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Knights of Sidonia S2 ep7: boobs equal lady

For all the constant death and chaos of this show, I find myself appreciating the silly moments more and more.  It’s funny how when you clear up your preconceptions and fresh perspective can make all the difference.  For all its very light elements, there is a harem running through this show.  So when the action dies down, it’s nice to have scenes now with established characters working through their own real life issues.  Though an impromptu sex change is a bit on the obtuse side of life events.

OK, raise your hands if you DIDN’T think that manufacturing a Gauna into a giant planet destroying weapon was a bad idea.  Right.  Hands should all be down.  Granted, Shiranui has been a resounding success.  And I’m still puzzled by why its worked out so well.  I don’t think anyone realizes how important Nagate has been to the equation.  This is reflected in this latest experiment.  Ochiai can conjure up the projects, but he doesn’t totally understand them.  Kobayashi seems to be enamoured and blinded by unfettered power.  And both of these fools are so powerful that no one can stop them.  Even as this experiment literally blows up in their face and does massive damage to the colony, things just continue down the same road.  It’s madness.

On the domestic side of things, there are plenty of smaller threads being tugged on, some for nearly the first time.  Starting off, Samari, the ace veteran pilot finally has some sit down time with Nagate, gets drunk and offers to photosynthesize with him.  I was a little puzzled by this, and I’m afraid I missed the point of the encounter.  I had no idea she liked him in the least.  Though she may have been intrigued by his peerless piloting at first, and his polite compliments second.  Unfortunately, Nagate is as oblivious and brain dead about social interactions as any of the most inept anime protagonists out there.  I’m pretty sure the one thing that could out right defeat him is the sight of a vagina.  He has no training for that.

Then there’s the minor relationship of Ren and En with Nagate that’s slowly being brought up.  There’s been practically no progress on that end until now, and even then the potential for it was snubbed out with Samari’s surprise visit to Nagate’s station at work.  I’m on the fence as to whether this will actually add up to something, or she’ll just get brutally murdered in space without saying much of anything.

And then there’s Izana!  Oh how I have waited for this day when she would BUST out, and BLOSSOM into a young lady!  Yes, I can finally give Izana a gender, because she’s grown boobs – and I can assume a vagina.  Strangely, they don’t go into what was going on down below, even though that’s arguably what’s the more important “set-up” here.  All we get is –

BOOBS = LADY = YOU LIKE BOYS!

I guess they genetically engineered out all those pesky gay genes?

I’m only kidding.  It’s just another slightly strange thing to me in this already strange world.

I imagine some people at this point in the show might be getting bored. While there was action, it was more of a tease.  The offending Gauna just blew itself up in the end, probably from being too greedy and overloading on energy.  We’re just left chewing on more and more potential as the show keeps teasing its eventual massive upcoming battle.  But at some point, the show has to stop making promises and deliver, or at least give us something a little more tasty to chew on until that big pay off.  Right now, I’m just waiting.

Further Reading:

Knights of Sidonia S2 ep6: advancing & digressing at the same time

The weird harem continues and the Ochiai’s influence continues to seed more and more power and Gauna technology into the Sidonia’s veins.

On the long road that is Sidonia’s storytelling, you have to wonder at this point what the ultimate destination will be?  Sure, it could be pointing towards understanding, or merger.  Or if you prefer to have a more pessimistic view, we could be on the road to ultimate annihilation.  At this point, Gauna material is being imbued into all aspects of Sidonia’s military strategy.  But I doubt anyone truly understands what’s being played with here aside from Ochiai.  With this new graviton cannon being tested, we see the Sidonia having another option for defense and attack, as they have another weapon capable of planetary destruction.  In Shiranui, they have a more mobile weapon able to integrate with and augment their human forces and technology.  The battle with the massive Gauna hive cluster seems more imminent by the day.

The lighter side of this is seeing the ever increasing bond between Nagate, Izana and Shiranui.  I don’t care how native it appears to now be in the show, it’s still really weird.  Things have progressed to the point where Nagate took the time to research and move to a new home in order to better accommodate Shiranui’s visits.  He also takes the opportunity to invite Izana along, who pretends to grudgingly accept the offer.  It’s cute, but I have trouble envisioning how this ultimately plays out.  This isn’t just because they could all die at any point, but because the group dynamic is just so unique.

