Archive for January, 2011

Level E 4 – Can SEGA Be This Picky?

Posted in Level E with tags on 01/31/2011 by Shinmaru

Maybe I’ve been out of the gaming sphere for too long, but is SEGA really doing so well that it can be like, “Yeah, yeah, whatever . . .” to someone with a solid story idea? Am I crazy, or would this episode make a decent mystery game? But, hey, when you have the opportunity to desecrate the bloated corpse of the Sonic franchise some more, I guess you gotta do it.

Anyway, the twist at the end of this episode totally got me, but mostly because I thought this would be the start of a completely new arc rather than a one-shot story that ends in . . . well, you know if you already watched the episode. (If you didn’t, then why are you reading this? You silly person!) This episode was notable for me mostly because I spent the whole time wondering if everyone was a bunch of aliens, haha. Seems like a fun game to play, right? Spot a character in Level E and try to decipher whether he or she is an alien. I’d probably suck at this, but whatever.

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Fractale 3 – Grand Theft Fractale

Posted in Fractale with tags on 01/29/2011 by Shinmaru

Seriously, that is pretty much how Lost Millennium approaches its mission against the Fractale system old lady mages: Just jump in and blast the shit out of everything. But clearly they did not take it far enough — they should have rode in one of those mobile homes and started running over people for maximum effect.

On a more serious note . . . uh, damn. I think that eases my concerns about Fractale‘s plot getting a move on. The conflict has evolved into one of the old standbys — security vs. freedom. As it is right now, the people in Fractale‘s world are secure: The computers take care of everything, and nobody has to worry about anything of major concern like money or health care or whatever . . . but it comes at the cost of choice, freedom, privacy, etc. because computers can’t really be in control of everything unless they’re really in control of everything. And on the other side, Lost Millennium is fighting back by “regressing” to where we are right now. They’ve got to work for what they have, and a good life is not a guarantee, but they actually are free to live how they choose (as long as they don’t get caught).

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Kimi ni Todoke 28 – Nice Time to Be Cryptic

Posted in Kimi ni Todoke with tags on 01/28/2011 by Shinmaru

I’d bet heavy money on Sawako doing the exact opposite of this, but I’m pretty sure Vegas took the odds for that off the table. Although maybe Kazehaya telling Sawako that she would make a kickass teacher will distract her from Kazehaya being vague and cryptic and telling her not to worry about him being a vague, cryptic dumbass.

There’s a thin line between being considerate and being a plot-stalling pussy. Kazehaya thinks he is being the former, but he is really being the latter. Why? Because he already spent a whole two-cour season being considerate. Now he is on the verge of spending another single-cour season being considerate. That’s 37 episodes (if you don’t count the recap) of consideration. That’s quite a considerable number. We should consider giving him an award.

But why would they slow down? Presumably, the manga is going to come out for a while (I am not reading it, but this seems like a safe bet). And if Production I.G actually went with another season, then the show isn’t just an advertisement for the manga. So, can you imagine 50 episodes of waffling? 60? 70? More? In a sick way, I kind of want to see how long it could possibly go on. I mean . . . you can believably stall for only so long, right?

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Level E 3 – Prankster Prince

Posted in Level E with tags on 01/26/2011 by Shinmaru

A keikaku doori face of a different type right here . . .

So, I guess Level E will be separated into a few short arcs rather than being one large story? Works for me. This first arc comes to a hilarious end, as the obvious has been revealed: Baka cannot be trusted at all. Not just by the humans or his guardians, but the audience as well.

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“The Darkness Comes … !” – Black Swan and Perfect Blue

Posted in Perfect Blue, Random Shit with tags , on 01/24/2011 by Shinmaru

Ever since Darren Aronofsky’s fantastic Black Swan came out in theaters, there have been rumblings about how much of it was inspired by Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue. And, indeed, both movies are quite superficially similar, as pointed out in the linked article. But both films strike different paths with similar material — I’d say they are using the same map and traveling the same area to end up in different spots when they reach their respective destinations. Black Swan and Perfect Blue take a mixture of inner darkness, sexual guilt and exploitation, and come to totally different ends with them.

(By the way, I am going to spoil the shit out of both movies in this post, so read with caution if you have not seen one or both. They are both great movies that are worth watching.)

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Fractale 2 – Trailer Parks Are the Future

Posted in Fractale with tags on 01/23/2011 by Shinmaru

Now that’s real mobile Internet.

