Week in Review, 5/8 – 5/14

brigadoon 9

Damn kids these days don’t know how good they’ve got it…

Well… I’m sort of down to three shows this season. I really like Kado, but I have to admit that its hard to watch weekly since I have to be in exactly the right mood for it, and the right mood for it doesn’t seem like its been linking up with my available free time of late. But it’d be kind of sad if I dropped it and kept up with Anonymous Noise, wouldn’t it?

Bahamut: Virgin Soul, ep. 5-6

I feel impressed that this episode had me hoping that things would work out for Nina and Charioce considering Charioce has been demonstrated to be a terrible person to this point, and also since I couldn’t shake a sense of unease with what seems to be a turn toward rehabilitating Charioce as a character. “Oh, he’s just been using public executions and slavery because he had a troubled childhood and the world is so tough!” And, yet, as Nina did her best to not dragon-out on her date night, I couldn’t help but want things to work for her – she’s a charming character, and I want her to be happy… even if her taste in men is a bit questionable! I WANT THIS GIRL TO BE HAPPY.

Speaking of girls… Mugaro. Or not? I am a bit wary of spending much time fussing over someone’s gender, but the show does seem to have pushed it forward as something ambiguous and in a way which seems to ask that we take notice of it. Bacchus seems surprised by the outfit Nina gets for Mugaro, and the constant reference to “the child” as opposed to “the girl” or “the boy” points toward this not being something definitively settled yet while also seemingly indicating that it will be at some point.

Meanwhile, the plot continues to slowly inch forward, although I’ll admit I don’t find myself terribly engaged by it. It’s a bit generic, isn’t it? The fact that it is does mean I, too, find myself surprised at how much I enjoy the show as a whole.

Space Runaway Ideon, ep. 9-12

Ideon is an intriguing show and one I am quite enjoying, but it can be a bit of a trial at times. It must speak to its underlying quality that I like it even as it turns out that I find the majority of the cast actively irritating in some manner – although I looove Karala, whose curiosity and open-mindedness stand at sharp contrast with a lot of the other folks running around, although she’s just as head-strong as most of them are. This latter in her case, though, operates differently because of her open-mindedness; she’s committed fully to not making rash judgements or being dismissive out of hand.

Having said that, Sheryl’s treatment and depiction in-show rankle a fair bit. We’re obviously supposed to think she’s a total bitch despite the fact that she frequently makes very sensible points about their predicament and what actions should be taken. Buut she’s a woman, so its terrible that, for example, she tells kids to stop running around on the bridge and shouting when she’s trying to do her job! Women are supposed to be nurturing, don’t you know? Kasha gets similar treatment at points, but its never as all-consuming as it is for poor Sheryl.

Speaking of characters, holy crap, what is the purpose of baby Lou? I cringe whenever we catch sight of him as I know that crying and shrieking are soon to follow, and that I’m also going to get treated to thrilling scenes of the dullest characters in the show changing his diaper or pleading with him to not crawl off. There are these two women/girls, and literally all they ever do is change diapers, beg Lou to stop crying, and very occasionally beg farm animals to not run off. I get that Tomino digs including civilian-centric stuff like this, but unlike in stuff like Turn A, it simply does not add anything to the proceedings.

Anonymous Noise, ep. 5

Momo sucks.

Yeah, yeah, Momo hasn’t had the easiest life so far, and having to hear Nino belt out Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star would be enough to drive anyone to fits, but he still sucks. His interaction with his mother is meant to indicate that his mom only views him as a money machine, but his pissy condescension toward his parents in a flashback to the night they left town instead made it seem like his mum was only talking about money to him because he shuts down if made to talk about anything else.

As for the rest of the episode… the rush to chuck Nino into the role of Alice when everyone is in agreement that she’s badly in need of more vocal training is pretty bizarre. The whole “its our first live performance!” contrivance doesn’t do enough to make it make sense for them to be so insistent on this point. Surely people might notice if Alice suddenly needs autotune? Never mind that Miou and Nino’s voices don’t sound enough alike to pull a fast one without some sort of modification digitally. (And, by the way, Saori Hayami flat out sounds terrible when she’s using the shouting approach to singing.)

You would be forgiven for wondering why I keep watching this. This episode was better than last week, I will assure you – none of those flashbacks to stuff that happened less than three minutes prior to the flashback this time! Maybe its that the season’s pretty sparse, so its easy to watch things that aren’t that great. Maybe I really am that starved for shoujo melodrama. Maybe I really do think Miou is just that ii desu ne of a character that I can’t quite walk away. Maybe, maybe…

Starmu S2, ep. 6

Wait, what? Hoshitani didn’t realize the guy he’d seen dancing and whose dancing inspired him was Otori?! I realize the boy is pretty daft, but what?! Come on! There’s no way even he’s THAT out to lunch! I am genuinely astonished at this development. I am so astonished that I keep wondering if I somehow misinterpreted the scene, but this is not a complex show by any stretch! Good lord. I just can’t believe it!

