Spring 2014 Season Expectations.

Another season is upon us (this week!), so it’s time to look at what I’m going to watch, and what I’m expecting. Quite interesting to look at my expectations for Winter 2014 and how they panned out (poor Mahou Sensou and Nobunaga the Fool…). Most of the information about the shows can be had from RandomCuriosity’s page, the helpful Neregate Chart, and what I’ve happened to see on various sites, such as The Cart Driver.

As always, organized by days of the week, because I might pick a show on an empty day or cut shows I enjoy on days already overfilled with other shows. Order is by expectation within that day. Originally I’ve listed every show I had some interest in, but that ended with 30 shows. After cutting some out, still had 22. Even if I don’t write anything about the shows, and even if I drop half by the time we’re 3 weeks in (which I never succeed at doing), that’s too much. There are quite a few shounen popcorn and RomComs shows this season, and most will likely be interchangeable, so need to pick 1-2 of each type, or wait for a few weeks in and hear which ones are better.

Descriptions will be short, more on why I find them interesting. “Didn’t make it in” could also be seen as shows I might pick up after dropping others based on buzz.

Sunday:

Break Blade (TV) AnimeBreak Blade – A drama about vying realms, with the monarchs having studied together as youth. Love and treachery, gallantry. A setting with fantasy mechs. I think this sounds very interesting. A version of 6 films adapting the same source material exists and had been on my plan to watch list for a while. Hadn’t watched it yet, so will try these.
Interest Rating: 2/3. Quite intrigued, and if it turns out badly, can turn to the films.
Write-ups: Could happen. Intrigue and drama, after all.

Gokukoku no Brynhildr / Brynhildr in the Darkness – Made by the people behind Elfen Lied, both the manga author and the anime team, and that’s what most people decide whether to watch the show by. I thought Elfen Lied was “fine”, somewhere just ahead of mediocre. I didn’t hate it, and the premise seems interesting to me – a girl is supposed to be dead and comes back, played for drama and mystery. Yes, in the end premise is only the hook, and it’s all about execution, but it is what it is.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. Very cautious. But Sunday is still quite enough to permit it.
Write-ups: Nope.

Continue reading

Kill la Kill Episode 24 (Finale!) Notes – Matoi Ryuuko, Rebellious Princess, It’s Time to Graduate

(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page, but up to a couple every week will have their write-up appear on the main page, when I think they warrant it. For those who don’t know, I take the notes as I watch the episode, and merely re-order them afterwards.)

The last two episodes had been build-up. The episode before last was the thematic build-up, so to speak, the fan-service, giving us all the themes and gags we were expecting. Last episode actually brought us back to Satsuki’s theme of “Pigs in human clothings” and Ragyou’s meta-theme of biblical references, and servitude as power (which contrasts and compares nicely with Satsuki).

Also, this is a show where everyone is a shounen hero. Ragyou now has had her power-up again, the second since being betrayed by Satsuki.

Time for the final fight. I expect much to be a spectacle, we’ll see how much goes beyond :)

Thoughts and Notes:

1) The Spirit of Man: (The War of the Worlds Musical reference, check it out)

Kill la Kill Episode 24 notes anime - Sanageyama Uzu

1) Hundred Men Assault – Sanageyama had always been a gang-leader. Though he, like the other members of the Elite Four are all powerhouses on their own, they are also leaders, they also know the power of working together. Note this shape, he can only get as high as he is because he stands on the shoulders of his comrades (yes, I’m paraphrasing Isaac Newton here). But, some could also consider this a reference to the Tower of Babel, the conceit of thinking you could stand against God.

Continue reading

Log Horizon Episode 25 (Finale!) Notes – A Dark Mirror, A Narcissistic Invitation

(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page, but 0-2 episodes per week will have their write-up appear on the main page, when I think they warrant it. For those who don’t know, I take the notes as I watch the episode, and merely re-order them afterwards.)

Welp, this is the final episode, right? First things first, while this show had fights, it always purported to be more about community, about society. In this show fights had always been to make a point – that Nyanta, Shiroe and Naotsogu understand one another, that their control of the game is good enough to leave an enemy with just one hitpoint, that Crusty and the other adventurers are crazy berserkers… right?

So, it doesn’t matter if the fight is physical or strategic, it’s all there to make a point. Shiroe is the main character in this show, and this is his fight (sorry, senpai!), so we’re at the final episode, and we’re going to have a show-down! And yet, I don’t really think this story will be concluded here. This is about people’s lives, and they keep on going, and the wheels of diplomacy keep on turning.

Finally, last episode’s preview, they’re really going to finish on a cliff-hanger, it feels like. Evil! Well, the Light Novels await, almost done with Mahouka.

Thoughts and Notes:

1) Dealing with Others:

Log Horizon Episode 25 anime - Shiroe is a dork, Machitama, Lenessia, Crusty

Shiroe is such a dork.

1) Three leaders of Log Horizon, one standing for the small guilds, one for the mercantile guilds, and one for the combat guilds. The decision-think tank is here. Time to get serious.

