Progress Report- May 2023

Hey, Gamers! Wow, May went by super quick. It was a little up and down in terms of gaming for me, which is weird because looking back… I should’ve expected some kind of downward spiral after April being so great. I did not go back to a few games I said I would, but I also returned to a game I never thought I would. Let’s get into it!  

First of all, thank you to everyone who messaged me to let me know that The Walking Dead Definitive Edition was on sale. I haven’t played it yet (as I plan on streaming it), but we did get it while it was on sale. I’m so excited to play it! 

My special game for May was Uncharted. Unlike last month’s game of the month, I did not enjoy it. I think after picking out The Walking Dead and having so much fun with it (and finishing it in less than a month, which was a huge accomplishment for me)… I was so disappointed when I drew Uncharted out of my little bag full of games. I just wanted something I could finish in a month again, and Josh had spent so long on the Uncharted series that it really put me off. I wanted to enjoy it. Hell, I grew up with Tomb Raider so I was expecting to enjoy it. But alas, I did not. I don’t know why. I wish I could work out why. I didn’t get on with the combat at all. I think I did a good job on the whole working out where to go (which is what I thought I would struggle with), but the combat really let me down here. Gameplay wise, the feel of it (and why I couldn’t get on with it) reminded me a bit of The Last of Us. Both are games I want to come back to when I have a bit more experience.  

Mystic Messenger is the game I came back to. It was towards the very end of the month. I’ve been struggling with my mental health a lot recently and have found myself sleeping in until like 2-4pm. I figured that the last time it got this bad, Mystic Messenger helped me a lot. I loved the game before I got to Another Story. I stand by what I said about the issues I have about it (I will link the post at the bottom of this one), but I thought to myself “I don’t have to do that route again, not until I’m ready”. Due to doing Unknown’s route first, I never got to doing V’s. However, I thought that doing Another Story would be a bit much for my first run back in over a year. It would all still be relatively new content to me, and I remember it messing up my sleep schedule quite a bit more than the other, simpler stories. I don’t remember doing much of the Deep Story, so… I got Jumin’s route again. Why is that a problem? I have already got all of Jumin’s endings. Yeah, turns out I did Deep Story a lot. Regardless, I’m having a good time and after a few rounds I think I might try Another Story again. That being said, I will need to do a mental health check and I will probably be doing a post about how my mental illness shouldn’t be used as a horror trope.  

Thought I’d include a comparison of Elizabeth 3rd and one of my cats (Bear) in a similar position

Moving onto New Pokémon Snap… I got a picture of Mew for the first time. That’s literally all I did. They weren’t even good pictures.  

In Pokémon Emerald… I beat Roxanne. I walked over to the cave. That’s about it.  

Lastly, I have been thinking about Pokémon Violet a lot this month and wanted to play it… but my Switch was always out of battery so I wasn’t able to. But I wanted to tell you guys that I am at least thinking about completing the Pokédex.  

In Cyberpunk 2077, I… found a tunnel that I couldn’t actually use. Actually, while doing the quest for Panam, Riders on the Storm, there were several instances where I regretted the way I levelled up throughout the game. I think it was all to do with technical ability. But, I got Saul out of the gang’s base and drove away. I spent some time with Panam (but not that kind of time because Judy is too precious and I couldn’t do that to her) before not playing it for the rest of the month. (Editor’s Note: You can’t romance Panam even if you wanted to because she’s straight, as I found out the hard way during my first playthrough when I played as female V. Also, you conveniently missed out the part where you ragequitted Cyberpunk because you were defeated by the Delamain taxi company.)   

I have played a fair bit of Animal Crossing: New Horizons this month. I’ve just been trying to make our island a bit prettier. Hopefully, at some point through the week, I’ll post some of the screenshots I’ve taken on my Instagram so make sure you’re following me there. I spent some time with Celeste (basically just followed her around because she makes me so happy), and Kody just randomly came up and told me he wanted to leave. Hell yeah! We now have the chance to get a villager we actually like, so I’m super excited for that. I’m still working on getting Gayle and Bianca’s photos, and slowly working on getting Raymond to warm up to me. A while ago, I bought Gayle’s DIY desk off her (I was pressured, okay?), and I finally gave it back to her as a gift this month She is yet to put it in her house. I am very upset about this because the corner of her house just looks naked without it. Lastly, I finally fixed the flowers around our plaza to be exactly the way we wanted it to be. I think it looks cute, but not how I imagined it so I might change it.  

Yakuza 5 was the biggest game of the month for me, which is why I’m writing about it last. If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know I’ve been stuck on Saejima’s part of Yakuza 5 for a few months. Not only have I moved onto Haruka’s part of the story… I completed it. I even won the Princess League (which was so important to me because I had to overcome challenges caused by disabilities). I got onto Shinada’s part. I like his combat so far… but do not like the lack of money. I feel like I can’t really do anything with him because we just have no money. Haruka’s section of the game was my favourite by far. I absolutely loved it. I even liked Akiyama’s involvement in it (although I was somewhat disappointed when I went from doing dance battles to actual fighting again… I don’t know what I expected, either). Right now, I’m just excited to see how this game ends.  

Moving onto Josh’s stuff now. When I asked him, he said he hadn’t done much which I knew was wrong because I feel like we’ve been battling for the PlayStation more so this month than most. We eventually managed to jog his memory so let’s go.  

Josh’s one true love, Kharjo

I’m not sure if I spoke about it here when it happened, but back when the anniversary edition of Skyrim came out, Josh and I fought about it. I thought he didn’t need yet another version of a game that’s just going to crash multiple times on the first day. He thought he needed Skyrim on the PS5 because it’s “his favourite game”. He already has the platinum in Skyrim on PS4. Alas, he ended up getting it when it came out (which, thinking of it now, is a little hypocritical considering I couldn’t get Persona 5 Royal when that came out on the PS5… not that I want it anymore anyway, there’s literally no difference between the PS4 and PS5 version). This month, he’s been working a lot on the platinum trophy and ended up getting it. I think he was feeling a bit trapped by it because his next platinum trophy was going to be his 20th and he really wanted it to be a special one, specifically Skyrim. But that meant that he wasn’t able to play games with easy platinum trophies or games that he was close to getting the platinum trophy in. But he did it, and Skyrim is now his 1st and 20th platinum trophy. Maybe his 50th will be Skyrim again- who knows? 

Another game Josh has been playing quite a bit in May is Chivalry 2. He had a lot of fun on it. For the majority of it, he played online with his brother which was nice. For those who have been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that each year, I do a post about weird things Josh has said throughout the year while gaming. Yeah, he said “Hey! Hey! I’ve got a cabbage”… as a threat. I was so confused. Overall, this has been a funny game to listen to him yell at.  

Josh has been… frustrated at Pokémon this month. I think most of his frustration should be directed at Pokémon Home but he’s directing it at the entire series. He was so excited to be able to transfer his favourite Pokémon, Gliscor, into Pokémon Scarlet– only to find out that he couldn’t. The Pokémon that you can transfer feel so limited. For me personally, it’s a kick in the face to us Squirtle/ Bulbasaur fans that Charmander can be used in yet another game that our favourites cannot. But yeah, Josh has been on several rants about this, saying that he’s going off Pokémon. Then he transferred Hisuian Zorua, bred it and got a shiny. Suddenly, he’s very happy. This actually happened June 1st, but it’ll fit in much better here than in next month’s post. Spoilers for next month, but we’ve both started working on competitive teams to start ranked battles on Josh’s birthday (1st July), so we’re hyped for that.  

I don’t think there’s anything else. It’s been a pretty okay month, but nothing too big. I really wanted to get back to streaming (we both miss it so much), but circumstances suck and we’re not quite ready yet (although we are getting closer each day). Hopefully by the time it comes to writing next month’s Progress Report, we’ll have actually started streaming.  

But that’s it for this post, Gamers! What did you play during May? Let me know in the comments below! Make sure to give this post a ‘like’ if you liked it, and follow this blog for more informal gaming content (you know you want to!). Check out my socials to stay social, and I’ll see you next post! 


