Archive for August, 2010

High School of the Dead 9 – Iron Grip

Posted in High School of the Dead with tags on 08/30/2010 by Shinmaru

Not a bad episode this week. It actually moves at a decent pace and gets Saeko and Takashi to Saya’s house in a single episode, which is frankly more than I expected. And even though the plot element of Saeko’s sadism is introduced a bit awkwardly, it ends with Saeko practically orgasming as she slices and dices zombies with her sword upgrade (feel the symbolism!), so that is a win in my book. She is pretty much glowing when she arrives at Saya’s pad with Takashi. No wonder Saya is so upset! Just wait until Rei sees those two. Yikes.

Death chart time~

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Giant Killing 22 – Stalling for Time

Posted in Giant Killing with tags on 08/29/2010 by Shinmaru

This says it all about the look Gino gives to Natsuki . . . and my reaction to this episode, really. I mean, it’s not bad, but it definitely feels like a halftime show, and there isn’t much of interest until they get back into the game near the end point of the episode. The locker room stuff is kind of meh. Sugie, Kuroda and the rest of the defense realize where they screwed up, Tatsumi comes in and speaks as enigmatically as usual and everyone is off on their merry way. And the fan culture clash continues, but the game interested me a hell of a lot more, so meh.

As Tatsumi predicted, however, the players really did seem to get it the moment they stepped out onto the field. The defense is much more loose and free-flowing in the second half, able to use their advantages to their fullest extent. Kuroda continues to get under Hauer’s skin and frustrate the big Dutchman by attacking down low and exploiting Hauer’s weak footwork. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, Sugie seems to be taking advantage of his strength by playing as rough with Kubota as is allowed by the refs. Nothing wrong with a bit of bumping to throw off someone’s concentration, after all.

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Shiki 8 – Yuuki Sucks at Burying People

Posted in Shiki with tags on 08/28/2010 by Shinmaru

It’s true. Seriously, what the hell is that? I know at this point the group (or Yuuki at least) is skeptical that “traditional” methods to fight vampires might just be fiction, and that the so-called “Risen” might not even be vampires . . . but they don’t even try to see whether one method would actually work: Exposing this guy to the sun.

Really, what’s the harm in burying this guy up to his neck under a crapload of dirt? Worst case scenario, he gets out of the grave before sunrise, but he at least has to struggle to leave, and might not get back to his safe house by the time the sun comes out. Best case scenario, either the guy dies from being exposed to the sun, or some adult finds him because he’s stuck under a ton of dirt. Clearly this guy is not that much stronger than a normal human (if he even possesses enhanced strength at all); Yuuki thumps him with a shovel once, and he goes down like a sack of garlic. What a wussy vampire.

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Memories – That Magnetic Rose with the Artificial Bloom

Posted in Memories, Random Shit with tags , on 08/25/2010 by Shinmaru

There is not much I can add in regards to the death of Satoshi Kon that numerous people have not already written, or will write in the coming days. I was a big fan, myself; I enjoyed all of his movies and recently watched and loved Paranoia Agent. Part of what I respected about Kon is that he knew how to tell an entertaining story (both through smart plotting and character building, and visually) while also keeping his works intelligent and biting. They have something to say, but they don’t lose themselves in the message, which is where anime so often stumbles. It’s a difficult balance to achieve, but everything Satoshi Kon touched achieved that balance.

I can say that with full confidence, because I just watched the final major work of Satoshi Kon’s career that I had yet to see — the “Magnetic Rose” segment of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Memories. Kon wrote the script for the short based off a story by Otomo. It’s not difficult to see Kon’s fingerprints all over the story, either. I can’t say for sure whether the blending of fantasy and reality present in “Magnetic Rose” is something Otomo brought to the table from the beginning, or if it was simply the first of many times Kon would follow that role, but it bears all the Kon trademarks.

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High School of the Dead 8 – Boob Ripples

Posted in High School of the Dead with tags on 08/23/2010 by Shinmaru

Really, what can I write that has not already been pointed out? Madhouse has gone beyond the impossible and kicked reason to the curb with the fanservice in this episode. Can it even be classified as fanservice now? The bullet time panties probably still counts, but the bullet time boobs and boob recoil cushions? That’s just . . . out there, something else entirely. I suppose someone out there must have got a dirty thrill from flopping boobs and boob ripples. My mind is mostly picking up the pieces of itself after being shattered by that scene.

So, uh, death chart?

