Everything Else, Spring ’14, Week 2: Speechless

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God, there’s a lot of anime this season.

Atelier Escha & Logy – Alchemists of the Dusk Sky Ep. 1

For a world with alchemy, this was pretty bland. So alright, Escha, the heroine of the show, wants to make something with the new cauldron. She mixes some liquids…

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…grinds up some green stuff…

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…chops up some apples…

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…stirs it all up…

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…then volia! We’ve made, uh, an apple tart.

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Right. Don’t worry, the apple tart was totally delish! Later in the episode, the boss lady assigns our two main characters the task of fixing an apple orchard’s windmill. When Logy, the hero of the show, is startled by the fact that an alchemist would have to attend to such a mundane duty, the boss lady goes, “You don’t have the time to stand here arguing. Go get it done.” That implies to me that our two alchemist had better hurry! Aaaaand they proceed to have a nice, pleasant saunter through the town. Afterward, Escha and Logy even take a relaxing tour of the apple orchard itself. Cool. The episode then waits until the very last second to tell us about some unexplored ruins floating in the sky:

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Supposedly, this is where all the excitement will be had, but not if we keep baking fucking apple tarts.

Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou Ep. 2

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Let’s see… Shiro’s still a pervert, but he’s a total free spirit so this somehow makes up for it! Y’see, his childlike lack of inhibitions allows all of the other characters to unwind and relax! As for Mayumi, she continues to incessantly whine about the fact that she’s single. ‘Cause that won’t get old. Last but not least, Ritsu is as stand-offish as ever, but ah, Kazunari made some crappy jokes that somehow got Ritsu to smile. Gosh, guys, he’s slowly chipping away at her icy exterior! So when it came to no surprise that on horror-viewing night, our protagonist finds out that Ritsu is easily scared. If there’s anything we’ve learned from anime, it’s that unapproachable girls are always deathly afraid of something, and gosh is it cute to see them tremble! See: Mio of K-On!, Chitoge of Nisekoi, etc. We also get to see crap like grown-ups having tons of fun with bubbles. Really. Bubbles.

Near the end of the episode, the anime finally introduces us to Sayaka. Aaaaand the first thing she does is molest Mayumi. That’s just fantastic.

Fuuun Ishin Dai Shogun Ep. 1

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I think this screenshot pretty much says it all. This anime takes place in some alternate universe in which the Meiji Restoration never occurred. Somehow, this also means that Onigamis, basically steam-powered mechas, can also exist. But there’s one really special Onigami, and it’s the Susanoo! Legend has it that only a true virgin of the Tokugawa bloodline can pilot Susanoo. Well, lucky for us, our hero Keiichiro is totally this fated virgin of the Tokugawa bloodline! Having said that, this doesn’t mean well-endowed Japanese maidens won’t throw themselves at him left and right though.

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Anyway, I imagine this show would be a whole lot more entertaining to me if any of its humor clicked. Unfortunately, none of it did, so I’m just left with a rather flamboyant re-imagining of what Japan would’ve been like if it had managed to stay isolated from the outside world.

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The animation employs a lot of uncomfortable close-ups of the characters’ faces, and this is not exactly my cup of tea. It always feels like we’re right up in everyone’s grill. The anime feels really claustrophobic as a result.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure – Stardust Crusaders Ep. 2

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JoJo is manly. JoJo does manly things. The women around him are silly. Not much to say other than that I’m watching this show.

Kindaichi Case Files R Ep. 2

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I don’t know how I feel about this week’s episode. The mystery itself is fine. It’s just that the pacing feels a bit off. The episode is pretty much one major revelation one after the other. Everyone’s got the word ‘dragon’ in their name! Everyone’s related! The tattoo isn’t a map to a treasure at all! In fact, it’s a map to a bomb strong enough to completely level Hong Kong! Anyway, as I was watching the episode, it feels as though the mystery isn’t getting a chance to breathe. I’ve said this elsewhere, but part of the fun of watching a mystery unfold is in playing along with it. You gotta give the audience a change to figure things out. The arc’s not over yet, but it seems rushed somehow.

Mekakucity Actors Ep. 1

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So this “HikiNEET” finds himself going outside into the real world for the first time in a long time. Why? In the middle of argument with the girl in his computer — yes, he’s got a sentient computer program haunting his PC — our protagonist accidentally spills soda all over his keyboard. Now, I’m not exactly sure why a bona fide “HikiNEET” wouldn’t happen to have a spare keyboard on hand, but since a shut-in can’t exactly live without his or her computer, our hero forces himself to go to the mall in order to buy a replacement. When he gets there, he runs into two different groups: 1) a bunch of kids his age that can apparently do… “things” with their eyes and 2) a group of criminals hoping to get a fat ransom by holding the entire mall hostage. The episode then just sorta ends.

