teams tend to keep their players barring any personal life issues, however, Century will have to prepare for the certain loss of RookieMistakez as he moves up to the majors next season. There shouldn’t be too much trouble though: that open spot will be a hot commodity for many incoming free agents. Expect Will to sign a comparable replacement. 5 Newton’s Law (16-12) Furthest Playoff Position: DNQ As the closest team from playoffs in the Challenger Conference, this team understandably had some of the most heartbreak. After our one series against them accumulated almost 10 minutes of overtime, I would have liked to see them get in to that top 4. I couldn’t pick who’s place they would take though as this season’s Challenger Conference was chock full of excellent competition. With a frequently rotating front line of Zack, Casey, ItsAloof, and GRYNN (DATBOISD), this team made it clear that the whole was greater than the parts, putting up big fights against those top 4 teams and even taking wins against CO2 and Snowmen. Interestingly enough, all of their losses throughout the season were to top 4 teams in either conference (barring the final two FFs as playoffs were out of reach). Sadly, their one chance of getting in to the playoffs was cut off as Century (who had a 2-0 record against them) was the only team in position to drop. It seems as though if anything had gone differently for those top 4 teams, Newton’s Law may have found their way in. Alas, excuses can only go so far and at the end of the day, Newton’s Law just couldn’t get enough crucial wins out despite their excellent consistency. It’s unclear how this offseason will affect the team. The optimistic outlook is that this team stays together, improves, and achieves better results next season. However, maybe this team would better benefit from some new talent. It’s definitely tough to point out a weak link, so I won’t. Either way, I do boldy predict that, if no players want to leave on their own accord, the roster will stay the same. 6 Toxic Waste 2.0 (13-15) Furthest Playoff Position: DNQ The runner up for most pre-playoff heartbreak in the conference, Toxic Waste 2.0 did also find themselves in that horrible 6-way run for the top but sadly emerged at the bottom. With more diverse losses to lower and higher teams, and yet two wins against Century, this team shows promise amidst inconsistency. While not an expansion team for this season, Toxic Waste formed mostly in the draft (MF Problem, Vit Heskey, WickedHemroid) with one returning player in Truecl3ver. While their 6th seed in the conference can draw some quick conclusions, it’s a bit harder to analyze Toxic Waste as 7 of their series results were forfeits (and another three were missing game logs…). There is clearly some talent on the team, namely MF Problem and Vit Heskey, but it definitely seems like this team struggled a bit more with chemistry and team play as their goals per game (1.97) and goals assisted (55%) were somewhat lower than the teams finishing above them. Their team stats weren’t totally bad, however, as their defensive goals per game against (2.04) was still quite competitive with the higher teams (OWA; 1.94 GPG Against) and significantly better than the team below them (Meme Squad; 3.02 GPG Against). These stats indicate that the team had established a fairly steady foundation of defensive rotation, but lacked the necessary buildup play and finishing to give them the edge over opposition. As is the usual with these middle-table teams, it’s very difficult to predict how Toxic Waste will change in the off season. If the team can retain their more rotation-oriented players and find other play styles (or build up current skill) that are conducive to generating offensive pressure, I’m sure the team will find better success next season. Additionally, common sense says that not forfeiting to other teams throughout the season generally allows more success. Regardless, look for primary activity in the draft with the possibility of some free agent pulls. 7 Meme Squad (9-19) Furthest Playoff Position: DNQ Despite a lower finish in the table, Meme Squad is actually quite fun to analyze. An interesting thing to note, the team played quite a few series with a minor sub; however, with an official team of draftees H3LSENB3RG, Nman420, Arctic wolf327 (Craftingtime27), and NaNix (who took i7 Shando’s place) the team had apparent skill, but not enough to totally compete with the rest of the league. This didn’t stop them from living up to their name, though, as random wins against Nova and Toxic Waste helped form that stupid 6-man group of death and wins against the 5 lower teams in the star conference served to raise the stock of their own as well. The fact that they had the lowest stats of the conference in almost every category, except saves per game (highest; 1.02), and yet still finished above 3 other