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Giant Killing 21 – Kubota Is a Showboata

Posted in Giant Killing with tags on 08/22/2010 by Shinmaru

lol red herring

Well, not quite. Part of Giant Killing‘s storytelling M.O. so far has been to tend toward one direction in a game, and then suddenly leap into a completely different direction, whether that is through a Tatsumi-employed tactic finally bearing fruit (followed by a flashback of Tatsumi drilling that tactic into his team), or a player whose impact on the game has been left to the background making his presence felt with a big play and changing the course of the match. In this episode, Kubota is the player who puts the game ever more out of ETU’s reach.

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Shiki 7 – Vampire Peer Pressure

Posted in Shiki with tags on 08/20/2010 by Shinmaru

Some legitimately creepy moments in this episode, including Masao in the coffin during the episode intro and the middle portion of the story. I’m not particularly claustrophobic, but just imagining waking up and finding myself in such an enclosed space, with very little hope of escape, no matter how much I scratch and claw and struggle . . . yeah, pretty damn scary. This made me more sympathetic to Masao than anything else that has been shown so far.

Aside from being creepy, it’s interesting to see how new vampires are “initiated” into the group, and get a bit more background about them. For instance, I like that not everyone who is bitten becomes a vampire. It kind of lends an air of assumed superiority to those who come back, doesn’t it? When Tatsumi tells Masao that Hiromi has not come back to life, there’s a tone to Masao’s voice that could be relief that Hiromi has not turned into some abomination . . . or it could Masao thinking, “For once, I’m actually better than he is. I’m special, and he’s dead!” Just that little fact probably helps make it easier for new vampires to take the plunge into sucking blood from humans. They’re special beings; they have one up on normal humans.

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Filming and Re-Filming Culture in Macross

Posted in Macross, Random Shit with tags on 08/18/2010 by Shinmaru

There are many aspects of Macross 7 that I didn’t care for, but one decision made that struck me as rather bizarre at the time has stuck with me since, and I even think of it as sort of brilliant now. That is, the choice to integrate Macross: Do You Remember Love? into the Macross canon as a literal movie filmed in the Macross universe. Even though it creates a whole host of logistical issues (they must have found some great lookalikes and soundalikes for everyone who died/was evil), I like to think that all the major players in SDF Macross played themselves in the Do You Remember Love? movie.

Almost since the invention of motion pictures, individuals and groups — particularly governments — have taken note of the potential of movies to be powerful tools of propaganda. (Note that while the term “propaganda” is often used pejoratively, for the purposes of this post, I’m taking a neutral view of it — that is, “propaganda” is a work created to further one’s cause, damage another cause or both. No judgment of positive or negative value here.) Think of Sergei Eisenstein’s The Battleship Potemkin, Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will, the numerous American-produced movies about World War II, the direction of movies following the Vietnam War and so on.

Although the general public is likely much more media savvy than even 20-25 years ago (much less 50-80 years back), movies and the images they portray still wield a great power. It’s one thing to read accounts of soldiers and civilians in war torn areas; it is quite another to see brutal images for ourselves, exaggerated or not. Probably very few people left, say, The Hurt Locker not shaken up at least a little bit. That’s the power of a movie: It can put us in another world, where we see and hear all that goes on. If done well enough, the audience is totally immersed, and that’s almost instant identification. A movie doesn’t even have to be overt propaganda to stick with us and affect us, really.

And that’s where the brilliance of Macross 7‘s decision comes in. Macross is about romance, but it’s also about celebration of culture, and what better way to celebrate and disseminate culture than through movies? It’s a window into a culture’s thoughts and views, however narrow or broad that window may be.

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High School of the Dead 7 – Half-Naked Rescue

Posted in High School of the Dead with tags on 08/16/2010 by Shinmaru

Pretty good episode here. The fanservice momentum is rolling along, but it doesn’t really come at the expense of the action — Operation Rescue Little Girl is executed well by our main crew, and now they are finally off to do what they set out to do at the beginning of the series. I doubt many of their family members are alive at this point, but might as well check, right? They should be fine, anyway, what with our heroes leveling up in fighting ability with each episode. Are they Saiyans or something? Damn.

Death chart time!

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Giant Killing 20 – Getting Ahead of the Game

Posted in Giant Killing with tags on 08/15/2010 by Shinmaru

This episode does a solid job of setting up numerous storylines to play out through the course of the game, with various levels of payoffs that come in this episode and are sure to come as the match progresses.

The big result, of course, is the goal scored for Osaka via Hauer’s header at the end of the episode. What is most impressive is how many different parts are juggled to lead to that goal. First we have the match-up with Hauer and Kuroda. The fans are understandably worried because Hauer is bigger and stronger than Kuroda; however, Tatsumi has faith in Kuroda’s ability and smarts (along with a helpful suggestion about Hauer’s weak point), and this pays off at first as Kuroda quickly senses Hauer’s weaknesses and gets inside the big man’s head.

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