Quote of the Week

Week: 29th May- 4th June 2023

Game: Mystic Messenger

Character: Jumin Han

Quote: “You reach out your hand without expecting anything in return, you listen to me and nod… and you’ve accepted things about me that others refused”.

Reason: The world is a rough place. Growing up, my parents – particularly my mother – installed into me an ideology that kindness beats everything. I was bullied so much throughout my life and went through so much trauma; as I was emerging through that and trying to work out who I was as a young adult, I was proud of myself for holding onto the kindness in my heart. Since playing the deep route of Mystic Messenger, I saw a bit of Josh (my fiancé) in Jumin Han. It always takes me back to early on in our relationship, back when I was the only one in the world who he allowed himself to be vulnerable around. While he is more willing to open up to others now, he still leans on me the most when he’s vulnerable. He’s always said that my kindness and ability to listen to him and make him feel understood is what drew him to me, which is exactly what Jumin sees in MC. Josh has worked so hard with me to ensure that people don’t take advantage of my kindness, and I have built some walls over the years but this quote just reminded me of the importance of having a kind heart in such a harsh world. It’s always nice to know that people other than Josh appreciate it without taking advantage of it… even if they are fictional.

A shocking Snake in the PlayStation Showcase

Hey, Gamers! It has now been… just over 14 hours since the PlayStation Showcase last night and Joshua has asked me to write a post on this at least three times. We’ve been sleeping for most of that time. Regardless, I am in shock (as I’m sure most people are). I was hesitant about writing this blog post, mainly because my excitement stems from having a weird overly empathic relationship with Josh and getting excited about things on his behalf. I have not played any of these games (I am so hyped to finally be able to play them, though), but I have watched a 6 hour video on YouTube over the course of a couple of days explaining the timeline. I think that means I qualify to talk about it. Let’s go! 

YAKUZA 5_20230117130BOOM329

Okay, so, Josh said I should probably talk about the whole showcase. Honestly, I felt like the majority of what was shown felt like sequels to games I haven’t played, like Ghostrunner 2 and The Talos Principle 2. Josh has heard of some of the games and says that he has a reason to play the originals now. Some of the games looked pretty generic, like Immortals of Aveum for example. One of them, Ultros, looked like LSD took some LSD and even that short showing of it made me feel sick.  

There was one game that I really want to play – Foamstars. While I know a lot of people think that it’s just Splatoon, I think it looks way more fun. It reminds me of the water fights I had with my dad when I was younger, but it has pretty colours and I think it looks super fun.  

The games that came after the Metal Gear announcement were… I have no idea. I couldn’t think straight. Josh and I were just in awe. It took us a while to even process it. I think I remember that Final Fantasy XVI was after it because Josh was originally looking forward to it but literally said “I don’t care” when I pointed it out.  

Okay, time to actually talk about it.  

I actually had to hold Josh’s hand throughout the trailer because we thought it might be some kind of creepy bug game and I was waiting for the spider. When things started switching up, we were so confused. We were trying to work out whether it was a snake or an alligator when Snake showed up. To say our jaws dropped is an understatement. Our minds were completely blown. I mean, they still are.  

*After rewatching the showcase again purposely for this blog* 

Okay, I hate admitting when Josh is right… but he was right. He convinced me to rewatch the showcase because he felt like I was interested in games that I haven’t mentioned, and he has right. While I stand by the fact that the reveal of the Metal Gear Solid 3 remake stole the show (and my memory of the other games I’m interested in), there are some games that look good. Like I said, there’s a lot of sequels to games I haven’t played which is great for the people who have played those games but I obviously have little interest in them. 

The first game in the showcase interests me a whole bunch. It’s called Fairgame$ and it seems to be an anti-capitalism/heist type game. Outside of my blog and streaming, I’m quite a political person. I studied history because the development of politics completely fascinates me. I try not to talk about politics here because my blog is linked to my Twitch and I share my Twitch with Josh who… is much less passionate about politics and has asked me to not talk about politics a lot while we’re growing our audience since I can get a bit intense apparently. Getting back onto the point, the premise of this game is incredibly interesting to me. It had me within the first few seconds. The graphics look great to me, and it looks so sleek. I am a little worried that the gameplay might be a bit too challenging for me because I’m not used to heist-type things. Just from the trailer, I am a little worried that it might be completely online and co-op which might be a problem for me because I just have Josh (and even then… we only own one PS5). Regardless, I’m hoping that gameplay-wise it’ll be a little like Cyberpunk 2077 in terms of having a variety of options to pick from in terms of how you play.  

Cyberpunk 2077_20221003081532

The next game I wanted to talk about is Phantom Blade 0. The style of it reminds me of Soulsborne games but I obviously know it’s not a Soulsborne game. To be honest, I’m not sure I’d say it’s a souls-like either. The story seems interesting enough to keep me entertained, and the setting looks lovely. I also enjoyed the voice acting, and thought that the dialogue chosen for the trailer was compelling. I’m not saying I’m going to play this one, but I am looking forward to hearing and seeing more about it.  

Next up, we have Neva. I’m a little stuck with this game because it genuinely looks like a good, emotional story but I don’t know how I’m going to deal with the gameplay. Maybe it’s another one where I’ll wait to see a bit of actual gameplay before making my mind up. The music was really good, and I like how the relationships between the characters were clear despite the lack of dialogue. It reminds me of the emotional storytelling of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.  

Let’s talk about Foamstars. This was the one game I was excited about, and watching it again has just cemented this. It just looks so… fun. I feel like it’s going to give me the same rush Fortnite does, but it’s got bubbles and the colours are pretty and it reminds me of, like I said before, my childhood water fights. The music in this trailer is perfect for the vibe, and I love the shots of gameplay. I am so hyped for this game.  


The Plucky Squire is one that I’m on the fence about (again). The concept is super interesting to me, but I don’t know how good the gameplay and story are going to align with my interests. I think it would be fun for a lot of people, but I’m not quite sure if it’ll be fun for me personally.  

Alan Wake 2 is interesting to me. I’m a writer myself, and I know Alan Wake is a classic. It’s the only sequel that was revealed that made me want to play the original game so that I can play the sequel when it comes out.  

To be completely honest, the new Spider-Man 2 trailer wasn’t my favourite. I think it was a let down after the massive reveal of the Metal Gear Solid 3 remake. I mean, it looks good but compared to the original reveal, it just felt off.  

And that’s really everything that I’m personally interested in. I still can’t get over the Metal Gear Solid 3 remake. I’m so hyped for Josh. And I’m hyped for everyone who got a reveal of a game they’re excited for. There was a lot of sequels to games that I’m sure a lot of people love, so I hope they live up to your standards.  

That’s it for this post, Gamers! Are you excited for any games revealed at the PlayStation Showcase? Were you as shocked as we were when they revealed the Metal Gear Solid 3 remake? Let me know in the comments below, and don’t forget to give this post a ‘like’ if you liked it. Check out my socials to stay social, and I’ll see you next post! 

Quote of the Week

Week: 22nd– 28th May 2023

Game: Mystic Messenger

Character: 707

Quote: “Your trial version of Jumin Han’s voice service has expired. What a shame. From now on, you will be charged one Honey Buddha Chip bag every ten seconds. Do you wish to continue?”

Reason: I feel like I say this every week, but this week has been difficult emotionally and mentally. I am completely drained. My sleep schedule is so messed up. I downloaded Mystic Messenger in hopes to get me to wake up in the morning. I haven’t played this game for a long time due to the absolute awful representation of Dissociative Identity Disorder (which is a disorder I have), but I figured… I needed something right now. It hasn’t helped me get up yet,but I am only on day two. This conversation with Seven filled me with emotions because it reminded me of why I loved this game so much: the characters. Their banter with each other, their insecurities, their passions, their jokes. Jumin has always been one of my favourite characters, but I can never tell him I want the Jumin Han voice to continue because how could I do that to him? In conclusion, I love this game and I’m thinking of redownloading Tumblr to post on my Mystic Messenger headcanon page again. It’s been 2 days.

