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 Post subject: Re: Anime
PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 11:19 pm 
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Doing a search for it in this thread, here is when I started watching the show, about three years back. It's worth noting that Elfen Lied was the third in three series I watched back-to-back that basically turned me off of watching anime for three years (I mean, sure, I watched a handful here and there, but I had legitimately forgotten how much I loved anime when I started seriously watching them again recently).

This was mostly because of the #^<%ING INCEST SUBPLOT.

It's also worth noting that, based on my posts from three years ago, my opinion of the show has soured somewhat over time. I thought it had problems back then, but now I consider it awful and will steer people away from it if I can. Also worth noting is at some point (and I have a feeling I know exactly when), I went from thinking Gurren Lagann was a fun, dumb anime, to a deceptively dumb but actually deep and smart show like Guillermo Del Toro's Pacific Rim.


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 Post subject: Re: Anime
PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 11:20 pm 
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I've not watched it myself, but I understand there is a tremendous level of gore, a decent helping of nudity and a good helping of narm.

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CotW is a method for ranking cards in increasing order of printability.

*"To YMTC it up" means to design cards that have value mostly from a design perspective. i.e. you would put them in a case under glass in your living room and visitors could remark upon the wonderful design principles, with nobody ever worring if the cards are annoying/pointless/confusing in actual play

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 Post subject: Re: Anime
PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 11:25 pm 
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TPmanW wrote:
I've not watched it myself, but I understand there is a tremendous level of gore, a decent helping of nudity and a good helping of narm.

And from what I can remember, barely any plot.

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 Post subject: Re: Anime
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:06 am 
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That last comment is the one that would concern me the most, honestly. I'm kind of surprised at the backlash. I don't know, maybe when I was hearing it mentioned by the anime fans in high school it was just because it was so "shocking" that those people liked it. I didn't get into anime in general until much later (really, until the last few years I was restricted to Miyazaki movies and Fullmetal Alchemist), so it's one of those titles I remember being widely discussed and (I thought) liked when I only knew the medium through Osmosis. I fear I may be opening Pandora's Box should I ever manage to view it, but like Pandora I'm just too damn curious. Maybe I should keep a rewatch of "The World is Still Beautiful" at hand to wash the ick away if necessary.

On a related note (Related to "Anime I've heard tell of but haven't watched") does anyone know what deep voodoo is necessary to legally view Neon Genesis Evangelion? Is it seriously only accessable via a $500 DVD set? And also, how the Evangelion franchise should, ideally, be pursued?

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 Post subject: Re: Anime
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:05 am 
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$500 DVD set? Can such a thing exist? I know movies in Japan retail for ludicrous prices (and suspect that's why we pay ludicrous prices for Japanese videos here) but that's hardly justification. I mean, obviously there are collector's editions and even rare promos, but $500 is pushing one-of-a-kind territory. Did the director sign it in his dying breath with his heart's lifeblood? And how can there not be a mass market version of a thing* with that level of demand?

Edit- Amazon lists Neon Genesis Evangelion: Perfect Collection for $1,700CAD, but I'm assuming that's collectable and out of print.
The movies are like $30 each but that's not crazy. Ebay will get you the whole original series + the movies as a box set for $30-40. https://www.ebay.ca/itm/Neon-Genesis-Ev ... 3237751263

*Not the blood version, just the regular one.

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CotW is a method for ranking cards in increasing order of printability.

*"To YMTC it up" means to design cards that have value mostly from a design perspective. i.e. you would put them in a case under glass in your living room and visitors could remark upon the wonderful design principles, with nobody ever worring if the cards are annoying/pointless/confusing in actual play

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 Post subject: Re: Anime
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 6:43 pm 
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Regarding the original Eva, I know that there have been like 50 different "ultimate" versions (Platinum edition, Perfect collection, etc.), and that most of those are out-of-print, which makes them really collectible given how much of a cultural anime touchstone the series was/is.

