Yikes. Almost 2000 words for a mere weekly write-up. I started this weekly seasonal posts to ease up my workload. Looks like it ended up having an adverse effect. Not that I’m against it.
Alice to Zouroku – Episode 10
I really love Alice to Zouroku. I think it deserves a far better distinction from us other than a slice of life with a sci-fi twist. I’d have to agree that it can be boring or uninteresting to some should we take away its quaint atmosphere and quality visuals, but perhaps that’s only because of what its general theme and inspiration is (as well as the target demographic). Alice to Zouroku is also about coming of age, a theme that is believed to be what Lewis Caroll wanted to tell with Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland, in which the story’s titular character’s growth is influenced by her adventure in the Wonderland. Alice to Zouroku, on the other hand, follows a similar structure with retaining the Wonderland setting, but Alice’s growth is then influenced by the journey she experiences in the real world, specifically with the Kashimura family.
Kids are after all known to mimic (or take a hint from) what they see on adults, and Alice’s authoritative tone, her tenacious pretense of punishing those who did something wrong may have come from careful (and/or unconscious) observation of her guardian, Zouroku, who did more or less the same thing before when she was the one at the end of the stick. Careless use of magic for your own gain and advantage? You should get punished! Zouroku taught Alice when to and when not to use use ‘magic’, but then Hana and Ayu entered the picture whose recklessness can’t easily be justified if it’s good or bad. Of course, both the culprit knew that it was wrong to play around with their powers, but Alice may be thinking that they had legitimate reasons why they resorted to do so hence she’s getting ‘frazzled’.
Alice’s insistence on giving Hana and Ayu their comeuppance is taking a bad turn, and from the looks of it it’s only going to end up with Zouroku having more kids to discipline.
Boku no Hero Academia Season 2 – Episode 11
Now that the iconic Deku vs. Todoroki match is over, I’m not sure what I should look forward to in this adaptation. Their encounter with Stain ended abruptly in my opinion, and it could’ve used a bit more chapters to make things more interesting. He got disposed of as fast as his character got introduced. Todoroki and Bakugo’s match is unquestionably going to be exciting too, but it won’t hold as much emotional impact as compared to Todoroki’s previous match up. Whatever, I’ll stay around, I guess. For some reason this season has a lot anime continuing over to the following season.
Shingeki no Kyojin Season 2 – Episode 11
This episode is so-so. It’s good because the hype is there, it’s terrible because the placement of the drama is yet again missing its mark. I know I’m being pedantic here, but I feel like it’s not easy to switch the tones between drama and hype specially because SnK‘s hype is overpowering the latter. Another problem here is that it’s squeezed haphazardly in situations that doesn’t really demand any drama. More specifically Connie trying to talk sense into Bertholdt (or was it Reiner?) mentioning how he looks like when he sleeps. Is that something we are aware of? No, and we don’t care about it.
How much do we know about these characters in the first place? The thing is, these characters lack any substantial characterization and development, which is why these little conversations is everything but a lame attempt at making them feel as if they’re familiar to us. Obviously, they aren’t. If anything, Connie’s argument only ended up as a sneaky verbal ‘flashback’. It isn’t because I am not invested in the characters; it’s just that there weren’t anything to invest in to begin with, other than the hype and mystery stuff, of course.
Tsuki ga Kirei – Episode 9
I forgot to mention this last week, but Tsuki ga Kirei‘s essentially a photographer’s wet dream. I’ve dabbled a bit with photography for around 4 months at least. I can’t say that I have a talent for it, but taking on analog photography enabled me to get a better grasp of what a good shot is and how to take it. This practicality got carried over to how I consume and view anime — it’s now easier to point out which cut is interesting and which isn’t thanks to what little background knowledge I gained from handling a camera. Episode 8 has a bit of everything, making each shots aesthetically pleasing to the eye, all the while expressing the emotion and mood of a given situation. From bokeh, rule of thirds, lightning, framing, perspective lines, geography… yeah, it’s a complete package of photography and shot composition goodness. I fucking love it.
Episode 9 retains some of that flair albeit toned down. Uhh, I guess one of my favorite shots was with the three girls eating their bento together. Their shot was taken with their backs to the camera, with equal spacing in between and the stadium acting as the backdrop (there’s also that side-railing separating the subject with the backdrop suggesting depth). With this context it could be said that they’re just colleagues taking a break whilst enjoying the view of the stadium. However, the fact that Akane shifted the tone by the time she saw her mom’s message transformed the shot’s context into something entirely different. Now it makes more sense why they are facing the stadium, not the camera. The stadium is busy; full of activities. But here they are, sharing what possibly the last moment of their careers as track and field teammates. Yeah, well, you get where I’m coming from.
