Anime might be cool

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mwchase
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Re: Anime might be cool

Postby mwchase » Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:04 am

The Rocketeer wrote:Üso Ewin (which actually sounds like a real name to me,
That said, it also sounds like an Irish family had things go very wrong with the paperwork when they immigrated to Germany, and then their grandson got named after the Japanese word for "lie".

That said, that's at least a scenario.
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The Rocketeer

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby The Rocketeer » Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:30 am

What you suggest isn't far outside of the Gundam experience. There's a big subset of Silly Tomino Names that fall under "creative mix of cultures," which sound human if unusual, and make sense in context; Gundam is generally a huge melting pot of cultures and nationalities, and many of its characters either are or seem to be of mixed heritage. Gundam is a sort of post-national setting, and pre-Earth Sphere nations and cultures just don't mean as much anymore now that everything is about Earthlings and spacenoids. But that's a can of worms for another day.
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The Rocketeer

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby The Rocketeer » Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:56 pm

Continued Mobile Suit Victory Gundam, from Episode 11 to episode 21.

Victory continues to add even more grotesquely-named characters, none of which I can remember; I'm horrible with names at the best of times, and Gundam really pushes on this weak spot. I do remember the characters themselves just fine; I just have to get by mentally referring to them as "Older and Younger Girl Kamilles" and "Older and Younger Black Judaus," for example. Speaking once again of Gundam's dumb names, it looks like I was wrong about Jinn Gehennam being a pseudonym; it really was just an example of a character's name being so out of place that even other Gundam characters notice.

And speaking once again of dumb Tomino names and things I was wrong about, I finally realized Duker Iq (aka Awesome Mototank Zanscare 'Stache Guy) totally didn't die, and continues to rock the house with his right hand lady Renda (aka Evil Marbet (aka Backup Crush for When Marbet and Oliver Bump Junk)).

With the escalation of the conflict and the return to space, I was concerned that Victory would start to abandon the focus on creative use of hardware and character-driven (rather than beam- and suit-driven) tactics and decisions. I'm pleased to say this hasn't happened so far, though we are still pretty early in the series and the focus is still on introducing the tech and the setting, and on everyone learning to working together and grow as pilots. We'll see how it develops.

I'm also a big fan of the character writing this time around. Victory's cast has been a big hit with me, and the show has embraced and excelled with its own personality without departing unduly from the ways and tone of previous series.

Still really liking things so far, but I think I'm seeing what they mean when they say that Victory was shaped by Gravelord Tomino's deepening depression. Gundam had never been particularly lighthearted before, but every now and then something bleak and unfamiliar shows through the cracks in Victory, distinct in timbre. Maybe it's nothing, but it's planted a seed of worry.

EDIT: Also, it turns out Woowig, the city featured in the earliest arc, was once Prague. This was actually revealed right up front, but I spaced on it until a recap episode. So, that finally gives me a location more narrow than "Europe" for the action, and only two arcs too late. Normally, I'd chalk up a decision like that to squeamishness about depicting war in real locations, which is common enough, but that's pretty clearly not the case here. If it were, they wouldn't have bothered putting a big sign reading "PRAHA" right on screen, nor displayed its exact location on a map with recognizable borders in a country labelled "Czech." That, and Gundam has never been shy about it, featuring action in recognizable cities like Dakar and even wiping two major cities off the map. Even given that, you might suspect Victory represented a change in that policy, but events after Woowig also take place in explicitly-named places like Gibraltar. There are a few episodes in an Irish city I never caught the name of, but I may well have just missed it like I did the Woowig/Prague thing.

Which raises the question: whatever happened to change the name of one of the most well-known cities in the world? It's implied the population there gathered after fairly recent Earth Federation legislation, and the characters treat the abandoned subway system like some sort of mystery ruins (fitting the motif of humankind regressing from the past).
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The Rocketeer

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby The Rocketeer » Sat Apr 29, 2017 12:16 pm

Truckin' on through, finished another arc from episodes 22-27 of Mobile Suit Victory Gundam, just passing the halfway point of the series. More space action!

So I guess from now on I'm just gonna have to skip over the previews at the end of each episode. There's no reason to watch them in the first place when I've just got the series queued up on VLC, especially when they can't stop spoiling major character deaths for the following episode. Moses on skis, what a dick move.

And on that note, Victory outdoes Zeta's finale by featuring the most blatantly Freudian imagery in the entire series. Our pint-sized pilot's becoming a man on the battlefield in more ways than one, I guess.

And on that note, do you think it ever crossed Sunrise/Bandai's minds that running with such a young protagonist is just going to force Gravelord Tomino's hand? That it's just going to be that much more traumatic and horrifying when their 13-year old pilot learns to slaughter people en masse, and look them right in the eye while doing so? The image of blank-eyed Amuro catatonic in his bunk with shell shock has stuck with me for its visually-arresting nature, but Üso's portrayal is just way more human than past protagonists, and it's just wince-inducing to see this kid dying inside. Tomino's enmity with the forced creative directions from above gave him the motive and opportunity to go right for the throat early and often. I'd never let an elementary schooler near this festival of the macabre. MSG, fine; War in the Pocket, maybe. Victory, no way.