teams shows that there could be something to salvage from this group. I personally feel that the stand-out ability of NaNix and the commitment of both him and Nman420 are good places to start. Equal chances are that this team will totally split up or stay together, but important tasks for the team in this offseason are to keep their talent (NaNix, Arctic wolf327) and develop the skill of their less experienced (Nman420, H3LSENB3RG). Their biggest ticket for success next season will be their high draft pick, so I do expect some players to be let go. Overall, though, I do see potential for this team. 8 Insight (8-19) Furthest Playoff Position: DNQ Another team with a similar season to the one above them, Insight took the current talent of SkunkInABlender and combined it with draftees Wulfee, MF Cyphon, and Froala. It’s important to note that Insight originally drafted Neja but ended up trading him for Snowmen’s Wulfee, which, with no knowledge of the reasons why (and not to disparage Wulfee), didn’t seem advantageous in hindsight. Regardless, to speak from personal experience, this team surprised me quite a bit in our one series against them. A lot of confidence, physicality, and decent-as-fuck rotation made this team quite a challenge at first. With a healthy amount of demoing, boost-starving, and pressuring, the team seemed to have fleshed out good team play: buildup through Froala or Wulfee with a typical finish from Skunk. However, as i suspect occurred in other series, their morale and tenacity was the first to go when down a game and led them to quite a few close losses. Much like others, Insight would benefit from critically analyzing players with the best potential and making a few changes around them. Their best bet is in keeping at least one or two players and bolstering the lineup with a high draft pick. Another hopeful future for another high potential team. 9 Boost Over Ball (7-20) Furthest Playoff Position: DNQ While an older team in the league, Boost Over Ball took all four members from the draft: Duel, Steelypanda177, SgtPorkPieJM, and ChickensRCool (replaced with IWoS Thanatos off the waiting list). With plenty of talent, both on paper and in stats, this team was unfortunately held themselves down with just too many forfeits. It seems as though, while some issues were due to scheduling, morale played the bigger part of their problems as the silent exits of SgtPorkPieJM (earlier on) and Steelypanda177 (later on) stifled the potential of this team. The season wasn’t totally bad though, as wins against OWA and Century helped show the team’s ability. Perhaps even bigger, though, was Duel who proved his ability on even the major level by helping Four Cars One Cup to win against numerous major teams including the big Fatal Strikers. It is obviously hard to analyze this team, as their high number of forfeits seems to be their largest obstacle to get past. However, I personally have seen the skill present in their two remaining players (Duel and IWoS Thanatos). Assuming their retention, these players will be lined up for next season to team with some top prospects using their high draft pick. It’s hard to see, but this season has yielded better results than their 1-17 finish in season 3. Hopefully, Boost Over Ball will continue to build. 10 Eclipse (4-24) Furthest Playoff Position: DNQ So far, it has been easy to write these post-season team reviews with an air of optimism. I’m not going to do that here though as, quite frankly, Eclipse has had a dismal season. Comprised of current players Scoutbret, BIONICJPSTORM17, and MightHaveDone and draftee Mr. Gage (quickly replaced by Biggie J), this team finished last in the conference with 14 forfeits to other teams (half the season). As witnessed by much of the league, the specific reasons for all of these forfeits seemed to come down to simple bickering, miscommunication, and stubbornness. Yes, it’s clear that this team’s combined skill could win against a few of the lower teams and get close in some others, but their frequent private and public finger pointing did nothing but result in a season of tilt. Call it a maturity thing, but it’s important to value your image to the rest of league (especially if you’ve made it clear that you will be leaving your current team). I’d naturally assume that Eclipse will entirely split in the off season; however, there is a chance that one, or maybe two, will stay and capitalize on the first/second draft pick. I also wouldn’t rule out some executive decisions from their GM for how to begin to fix the team. Best of luck to the individual players in the future, but it’s clear that Eclipse itself needs to focus on rebuilding. SEASON 4 STAR REVIEWS: 1 Animosity (24-4) Furthest Playoff Position: Finals Talk about an amazing turnaround season. After a dismal season 3, earning a record of 1-17, the squad completely rebuilt them from