February 10, 2016

Musaigen no Phantom World -- ep 6

This was excellent. This series may have real potential.

One thing that's kind of fun is that every episode begins with a 4th-wall-break. Haruhiko and Ruru give a sort of mini-lecture to the audience which includes information vital to the upcoming episode. It's a nice way to avoid lots of obnoxious exposition during the actual story (though there still has been some of that).

more...

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February 08, 2016

Girls und Panzer Der Movie

The movie has been out for three months and someone created a Wikipedia page for it: So this is the summary:

Sometime after the 63rd sensha-dō tournament, the Japanese Ministry of Education decides to move forward with its plan to decommission Ōarai Girls High School despite the their recent triumph in the championship. In order to keep the school open, Miho and her team must win a match against a university sensha-dō team, but for this difficult battle, Miho and the others not only count with the help of their friends from the other schools they previously faced; Saunders, Kuromorimine, Anzio, St. Gloriana and Pravda, but also with the assistance from new friends from the Chihatan Academy and Keizoku High School, and together, they will join forces to save Ōarai.

That makes sense, based on the teaser we saw last year. Of course, it doesn't say why beating that college team would make any difference, and doesn't say who the college team is, but we can stipulate that.

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February 06, 2016

Week 5

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Things are still going, but slowly mostly, in the series I'm watching. We got 3 girl-of-the-week stories this time.

Luck and Logic ep 5 was about Mana, the sniper. If I didn't know better I'd think this series was based on a dating game, or maybe even an H-game. So she has a troubled past and in this episode she somewhat came to terms with it. yawn..

Musaigen no Phantom World was two girl-of-the-week stories sort of mixed together. One is Minase, the loner whose power is her voice singing. The other is Kurumi, the loli with the teddy bear. Minase has a troubled past (is there an echo in here?) and is starting to come to terms with it (Yodoladyhooo!). Kurumi is more interesting. She's a grade schooler at that school so ordinarily she wouldn't get involved in an anti-phantom team. But for whatever reason she thinks our team is pretty cool and is willing to cooperate. Her power?

Her teddy bear is named Albrecht and she can animate it, making it giant size, and it will fight for her. And it's pretty impressive. It's also a bit surprising that her power has developed so early. Usually people with power begin to manifest it at puberty, and she's only in 4th grade.

Anyway, as to who precisely is the one she thinks is cool, it's probably Mai. This is looking like a harem show, only it's Mai's harem.

Which brings us to Gate. This wasn't dull and boring; they took on the fire dragon. The highlight of the episode was Lelei's attack. This is the first time we've ever seen her really use her full power, and it was both cool and really terrifying. The motto of the Marines ("No better friend, no worse enemy") applies to her and I'm glad she's on our side.

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The next ep teaser says that they're going to the city of Rondel next episode. If so, it sounds like they're going to skip the entire story line, which would really be a pity. It also means that they've caught up with the manga and will leave it behind very soon, because the most recent manga chapter is them arriving at Rondel.

They continue making occasional changes in the character art. Giselle wasn't at all what I was expecting:

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The Gods seem to have a thing for fetish clothing.

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I can't say this really bothers me much because Giselle isn't a very important character. My guess is that she's Chekhov's Henchman.

I should mention that Tuka's lightning bolt was pretty awesome, too. I bet that place reeked of ozone when she was done.

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January 30, 2016

Luck and Logic -- ep 4

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We seem to be doing girl-of-the-week episodes. Last week was Yurine and this week is Chloe. The series is also inherently monster-of-the-week, obviously, and this week's monster was pretty impressive.

Our Hero wasn't actually in the spotlight much, surprisingly, and they don't seem to be developing the show as a harem. Which is fine with me; it wouldn't be appropriate.

The team currently has two logicalists who don't have partners, and therefore can't participate in missions. One is Olga, the guy with green hair, and apparently he's been like that for a long time. He's desperately looking for a partner but none has come to him and none of the captured monsters will do it no matter how much he begs. My guess is that the reason is that he's an asshole, but that may have developed out of frustration. Anyway, he stays back at HQ and can only observe the missions. The other is the girl we saw recruited in the first episode. She seems to be a nice person but she also can't participate in missions.

