Today was one of my 10-3 days this week, so I had to get up at 5:30am so I could take the bus. This is after I got home late last night cause I got off at 9pm and then had to wait for Andrew to pick me up. He got held up at work, then we went to McDonald's and got ice cream and then went home, not getting home till around 11pm. So I am really tired right now, and glad to be home.
I just finished watching the last episode of season 1 of XXXHolic a few minutes ago. It is a side story about a boy Watanuki met in the past. Episode 23, the one before it, is technically the last episode of the storyline of the season. That episode is cool in that at the end, but before the credits, they have this part where the camera moves in such a way as to make it look like you, the viewer, are actually walking into Yuuko's shop. Plus the featured characters actually "break the fourth wall" and speak to you directly. It begins with Watanuki, who's outside sweeping, welcoming you in, and then Maru and Moro enthusiastically coming up to the door, seeing you, and then running off with cheers of "A guest for mistress! A guest for mistress!" Then you go through the shoji door into the main room (like Watanuki did in episode 1) and the camera zooms to Yuuko (who is lying spread out on a couch, like in episode 1). She welcomes you and asks if you want your wishes granted.
This doesn't end the xxxHolic anime by any means, though. Besides, the first season only gets to the storyline where Watanuki gets ill because of the woman he meets in the park, which isn't very far at all into the manga, I don't think. There is a second season, called XXXHolic Kei ("Kei" meaning "sequel"). That season goes as far as what is called the "Himawari arc," i.e. the story where Himawari's secret (that she inadvertently is "bad luck" to everyone around her, except her parents and also Doumeki, who aside from repelling spirits is immune to her bad luck as well, for some reason) is revealed. Having read the manga, I know that this only takes one up to the end of volume 10 of the manga, and the manga currently has 13 published volumes (with a 14th on the way, to be published next January in Japan). An OAV has been announced though, so maybe that will continue the story.
Apparently as of chapter 157, it was announced that the manga was nearing its conclusion. A similar announcement was made for xxxHolic's sister series, Tsubasa: ReserVOIR Chronicle, so both will probably end sometime next year. There are 161 chapters in the xxxHolic manga so far, in 13 volumes, so the final arc probably starts in volume 13, which I don't have yet. I don't think it's even out here yet -- I was surprised to even find #12 on the shelves last night when I was at Barnes & Noble. I should mention that nowadays I mostly go into the two bookstores I frequent -- the Barnes & Noble by my work and the Borders Express at the Carlsbad mall -- to do a "manga check," checking to see if volumes I need of certain series are in stock. This can be a somewhat long, frustrating process. It certainly was when I was collecting Chobits. I collected that eight-volume manga one volume at a time (except for when I bought 6 and 7 at the same time). Ditto for Card Captor Sakura and its sequel series Card Captor Sakura: Master of the Clow (speaking of which, Sakura is a girl, so wouldn't she be the "mistress" of the Clow, not the "master"?) -- I'm still missing volumes 5 and 6 of the first CCS series. Right now, I am doing checks for Tsubasa: ReserVOIR Chronicle, xxxHolic, and Full Moon (a.k.a. Full Moon wo Sagashite, the series I started reading when I couldn't find new volumes of the other two).
Just checked Wikipedia, and it says that volume 18 of Tsubasa was released on July 22, 2008, which was this last Tuesday. I'll have to try to find it. The plot of that series is getting thicker right now, so the suspense of not being able to find it is annoying.
