My Influence Map Picture

I've been wanting to do this for a while, but I CAN'T FIT EVERYTHING. I guess these are my biggest influences. The common themes are stories and characters. I love the art of story telling, and I love well-written and well-designed characters. If you can name all of the things the pictures depict without reading the guide below, give yourself a cookie.

1. Final Fantasy: Okay, so this is a Dissidia Duodecim picture, but I really wanted a picture showing a huge ensemble of FF characters. I've only played about half of the main FF franchise: 4, 6, 9, 10, 12, and 13. 9 is my absolute favorite. However, I have enjoyed each of the games I played for many different reasons. I loved Cecil's journey of redemption and his companions in 4, I loved how everyone had an important background story and character arcs in 6, I loved everything in 9, 10 was pretty much my first big JRPG, I loved the huge sprawling world of Ivalice in 12, and I loved how the team of 13 searched for their destiny and changed it. Final Fantasy is what really made me want to complete stories from start to finish.

2. Mythology: I think that's a sculpture of Zeus. Anyway, I have always been a mythology buff. Greek/Roman, Egyptian, Norse, Japanese, whatever. Give me a mythos I'm not familiar with and I will research it and find all sorts of cool things to draw inspiration from.

3. Chrono Crusade: My all-time favorite manga. I love the artwork, the characters, and the story. The ending blew my mind. I highly recommend this series. I can't give a summary that will do it justice; just read it for yourself.

4. Level5: Level5 is probably best known for their professor Layton games, even though I don't play them. I used the company name for this since I've played several of their games and loved them: Dark Cloud series, Jeanne D'arc, White Knight Chronicles series. Some day I'll get to playing Rogue Galaxy. These guys are awesome.

5. Early Clamp: Cardcaptor Sakura was the first manga series I collected. Magic Knight Rayearth followed soon after. I love the art for these series. The flowing lines, the colors, the detailed hair and wide variety of intricate outfits... Clamp is what led me to fall in love with manga, even if I'm not as big into it these days.

6. Pokemon: I mean, I only draw OC trainers all the time. I've never read the mangas, and I haven't watched the show in eons. Mostly I love the games. I love the creativity behind the critters themselves. I don't think I'm very creative when creating my own creatures, but if I could take ideas from real animals and turn them into colorful, cute/cool/scary things like Pokemon for my stories, I'd be very happy.

7. Fire Emblem: I've only played 4 FE games, but I love the series. FE7 (the first FE released in North America and localized as simply Fire Emblem) blew me away with the characters, story, and need for strategy. I especially was fascinated by the Support Conversation mechanic, where two characters who fought together a lot would eventually have conversations together and build relationships and build character arcs. I especially liked how the player was written into FE7 as an NPC character and that the characters talked to you. The main characters especially spoke to you often, confiding their fears and hopes with you. That made the characters more than characters to me: they were my friends.

8. Young Justice: A recent animated DC show about the younger heroes/sidekicks. I am still amazed by the character development in this show. The writing was great, too; the way the characters interacted with each other was very believable. I like the art style of the show, too. Just... wow.

9. Golden Sun: Golden Sun: The Lost Age is one of my favorite games ever. Normally, I don't mind linear gameplay, but the linearity of the first game kinda bored me. The Lost Age throws you into the shoes of the percieved bad-guy and you explore the world with the threat of your former friends coming after you hovering over your shoulder. I love the art style, the character designs, the summon sequences, and it has one of the best video game soundtracks EVER. If you stop and think about it, the story is pretty simple and almost generic, but somehow these games make it so damn epic. Maybe it's because, again, in the second game you play as someone who was depicted as an enemy in the first one. Regardless, the Golden Sun GBA games are an incredible pair. I thought the DS game was a decent, though flawed, sequel.

10. Mana Khemia: My second favorite game of all time. In Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis, you play as students studying alchemy in a prestigious and isolated academy. Synthesizing your own items and equipment is a huge part of the game, and the creativity behind synthesizing is a lot of fun. I also love the dungeons: their designs are all so cool and its fun to explore them to find the materials you need. The characters were a lot of fun, too, and the ending you get is based on which character the protagonist has the strongest bond with. The humor is great in this game, too. Some things are just so messed up you have to wonder what kind of drugs the creators were on. Mana Khemia also has one of my favorite soundtracks ever. The music can be fun and bubbly, and there are incredibly sad songs that make your heart ache, and some of the combat themes just make you want to run head first into battle screaming, "YEAH!" MK2 was great too, but the first one is better in almost every way. And again, I love the art and character designs, but the amount of details make fan art a pain.

11. Persona: I prefer Persona 4, but Persona 3 Portable was excellent, too. These two games have some of the best character developments in video game history, and much of it is through the magic of social links. Under the Social Link system, the power of friendship really does make you stronger! In my opinion, though, is that all of the key elements of Persona 4 (voice acting, story, characters, music, gameplay, etc) make it the best game I have ever played. It is one of my favorites, but it is not my first, or even second favorite game ever. Maybe the flaws of my top two are part of what make the good aspects that much better in my opinion. Not sure. But yeah, Persona is awesome. Play some.

