Brief early impressions of the Fall 2013 anime season
As before, so again. Every season I do an early impressions post to organize my thoughts on what I'm watching and also so I can laugh sadly at my naive views later in retrospect.
Clear winners (so far):
- Kyousougiga (aka Capital Craze, sometimes Kyousogiga): I loved
this when I saw the low-resolution webrip in 2011
and I love it even more now that it looks good and I can follow the
action. The second episode is a start on making the story coherent
even as it tones down the madness a bit (not totally, which is good).
(I'm aware of the on-web OVA series from earlier this year but I found the available webrips to be unwatchable so I never did.)
- Kill la Kill: This has its problems but for me they don't matter in
the face of its frenzied energy and relentless, over the top absurdities.
Kill la Kill turns everything up to eleven (including the potentially
objectionable bits, but that may make them less bad). This is BURNING
(I mean, it has the mysterious teacher casually doing an over the top imitation of Utena's Akio Ohtori just as background scenery.)
Update: see this commentary too. What it says.
- Valvrave: It's Valvrave all right. Episode 13 was a little bit tame for the show but it has to start somewhere (not drawing out the cliffhanger fight was a good move). Note that the fact that their government is entirely composed of high schoolers is causing them problems (in fact, it seems to be getting them run over).
Things I am reasonably enthused about so far:
- Galilei Donna: The first episode was great and pushed a lot of my
buttons but it was all setup. Now it's up to the rest of the show to
deliver on that initial promise.
(For example: in the OP, when the machine Hozuki is working on explodes in her face she doesn't look panicked or even worried, just maybe a bit peeved.)
- Kyoukai no Kanata: What I'm hoping for is KyoAni-quality action
scenes with the appealing character interactions of, say, Hyouka.
The show has done reasonably well at delivering that so far although
there are problematic aspects (I don't like artificially clumsy
moeblobs). I'll give it points for being clever enough to have the
character that uses her own blood as a weapon say 'well of course I'm
anemic after a fight'.
However shallow it is of me, my interest in KnK is directly related to how much action it has. I suspect that the character interaction will not keep me watching if the show shifts to just that.
(At this point in my anime watching a show has to offer something pretty exceptional to keep me watching N teenagers talking to each other. It can be done (cf Toradora), but it takes work.)
- Arpeggio of Blue Steel - Ars Nova: Some people have violent reactions to the character CG. I'm apparently less selective; characters could be better animated, but it's not bad enough to bounce me out of the show. With that said I don't expect any great depths to the show, just well done ship to ship action (which I'm getting so far). If that flags, I'm out.
At least a bit marginal already:
- Yozakura Quartet - Hana no Uta: I could do without the fanservice
but otherwise this is a serviceable and technically nicely done action
show involving characters that I have fond memories of.
(I suspect that the charm will wear off at some point.)
- Log Horizon: This is already more enjoyable than Sword Art Online,
although that's not exactly a high barrier to clear. It's not deep but it is willing to be amusing
(which is more than the grimly serious SAO ever did). I consider
it a definite plus that it's lighthearted and people are not at risk
- Yowamushi Pedal: I have no idea how interesting this is to
non-cyclists and I have no idea how long it'll sustain my interest. But
right now I'm enjoying all of the little things that they get right
about one of my things and I can't not watch it.
(For example, I was absurdly happy that they put in the click of a clipless pedal clipping in in episode two. Yes, I know that sentence makes no sense if you're not a cyclist.)
Overall I'm pretty clearly watching too many things at the moment. Some shows are going to fall by the wayside, probably a bunch of them; at some point I'll get tired of spending time on stuff that's merely blandly entertaining. On the positive side the only show continuing from last season is Yamato 2199.
(Oh wait, I forgot Monogatari Series Second Season. That may not stay on the schedule for long.)
- Tokyo Ravens: This is simply too generic, bland, and slow. In short,
nothing like the OP made it look. It's possible it will turn into the
K-like show that the OP suggested but if so, it did so too late for
me. It's an extruded Light Novel product despite initial appearances.
- Coppelion: I don't like cliched melodrama at the best of times. When
you combine it with various setting stupidities (and questionable art,
regardless of how pretty the backgrounds are) it's far too much.
I especially dislike how the characters seem so unprepared to wander
around the ruined Tokyo, both physically and emotionally, despite the
fact that this is apparently what they've been preparing for all their
You could do an affecting, interesting drama with this basic setting and premise. This show is not it.
Not for me:
- Gingitsune: There's nothing wrong with this but there's also nothing
exceptional about it either, and it's not really my kind of thing.
I'm sure that it's going to be heartwarming and nice, sort of like a
more bland version of Natsume Yuujinchou (which I've already basically
burned out on anyways).
- Samurai Flamenco: This is apparently a realistic drama about someone
who wants to be a superhero in an ordinary world. This is not a story
I'm interested in.
(To the extent that I want realistic superhero stories, what Gatchaman Crowds did is much more my thing.)
