Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul – The show that crapped on on everything good, especially the previous season.

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Above is a photo of Azazel from Genesis. He is not amused by the shit that went down in VS. In fact, no one is. Or at least, not people who actually think character development and plot coherency matter in a series. I’ve read a few other reviews now that the show is over and basically it boils down to (most, not all) fans feeling betrayed, depressed, disappointed, angry and annoyed at what happened in the second cour. For those who don’t like my generally rambling bitchings about what happened to this show, please feel free to read these two reviews that do a better job of it.  FYI, spoilers ahead.

So, what happened since I last wrote about it? Basically, I was right. And I HATE IT when I’m right when it comes to anime shows because that means there’s some sloppy ass writing going on. One thing I’ve always loved about anime is how it can surprise me. Sometimes I think I’ll know where a show is going and then it surprises me in some way to take a different course that I’d not considered before. I won’t say it always ends up being for the better or even a good ending, but at least it gives me something to think about in how it differs from what I predicted might happen. But with VS, although I didn’t write any of it down here, I predicted practically every single scene that happened in the last three episodes and that pisses me off because what I predicted was the worst possible way the show could end, destroying all aspects of it ever having a chance at being good.

In my last review I wrote: “Could [Charioce] have been making Dromos deliberately to ensure that Bahamut is without-a-doubt destroyed? If so, then that is one super shitty plot line.” That is exactly what happened. And my total rant about how awful that is and demeans everything else this season and the last season have built up was validated.

After the fall of Bahamut in Genesis, an Orleans Knight, who would become leader of the Onxy Knights (who was never given a name), found Martinet’s writings [Martinet was mastermind villain in Genesis] and realized there was a way to completely and utterly destroy Bahamut – probably.  The King’s court then decided they needed a BAMF to take charge after the last weak-sauce King’s reign so they took orphaned bastard child Chris and made him Charioce,  The Genocidal Asshat. Charioce takes technology supposedly learned from Martinet’s writings (this is never explicitly stated or made clear how the hell they got the green magic crystal things because that was necessary to beat the shit out of the angels/demons first) and sacks the angel headquarters for more of the green powerful stuff. I’m assuming the only reason why he sacked the demon base was to use the demons as slave labor to create Dromos and build up the capital’s economy. All the while, the court takes note of some rift of sorts in Eibos where Bahamut supposedly died or was contained in Genesis. Therefore, time was of the essence and the past few years were a race against Bahamut’s re-awakening during the making of Dromos, aka hand-puppet-death-star.

Favaro pretty much explains Charioce is more of of a victim than a villain to make Nina feel better about not having the guts to kill her precious Chris. In doing so, the show basically neuters Favaro’s character entirely from what he was in Genesis and somehow justifies the King’s rather racist and violent means-to-an-end. It’s literally one of those sacrifice the few (angels and demons mostly) to save the greater good (humans, mostly). Charioce releases Bahamut from Eibos and somehow leads the dragon of all world destruction to the capital where Dromos is waiting, because, you know, of course Bahamut is going to follow Charioce even though it singed the shit out of Beelzebub in Genesis when trying to be controlled. [Reminder: any sort of plot logic and consistency is null and void in VS.]

Angry parents Jeanne and Azazel take their revenge war to the capital and realize the King isn’t even there. Alessand is killed in a very dramatic and drawn-out scene by some random demon child. If Alessand had been built up to be more of a villain beforehand, then this scene would’ve been fantastic and moving. However, the show spent zero time on make Alessand into a character worth two shits, so his death just wasted 10 minutes out of an episode. Kaisar tries to stop the revenge war, but is ignored, as usual. It’s not until Jeanne and Azazel are about to put the smack-down on Charioce together that Kaisar acts and finally chooses a side – and it’s the wrong one because HE DIES. Yep, another wonderful character from Genesis, who showed some decent growth in the first half of VS, also had his balls chopped off by the end of this season. Rita’s concern for him was great, but the scene just had zero impact on me because I saw it coming as well. AND I dreaded seeing him return – as a zombie bitten by Rita – at the very end.

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Azazel’s reaction here mirrors mine in how fucking shitty this all turned out. I loved Kaisar from the beginning and I did rather like the dynamic he had going on with Rita, but to make them zombies together by the end? UUUUGGGGHHHH. No… just…. NO.