Continue reading

Kill la Kill Episode 23 Notes – Humanity’s Dignity, and The Power of the Meek

(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page, but up to a couple every week will have their write-up appear on the main page, when I think they warrant it. For those who don’t know, I take the notes as I watch the episode, and merely re-order them afterwards.)

As is the case every week lately, I set up an alarm clock for 0130 AM for the latest episode of KLK. Staying up to watch it is usually ill-advised as I need a power-nap. Today I woke up, and at 0230 felt too tired to truly give the show a good coverage and headed to bed. Good thing too, as the episode materialized at 4 AM, I see. Well, no time like the present ;-)

Last episode had been fan-service oriented. It gave fans what they wanted, with the characters bonding and finally everyone being on the front page. Now it’s time for the final battle, as allies, as sisters, and yes, it’s also time for Fight Club Mako!

Thoughts and Notes:

1) Enough Biblical References to Drown Out Noah’s Arc:

Kill la Kill Episode 23 notes anime - End-screen cast shot

Continue reading

Light-Novels are Poorly Written and Adapting Them Shows That

For those who don’t know, Light Novels are short books released in Japan, aimed at young adults, and would usually be considered to be novellas in the west. As a medium, they could technically have a variety of genres and tropes, and yet, just as anime has things we consider to be “genre-tropes”, the same is true for Light Novels. This article will try to pinpoint what some of them are, what people are referring to when they say “This is so LN-esque!”, and how they affect characterization of characters, and the effect it has when adapting them (and some western books as well).

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya - Kyon narrates

Kyon narrates, wryly.

First, to get us started, here is something I consider a quintessential example of light novels, which isn’t actually from any given LN, but had been written by myself:

“He stared intently at her shapely leg, while thinking wryly to himself that he understood her completely in that moment.”

And if you think that this isn’t typical of action LNs, then to reinforce this is about style, here is another quote I whipped up in half a minute:

“He smirked, holding his sword confidently in hand. He could see the course the fight would take, if you could even call it a fight, as he was sure he knew all the moves his opponent would take.”

Light Novels not only would fail according to the Hemingway App (which redlines your text based on Hemingway’s style), and Stephen King’s advice in “On Writing”, but are very intensely modern, in the sense that they put the individual at the center. Well, time to break that down.

Continue reading

Sekai Seifuku / World Conquest Zvezda’s Plot Episode 10 – Homeless. Alone in the Cold.

(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page, but up to a couple every week will have their write-up appear on the main page, when I think they warrant it. For those who don’t know, I take the notes as I watch the episode, and merely re-order them afterwards.)

Last episode ended ominously, with Kate looking long and hard at Asuta before letting him go (an ominous phrasing on my part? Yes it is). Renge knows who Asuta is, and there’s an invisible wall between them. Yasu teaming up with White Falcon? The city being all torn up, or perhaps it had always been this way? The remark that they no longer have a home to return to, when the one theme this show had always pushed was that of having a home, of finding one, of creating one?

Oh boy, seems we might get a continuous story from here on out. Then again, it’s Sekai Seifuku, and I wouldn’t put it past them to mislead us ;-) (Especially considering a novel had already been announced!)

Thoughts and Notes:

1) Brave New World…?

Sekai Seifuku Bouryaku no Zvezda / World Conquest Zvezda Plot Episode 10 Notes anime -  Tokyo Soldiers

Continue reading

Kill la Kill Episode 22 Notes – Time for Some Traditional Shounen Friendship!

(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page, but up to a couple every week will have their write-up appear on the main page, when I think they warrant it. For those who don’t know, I take the notes as I watch the episode, and merely re-order them afterwards.)

Last two episodes had been an arc, and the culmination of a thematic thread – Ryuuko hadn’t had a nice life, she’d always been used, and constantly her decisions which she had thought were her own had been revealed as the machinations of her parents. Continuing with the “Clothes are Original Sin,” we have the parents’ original sin, as well as “Sins of the parents.”

Ryuuko was filled with self-disgust which progressed to self-hatred and sabotaging her own life, until the power of friendship and self-disgust that’s been too large to bear had brought her back. It’s now time for the two sisters to finally join forces.

More interesting was Satsuki being revealed as not entirely honest, she says she will do anything to obtain her goals, including lying, and perhaps this too is such a lie. Well, let’s see what the two sisters can manage.

(Note: Earthquake warning makes for less than ideal screenshots. I’ll look into fixing it after going to sleep and waking up. It’s still 4 am as I’m typing this, and we’re not done just yet.)

Thoughts and Notes:

1) Ryuuko’s Back!:

Kill la Kill Episode 22 notes anime - Matoi Ryuuko Matoi Ryuko

1) You’ve messed with the wrong girl, dude. Covered in her heart’s blood, fulfilling the theme of self-hatred, she had cut out her own heart, she had sacrificed herself, so she could become a noble warrior berserker once more.

Continue reading