Also, while I don't mind the series indulgences during finales too much, it seems like they crossed the line from "Newtype = force sensitivity" to "Newtype = space wizard" way too early and way too aggressively. There's room to backpedal it later, and I'm strongly hoping they do.

On a lighter note, a portion of the tone and a fair share of the story and character beats, especially since the space arcs started and a new slew of characters was introduced, makes me wonder if Yoshiyuki Tomino autopsied ZZ's first half after he got done savagely murdering it, and thought, "Oh, this could have been interesting. Someone should really do this way better somehow."
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SpammyV
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Re: Anime might be cool

Postby SpammyV » Sat Apr 29, 2017 11:43 pm

And that was ZZ Gundam.

RIP the last Gundam Mk. II, you survived the other two for so long and then got blown up too.

I think that even to the end I was less invested in ZZ Gundam than I was into Mobile Suit Gundam or Zeta Gundam (Or G Gundam. Eh... we'll come back to SEEDF). I keep finding myself wishing that the first half hadn't been so blank. As a side story poking fun at Gundam tropes it would've worked, a humorous little diversion among the larger war. But after Zeta started this twisting and turning war narrative, to just drop that focus and not pick it up again until Dublin becomes a crater makes all those episodes feel wasted. I mean, in Zeta Quattro got up in front of the world and went, "I'm Quattro Bajeena of the AEUG. Also I'm Char Aznable the red comet. Also I'm Casval Zum Deikun the rightful leader of Zeon. And I'm here to say: Screw Titans." And then so far as everyone knows, he dies in the final battle against Paptimus and Haman and I can't see how that didn't leave a massive power vacuum that no one ever wanted to discuss.

And even when ZZ picks itself up I still didn't get completely into it. Judau just laying every problem at the feet of adults didn't really work for me, and Tomino taking everything funny from the first half of the show and murdering it just made me amused in a meta sense. And while I was amused at first that Bright stopped and said, "You know what actually Amuro and Kamille were really good let's not stop the kid from piloting the Gundam this time" I ended up more annoyed than anything that Bright ended up so toothless and unimportant they kicked him off his own boat. And hell, Judau keeps saying adults are terrible and there's Bright outraged at the same things that Judau are outraged at, with the only difference being that Bright's not about to start punching Federation officers.

And while I understand that like half of all humanity has died in the past six years but I still feel like with the rate of colonies being destroyed in wars that people are far too blase about dropping them. But then I'm still on the side of that one guy in Operation Stardust begging the Zeon Remnants not to go through with a colony drop, trying to appeal to them by telling them how many people could be fed and housed with those two colonies.

Also it don't matter if you're a Newtype or a cloned Newtype or a Cyber Newtype, you can do anything when you get mad enough.

Zeta would always have been a tough act to follow, but I feel like ZZ missed the mark completely.

And now it's time to see what Char Aznable does when he's his reasons and while he's thinking about how Amuro won't kiss him he remembers Amuro baaaaaasically justifying the drop in a conversation they had years ago.
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The Rocketeer

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby The Rocketeer » Sun Apr 30, 2017 2:14 am

Keeping in mind I'm grading on a BIG curve, I think ZZ becomes interesting in hindsight; as a consequence of Tomino's absence and return and the huge swing in tone away from Zeta and back again, the series becomes a sort of commentary on childhood naiveté, all but totally by accident.

The first half are all these wacky, largely inconsequential exploits of Judau, Elle, Roux, Beecha, Mondo— all kids. They see the world through a lighthearted lens, because they're children; consequently, that's how the events are portrayed to the audience. They meet characters like Mashymere Cello, Chara Soon (no idea how to spell either of those), and Glemy Toto, and they come off as these absurd, fanciful characters. They run around with returning characters like the seriously dangerous Yazan Gable, and circumstance colors them as ineffectual bumblers. Bright and the other adults try to bring the kids around to taking their situation seriously, but their attempts are undercut with the seeming ease and freedom from consequences the young ones enjoy thanks to their overpowered hardware and natural talents. Eventually, even Bright, the de facto adult in the room for the entire Gundam series up to this point, starts letting it all slide.

And yes, all this is totally inappropriate for a successor to the UC. Even if you aren't returning from Zeta, there's this sense that the kids' cheaply-earned cavalier attitude and freedom from consequences doesn't jibe with the rest of the world around them. But of course, it doesn't last. As it turns out, the kids really were getting off too easy. Unlike their forebears, they managed to escape the consequences of failure and personal loss way too long, and made them deaf to the pleading of the adults and blind to the carnage around, but not among, themselves. By the time they begin to comprehend their situation, they're already in far too deep and the dam begins breaking faster and faster, leaving them unable to cope.