Overall, this episode isn’t without event, but not much significant happens.  It’s mostly another deliberate step towards the oncoming chaos.  The Sidonia is firmly entrenched on this road towards war with the massive Gauna hive cluster.  Everything being done now is meant towards that end.  All the massive upgrades and experiments and changes in leadership are in preparation to strengthen the political and military machines that keep the floating colony alive.  It’s very much like a boxer training for a match.  They know and continue to learn about their opponent, all while fine-tuning what they have to do to survive and beat that opponent.  I’m just curious if there’s more than a handful of people in Sidonia that knows that they have an enemy strengthening right next to them.  Their next opponent?  Perhaps.

Further Reading:

Sound! Euphonium ep4: they did it good!

May 12, 2015 1 comment

The joy of playing as a group. The pain of dealing with people of different interests. You think it would be easy to coral a group of people into a unified goal if they’re already given to being in a group that naturally does that sort of thing. If you enjoyed geology, then I find it hard to fathom there being an argument over going on a field trip to survey some rocks. If a bunch of people enjoyed barbeque, you’d have a hard time finding someone in that group that didn’t want to go outside char grill a piece of meat. But when you’re dealing with youth, and the fact that not everyone there has the shame passion, or even is participating willingly, the circumstances can flux greatly. After all, some student may just need an elective to fill out their schedule as we do here in the States. Or there’s a possibility that some student are just doing what they do out of tradition or pressure from their family.  And it’s those people that are most important to bring into the fold.  As they say, the chain is only as strong as its weakest link.  So if you can’t get the most base members of your group to join, then you’ve already limited what you can do.  It’s impressive to see that chain strengthen ever so slightly.

Things start off kinda rough, as the first thing taking place is a sectional practice.  I was grateful to see Professor Taki step in unexpectedly and coral this nonsense.  As he appropriately said, they shouldn’t be holding a meeting during practice time, and promptly straightened out the entire ensemble.  Before anyone knew what to do, he was having them doing laps, intensive breathing drills and sectional tuning and practice!  It actually looked like a well-run, cohesive unit!  Of course I sound like an old man, reveling in this order and discipline, but I feel it’s truth.  Even though I’ve done all this stuff before, and mostly hated it, it’s all effective and essential stuff.  This is especially true if they’re going to be playing in a parade or something similar.  They run not just for endurance, but so they can learn to play after being short of breath.  It impresses me greatly how realistic this show is in its portrayal of practices and teenage group dynamics.

One of the key moments for this show was small misunderstanding after practice, as Kumiko and her old middle school friend Shuichi talked about Professor Taki.  Shuichi having a bit of a negative opinion of him and his techniques.  Kumiko seemed to be going along with him just because, which ended up being a problem because the girl she feared happened to be passing by.  Somehow overhearing their conversation from her moving bike, she promptly dismounts and scolds both of them for bad-mouthing a teacher that she’s learned very much to like.  This leads to a pretty nice scene the next day where Reina actually apologizes to Kumiko for b*tching her and her friend out.  In a surprise moment of guts, Kumiko actually opens her mouth and apologizes to Reina, even complimenting her on her inspiring play – before fleeing back towards her sectional practice!

Things come full circle towards the last episode as a week passes by and Professor Taki shows up to a nervous and ready ensemble.  And though they don’t knock it out of the park, they pass in a satisfying fashion.  And that is actually an impressive accomplishment considering all the new – even beginner musicians, accompanying the complete lack of teamwork  that plagued the band a mere week before.  As I said before, a strong leader and teamwork  shaped things up enough for them to punch their ticket to SunFes!

I was surprised at how smoothly things went this episode.  Sure, there was plenty of anger and frustration, but they pulled together quite well in a week.  Maybe I’m just so used to rebellious and disrespectful American kids that I can’t fathom such an outcome in such a short amount of time.

There’s still plenty of adversity to deal with, they only usurped a small hurdle.  They’re still full of beginners and lazy students who don’t take their roles seriously.  They don’t appear to be very talented overall.  There isn’t much time for them to nail their parts before this very public debut.  And on a personal note: Kumiko is only taking baby steps towards understanding Reina and her blazing passion.  Until she grasps that, she may always find talking to her former comrade awkward and scary.  Still, this is a great start.  The music, the impressive and surprising realism , the beautiful animation and music; I could see myself really falling in love with this production.

