Simple and fit

thursday

J Crew sweater, Grana jeans.

I’m not sure what the dark smudge is in the upper right part of the photo. I hope it’s not something wrong with the camera.

Today was one of those throw-on-whatever kinds of days. A simple outfit, sweater and jeans.

A coworker stopped me today and after complimenting my sweater said, “You look fit!” This was coming from a teeny tiny woman who is 3 inches shorter than me and weighs as much as I did in middle school. We then swapped weight training stories and I found out she used to have a solid six pack and played 5 sports. Her weight has yo-yo’d over time and she said seeing me motivated her to get back to it. Considering I’ve felt like I’ve been a bit off for the past couple months, this was refreshing to hear. Other than last Friday’s monsoon and coming home really late, I’ve been working out every Mon, Wed, Fri starting just after Christmas. Not being able to run still drives me nuts, but weight training has kept the Crazy under control. I have noticed I’ve gotten a little more fat in some areas I hoped to never see it on again because I’ve works so hard already to lose it, but there’s not much I can do about it now. I’ll have to wait it out with the boot and tendon rehab.

Tonight Z and I are going to watch Mary and the Witch’s Flower, which is the premiere film from the newly formed Studio Ponoc. It’s an animation studio and several animators there used to work at the world famous Studio Ghibli. Ghibli is where the two grandfathers of anime (Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata) work so animators splitting off from the main company and building their own little empire is really exciting in the animation world right now. The director for Mary also did The Secret World of Arrietty and based on the trailer, it looks and generally feels very much like a Ghibli film. I’m really excited to see it though because unlike Ghibli films, this one seems much more action centered. I love Ghibli films and own almost everything by Miyazaki-san, but they can be a bit heavy with the feels. That is part of what makes these films so good, but sometimes an action-packed ride is just as good and easier to take in on one viewing. There are two showings tonight and I’ve opted for the Japanese sub at the earlier time. The English dub has Cate Winslet and Jim Broadbent as part of the cast, so in time I’ll definitely watch the dub as well. I think the movie is only showing for a short run at limited theaters. I know that after tonight, only the dub version will be airing.

 

Fall 2017 Anime

Here’s what I’m watching this season.

Mahou Tsukai no Yome (The Ancient Magus’ Bride): This show is pure poetry.

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Hatori Chise, a Slay Vega, sells herself at a magical auction and is bought by Elias Ainsworth, a mage. He makes her his apprentice and also decides to make her his bride. Funny thing is – as a magical being that’s not really human and not really fae either – he’s not got a good grasp on what having a bride entails. Despite him being hundreds or thousands of years old (not sure which), he still doesn’t have an idea of how to communicate and connect with humans all that well. Since Chise – as a Slay Vega – is very rare, he decides to take her on in order to help her and himself. Chise came from a broken home environment where her father ran away and mother commit suicide in front of her. Due to her ability of “sight” (seeing magical creatures) she’s run into the same problems that Natsume Takashi does in Natsume Yuujinchou – she’s considered strange and a liar. Like Natsume, Chise was passed around from one abusive relative to another, only seen as a problem child until she’d had enough and voluntarily sold herself at the auction. Elias introduces her to a world of magicians, sorcerers and alchemists who help and support her.

I forget how I’d heard of it, but I started reading the manga first. I think I saw some scans of it on tumblr and then decided to give it a try. I love it. It perfectly tickles my childhood love of all things related to English folklore with faeries, magicians and dragons.

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The prequel series (3 episodes) was even a delight. I watched all 3 on Crunchyroll and even went out to see the first 3 episodes of the anime in “movie” format at a theatre.

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When I was little I read all sorts of books about magicians and dragons (and even wrote a hypothetical essay in grade school on the origins of flying dragons based on lizards and dinosaurs. I aced that report because the teacher loved how I made a convincing argument for it.) I also had the faerie lover’s bible – Brian Froud’s Faeries and another encyclopedia of faeries. I’d read all about Arthurian Legends and Merlin was like a god to me. I carried around glitter as faerie dust and coveted silver goblets and small dragon figurines in gift shops and medieval faires. I also wore a lot of velvet. Yep, I was that kid….

So reading Magus’ Bride was a treat for me and now the anime airing this season is completely blowing away my expectations of it. The first three episodes were the same as the “movie” version I saw this past summer.

So far so good with the anime adaptation. In fact, I think the anime has a spectacular job of showing and not telling the finer emotional moments of the series. It has the same, comforting melancholic tone Natsume Yuujinchou does, but throws in a several moments of sharp humor, punctuated by chibi styled characters to emphasize it. I also think this show has more of a dark streak in it emotionally than NY. I’m glad to say that the balance has been very well done so far. I might do some episode reviews for this show.

Juuni Taisen: This show is a gratuitous display of violence, war and chess just for the sake of it. I wasn’t too keen on it at first, but I can’t seem to stop watching it now.