I first saw the series... I want to say something like 10 years ago, from a friend's then-recently-purchased Platinum edition of the show, which he found in some electronics store like Fry's or Circuit City. I have off and on looked for what the best way to own it myself would be, but like you, I tend to find the out-of-print versions that are selling for simply ludicrous amounts of money, and if I'm being completely honest, I'm not all that interested in the remake movies.

Doing a bit of google-fu, it seems that right now, nobody owns the rights to distribute the original show in the U.S.. It's possible Funimation has the license, but it's not saying such on Wikipedia and a search on Funimation's own website only returns the remake movies.

Which is a shame, because for me, the way to watch the show (the original, as I've never seen any of the movies) is at least once as it is and then go through the commentary to understand what was being done with the show, especially in regards to the translation. Also, it was the perfect way to be introduced to Shinji's Rant.


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 Post subject: Re: Anime
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:04 pm 
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Bold visual direction. Emotive beats. Slapstick humour. Nonsensical, almost lyrical monologues. A veritable mire of adolescent ennui.
Yeah, it's
FLCL Progressive

"Today, as you start on your understandably disastrous day as modern day youth, I as someone who is the clear winner in life, structurally, would like to present to you something very important..."

At this point, I couldn't even begin to tell you what this show is about, so let's skip straight to the cast, ok?
Hidomi - Our protagonist. An unemotive junior high school girl with no goals, no purpose and no idea what she wants, if she wants it and how or whether to get it. Works part time at a cafe based out of her house, where the patrons appreciate her unresponsiveness as part of the tsundere cafe experience. Every time she seems on the edge of emotional epiphany her conspicuous headphones light up like electrical dynamos and somebody rushes to snap her out of it before something drastic can happen. Things are about to get weird for her.
"Unfortunately m'am your daughter is going to be fine"
Iida - Hidomi's classmate. He's already one stepped immersed into the conspiracy. Whatever that is. Don't ask me and don't ask him, cause neither of us have answers. All we know is that his mysterious homeroom teacher is able to manifest robots out of his forehead. Smooth talker. Can't back it up. Seemingly indestructible. Employed as a blunt instrument.
Hidomi's mom - The perky proprietor of a maid cafe she runs out of her basement. Wants her daughter to open up. Waves knives at her. Responds to her daughter getting hit with a car with admonitions she not grow up to be an adult like that, asking if she saw the license plate # and "She sure was cool".
Jinyu - Hit Hidomi with a car. A baby blue Chevy Bel-Air that she drives from the back seat, arms crossed and legs spread, leaning back like she just doesn't care. She "could've sworn that was a fatal hit". Wields a chainsaw guitar and carries a warning about the lady in the Vespa.
"I take full responsibility for your daughter hanging onto her life" And she means it too.
Vespa Lady - Manic, possibly insane, definitely dangerous. At least Jinyu thinks so. Wants to get a specific reaction out of people and guide them away from the humdrum and into embracing life. "What I want is for you to become adults on a cosmological scale. You don't need wings to venture out into the universe. Who would ride a four-wheeled car with wings anyway?" Disguises herself as a teacher, I presume, to get close to Iida and Hidomi.

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CotW is a method for ranking cards in increasing order of printability.

*"To YMTC it up" means to design cards that have value mostly from a design perspective. i.e. you would put them in a case under glass in your living room and visitors could remark upon the wonderful design principles, with nobody ever worring if the cards are annoying/pointless/confusing in actual play

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 Post subject: Re: Anime
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:36 pm 
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"That's right! The real one is HERE!!!!"

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 Post subject: Re: Anime
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:50 pm 
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FLCL Progressive
Episode 2.
Opens up with a black and white nature documentary of a ruined and zombie-infested cityscape narrated by an enthusiastic child. Make that a disturbingly enthusiastic zombie-adoring nihilistic child. And then Hidomi wakes up.

So Vespa Lady is named Haruko. She is a terrible teacher. And not just because she drives her Vespa down the hallway. She seems able to make people see what she wants them to see if those "year book" "photos" are any indication. She sends Hidomi to see Iida with the homework sheets he missed.