 

Further Reading:

Knights of Sidonia S2 ep5: our tentacle monster splooges humanity

I’m finding myself a little puzzled as to what’s going on in this recovery and intermediate phase in the show. On one hand, we’re left to watch Izana and Shiranui recover from a harrowing battle. On the other, we have to watch the shadows for any signs of what’s going on in the background from the people who actually have knowledge and power. So this whole episode, I just found myself wondering, “am I really supposed to just sit around waiting for this alien tentacle monster to climb through some pipes? Is this really the highlight?

This show has one of the weirdest love triangles/harems.  Nagate is just a weirdo caveman basically in this world; full of poop smell and gross food eating habits.  And he finds himself drawing the romantic fawnings of a hermaphrodite, a genius strategist, a Gauna clone of a girl he used to like who is now long dead, and a tentacle monster.  And sadly, the genius is the most unlikely of shots in this group.  If Nagate got impregnated by the tentacle monster, it would be a more likely pairing!  And in this episode, things just get more weird and complicated.  With Shiranui getting gravely injured (as reported, 90% of her body was destroyed), and Izana being horribly maimed, we see Nagate treating Izana like the best buddy.  And then we see Shiranui being treated as something “more”.  Both of them recover fully, though Izana ends up receiving mechanical prosthetics, and we find the three of them becoming this trio of good friends.  I guess in this situation where you can die the next day in the void of space, just getting quiet time to hang out with friends is pretty valuable.

We do see at one point that Nagate still dreams of the long dead Shizuka, his longings for her likely prolonged by his visits with the Gauna clone.  It will be interesting to see how he reacts to the knowledge that that clone is the mother of Shiranui.  It just makes these relationships so much more awkward to piece together.  Nagate still longs for Shiranui’s mother’s original, while having a relationship with the chimera that seems to have a crush on him.  How the hell does the storyboarding for this work out?  Do the writers ever look around and laugh at how screwy this has all become?  It’s like Shizuka’s soul has been chopped and dispersed into this world in so many different ways.

And that’s mostly about it for this episode.  Most of the more important things seem to happen in the background.  The Sidonia is taking its place in this new star system for its seemingly doomed attack on the massive Gauna hive cluster.  As Yuhata remarks at one point, it doesn’t seem like they have any shot at victory, even with Shiranui.  This leaves me thinking that Ochiai must’ve shown Kobayashi something amazing to make her take these bold steps.

It is interesting to see the show’s attempts to humanize Shiranui more and more each episode.  Before, she was a completely alien and terrifying presence.  This recently revealed “cute” form of her’s is bridging that gap quite a bit.  And her actions in the last battle have started to win over the Sidonia’s populace quite a bit.  I still don’t understand how she fits into Ochiai’s end game, but for now she’s proving to be a nice addition to the cast.  Her, Nagate and Izana make this nice, really adorable group of friends, and they bring a nice bit of humanity to this cold show when together.

Further Reading:

Sound! Euphonium ep3: what’s the point?!

This was frustrating.  It’s one of the oldest conflicts there can be in a school.  Group activities.  On one hand, the minority won the vote due to the lazy and ambivalent people, but now the minority is at a disadvantage because the lazy people are dragging down everyone with them.  What’s needed here is strong leadership and maturity.  And as we’re slowly learning, the people running the band aren’t strong leaders and we’re not dealing with a whole lot of mature people.

Overall, this was just a frustrating watch.  It’s not because the episode was bad at all, it’s just so damned realistic.  I already knew the band was bad, but assumed it was due to a lack of talent.  But they are failing bad at the beginning at grasping even the most essential tasks when it comes to playing in a group.  I can’t even fathom complaining to someone seriously about practicing in a section!  That’s ridiculous!  You should master your part individually and in a section before attempting to play the whole thing as a complete ensemble!  As I hear these students complain, I keep thinking, “Who the hell are you to question the advisor?! – a man who has dedicated himself to this “hobby” of yours!  If I think about any of my other instructors in the past, they would have reamed these little sh*ts for being terrible on an elementary level!