The steady change in tone comes to reflect the death of the young cast's naiveté, conveying that internal, personal shift visibly to the audience. It's worth noting that the show doesn't simply write off or even adapt the lighthearted elements preceding the paradigm shift; the show goes out of its way to pervert them, to add some dark justification to their previous portrayal that the cast should have suspected, but didn't. While Dublin is the obvious signal that everything was different, the moment most illustrative of the deliberate subversion of the series is Chara Soon achieving climax at the moment of her death. It vindicates the audience's sensation of cognitive dissonance, and it extends the realities of the bleak latter half of ZZ retroactively into the prior half. It corroborates what the audience was anxiously aware of: that the kids were always doomed to suffer this kind of disillusionment and pain. It was always lurking around them, regardless of their inability to see it.

At the end, there's a scene between Judau and Bright that bugged the hell out of me. Judau, boiling with rage, and Bright, sheepish and ashamed, have a short conversation about the post-war, and Bright lets Judau punch him right in the face. It's a moment so obviously laden with meaning that my incomprehension of what it was supposed to convey bugged the piss out of me. Eventually, I think I came to understand it. The scene actually has very little to do with Judau and Bright themselves. Judau, realizing that the Federation's terms for ending the war are driven by cynicism and opportunism, and all but lay the foundation for the next war. Looking back on how the war has changed him and all the suffering he's witnessed, he begs Bright for some reassurance or justification for the war's outcome. Bright knows that Judau, at long last, is pleading with Bright, as a a child to an adult, for some direction and understanding. But Bright knows Judau already sees it for what it is. The only thing he has to offer Judau is a way to vent his rage. There's so much bound up in that one punch: Judau's grief for his childhood, ended too soon; his guilt for the lives he's taken; his grief for his departed allies, and the horror of all the violence he's witnessed. Unable to cope, all he can do is lash out at Bright, who represents to him the 'adult world:' the cynical system that exploits the spirit and energy of the young, and discards them; the death spiral of war begetting more war; the impotence of the victims of conflict like Judau to meaningfully affect the purpose or future of the causes they've fought and died for.

But immediately afterward, the tone shifts once again for a seemingly optimistic ending. Judau, reunited with Leina, is departing the Earth Sphere with the Jupiter Energy Fleet with a smile on his face. It's a very Huckleberry Finn sort of ending, I think; despite all that he's suffered, Judau's maturity from a boy into a young man hasn't killed the goodness and hope in his heart. Though not yet an adult, he's taken to heart the lessons of his hardships. I wonder if his departure is meant to contrast him with Paptimus Scirocco. Scirocco, as the Man from Jupiter, was a figure heavy with symbolism, a metaphor of Zeus himself. In Zeta, Scirocco returns with the Jupiter Energy Fleet a self-proclaimed genius uniquely worthy to take the world in his hands for his own sake. Judau, likewise, won't return from the long voyage until he, too, is a man in his own right. It's just speculation on my part, but I wouldn't be surprised if Judau returned as an altogether different Man from Jupiter: a powerful Newtype with vision and heart, with the mind and wisdom of a man and the untarnished hope of his youth. A boy with no say in the future for which he suffered so keenly returns as a man uniquely suited to lead mankind on the road to its destiny among the stars. But maybe that's a little much to pin on an incidental voyage to Jupiter.

It sure as hell ain't Zeta, but I think ZZ is interesting from the perspective of Tomino starting late in the game to do what he could with what he had.
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The Rocketeer

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby The Rocketeer » Sun Apr 30, 2017 12:06 pm

Watched four more episodes of MSVG, from 28 to 31. That's all I could manage, because it felt like the show was trying to reach into my skull and tear out my fucking brain. Holy Christ, this show got really stupid all of a sudden. Episode 29 is the worst Gundam episode I've seen in any series, and that's including the episode they cut from MSG and that retarded ZZ episode about the old colony full of savages. And now that the show's managed to piss me off, a bunch of little annoyances I was fine with brushing over in the past have started getting on my nerves.

You know, if I had suddenly realized that every episode of Victory past 28 had disappeared and all copies were lost, never to be witnessed again by man, I'd have called it the second best series behind Zeta, but now I'm just hoping it doesn't keep nosediving at this rate so that my blood doesn't boil in my veins and cook my heart to fucking death.
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4th Dimension

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby 4th Dimension » Sun Apr 30, 2017 2:13 pm

While in your shows kids get turned into murderers and tormented by the horrors of war with a big focus on they machines in which they fight, in the show I watched Girls pilot their machines of death and destruction, blow each other up and nobody is ever hurt and they are all fine in the end and friends. Yes, I have been watching Girls und Panzer. On one hand I call bull about some aspects of tank performance and the fact that most battles turn into giant chases with tanks, on the other hand the action is fun and interesting. It's certainly interesting enough that I'm willing to overlook most of the BS the protagonist pull.
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SpammyV
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Re: Anime might be cool

Postby SpammyV » Sun Apr 30, 2017 3:49 pm

Hey so uh there's a lot of spoilers in this post for ZZ Gundam and Martian Successor Nadesico so if you don't want to get spoiled on either of these shows go ahead and skip this. But I don't want to do the mental gymnastics of figuring what's been said already and what is/isn't a spoiler when I'm going to be talking about the tone and twists of both shows so much.

