Anime Spotlight #31

Blood…, blood everywhere.

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Definitely don’t watch this Anime after a meal, unless you have the stomach for it.

I can’t really figure out why I was able to watch this show through-and-through, as I was seriously considering putting it down regularly while I was watching it.  When I wasn’t being grossed by the gore factor, I was being bored by the slice-of-life parts of it.

“Elfen Lied” is basically German for “Elven Elegy” — so, another one of those Anime shows whose title makes no real sense with respect to its plot.  The “Diclonius” of the show are not really “elves,” in any of the senses one might presently apply to this word.  What do I know, though….

At least Lucy’s alter-ego was pretty cute.

 

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Anime Spotlight #30

Government and Law made interesting through Anime fiction:

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It’s another “…star gate appears in Japan and fantastical beings pop out…” kind of Anime.

The impact this Gate’s existence has on Japan’s government and bureaucracy, as well as how governmental and bureaucratic procedures are tested to the limit, was primarily responsible for holding my interest in GATE overall.  What should a nation do when it is suddenly faced with a whole new world, and are shortly forced to interact with it?

That said, my biggest highlight of the show was probably when Rory Mercury slams an overly outspoken activist for being too ignorant for her liking — during the time the four misfit protagonists spent on Earth together.  Epic burn!

It’s not just Japan that has to deal with new applications to old procedures.   The lands on the other side of this Gate must also find a way to cope with a foreign force that’s leaps and bounds more advanced than they are.

Basically, if you’re really into Rory Mercury and/or into interesting political and foreign policy applications and concepts then I highly recommend watching GATE.

 

Anime Spotlight #29

Come for the Gems; stay…for them, too.

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Houseki no Kuni — “Land of the Lustrous” — is that CG-made Anime that actually doesn’t look like crap, for a change.  In fact, this Anime, I feel, absolutely had to be made with CGI or else it would’ve looked bad.

As someone who likes collecting and studying rocks and gems, as well as watching the odd Anime, to get both aspects in one show was sure a treat for me.  In a nutshell, 28 (or so) “Gems” take on anthropomorphic (asexual) form and do battle against the invading “Lunarians” who in turn wish to turn the Gems into jewelry for their own sake.  Each Gem embodies the properties of their mineral counterpart, for example:  Diamond-class Gems like Dia(mond) and Bort(z) have a Mohs hardness of 10, but Dia is prone to breaking by impact shock while Bort is not.  The main character, Phos(phophyllite), has a hardness of just 3.5, as evidenced in their breaking easily and often throughout the series; they’re also a platy, mica-like mineral, that can take in other matter easily, as evidenced in the way that they’re able to replace their missing limbs with those made from other minerals.

While Phos’ personality is mostly adorable, and their maturation later in the series is mostly admirable, I’m still gonna divert from the crowd and favour Cinnabar above all.

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Primarily, this is because, like me for much of my life, Cinnabar’s a social outcast despite being incredibly intelligent and surprisingly capable.  Their wisdom comes from the hardship provided by not wanting to accidentally harm their Gem-mates with their production of pure mercury, at times uncontrollably.  Cinnabar, therefore, is cognisant of things that all the other Gems cannot possibly be able to know themselves; things that only misfits tend ever to be aware of….  Cinnabar’s also, without really realizing it, the greatest influence on Phos.  Despite wanting to be taken away by the Lunarians, Cinnabar never once allows the Lunarians to actually take them away.  I feel this is because they’re subconsciously begging for someone, like Phos, to give them a meaningful place in the world — like any social misfit does, in one way or another.  In return, Cinnabar becomes Phos’ primary “saviour”; nobody else aids Phos like Cinnabar does, nor as often.  Though Phos made a change of mind and appearance to be more like Antarcticite, after their being taken away, it’s Cinnabar that ultimately gives Phos a truly meaningful work — to find the truth about the Lunarians, and Kongou-sensei’s relation to them.  Cinnabar knows full well what Phos has now become, but chooses to team up with them anyway for the sake of having some feeling of what it means to have a friend.  Finally, being the truly weakest Gem (they’re actually an ore mineral, but whatever…) of them all, weaker even than Phos at Mohs = 2, Cinnabar is most aware of needing to find a way to overcome that weakness in order to do anything meaningful — and they do just that.  In the end, this makes Cinnabar strong.  Phos, on the other hand, does what many “normal” people tend to do on realizing how weak they actually are:  Just complain about it, until stronger people find a way to make them stronger for them.

Enough spoilers…, go ahead and watch this Anime!

Anime Spotlight #28

With a name like “Black Cat,” how could she NOT be a “witch”?!

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Brynhildr in the Darkness is one of those Anime whose title doesn’t really make any obvious sense in relation to the show itself.  “Brynhildr” is a Norse queen of Valkyries, and I guess the girls in this show can also be considered “Valkyries”; let’s chalk it up to a severe lack of Norse mythology knowledge…!

Basically, this one’s a Harem Anime.  It’s a Harem Anime typical of Harem Anime shows, with an average guy, who sucks at dealing with hot girls, acquires a gang of hot girls — most of them Tsundere in nature.  In this show, the girls happen to come with special powers.  This series is not quite as light as Harem Anime tend to be (perhaps a reference to the “Darkness” part of the series’ title?).