I could only imagine how someone who is driven would handle this situation in real life.  Reina’s screams are one of the tamest things I could think of happening in this situation.  The lazy people in this group are just being allowed to do and come and go as they please.  They’re sucking the life out of the hopes and dreams of those that dare to have them in this show.

Ugh!  I left this episode pissed!

There were other things that happened in this episode, but I was someone blinded by my rage when I grasped what was going on in this group.  For one, we have the wonderful scenes where we see the first year people learn about circular breathing, something I’d like to see everyone try.  Then we have Kumiko’s weird struggle with her place and even her level of dedication to the band.  One moment, she’s brimming with pride over the instrument she holds – the other we see her bubbling over in frustration with it.  But overall, nothing even starts until this group of fools learns to turn things around.  Someone has to take control, or the disaster they spoke of from the previous year will only repeat.

Further Reading:

Plastic Memories ep6: an earnest heart

I could sh*t on Tsukasa’s character if I wanted to for being another bland male lead protagonist design.  But I think I’d like this cliche kinda character in a similar circumstance.  When you’re facing a tough situation, you need someone earnest, naive and brave.  In hard times, you need a hero and you need someone to be as human possible.  After all, it takes courage face hard choices and situations.  I can’t imagine much that would be harder than facing and accepting imminent death.

I found it a bit silly that things turned out as well as they did after the last episode.  A child was choked out by his Giftia on a rooftop on the seedy side of town!  It’s preposterous to me that they could even say things about “no civilians being involved”, or about things turning out for the best.  That poor kid has to face his best friend dying in the worst way.  But that’s just another one of the weird dissonances that plague this show.  I’ll continue to persevere through them.

What we get to open the show is another flashback, this time giving us a better understanding of how the past events of of Isla and Kazuki’s partnership fit in with this incident and the disaster that happened a few years back with Marcia and her “father”.  The incident with Marcia’s father was partially caused by Marcia’s stubborn, childish stupidity, but Isla’s absence at the time due to “reasons” also affected the outcome.  Kazuki ended up having her lower leg smashed so completely that it had to be amputated.  And after that, Kazuki chose to forego the partnership.  The bad part is that despite that, they still work rather closely together.  And you see how it’s had a very rough effect on Isla, while I suspect that Kazuki may be trying to cope through her terrible drinking habits.  Though those sh*tty drinking habits may be due to just her rough personality.

Things slowly turn back to normal as Isla receives routine maintenance until she can fully return to work.  Meanwhile, Tsukasa has been bravely facing up to his failure.  While Isla attempts to understand how Tsukasa and other humans can forget about terrible things happening, she learns through watching him and some of Marcia’s words that he’s not forgetting, but coping.  Tears were still shed, and what happens won’t fade from his mind, but life goes on.

In the end, there’s still one more thing for Tsukasa to grasp.  Kazuki sits him down for a private meeting at the end of the work day.  Outside, Isla waits because she’s wondering why he hasn’t come back home, yet.  Kazuki breaks it down to Tsukasa that Isla essentially has 41 days left to live.  At that time, she’ll be retrieved like any other Giftia.  With that knowledge, she gives him the option to break off the partnership and wait for a new Giftia to be assigned.  Tsukasa bravely stands by Isla, saying he’ll be with her to the end.  I think the best part was seeing Isla’s stunned and happy face outside the building.  Afterwards, it was clear that she’d do her best to give Tsukasa the world.

I was really worried early in this episode that this episode would be all fluff after the heavy emotional disaster of the previous week.  Just seeing that ridiculous series of scenes where Eru was dragging Isla around to stalk Tsukasa made me think this would be garbage, but it did lead somewhere.  And it turned out to be a good source of comedic brevity and fresh air for the rougher parts.  The flashbacks strung together to see how and why Kazuki broke up with Isla was rough.  The scene where Tsukasa had to apologize to the young boy and tell him that he wouldn’t get a chance to say goodbye to Marcia was very rough.  And the scene where Kazuki had to break down the extremely short amount of time he had left with Isla was just hard to watch.  Tsukasa took it pretty hard for a moment.  But seeing him face that situation head on, despite the terrible heartbreak that was to come was great.  Seeing Isla’s reaction was great.  And seeing the adorable scene of Isla just begging Tsukasa to let her do whatever she could for him was the best.

