What anime are you watching right now? May-Nov '13

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Bagheera
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Postby Bagheera » Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:34 pm

Watched Mardock Scramble: The Third Exhaust. Dunno what Xard's issue with it is, I thought it was great.
For my post-3I fic, go here.
The law doesn't protect people. People protect the law. -- Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass
People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yes, I know. You thought it would be something about Asuka. You're such idiots.

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Postby Dr. Nick » Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:21 am

Gundam AGE.

SPOILER: Show
Yes, I'd say it's worse than Seed Destiny. At least GSD gave us Stargazer and the best girl (that's Shiho, you rubes) being stubbornly alive at the end of it all. AGE is worse because it is conceptually far superior show to Seed - in fact, in terms of raw concepts alone, it's among the most ambitious Gundam titles ever - but it is all horribly, horribly wasted.

Let's list some of the good concepts that could have (and should have!) yielded a good show. The whole "one show, three generations" thing is just balls to the walls ambitious and new and deserving of a skilled director and an experienced staff. The first generation recycles Nadesico's big plot twist, but it's not like the same idea cannot be utilized for a good effect. The timing certainly couldn't have been better after Trailblazer's out-of-this-world weirdness. Furthermore, the AGE system is conceptually fascinating, a Pandora's Box that eats battle data and craps out more war. When you think about, when you get the damn thing going, it has the potential to go all Ide-horrifying as it keeps blindly cranking out ever bigger guns and swords. Alas, there's no Oppenheimer moment to be had here, as AGE only uses the device as an upgrade vending machine, with the writing seemingly totally blind to the implications of the existence of such a McGuffin. The third generation even goes as far as to introduce another Pandora's Box called the EXA-DB to serve as the AGE system's dark half, and it's retarded beyond belief. What's the matter? Was this because you can't have the main character build a god-device and have it turn out to be a spectacularly bad move? Good lord, the AGE system is such a fountain of plot holes I could write an entire essay about, but I'm sure /m/ has already taken care of that over and over again.

The second generation features the classic Gundam rivalry, but with a big twist: the main character isn't a Newtype whereas his rival is. In proper hands, this would've led into creative, exciting action, with Asemu being forced to think smart and play dirty in order to outwit his far stronger opponent. But no, he just becomes hax Newtype-good, somehow. The third generation should have been a gripping exploration of extremism, as our former gen 1 hero Flit falls ever deeper into senile genocidalness. And to AGE's credit, it actually handles top-level political extremism better than Cosmic Era did, although that's just being the least challenged out of a group of three special needs kids. However, the lower rungs of Vagan military do have plenty of cackling horn-helmet wearing villains, so it's not like we get to forget we're watching a modern Gundam show.

To reiterate: whatever good concepts there might be, it's all sabotaged by the show's bad, lifeless writing. This time the big conflict is essentially a war over healthcare because living near Mars keeps giving the Vagans space aids. But here's the plothole: they could have moved. Not to Earth, obviously, because there would be a nasty welcome committee waiting, but just farther away from the aids-radiating planet. Why not relocate to the asteroid field and use drones to mine Mars' riches, assuming that's the reason they voluntarily stayed in the aids zone? And really, 70 years of all-out war with not even the slightest attempt at honest diplomacy? You must be shitting me. But then again, AGE seems to hate politics and it goes as far as to employ a non-recapping clip show in order to bypass the icky political drama as fast as possible. Episode 28, the poster-child of this attitude, was just unbelievably bad, mixing the worst so-called politics the franchise has ever seen with probably the worst romance in its history, and that's saying a lot.

What does Gundam AGE do? The answer is, it copies, but like a faulty Xerox machine and not like an artist creating a remix.

To illustrate how AGE just copies things without putting any thought into it, its Zeta-era suits still don't have panoramic cockpits and the pilots just keep peering through their stupidly outdated video-portholes. The Diva transforms into the oh-so-familiar Trojan Horse configuration, but curiously it (and all the ships, in fact) seem to be lacking any gravity blocks. Even the Archangel had one of those under all of its curves. There's a lot of superficial Newtype hax to go around, but it's not at all explored as an evolutionary concept. Instead, all the emphasis is put on the fact how the Gundams "evolve" as the AGE system keeps crapping out new spoilers and rims to be installed on them. Of course, this is not evolution but metamorphosis, but that I'm going to let slide as pretty much all "soft" science fiction consistently screws the concepts up.