I have a guess. Our Hero used to be a logicalist and engaged in a super-power battle in Hong Kong, where the only way to win was for him to use "Super Trance" which ultra-powered him but also cost him his memories. We've never heard who his partner was then, and my guess is that it was Athena, and the memories he lost were of her. She refused to accept that, and spent years finding and collecting his logic cards. When she had enough (all of them?) she came to him, in the first episode, and renewed the partnership, though he doesn't know that.

Anyway, there seems to be a problem with Athena; they were having problems with the trance in this episode and she confessed at the end of the episode that it was her fault. Next episode we're going to learn about Lucifer, the level 9.8 demon who appeared at the end of last episode. At that time I thought he was going to become Olga's partner. For a while I entertained the idea that he would team up with the new girl. But it's also possible that he's the series big-bad, or maybe the big-second-place-bad. We'll find out more next week.

This continues to be fun but it isn't breaking any records. Kind of grade B.

UPDATE: An interesting alternate possibility: his original partner was Lucifer, and Athena knows it, and that's why she's tied in knots now.

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January 27, 2016

Musaigen no Phantom World -- ep 4

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I think I understand now why this series has been so confusing to me. It's like Kamichu! in that it's an anthology series. The author has set up a basic scenario and is telling a series of one-ep day-in-the-life stories based in that scenario.

Also, it's looking increasingly like the phantoms are created out of human dreams, wishes, lost memories, and regrets. Ep 3 was Mai's story; the phantoms were based on something she did when she was maybe 4 or 5. Ep 4 is Reina's episode; it's based on the fact that Reina's real parents are cold, even harsh, towards her. They don't beat her or anything like that, but there also doesn't seem to be any love there. And this episode's phantoms gave her the loving family she wanted.

To the extent that there is any kind of series plot line, what these episodes did do was to educate us about different aspects of phantoms. But just like Kamichu! the episodes really do stand alone.

I'm not sure I like that. I didn't really like that aspect of Kamichu! partly because there was so damned much variation in story-telling quality from episode to episode. A lot of episodes really reeked; a couple are regular rewatches for me (particularly the Yamato episode). And I get the feeling that's what this series is going to be like, too.

The scenario isn't fully set up yet; we still don't know what's going on with the loli with the teddy bear. But aside from her, it was mostly set up by the end of ep 2, and now we're kind of cruising along. The center eight or nine episodes of Kamichu! could be watched in any order without losing any comprehensibility, and eps 3 and 4 of this series could have been in the opposite order without any problems.

UPDATE: Another anthology series was Mushishi. I only watched about 5 episodes of that. Not because it was badly done, but because I don't like horror and at its root it's a horror series. IMHO.

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January 24, 2016

Apathy

I'm way behind on posts here and I'm sorry. I've been very apathetic the last few days, and it hasn't been helped by the fact that I found the latest episodes of my three series to all be uninspired.

Gate is screaming through the story at supersonic speed, and they're leaving out important points. Itami's late night conversation with the King was cut to the bone, to the point where it almost felt like the King had been briefed by Yanagida to help convince Itami to go after the dragon. And at the rate they're burning through it all, the dragon will be dead by the end of ep 6, quite possibly even sooner, and they'll outrun the manga three episodes after that. (Manga chapters only come out once a month.)

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Musaigen no Phantom World is busy laying out plot exposition at a merry rate. I'm sure it's going to make sense later (no, I'm not sure, actually) but at this point it feels like X-files, with them shooting all kinds of plot points at the wall in hopes that some of them will stick. Mai's figure can't carry the show forever; eventually they're going to have to start telling a story.

Luck and Logic is doing character building, but it's really pretty perfunctory. Ep 3 was about the alienation, and then dis-alienation, of Tamaki, who had previously been commander of the team but lost that job to Our Hero at the end of ep 2. At the beginning of ep 3 she was sullen and by the end of ep 3 she was fine again. A new demon just showed up named Lucifer (and his power is over 8000), and it's at least 5:1 that he's going to become Orga's partner. They're trying too hard to avoid making Yoshichika into a Marty Stu and they've turned him into a dork instead.