Ide apparently lives in an unpaved industrial shanty town. ... Japan doesn't actually have tumbleweeds, does it? He struggles to make ends meet in a scrapyard that looks to be based on the salve labour theory of pyramid building. His bod is consequently ripped. He is also an inventor and salesman. Also a tough talker. But he still can't back it up and gets beaten by some punks. This perfect storm of middle school crush material that Haruko sent Hidomi into has her blushing, breathing hard and bleeding from the nose, with her crazy headphones putting out 10,000 watts of emotional energy when she... passes out and collapses into his arms.

Back at Ide's house the two agree to go on a date when Haruko drops from the ceiling and yells "Cut!" She seems to be under the impression that she's directing a scene, which really, she is. Jinyu shows up in her robo car to demand she leave Hidomi alone and a fight breaks out. It's Jinyu and her car that is a robot vs Haruko wielding Ide as a flail. During the fight Jinyu reveals that she and Haruko are one. I'm getting a major Toppa Gurren vibe with the two flavours of spiral energy here.

The excitement breaks through Hidomi's inhibition, which releases in a massive explosion, from which rises a... mechanical teddy bear. Cute and tiny... but tough! It knocks Haruko senseless and sends her flying. Rushing in for the finishing blow the teddy bot crit fails and punches itself in the face! Then it... turns back into Hidomi? That's weird. Ide summons a robot from his forehead, but when Hidomi gets all revs up she transforms herself into one?

Jinyu comes out on top in their fight, but Haruko declares herself the real winner. She's the one who got her hooks into Hidomi. Hilariously, Ide as treated as an afterthought this whole time. He's used as a blunt instrument, tossed around and pretty much just ignored by the real power players here.

This show is so dang beautiful.

Pretty easy to call the main theme here: Reckless zest for life vs sober responsibility and why you need both. There are also giant steam irons I haven't brought up yet. Not sure what theme they represent, but there's always one in the background, so it must be important. Betting now that it's mundane society's ability to uncaringly grind you down.

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CotW is a method for ranking cards in increasing order of printability.

*"To YMTC it up" means to design cards that have value mostly from a design perspective. i.e. you would put them in a case under glass in your living room and visitors could remark upon the wonderful design principles, with nobody ever worring if the cards are annoying/pointless/confusing in actual play

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 Post subject: Re: Anime
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 10:29 pm 
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FLCL Progressive
Episode 3 & 4
What's wrong with this picture? ... I guess that's what they call adolescence.

Episode 3
It's time for the beach episode!
Ide's Friend #A (the crossdressing nerd) even has plans to meet his girlfriend there. He got a girlfriend guys! For real! And she is, well she's a, she's a girl alright. Less generously, she's the pathetic silhouette of a human being that constitutes an otaku romance fantasy- a shy, demure, self-conscious, and all around child-like lolita. (granted I think the whole main cast is 14, but she's the only one who's drawn to look younger). I swear, in her first 10 lines she must say "It's so embarrassing" 5 times. It's such a shallow stereotype that it soon becomes clear the show is playing it up for laughs. She even has an "emotional support plant"
I suppose Friend A 's girlfriend has turned out to be important enough that I should mention her name is Aiko. Aiko turns out to be a rent-a-date, and also a petty, mean-spirited person. So she's a little less pathetic, but way more horrible. It also makes Friend A less pathetic, at least in my estimation. Although, if the "character" was played to his tastes, then maybe his just double dipping in the pathetic pool. On the plus side, even though Friend B catches on, Friend A gets to keep Aiko's emotional support plant! So it evens out.
Back to the real plot line.
Hidomi still hasn't quite broken through her shell. But don't worry, Haruko's got something up her sleeve. Haruko has concocted some sort of sexy torture scenario for Ide to stumble into so that Hidomi can finally give in to her passions and... advance Haruko's goals somehow? The plan almost works, but Ide's mistrust of Haruko causes him to hesitate and activate the safety features on Hidomi's headphones. They're now firmly affixed to her skull. She doesn't wake up until the next episode, and only then do the real implications become clear.
So what is Haruko after? Jinyu says that she and Haruko share the same motivation and it has something to do with chasing down a man. Somebody who they stood by in the past, but just couldn't keep up with. But mostly it seems like Jinyu just wants to foil Haruko.



