May 22, 2016

Though it Pinches my Patience, I Persevere



In my review of episode one of this show I mentioned that, while I was unsure about it, I thought it had considerable potential. Now, 5 episodes in...I find my position unchanged.

You see, High School Fleet, is one of the most bi-polar shows I've seen in years.

Watching this can be rough, since like the waves upon which it is set, it alternates between crests of utter win and troughs that bottom out and threaten to break the very keel of the plot. 
Part of this is due to the fact that Crunchyroll's subtitle job on this looks to be a bit off, at least in the early episodes. The background regarding the world setting and even the year (is it set in the future or an alternate present /past?) is sufficiently self-contradicted that I think the confusion is actually a translation issue. Furthermore, the translator seems simply not aware of many nautical terms and of course there are (presumably) many (understandably) unfamiliar Japanese nautical terms adding to the general perplexity. 

The show starts out as "Cute girls doing cute things...on warships" an obvious attempt to cash in on the Girls und Panzer phenomenon from a few years ago. However whereas that was essentially a sports anime with tank fighting being the sport, the tension in this series comes from rather higher stakes than loosing a sporting event. There is something quite sinister afoot and the girls unexpectedly find themselves fighting...for their lives. The show, however retains, most of the time the feel of an ensemble 'cute girls in high school' show with the training destroyer's departments serving the same function as school clubs or the individual tank crews in Girls und Panzer

This leads to a highly schizophrenic alternation between "cute" and "thriller" that was beginning to give me a headache.

Just when I was about to pick up the towel and throw it in however....



Sena from Haganai showed up!

OK, canonically her name is Wilhelmina Braunschweig Ingenoh, but come ON! It's Sena without the butterfly pin. Sena Miss. Ingenoh was the student XO of a German school ship, the Graff Spee, which was built to look exactly like it's World War 2 antecedent right down to the plaque on the bridge.  



Our heroine's encounter with the German school ship is not as congenial as they might have hoped, but through an unlikely set of circumstances Ingenoh ends up stuck on the Harekaze. This is fortuitous, as their newfound Teutonic shipmate apparently has a genetic affinity for submarines and talks the crew through a nicely portrayed ASW evolution using World War ONE techniques (all they have is a set of paravanes and a single depth charge). 



Thanks to Frau Ingenoh's timely intervention our heroines survive long enough to learn a valuable lesson about conserving toilet paper...and  to develop a mouse problem. 

This show seems almost to be a satire of several different genres. It's a bizarre mess at times but is making me smile in spite of myself. 

In any event,  Sena's in it, so sacred honor dictates I should watch a few more episodes at least, if only to figure out what the HELL this completely gratuitous catgirl is doing here. 



Admit it. You did not expect that sentence to end that way. The individual appears to not even a main character. All the students seem to be baseline human, but during an interrogation of one of our heroines, a naval investigative officer with all of three lines of dialog just happens to have unremarked upon cat ears poking out the top of her head. This comes out of the blue and if one blinked it would have been missed. 

I think this show may just be trolling us...but I'm curious enough that I've got to watch more. 

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May 08, 2016

Coral

There should be coral, barnacles and sea squirts all over the submerged portions of Tokyo Tower and the surrounding edifices.




From episode 1 of High School Fleet, which is exceedingly odd. It's set in a future where the sea level has risen dramatically. The fact that society has adjusted quite well is a nice departure from the norm, and probably a more accurate prediction than most. Likewise their portrayal of the survivability of an LCS is quite astute but there are issues besides the growth rate of barnacles that do give one pause.

You see, our heroines are on a school ship that is built to broadly resemble a WW2 Japanese destroyer....



Despite the vessel's high pressure steam plant, Harekaze is highly automated and is crewed by a mere 36 high school students who are unsupervised except indirectly from an instructor's flagship. 

The student CO, one Misake Akeno, is quite astonished at her assignment given that she just barely made it into the school academically. 