ground up, trusting in the draft gods to help them, and it did, getting future Minor League All-Star Little Guy. It was all calculated picks from there, getting Squeal, future “Ultimate Playmaker” Zoidburglar, and dependable sub Go WRZD. Despite all this fresh and new talent, a lot of teams and analysts didn’t have them on their radar considering their previous record, and it seemed to be justified with a slow 1-3 start. That was only the team warming up as they won their next 14 games, destroying all competition regardless of record and earning Sky’s distinction as the Team of the Season. Even with a loss to CO2 around the mid part of the season, this team wasn’t fazed as they finished with a strong 10 game win streak. To be honest, they were my team to watch coming into these playoffs and they did not disappoint, taking out B Squad and Snowmen 4-1 and 4-3 respectively. I thought it would be a rather easy championship for them after Century had made it through to the final, considering they beat them two times before in the regular season. But, as you may know, they faltered, letting Century take the series in 5 games. Even with coming up short after being so close, this team has definitely surprised me, and I hope they will stay together for next season and give it another go for the title, but with the rumors flying about around this team, I think there may be some changes before we get season 5 underway. 2 Lucky Sevens (21-7) Furthest Playoff Position: Quarterfinals I elected to write this one, since I feared Sky would be too pessimistic about what was a truly excellent season. Lucky Sevens, with all of its (Sky’s) self-perpetuated hype both before and throughout the season, actually did well. Considering their 6-12 finish last season, 21-7 is absolutely no joke, not to mention the constant juggling of minor subs throughout. With a front line of Hova, Dom, and Sky, this entire team put up stats that would make each individual a top player on half the other teams in the league. Not only did they achieve a 15 game win streak, they also were the only team to win every single matchup in the other conference. With an outstanding number of goals, assists, and saves per game, the Minor League All-Stars Dom and Hova brought fire down on everyone all the way up until their exciting playoff exit. And right alongside them was, of course, Sky, who proved that he was something quite more than a league personality. Whatever happened, whatever WILL happen, most everyone will agree that this was a big season for L7. Maybe the only fault was putting too much pressure and hype on themselves, but the positives are there and plenty. After this season, I’m most excited to see Sky return as a Champ and dominate the majors and win literally everything ever. All jokes aside, be proud because it was fucking fun to play y’all. GO L7. 3 Snowmen (21-7) Furthest Playoff Position: Semifinals The minor affiliate expansion of Frosty, the Snowmen tried out the draft and won VisionedPython, SuDDen iZ OTF, Advertisement (Officer Ad), and Neja. This quickly proved to be one of the most lethal random combinations of players that the minor league saw this season. Right out of the gate, Snowmen began dominating other teams with a consistent two spots held by Neja and Python and a rotating third in Sudden or Officer Ad. The excellent thing about this team is that no matter who played, the front lineup was always strong enough to compete with any other team. With the highest goals per game (2.94) and assists per game (1.95) in the entire Star Conference, it’s easy to see why this team ran their way through the opposition. It’s harder, though, to see why sometimes they didn’t. Newton’s Law, OWA, Average Joe’s Gym, B Squad, all teams that overcame the Snowmen’s vicious attack yet don’t really follow a pattern of play to indicate where the weak spot was. Not to take any credit away from those teams, but it seems that the Snowmen were simply out of form at the wrong times. Of course we saw the rest, a 4-3 win over Lucky Sevens in the quarterfinals and a 3-4 loss to Animosity in the semis gave the league an incredibly exciting playoff tournament. While I’d really like for this team to stay together, several players will part ways, I have little doubt. Depending on the major league cutoff, Neja may move up. But be sure to watch the movements of Sudden, Python, and Officer Ad as well as they are sure talents that would definitely bolster other teams. These aren’t big deals though, Dog will move down to the minors and bean his way to the championship. 