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Iaboo, Youaboo, Weallaboo for Anime!

Yashahime ended. The plot began moving real fast towards the end, and lots of cool (and some not-so-cool) stuff happened. Most long standing questions going into it were answered, with a whole bunch more new questions crafted by the end. The finale laid the groundwork for a lot of stuff to happen afterwards, and it ended with an endcard that teased that the 2nd season is already in production. So I should probably amend my opening statement to "Yashahime ended... for now." I couldn't tell you if Japanese audiences *like* the show or not, but they are definitely watching it like they like it, because it's got consistently pretty good ratings. I'm looking forward to where they take this story for the most part. With a few nitpicks, but nothing major.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
The Promised Neverland season 2 is such a disappointment. Its not even "bad", at least technically. Had the team who worked on it just made a straight up adaptation, it would have been good, I think. But its terribly mishandled. I've not read the manga, I don't know too much about how exactly they changed it but even then it is clear that they've moved WAY too fast for any of the big reveals or plot points to have any impact, compared the the impeccably paced first season. Season one rewards patience and season two seems to assume you want EVERYTHING NOW and does what it can to deliver while jettisoning obstacles to that. As in, the meat of the series and everything that makes what it dives head first into matter.

Also, they excised a monkey. Yeah. Drink that fact in.

Also also, I think the main villain isn't so much right for this series but I'm sure he'd be a decent evil Pokémon trainer.

 

Vaeran

perfect world
(he/him)
It's possible I'm just FY-blogging for my own benefit at this point, but that's fine. Anyway, Nuriko's dead. You're not crying, I'm crying. wait shit

So Nuriko's alone at the entrance to the cave where the next plot coupon is stored. There's a brief fight between her and Ashitare, the Seiryuu's cannibal werewolf who has no motivations beyond PEOPLE ARE TASTY and I DON'T WANT NAKAGO TO WHIP ME ANYMORE and whose name literally contains the word shit. Honestly Nuri should have taken his scrub ass apart in two seconds, but he's fast and she can't land a hit before he mortally wounds her and she unscrews his head for him in return.

We then get a weird romantic fantasy montage of Nuriko in the real world, going on dates with Miaka, driving around the city, shopping for clothes, etc. I mean... I guess Miaka probably told Nuri about her world off-camera, so she could imagine it, but it's still kind of jarring. Nuri then has a brief (unseen by the audience) vision of her sister Kourin, lifts the obstructing boulder so the rest of the party can continue on, and collapses in the snow. What follows is an entire half an episode of everyone wailing and refusing to believe that this could have happened, including Miaka having some kind of mild break with reality and running off to hum to herself while she plays with a snowball. Tamahome kind of roughly drags her back to Nuri's body and they say their goodbyes.

MIAKA: [She] wasn't a man or a woman. Nuriko... was just Nuriko.

Hey no fuck you she was a woman. Insulting to the last.

It occurred to me today that while Nuri's infatuation with Hotohori was a defining trait of her character for most of her time on the series, the two of them never have a scene together about it, and as far as I can remember he doesn't even acknowledge it, like she's beneath him. The show is about romance and yet this form of love is played almost entirely for laughs. And her "character development" in shedding her queer identity is some bullshit of the highest order. You can look it at and say "oh, well, she learned to stop living for her dead sister and instead to live for herself," but that's not something anyone actually does in reality, so this was about "fixing" the queer character and then writing her off the show. It hurt when I was 17 and it hurts now, even with me being prepared for it this time.


Anyway if anyone needs me I'll be listening to Kaze no Uta on loop for two hundred hours
 

Hilene

Loves "Friendly Girls"
(She/Her)
It's years since, and that scene is still both incredibly emotional, and also some high tier character assassination. Nuriko was done dirty.
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
Your impressions have at least saved me the time I might have expended toward Fushigi Yûgi at some point down the line, as it's a series I know the name of and which has the basic ingredients of something I'd potentially either read or watch. Knowing where it goes in this subject and with this character, I think I'd rather avoid it, so thanks for sharing your thoughts.
 

conchobhar

What's Shenmue?
(he/him/his)
After several years, I finished watching Legend of the Galactic Heroes. What an ending. What a show. I don't think there's much I can say about LoGH that hasn't been said before, but I enjoyed it so much that I’d be remiss not to say something about it anyway.