Episode 4
It's worse than we ever could have imagined guys. The pendulum has swung too far the other way and now... Hidomi's chipper. She's relentlessly, annoyingly, delusionally upbeat. Ide laments that it's not the real Hidomi. Friend B seems to fall pretty hard for this annoyingly chipper caricature of Hidomi. I wonder what contrast they're drawing with Friend A here? It's obvious that relationship expectations are a theme.
Jinyu and Haruko (and Ide) realize they have to go after the people who made Hidomi's headphones if they ever want to get her back to normal. They're going to infiltrate Medical Mechanica. Those are the guys behind the giant irons everywhere. The move to emotion-suppressing headphones was a lateral move, granted.

A secret organization is revealed and they've been trying to keep tab on this whole situation. Unfortunately for them, the potted plant Aiko stole to cover her compensated dating with a proper fiscal transaction contained their hidden transmitter. That's some bad luck there. Glad to see the "emotional support plant" make a comeback.

When the main cast arrive at the giant iron, they accidentally activate the transmitter (Jinyu picked it up as an aside joke last episode) and the secret cabal tries to find their transmitter plant by reversing the polarity. This activates Hidomi's powers in reverse and Haruko and Jinyu are sucked into Hitomi's forehead.
Inside we get some talk between Jinyu and Haruko about the person they're both obsessed with. Sounds like it's the same entity the cabalists called "halfway between an organism and a planet". I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's also Hidomi's father that her mother's been waiting on to return. It would explain Hidomi's importance in all this.
Haruko's goal is to gain the notice of what sounds like her ex because she won't take no for an answer. Jinyu wants to respect his/its freedom and says they would only chain the person/thing down. Jinyu and Haruko start a fight that almost messes up their escape, incidentally destroys the iron and ends with Haruko straight up devouring Jinyu. Whelp, no point arguing they're not one person anymore.
Hidomi comes to when the iron is destroyed. She claims to have figured Haruko out (but doesn't share it with us) and defiantly puts the headphones back on to thwart her.

2 episodes left in the season and it looks like we're all prepped for the end game.

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CotW is a method for ranking cards in increasing order of printability.

*"To YMTC it up" means to design cards that have value mostly from a design perspective. i.e. you would put them in a case under glass in your living room and visitors could remark upon the wonderful design principles, with nobody ever worring if the cards are annoying/pointless/confusing in actual play

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 Post subject: Re: Anime
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:19 pm 
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> how to legally watch NGE
You might check your local library, and/or the interlibrary loan system. Failing that, a local University library might let you check it out, even if you aren't a student.

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 Post subject: Re: Anime
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:48 pm 
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So, rounded out Season 1 of Shakugan no Shana today. So far the show hasn't really astounded me, it's kind of every Urban Fantasy Monster Fighting sort of scenario (though to be fair I have it on good authority that while Shana was hardly the first, it was kind of important for how the genre is handled nowadays), but the plot has been easy enough to follow, the action's been good, the stakes have had their proper emotional impact, and the titular character is actually pretty fun, so... Yeah, no regrets going on to the Movie version and after that presumably Second, S, and Final.