4 B Squad (17-11) Furthest Playoff Position: Quarterfinals An expansion team, the B Squad was made up of franchise GM Boca and draftees the Cake Icer (who mains a merk), Salmon, and Greencamo27. Another successful team, this squad qualified for playoffs in the last week with a 17-11 record. In the beginning, the B Squad came out strong with a 5-0 record that scared the shit out of those in their way. Unfortunately, they were unable to keep that record going and succumbed to quite a few losses to both high and low teams that, as previously mentioned, held their playoff chances in jeopardy right up until the last week. With a surprisingly strong focus on rotation, the team looked to achieve quite a few underdog wins by staying just close enough to their opposition to allow individual effort (mostly Boca) to win out (see Snowmen vs B Squad, 2nd series). Ultimately, their shortcomings did hold them back, however, as defensive hesitation caused them to give up too much possession and goals, especially in those crucial quarterfinals. That said, B Squad has a lot to be proud of, especially from their very first season. Word is that Boca will indeed be leaving the team for next season. As the GM, his exit will cause some administrative confusion to be sure for both major and minor teams. I’m unsure about the other team members’ plans, but it does seem that the first step to success as a new team is staying together. Hopefully they follow suit. 5 Hydra (12-16) Furthest Playoff Position: DNQ While yet another expansion team, Hydra was actually piloted by experienced minor veteran Brydus and supported by former major player Illumin8me and minor teammate Sniper 2842. With the addition of draftee ZeroOne2, Hydra was off to a somewhat rocky but definitely promising start. With the defensive backbone of Brydus and the chemistry and experience of Sniper and Illuminate, Hydra took big wins against Snowmen, Lucky Sevens, B Squad, and CO2 that seriously advanced their playoff hopes. It’s sad then that their season was seriously hampered by the loss of both Illuminate and ZerOne in the middle of the season. Not to say that their replacements of Mass20033 and TzKrall lacked ability, but the magic and experience were no longer there. Their record slipped and their season came to a quiet 12-16 finish. I, and I’m sure Brydus, would have liked to see Hydra get in to the playoffs, but, to very little fault of their own, the team just couldn’t make it work. Shout out to Brydus and Sniper for quietly sticking with it. Word is that Brydus will be staying on for another season as GM of the team to give it another shot at the playoffs. While their mid-level draft pick could still yield talent, I’d look more to Brydus’ reputation and knowledge of the league to supply him with his winning combination of players. I look forward to the day where we can all hail Hydra as our minor league champions. 6 Rainbow (12-16) Furthest Playoff Position: DNQ I’m probably totally out of the loop and ignorant, but I was horribly confused when I learned that there was a Qf Yeti55 and Qf Yeti96 in the discord and that only one of them had anything to do with Rainbow, but I now know that Yeti the 96th managed Rainbow. That is, all the way up until his somewhat ragey quit from the league which left behind veteran Sharpb10, ViolenceWars, Johnkid123, and replacement CaptainHands (no not Mr. Hands). With a wide variety of wins and losses, Rainbow went throughout their season funnelling a lot of offense and defense through SharpB10 (Minor League Angel Savior). At 2.55 saves per game, this team obviously took the underdog position in a lot of their series and locked down their own goal before focusing on the other. While contentious at first, whether by lack of skill or chemistry, Rainbow eventually fell alongside Hydra in finishing just off the playoffs at 12-16. It seems that if this were the arena of any of the season before, the team would have found more success but the skill pool looked too large this time around. I think it’s safe to say that Rainbow will go through a few changes next season. SharpB10 has sadly declared that he is leaving the league and the “LFT” in JohnKid and CaptainHands’ discord names means they will move elsewhere. The remaining ViolenceWars (if he actually remains) will indeed have draft options but would be advised to recruit at least one free agent. I look forward to seeing what happens. 7 Quantum Theory (8-20) Furthest Playoff Position: DNQ A team piloted by veteran player, T0XIKV1RU5 (/ˈtäksik vīrəs/), Quantum Theory went for a more fearsome wildlife-based lineup by drafting Dingo (DingoHXC), Death Penguin (Deathpenguin777), and Animal (Animal9773). Sadly, the team appeared to have a troubled season in figuring out how to play together that was only worsened by the loss of T0XIKV1RU5 a few weeks into the season. With seemingly plenty of skill available, including that in Lt. Coffee Bottle (replacement for Toxic), it’s hard to reason out exactly where their shortcomings were. The easy conclusion seems to lie in their low goals, even lower assists, and high goals against, indicating problems in rotation and teamwork. On the plus side, despite being