Anime might be cool

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John

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby John » Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:21 am

Retsam wrote:Plus, Nausicaä falls into my pet peeve category of "hagiography", where the (frequently female) protagonist is just perfect and flawless in every way. She always does the absolute right thing in every circumstance, she's decisive, charismatic, loved by everyone, perfectly compassionate, single-handled unravels major details about the setting that apparently no one else has discovered in the last 1000 years (before the movie's story begins, even), and an ace flier. Apparently she can even beat a half-dozen soldiers in a fight, despite no explained reason why she would have had combat training. It's not really a flaw in the movie, but it's rather a pet peeve of mine and usually gets my eyes rolling.

I know what you mean.
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Ringwraith

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby Ringwraith » Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:41 am

That sounds like most protagonists period to me. No need to qualify further.
There's an awful lot of male one too that fall into that camp, yaaaaay.
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Retsam

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby Retsam » Wed Sep 27, 2017 2:33 am

Ringwraith wrote:That sounds like most protagonists period to me. No need to qualify further.
There's an awful lot of male one too that fall into that camp, yaaaaay.


Really, most protagonists? Because in my view the hagiography trope is fairly rare.

Yeah, a ton of protagonists get the practical side of my description of Nausicaa, where they're supremely good at everything - or at least, at the one thing that happens to be the most important thing in this universe: often fighting, but sometimes, for example, children's card games - but the more important qualifier for what I call a "hagiography" is the moral side: that they're portrayed as this saintly, "pure-hearted" person who seemingly can do no wrong, is thankfully fairly rare. My comparison to Snow White isn't just the "loves animals" thing, but because Snow White is a pretty prototypical example of the trope.

Sure, most protagonists tend to be fundamentally good people, but rarely to the point of outright veneration by those around them. And maybe that last bit is the important part, the part that gets my eyes rolling. Sure, to take a random example, Ash Ketchum basically only does heroic and good things, (to the extreme of literally dying to save others at one point), and he's clearly a good person, with all his talk of friendship, and determination, and all the other important virtues to impart to twelve-year-olds, but the show, and particularly the other characters in it, don't treat him like he's a saint come to earth.

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And, yeah, reading the discussion from last year, another bit of semi-criticism that I cut from my previous comment is summed up pretty well in that discussion: "the story feels like an abridged version". There's a ton of ideas and characters that are just barely introduced and not particularly fleshed out. It's nowhere quite bad enough to really feel like a real flaw, but it was definitely noticeable.

Like, yeah, the only reason I know the ecosystem is bioengineered is because I read the first sentence of the wikipedia article, the God Warrior thing was probably the biggest detail that felt like it needed to be fleshed out more (if you'll pardon the pun), and a lot of the secondary characters felt a bit underdeveloped.

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Also, something I found entertaining while reading the Nausicaa wikipedia is that apparently there was a gawdawful American version. I really think that the cover art speaks for itself:

Image

If I'm not mistaking those details, that's got minor freedom fighter dude in the center, riding a God Warrior, which is also seemingly being ridden by another God Warrior, but this one is carrying... a lightsaber? Needless to say, it's not a particularly faithful adaptation.
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4th Dimension

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby 4th Dimension » Wed Sep 27, 2017 6:53 am

Retsam wrote:(My Hero Academia)

Yeah, My Hero Academia is great, although I had to pause watching it until more of the dubbed episodes (2nd season) become available, because I would actually argue that the dubbed version might be the superior one. Yeah, unbelievable ain't it?
And this is coming from someone who tends to find male shonnen protagonists with their constant testosterone poisoning and relying on guts and luck over everything else annoying.

You might have a point about Deku rising too quickly, but then again it IS an new school and they do know him just by his recent super powered exploits and aren't blinded by Kachan's quirk to ignore that he in turn is an asshole. And Deku is shown constantly that he kinda STILL is, even after his achievements, that same kid that got bullied in that he doesn't completely believe into himself yet, and believes a lot of things to be a fluke of luck. While luck did play into it, there being a power that could be passed down to him and him running into All-Might, he MADE a lot of his own luck by being persistent and fighting smart.
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SpammyV
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Re: Anime might be cool

Postby SpammyV » Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:59 am

In the meantime, I've finished Turn A Gundam.