Yeah, the show lost me. It didn’t lose me in the sense that I couldn’t follow the events of the plot. Rather, I just can’t get myself to care about anything that was happening. It’s your average Shaft anime with all of the “Shaft-isms” that we’ve come to expect from the studio. The most blatant “Shaft-isms” of all would be the ridiculous close-ups followed by a tilting of the head. C’mon, guys, are you really that enamored by something you’ve done years ago? Can’t we move on from it already? Apparently not. As for the hero of the show, he comes from a long line of neurotic Shaft protagonists trapped inside their own head. Like I’ve said, I just can’t bring myself to care anymore. It just feels all too same-ish.

Mushishi Zoku Shou Ep. 2

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A “red tide” is essentially algae bloom. At times, the population of algae in the sea can grow out of control. Some of these algae can also produce dangerous toxins, which is why all the fish ended up dying in the anime. And of course, if the fish are dying, they’re probably not safe to eat. This applies to the shellfish as well. For a poor village that depends primarily upon the sea for sustainance, an event like this might as well be a death knell. Luckily, Mina found that pearl…

What’s interesting to me is that Mina didn’t really disobey her father. He told her not to talk to the “shore folk,” so she went and lost her voice without ever saying anything to anyone that day. According to Ginko, the only cure is to apparently hear other people talk, which makes the affliction seem harmless enough, but you can’t just listen to a single person, i.e. her father, talk. That won’t be enough. So until Mina and her father rejoin the village, she won’t be able to utter a single word. But here’s the thing: even if she hadn’t lost her voice by listening to a Mushi in a seashell, I suspect she would’ve lost her voice anyhow. Like with most of the stories in this series, this tale is metaphorical. The impending disaster is just as much about the sea as it is about the girl herself. What her father is doing to her, i.e. social isolation, is technically a form of child abuse though not quite as heinous as we’ve come to associate with the term.

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Her father can’t isolate her forever; it’s just not healthy. God forbid, should Mina’s father pass away, what will she do with herself? Continue to live in isolation forever? Well, she might not want to, but by that point, she may not have much of a choice. After all, her father doesn’t seem that old, so it’ll probably be at least a decade or two before he passes away. That is, if he’s lucky enough to die from old age. Let’s imagine things continuing at this rate. Mina would’ve been isolated from the outside world until she is potentially in her mid-20s or even her mid-30s. When you haven’t had the chance to develop social skills in your childhood, you can’t exactly decide to just fit in one day as an adult. You could try, but I doubt the results will be anything short of disasterous. So like I’ve said, even if the Mushi hadn’t taken her voice, Mina would’ve lost it anyway. Her father had to change.

At the end of the episode, Mina’s father willingly gives up the pearl his daughter had found in order to save the village. When the chief asks him why he would make such a great sacrifice, Mina’s father replies, “It’s better than letting someone else die, isn’t it?” These words then make the chief cry, but Mina’s father wasn’t being spiteful or anything. Not anymore, anyway. He ultimately realized that he was being a hypocrite. All these years, he has held a grudge against the chief and the rest of the village for allowing his wife to die. Sure, he blamed himself for not being there, but let’s face it… he blamed them too. Now that disaster has struck, however, and the village won’t be able to depend upon the sea for quite some time, Mina’s father would just be a hypocrite if he allowed the villagers to die when he had the power to save them. So even though his words made the chief break down into tears, they were really meant for himself more than anyone else.

Nobunaga the Fool Ep. 14

So even though Hannibal — who’s a woman, by the way — and Charlemagne have proven that they’re both more than evil enough by holding the people of Owari hostage, Jeanne somehow thinks she can negotiate with them. The girl then stupidly sacrifices herself for the sake of Owari’s people even though Nobunaga wouldn’t have done so. What a shocker it must be, then, that Charlemagne should kill all of the innocent people he’s taken hostage!

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Yeah, man! You totally promised! Why won’t hostage-takers play by the rules! Anyway, when Nobunaga goes to strike Hannibal, she holds a knife up to Jeanne’s neck. This is somehow enough to freeze our Idiot-King in place. Right. He didn’t care for the hostages because “[t]his is war,” but he just can’t stand to see Jeanne die! Ah well, the chocolate-cake-baking Caesar shows up to save the day. Uesugi Kenshin too. And just like that, Charlemagne and Hannibal bite the dust in a single episode. Gee gee, friends.

20 thoughts on “Everything Else, Spring ’14, Week 2: Speechless

  1. Chakraborty

    Go ahead and judge me, but I like Mekakucity Actors. Call me a sucker for SHAFtism, but there;s something about that that I like. I’m sure not everyone agrees, but hey, I’ll give it the 3 episode rule :-D

    Bokura wa minna kawaisou sucked. The art was great and all, but I couldn’t sit through ten minutes and I had to quit. Getting a girl with apparently no emotions to smile and then be lost in awe and wonder about “how cute senpai looks”? I’ll pass. Plus that masochist roommate really gets on my nerves for some reason.

