Anime might be cool

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SpammyV
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Re: Anime might be cool

Postby SpammyV » Fri Dec 23, 2016 7:56 pm

Oh... kay let's start unpacking Stardust Memory.

Not to sound too much like the Missing The Point Guy of Gundam, but the mechanical designs do get really good. Not the plain GP01 though, which in the first two episodes I did not realize wasn't just a regular RX-78 just redrawn with more 90s aesthetics. But the GP01 Full Vernier with its visible thrusters and hidden thrusters jetting around is great. And the GP02 with its bulk and massive thrusters angling around like wings is cool. The Dendrobium is cool, the GP03 plugging into a giant backpack full of weapons. And the Neue Ziel's certainly a unique design. They're great fun to watch which leads to...

The direction of the battles is really good in this series. The big fight between Kou and Gato is extraordinarily good and seeing the Dendrobium and Neue Ziel going at each other when neither is humanoid is awesome. The show was directed very well. But...

I'll be honest. Kou, Nina, and Gato all get on my nerves. There's a good stretch of the show where Kou is just awful. He's the Least Assertive Guy Ever (which is actually kind of understandable) except he chooses the worst times to try to assert himself. His immaturity grates so on me so hard. And very near to where Kou is being his worst, Nina is being her worst, being awful and petty to him to the point that even Nina's best friend is going "Hey maybe you should take it easy on Kou." That was the point where I said "Go ahead and fall in love, you two deserve each other." But while Kou gets better Nina gets a little worse, but it isn't her fault? From what I can see the show had four writers and I think they didn't share the twist between them, but it ends up making Nina look even more awful.

But uh... this OVA has made me hate Zeons. I hate Delaz. I hate Gato. Delaz you can cry me a river about the Spacenoid's just desire for freedom. Actually, don't cry me a river, cry a river for each and everyone of the BILLIONS of Earthnoid and Spacenoid civilians that have died in the name of Zeon. Because that's what Gihren Zabi's Zeon is all about, you can't fight a war to earn your people's freedom without killing MILLIONS OF YOUR OWN PEOPLE. The part where they hijack the empty colonies being relocated is basically Zeon in a nutshell: The guy leading the colony relocation ship pleads with Delaz's soldiers not to steal these colonies which can house and feed millions, appealing to them as fellow Spacenoids, and a Zaku flies up and shoots the bridge specifically to kill him.

And I feel like this is due to some major cultural differences between Japan and America, but Gato such an ass. He berates Kou for being "A cog in the military machine" but all it takes to convince Gato to go along with a plan that will kill millions is a speech from his commander that ultimately says nothing. Mister Honorable Samurai Man will commit any amount of atrocities and war crimes if his commander says so is someone I feel like the writers want us to admire. And Cima, who has style and flair and and a tragic history of being betrayed by the Zeon she served gets a long sad story and is killed by someone who is supposed to be on her side and is fighting for the same goal that she is... because she's a bad traitor lady?

Apparently Ryosuke Takahashi (VOTOMS, Blue Comet SPT Layzner, FLAG (All shows I really like and will go on and on gushing about)) was involved in writing this show. From what I can tell he only wrote two episodes, which makes sense to me because Takahashi definitely wouldn't have been this glowing about Zeon and trying to push samurai honor. I mean I think his influence helped the back half of the show but he could probably only do so much. I do wonder though if he had any say on the mechanical designs, mechs with a lot of exposed Vernier thrusters is a thing of his.

But uh... Stardust Memory! I think I would actually recommend it. I hate some of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but there's actually a lot of good moments in the writing too, especially where they end up contrasting Kou's youth and Burning's experience. Some of the writing makes me say this but some of it's pretty good. And again, the direction and animation are really strong.

Okay now there should be a good OVA and then I roll into that show where the kid sees his mom get killed and then kills a bunch of Titans.
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The Rocketeer

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby The Rocketeer » Sat Dec 24, 2016 1:20 am

I don't think the show was quite as fond of Zeon; in fact, I think a huge part of the Zeon Remnants' arc is bearing out the idea that their ideas about honor, freedom, etc. don't mean anything when they rely on such awful methods.

There's the folks stowed away in the diamond mine/launch facility (a damn cool setpiece), and they come of basically as long-suffering heroes, but that's in line with how Zeon's always been portrayed: normal folks at most levels, with a few bad eggs, ultimately led down the wrong path by their leadership. You're right that Delaz' speech to allay Gato's misgivings is ultimately empty; I thought it was bunk at the time, but it was exactly the sort of thing that Gato would respond to, and is ultimately abnegated when Delaz' sincere beliefs expressed in that little pep talk are turned against him; his idea that their ideals and goals could remain pure even while relying on treacherous persons and atrocious means lead to Delaz' death and the intervention of Jamitov Hymen and Bask Om in trying to derail Operation Stardust.