Not even tried and I feel like saying something about them:
- Infinite Stratos S2: Gets utterly terrible reviews even from people
who quite liked the first season. I have no interest in yet another
set of allegedly comedic harem hijinks.
- Unbreakable Machine Doll, Strike the Blood: Apparently your generic
extruded Light Novel product.
- Golden Time: Apparently not the mature, university-based story with mature characters that was vaguely advertised.
PS: I link to my tweets partly so that I can find them again. Besides, it sometimes saves me from repeating myself.
(Since someone is going to ask someday, I generally go with whatever name for a show that the fansubbers are using and they usually use the Japanese names instead of the English translations. This is simply me being lazy since I keep track of what I've watched using the fansub names.)
Link: History Must Be Curved (Galileo and the heliocentric revolution)
This is the kind of thing where I'll start out by quoting some text:
HISTORY MUST BE CURVED, for there is a horizon in the affairs of mankind. Beyond this horizon, events pass out of historical consciousness and into myth. Accounts are shortened, complexities sloughed off, analogous figures fused, traditions “abraded into anecdotes.” Real people become culture heroes: archetypical beings performing iconic deeds. (Vansina 1985)
This is from the conclusion of Michael Flynn's masterful nine part essay on "The Great Ptolemaic Smackdown" (also). This is all about how geocentrism (the view that the Earth was at the center of the universe) gave way to heliocentrism, how surprisingly small a part Galileo actually played in it (contrary to common stories about him), and exactly how he got himself into trouble with the Church.
To increase your interest: it turns out, perhaps unsurprisingly, that geocentrism actually had a fair amount of evidence going for it and the last explanation for why part of that evidence was wrong was only worked out in in 1835. As Flynn notes:
Conclusion: Our ancestors were not fools.
In three centuries, the long complex story of how the mobile Earth replaced the stationary Earth dipped below the horizon from History into Legend. Like all good legends, the story of heliocentrism and the culture-hero Galileo is simple and general and geared toward supporting the Rightness of the Modern worldview. But history is always detailed and particular.
If this sounds like a great read to you, rest assured: it is. Go ahead and start at part 1.
(Via Popehat, as you might have guessed.)
Some bits about the ending of Gatchaman Crowds, especially Berg-Katze
(There are spoilers here. Also, I ramble.)
I called Berg-Katze a magnificent villain who had been one step ahead of everyone all the time, so let me explain that. Berg-Katze said two significant things during its conversations: that humans would destroy themselves (in a big conflagration) and that what it was looking for was a suitable source of lots of fuel for this blaze. Berg-Katze's plan all along was to engineer this.
First, BK got Rui to create GALAX and empower the Hundred. This created something that BK could take over by impersonating Rui and a source of disgruntled ex-Crowds users, which BK then recycled into the Neo-Hundred to cause chaos. This chaos, concentrated into one place by the chase for the Prime Minister, created a bunch of paniced people. BK then hijacked the Prime Minister's broadcast and goaded all of these paniced people into becoming Crowds themselves. Berg-Katze's expected result from this was increasingly violent chaos as a whole bunch of uncoordinated people with newly-given powers stampeded back and forth, inevitably made mistakes about who was a 'bad Crowds' (and defended themselves from attacks by what they thought were bad Crowds), and so on.
(Psycho-Pass did a very similar take on the panic of crowds towards the climax of the show.)
At every step of this, Berg-Katze manipulated everyone to create the conditions for its next step. Nowhere was this clearer than when people restored trust in GALAX and distributed smartphones to everyone during the disaster to restore order, only to have Berg-Katze use this to reach everyone with its corruption of the Prime Minister's message and offer them the Crowds power. This wasn't an accident; Berg-Katze planned for this response to the Neo-Hundred. In fact the entire purpose of the Neo-Hundred and their chaos was to set up this situation.
Since I've seen some confusion about this: Berg-Katze didn't take over the Prime Minister's body during the broadcast, just the broadcast signal. We were clearly shown a mismatch between what was happening in person and what the broadcast showed happening.
Defeating this plan took multiple things and would not have happened without Hajime's effects on everyone, especially Rui. OD needed to defeat Berg-Katze to recover Rui's NOTE, but that wasn't enough by itself; Rui had to reach a point where he would offer the clearly dangerous power of Crowds to everyone, where he trusted that people's potential for good would overcome the clear possibility of even more chaos. It was a brave gamble given that it amounted to pouring more potential fuel into a burning fire.
(How I regard the 'gamification' of GALAX and its users is sufficiently complicated that it calls for another entry.)
On OD: I have no idea if he's supposed to be dead or not. On the one hand he does collapse from his injuries and doesn't appear in the epilogue. On the other hand, his visible injuries don't appear to be life threatening, Utsutsu was presumably available for healing, there are no visible signs of mourning in the epilogue, and other characters don't appear in the epilogue either. I'd like to convince myself that he survived but I'm not really able to do so.
Similarly, I have no idea if the fallen Crowds' people from Rui's fight with Berg-Katze eventually recovered. I'd like to believe they did but I don't think we have any evidence about it one way or another.