So, Fractale‘s world seems more and more like one of those sci-fi hedonistic paradises so far — the computers take care of everything (and may even do sinister things like take advantage of religion to gather data on people, if Clain’s throwaway comment can be taken seriously), and people mostly roam the countryside in their mobile homes, not tied down to anything aside from their complete dependence on technology. Good times I type from my evil laptop computer!

And, uh, I guess the solution in Fractale is one way to avoid a housing crisis — just make sure not many people actually settle down in homes! (Man, there must not be that many people in the world, though, or else traffic would be an utter nightmare. And, of course, finding a place to settle down for the evening would probably be hell, too, if the world of Fractale were as crowded as ours is.) There’s definitely a certain romance and adventure to the life of the perpetual wanderer, but the people of Fractale are like those families that go camping to experience life in the wilderness, and take off in a high-tech trailer and stick it out in there for the duration. What’s the point? Seems pretty empty to me.

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Kimi ni Todoke 27 – Grow a Pair

Posted in Kimi ni Todoke with tags on 01/21/2011 by Shinmaru

You said it, sister . . .

At least there’s now another potential rival around to boot Kazehaya in the ass, or else the guy would just waffle around until the end of time for fear of making poor ol’ Sawako’s heart explode. Yes, Kazehaya thought he could just dawdle around until his balls finally dropped and he would have the courage to tell Sawako he is head over heels in love with her. Surely no handsome stranger would show up out of nowhere in their second year of high school and become attracted to Sawako, and eventually attempt to make some sort of move on her, right? Of course not!

Not so fast, my friend!

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Level E 2 – Aliens Are Douchebags

Posted in Level E with tags on 01/19/2011 by Shinmaru

Oh shit. Things are getting messy in a hurry in Level E land.

So Level E continues to be hilarious. I don’t know about you guys, but I was doubled over in laughter when it was revealed that our princely alien friend “killed” the mugger dude in his story. When he revealed the punch, I had briefly wondered if he would be strong enough to kill a human if he unleashed all his might, and when the series actually went through with it (for a time) . . . man, that is priceless. At least so far, dear ol’ Baka is my perfect vision of the Unrepentant Asshole character. He mocks people, obscures facts, has no problem murdering the fuck out of random people, etc., and is always hilarious while doing it. At this rate, he’ll be up there with Guu, Tomo Takino and others in the Anime Asshole Pantheon.

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Fractale 1 – Geek Paradise

Posted in Fractale with tags on 01/14/2011 by Shinmaru

Like many other people, my interest after the first episode of Fractale is more in the setting than the characters (not really much to them yet) or the story (bare bones right now). I don’t think that’s an especially big problem after one episode, but if it stretches into two, then it obviously becomes more of an issue, particularly given noitaminA’s abbreviated seasons.

Anyway, like Scamp, I immediately made the hikikomori connection when presented with Fractale‘s world. It’s a fairly well-worn aspect of science-fiction — the world of high technology that isolates people from each other as they grown more reliant on technology. But they have the illusion (or is it?) of not being isolated because they can communicate through avatars (or “doppels” as they’re termed in the series). (By the way, wasn’t doppeling the technology where people inserted themselves into virtual reality animals in Overdrawn at the Memory Bank? You can blame Mystery Science Theater 3000 for me actually remembering this . . . )

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Kimi ni Todoke 26 – Chocolate Melodrama

Posted in Kimi ni Todoke with tags on 01/12/2011 by Shinmaru

Because Kimi ni Todoke 2 is more of a continuation than a full-blown sequel, I’m going to continue the same numbering convention as when I blogged the first season instead of acting as if this is a different series. Just clearing up any potential confusion here! (Inb4 a few weeks later when people ask why I’m writing about the 30th episode of the series when the first season had just 25 episodes.)

Anyway, I enjoyed the first season of Kimi ni Todoke, although not quite as much as a fair amount of people — the melodrama is fun, and I especially liked Chizuru’s mini-arc, but the main draw — Kazehaya and Sawako’s romance — is slow as molasses. I didn’t need them to be boning furiously and planning a family, but jeez, throw the audience a bone here! The big season finale was Kazehaya politely walking Sawako home after a New Year’s date. I guess that would have been nice for 1955. But I felt much like Ayane — damn, just get it done already!

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