And I'm so apathetic that I couldn't even find any fan art to post. Sorry; maybe I'm starting to hibernate for the winter.

UPDATE: By the way, I'm becoming increasingly convinced that Musaigen no Phantom World is a story.

There was another anime series a few years ago like that. I didn't watch it and I can't remember the name, except that I think it began with Y or Z.

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January 18, 2016

Popura Taneshima

I just ran into a picture of this girl:

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Is that really how she looks? She has the same seiyuu as Blanc (Hyperdimension Neptunia), Nyaruko-chan, and Yukikaze from Dog Days. Also Reina in Strike the Blood. She's one of my favorite voices.

Popura is one of the three lead characters in Wagneria, according to ANN. The description of the show never really attracted me, but maybe this is one worth plundering. Or maybe even watching if her voice is right.

Does she really look like that? Or is this a case of fan artists making a good thing better? (Which has been known to happen...)

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January 17, 2016

Luck and Logic -- ep 2

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This episode was mainly exposition and harem building, and it isn't really worth talking about, so I'm not going to.

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January 13, 2016

Google Search String of the Day

I just received a refer from Google for this search:

why+isn't+Lynette+Bishop+wearing+pants

Indeed. Very good question, my son...

UPDATE: And now for something completely different: My hovercraft is full of eels.

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Musaigen no Phantom World -- ep 2

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I'm having distinctly mixed feelings about this show.

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First the bad: I've never been a fan of comedic violence, and this has a lot of it. Haruhiko abuses Ruru, and Mai abuses Haruhiko. It's supposed to be funny but I don't think it is. (Chuck Jones can do it and make me laugh, but these guys aren't that good.)

And "the team of losers who keep screwing up" doesn't really work for me. Of course it's intended as a low point out of which they climb, but I wouldn't mind if they do the climbing sooner rather than later.

In particular, I wish Haruhiko wasn't such a turkey. For instance, in this episode he revealed a new ability: he can summon phantoms to work for him. Well, sort of. This was what he wanted:

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This was what he got:

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The good: I have to admit it's a pleasure to spend time with Mai. We're due for a swimsuit episode and I'm looking forward to that, too. (I have simple tastes.) And in general the art in this series is excellent, and not just of the girls.

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And there's an interesting story concept here which is pretty deep and complicated. The series description says that we're due for a plot whiplash before it's all over, and from what I'm seeing it could be a doozy. Whatever it is, I'm sure it involves the loli with the teddy bear.

They're laying out a lot of mysteries without shining spotlights on them, which is a sign of mature story telling. (Too many directors will put in a plot point and then point at it and shout HEY LOOK AT THAT THING I JUST DID.)

The biggest mystery for me is Ruru, because I have the distinct impression that there is more to her than she's letting on, and it's probably sinister. After they defeated the robot in this episode, she flew over and found that small gizmo and brought it back to Haruhiko, and she didn't really have to search. She knew it was there and knew she wanted him to have it. What is it? (We're probably going to learn more about it next episode.)

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Why is she hanging around him, anyway? She plays the clown, but is that all there is to her? She doesn't stay in his home at night; she flies away and goes somewhere else. Where? Why? But she's back every morning (according to the first episode) and goes through his morning routine (teeth brushing etc.) with him. So what's her deal?

And, of course, there's a huge mystery about The Event ten years previously. Just what were they doing in that factory? Was it really a terrorist bomb that released the virus, or something else? Was it really a virus that caused all this, or something else? And is this really about teleology? How can things that humans imagine actually cause physical damage, and hurt people, and move things around?

Are we in full-scale Bishop Berkeley mode here? A tree falling in the forest when there's no one around doesn't make a sound and in fact doesn't even exist unless a human is looking at it? The opening of the first episode suggest that may be the case.

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Now a grand edifice like this could collapse in an ill-conceived heap but it could also end up being really intriguing and thought provoking. And in the mean time we can ogle Mai.

So I think I'll stick with it for a while yet.

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