Image*

They do a few cool things with the premise, probably the coolest of which is when they go to a region called Adeska and learn that the people of Adeska have been living around a mountain for ages because according to their legends it was the site of the World Tree and where the giants from the earth fought the giants from the sky over the world tree, which was eventually chopped down but had one branch thrown into the heavens as a reminder. And then you realize that hey, [url]Adeska was the site of an orbital elevator that was destroyed by Mobile Suits and part of the orbital segment was stabilized and turned into a station[/url].

And after they get into space and to the Moon, the revelation that I knew but was mentally separating myself from drops: The Dark History referenced through the series began in the year 0079 of an era called the Universal Century, i.e. with the very first colony drop in Mobile Suit Gundam. Actually though, while most people now put Turn A Gundam at the end of the UC timeline, that wasn't the intent when the show was made. The intent was that Turn A Gundam is the end of every Gundam timeline. The images from the Dark History clearly show clips from Gundam Wing and Gundam X, and when they look through designs recovered from the history it includes suits from G Gundam.

(Actually the G Gundam units seen include the horse robot piloted by a horse and the terrifying Nether Gundam)

On the whole, I think that getting to the moon is where Turn A Gundam becomes its best. While the middle of the show had a lot of good character development, it's hard to say that the middle was about something in the same way the last third or so is. Namely: Human nature. After all, it turns out that the world of Turn A Gundam is built on top of so many wars that no one living can even remember them all. Our heroes see the history as tragic but not damning, that people can live in peace and peace is worth fighting for. Some see the Dark History and say that humanity is inherently violent and everyone whose violent instincts have been awakened has to be segregated or killed. Some just see the chance to recover ancient technology and advance their own power. And some see that humanity has to war and can only develop through war.

The show's ultimate villain is, perhaps, the most meta bad guy Tomino could write into a Gundam show until he makes the cast of Gundam Build Fighters into irredeemable monsters. Gym Gingnham's fleet has been in orbit around the moon practicing war for 2500 years, but never fighting an enemy, just knowing they have to be in perfect form in case. They have been divorced from the consequences of war for so long that they no longer acknowledge them. All that matters is fighting and the highest purpose of someone is to fight. Gym just wants to expand his power to cause more conflict. The man wants to be a warlord. And once he recovers the Turn X he becomes obsessed with it, risking the Moon Race cities so he can draw enough power to start it up and seeming to think its power allows him to do anything. He vaporizes his own soldiers just to fire the blaster. And he won't let anyone interfere with his fights, killing one of his most loyal officers just because they intruded on a battle between the Turn X and the Turn A.

So war is amazing and the only thing that matters is having the coolest robot.

Image

The bad guy of the Gundam show is is the "Wow Cool Robot" guy.

And one other plus about the end of the series is that the Dark History theme gets played a whole bunch and it's one of my favorite "You are messing with something that ought not be messed with" pieces of music.

On the whole I think that Turn A Gundam is good and should go into the canon. The War of the Worlds-esque start is fantastic, I think the show does some fantastic character development in the middle, and the last segment is actually pretty meta for a Gundam series. I think my only complaints would be that the show loses its pacing for a while (which I think is just a requisite for a Gundam show???) and that while the show is pretty serious and has some interesting ideas, it's not quite as serious an exploration of the ideas as I'd like. But still, a good show. Deserves to be in the Universal Century.