Rocketeer, The I still don't know if I buy that interpretation of ZZ.

I was thinking on it a bit, and I remembered that I found ZZ and Martian Successor Nadesico to be very similar shows in tone. Both shows start off feeling like they're trying to be parodies, but then they both want to pull a Kingsmen and say "This ain't that kind of movie."

In ZZ they end the plot of trying to rescue Leina with her being shot and then having a shot-down mobile suit crash right on top of her. Then a colony falls on Dublin. Then Puru dies. The show decides it's turning dark and doesn't let up.

In Nadesico, you have these bright, loud characters looking forward to their White Base-esque adventure and independence while they're geeking out over the most 70s super robot show possible, then Gai Daigouji dies for nothing more glorious than being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and when they finally reach Mars they're forced to kill the people they came to save in order to keep the Nadesico from being destroyed and having the Jovians kill them all.

Both shows start off presenting these consequence-free adventures, both shows try to turn things around, and then the diverge sharply.

In ZZ they want to keep the darkness going. The bring back characters from the silliest arc in the first half of the show just to kill them. They bring back the goofball bad guys, now brainwashed and Cyber-Newtypes with the humor in them surgically removed to show just how divorced ZZ is from comedy now. Especially with Chara I feel like the intent was not "This is how they always were" but "NO THERE'S NOTHING FUNNY HERE ANY MORE!" But, and I would say in usual Gundam fashion, ZZ ends hopefully. I think that most Gundam shows try to resolve the "Killing is bad but there are bad guys we have to kill" dilemma by in the end killing the people trying to continue or escalate the current wars and then implying that just maybe with those influences gone there's hope for the world, and there's also hope in that the protagonists still have each other when all is said and done.

Nadesico on the other hand, continues to flip-flop between Nadesico The Comedy and Nadesico The Deconstruction. And they do a lot to set up a deconstruction of mecha shows and more than a few Gundam plots. In the last six or so episodes I was positive that the show was going to end with Akatsuki explaining that the reason the Nadesico crew was staffed with eccentric weirdoes is because they would all be extraordinarily easy to manipulate into doing whatever Nergal wanted, all that Nergal needed to do was give them a chance to feel like heroes. I thought that the finale was going to involve Akito and Yurika having to recover from having no answer to the question: "In all this time on the Nadesico, when have you gotten involved and actually saved someone? When have you made things better by going somewhere?" And there's a bit I love where one of the characters, a voice actress, returns to the show she was working on before she left on the Nadesico and is horrified at the change in tone in the show, asking why it's turned into a fighting show and why it's turned into propaganda, because having the magical girl fighting the Jovans isn't fooling anyone when in the real world they're at war with the Jovians. And then there's her quiet horror as she realizes that the show is being paid for by Nergal Heavy Industries, the same company that built the Nadesico in the first place.

Damn I just realized that Nergal is basically Anaheim Electronics I knew there was a reason I hated both companies.

But Nadesico isn't committed to being a deconstruction of the genre and I feel like that is a major waste, and while I think the Comedy and the Deconstruction don't work when you flip between them, both shows still work individually. I love Comedy Nadesico and I love Deconstruction Nadesico. The comedy half of the show still manages some moments of subtlety and depth and growth among the characters, and the show's darker and deconstructive moments are handled beautifully. When I got to Leina dying in ZZ I sat there and couldn't quite shake the feeling that this same kind of scene hit me harder in Nadesico.

If I have to pick one show for being better I would go with Nadesico. The way the two shows are stitched together doesn't work and even undercuts the deconstruction but I think both shows are still stronger than ZZ and I got more invested in both of them than I did with ZZ, even though I wish that Nadesico had the consistency of ZZ and stuck with going dark before ending up hopeful after the heroes have been forced to grow.

And I still need to talk about Char's Counterattack but I save my novel length posts for talking about how amazing my Pokemon are.
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The Rocketeer

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby The Rocketeer » Sun Apr 30, 2017 4:09 pm

Yep. I don't wanna try and paint ZZ as some sort of secretly genius subversion here, or to imply that there was, even after Tomino returned, some sort of grand plan to unify the series into some sort of coherent thematic framework or statement. My interpretation above isn't so much, "Here's what they were trying to say," as it is, "If you had to wring some purpose out of this car crash, this might pass for it." Mainly, I think it's interesting (in the peculiar way, not necessarily the good way) as an unplanned experiment in, "New foreman signs on while house is halfway built, implements radically different design with only chainsaw and sledgehammer," and for its bizarre place in the UC, especially as successor to Zeta.