The show does make Delaz and Gato out to be very sincere, noble persons, and I think that's critical to demonstrating their failure, ultimately; first, the above demonstration that even such sincere ideals are hollow when predicated on the excuse of such egregious methods and alliances. But more than that, the strategic goals of Stardust fail, despite the success of the operation itself; despite the Remnants' intentions to set the stage for a new war and the intervention of Axis Zeon, Axis was never on the same page. Now, perhaps it's possible Axis would have intervened if the Remnants' tactical successes had been even greater, but... after successfully eradicating the Naval Review and setting the colony on its unstoppable Earthbound course, the fact that Axis still chose not to intercede demonstrates that it was never a realistic possibility; the Remnants achieved success at the limits of their incredible daring, but their hopes were misplaced.

If any personal fault can be imputed on them, it's self-absorption. But rather than a personal vice, I attribute that more to an overall lack of vision. They truly, earnestly believe that if only they fight their hardest and fulfill their ideas unfailingly, everything will work out in the end. But not only do they fail, their violence not only begets the violence of Stardust itself, the further devastation of the Earth's biosphere and cause Holodomor of Earth's civilian populace (by far the most diabolical of all Zeon's means, in my estimation, even beyond direct means of mass murder such as the colony drop itself and chemical/biological/nuclear attacks), but begets further strife in clearing away the competition and cultural safeguards holding Jamitov and his Titans regime in check. Despite what would become a trend of Zeon apologism, I think Stardust Memory itself comes across as a proleptic warning against romanticizing Zeon; if Delaz and Gato themselves, as representatives of the Zeon Remnants, had been more given to personal vice, there might be left some room to think, "If only they were more earnest..." But if Gato and Delaz, totally in earnest and motivated by pure zeal and idealism, can't redeem the movement— and they can't— no one can. In this way, Stardust safeguards the UC's tone, striving away from Manicheaism but stopping short of nihilism via moral equivalence.

All that said, I unfortunately agree with you regarding the characterizations of Kou and Nina. Early on, I like them both very much; really, I found their budding yet turbulent romance believably human and endearing. But everything I liked crashes at the same moment it crests: the scene where Kou visits Nina at the Anaheim office, and chickens out of asking her on a date. It's pretty unsubtle characterization, but I forgive that in the OVA; with only a few episodes, and without relinquishing Gundam's tendency to large casts and quick-moving narratives, they don't have the time to be as subtle with characterization as they can be over the course of a 50+ episode TV series. Monsha's an outrageous Termagant, of course, but he doesn't chafe me as badly when cushioned somewhat by everyone else outside Kou/Nina/Burning that manages to get their little kernel of characterization, even within the tight restraints of the 13-episode series (Personal favorite moment: the bar scene. The two radar officers; Chuck and Mora; Burning entering with a lady, seeing the crew, and quickly leaving. Fantastic.) In Kou and Nina's case, in particular, I think the relatively unsubtle quarreling/romance lends a very sentimental air that reinforces the tenor of their relationship.

But all that stuff that I like is mostly in the first half, or even the first third. For me, Stardust never recovers from the thread that begins right after Kou smashes his chances with Nina at the Anaheim office: the Kelly Layzner arc. The entire arc with Layzner is so outlandish, so over-the-top emotionally, and relies on so many boneheaded, contrivedly-shortsighted decisions on the part of everyone involved in it, that I won't even bother castigating it in detail. It reeks.

After that, there isn't much more ground for the show to cover character-wise with Kou and Nina, other than their struggle to get their hands on the much-hyped Unit 3— which fell flat for me, coming off more as the sort of pat, "military brass being assholes for the sake of being assholes" that unfortunately tends to characterize the Gundam writers' efforts to de-paladinize the Federation at large— and, from there, the abrupt, forehead-slapping revelation of ex-girlfriend drama during the most critical moment of the larger military conflict, which completely deflates any sense of seriousness from the three principal characters and all but assassinates Nina's character; with no way to take the personal level of the narrative seriously, Nina's decadence from a competent, rounded character into a weeping pile of sad, conflicted girlfriend comes off as so needless and dramatically overwrought.

As you lead off with, though, Stardust's character writing difficulties are more than offset by some truly outstanding action direction. Operation Stardust itself is perhaps the perfect Gundam setpiece, a massive struggle between desperate, treacherous splinter factions and their secret plans and superweapons, surprise turnabouts of dominance and intricate plans rooted in realistic-enough orbital physics and economies of scale, backing a more personal conflict between the principal characters and setting up large, sweeping changes in the Earth Sphere's power dynamics that result naturally from preceding events and set the stage for future conflicts. I love everything about Operation Stardust.

Well, except one thing: the Neue Ziel and the Dendrobium Orchis are ludicrous dream-machines that break the UC timeline's power curve over their knees. The way they keep zipping up to "defenseless" battleships, one-shotting them, and then zipping off is shockingly unserious. The extent to which each machine is built to be each faction's Final Boss, worthy to be fought only by the other side's final boss and trivializing everything else, really over-represents the personal Kou/Gato stakes of the plot within the larger setting, to the overall conflict's detriment, and retroactively cheapens their excellent stalemate conflict during the catastrophe of the Naval Review. If you're the kind of person that cares about this kind of thing— and I am— it creates this uncomfortable expectation while watching the endgame of Zeta that someone is going to party-crash the climactic encounter, sailing in on a rebuilt Stardust-era mobile armor and just wipe the other side out in five minutes in a massive anti-climax.