It's not that I oppose UC cannibalism out of principle, because UC cannibalism, or massively derivative works in general, can be tremendously entertaining, as in Metal Armor Dragonar, or in Unicorn, which revels in in-universe referentialism and "you've seen this before" fan service. I mean, they keep having these polls as to which old UC suits should have cameos in the coming episodes, and it still manages to do things of its own and feel like a complete, well-formed creative work. Not so much with AGE, which just copies soullessly. Okay, so the show has a golden Death-Ball. This could've been a creative re-interpretation of an MSG staple, had Gundam 00 not employed the exact same trick years earlier by turning a previously shit-weak grunt unit into a fancy end boss.

In fact, all of this hackneyed copying is actually somewhat analoguous to how the AGE system works. You input some parameters, and based on that, the fully-automated milling machine spits out some more disposable spoilers and rims. No human thought required.

It's largely the same thing with character relationships as well. AGE retraces the footsteps of its predecessors, mostly MSG - there's a Char clone, there's a remote-controlled Lalah, there's Matilda (during the third generation, no less!), and from the more modern iterations there's the omnipresent forever alone tomboy. But like with the mechanical aspects of series, these characters just are there, doing their pre-programmed thing without really being much else. It's actually shocking how little we learn about anyone who isn't a part of the small, all-male Gundam club. For example, after the first generation you'd asssume we'd get to see how Millais and Courage Woolf's relationship has developed, but nope. Same thing with Spunky McTomboy; she fills her role by being useless and forever alone, and then she completely disappears from the story when the third generation rolls in. All we hear from her is that at some point she stopped being forever alone and popped out at least one kid, but that's it. I don't think she was even given an older, third gen character design.

AGE's apparent distaste for its own characters is nowhere better illustrated than it its very short epilogue, that features a voice-over narration, a statue and not much more. Practically no people are shown. The last couple of battles have decently high body counts, but combined with this detached meh-approach to characters in general, the result is just some more mechanistic Zeta Gundam aping, becausee gee willikers, we sure haven't had enough of that after Seed Destiny and 00 S2. In fact, AGE's characters really are just another of its mechanical aspects.

I truly realized AGE's miserableness when I realized that it isn't interested in anything else than being a rehash of a rehash of a rehash. The show isn't interested in giving us good character development, political intrigue of any kind, new and refreshing twists or a plot that would make even rudimentary sense. At one point, we hear that the Vagan forces have taken over 40% of Earth's surface, and then the show forgets this little fact which never comes up again. If that isn't lazy, I don't know what is. AGE doesn't even have Wing's fashion sense. Instead, we get rejected Naruto villains:

Image
Today I shall destroy the Hidden Leaf Village for good!

Verdict: 4/10, my GMs were rustled.

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Postby Fireball » Wed Oct 30, 2013 3:09 am

Gah, why did you have to remind me? The hours I wasted on AGE, I'll never get back :deadhead:
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Postby caragnafog dog » Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:47 am

Finished tearing through Chihayafuru. What a great show. Season 2 felt like a prelude though, I hope there'll be enough material for a third season in the near future.
On 11/10/14, at 8:43 PM, Merrimerri wrote:
fhycjubg beat tge sgut iyt if gun
On 6/2/15, at 10:14 PM, Delispin wrote:
> Wow. I've disgusted even myself.

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Postby Squigsquasher » Fri Nov 01, 2013 6:44 pm

Well, today I have actually accomplished a fair bit of watching.

I watched episode 5 of Kill la Kill and I am now confident in its ability to be consistently entertaining. This episode was an absolute blast, and also seems to have introduced a sub-plot, which should help avoid any unnecessary filler. The animation was back up to scratch as well, which I'm pleased about after the...interesting animation used in episode 4.

I also watched episodes 3, 4 and 5 of WataMote, with...mixed results.

Episode 3 was brilliant. Good ol' Tomoko Kuroki-brand high-grade cringe mixed with a heavy dose of refined D'aaaawwwwwww.

Episode 4 was...I'll say it was quite easily the worst episode so far. The erotic dream gag was quite funny and the panties thing was reasonably amusing (and poor Tomoko rending her newly acquired underwear to shreds in a fit of RAEG was glorious), but the molestation jokes were...bad. I mean, I understand what they were trying to go for (Tomoko being extremely weird) but it missed the mark by a fucking mile, and honestly, the whole thing was kinda distressing. Although I will confess that the gag at the end with the massage stick was a corker.

Episode 5 was mixed, but overall good. Her attempt to be a Rei Ayanami expy was quite brilliant, and the coffee scene was cringeworthy beyond all belief (in the right way). The sticker section was silly, and really kinda sad, but still funny. The cabaret girl bit was funny, but did make me feel uncomfortable for similar reasons to episode 4. I mean, it's all funny until you think about how frightening it would actually be to be a young girl in the middle of Kabukicho. The ending theme was fantastic though.