If it were a miniseries, I might have something like the sort of fondness for it that I have for jankball Stardust Memory. But sticking out ZZ for 47 episodes is... probably something you just do once.

Now tell me how much Char's Counterattack sucked and that we can still be friends.
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Scerro

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby Scerro » Mon May 01, 2017 7:38 am

So, saw Your Name (Kimi No Na Wa). Overall a good film, but has a few moments with music that didn't fit the scene. A little bit disappointing in how it was wrapped up, I would have preferred a six episode anime with more time to work on the characters and for the first third of the movie to not feel like it's pilot episode within the movie.

I plan to watch SAO: Ordinal Scale when the chance shows up. I expect nothing less than normal SAO, but knowing the Light Novels and the author's work I'm hoping Movie will help him focus on what should be focused on. Well, and I also hope that maybe he can write a male protagonist besides Kirito that's competent (Eugeo doesn't count... for multiple reasons IMO).

The new Attack on Titan season seems to start out fairly meh. Only saw the first episode and they're up to episode 5, but still. Seems like the same old same old depressing crap with characters that generally suck too.

I tried watching Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records. Not happening. First episode was so generic and typical I couldn't even think of what the second would try..

Some day here I'll have a slow Sunday and get into Your Lie in April. Sort of looking forward to it, and not at the same time.
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Retsam

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby Retsam » Tue May 02, 2017 4:07 am

I also saw Your Name tonight; I'm glad I was able to see it; I though I'd miss it in theaters because it came out a day before my wedding; but surprisingly it's still running into a fourth week here. (Maybe that shouldn't be surprising; I don't have much of a frame of reference, since this is only the second anime film I've seen in theaters, (unless we're counting Pokemon way back when), but I didn't expect it to run for more than a week or two)

Anyway, my wife and I and the couple we went with really enjoyed it. Loved the animation, loved the music, loved the story. It doesn't entirely stand up to logical scrutiny (e.g.
Spoiler), but I had no trouble telling that part of my brain to shut up and just enjoy it, because the story worked emotionally. And it's still a pretty clever story. (Certainly there's less fridge logic than Summer Wars)

So yeah, highly recommend if you're in the mood for a cute film.
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The Rocketeer

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby The Rocketeer » Tue May 02, 2017 10:11 am

TOGETHER WITH VICTORY I DESCEND INTO COMPLETE MADNESS
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Lachlan the Sane
Location: I come from the land down under, where women blow and men chunder

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby Lachlan the Sane » Tue May 02, 2017 11:29 am

The Rocketeer wrote:TOGETHER WITH VICTORY I DESCEND INTO COMPLETE MADNESS

I clicked the quote button to see if there was a trick to this, and nope:

Code: Select all

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Good grief, was it worth the effort?
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Daemian Lucifer

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby Daemian Lucifer » Tue May 02, 2017 11:35 am

Lachlan the Sane wrote:Good grief, was it worth the effort?


Since you became sane you are asking such silly questions.Of course it was!
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Lachlan the Sane
Location: I come from the land down under, where women blow and men chunder

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby Lachlan the Sane » Tue May 02, 2017 11:41 am

Daemian Lucifer wrote:
Lachlan the Sane wrote:Good grief, was it worth the effort?


Since you became sane you are asking such silly questions.Of course it was!

Such is the price of sanity.
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Retsam

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby Retsam » Tue May 02, 2017 1:35 pm

I assume Rocketeer is savvy enough to use one of the many existing tools for this. (For example)
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John

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby John » Tue May 02, 2017 3:02 pm

The Rocketeer wrote:TOGETHER WITH VICTORY I DESCEND INTO COMPLETE MADNESS

Wow. It would normally take you, oh, three pages to say that Gundam drove you crazy but you've managed to do it here in just a single sentence. Good for you!
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The Rocketeer

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby The Rocketeer » Tue May 02, 2017 3:27 pm

John wrote:Wow. It would normally take you, oh, three pages to say that Gundam drove you crazy but you've managed to do it here in just a single sentence. Good for you!

Image
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SpammyV
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Re: Anime might be cool

Postby SpammyV » Tue May 02, 2017 11:01 pm

The bit that sucked about Char's Counterattack is that it's a two hour movie instead of a 13 episode OVA. As a movie it feels terribly compressed and rushed and the ending happens so suddenly it feels like the ending song is interrupting Char and Amuro's debate at the end. I really wish it had been a full series because it's so good and full of compelling stuff.

One of the elements of the movie is that it's Char's counterattack. Quattro Bajeena died, either at the end of the Gryps Conflict or while seeing the response of the Earth Federation to Haman's invasion, but Quattro Bajeena definitely died. Quattro was a man who believed in the promise that the AEUG represented, that there were those in the Earth Federation and Colonies who were ready to fight against the worst excesses of the Federation government (represented by the Titans). Yet, the AEUG was not able to make that change, and a corrupt Federation remained, almost comically uncaring to the needs of the Spacenoids it claimed to represent. You could say that it's partially Char's fault, and you would be right for reasons I'll get to.

