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About Digital Art / Professional Core Member Ken KawashimaMale/Brazil Groups :iconpantyhoselovers: Pantyhoselovers
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Finding Paradise Review

Journal Entry: Fri Jan 19, 2018, 8:56 PM

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** Finding Paradise Review **

~To the Moon~ by ken1171  ~A Bird Story~ by ken1171

For those who don't know, this is Kan Gao's much awaited sequel to "To the Moon" and "A Bird Story" video games. As with the previous releases, this is an RPGMaker visual novel more than a game, where visuals are simple but effective, the music is strong at the right places (here again with Laura Shigihara's beautiful vocals), and it's all about telling a deep, moving story about life, death and appreciating what we have.

Even though it is said that you don't need to play the previous games to enjoy this sequel, I would strongly recommend against it, for there are some pivotal moments referring to previous plotlines. You can still play it without the previous games, but you will miss some key moments in the storyline without realizing it, so it will be an incomplete experience.

For once, the protagonist in this story is the same one from "A Bird Story", where events that happened in that storyline will be explored and expanded in surprising ways. If you have not played that game, you may not realize the identity of one of the characters in this sequel, and what she means to the protagonist. Nonetheless, the story will still make sense even if you don't know those things. My recommendation is that you should play the games in this order: "To the Moon", "A Bird Story", and then "Finding Paradise". There are also the mini-stories that add depth to the main characters.

Like before, the strong point with this game is the story, and how it is told. In "To the Moon" it was told backwards, and though "Finding Paradise" initially starts that way, events eventually spiral out of order. I could break this into 3 different stages, and as a matter of fact, the story is told in 3 acts. It is difficult to write a review without spoilers, so I will not discuss the plot and what happens in it.

One of the first things that may break the whole experience is the fact that "To the Moon" was the ultimate masterpiece that not even the author could beat in his other games. That is a point of reference that rose the bar so high, and created such high expectations that on their own could spoil anything that came later.

Coming from there, "Finding Paradise" is not "better" than "To the Moon", but it instead improves the game experience by adding a much more complex storyline, new in-game puzzles and mini-games, and some extra animations that enrich the experience. In act 1, the plot is presented with a similar setup as in "To the Moon", with the same characters with a new patient who is about to die. This is where the new storyline is initially presented.

In act 2, we have the story development, where a number of mysteries present themselves, pushing us to keep playing to find out what is going on. This part can be a bit confusing, most likely on purpose, and with some possible explanations. While we had a very straight forward procedure in "To the Moon", in this game we will spend a good part of the game trying to figure out HOW to help the patient, who this time claims not to know what he wants for his final experience.

As opposed to the original game, in this sequel we are not immediately pushed to empathize with the patient. The first reaction is that we feel somehow detached from him, which sharply contrasts with how the story was told in previous games. I was asking myself if I would have the same kind of strong emotional reaction to the story if I didn't particularly care for the old man, and at the same time, I couldn't tell in what direction this story was going.

As I said in the beginning, the plot is more complex this time, and it finally starts to heat up and thicken on act 3, the final chapter. This is by far the most rewarding part of the game in all aspects. A new plot is presented, creating a new layer to the whole story, and it certainly has its twists and surprises. If until now you felt emotionally detached from the old man and the story around his life, think again.

We have to consider not everyone can write a story backwards, and still keep it engaging when we already know how it ends. Here again, Kan Gao has pulled the strings masterfully to make it happen, where the final scene closes the story and everything that matters in a simple, but effective way. With so many games we have nowadays with disappointing endings, "Finding Paradise" provides the ultimate satisfying ending that goes back all the way to the original premise, and closes it with flying colors. From your side, there will be laughter and, of course, there will be tears - keep a box of tissue paper close by. It's well done, and it is beautiful in its own way, even when using a quite limited game engine.

But wait - there is more! After the ending credits finish scrolling, we are shown a bit more of the story, juicy bits that complement it, and also spice up the events for the next sequel. It took 7 years for this game to come out, but hey, good things take time and come in small bottles! Even though this game cannot surpass the original "To the Moon" masterpiece, I am happy I have played it and the closing scene was moving and memorable. A worthy sequel to a masterpiece.