I'm pondering whether to show this series to my mum (who likes anime but hasn't watched a lot, the main 2 things she's familiar with being Squid Girl and Ghibli films). She's not a big fan of fanservicey stuff, but does absolutely love a similarly cringeworthy show called Green Wing (which admittedly has almost none of the cute/sad elements of WataMote) which can get pretty...extreme. Has anyone watched a fair bit of Green Wing and WataMote who could tell me how they compare? I don't want to show her something and inadvertently creep her out afer all...
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Postby Redtophat » Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:10 pm

White Album 2: This show is my third favorite of the season behind Kyousogiga and Kill la Kill, it's almost funny though that the director for this headed the horrid TE adaption :lol:

Tokyo Ravens: This show is cool but wavers between being entertaining and being kinda stiff. Hopefully since it's a couple of episodes in there'll be more fun banter between the members of the cast. DelinquentBro is the best character.

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Postby Shinoyami65 » Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:53 pm

Started watching Katanagatari. Katanas are a big obsession of mine so I suppose it was only a matter of time until I started watching this show. Originally I held off because the art style looked a bit cartoonish but it's actually pretty good. The fight scenes were quite interesting, definitely not what I was expecting. I wish I could find the recent rerun with the Supercell song for the OP on DVD, though.
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Postby caragnafog dog » Sat Nov 02, 2013 2:04 pm

Through episode 29 of my Utena rewatch. Being Juri is suffering ;_;
On 11/10/14, at 8:43 PM, Merrimerri wrote:
fhycjubg beat tge sgut iyt if gun
On 6/2/15, at 10:14 PM, Delispin wrote:
> Wow. I've disgusted even myself.

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Postby Fireball » Sat Nov 02, 2013 2:49 pm

6 episodes in Yamato and this is really, really fucking good and man, this is surprising but not really

I went into this assuming it would be good and that there would be already a war between humans and blue men, but humans are already fubared and have actually no idea about the enemies at all and the Yamato is basically their last hope and it makes sense because the real battleship was sent out on a banzai mission as Japan's last hope too and now they are traveling through space exploring strange new worlds like it's Star Trek itself and it's giving me all kinds of sad feels but there is always a glimmer of hope because fuck yeah ningen we never give up and Kodai is a pretty cool fella with tactics and shit that doesn't hesitat because war is wrong and he can even pilot planes and has already blondie checking him out and speaking of, oh sweet Jesus would you look at the extraordinary amount of booty material on board and it even has teh Rei and there is the captain going all Ahab on the blue nazi asses and god fuck the Yamato just shot a freaking kamehameha from the bow which vaporized a goddamn continent the size of Australia and gets hit hard by lazors in return and sinks to the bottom of Pluto which I didn't even know was possible but rises again like a phoenix from the ashes just to fire its 40 cm naval canons right into the smurf base which was super fucking badass and holy shit this is cool


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Postby Justacrazyguy » Sat Nov 02, 2013 3:45 pm

View Original PostFireball wrote:words


:lol:
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Postby Bagheera » Sat Nov 02, 2013 5:19 pm

Non Non Biyori: I really like this show, but it has a serious case of agefail. The fifth-grader should not be the tallest girl in the show. She's ten, okay? Don't try to tell me a ninth-grader looks younger than she does, because that's stupid. I get that the ninth-grader is underdeveloped, but a ninth-grader and a fifth-grader look different even when you take that into account. The child-like high schooler is an uncommon yet pervasive trope in anime, and it's fucking annoying because high schoolers don't look like that. I still like the show, but fuckin' a, if you're gonna write about kids try actually looking at them once in awhile.

Yamato 2199: First ep so did not live up to hype. Bad CGI, troubling premise (if the enemy's that much better than we are we should be dead already), and really stupid plot at the end (you don't hijack a fighter you haven't been trained in, that's just asinine). But the MC seems to be the fuckin' admiral, and that's pretty badass. I'll give it a chance to convince me there's something to it once we get past the initial setup.
For my post-3I fic, go here.
The law doesn't protect people. People protect the law. -- Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass
People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yes, I know. You thought it would be something about Asuka. You're such idiots.

