April 04, 2016
That's Rin. As you might imagine, her main job in the series is gainaxing.
This show is comedy edging towards farce. But it's mainly fan service. Lots of bike fan service as well as paraphenalia fan service. There are corporate logos all over the place, real ones, and lots of pictures of motorcycles. Plus the girls, all but one of whom are nicely built.
So let's introduce some characters.
Hane, on the left, seems to be the audience viewpoint character. She's a bit of a ditz. Onsa, with the black hair, is snide and flat chested. She seems to enjoy baiting Rin, whom you've already met. I think it's only a matter of time before Rin starts making fun of Onsa's chest in retaliation.
Lime is the Motorcycle Club president. She never speaks and never takes her helmet off, at least so far. The one time she had something substantive to say, she held up a sign. The series web site doesn't list a seiyuu for her.
Hijiri is a rich girl, as yet too young to get a driver's license.
So as to what they ride? Hane rides a Honda, Onsa rides a Yamaha trail bike, Lime has a Kawasaki, Rin rides Suzuki, and Hijiri has a Ducati. Her butler drives it and she rides in a side car.
There's a lot of silliness and quite a lot of mild fan service (of several kinds) and a ridiculous amount of product placement. I bet the show is already profitable due to corporate sponsorship payments from 50+ companies.
It will unquestionably be worth plundering when it's finished but I'm not sure I'll be able to watch it as its rolling out. Having said that, I did enjoy the first episode and I'll watch the next one.
April 03, 2016
Turns out that "Bread of Peace" is 3 minute episodes. It's "cute girls doing cute things with bread dough", and as such a waste of time. The only worthwhile thing in the show was:
Red half-rim glasses. That ain't enough.
April 02, 2016
Pete has started watching GATE, probably in part because of my enthusiasm for the series.
As nearly always, we have a "how do you romanize that name" issue with character names. In this series in some ways it's worse than usual. Often the problem is that the original name was a western word or phrase, converted to kata kana, and then we have to figure out what it was originally. It doesn't help that often the original western term was chosen as a joke.
That was nearly at its worst in "Dog Days", where almost all the female characters were named after European desserts. For instance, Gaul's bodyguard is made up of three girls who are known as Genoise. They are Vert Far Breton, Jaune Clafoutis, and Noir Vinocacao.
So just one from GATE: The red-haired princess of the Empire is Piña Colada. Most of us don't bother with the circumflex because it's a pain, so we write her name "Pina".
As to anti-Americanism, that peaks in episodes 9 and 10 of the first series.
There's a murder mystery by Rex Stout called "The League of Frightened Men" which contains a man who nurses murderous hatred of a number of other men. He turns out to be a successful novelist, and to gain revenge he puts those men in his novels as characters and kills those characters brutally.
GATE contains a number of fictional paybacks like that, mostly in the first series: against the Diet, against Americans, and against gutless politicians in the government. In the second series he gets revenge against the Press too. All of these things relieve grudges the author has apparently been nursing since he was in the army decades ago. It's the biggest flaw in the series. Fortunately, it doesn't pollute the entire thing, just three episodes in the first series and one in the second.
But that's still too many. And even if the director had wanted to remove that, it would have left a monstrous hole in the plot and reduced the entire story to incoherence.
UPDATE: By the way, there's going to be a GATE phone game:
(Or for all I know it's already out.)
UPDATE: Magical Girl Love Warrior Rory Mercury? ?? ???
UPDATE: JList also presents, "Mail Order Waifu Service"... heh
March 30, 2016
I didn't watch last week's episode at the time. If the series was going to end the way the first book did, frankly I didn't want to see it. So I waited until today, dipped into ep 13 enough to see that it had an entirely different ending, and then watched the two episodes back-to-back. I definitely like the way the anime ended a lot better. It wasn't a FUCK-YOU ending directed to the audience.
Kurumi-chan wins the episode. A lot of good performances by a lot of people (Ruru is the runner up) but Kurumi was genuinely awesome.
Our team (they're called "Team E") has the highest score in the school, and they are no longer looked down upon or laughed at by the other students. They've figured out how to combine their attacks in interesting ways. For instance, if Koito and Reina attack a powerful phantom from opposite sides and don't outright destroy it, they can pin it in place, which gives Haruhiko time to draw it and seal it.
Kurumi continues to be a significant asset. Ordinarily a kid that age wouldn't be expected to fight, but she's so good and is such an asset to the team that an exception has been made for her.
And, of course, no one teases her about carrying around a teddy bear because everyone knows about Albrecht.
Seeing now how they had decided to end the series, I can look back and see how they have been laying groundwork for it all along. A lot of episodes I thought were just girl-of-the-week and filler actually did help set things up for this ending two-parter.
And it was very satisfying. Lots of fireworks, and Haruhiko got a huge powerup at a critical moment. Plus we finally found out the truth about Ruru, and it was really neat. It could easily have come off as a deus ex machina, but it was handled so well that it didn't.
The way it ended, it is still possible for it all to go to hell the way it did in the books, but only in the sense that they didn't foreclose that possibility. It's a completely happy ending as presented in the anime.
And the best thing of all? It isn't a harem show. Not even slightly. It's one guy and a lot of girls, at least two of which are very desireable, and there isn't any romance going on. None.
They even tossed in a sight-gag about that.
And that represented discipline on the part of the director. Tossing in romance and accidental-compromising-positions and similar cliches would have damaged the story they really were telling, and it's definitely to the director's credit that he knew it. So the girls are close to Haruhiko, but as close friends.