For those unfamiliar with the show, LoGH is the story of two admirals, Yang Wen-li and Reinhard von Lohengramm, who are on the opposite sides of a galactic war (representing the Free Planets Alliance and the Galactic Empire, respectively). What makes it so fascinating is that it takes a big picture approach to the conflict, focusing less on the shooting and more on everything else surrounding it: the ideological origins of the conflict, the strategizing and logistics of managing such a conflict, the impact it has on society, and all the internal power struggles that arise because of it. It's not so much a "war story" as it is a treatise on governance and power, mixed with a character study (comparing/contrasting Yang and Reinhard's aims and careers).

What's key to the series, I think, is that there is no explicit "good" or "bad" side. Both the Alliance and the Empire are depicted as flawed states, rife with complacency and demagogery as they're locked in their own factional strife. The internal politicking is where the series really comes alive, as Yang and Reinhard spend just as much time in political struggles as they seek to rejuvenate or reform their nation. To make a wildly ridiculous but relatively topical comparison, I'd liken it to Dorohedoro in this regard: both follow two sets of protagonists who are nominally opposed, but rarely come into direct contact with each other and mostly have their own things going on. It's a really great dynamic, because not only does it keep both sides engaging, but it gives no clear answer on which one we should be rooting for.

The sole criticism I would make of the series is that its perspective is limited. LoGH follows the great man theory— that history is driven by the actions of a few individuals who possess exceptional qualities— and is written accordingly, following the exploits and struggles of leaders and other members of the ruling class, and with nary an eye to the common people. With all the societal upheaval that happens over the course of the story, it feels like a missed opportunity to not explore what that actually entails for the citizenry— because changes do happen, it's just that they're explained by the narrator rather than something we see in action. This has the unfortunate effect of making citizen unrest sudden and contrived, like it’s just happening because the narrative needs it, rather than something that naturally follows. But I mean, it is called Legend of the Galactic Heroes; I can't really fault it too much for living up to its name.

Oh, also, one thing in the finale that I have to mention: (massive spoilers, obviously) Oberstein's death. Given that he'd spent the entire series as a ruthless and immoral schemer, loathed by everyone yet somehow escaping any serious scrutiny, him getting his just deserts was not only a long time coming but something I was eagerly anticipating. And for him to be felled by one of his plots, intentionally or not, was some incredible schadenfreude. And yet… that his last words were not some self-serving justification or defence of his actions, nor a cry that it wasn’t his time, but a simple request that his dog be taken care of— "feed him chicken; he doesn't have much time left"— actually made me a little sympathetic for him. Not, you know, a lot, but it was a rare moment of humanity from a character who spent the series unflappable and disinterested. For as low key as it is, it is one of the most memorable deaths in the show.

Anyway, Legend of the Galactic Heroes is certainly not a show for everyone, or probably even most people… but if the idea of a space opera that spends its time really delving into the nature and method of the conflict appeals, I cannot recommend it highly enough.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
I watched LoGH a few years ago. It's a great show, one of my very favourite animated shows ever. I love how it feels like a History lesson. The narrator helps selling this - it feels like we are a hundred years in the future, and learn about this monumental time in History.

I love how the show, slowly but steadily, explains more about the past, and how thos galactic empire devolved into fascism. And also how much the democratic side has already devolved too.

It's a great show, I really should rewatch it.
 

Rosewood

The metal babble flees!
(she/her)
The thing that amazes me about LoGH is that it was OAVs/OVAs released over the course of nearly a decade. To use FelixSH's word, that's monumental!

I had a hard time with the TV show that came out a couple years ago, couldn't sit through it. Not sure why.
 