Anyways, that’s pretty much what I missed to say last week. Akane and Azumi is yet again facing another hurdle in their relationship. Will it be 5cm/sec all over again? My intuition tells me that yes — the only catch is that they’ll stay in contact with each other because… that’s what LINE is for, right? What better way to advertise your product to couples who are into long-distance relationships? Whichever. I can deal with that. Just don’t give us NTR and I’m all good.
Oh, and that part with the two messaging each other was really, really cute. It’s interesting how much easier they can open up a conversation not as opposed to when they’re just starting out.
Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul – Episode 10
That’s some pretty good story-telling, J’eanne D’arc. From the moment they showed us that shot of the rose’s petals scattered on the ground, I knew that this episode is going to be fantastic. It’s apparent that they took a different approach with this one as contrasted by the ever-bubbly Nina during that small dialogue before the preview. If the Virgin Soul we used to know is filled with adventure, comedy, action, and whatnot, J’eanne D’arc and Mugaro’s backstory portrays a bleaker mood. The story-board was great, the color composition with some of the shots were immersive, and that godly classical music was just the cherry on top.
Little Witch Academia (TV) – Episode 22
There seems to be a lot of backlash against Akko’s character development. While I agree that there isn’t really much we can say to distinguish the Akko of now to the Akko of before, is it perhaps because we’re just looking at this the wrong way? I personally think she’s fine the way she is. If it isn’t for her brash attitude, single-minded stubbornness and natural air-headedness we wouldn’t have arrived at this point of the story. Sure, things are looking bleak and glum, yet think of all the hard work she did, and how much she inspired change in others. Her ‘redundancy’ wasn’t for naught. Hitherto it isn’t about Akko growing up and maturing — it’s the other way around. It’s about her inspiring change in others.
With this perspective in mind the twist fits perfectly into how they’ve handled Akko up until now contrary to, say, an Akko who fell in love with Andrew, or an Akko who learned how to fly and cast all sorts of magic. Yeah, well, that’s impossible, because otherwise doing so would only compromise the logic in LWA‘s narrative and big reveal. She’s designed as a ball of energy, an unstoppable force of optimism, and along her adventures she’ll meet people who, at first, will antagonize her but later on will fall in love with her bubbly charm. I guess I’m one of those people who got hexed by her, along with countless other people like Andrew, The Fish Professor, Diana etc etc. It’s that kind of magic that I was trying to articulate weeks ago — she already has it, hence she doesn’t really need to change to someone else.
Watching her back while she do her usual shenanigans, cheering for her, and hoping that she’ll find her own success and redemption is part of that build up into one giant ball of emotional pay off, which is why for the love of god seeing her so heartbroken this episode is damn you Trigger. You pulled a good one on us.
Eromanga Sensei – Episode 10
Eromanga is good. Fight me.
Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii desu ka? Sukette Moratte Ii desu ka? – Episode 9
I’m glad SukaSuka has the tact to do a time skip. I was starting to think that they’re going to drag Chtholly’s introspection for another episode, then again this kind of investment is necessary for that gut-punch later on in the series. How many episodes is this supposed to run again?
Anyways, I’m rather excited for what’s going to happen next. From the looks of it SukaSuka’s prolly pulling a sekai-kei considering how much they’re foreshadowing the death of MC’s love interest. I don’t know. The fact that SukaSuka‘s world building is congruent to how the characters are developing doubles the fun in discovery. Yeah, most of the time we’re just spent listening to verbal dialogues, but that really isn’t a problem for me if I’m already sold with the narrative.
Re:Creators – Episode 10
That was a crazy episode. I’m honestly infuriated with Magane and Alice, then again they have every justification why they’re the way they are. Selesia is finally getting some relevance, and that twist with her transformation was kinda on the mark with my own guess back then. In this sense, their fictionality is already a part of the communal reality, and the only way to change how they are perceived is by introducing that change to whoever allows their fictionality to be a part of reality: the audience. Of course, this is normally communicated through various media — anime, manga, light novel, games, but social media isn’t so different in function. Yeah, it’s media theory, and I need to read more books about it.
Finally finished reading Beautiful Fighting Girl. It’s quite the thought-provoking book, and I wouldn’t have had thought that the otaku can be explained with this kind of perspective. Although I feel like the more I read Tamaki’s analysis, the more narrow his distinction of what an otaku is becomes. To begin with, he did acknowledge the presence of female otaku yet didn’t really expound on their psyche. I also feel like he’s bringing the topic up as ‘unique only to Japan’, but… that doesn’t really explain why we’ve got tons of western otaku like me existing. Well, whatever. We have to take into consideration that this was written a decade and a half ago, where the climate of the fandom is likely relatively different. Next book I’m reading is Tamaki’s staunch critic, Hiroki Azuma and his book, Otaku: Japan’s Database Animals.