Games that changed my mind about the FPS genre

Hey, Gamers! If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that a year ago, I had written off FPS games as “not my type of game”. Now, things are different. During my hiatus, I really branched out and I want to talk about the games that helped me do that. Let’s Go!

The first FPS game that started to change my mind was Fallout 4. It’s one of Josh’s (my partner) most played games on the PS4, so I’ve seen a good portion of it (Editor’s Note: Just to clarify, I don’t actually like Fallout 4 very much and I have no clue how it got to be my most-played PlayStation game). I think the V.A.T.S. system helped me a whole bunch. Something that’s always put me off using guns is aiming. I can hardly see what I’m meant to be shooting by the time I’m dead so it’s always been a problem for me (even back before I became a proper gamer, when I just dabbled in Resident Evil with my dad). I think being able to identify an enemy with V.A.T.S. and then not have to aim was a great way to get me started. Pretty quickly, I started picking up on the slight moments on the screen being the target I’m meant to be shooting. I went from using V.A.T.S. all the time, to most of the time, to only when I was sure I wouldn’t be able to get the shot myself.

Cyberpunk 2077_20230429154441

Similar to this in the sense of it having a system to identify what I’m meant to be shooting is Cyberpunk 2077. Now, this game (in combination with another) was what made me and Josh sit down and have a talk about guns. I didn’t know the difference between them in any way. Through Cyberpunk 2077, we identified that I liked using shotguns the best. Despite having a primarily hacking build, I still use my guns when it’s needed but by that point, the enemy is usually close enough to me so my shotgun would be the best bet. Also, fun fact, the shotgun that I use is the same one Rebecca uses in Edgerunners, if you haven’t seen it, you should.

The other game I talked about was Fortnite. Fortnite is a game that I never thought I would play and actually enjoy. I don’t play it as much as I want to. I tend to get super hyped on it for like a week or two, and then it drops off my radar for a month or two. Anyway, whenever I get a shotgun in Fortnite, I get so excited. Josh helped me, again, understand the difference between all the guns. I think with Fortnite, more so than any other game on this list, you get dragged through game after game based on the adrenaline rush you get whenever you get in the top 10. I don’t play many multiplayer games, but Fortnite seems to be the fairest that I’ve played so far. I actually won my second and third games of Fortnite, which I always thought was pretty cool. I know it’s cringy, but it is worth the try if you want to get into more social games.


Which leads us well onto the game that kinda started this whole thing: GTA Online. I never, ever, ever thought I would be able to play something like this. I actually did pretty well, though. I don’t even know why I started playing it. I think I saw Josh play it and it actually looked fun. This was the first game I started actively using guns in. While I never sought out a gun fight, it got to the point where I could competently defend myself. If someone killed me, I would go after them. It got to the point where I felt comfortable with combat, which I never thought would happen in any game, never mind an online game. I will say that I did end up playing in a solo session towards the end, just because I couldn’t be bothered with other players trying to steal my business’ goods. It got me confident enough to try other shooters and FPS games, which is pretty cool and was completely unexpected.

And that, Gamers, is how FPS turned out to be my ‘genre of the year’ on my 2022 PlayStation Wrap-up. I didn’t even screenshot it because I really, really never thought I would speak out about this on my blog. I think the reason I wanted to write this post is because… thinking that you can’t play FPS games because of a skill issue limits the games you play drastically. It limits the amount of social interaction you have in games, it can limit so many stories you can experience… and I used to think that it was a barrier I’ll never get over but the barrier was more like a poorly put up fence when in my mind it was the wall from Attack On Titan.

My point is: branch out. Try it. Try different types of games of the same genre. I really wanted to like Deathloop and we even bought it but I wasn’t able to do it. I cannot wait to try it again now that I have much more experience with that type of gameplay. You are going to be amazed at your own ability whenever you overcome a hurdle like this.

That’s it for this post, Gamers! I know it’s on the shorter side but I didn’t think you’d want another list and I felt like this post was a good one to get out now before I try Deathloop again. Don’t forget to like this post if you liked it, follow this blog for more gaming content and check out my socials to… be social. See you next post!

Quote of the Week

Week: 15th – 21st May 2023

Game: Yakuza 5

Character: Haruka Sawamura

Quote: “No matter how difficult things might get, I don’t want to live with the regret of not ever trying”.

Reason: Well, this is a huge spoiler for my monthly progress report. I was terrified for Haruka’s section of Yakuza 5. I knew that if there was a point in this series where I couldn’t move past it, it was this. I am so bad at any sort of rhythm-based game. I have several conditions that impact it, primarily dyslexia and dyscalculia. Primarily (because I know a lot of people don’t know this), my dyscalculia means that I struggle to tell the size of things like gaps in between button presses (or even if one square is bigger than the other). While I recognised this whole time that I would have a more difficult time… I didn’t give up. I told myself (and for neurotypical people, I imagine that this sounds insane) that Haruka was also at a disadvantage. We were going to work through it together. We practiced and practiced and practiced until my fingers started hurting. I learnt to love Haruka’s section of this game. I loved the challenge it gave me, how hard I had to work for it. Yes, I was at what sometimes feels like an unfair disadvantage… but I wasn’t alone. So, when Haruka got given the option to drop out of the Princess League before the final round… I knew we couldn’t do it.
I have a lot of trauma, and something that goes along with that is a lot of regrets. Regrets of not doing more, of not sticking up for myself, of not telling more people. I’m trying to heal from that now, and I’m learning that all these regrets are just negative thoughts that are weighing me down. You can’t do anything about regrets. Haruka is so young, but she’s so right. The regret of not trying something is one that haunts most people, and I know from experience that it’s a particularly difficult one to get rid of. Sure, things might get hard but at least you tried. If you don’t try, you have nothing. Wise words from a 16-year-old, but I expect nothing else from Haruka.

My 10 favourite and least favourite Pokémon

Hey, Gamers! A long time ago, I wrote a list about the best Pokémon as someone who has never finished a full Pokémon game. Since then… I’ve fallen in love with the franchise. My favourite Pokémon weren’t even on the list. It was mainly judged my cuteness, Josh’s opinion, and general popularity. I promise you, for this list, the only one of those things that apply is cuteness. Even then, there’s a whole lot of cute Pokémon that didn’t make this list. There are over a thousand Pokémon now, after all.
A few things I wanted to clarify here: If a Pokémon is included is a baby or the first stage of an evolution line, that implies the full line deserves the spot. I specifically only chose Pokémon that I liked the full lines of because if I like the full lines to put them on this list, they have to be solid. I also don’t dislike any regional variants (although some are questionable), so they’re included too. This is obviously especially the case if I mention a regional variant in the explanation.
Also, I’ve added my top 10 least favourite Pokémon because I thought it would be funny to talk about.
I think it would be funnier if you read the original list first, which is why I’m including the link here and not at the end of the post like normal.

Without any further comments, let’s get into my top 10 favourite and least favourite Pokémon!


10) Diglett.
For those who have been following me for a while, you’ll know that I got into Pokémon through the anime and playing Let’s Go Eevee. I kid you not, Diglett carried my team with Dig. There was basically no problem that Dig couldn’t solve. I actually traded to get an Alolan Diglett, but I don’t think that added to it much other than the act that it was levelling up significantly faster than most of the Pokémon I trained. Diglett holds a special place in my heart because of its strength during my first ever full playthrough of a Pokémon game, and because of that… I have not used Diglett since. I know Diglett isn’t a particularly good Pokémon now, and I don’t ever want bad memories associated with it by using it and it being useless.

9) Zorua.
My first experience with Zorua was the anime movie Zoroark: Master of Illusions. I am going to be completely open with you guys and say the only time I have actually used Zorua was Legends Arceus… when I was mainly using another Pokémon so ‘used’ is a loose term here. I love the lore and design of Zorua. I love that it disguises itself as other Pokémon in Scarlet and Violet. I think I love the idea of it more than it itself, though. I never manage to make it fit on my team and if it was higher on this list, I probably would.