The crew's first training cruise hits a snag, partly due to human error and partly due to the ship's finicky steam plant. While the crew does get these matters battened down, things nevertheless turn pear shaped quite suddenly, and not in a way anyone would expect.

I'm not sure what to think at this point. It looks like Girls Und Panzer with destroyers rather than tanks, but with a completely incongruous bit of...edginess.

Anyway, though it appears to be a collection of current anime fads this show has a certain potential. 

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May 05, 2016

Meanwhile, in Gensokyo...

...Rossini appears unexpectedly.

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April 28, 2016

Commas and Such

This is an important programing note to the subset of our moviegoing readers that are weeks behind on their new release viewing. 

At 04:09 this morning, we posted a Batman VS Superman review that, upon reflection, needed some further editing.

To wit.

...does a character study of Batman in the midst of an ethical dilemma that has driven him to distraction and an appreciation of Alfred, the butler...who is portrayed so very right.

...was probably meant to be...
 
...does a character study of Batman in the midst of an ethical dilemma that has driven him to distraction,  and  provides an appreciation of Alfred, the butler...who is portrayed so very right.

Note that while a single comma and the word "provides" were technically all that was required to salvage the post from the slash bin, I ultimately decided to do a slightly more comprehensive tweak of the paragraph. 

Apologies to those who were initially offended or who rushed off to see the film based on false pretenses. 

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All the World is A Lie




The Batman Versus Superman film has gotten execrable reviews, and, in any event, exams, term papers and various other adult responsibilities have precluded anything that took time or misallocated my already limited creativity reserves until this week. 

My friend BOB!1! claimed to have enjoyed the film, but he had really liked Wing Commander too and so is an unreliable gauge of such matters. Nevertheless, with some trepidation, I accompanied him when he went to see it again this week.

A southern gentleman is expected to comport himself with a degree of stoicism and gentility that makes adequate description of what I sat through difficult to express.

Fortunately, this blog employs some imaginary cartoon debutantes who are not so constrained. 
more...

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April 20, 2016

Umm...What?

Seriously. What?


This was announced on April first,which allowed us to blissfully ignore the warning, However, it keeps getting talked about by Rooster Teeth and reportedly has a release date of sometime in May. There is supposed to be a clip released on April 27th, so we'll know in a week if this is just a ponderous leg-pull...or perhaps something even more cruel. 





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April 17, 2016

Phantom World Ends

Myriad Colors Phantom World wrapped up with episode 13. Despite having to cram about half a dozen episodes worth of material into 23 minutes, this whirlwind episode manages to have quiet, even touching moments of introspection and character development interspersed with all sorts of delightfully escalating violence. The writers do resort to expediting the plot with a somewhat unlikely hacking montage...



"Somewhat!?"

...and don't quite clear up every single plot thread, but this episode is brilliantly paced and serves as a thoroughly satisfying climax. I never would have guessed that they were going pull this off so well. 

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April 02, 2016

A Reliable Substitute for Thoughtful Content

...is pandering to the audience, so here is a rendering of Hephaestus by Shima Shima.



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March 28, 2016

Zombjas in Snowflake Village!

If you understand this message, it is meant for you. 




Kurumi Ebisuzawa Crossing sign by Maboroshi Dandy

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So Very True...


(Some of her typings not subject to the 'Trust and Safety Council are here)

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March 27, 2016

It's Spring

...so watch out for snakes.






Milia cosplay by Shiro Ang

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What the HELL Did I Just Watch!?

Please Tell Me Galko-Chan! has been getting some positive buzz, so I decided to give it a whirl.


The series is a slice of life show revolving around three young ladies, who, in their own way, are...different. From left to right: We have Galko the EPONYMOUS ringleader of our group of misfits. She suffers from acute Steatopygia, Macromastia, and blonde hair. These tragic deformities have resulted in her having a completely unearned reputation as a...party girl. She is quite good at reading prose. To the right of her is Oujo, a young lady from a rich family with pitch perfect etiquette and an immaculate uniform, who suffers from the tragic handicap of being an airhead. Finally there is Outo, whose disabilities include myopia, frumpiness and being a smart ass. 