    1. E Minor Post author

      Go ahead and judge me, but I like Mekakucity Actors.

      I really don’t care who likes what. I just judge the anime.

  2. Flawfinder

    It’s not just the head tilt that got to me, as I’ve come to expect that from Shaft. It’s the fact that there wasn’t one unique frame in the first episode. Every. Single. Shot. In Mekaku City Actors’ intro was copied straight out of their early stuff. I don’t think there was a single unique shot in that opening episode bar the stuff in the beginning that looked like it came from Adolescence of Utena (so not really unique there either).

    Didn’t exactly help that the story is an uninspired, unenergetic bore too, with the only noticeable thing about it being the popularity of its source. Kagerou Project has a weird fanbase that rivals Mahouka’s in terms of ferocity. Mostly female teenagers from what I read, though I haven’t looked too much into it yet. All I heard was the music Jin (the writer for the anime and Kagerou Project in general) composed. Pretty awful music too.

    1. E Minor Post author

      Kagerou Project has a weird fanbase that rivals Mahouka’s in terms of ferocity.

      I like living in my bubble. Until this season, I’ve never heard of either work.

  3. Anonymous

    I’m not sure how I felt about KagePro getting “shafted”. The songs it’s based on are pretty straightforward. I’ll watch it anyway because I kinda like the source material.

  4. IonCaron (@IonCaron)

    I want to reply and comment but hands suck so I’ll do both here. Hope you don’t mind.

    Harem Hill Reply: “What’s with up with your hands (don’t have to answer right away)?”
    Long story short, my tendons suck. After straining them beyond belief one day, I used ice packs immediately. Sadly, in my ignorance I ONLY used ice and laid off them, instead of stretching them properly during the healing time.
    That, and work and other needed activities made my healing time of 6months into a year, and since I didn’t stretch properly, regularly, during that time, I now get ruined by even playing a fighting game for a long period of time, let alone typing.
    _I’ll heal up just fine eventually. I did before, after all, but then as most occasional idiots I aggravated my injury again and…here we are. heh Though honestly I blame Arc System for this relapse. I thought the Chronophantasma game would have as good a story as the previous BlazBlue fighting games and really wanted to play it through, so I spent at least 5hrs finish it, straight, like a dolt. haha
    Then I was rewarded with disappointment. And now pain.
    Teaches me to care about fighting game’s stories. haha! At least I can play RPGs just fine. Those never tax the hands.

    Everything else comments:
    Firstly, I have to say that Mushishi is literally the only anime that has wowed me since Paprika. It’s exactly as you said: “They’re more like… experiences. Well, sure, everything’s an experience, but when you watch a Mushishi episode, it’s more about letting the entire thing — the images, the sounds, the whole meditative atmosphere — wash over you.”

    Truly, without exaggeration, a one of a kind show.

    Escha & Logy: “Supposedly, this is where all the excitement will be had, but not if we keep baking fucking apple tarts.”
    HAhaha!! Fucking perfect. I cracked up har don this mate. It’s exactly the feeling I got when playing the game. At least you don’t have to deal with a time limit watching the thing though. haha THen again I never played another Atelier game so I’m not the best judge.
    But I did like the protagonists of the story very much, especially Logy, who is written with OCD in a believable way that isn’t debilitatingly depressing OR played up just for laughs. It’s natural and respectfully written in the game, hopefully it fairs as well with the show

    Fuuun Ishin Dai Shogun OR “BOOBS! GET IT?! :D”

    The Foo : “Hannibal — who’s a woman, by the way…”
    WHy not? Jack the Ripper gets to be a loli.
    …Such a retarding trend in so many ways…

    Sad to see Fool demoted to almost a blurb now, but you’ve got a great reason for it and hell, it’s not like its doinfg muchbr to warrent mdore than that, right?
    I forget if it’s ever mentioned but why is Caeser still alive? Is it because he is actually Caeser? You know, the mythology behind the reincarnating godking or..whatever it was. I forgot most of the Rome lessons in history class by now and feel ashamed for it. heh

    hands hurt and gotta go, but yeah, thanks for bringing light to the great, and throwing knives at the bad, for this season.
    It feels livelier than the previous seasons, doesn’t it? Or maybe that’s just me.

    1. E Minor Post author

      Ah, sorry to hear about your hands.

      It feels livelier than the previous seasons, doesn’t it? Or maybe that’s just me.

      I dunno. From my vantage point, I’m just blogging more.

  5. ChaosCallMe

    Hey, at least the apples looked tasty, and that floating ruin looked kinda cool. It reminded me a little bit of the Titan ruins in the video game Unchained Blades. Maybe, just maybe, the Atelier series will have a cool dungeon crawl scene with well-animated action (but I doubt it).

