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.

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Controversial Anime Opinions – A List of Grievances

Yesterday, my blog had broken through its old visitors’ count in one day, as a result of my comment in a Reddit thread titled “Controversial Anime Opinions” where I had the “top comment”. I’ll begin with reposting my list of opinions – note, opinions only, and the whole assumption is that these are controversial, rather than iron-clad truths (for the most part):
Some of the more relevant shows mentioned in this list: Sword Art Online, Angel Beats!, Girls und Panzer, “Big Shounens”, Spirited Away, Code Geass, Btooom!

Cover of "Spirited Away"

1. Sword Art Online is a solid show, with a non-horrible romantic relationship. (See blog post.)

2. Angel Beats! started great, but then worked hard to make me lose my respect for it, episode by episode, until the final episode had betrayed the show completely – I don’t think it’s bad, but I think it’s disappointing, which might be even worse, because it could’ve been so much better. (See blog post.)

3. The Big shounens aren’t terrible, and watching them is fun and doesn’t cause mind-rot. A lot of the blame can be laid at the feet of the anime studios – even without fillers, the padding they add within episodes not only killed the pacing, but actually changed the way you look at the characters – and even still, these shows are enjoyable, to me and many others, even as thinking adults.

4. “Favourite != the best” – that you love something doesn’t mean it’s great, that something is great also doesn’t mean you have to love or even enjoy it. And having something you love which isn’t the best doesn’t make it a “guilty pleasure” – it can still be good, and even if “bad” you’re still allowed to enjoy it without having to keep apologizing on its behalf.

5. Pursuant to #4 – belittling shows others like, or them for liking them, only makes you a douche. I mean, you can do it without being a douche, but if you seek their threads/discussions just to piss on their parade? No matter how articulate and polite you are there, you’re probably still a douche (though exceptions exist).

6. Many anime studios don’t care about anime-watchers, unless after the fact something is found out to be a runaway success, and sometimes even then – unless it’s an anime original it’s only here as promotional content, that we get to enjoy it is an afterthought (also see recent Index/Railgun news). We’re not even second-rate citizens, being western anime lovers.
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Cartoon Demographics – Are We Infantiles, or are Children More Adult-like?

I’ve been thinking of the intersection of genres and demographics for a while, especially as I’ve recently discussed how some shows have demographics as meta-genres, and instead of genres. This recent blog post on The Otaku Lounge by Artemis discussing anime/manga demographics made me try to formulate my words on the topic. I sat down and thought – this genres don’t really apply to me – I watch children shows (though less as time goes by), and I watch both female and male-oriented young-adult and adult shows. I also tried to even identify shows that fall within certain categories and had a really hard time doing so.

Avatar: The Last Airbender (season 2)

That’s when I realized – the shows don’t have these demographics within them. There is no magical connection between the so-called demographic which is supposedly of the show and who really enjoys the show, or can enjoy it – especially if we’re going to resist gender and age-based essentialism, though obviously we’re talking more about life experienced and supposed socialization lines here.
That made me realize – these demographics are merely a construct, and not one truly used by the authors of shows or movies, but by the marketing teams that have to release the work into the wide world.

Well, let’s backtrack a bit and talk about some shows, movies, and other things:

Avatar the Last Airbender – This cartoon by Nickolodeon had first come out in 2005. The Story-Game RPG community I was part of had absolutely loved it. I was 20 when it’s come out, my friend Christian who was 30 years old who watched it with his 3 year old and 13 year old sons. We’ve had numerous men and women ranging from 15 to about 40 who all absolutely loved the show. So what if it’s been categorized as a “Children’s show”? It has good characters, good character and plot development, real conflicts and conflict-resolution that isn’t entirely based on violence. It’s for everyone.

Disney/Pixar movies – Children here are usually taken to watch Disney films as they grow up. I remember being taken to watch Bambi as a five year old, and when I saw my grandmother crying next to me I consoled her, “Don’t worry grandmother, it’s not real – it’s just a movie.” My best friend and I had watched plenty of animated films in the cinemas – all of the Shrek films, Toy Story 3, and recently we’ve watched Monsters University.
We definitely weren’t the only adults there, though going at later hours and watching the films in English rather than dubbed to Hebrew definitely raises the age. The point being, there is definite adult interest in these “Children-shows”.

Now, let’s look at some different examples:

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The Benefits of Not Blogging!

There are benefits, real benefits, to not maintaining one’s blog. I’m not talking about the time it takes to maintain one’s blog; oh no. I’m talking about money. Maintaining a blog, even a “free” blog hosted by WordPress, is an endeavour that ends up costing you money. Real money.

 

Konata and all of her anime goods. A happy otaku.