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-How to Catch a Girl- by ken1171 -Daydream- (Animation) by ken1171 -64K Sexxxy Ryn Kiriban- by ken1171
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-Nonsense is in Fashion- by ken1171 -Master Usajiro ep01- by ken1171 -Master Usajiro ep02- by ken1171
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-Private Study- by ken1171
-Creature comforts- by ken1171

-87K Watson Lake, Arizona- by ken1171 -Jerome, AZ- by ken1171 -Mojave Desert, Arizona- by ken1171
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-Metal Seduction- by ken1171 CollectionsCollections
Chances are that nearly everybody likes collecting things during their life. My mom collects dolls from different countries, my friend collects stamps, another one collects buttons and so on. I collect Anime videos and have been doing so for over a decade now.
But the funny thing is that those collections only have a meaning to us. You might have a grandparent who passed away and left their own collections of something behind, and your family doesn't have a clue on what to do with it. If it's valuable maybe it can be sold. If not, it will either be dumped somewhere or donated to whoever might want it.
My wife and I went to some antique shops the past weekend and I couldn't help noticing how many meticulously preserved collections we found there. We found things of all sorts, like Coca Cola collectables from the 1950's and classic car miniatures from the 1960's. I remembered some of those things from my childhood (I was born in the late 60's) but never imagined someon
-Inaho's Homework- by ken1171
ShadoGal Mai Chronicles IShadoGal Mai Chronicles I: Living Forever
There are many vampire stories based on the fact that life loses its meaning if you cannot die. Those stories tend to emphasize that life itself can become a burden in such cases, because after a few centuries there is nothing much of new to be seen or learned, especially because history tends to repeat itself over and over.
That's how I defined the personality of ShadoGal Mai, my wacky half-vampire (damphyr) character. One can become quite bored after living for 500 years, and many books and movies have covered aspects of it, such as "Interview with a Vampire" and "Highlander". But in those stories the characters were nearly all male, and I here I wanted to show a female side of the story.
Human nature dictates that we will value the most what we don't have, or things that are rare and thus, precious. But immortality makes life itself worthless. In a vampire perspective life has advantages, although they have to live without a good deal of the
ShadoGal Mai Chronicles II====================================
ShadoGal Mai Chronicles II: Fay and the Scroll of Dhakr

One thing to keep in mind is that Mai us a supernatural being. She inherited a vampire hypnotic gaze that can paralyze humans with ease. After a "love bite", they become addicted to her highly arousing ways and will tend to come back for more at regular periods, which is very convenient for both sides. It's like the next step in the vampire symbiotic evolution, which is described in the "Unification Prophecy".
Mai doesn't like fighting and in most cases she never has to. That's the nature of vampires. She can paralyze any human just by looking at them in the eyes, no matter their physical strength - the gaze paralyzes a human (or even animals) by freezing their souls right at the core. Besides that, Mai has the strength of 10 men, which means trying to defeat her by brute force is unlikely to work by all means. It's not physical strength, but rather a
ShadoGal Mai Chronicles IIIEpisode III: Dawn of the Ancients
Fay was sitting comfortably on a sofa in this magnificent mansion. She was used to be at different places every once in a while, because her job forces her to move from place to place every few decades. There were five men around her, looking very suspicious of the new location. The older one, Vance, was particularly uncomfortable with the place because it has too many windows. He was not concerned about his privacy or anything, but instead about his own safety, since sunlight can be quite inconvenient to most vampires especially the older ones.
They spent the following hours painting all of the windows black, and only then Vance could finally sit and rest on the large and decorated sofa where Fay had already fell asleep. How long has it been since the five of them have been faithfully following this woman? It becomes hard to keep track of time in terms of human years, since numbers in that system can quickly grow large. Vance thinks to himsel

-ShadoGal Chronicles IV-~ShadoGal Chronicles~
Episode IV: Legend of the Primal Princess