What I am possibly regretting is investigating, between my previous posts, how available Elfen Lied is. Turns out it's free to stream as part of Amazon Prime. My wife, having had the same "I remember this being the talk of the town" reaction as I did, wanted to go ahead and watch it to at least have seen it and... I think everything about it has bugged me so far, oddly except the incest subplot Luna mentioned (They're cousins, I don't even know if they're first cousins, and I've been long desensitized to that, I think most strongly by my Languages of the Ancient Near East class in college, oddly enough...) What Amazon has is the dub and... by Yawgmoth, the voice acting is atrocious. Especially the male lead, who mumbles every damn line. I've heard the original Japanese voice acting isn't very good either but at least then I'd have subs to understand what this dweeb is saying. The rest of the soundtrack isn't a ton better, the SFX are decently mixed and used but the show has no concept of when to use its over the top violins or pretentious latin chior. (Speaking of pretentious, I skip the OP now, it made me want to apologize for calling Darling in the Franxx pretentious). I think the worst point is that, with two exceptions, every character is or at least plays either an uncharismatic dimwit who things just happen to. Lucy (who spends 80%+ of her time as Nyu) and the one doctor who seems to have a soul are kind of OK, and Mayu at least had a moment in the most recent episode, but most of the cast most of the time is... not fun to watch. It just really strikes me how bad this is in comparison to Brynhildr in the Darkness. Most reviews of Brynhildr I saw considered it, both as an anime and manga, to be sort of "Elfen Lied Lite", a lesser copy by the same original author, but in Brynhildr the characters were smart, engaging, likeable, and constantly taking initiative in order to solve their problems, escape their bad situations, or otherwise chase their goals and dreams. Brynhildr has a very strong plot, and characters that mean something in it. In Elfen Lied the characters just sit around waiting for plot hooks to come to them and so far (half the dang show in) largely missing them.

Even the gore, which is neither an attraction nor a turn-off for me, doesn't quite work. Good gore achieves an emotional reaction through creatively gruesome visuals, timing that utilizes either or both of suspense and/or surprise, and/or creating a connection between the subject of the gore and the viewer. So far there have been one or two moments where we get a little of that (Like the end of the Lucy versus Nana fight), but by in large the gore moments have just been a splortch sound effect and a lot of red as some nameless faceless mook flies apart. The visuals are bloody, but not really gruesome (at least not creatively so), the timing is very fast which isn't necessarily wrong but could use some mixing up of the formula, and the targets have mostly been nobody and nothing we care about.

The show's not finished yet, so this isn't a final verdict, but the second half needs to be a LOT better to justify what's so far been... yeah a lot of blood and nudity with not much (good) plot. It doesn't even feel like an excuse plot, it just feels like it's puttering around unsure of what to do.


In good anime related news, I followed TPman's ebay link, so hopefully that will work out and I'll be watching Evangelion soon. Not right after Elfen Lied even if it gets here by then, I need something both different (neither violent nor depressing, and EVAs reputation is at least one of those) and good to cleanse the palette, but we'll see how that goes.

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 Post subject: Re: Anime
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 1:30 pm 
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Finished Elfen Lied.

Good Riddance.

I might not warn someone off it as sternly as Luna, but he's not wrong in any of his criticisms. It wasn't worth watching except MAYBE for the fact that I can now say so for myself with firsthand knowledge and the authority thereof.

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 Post subject: Re: Anime
PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:15 pm 
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I floated the idea of an "anime book club" to my meat friends. We used this site to just pick a completely random anime to start us off.

I regret everything about this.

The first anime we decided we would watch is The Silver Guardian. I advise you not to watch The Silver Guardian. I think, just maybe, someone with a more lighthearted outlook can see what they were trying to go for and laugh at it, but the anime somehow hit on everything I hate about modern gaming and anime about gaming in one tiny package.

I laughed when the "game" that was the centerpoint of the story was unveiled to be EA's wet dream, but I let it slide even though it was extremely stupid. I NOPE'd out of there on episode 5 (of 12 15-minute episodes) when it was SOMEHOW GOING TO BE ANOTHER INCEST SUBPLOT. But, trying to commit to this "anime book club" thing, I tried skipping ahead to season 2. I NOPE'd out again on episode 2 (of 6 24-minute episodes) when they started throwing around terms like "you damn casual gamer".


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 Post subject: Re: Anime
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:20 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Anime
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:36 pm 
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My friends and I have somewhat recently started anime watching sessions where we meet up, have dinner together, and then watch something. These have been relatively successful.

We watched Kuroko no Basket, then watched half of Steins Gate Zero, took a detour to watch Megalo Box, and now we're back to finishing the rest of Steins Gate.

