December 23, 2012

Miho's Dark Secret

With the series coming up on a long hiatus it's time to step back and examine the dark underbelly of Girls und Panzer.

I'm not talking about the very strong implication that fatalities in the sport are not at all unheard of.

I'm not talking about the fact that Miho was disowned due to the fact that she lost a match as a result of....not letting a teammate die.

I'm talking about the the stuffed animal gallery in Miho's apartment.

What the hell?

Seriously guys. What the HELL up with those bears?

Is she pre-med?

Does she beat them, pull them apart in a sadistic rage and then.....overcome with guilt, lovingly sew them back together?

What horrors have those bear eyes witnessed?

What demons reside in that girls psyche?

(Or is there a completely innocent explanation?)


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December 22, 2012

SAO Ends

When last we left our hero he was riding a bike all out... at a snowstorm...trying to get to the hospital to check on his beloved.


December 15, 2012


My, my, my....this has been a good weekend for anime.

Here's the trailer for the fourth Yamato 2199 movie will hit theaters January 13th.

Starblazers fans:
Watch it.
Be sure not to blink around the 36 second mark.

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Well Then

Episode 24 of Sword Art Online brings the Asuna in a Cage arc to an end of sorts....maybe.

The biggest disappointment of the episode is that Lightning Flash Asuna doesn't get to do much except put on a brave face. This is terribly unfair to the character who has really been a very well realized female lead.
The journey of Y.U.I. and Kirito to Asuna's prison was almost anticlimactic, until it wasn't.

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Big Damned Heroes

It was getting sappy there for a minute, but Girls und Panzer #9 was an astonishingly entertaining bit of mayhem. The climax was one of the best paced, most pitch perfect action sequences I've seen in a while, particularly because all the Ooarai girls, but especially Goosfish and Turtle teams, were smart and used their inferior equipment to its best advantage. Nicely done.

The bit of exposition at the beginning about the Student Council's motivation makes as much sense as anything else in the show.


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December 09, 2012

Has Crunchyroll Saved Anime for the US Market?

According to this article, the anime industry in Japan just packed it in and quit.

After the eighth episode of Girls und Panzer aired late Monday, anime studios around Japan have collectively announced the end of the anime industry and discontinued operation. "I would like to thank the fans throughout the years for their continued support,” Shinbou Akiyuki said as he addressed a crowd of reporters at SHAFT headquarters. "But after the last episode of Girls und Panzer, we all know that there is nothing more to accomplish in anime.”

Well, that's all folks I mean there's nothing to top this...
...The episode featured the team of protagonists engaging a Russian tankery school in the snow. Around midway through the episode, to utter disbelief of the television audience, the Russian team burst into a rendition of the traditional Russian war anthem "Katyusha”. Voice actresses Kanemoto Hisako (Squid Girl, Cure Peace) and Uesaka Sumire (Sanae Dekomori) performed the duet. The episode concluded with a dramatic fight scene and ended on a cliffhanger after the Oorai High School team were surrounded by the enemy...

Yeah that musical number was awesome. I mean Everyone is talking abou...
I don't remember any musical number.
There must be an explanation for this. If there were only some instrument we could use to determine what the hell is going on here..

"Try using a Zoopraxiscope!"

Oh, sure enough, Don's figured it out. It's because I watched it on Crunchyroll.
  Girls und Panzer‘s eighth episode is missing about a minute in its Crunchyroll version. Unless you download a fansub, you are going to miss this 1938 song, the highlight of the episode.

He also provides us with this clip for those of us who were foolish enough to watch our anime legally.

Well, thanks to Crunchyroll's legal department, perfection has been averted here in America! Thus there is still a market for the stuff here! Yay!

And sure enough, Crunchyroll's cunning plan to punish us for paying them 7 bucks a month has borne fruit!
Via Chizumatic, we find that the Japanese are producing a whole lineup of shows for the winter season.
Scrolling through it though, I'm beginning to think less that we have Crunchyroll to thank for this and more and more that this is all their fault.

UPDATE: Avatar points out that for the largest corporations getting rights to a song is difficult and to do it in a week or two is nigh impossible even for a major studio. Crunchyroll is a small operation and did the only tenable thing.
It's my understanding that the song is in the public domain in Japan and not the US.
Given the difficulties of securing the Russian rights here, I'd not hold my breath for the sequence to even be included on the R1 DVD release frankly.