12 warriors representing the 12 signs of the zodiac do battle every so often just because highly rich people want to place bets on who will win. It’s a for-shits-and-giggles with  money and lives at stake game and yes, it is rather sick when you think about it.

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Btw, I’m year of the rabbit, so this psycho represents my zodiac character. He’s a huge muscley rabbit-man with an enormous puffy tail, stilettos and… a speedo? A thong? I’m not sure but it looks like he’s a demented playboy bunny. I kinda dig it.

So far – 4 or 5 episodes in- and several of the warriors have died. I think half of them maybe? Episodes are split between action fighting between the warriors and flashbacks so you kinda get a feel for what kind of person the warrior was – right before they die. If you see a flashback, chances are that character will die in the same or next episode. I’m rather glad Monkey died early because I really didn’t like her at all. She was the one supposed pacifist who tries to stop wars and bridge negotiations, but all her philosophy sorta felt shallow and self-serving for her own back-patting purposes. I do like Rat and I have a strange feeling he might be one of the last two characters standing.

Black Clover: I really REALLY dislike Asta. Actually, I really dislike all the screaming the seiyu (voice actor) does for Asta’s character. It’s so annoying I muted most of the first two episodes and just read the subtitles in silence. That’s how bad all the screaming is in the show.

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Asta and Yuno were abandoned as babies at a monastery where a monk and several nuns raised them. They live in a magical world where 99.99999% of all people have some sort of magical ability. If you don’t, you’re a freak and Asta is the freak. He’s got zero magic juice, so he makes up for it by screaming all the time (compensating much?) and building himself up physically. He and Yuno set off to enlist at a magic school of sorts to become magical knights and see who can one day become the fabled Wizard King of the land. This is based on a fairly popular manga, but I’ve not read it.

The general consensus so far is – just read the manga and forget the anime. The first three episodes were definitely rough with Asta being the Screaming Annoying Shit of the show, compared to Yuno’s cool and collected attitude. Yuno is so cool in fact I wonder if he’s got a pulse because other than a childhood flashback the character is totally deadpan. I am more interested in Yuno than Asta, but in general the show isn’t really all that impressive. I’m somehow still watching this, but not sure how long I’ll last. It’s been extremely predictable and boring.

Kino’s Journey The Beautiful World: This show is nice to watch with each episode being mostly stand-alone self contained stories. I am glad I’m watching it, when I’m watching it, but getting myself to remember it’s in my queue to watch is difficult. There’s something about it that I like, but it’s not drawing me in and making me happy to see another episode each week.

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Kino travels the world on her motorrad (talking vehicle – in this case a motorcycle) named Hermes and carries guns for protection. She doesn’t spend too long in each country she visits so she doesn’t get too attached to each place. Kino’s rule is to not spend more than 3 days in each country, but so far half the countries she’s been in have had issues where she’s spent anywhere from 5 to 15 days in them. Each country is unique and has some sort of quirk or issue Kino has to deal with before she leaves.

I might just binge the rest of this when it’s over because while it’s good, I only find myself watching it when I’m really bored.

(Kekkai Sensen Beyond) Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond: This is a sequel that I was very much looking forward to because the first season was amazing. I love all the characters and the setting. Much has been said about the original director (I think? maybe producer?) not being part of B3B but I’ve honestly not seen much of a difference. The tone is a little different, but it’s still the same fun raucous, dirty show I loved the first time around.

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This season is threading an arc around Leo’s guilt over what happened to his sister, Michella. I’m not sure where it’s going, but I’m enjoying it being random and goofy for now. So far, episodes have focused on minor characters that were never really given any depth at all in season one. I absolutely LOVE the Stephen Starface/ Chain Sumeragi dynamic. The episodes around these characters have been my favorite so far. I really wanted to know more about Stephen in season one but that focused more on Leo adjusting to joining Libra and helping out the team in general. The fact that Leo is taking a back burner this season doesn’t hurt it at all. I like knowing more about the other characters.

Code Realize – Guardian of Rebirth: I might be wrong, but I think this is based on an otome game? It feels like it. It’s a reverse harem styled show about a group of thieves/ misfits who kidnap/rescue a girl who is like a doll and has next to no memory. She’s been subject to her scientist father’s experiments and now her skin is like poison and melts everything it touches. She has to have special clothes and even bedsheets and pillows made so she won’t destroy everything. Crystal things were imbedded in her chest called a Hologrim? Hologruim? I don’t know. She’s got crystal thingies near her boobs and they channel her poison/power whatever it is. The band of misfit bishonen friends try to help her solve the mystery of her poison and find out all the secrets her father kept from her.

