September 19, 2016

America's loony party

There was a Python sketch where they were announcing vote results for some national election or other, and one of the competitors was the Loony Party.

America seems to have its own Loony Party now. They call themselves the Greens. These are the people who think we can run the country entirely on solar power and wind power if only they can manage to force people to stop using fossil fuels. (And I'm not going to go into why that's idiocy. I really hate writing about "renewable energy".)

Today their candidate for President, Jill Stein, said that no one should be permitted to run for President unless they've spent time in prison.

Ummm...

You don't suppose we could get going on letting Hillary get her qualifications in, do you?

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September 18, 2016

Minami Kaburagi, MD

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Minami-san is one of the most interesting characters in Haifuri and probably the most important after Misaki kanchou. She arguably contributed more to the victory than any other single person in the entire show.

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Which is all the more impressive because she's only 12 years old. All her crewmates are 16, being first-year highschool. Minami is a super-genius and skipped a bunch of grades so as to enter and graduate from University. I am not actually sure if she's a finished doctor or merely a pre-med graduate, but if she isn't legally a doctor it's clear she's got the knowledge and skill. So she checks out some people rescued from a sinking ship.

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She's got brains and she's got guts. Hiding under a bed in sick-bay actually was intelligent in this particular moment:

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The way things turned out, the only way to save the crew of some of the ships is to board, and she's a necessary part of the boarding party.

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She's loaded up and ready to rumble.

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Well, she doesn't actually rumble. It's the job of the other four to bring down opposing crew, so that she can inject each one with the drug she's created.

If anyone beyond the captain gets a decoration or a personal commendation, Minami-san certainly will be among them.

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September 16, 2016

Sequels

Don reports that there's going to be a new entry in Girls und Panzer. Not yet clear if they're talking about a movie, or an OVA, or a new series.

Sequels are hit-and-miss. Sometimes the basic series concept can support innumerable sequels, or at least the customer base will. There have been about 47 Gundam series, and maybe 39 Pretty Cures. Case Closed has run an astounding 833 episodes so far plus more than 20 movies.

But sometimes the fundamental story idea just can't reasonably be stretched into a sequel, and they try anyway and bomb. There was an American TV series called Twin Peaks, which was a mystery story about a murdered girl, and at the end of the first season they revealed who the killer was and wrapped up the mystery. Problem was it got fantastic ratings, and the network paid for another season. And there wasn't any more story to tell. They did do another season but it stunk.

Sometimes it can't be reasonably stretched to another season and they recognize that fact and do something else instead. That's what happened with Mahou Tsukai Tai. The OVA was outstanding and at the end the aliens left and promised never to return. There were hooks that looked like they were trying to leave the door open for the aliens to return. But when they did a sequel, they told an entirely different story, that had nothing to do with the aliens. And it was really good, too.

Sometimes there's enough story for a couple of seasons, even three. I'm glad we got three seasons of Dog Days and I enjoyed them all. I see enough story potential there for one more, if they choose to do it. (Basically: what and where do all the demon swords come from, and can we end it?) But if they don't do another season, I'll be fine with what we have.

I'll take anything they want to give me in the Nanohaverse. It was a disappointment that VIVID didn't finish the story, and they don't seem to want to continue it. The new show coming up this fall (Vivid STRIKE) is placed in the same era as VIVID but isn't a continuation of that story, so far as I can tell. (Team Nakajima are in it but the story isn't centrally about them.)

I'll take a new Mouretsu Pirates series too, please. Plenty of story there left to tell.

Which brings us to Girls und Panzer. The plot driver for the TV series was two-fold:

For the movie they used the same plot hook. The sleazy bureaucrat said,

So if there was going to be another OVA, what would it be? Actually, they did to another half-hour OVA; it was included on the BD for the movie and it was about Alice Shimada visiting Ooarai. Basically a comedy, and it worked.

But for the upcoming show, I don't see what they could do that would actually make sense. They can't go back to the "OMG the school will close" well for a third time because it would be a ripoff. There are a lot of stories which could be told about those girls, but it isn't obvious how senshadou would be central to them. For instance, Miho could reconcile with Shiho; it would be a huge change for Shiho but it's not entirely implausible.

For the upcoming professional league, someone could scout Miho for one of the pro-teams. (I think it's a foregone conclusion that someone will considering everything Miho has done so far; she's definitely an ace.) But they wouldn't scout the entire Ooarai team, so the audience wouldn't get to visit Rabbit team again, or Anteater, or Hippo, or Leopon, or any of the other eccentric groups which are as much a part of this series as Miho is. They might not even scout Miho's crew from Anko.