12. Slayers: There are three classic Slayers anime series, and two mini-series that fit together were recently made. I love the comedy of Slayers! Lina, Gourry, Amelia and Zelgadis make a hilarious team. Slayers is also good at giving the party a very huge and real threat and not overplaying the drama. My favorite series is Slayers Next, the second show. The humor is more over the top and very enjoyable, the characters' relationships to each other are explored more, and we learn more about the monsters and magic of the Slayers world.

13. The Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight: This is the iconic swords-and-sorcery anime for me. The spell incantations are cool, the dragons are effing huge and cool and terrifying, the sword action is cool and the knights rarely seem to be outclassed by the magicians. This series has two arcs, the first is with Parn and the second is with Spark. Both arcs are enjoyable, and the characters are fun and interesting. Also, each episode ended with a five minute segment called "The Second Part" where everyone was chibified and their personalities were greatly exaggerated. The humor was over the top, with some slapstick and bad puns, but was still pretty funny. And Lodoss has one of my favorite opening sequences and songs ever. Everything just comes together nicely in this show.

14. Kingdom Hearts: I love this series. The combat is fun, exploring so many different worlds is pretty cool, and I find most of the original characters and their arcs interesting. My favorite in the series thus far is Birth by Sleep. Aqua, Terra, and Ven have such a compelling and tragic journey and relationship. While I think there are a few too many in-between games, I still admire the continuity of the series and how every thing links together. And more lovely soundtracks! Say what you want about the games themselves, the music is amazing.

15. Twelve Kingdoms: Another favorite anime. It is based on a series of light novels under the same name. The story is huge, spanning a cast nearly a hundred, with many different journeys and character arcs. I will admit, the first ten or so episodes of the anime are hard to watch, because not much happens and the characters are very unlikable, but little by little they grow and mature, leading to some of the best character development I have ever seen. The anime ended rather abruptly. I'm not sure why, maybe it caught up with the books and more needed to be written, or maybe it wasn't popular enough or whatever. 12K is still fantastic and worth checking out if you can get past the first several episodes.

16. Xenosaga: I love the series, but Xenosaga Episode III: Also sprach Zarathustra, is MY FAVORITE GAME EVER. The Xenosaga series was originally planned to be six games long, but it was cut in half, so Monolith had to find a way to adequately end the series and answer most of the questions in Episode III. I think they succeeded brilliantly. Hell, even if the series was allowed to span its original length of six games, I'm not sure they could have ended it better. All the character arcs come to an end, and most of them are satisfying, heart warming, and tear-jerking. KOS-MOS finding her humanity is one of the most beautiful things in video game history, and the game's ending is so full of hope with just the right amount of sadness that it had me crying like a baby every time I see it. The music is beautiful and fits every dungeon, every fight, every cutscene perfectly. This game and everything it stands for is one of my biggest inspirations.

17. Avatar: The Last Airbender: In my opinion, this is one of the greatest stories ever told, regardless of medium. The continuity is incredible, and almost every episode was necessary and linked to the overall story and led up to the conclusion. It has some of the best character development I have ever seen, and the animation is gorgeous. The voice acting is great, and the humor is wonderful. The series conclusion is one of the most epic showdowns I have ever seen, and left me reacting much like that man on Kiyoshi Island (you know the one). Avatar was written as a kid's show, but an adult can enjoy it just as much, maybe even more than a child can because of how complex a tale it weaves. And because it was mostly aimed at kids, there are lessons that can be learned in many episodes, and I think they are good lessons. It's okay to be angry, it's okay to grieve, find your own path, violence does not have to be the answer. I wish the stories I write can be as carefully thought-out and well told as this.

18. Tales of Series: I've only played Symphonia, Aybss, and Graces and played a bit of Vesperia with some friends, but I enjoy these games. Abyss had great character development, and Graces has my favorite JRPG combat system yet. I like most of the character designs, and I love the Skits: scene that pop up now and then where the characters talk about things. The worlds are fun to explore, and a lot of the sidequests are fun, too. The optional bosses are usually fun. I just really enjoy these games.

19. BOOKS!: I read a lot. I'm weird for my generation that way. There are a lot of genres I enjoy, but mostly I read books with a mystery element. They can be paranormal mysteries, or perfectly mundane, could-be-be-real-world mysteries. I prefer fiction and novels, but some nonfiction can be good, too. It all comes down to the writer. Here are some of my favorite series and authors: the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett, A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, the Walt Longmire mysteries by Craig Johnson, and the Captain Alatriste series by Arturo Perez Reverte. I love imaging the scenes, in books, and how the characters look and sound like. Books really to transport me to a different place. The creativity of authors and the way they weave words together is very inspirational to me. I probably would have been a writer if I were better with words and couldn't draw.

Original template can be found here: [link]
Give it a try, it's pretty fun and makes you think about what inspires you.
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