I read volume 12 of xxxHolic today while riding the bus to work. I figured some light reading was good since I was still kind of half-asleep. That one starts to introduce Watanuki meeting Princess Sakura (from Tsubasa) in dreams, which becomes important later in Tsubasa, I think (unfortunately, Wikipedia doesn't put spoiler warnings in its articles, so I sort of spoiled myself on the plot of Tsubasa). One thing I found interesting is that Watanuki really starts to change in this volume. Earlier in the story, it had been predicted (both I think by Yuuko and also by the fortune teller they see in volume 2) that he was bound to change, and that Yuuko would be partially an agent of that change. Anyway, in this volume, he really seems to start to care about others more than himself. Not a totally surprising turn of events -- most books which feature a somewhat self-absorbed protagonist like Watanuki end with that person becoming more selfless and others-centered (unless it has a sad ending where the person just ends up as selfish as before). Watanuki becomes concerned for "Syaoran-kun" and his party (the main characters of Tsubasa), for instance. This makes sense because, based on things Sakura and Watanuki say when they meet, this volume is set around the same time as the "Tokyo/Acid Rain" arc in Tsubasa (covered by volumes 15-17, as well as the very end of volume 14, of the Tsubasa manga and the "Tokyo Revelations" OVA of the anime), in which Fai, the closest person in the party to Sakura after Syaoran, almost dies. Their meeting in dreams also has the shocking revelation in one instance of Watanuki not being able to remember his parents' names -- which sets up for later developments.
Besides the Tsubasa party, Watanuki also begins to worry about his friend Kohane, a young girl who is a spirit medium, and her tense relationship with her controlling and ambitious mother. He tries to reconnect with her, only to be chased out of the house by Kohane's mother.
Lastly, Watanuki also changes his attitude towards Yuuko. After his eye is injured when Kohane's mother throws some hot liquid on it, he is resting, and Yuuko asks him as usual if he has anything to ask of her (i.e., a wish). He says he does, but chooses not to discuss it at that point. Then, in a move unlike him, he asks Yuuko if she has a wish. She is taken aback. Watanuki goes on to say that Yuuko is always granting other people's wishes, but has never mentioned her own wishes. Later, at the end of the volume, Watanuki asks her again if she has a wish, and promises to do whatever he can to fulfill it (probably assuming that Yuuko can't grant her own wish, just like how she previously said she was not allowed to tell her own fortune). Her wish is not revealed at this point, though.
When reading this, I was reminded of the first of the three Disney-made Aladdin movies. In it, when Aladdin is thinking of what he's going to spend his other two wishes on, he asks the Genie what his wish is. The Genie, taken aback, confides finally that his wish is to be free of the lamp. Aladdin grants this at the end of the movie, using his third wish.
In other news, I FINALLY CAUGHT MESPRIT. Yay! It happened by chance last night. I finally got into playing my DS again, having not touched it since the day I got Deoxys. I was sitting waiting at Barnes & Noble for Andrew and playing the game, using the Marking Map to track down Mesprit. I finally ran into it, and it still had the same damage on it from when the time I had finally hit it (using my super-fast Staraptor and the powerful but not one-hit KO move Aerial Ace). Not wanting to KO it (there's only one, after all), I simply threw an Ultra Ball at it. This hasn't worked so well so far. Actually, this is true for all the "lake Pokémon" -- I used probably more than 20 Pokéballs, at least 10 of them Ultra Balls, trying to catch Uxie, and in the end, in a fit of desperation, I ended up using my lone Master Ball (which has guaranteed 100% capture success rate) to capture it. But this time IT DID WORK. I remember the glee I felt when the ball stopped shaking and clicked to indicate that the capture was successful. It felt really good -- and relieving too, obviously, since I've logged a lot of playtime hours chasing this annoying Pokémon.
In other related news, I may take up EV training. I heard about this method on WTPT. It involves training your Pokémon in such a fashion as to build up certain stats, like Attack or Speed. Fortunately, when I went to explore the chat room at WTPT's website, someone kindly offered to send me the guide he made on EV training, and he did this. I read it over the other day. It still sounds pretty complex to me. I'd have to figure out which stats to train up. Based on the Pokémon currently in my party...hmm. I currently have Empoleon, Staraptor, Machoke, Graveler, Rapidash, and Luxray. (Come to think of it, I really must find someone to trade with, because I have to trade my Graveler and my Machoke in order for them to evolve into their final forms, Golem and Machamp. It'll have to be someone who's willing to trade them back right after).
The available stats are Attack, Defense, Special Attack, Special Defense, Hit Points, and Speed. So...