So while Kaisar is dying, Jeanne and Azazel pretty much stand still since they are technically the ones who killed Kaisar as he jumped in front of Charioce to save his life. They stay frozen like that with pained expressions doing nothing until the end while Charioce uses Dromos to kill of Bahamut and fulfill his destiny. He declares that if he survives, they can do with his life as they see fit.

So… where the fuck is Nina in all of this? You know, the so-called protagonist of this season? Oh right, she’s just watching everything and when she sees her precious Chris go sacrifice himself to use Dromos she flees to his side. Favaro of course gave her a pep talk first because he sacrificed his beloved Amira in Genesis and he doesn’t want her to make the same mistake he did. He tells her: CHOOSE YOUR WAR MONGERING LOVER OVER THE FATE OF THE WORLD. And so she does. And supposedly there is some romantic parallel between Amira/Favaro and Nina/Chris but damned be if I can actually give a fuck about it because it’s so horribly written. Anyhow, Nina uses Dromos with Charioce and kills Bahamut in one blast. Considering both Bahamut and Dromos are considered world-obliterating things I’m hard pressed to think that either is that powerful based on what I saw. Bahamut seems to have been neutered power-wise this season compared to Genesis.

In the end, Charioce is justified and allowed to live although he’s now completely blind. Nina lost her voice in the battle so even though both of them have suffered for their love together, they still get it and even get to dance one last time because dancing is everything. Jeanne lives with the gods and mourns her dead, pointless plot point, El/Mugaro. Azazel is seen with her and then wanders off and no one knows where he went. Favaro continues on with his dickless self to seek other adventures he’ll never follow through on because he’s a sentimental old man now. Rita gets to take care of zombie Kaisar and the enslaved demons are now getting paid by the humans for their labor – yay?

Oh and guess what? Bahamut didn’t really die. Dun…. dun….DUUUUUUUNNNN! Not as if anyone gives a fuck at this point.

I’ve felt this for a long time and read a lot of people say the same thing: this show feels like it was written by two different people. One person wrote the first cour with fantastic character development and a cohesive plot line that gave greater meaning to the events of Genesis. The next person wrote the second cour and that person took a shit and smeared it over everything that had happened before and all over Genesis. The second writer destroyed character credibility, muddled plot information, and wrote an ending that they wanted (hint: it’s a shitty romance!), completely disregarding everything else and only suiting the plot to that end game.

Here’s my extra two cents on how the second cour should’ve been played out or at least made tolerable- in case anyone is still reading this:

  • Just keep Charioce as a one-sided villain. Fuck any sort of redemption or reasons for his need to kill angels and enslave demons. Make the fucker evil for evil’s sake – even if the source of it was his boring mother’s death. Make him egotistical and power hungry to the very end. Use Bahamut’s destruction in Genesis as a motivator for his need to control everything.
  • Kill the Charioce/Nina romance. Sure, let her fall for him at first, but then when she sees what he’s really like – open her eyes. Even if she doesn’t end up with anyone at the end that’s fine. Let him be an asshole that let her on and then spat in her face to show how people can be two-sided when they want to be. Better to have the experience under her belt for dealing with people in the future and better evaluating them.
  • 86 Dromos. The death star is not needed. Let Bahamut come back via Charioce’s need to control everything and have it bite him in the ass. I realize this is just a rehashing of Beelzebub from Genesis, but I still think this would play out better than the shit storm that actually happened.
  • The heroes of VS would be Azazel and Jeanne. Nina was pretty much pointless entirely. Based on how well written the first cour was of the show, these two characters (and Mugaro) deserve much better. Let the three of them fight off Charioce’s genocidal war together.

Pat yourself on the back for reading this far. I’m done with this shitshow and now ready to dive into better worlds, mostly The Ancient Magus’s Bride.

Re: CREATORS – best show of the season?

I’m shelving my eye rolling anger at Shingeki no Bahamut Virgin Soul for now and reviewing a show that completely shocked me, re:CREATORS. Warning: light spoilers. I tried really hard not to throw many in here.

The first episode of this show was a total WHUT? Mostly due to this:

Altair

That is a long-haired loli-looking girl in a military outfit using a sword to play a machine gun like a violin, which in turn creates a massive destructive force for defeating her enemies. I’ll just let that statement sink in for a minute…. Yeah. One wonders if there was a hat with crazy ideas written in it and the producers said, “Well… this is what we have to work with, so…” However, for as utterly ridiculous as all that sounds and looks – this show is one of the most well-constructed and thought provoking shows of the spring/summer seasons. Many people dismissed the show after seeing the above scene play out because it was so lol-worthy and asinine that it couldn’t be taken seriously. Once you got past the silliness exhibited in the first episode, which is completely deliberate btw, the show slowly reveals why she is this way.