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I’m not sure where this is going, but I somehow get the feeling it doesn’t really matter because that’s not the point. The point is to show a weekly pick-your-hot-boyfriend-lead and have an adventure with him. All of this is loosely surrounding something that’s supposed to be a plot but whatever  – bishonen boys! Van Helsing (the blonde w/ specs above) is my favorite because Suwabe Junichi’s voice is like sex to me. It really doesn’t matter what character that man narrates. If I hear it, it’s my favorite. Apparently the anime has determined Lupin is the end BF if you base that on the obvious preference towards him in the OP. However, I wouldn’t put it past the show to just leave it open ended.

Oh – I just looked it up and it is based on an otome game where you get to choose which hottie you end up with. Some of the screen shots for the endings in the game are hilarious.

Recovery of an MMO Junkie: I had no interest in this one at first, but now, next to Magus’ Bride and B3B, I look forward to this one each week.

Morioka, at 30, left her corporate job to become a NEET and play online video games at home. (I rather like how she says it’s a lifestyle she chose as if it’s some exclusive aesthetic kind to live up to. I can get behind that.) She joins an online adventure game where she does quests with other online friends and gets invited into a guild. Her guild family become close “friends” to her, but when she confides in one of her online buddies  about a real life incident with a guy she ran into, her online life and real life clash together. She plays a boy in the game and is afraid to admit she’s 30 and a NEET so she ends up lying and says she’s a college student, which explains why she’s online all day long.

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Or is it….? That’s the question and this show keeps pulling the punches emotionally and with perfect comedic timing. I love how Morioka has issues identifying with her online female friend when she’s supposed to be a guy. The double-entendres abound and I’ve laughed more at this show than I have in a long time at an anime comedy.

Houseki no Kuni (Land of the Lustrous): The first episode of this was rather meh, but I’ve warmed up to it and like it a lot. It’s definitely pretty. Genderless immortals called Gems inhabit the earth in the future. Each gem has a name based on a crystal and the crystals fight off the moon people, Lunarians, based on their Moh scale ability. Therefore, strong gems like diamonds are more suited to fighting and more brittle crystals have other duties. One Gem named Phos (I forget the full crystal name) is brittle but she’s determined to become a warrior gem.

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I’ve no idea where this show is headed, but it’s fun to watch and so incredibly beautiful. Some might find the animation style in this a bit jarring and too weird, but I really like it.

Just Because: A boy moves (away? back?) to a town for his third and final semester of school, which is odd, but apparently it was for family reasons. He meets up with some of his old school friends from middle school, who went to attend the local high school now. His old crush is still there and this slice of life is just a stumbling teenage romance of goo and tugging heart strings. It’s good goo, but it’s still goo and while I like it, I find myself only watching it when I’ve already watched everything else in my queue. This and Kino’s are both good, but end of the list sorta shows because while I don’t mind these kinds of show, I can get a little bored of them or have to be in a very specific mood to want to watch them.

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Still watching the following shows:

Welcome to the Ballroom: Despite the awful amount of sexism in this show, I somehow can’t quit it. I don’t think it’s a good show. It’s just more of a train wreck I’m interested in seeing crash at this point.

Dropped:

Elegant Yokai Apartment Life: I couldn’t tolerate this one anymore and after episode 14 I dropped it.

Garo – Vanishing Line: The only one out of this whole series worth watching was the very first one.

Dies Irae: After the first episode glorified the Nazi villains I wasn’t too keen on it. The second episode was better but only because it had a somewhat coherent structure. The characters are all boring or awful.

Inuyashaki Last Hero: The violence in this show serves a purpose, but it’s a bit too much for my taste. I don’t care for any of the characters at all.

 

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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.

creation

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.

 

 

SnB:VS Episode 21: S*** finally gets real

Alessand

As usual, there will be spoilers.

So where do I begin? Episode summary or just dive head first into Nina haterade?

I’ll try and go through the episode as shit hit the fan and kept coming at it the whole time.

First: Alessand officially killed Mugaro. Afterwards, we see Alessand go back to the Onyx Knight leader and he shows his bloodied knife, saying he’s killed the holy child. He now wants to be an Onyx Knight as his reward. He finds out it’s gruesome and unglamorous and Alessand says thanks, but no thanks. Disillusioned and dealing with the death of a child on his hands, he breaks down. Alessand is a character to be pitied, but he’s been such a doorstop the whole time it’s hard to really care about him at all. His bit parts the entire series have felt more or less like throw-away scenes with little value. Now all of a sudden we’re supposed to take him seriously as a secondary villain in the making after 20 episodes of him just being a whiney little bitch?