Over the course of the first 7 and a half minute episode they discuss such deep philosophical topics as nipples, pubic hair and poop...both spicy and sweetened.

So it's kind of like Katawa Shoujo meets Beavis and Butthead..but without the angst or the music videos. 

What the hell Japan?!

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March 26, 2016

All You Had to Do Was Say That They Were Cosplayers

Because Frankly, this picture does not look at all incongruous.




Yes, Gate is over. It will be missed.
 
The series was overall, quite entertaining despite having had an uneven run, which suffered additionally from being a bit rushed, especially towards the end. 


However, when one's biggest complaint about a show is that one wished one could have seen more, it could be a clue that he show's not bad. Overall GATE, was, most of the time, a thoroughly entertaining show and most importantly, it ended on a quite satisfying note.

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And Then Suddenly The Show Inadvertently Stumbled Upon its Long Lost Plot

Episode 12 of Phantom World begins with an explanation of the legalities that make folktale fanfic the safest fanfic...




....which  cleverly ensured that no one was expecting this week's villain to be Carmen SanDiego.


"Yeah, that's her, but she never mentioned anything about geography."

The seemingly inconsequential stretch of recent episodes actually provided a good bit of background that made this story more impactful. Besides important insights into the protagonist's backstories those installments offhandedly introduced some background characters who make this episode somewhat more impactful. 

This tale is a lot darker than the previous ones and the story is (rather belatedly) really starting to move.  Whether it will live up to its considerable early potential is unclear, but next week's episode certainly bears watching. Things certainly have gotten serious for our heroes.


Mai oh my!

One thing that I have begun to wonder, although Haruhiko is the narrator, I do wonder if Mai is actually the protagonist. 

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March 20, 2016

Concerns Appear Unwarranted

So this animation apparently showed up on the Kyoto Animation webpage recently. I gather that the translation of the text at the end "Thank you for everything!"  caused some...speculation.



Obviously, the cutest suicide note ever.

A quick perusal of their site indicated no resumes being posted, and there is nothing on the news about the company's demise...What there is is a news blurb halfway down the page and if one clicks on it it is illustrated with the above animation and a "Thank You!" for the fact that they've reached 50,000 hits on Twitter. 

Thing is...I didn't need to sit there with a dictionary or ponder the screen for several minutes. I was able to figure this out with 20 seconds of web searching and 4 seconds of Google translate. 

So "unwarranted" is rather an understatement.

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March 13, 2016

Yes, I Do Believe This Works

Language warning due to repeated use of that most versatile of words.  

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March 12, 2016

FINALLY! A Post That Write's Itself!

Phantom World Episode 9 continues the writer's habit of breaking the fourth wall....




Thank you for clarifying that.



So...their roots were in improvisational theatre?



The bear? 



The bear is there.


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Gate Episode 22

Steven and I have not always agreed on this series, in part because he's comparing it to the original books, whereas I'm just enjoying it as it comes out...but we are in total concurrence on this weeks episode. 

He sums it up nicely here.

The episode's portrayal of Leili in particular is malapropos. 

Remember, this young mage speaks multiple languages,  turned the tide in a battle against a dragon and can use chopsticks. 



She's not going to stand there passively...twice...to provide a damsel in distress to the local ecosystem.


Worse, we didn't even get to see her dissertation on her Middle Earth Sorcery as combined with the High School chemistry book the earthlings provided her with.


  " I was cheated."


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February 27, 2016

Warp Speed

 Instapundit reports that Nicholas Meyer will be executive producer on CBS's new Star Trek Series!


Wrath of Khan and The Voyage Home (which Myer directed) were Star Trek at its best and the last that really kept faithful to the spirit of the old series before the deliberate shift in philosophy and tone that was evident in TNG. 

CBS seems to be shooting for the old Desilu magic. 

This could actually warrant some attention. 

UPDATE: Belay my last Meyer's role is not so critical as we were led to believe. So much the better...