My shock has more or less drowned out the rest of the episode, honestly, although I will say that I’m a bit sick of Hachiya’s klutz routine. It was never particularly funny to begin with, and his entire characterization has been made up on him tripping or accidentally knocking down a bees nest or what have you… I will not miss him whenever this franchise ends, that’s for sure.

Brigadoon, ep. 9-14

I’m running out of steam a bit, and Brigadoon is not a show which makes it easy for someone to comment on, especially not succinctly. There is some pretty sad, depressing material in here, but its also cheek-by-jowl with episodes which feature Marin eating hallucinogenic fruit and imagining she’s suddenly sprouted up into a very curvy lady, or her imagining being killed by a plant that grows bowls of ramen. This sounds pretty whiplash-y, but I’ll admit it isn’t as if the tonal shifts undermine the whole – it just makes it hard to discuss the thing and it leads me to believe this is a show which probably won’t work for a lot of people.

Moving away from the show’s content, though, let’s talk its presentation! I’m watching the Tokyopop release of this show, and, wow, is this making me relieved they didn’t manage to get their mitts on too many shows! I’ve seen lots and lots of fansub jobs that were more professional than this. There’s an insistence on preserving terms which have absolutely acceptable English translations (ofuro instead of “bath”, “sento” instead of bathhouse) while, for example, totally dispensing with Japanese honorifics. I flat-out do not understand the logic which was used here, other than that it was probably at the insistence of the CEO of Tokyopop. Its distracting stuff!

Pekoe Most Poison (Tea Mystery #18)

The latest in my favorite shitty murder mystery series! Despite finding that these books have generally got more and more flagrantly awful with each subsequent installation, I am addicted to them. You know the concept of hate-watching? Because my relationship with this series is basically the reading equivalent of that. I thoroughly enjoy scoffing over each book as I read, sneering my way through the chapters at the characters, the plot twists, the ease with which I am able to guess who the true culprit is. This is probably not an admirable admission on my part, but, oh, it is the truth.

I am beginning to suspect that I may be approaching the end of this happy party train, though, as much as it pains me; heroine Theodosia, who started out the series as a somewhat believable reader-insert and who has now become the prettiest and the smartest and the nastiest, was barely bearable in this book, and I spotted the killer by page fifty, which was itself roughly ten pages after said killer’s introduction as a character. At the same time, perhaps morbid curiosity about how quickly the page number will march toward 1 for this guessing game may alone manage to compel me much further – who knows! And while this was pretty bad, I will grant that it remained readable, which is not necessarily the case with this class of book (i.e. the shitty murder mystery), and is not the case with one of the other series by this same author, which takes place in the whitest New Orleans which has ever existed in any universe – yes, even the NCIS New Orleans universe.

Chasing the King of Hearts

A Polish Jewish woman does whatever it takes during WWII to ensure that both she and her husband survive the war. The publisher bills this as a love story, and while that is true in a sense, I think it may give a not entirely accurate impression, as its… hmm. Well, the heroine, Izolda, is a very matter-of-fact sort of figure, so there’s a distinct lack of romanticism at work here. This doesn’t diminish at all the obvious strength of her love for her husband, a force that propels her from the early days of the Nazi occupation of Poland through to the end of the conflict; Izolda endures being a forced laborer, a prisoner of a concentration camp, a smuggler, torture, sexual assault, leaping from trains, trudging knee-deep through raw sewage, the deaths of almost all of her family and friends… and she keeps on pursuing the trail of her husband as he’s deported and moved from one camp to another, facing down everything and everyone that comes her way.

Have you ever heard of the idea that “love conquers all” isn’t a hopeful phrase but one which in fact describes a force that in the end can’t be stopped by sense or reason even when it becomes clear it will tear everything asunder? Because that’s what this book made me think of. Izolda is willing to do anything and try everything if there is a chance it’ll reunite her with her husband, and she makes no bones about that being her ultimate goal, and nothing else.

Unsurprisingly, given the subject, this is a sad book, and not quite in the way one may expect. Its a maddening way for me to put it, but I don’t want to spoil it at all.

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4 Responses to Week in Review, 5/8 – 5/14

  1. DerekL says:

    Indeed. Momo’s reason for avoiding Alice (he’s pissed at himself for whoring away what he was saving for her) is quasi original. The rest of the ep was something of a mess. My thought was, “who thinks the fans won’t notice the sudden change in lineup and get out the torches and pitchforks?”.

    • A Day Without Me says:

      Well, they haven’t ever performed live before, so I guess they’re relying on that to provide some plausible cover? And we know they’ve got platforms in the shoes for… uhhh, oh, crap, what’s his name, the milk-loving guy. But, yeah, the differences in the voices seem a bit much! And Nino doesn’t even sound good when singing during the performance, either! Sigh.

  2. Be thankful that they didn’t go with weird girly colors for the subtitles on Brigadoon like Tokyopop did with their release of Marmalade Boy. It’s pink because it’s for girls, dontcha know!

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