January 22, 2015

Oddly, This Subject Came Up At a Steakhouse the Other Day


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January 18, 2015

How Limited

...is the budget of Log Horizon?


 
Well, besides the mediocre animation, there's the fact that they couldn't pony up the cash to commission a new song for the bard to sing....


"I didn't write it, it's just a cover of something I heard....somewhere."

I must say, though that her version of the closing credits is better. 

Of course, if you're still watching this show, you are not doing so to be wowed by the amazing visual effects or score, both of which, while not incompetent, are mediocre at best. Rather, you're watching this show because the story and characterizations transcend all that. 


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January 02, 2015

Intermission

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December 20, 2014

Pressing Questions

There is this new show that , as near as I can tell, no one has gotten the rights to. It appears (despite having dubious art and being a shounen show) to be quite worthy. 


Steven has been following The 7 Deadly Sins through his extensive network of underworld contacts and it does look like a hoot. 


So, unable to watch it, I checked out the manga. 

UPDATE: How can one screw up a manga review? One might have typos...people might disagree with one's conclusions...but to actually do the review WRONG is nigh impossible. Well, we here at Brickmuppet Blog pride ourselves in making the impossible happen....Responding to concerns expressed in the comments, I have flipped through the first volume and note that this online THING I blogged about bears very little resemblance to the dead tree edition of the manga, (which includes pigs, both talking and giant and seems to be much closer to what I've heard about the anime). I'm really not sure what the hell I reviewed here, but I SWEAR I read it..I've even got screencaps.
Perhaps it's a lost pilot episode issue...or something.
In any event, this thing exists and it might be of interest.
The questions at the end remain legitimate...well, actually there is probably debate on that too...
END UPDATE:

The premise is that some years ago in the Kingdom of Britannia (which is in or near the continent of faux-medieval-Europe), a group of 7 warrior adventurers consisting of swordsmen, wizards and even a fricking giant built a reputation of badass chivalry until they unexpectedly killed a whole bunch of innocents and began spreading seditious rumors such as "We was framed!" and  "The Holy Knights are riddled with traitors who are trying to launch a coup d'etat  and set themselves up as a Junta!" Well, the Holy Knights took care of this domestic terror group with extreme prejudice, reportedly killing them all (though there are rumors that one or more might have survived and fled to the wilderness).  This band of nefarious villains passed into legend as the greatest most perfidious and terrifying criminals in the history of the kingdom. Now they are boogiemen used to scare children and are referred to as The 7 Deadly Sins.

That was years ago, our story begins in earnest when a disheveled, filthy and generally odd young lady staggers into a tavern on a dark and snowy night, asks for information on the 7 deadly sins and precipitates a bar fight which results in the bar being closed and the paying customers turned out into the snow.



After some initial confusion the non-paying customer confides to the barkeep the events that led to her being in such a state. It seems that, in a completely unexpected development, the order of The Holy Knights suddenly launched a coup d'etat and set themselves up as a Junta!


Furthermore, this filthy, somewhat odd street urchin is actually the only member of the royal family to escape their knightly wrath, Elizabeth Lioness, the third princess of the kingdom. She has set out on a quest to put together a force to liberate her people. Suspecting (due to recent events) that the 7 Deadly Sins might not have actually been, strictly speaking, evil, and taking the rumors that some of them survived in the wastes to heart, she decides to search for survivors of that extremely powerful group to help her in her quest. Her task has been complicated by the fact that, being the THIRD princess she has not been groomed for leadership and, having had a sheltered life, she is ill prepared for survival on the lamb.  After getting cleaned up, she is mocked by the bartender, who insinuates that, being a bartender, and hearing things, he might be in possession of some of the information that she is looking for, but unless she can display that she has resolve he has no interest in giving her the time of day...



Well...It seems that our heroine is actually quite determined to save the kingdom and not in any way lacking in resolve.


Yes MAM! The time is 01:06!

The barkeep pledges to help her and provide her with the informat.....

...the Hell? 


I'm with the government and I'm here to regulate!

It's the boss of the guys who lost the barfight! They were agents of the local EPA IRS NLRB Zoning Board ABC ATF EEOC Homeowners Association HOLY KNIGHT!