8) Impidimp.  
Impidimp is very special to me for a very personal reason. The games it came out in – Sword and Shield – are meant to be based on England (as a Welsh person, I hate when people say the UK or Britain because there’s so much cool Welsh, Scottish and Irish mythology and heritage that got left out and would have made the games so much cooler). In particular, the Impidimp is based on the Lincoln Imp. At the time the games came out and even when I got into Pokémon a while later, Josh and I were living in Lincoln. It was and will forever be such a special place to us. We’ve both used this evolution line and called them Lincoln because… it felt wrong not to. Even though I knew Josh’s was called Lincoln… what else was I going to call it? Imp? Castle? Cathedral?

7) Riolu
I don’t know why I always get excited when I see a Riolu or Lucario. It genuinely just fills me with joy. Unlike most, I love this type of evolution criteria. I loved having my little Riolu follow me around (or… try to follow me around) in Shining Pearl. Finding an Alpha Lucario filled me with so much adrenaline… it- I just love it, okay? I don’t have the words to explain why. It’s cute and a fighting type, I guess.

6) Pawmi
Pawmi came very close to dethroning another electric type on this list, which was shocking because at one point, that Pokémon was my ultimate favourite (because I thought Eevee was everyone’s favourite so I needed to pick another and I wanted to pick a non-starter Pokémon to be my favourite because I didn’t think they counted). I love the design, the move pool, the evolution criteria (I know, another one that’s not very liked by the general community). This is a solid Pokémon line. My Pawchi (that was its nickname) was the first Pokémon on my Violet file to reach Level 100, and it was no where close to my other Pokémon who were around level 70 at the time.

5) Chimchar
Okay, this is an exception to the whole Josh has not influenced this list thing. Chimchar is Josh’s favourite starter. I always pick the water starters. I ended up with Piplup when playing Shining Pearl. I know that Chimchar is the best. I think the Gen 4 starters are interesting in the sense of not many people think Piplup is useful or good; everyone thinks Turtwig is cute and useful; everyone knows that Chimchar is ultimately going to be the best choice. There are so many perks to picking Chimchar in Sinnoh that it would be a bit silly to not ignore its clear superiority over the other starters (again, I used Piplup and will pretty much always pick Piplup). I think that with most Pokémon on the previous list, the only opinion I cared about was Josh’s. With Chimchar, it’s not the same. It’s more… I appreciate the usefulness, practicality and popularity of the Pokémon while recognising that it holds a special place in Josh’s heart. Plus, and not to be that guy but, Chimchar is cute. The Legends Arceus quest about Chimchar made it out to be so cheeky and I just found that adorable.

4) Shinx
Oof, getting into the serious ones now. The Shinx line was ‘the other electric type’ that I spoke about earlier. Luxray was the first Pokémon that I ever got to Level 100. I wouldn’t say it carried my Shining Pearl and Legends Arceus teams, but it worked hand in hand with the next Pokémon I want to talk about. Shinx is so cute and it genuinely fills me with joy whenever I find one in the early routes of Sinnoh. I was so sad in my first Nuzlocke because for Route 202 I believe, I fainted it so I just couldn’t get it. Luckily, I got one on one of the following routes. Electric is obviously a solid type, and Luxray feels like the peak of it to me. The only thing I don’t love about this Pokémon is its shiny, but even then, I would still hunt for it and I would still be overjoyed if I got one.

3) Gible

I love this Pokémon so much I sometimes get emotional just thinking about it. This entire line is amazing. The design, the moves, the strength- I love this Pokémon line. Garchomp is, without any exaggeration, the singular Pokémon I have wanted to use on every single one of my teams. I had to fight with myself for Gen 9 because I wanted to use Pokémon that I had never used before… but I found a baby Gible and it was so cute and my team needed a ground type. I think, in my head, ground types are the one thing I need on my team every time because I’m so scared of coming up against a super strong electric type that I can’t defeat. It’s like a really specific scenario that I have in my head, but it’s there and controls me. I used Diglett a lot during my first playthrough, but Garchomp hits different. Like, if Garchomp was a Taylor Swift album, it would be Speak Now. That’s how good it is. Yes, I’m excited about Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), but if you haven’t listened to Speak Now yet, wait until July. Duh. Anyway, Garchomp is wonderful and very practical. I think out of all the Pokémon in this list, Garchomp is the one that’s most likely to be on my team at any given time.

2) Eevee

Eevee was my favourite Pokémon before I knew what Pokémon was. I felt personally connected to the entire line as I felt like it was… symbolic of a condition I have. I loved my Eevee during Let’s Go Eevee, and I even used a Gigantamax one in Sword. My favourite Eeveelutions switch between Espeon, Umbreon and Sylveon. I love the design of all of them, but in particular I feel like Leafeon and Glaceon have very cool designs. They’re all super cute, too. I managed to both catch them all and evolve them all from Eevee in Legends Arceus, which made me feel really good.

1) Squirtle.

If you’ve known me for the past two years, you would’ve seen this coming when you read the title. Squirtle is so special to me. It started with the anime, and then I got my Squirtle in Let’s Go Eevee. Josh traded me a Squirtle so I could get one before finishing the game in Shining Pearl. It killed me to not have a Squirtle in Legends Arceus (but I had Garchomp to rely on sooo it ended up working okay in the end). I got a Gigantamax Squirtle in Pokémon Sword which I swapped for my starter Pokémon (RIP Sobby) as soon as I got it. Like, this entire line makes me so happy. The design, the cuteness, the… The Squirtle Squad. The Squirtle Squad isn’t the only reason I like Squirtle, but it is a big part of it. Can you blame me? They’re so cute and funny and cheeky and wonderful and I just can’t with them. I feel like Squirtle always have so much personality and I just- I love them so much, okay?

Least Favourite-

10) Chewtle
I don’t hate this Pokémon; I just find it a little annoying during the early routes of Sword. I think the first time I tried to play Sword, I didn’t quite understand Pokémon yet, so I just got bombarded by a lot of Chewtle and it’s left a sour taste in my mouth since then.

9) Paras
Legends Arceus.

8) Buizel
I think this stems from it being one of the first times I came across a Pokémon that I couldn’t use due to the starter I picked. Like, I know it’s petty new player stuff… but I still hold that grudge and can’t seem to shake it.

7) Yanma
Don’t like bugs; this feels like the most annoying one. I hated it in New Pokémon Snap because it makes an annoying noise, and it hurts my ears and ruins my shots.

6) Nosepass
If you’ve been here a while, you’ll know that I have been trying to play through Pokémon Emerald (“trying” being the keyword) for about a year now. Lately I’ve decided that in my new game, I would train up a Ralts. It took me so long. I went marching into the gym as soon as it knew confusion with full faith that my Mudbro would wipe out the entire team. After healing like three times, Nosepass fainted my Mudbro. I think I had revives, but that wasn’t the point. It was so annoying because everything else went down in one single hit and this one stupid Pokémon was being stubborn. So, yeah, this is a new one but I’m still annoyed.

5) Heatran
It took me literal months to catch this stupid Pokémon. Real life months.

4) Wingull
This might stem from my fear of birds IRL, but it just fills me with rage whenever I see it.

3) Sharpedo
This Pokémon has no right being so fast and so mad at the same time.

2) Lickitung
I hate tongues. They’re wet and throb and are so gross.

1) Steelix
Josh says my hatred of Steelix is irrational, and that makes sense because I don’t know why I hate this Pokémon so much. I’m fine with Onix, so it’s not Sturdy. It’s just so stupid. It genuinely makes my jaw clench just thinking about it. I just hate it with every fibre of my being. I want to get a huge fire and just watch it melt. I really, really hate Steelix, and I don’t know why. Like, I genuinely have no clue and that makes me more mad. I wish I had a good reason for my obvious overreaction but I don’t. I can’t stand either the thought or sight of this awful abomination.

But that’s it for this post, Gamers! What are your favourite and least favourite Pokémon? Let me know in the comments section, and don’t forget to give this post a ‘like’ if you liked it. Follow this blog for more informal gaming content and check out my socials to stay updated when I’m not posting. See you next post!