There's a special level of cognitive dissonance I got while watching the recent episodes of the Slime-Isekai show. Where the main character commits a ruthless slaughter of 20k people, and it's played whimsically/for laughs because 'they deserved it'. Which, they kinda did? But I didn't sign onto this show for Punished Slime to get revenge for the sacking of Outer Heaven.

I don't know wtf the Spider-Isekai is doing. Because it keeps throwing mad spoilers at the audience, that not even the comic or light novel versions are caught up with. Keep it in your pants, show!

Thank god for Yuru Camp, and World Trigger, and Back Arrow, and SK8, and Log.
 

conchobhar

What's Shenmue?
(he/him/his)
I had a hard time with the TV show that came out a couple years ago, couldn't sit through it. Not sure why.
Seeing the new adaptation and recoiling from it was the push I needed to finally watch the original, haha. I really do not like the look of the new show, especially the character designs.
 

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
The slime show and the same-genre dhampir one that's getting an adaptation soonish are allllll about making the opposing forces to the protag cartoonishly evil and dumb to justify reducing them and their attendant armies into a reddish paste as they build their countries. But as long as your waifish shota analogues can mug for the audience as they drag their harem along behind them it's all good?
 

Hilene

Loves "Friendly Girls"
(She/Her)
I don't know wtf the Spider-Isekai is doing. Because it keeps throwing mad spoilers at the audience, that not even the comic or light novel versions are caught up with. Keep it in your pants, show!
A friend told me that this infodump was in the original webnovel, but rewritten for the collected LN.

I... think it makes sense to do it like this since the LN and the comic are written in first person, and Spider has no reason to actually say what she saw. But the audience is different for an anime. Also the payoff for most of those shots isn't going to be for like another 2 seasons.
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
TIL that LoGH has an ending. I always kind of just assumed it went on forever.
Well, if you hate it it seems to go on forever, and if you (correctly) like it, you never want it to end. So nobody really talks about its ending.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Seeing the new adaptation and recoiling from it was the push I needed to finally watch the original, haha. I really do not like the look of the new show, especially the character designs.

I did enjoy the new version, but I watched it last year, and there were a few years between that and the original series. Can you talk a bit about the differences? It seemed pretty faithful to me, but, as I said, a few years in-between.
 

conchobhar

What's Shenmue?
(he/him/his)
I did enjoy the new version, but I watched it last year, and there were a few years between that and the original series. Can you talk a bit about the differences? It seemed pretty faithful to me, but, as I said, a few years in-between.
Sorry, I suppose that was ambiguous. I haven't actually watched Die Neue Thesis; what I meant was that I saw the promotional material and didn't like the visual style, so I decided to watch the original OVA instead.
 

Zef

Find Your Reason
(He/Him)
Goddammit, I was looking forward to paying for just ONE service* and getting a good, stable player out of the deal. Having multiple options doesn't help consumers when each option carries exclusive content, Joe!

* OK yeah I stopped paying for Crunchy when they clearly showed disinterest in fixing their Onyx Equinox subtitle issue, but the point stands.
 
Perhaps just the first flex of the Biden admin.'s stance on Tech?
Yeah, I think that's mostly it. I think any buyouts and mergers deserve intense scrutiny, versus the rubber stamps Trump and other past presidents were giving out. Still want this to go through though.

Meanwhile, I'm extra skeptical of the idea that this represents a potential monopoly when Amazon and Netflix out here throwing out stupid amounts of money at exclusive anime deals at increasingly alarming rates.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Media should be a utility.

(I'm only half joking. In my ideal world, content-delivery is a so-thin-its-transparent layer over an actually-regulated-as-a-utility data pipe layer, which just facilitates passing money to creators. Fuck channels, we don't need them anymore.)
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Meanwhile, new Dr. Stone season is announced. There's a preview video but it might feature imagery that is supposed to be a fun reveal for the last episode of the current season. But everyone is dressed like a pirate so I'm into it.
 

Vaeran

perfect world
(he/him)
FY update: bleh.