Second, Azazel confronts Lucifer (FINALLY LUCI IS ON SCREEN!) and says now is the time to act and declare war.  While this scene was good because two hot and hot-headed demons were bickering like a married couple, it did feel a little wasted. It’s known that Azazel stormed off from the demon hideout way back when to go save the demons Charioce enslaved. His sense of duty towards his people has always been fierce and making Charioce/ humans who abuse demons pay for it was always his objective. Unfortunately, like many other instances in this series, this is another missed opportunity case. Had the struggle to show Azazel’s determination to free the demon slaves been a relatively constant subplot of the show, this meeting with Lucifer would’ve held a lot more weight. Lucifer wanted nothing to do with human battles after Charioce nearly decimated their race and would rather hide under a rock to ensure his survival than fight. With Azazel finally showing up to say this is go time, why couldn’t we have had a little more backstory on Lucifer’s reluctance and need to see Azazel prove himself capable of leading a successful battle before now? For as much as I loved the interaction between these two bishonen, I have to admit that it felt tacked on.

Third, Jeanne gets pissed off enough to go to Gabriel and say: bitch, my son is dead and I’m in charge and WAR!!! NOW!!! And then Gabriel gives her cryptic smile and Sophiel fuses herself with Jeanne to make her super human powerful and god-like aka SnB: Genesis. WHUT? She’s allowed to have her powers back? Doesn’t that make Mugaro kinda…. pointless if his mom was always capable of being the BAMF She-Ra she was in Genesis? I felt gutted when I saw that scene because it really just made me feel like Mugaro, who was by far one of the absolute best characters of the whole second series with an intriguing story arc, completely superfluous. If the angels can just Power Ranger up any old human why the fuck was Mugaro even necessary to their cause in the first cour?! This scene too felt tacked on and completely undermined the importance of Mugaro’s character.

Fourth, Kaisar and Dias are the only ones who realize Alessand killed Mugaro for his own personal gain and not any real direct order from Charioce.  Therefore, Azazel and Jeanne’s upcoming war is based on misplaced anger. That’s not stated, but implied by the meeting. It could also be a red herring because there seem to be a lot of those in this series. Considering Charioce did order Mugaro’s death earlier, he’s still no more or less culpable of the kid’s death. Alessand simply did him an indirect favor. Also, Kaisar finds out Charioce is in Abos/Eibos (it was Abos in Genesis, but it seems to have been turned into Eibos in Virgin Soul). So all the heroes except the two war lords (Azazel and Jeanne) know where Charioce is hanging out. This seems to be setting up the cast for a two-field battle ground: one in Anatae with the demon and angel armies against the humans and one in Eibos with Nina against Charioce.

Lastly, Nina finally acts a little like she could be an actual protagonist in this series.  Favaro, ever the acutely aware teacher/dad, checks on a grieving Nina and finally sees some resolve on her face as she declares that no matter what she will stop Charioce. It’s implied that she’ll kill him if she has to, but never explicitly stated. None fucks were given about her resolution because… say it with me… too little too late to give a shit.

While watching Virgin Soul I re-watched Genesis and apparently Eibos was the last place where Bahamut was held until it broke free, nearly destroyed the world, and was fought back into submission/sorta death. Charioce visiting Eibos has been mentioned in passing a couple times, so I’m guessing this will eventually have something to do with Bahamut? Maybe? Red herring? Could he have been making Dromos deliberately to ensure that Bahamut is without-a-doubt destroyed? If so, then that is one super shitty plot line. Conjecture: That would make him a misunderstood anti-hero who ultimately would have the preservation of the human species as his end game and purpose. The motivation behind that purpose was most likely the death of his mother. Had humans exerted more power earlier on, then she wouldn’t have had to die, therefore his genocide against the demons and angels to gain their powers to create Dromos would make him justified. I have a very strange feeling this is where the show is head, but I could be wrong. If I am correct, then Charioce will be propped up to bad, but not-so-bad villain. It would also explain a lot about his character. I have a very bad feeling that his backstory in all this will be told via some flashback that’ll take up the majority of the finale and end with him and Nina working together. Shall I place bets with myself now?

Killing off a major character for the sake of a good narrative and move the remaining characters into action has been done plenty of times before. Mugaro’s death was the catalyst for the cast to actually get back to the plot. It was also the catalyst in turning Nina into a valuable player – I think. That’s still… TBD. Unfortunately, since the characters weren’t moving towards much of a plot to begin with, the little tyke’s death just seems plain sad and not really thought out at all by the producers.

This episode upped it’s game visually. Many characters were given gorgeous moments with beautiful lighting and details. The slow-motion scenes of Rita trying to save Mugaro while all characters were shown in states of shock, anger and grief, accompanied by a choral hymn were beautiful. It was meant to have a powerful, dream-like emotional punch and it succeeded there. The detailed emphasis on all the major players afterwards visually was quite a delicious spectacle. But I can’t help but feel half of it was wasted due to the plot going to shit in such a way.

No one still has any fucking clue what Charioce is up to or why. What I wrote above is, as stated, conjecture. Three episodes left and I kinda feel like the plot rolls with whatever magic 8-ball MAPPA is using right now.