Where I think each Pure Illusion world comes from in Flip Flappers
(There are going to be massive spoilers here for Flip Flappers, and of course this is speculation.)
At this point it seems pretty clear that some or many settings (or worlds) in Pure Illusion are not arbitrary but instead come from something or someone (or maybe in some cases represent things). So here are my theories about the source of the main worlds from each episode so far, up through episode 8 (at the moment).
- episode 1: tentatively Cocona herself. The world is frozen over but
the sun comes up when Cocona moves herself to action, and it feels
a quite Cocona-thematic setting in retrospect (well, Cocona as she
is at the start of Flip Flappers).
- episode 2: Uexküll and the insides of the school's roof cleaning
- episode 3: Unknown. An interesting speculation would be that it's
Update: it's from Sayuri.
- episode 5: Unknown. If you want to attribute episode 3's setting to
Papika, I'd turn around and attribute this one to Cocona, as then
they make a thematic pair (and say some interesting things).
Update: it's probably Yayaka.
- episode 6: Iroha Irodori, of course. Even the Pure Illusion world
they're in before they enter what is either her past or her mind is
made in the colours and style of her paintings.
- episode 7: I feel it's unknown, although you could argue that it's
Cocona again. If it is Cocona, it means that two fragments/amorphous
have been recovered from Cocona-based worlds (one from ep 1, by
Cocona, and one here, by Yayaka's team). I'm willing to believe this,
as Cocona is clearly something special.
- episode 8: TT-392, who we know has a human or at least biological brain inside its chassis (seen in episode 1 and a couple of times since).
My overall view is that not all Pure Illusion worlds are neatly tied into the cast, so I think that the PI worlds in 3 and 5 are not due to anyone or anything we've seen. As far as episode 7 goes, my theory is that the PI setting there was originally something else (and from someone else), but it was basically hijacked by Cocona falling into it with unresolved issues; her presence warped it into something that reflected her worries.
(This entry may get updated to add more episodes.)
- episode 9: likely Yayaka; all the signs seem to point that way.
Update: I wrote a part 2 about new information on episode 3 that was revealed in episode 11, a strong theory about episode 5 from Emily Rand, more argument about episode 9, and a general wrapup in which I conclude that we aren't going to find any more good evidence in the show.
The Ancient Magus' Bride and a puzzle of the translation of a term
In The Ancient Magus' Bride, the protagonist, Chise Hatori, is a special kind of human magus. As I wrote about in passing once before, the English language term that should be used for Chise's status is somewhat unclear; the initial fan translations of the manga used one term and then the official Seven Seas version used another. Then something interesting happened when the first OVA episode came out recently on Crunchyroll, as I wound up discussing on Twitter.
@cks_anime: Well I'll be. The Crunchyroll subs for Ancient Magus' Bride do indeed call Chise a 'slay vega', not a 'sleigh beggy'. That's … interesting.
And the prob[able] reason that CR uses 'slay vega' for Chise in Ancient Magus' Bride is that really seems to be what the character actually says.
This happens at about 14:03 in OVA episode 1, if you want to see and hear it for yourself on Crunchyroll.
(When I initially watched the OVA I didn't really notice this usage, but I was recently thinking back and suddenly it stood out, so I checked back to make sure that I wasn't misremembering because of my biases.)
I think this means the Japanese dialog directions went out of their way to use 'slay vega'. So why did the US manga make it 'sleigh beggy'? ♯
I may be predisposed to hear an ambiguous couple of words this way, but it certainly seems that the fairy's seiyu is specifically saying 'slay vega', not something ambiguous. This is especially interesting because my understanding is that Japanese does not normally have 'sl[a]' or 've' phonemes; if this is correct, the seiyu has to be carefully going out of their way to pronounce this 'right', and the Japanese script likely had to call for that.
@cks_anime: Yep, their pre-OVA claim is that 'slay vega' was a fan mistranslation. But if the JP OVA dialog uses 'slay vega', well...
