February 16, 2020

RWBY Season 7

RWBY's 7th season having just wrapped up on Crunchyroll, it warrants some comment. But first a brief review is warranted of this shows history. Initially started with  a pilot that showcased its tragically low budget, superb voicework, spectacular fight choreography and great promise, the show proceeded to be almost schizophrenically uneven but maintained interest with its interesting characters and  its setting, while something of a cliche' buffet, was genuinely intriguing. The first season was enjoyable despite itself and showed real promise.

The next two seasons got better, surprised its audience, and while the action animation never recovered from the death of Monty Oum midway through the production of season three, the other production values, story and characterizations got exceptional. ...until the season 5 finale which was a fight spread out over approximately 377,482 hours of tedious soliloquy and nothing happening. Season Six was much better, the production values being incredibly good and the story itself having regained its stride, though the finale was a soft cliffhanger.


Rooster Teeth has had its issues of late and its management has seemed to go out of its way to antagonize some of its fans. The company is no longer the 20 or so people punching above their weight but is rather, now, a division of AT&T which makes this seasons enhanced production values pretty much expected and the production problems reported in the media fairly inexcusable.

Given the internal issues being reported and the various clashes with the fandom, one ought not be surprised if the show is a dumpster fire.

Instead, the surprise comes from Season 7 kicking ass. 



This season gets right almost everything that slipped through the cracks in season 5. In particular the pacing is solid throughout, building tension throughout the story to a genuinely gripping season finale.

Even the fight choreography has improved to the point that it's finally approaching parity with the late Monty Oum's work in season's one and two, as this two minute clip from the season opener shows.



This is, hands down, the best season of this show ever. Story wise, the show manages to throw all manner of curve-balls while still retaining its internal logic. There is a little bit of perfuntory advancement in episode two '"Hey! Everybody gets new uniforms!" but almost everything else is beautifully paced and even the surprises (and boy are there surprises), make perfect sense as they're bringing together threads from six other seasons.


This brings us to the two minor quibbles with the show, one is that a lot of the plot is not fully understandable if you haven't seen the previous seasons, (which, sadly means watching season 5). Oh you'll be able to figure it out, but you'll lack that delicious moment of realization when the waiter smiles.

There is also another issue which has caused some consternation in some circles.
but honestly even that development doesn't really detract from the show this time around.

This was just a really solid season and I find myself looking forward to the next (probably last one) with genuine eagerness.




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February 08, 2020

That Show That Got Yeeted After Three episodes For Being Exactly What it Said it Was

Rest assured that this not a trend for this blog. Whatever passes for a format here, this is not it.




However, this show is being aggressively "disappeared" and its case is curious not only for being cancelled after 3 episodes rather than simply slapping a R-rating on it (despite high ratings), but that the streaming company bought the rights to a show about individuals that travel Ersatz Middle Earth and do consumer reviews of BROTHELS, then translated it, dubbed it, REMOVED pixels from it and then, three episodes in, decided that, upon reflection, it might be lewd. 

After careful analysis, much consideration and in-depth research, I've concluded that this show is, in fact, lewd. 

It's only R-rated though, it doesn't actually cross the line despite dancing along it drunkenly while being aggressively irreverent and completely tasteless. 

It also made me laugh, which is probably indicative of deep character flaws on my part.

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February 02, 2020

So I Heard About Ishuzoku Reviewers

...and did not initially pursue it because, honestly if its only claim to fame is that it's a fan-service show its probably not worth my time.The plot does not inspire confidence..a troupe of (brothel critics?) in a D&D/LOTR esque fantasy-world go around doing reviews of various brothels staffed by numerous fantasy races like elves and mermaids and slimes and..sundry.

 Then I heard the show was quite good, with it actually being described as funny and one of the better shows of the season.. So, I went to Funimation and, to my surprise...



So they have a show that's based on a hentai manga. Its character designs are by a hentai artist. It's plot is more porny than most porn. They depixelated parts of it and they were in the process of dubbing the show. Some of the character designs that have popped up in the promo art , I couldn't even put on this blog clothed. Then all of a sudden they realized "Gracious! This is...(squints) I dare say it might be LEWD!"

How does that even happen!?

 UPDATE: I swear there was a review at the end of that first link.

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Oh NO!

We had two depressing plague posts back to back, involving 3 different viruses. This is unhygienic, depressing, and not in keeping with the format of what is among its many other formats, still an anime blog.

I should probably watch some anime.
And review it.
In the meantime, here are some AMVs.