Well, the barkeep seems to be a bit more than an information broker. He is, in fact Meliodas, the leader of the Seven Deadly Sins...or at least he was before going into hiding. After the dust clears, the Holy Knight has been vanquished and Princess Elizabeth decides that this bartender is quite the useful ally. Due to her awkward circumstances, she takes the barkeep up on his offer of job as a waitress in his, ummm, traveling tavern, to pay for the damages she caused, build capital and network. 

Hijinks ensue.

There are a couple of differences here between what I've read about the anime, most notably the lack of any talking pigs and it seems somewhat darker than the anime, based on descriptions. Still, it does look interesting and potentially fun. 

I do have a few questions though.
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December 13, 2014

Attack on Diane

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December 04, 2014

Ark of the Stars Teaser

The first 9 minutes of Ark of the Stars, (the new Yamato movie) has been put up on YouTube for a short time. 


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November 23, 2014

SPACE FIDDLES!

Suburbanbanshee is blogging again and amongst her recent posts she points to this gem fragment..



Well, THAT'S on my 'to get' list. 

There's more at the link.

The first two Yamato series were absolutely excellent and I consider Yamato 2199 one of the best series of the last decade. One of the bigger disappointments in recent years was that the big international release (Star Blazers in the US and some Commonwealth countries, Space Patrol in Brazil) was cancelled. This is a show that deserved a good dub. It probably could have been a success on TV here.  

In 13 days a new Yamato film will be released. It does not seem to be a remake or even imagining of any other Yamato project, though it does have some interesting elements from the second season. 

It's unclear if there are to be any more after this, but given the general excellence of the series, it will certainly bear watching. 

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Log Horizon 8

In this episode, there was no cake whatsoever.

I think this lends some credence to 'the cake rule'.
The two previous episodes were quiet, one being a study in the psychological aspects of going to "Church"....the other was a training montage. Both were intelligently done and moved the story quite a bit.

This episode was less subtle.  Akatsuki and Princess Lenessia being the keystones to the salvation of the city. However, they've changed the power dynamics of the city in the process, all while the very laws of nature are changing around them.



Despite its dumb as rocks premise and poor to mediocre production values, I'm really liking this show. The writing is really top notch and the silly premise is intelligently handled. Furthermore there are few shows that have really managed to integrate concepts like community and civics into an adventure yarn.

  Integrate is the crucial difference here. Lots of shows will have an episode or two where a band of adventurers teach a town an important lesson about societal affairs...before leaving them to their dull lives while said adventurers head off to do great, exciting, and non-domestic deeds far removed from such matters as the 4-H Club. In this show, building and keeping a cohesive society is the raison d'être for the action and adventure.

The teamwork and tactics are well thought out too. These characters are SMART as well as determined, and that's pretty refreshing. 

Next week it looks like we will revisit Shiro and company, though there is still no word on Crusty

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November 22, 2014

While We Await Actual Content

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November 16, 2014

RWBY Second Season Ends

After the spectacular home run that was episode 11, the Finale of RWBY season 2 fell rather flat. The animation was off, and despite a several moments of awesomeness there was a rather perfunctory feel to  the big climactic fight, which seemed disjointed and not entirely consistent. Basically everyone got a moment to shine though there was very little of the spectacular Monty Oum choreography that had been so impressive in previous fights and in fact the fight was so by the numbers and below the standards of the rest of the season that I suspect they ran out of money, time or both in this episode. On the non-technical side, there were some things that just didn't quite work.

Of course the other problem had to do with a general lack of answers, though this is not nearly as egregious as it would normally be, since it's pointed out by Ruby herself while our heroines recover from the day.


"Wait.We helped arrest a bunch of very bad people but we didn't really solve anything!"

Like the fist season finale, this one did not feel like a climax at all, but rather seemed to be just another episode, steadily moving the plot along, with the rather sedate last half of the episode being in a lot of ways better than the nonstop action of the first half. 

It's not a bad episode,  but is also not up to the high standards the show had set for itself.

That being said though, this season overall has been quite enjoyable. While the first season of RWBY amused me quite a bit. The second season has (overall) been even better. 