Also, the Neue Ziel is a dead ringer for the Mammon Machine. So that's cool.

Stardust, man. Weird show.
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4th Dimension

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby 4th Dimension » Sat Dec 24, 2016 12:41 pm

Vivid: Strike finally ended, and I might have some more detailed comments on it when I get around to re watching it in one sitting, but for me it did not live up to the rest of the Nanoha Franchise. It did not even live up to Vivid IMO, since it lacked high power, energetic and colorful fight scenes of the Vivid.

There are some things it does do well. The new character of Rinne is interesting, especially since she is kind of a subversion of many of the tropes we took for granted in Nanoha. For her the adoption did not lead to a significantly better life. For her going to school did not earn her lot of new friends. In fact it led to bullying which led to Rinne snapping and performing one of the most violent acts beatdown when she CRUSHED her bullies. And I do mean crushed, since we HEAR bones crunching. And finally unlike the rest of the cast which is composed of a lot of battle maniacs, she does not like fighting and initially considers the entire her participation in the tournament to be the hell she needs to endure to be punished. She is such a ball of issues that makes her interesting. On the other hand we learn a lot about her motivation a bit too late, to garner sympathy for her considering that her behaviour up to the end is either to be aloof and look down upon those she defeats or to huddle in the corner like a crybaby if things don't go her way. So Rinne is kind of not properly exploited IMO positive about new characters.
As for the other new character, Fuka the trouble there is that despite she being supposedly the MC, she has a LOT less agency than some of the other characters that are from Vivid. They start working with her in the first couple of episodes where she sets on her goal, but then the tournament starts and her gym mates and Rinne steal the show away from her. They steal the show to the point that once she does face Rinne the creators have to stoop to TELLING us why Fuka is somebody that could challenge Rinne after just like a month of training. And the explanation is not that great. Furthermore in a show that so far has been good at making eachs character's power/moveset appropriate and suitablly different for that character, Fuka's both the barrier jacket and powerset and her intelligent device are copies of Einhart's (co-protagonist with Vivio from VIVID). This makes here even more less of her own character. Not to mention that apparently now all Nakajima gym (the gym the protagonists of Vivid are part, founding members, of= members can transform into adult form. This was previosly something that only select people were able to do and it had to do with their heritage.
A lot of this is down to format, the tournament, that they went with thought they had to stick with, since this is a spinoff from Vivid which is largely focused on magical martial arts sport (the Strike Arts), while trying to tell a story of two characters that fight but end up friends (possibly with a romantic angle) like Fate and Nanoha from Season 1. But that type of story IMO hinges on two main leads interacting often, exchanging opinions and blows and in general dominating the screen time. The tournament does not allow that, since they will be able to fight only once with one of them going forward, and most of the rest of the time is spent beating up episode specific mooks. This is why the spotlight is more on Rinne because she gets two big fights with Fuka's gym mates, while Fuka is ignored since her opponents are not named characters. And then it is left to two episodes to resolve all the issues through beating each other up. Which is not really how the first season was resolved. Nanoha beating Fate did not make her her instant friend (despite how much we in the fandom like to joke about befriending), but allowed Fate to step off the self destructive path her mother put her on, and reasses her life and her desires.
On the other hand Fuka and Rinne are cute together when Rinne is not trying hard to play a plank of wood, although they are also a lot more blatant bout the fact that their is likely to be a romantic relationship which makes all the coyness of the creators about the status of Nanoha and Fate's relationship worse.

Image
Figure 1. Nanoha Takamachi befriending her future "best friend*"

While the attempt to make the show darker (there are actual injuries, the bullying is kind of horrific and leaves horrible mental scars etc.) they went too far in some cases. For example a particular sore spot is the afct that for some reason a tournament focused on under 15 competitors does not use the protective systems that prevent injuries (while simulating them during battle) while a under 18 one does. It's worse since Vivid, which concerns itself with U-18, the later one, tournament particullary notes that this is done to prevent career ending injuries among young competitors. Yet a tournament for even younger competitors is less well regulated. And it's not like these competitors are less powerfull, espeically since Rinne who is known value by now regularly puts her opponents into hospital. And despite all the voilence the fights still LOOK boring since unlike the flash of the previous seasons (see Figure 1 for mild example) these happen in a small ring (unlike in main three seasons where it often devolved into an areal dogfight) and seemingly only normal punches are used. This is mot evident in the last fight which bouls down to Rinne punches Fuka and throws her into a wall, Fuka returns the favor for two episodes. The only standout was Vivio vs Rinne fight, anf for me most of that was because it subverted my expectation (of Vivio getting creamed) and finally giving Vivio her time to shine against a credible opponent.