One for our new Canadian viewers.


Because this isn't YouTube...we can repeat one from a few years ago.


Caravan Palace is always welcome


Another re-run because...reasons.


Finally, I here tell that we're all Russian bots here so...

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February 01, 2020

Star Trek Picard

To say that this show has been unenthusiastically received is a rather large understatement.

Much of this lack of positive buzz can be laid squarely at the feet of  the show's immediate Predecessor Star Trek: Discovery.

Despite incredibly talented actors and superb production values, STD's writing and general asshattery seems to have poisoned the well for many fans with its strange combination of sanctimony, stupidity, and frequent contempt for the fans and its source material. 

Learning from it's showrunner's missteps, CBS-All Access has pinned it's hopes on a new series that is being presented as a sequel to the Star Trek shows of the 90's, built around a geriatric but plucky Admiral Picard.


Despite the logo, only the pilot is on Amazon Prime

It seems that the damage done by STD was considerable, because Picard's ratings have been sufficiently bad that CBS has actually released the pilot of the new show for free viewing on YouTube.ht

So with low expectations, I sat down and watched it.

Jean Luc-Picard, one of the United Federation of Planet's greatest heroes is spending his twilight years on his french vineard, when suddenly the protagonist of a young adult novel blunders into his retirement, setting in motion a series of events that causes him to make an astonishing discovery...

To my surprise, this does not appear at this point to be a bad show, I can't honestly say if it's GOOD yet, as the pilot is mostly set-up, but it's really interesting There are a LOT of interesting ideas being touched on. There are also there are a lot of call-backs to ST:TNG that are respectful and don't have Worf being a Kling-Ork (and there was much rejoicing).

Among the complaints among TREKdom is the rumor that the show makes a POLITICAL statement. Well, it does. Star Trek always has, and one of the major themes of Star Trek is one of universal respect for sentient beings. The brief foray into politics in this pilot are not out of place in a Star Trek episode and part of the political discussion stems from the fact that Picard remains admirably idealistic ( but perhaps naively so given the backstory touched upon in the pilot). 

The story is appealing and the production values look great. It's VERY different from TNG but it seems that it is a part of the same universe, a very different vibe than I got from the few episodes of Discovery I watched.

I am not opposed to watching more of this show. In fact I'm rather impressed and want to see more.

Getting me to PAY for this show is another matter.

STD so poisoned the well that I'm ambivalent at best about subscribing to CBS All-Access when this show, as appealing as it seems, could very easily go completely off the rails and end up in a dumpster fire. Moreover, the general contempt that some of the showrunners have expressed for the fans in general and my demographic in particular do not encourage me to give them money.

That then is the problem that CBS faces with this show. The pilot is pretty good and actually encouraging.Two years ago I and others would have been begging them to take my money for this show, but after STD that is a much higher bar now, and the new normal of being nickle-and-dime'd to death by an ever expanding number of streaming services is a particular source of resentment for many, including myself.

Time will tell if this warrants a subscription.

I might be persuaded to buy the DVD's though.

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January 25, 2020

Oh.

Wait.
I dropped a bit.
This is not a parody. It's actually the U.S. Space Force logo.
Cool!


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January 13, 2020

Thirty Four People

....enjoy this show.



I think I'll pass.

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From what reserves does one draw from when one has already given every ounce of one's strength?

When pondering the above missive in the presence of others one should ensure that one is smiling and maintaining one's composure so as not to cause any unnecessary distress or alarm.



Because that's what heroes do.

My Hero Academia has been really really good this season. Despite its very Japanese trappings this show is touching on some of the best aspects of American superhero comics and exploring the themes of the genre in ways that would make Lee, Kirby and Ditko proud.  Even the dashes of melodrama one expects in an unironic superhero show have been pulled off with superb skill and astonishing sincerity.

Product Warning: May cause...allergies.

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January 07, 2020

Snerk


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December 31, 2019

Meanwhile: in His Secret Lair, Far Beneath the Earth's Crust...and Mantle, and Outer Core, and Inner Core and Mantle and Crust Again...

...or ( if you're not on this side of the planet) just Ambient Irony, Pixy's embedded several AMVs including this really well edited piece built around a song from Shaka Ponk of all things...



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November 10, 2019

Today, on the Latest Episode of Ascendence of the Bookworm....




more...

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November 02, 2019

A Failure to Communicate

Is becoming the bane of our heroine.