This is despite the fact that, in sharp contrast to the carefree whimsy of the season opener, the overall tone of RWBY season 2 is quite a bit darker than the first.  Fortunately, the show avoids descending into something grimm depressing, thanks in part to its oddball, upbeat quirkiness.

Also: The super heroines get a corgi

While it is still obviously a very low budget show, the animation, art, pacing and voice-work are all much improved over season one. I've heard griping about what at first seemed to be an awkward subplot (involving side characters) that suddenly metastasized out of nowhere. However, unlike a similar digression in the first season, its resolution was both unexpected and satisfying. Plus, it ended up advancing the larger plot quite nicely. 

The protagonists remain likable and have gained a bit more depth. Crucially, teams RWBY and JNPR consist of people that one actually enjoys rooting for. They are flawed human beings, sometimes wrestling with dark secrets, despair and self doubt, but they are not anti-heroes or cynics. These are an idealistic bunch who want to make the world a better place, want to do the right thing and are willing to pick themselves up and struggle on even if they get knocked down…hard.  This is important because our heroes are punching well above their weight…rather more than they seem to realize. 

The villains really came into their own in this season and are actually a pretty interesting lot…. Exactly WHAT their ultimate goal is remains unclear, but they are not incompetent and can think on their feet.  They are, overall, quite worthy and occasionally terrifying antagonists. 

These 12 short episodes were 144 minutes of my time that I do not regret. Despite the non-finale that was #12, I find that I’m eagerly looking forward to the third season.


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October 31, 2014

Boo!

 
RWBY in costume by Elf-Jy
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October 27, 2014

This Week, On a Very Special Episode of Log Horizon: Nothing Happened

Well almost nothing.

Akatsuki, the awesome, badass kunoichi spent the most of the episode being mopey and neurotic. This 27 year old woman who in her previous life was in graduate school, and in this world has established herself as one of the guild's most trusted and effective members is convinced that ...
A: She's been assigned royal escort duty because she's....weak.
B: She's being out competed in romance by a 13 year old. 

Both of these fail the logic test. Regards A: It is blindingly obvious that Shiro gave her the (extremely vital) guard duty because he has confidence in her and trusts her utterly. If B were in fact correct then Shiro would, by definition, not be worth any of her time beyond that necessary to vivisect him for the good of humanity and therefore B should not be a problem one way or the other. Yet this generally awesome character spends the episode having some sort of midlife crisis, while the women around her eat cake and carry on conversations that for the most part fail the Bechdel test. 

This near fiasco of an episode has actually given me a possible insight into the show. I shall call it the 'Cake Rule'.



Any episode of Log Horizon that prominently involves a large variety of cakes will be sub par. 

Of course, like the last cake episode, inserted between the banality and the failure was what may well be a rather important development.
 

Now, in fairness, not everything in the episode was disappointing or grim. One bit was not at all unpleasant, though it must be said that from a character perspective it also made little sense. However,  I'm willing to cut them a bit of slack for it.
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October 24, 2014

Remarkably Watchable Badass Yarn

Villains...
They can vastly improve a show, particularly a superhero show. 
Season two of RWBY has taken that lesson to heart and run with it.  The villains are genuinely frightening, with style, amazing choreography and snappy one liners... 


"Pick any two." 

Yeah...This show is not high art, but it is definitely a keeper. 

First season was amusing, but occasionally painful to watch. However, the people making this have really honed their craft. 
RWBY has been pretty good all season, but now, just over two thirds of the way into this season this show has really hit its stride. 

My only complaint is that NEXT WEEK IS A WHOLE WEEK AWAY!


"We can wait!" 


Which, when one thinks about it, is not a damning complaint at all. 


For those who want an overview of the currently active plot thread, click here: 

 

I do have a few questions for those who watch the show. 


There are, I believe, still 5 episodes to go. 

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October 11, 2014

No one Would Have Believed

..at the end of the first decade of the 20th century that the war that would soon engulf the world was even possible. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. Then, not halfway through the second decade of the 20th century, came the great disillusionment.

Here is some recently restored film footage of that terrible, perilous time. 

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October 10, 2014

I Am Confused but Elated


Though it has some elements familiar to fans of the old show , this looks vastly different from any of the original series or films. However, Yamato 2199 was one of the best space shows of the last 10 years or more so this new project (due out in December) certainly bears watching. 

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