The sweet sweet fate not blogging "Saves" you from.

I’ve gone in a past post on my figure purchases up until that time (back in September 2009). It came out to $374 back then, and well, it’s gone considerably higher since (especially with the purchase of a limited figure such as Saber Alter Maid version by Alter, reviewed here). Anime also takes time, even if it’s something I find enjoyable. So the blog also costs you time (and this is aside from time spent on it!).

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Baka to Test – That Little Extra Thing Called Charm

Baka to Test to Shōkanjū

Image via Wikipedia

Well, you know how if you go by a check-list you sometimes end up not knowing where the wonder had come from; how you cannot really put your finger on what separates the great from the mediocre, but you do know that it’s there?

Well, that’s the case with Baka to Test (to Shokanju). If you would try to compose a check list of what “Light-hearted anime comedies” should include in them, you’re probably going to mark most of what appears in this series. Well, it’s likely also going to appear on a list of many lewd jokes…

(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 next to no spoilers in this post.)

We have the flat-chested tsundere, we have the buxom girl with a soft personality (Did anyone notice how “soft” is often tied to being well-endowed and being “hard” is tied to being not as well endowed in anime?), we have the voyeur who is even addressed as such by everyone (and the accompanying nose-bleeds).
We have the yandere who wants someone who doesn’t want her, we have the guy who is too cool for school, with great black and white line-art scenes where he convinces the eponymous character to trust him, and he always gets burnt, we have the trap boy who everyone addresses as a girl, and the butt of jokes closet yaoi boy.
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How to NOT Watch a Series – A Certain Magical Index.

This is going to be a shorter editorial style of entry, about the anime known as “A Certain Magical Index”, or “Toaru Majutsu no Index“. Well, it is more about how I watched it in a manner very much unlike my usual manner, which had resulted in my not finishing it, and enjoying it less. It’s not that this technique is “bad”, it’s just not the one for me.
You can see my progression of watching the show (or lack thereof) in the monthly Media Consumption posts.

Misaka Imouto is shocked that I didn't finish watching the series.

So, before we get to how I’ve watched this series, let’s talk about how I usually like watching series. I like to blast my way through a series as if I were Kamina from Tengen Toppen Gurren Lagann. I sit myself down and watch a show, 8 hours, 12 hours straight. This usually “slays” most series, but sometimes it takes me two days to go through a series. Yes, this does mean that I don’t let my emotions nurture over time, but they do for me spring up quite forcefully, and I can remember and engage with the world the series is in as if I’m living inside it.

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Figure Friday Feedback Edition.

This is not actually a Figure Friday post, but a post where I talk about Figure Friday a bit and ask for your input.

As you may have noticed, the last time a Figure Friday post was written covered October 16th-22nd, and there had been a couple of major causes for that, which can be summed in one simple word. Time.

There’s an upside and a downside to this being an issue of time: The downside is that I am a full-time student, and if I have a busy semester or busy week at school there simply cannot be a Figure Friday, and even before we sometimes had the post delayed (ok, after a certain point it was almost always delayed). The upside is that should I find ample time again, I could just go back to writing these posts. I expect the upcoming semester to be slightly easier on my time, BTW.

The other point is that I doubt most of you understand how much time it takes to write a Figure Friday post. While I love having these posts written (and not just for the number of comments and views, which is much higher than usual for this blog), but I liked the accomplishment of having completed such a post. But how long does it take to get a Figure Friday post up, you want to know? From the time I begin working on it until it is published, well, let’s call it about 6 hours.

Six hours. I go to Neko Magic and Kumo’s blog, and find and open all the interesting figure pages, then I try to whittle it down to the best and the worst, and sometimes the most interesting, I try to limit the number of pictures I use for each figure, so there’s more indecision and option-weighing going on. I write down my thoughts on each figure and then I try to find a place for you guys to reserve it, sometimes adding notes on how to go with special stores and deputy services, etc.

And of course, the adding of the images. After I finished everything else, adding the images from Flickr… it used to take me about 3 hours or so, but I found a way to take it down to “only” an hour, an hour and a half. Getting the images to be about the same size, not too big, centered properly, etc. It’s such a headache, it’d truly be easier if I were to only post one or two images…

And after it all, I go over the figure sales I find on eBay, various sites, the restocks, the new releases, the news of conventions, and this takes some time as well. Not as much as other things, but it all adds up.

Options:
So now, here comes my musing about the options, things I could be doing to help get Figure Friday more on track. And yes, I know I promised Figure Monthly and it’s not out yet… I hope to get at least November and December, if not also October, next weekend (semester break begins, and I have a relatively small number of tests, on account of having numerous large assignments instead, whee!).
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