From episode 5 of Ascendance of a Bookworm in which our heroine discovers the cost of ink and has her most cunning plans embezzled in good faith.



Anyway, minimalist animation aside, I'm still enjoying this show.

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November 01, 2019

On The Percieved Lack of Progress

I've seen several places lamenting the fact that  Blade Runner was set in November of 2019 and we haven't achieved the milestones presented in the film.

Oh Please:

Paraphrasing Lowther, It's true we don't have flying cars, but L.A. is a festering third world disease ridden hell hole. Technology focused Mega Corporations have bribed the powers that be and use their products like a jack boot on the throat of humanity.  The outlook for the individual is bleak despite impressive economic growth and while Mr.Musk's Mars plans are are 5-10 years in the future, a number of people DO look at them longingly for a better life (or at least a more rewarding one) in the off-world colonies. Intimately tied to why people might look at a spartan,tenuous and perilous existence working to hew from the bareness of of Utopia-Planatia, Occator or Rheasilvia, homes for future generations is that there are are now beings among us who look human but are childlike in many ways, have pre-programed violent emotional responses to certain phrases and are a fairly dangerous and worrisome addition to society.  

So really the differences come down to no flying cars and artistic license in that the SJWs don't look like Rutger Hauer or Daryl Hannah.

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October 26, 2019

DO NOT WATCH

...the first episode of My Hero Academia season 4.



It's pointless filler that has nothing happen and sort of but not comprehensively re-caps the first three seasons.

Start with this season's episode 2 (#65). Because then you won't drop this series and thereby miss the next two episodes, which are really good.




Wow.

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October 21, 2019

It's looking Like a Keeper

Three episodes in Ascendance of a Bookworm seems to be living up to its initial promise.

It appears to be a very low budget show animation and art wise, but the story of a librarian who finds herself stuck in a 5-year old body in a parallel world's dark ages remains quite engaging.



Our heroine is saddled with myriad obstacles (for one thing, she's stuck in a 5 year old's body) but she's really determined and I particularly like that not everything she tries works, more-so that she learns from her mistakes and tries different things.

This is actually better than I'd hoped. I initially thought she was a Renfaire enthusiast and/or had experience making paper for calligraphy, but no. It turns out that Urano/Main doesn't actually have any hands on or technical knowledge of what she's trying to do. However, she has some historical knowledge of vaguely how it happened in our world and given that she KNOWS it can be done, she's doing experiments to figure out for herself, how to make a book.




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October 15, 2019

Iseakai: But With a Different Skillset

Motosu Urano is a Japanese Librarian.

Presumably, she is a very NAUGHTY one, because when her library collapses on her and burns during an earthquake she dies and goes...TO HELL. A very special hell reserved for naughty librarians.

But Perdition has bitten off more than it can chew and this badass bibliophile is about teach Gehenna itself a lesson it won't soon forget, as she embarks upon: The Ascendance of the Bookworm.

more...

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October 12, 2019

The Art of Math

God's Blessing on this Wonderful World!  was first published in 2012. Therefore, as SakimiChan so expertly points out here, everyone's favorite explodemologist is 20 now.



Support Sakimichan's art on Patreon and Gumroad!

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October 06, 2019

Joker

It was all that and a bowl of grits.




I will likely not see it again as it is dark to the point that I found it hard to watch, (It really deserves its R-rating) but it is absolutely riveting and amazingly well done.

I'd heard that he'd done a good job, but Joaquin Phoenix just knocks it out of the park,  acting with every muscle in his body to give a performance for the ages.

The art direction and set design are superb. It's a period piece that looks like it was filmed in the period in which it was set. 

This is just a superb piece of filmmaking.

And high-octane nightmare fuel.

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October 05, 2019

Ambivalence

Thanks to Mauser in the comments for alerting me to this.

New character designs are new.


I wonder if there's actually a canon reason for some of the non costume changes.

I must say, despite my ambivalence, I do like Weiss's Saber Cosplay. The continuity with Ironwood's beard over the last few seasons is actually cool. 

Everything LOOKS great and there seems to be a lot of development of concepts introduced in previous seasons.

We'll see.

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September 22, 2019

It's All Fun and Games Until HR Gets Involved


Hestia: Not the Greek goddess of self-awareness.

From the latest episode of Is it Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon, which provides us a respite from the previous very serious plot arc...with a wacky story that gets wackier until suddenly....

About that previous arc though:

Slow clap. That was brilliantly done.  

This is a silly show, but it has heart and it is quite enjoyable.

I'm liking it.

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