Thumbs up, and another success for KyoAni.
UPDATE: Oh, and Marchosias and Cthulhu were awesome, too.
March 28, 2016
March 26, 2016
A fitting end for the series.
Which is to say, the rest of the series was awful and the final episode stunk. I got really sick of hearing the word "logic" being used for something, hard to say what but it didn't have anything whatever to do with what I think the word means. My college philosophy professor must be turning over in his grave.
The only fun character was the girl who partnered with Quetzacoatl; she was awesome. But Olga was a prick, and Our Hero was an empty suit, and there just wasn't anything worthwhile about it at all.
About the only mistake they didn't make was to make Athena a ball of angst, say like Beldandy. They resisted that urge until the last couple of minutes of this episode. But that's not enough to redeem the show. (You need positive attributes, not just lack of negative attributes.)
I consider this a total waste of time and heartily recommend that no one bother watching it.
The last LN in the series is titled "The Gate Closes", and based on what we learned from Mimoza, that is apparently the historic pattern: every once in a while the gate opens onto another world with a tool-using species, and some of them come through. Then the gate closes, stranding the newbies, who settle and adapt (or all die, and are forgotten by history).
And presumably that will happen this time, too. But...
The gate has never so far as we know opened into a high tech world before. They've all been stone age or at best bronze-age, not silicon-age.
There can be no doubt that there is a huge effort in Japan to study the gate. So here's my preferred ending:
March 25, 2016
And... it was a satisfying ending. Very satisfying. It doesn't wrap up the whole story, by any means, but it wraps up a lot of sub-stories, and there was some wonderful combat, and it ended on an upbeat note.
Tyuule seems to have Stockholm Syndrome, and it couldn't happen to a nicer bitch. I was hoping she'd get shot, but I guess the author needed her for some other mischief later. (Perhaps)
Rory and Lelei make a great combat team; it's a perfect match up of skills and powers. They complement each other beautifully. It was awesome watching both of them going all out against a worthy opponent. (Not all that worthy, though; they wiped him out in about 45 seconds.)
I hope Italica has a red-light district, so that Mizari and Tyuwaru have somewhere to go. They sure can't go to Arnus and there is probably a warrant out for Mizari in the capital after the previous episode.
Anyway, the second series had a slow center section, with too much politics and intrigue and not enough Lelei. But the last two episodes made that good. It leaves us feeling good and looking forward to an announcement of a third series, when and if.
March 23, 2016
This came out a while ago and I didn't watch it then, due mainly to a feeling of "been there done that". But a couple of days ago I got curious and downloaded it, and now I've watched two episodes.
Anyway I'm always a sucker for shows about super-powered girls, and not usually too bothered by harem shows. And as of the first two episodes the harem is forming nicely. We got the stacked student body president who seems too good to be true; I think there's something sinister about her. We have a red headed princess who is a tsundere and can't make friends. We have Our Hero's childhood friend, Saya, and she's already my favorite.
The art is good and the story telling isn't bogged down with "As you know, Jim" exposition, at least so far. And we have a suspected bad guy who almost certain isn't really a bad guy.
And we've already had one girl die. Probably. She might still be alive.
Anyway, Our Hero isn't a potato; he's got character and Saya seems to think he's extraordinarly powerful. Since they trained together as kids she is in a good position to know. It's nice if the hero isn't a nebbish, and equally nice if he isn't an arrogant SOB. And so far he isn't either. He's nice and he's pleasant and he isn't trying to impress anyone. But I'm sure he will; it's obvious that the Princess is the chosen one, if there is a chosen one.
What got me interested is that there's going to be a sequel in the next season. That doesn't always mean a show is any good (see for instance, Queen's Blade) but it does mean it was popular enough so that the studio thinks it can make more money off it. So we'll see how it goes.
UPDATE: Ep 5: One thing I don't really like is harem shows where the harem keeps growing. We're up to 4 now and depending on how things develop, maybe 6.
And "Our Hero can become ridiculously strong but only for a short time" is getting dusty and moldy. At least it's 5 minutes this time instead of 1 minute. I don't know whether either of these shows is imitating the other, but there's an uncanny resemblance between this show and Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry.
March 22, 2016
I finally found a spoiler online explaining what's coming in Musaigen no Phantom World, and it's about what I expected. Or at least what it described was how the first light novel ended and how the story proceeded in the second light novel.
If that's what's going to happen at the end of the anime (and I believe it will be), it's going to be a great big FUCK YOU from Kyoani to the audience, even worse than Endless Eight. It'll put the ending of Mahoromatic to shame in terms of pissing off the audience. It's going to rival the ending of the Venus Versus Virus anime. (Which didn't have the same ending as the manga.) I expect to see fan art of Mai abusing a KyoAni logo (if there is such a thing).
If you really want to see it, it's here: SPOILER
UPDATE: If that is really where the novels went, then the real mystery is, why would anyone want to make an anime out of that novel series?
UPDATE: So ep 12 is out, and it isn't the end of the series. But, it looks like KyoAni decided to do something else entirely. I think we're going to get a happy ending after all, but it'll be next week.
Maybe. A "FUCK YOU" ending is still possible.
UPDATE: I should make clear that I didn't watch this episode. I just dipped into it a few places for a few seconds, and watched about the last 30 seconds. I'm not going to watch it until the next (and last?) episode comes out.
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