This is going to sound like more tiresome Nuriko stanning from me, but the show's taken a real turn for the worse in her absence, and it's not just because she's not around to liven things up. The first half of this series was bright and adventurous, but while I know I should expect the tone to darken somewhat as we get closer to the end, it's gotten dreary and bleak in ways that are pretty uncomfortable.

(cw: attempted rape)

Word's gotten around that in order to summon their respective deity, a priestess must be a virgin, so guess what strategy simultaneously occurs to every single male member of the enemy team? Yep. A series of elaborate deceptions are concocted in order to lure Miaka into situations where she can be assaulted (including trapping her in an illusory projection of the real world); the answer to the question Why Don't You Just Kill Her? is that apparently Yui -- Miaka's former friend and the priestess of Seiryuu -- left offscreen instructions that murder is off the table. It seems plausible that Nakago would abide by that rule, as manipulating Yui to keep her compliant is kind of his whole thing. The rest of Team Seiryuu seem like a bunch of loose units, though, and I know Ashitare wasn't on board with the program when he tried to eat Miaka a while back. (I guess I should be thankful that's all he wanted to do.) So Miaka's spent the last 7 or 8 episodes with the constant threat of rape hanging over her, and it's just unpleasant to watch.

A lesser issue is that while all this is going on, most of the other Suzaku warriors are trapped in an illusory city, thinking they're chilling at a comfortable inn when actually they're just sitting in the desert sands, slowly growing weaker due to exposure to the elements. That's kind of a cool plot point... or it would be if it had just lasted for an episode or two. Instead it's gone on just as long as the attempted rape plot, and the series isn't even bothering to check in on them anymore. Hopefully we're heading for a real Avengers Assemble moment when they finally snap out of it, but I'm not going to hold my breath. In the meantime we've got the Miaka & Tamahome Show, or should I say the "MIAKAAA!" "TAMAHOMEEE!" Show. I don't mind the two of them as characters, but it's a lot like eating the same thing for every meal for a week. Just starts to wear you down.

I have a number of other smaller complaints, like characters seemingly teleporting across what should be vast distances, Game of Thrones-style, to suit the needs of the scene, and one character's power levels appearing disproportionately godlike (at one point he's able to maintain the aforementioned illusory city from miles away while also projecting a separate illusion of modern Tokyo into which he's inserted himself, AND carry on a conversation with someone he's using his powers to restrain outside of the illusions, all without appearing to particularly exert himself. Now that's multitasking!) But that's all nitpicking compared to the much larger problems above. I've got about 12 episodes left, so they'd better turn this shit around quick.
 
Meanwhile, new Dr. Stone season is announced. There's a preview video but it might feature imagery that is supposed to be a fun reveal for the last episode of the current season. But everyone is dressed like a pirate so I'm into it.
I read the comic and man. Dr Stone goes to places. Whether you think it's a shark-jumping places or not it's up to you.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Kemono Jihen is a show I rather enjoyed the first episode of and feel like I would continue to like more if the teen supernatural adventure show stopped being about avenging sex crimes and also take that one 8 year old out of a tube top. It's... ew.
 
So is Dr. Stone good? I kind of bounced off the first episode and the manga, so I'm curious.

And I thought this was going to be the last week for Spider Isekai, but apparently there's at least one more!
 
So is Dr. Stone good? I kind of bounced off the first episode and the manga, so I'm curious.
I like it a lot, I think it's generally a good time. It's a Shounen Jump property, so it deals with a lot of very familiar archetypes and tropes you may or may not be exhausted of. But the twist of them solving their problems through real world science versus endless punchy fights, gives the formula a fresh spin IMO.

