02/03/14 Odds & Ends: Real talk

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So much real talk.

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Nobunaga the Fool Ep. 5

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Episode summary: Nobunaga insists on using his War Armor to launch a pre-emptive attack on Takeda, but Nobuhide continues to resist. After learning how to activate his Regalia, our hero decides to jump straight into battle anyway. Unfortunately, he’s been poisoned just as he’s about to hop into his War Armor. When news of the advancing Takeda forces reach the castle, an unconscious Nobunaga forces Nobuhide to join the fray. When our protagonist finally wakes up, Mitsuhide reveals he had been behind the “assassination” attempt all along. He wanted to prevent Nobunaga’s enemies from attacking his lord during the heat of battle. Plus, now’s Nobunaga’s chance to rejoin the battle and end up being the savior.

And this is exactly what Nobunaga does, but his duel with Shingen is interrupted when Caesar emerges from the Rhine River some dinky river and announces his intent to help Shingen. Despite this, he’s really only interested in Ichihime, so Caesar begins to charge towards the castle. Seeing this, the now injured Nobuhide throws himself in Caesar’s path, but ends up having his war armor impaled through the chest by his foe’s weapon. Nobunaga then goes berserk, forcing both Caesar and Shingen to retreat for now. The following morning, a dying Nobuhide says his parting words to his troubled son, then passes away. The episode closes with Nobunaga swearing to get his revenge on Caesar.

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Thoughts: In the end, it’s all rather convenient how everything played out. The ol’ fuddy-duddy Nobuhide gets to redeem himself in his son’s eyes. Yes, he died as a result, but dying on the battlefield is probably considered a poetic ending to a warrior’s life. Plus, his character arc is complete so the narrative has no use for him anymore. He may as well die to add some pathos to the story! Meanwhile, our Fool now has a noble cause to hide his bloodthristy, warmongering actions behind. He just wants to avenge his father, after all. With that settled, let’s talk about something else instead.

Usually, when you think of your loved ones, memories come flooding into your mind’s eye. Why? Because we normally wouldn’t love someone unless we’ve spent a lot of time with them. Well, that’s the theory anyway. When Himiko thinks of her loved one, a.k.a. the Fool, she has only one goddamn memory on repeat: the one time he picked her up over his head when they were children. Ah, true love. But y’know, since this anime is so incredibly macho, I feel as though we haven’t shined enough of a spotlight on any of our heroines. Let’s us thus take the opportunity to do just that!

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So we’ve got ourselves three major female characters in this anime. First, Ichihime, Nobunaga’s sister, is like… femininity defined or some nonsense like that. She’s so feminine that everything about her is pink. Her clothing is pink. Even her hair is pink. But more importantly, she’s so feminine that she’s literally a caged bird. In other words, all she does is wander the palace grounds until she can no longer fight the urge to belt out some crappy song that people will undoubtedly consider the most beautiful sound they’ve ever heard. What she does with the rest of her time, nobody knows. Some say she’s still singing to this day.

Next, it’s our sex-crazed loli from the Yamatai kingdom. Oh boy, sex-crazed! We know how she spends her days: sit around pining for Nobunaga’s impressive blade. It is the height of lunacy that he hasn’t bedded her already. And like any insecure women in anime, Himiko targets her flat chest as the culprit. Of course, what virile, red-blooded Japanese warrior wouldn’t want to sheath his uchigatana in this:

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But like a dog chasing a car, what would actually happen if Himiko ever managed to consummate her betrothal? How would the rest of her days play out? Like the female enka singer, her job is to pine. If she ever stops pining, all that awaits is character death.

Last but not least, we have the buxomy blonde from the West: Jeanne. At one point in this episode, we cut to a short scene of Jeanne practicing her calligraphy. Out of nowhere, she starts thinking about Nobunaga and how he’s now married to Himiko. Then the scene ends. Yep. That’s it. In the early stages of the episode, our heroine — arguably our main heroine — has nothing to contribute to the story other than that she’s so jealous… but she doesn’t even know why she’s jealous. She has yet to be honest about her ~true feelings~ for Nobunaga. Ah, Jeanne, Jeanne, Jeanne… you’ve turned in quite a burning performance. What a true maiden you are!

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Granted, she did rush into battle when Nobunaga was in trouble. I blame this uncouth disregard for her femininity on that ridiculous getup she wears. That’s what happens when you allow women to wear the pants! She starts to think she can actually play a pivotal role in the story and everything! Luckily, all she did was ram her War Armor into Lord Shingen. Like a perfect alley oop, Jeanne helps our Fool throw down a massive dunk on his enemy. Thank goodness she didn’t more than that lest we begin to forget who the real man hero of the story is.

Well, I hope this has been an eye-opener to my readers. As you watch the Fool and his manly exploits, please don’t lose sight of some of the scintillating supporting characters behind him! They sing! They pine! They furrow their brows with frustration for they know not what this tightness of the bosom whenever the Fool is around means! I mean, just look at them now as Nobunaga is busy fighting off an Takeda’s invading army:

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Such dynamic roles…

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Nobunagun Ep. 5

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Episode summary: The Commander (does she even have a name?) assigns Shio to the Second Platoon so she gets to join some familiar faces, i.e. Jack, Newton, Gandhi, etc. Aboard her new home, the “Alex Logan” stronghold, Shio gets teased by Gandhi and tongue-raped by Newton. Later on, she goes on a quick mission to help her team secure a Messenger class Invasion Object. Our heroes manage to confirm their worst fears: the enemy is evolving fast.