Lyrics for

 Apple trees and pear trees went into blooming,
River mists began a floating flow,
She came out and went ashore, Katyusha!
On the lofty bank, on the steeply shore.

She came out and sang she song about
Her young friend, the bluish eagle from steppe
All about the one she dearly loved,
The one whose letters she treasured and kept.

Hey, a song, the song of the young girl,
Fly and go after the bright Sun,
Find a soldier on the distant borderlands
Say hello from Katyusha waiting long for him.

Let him remember the young and simple maiden,
Let him hear the song she now sings,
Let him protect his Motherland for sure,
And their love Katyusha will protect

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Suspension of Disbelief...

There are some things that strain credulity.
I was able to look beyond the premise of SAO and the implausibility of the technology. I could look beyond he occasional writers hand-wave.

But this is too much...
See that thar nebbish, the one who goes by the handle of Recon? In real life Leaf Sugu his Kendo senpai. He pines for her but is shorter than Sugu, physically weak, socially awkward, and has a stammer. In the online world however, he's shorter than Leaf, physically weak, socially awkward and has a stammer, plus he's got a bowl cut and walks with an Egor style hunch. I just don't see him picking that avatar. I just don't.

Wait, where was I?
Oh yeah, Sword Art Online  episode 23:

The gate as seen from below near the entrance.

Same view, moments later after the guardians have started to appear.

Yes, it appears that the closer one gets to the gate the more guardians spawn...FRACTAL DIFFICULTY! Worse, the targeting algorithims of the guardians are different from other monsters in the game, in that they begin to focus on the healers, even though they do not advance have no weapons equipped.

Our heroes are being overwhelmed when Recon has an idea. He has a spell that allows him to convert all his character points, inventory and XPs into an explosion with that many points. This clever attack comes with the 8 point limitation "ends character" but Leaf has convinced him that this is a genuinely important task with real world implications.
...or he's just disgusted. In any event, Recon blows a huge hole in the no avai it would seem... Kirito is overwhelmed as he tries to fly through it.

..or would be if the cavalry did not choose that moment to arrive.

There are Catgirl princesses  on on fire breathing dragons. This is the best show ever.

The Sylph and Cait Sith armies from 3 episodes ago finally arrive (and no doubt are wondering why these loons attacked ALONE...oh well). They have been preparing for this quite comprehensively and come equipped with dragons and magic swords, and hundreds of soldiers...some of whom are spellcasters with frickin' layzerbeams, but while they do inflict a great deal of damage, the guardians are spawning at an exponential rate. Both armies are driven back by the unstoppable Mandelbrot set of mayhem coming at them. However, both queens keep there heads and organize a fighting retreat giving covering fire to Kirito (who is in the temporary gap made by Recon's self detonation and very near his goal). By a miracle, the combination of dragon breath salvos and magic arrows, along with his dual wielding prowess does, just barely, cut a hole in the enemy line through which he slips just as the cloud of guardians closes behind him.


"Funny...It doesn't LOOK like cake."

Y.U.I. quickly ascertains that this "gate" is locked by system player can open it. The World Tree CANNOT be accessed by players. The whole game is a lie!

Oh yeah...the guardians...they are approaching like angry bees.

Kirito remembers the card that Asuna threw them. He asks Y.U.I. about it and she realizes that if used by her it can indeed unlock the gate. She does so just the guardians descend upon them  and the two are teleported (someplace) in the nick of time as  the credits roll.

OK! The episode suffered from an Asuna deficit, but despite that we're cooking with gas! Kirito has crossed a huge hurdle, though it remains to be seen if there is a mat or a bed of spikes awaiting him. The horrible awkwardness with Sughu was actually handled a bit better than I was afraid it would be.

3 episodes to go and it's coming together in such a way that I'm growing increasingly hopeful that the ending will not be a cop out or an exercise in nihilism. Fingers are crossed.


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December 01, 2012


Gut punches for everyone!
We all knew it was coming out eventually but I was not expecting this. Sword Art Online episode 22 actually turned out to  be quite disturbing towards the end.

I'm pretty sure this show doesn't suck because this wasn't even a cliffhanger and yet I'm chomping at the bit to see the next episode because I'm seriously curious as to how they're going to proceed from here.

They've got some major hurdles to overcome and only 4 episodes to do it in.

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