So, did the original mangaka say 'not slay vega' to Seven Seas & later 'sure, slay vega' to the OVA writer?
Or did Seven Seas decide to use 'sleigh beggy' without asking the Japanese side about it, then get ambushed by the OVA?
It's not clear to me who wrote the OVA. Wikipedia co-credits Kore Yamazaki, the mangaka, and Aya Takaha; MAL lists Aya Takaha as 'script' and Kore Yamazaki as 'original creator'; ANN has Kore Yamazaki as 'scenario' and Aya Takaha as 'script'. On the whole it seems most likely that Aya Takaha wrote the dialog but that Kore Yamazaki was clearly involved and thus available to be consulted for things like 'how is this term pronounced'.
@cks_anime: I suspect that what happened is that SS didn't want to use the fan translation, didn't ask the JP side & just picked a name.
What term Seven Seas use in the next translated volume will be quite interesting, since it'll be the first post-OVA volume.
Looking back, Seven Seas' first answer does not explicitly say that they asked the Japanese mangaka or publisher what the English language term should be, although it certainly sort of implies that they did. The 'translator, adapter, editors, etc' could have been entirely the team within Seven Seas.
My personal preference is for 'slay vega', so I am happy to have it validated by Crunchyroll and apparently the Japanese OVA and I hope that Seven Seas switches the term with the next translated manga volume (currently said to be released in January). Also, of course, right now 'slay vega' seems more likely to be what the mangaka actually intended, not 'sleigh beggy'.
Explaining my uncertainty about Darker Than Black - Gemini of the Meteor's ending
At the end of the series back in 2009 I wrote about my uncertain feelings about its ending, but I was of course completely oblique about it all for fear of spoilers. The whole thing has stuck with me since then, and today it came bubbling out on Twitter so I'm going to dump it here as well. This time around there are spoilers and there will be even more spoilers in my elaboration after my tweets.
(Probably no one cares about DtB: Gemini spoilers by now.)
@cks_anime: I still like Darker than Black's 2nd season. How could you not like a confused, emotionally numb teenage girl with an anti-material rifle?
Also, I continue to not know if the ending of Darker than Black S2 is a good one or a terrifying one. (It's probably supposed to be good.)
@Evirus: Did the OVAs help?
Unless they touch on the nature of the alternate world, prob. not (for this). Maybe not even if they do; it's a philosophical issue.
Alternate/second world Suo has at least completely different memories than DtB-world Suo. Is she the same person in any real way?
If she isn't, then DtB-world Suo dissolved away to death and we have some fake clone thing wandering around in the second world.
It's kind of nice that there's some second-world Suo enjoying a nice life (along with versions of other characters), but ...
... it's not really a happy ending for many of the DtB-world characters like Suo. They're pretty much all dead or otherwise nothing.
Unusually, the Wikipedia page lacks its usual spoilers, so I must describe things from my memory. At the end of DtB: Gemini, we discover that the original Suo died in a terrorist bombing as a child and the Suo we know is an imperfect copy created by Shion and stabilized by the meteor fragment. With Shion reaching the end of his life and powers, Suo's life (or if you prefer 'life') is at best limited, and I think the meteor fragment was decaying as well. At the end of the show, Shion uses the last of his powers to help Suo as she dissolves away, and we see another Earth hanging in the sky visible from the weird place Shion and Suo are.
We cut to that second Earth, where a 'Suo' is living a perfectly ordinary happy family life with her parents, and I have a memory that we see versions of some other now-dead characters as well. It is clear that the Suo of this world does not remember anything from Gemini and has led a completely different life. If this actually is the real Suo from Gemini, transported to this second world in the sky by Shion's last actions, she is at least a completely different person in every practical sense. The Suo of Gemini has gotten a happy ending by losing everything that made her the Suo that we knew.
Is this really a happy ending? I don't know. I suspect that it was intended to be at least a somewhat happy one (after all, Suo lives). But it's not the Gemini Suo that lives; it's some stranger who has a tangential relationship to the real Suo beyond sharing her name and having parents with the same names and so on.