beyond playoff qualification, the team put up an interesting effort in the final weeks, even going so far as to beat a playoff qualifier, B Squad. An additional spotlight should be on Death Penguin, who frequented quite a few other series as a minor sub and even helped win some matchups for other teams. A hunger to play regardless of position, on both a team and individual level, says a lot about the good-spiritedness of these players. No players have indicated an intent to go to other teams, however, Animal (their highest mmr player) has said he is taking a season off. One open spot and a high draft pick has big potential for the team to build themselves up. To those Quantum Theory players now looking for direction, if you at least enjoyed your current team, I’d advise sticking it out for another season. 8 Solar (8-20) Furthest Playoff Position: DNQ When joining the minors, one of the most common things I heard was that minor players are fickle and come and go on a whim. For the most part, this season didn’t have too many of those problems...except for in the case of Solar, who lost 3 players within the first couple weeks (SundriedSwine, Mary Jane Hash, and Singulartooth54) . Left behind was JerradTaylor, who was then given Darealmarkmyers, Swerve Trippin, and WestMesa920 off the waiting list. Furthermore, Swerve Trippin left after another couple weeks to be replaced by Trix Static. Suffice it to say, this team has had a rough road. Obviously, there are a lot of factors that went into their season’s finish. It seems like difficult lineup choices, frequent changes of playstyle, and tough opposition weighed in heavily. However, I can say from personal experience that there was some excellent ability in the combination of JerradTaylor and Darealmarkmyers. From what I’ve heard, the addition of Trix Static showed some additional promise (however too late). I’m currently unsure of how the team will change in the offseason, but, from what I understand, there will indeed be some changes. The high draft pick will give them a boost, and with at least two players staying, signs seem positive for next season. Lets hope Solar makes a return to their seasons 3 form. 9 Average Joe’s Gym (8-20) Furthest Playoff Position: DNQ The last team in an 8-20 three-way tie, Average Joes’ Gym would probably agree that their season didn’t match expectations. With former major players, Trippingonme and Catman, moving down to their minor affiliate to join veterans StickyPasta and ThoughtSoda7335, it seemed as though this team would have the experienced edge over the other teams. However, much the same as the majors, this season’s minor league become quite a bit more competitive with the influx of a lot of new talent. That’s not to say they were outclassed throughout the season though, as wins against Hydra, B Squad, Nova, and Snowmen showed ability that was absolutely taken seriously. With a higher goals per game (1.67) and lower GPG against (1.94) than other teams around them, this team showed a bit more ability both in front of the other teams goal and their own. That said, losses to lower teams such as Meme Squad, Insight, and Quantum Theory indicate a problem with consistency. Regardless, it is still exciting to have players like Catman and Tripping still present and fighting until the end as competition only improves the league. From what I know, there will be some changes to AJG in the off season. Personal knowledge and the “LFT” in a certain player’s name tells me that there could be at least 2 open spots on the team. As usual, watch their draft pick, its high and good and stuff. 10 No Boost (4-24) Furthest Playoff Position: DNQ No Boost is the only team in the minors with absolutely no changes from their season 3 lineup. With a somewhat lower mmr lineup of Sharpmeerkat969, Everydeath663, TheYoungAndOnly, and Sash00 (Asasshen), one would be tricked into thinking this team was easy opposition. I was: we lost. At first glance, No Boost’s stats are quite similar to those around them: low goals per game, high goals against. However, on an individual level, both Everydeath and Sash had a decent amount of goals and a formidable number of saves. Their wins, though few and far between, include B Squad and yours truly which, from an objective standpoint, added a bit more competition for the playoff hopefuls. I would have liked for this team to stay together once more, but it seems as though both Sash00 and TheYoungAndOnly have left the league. It’s obviously unfortunate to lose one of your more skilled players, but their (i think) 1st pick in the draft should give them a lot of opportunity. Ideally, their best bet for improvement would be one in the draft and one off the free agency (as I personally feel concerned for any team with multiple draft members), but it’s always difficult to predict the future for teams like this. Best of luck guys!
