Good morning fights fans and welcome to the third round of that perhaps overzealous community event known far and wide as the Blogger Blitz! So far this month we’ve seen two pairs of gaming relationships face off against one another in wacky events, striving to prove which couple has got the stuff to be declared the ultimate ship. This week will be a little different than previous matches but will still deliver on the high-quality blogging exhibition you all know and love.
So how does all this mess work, anyway? Each week two bloggers face off in an event which serves as a writing prompt of sorts. This week’s match was to be held between Lightning Ellen of Livid Lightning, sponsoring Lightning Farron and Oerba yun Fang from Final Fantasy XIII (that’s 13, for those who may not speak Roman), as well as Winst0lf of the Winst0lf Portal who chose to sponsor Morgana and Ann Takamaki from Persona 5. Now ordinarily, both competitors would submit a blog post which fits the terms of the week’s event and then be judged by our esteemed judiciary – Jace of Zen Mind Zen Life, Andrew of Serial Book Seller, and Heather of Just Geeking By. As it turns out, this week we only received one submission to the competition: Winst0lf posted his article but Ellen has been unavailable for the duration of the week. We also had one less judge able to share comments; circumstances allowing, Heather will be back next week to share her insights on our competition posts.
Now naturally, that means we already know the outcome of today’s results post: Winst0lf will progress to the semifinals by default since Ellen was unable to post. At this time I’m not able to share why Ellen wasn’t able to participate this week, but that’s okay – Blogger Blitz is a friendly competition and if Ellen is under the weather or tied up with other obligations then we certainly would prefer that she prioritize those things first. It’s a shame we don’t get to witness her in action, but she’s got a blog full of awesome posts to check out and in the meantime we all wish her well and hope to see her again soon. And that doesn’t mean that Winst0lf is off the hook! If you know anything about the world of Persona, then you know that the true battles of the Phantom Thieves take place in the human mind. Lightning Farron herself may not have been able to make an appearance this week, but the mere idea of her – her cognition – is still a fearsome opponent. We’re talking about the original Blogger Blitz champion, after all! Morgana stands alone against the judiciary with the Shadow of Lightning looming over him – can he prove his love for Ann and demonstrate his worthiness as a semifinal competitor? Let’s dive into the match and find out!
Each week the judges share comments about the competitors’ submissions based on three established categories: post structure, event compliance, and the portrayal of the characters and their relationship. Up to this point we’ve seen lots of capable competitors deliver some excellent posts. The preferred structure of the typical Blogger Blitz post is the short story, and yet this year we’ve only seen one so far! Instead we’ve seen captain’s logs and brochures for delicious eats, structures that each presented their own unique strengths and weaknesses. How will Winst0lf compete against such daring approaches?
He decided to stick with the classics: the short story is back with a vengeance as Winst0lf weaves a tale of Morgana and Ann lost in a mysterious Palace – a cognitive world within the mind of a mysterious individual they’ve not yet identified. The Palace has manifested as a lovely nature hike, and the story focuses on their efforts to find their way back to Tokyo amidst the dangers of the woods. The setting of Persona gave Winst0lf a perfect opportunity to make some meta references to the Blogger Blitz itself and he wasted no time in doing so, using the lore of his game world to break the fourth wall in some fun allusions to the audience watching Morgana’s every move.
So how did our judges feel about this structure? Andrew loved that Winst0lf jumped right into the action. “It pulls of in media res very well,” he said, and to save you the Googling that I had to do, that means that the article did a great job of starting off “in the middle of things.” Some of the previous posts in this year’s competition were docked points for having a bit too much exposition and not enough focus on the action of the scene. That concern is long gone with Winst0lf’s article as all of the introductory nonsense is thrown out the window for some wolf-chopping action. Granted, this didn’t sit well with every judge. As a Persona noobie, Jace felt that some of the more complex concepts touched on in the post could have used a bit more elaboration. “there was only a brief mention of how Ryuji ‘messed with that weird new Metaverse Navigator update’ and the like, and as someone who has never played Persona 5 I don’t quite understand the context behind this fictional technology.” It just goes to show the importance of balance, folks – there is such a thing as too much exposition and there is such a thing as not enough, too.
That said, both Jace and Andrew agreed that Winst0lf brought his A-game when it came to the quality of the storytelling. “The writing was very descriptive and picturesque,” Jace said, referring to the skill with which Winst0lf crafted the forest scenery and the intimidating wolf shadows. “While I know nothing at all about the characters, they both had terrific voice. They reminded me almost of a more serious fantasy version of Sam & Max,” Andrew said. Banter is certainly a key aspect of the relationship between Morgana and Ann, and this submission demonstrated that witty wordplay in a way that Andrew felt “flowed well, which is generally really hard to do with banter.”
Speaking of the relationship between Ann and Morgana, how did our judges feel about the way in which it was portrayed? We’ve already seen that Andrew quickly caught on to the essence of this odd couple, but what about Jace, who has already made clear his lack of knowledge about Persona? “Ann and Morgana were close as partners/teammates,” he said, and that certainly captures one aspect of the relationship between these Phantom Thieves. However, what our judges and all others unfamiliar with Persona may not know about this unlikely pair is that there’s a bit of an unrequited love situation happening. Morgana’s crush on Ann borders on the level of an artist and his muse, and he even refers to her as “Lady Ann.” Her feelings about him are much more neutral, which leads to plenty of situations where Morgana’s pining is met with benign rejection. This aspect of the relationship didn’t shine through quite as clearly as their bond as battle comrades, but perhaps this is something we’ll get to see in future posts.
That brings us, then, to event compliance. Did Winst0lf’s submission meet the criteria for Hectic Hiking? His mission was to portray a scenario in which Morgana and Ann were on a hike that took a turn for the worst, forcing Morgana to do his darndest to try and turn the day around. Now I don’t know if you’ve been attacked by shadow wolves in the woods, and I certainly haven’t either, but I don’t imagine there are many things worse that could happen to you in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately, Ann and Morgana both demonstrate that they are more than capable of dealing with the shadows. “They tackled the challenge in an interesting narrative,” said Andrew, and Jace agreed: “They successfully used their abilities to save the day.” He did add that there was a lack of clarity about how exactly they got out of the situation. “The ending is somewhat confusing (how did they escape if they usually need a ‘weak point between the dimensions?’) but it makes for an interesting cliffhanger…pun intended.” Both judges agreed that the terms of the event were well and truly met.
At the end of the day, Winst0lf delivered an action-packed submission that, while lacking in needed exposition and only capturing one facet of the relationship between Morgana and Ann, demonstrated excellent imagery and banter while meeting all of the conditions for the event. When the judges gave their final score, Winst0lf ended up with the highest average so far in the competiton: a 3.75 out of 5! That means Morgana and Ann are the ones to beat in the semifinals right now, an impressive feat despite having no one to take some of the heat during the judging this week.
As always, I want to say a big thank you to everyone who participated in the competition this week! Unfortunately circumstances made it so that we were missing some people this time around, but even down a lady or two we still managed to have an exciting event. Be sure to check out the blogs of everyone involved in the competiton, and come by again next Friday at 9 AM EST to see the conclusion of round one of the Blogger Blitz! Thanks for reading, fight fans, and have a fantastic weekend!