Legend claims the queen of the extinct race of the "Ancients" had four beautiful daughters, where the youngest was Mai (500 years old) and the oldest was Sethalus (8,000 years old). None of the girls knew of each others existence or of their significance on the events to come. As far as they know, they are the only ones of their kind although deep inside they want to believe there are others. Vampires have mixed feelings about them because they are not harmed by most of the common things they fear, such as direct sunlight and holy objects. The girls have become outcasts of both human and vampire societies, often seen as abominations. To some others, they are perhaps the answer to a long forgotten vampire prophecy that foresees the return of the "Ancients", from whom legend says the first vampires descended from.
With her fixed bat wings and pointy ears, Sethalus can walk in broad daylight and even eat human food. Ev
-Fatal Delivery- by ken1171 -A bird? A plane? No, it's...-
~A bird? A plane? No, it's...~
One of the advantages of being 500 years old is that you have probably already seen it all. ShadoGal Mai was in a trip to the Big Apple when she spotted an interesting male figure flying in cape & tights over the city - but without any wings. Well, Mai has many superhuman powers, but flying without wings is certainly not one of them. Even less at speed! Very curious, She followed the man in tights until he landed somewhere in the streets. He apparently found somebody in distress and went down to help. Mai was very impressed by him: how can he have so much strength? Dad said I can't go out with human pets, but what about him? He can't be human!
Mai followed the guy in tights until he went back home. As she hid inside his house, she sneaked around until she found the perfect opportunity to give him a little surprise 'love' bite from behind. Mai used her inherited vampire powers to keep the guy still while taking a sip. She immediately notic

-Yuna Fanart- by ken1171 -What are you looking at?- by ken1171 -Bleach Orihime fanart- by ken1171
-54K DOAX Hitomi Kiriban- by ken1171 -Street Fighter ChunLi Fanart- by ken1171 -More Space Angel 80- by ken1171

-If Penguins Could Fly- by ken1171 -Techno Heavy Metal Revolt- by ken1171 -27,000 Exotic Journey- by ken1171
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-Heavy Metal Kitty- by ken1171 -Bluish Metal- by ken1171 -Gimme da Blues- by ken1171

Who's your favorite CATGIRL and WHY? =^_____^= 

93 deviants said Nyanna Mew -Nyanna Sits Pretty- by ken1171
43 deviants said Kitty Purr -Kitty Purrrr- by ken1171
34 deviants said Kaori -Kaori- by ken1171
32 deviants said Yoko Hama -Yoko in Pantyhose- by ken1171
30 deviants said Indiana Kitty Indiana Kitty and da Fake Idol by ken1171
22 deviants said Mika Nyan -Punk Mika Nyan- by ken1171
17 deviants said Mystic Mysty -Mystic Mysty- by ken1171
13 deviants said Hannah Hazard -Bad Kitty- by ken1171
6 deviants said Momo Pink -Neko Karaoke- by ken1171
2 deviants said Yuki Sensei -Yuki- by ken1171


Ken Kawashima
Artist | Professional | Digital Art
Current Residence: Brazil
Print preference: Biiiig, laaaaaarge, gigaaaaantic
Favorite genre of music: Female
Favorite photographer: Ken1171
Favorite style of art: Anime, Manga, semi-realistic
Operating System: Windows 7 Home Edition
MP3 player of choice: Apple iTouch 4
Shell of choice: Lobster :D
Skin of choice: Women's
Favorite cartoon character: Yoru & Eru (Shugo Chara!)
Personal Quote: Creation is just the beginning


Happy birthday, don't have too much fun. XD
Thu Oct 13, 2016, 6:49 AM
Happy B-day! :)
Tue Oct 13, 2015, 7:39 PM
Happy Birthday Ken
Mon Oct 12, 2015, 11:49 PM
Happy happy happy birthday to you :squee: :squee: :squee: :squee: :squee: :squee: :squee:
Mon Oct 12, 2015, 1:30 PM
Nya, i don't lipstik but i kiss you too NYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA (yes she make me mad MDRRRR)
Wed Feb 25, 2015, 8:44 PM
Shout out to Ken1171 -->…
Sun Jun 15, 2014, 12:04 PM
Fri Nov 8, 2013, 10:15 AM
happy boythday
Sun Oct 13, 2013, 2:18 PM
happy new year!
Sat Jan 5, 2013, 3:37 PM
You do beautiful work =D
Thu Jan 3, 2013, 1:57 AM



