You’re throwing your love across
my impossible space
You’ve created me
Take me out of me into…
A new way to be human
To a new way to be human
I’ve been wavering on Suisei no Gargantia, unsure if I would continue the series. It’s been pretty to look at, but other than that, I’ve only been captured by certain moments in the show, instead of by the setting, the characters, or the plot in general. Episode four, however, turned things around a bit, as our protagonist begins learning how to be “more than soldier.”
Ledo begins to search for information, and as he does so, we see his attitude. He espouses survival of the fittest, the greater above the lesser, and rules over heart. Ledo finds the ideas of family and friends to be foreign and unnecessary. He will only help others when it promotes his mission. And as such, though he fights for the survival of the human race, Ledo’s heart is one filled with selfishness.
But through Ledo’s meeting with Bevel, Ledo comes to see that there is value in kindness and compassion that can’t be measured by his goals.
Humans are at their best when they forget themselves and put others first. Selfless acts bring warmth to our hearts when we see them on the news, and help bring us happiness and peace when they are personally demonstrated toward us.
I’ve said that our nature is selfish. It’s what we gravitate toward – this motive to love ourselves above all others. But we also know that it isn’t right – it isn’t what ultimately satisfies. Deep down, Ledo knows this, too, as demonstrated through some sort of painful sacrifice, briefly insinuated in this episode, is buried deep in his memory, and by his own selfless actions in the first episode.
I hope (and imagine) this will be a larger theme of Suisei no Gargantia - Ledo connecting to this loving humanity and he spends time among a people. And as he searches for a way to return to the battlefront and his home, he’ll find something else as well – a new heart.
I recently re-watched Oretachi ni Tsubasa ha Nai with some friends. The first time I watched, I was impressed with it, but the second time, I could really appreciate just how amazing this anime is at times. So why have so few people seen it, even fewer people enjoyed it, and even fewer recommend it? Well, because it’s an anime that’s pretty bad at first glance. And second glance, and third glance. In fact, you could watch half the episodes and still think it’s absolute trash, and for good reason. This show is filled with fan service and not just your normal amounts of fan service, but levels that make you forget there is any semblance of plot.
Wait, what plot?
If there was plot, then maybe people would put up with the absurd amounts of fan service, but a show with no plot and pure service is bound to only attract a certain kind of audience. Indeed, its reputation is overall quite negative, and I honestly can’t deny it.
OreTsuba follows the lives of 3 different male protagonists and divides the screen time between them. While slowly showing their daily lives with multiple girls, you get all kinds of fan service from panty shots to half naked girls, and an extra side of obscene sexual jokes. It doesn’t help that the dialogue is quite random and other than even more random asides that make little sense, there is little hint of any logical plot. It goes so far as to even have sex. Magic forest sex, in fact. There are no dolphins here. But don’t worry; you’ll drop it before then. Truly this show takes fan service to a whole new level (granted, it wouldn’t be the first to do so) and thus you get a show which would never be worth your time, in addition to just having content that can leave you feeling anywhere from annoyed to disgusted, depending on your tolerance.
And yet despite the obscene levels of fan service and sexual tendencies, despite the initial lack of any logical plot, despite everything that would stop someone from continuing to watch, OreTsuba, at its core, is one of the best storyboarded anime in recent times and one of the most impressive VN to anime adaptations. I can’t say anything without spoiling it, but after that second watch, I could really see how much thought was put into making this anime, and it was incredibly well done. There are a surprising number of relevant things that you would normally never notice amidst the cesspool of content and to see it all slowly come together in a way that is truly extraordinarily done made the watch worth it, at least for me.
Maybe you’re like me – a sensitive (some would say oversensitive) soul. Most of my teenage angst revolved around this one central conceit – I cared more about others than they did about me. I spent more time thinking about my friends (and certainly girls) and put more time and effort into relationships than they did for me. And thus, it hurt me immensely when my affections or care wasn’t returned.
The second half of Zetsuen no Tempest made me reflect on my teenage and college years. If it had come out ten years ago, I would have identified very strongly with Hakaze, the Kursaribe princess, whose love goes unrequited throughout the last half of the series. What’s worse is that Yoshino doesn’t choose the memory of Aika over Hakaze – he simply doesn’t think enough of Hakaze to even consider her throughout most of the season.
Yikes. That is what must hurt more than anything to Hakaze. She means so much less to him than he does to her. They say that the opposite of love isn’t hate, but apathy, and in this case, that’s exactly the feeling (or lack thereof) that Hakaze is dealt.
Now that I’m older, I’m still as sensitive, but I don’t feel the pain of “all give, little return” as much. Certainly, much has to do with finding a satisfaction in marriage and maturing out of adolescence. But much also has to do with a changing of my worldview.
After last week’s episode of Oreimo, where I continued to emphasize my disappointment with the show, I was advised that I should quit “torturing” myself – that I should drop it. But despite all my issues with the series, there’s one particular thing that keeps bringing me back – I really like most of the characters on this show. This week’s episode focused on Ayase – one of the show’s most surprising characters. She really cracks me up.
