Journey with Kino’s Journey – Second Stop – Hard Questions (Monthly Watch)

I am now watching Kino’s Journey: The Beautiful World (also known as Tabi no Kino in Japanese). The series has an episodic, metaphorical, and allegorical nature, reminiscent of Gulliver’s Travels or Voltaire’s Candide, but more sombre. As such, I think it lends itself well to being watched one episode at a time, and also to being discussed, or kicking off discussion, so that’s what I aim to do. The first four episodes have been posted before, but had been put on hold due to how much energy writing them demanded of me. I’m excited to resume the journey once more, and will be bringing over the older comments as well.

There will be a new post on the second (or third if it begins early) Monday of every month (next post: March 11th) , each covering one episode of Kino’s Journey, or the films. You can buy the series here, or watch it dubbed on Hulu here, if you live in the United States. Each write-up might differ in style, length, and focus. I might spend more time on the episode, its ideas, or what it made me think of, or feel. These write-ups assume you’ve watched the episode, and the discussion that’ll follow could be had on the episode, the points I raised, or the questions I pose. Well, let’s get to it.
(Also, sorry, I miscounted the weeks this month, which led to this post being a week late, sorry!)

Episode 2 – “A Tale of Feeding Off Others -I Want to Live-“

Kino's Journey anime episode 2 / Kino no Tabi anime episode 2 - Being alive

Is it just me, or did the head-slaver look like the “monk” from Princess Mononoke? Quite a bit, actually, and their characters are quite similar as well.

Questions Are Interesting:

Before we get further, I have a question, how many of you didn’t see where this will go from about halfway into the episode? I think the whole nature of the episode, and its title, and the fact this is a show more about human nature than random observations about nature, more or less told us it’d go something like that. I dunno, I think once they spoke of their “Homecoming Festival” I was sure. I did suspect them from the get-go, that they’d attack Kino after she caught the first rabbit. They just struck me as “off”.

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Journey with Kino’s Journey – First Stop – The Value of Experience (Monthly Watch)

I am now watching Kino’s Journey: The Beautiful World (also known as Tabi no Kino in Japanese). The series has an episodic, metaphorical, and allegorical nature, reminiscent of Gulliver’s Travels or Voltaire’s Candide, but more sombre. As such, I think it lends itself well to being watched one episode at a time, and also to being discussed, or kicking off discussion, so that’s what I aim to do. The first four episodes have been posted before, but had been put on hold due to how much energy writing them demanded of me. I’m excited to resume the journey once more, and will be bringing over the older comments as well.

There will be a new post on the second (or third if it begins early) Monday of every month (next post: February 11th) , each covering one episode of Kino’s Journey, or the films. You can buy the series here, or watch it dubbed on Hulu here, if you live in the United States. Each write-up might differ in style, length, and focus. I might spend more time on the episode, its ideas, or what it made me think of, or feel. These write-ups assume you’ve watched the episode, and the discussion that’ll follow could be had on the episode, the points I raised, or the questions I pose. Well, let’s get to it.

Episode 1 – “Land of Visible Pain -I See You-“

Kino's Journey anime episode 1 / Kino no Tabi anime episode 1 - Jealousy of birds

Well, this was interesting. This reminded me more than a tad of Mushishi. Travelers who do not wish to get too involved, a new place and a new story each time. Likewise, I suspect the best way to watch this series would be an episode a day. After catching up with what the anime-club needs, I’ll probably watch it that way. Also, like Mushishi’s Ginko, I suspect we’ll see Kino and Hermes taking a more invested stance at some point. Continue reading

Netoju no Susume – On Compersion and Virtual Identities

Netoju no Susume anime review - Recovery of an MMO Junkie anime reviewYou know that feeling where you’re watching kids run around, laughing, and it brings you joy? Or perhaps when your best friend is celebrating a promotion at work, and you feel happy for them? Or, say, when you watch a romantic comedy, or an underdog story, and when the couple kiss or the protagonist overcomes all struggles, you fistpump and/or cheer? There’s a term that encapsulates this feeling, this emotion, which comes from the polyamory circles, and that term is “compersion,” take to mean, “Joy at the joy of others.”