Zero [Review]s: Nitecore TIP "Winter Edition" (XP-G2 V3, Internal battery, Dual switch, On-board charging)
This review had been scheduled for earlier in the month, but timeframes are what they are. I hope you'll find this review of the Winter EditionNitecore TIP interesting. And of course, these are available after Christmas too, maybe as a present to yourself with all those Christmas monies. Thanks to Gearbest for supplying this Nitecore Tip for review!
There are two versions of this light, and many colorways. First, this version is the Cree XP-G2 S3. Also available is a "TIP CRI", which has a Nichia 219b emitter. The rest of the differences are just colorways, and there are a bunch. And there are even these Christmas versions, which are color mixes! The TIP and the TIP CRI share a manual (ie, have the same operation).
This is a nice little light for pocket carry or to tuck away in a bag. I love that it's metal, and I love the indicating switches.
Clearly designed as a Christmas gift, the Winter Edition tip comes in a fairly fancy tin. The back has some printing and light info. Inside is a foam insert with cutouts holding the light and charge adapter - under all that it the rest of the goods. The tin is a very nice tin. Bigger than an altoids tin of course, but along that same line. I'll never use it again for the TIP, but it will be used in my flashlight room. The manual has two languages, with English occupying a full side of the letter size (ok. It's actually A4, but whatever) glossy paper. Typical information is covered: Features, runtimes, UI, warranty, etc. It's a 'does-it's-job' manual.
Build Quality, Disassembly, and Durability
The TIP has a very nice feel - I'll say again how glad I am that these are metal bodies, not plastic (like the Tube). The micro-USB port is on the 'thin edge' of the light, and is not sealed in any way whatsoever. Initially I was a bit put off by this but then I realized it's practically the same as the open port on my phone. The rating is IP54, which is "dust resistant" and "splash resistant". For what it is, that's good enough (but barely). Of course I'd love to see a fully waterproof version of this light. I don't think that's too much to ask, nor would it be too hard to do. The body is sandwiched together by 4 Phillips screws on each side of the body. Removing those screws isn't quite as rewarding as you might expect. The bezel seems to hold on to the body parts in some way. I hope to eventually find out how, because I'll probably swap in a 3500K Nichia 219C to this light. The bezel is either press fit, or more likely screwed in. I'm still working on that detail. The light as a whole feels fairly durable, unsealed port notwithstanding. But the anodizing is thin, and after a fair bit of deep pocket carry, the anodizing is wearing off.
There's a very nice loop on the tail end of the light. And it's not just any loop, it's a well build loop that is attached to both sides of the body (remember I said the body splits down the middle after removing the screws). So the split ring attach point securely holds on to both parts of the body. That's There's no magnet, though, I bet inside the body there's room for a magnet that'll hold this light securely. The TIP will tailstand easily, and it'll headstand too (though I'm not sure why you'd want to).
Charging graph was done from when the light shut off on it's own, to when the light was fully charged (green indicator switch was lit) and the trickle charge had begun. The charge port is on the side of the light, and has no port or protection whatsoever. When the light is charging, the indicating switch(es?) light. Red if it's charging, green if charging is complete. The cell in the TIP is not user replaceable. Parasitic drain is worth mentioning regarding this light. In lockout mode, parasitic drain is apparently appalling. But if the light is stored not locked out, then battery life is typical. I have not tested parasitic drain. I don't really like locking lights out anyway, but I can report one accidental activation with the TIP, so it might be good to take care regarding accidental activation.
