Week in Review, 6/20 – 6/26

nuwa 3c

Are there any other sorts of brotherly games?

Wanted to remind you all that Scamp and I are re-starting our podcast – in fact, we’re recording our first new episode today. Keep an eye out for it!

Remember how I said I’d review books here, too, did it once, and haven’t since? Well, it’s back.

Kiznaiver, ep. 11-12

Aaaaaand, it’s over! I made myself watch episode twelve right after eleven as I figured I probably wouldn’t be able to get myself to do so if I paused. I didn’t care about Noriko’s story, so, yeah, these final episodes didn’t do much for me. Capping it with that dreadful scene involving Maki and Yuuta on a date didn’t do much to endear me to things, either. It wasn’t all bad (Hisomu making various noises because he’s heard ambient sounds help people think was quite funny), but I spent much of the watching time either bored or irritated.

There’s a short scene between Urushii and Yamada in episode eleven that gave a glimpse of a more interesting show about a pair of young scientists justifying themselves about hurting children and how that warps them to the point where they’re hurting new children to heal the wounds of the children they originally hurt. We’ll never get it, which is too bad, as this was the one moment where the thread about the Kizna System and the machinations of those testing it intrigued me. Otherwise, I wish that Kiznaiver had simply never bothered to try to explain why these six teenagers were linked together and had focused solely on said teens forming bonds as they inadvertently hurt each other and make bad decisions.

Glad to be done with this! By the way, did you know that Nico and the imouto from Big Order were voiced by the same person? She (Misaki Kuno) also voiced Tama in Selector Infected WIXOSS. ~Trivia!~

Space Patrol Luluco, ep. 13

Unlike some of the other shows this season, this one sagged in the middle and then finished very strongly. Fantastic finale, and wish more of the rest of the show had been like it and the few episodes preceding it. Trigger needs to clearly learn some reference discipline, as those middle episodes were a stew of nods to other shows from their catalog and were not particularly useful or interesting nods.

Macross Delta, ep. 12

Well, so Mirage is put in charge of the Delta Platoon, which makes sense, and I sincerely hope that the show doesn’t undermine this by having Hayate undercut her regularly. That’d be a drag! I’m a bit disappointed that the show primarily places Mirage’s doubts about her level of talent as having to do with her recognition of Hayate’s innate talent; given the family she’s coming from, it’d surely make more sense to have it spring from having a lot to live up to.

Speaking of Hayate, I hate to admit it, but I’ve come around on him. There are lots of characters in the show whom I like better, but I don’t hate his guts, and I even like him a little bit by now. He’s turned out to be basically a good-natured idiot… which is why, if I must watch this love triangle happen, I prefer HayatexFreyja. They’re both pretty simple-minded and inclined to be positive. Their own early crises in some ways boil down down to the very fact that they’re simple people being confronted with a very much un-simple world and situation. Mirage isn’t simple-minded, so I don’t think that she and Hayate are a good match – even if I were to agree that she needs to lighten up, a less stress-prone Mirage still wouldn’t be the sort of person Hayate is.

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, ep. 11

It’s looking like this show really will be over with twelve episodes. I realize I’ve always been a bit lukewarm about it, but I must’ve liked it a bit since I feel letdown by how it’s turning out. Ending with a save the girl storyline is painfully pedestrian, and that the villain’s whole thing hinges on daddy issues is as well. Ho hum. At least the visuals are still quite nice.

By the way, I can’t be the only person who thinks Biba looks like he’s from a 90’s yaoi series, right?

Nuwa Chengzhang Riji, ep. 2-4

I watched the first episode of this Chinese short a few weeks back, and finally got around to watching some more of it. It’s striking how much it apes anime’s stylistic choices and tropes while also striking me as very clearly not being anime, perhaps since some of the visual tropes have fallen a bit out of favor in recent years in anime. This is all what seems to be drawing me to watch more rather than the story or characters themselves. The show is about a teenaged girl who learns from her guardian that she’s the (re?)incarnation of Nuwa, the Chinese creation goddess. Apparently something is wrong with the balance of things, and she needs to gather up the other incarnated deities so they can fix it. It’s all very slap-sticky and there’s a pretty high level of homoeroticism as comedy involved. And it likely won’t ever be all subbed as the person subbing it has tried to hand it off to someone else who hasn’t responded to that attempt at all. I’m actually disappointed?!

The Land of Green Plums

(Herta Müller)

One of the best books I’ve read this year, although I did find the prose style initially a bit difficult to get into. This is a novel about a German-Romanian woman living in communist Romania who runs afoul of the power structure, and how simple actions on her part have massive repercussions. It is also about how she deals with living in a highly repressive society versus how others cope with it, and about the near impossibility of forming bonds with other people when so many ultimately answer to the surveillance system. This is a book where the author directly telling the reader the eventual fates of various characters does nothing to detract from the impact of those fates when they occur, which speaks to how well-written it is. I had a very difficult time putting the book down to go take care of other things. Strongly recommended.

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