Shin Sekai Yori/From The New World is a show from last season. While it was airing some people have suggested I watch it – I looked over the plot synopsis, I looked over the synopsis of the first 6 episodes, and apparently very little happened, so I didn’t watch the show. Then while looking for something to watch, I’ve decided to watch this show. And am I glad that I have.
(I’ll cut to the chase – you should watch this show if you feel like watching a really good show, with a good and thought-provoking story, so long you don’t come just for the action.)
I’m going to try to avoid spoilers in this post, because part of the fun in the show is having things revealed to you/trying to figure them out on your own – but the reason I don’t mind not having spoilers in this post is the same as I don’t think spoilers will ruin this show – there are no real “Getcha!” moments in the show, the strength of the show, of what is discussed is in you thinking about it and hopefully having a nice discussion with others about it. The “reveals” in themselves don’t command power, which makes them worthier, not less – there’s actual content and not just a bright flash meant to dazzle us.
Every good story, nay, every story, has a question at its heart. A question that the story revolves around, a question the story not only seeks to answer, but presents itself as an answer to. Every story, except some
Understanding this question can often shape the way you look at a story. Things that you did not understand their “Why?”, the reason they occured, and that had seemed meaningless, are suddenly seen in a new light. You construct the story and give it a theme, of answering the question, of resisting the question, and so on.
Most interesting is the analogy of coloured glasses, or a point of view. Many people see a different story being told, a different theme. And in many cases, there are many “legitimate” answers, and switching from one question to another can help you consider the story from different directions.
An anime I absolutely love is Code Geass. Many people have found Code Geass, and especially its second season to be lacking, in some way. I try to get them to look at this “question” that the series poses as its theme in order to help them see the series as I see it, and hopefully appreciate it as I do. The question Code Geass poses is this, “At what cost victory?”
The first season is quite light-hearted, in a way. We see what Lelouch is willing to do, who he is willing to quash, what he will do in order to secure victory, and the world he is looking to establish. The second series is where the question which the protagonist thought he answered decisively in the first season returns, and the protagonist is told that his answer is unsatisfactory, his resolve untested, and that he must demonstrate further conviction.
Today is the 4th of July, and today I had to stay awake for 26 hours. This makes me think of fireworks. There’s fireworks to be had in the USA (happy Independence Day to all of my American friends!), and there are fireworks slowly going off in my mind, demanding that I rest my head.
Seeing as this is the situation, and that a long weekend is coming up for you guys, but a lot of tests for me, I’m going to postpone my post on “The Question at the Heart of a Story” to Wednesday (or Thursday if I keel over), and instead, shower you lot with a condensed version of an anime review, or an omnibus of pre-episodic blog reviewing content.
Ok, the above probably didn’t make a lot of sense, did it? I’ve discussed my meta-experience of watching Toaru Majutsu no Index (A Certain Magical Index) on this blog before. Last month I finally finished watching the series.
Now, as I’ve covered on that blog entry, I wrote down my thoughts on each episode, sometimes after it ended, but sometimes (and this really disrupted my “flow”), I stopped an episode to jot down my thoughts as I had them, and later I wrote down how things panned out – did they get answered, or did the water get even murkier?
What I’m going to share with you are those thoughts. You can look at them as 24 episodes’ worth of an episodic blog’s review of a series in one post, but that is obviously not what they are. These are the thoughts I had during the time I watched each episode. I sometimes had thoughts on an episode as a whole. A good episodic blog would have taken each of those thoughts, and wrote at least a paragraph on them. It’d have found thematic strings between the disparate elements and connected them.
An editorial blog (such as this one) would have taken all those endless strings and weaved the ones the writer (that’s me) finds more interesting into weaving a compelling whole.
In the case of this series, it somewhat feels as if it’s based on a light novel series, as you can point to distinct “chunks” of the series that are different in focus and even theme than others, and are discrete. The arch-angel “arc” for instance was quite horrible.
Needless to say, this post will spoil the ENTIRETY of the series! BEWARE!
Thoughts after the jump!
Angel Beats! started great. The hype-machine was in full force. Angel Beats was probably the anime with the most visibility this last season. But in the end, I don’t know how many people who did not watch it this season will even remember or speak of it in two years’ time. It could’ve been great. It wasn’t.
This series is about people who have died, reached a sort of a high-school purgatory, where they can live their lives as school-students. Otonashi, the main protagonist of the series wakes up without memories, dies to someone referred to as “Angel”(Tenshi), and is pressed into the “Rebels Against Gods” (The “SSS Brigade”). You see, if you live your life as a good school student, you disappear. The members of the brigade, having suffered horrible lives, or deaths they cannot accept, cannot accept the will of God (though it’s not really clear how not going to the next life is going to help… just because it’s doing the opposite of what God wants?).