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 Post subject: Re: Anime
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:30 pm 
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I'm sorry to hear about that "anime book club" falling so badly flat. Hopefully you and your friends got some enjoyment out of tearing into it? But your comment suggests maybe otherwise.

Finished the rewatch of "The World is Still Beautiful". I think I needed that.

Still chugging along with Shakugan no Shana Second. I think Pandora Hearts is going next though I might switch to Occult Academy at the last second. Frankly both of them are shows I feel a little dubious about despite having recommendations to them based on shows I like, but Shana is being reliably strong-but-not-amazing so if I'm going to gamble with something a little dubious from my Plan to Watch list now might be the time.

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 Post subject: Re: Anime
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:45 am 
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Finished Shakugan no Shana Second. It... wasn't quite as good as the first season overall, but the Sabrac and Christmas Eve arcs at the end really helped it recover, and might be the high point of the show's action and drama so far. That doesn't excuse all the puttering around for the first half of the season, though. Looking forward to (and moving on to) Shakugan no Shana S and Final

Pandora Hearts is... odd. It hasn't really "grabbed" me yet, but there's enough creativity in it that I can find something to like.

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 Post subject: Re: Anime
PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2018 10:51 pm 
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So I finished Shakugan no Shana S. It was four episodes of filler, covering three stories. The first two were light, humorous pieces set during previous seasons (though at not precisely defined points). They weren't bad, but much like in-season filler episodes they weren't exactly what I cam to Shakugan no Shana for. The third story (comprising episodes 3 and 4), however, was anything but fluff. Technically it was a prequel to season 1, and... it's honestly some of the best material the show has put up. I wouldn't suggest watching it on its own, because it does assume that the viewer knows at least some of the technical details of Shana's world and it probably really does help to know how the character grows up from the character we see here. But unlike most of Shakugan no Shana to date, these two little episodes do really dive into what being a Flame Haze hunting Denizens is normally like, the background of experiences that in contrast to the higher stakes adventure we see in the main show has shaped the Flame Haze characters. It treats the pain and loss very seriously, and while the enemy Denizen in those episodes might be the least threatening denizen we've seen in the entire show, it comes off as far more monstrous for the more detailed study it (and the damage it does) gets.

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 Post subject: Re: Anime
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:22 am 
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I finished Pandora Hearts a bit ago. It feels like they skipped an act somewhere along the line, jumping from a slowly unravelling mystery right into a climax. And then the last episode was just a bonus round, they could have cut it at 24... or reversed the themes of the episodes so that the revelation doesn't come AFTER the biggest moment. It was clearly setting up for the sequel/second season that never happened, but it did so at least a little gracefully so that's probably better than a tacked-on anime-only ending like 2003 FMA had.

Currently a little over halfway through Shakugan no Shana Final and HOLY CRUD THIS IS AWESOME. Shana Final. This is what I want out of its genre (which I incidentally feel would cover the "core" of M:tG lore/fiction too: Magic-and-Powers high flying action). We understand the characters and get sucked into their fights because we know the emotional stakes as well as the dimensional ones, and both are powerful. The plot is incredibly twisted and convoluted, but each motion is easy to follow because there's usually a clear answer to "why are we doing what we're doing right now?" And the action is really, really right, and has shown the ability to handle everything from a 1-on-1 fight to a whole war with proper flow and stakes to the goings-on. The only thing I'm not sold on is Margery Daw. OK, she was a really fun character in the first and second seasons, but her appearances so far Final have been... uncomfortable at best, and some of that is Not Going Away even as she returns to fighting form.

I know I praised the material in episodes 3 & 4 of S for handling the small scale events of the setting really well... but the jump up in scale for Final has been even better.

I mean, I haven't finished. They still could botch it the way some shows lost their marbles right at the end. Those shows know who they are. But I don't think it's going to do me like that; the show's worst sins thusfar (across all its seasons) have been in wasting time, and Final hasn't wasted a single scene, really.

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The Coalition/Phyrexian War Game Rises Again


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