*actually Tomino is serious about his anti-war message but still there's a disconnect between "war is bad" and Kill 'Em All Tomino that's funny to point out
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4th Dimension

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby 4th Dimension » Fri Oct 06, 2017 6:43 am

Heh, nice gag that his glasses and nose spell out his name とみの=To-mi-no
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John

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby John » Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:08 pm

SpammyV wrote:(Actually the G Gundam units seen include the horse robot piloted by a horse and the terrifying Nether Gundam)

Sometimes I think that G Gundam's enthusiastic and wholehearted embrace of lazy national stereotypes is charming. Then there's the Nether Gundam. I don't object to the fact that somebody stuck a huge windmill on a dumpy but otherwise perfectly good robot. No, I object to the fact that they did it in such a way as to make the robot's arms essentially useless. That windmill is going to get in the way, like, all the time. So, to summarize, cultural insensitivity doesn't bother me but poor robot design does. I think I may be a bad person.

SpammyV wrote: . . . and once he recovers the Turn X he becomes obsessed with it . . .

Huh. The feet on that sucker are just weird. And as I look up more Turn A mecha online, I find that weird feet are pretty much the norm for Turn A. Speaking as a person who apparently cares more about robot design than about other, more sensible things, that makes me sad. Because, um . . .

SpammyV wrote:. . . war is amazing and the only thing that matters is having the coolest robot.

Yeah. That.
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Retsam

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby Retsam » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:57 pm

Speaking of G Gundam, the first trailer for Pacific Rim: Uprising just dropped.

I was a huge fan of Pacific Rim, and while my first impressions of the new trailer were largely positive, I looked through some of the less optimistic Reddit comment, and they've got some pretty reasonable concerns, between the brighter colors, more robots, a teenage cast, entirely motion controlled cockpits (a la G Gundam): it's looking like this one is going to be quite different from the first one, to the point that this movie might be more "Power Rangers" than the Power Rangers movie.

I can definitely see where people would be concerned... but then the original Pacific Rim wasn't exactly a deep movie, either. It basically just took all the tropes and did them well; so perhaps Pacific Rim 2 will do the same within it's more YA-style.

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...wait, what do you mean "Pacific Rim isn't anime"? Have you seen Pacific Rim?
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Supahewok

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby Supahewok » Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:49 pm

I think the bigger objection to Pacific Rim being anime or not is that it wasn't a Japanese production, if the "Last Airbender isn't anime" camp is to be believed.
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SpammyV
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Re: Anime might be cool

Postby SpammyV » Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:01 pm

Anti-war messages in things always have an issue where it's difficult to show battles without making them exciting to the audience in some ways. This is especially true in the case of Gundam, where the messages about the evils of war are delivered through a robot show, and part of the appeal of robot shows is not only the enhanced spectacle of fights occurring on a larger scale, but also the hints at how the robot works that excite the imagination (like the old sci-fi inspires real-world technology idea) and the voyueristic power fantasy aspect. I mean, War in the Pocket is probably the best Gundam media at showing war being pointless and terrible, and it still has some of the best directed fights in the franchise. I believe that part of the appeal of a lot of fiction is we want to be in the world and to be the protagonists. I want to be piloting the giant robot, I want to be the ruler of a fantasy nation, I want to be the rugged survivor of a zombie apocalypse, I want to be the decent man with a shady past pushed too far. And I don't think that is neccessarily a bad thing, so long as you recognize your luxury.

In the case of Gundam, I have the luxury of analyzing how these teenagers get mentally scarred for life and then geek out with my friend over how cool the Sazabi is with all of its thrusters dotted around the suit because it was purpose-made for the best pilot in the canon, and I don't see where those are contradictory or self-defeating because I recognize that I can enjoy these things because they are fictional and not what I have to deal with in my normal life. Thankfully, we don't have to deal with colony drops and meteor impacts and an endless on-off war between a corrupt bureaucracy and a people whose legitimate desire for independence is swept up in the plans of dictators and megalomaniacs.

So I don't mean to say that there's anything wrong with your technical interest. What's wrong with Gym Gingnham going "Wow cool robot" is that he has no empathy for civilians, no concerns for the costs of conflict, no loyalty to anything beyond himself. What's wrong with how some people view Gundam is the context for that image, which was a tweet wondering why Amuro or other Gundam protagonists have any hesitation or problem with killing. Unfortunately some people do seem to miss the point that badly.

