Summer 2014 Anime Season Week 4 (Anime Power Ranking)

Another week. Dropped or put on hold a number of shows, so there are less shows to cover, and I also didn’t write as much on a few of the shows. Let’s get to it.

Weekly impressions for Akame ga Kill!, Aldnoah.Zero, Barakamon, Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, , Sword Art Online II,  Tokyo Ghoul, and Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resonance) (Also, Avatar: The Legend of Korra).

The list is organized by how much I’ve enjoyed each episode, and the link in the title is to a more thorough write-up on the episode. For first impressions it means mostly more about production and presentation, but also about themes.

1) Barakamon episode 4:

Barakamon anime episode 4 overview

The greatest complaint I’ve had about this episode is also the biggest piece of praise I can give it – it was too damn short! I’ve had so much fun, and then it was over, and I wondered where it all went! Continue reading

There are no NPCs in Journey – A Travelogue

Technically, Journey is a PlayStation 3 game that will receive a PlayStation 4 release. You may also wish to think of it as an interactive film. What it undoubtedly is, aside from great, is an experience. Journey tells a story via images and short sequences you see as you make your pilgrimage. The story is open to interpretation. Because Journey is such a personal experience, rather than claim to tell you “Journey’s Story”, whatever it may be, I will tell you mine, as I trekked across its vistas. Do get it, if you can. Watch it, if you cannot.

Journey (2012 Video Game) PS3 PS4

I crested a great sand dune. I hovered. I explored ruins, until I came across her. Her, I said, but that’s a decision I’ve made in my mind. Swathed in a robe from head to toe, this other figure was identical to my own. Were I the female and they the male? Were we both of the same gender? Did we even have a gender? I recognized that my decision to assign genders in such manner, and to have my avatar be my avatar was an arbitrary one, but I was fine with it.

Continue reading

Aldnoah.Zero Episode 4 Notes – Fragile Joy, Weighed by the Guilt of Lies

(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 was the last written by Gen Urobuchi, and ended with an affirmation of hope, after we’ve been told it’s a lie. But the world is never so simple.

Likewise, last episode ended with each of the three main characters, Slaine, Asselyum, and Inaho each asserting their agency, their motivation to act and change the world in which they live.

Now, now’s the interesting part – where will the show go from here? What themes will it discuss? Let’s find out (Sorry about the delay, had a podcast in the middle of the episode, and then I had to grab something to eat).

Screenshot album.

Thoughts and Notes:

1) Honour’s Weight, and The Weight of Living:

Aldnoah.Zero anime episode 4 notes - Orbital Kknights' Justice

1) The first three episodes had been a mini-arc. The way this episode opened was more than just reminding us what happened thus far, but to reorient us on where we’re headed. The show’s byline says, “Let justice be done, though the heavens fall.” It means that even if the luminaries (another celestial reference) are the ones to blame, one will follow on what is just, to its fullest course.

Continue reading

Zankyou no Terror Episode 3 Notes – Game, Set, Go!

(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 had a very distinct purpose. It was there to show us that Nine and Twelve are taken seriously, and to introduce to us what every Thriller Mastermind needs – a mirror, someone on the other side who can understand them, provide an adequate challenge, and will provide said challenge. That’d be Shibazaki.

Now the only loose ends is what will the show do with dear Lisa. Well, let’s find out.

Screenshot album.

Thoughts and Notes:

1) Callbacks and Call-outs:

Zankyou no Terror / Terror of Resonance anime episode 3 - Nine hopes

1) Like last episode, this one as well opened with Nine or Twelve talking to Lisa. Same as each of the previous episodes ended. Both times the message is, “You can’t go back, you have nowhere else to go. It’s just you, alone.” – I think they’re priming her, or at least making her even more similar to themselves, even as their similarity is what drew them to her to begin with. No connections, except to one another, though right now they’re making her feel her separation from them as well.

Continue reading

Summer 2014 Anime Season Week 3 (Anime Power Ranking)

Another week. This time I also give my interim scores for the series I’m watching, as we’ve reached a quarter of the season through.

Weekly impressions for Akame ga Kill!, Aldnoah.Zero, Barakamon, Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya, Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Sailor Moon Crystal, Shirogane no Ishi Argevollen (Silver Will Argevollen), Sword Art Online II, Tokyo ESP, Tokyo Ghoul, and Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resonance).

The list is organized by how much I’ve enjoyed each episode, and the link in the title is to a more thorough write-up on the episode. For first impressions it means mostly more about production and presentation, but also about themes.

1) Barakamon Episode 3:

Barakamon anime episode 3 overview

When this is literally the first thing you open an episode with, how can you follow it up? Well, judging by the episode’s screenshot album, you can, with much panache.

Continue reading

Media and Social Commentary – The Shows and the Fans

The following two answers had been given on ask.fm. I sometimes answer questions off of the blog and I think they’d make for good pieces. Specifically here, as following my almost infamous piece on how Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei is an “Ode to Meritocracy” I was asked or accused of condemning fans of the show for liking it. So I think this answer will be useful. The second question looks at a specific example of a show and whether it has subtext, and what it means if it does.

Do you think that, when making an evaluation of a piece of media, you are also (at least in part) making some statement about those people who enjoy that piece of media? e.g. thinking that Mahouka promotes a toxic message – does that mean you made a negative evaluation of it’s fans, on some level? Maybe sometimes somewhat?

Look. We are what we consume. Sometimes we realize what it is and ignore it. Sometimes we realize what it is and embrace it. Sometimes we don’t realize what it is and we’re affected to varying degrees.

Akame ga Kill! anime teaches bad morals

Continue reading

Aldnoah.Zero Episode 3 Notes – Taking Action, Creating Hope

(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.)

So, last episode to me was a bit wasted, in terms of time. A lot happened in terms of plot, but other than that, our thematic points had been: Earthlings stand no chance against Vers (which also related to episode 1’s theme of how the adults filled the children’s heads, and theirs own, with lies), Trillram is a jerk, and our MC is only moved to action when something happens truly close to him.

This is the last episode written by Gen Urobuchi. I suspect he wrote each episode to have an almost discrete theme, and here we will finally see what direction the main characters, and the show, wishes to go in.

Thoughts and Notes:

Screenshot Album. 131 images, and at 1080p resolution, so, erm, yeah.

1) Adults and The Past:

Aldnoah.Zero anime episode 3 notes - Marito Koichiro can't give up hope

1) “My castle is about to take its meal.” – Again with how the Martian Moon Knights see the earthlings as prey. They’re not even predators who need to kill, but hunters who kill for sport. They’re not engaging in this offense to protect themselves, even ostensibly, but to punish. They’re going down there to prove how superior they are to the “apes”.

Continue reading