Summary: In modern day Tokyo, very popular characters from anime, manga, light novels, and games of all sorts are popping into existence. These characters still retain their make-believe world powers while in the real world and are confused and confuse others because no one expects anyone to be as clueless about real life as these characters are. In fact, many bystanders just see these loonies as hardcore cosplayers until magical sword fights, flying horses, and WMDs start shooting off everywhere causing real destruction. Enter Sota, the main protag, who comes into contact with these Creations (as they end up being called) first. He’s tasked with having to explain that the Creations aren’t in their world anymore, but in his world – the real world – and that his world is the one that created theirs. The Creators of the Creations live in this real world and are thereby seen as gods by the Creations. And guess what? Most of the Creations are a little less than awed by their gods. In fact, most of them admit that their gods suck and the land of the gods is rather pathetic. As more Creations pop into existence due to electro-magnetic anomalies the Japanese military picks up on, the more Creations want to find their Creators and brow beat them for putting them into horrible worlds. Not all of them are so bad off, but many come from gritty, crime-ridden places or horrific war zones where death is everywhere. To see the world of the gods is rather…. boring by comparison makes the Creations rather bitter. While Sota is not a Creator per se, he’s familiar with enough of the Creations so he helps guide them to their Creators and helps the government figure out how to get these looney toons back to their own worlds. Not all of the Creations are so peaceful though and some deliberately kill their Creators and side up with Uniformed Military Girl (Altair) in the above photo. She’s recruiting the Creations that pop up in order to cause the created worlds to collide with the reality of the real world in order to destroy it.

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So the basic plot involves the Creations fighting each other in order to save/destroy the world of the Creators, depending on what side they are on. It’s basic enough, but the real meat of this whole show is how self-aware it becomes with the roles of all the characters.

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This show blends together almost every major type of genre and medium: magical girl icons, shonen heroes, anti-heroes, anime mecha warriors, fantasy heroines, magicians, gun-slingers and even a school girl from a dating sims game who is known for more hentai (soft porn) proclivities. All of these totally random but highly popular characters are thrown together or against each other in ways that don’t belittle or demean their genres in their own worlds. This is where the writing really shines in the show. It brings its own contradictions and then does what every human does with those contradictions- accept them or ignore them by choice. Some of the Creators state point-blank how utterly annoying their Creations are to deal with now they are flesh and blood. As Creations fight each other, they call each other out on their core values when some fight to kill, knowing it goes against their pre-ordained ideals. While some Creations come to terms with their Creators and accept that this is simply how they were written, others end up in denial or challenge their Creators. The show embraces each and every one of these Creations as being important parts of society because of the general populace need for personal relevance through them. It’s saying: there’s always going to be someone to identify/want/need this type so here it is.

The Creations then have to deal with people actually knowing more about them than they know about themselves. Their deepest, darkest secrets aren’t secret at all. This causes the Creations to question their motives, question their Creators for making them that way, and question their own existence. As a result, the Creations change mentally and emotionally when they reach the real world, which is also directly addressed in the show. The psychological trauma is real for some Creations when faced with the fact they are merely play things and entertainment most of the time in the world of the gods. All characters are highly self-aware. The Creators suddenly have to take responsibility for their Creations and learn more about themselves through watching their “children”. Watching how Creations deal with the real world and their Creators – or refuse to – is what makes this show so fascinating and fun to watch.

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Aside from the Creations having tremendous hurdles to deal with in the land of the gods, the gods themselves are given respectful treatment by the show. As Creators, the gods are just as varied as the creations. Most of the time, men created strong female Creations and women created strong male Creations, which I found highly fascinating. Also, the Creations are typically good looking, well-balanced and athletic people whereas the Creators range from middle-aged balding men, to overweight dad-bod types, to androgynous tomboy women, to the typical glasses-wearing geek girls. This brings home the idea that here is the reality. The Creators are just as broken, weird, and different as their stories.

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There is a strong parental sense of duty with the Creators accepting their unruly Creations come to life, but they themselves also deal with personal demons. Many feel jealousy or competition with each other and they even call each other out on who has “made it” and gets properly paid as a “professional” versus those who struggle to keep their hobby going. Not all of the Creators are popular nor are treated as truly professional people for their crafts. This also shows in the style of characters they create, so when their Creations come face to face with them, it’s more showing than telling about the types of people the Creators truly are. Their inner selves are in some cases, literally personified in front of them.