The other thing that got on my nerves, left a bad taste in my mouth, was Jill (Rinne's coach) who got out free and was probably partially to blame for some of Rinne's issues since she noticed something was wrong with Rinne, but decided to ignore it since she wanted to use Rinne to prove her Darwinian theories that only pure strength matters and training is useless against somebody who owerpowers you. This attitude of winning only matters and those who loose are loosers and weaklings did wonders to Rinne's allready wrapped psyche. Not to mention that her training method, forcing somebody with gruelling trining that keeps the trainee on the edge of their ability constantly, is something that was previously explicitly shown to be a bad thing.

But I think my distaste of it is partially to blame to the way I watched this. My suspension of disbelief broke early because Rinne appeared to be just another boring shonen antagonist that is inexplicably on another power level and is therefore going to effortlessly punch his way through all protagonists untill "the hero" stops her. This is in the franchise that was pretty good during it's three season at avoiding that particular pitfall, to the point that it even introduced power limiters on the main crew, for reasonably sounding reasons, to prevent further escalation of power. In the end she turned out not to be that, but still that poisoned the taste in my mouth for the show. That and the lack of protection meant and the fact that Fuka seemed to be an Einhart copy power wise made me stew in my own juices for a week so I could greet any new episode on my knife. Maybe had I watched all the episodes in batches, it would have been better since I would not have time to nitpick each and every flaw.

On the good side again it does not use much lore from the rest of the franchise (which is minus in my books) which means it's more accessible to newcomers, even though the rest of the franchise is pretty different (and better IMO). But it does not get my recommendation. Go watch Nanoha Movie 1st if you are interested and need something short to see if you might like it.

----------------------------

So to flee from that I have started watching K-ON, and it's adorable.

Allthough I don't know what I'll watch to get my beautiful destruction fix. Nanoha did that for me (best I could find in Youtube albeit sped up with nonshow music on, shame there is no clips with Starlight breaker from Movie 1st). It would present a sometimes quite ugly situation but then Nanoha would come in, no sell all the angst, do the talking and applying HEAVY FIREPOWER to change people's minds and create an exit from such a situation.
I'm not continuing Gundam 00 after that shitshow that made me stop. So what to watch that has flashy sceenes with high firepower and does not make the protagonist wallow in angst, let the murderous psycho survive impossible odds all the time while he kills hundreds, and is not edgy as fuck.

* There is a reason both girls are on the cover image of tvtropes article She Has Two Mamas.

PS. Great I wanted to do a short thing and did the Rocketeer.
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SpammyV
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Re: Anime might be cool

Postby SpammyV » Mon Dec 26, 2016 7:35 am

Honestly I alternate between hating Kou and feeling like he deserves everything that happens to him. I can completely see how someone in his situation would end up unassertive: He crosses beam sabers with a living legend, and only lives because said legends decides Kou is just so green and stupid he's not worth taking the time to kill. The GP02 and it's nuke-launching bazooka are stolen from his protection, and not only does he fail to get GP02 back the rest of the talented pilots on the base die in the attempt. Then he ends up having to share space with Monsha, who never lets up on Kou being the chosen pilot for GP01 because of extremely flimsy reasons.

It's just... then he takes the Gundam without orders, and then trashes it, and then goes AWOL, and then fixes up a Zeon mobile armor with the Zeon pilot who's all but said he's going to pilot it... and no reprecussions. Sure Amuro stole the Gundam but Amuro brought it back in one piece and they acknowledged how dumb it was and put him in the brig after he returned. And they didn't have an equally skilled replacement for Amuro ready to go. For Kou, Monsha spends half the show saying that Kou shouldn't fly GP01... and then Kou kinda just proves why he shouldn't.

Also hey, if Delaz and Gato didn't make things worse for Spacenoids in their efforts to liberate Spacenoids... well they wouldn't be living up to Gihren Zabi's example, now would they? Being self-sabotaging and making things worse for your own people is what Gihren's Zeon is all about.

And warships are always made of paper in UC Gundam. The only way your warship can survive is if you have a character important enough to the plot on board. To continue the WWII analogues I'd almost say that it's intentional, that the face of warfare needs to change because while warships can provide powerful battery fire they can't reliably hold off mobile suits, and mobile suit weapons are a real threat. I've only seen the events summarized but I think there's an MS Igloo episode that hits that nail on the head, that in the battle where Zeon tests a new big long-range anti ship cannon platform... Char destroys like five battleships in a day and becomes The Red Comet, showing where the real power is here.

And I suppose I've been kind of numbed to prequel/midquel introduced plot holes, because pretty much every VOTOMS OVA put that kind of hole in the narrative. Even the actual hands-down I-recommend-this best VOTOMS OVA still makes you go, "Well wouldn't Chirico recognize... Wouldn't he already know... why would he be surprised here?"

But yeah even as I'm sitting here complaining about Stardust Memories I also want to rewatch the last few episodes because the mood of desperation, as Kou and Gato are pushing themselves past the limits of endurance and are having to dose up on stimulants to keep going in order to see Operation Stardust fail/succeed, as the colony grows ever closer to the point where it can't be diverted from impact... The character writing is bad but the pacing and direction and atmosphere are so goddamn good.

