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  • Some more notes on Valis II

    Posted on May 6th, 2010 keving 2 comments

    ferricide wrote the following comment to yesterday’s Valis II piece and was blocked by my spam filter, which is sad because it deserves an audience. (I also swiped the picture above from him.)

    this game blew my fucking MIND. it was the second CD game i bought for my turbografx and it was everything my 13 year old brain could have wanted at the time. i still adore it, despite its obvious mediocrity.

    it’s got a certain je ne sais quoi. it has the darkness and grimness that anime was so into, in the 80s, that seemed so fresh and exciting to my young teen brain.

    like, reiko’s dead, there are dudes getting cleaved in half in the cutscenes… wtf is going on here? quite nice and highly ambient. tokyo at night!

    it’s obviously a point that’s getting made again and again these days, but the abrupt and confusing story added a lot. that the super lengthy over explicative cutscenes of today lack, spelling everything out… it seemed more mysterious and cool.

    also, the super attention to detail and the ridiculous badassery of magus is awesome. that full-screen sized pic of him, which is just a scrolling image, is amazing.

    That was the thing that sort of bugs me about Valis II, though — the fact the story doesn’t make any sense. I mean, why is Yuko fighting this random lady in the intro, and why’s she not particularly pissed off afterwards when she shows up again in ghost form? I suppose you can infer from the context that Reiko is Yuko’s friend who’s forced by the evil Rogless (did I get that spelling right?) to duel against our hero in the original Valis, but it’s just…a bit unclear.

    But then, that was part of the allure of anime around this time, wasn’t it? You didn’t mind if you didn’t catch every single detail because you watched it for the feel — the dark cityscapes, the cyberpunk/fantasy references, the sexy scenes. It was cool because it was so exotic or forbidden to 1989-era America, a time when Muppet Babies was still on first-run broadcast. I need to run through my old issues of COMPUTE!, come to think of it, to see if I can find the blurry black-and-white ads for stuff like Urotsukidoji in the back again.

    I do agree that there’s still a certain allure to this approach, though. You could even put Valis II on the extreme end of a hypothetical storytelling spectrum that I’d guess would have Mass Effect on the other end.