Quote of the Week

Week: 8th– 14th May 2023

Game: Yakuza 5

Character: Haruka

Quote: “You just have to hold on a little longer. You’re obviously an upstanding young man, and the children all look up to you.”

Reason: I am absolutely loving Haruka’s story in Yakuza 5. I’m enjoying the idol stuff a lot more than I originally thought I would. My favourite events to do are the Running Girl TV show and the handshake events. This particular quote comes from an interview that starts as a side story rather than a job on the schedule like the other interviews. Why? Because it’s responding to letters from the Morning Glory kids. Guys, my heart couldn’t take it. If you’ve read the post where I offer an apology to Kiryu (linked at the end of this one), you’ll know that I’m mad at Park for taking Haruka and Kiryu away from those kids. This side story just increased that anger. Those kids need them, and Park should have realised that. I think the Morning Glory kids are really special to both Kiryu and Haruka, but it’s more… obvious with Kiryu. Like, those are his kids, they’re obviously going to be special to him. In the previously mentioned post, I talked a bit about the responsibility put on Haruka when Morning Glory is established. Before writing that post, I actually spoke to Josh about how it’s obvious that Haruka has a mother role. In this conversation, it’s made explicitly clear that those kids view Haruka as their mother. It just makes the whole thing worse. This whole conversation could have been the quote of the week (if I saw it all, which I didn’t because the tears fogged up my glasses), but I chose this one because it’s the one thing giving the kids hope. I don’t know much about Yakuza 6 apart from Haruka having a baby and being in a coma. So, she’s not back at Morning Glory. I’m not going to give these kids false hope that she’s going to come back. It’s actively something I avoided doing but Haruka did it anyway. This line, I feel, speaks a lot to the kids. It reminds them that there’s always someone looking up to you and that in the end, everything is going to be okay. I think that’s an important lesson to learn. You see, bad things happen and they happen fairly frequently. Even if it’s a big thing… the world keeps moving. Life keeps going. If you push through, everything has to be okay eventually. It’s a lesson I hope to teach my own kids as soon as possible because I forget it often at 23.

Kiryu Post Link:

Persona 5 Royal characters as songs from Taylor Swift’s masterpiece, ‘Midnights’.

Hey, Gamers! I have been a huge Taylor Swift fan since 2011. I actually got bullied for how much I loved Taylor Swift. I know no one wanted this post, but I’m doing it because I think it’ll be fun. This is part of a new series where I assign characters from video games a song off of a Taylor Swift album. For my favourite thieves, I was going to do Reputation but I wanted to start with Midnights. I might do Rep for the thieves anyway… this series might end up being all about the Phantom Thieves. Since Midnights has more songs than the Phantom Thieves has members, I will be adding the odd confidant here if it feels right. Let’s go!
Before we get into it, this is merely my own interpretation of the characters. If you believe something else, that’s fine. We can view characters differently. Secondly, I’m including the third semester thieves from Royal so if you haven’t got that far, save this post for when you have.

This is Persona 5 Strikers, the rest of the pictures are Persona 5 Royal

1) Lavender Haze: Morgana
This one isn’t that deep. Lavender Haze is about the feeling you get when you’re in love, and Morgana is canonically in love with Ann.
2) Maroon: Ohya
This one is not that deep either. Ohya’s confidant is fantastic in terms of the story. I highly recommend doing it if you haven’t already. Maroon is about being in a relationship that didn’t end well; it wasn’t perfect but you can remember the good moments. Lyrics that give me Ohya’s vibe include ‘”How’d we end up on the floor anyway”’, “When the silence came, we were shaking blind and hazy” and “how the blood rushed into my cheeks, so scarlet it was (maroon)”. I think the theme of alcohol running through this song is what leans into this song fitting Ohya, but it’s not the only thing. Maroon is a more mature version of Red. Ohya’s personality is much more mature than the other confidants, even compared to Kawakami and Takemi. You meet her at a bar, with her clearly being oblivious to the fact that you shouldn’t be allowed there. The mature theming of Maroon is ultimately why I assigned this song to Ohya.
3) Anti-Hero: Ryuji
I am ready for the cries of “what about Akechi?” or “Akechi is a literal anti-hero” and I get that. What I also get is that this song isn’t about being an actual anti-hero. Ryuji’s entire story is basically this song. He struggles so much with who he is, and it’s being a part of the team that helps him realise that he’s good with who he is now. Ryuji spends a lot of the game being haunted by his past, similar to the line “When my depression works the graveyard shift / All of the people I’ve ghosted stand there in the room”. All of the thieves are traumatised, obviously, but Ryuji is quite literally haunted by the people he cannot help. That shows through his enthusiasm at the start of each arc, even down to the requests in Mementos. Most notably, I think it shows at the start of Okumura’s arc. He’s so haunted by the thought of not being able to help these people, he flips out. Ryuji grows the most during the game (in my opinion), but he’s still a boy who has struggled to control his emotions his whole life. At the start of Okumura’s arc, he’s hurting because the whole point of their Phantom Thief work is to help people so why doesn’t anyone else want to help? I imagine he felt quite betrayed during this time, as did Morgana (albeit for different reasons). Ryuji was, in a way, the catalyst of Kamoshida’s violence and therefore he likely feels somewhat responsible for the pain caused by everyone after him (especially since that’s what his team insinuates), and the fact that he could stop the pain they were going through gave him… not power exactly, but the only way I can word it (from my personal therapy experience) is that it gave him power over the experience. It put the ball in his court, so to speak, and because of that he feels the need to help as many people as he can. He doesn’t want anyone else to go through anything like he went through, and that’s so evident in his behaviour.
Next, I want to talk about the line “I wake up screaming from dreaming / One day I’ll watch as you’re leaving / ‘Cause you got tired of my scheming”. This desperation is reflected during Ryuji’s confidant arc. The healing that Ryuji did throughout the game is basically solely reliant on the Phantom Thieves and, by extension, Joker. He is well aware of this. This is also the main reason I despise the beginning of Persona 5 Strikers because it’s so uncharacteristic of the majority of them to not communicate. I have a theory that the texts at the beginning are the characters talking to the player, not Joker, but that’s a discussion for another time. Ryuji is afraid of losing the friends he has; he’s afraid of regressing in the progress he has made. That’s completely understandable, something that a lot of traumatised people go through. When healing from trauma, it’s like taking one step forward and two steps back. If Ryuji loses the Phantom Thieves, he loses more than his friends. He loses his method of healing, his only way of helping people and the people who have helped him heal. I’ve talked about the Phantom Thieves being more than a group of friends quite a few times, but I wanted to emphasise that here. They’re each other’s chosen family, and being in a position to choose your own family is incredibly healing in itself. This lyric repeats in a future verse, however the last line changes to “And life will lose all its meaning”, and I think this only further supports my point with this song.
I know Akechi is a literal anti-hero, but that’s not what this song is about. This song is about feeling like you’re an anti-hero, and I think Ryuji is the embodiment of that.

4) Snow on the Beach: Futaba
Hi, uh, one line is sticking out to me and that’s “weird but f*cking beautiful”. This song is completely Futaba. It reminds me of her relationship with Yusuke during the game. They’re both pretty aloof and really, it shouldn’t work out because they’re both prideful and stubborn but they get each other like no one else does and what they have is so different to everyone else but it’s so special and just feels right.
Furthermore, the lyrics of this song are so intelligent and artistic that I fail to think of any other relationship than Futaba and Yusuke. It paints a picture of their individualism and their togetherness all in one. Most importantly, the entire world doesn’t get them. I picked Futaba over Yusuke for this because I feel like she struggles to express this the most, and I feel like this song is a beautiful mixture of someone trying to explain something so beautiful that words aren’t enough. I think Yusuke would have those words, but Futaba would struggle.
I think the repeated theme of ‘what ifs’ are really important to both Yusuke and Futaba. Yusuke’s is handled pretty well during his confidant arc, but for Futaba it was touched on as early as her own palace. In Snow on the Beach, the speaker states ‘I can’t speak, afraid to jinx it, I don’t even dare to wish it’ and then goes on to say ‘Can this be a real thing? Can it?’. It’s not just her relationship with Yusuke that this relates to – it’s her relationship with the whole group.
Futaba shutting down after her mother died had serious implications for her mental health. It was a huge thing. The Phantom Thieves saved her in multiple ways, but the main one that stands out to me is that she’s able to appreciate her life again. She’s so lucky to have these people, and without them she wouldn’t be the same. She wouldn’t be able to appreciate the beauty of life. She wouldn’t be able to have the life her mother wanted her to have. Futaba’s story is so deep and there’s multiple layers to it if you overthink it (like I clearly do) but even on surface level, you have a girl who was throwing away her life due to mental illness and a group of people who help her appreciate the life she was given- she’s now able to appreciate the beauty in everyday things because she’s living instead of just surviving.