...it will make the inevitable disappointment that much more exquisite. 




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Gate Episode 20

In our latest story, Itami and friends go dowsing for adventure, which takes them far, far away from the actual plot. 

Said plot focuses on the the continuing political machinations in the Imperial capital, the efforts of the Japanese government to not exacerbate the situation and a brave little girl who can think on her feet. 


"Well, sir, these may look like mother of pearl, but if you observe them closely you'll note they are, in fact, solid brass."


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Bad Day in Superhero School

Some days, even the best efforts just do not pan out.



The above captures a moment of introspection from this week's Sir Mix-A-Lot tribute episode of Phantom World which, despite a few cute moments and an amusing attempt to get Minase to smile,  pretty much involved the audience doing this for 28 minutes....  


"Oh man, that's just wrong!"
 

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February 22, 2016

Oh...So Marissa is a Necromancer?

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February 17, 2016

Phantom World Episode 7

This episode was just a weird occurrence at the school and was pretty episodic.. 


However, unlike most stories that mention a certain thought experiment, they got Schrödinger's cat right! 



Not only that, but our heroines all turn into catgirls for some reason. 



Thus the episode still counts as a win. 
This despite the fact that the "problem" is, regrettably, solved.  (To our hero's credit, he has nothing to do with that unhappy development.) Additionally, this story may tie somewhat into continuity going forward. We'll find out as we are still enjoying this silly, slightly pretentious, but surprisingly enjoyable show. 

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February 14, 2016

RWBY Season 3 Ends




I'm not sure how to react to that. Astonishment will have to do for now.


This final episode did not exactly end the series on an happy and upbeat note in much the same way that sticking ones hand in boiling fry oil will not exactly result in relief from sunburn. However it did provide the audience with surprises and emotional gravity in copious amounts.

The ending of this leaves several issues unresolved and lays the groundwork for either another season (or perhaps a sequel series).

 

If, as seems likely, that comes to pass, then rest assured, we're going to give it a try. 


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February 13, 2016

And She Can Drive Too



From Episode 18 of GATE, a series where Leilei has, until recently, mainly to her laconic mannerisms, been something of a background character. A competent apprentice mage with a knack for languages, she has been absolutely vital to the progression of the story, having acted as interpreter, had enough on the ball to inquire about the dragon scales and add her knowledge and the authority that comes with her status to the group's tookit. Leili finally got to shine in a big way last episode when she turned the tide in the fight against the dragon. . 



Now, despite her very young age, she's going to a city of mages where she is going to attempt to give what amounts to a dissertation in front of a group of elders and gain the title of Master Mage. (Some time ago, she got her hands on a middle school chemistry book and learned the basics of covalent bonds...her demonstration should be entertaining).

Meanwhile, Itami,  got sacked and relieved of his command (for abandoning his post to kill the dragon...despite the wink and the nod he received prior) . He was also presented with multiple medals, awards as well as titles of nobility (and a slave girl!?) from the locals. Itami is told to just "go out and explore".  He is to keep reconnoitering the new world paying special attention to its resources. Thus he decides to accompany Leili on her journey since she's really useful to have around a city of mages sounds potentially facinating and rich in a resource that warrants some study. Rory is along because, I gather, she wants to desecrate a local shrine and the jeep beats walking, Yao insists on coming because she's the aforementioned slave girl (WTF!?). Tuka tags along for...reasons. Leili brings a letter of recommendation from her teacher which is sufficiently glowing to get her an audience.

The result of this is that the group is nowhere NEAR the Imperial capital when Princes Penã throws a diplomatic soiree involving the Emperor and a bunch of minor characters that successfully kicks off the peace talks. With our heroes, the chaos magnets, on the other side of the Empire, and the Japanese ambassador and Penã overseeing the event, odds seem pretty good that nothing can go wron...



Almost nothing can go wrong when two very different societies meet and one has no concept of a statute of limitations and considers giving a necklace to a 12 year old girl a contractual promise to marry.  

Also Leili has a sister.

Next week: Hijinks ensue.

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