Also don't worry about long posts, if I ever secure high-quality sources you can expect my 18 part series on why G Gundam is incredible, an 18 part series on why GaoGaiGar is incredible, and another four posts on why GaoGaiGar FINAL is bad.
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4th Dimension

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby 4th Dimension » Mon Dec 26, 2016 11:01 am

SpammyV wrote:Kout and stuff

I never watched that show but this did remind me of one thing that I never liked in Gundam 00. The show never in my opinion makes a good case for why are these guys better Gundam pilots than others, and seemingly expects us to simply accept that they are great pilots without showing us that.

Seriously in the beginning it feels like pretty much every veteran/elite of any nation would have wiped the floor with them (well maybe except for the European comic relief one) and they only keep winning because they have stupidly OP and advanced machines. Hell the Russian nearly captures one of them using nothing more than good tactics. And the moment the other powers get Gundam knockoffs of their own their superiority melts like a snowman in Sahara, while the elites start to punch them around with impunity, and they again have to rely on Deus Ex Machina to win. Setsuna is the worst of them in this regard, because he gets trashed so many times. I guess they tried to show how good the antagonists are, but the only thing they managed to do was to make Setsuna piss me off on regular basis. And his wooden plank personality is not helping him either.
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SpammyV
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Re: Anime might be cool

Postby SpammyV » Tue Dec 27, 2016 11:48 pm

Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket wrote:What's that viewer? You like flashy mobile suit fights? You think the Gundam is cool? You admire Amuro?

Well do you still like it now? Do you?
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John

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby John » Thu Dec 29, 2016 9:33 pm

I watched Hayao Miyazaki's The Wind Rises last night. Goodness. In many ways, it looks a lot like one of his older films. The characters--most of them--are fairly simply drawn. The main characters all look a lot like characters from previous Miyazaki films. (The main character, for example, has Miyazaki boy-protagonist face and of course his love interest has Miyazaki girl-protagonist face.) And, while I'm sure all the coloring was done by computers, the colors are fairly "flat" in the way that you might see in an older hand-painted cell--not a lot of gradients or shadows, if you see what I'm getting at.

But the plot . . . the plot is a lot different than I'm used to from Miyazaki. For one thing, the protagonist is an adult for just about the entire film. Because he's an aircraft designer and an actual historical person, there really aren't any dramatic action sequences. And yet despite all that the film is incredibly surreal. There are dream sequences galore, many of them featuring an Italian count--who, Wikipedia informs me, was also an actual historical person--that put me strongly in mind of Porco Rosso. There are a lot of time-skips, too. The time-skips are usually "covered" by a dream-sequence, in the sense that the film goes from scene-in-reality to dream-sequence to scene-in-reality-but-later . . . but not always. And the dream-sequences aren't always obviously dream sequences either (until something impossible happens, anyway). The consequence is that it's often hard to tell whether the protagonist is dreaming or not. That's probably deliberate, but I nevertheless found it a little irritating. Part of the problem here is that certain characters--I'm thinking particularly of a German man that the protagonist meets while on vacation--are a little on the grotesque side, to the point that I thought that a perfectly ordinary scene of the protoganist eating in a hotel dining room was another dream sequence. (It is actually rather important that the scenes at the hotel are not dream sequences.) I'm really not sure why that one character looked as odd as he did. It can't be because he was a foreigner. When the protagonist goes to Germany, all the Germans looked perfectly ordinary. (And I've just learned that Werner Freaking Herzog did the weird German's voice in the English dub and now I'm almost sad that I watched the film with the Japanese audio.)

Then there's the way the film deals with World War II. The main character, Jiro Horikoshi, designs fighter planes for Mitsubishi. In fact, his claim to fame is that he designed the Zero. As this is a Miyazaki film, it is very definitely anti-war. No character ever utters a pro-war sentiment. Several--including a man who designs bombers--are clearly anti-militaristic or at least believe that Japanese leaders are stupidly picking fights that they can't win. And yet, as this is a Miyazaki film, it is also very clear that aircraft design is the coolest and most interesting job in all the world and that Jiro's (military!) aircraft are beautiful works of art. The film points out this tension, but never really resolves it. The point of the film may in fact be that the tension cannot be resolved. The most that the film explicitly says about the subject is something along the lines of "It's too bad that the fruits of your obsession with aircraft were used to kill people and sadder still that most people who piloted the fighters you designed are dead now, but none of that is your fault and--hey!--at least you fulfilled your childhood dream of making a really great airplane." Now, I'll allow that the character whose line I just paraphrased is a figment of Jiro's imagination and that this may be what Jiro wants to believe so that he can cope or somehow get on with his life, but, uh, let's just say I didn't find that to be terribly satisfying dramatically.

