Week in Review, 6/6 – 6/16

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Yeah, I’ve been away for a while. I was traveling, and I’ve been working on trying to write something for professional publication, so anime ended up getting left by the wayside for a bit. Except for Big Order. Because Big Order’s streaming is apparently TOTALLY international, so the bounds of nation-states can’t hold it back. Wild. (Alright, I’ve also been playing a ton of Love Live School Idol Festival since I’m bonkers for Honkers. We all have our crosses to bear.)

So, the writing I’ve been working on is… a lesbian idol romance! Basically, I got frustrated with the way that all these idol franchises are happy to proffer hints of romance between girls and women at us without ever committing. Why toil away at writing gay idol fanfiction when I could put my energies toward writing my own work in which the canon is *mine*? So, I’ve been working on the first draft of my lesbian idol romance, and if that sounds the least bit intriguing to you, well, wish me luck in my attempts to get it published. And, if I can’t get anywhere to accept the manuscript, it looks like I’ll be having to plunge into the world of self-publishing. Either way, please check it out when I’ve got it done! I’m going to be starting graduate school in the near future, so the extra money would be helpful!

Speaking of which… Scamp and I are going to be re-launching our podcast to coincide with the end of the spring season and the start of the summer. We’re also going to be launching a Patreon. Keep an eye out for it!

Big Order, ep. 6-9

Yes, so, Big Order, the only show I apparently could keep current on week-to-week! I continue to be amazed at how genuinely bad this show is. The problems with the adaptation in particular have become so glaringly obvious that a little voice has started whispering in the back of my head suggesting that what is wrong with Big Order doesn’t lie in the guts of the story, but in the fact that they’ve compressed roughly nine volumes into what will be ten episodes, and that they’ve done so by hacking and slashing rather than attempting to exclude useless bits. We get lengthy sequences of Rin and Sena eating food while the camera cuts away rapidly from battles. They’re willing to hop around in baffling fashion on key points, but don’t dare to not give us the extraneous material that seems to check off otaku boxes.

At the same time, though, as insistent as this whispered suggestion can get, I don’t honestly think the manga is much better. More coherent, surely, because it couldn’t be any less, but it’s still basically rock, paper, scissors from when you were six years old and some kid was always the one going, “Well, NU-UH, I used volcano! I win!”. It isn’t ever anyone’s final form in this story – there’s always another thing they can pull out of their ass and shock everyone with. And there’s no consistency to this, even, either – ass-pulls that save the day in an episode are totally forgotten ten minutes later when the villain is scooping up imouto again.

In these episodes, I will grant that the show does almost pull of something decent in turns of twists, in that Sena emerges as a cold schemer who is willing to flatten just about anything or anyone in service of keeping her brother safe. It’s a surprising turning of the tables given how she’s the typical all sweetness, sugar, and innocence imouto to that point (well, I guess except for when she fucked her brother with her ten year old self, eugh). But the show squelches it right when it should be paying dividends. Not that I didn’t see this coming, but it was still disappointing.

Macross Delta, ep. 7-10

A lot happens in these episodes, and a lot of great stuff happens – like the power of lesbian idol hacking. Awesome. Fucking fantastic. Ugh. Damn. This show, what a work of fucking art. And then Ikenai Borderline finally re-appears! It took way too damn long, but it probably has more oomph for it taking that long. Compare Macross 7 and Planet Dance… well, no, don’t, Planet Dance was never that awesome anyway, although I’d really dig it if they whipped it out here. Ikenai Borderline is to Macross Delta, it would seem, as Holy Lonely Light is to Macross 7. I can only hope that Delta has as great climax as 7 had.

So, let’s start drifting into spoiler territory. I was surprised that it seemed like they were setting up for a second triangle with Kaname, Arad, and Messer, although I’m not sure I should’ve been. Actually, I’m a little annoyed with how this all panned out, as it felt like they only introduced Messer’s interest in Kaname to make his eventual demise seem more tragic, and that bugs me. I was a bit irritated back when Aquarion EVOL did something a bit similarly with Yunoha and Jin; they’re not identical, mind you, but it’s got that same “introduce romantic stuff –> kill dude off in combat” thing going (on a different note, Messer has regularly been making me think of Cayenne from EVOL). In fact, to be honest, the similar feeling to EVOL in this was really what convinced me that Messer was going to bite the dust, even before all the death flags were unfurled.

At the same time, even as I am annoyed, I do think it was well-executed.