To some degree, one could say that all romantic comedies operate off of our desire to see the couple hit it off, but while some romantic sub-genres (see Harem RomComs, as per my write-up on Nisekoi) work more off of wanting the story to take its “natural pathway,” some shows, such as last season’s Netoju no Susume (or either “Recovery of an MMO Junkie” or “Recommendation of the Wonderful Virtual Life” in English), really do bank on us feeling compersion for the characters, and desiring them to be happy, because our own happiness depends on it (to some degree, don’t get too crazy here).

(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that rose in my mind as a result of watching the show. There will be spoilers for the entire show.)

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Spring 2017 Anime Season Preview and Expectations

Holy smokes, the spring 2017 anime season began today. Where did time go?! Also, did I really not publish anything since the Winter Season Preview? Turns out that is the case. Real life was busy, mood was low. But things are looking up, finally. Anyway, it’s time to look towards the new season, and put behind us a season where I watched literally nothing, though I looked forward to quite a bit.

As always, in these posts I cover shows I plan to follow, or have thoughts on why I will not follow them, or considered following and decided not to. As always, I try to strike a balance between giving you enough information on the show, and telling you why I think it is or isn’t worth watching. Shows ordered by day, and by expectation within the day, as that affects pick status. The “Almost In” category describes shows that I’d pick up in prior seasons, but decided to put aside in order to make more time for backlog, after growing unhappy with how many of the shows I pick up ending up “not worth the time”, let alone “good”.
Much space is given to the people involved with a show, as premises are easy, but execution is hard, and it’s people who are in charge of that. You’re likelier to end up with good shows that way.

Most of the information about the shows can be had from the helpful Neregate Chart, and what I’ve happened to see on various sites, such as The Cart Driver. Check them out if you want more information, or information on shows I didn’t cover (such as follow-ups to shows I don’t watch). I planned to write only when I really had something to say this time, but turns out, as always, I had a lot to say.

Sunday:

Uchouten Kazoku Season 2 anime - The Eccentric Family Season 2 anime 2Uchouten Kazoku 2nd Season / The Eccentric Family 2nd Season – Uchouten Kazoku was my 7th favourite anime series in the very strong year of 2013. And although I didn’t dedicate an entire piece to it, I did touch on its storytelling in my piece on Kyousougiga (Capital Craze). It was a story about loss, and family, and trying to fall in love. It got very emotional at times, while being silly, or ponderous in others. A good show. A second season? I’m watching, you can bet on it. Of special note is that season 1’s Series Composer Suga Shoutarou (OreGairu, Isshuukan Friends) is not working on the second season, but has been replaced by Higaki Ryou, who worked on the first season’s script, and also worked on Kuromukuro, Another, and Dimension W. Feels like a definite downgrade. Also, for those who don’t know, it’s based on novels by the same author as The Tatami Galaxy.

You can read my notes for the first season here, which are much shorter than my usual notes, as I only wrote them after watching an episode and not as it aired – didn’t want anything to get between me and the show.
Interest Rating: 2.5/3. A more serious yet not overwhelmingly so show. Comfy and emotional, no idea what the second season is about, but I’ll check it out. I do hope the change in Series Composer won’t be detrimental.
Airing Date: April 9th.

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Winter 2017 Anime Season Preview and Expectations

The Winter 2016 anime season begins tomorrow, so it’s high time for me to release this post, eh? I’m still not back to two weeks prior to the season’s release, but at least we got back to getting this out before the season. Hurray to small successes! Real life is going to be very busy for me this month, but that doesn’t mean anime’s going to stop. So let’s find out what we’ve got to look for this season (hint: Very little).

As always, in these posts I cover shows I plan to follow, or have thoughts on why I will not follow them, or considered following and decided not to. As always, I try to strike a balance between giving you enough information on the show, and telling you why I think it is or isn’t worth watching. Shows ordered by day, and by expectation within the day, as that affects pick status. The “Almost In” category describes shows that I’d pick up in prior seasons, but decided to put aside in order to make more time for backlog, after growing unhappy with how many of the shows I pick up ending up “not worth the time”, let alone “good”.
Much space is given to the people involved with a show, as premises are easy, but execution is hard, and it’s people who are in charge of that. You’re likelier to end up with good shows that way.

Most of the information about the shows can be had from the helpful Neregate Chart, and what I’ve happened to see on various sites, such as The Cart Driver or Random Curiosity. Check them out if you want more information, or information on shows I didn’t cover (such as follow-ups to shows I don’t watch).