Char has never wanted power. Becoming the leader of Neo-Zeon is something that he feels was forced on him, because no one else could step up and lead. I would not say that Char is evil, that is a term I usually apply to characters driven by greed, ambition, or self-centeredness. Char is one of those villains who, despite the terrible things they do, believes that all the horrible acts they've done (and regret) are for a better end. Master Asia from G Gundam would take a lot of Char in that regard.

But also there's a much more personal reason as to why Char acts the way he does: Rejection. There's only one person left in the setting that Char has ever had an emotional bond with, and he's rejected Char. Char x Amuro is my THE OTP.

During the events of Zeta Char and Amuro meet face to face for the first time since the end of Mobile Suit Gundam, and the two are instantly connected to one another. They can even sense each other long before they meet face to face. They both share the pain over Lalah's death. There's no way that Amuro is not on Char's mind during the entirety of the movie, the scene with Char and his drink right before the final operation is an extremely subtle callback to Amuro and Char sharing a drink in Zeta. I'd argue that Char is desperate to have Amuro's attention again, and if you really want to get deep you could say that Char's attacks on Earth were just attempts to get Amuro to go into space again and interact with Char in any way.

Because Amuro is not willing to abandon the billions of people still living on the surface, or sacrifice them for humanity's potential evolution as a spacebearing species. He recognizes the corruption in the Federation government, but he does not lose faith or become willing to sacrifice so many innocents. And after losing that faith, Char ends up actually regressing. As Quattro Bajeena he was associated with the Hyaku Shiki, which not only looked more Gundam-esque but was also gold-colored, a glittering symbol. But after he falls he ends up piloting the red, devilish Sazabi which harkens back to his Zaku during the One Year War, while cherubic Amuro is piloting the angelic Nu Gundam*.

And characters in the movie even talk about how Char's closed his heart off. Char as a villain actually becomes much more like Paptimus Scirocco than I'm sure he ever wanted to be, in that everyone is just a tool for him to use. Even after having seen what hell Cyber-Newtypes go through he Cyberizes Gyunei and rather than asking about his welfare in a personal way, his question is: "Is Gyunei stable?" He treats Quess almost exactly like Scirocco treated Sarah, feeding her adoration with just enough comfort and empty promises to make her believe in him. Nanai probably has it the worst of all, as she loves Char and the movie strongly implies they're physically intimate** and yet she knows that no matter how much Char turns to her for comfort, she'll never be to him what Lalah was. The one person alive who means that much to Char... is never going to join him.

There's so much going on here with Char and Amuro and it's so good and would be an excellent end to the relationship of two really good characters... except the movie is terrible. It's rushed, compressed, overly ambitious, pick whatever words you want to describe the fact that they tried to cram too much into a two-hour movie. Quess' arc in particular suffers, the major reason she looks so insane and unreasonable is that it seems like hours pass between her scenes. If her story had been told over a series that covered months worth of time, it would've worked. But when it seems like it takes hours to go from her meeting Amuro to badgering Chan about "interfering" with Quess and Amuro's relationship to leaving Amuro and jumping on the Char train, she looks like such a terrible character.

It turns out Tomino is also not satisfied with Char's Counterattack. Someone posted some really good excerpts from an interview with Tomino, Hideki Anno, and other industry figures, and one of the things that Tomino opens up about his is own disappointment with not being able to do better with his first attempt at movie directing, and with how poorly the ending plays. His actual response to hearing other directors praise the movie is surprise.

Also Hideki Anno not only loves the shit out of Char's Counterattack he gets really attached to this underwear/nudity metaphor and Tomino has to tell him to tone it down.

So... it's a terrible movie filled with a lot of good material that I would've loved to see fleshed out into like an OVA series. Especially if we could've seen the moment that Char decides he has to take control of Neo Zeon, I feel like that would've been one hell of a moment. I don't know where terrible movie with good stuff fits onto the 1-10 scale.

*The Nu Gundam's not for show he says and then you play four Super Robot Wars games where the Nu's animations are especially flashy and showy and it's obvious that a huge amount of time and money went into make the Nu Gundam's attacks look showy.

**But they DEFINITELY didn't have a kid and that DEFINITELY didn't lead to Char's unknown grandson being the youngest Gundam protagonist.
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The Rocketeer

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby The Rocketeer » Wed May 03, 2017 3:01 am

^^This is the credited response.

Also, I'm shocked, SHOCKED, that Hideaki Anno is a pretentious hyperactive space cadet with no grasp of storytelling. On the other hand, I'm not surprised at all that Tomino wanted to write Amuro and Char out of the continuity, since that's probably the most heavy-handed element of the entire film.

I have 13 episodes of Victory left. I'm going to try to set some time aside in the next day or two to death march binge it all.
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The Rocketeer

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby The Rocketeer » Wed May 03, 2017 3:46 pm

Hindsight's Victim wrote:Tomino... calls Victory absolute trash that no one should watch. I've... really been enjoying it so far.