Changing gears, I’m glad that Mikumo continues to be fairly inscrutable, and I like that the show doesn’t even bother trying to explain things like why Mikumo is able to breathe underwater or what she’s doing naked underwater while everyone else is enjoying the Jellyfish Festival anyway. Maybe Mikumo is part jellyfish; it’d explain her hair.

By the way, I shipped FreyjaxMesser for about five minutes. Actually, I still kind of would, except he’s dead. Speaking of shipping, if we must have the Freyja-Hayate-Mirage triangle, couldn’t we just get OT3? I could dig that OT3. I could just pretend that Hayate’s never there.

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, ep 6-9

I feel like whenever this show starts to work more for me, it then backslides. Much of the material in these episodes is pretty good, and of course it all remains quite lovely visually, but then someone like Biba reveals evil master plans that involve things that don’t really make sense, and I feel my connection to the show breaking up again. And then, having stepped back, I realize all over again that I don’t care what happens to any of these characters. Having realized that, attempts to pull at my heart-strings by having children be shot in the head or showing a mother choosing to commit suicide with her bitten daughter turn irritating. You were willing to sacrifice your most loyal follower when they went out of control? How cheap! Who cares?

It isn’t that I dislike the show; there are definitely things I like about it. Again, it’s that I don’t really care. If I was told I wasn’t allowed to watch any more of it, I wouldn’t be consumed with wondering what ultimately happened to everyone. I probably would barely even think of it again beyond the sort of “oh yeah, that show” once in a while. It’s not a forgettable show, quite, its just meaningless to me in the end.

The only thing in these episodes which I think is worth pointing out is what Biba remarks to Mumei about what he’s achieved in opening the gates of the latest town they’re in and allowing the kabane to gnaw away at everyone. He says that he’s showing her the world of equality. Hm. What is the political message here?

Kiznaiver, ep. 8-10

Teens being stupid and hormonal and they’re all literally feedback-looping on each other. Wait, how did anyone think this whole Kizna thing was a hot idea? I remember in one of the spin-off novels for Torchwood (does referencing Torchwood mean things are about to get really dorky?), Gwen sneakily brings a piece of alien technology home despite the embargo on doing so which her workplace has, as she thinks it could spice up her sex life with her fiancee, Rhys. The device amplifies emotion and sensation on a feedback loop. Well, what happens, of course, is that then Gwen and Rhys end up having a huge argument over some really small, silly thing, and Gwen is completely freaked out at what the device ended up doing, so back it goes to her workplace. It would seem that processing our own feelings is really enough for a single person to handle.

Anyway. These episodes. Well.

I keep saying it, but its still true – I like Kiznaiver best when we’re watching our cast interacting with each other and bumping up against each other’s hurts and desires. I care very, very little about the background stuff involving why they were all linked up, and what the grand scheme of things is. Additionally, I find Katsuhira and Noriko the least interesting characters in the mix, so the fact that things are focusing on them leaves me more frequently bored with the proceedings. Katushira is marginally less uninteresting that Noriko not quite because of his own self, but because he benefits massively from spending most of his time around the more interesting members of the cast. Conversations involving simply Noriko and Katsuhira, then, are the equivalent of an airless room.

And then, there’s so much that still bothers me about how Maki is being handled, and how things ended up with her backstory. It’s all still quite dangerously on the edge of Heterosexual Redemption.

The Lost Village, ep. 8-11

This show is the best! To be fair, the sort of mindset I have toward this show is such that I think it probably couldn’t do anything at this point to make me dislike it or make me angry at it. Maybe I’d be mildly piqued if it turned out to all be just a dream? But I think even that I would be perfectly happy to nod my head along with. Well… no, not totally true – I’m a touch irritated that Yottsun turned out to be alive, although its kind of a nice touch that one of the worst characters in the show is the one who manages to work out his shit first. The other things which I’m not super-pleased with is that the angry glasses guy is still alive. Wish we could ship him off the Another so he could, I don’t know, die in a weird microwave oven accident when his head explodes. Ah well.

I’m pleased that the show has remained committed to Mitsumune as the logical extreme of the slightly-daft and feckless but well-meaning male lead. Popping out of a bus after plunging through the woods in it and nearly running over a few people with a remark about hoping everything is okay since he lacks a driver’s license was perfect.

I’m sad that this show is only twelve episodes =( I really hope Okada and Mizushima collaborate again soon.

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