Anyway on mechanic talk, yeah a lot of the Turn A era suits have weird feet but that's part of their general unfamiliar design. I dig it. It helps set the era of Turn A Gundam apart from all others that the designs look different from all other shows. Syd Mead provided the concept art that set the look of Turn A Gundam's mobile suits.

I also find G Gundam charming. I find the universally deafeningly loud national stereotypes amusing. They don't really define the characters either. There's more to Chibodee Crocket than "Being American" and a good number of episodes are devoted to showing him having to mentally work through the trauma of being possessed by the Devil Gundam and being aware that he was about to kill the people he cared most about. And there's the revelation that his assistants/ringside girls aren't just there for show or a handwaved "Of COURSE he's got a bunch of beautiful women with him he's an American sports star" thing, they get the lead in an episode and it turns out that both parties are quite attached to one another (nothing beyond a platonic friendship is shown or hinted at either).

Because that's the thing with G Gundam: It's silly. It's ridiculous. It's a wire-assisted-stunts high fantasy wuxia story about betrayal and secret ancient martial arts that just so happens to put people in Gundams. Nothing about the show seems like it's got any meat until you start to think, "Hey, the main villain is actually really nuanced. And this show actually makes the environmentalism message that falls flat in the Universal Century work. And it's actually a very self-aware show as well. Domon and Rain actually have a very subdued relationship compared to the standards of the genre, and his big 'I love you speech' includes him being aware and apologizing for taking Rain for granted."

It's a stupid crazy clownshoes always-yelling show but it's actually really good. That's the secret is that hidden beneath all the goofiness it's actually a good show.





Also Pacific Rim might as well be anime, Guillermo del Toro is a giant mecha nerd I've seen him hugging Go Nagai the guy who basically invented the mecha genre.

Image
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John

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby John » Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:27 am

Spammy, now you've got me thinking about Escaflowne again. (It's not necessarily a mech show, strictly speaking, but I got into it for the robots and sword fights so it's close enough for my purposes. Also, it's from Sunrise, the Gundam people.) Escaflowne does two things, one intentional and the other not, that I think are related to what you're saying. Van Fanel, the boy-king owner of the biggest, baddest mecha in the world starts the show as an ineffectual semi-pacifist. Over the course of the series he naturally turns into an unstoppable killing machine. So far, so typical. The nice thing about Escaflowne is that this transformation is depicted as being not-for-the-better. Van has at least one full-blown freakout along the way, and the main character calls him out on his bloodthirstiness near the end of the series. The other thing Escaflowne does is refuse to depict any of the epic, large-scale battles that take place. We may see the beginning of a battle or its tragic aftermath, but the bulk of the fighting takes place between episodes. I wish I could believe that this was a principled, artistic choice on Sunrise's part, but I suspect that it was really a cost-saving measure. Anyway, the point is that you could argue that Escaflowne is trying to say stuff about war without doing the glorification-through-depiction thing. And yet my first time through the series I felt a little cheated when the show skipped over a battle. I really wanted to see two huge robot armies fight it out. I guess I wanted the spectacle even if that spectacle consisted of something fairly awful.

Now that I think of it, a large-scale battle scene in Escaflowne would have the potential to be really, really gruesome because the show's armies contain a lot of medieval-style infantry in addition to a lot of robots. Oh, and one side also has flamethrower tanks. Maybe part of the appeal of mecha is that mecha are human enough, shape-wise, to perform human-like dramatic actions but are nevertheless machines so that when of them is shot or stabbed or explodes it isn't as gruesome as when that same thing happens to a human.
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Narratorway
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Re: Anime might be cool

Postby Narratorway » Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:45 am

They do do that thing you're talking about. Explicitly. Specifically. When he takes on those brats in the mechs and just straight up slaughters every last one of them. You literally see them screaming in agony just before he crushes them in their own mechanical shell. It's the one scene I remember from that show that had any impact when I watched it.
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Daemian Lucifer

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby Daemian Lucifer » Sat Oct 07, 2017 5:28 am

Retsam wrote:Speaking of G Gundam, the first trailer for Pacific Rim: Uprising just dropped.