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In the end, everything boils down to one thing: acceptance. If the masses accept the Creations then those creations win out in the end and save the world from Altair’s destructive goals. How the show does this is highly creative: it creates a show where ALL of the Creations in their varied genres battle together to save the world. There is proper government organization set up of the production agencies for the Creations to be pulled from their respective story lines via spin-off stories into a real-life battle royale arena and and the finale is a true “live-action” show of the battle the audience rates. The ending is a truly heart-felt confrontation of what happens when people self-destruct. Altair, a Creation born of that self-destruction, gets a chance to confront her Creator in an amazingly clever manner. The show doesn’t pull any cheap tricks or cop-outs, but rather uses it’s own devices to flip an outcome all the while saying: Well, this happens in the stories we write all the time, so here it is – and we’re showing it to you.

It’s extremely hard for me to write more about this without giving away heavy spoilers. Sorry if it’s been a bit too vague, but all I can say is despite the crazy machine-gun violins, this show is totally worth watching.

 

 

I went to Ren Faire and mostly took photos of animals

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This acrobat was really good. She looked like she was sporting quite the sunburn by the end of the day though, poor thing.

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Barn Owl – I really want to watch Labyrinth now.

 

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Blacksmith giving a demonstration. 
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Coatimundi – the husband now wants one. Apparently you can own them, but you have to have a license and only licensed people can pet them.
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Sweaty people in period costumes.
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Fallow deer

goat

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I like this goofy one.
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Horned owl is not amused.
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My teenage self squeed at this. 
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Happy husband eating huge leg of meat.
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Opening parade – not sure who these people are. Townspeople? 
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King Arthur’s court people.
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Saxons
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Play about King Arthur’s court and challenging the Saxons, which led to a series of games being played for the rest of the afternoon.

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Trebuchet for throwing fruit and large vegetables at king of the Saxons. 

Catching up

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Top: Everlane. Pants: Uniqulo. House Slippers: Muji.

I wasn’t certain if I was going out this day or not. I think this was last Thursday. I ended up staying home and doing more cleaning. I’m wearing a new shirt here, the square mock neck from Everlane. The cotton is very soft and the shirt is rather cropped, but not too bad. I like how open the sleeves are. It’ll be a decent layering piece in cooler weather. I also got the slim long-sleeve crew in black, but probably won’t wear that for a while since the weather is getting hot again, but that’ll be another decent layering piece.

Most blogs I follow have been talking about the Everlane jeans and they were a complete non-event for me. The styles and colors were highly predictable and boring. I’m not in the market for fitted jeans like that anymore, so I’ve zero interest in them. Also, I’m not overly impressed with their new Goweave easy pant. Take a look at the photo above. The pants I’m wearing here look nearly identical to the ones Everlane just put out. These are from Uniqlo and they hardly wrinkle at all and were a third of the cost for the Everlane pant. I took this photo after I’d been running around the house, crawling on the floor to pick up things and they don’t look overly wrinkled at all. They also have a hidden elastic waist and faux zipper panel that looks a little more polished than the Everlane ones, IMO.

I get a strange feeling that Everlane is just churning out stuff to churn it out anymore and by doing so I feel like they are turning into a pseudo-fast-fashion type of place as a result. Their catalog has grown enormous over the past two years. They aren’t a bad company at all, but I feel like they’ve gotten a bit too big for their britches and are now trying to compete more with the fast fashion industry instead of stand above it. I’d prefer to buy stuff from them over most fast fashion places, but anymore I’m just not impressed by their predictable styles. I feel like I’m browsing a Banana Republic or J Crew catalog, but without as many patterns.

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Shirt and pants: Fantasy Linen. Shoes: Lems Nine2five. Hat: old – from a shop in the Ahwahnee Lodge in Yosemite Nat’l Park.

This was Saturday and the hubs and I went to a nearby Ren Faire. I was sweating up a storm and I was wearing light clothes. The people in period costumes with metal (the knights) and leathers must’ve been stifling! I’m glad I wore loose, airy clothes. We both got some sun. Mine turned more into a tan and the husband is now peeling because he burned a bit. Looking at this photo – I feel like I’m looking at someone about to go work in a rice paddy.