  6. Soulstriker R Vanquish

    Nobunaga the Fool Ep. 14…

    Disgusting shit from Hannibal and Charlemagne at the start of the episode…

    “So even though Hannibal — who’s a woman, by the way — and Charlemagne have proven that they’re both more than evil enough by holding the people of Owari hostage, Jeanne somehow thinks she can negotiate with them.”

    Wait a sec dude. Based on this sentence alone, in a way you’re saying that governments in our world shouldn’t bother negotiating with hostage takers in the first place. A lot of people would have died, or never born, if negotiations were never an option of governments. I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be happy if your family being held hostage by someone was bombed by the government without hesitation.

    And don’t blame Jeanne for not being barbaric like most of the people around her. She’s not even a trained soldier to begin with. She’s not mentally/emotionally prepared for this. She’s just a regular human, not bound by orders or this show’s idea of honor, just emotions and morality. You can go blame the fool who had the idea of putting her in a Giant War Armor which resulted in her being in a situation someone like her shouldn’t be put on.

    …. Oh, look at that. The guy that killed Ichihime’s brother is pissed off because the guy that killed Ichihime’s father decided to save the day/defect to their side/save Nobunaga’s life/betray his old allies for love. I think there’s a chance that Mitsu will become even more of a traitor than before, just like the person he’s based from.

    1. E Minor Post author

      If you have no leverage, you do not negotiate. And by exiting her War Armor, she gave up her leverage. Plus, there’s a reason “You don’t negotiate with terrorists” is a thing. Most governments are beholden to the Geneva Conventions. You can negotiate with them because it’s a war crime to kill civilians. That is not a thing that applies to the world of Nobunaga the Fool. As far as anyone with a brain is concerned, Hannibal and Charlemagne are terrorists. Why on earth would she think she could negotiate with lawless, honorless people?

      1. Soulstriker R Vanquish

        you missed this

        “Based on this sentence alone…”

        and you missed this

        “And don’t blame Jeanne for not being barbaric like most of the people around her. She’s not even a trained soldier to begin with. She’s not mentally/emotionally prepared for this. She’s just a regular human, not bound by orders or this show’s idea of honor, just emotions and morality.”

        In other words Jeanne doesn’t understand what you’re talking about. She’s more concerned about what’s right than what’s effective.

        Maybe someone should have used the regalia Jeanne’s holding to shield the citizens from the ice. If it can deflect the concentrated fire from Caesar’s Giant War Armor even a kid (from our world at least, if none from theirs) would think that it can also deflect a less concentrated area attack… Wait, who told the citizens to watch from outside their homes while 2 hostile War Armors are freezing the whole area?

        1. E Minor Post author

          In other words Jeanne doesn’t understand what you’re talking about.

          Anyone with common sense should know this.

  7. Soulstriker R Vanquish

    Wait, I also missed something. Jeanne the normal citizen turned pilot is suddenly put in a situation where innocent lives are in danger and there’s not much time to think carefully about what to do next because they are freezing to death. So it’s not because she doesn’t understand what you said, it’s because, well, she panicked and rushed her decision.

    1. E Minor Post author

      What difference does it make? So she’s not an idiot who thinks she can negotiate with terrorists. She’s just an idiot who thinks she’s mentally-equipped to fight on the front lines. Either way, she doesn’t come off too favorably to me. And you can’t blame Nobunaga entirely for her being there. She’s a big girl. She chose to stand by her Savior-King’s side.

        1. E Minor Post author

          You’re questioning my judgment of the girl. My point is that even if your defense of her is correct, it still doesn’t actually make her come off in a better light. Either way, she’s an idiot. Besides, I’m not asking you anything. It was a rhetorical question. Anyway, I’m done with this. Practically every comment you’ve made dating back to Buddy Complex you make is argumentative.

  8. Soulstriker R Vanquish

    “Practically every comment you’ve made dating back to Buddy Complex you make is argumentative.”

    Actually, practically every comment I’ve made “that you pay attention to” is argumentative. My primary comment on every episode is only about 1/2 or 2/3 argumentative.

  9. mrfatso

    Now having watch kindaichi episode 3,

    Episode 2 covers more of chapter 3 to chapter 7.. So, yes there looks like there could quite a lot that has been cut from the comic.

    Also, this wasnt mentioned in the anime, but the reason why kindaichi and group went into Long Dong’s apartment wasnt just to see the lazer show, but because miyuki who was kidnapped, she had their passport and hotel stuff with her, so because of that, kindaichi wasnt able to stay in the hotel room, miyuki is the model so she has her own room (i guess)

    So, far doesnt seem like they removed much, there was a scene where kindaichi ate something too hot for his mouth and bits and pieces scene which are not relevant to the case

    I dont think ran mentioned that her hand injuries came from when she was attacked by the person in red.


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