Rambling and other animals. But mostly rambling.

Latest

Sidonia 01. And a bit of Skyrim.

vlcsnap-2014-04-12-02h13m07s222

Now if you’ve played Skyrim, odds are you’ve seen one of its books. The Mystery of Talara. The Firmament. The Black Arrow. Maybe one of the billion volumes of The Wolf Queen or A Brief History of the Empire. Depending on how low you’ve fallen, you may even have opened one of them and *gasp* read through it till the end. If you’re really crazy, you might have bought up the house in Markarth just for the extra bookshelves and then proceeded to fill it up with exactly one copy of every book you have in perfect order. If you were at one point, completely lost to it, you may have found that book full of racist jokes about Argonians, which, I’ll be honest, is a total hoot.

Ok, now back on topic. If you read the Brief History of the Empire without having played all of the preceding Elder Scrolls games, you’d find yourself exactly where I found myself when I tried to sift through the whole thing. Its impossible. Utterly impossible, since each book is the product of a different era, and is rife with references to other literature published in the First Era, some few hundred years before Skyrim takes place. The texts, it might strike you, are entirely separate experiences when you read them in the Skyrim than if you had read them in the Era they were published and addressed. Much of the story you receive in Skyrim is unrelated to, or even in direct narrative opposition to what you read in the in-game lore, mostly because the lore was about the Altmer 200 years ago, and the game take place in the now. The lore in Skyrim is bottomless, and consequently rather impenetrable.

vlcsnap-2014-04-12-02h12m38s179vlcsnap-2014-04-12-02h09m33s102

What we’re getting in Sidonia is a sense of the scale of the lengths of time involved here -up to hundreds of years- and a colossal, hulking mass of implied in-world points and even contradictions. We have a faction rebelling against the ‘undead rulers who wage a false war to prolong their lives‘, and a visible rationing of power, resources and maintenance from the military rulers up top. We know that the residents of Sidonia have gone through an incredible amount of optimisation to perfect their status as space-beings, what with asexual reproduction, photosynthesis, new genders, and the lot, yet entire sections of the Sidonia seem to go to waste for simple military equipment disposal. This Hiroki, father of Tanikaze, who seems to hold a wealth of valuable knowledge, is dead, undocumented, in a corner of the underground parts of Sidonia. Tanikaze is not even documented, yet the captain greets him with unusual familiarity and warmth. Tanikaze is not a special pilot at all, but is handed Tsugumori, which by the way, is the most badass-looking mecha I have seen in a good long while.

vlcsnap-2014-04-12-02h13m53s137 vlcsnap-2014-04-12-02h09m59s122

This may all sound like poor writing in how there isn’t a clear answer for any of these in sight, but I hold it to be the best shit ever, and easily the best way to introduce you to a new, alien world. Recall that events in Sidonia happen over very long periods of time, and you get a sense of the scale, yet smallness, of the history of Sidonia, as well as an appreciation of how impossible it will be to disentangle the current state of Sidonia and explain why everything is the way it is. Hell, even in reality, explaining why anything is the way it is is a bitch of a job. Linking Sidonia to the point of contact with the Gauna, and the seed-ship construction effort is an even more colossal task. It isn’t one that the anime has to do, but it, once again, gives you a sense of how big this story is, both in terms of history, and in terms of the things that will no doubt be gambled on later on in the show. The whole package is rather impenetrable, and that makes it enigmatic, alluring and bottomless.

vlcsnap-2014-04-12-02h40m39s62 vlcsnap-2014-04-12-02h09m11s134

Like, these guys have had 4 Gauna defense wars already. If I hadn’t rewatched this episode a hundred times, I would never have noticed this at all. Part of this has to do with how Tsutomu Nihei takes full advantage of his manga being a manga when he wrote it, which means that the information density on the manga is very high too. That, translated into anime form, will probably mean more breakneck background foreshadowing.

All scifi should be this good.

I am in despair.

 

Advertisements

Ping Pong 01, but not really, but Ping Pong 01

Lets get the formalities out of the way first. I like the episode, and Wenge is kickass.