Sunday:

Little Witch Academia (TV) AnimeLittle Witch Academia (TV) – This is probably the series I’m most excited over since they announced Avatar: the Legend of Korra. For those who don’t know, Little Witch Academia was a truly magical 30 minute short released in 2013, which I loved quite a lot. The second episode, a slightly longer short film, released in 2015, was disappointing to me, not because it was bad, but because it was merely good. Now, this is a full-fledged series, which has more production issues and usually less resources per minute of air-time, but hey, I’ll take it. I’ll take it because at the end of the day there’s little I like more than the sense of wonderment. We’ll get to goof around with Akko and the rest of the gang, and actually see their daily escapades as more than a 2-minute montage. I’m on board.

For those who don’t know, Little Witch Academia is made by Studio Trigger, made by ex-Gainax employees, and although Gainax was mostly known for its action sequences, I’d argue this is studio Trigger’s best work to date. This is Director Yoshinari You’s full-series directorial debut, after directing the two Little Witch Academia shorts, as most of his experience is a Key Animator. Series Composition is handled by Shimada Michiru, who worked on Urusei Yatsura, One Piece, Rurouni Kenshin, Romeo and the Black Brothers, Shugo Chara!, Little Busters, The File of Young Kindaichi Returns, Emily of the New Moon, Gakuen Alice, and The Adventures of Peter Pan. This is actually a very interesting set of works, as what stands about them is that most of them are highly regarded, and quite old. Another thing that stands out about a few of them is that they are adaptations of children novels that border on fairy-tales, which seems like a good fit for this series.
Interest Rating: 3/3. I don’t like most “cute girls being cute” type of slice of life, but the slightly more adventurish sort, or just calming are amongst some of my favourite series to mellow in front of. The first Little Witch Academia was that sort of moment for me, so I hope this series will deliver as well.
Airing Date: January 8th. Preview.

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Gatchaman Crowds (Rewatch) – Episode 12 (Director’s Cut) Notes

And we’re back to episodic content, being done with the essays until the time comes for my Gatchaman Crowds Insight editorial, on the 29th. But now, back to episodic content. Starting with the Director’s Cut ending, which was always intended to be the original ending of the show. Though I love the series so much, I hadn’t actually watched it until concluding my rewatch, so I was quite excited to finally watch it, as the first three letters of the notes might convey.

Return to the Gatchaman Crowds Project page.

Thoughts and Notes:

1) All About the Game:

Gatchaman Crowds anime episode 12 (OVA) - Saving the world through gamification

Saving the world? Pssh, it’s all about points! Gamification, man!

OMG. Time to watch this for the first time. The original ending, and perhaps extended even more since they had some more time to work on it. My first new Gatchaman Crowds content since the show aired!

Ah, right, first half is the content I’ve watched. The full episode in its proper order, ok.

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[Gatchaman Crowds] Rui’s Choice and the Nature of Good Decisions

This is the last essay write-up on Gatchaman Crowds’s first season. Am I “done” with covering all the series has to bring up? Not even close. My old episodic write-ups bring up many ideas I don’t even touch on here, such as The Bystander Effect of the Diffusion of Responsibility, or many more masks for me to discuss. But, Gatchaman Crowds doesn’t believe in chewing one’s thoughts for them, and as I hope I made clear through these series of posts, the more I delve into this show, the more I actually have to discuss. I could be talking about this show for months to come. So, before we delve into the OVA and then Gatchaman Crowds insight, it’s very fitting we finish with this write-up on the nature of good decisions, which is both useful for readers to keep in mind in their daily lives, and as something to keep in mind as one watches and then thinks of Gatchaman Crowds Insight. This is a question, which underlies Gatchaman Crowds, and is re-opened in Insight.

This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that rose in my mind as a result of watching the show. There will be spoilers for the entire first season of the show.

Return to the Gatchaman Crowds Project page.

Write-up:

Gatchaman Crowds anime episode 7 - Ichinose Hajime on scary decision making

This may sound trivial, but Gatchaman Crowds is very much a show about making decisions, and a particular one above all else. Rui’s arc specifically is about making a decision, about making a choice. Well, I’ll discuss in a bit why it may not be as obvious, but first, I’m actually going to take this show to task for raising the question that’s asked of any decision, whether it was a good one, and pulling a fast one on us in terms of what the answer to said question is, at least in this season. But first, let’s discuss decision-making and what makes for a good decision in general.

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