Thoughts: Yes, I’m still watching this show. Mostly out of morbid curiosity, to be honest. Apparently when Newton isn’t in battle, she feels the need to french kiss every single person she meets. Poor Isaac is rolling around in his grave somewhere. The silliest thing is how everyone just allows it to happen despite their protestations. Meanwhile, we’re introduced to both Vidocq and Hunter, but neither of their depictions are particularly interesting enough to talk about. If you’ve guessed that Vidocq sits in a microscope-shaped wheelchair, congratulations for you are correct! You win, uh, the soundtrack to Nobunagun, a.k.a. a bunch of songs from an 8-bit synthesizer because who doesn’t love being serenaded by their Nintendo?

Anyway, the action makes up about only a quarter of this week’s episode so it’s over before it even started. And while other shows might try to pretty up their conflict with metaphor and allusions, what you see here is pretty much what you get. Aliens are bad. Kill aliens. Watch out. Here are more aliens.

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Wizard Barristers Ep. 4

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Episode summary: Quinn and Shizumu subdue Rei, a serial killer notorious for the murder of fifteen wizards. His brother Tsukuji now comes to Butterfly Law Offices to seek their help in defending Rei. He convinces the ladies that his brother suffers from dissociative identity disorder, and as such, Rei cannot be held accountable for his crimes. Cecil shares her misgivings about the case, but Ageha scolds our heroine for her reluctance. In the end, they manage to reduce Rei’s sentence down to life in prison, but Cecil remains unconvinced about her client’s psychiatric disorder. When she goes to confront Tsukuji about it, he reveals that both he and his brothers are equally responsible for the murders, and now they have their sights set on Cecil. Everyone comes out of the woodwork to save her, but Cecil actually needs no saving as she awakens to yet another power: sand magic. She then uses it to subdue Tsukuji and all’s well that ends well… but it turns out Shizumu is the one behind the twin brothers’ actions.

Thoughts: Y’know, I think I would’ve preferred it if Cecil had been wrong about Rei in the end. It would have been a good lesson for her to learn, and that lesson is that everyone deserves a fair trial regardless of who they are or what they do. To go even further, everyone has rights regardless of who they are or what they do. Yes, she might not like defending an unrepentant murderer, but it’s her job to uphold their rights. She doesn’t have to win the case to the extent that the murderer gets to walk free. We’re not talking about O.J. Simpson here. All she has to do is make sure no one’s rights are being violated. I mean, she would want the same for her mother, wouldn’t she? How would she feel if a wizard barrister had turned down her mother’s case because he or she doesn’t feel comfortable with defending an accused murderer? And had Rei truly have DID, then he doesn’t actually deserve a death penalty.

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But in the end, Cecil’s suspicions were right all along so she doesn’t actually have to take any hard lessons to heart. I dunno… I just feel like her character is slowly becoming a little too Mary Sue-ish. Not only is she correct in her assessment of Rei, she keeps gaining powers. She’s going to become Wizard Genius at this rate. Like what was the point of her friends showing up to save her anyway when she actually ended up saving them instead? Oh well… it’s just that flaws are what makes us human. I know they have magic powers, but at their core, these characters are still human above everything else. And there’s nothing wrong with a young prodigy not exactly having all the answers. Yes, I know she had to be right in order for the narrative to reveal the conspiracy behind the scenes, i.e. Shizumu taking an interest in Cecil’s awakening powers. Still, my point stands: Cecil is perfect week in and week out. She can do no wrong, and frankly, that makes her kind of boring.

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3 thoughts on “02/03/14 Odds & Ends: Real talk

  1. IonCaron (@IonCaron)

    “Let’s shine a spotlight on our heroines!”
    *image of a woman in crosshairs*

    This got me pretty good. haha

    “Yes, I know she had to be right in order for the narrative to reveal the conspiracy behind the scenes, i.e. Shizumu taking an interest in Cecil’s awakening powers.”
    You know honestly I don’t even buy that. They easily could’ve had that message of “everyone, even the lowest scum or the most damaged of souls, has rights that need to be upheld” while having the conspiracy reveal. It’d be really easy, too!
    Have the brother actually have DID or some other form of mental disability, and after the trial just have Tsukuji reveal he was the one masterminding everything, just using his brother like a weapon.
    BOOM!
    You have your moral message, character flaw, fight and conspiracy reveal at the same time. For extra points: The fact that Cecil finds out Tsukuji had been manipulating his victim of a brother foreshadows the idea of “selfish manipulation” and opens Cecil’s eyes to the fact that anyone, even those closest to you, can be willing to manipulate you for their own ends. It doesn’t make the subject obvious to her, but it would make her a wee bit less naive, and so when the audience sees the reveal they know that Cecil won’t be so far behind them.

    Because stories where a reveal happens for the sake of the audience and takes a long time for the protagonist to realize are just tedious. You don’t want to end up with the audience going: “Yeah, no shit, Sherlock. She’s been grinning in the shadows for three episodes. Glad you finally caught on.”

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Yeah, the show could have done what you suggested. Which way would have been better, however… eh. All I wanted to point out is that Mary Sues are lame.

      Reply
      1. IonCaron (@IonCaron)

        Ha Fair enough, though that goes without saying, mate. Never saw a Mary Sue that was more than wish fulfillment. Most often, these “characters” are their writers’ way of getting paid to masturbate, but without the nudes showing up on the net. haha!

        Reply

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