So I’m thinking that if Aku no Hana is on one end of the visual spectrum of realism, and Nisekoi is on the other, Ping Pong the Animation is somewhere in the corner where we put all the bastard children of abstraction and realism. On one hand, this is very much still Masaki Yuasa madness, where reality is only as real as Yuasa says it is, nothing much has defined outlines, and anything that is happening is very much suspect of being visual metaphor, and on the other, it still feels very genuine. The sequences where Peco and Wenge play each other look absolutely nothing like actual table tennis, and Yuasa tries to remind us of that constantly; there is no attempt whatsoever to be realistic, so Yuasa must be going for abstraction. The sequences where Peco and Wenge play are, in essence, no difference from the show flashing text on the screen saying ‘Peco and Wenge played a game, Peco got skunked’, only doing it the Yuasa way looks cooler. Neither resembles sports, but both are meant to mean ‘a game is being played right now’. Signifier signified sign.

vlcsnap-2014-04-12-00h00m28s49

Read the rest of this page »

Ryousuke Nakamura sure likes his rainbows. Also, something about mystery as a genre. | Mouryou no Hako 01

Well, yeah. Lets face it, he does. Nerawareta Gakuen, Hashire Melos, Mouryou no Hako, they’re all chock full of all the rainbows that you would ever want. Ryousuke Nakamura seems to use them everywhere, not just at the fringes of his shots. Often this is just obtrusive, like it was in Nerawareta Gakuen. While Shinkai Makoto used them in Kotonoha no Niwa around lamplights the same way lens flare is used, and a lot of shows like say, Nagi no Asukara, use them in places where you would actually see rainbows for the sake of *gasp* realism, Nakamura shoves those rainbows all over the screen, and instead of being sharp and defined, they are diffused, such that they seem to be the lens through which we see the episode unfold.

vlcsnap-2014-03-31-22h59m35s103

Read the rest of this page »

It really is a pain thinking up topics for posts that are essentially just rambling | Mushishi Episodes 1-10

vlcsnap-2014-03-16-12h29m05s120

So one of the better things about Mushishi is how there is hardly any wasted material, even though the show doesn’t need to be as efficient as it is to establish its mood. The easiest way to be relaxing and calm, yet subtly melancholy is to be Natsume Yuujinchou; insert greenery, have very little go on and keep a muted soundscape and colour scheme. Mushishi is a lot more focused than that. I’d say that it is, in terms of the finesse with which it goes about unveiling its world, rivalled by very very few in anime.

A lot of people have likened Mushishi’s mood to a lot of different things, but the comment that sticks out to me as the most accurate and representative is that one from that review on MAL. ‘Mushishi, in spirit, resembles a cave painting’. That’s an accurate assessment, but its so accurate an assessment as to basically be the thing its assessing; it holds understanding but not much explicit information.

Read the rest of this page »

Coincidence, luck, and Miracle Madman Alibaba | Magi S1 01-14

Magi is a great show, and it has great OP/ED sequences. Not because they’re phenomenally choreographed or anything, and certainly not because the singing is great, but because they offer so much promise, and really, that’s where Magi engages perfectly; in the background, in the imagination, the sense of adventure, even though the adventure has been delayed every episode for fourteen episodes now. It’s no easy feat, to be sure, promising something in an OP or ED.
Well, actually the first ED existed more for mood whiplash, which in this case, is not a bad thing. It makes the rather hopeless-feeling events on screen hit harder. It’s just more memorable when followed by a bubbly ‘nozomite iiyou, yuubi bouenkyou‘.

Read the rest of this page »

What, anyway, is a political story?

Now, I’m really not going to keep up any pretenses about this: this is going to be the driest post I will ever churn out. I’m writing it out because I am generally dissatisfied with the exploration and evaluation of political stories on and around the blogosphere, where people are more or less content to refer to an anime as ‘political’, and expect it to be understood what they mean by this. From here on in, everything I deem to be my personal opinion will be in grey, because f*** my opinions.

Read the rest of this page »

A boatload of rambling thoughts on Gundam 00 | Gundam 00 Eps 00-18

Image

Well, it seems I am utterly incapable of completing a post unless I get to the 2nd OP/ED of a Gundam show. It’s not even as if I only watch Gundam. It’s not even like I like Gundam that much. Maybe it’s coincidence. Maybe it’s destiny. Maybe this it what is means to BE A GUN DAM MEISTER.

Which brings to attention that a huge percentage of my posts have been about some Gundam show or another. I shall have to rectify that.

But anyway, lets get to this OP already.
Read the rest of this page »