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AniFriday: (because keeping schedules is for NERDS!)


This was originally supposed to be AniWednesday, then I started playing the video games and it became AniThursday, then I remembered I had stuff to do and work, so now it’s AniFriday.  It’s a good thing that I’m flexible about my own scheduling.

Anyway, this week I’m covering the more and more interesting to watch Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova.  I’m blandly watching BlazBlue as it continues to do stuff while not caring if I know what or why it’s doing it.  Ms. MONOCHROME makes me wish I still had a budget for anime swag.  Tokyo Ravens makes me fondly remember something I now hate.  And Coppelion does it’s best to be the most dramatic, intense thing ever made (it is totally none of that).  AniFriday!  Let’s go!

Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova

Episode 3

I am satisfied with this little show and all its horrible CG. The underlying story isn’t anything new, but I find it interesting enough. This episode, we see that the there’s a ripple effect occuring within the FOG and its individual parts, as Taiko has gone off on her own to either find Gunzou, or someone like him. She’s now obsessed with bettering herself to the point of forsaking all that links her to the FOG, and I have to say that she seems almost errotically excited about the prospects.

Taiko’s actions haven’t gone unnoticed by the rest of the “mental models”, especially Kongo. She’s clearly taken a stance of staying within the FOG and keeping her other units under it as well. It seems that the mental models were an evolution to maintain continued dominion over humanity, but Kongo has noticed that the increase in individuality has started to splinter their ranks. Anyone who has read or is watching Hunter X Hunter right now knows that this sounds very familiar with the situation going on right now in the Chimera Ant arc (read it, it’s amazing).

As for the actual heroes of this story, all they want to do is go about their business and defeating the FOG and generally being left alone by humanity, but even a super ship like theirs cannot go forever as an island, hence the mission they’re on now, and their need to dock at the very same Navy port they escaped from two years ago. The interesting thing going on here, is that while the Navy is nervous, they are completely compliant with Gunzou’s orders, their contact in the government has allowed things to go very smoothly for them as they get food and supplies. Unfortunately, internal politcs are never a simple thing, and can fudge up even the best of intentions as a powerful member of the government has the Army under his thumb, and uses that power to somewhat “kidnap” the crew and Iona for a dinner.

The contents of the dinner are simple and predictable. Kita Ryoukan, the big wig old man who has summoned them, is possibly on the verge of being in control of the entire government. He also seems to be a bit of a hawk, and doesn’t trust Iona one bit. His “proposal” is for them to give up Iona and the 401 sub and allow it to be used by the military for study and battle. He also states that a unit like Iona cannot be trusted, because of her FOG origins. It’s a fair point, that will eventually be given credibility in this very same episdoe, but Gunzou makes it very clear that he doesn’t have a foot to stand on in this argument, seeing as how the Japanese government and their military have been completely inneffective against the FOG, and they’ve yet to change their tactics aside from erecting that giant barrier to the sea. (I guess I forgot to mention that. It’s just as I said, a big ass sea wall for all to see.)

As they debate, the FOG begins to encircle them. First Taiko is finally hunted down and confronted by a pair of twins by the name of 400 and 402 who look JUST like Iona, who’s FOG title is 401. So I think it’s fair to call them triplets in actuality. It’s once they meet Taiko that they see how far she’s gone, as they’ve had to track her down despite her randomly wondering around the ocean and severing communications. Also, Kongo has dispensed TWO battleships this time to hunt down the 401, and before anyone knows it, they’re knocking on the front door of Japan. And by knocking, I mean their shelling the hell out of that giant stupid wall. It looks like it’s time for the 401 to see themselves out and figure out how to escape or sink two battleships this time.

Looking towards the next episode, I have a good feeling that tactics will become more and more important in this series, since we’re clued in to its importance as Kongo talks to another one of the mental models this episode. Before there were no tactics, just brute force, but now the Fog has that with the use of the mental models. I have plenty of theories to go on right now, but I will save them for later.  The more pressing matter is whether I should give this show the spotlight all on its own?  I am having too much fun watching right now.

BlazBlue

Episode 3

I’m genuinely curious to see if I can figure this show out on my own without the show’s help or checking out the show’s plot on Fighter’s Generation or something.  Because I’m not expecting a damn bit of help from the show itself.  Hell, this episode opens with some big ugly monster firing a giant death laser at the planet only to be stopped by the ancient loli vampire and go back to sleep for another four years.  I’m sure that in any other show this would be a major event and a problem.  This show just shrugs it off.  In a way, I think BlazBlue might be even crazier than Excel Saga.