And I thought this was going to be the last week for Spider Isekai, but apparently there's at least one more!
So I'm a Spider, So What? will run through at least June. It was slated to be a two-cour show from the get-go.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
(Ninja'd by Wist, but: ) I watched the first anime season of Dr.Stone and it was fine, but didn't blow me away enough to convince me to actually stick with a lord-knows-when-it-might-ever-end shounen jump series long term. The premise is intriguing, and replacing the usual shounen escalation of fighting techniques or mystical powers with scientific inventions and advancements starting from the ground up - which are often pretty damn implausible but at least *based* on real concepts - is a neat angle. There's an over-arching mystery of how the world got to be the way it is but I can't imagine the pay-off feeling important if/when it ever arrives.
 
lord-knows-when-it-might-ever-end shounen jump series long term
The comics are actually at an inflection point that could lead to a conclusion very soon, depending on if the comic has a greenlight to keep going or not. The story in the comics have basically boiled down to three big arcs so far, and without any major adjustments or twists there's only one more arc left on the roadmap. The comic hit the very climax of the third current arc this last week.

The TV show however, just finished the first arc, so ya. Show will keep going for a while as long as it remains profitable. I will say that the 2nd and 3rd arcs aren't as good as the first in the sense that the comic keeps ratcheting up the levels of ridiculous events and scientific leaps to the point where things stopped being feasible. But that's mostly a nitpick because it's still a good time.

On a tangent: The new season of anime is beginning. Only a handful of new shows have begun, but that number will rise exponentially in the next week or so. Season 5 of My Hero Academia is back, and as is tradition, the first episode is a disposable filler episode meant to remind everyone who all these characters are and what their powers are. I was going to throw on the first episode of It's Disgusting to Call This Love because at first glance it looked like a shoujo/josei romcom, and I generally love those. But the story is about a grown-ass adult trying to get in the pants of a high school girl and I decided it's best to let that sleeping dog lie.
 

Vaeran

perfect world
(he/him)
Fushigi Boogie's in the bag. It was: fine.

As usual, complaining on TT is magic, and the two major issues that were bumming me out in my last post immediately vanished the very next episode. The series thereafter took an upswing in quality that lasted until the end. Yay! The show ups the ante by bringing the final confrontation out of the world of the book and into the real world, with Suzaku and Seiryuu duking it out in Tokyo like a couple of damn kaiju. One nitpick that kept distracting me was that while Suzaku is sealed away and no one has use of their powers, Tasuki never uses his fan, which is independently magical and should still have worked. Oh well. I enjoyed the focus and time spent on repairing Miaka and Yui's relationship; it may have been men who drove them apart, but in the end the two women are able to fix things themselves. Good stuff.

Nuriko Report: She got a terrific "Big Damn Heroes" moment at the end, saving Miaka one more time and introducing the ghostly Suzaku warriors, which made me happy. But the show managed to slip in one last transphobic joke for the road, which did not.

Spoilers: I actually watched the sequel OVAs before going through the TV series proper because I'm a smart man who makes good decisions. The first OVA is a load of bewilderingly hot nonsense which I'm given to understand has no basis in the manga. It just feels like a series of random events meant to make the viewer wonder what the fuck is going on, and the answer is basically a big shrug.

The second OVA is more coherent by far, but feels more like a victory lap than the second part of a story or even a sequel: it introduces a new mini quest plot and gives the characters some nice spotlight episodes (unless you're a fan of Mitsukake or Chiriko, who barely get a look in, as usual), but ultimately ends in pretty much the same place the TV series did. That said, I don't hate it; it's more time spent with the characters you enjoyed the first time around, and actually manages to put an interesting extra wrinkle into the Miaka/Tamahome relationship. Nuri gets a bittersweet episode about her (hitherto unmentioned) older brother Rokou and his resentment at Team Suzaku for her death, including the fact that they buried her on a snowy mountaintop in a distant country where he can't even go to mourn her. He... may have a point there, guys. And OVA 2's ending theme works even better as an "OH SHIT" cliffhanger hook than Tokimeki no Doukasen.

Up next: uhhhhh Eikoden, which I hear is terrible? The manga? Genbu Kaiden? Who knows!
 

Hilene

Loves "Friendly Girls"
(She/Her)
It's probably rose-tinted glasses, but I remember liking Genbu Kaiden a lot when I read it. I guess now I'm a bit scared to go back and have my memories ruined?

The game(? Or maybe it was just drama CDs?) had a hell of a banging opening, though.

 
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