User Interface and Operation
There are two black square buttons, both with indicating leds (or one led between the two, more likely). One is labeled with power symbol, and the other has 4 dashes - this is the "mode" button. It's not really possible to feel the difference (in pocket, for example) based on these symbols. Both of these buttons are very clicky, thought they interestingly have a slightly different click. It isn't a bad click strictly speaking, but it's in no way quiet.
Power Switch Click
Power Switch Click
Mode Switch Click (or hold)
Mode Switch Hold
Power Switch Hold
Mode Switch Click
* The manual now states that the TIP does "consume power while in lockout." **Battery indicator: 3 flashes means >50% capacity. 2 flashes indicates <50% capacity. 1 flash indicates <10% capacity.
LED and Beam
The Cree XP-G2 S3 is behind a short, slightly orange peel reflector. It's surprisingly deep, and very narrow. The beam is much like the beam of a TIR, but has more spill. Also, it's surprisingly bright. In all honesty, for a keychain style light, it's a quite useful beam.
Beamshots, Runtime, and Lux Measurements
The runtime test has the thermocouple on the THIN SIDE of the body (best place I could get it tight).... Worth noting is that the TIP claims to have "ATR" - Advanced Temperature Management. The light does look somewhat regulated, ... on the other hand I'm not sure how advanced the output changes look based on the temperature vs output graph. Output remains nearly stable with a steady but minimal decline after the initial drop. This doesn't seem temperature based at all. http://i.imgur.com/LLdZstd.jpg
Nitecore makes some of their own competition in this category. The Tube, the Thumb, and the variations on those two lights, make this a big category. Then there is the Mecarmy SGN3, a very similar light with more leds, and a shallower reflector. It's rated for half the lumens of the TIP, and for a much higher cost. There is a Surefire variant. (And in case you're interested in my opinion, I like the three emitter options on the SGN3, but not at the added cost. I'd probably pick this TIP for price considerations, and the dual switch). The Manker Lad is a new entry in this category and it looks quite compelling. It costs about 50% more than this TIP, however. It has a more featured UI, more emitters (including red) and a sealed port for the micro-USB charging. It's a worthy contender. I'd love to compare these two lights sometime in the near future!
I think the TIP is a fun light, and as a backup, I think it's great for carry. The lack of weatherproofing, and the cool tint on this one, makes it one I might not carry that often, but it's a well built useful little light.
PSA: Save a developer and stop salt today! (AKA Leave wildcard alone ffs)
It seems that no matter what wildcard does, they get shit on and told they are amateurs and crappy Devs. Truth is, this game is beautiful and has grown so much over the years. It's an alpha game and buying into it means that things change and are being adjusted for release. But every time wildcard implements a change, the people who like their OP stuff get mad and threaten to sue (lmao). Let's check out a list of all the hypocrisy. I'll try to include all the things I remember right now, in no particular order.
Community: Box quetzals are OP and there's no counter. Plz nerf!
WC: nerfs box quetzals, puts up a ban rule against those who build them. Community: wth wildcard!! These are ur mechanix! Remove the ability to build them at all, it's ur shitty Building system that allows it! But don't ban me for making one, or I'll sue! WC: facepalm
Community: There's so much duping going on, get rid of duping because it makes it impossible to fight against the alpha tribes and it's cheating.