The world building in this show is good.  The emotional moments of this show are very well done.  The only glaring weakness for me continues to be some immersion breaking screw ups in logic and set up in this show.  Some situations and rules are really too idealized for their own good.  I can’t imagine how they’ve managed to avoid lawyers and police so far through this entire show.  And I’m left again wondering if this will be something addressed before it ends.  Other than that, I’m just left hoping Tsukasa and Isla find happiness before this all ends.

Note:  I do wonder if the reason Yasutaka was badgering Tsukasa to come to the bar so badly with him was to get him talking with their boss or their bosses boss anyway, Godou?  I imagine that this isn’t the end of their troubles.  I’m curious about that, and the relationship that those two old friends have.

Further Reading:

Kyoukai no Rinne ep5: some people don’t mind working the toilets

Why is it all the shows I’m currently watching focus on music or accepting death?  When did this happen?!  How?!  I suppose I shouldn’t think positively and hope they play good music at my funeral.  That’s right.  I’m not being morbid.  I’m being forward thinking!

This toilet girl episode wasn’t so bad.  It was mostly an excuse to get Rinne a cool new weapon that will actually stick with him.  Maybe he won’t have to beg Sakura for money every episode now – though I am fond of that gag.

My focus on this show is quickly shifting from the episodic nonsense (as fun as it’s proving to be) to wondering what the overall story behind this show will be.  Sure Rokudou is horribly in debt (since birth), but we have no idea how deep that hole goes – it may be infinite!  But there has to be a deeper story behind this world.  I’m not looking for something as major and involved as the origin story behind KamiNomi.  Just a bit more depth.

Anyway, genuinely enjoying the show and the comedy behind it so far.

Further Reading:

Knights of Sidonia S2 ep3 & 4: read the tea leaves

It seems clear that the Gauna and the humans are headed in the same direction, even as they fight each other for survival.  Ochiai’s reseach is leading the humans towards a symbiotic relationship with the Gauna chimeras he’s beginning to create.  He’s impregnated the Gauna clone of Shizuka with human sperm (ew, I hope he used a turkey baster) and is now in the opening stages of mass producing chimera parts, and soon chimera themselves.  If Ochiai’s goal isn’t to subvert the human population of Sidonia with perfected chimera, then I’ll be shocked.

Another worrying aspect is just how aggressive Kobayashi has become since the murder of the Immortal (now ironically named) Council.  She’s diving in full bore into a war with the Gauna, with utter extermination as the only end game.  And while the populace is slowly showing more and more concern over this aggressive campaign of extermination of Gauna and integration of chimera, they don’t have an official voice for their concerns anymore.  Just as the people above her are now dead, the ones supposed to represent the people now can’t speak against her as she’s abolished the parliament.  It all feels very much that Sidonia is being lulled to sleep just before a big disaster.  The only positive aspect to this is a new unified initiative towards the Gauna, prompting a swift and aggressive response to their ever powerful, ever evolving foe. Read more…

Plastic Memories ep5: who defines life? And does that definition matter?

Man, oh man.  Plastic Memories is showing a dark side.  This isn’t about making you accept death do to old age or disease anymore.  This is the real reaping side.  It’s about the sad reality that you may have to put someone important to someone else down like a dog in the street.  And while I have some issues with the execution for the sake of drama in this episode, this was as emotional as any of the episodes that came before.

I have a very clear cut view of androids and their place in the world.  And it comes with some irony because I do love the idea of them being our “equals”.  I love the idea of seeing a robot/android/automaton walking and living among us, contributing to society and forging memories.  Just today I watched the second Avengers movie, and the sight of Vision filled me with excitement and wonder.  How could you not marvel (no pun intended) at the spectacle of man achieving such a feat? Read more…

Sound! Euphonium ep2: it shouldn’t be a choice

I hate groups.  I hate group dynamics.  Mobs are some of the worst things ever.  I don’t really care for people in general, actually.  But I love music, so I guess I have to give people credit for that.  The stuff nature makes on its own is crap compared to what we humans can do.  I’m brash and proud enough to believe that aliens showed up, we’d impress them with music, and music alone.  Screw you science, math and politics, culture is where it’s at!

That said, music doesn’t Read more…

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