Did the chorus chant "boring"??Ha,thats funny.

Anyway,this trailer shows exactly what I liked about the first movie:Huge mecha fighting huge monsters.So of course Im going to watch this one.

Supahewok wrote:I think the bigger objection to Pacific Rim being anime or not is that it wasn't a Japanese production, if the "Last Airbender isn't anime" camp is to be believed.


Its not anime because its live action.But it can be....errr,whats the live action counterpart to anime?

As for the whole japanese thing,who cares.Its the style that matters,not the country of the maker.
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John

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby John » Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:35 am

Narratorway wrote:They do do that thing you're talking about. Explicitly. Specifically. When he takes on those brats in the mechs and just straight up slaughters every last one of them. You literally see them screaming in agony just before he crushes them in their own mechanical shell. It's the one scene I remember from that show that had any impact when I watched it.

I know which episode you're referring to, but I'm not entirely sure which thing I'm talking about that you're talking about. If it's the last paragraph, I respectfully suggest that the key words here are "just before". We might see a mech get sliced in half, and we might see the pilot's screaming face as it happens, but we never see the pilot getting sliced in half. At least not that I can recall in Escaflowne.
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Narratorway
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Re: Anime might be cool

Postby Narratorway » Sat Oct 07, 2017 6:30 pm

That it doesn't explicitly show them being brutally crushed/sliced/smashed to death doesn't change the fact that the show is making it unambiguously clear that is what is happening to them and it is absolutely not glorifying what's going down. These kids - and they are children mind - are screaming their heads off in fear and pain during their final moments while the most foreboding track in the entire show's OST is playing all to have it end with the hero turning his mech into a demonic husk of itself.

I'm saying there's very little you can point at in this scene and say, "You can tell this was meant to be badass!" and I don't see how not showing gore/viscera makes any meaningful difference.
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John

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby John » Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:54 pm

Okay. I don't disagree then.
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Retsam

Re: Anime might be cool

Postby Retsam » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:08 am

It's a really good year for anime movies, apparently. First Your Name, and now my wife and I went out to see Koe no Katachi - translated as "A Silent Voice" or (more literally) "The Shape of Voice" (depending on whether you asked my ticket stub or the movie's end card). I've seen a lot of good movies this year (just saw Arrival earlier last week, too, for example), but these two are probably at the top of my list. (Though, I'm hoping that The Last Jedi manages to knock one or both of them out of that spot) There's probably a bit of bias there, but they're both fantastic films.

Koe no Katachi is a bit outside of my normal tastes: it's a very bittersweet and pretty heavy film. It's about a deaf girl who is bullied in elementary school, from the perspective of the boy who bullied her. The film opens on the main character contemplating suicide, and that about sets the tone for the film. It's a lot of characters dealing with past conflicts and past trauma and self-loathing.

But there is sweet to the bittersweet as well; it's got a lot of happier moments and even some pretty funny bits to it, and I think they did a good job balancing those two aspects: the movie never gets overly maudlin, but it also doesn't sell quick-fixes for emotional trauma either.

The only negative I had (other than a surprise intermission that we had while the movie theater worked out issues with the sound, ironically), is that it's a fairly compressed adaptation of a 60+ chapter manga. They did a good job at it overall, but it does still show: the core of the story feels well-paced, but there's definitely a few side-characters who have noticeably abridged arcs.

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If you liked Your Name, you'll probably like this one too (though again, it's a bit heavier). It might be hard to actually find playing anywhere... around here it showed for two days in one theater a week ago, and it's apparently showing again in a different theater in a week: maybe there'll be a wider release next year. But if you do get a chance to see it, I'd highly recommend it.

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