“Neko Kuroha” is Murakami’s first run-in with a so-called “Witch” (because they appear to wield powers that seem magical), and his first harem-mate.  Neko turns out to be his old childhood friend, whom he called “Kuroneko.”

Soon enough, more Witches, escaping from a secret underground facility located near the town where Murakami lives, come along and make themselves known to him.  His desire to help these girls free themselves fully from the grasp of their old handlers drives the majority of this series.  Also, aliens….

Brynhildr has only one season, with sub and dub options to watch.

Anime Spotlight #27

If World of Warships were an Anime…

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High School Fleet, aka “Haifuri,” is about teenaged girls driving 20th Century warships as part of their schooling.  Akeno Misaki captains the IJN destroyer Harekaze, along with most of the other flunkies in the school.  Her best friend, Moeka, captains the Musashi, a ship destined for the top-class students.

The Harekaze is always getting into “pinches,” starting with Misaki’s maiden voyage!  Something goes horribly wrong when engine and navigation problems force the Harekaze to come in late, and things only continue to go wrong for her crew pretty-well till the end.  However, she and her crew do survive and win the day — thanks mainly to Misaki’s sheer dumb luck.

Technically, the real heroes of the Harekaze are Isoroku the fat cat that keeps the students well by catching all those infected RaTt’s (genetically modified rats) — and keeps giving Misaki good tactical ideas — and the twelve-year-old medical prodigy that provides an antibody for the infection carried by those RaTt’s.

For those who would like to take some of the Haifuri ships out for a spin, World of Warships allows for you the chance to drive such ships albeit virtually.  The Harekaze and Graf Spee even come with their respective Anime captains now!

 

Anime Spotlight #26

Another surprisingly interesting Slice-of-Life Anime…:

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The first season, anyway….

Once again, I have a feeling I divert from the majority on what made Spice and Wolf worth watching.  I have no interest in Holo, to be honest; for a “wise wolf,” she is rather…unwise.  She’s very beautiful, but that’s about all she is.

Lawrence, on the other hand…:  He’s a merchant, and for me it was his knowledge of mercantilism and economics, as well as some street smarts (not that it helped him later on in Season 1), that provided the primary reason I enjoyed watching this Anime.

Then, he had to go and be cockier than Holo for a time and so pay the consequences for it.  I sorta lost a lot of interest in the show beyond the point he got thrown in jail.  Oh well!

Not so for most other people who watched it, apparently; Spice and Wolf has at least a complete Season 2 out, and there might even be a Season 3 floating around out there somewhere.

 

Anime Spotlight #25

Is it a Magical Girl Anime?  Is it a slice-of-life?  Is it a Madoka Magica rip-off?

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It’s… Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru (“Yuuki Yuuna is a Hero”)!

*spoilers!*

Yuuki Yuuna is a teenager who really wants to be a hero.  In typical Anime style, she gets her wish when Fuu (don’t laugh… that’s her actual name) establishes the “Hero Club” at her new school.  The season technically begins with Yuuna, Fuu, Itsuki (Fuu’s little sister), and Togo (whom Yuuna made friends with prior to enrolling in her new school — NOT this girl’s actual name, though!) putting on a play for a kindergarten class, but it soon gets into the Magical Girl action with Fuu leading the foursome in the mission to defeat the monsters, “Vertexes,” that lie just on the other side of the “veil” put up by the “Shinju-sama.”  Karin, the stereotypical transfer student who’s as good as she makes herself out to be, also ends up joining this crew.

As soon as you’ve had a handle on the initial situation, episode 5 rolls along and suddenly the main conflict in this series seems to be over and done with.  Now what…?

Time for some slice-of-life stuff, that’s what!  The girls assume normal lives, with those who went “Mankai” learning to deal with a particular loss they’ve acquired as a result:  Togo adds a deaf left ear to her amnesia and paralysis, Yuuna can’t taste anything, Fuu is blind in her right eye, Itsuki can no longer speak, while Karin remains unaffected having not undergone the Mankai process.

Again, as soon as you’ve had a handle on this new situation along comes episode 8 and a return of the Vertexes!  The girls are sent back into action, and easily take care of the stragglers.  Enter the final stage…:  Yuuna and Togo are teleported to the bedside of a bedridden girl named Sonoko, and so some nasty truths are revealed by her.

And thus we enter the Madoka Magica part of this show….  In exchange for awesome powers provided by the Mankai state, the girls are forced to give up one bodily function whenever they use this ability.  Here, the girls of Yuuki Yuuna really take on similarities to counterparts in Madoka Magica:

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from Reddit…

>Yuuna — the star of the show, who eventually commits the greatest sacrifice for the sake of her crew.  The Madoka counterpart is (of course) Madoka; both even have pinkish hair.

>Fuu — the one who gets the star character involved.  The Madoka counterpart wields a different weapon, but both still share the blonde hair and odd hairstyle aspects.

>Itsuki — the innocent little loli whose misfortunes from being dragged into this stuff (without full knowledge of the consequences) are the source of incredible suffering for other characters in the show.

>Karin — the transfer student who has trained for this her whole life, and has little patience for the other members of the crew.  The Madoka counterpart even wields daggers and has rust-coloured hair, too.

>Togo — the mysterious girl who’s been through all this before.  Her Madoka counterpart also shares the dark hair aspect of her.

It’s a wonder the creators of Yuuki Yuuna were able to stuff so much in so few episodes!  Maybe they took inspiration from Kill la Kill?

 

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