(20 minutes later…)

Well, that will be the last episode of BlazBlue that I watch.  I could stick around until the fifth episode, but I’m just fooling myself.  There’s nothing here for me, and I doubt there’s anything for those unfamiliar with BlazBlue either.  Scene after scene, I know I’m supposed to be getting hyped.  I know I’m supposed to see random character or another and just be blown out of my mind by their mere presence, let alone by the fight scenes.  But none of that joy or excitement can get through to me because the show doesn’t tell me why, or leave itself an avenue to explain it to me.  All it is is fantasy babble, cool character designs and seemingly pointless action.  When I said in my blog post for KILL LA KILL episode 3 that there are shows that just don’t get it, this is a great example why.  BlazBlue is crazy, but it keeps a straight face the entire time.  The action is crazy, but nothing spectacular in comparison to other shows.  It just doesn’t stand out to me.  And when it comes to the character and plot development, it’s all completely uninteresting, too.  I’m so sick of the amnesia/flashback way of revealing story that it really takes something unique for me to notice it.  And this show does none of that.  Honestly, my time would be better spent watching a quality shounen battle anime like JoJo’s or Hunter X Hunter or One Piece.  There I can get a good combination of crazy action, along with the joy of knowing what the f*ck is going on, so long as I watch enough of the previous episodes.

It hasn’t really been fun, BlazBlue.   Goodbye.

Tokyo Ravens

Episode 3

Now THAT was fun!  (Any one who is still reading this and likes BlazBlue can feel free to spit on some sort of effigy that is supposed to represent me.)  I got flashbacks of watching InuYasha – the good parts!  I mean right off the bat we get a mystical flying horse, that awesome spider-demon juggernaut familiar, that other spinning airborne familiar (that little blonde girl sure is powerful – and stupid) and a MOTHERF*CKING DRAGON!  And I actually like how the dragon looks!

Giving the situation context, this is the final push to stop the snobby little brat, Suzuka, from completing her insane parlor trick – bringing back her brother from the dead using some forbidden technique.  And she puts Harutora and Natsume through hell trying to get to her.  First with the previously mentioned juggernaut, then with her other summon.  This forces Harutora into action, and using some mystically imbued weapons, he’s able to take down the juggernaut, while Natsume uses her summoned dragon to take out the other familiar.  Even with all that effort though, Suzuka is still able to stop them with some magical talismans infused with her own blood, while she completes the ritual.  And as predicted, sh*t goes wrong.

It seems that the claims of the Taizan Fukun Ritual bringing people back from the dead were mistranslated, as once she uses the ritual on her brother, he’s actually REANIMATED through the power of some evil being in the sky.  Another dimension?  Another world?  A sort of evil god?  No clue!  But anything that once given corporeal form decides to choke to death the first thing it sees can’t be anything less than the worst.  I like how even as the hero, Harutora still had a moment where he saw the woman who murdered his friend and caused him all this trouble being choked, and still said, “she deserves it.”  It’s a dark edge that I like to see, but he still powers his way through and saves her.

In the end, Suzuka is apprehended and Harutora finally decides to join Natsume in Tokyo.  I guess this is the start of the real battle and the real story.  Though I am a little bit worried by the end.  By that I mean that Natsume clearly likes Harutora, and Harutora is clearly and idiot that has no idea that she does, or that his dead friend who actually turned out to be a familiar was clearly made so she can keep an eye on him and be close.  So I fear that we’re gonna get some long, drawn out romantic/non-romantic bullcrap that will only make me want to skewer the people involved in this project, something that also reminds me of InuYasha.  But for now, I’m full of hope  and optimism for this series.  It animated well, the CG doesn’t make me want to throw up, the action looks like something I can get excited for, and it’s not InuYasha (I’m somewhat contradicting myself there).  Basically speaking, it looks a quality, fun project that I hope I can follow a bit longer.

Ms. MONOCHROME

Episode 4

Well that was cute.

Basically Ms. MONOCHROME just wants to be popular enough to have her own android, just like her idol – who is an idol.  Her manager tries to do so, but comes back later to inform her that she’s not popular enough (duh).  So the little vocaloid vagabond says that she’ll become a nendoroid based on her own merits.  Now this just may be a mistranslation, or maybe I didn’t get the pun, but what she tries to do is make her own nendoroid.  And the gag does get funny in the end, as she goes from clay, to wood all the way to some form of metal to make anything but a nendoroid.  But she does eventually get it right and is able to form a giant head that makes her appear as though a giant, life-sized nendoroid.  It’s really quite clever actually.  And it pays big dividends as her get up become super popular.  It’s so popular that a Ms. MONOCHROME nendoroid does get made.  Though it’s not based on her merits as an idol, but merely on the popularity of her wearing a giant head.  Oh well.