Image

Thank you all for convening one last time. Regrettably, though I managed to endure Mobiro Suto Vikutori Gandamu's finale by holding the sides of my head together with my hands, it successfully infected my brain, and I have reconciled myself amicably with my passing.

It's ironic that this comes so soon after a discussion of Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, and its own bizarre shift in structure, tone, and quality. Victory manages to reverse the model of its predecessor with a first half I found consistently above average and a second half that has literally killed me. Where Victory manages to outdo ZZ is in its suddenness and intensity. Rather than the gradual shift into something unfamiliar, Victory is divided almost evenly into two completely unlike halves, and the transition between the two is so abrupt and obvious that it approximates two completely different shows.

The first half of Victory ends with Episode 27. Though not perfect, the show managed to impress me considerably up to this point. Recurring issues like the uneven pacing and lapses of responsible supervision allowing for the young cast's various escapades were forgiven in light of a strong sense of momentum and purpose, with the action progressing engagingly towards established goals, and a consistent sense of ingenuity and detail. As stated previously, I was always wary that the show would lapse into laziness, and allow the action to be carried by vague, arbitrary increases in power, or simply brushed over as a trifle. To the contrary, I was delighted as the show consistently kept its tools and tactics in mind and allowed its disputes to be resolved through cleverness and skill, posing and solving unique problems with each new episode. Lastly, Victory bore in its breast a real sense of personality and heart, standing toe to toe with any previous series in its sensation of genuine humanity.

Episode 27 itself might be the finest Victory achieves, the point when a number of narrative and thematic threads culminate at a single resolution. The first half of the series bears with it the familiar themes of previous series, with young people being caught in the winds of war and all that goes with it, but adds its own spin with the undercurrent of parental abandonment and a response to its place in the Gundam metaseries with its focus on the stalled progression— and even regression— of mankind's ascent to the stars. Leading up to Episode 27, Üso has managed to rescue Shakti from Zanscare's home colony, where she had reunited with her mother, the Queen, after long years on Earth as a young orphan. But Shakti feels no connection with her mother and seems horrified by her means and ideals, even saying that her mother is dead to her. Üso himself is still having difficulty coping with taking human lives; simultaneously, he is in the grip of his sexual maturation and awakening, coming haltingly to terms with the transition from viewing women as maternal figures to viewing them as sexual interests. Finally, both Shakti and Üso have begun to awaken to their Newtype perceptions, and both realize that the change is occurring.

The action of the episode itself deals with the deployment of a weapon captured from Zanscare's fleet, long foreshadowed but only now revealed. The weapon, a gargantuan beam artillery intended to bombard the Earth's surface from orbit, is being turned on the Zanscare fleet after a daring strike on the Zanscare colony forced them to regroup en masse around their home territory. The weapon outdoes the most blatant of Zeta Gundam's sexual imagery with its profile: an unabashedly phallic weapon consisting of a long, tapered shaft bearing two large, slightly oblong spheroids at its base. At the culmination of the battle fought while the weapon charges, one of Üso's key mother figures dies right in front of him, while the weapon's remote controls are destroyed. Üso, in his grief, is left with the responsibility of firing the weapon manually, despite having expressed his belief that the weapon was too terrible to use. As he unleashes the beam, devastating Zanscare's concentrated fleet, the psychic agony of hundreds or thousands of simultaneous deaths is inflicted on Üso and Shakti.

I contend that this episode, had no more of the show ever been made, could have served as a fine ending to Victory. A bleak and inconclusive ending, but nonetheless a fitting one. Üso and Shakti are both forced to come to terms in some way with their parental abandonment; the threat of Zanscare is crippled, but at the cost of forcing a boy barely on the verge of maturity to utilize a weapon of mass death; Üso's reluctant embrace of the blatantly phallic weapon symbolizes his crossing the threshold to manhood not only physically, but as a pilot and a Newtype; lastly, Üso and Shakti, the two young leads of the show and the setting's symbolic future, inaugurate the awakening of their special perceptions— the mark of mankind's own maturity in space— in singularly torturous fashion. The entire narrative until now has led to Üso taking his manhood literally and figuratively into his own hands, and the moment sells every theme the show has woven into the telling of its story.

If only it had ended there.

The faults of the remaining 24 episodes of Victory aren't worth enumerating with such specificity. In general, the problems of pacing notably worsen, and the failures of reason and responsibility among the show's adults to reign in the young cast make their counterparts in ZZ look like the parents of the year. Despite parental abandonment previously being a strong theme, that alone is far from enough to cover for it; rather, it's at this point that every theme the show had had disappears, and are not replaced by anything at all until the very tail end of the series. At that point, the show works desperately and fails to recapitulate a subset of the themes already explored in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. And the long-anticipated collapse of a sense of engagement and cleverness in battle manifests immediately and totally with the advent of Üso's Newtype abilities.