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Postby Xard » Sat Nov 02, 2013 5:46 pm

View Original PostBagheera wrote:troubling premise (if the enemy's that much better than we are we should be dead already)


Minor spoilers but reasons Earth hasn't been completely wiped out are

- Earth getting one decisive victory against Gamilians in Battle of Mars earlier, it's repeatedly mentioned this is reason why Earth has not been overrun yet even if mankind is now standing on its last leg nevertheless so it was very much pyrrhic victory
- War against "Teron" is meagre side theatre for the empire mainly fought by C-class, conquered citizens. If Earth actually was important enough for them they'd just send in their badass number one admiral with his massive space fleet. He has more important campaigns to do as is.
- Bigger spoilers

It's easier and more comfortable to bomb the planet away where earthlings can't touch you than do highly costly zerg rush with rather limited resources. It's only later in show Gamilians start to really take notice and this is all thanks to Yamato. Takes year or two more time but that's not big price to pay.

So no, as far as potential trouble with premise goes this is not it.


View Original PostBagheera wrote: and really stupid plot at the end (you don't hijack a fighter you haven't been trained in, that's just asinine).


Kodai's ace pilot and has been piloting fighters in similar vein for quite bit. There's no reason to assume the control system or flight mechanics of the fighter are that different from what he's used to.

and yeah, Kodai is bit of impulsive guy so taking the plane is very much in line with his personality - even if his choice to use plane that was supposed to be grounded wasn't responsible one, per se.


CGI is legit point, I found it generally bit weak early on but either it improved in leaps over show or I got used to it as it really didn't bother me for long.


View Original PostBagheera wrote:But the MC seems to be the fuckin' admiral, and that's pretty badass.


Kodai is the "main character" in 2199 but just like the original the focus of series is spread pretty evenly over vaaaaast cast.

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Postby Bagheera » Sat Nov 02, 2013 5:56 pm

Do remember this was based on first ep. As I said, I'm willing to give it some rope and am not dropping it completely.
For my post-3I fic, go here.
The law doesn't protect people. People protect the law. -- Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass
People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yes, I know. You thought it would be something about Asuka. You're such idiots.

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Postby Fireball » Sat Nov 02, 2013 7:09 pm

The CG itself doesn't bother me, I like the retro-textures, it's the movement when the ships make these sharp turns that make it look really unnatural.
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Postby Bagheera » Sat Nov 02, 2013 7:53 pm

View Original PostFireball wrote:The CG itself doesn't bother me, I like retro-textures, it's the movement when the ships make these sharp turns that make it look really unnatural.


The movement and the visuals are part and parcel of the same thing, to me; it's a glaring flaw either way.
For my post-3I fic, go here.
The law doesn't protect people. People protect the law. -- Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass
People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yes, I know. You thought it would be something about Asuka. You're such idiots.

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Postby Fireball » Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:00 pm

At least it's not Berserk.
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Postby Bagheera » Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:23 pm

View Original PostFireball wrote:At least it's not Berserk.


Aw! I thought Berserk was good! Or is that just the manga?
For my post-3I fic, go here.
The law doesn't protect people. People protect the law. -- Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass
People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yes, I know. You thought it would be something about Asuka. You're such idiots.

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Postby A.T. Fish » Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:26 pm

View Original PostBagheera wrote:Aw! I thought Berserk was good! Or is that just the manga?


I believe he meant the movie series, which is infamous for using a lot of CG.

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Postby Xard » Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:07 pm

A lot of utterly awful CGI at that.

View Original PostFireball wrote:I'm probably overthinking this given it's based on a 30 year old jingoistic cartoon but I was always under the impression that the Yamato was out of necessity build upon the remains of the sunken ship which explained its looks (back then Yamato's wreck wasn't found yet and the writters had no idea she laid on the ground broken in two)


I'm embarrassed to say this after so strongly arguing to contrary on Skype few days ago but I rewatched bits of original Yamato compilation film today and at least in it this is true. It was rebuild using the remains of original ship - not that this makes sense I think because Yamato at that point is medieval, rusty 20th century tech with probably no reusable parts for futuristic spaceship but hey, Matsumoto has ALWAYS had poet's logic when it comes to storytelling.

2199 seems to have changed it as part of its general "legitimizing the details of storyline on rational grounds" project. In general 2199 story changes that don't count as simple enlargements or elaborations are for this end. In general this results in "objectively" stronger, more coherent narrative but I think it loses bit of the "mythic" or "subconscious" resonance evident in original as a result.

View Original PostFireball wrote:The CG itself doesn't bother me, I like the retro-textures, it's the movement when the ships make these sharp turns that make it look really unnatural.

View Original PostBagheera wrote:The movement and the visuals are part and parcel of the same thing, to me; it's a glaring flaw either way.