WC: fixes multiple duping exploits, offers money to those who help them find exploits, bans a bunch of tribes that have been using dupe exploits. Community: wth wildcard! I paid money for this game and your code allowed duping! I shouldn't get banned from this game for abusing exploits, let me just tank your games reviews even with 4K hours played and then I'll sue! WC: double facepalm
Community: Rockets are OP, they could definitely use a nerf since the bp launchers are just so strong against buildings
WC: nerfs rockets, adjusts other explosives to match up. Community: wth wildcard! Rockets are literally useless! Now I can only cover myself in c4 and suicide bomb shit! My BPs are useless and now I will sue! WC: starts taking anxiety meds
Community: High end blueprints are too easy to get and the stats are way OP. Please fix this wildcard, you're our only hope
WC: clamps stats on blueprints, makes them harder to get with fishing Community: wth wildcard! Now all of my blueprints are USELESS and there's no reason to make anything other than primitive! I'm going to burn all of my blueprints in a fire in front of the courthouse where I plan to sue! WC: develops hives and nervous tics
Community: Quetzal mining glitch is op, you shouldn't be able to carry unlimited resources! It should be difficult to mine metal for high end structures.
WC: fixes most mining glitches, adds weight of dinos and players to platform saddles. Community: wth wildcard! Now I can't surround my base with dropped vaults as was unintended by the mechanix and make my base untouchable! It's USELESS to even TAME a quetzal now! I'm going to demo all my structures but not before I see you in COURT! WC: therapist prescribes anti-psychotics
Community: Vaults are too big and they are being dropped to cover buildings. No way to raid someone when they have rows of vaults and you have to shoot dozens of rockets to get in, plz help wildcard!
WC: shrinks vaults, makes them harder to craft Community: wth wildcard! Now my vault dropped base is RUINED! Thousands of hours of my life GONE! It's time to call up my lawyers, round em up, and get a CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT against you guys for DESTROYING MY LIFE!!! WC: cries into pillow every night, relationships begin to deteriorate
Community: Big league carnivores take forever to tame, and gathering resources is likewise just too time consuming. Your weekend evolution events are great, we should have them all the time!
WC: permanent x2 rates and x3 on the weekend. Oh, and have some sheep to make taming carnivores easier. Community: WTH wildcard! My 1000 dino egg farm that lags the server is completely USELESS! This game is literally UNPLAYABLE now that I don't need all of these other dinos! You royally fucked up now wildcard, you'll be hearing from my LAWYERS! WC: stops showering and doesn't care about cleaning up after themselves. Alienates themselves from family.
Community: the oceans are boring; there's no real incentive to go down there, and they aren't dangerous enough.
WC: adds tons of new threats, caves, collectibles, dinos to tame, and more. Community: wth wildcard! Two eels killed my mosa because I didn't bring a crossbow! Oceans are UNPLAYABLE and there's no reason to even go in the oceans AT ALL! Nerf eels or you'll be hearing from my LAWYERS! WC: brain aneurysm develops from stress.
Community: Flyers are OP and there's nothing else that gets used end game. We love our no tame servers and no fly servers are great too! Nerf flyers so we have more options.
WC: nerfs flyers, promises to buff them back up to reasonable levels over a few hot fixes in the coming days/weeks. Community: wth wildcard! OMFG everything is useless now! I can't even pick people anymore or glitch out my quetzal to mass farm metal! You nerfed flyers into the ground FOREVER and now I can't scoop wyvern eggs without risks! I'm calling the Better Business Bureau. Prepare to get SUED!! WC: stops eating entirely, grows a beard (men and women) And my personal favorite....
Community: we love this game but you guys just don't listen to the community feedback we provide. It's like a brick wall. Please do better community service.
WC: head fuxking explodes TL;DR: please stop being toxic salt mining shitlords who can't be happy with this amazing game. It's still in alpha and subject to change. Maybe try going out of your comfort zone and exploring the world on foot and see that it's actually pretty fun when you can't just fly over every threat, and moreover, realize wildcard doing their best with what they've got. Not everything they do is perfect, but that's okay. They're people too, and they deserve kudos for creating one of the best survival games ever made. They are active and involved with the community, some of the best I've ever seen. Just let them do their thing, and enjoy the game for what it is. I bet you'll still like it. PSA: If you witness developer abuse and depression, please call 1-800-KILL-SALT. Every call might save an alpha game's life and community.
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