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simplysherbert Featured By Owner Edited Mar 26, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm pleased with this new PC. For the hobbyist 3D artist, such as myself, an APU is a pretty good substitute for a dedicated graphics card, especially when you consider today's GPU prices. 3DL and Iray are both a lot faster for me now. Just make sure you've got ram with a fast clock speed. That's one of two caveats, if you go this route. The other is that pre-March 2018 socket AM4 mobos will need flashed with a bios update, to support the new Ryzen chips. AMD was good enough to send me a loaner, for free, just for that task. They even paid for the return shipping.
ken1171 Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
APU's have pros and cons. I guess the major con is that they must keep low power consumption, which bottlenecks performance when compared to dedicated GPUs with dedicated coolers. It's a similar problem as with 8+ cores CPUs, where the whole has to be slowed down to avoid overheating. APUs were originally designed for portable computers, which tend to have limited cabinet space for venting heat, so the chip design was meant for low power, slower clock speeds. 

An advantage of APU is the direct, dedicated bus to communicate with the CPU - hence the "A" (accelerated) first letter in the name. Conversely, it also shares memory with the CPU, which bogs down performance by adding a data exchange overhead. They try to compensate with faster cache memory, but the higher the traffic, the harder it becomes to avoid overheads. In either cases they have to slow it down to avoid overheating, so it never reaches peak performance. 

Nonetheless, Sony has used a custom APU on their Playstation 4 as means to cut costs, where they mounted a special cooler that allows squeezing out higher performance than it's possible with laptops. Microsoft also used APUs in their Surface tablets, though only the most expensive models can punch decent GPU performance, at the expense of quickly draining the battery. If anything else, APUs are still a better solution for lower cost, low power laptops when we compare to mobo embedded solutions, where half the work is emulated in software. 
simplysherbert Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh, I have no doubts that a dedicated GPU will run circles around this chip. But for the price and the performance I'm getting out of it so far, I can't really complain. 
3DL renders, with full scene(An environment, lights and characters) takes about the same amount of time it used to take to render just the character by themselves. Not hating that.
Iray renders used to take several minutes do 200 instances, now they take just a couple of minutes.
ken1171 Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
It's good to have options. ^^
(1 Reply)
simplysherbert Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Welp, the latest version of Aiko is just awful looking. She was a good line of figures, while she lasted.
ken1171 Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Aiko 6 was the only one I actually liked. After that, 7 went to the wrong style, and 8 I no longer cared about. However, that probably doesn't matter, because they already got Sakura for G8F right, so A8 is redundant anyways. They probably got the Sakura style right because, well, they paid somebody else to do it. ;p
simplysherbert Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Sakura looks a putting. At least her default look sure does.
ken1171 Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
I've noticed her eyes have quite limited posing range. Rotation is locked at just a few degrees. There is a zillion options for lashes and brows, but in the end, the eyes are the most important part.
(1 Reply)
simplysherbert Featured By Owner Edited Feb 28, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The more I play with D|S's default toon shader, the more I realize that PWToon is a purchase I never really needed to make XD
Ah well, I did get my money's worth out of it a thousand times over, so I can't exactly feel buyers remorse.

Found a neat accoutrement for any toon shader. Someone made a free shader, specifically for geometry shells, that turns them into very clean toon outline. It's especially useful for scenery objects, which never quite look right, when rendered with just most toon shaders. This geometry shell outline adds just enough definition that you can make out unique structural elements, but without breaking the toon effect.
ken1171 Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Back in the day, I came up with 15 different ways to get toon effects in Poser. I have dedicated a whole year doing just that. I initially concentrated on shader solutions, but later decided that was too much work to redo all the scene materials. In the end I came up with lighting solutions that do the same work, and preserve textures. Of course, that was only possible after SMS introduced IBL into Poser, which was around Poser 7. And then SMS introduced geometric 3D outlines. 

There is no lack of options for toon effects just with default Poser. I am not a DS person, but I bet they have plenty too.
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