But those faults are hardly issues of their own; rather, they all stem from and are contained within the great overriding problem of Victory's second half: the sudden and sustained collapse of all logic and reason. From Episode 28 onward, there ceases to be any sensible reason or motivation for anything that anyone does or the way that anything works. The show pitches unpredictably from an air of general frustration and decadence to outright bewilderment and a suspicion of deliberate sabotage. Amazingly, the show manages to continually outdo itself, breaking ground on deeper and deeper levels of despair every time you think it's bottomed out; at the time I described the show as a descent into complete madness, I still had no idea how bad it would get by the end.

From the fountain of relentless dyslogic springs all related woes: the deterioration of any sense of momentum and engagement from a total lack of meaningful narrative goals and interesting problems; the decay of any sense of gravity or tension as the show ceases to treat any weapon or tool as anything but the naked hand of writer convenience; the disappearance of personality or personal investment as all characters' actions come unmoored from comprehension, and the shocking absence, retraction or contradicion of characterization of even the most central characters; the absence of meaningful stakes when no clear villain or the coherent threat posed by such emerges; and the death of mystery and wonder when the entire concept of Newtypes is utterly devalued, which not only ruins this series but turns the entire allegory of mankind's ascent to the heavens into a sick farce, paving the way for Mobile Fighter G Gundam to storm in soon afterward to stomp flat the deep grave containing everything Gundam had been prior to that point.

What's worse is that every now and then, especially near to the end, the show will manage, for a few agonizing seconds, to stir up some genuine emotions. Worse than merely descending into schlock or stalling into a flatline, the show spits its final insult by tormenting its audience, juxtaposing what you could be feeling, what you should be feeling with an animated nightmare zone that absorbs and collapses all hope and thought, never to be regained. It's the few seconds of heartbreaking recognition and pleading for help of an Alzheimer's patient all but totally consumed by delusional reverie.

With Victory's abrupt fuck-you deus ex machina non-ending of supreme meaningless, my journey through the UC comes to an end. This was the last of the Gundam material that I stole off the Internet years ago, when my Internet was still good enough to download gigabytes of shit whenever I wanted, and the only series I didn't get around to watching with the rest around the same time. Though I'm sorry it ended this way, I had a lot of fun with Gundam, even if it hasn't sold me on watching any other anime in the future. Now begins the next phase of my life. Specifically, the phase where I die, because Victory killed me. It's not as scary as I thought it would be. It's... peaceful.

Spammy, I can see time!
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SpammyV
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Re: Anime might be cool

Postby SpammyV » Wed May 03, 2017 9:15 pm

You're dead? Aw shoot I was looking forward to my liking Char's Counterattack to cause the rift between us that makes you lose hope in the forums and then I have to punch you in the face to stop you from dropping a big rock on the forums before we both strip and go to Newtype Nirvana together. But if we just want to jump ahead to Newtype Nirvana I'm done with that.

Also I have a strong reaction to throwing G Gundam under the bus. Yes, it's not the Universal Century (despite that one interview that Tomino gave there's little way to integrate it nicely into the timeline) but that's the point. There's a reason they separated it out into the Future Century and started that trend so Gundam can mean different things in different stories. Including being part of a high-flying wuxia epic. And in its own way G Gundam still contains many of the themes of the Universal Century. The environmentalist ideals, of people who can't stand to see how the Earth is treated, are in G Gundam and honestly I would argue are done best in G Gundam because the people saying to protect the Earth are not causing more environmental damage. Corruption in government and differences in how the elite and how the common people live all come up. And as corny and over-the-top as G Gundam is, they did a lot to present an apparently idealized setting and allow the audience the chance to see the negatives in it first before they went "No this is how it is and it's not good."

Also Tomino hates Victory Gundam and I've heard rumors that he's done creator commentary for it that starts with telling people they don't have to watch Victory Gundam. All I'm saying is you don't have to die right now.

Save that for when you try to watch Gundam SEEDF and SEEDF Destiny.
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The Rocketeer

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby The Rocketeer » Thu May 04, 2017 8:33 pm

No chance; we pretty much feel the same way about CCA.

We also feel pretty much the same way about G Gundam; I've got nothing against it, and wasn't insinuating anything about it. It's just a matter of fact that Victory falling on its fucking face led directly to G Gundam getting greenlit, or at least being greenlit ahead of schedule. And with the late first century of the UC put to bed and Victory's story left with nowhere to go and no incentive to take it anywhere, there was no real opportunity cost for taking things in a totally different direction.

SpammyV wrote:Save that for when you try to watch Gundam SEEDF and SEEDF Destiny.
No chance of that either. But remind me, what's the "F" for? I vaguely remember it's an in-joke I didn't get at the time.
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Narratorway
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Re: Anime might be cool

Postby Narratorway » Fri May 05, 2017 12:47 am

If you two had made your own Gundam thread...I'm not saying it would match the page count of this thread, but it'd give the word count a run for its money.

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