That's why to me it's at least partly a philosophical question. Suo's soul probably survived, but she wound up as more or less a different person. Is this a happy ending or basically a tragic one, because the real Suo is more than a soul and the person that was Suo is dissolved away now? I still don't know what my answer is here, but I can't feel that the ending is any better than bittersweet at best.
(Similar questions apply to other characters in the second world if we assume that Shion shifted their souls over to the second world along with Suo's.)
PS: After all this time it's possible that I've mangled bits of the ending of Gemini, as I'm relying on my memories here.
Brief impressions of the Fall 2016 anime season so far
I'll admit it; I've been lazy about putting fingers to keyboard and just getting on with this entry. So before things get too far along, here's how my views of this season have coagulated so far, following up on my first episode reactions, and it turns out that this is a rather unusual season for me.
Solidly good and enjoyable:
- Flip Flappers: I'm quite enjoying this so far, weirdness and all,
and yes I know that it could all fall apart spectacularly later on
(it's a common problem). But for now this
is very much my kind of thing and I wave my hands about exactly why.
Part of it is that it's a rather science fiction anime, but explaining
that cryptic remark is going to need another entry.
With that said, Flip Flappers is not perfect. I especially don't entirely like Papika, because she is pretty strongly a character cliche that gets on my nerves (cf).
- Sound! Euphonium S2: This feels not quite as sharp and focused
as the first season, but in many ways that's to be expected. The
first season had a narrow but important topic and dealt with it, so
now the show needs to find other things to be about.
- March comes in like a Lion: I'm enjoying the portraits of people
and life that it continues to paint, and I feel that it's being both
reasonably subtle and reasonably funny. Ultimately, though, I just
- BBK/BRNK: The show is not deep or complex or mysterious, so what it
has going for it is extremely competent execution of its basic story.
Given that so many shows partially fumble their writing and execution
even for basic stuff, I decidedly appreciate this. BBK/BRNK is
not likely to surprise me or be a deep show for the ages, but like
Thunderbolt Fantasy it is a very good execution of what it's aiming
for, and what it's aiming for is perfectly good.
(See my commentary on the first season, because this is basically a straight continuation of it.)
Teetering on the edge:
- Regalia - The Three Sacred Stars: In the end I picked up the
restart of this, and since then I've alternated between being
enthused about the action segments and mostly bored with the
rest of it. If I was smart I'd drop this, but as it is it's
feeding me just enough to keep me watching the next episode.
(Maybe writing this will cause me to drop it.)
- Izetta: The Last Witch: This show has one or two good characters
and some good directing in the services of a story that I aggressively
have absolutely no interest in at all. Not only do I not care
about the story of not-Germany invading not-sort-of-Switzerland in
not-World-War-II, I actually don't want to see it; it feels so boring
and flat and 'why do I care' that it turns me off the whole show. The
various cliches that poke their way to the surface of the first three
episodes didn't help either.
- Brave Witches: After thinking about it some more from my first episode reaction, I decided that I had no need to see another episode. It wasn't doing anything special and I have no particular attachment to Strike Witches in general.
Not for me (probably):
- Girlish Number: People praise this, but they also admit that it's mostly about a bunch of jerks and I've decided that I don't want to watch that, even if it's also about the production of anime.
Shows that I maybe theoretically want to look at because they get praised but in practice I know I'll never look at them:
- Yuri!!! On Ice
- Fune wo Amu
This season has wound up being quite unusual, in that I have four shows that I think are very good to solidly good and that I'm quite enjoying, and then I have nothing else that I want to watch. In another season maybe I'd keep watching Izetta and even Brave Witches for some empty action calories; in this season, I have chucked them aside without even thinking twice about it. This season I have no equivalent of, say, Qualidea Code from last season.
(I'm finding that I'm not bothered by only watching four shows, and that I have no urge to fill my time with others, either current shows or from a potential backlog.)
PS: Flip Flappers has the best ED of the season among shows that I've watched. I have no strong opinions on best OP so far, although March's is pretty good.