I don't see it. Unless someone gives me a tremendously pleasant surprise, I'm afraid this new show is going to be really derivative and stale.

So give me more Vivio. Give me more Natsu and Lucy. But I think I don't want any more Girls und Panzer.

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September 13, 2016

Shinmai Maou no Testament BURST

There are basically two different attractions to this series. First, there are hyper-powerful girls fighting spectacular battles, firing energy bolts at their opponents. I always like that.

Second, there are lots of rather explicit sex scenes. They're about as explicit as they can be without the show becoming hentai and requiring lots of censorship under Japanese law and being sold under a plain brown wrapper.

You might be surprised to learn that I always skip through those parts. The reason is that while it isn't exactly rape, it isn't really consensual either. It's Maria's fault.

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Maria is a succubus, and of course succubi are all about sex. That's what they do; that's what they are. Maria has cast "master-servant" spells on all the women bonding them to Our Hero, and if they have fulfilling sex with him they powerup. Which isn't exactly a new concept, but this show handles it somewhat better than most. There are side effects of this spell which Maria doesn't bother telling anyone about until they come up, and she didn't do that spell for herself, mainly because she doesn't need to. As a succubus, hot-and-heavy sex has always powered her up. And she's ready, any time, any place. (Also, she has a super-saiyajin mode for real emergencies.)

Anyway, after most of the women have taken on this spell, every time the team faces a huge challenge and has ample warning, then they have an orgy the night before. Which I always skip.

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No one except Maria (on the left) looks eager, do they? They're all doing it voluntarily, but not for the right reasons. Our Hero (not included in that picture) has about the same attitude; he does it, but he doesn't really want to because he's not a lech and he's got too much other stuff on his mind. So usually it's Maria that gets everyone together for it. And no one really resists too much because they don't want to die in the upcoming battle.

Anyway, in addition to all the other things you'd expect from a succubus, Maria is also a voyeur, and I really like the fact that her "bland name" camera is NOSY, a beautiful pun.

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September 12, 2016

Ange Vierge ep 10 -- catching up

The basic plotline of Ange Vierge seems to be the same, told many times about different girls. Sometimes it takes one episode, sometimes it takes two.

Girl Of The Week sits in the bath, accompanied by fog and gratuitous beams of light, and angsts about how she was mean to Amane (the "Alpha Driver", also the human player avatar, currently locked inside a giant crystal) and about how someone she knows from her own dimension has turned to the dark side and represents a mortal danger. She may be accompanied in the bath by one or more other girls from her team, and ultimately GOTW decides she has to return home and take on the Dark Side Girl (easily recognized, because her eyes glow red). There's a tremendous battle, interleaved with scenes back at the fortress of other girls bathing, and in the end GOTW wins and the Dark Side Girl's eyes stop glowing red and she stops being of the Dark Side.

Each of the five girls of the team ultimately have to go through this. Ep 10 was the fourth, the girls from the green world named Nya. In her case it wasn't so much that she couldn't defeat Dark Side Girl as that she couldn't work up the will to let loose. Finally she did, leaving an immense crater with DSG laying (otherwise unharmed) at the bottom of it.

The next-ep trailer says ep 11 is going to be the same thing, this time for Saya.

Every episode has copious baths. I think those girls spend two thirds of their free time bathing. And I think it's a foregone conclusion that the BDs are going to be decensored. For instance, I bet these four aren't wearing convenient shirts and shorts in the BD version.

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They were bathing and got attacked and tried to fight back, and convenient yellow glowing clothing appeared to make it so they didn't have to fight shrouded in fog. I haven't got the slightest doubt the yellow clothing won't be on the BD. Or the towel, and the one on the right won't be covered so thoroughly in bindings. (Yeah, they lost and got captured.)

This continues to contend with HxH for the pandering trophy for this season and though I haven't watched anything at all of HxH I think Ange Vierge isn't winning. But in terms of quantity Buy-the-BD shots it is certainly doing its best.

In terms of how it ends, my guess now is that all five end up holding hands in a circle around Amane's crystal and firing up their power, which will feed to Amane and cause her crystal to shatter, freeing her. Then the team will take on a BigBad and win, and the crisis will be averted, temporarily. But the war will go on. Of course. (If the war ended, there wouldn't be any reason for you to buy cards and help fight it!)