For Staraptor, I would definitely focus on Speed, although its Speed is really high anyway at this point, probably thanks to it holding a Quick Claw (an item that increases your chances of going first in a battle). It doesn't really need any pluses in the way of the other stats, I don't think; high speed often compensates for lame stats in other areas (as is the case with the Abra family, which has really low attack and defense but really high speed and special attack). Its current attacks are all Flying-type, and those are Physical, which means they are governed by the "Attack" rather than the "Special Attack" stat. Flying-types are weak to Electric, Ice, and Rock. Electric and Ice types are governed by Special Attack, while Rock is governed by Attack. So maybe I should put some points into Special Defense for my feathery friend.
Edit: Just checked my Staraptor. Its stats in HP, Attack, Defense, and Speed are all above 100. But its Special Attack and Special Defense are only 63 and 64 respectively, higher than its base stats for these stats (which are both 50), but not much. But since, as I said, its moves are mainly Physical (with the non-Physical ones all being "status" moves, which aren't affected by stats), it might not need much in those categories.
Empoleon's attacks are all water-type, except for Rock Climb (which is normal-type), which I taught it cause I needed to teach that HM to somebody (and I think it was the only Pokémon I had at the time that could either learn it or had a move I could give up for it). Water-type is governed by Special Attack, so that might be a good stat to pump up. Although, checking its base stats right now, it actually has very high Special Attack and Special Defense to start out with (111 and 101 respectively) but is really low in Speed (60) and in the8 for Speed and Special Attack, 66 for Special Defense), but since it has no special-type moves, it's probably ok there. Not sure on the Speed. It would be nice to train for Speed since I think the slowness of my Pokemon worked against me during my attempt to fight the Elite Four.
Rapidash is, as its name suggests, really fast. Mine has a Speed stat of 113, a huge amount. It is also its only stat over 100. Everything else is in the 90's except for Special Attack, which is at 85. It does need Special Attack points to fuel its Special-governed Fire Blast and Fire Spin. Its one non-fire attack, Fury Attack, is physical-governed, and its last move, Sunny Day, is a status move and thus not governed by stats. Base stats show that its highest stats are usually Attack and Speed. So I suppose I could build up Special Attack at least.
Machoke is Fighting-type, which is governed by Physical. It has really high Attack, therefore. All its other stats are pretty low, with Special Defense being the lowest at 56.
Mum just came in to invite me to come watch 21. My dad rented it. More later.
EDIT AT 11:50PM: I came upstairs cause I was tired and didn't want to stay up and watch the whole movie. We paused it cause all of us were trying to help my brother get enrolled for the classes he's taking at Cuesta College, the school he's going to go to up in San Luis Obispo.
So anyway back to EV training. Machoke is Fighting-Type, and it has all Fighting-type moves. So Attack is strong, but the other stats are really low, so I might want to pay attention to that, like maybe to defense, either regular or special.
Luxray is my electric-type powerhouse, with three strong electric-type moves and the powerful Dark-type move Crunch. I raised it from a Shinx that I very randomly encountered early in the game, and a good thing too -- Shinx are considered "rare" in the game. Electric, naturally, is governed by Special Attack. Dark is as well, although Crunch itself is actually a Physical attack. Strangely, for base stats, Luxray's best stat is Attack, despite the fact that Electric-type is governed by Special Attack. Everything else, except Special Attack (at 95) is low, especially Speed (70).
One last thing. I am considering taking a break from video-making soon. I have been focusing on it too much this summer, I have come to realize. Especially recently, with my stress over that one trailer and stuff. Even Papa said that it might be better if I focused on like, writing. I haven't worked at all on the new website I've been planning to make; I need to work on getting into driving school; I need to get my eyes checked and get a physical and an MMR booster.
The main problem is how to put it out of my head. Nowadays, I think up video ideas from just listening to my iPod. Today, on the way home from work, I was thinking of doing a solo fandub of the Special Act of PGSM while listening to the song "A Marriage Has Come to Town" from Bride and Prejudice. A possible PGSM ship video idea was sparked by the song "My Lips are Waiting" (by Ashanti) from the same movie.
I guess I just need to focus my mind on something else. I seem to do this all right at work.
Okay it's late (12:15am). I'm gonna go to bed.