5) You’re on Your Own, Kid: Sumire
This one will obviously give away spoilers for the third semester, so leave now if you don’t want that.
This song screams Sumire to me. Her whole arc is based on her coming to terms with who she is as a person. She struggles immensely as she tries to find herself, and while she does find extreme comfort in Joker and being a part of the Phantom Thieves, it’s also made very clear that her healing journey is something that she needs to go through alone. Sometimes she might need a shoulder to lean on, but for the most part, she needs to do this for herself (and for the memory of her sister). It reminds me of Taylor Swift’s graduation speech, where she said something along the lines of “You’re on your own now, but you’re on your own now” which, for anyone who doesn’t speak Taylor Alison Swift, means that being on your own is scary but that fear is thrilling and it means no one can hold you back. Sumire was holding herself back for so long (not on purpose, it wasn’t voluntary or her fault in any way) because she was desperate not to be herself. The second that she truly embraced herself was the second she learnt of the power she was truly capable of. That’s something that only comes from acceptance, and that’s something she needed to do on her own.
Let’s throw some lyrics around for good measure. For one, “I didn’t choose this town / I dream of getting out / There’s just one who could make me stay”. This could be interpretated in different ways for Sumire. Let’s talk about the main two, and for that we need to talk about who “the one who could make [her] stay” is, and it’s two different people: one is Joker, the other is Kasumi. Let’s tackle Kasumi first. It feels weird openly discussing this because it’s such a spoiler but the story itself deserves to be talked about. It’s such a wonderful story. In this interpretation of the line, the memory of Kasumi has a hold on Sumire. Kasumi and Sumire had their dream, a dream they had because they were sisters and without her sister, Sumire is lost. She has worked towards this dream her entire life; yet she cannot do it exactly as she planned it without Kasumi. Kasumi’s memory is keeping her in gymnastics. She eventually decides that she needs to live out that dream, to honour her sister. There’s so many things that the memory of Kasumi is linking her to – gymnastics, her identity, cooking, her style. Because she’s relied on her sister for so much, her whole world came crashing down when it was gone. She didn’t choose this. She didn’t and probably wouldn’t have chosen this life. If it wasn’t for Kasumi, she probably wouldn’t feel the draw to gymnastics and the… determination she feels to keep going.
As for the interpretation surrounding Joker, we need to focus more on Sumire’s journey. The interpretation of this line implies Sumire is holding onto the Phantom Thieves/Tokyo due to her relationship with Joker. I want to point out that I personally do not feel as strongly about this interpretation, so if it makes less sense it’s because I feel less confident about it. For this, we need to focus on the canonical story rather than her confidant (which is optional) to look at the times she appears. While Sumire is a major part of the story of Persona 5 Royal regardless of how you play it, she appears significantly less than expected considering she was basically the poster girl. Throughout the story, her interactions with Joker seem short and sweet. She’s seen less than the other thieves because she’s not focused on taking anyone down or having a united goal with the thieves. She’s focused on gymnastics. We even see throughout her story that her education has even had to take a back seat because gymnastics is so important to her. Sumire is arguably the most independent Phantom Thief, while still relying a significant amount on Joker for mental and emotional support. So, we get that Sumire appears less due to her focus on gymnastics and her interactions with Joker are short yet impactful, right? Okay good, let’s move on the section spanning from the Hawaii trip to the third semester. While seeing Sumire in Hawaii, it becomes obvious to the player (and to Joker) that gymnastics is a very serious thing for her and could actually take her places. I mean, she’s literally travelled to another country just to train. She could and probably will travel the world. So what’s tying her to Tokyo, to Shujin, to the Phantom Thieves? Logically, her family, but an argument could be made that her connection to Joker and how he helped her throughout the story and then further in her confidant shows that their connection is pretty special. It shows that despite the dream, she’s still making those connections (see the line of this song where it says “So make the friendship bracelets / Take the moment and taste it / You’ve got no reason to be afraid”). Joker is both what ties her to the Phantom Thieves and what gives her the freedom to follow her dreams.
This song is all about the things you do to follow your heart. It’s about making mistakes but living through it. I don’t think there’s a song that shows off Sumire’s character arc more.

6) Midnight Rain: Makoto
Ah, this song is such a bop. In this instance, I’m putting it in context that applies to the character. For Makoto, I believe that Midnight Rain is about not being able to change who you are. For the line “He was sunshine, I was midnight rain”, I imagine ‘he’ being who other people wanted her to be. She can’t change who she is. She can’t change her strong sense of justice and distaste for corruption, even if it would help her out in the long run. Similarly, the line “he wanted it comfortable, I wanted that pain” reflects on the fact that being a Phantom Thief was not easy for Makoto. It would be much easier for her to ‘be comfortable’, to be complacent, to just do what people were asking of her. But Makoto’s sense of justice got in the way, and it’s such a core part of who she is… but she’s been raised to be an obedient, unquestioning tool. Finding who she was by working with the Phantom Thieves opened her eyes completely. The line “My town was a wasteland / Full of cages, full of fences / Pageant queens and big pretenders / But for some it was paradise” really reflects Makoto’s journey. So many people in this game are happy with being complacent in the corrupt world built by corrupt people. If they see success, like the principal did, they’re perfectly happy with it. But the way the ‘town’ (the town is society in this case) is described shows that she doesn’t feel that way. It’s likely that Makoto has never been happy in this system, she just had no way to change it. The system, to her, is old and holding her back from her true potential. Society is holding this girl back, and it’s not until she realises that there are ways of changing it that we see the true magnificence of Makoto.

7) Question…?: Yusuke
This is another basic one. Yusuke is pretty inquisitive. He’s also not very socially aware, which is the vibe I get from this song.
8) Vigilante Sh*t: Joker
Not my family friendly blog censoring the second best use of a swear word in Taylor’s discography. I feel like this one is self-explanatory. Joker acts as a literal vigilante by being a Phantom Thief, and he’s the leader so he has the extra responsibility of being in charge of a group of vigilantes, which makes him the lead vigilante. On top of that, there’s certain lines that give me Joker vibes. Before I talk about them, remember that Joker is a stand in for the player and most people play him differently. Therefore, everyone’s interpretation of Joker is different and that’s something that should be celebrated, not argued over. But anyway: ‘Someone told his white collar crimes to the FBI’ reminds me of Joker’s relationship to Shido. Similarly, ‘I don’t start it but I can tell you how it ends / Don’t get sad, get even’ reminds me of Joker’s relationship with Kamoshida. Lastly, and this is the weirdest correlation to me but ‘Picture me thick as thieves with your ex-wife’ reminds me of… Joker and Yusuke. So, Joker would be directing that line to Madarame.
But it’s best to focus on the literal vigilante thing if you don’t like my interpretations of lyrics.
9) Bejeweled: Ann
Okay, this song is perfect for Ann. The vibe, the lyrics, even the music video screams Ann to me. If you just listen to this song and imagine Ann, you’ll get what I mean. But let’s look at some lyrics. Before we do that, though, I will be talking about Kamoshida and if that triggers you, please skip this one. Look after yourself, and I’m sorry that someone put you in the position where something like this is triggering.
The opening of this song is “Baby love, I think I’ve been a little too kind / Didn’t notice you walking all over my peace of mind”. This refers to how bothersome (for lack of a better term) Kamoshida is with Ann early on. He’s basically a stalker and she’s very clearly on edge the entire time. Her peace of mind is gone.
The lines that go “Best believe I’m still Bejeweled / When I walk in the room / I can still make the whole place shimmer” gives me Ann’s awakening vibes. She’s still this strong, powerful, amazing female despite everything he’s done to her and those she cares about. Despite everything, she’s still her bejewelled self.
One verse goes:

Baby boy, I think I’ve been too good of a girl (too good of a girl)
Did all the extra credit, then got graded on a curve
I think it’s time to teach some lessons
I made you my world (huh), have you heard? (Huh)
I can reclaim the land
And I miss you (I miss you)
But I miss sparkling (ah, hey)

This just screams Ann’s entire storyline to me. Like, the entire first arc of the game. She’s been so hesitant, just putting up with Kamoshida out of fear for there being worse repercussions along the line. Then she remembers who she is and what she has to fight for and suddenly she starts to fight back. Because she has so much to fight for, because her self-worth is worth more, because her friends don’t deserve this, because she blames herself for all of it and none of it needed to happen if she just shut it down immediately (I’m thinking of it in terms of how Ann might think, not how I think).
In conclusion, this song is Ann’s song and no one can convince me otherwise. Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.
10) Labyrinth: Tae
Tae’s relationship with everything seems complicated, like a labyrinth. Even the happy relationships, like the ones with Joker and her relationship with the little girl she helps, seem to be difficult for her. I feel like Labyrinth explains the experience of being fearful of happiness and being in love very well, and I do think that this applies to Tae. She’s so worried – constantly – of something going wrong and she puts on this hard exterior of acting like she doesn’t care in order to trick herself into not caring when in reality she cares very much.

11) Karma: Akechi
Akechi feels like karma is on his side, that he’s entitled to his revenge. I know this song is about positive karma, but I’m sure Akechi doesn’t think his plan is evil or anything bad. It’s just what he needs to do.

12) Sweet Nothing: Haru
During Haru’s relationship with Joker (not necessarily romantic, but just throughout her confidant), she’s constantly surrounded by people who want to take something from her. Joker is the exception here, and you can tell throughout her confidant that she really values that. (Editor’s Note: Eleanor, you are just straight up wrong, Joker wants her vegetables.)
13) Mastermind: Maruki
Maruki has been planning the setting of the third semester for so long. I was going to give this song to Akechi, but the way everything fell exactly where Maruki needed it to was just too good. This is the best song from Midnights, and arguably the best song that Taylor Alison Swift has ever written, so I really wanted to give this to a character I liked more (like Sumire), but I couldn’t. Maruki deserves this song. All his hard work paid off. For a bad guy, he did pretty good. If his intentions were malicious (like Akechi’s), I don’t think I would assign this song to him because… it’s about making everyone else think that they want this. I mean- that is quite literally what Maruki did. His intentions weren’t bad and I think that’s what most people struggle with during the third semester. They can really resonate with him, understanding where he’s coming from and why he’s done this. But ultimately he went about it the wrong way and I can see the voice of Mastermind also doing this.

And with that, gamers, months of writing this list is over. As I’m finishing this list, Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) has just been announced. I’ve had this idea since listening to Midnights way back in October so you can tell how long this has been in my head (and it took so long to get my muddled thoughts onto digital paper). Obviously, all the lyrics and everything mentioned in terms of the songs belong to Dr. Taylor Swift who… I am a tad obsessed with. I’m sure Josh is going to have a field day with the editing of this post. He always says Swifties are crazy for their theories about the next album so I can’t wait to hear his reaction to this. Let me know if you guys have any other interpretations to these songs and Persona 5 Royal characters. I could be tempted into doing a Part 2 to this list with the songs from the 3AM version. Since I am and forever will be a Speak Now girlie, there will be a similar post to this but when Speak Now comes out. I think I might do that one based on Pokémon.
This was meant to just be a fun joke post, but it’s now over 4000 words. But that’s it for this post, Gamers! Please go listen to Midnights (and other Taylor Swift albums owned by Taylor – avoiding Debut, Speak Now, 1989 and Reputation for now, with Speak Now coming to us in July this year). Play Persona 5 Royal if you haven’t already. It will forever hold a special place in my heart. I think this might be my first Persona 5 Royal post since my great return which is crazy but also… obvious that I’ve lost a little bit of spark over the game since Atlus ‘ported’ it to the PS5 without using the PS5’s upgraded features at all, just for a cash grab. Anyway, hit like to help me hold onto what’s left of my sanity; if you’re reading this next week, there’s a chance Josh and I have returned to streaming on Twitch so check out 2nerds_1game over there; lastly, follow my blog for more (slightly insane) gaming content. See you next post, Gamers!

I owe Kiryu an apology

Hey, Gamers. If you’re a long-time reader, you will know that I’ve been playing the Yakuza series for a few years now. I’ve slowly been making my way through them since my partner, Josh, played them all and got me invested in the story. I have planned on writing a post about how Kiryu is a bad father figure for a while, and I’ve briefly talked about my annoyance at his parenting style in my progress reports but until now, I have been fully set on doing a full-on post on his bad parenting.
Well, I’m on Yakuza 5 and I need to apologise for having the thoughts I had.

I have just started Haruka’s section, so this post will contain spoilers for everything before the first time you get to save as Haruka (or at least, the first time I found that I could save, which was her apartment).

All of my anger towards Kiryu has shifted onto Park and after talking to Josh about everything, I’m going to write about it here too because I am filled with pure rage. Now, I know that I should probably wait until I’ve finished the game to write about this. When I was talking to Josh, I actually said I was going to wait until I’m done with the series before ever writing anything about this game because this is like the biggest U-turn I’ve ever encountered and I am completely shocked… but again, I’m filled with pure rage and my rage-fuelled posts have done me well so far (that was sarcasm, they cause me anxiety and I have deleted most of them).

Okay, so we need to talk about why I thought Kiryu was a bad father. We are going to do this in three sections. The first one will be talking about Kiryu’s role as a father figure in Yakuza Kiwami and Yakuza Kiwami 2. Then we are going to talk about him in Yakuza 3 by itself, where he has increased responsibility. Lastly, we are going to talk about Yakuza 4. Yakuza 5 cannot be talked about much because I haven’t finished it and it’s what has changed my mind about this entire thing. While I talk about this, it’s incredibly important to remember that my opinion has changed, this is not the entire post, and I will be talking about why I no longer think Kiryu is a bad father.