If this weren't a story for and about adults--and didn't feature so much cigarette smoking--I would say that this was the Miyazaki-est of all the Miyazaki films I've seen. It's got his obsessions (prop-powered aircraft, horror/futility of war) all over it. In fact, I am not at all surprised to learn that he adapted it from a (published) manga that he reportedly wrote/drew "as a hobby".
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4th Dimension

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby 4th Dimension » Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:38 pm

What have I been watching lately. Well, since it's Chrismass/New Year time I watched the most Christmassy Nanoha season, the second season is also the peak of the series and I haven't ever rewatched it that I remember.
I managed to find it in Blue Ray quality so that was another reason for watching, allthough the subs that came with it can get bent since for some reason they didn't translate like ANY of the text/labels. This is especially terrible during epilogue where they say using titles/labels what happens to the characters. This is the info I know, but I would like confirmation.

It was quite enjoyable expirience and I found out that there is quite a few things I remembered wrong.
Also this has got me thinking about some setting changes, plot ideas that this season did and I even write down those musings. Like I have a 5 page Word document on my thoughts on it.
And I don't really know why I wrote it down. To get the thought out of my head I guess.
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4th Dimension

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby 4th Dimension » Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:06 pm

I finished both seasons of K-On and the movie, and it was ADORABLE and sweet all the way. It's a perfect thing to put on when you are down, and simply let your brain laugh and squeeee for a time to get your mind of things. Really enjoyed it.
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SpammyV
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Re: Anime might be cool

Postby SpammyV » Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:07 am

I've made it halfway through Zeta Gundam now. It helps that Zeta is much more tone-sure about itself, but it's not basically creating its genre.

Largely, I'm tickled that "correcting" someone has become in an-universe euphemism for slapping the stupid out of them.

And whenever the big bad of the Titans is on screen I start to hear Emperor Palpatine's theme in my head.

Seeing the old White Base team reappear but not take over the story is nice. Seeing who's started families and how they're still getting themselves involved in things helps the Universal Century to feel more like a world and not a story where people drop out of existence. And I think they do make a good use of the timeskip between Mobile Suit Gundam and Zeta Gundam. It's not so long that the original cast is forced into the background but it does feel long enough show the world's changed. They do a good job of showing that six years has based making it feel like those years have had an impact. Unlike, say, The Dark Knight Rises where eight years apparently passed but it doesn't really seem like more than one did. Hell it could just be months after The Dark Knight.

And remember: If it looks like a Char Aznable, and sounds like a Char Aznable, and wears a mask all the time like a Char Aznable, and pilots a red mobile suit like a Char Aznable... come on man there's no way it's Char Aznable that'd be ridiculous. He's like the number one most wanted Zeon officer that didn't die or get caught. And why would Char not be revealing himself and publicly fighting against the guys who are gassing Spacenoids I mean everyone in the colonies would be inspired to see Char Aznable coming back to fight for them. There's no way Quattro is Char Aznable.

But zeta is pretty good so far, and actually good on its own not "It's good but it's an ancient show."
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The Rocketeer

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby The Rocketeer » Sun Jan 08, 2017 9:30 am

SpammyV wrote:There's no way Quattro is Char Aznable.
Boy, do I have news for you.

SpammyV wrote:But zeta is pretty good so far, and actually good on its own not "It's good but it's an ancient show."
It only gets better. There was a long gap between the making of MSG and MSZG where the franchise's future was far from certain; the idea of Gundam as a cornerstone of mecha and a juggernaut of media and models was borne all but entirely on Zeta's total maturation of the enterprise. As I'm sure you're already aware.

Once again, I find it trying, though wiser, to just hold my tongue until you're done watching the damn show. Though, I am a bit surprised you didn't have more to say about War in the Pocket *AHEM*.
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SpammyV
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Re: Anime might be cool

Postby SpammyV » Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:44 pm

It still cracks me up that Kai wasn't satisfied to just write a letter saying that Quattro is a Char, he has to roast him in the letter as well.

War in the Pocket is a giant take that to the people who watch Gundam for the fights and to buy model kits, so I can see why it's one of Tomino's favorite shows he didn't do*. It's somewhat hard to sit through, because Al is a stupid kid, which gets annoying. But the point of the OVA is that Al is a stupid kid. He adores mobile suits and idolizes pilots and soldiers with no understanding of the danger they could face, that they kill people, and face the risk of dying themselves. He is literally playing soldier. And he doesn't realize this until people start being shot and dying in front of him.

And War in the Pocket doesn't add a lot of holes to the franchise like a lot of midquel installments do... but that's because nothing happens in War in the Pocket. From the point of view of the Universal Century, nothing happened. The only consequence reaching outside of the show is that Amuro didn't get an upgraded unit he didn't know he was supposed to get and consequently never missed (and arguably never needed). You look at some tragic sacrifices and you try to take comfort in that something good came out of it. Someone was inspired to action or their sacrifice saved someone else... but that's not War in the Pocket. People fought and suffered and died for nothing. Which just piles on the tragedy of the series.

Also the other tragedy is that with how petty and corrupt the Federation military gets, I can completely see that Chris' career ended after the events in War in the Pocket, and that's a shame because she was cool.

