HappinessCharge Pretty Cure!, ep. 1
Periodically I attempt to watch Pretty Cure, and this time, seeing others enjoying the first episode, I figured, well, maybe if I watched it week-to-week I’d be able to stick with an entire Precure series.
I remember when the first Precure series was airing. I’d finally figured out the whole digital fansubs thing and torrenting, as my high school’s anime club had shown the fourth episode of Bleach and I’d fallen madly in love with it. I HAD TO WATCH MORE. And I had to watch all these other anime, just more more more of it, BECAUSE NOW I COULD. Futari wa Precure was about two-thirds through its run, but I liked the looks of it, and a lot of folks seemed to love it, SO YEAH DIGISUBS!!! And I did like it. I wanted to watch more! But, as it turned out, my enjoyment of Precure was not enough to ultimately overcome the sheer mass of time it took to torrent episodes – this was the early 00’s, and even a cable connection meant it could take up to six hours to get a single episode of a show.
I bring this up since I think this is where I missed my moment to be a fan of the franchise. If I’d gotten fully in on the ground floor, I think I would’ve been able to keep it up. As it is, the most I’ve seen of any iteration was twenty-five episodes of Yes! Precure 5. Saying I watched the first episode of HappinessCharge is misleading – Cure Princess is a brat. I dropped it eight minutes in. Ah well.
Noragami, ep. 4
So the first goddess we meet is of poverty and she ruins men. Hmm, you don’t say… Oh, and her Regalia, who is a tough-looking muscular man, prohibits her from leaving her home because she can’t control herself and brings people bad luck if she goes out into the world at all. Well, guess it wouldn’t be shounen without any sexism!
On a different tack, I suppose one of the questions I want to ask is – is Noragami some sort of stealth anti-suicide propaganda? I say “propaganda” since it continues to espouse, unchallenged, this notion that committing suicide is a shameful act because to do so is to be selfish. Come on, life is a gift! How dare you not accept it gratefully? This is the idea that Yato has promoted two episodes running now, and its a pretty damn unhelpful idea – attempting to shame someone into not killing themselves isn’t exactly a proven way to go about things, after all, and, if anything, there’s evidence that this approach just causes further damage. (We could, too, get philosophical about the whole thing and ask if life is inherently a good thing – sure, say a person who survives a suicide attempt then goes on to start an anti-suicide group that helps save hundreds of lives, yeah, that’s good. But what if we’re talking about a baby who is born in a famine-struck area and starves to death eight months later after being chronically underfed? Was the act of being alive a good thing there? I would argue that life itself is a value-free status/thing and it is what is around it that renders it either a good or bad. Sure, you can say that being alive means having the opportunity for things to get better much more than being dead does, but it is just as much an opportunity for bad things to happen as well. I want to say Peter Singer has written about this, but I could be wrong.)
Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes, Yato looking down on people who either attempt or complete suicide. Japan’s got a bit of a problem with youth suicide, so I can’t help but smell an afterschool special message lurking in all that. Can’t say it strikes me as a particularly helpful one.
Macross 7, ep. 36 – 41
In a cheesy, fist-pump-inducing sequence in episode thirty-eight, Basara’s song has clearly finally reached at least one of Protodeviln, as Gigil busts out into one of the Fire Bomber’s songs and in doing so saves a comrade. He also dies a few moments later after more or less causing a dimensional space collapse, but, hey, it was still a grin-worthy moment! I guess this is why people watch Macross, for moments like this one.
It seems with Macross 7 that when its having a bad episode it is required that is is really horrible, and that is exactly the case with episode forty-one. Its a mess of toxic ideas in much the way that my other reviled episode, episode twenty-eight, was, as Mylene is made to be the bad guy for not being terribly fond of a kid who flips her skirt while threatening her if she breaks off a promise she never made to him. Basara is always an asshole, pretty much, but here we can add “hypocrite” when he tells Mylene to chill out when she takes her guitar from the kid, Billy, who has picked it up and started playing it without asking her. “It’s my life!”, she declares, and Basara, who throws a fit if anyone so much as looks cross-eyed at his Valkyrie, dismissively tells her to not make a fuss about it. The episode pans out predictably – even though Billy is a little shit who harasses Mylene and forces himself into her life, it is Mylene who must learn to be calmer and accepting of the little shit. Of course.
Buddy Complex, ep. 4
We might as well call this Dumbass Complex and be done with it. Dio being angry with Aoba for opening his cockpit during battle and forcibly breaking the Coupling is completely legit. Aoba acting like a high school student in the middle of a battle is also completely legit. Telling Dio to not admonish Aoba for his actions because “He’s not a soldier, you can’t hold him to military standards.”? Well, idiots, then why do you have him piloting a mech, huh? I’m not going to expect him to cotton on to things instantly, either, but you can’t hold him to the standards, period? Then don’t fucking use him as a soldier!
