Another high-quality week of Spring 2016.
I keep meaning to write intelligent, thought-provoking posts, only to be borne away on a tsunami of other more pressing junk I have to get done, like taxes and visa forms. At the moment I’m absorbed in the thrilling adventure of applying for scholarships and grants for graduate school.
Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, ep. 4
Well, I liked this episode better than any of the ones I’ve watched previously; something about how the underlying tensions surfaced only to run right up against a crisis that threatened to take the entire cast out. I’m also a sucker for actions like Ayame takes at the climax of the episode in offering Ikoma her blood in exchange for his protection of the train. It’s the sort of grand gesture that I can dig.
That being said, I still feel a disconnect when watching this show. I don’t really care what happens to the characters, and I don’t find the larger struggle of life in their world of much interest. I’m not into zombie tales by and large, which is probably why this show doesn’t quite click with me (and also probably why it’s elder brother Attack on Titan never caught my attention). The visuals sure are lovely, but I could walk away from this episode, never watch any more of it, and I wouldn’t miss it.
Big Order, ep. 4
Well… it was a little bit less stupid than the show has been so far, but that wouldn’t take much. There was a lot of very boring babble back and forth about big plans different characters have, and none of it really seemed to add up. The dumbest pregnancy ever didn’t get much focus, thank goodness, although a nurse does somehow manage to react to it with, “Oh, what a good husband, worrying about his pregnant wife!” rather than with, “Excuse me, Child Abuse Hotline? I’m calling to report a knocked-up twelve year old.”. Of course, she also tries to kill the lead by stabbing him in the back with a scalpel, so she may not be the brightest person out there.
What else? Well, there are nuclear warheads that we’re told none of the Orders are capable of shooting down, which seems odd considering we’ve got a guy who can control stuff by shooting nails on wires into them, and another guy who can stop all conflict by clapping his hands. Surely an incoming nuclear weapon would fall under “conflict”? Whatever, this is also a show where someone mashed together gravestones to make a big monster to kill a guy with.
By the way, we haven’t seen the malevolent Super Sonico in a while, which is definitely a negative. She’s the best part of the show, doling out really weird, specific powers to people who want them hard enough, then sitting back to smirk at it all. If they make anymore Super Sonico anime, they should really swap this girl in.
Kagewani: Shou, ep. 5
I continue to not be sure of whether I like where this show is going or not. It felt a little closer to the sorts of episode Kagewani had in its first season, but there was no escaping that they’re trying to establish a larger, conspiracy-type plot. I liked it better when it was just Banba running around looking for monsters, and Kimura trying to outfox him so he could catch those monsters.
The Lost Village, ep. 5
Leave it to The Lost Village to juxtapose a story about a girl having to deal with her mother having to essentially prostitute herself to an abusive priest in order to keep a roof over their heads with a young man fearfully fleeing a giant wad of silicone. I picture Okada and Mizushima drunk during their weekly brainstorming and boozing sessions, and Mizushima grinning broadly as he says, “AND THEN…” while he scrawls a circle so hard on a sheet of paper that the pencil’s lead breaks. Okada hoots and high-fives him. The next day one of the key animators wonders why he’s been asked about his ability to draw spheres.
To be honest, I never was the slightest bit interested in Lovepon getting any development as a character. I genuinely don’t get the love for her that a lot of the audience seems to have, as I find her endless shrieking about executions irritating and tiresome. But her backstory was decently done, if not terribly original. I enjoyed Nyanta’s a fair bit more – a girl becoming a gun-nut as a pellet gun allowed her to get back at her tormentors without forcing her to directly confront them. The men fare a bit less well, as Jigoku no Gouka (the male gun-nut) has the misfortune of being stalked by a gigantic ball of silicone even as his backstory of being too short for the JSDF that he dreamed of joining could be compelling, while Mikage is such a hateful, angry piece of shit that it’s impossible to be troubled by the fact that he was brought low by hubris in his professional life. Dude clearly hasn’t learned anything!
Still no new additional deaths. Considering that part of why I showed up for this was that the deaths in Another were hilarious, this is disappointing. Here, have a supercut of all the deaths in Another:
Macross Delta, ep. 5
I still haven’t managed to get around to writing about Delta and the gender theme that seems to be developing…
Hayate seems to be growing on me a little, as annoying as that is, although I still find the prospect of him as the center of a love triangle extremely irksome. His tirade against Mirage when Mirage was trying to, albeit awkwardly, make Freyja feel better was pretty stupid and points to the issues inherent to their dynamic which makes me really leery of the incoming romance angle. The “she’s got a stick up her ass, he’s a free-thinking rebel” trope has been done to death, and has never been one I enjoy anyway. I don’t even generally like it when it’s done with two men in the Starksy & Hutch manner, either.
The highlight of this episode is simply in watching Mikumo do things that are slightly odd. I think Mikumo’s ultimate goals differ somewhat from what anyone else’s are, including those of her comrades, although I couldn’t possibly say what they are. She initially struck me as being a bit like Sheryl, in that she’s got the same sort of confidence and poise, but I think it’d be more accurate to say that she’s like Sheryl if Sheryl had been raised on Pluto by gophers and sentient tulips and could only experience what humans were like through textbooks and Youtube videos.
I’m also glad that we basically got confirmation that the runes are penises crossed with mood-rings. The bit with the red-haired Aerial Knight being told to control his damn rune since he’s too old to be letting it go wild was hilarious.
Kiznaiver, ep. 5
So… now they can all feel each others’ emotional pain if the feeling is strong enough? Hmm. I’ll admit to being a little bit irritated about how they seem to be pasting in new things and changing the rules on how the whole system works. But I like the cast enough and their interactions with one another to not feel too churlish about it.
Nico was clearly paying attention to something in this episode, but I’m not totally sure what it was. Are we supposed to have figured out that Nico is on to the fact that Tenga and Chidori are in cahoots? I think most of the cast has caught onto that, so I don’t think that’s it, but I don’t know what else it could be.
I could’ve done without Maki going crazy, would-be rapist on us.
Flowers in the Attic
Remember how I said I wanted to add book reviews into my blogging? Well, I’m not quite there yet, but I don’t think I could eke out an entire review of what may be one of the best examples of trashy adolescent gothic writing ever. Flowers in the Attic was a genuine sensation when it was first published in 1979 and continued to be the forbidden book de rigeur for teenaged girls throughout the 80’s and into the 90’s (it’s sold forty million copies and been translated into at least eighteen other languages). I’m just a touch too young for it to have been a commonly-read tome when I was a teenager, but I’ve been aware of it at least since then, and it’s been one of those, “Oh, I should get to this at some point.” books for ages.
Reading it as an adult, I did wonder if I would end up regretting not having read it when I was in the target audience. Luckily, this turned out to be the sort of junky read which proved highly-addictive. It’s wonderfully melodramatic, as one might expect from a tale of children hidden away in an attic so that their mother isn’t disinherited over having had children with her “half-uncle”. It’s prose is often considered to be pretty poor, but I didn’t think it was all that bad, and it matched well with the fact that it was a first-person “re-telling” of events from the point of view of its young heroine, Cathy. There are moments where it gets a bit too absurd (the death of the children’s father is described by a police officer in a way that is so, so absurdly over-the-top, and the bathos is underscored by one of the children saying that they can’t know its their dad if the corpse was burnt to a crisp), but it manages for the most part to walk the fine line between melodrama and outright hilarity.
If you like melodrama and incest, this may be just the thing for you… and, well, if you’re reading this, you’re an anime fan, so of course you like melodrama and incest!