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Shirt: Banana Republic. Pants: Uniqlo. Shoes: Lems Nine2five.

I wore this to an interview. Risky I know because the shirt is sleeveless, but the office was connected to a warehouse. It’s hard to tell what’s ok with “business casual” though for offices. Some think business casual is actually a suit without the jacket and others allow jeans. The interview went very well though. It’s promising that I’m getting interviews so soon.

The weather is heating up again – ugh. I’m ready for real autumn weather. I was very disheartened to see it might creep up to 90F for my birthday next week. I hate hot weather.

 

Grunge

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Tee: Grand Teton Nat’l Park. Flannel shirt: Uniqlo. Jeans: Grana. Shoes: Lems Nine2five.

I guess I was channeling my high school self with this sorta 90s grunge look. Two week old chipped nail varnish and all. I knew I was going to do a bit of much needed cleaning around the house, so I put on clothes I wouldn’t care if they got dirty or messed up.

While cleaning my new shoes arrived. I’d ordered Lems Nine2five shoes because while I like the Nisolo shoes, they aren’t going to cut it with my tendonitis. I may consider selling them. I did want to get a black casual oxford-ish shoe though and so I decided to try Lems.

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I’d actually bought these shoes in one of the brown colors around a year ago, but returned them. I ordered them in the recommended size for my foot (I’m a size 8 so that meant I got a size 40 according to their chart), but they were way too big. I wear a size 40 in the Primal 2 and they fit perfectly, but with the Nine2five my heels were slipping out and the ends made me feel like I was wearing brown clown shoes. I looked at the site and 40 was the lowest size they had at the time, so just returned them. This time, I decided to go with black and they have sizes as low as 35 on the site now. I bought a 39 (which correlates to a size 7-7.5) and they fit great now. I don’t feel like I’ve got on clown shoes and my heels don’t slip out. I really don’t get Lems sizing at all. They say their charts are different for Nine2fives/ Boulder as compared to Primal 2, but when I look at the size I should be wearing – it’s the same size for all of them? I knew that wouldn’t work, so I’m glad I went with the size below. If anyone is interested, I’d recommend getting your normal shoe size (according to their chart) for Primal 2 and then size down one for the other (leather) kinds.

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One of the shoes (left) may look funny in the pics because I am wearing my ankle brace for my tendonitis. I deliberately got Lems because I knew I could wear them comfortably with my brace on. They leather is soft and the shoes easily allow for extra room all around. They do provide a little more structure and less ground feel than Primal 2. I wore them while cleaning most of the afternoon and can tell I’ll be wearing them a lot. No break in time needed. Also, the black ones I think look a bit better in person than they do on the site (there they look really boring). I think they will work well for office attire as well. The only con to them is the short shoe laces. The laces also look rather bad and I might try to find nicer looking ones. I think it would help them look a little more office appropriate with better laces as well.

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Ankle brace on non-rolled up jean leg. The brace makes shoes look a little fat.

Unnecessary

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Shirt: Banana Republic. Skirt: Yesstyle. House slippers: Muji.

I lost my job last week. I wasn’t sure if I would mention it here or not, but suddenly I’m finding it extremely difficult to want to do these photos, let alone even bother with a blog anymore.

It came as a shock to me and while I still like my old boss, he sucks at managing his company. My position was completely axed because he needs the money for another more necessary full time position. It is definitely one he’s needed for a while and it’s good that he’s finally getting his head on straight to do that, but I can’t help but be incredibly bitter that it’s at my expense.

I don’t hate him or anyone else there for what’s happened. I simply know for a fact that I could’ve been better utilized at that company and their failure (and partially mine) to make me more valuable lies on them. I did ask to do more there, but I was always told that it shouldn’t interfere with my duties. I wanted to do more work like what they were doing and I was allowed to learn about it plenty, but I was never really allowed or taken seriously about actively contributing.

What’s most frustrating right now is the fact that over the past several years I was given bonuses and rewards and always told WE NEED YOU by the management. Even in my last review 6 months ago I was told I was needed and necessary to helping the company running smoothly. Now, suddenly, that’s not the case. It is more crushing for me mentally and emotionally than anything else. All of a sudden I’m not needed and I’m not necessary. I know it was hard on my boss to let me go, but it doesn’t dismiss the fucking crushing depression I’m feeling now. In essence, I feel betrayed.

I will be continuing with this blog, but posts may be a bit sporadic while I deal with this.