Aoba wants to traipse around his hometown. Mayuka says she can show him around. Aoba is all, no, no, I know this place! But its seventy years later, and, hey, he actually doesn’t know his way around! Very shocking, yes. At the end of their day, Aoba asks Mayuka about how far Zogilia is, and we learn that he wants to travel there. Mayuka points out that they know his face, so going to Zogilia will likely result in his capture or death, and Aoba has clearly not stopped to consider that, hey, they’re an enemy nation we’re at war with! This takes a pretty unprecedented level of stupid, because I feel pretty safe saying that even your average slightly dim Japanese high schooler would be able to tell you that, yeah, going to North Korea would be a bad idea, and none of them have even had mech battles with North Korean forces.
Later on, another battle, Dio and Aoba sent out but can’t complete Coupling. The captain is surprised, so surprised! Other comments that they still don’t get along and he expresses surprise, “They still don’t?!” Uh, dude, you’re the captain and you just sent them into battle, shouldn’t you know this shit? And even those who know Dio doesn’t like Aoba one bit seem totally taken off-guard when the two have issues with Coupling.
The episode ends with us meeting Dio’s sister and dad. Dio and his dad don’t seem to get along too well, which is totally not super-anime. Dio’s sister? Wheelchair-bound imouto! But, wait, this is the future, right? Scientists currently have managed to design prototype robotics that can allow a leg amputee to walk, so what’s up with the scientists of future Japan? You can build mechs but not give a disabled imouto robotic leg improvements?
Saying that Japan has a bit of a problem with youth suicide (or, let’s face it, any kind of suicide) is an understatement. Like you, I don’t think Noragami is necessarily dealing with this issue particularly well, although given that suicide is such a huge problem here, I’m honestly just happy that it’s being dealt with in fictional media at all. (That said, I don’t believe that depictions of suicide, or moral messages surrounding suicide, is the main point of Noragami. This is obviously just my opinion, but I see it more as a side-note to the stories than anything else – though I may change my mind about that depending on how future episodes go.)
I didn’t detect any sexism in Noragami at all. My guess is Kofuku would have ruined anyone regardless of gender. If her gender and her bodyguard’s were reversed it would be the exact same situation. Also, regarding any moral messages about suicide, Yato was the one who thought that it was selfish and Hiyori disagreed with him. I didn’t think Yato was completely in the right. Sorry, english isn’t my first language and I was raised to think that suicide, no matter how justified, will eternally damn you.
I think Yato acts the way he does when it comes to suicide attempts because of personal reasons. Since he used to have to kill people who probably didn’t want to die (as a God of War, I think?) just to survive, he has trouble dealing with people that want to kill themselves. That’s why he sometimes acts callous or tries to give them a quick fix solution–he only has experience killing people who want to live, so he just can’t understand that someone would want to die. It might even make him angry, that these people want to die when those he killed wanted to live.
The Goddess of Misfortune could possibly be an interesting character in the future, unless she just ends up glossed over or as a joke character (very likely). While Yusuke did mention that he spent a lot of money on her, when it came to what he was upset about, he focused on the dates that went poorly, presumably because of the Goddess’ natural powers of misfortune. And it doesn’t seem like she was trying to seduce him (she didn’t tell any lies about her family at home being strict, she wanted to actually go places to have fun, like the theme park, instead of just taking his money or making him buy her things). Maybe she’s suffering from her fate as a Goddess of Misfortune, and trying to fight back, like Yato is?
I’m almost definitely over-analyzing here, but it could be interesting if the show took this route.
It’s also interesting that they put this much stress on suicide being a shameful act. While I do agree perfectly with your comments about this being a quite pointless thing to say (being both fallacious and unhelpful), it’s interesting to put it in contrast with the traditional ‘bushido’ doctrine of suicide as a means of regaining honour. In that case, suicide was a form of communication; something done not out of despair, but of desire to rehabilitate one’s name and actually do good to one’s family – by giving them back the respect of the rest of society. This is the country that less than one hundred years ago sent young pilots to crash against enemy ships as an actual strategy, after all. In this sense, stressing the fact that in the end suicide harms the people who are close to us more than anything might make sense. If suicide is an extreme way to escape shame, it’s just logic to point out that it’s the MORE shameful alternative of the two to prevent it.
I wish I could tell you there’s a point at which Mylene stops being treated like some kind of waif, but…eh…yeah, that remains one of the problems with the show. I mostly love the Dynamite 7 OVA (the end of which is a crucial basagam moment, IIRC), but there’s an entirely unnecessary and distracting bit with Mylene in there that I’m at a total loss to explain.
Daaaamn you only gave Happiness Charge Precure 8 minutes? Why so harsh Day? Just kidding! I can totally see where some fans would have issues with it especially with characters like Hime running around, but for me I guess I didn’t really find her to be all that annoying even though I my level of annoying characters usually falls back on Hijime from Gatchaman Crowds who I found to be VERY annoying…