And if you need more of a reason to hate Zeon and say that Ghiren Zabi was the worst thing to ever happen to the cause of Spacenoid independence, War in the Pocket is there for you.

To completely miss the point, it is a well animated series and the few desperate, brutal battles only add to the show's point, especially as they do not shy away from what happens to the pilots when these mobile suits are destroyed. Which even Zeta Gundam backs off from, while Mobile Suit Gundam had enough shots of Zeon pilots screaming in terror as their cockpit exploded to make a drinking game out of it (two drinks for the guy who screams for his mother as he dies). But spoiler alert: The kinds of weapons that can damage and destroy mobile suits don't leave pretty corpses.

War in the Pocket is a good OVA and I give it a hearty recommendation.

*I have nothing but hearsay to back this statement up but it sounds like something he'd say.
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The Rocketeer

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby The Rocketeer » Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:06 pm

How much of a loser do you have to be for Kai Shiden to rail you for being ignoble, unambitious, duplicitous, and uncourageous? If Quattro keeps it up, people will call him a pu- oooooohhh.
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SpammyV
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Re: Anime might be cool

Postby SpammyV » Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:59 am

Hey now, it's Kai Shiden, Hero of the Federation. One of the White Base's ace pilots. The strongest Newtype on the White Base after Amuro dies in the novel.

Also I hope that I've maintained my cred in being able to drop a post about mecha at the drop of a hat.
Ninety-Three

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby Ninety-Three » Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:49 am

I watched the first six episodes Neon Genesis Evangelion. I don't get how this show earned a status as some kind of all-time famous classic. It's not really bad, but it also didn't really seem good. I have no opinions on it, because it left no impressions, other than that Shinji is an unsympathetically pathetic twit. I assume one of this thread's resident mecha nerds can explain this to me, was the show good for its time and aged poorly, or am I just an uncultured philistine?
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Daemian Lucifer

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby Daemian Lucifer » Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:58 am

You are not alone in your opinion.Plenty of people hated the show even back then.
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The Rocketeer

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby The Rocketeer » Thu Jan 12, 2017 6:48 am

Shovel enough opaque religious and psychological imagery into your drastically over-long mecha vanity project, and people will worship it for decades, regardless of how pathetically unfinished it turns out when you squander the budget way ahead of schedule.

But enough about Xenogears.
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Retsam

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby Retsam » Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:03 am

I think half of the reason Evangelion is noteworthy is because it's basically been a constant source of controversy for a little over 20 years now. People have been debating whether or not Shinji is an interesting protagonist, or whether the symbolism means anything, or whether the ending means anything for decades.

I've heard it said that it's something every anime fan should watch, not because everyone will like it, but because it's both very controversial and had a massive impact on the medium. It's like you're not really an anime fan until you have a strong opinion on Evangelion.

I'm really not the best source for the show. It's been over a decade since I watched the full thing, (saw the first four or five episodes again a year or two ago), it was one of my first animes, and I was 13 or 14 at the time (so possibly younger than Shinji himself).

But, someone who's defending the show would point out that Shinji being pathetic is rather the point of the show, and that the show is as much about Shinji's depression than it is about the mecha battles. The kid probably has mental health issues to start with, and that's before all of the show's trauma kicks in. If you find that entirely unsympathetic, or if you just don't find watching a teenage boy slide farther into depression interesting, then, yeah, you're probably not going to have a good time with Evangelion.


Sidenote: these two Critical Miss comics on Evangelion are probably my favorite Critical Miss strips: Part 1 and Part 2.
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4th Dimension

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby 4th Dimension » Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:47 am

Have to have an opinion on it. Simply hearing about it I get the impression that it would make me absolutely bloody livid because it combines pointlessly edgy shit with pathetic protagonist. Strap some god damned manpants (yes they are manpants no matter the gender of the character) on and do the impossible or get of the got damned char. I know I'm unfair to such the characters, but that doesn't change the fact that they irritate me terribly.

....

FUCK this probably means I will definitelly end up watching it because I make best decisions.
gloatingswine

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby gloatingswine » Thu Jan 12, 2017 6:12 pm

4th Dimension wrote:Have to have an opinion on it. Simply hearing about it I get the impression that it would make me absolutely bloody livid because it combines pointlessly edgy shit with pathetic protagonist. Strap some god damned manpants (yes they are manpants no matter the gender of the character) on and do the impossible or get of the got damned char. I know I'm unfair to such the characters, but that doesn't change the fact that they irritate me terribly.


NGE hangs on the premise that if you put an actual teenager in the position that a super robit protagonist is in where with no training, psychological support, healthy relationships, or responsible adult supervision they are expected to save the world on a fortnightly basis they will not suddenly discover that they are a hero and dramatically save the world, they will break.

It's both part of the genre and a commentary on the norms of the genre, like Watchmen is to superhero comics or Spec Ops: The Line is to oorah shootmans.

