01/28/13 Odds & Ends: What a man!

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Only a green tea ‘stache is good enough for our masculine Japanese warrior. I originally intended to do an Odds & Ends post every Wednesday to cover shows that, well, I only watch and write about them because I get bored easily and have nothing better to do. The only problem is that the two Nobunaga shows come out on Sunday, so I end up being really behind the 8-ball if I wait three whole days to cover them. That’s why I’m doing an Odds & Ends post now. Oh yeah, Wizard Barristers is included.

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Nobunaga the Fool Ep. 4

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Episode summary: Sort of an intermission. Nobunaga and Shingen battle each other to their limits, so the latter ends up retreating with his army just so our heroes can conveniently live to fight another day. Mitsuhide intends to use the alliance between Nobunaga and Yamatai to bolster the nation’s defenses, but Nobunaga is too manly for that. Instead, he wants to go on the offense and wipe out Takeda in a single attack. Meanwhile, da Vinci convinces everyone that they should delay the wedding ceremony and have a betrothal ceremony instead… yeah, that pretty much wraps up the episode. Don’t miss the incredibly manly cutting of the wedding cake. It’s a must-see!

Thoughts: Oh sure, what I described above in the episode summary leaves out plenty of delicious “nuances.” “Nuances” that I’m sure we’re all just dying to discuss like how everyone is drawn to Nobunaga like a mindless moth to an electric lamp. Our hero is seriously unhinged. I mean, he has mental problems, man. For example, his brother shows up to congratulate Nobunaga on his recent betrothal to Himiko. Hey, what a nice brother! We know in reality, Nobukatsu conspired against his own blood, but he seems to be an okay dude here. It’s just his supporters that are evil and shit. Unfortunately, our mild-mannered sibling then decides to talk about his weaknesses. Specifically, Nobukatsu compares himself to Nobunaga, and is all like, “Man, you have the strength to do whatever you want to do. I wish I had that strength.” How does big brother react? By pulling out a knife and holding it up to little brother’s neck.

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Yep, a single comment sets Nobunaga off. ‘Cause he’s a man, and a man controls his own destiny. He’s got no time to tolerate your pussyfootin’. That’s right! Pussyfootin’ around like a woman who doesn’t understand what it’s like to be on the battlefield! So like I’ve said, Nobunaga is fucking nuts… and nobody seems to care. What’s even crazier is that Jeanne now has a crush on the dude. When I complain about contrived pairings in anime, I’m really just being rhetorical. I know that romantic pairings are unavoidable in all forms of storytelling, much less anime. What gets me, however, is how unnaturally pairings occur. Like Jeanne! She’s spent… what? Two whole days with the guy? He’s even insulted her a few times.

So they have a mock duel in this week’s episode because Jeanne half wants to learn Eastern swordsmanship and half wants to determine whether or not Nobunaga is the fated savior of the two Stars (what a mouthful). Being the amazing dude that he is, Nobunaga easily dodges all of Jeanne’s attacks as if she’s a feudal stormtrooper with the coordination of a baby elephant. Then at the end of it all, our manly hero literally grabs her face. Like… just fucking palms it all aggressively and shit. He pulls her face close to his and — of course — Jeanne begins to blush. It’s like Icarus flying too close to the sun so his uterus begin to pulsate uncontrollably with the desire to bear children… whoops, I’m getting my metaphors all mixed up! Now, when she sees Nobunaga with Himiko, the green-eyed monster takes over. So having said all of that, you think I’m silly for thinking anime pairings are stupid and contrived?

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Nobunagun Ep. 4

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Episode summary: An Invasion Object carrying dangerous eggs is riding a hurricane towards the coast of Florida, so Dogoo dispatches Shio and Jack to stop it. The mission goes without a hitch, but the Dogoo brain trust is starting to wonder whether or not the Invasion Objects are being controlled by a singular hive mind (of course they are).

Thoughts: Ugly and brutish. I’m sure I’ve used the same adjectives to describe this anime before, but it bears repeating anyway. There’s nothing redeemable about this show. Nothing. See the screen capture above? Yeah, that’s Galileo. Her appearance isn’t even ridiculous to the point that it’s funny. Rather, Galileo epitomizes the problem with the anime’s gimmick: it’s all very boringly ridiculous. Galileo is ridiculous in that she looks stupid as fuck, but she’s also boring in that my only reaction to her is “Well, of course that’s how this anime would’ve portrayed Galileo.” To put it another way, the anime is predictably ridiculous.

Then there are the action scenes which are all horribly static. You’d think a a hurricane would make for an incredible setting, but nah. I have never seen less movement despite the characters literally falling through supposedly 60 m/s winds. The anime keeps repeating the 60 m/s figure as if it actually stands for something — anything — but the number proves to be ultimately meaningless. It’s a throwaway scrap of information that carries about as much weight as a fart in the wind.

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Wizard Barristers Ep. 3

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Episode summary: Hachiya has to defend a lady who had killed the man responsible for framing her late boyfriend. The twist is that, three years ago, he had been the prosecutor responsible for her lover receiving the death penalty. As a result, Hachiya agrees to defend her out of guilt. In the end, he successfully argues for his client to receive only a life sentence, but in a moment of pure idiocy, he then frees her in the middle of the Court of Magic. Hachiya somehow thinks she intends to only take her revenge on him. At the episode’s conclusion, the lady is gunned down before she can take any more lives, but not before muttering ominous words that hint at a larger conspiracy behind the scenes. Oooh.