Not bad.  This little series still seems pretty pointless, but at less than five minutes and episode, including credits, it won’t kill me.  And any enjoyment I get out of this is purely a bonus.  I don’t have much to complain about, so I’ll keep watching.

Coppelion

Episode 3

I was following this episode pretty well up until they thought it was a good idea to try to shoot down a B2 bomber with a Stinger missile.  Everything was going pretty well, as this episode in particular felt pretty generous with the information.  Not only do we see more of the girls’ special abilities, we see that the “delivery man” spoken of in the previous episode doesn’t have any ill intentions.  He’s actually a very important and influential man in history, a physicist and engineer who pioneered the technology that unfortunately made this disaster possible.  During these many years, he’s been in this horrible, contaminated city saving the wayward and abandoned from starvation or death by radiation poisoning.  All of this action fueled by his guilt over killing millions, contaminating the land for generations and just overall ruining life for countless beings.  He’ll be an important link later I’m sure, as a company called Tristar has been mentioned quite a few times, and he’s well affiliated with them.

The real puzzles this episode are the spreading and random contamination, that creates “zones” that become untouchable for even those with radiation protection.  And of course that giant B2 bomber that seems to be up to some sort of mischief.  I have no idea what any could gain from this wasteland, but I’m sure the show will tell us in time.

Hmmm, I was about to call it a night, but we got one more episode to cover.  Pft!  I can’t believe I’m falling behind already.

Episode 4

Good lord!  The drama in this show is just too forced.  All the tears, the dramatic rush to get that old fool to safety, the gunplay (I love the Mouser but this is ridiculous), and just the tone of it all.  It just feels really forced.  I understand these are trying times, but there are a lot of really stupid people running around this old town, too.  And I just can’t fathom it.  It’s like when I hear about people in my part of the world saying that they’re not leaving their homes, instead they’d rather “weather” the storm and stay put.  But in this case, there are all these people who just find it perfectly fine to stay in a nuclear waste area and live a majority of their lives without sunlight or fresh air.  The old lady at the end of the episode looked like she wanted to jump out of the plane to get back to her home.  How is she not immediately labeled as insane?

I guess I’m getting beyond myself at this point, as I’m talking more about my complaints for the show,  than actual thoughts on the episode.  My thoughts just on this episode are that it’s good and not good at the same time.  Like I said before, much of it feels really forced as it all requires a really dumb decision on someone’s part to get much of the drama started.  The B-2 bomber battle seemed really ridiculous to me, because everything about it was just wrong.  The bomber should have only been used at night, the bomber shouldn’t be landing and taking hostages, the bomber shouldn’t have chased after the girls and instead just left because the whole mission was screwed the moment they were spotted.  As for their dumping of extremely high level waste in this area, I’m torn on my opinion of that.  We don’t know the full extent of the disaster, so I can’t guess at the moment how bad the radiation poisoning of the environment is.  You’d hope it be along the lines of 50 – 75 years, but this disaster has been painted as special.  Something far above Chernobyl, this disaster seems to have truly ruined Japan.  So it may be fair to guess that the radiation may be there for much, much longer.  If that’s the case, then the extremely toxic waste won’t be much different.  However, if the disaster is closer to the century mark, then this Yellow Cake company has ruined this environment likely forever.  And it was done in an extremely dangerous and callous way, dumping it in water as if it were enough.

When it comes to the professor, it seems that it was pretty clear, even with all his talk of responsibility, that he was desperately trying to avoid the gazes of those he hurt – like the Vice-Principal.  If he really wanted to atone for his sins, then he should have stayed out of the contaminated city, and used his genius to help the people with science, rather than rations.  Everything he did helped people, but on a scale far below what his talents could have accomplished.  He really is a fool and a coward, but it’s still a good thing that he’s alive.

So far, I have to say that I’m only getting minor enjoyment out of this show.  While this show definitely calls for some drama and action, and I’m over the retarded-ness of having three people go into an extremely dangerous environment in only school uniforms, I still can’t get over how this show is just playing it straight the entire time, when this is one really weird adventure with a lot of stupid people.  The preview for the next episode looks interesting, so I’ll keep going forward.  But it appears that I’m going to ride this show out to the full extent of the five episode test, and nothing more.

Putting this week in perspective, it’s became fairly easy to determine what’s entertaining and what isn’t.  The harder part is whether I should give the shows I feel like promoting the full treatment and their own blog posts separately.  Honestly, I could skip all these shows and be just fine, but Ars Nova and Tokyo Ravens have just enough potential to make me want to see more.  I’ll give those shows two more weeks to impress me, and then I’ll make a decision.  As for the others, BlazBlue is already dead and Coppelion and Ms. MONOCHROME are on deathrow.  Coppelion better order its last meal before next Thursday.

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