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September 09, 2016

GATE manga -- chapters 57 and 58

The translations are out now, and as usual these chapters make a lot more sense when you can tell what everyone is saying. more...

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August 24, 2016

A death in the family

Naruto finally came to an end, and now Bleach has, too. 686 manga chapters and out. Where will the weaboos go now?

Well, Fairy Tail is still running, so there's that. I never got into Naruto or Bleach, but I've been hooked on Fairy Tail for a long time. The current story arc looks to finally be the resolution of Zeref and Mavis. There's also going to be a quest to find the new Aquarius key.

And then we'll defeat Acnologia. All told that's probably 200 more manga chapters, I would expect.

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August 23, 2016

GATE Manga

All the parts of the GATE canon are, I assume, based on the original published books. Those are not the origin of the story, of course, but they're the complete manifestation of it.

Anyway, there's a GATE manga, and it's a bit frustrating to follow it because chapters are 30-40 pages long and they only come out once a month.

Raws first show up here. These guys have been doing translations. And they can be read much more conveniently here.

What's interesting is that the story being told in the manga isn't the same as the anime. Not so much that its telling an entirely different story, as that it's telling different parts of the story than the anime did.

There have been two plot arcs in the manga that didn't show up in the anime. The first one was a dungeon crawl, which was interesting. Part of the basic conceit of the entire canon is "modern soldiers armed with modern weapons in a S&S world" and that's how this one goes. It's set during the period when Itami plus Yao, Tuka, Rory, and Lelei are scouting for resources.

They pull into a town and when the girls get out of the truck the people in the town all react with fear. Itami forces some of them to talk to him, and it turns out that there's a plague which only affects young women. Itami isn't a woman, Tuka and Yao are too old, and Rory cannot die (and is even older anyway) so they're all safe, but Lelei gets it. The disease turns its victims into zombies, and in a rare moment of lucidity during her high fevers Lelei tells them she needs to eat a certain kind of pear to get well.

Those pears are rare but there's a place nearby that supposedly has them. They leave Tuka with Lelei to care for her, and Rory/Yao/Itami go to the place.

Which turns out to be a labyrinth and it's full of zombie women who have already succumbed to the disease, who (it turns out) can be taken out with grenades. And rather than screw with the labyrinth, Itami starts using primer cord to blow holes in walls.

Well, it doesn't go quite so easily for them, and

Part of what made that important was that Yao came to terms with the fact that Itami doesn't believe in slavery. Yao considers herself to be Itami's slave and he doesn't want it. Coming out of this arc, it looks like that's been straightened out. She still tells people that she's his slave but he doesn't treat her that way and she now understands why and doesn't push it any more.

The other arc just started a couple of chapters ago: They're visiting the main temple of Hardy at Belnargo. And we've met Hardy, the goddess of the underworld. At the end of the most recent raw chapter,

Hardy is the one who says she wants to marry Rory. She sent Giselle (Hardy's current apostle) after Rory; we met Giselle at the mountain during the fight with the dragons. Rory wants nothing to do with Hardy, and the purpose of this visit is to allow Rory to say so.

Rory has told us that the gods can take any form they want, and look like anything. So I suppose it wasn't any surprise that Hardy appeared to us as a stunningly lovely woman. But Rory also said that they lose all normal feelings and urges and, strongly implied, they cannot enjoy sex any longer. That's probably part of why Rory has been making a serious attempt to get a long-term sexual relationship with Itami: Rory is due to ascend in about 40 years (which is probably Itami's life expectancy barring violent mishap), and I think she wants to get in one last good one before that happens.

So it looks like this arc is going to be interesting -- if you're patient, that is.

I have intermittently searched for information about the books, like summaries of them, and haven't been able to find any. The last book is titled "The Gate Closes" and obviously I'm curious about how it ends. I am pretty sure I know:

That's my bet as to how it ends, but the only way to find out for sure would be to check the books and I CAN'T DO IT because I don't read Japanese. In the whole internet isn't there ANYONE who has posted spoilers about the series?

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August 21, 2016

Haifuri ending

This is a discussion of the last major event in "High School Fleet" AKA Haifuri, which happens while the credits are rolling at the end of the last episode.

Obviously it's a spoiler, so it's below the fold.

Oh, and this show has really hooked me, and I've rewatched it a bunch of times now.

more...

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August 20, 2016

Robot Octopus

I tell you, the script writes itself, don't it? Just add high school girls!

Designed by a genius nerd high school boy, who loses control over it when it starts attacking the girls at his high school... We got a winner here!

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 09:24 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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