Ayase, who like Kirino, fronts with a “perfect girl” vibe, quickly becomes jealous when her best friend is more eager to spend time with her video game girlfriend than with her. In turn, Kyousuke tells Ayase that she should be like the
Love Plus Love Touch girl, spouting similar lines in similar ways.
Of course, Kirino finds this…creepy. And in the end, despite Ayase’s breakdown, this is exactly the answer she wants, isn’t it? Kirino is telling her – don’t be like this other (digital) girl – be yourself. I love you as you.
Sometimes you forsake depth for having a breadth of characters. Through eight episodes, that’s been the case with Oreshura, where we have a number of girls vying for Eita’s affections, though we only know a few key points about any of the characters.
Paralleling that, the characters also seem to know little about each other. In episode eight, Chiwa and Ai demonstrate how little they know of each other as they shout their overly enthusiastic encouragement toward characters on the movie screen. Chiwa has no idea about Ai’s background with Eita (this is apparently going the Love Hina route) or that she likes him at all, while Ai just moments previous had found out that Chiwa was Eita’s childhood friend (the most important part of her character for this series). And yet, the two are battling tooth and nail – this after they’ve already judged each other as enemies.
Their feelings are so intense, and this without having all the information. But even if they did, could they truly understand what the other feels and thinks? Different experiences help shape us, not to mention how we’re hardwired.
Here’s another example regarding Oreshura. Alexander of Ashita no Anime and I had a discussion about the series. He didn’t connect with Eita, whom he felt was going way overboard in worrying about his secret being leaked. On the other hand, I felt his reaction made perfect sense. Our reactions to Eita had much to do with how we experienced high school. While Alexander wouldn’t have minded such a secret to be loosed, I was so afraid of being embarrassed and so focused (even if I wouldn’t admit it) on what others thought of me, that I’d be terrified if someone knew of my chuunibyou fantasies.
I’ve really enjoyed Oreshura – while it’s characters and situations are retreads of retreads, there’s something fun and refreshing about the show, even when it repeats itself, like it did in episode six. Eita, for a second straight week, puts his pride in the backseat and endures physical pain and embarrassment to defend a “young maiden.” Whenever I watch embarrassing scenes like that, even enjoyable ones, I look away from the screen – it hurts me to see someone else get their pride hurt.
But Eita seems to think nothing of losing his pride in confrontations. I’m the type to be easily embarrassed, so for me it’s a little harder. Truth be told, I’m just incredibly prideful, so putting aside my pride is hard in general, even if it’s not a public situation. It’s even difficult for me to admit that I’m wrong to my wife (Note: In fact, I just had this issue as I was writing this post). And I sometimes find it difficult to admit to my children that I’ve wronged them as well.
Few series have frustrated me like Bleach. Two minutes into the first episode, I was hooked. One season in, I thought I’d found one of my favorite anime. Two seasons in, I was still loving it. But the subsequent Aizen storyline was draining and uninteresting, and the series lost so much of the momentum with which it began.
Now, however, in the final manga arc, it looks as if Bleach may have found its way again. In the last few chapters, the storyline has been particularly interesting, focusing on Unohana, of all people, and her relationship with Kenpachi. It’s been hinted at all along that there’s more to Unohana than meets the eye, but her background reveal, her connection to Kenpachi Zaraki, and the way she sacrifices to build Kenny up has been pretty spectacular.
Unohana is literally willing to die for Kenpachi’s growth, and for the broader goal of protecting Soul Society. In our lives, unless we’re policemen, fire fighters, or soldiers, it’s unlikely that we’ll have the same opportunities. Still, we can learn from Unohana in small situations which can help develop our character.
In my life, I talk a big talk (or at least write that way), but I struggle to overcome selfishness. I want my time and I want to do things my own way for my own pleasure. It’s hard for me to overcome this self-pleasing nature – maybe it’s the same with you.
I’m in the midst of watching Suzuka for the third time. It’s one of those shows that I know it’s kind of terrible, but which I enjoy anyway. And this time around, I’ve found that I’ve been motivated to write a number of posts on the series, so you’ll see several in the next few weeks, starting with this one.
One of the real negative aspects of Suzuka is that the male lead, who we’re supposed to root for, is a creep. He’s a naive creep, but a creep nonetheless. And I feel horrible to say it, but Yamato reminds me precisely of a friend I had in high school.
Just like Yamato, this friend was obsessed with just one girl. Just like him, he was in effect, a stalker. Just like him, he went out of bounds all the time in trying to establish a relationship. And just like Suzuka, the object of his affection was a track athlete.
After watching Bakemonogatari, I thought I couldn’t possibly get enough of the artistic direction and witty writing that filled the series. Then Nisemonogatari came along, and more specifically, the toothbrush scene. And for me, the warmth I had for the series largely disappeared.
Halfway into episode one of Nekomonogatari, and we have more of the same, both the good (humor, rapid conversation, unexpected imagery) and the bad (several minutes spent on Araragi ogling his sisters and even assaulting one).
Because I’m familiar with the series, and because I’m an Ararararararagi hater, the sweetness in the ending of episode one of Neko- caught me by complete surprise. Despite himself, Araragi does what’s right (and to his credit, he does consistently leave his lecherous self behind and sacrifices body and soul in times of dire straits). And it’s because he sees the big picture.