April 17th, 2014.
Evil Socialization; TCGs are like Wishes – Never Content.
I saw the moniker “WeakSauce” spread online. It’s quite amusing. I liked the bits of socialization in Yuzuki’s childhood we’ve seen. Ruko’s indecision and then her “quest for justice”, the fire within her moving her to defend the meek came out of nowhere. Hitoe was too much of a caricature last episode.
Well, let’s see resolve and resolutions, and darkness for all.
Thoughts and Notes:
1) The Sweet Lie of TCG Newbies. Oh, Nostalgia!
1) “I was imagining myself doing battles to train myself up.” Man, I remember how as a child I could never get enough Magic: the Gathering going so would play with/against myself, and of course it doesn’t really mean anything. Real battle only! Then I got my two closest friends into M:tG and we’ve played during breaks and free lessons every day!
2) “What to do in Y situation!” which fell apart in the face of reality and her insecurities. These things actually work in TCGs and such, but you usually don’t need to write them down. I had such a cheat-sheet for wargames, but it was just so I won’t forget some stuff, a lot more pieces on the table there, and with a clock ticking down your turn.
3) Oh, Hitoe. “You seemed weak, so I thought I could beat you up!” – The “Card-pro” beats up the scrub, and trades for all their good cards. Not wanting to be left behind, the scrub grows up to repeat the cycle onward. It’s a form of hazing. It’s a form of socialization, to use up the weaker and less knowledgeable person you should train, because it’s been done to you, and because you can.
4) Books listing all the cards sure bring back memories. Back before the internet was everywhere, I actually got one for MtG. Then the monthly card magazines (such as Scryed) had the complete card collection in them. Knowledge is power! Training to get better! And of course, yet another product for you to buy. But if we look at them as “Magical girls”, or as “Witches”, then these are their tomes of spells.
5) “I could add more red, but it won’t be as strong as a pure red deck.” The joys of min-maxing, brings a tear to this hoary gamer’s eye :’)
2) Fights Mean Something – “The Good Fight”: The Shounen Message:
1) Of course, we’re going to have two fights concurrently, so we could swap between them for tension.
2) Ah, yes, fights need to be about something, so Akira is using the fights to “teach her opponents a lesson”, to dismantle their defenses and break them down, and then break them. Yuzuki is of two minds, she can’t speak back to her beloved brother, so she’ll attack his messages as they come from others. If she wins by being straightforward, would it mean she could be straightforward with her brother? That’s shounen-level fight symbolism.
3) “White, a pretty rare colour.” Well, main characters often are special. No “Everyday hero” for you.
4) Even as one side wails in anguish, one side rejoices. This is like a football match. “I feel excited, even though I can feel the pain!” – Ruko and Tama, battle-lovers.
5) And when Ruko had lost her will to fight, Hitoe presses the attack, she is now replicating Akira’s behaviour towards her. Just as outlined above, the once-scrub rips off the new scrubs.
6) And here is our difference. On both sides, the girls fight giving it their all, fighting for their wishes. But whereas on one they fight, but see one another as an opponent, and as a peer, the other fight is dark not because of the fight, but because of the dark feelings riding behind it.
7) “Eternal Girl” – Tama likes fighting for its own sake, so does Ruko. Will they wish to get to keep on fighting forever, perhaps without others being hurt for it? That’d be a big nod to the show this is already drawing a lot of influences from, and is a “pure and friendly wish”, one which can already be fulfilled, and which would also fit into this show as a TCG infomercial – you can, by playing the regular card game.
This is also a moral to all the TCG players. Fight, giving it your all, but don’t be unsportsmanlike, and don’t go after the other opponent, and then we could all have so much fun together!
8) “You only just began, let’s grow stronger together!” – Yes, this is a magical girl show, so to speak, but being a TCG-based show, it’s also very much a shounen show.
3) The Wish is a Lie – Chasing an Empty Ideal:
1) This is something I remember from Project Runway, how the look they’re looking for, the “pouty look”? To me it always looks like “The soulless look”, as if someone sucked all the energy and life out of them. And this is Akira’s life.
2) Wow, talk about a crappy scheme. “It’s not enough to win, other conditions of which we won’t tell you also have to be met.” Ruko without any wish (though I think her wish is to just fight) already evolved after one win. Akira had already won a number of times, but no growth. I think it’s part of the whole moral. They sold it to us as if the wish allows things to happen, which I tore into because the whole point in life is to achieve these changes on your own, right? So the moral is the wish will only come true after you earned it, and not by winning on an arbitrary battlefield, but by grasping your destiny and bringing forth change on your own.
But that’s not the game that had been sold to them. Learning after the fact that winning isn’t enough, and that the conditions aren’t known… so very un-TCG like. TCGs and their tournaments operate by strict rules, which you know in advance.
Shorter Notes / Asides:
- Evolving! Poke’Mon! Tama also keeps repeating her name, hue.
- You know, what I keep thinking each time I see Tama, and which I hadn’t seen any talk of is that it looks as if she’s wearing a toga. She also has a starlit background. She keeps reminding me of Artemis, the goddess of the hunt.
- Kugimiya Rie, also voicing a battle-vixen, heh.
- This ED is growing on me, as weeks go by.
Next episode’s preview seemed dire. Ruko being serious and mortified, the introduction of Iona, Yuzuku and Kazuki in bed, and ominous music. I hope they’re not just going to tease us.
Post Episode Thoughts:
This episode seems to have been the necessary paradigm shift. This isn’t a magical girl show, or at least not yet. Don’t let all the talk of wishes and even of Madoka similarities to confuse you. Like almost any anime based off of TCGs, this is a shounen anime. Now, I like a lot of shounen shows, so this isn’t a slam. Also, although “Shounen” is a demographic, I’m going to use it in the “genre” sense people often use.
It does mean that the perspective to watch this show changes. This is a show about forging friendships. This is a show where we grow to understand ourselves better, and grow to get better at fighting. A show about celebrating friendships via fights, fights which can make us friends. Fights where we vanquish those who seek to cause others harm, and who don’t understand what fights should be like. Heck, the whole concept of “dialogue through combat” – Akira exemplifies it. She might subvert the spirit of “good fight”, but she’s coming to understand her opponents better as she fights them. Thing is, unlike Ruko who exemplifies the true spirit of shounen-hood, she doesn’t grow to understand herself better.
I quite liked what Hanayo had told Yuzuki, because it made sense, “If your wish is accepted, everyone will know anyway. You like your wish, so don’t get scared now!” – And that also feeds into the above message, this is aboutself-acceptance. Yuzuki has a wish, but she doesn’t accept it herself, so she can’t live with herself, and Kazuki, and isn’t ready for the wish to be granted.
This is a show about self-change, friendship, and “good fights”. This is just a shounen show with some dark imagery and squeaky girls. Just have fun with it, and don’t expect more. If more comes, we can be pleasantly surprised, which is better than being disappointed.
Also, about Tama reminding me of Artemis? The card she’s based off of is “Shrine-maiden of the crescent moon,” and Artemis, known also as Diana, is indeed the goddess of the moon. Go me.