And just like those other things, reaching beyond the basic presentation of the genre in order to make a point about the genre is why people talk about it.
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SpammyV
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Re: Anime might be cool

Postby SpammyV » Thu Jan 12, 2017 6:29 pm

Which is why in Super Robot Wars games it turns out Shinji is a good kid when you give him a support group and don't surround him with assholes.

There's also that everyone wants to flock around the deconstruction/subversion and not around the rest of the stuff in the genre.
gloatingswine

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby gloatingswine » Thu Jan 12, 2017 6:54 pm

SpammyV wrote:There's also that everyone wants to flock around the deconstruction/subversion and not around the rest of the stuff in the genre.


It's kind of inherent that a product that makes comment on a genre from within it generates more than the usual amount of discussion, because it raises the idea that there are unconsidered facets of the genre or ways to portray the things in it.

There's simply more to talk about in a product like NGE than, say, GaoGaiGar because "I liked it when he shouted loud and hit it with a hammer" doesn't have a lot of phase space in its discussion.
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SpammyV
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Re: Anime might be cool

Postby SpammyV » Fri Jan 13, 2017 5:12 am

This is probably my bitterness coming through, but I feel like that sells the genre short. GaoGaiGar, for instance, actually demonstrates a good deal of thought that went into making what seems on the surface to be just a bog-standard super robot show. Sure it's the show where the man says the words and yells real loud, but that doesn't actually explain what it is in the writing of the episodes that makes it satisfying to watch.

What makes the show satisfying is that they thought about how to take the super robot formula and make it good. They establish why the Gutsy Geode Guard must act reactively, because they can't track the Zonders. But they aren't sitting on their hands or spinning their wheels with meaningless training, they are actively researching everything they can about their opponents, identifying the weaknesses of GaoGaiGar and working to correct them, and rolling out the Hero Robots to take the load off of Gai. Nor are the Zonders just sending monsters to attack the city. Once they realize that GGG is a serious opposition every monster they send is an attempt to capitalize on an observed weakness of GaoGaiGar.

The Zonders send a monster to attack in populated areas and cause property damage so public opinion turns against GGG. GGG deploys the Dividing Driver to create space where Gai can fight without worry about collateral damage. The Zonders respond by designing a monster that will explode when Gai pulls the Zonder core from it. GGG deploys the Eraserhead to nullify the blast. The Zonders send a monster that will just trap GaoGaiGar until the space opened up by the Dividing Driver closes, destroying them both. The big battle at the end of the first season doesn't come about because it's the end of the season, it comes about naturally because we've seen the Zonder being depleted by these attacks and having their attempts to resupply be thwarted, so all they have left is to throw everything into an all-out desperate gambit where the leaders put themselves at risk because they're all that's left.

I would go so far as to say that GaoGaiGar demonstrates how to do the episodic format right.

And y'know, G Gundam isn't only good because it's also a show where the man says the words and yells real loud. Arguably G Gundam does a better job at delivering on an environmental theme than the UC continuity has. And the big reveal of the show demonstrates someone thinking about the setting they wrote and, in my opinion, it's a brilliant reveal because you will be set up more for it the more that you know about the Gundam franchise.

But hey, sound off on Twitter and show which team you're on: #shinjididnothingwrong or #shinjidelendaest
gloatingswine

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby gloatingswine » Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:46 am

Right, but that's all first order plot stuff.

NGE doesn't just have those first order events because it's also about humans in stressful situations and particularly about taking an interior view of clinical depression (which Anno suffers from) brought on by external pressure.

The depression thing is why it inverts the usual Super Robot formula of ever escalating conflict and has the last two episodes taking place in Shinji's head, because one of the effects of depression is being unable to emotionally connect with other people, so Shinji retreats into his own head and the ending of the series (instrumentality) is him accepting those connections and beginning to recover.

GaoGaiGar, meanwhile, is all on the surface, and everything you've talked about is stuff that happens in the plot, not what second order meanings you can take from the events. No matter how intricate the first order plot is, there's always going to be more to talk about in second order meanings, because they also relate back to some elements of real experiences and form a way of understanding those.

No matter how intricate (or mawkish "press F to pay respects") the plots of Call of Duty get they're not going to generate as much to talk about as Spec Ops did, because the meaning of Spec Ops wasn't just about what happened in it but also about how the type of fiction it represents is constructed, and how the audience interacts uncritically with it.

People who really dislike things like NGE tend to only be looking at their first order signifiers and get upset when they aren't what they expect from the genre, they want Shinji to "man up" because that's what's supposed to happen in a Super Robot plot, they're not expecting a story about the debilitating effects of clinical depression that just happens to use giant robots and aliens as a framing device.
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The Rocketeer

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby The Rocketeer » Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:51 am

gloatingswine wrote:People who really dislike things like NGE tend to only be looking at their first order signifiers and get upset when they aren't what they expect from the genre...
Whoa, there, hoss. Resist rationalizing people's opinions. I "get it," man, it's just not very good.

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Well, I made this for the War in the Pocket banter, for reasons I can no longer remember, since I threw the rest out. But here it is anyway:

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