Thoughts: Man, Hachiya is dumber than I thought he’d be. Sure, lemme just unshackle a murderer in the middle of a courtroom. She agreed to exact her revenge on me and me alone! She swore she wouldn’t hurt anyone else, especially not the judge who gave the death penalty to her former boyfriend! Furthermore, I’m amazed that no one told him to recuse himself from the case. You mean the former prosecutor who used a dubious argument to win a case against the defendant’s boyfriend shouldn’t be allowed to now defend her? I dunno, man, looks perfectly impartial from here! Despite these minor brain farts though, the show is actually getting better by the week. This isn’t the first time anime has tackled discrimination, and it won’t be the last time. But having it all play out in the court of law is what can potentially elevate Wizard Barristers to the next level, i.e. not just a bunch of magic-toting moe lawyers. At the moment, however, the show is still just unrealized potential.

What we basically have is insidious genocide being carried out behind the conceit of justice. Wud-haters (yeah, it sounds kinda silly when you put it like that) are using the judicial system to unfairly target and exterminate magic users. In every case that we’ve been privy to observe in action thus far, the prosecution has consistently asked for the death penalty. Oh, I’m sure minor theft isn’t interesting enough to be portrayed, but make no mistakes about it: magic users being sentenced to death is not an uncommon occurrence. What’s missing from Wizard Barristers, however, is the revolutionary figure. So far, the one person who’s actually angry enough to fight back against the system ends up being a deranged murderer. I’d like to see the anime attempt to flesh out the sides a little more… y’know, with that thing called nuance. At the moment, the good guys are a little too happy-go-lucky, content to play by the rules of a dirty government that harbors no good will towards them. Perhaps Cecil will fill those shoes one day when the subplot with her mother finally comes into focus.

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6 thoughts on “01/28/13 Odds & Ends: What a man!”

  1. “So having said all of that, you think I’m silly for thinking anime pairings are stupid and contrived?”
    Yes, yes you are. Clearly the anime is trying to make a point. When it comes down to destiny, a real man can shape his own (via schizophrenia and conceit) and a fake man (ie a woman who wants to be on the battlefield- Funny concept, I know) cannot. It is Jeanne’s destiny that her womb pulsates amidst Nobunaga’s violent and offensive actions, actions which are in no way blaring warning sirens for the kind of nutcase he is and serve only to illustrate his bountiful masculinity.
    Doubt? Self-esteem? Little Brother, don’t compare your fragile ass to my chiseled greatness! I’LL CUT YOU!

    …I can’t get enough of how obliviously insane this show is. The best crazy is when it intends to be something else, but turns out like this. haha
    Honestly, I think there’s very few shows that can be truly balls-out crazy and enjoyable at the same time, primarily because when you’re crazy all the time it just gets tiring and, like you said with Nobunagun, “predictable”. It’s more fun to see a show that may have been intended to be a bit nuts but turns out to be quite more like Nobunaga the Fool. There you know Nobunaga is meant to be this handsome, amazing warrior who’s wisdom of the battlefield is matched only by his cunning of the human heart, when in reality he’s just a potential schizophrenic sexist who’ll lash out at the slightest word.

    As for Wizard Barristers, I do have to agree that the show does seem to be showing more thought than you’d expect from something titled “Wizard Barristers”. I don’t know, mate, I think this one will really go for it. It’s just the turtle in the race right now, but when it picks up speed it’ll really fly.
    You know, as turtles are wont to do.

    But this: “Furthermore, I’m amazed that no one told him to recuse himself from the case. You mean the former prosecutor who used a dubious argument to win a case against the defendant’s boyfriend shouldn’t be allowed to now defend her? I dunno, man, looks perfectly impartial from here! ”
    THIS is the shit that has kept me from enjoying Pheonix Wright games. I know they’re very entertaining and they lampshade it with “it’s just the dark age of the law”, but that phrase seems to be their catch-all excuse for any nonsense they feel like adding in that would NEVER happen in a court of law. You can do so much with the court in storytelling but you can’t just disregard fundamentals! As someone who’s a big Rumpole fan it bugs me to no end.
    Yeah, yeah, “it’s fiction/anime, just roll with it” some can say, but the moment one brings up that nonsensical argument you break all realism in the narrative and might as well have a dragon prosecute.

    1. I just feel as though there’s something really insecure about Nobunaga the Fool. Like it has to overcompensate this hard to convince us what masculinity really is or something. I don’t know if I’d say it’s so crazy that it’s fun though. Watching a dude get married to a girl not even half his size is more revolting than fun. There was that moment where he raised her up above his head like she’s a little kid.

  2. The Jeanne thing sounds pretty stupid. Fortunately I’m not watching Nobunaga the fool but it sounds like one of those wish fulfilling anime, it kinda reminds me of SAO (chick magnet MC, rushed relationship, ridiculously OP main character)…

    1. Worse – it reminds me of Horizon.

      A big bag of unbelievably overwrought nonsense mixed in with pointless historical terms and naming, ludicrous plot contrivances taken completely seriously (only high school students can hold executive power!), cringeworthy anachronisms (mechs AND feudal stone/timber Japanese forts AND spaceships AND teleporters AND we still need peasants working crop fields!), and a gigantic cast of rage-inducing characters dumped on the viewer’s head without a thought for pacing, dramatic arcs, or narrative consistency.

      …with a wish fulfillment main character thrown into the mix. Just sort of the rotten cherry on top, really.

      1. Last I checked, Horizon lovers claimed it was the Finnegan’s Wake of anime or some shit like that. I don’t doubt that you could glean a lot from Horizon if you really bothered, but it wasn’t interesting enough from the outset for me to care.

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