Yeah, this was exactly the crux of the issue in 2199's CG. I think textures are generally well made and aesthetically pleasant in their 70s loyalty retroness and I have nothing but praise for effects animation, CG assisted and not. However what Xebec struggled with was depicting sense of scale and mass, the eternal issue of computer animation. You can tell action CG of this kind isn't Xebec's forte when you compare movement of large ships to that of modern Satelight shows: Macross Frontier and Aquarion Evol do much better job conveying both mass and scale to eg. gigantic Vajra units and there's no awkwardness in movement.

Still, in the grand scheme of things I think this is more of a beauty error than serious issue with action in 2199 as it is generally very strong otherwise.

View Original PostAzathoth wrote:The overt nationalist blathering of the original is conveniently mislaid, sure, but at the risk of stating the obvious, they ARE a bunch of Japanese (even the Martian is Japanese!!) flying around a giant penis called The Japanese Nation, design of which is based on the pride & joy of Imperial Japan's military...but of course THEY'RE not fascists, ha ha, why would you even think that THEY'RE fascists. I mean they're fighting space Nazis chrissake, they've got to be good guys. Right?


Nahh, gamilians ain't zeeks. Anyway, despite how fond off of I'm poking fun at Yamato's nippon banzai subtext in original in fairness it's actually rather minor part. The general, more universalist themes common to Matsumoto's work play larger role as gets evident esp. towards end and victory over Gamilans hardly being hardly victory over Evil American Imperialism (I don't think you watched USY to end, did you). Given how there're some visible tensions between WWII revanchist elements and nationalist spirit and Yamato's themes at large I'm not even sure how conscious of the nippon banzai elements Matsumoto was when he did it. As for the ship Yamato itself and obvious saluting and honoring of Imperial Navy the series does do to a degree it's actually more complex issue in general.

You see, the Navy was (and perhaps is) the "politically correct" and acceptable target of Japanese nationalism and honoring its own war martyrs after World War II when your average citizen couldn't ignore the facts of Japanese dickery in WWII and imperial era before it. Army's image got very tainted in general. However, rightly or wrongly, Imperial Navy escaped that image. They did not take part in the atrocities and war crimes Imperial Army found themselves entangled with repeatedly and instead remained men loyal to their country and citizens, fighting with valor and honor till the very end under hopeless circumstances. Yamato's fate in particular encapsulates this "beautiful tragedy" of Navy who still fulfilled their duties at the cost of their lives.

So for many Japanese - I'd gather Matsumoto is one of them as was Nishizaki, Anno most likely too - Imperial Navy embodied the positive aspect of old school Japanese "manlyness" and military honor. They were inheritors of Japan's pre-WWII army of 1906 that earned respect and praise home and abroad for their discipline and honor in putting down Boxers in China or the war with Russia.

What I'm trying to get with this is that glorification of Imperial Navy that we can see in Yamato and Gunbuster is not as strongly (un)conscious nostalgia for Japanese fascism and imperialism as it may seem like: Navy is glorified partly precisely because their post-WWII reputation is so much better in these aspects than that of Army, rightly or not.

So the feelings regarding Imperial Navy are quite complex and nuanced as they offer relatively "clear" way to express longing and nostalgia for what was good about old, independent Japan while avoiding the unfortunate glorification of Empire in whole. Or so some of them think, anyway. Mitsubishi Zero is similar janusfaced fellow and subject of mixed feelings: it's no coincidence left wing staunch pacifist like Miyazaki saw it necessarily to "take Zero away" from right wing nutjobs who had in his eyes tried to claim the plane all for themselves.

View Original PostAzathoth wrote:I mean, no shit 2199 was free of the revanche subtext by comparison to the original. Doubtless there's an intelligent critique to be made here of how the messaging of the Japanese right has moved on from being straightforward nostalgia for fascism and has developed a degree of subtlety in its nostalgia for fascism in order to satisfy the tastes of a presumably enlightened public (compare the Southern strategy, only a little more so)


Well, I'd nominate Gunbuster as deftly and skillfully executed nostalgia for Imperial Japan over 2199...

View Original PostAzathoth wrote:but as I don't actually give a shit about 2199 beyond its being a nice middle ground between old Trek and LoGH in the spectrum of science fiction telly -- :shrug:


Haha, yeah.

caragnafog dog
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Postby caragnafog dog » Sat Nov 02, 2013 10:07 pm

New monogatari side-scrolling was pretty fucking neato.
On 11/10/14, at 8:43 PM, Merrimerri wrote:
fhycjubg beat tge sgut iyt if gun
On 6/2/15, at 10:14 PM, Delispin wrote:
> Wow. I've disgusted even myself.

https://qnuw.wordpress.com/ The hottest new meme, revived in blog form. qnuw/qnuw. qnuw/qnuw. qnuw/qnuw.


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