So, Yakuza Kiwami (or the original Yakuza game, but I’ve not played that so I’m going to be commenting on Kiwami specifically in case there are any differences), Kiryu meets Haruka. Haruka ends up being the biological daughter of ‘the love of his life’ (by the way, does anyone else find it weird about how little Yumi there is in Yakuza 0?), Yumi, who she had with a politician during a period where Yumi had lost her memory. I know I don’t need to explain the plot of these games, but it’s the basis of Haruka and Kiryu’s relationship so it’s important. Kiryu finds Haruka, who is looking for her mum (who she thinks is her aunt, but- basically, Yumi pretended she had a sister called Mizuki and that Mizuki was Haruka’s mother while she had a relationship with Haruka as Haruka’s aunt, but Yumi was actually her mother and ‘Mizuki’ was Haruka’s made-up aunt to cover Yumi’s identity). She helps Kiryu track Yumi down, Yumi and Haruka’s biological father die and Kiryu decides to take guardianship over Haruka. Haruka’s parents both died in front of her; she also found out that her father was a… very evil person, while her mother died because her father shot Kiryu in the leg and went to shoot Kiryu fatally but Haruka stepped in front of Kiryu (because they had grown a pretty great bond by this point), and Yumi stepped in front of Haruka because Haruka was too young to throw her life away. So, her father killed her mother because her mother protected her and Kiryu. I think Kiryu takes pretty good care of Haruka throughout Yakuza Kiwami (despite Haruka being kidnapped 3 times throughout the game). He clearly cares about her. I think at this point, good intentions were enough and Kiryu clearly had them. I think Kiryu always has good intentions when it comes to Haruka, but it gets to a point where that’s not enough but in Yakuza Kiwami it is. For Yakuza Kiwami 2, it’s assumed that Kiryu has some sort of legal guardianship over Haruka as she lives with him (but he hasn’t adopted her, Josh says it’s a minor plot point in Yakuza 6). She has to go back to Sunflower Orphanage for the plot of Yakuza Kiwami 2, which Kiryu does seem upset about. She gets kidnapped again, which is extra bad because she wasn’t even in the plot at this point. While in Sotenbori, Kiryu is approached by a talent agent for Haruka to become an idol. He gets extra good dad points here, because he asks Haruka what she wants and listens to her, although he does initially try to accept the offer because she’s been kidnapped 4 times by this point, so he feels she’d be better off without him as he wants her to be safe. Haruka doesn’t want to leave Kiryu though, and she doesn’t want to be an idol at this point, so they don’t accept the offer. Haruka is also seen at the end of the game with Date. Haruka is with Date quite a bit in Yakuza Kiwami and Yakuza Kiwami 2, which I think is okay and not Kiryu just leaving her with a random person because… well, it’s Date. I think Date is the one person that Kiryu truly 100% trusts, and it’s clear Haruka likes him too (even though literally half of her kidnappings were under his care). Overall, Kiryu did all right with Haruka early on. As someone who went through a lot of trauma as a kid, I do personally wish he shielded her from what was going on a little better but at least in Yakuza Kiwami (where I think she really should’ve been kept in the dark), it wasn’t really his place to do that. Something I really like is how open and honest he always is with Haruka, even as a small child. He’s honest about who he is and what he does and his intentions, and I think that sets a really good base for their growing father-daughter relationship.

So, now we have to do some real-life research. According to the internet, adoption in Japan is different to adoption in the West. There are two different types: Regular and Special. Regular seems to be much more informal and can be dissolved at any time. It’s not available for foreigners, but that seems to be the only downside. Most of the information I could find was for people from the West wanting to adopt a baby in or from Japan, so it’s not the best research session I’ve ever done. From what I can tell, the Japanese authorities are much more strict with people who are not Japanese adopting kids from Japan. They check everything, from medical history, age and criminal history. I tried to find whether or not Kiryu could legally adopt as an ex-yakuza and as an ex-convict but unfortunately, the only information I found was about people from outside Japan and a clear understanding that the rules are different for Japanese people wanting to adopt. From what I did find, I believe Kiryu might have gone through a regular adoption with all of the kids in the orphanage, but with Haruka being the first one. I also believe this then got dissolved by Park, so that there are no ties between the kids and Kiryu’s past. The thing that seemed important with regular adoptions was the ability to dissolve them, and the fact that it doesn’t cut ties with the kids’ biological family. But yeah, in conclusion to this little digression, I believe Kiryu did adopt Haruka and the other orphanage kids, but via regular adoption rather than special adoption. He would not have qualified for special adoption as the kid has to be under the age of 6 or have been in your care since the age of 6. I’m not too set in stone on this, but I always wondered why it’s never mentioned if he adopted Haruka. I do believe that if he did, Park arranged for it to be dissolved. Let’s move on!

I went on that rant because we’re obviously moving onto Yakuza 3 and Morning Glory Orphanage. Earlier I said that I believe Kiryu’s intentions with Haruka were always good, and I believe that for the other orphans too. However, it is at this point where good intentions begin to be not enough. Haruka got kidnapped 4 times before Yakuza 3. What made him think he can handle more kids? I know he’s cut most ties to the Tojo at this point but… he’s always going to be the Fourth Chairman, he’s always going to be the Dragon of Dojima… like, c’mon. Regardless of that, the building he rents is literally owned by yakuza. He’s already building more ties with the yakuza just by renting that building. I think the thing that started my tirade of Kiryu being a bad dad was how much responsibility little Haruka had placed on her during the plot of Yakuza 3. It just seemed like a lot, like she wasn’t able to be a kid with the other kids, she also had to be a parent. It was emphasised by the substory where the teenager thinks that Haruka is Kiryu’s wife. Like, she has so much responsibility that it feels like she’s a mother to these new kids. I know I might be overthinking this and the amount of responsibility placed on Haruka might be normal in Japan… but give the girl a break, man. She then has to witness her father figure get stabbed as she’s holding his hand. Like- what? I’m sorry, you’re giving this girl more trauma? I know this wasn’t Kiryu’s fault, but he knew it was dangerous and he knew it was too dangerous for Haruka but because he thought he was going to die, he brought her along anyway. Because she clearly needed to witness another parent dying in front of her very eyes.

Okay, moving onto the real meat of this- Yakuza 4. For a moment, I want to take something out of context. Kiryu wanted to go to Tokyo to get closure for Haruka (at least that’s how he puts it across). Haruka asked him not to, said that she doesn’t need closure, she just needs him alive. He goes anyway. I know it’s more complicated than that, but the fact that she literally asked him not to go and he still goes angers me so much that I can feel my blood pressure rise. She is clearly terrified out of her little mind. Even when Hamazaki arrives, by Haruka’s reaction Kiryu should have made him leave immediately. Did you guys see the way she protected those kids? She is clearly traumatised, more so than her biological parents’ death traumatised her, and Kiryu just… helps him. It’s like he completely ignores the well being of Haruka (and even the other kids, to an extent) just to get some closure. It’s so sad. Like, I’m fine with him being selfish and going to do his own thing… but putting Haruka through that is just awful. He also didn’t step in or kick Saejima out during the very uncomfortable scene that pans across the literal child’s body. I feel like I could go on about this all day, but this is no longer what this post is about.

We finally get to why I need to apologise for: Kiryu, you are not a bad dad. Despite all of the evidence I’ve listed, you were manipulated massively and that only worked because you wanted what was best for those kids. If you were a bad father, you would have ignored Park. But you didn’t. Therefore, I am sorry.

Like I said, I am only just on Haruka’s section of Yakuza 5. I am a little glad it’s taken me this long because I’ve recently gotten into K-pop and idol culture so I’m going into it with a bit more understanding of the culture surrounding idols. Park manipulated Kiryu. Now, if it was for Haruka then that would be fine. But it’s not for Haruka, it was completely for herself. It was so she could fulfil her own dream. She messed with the life of Kiryu, Haruka and all of the other kids at Morning Glory just to achieve her own dream. Josh had told me that Kiryu did it because Morning Glory needed the money, but after watching the scene, I don’t agree with that. From what I could gather, Morning Glory needed money for their living expenses and caregiver because Kiryu was no longer there to provide it. When Park threatened Haruka, the only ground she had was her paying for the kids’ futures. If their deal was over, either Haruka or Kiryu could’ve gone straight back to Morning Glory and everything would have been fine. Her threat was her manipulating Haruka like she manipulated her father.

While I’m clearly still angry about Kiryu in Yakuza 4, nothing else feels like it matters because of how awful Park is to both Haruka and Kiryu (and indirectly the other kids at Morning Glory) in Yakuza 5. No one deserves to hear that the kids they worked hard to change their life for aren’t going to be able to achieve their dreams due to your involvement in their lives. That’s awful. No one deserves what Park did to Kiryu and the kids at Morning Glory. I know on the surface, she’s helping Haruka but it’s not enough. What she did is no where near okay, and I despise her on an Oda level.

In conclusion, playing the Yakuza series made me eat my own words again and I needed to talk to you guys about it because I am both upset and shocked. If you liked this post, you might as well follow me since I know I’m probably going to do a post about how I was wrong about Park at some point over the next few months.

That’s it for this post, Gamers! It’s kinda similar to the original post I’ve been meaning to write about Kiryu being a bad dad… in the sense of I still got to explain why I thought that. I feel so guilty. Those kids love him so much, and I always got so mad. If you liked this post, hit the like button and follow for more rage filled gaming content. See you next post, Gamers!