So this morning, we joined the Mormon Helping Hands in a statewide project to help with parks and stuff. Our ward's assignment was to plant trees along... I think it's called the Clovis Trail? It's like a bike trail that goes through the city. And we were planting trees there! Yay! We planted valley oak trees, and they made it really easy, because the holes were already dug and everything. It was pretty fun hanging out with people, but we forgot to wear socks, which was a very bad idea because there was a lot of dirt everywhere.
We also set up an irrigation system for the trees so they would have water to grow with, and that's when the scary thing happened! I was poking holes in the pipe that went around a tree, and when I finished, I stepped back so one of the guys with the nozzle thingies could attach them. When I did, I stepped right into a hole! Aaaahhhh! They tell me it went down to my knee! I was so afraid a snake was going to be mad at me for disturbing its home and bite me and kill me. But fortunately I'm still alive.
Another good moment was when I passed by a fruit tree, and I asked the guy with me what kind of fruit it was, he said, "Uh... Indigenous." Other than that, there was mostly a lot of us singing Mary Poppins music. Mr. Banks's theme is very catchy.
Soon after we got home, Celeste called and asked us if we wanted to join them (her, Mom, and Sarah) going out shopping. So off we went again! After a lunch at Chick-Fil-A, or however they spell it, we went to Jo-Ann's where we got fabric that we hope we can use for an Iris Hawthorne costume, but since the trip was so sudden, we didn't have any color reference. We'll see. And then we went to Barnes & Noble, where we skipped ahead in our Disney Reading Project and got Alice in Wonderland. I did sort of keep an eye out for Wind in the Willows, but I didn't look very hard. And our first set of books isn't even set to arrive until Monday! It doesn't matter, though, because it will be a long time before we get to any of them. We have so much cool stuff going on.
And that! leads me to our shiny new video game that we got on Thursday: Labyrinth of Grimm. I was a little worried that it would maybe be a little boring, but it's very awesome.
The art style is interesting, because the backgrounds are really cartoony, like Flash animation kind of stuff, with the stylized Toon Town-like buildings and stuff. They also have a kind of vibe that reminds me of The Nightmare Before Christmas or something. With that and the ghostlike music, the game would probably creep us both out to the point of hating it, but the character designs and the color schemes keep it bright and happy enough that it's not a problem. And it all works together so well--the game is very very pretty.
The story starts out with Henrietta, a ten-year-old girl who lives with her cousins, Jacob, Wilhelm, and Ludwig. One night, she hears a voice calling out to her, so she goes into the woods after it, and finds herself in the clutches of a mysterious and evil... um... guy, I guess. Ludwig saw her leave the house and came out to help her just in the nick of time! They each have summoning powers, which is cool. Ludwig uses his sketchbook to summon stuff, which is not original, but still cool. Whenever a character uses a cool magic move, the name of the spell is in German, which is awesome, but if you think about it, the game takes place in Germany, so that might not really work... but it's just a game, so, y'know.
Oh right. There's fighting and stuff in the game, but it's not really very interactive. I think this is what they call a visual novel, but since we haven't played any official visual novels, we couldn't say for sure. At any rate, the story is very engaging, so despite the lack of actual game play, we have a hard time putting it down.
And they fight the guy, and they start to gain the upper hand, but then! something weird happens, and the next thing they know, they're waking up in a laboratory five years later. Apparently Wilhelm was trying really hard to find a way to wake them up, but as of when they actually do, he and Jacob are nowhere to be found. Dun dun DUN!!! And the whole village is in ruins.
And Ludwig is adorable. When he's eleven, he's a punk kid, but when he's sixteen, somehow the personality works much better. And there are so many cute drawings of him! Eee! I think he's my favorite. For now anyway. He's played by the same guy who played Romeo in Romeo x Juliet.
As Ludwig and Henrietta travel in search of Jacob and Wilhelm, they meet other fairy tale characters. First in line is the Pied Piper of Hamlin, who I think they changed to Hamlin the Pied Piper. Or Hameln, because they're in Germany. Personality-wise, he's just like Hamel from the Violinist of Hameln--manga version. He's even introduced the same way (only with a flute instead of a violin): Henrietta hears some beautiful and enchanting music, and she follows it to listen. She finds Hameln surrounded by a bunch of animals, also entranced by his music, and he sparkles in the sun. Then he stops playing, grabs a nearby rabbit, and skins it and cooks it right on the spot. From then on, he's constantly asking for money. "You heard me playing? You have to pay for that." "Hey, I just helped saved your lives. You need to pay me for that." "The year is 810. That'll be 30,000 hein for the info." We always love that kind of thing.
Next on the list is Little Red Riding Hood, who is a boy in this version... and we're pretty sure he's a werewolf. They haven't said anything explicitly yet, but the wolf swears he didn't eat his grandmother, Red mentioned how all his friends and family got picked off by a wolf on nights with a full moon, and Hameln (who picked up on the full moon thing) made sure to warn Henrietta that there might be something up with this guy. We really hope he is a werewolf, because he's played by Tetsuya Kakihara, who played the werewolf in Zombie Loan and did such a fantastic job with this amazing growl--a growl we're sure he picked up because he grew up in Germany. German has a lot of guttural sounds, is what we're sayin'. And the werewolf was in one, maybe two episodes of Zombie Loan, which is such a disappointment. So we're hoping we get to hear some more awesome werewolf growls as the game goes on.
Incidentally, as Hameln was standing there pointing out that Henrietta might have to accept some unpleasant things about Red, and talking about how the little boys and girl don't know how to properly deal with angst, and wearing all black over his pale pale skin, I said as a joke, "And he's totally a vampire." And then we remembered that he sparkled in the sun, and now we want him to be a vampire, because the Twilight tie-in would be hilarious.
Moving on, next they meet Rapunzel, a character we can totally relate to. They get inside the tower and see Rapunzel holding a Playstation controller. They say, "We're here to save you!" And she's like, "Save me from what?" Apparently she has no problem being locked in a tower all the time, because the witch who raised her keeps her supplied with the latest manga, anime, and video games. "I'm in the middle of fighting the last boss, so could whatever you want wait?" The game she was playing? Princess Last Fantasy. Awesome. One time she made a video game reference, and Red was like, "What are you talking about?" and Henrietta was like, "Just don't think about it." Bwahahaha.
It would appear that each of the characters Henrietta runs into (including Ludwig) is carrying a matching key, and based on the subtitle (something about seven keys), there are seven of them. That of course has us equating the game to Kingdom Hearts, which makes it even more amusing.
In conclusion, we love it to bits. But we have a ton of other awesome stuff to do today, so we probably won't get a whole lot of time with it. Or we'll put off some of the other awesome stuff. We'll see. But I definitely need to practice the piano.
Today I'm thankful for getting a chance to help with the service project, getting to go out shopping, Labyrinth of Grimm being super awesome and shiny, already having had Labyrinth of Grimm wallpapers on hand (the one we're using has a lovely picture of the Brothers Grimm), and not being bitten by a snake.