(This is a “Things I Like” post, and as such covers more my thoughts, and is less focused as an actual bona fide review. There will be a LOT of spoilers in this post.)
Portal had won numerous accolades, and if I had to describe what kind of game it is, it’s a puzzle game, and as many puzzle games, it’s also a platformer. It’s a 3D platformer, but that’s not entirely new, as there had been Rayman 3(D) before. It’s also a first person platformer, which is slightly rarer. Here is a 2D platformer flash based version of Portal someone made online. The maps from this version were later added to the actual game.
Portal, is a game that in a way is based on the physics engine of Half-Life 2, and is a game where you have two weapons: Your wits, and the portal gun. Do try to keep your wits about you. Your Portal Gun (Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device) is capable of shooting two portals, one for entry and one for egress. You can easily cross chasms or walls in this manner, or leap a great distance forward.
Another cross-post from Neko Machi, because I’ve been really busy of late.
Nekomimi Days (ネコミミデイズ) is an obscure manga by Houki Kusano (草野ほうき) that I discovered on Amazon.co.jp and ordered from the local Kinokuniya. It’s a curious work in that it involves a rather strange genre fiction element, but more as a backdrop than a plot element. It takes place in a world where there’s a “cat-ear cold” going around. It’s like the common cold, except that people who catch it often grow cat ears. They can also acquire certain catlike traits, like an obsession with fish or susceptibility to catnip.
Hina Mochizuki (Hii-chan) is a normal girl who lives in an area where there are a lot of both cats and people with cat ears, including her best friend Yuzuko Asahina (Yuzu). The one thing that is a little unusual about Hina is that cats and people with cat ears are naturally drawn to her for some reason.
Hey there; I’m back. This review is cross-posted from Neko Machi, a weird little webcomic I do in collaboration with the very talented C. Ellis. Since Neko Machi is about a bunch of catgirls, I’ve started doing a series of posts reviewing other works featuring them.
Shoko Iwami’s Suzinari! is yet another of the 4-panel manga that Yen Press licensed from Houbunsha. With a catgirl right on the cover I couldn’t very well not pick it up, could I? It has two volumes total, and it winds up being short but sweet.
RahXephon is an anime from 2002 which has some things going for it, and also some things going against it, mainly the required comparison to Neon Genesis Evangelion. Another aspect of the series that will require mention and discussion is the use of sound and music in the series, which quite overpowers the series in its beginning, but thankfully its part and vehemence grows smaller as it goes on.
This is a “Things I Like” post, and as such, it’s not a review per-se, but my thoughts on the series. Spoilers should come as no surprise, this post will have moderate amount of spoilers. Surprisingly little, if you ask me.
This is the first of a series of manga reviews by yours truly. I’ll be concentrating on off-the-wall stuff that I happen to like, and largely avoiding the really popular stuff that other people have already covered extensively elsewhere. I mostly buy my manga in the original Japanese (at the local Kinokuniya), and many of the titles I’ll be reviewing–including this first one–aren’t yet available in English.
Title: ヤンデレ彼女 (“Yandere Girlfriend”)
Mangaka: 忍 (Shinobi)
Publisher: Square Enix (GanGan Comics JOKER)
Price: ¥476 (US$7.55 at Kinokuniya U.S.A.)
Publication Date: August 22, 2009
Page Count: 144
Yandere Kanojo Cover
Yandere Kanojo is a gag manga with a very direct, straightforward style. It stars Reina Ryuuzaki and Manabu Tanaka. Reina is the leader of the female delinquents in her school, and Tanaka is a diligent but otherwise unremarkable student. “Yandere” normally refers to a girl who’s sick and twisted (from yanderu/病んでる) but has a flustered, lovestruck, sweet side (deredere/デレデレ). It’s a scarier variant of the tsundere thing that’s become so trendy. Yandere Kanojo doesn’t have a yandere character; instead, the “yan” in the title comes from Yankii (a female delinquent). Reina is this peculiar kind of “yandere,” a mean girl who can kick the crap out of anyone who crosses her path, but can be embarrassed and downright sweet when it comes to Tanaka.
I’ll cover the board game known as Infernal Contraption by Privateer Press in this post. I use the definition “card-game” even though it’s a non-collectible card-game, ala Munchkin, which I think is really a “board-game”; I hope you can bear with that. Furthermore, I’ll tell you the general gist of this post: We did not enjoy this game much.
This is a “Things I Like” post, so the review is more me covering opinions than describing the thing blow by blow, and all the rules.