Lux-Pain / ルクス・ペイン

Welcome to Lux-Pain, where we play as Saijou Atsuki, a stoic silver-haired prettyboy high school student with a tragic past and magic powers that cause his right eye to glow yellow that he uses to fight evil as part of a secret organization. That's right, we're full speed ahead on the chuuni train and brakes are broke.

Turnabout Idol / 逆転アイドル

Recently I did a review of a licensed game based on a book franchise, so it makes sense to now do a licensed book based off a video game franchise, right? Right? ...No? Well, whatever. Today I'm gonna to be discussing the first Ace Attorney novelization by Takase Mie, Turnabout... uh, Idol.



oh no.

Two Detectives and One Watson / 一つ屋根の下の探偵たち

A certain passage struck me when I was reading Moonlight Game. It was a passage near the beginning of the book, when the characters were discussing Agatha Christie's novels. It suddenly occurred to me at the time that I, an American, was reading what was essentially a Socratic dialogue penned by a Japanese man in Japanese almost half a century ago about the writings of a British woman from a century ago. And I was following it.

At this point in humanity's history we have created an unfathomable amount of literature, and we are in an age of unprecedented access to this literature. And, if Sturgeon's law is to be believed, only a small portion of that literature is good. So how do you figure out what's decent, so you don't end up spending your life reading the mountains and mountains of junk? One of the ways is to read the works that have withstood the test of time, receiving the stamp of approval from each successive generation and becoming the "classics."

I bring this up because Two Detectives and One Watson is now the most current detective novel I have read, having been written by Morikawa Tomoki in the hyper-modern year of... 2013. When reading a "classic," even if I end up thinking it wasn't very good, I still think the time spent reading it was worthwhile by sheer virtue of it being a classic. But when reading a modern book, I always have the concern that it's going to be a mediocre waste of time. So I am happy to report that today's book, Two Detectives and One Watson, is a light, fun detective novel with an interesting premise and a satisfying solution.

Detective Conan: Rondo of the Blue Jewel / 名探偵コナン・蒼き宝石の輪舞曲

The release of Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice in 2016 was the first time I played an episodic murder mystery adventure game on the current-generation Nintendo handheld involving a plot that progressed concurrently in both Japan and a small fictional country and revolved around a lost national treasure from said fictional country. And yet little to my knowledge, five years prior had seen the release of Detective Conan: Rondo of the Blue Jewel, an episodic murder mystery game involving... well, you can probably guess. Overall it's a decent game that perfectly captures the feel of Detective Conan. While there are a few areas that felt like they could have been polished up a bit (this is a licensed game after all), it delivers in the areas that are more important for the type of game it is.

I'm going to assume that you know the basic premise and characters of Detective Conan (also known as Case Closed in the West), so if you don't, now is probably a good time to skim the Wikipedia page.

Dragon Quest XI / ドラゴンクエストXI

Although it didn't pick up as much popularity in America, Dragon Quest is a veritable phenomenon in Japan. And with good cause: Dragon Quest XI is an insanely fun, good ol' fashioned RPG that's filled to the brim with content. This is a game not to be missed.

Moonlight Game / 月光ゲーム

Ah, a relaxing summer vacation camping on a dormant volcano. You were just going with some buddies, but then you run into a few other groups of students on the mountain and quickly make friends, causing the trip to become even livelier and more fun than you expected. What could possibly go wrong?

If you're a character in a murder mystery, the answer is everything.

Stranger Things 2

Although I watched Stranger Things in a few chunks, I watched Stranger Things 2 the way it was meant to be watched—all in one sitting! I'm not a TV/cinema guy, so this is gonna be pretty short.

This review will have light spoilers. I'm going to try to write the review so that you can still have full enjoyment of the series, but I wouldn't read if you wanted to go in completely blind.

In Spite of Thunder

A classic Carr set-up with some not-so-classic Carr elements, In Spite of Thunder is not Carr's best solution, but it is certainly one of his most enjoyable adventures.

The Room

This may tear you apart, but no, not the movie

The Room (not to be confused with The Room) is an atmospheric escape-the-room game about, despite the name and genre, opening a series of puzzle boxes. Unlike most escape-the-room games, The Room has full 3D graphics and physical control, making it feel quite close to actually manipulating the boxes yourself. While there a couple of corners that feel like they could be smoothed out, The Room is a high quality puzzler that I recommend if you enjoy the genre.

The Human Chair / 人間椅子

A second Ranpo story, to go with the first! I had known there was something about this story, but I had no idea what. It wasn't as bad as I thought, but... it was still freaky.

Strong Poison

A seemingly hopeless trial, with mounds of evidence apparently proving that it was impossible for anyone but the defendant to be the killer... The opening of Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers feels like it could fit naturally into an Ace Attorney game. Unfortunately, as the novel progresses it departs from what appeared to be its premise.

Strong Poison is a fun book and certainly has elements that (may, depending on your preferences) make it worth reading, but is absolutely not the traditional howdunnit puzzle book that it initially appears to be.

Death Note (Netflix)

I'm not a big movie buff, but there's no way I could not watch this one, and I figured I may as well write about it. I'm going to be focusing on the plot, and you're warned now that there are SPOILERS. (I'm also working off memory for the original Death Note, so apologies if I get any details about it wrong.)

As you've probably already heard, Netflix's new Death Note isn't very good. But if you like the franchise, there are less entertaining ways to spend an hour and a half.

The Psychological Test / 心理試験

(What does that cover have to do with the story? Your guess is as good as mine!)

The Psychological Test is an early short story by Edogawa Ranpo, one of the grandmasters of Japanese mystery fiction, featuring his famous detective Akechi Kogoro. This was the first piece of Ranpo I've ever read, so it felt like something of a milestone for me. Overall, reading The Psychological Test was an interesting experience, and I liked it, but I was slightly disappointed because I felt like some minor changes could have greatly improved it.