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  #2101  
Old 06-24-2017, 05:06 AM
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I would agitate that you watch ZZ next, because that's my preference and generally it's always a good idea to follow production order. But truthfully, it doesn't actually matter.

I read endless hand wringing on the internet about what is the best order to watch Gundam stuff, but the dirty secret about Gundam is that every entry to the franchise is designed to be self-encapsulated enough that it can be someone's entry point and still work OK.

CCA feels like it was written more as a sequel to 0079 and ignoring Zeta/ZZ rather than anything else, so it weirdly makes more sense if you went in blind. And 0083 is primarily concerned with nostalga/mecha porn, so the threadbare story is very simple and easy to follow, and also doesn't affect UC continuity in any manner whatsoever. So there's really no wrong choice to make here.

That said, ZZ is easily my favorite UC Gundam. It's got:
-The most likable UC protagonist.
-The most likable supporting cast in UC.
-The best UC antagonists outside of Char.
-Awesome, beefy, thicc mobile suits; some of the best designed in the franchise.
-More great factional politics/warfare that you liked in Zeta.
-Generally the best female representations in UC Gundam outside of Victory (still not anything progressive by our standards, but very good for 80s Gundam/anime).
-Wong Yunfat gets his comeuppance
-Most of Zeta's open ended plot threads get resolved.
-MOTHER FUCKING GUNDAM TEAM
-A welcome light hearted respite and break of tone from what is normally overly pensive and melodramatic in the rest of the UC.
-Some of the franchise's best setpiece battles, including the incredible colony drop on Dublin
-Probably the best ground-level perspective of life in the Universal Century/a colony outside of 0080.

So ya, it's just fun.

Also, to discuss a few things you've said about Zeta:

Re: the story dragging, you might be interested in watching the Advance of Zeta films at some point? IMO they cut too much, but they excise a lot of the fat and story redundancies from Zeta's plot, leaving the pacing very brisk. Personally, I don't mind that they essentially did Four's story three times. I think the show could have handled it differently so it didn't feel so redundant, but it demonstrated good character development on Kamille's part to see him react to each scenario differently, and really informed the mental fatigue Kamille was demonstrating at the very end of the show. The moment where he takes his helmet off while in space was a very powerful moment that doesn't work if you don't already have the idea that he's been pushed past his breaking point.

Haman Karn is simply the best. And ya, totally agree with you on the three way battle that's encapsulated by the hyaku shiki/qubeley/the o dogfight. The "everyone on a stage arguing" part is also amazing. I feel like The Big O as a show looked at that scene and said "what if we made a whole show like this?"

Scirocco definitely could have used more screen time to give his character more oomph, but I personally like that he doesn't pilot mobile suits very often. His M.O. is manipulation and getting people to do his dirty work for him. He's the epitome of the corrupt and hypocritical politician with a snake-tongue.

I'm not going to argue against any of your criticisms leveled at Zeta for how it treats its women, because it's all true. Objectively, it's some pretty bad stuff. Tons of fridging. The only thing I will say however is to remember context. For 1980s anime, this could have been a lot worse. And the women in Zeta are given a lot more agency and also a lot more active roles in the plot versus 0079 or just anime in general. You can count the number of female pilots in 0079 one finger. In Zeta and even moreso in ZZ, they're much better represented.

And while most use love as their primary motivator, to be fair that's something that more or less is true of pretty much every meaningful character regardless of gender. The ones who aren't are either comically evil (most of the Titans bigwigs) or window dressing for the plot (Apolly, Astonaige, Torres, Commodore Blex, etc). Amuro and Char are slaves to Lalah's memory, and Amuro can't be arsed to get his shit together until a pretty girl chides him to do so. Bright, despite being uber competent and a charismatic leader, is happy to sit on the sidelines and watch the Federation crumble from within until danger hits home and threatens his family. Jerid and Kamille both have ideological reasons to fight, but along the way love and revenge for love become their primary motivating factors. Henken is a pro, but all his character/personality beats revolve around him trying to impress Emma. And Katz. Poor Katz. Katz gets shit on by fandom, and his only crimes are being as love-driven as the women in the show, and not realizing that he's not the main character.

And I don't feel like Zeta condemns using love as a motivating factor either. Emma exists specifically as a control group to show what being a dispassionate and professional soldier gets you in contrast. And the results are the exact same in the end, with probably even more tragedy and regret for having repressed and not acted on and experienced love. Rather than condemning or condoning love as a motivating factor, I feel like Zeta simply says it's something that motivates everyone at some level, and that it's really complicated.
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  #2102  
Old 06-24-2017, 10:18 AM
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I'm glad another human loves ZZ. It does have some plot nonsense (Beecha becoming captain lmao) but it honestly is just so damn fun none of that really matters. It's consistently hilarious which makes it unique among Gundam. Sometimes it seems more like a comedy than a Robot War Show. Love it.

In my ongoing Gundam Ranking it ranks at... Let's see.

1 - War in the Pocket
2 - Turn-A Gundam
3 - Gundam SEED
4 - G no Reconguista
5 - G-Gundam
6 - 0079
7 - Build Fighter
8 - Victory Gundam
9 - Thunderbolt Gundam
10 - ZZ Gundam
11 - Gundam F91
12 - 0083 Stardust Memory
13 - Gundam X
14 - Char's Counterattack
15 - Zeta Gundam
16 - Gundam 00
17 - Gundam AGE
18 - Gundam SEED Destiny
19 - Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans
20 - Gundam Wing
21 - Gundam Origin
22 - Gundam Unicorn >

Number 10 isn't bad at all!

I've been stalling on Build Fighter Try in favour of watching Ashita no Joe. Soon! I am almost done Gundam shows thank God.
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  #2103  
Old 06-24-2017, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WisteriaHysteria View Post
And while most use love as their primary motivator, to be fair that's something that more or less is true of pretty much every meaningful character regardless of gender. The ones who aren't are either comically evil (most of the Titans bigwigs) or window dressing for the plot (Apolly, Astonaige, Torres, Commodore Blex, etc). Amuro and Char are slaves to Lalah's memory, and Amuro can't be arsed to get his shit together until a pretty girl chides him to do so. Bright, despite being uber competent and a charismatic leader, is happy to sit on the sidelines and watch the Federation crumble from within until danger hits home and threatens his family. Jerid and Kamille both have ideological reasons to fight, but along the way love and revenge for love become their primary motivating factors. Henken is a pro, but all his character/personality beats revolve around him trying to impress Emma. And Katz. Poor Katz. Katz gets shit on by fandom, and his only crimes are being as love-driven as the women in the show, and not realizing that he's not the main character.
The difference, as I see it, is that the men can have romantic interests without being defined by it. You mention Char as being hung-up on Lalah, and that's true, but it doesn't stop him from mentoring Kamille or fighting to fulfill his father's ideals. Bright is driven by a desire to protect his family, but his role in the show tends towards kind-but-firm captain and general do-gooder than wistful family man. Jerid, in spite of having two girlfriends killed, is driven more by ambition and a lust for power than their memories. Sure, there are characters like Henken and Katz who are unabashedly driven by love, but they're counterbalanced by practically every other male character in the series— they get to be part of a broad spectrum where no one character can be said to represent the whole.

The female characters, by contrast, are much more clearly defined by how they relate to men. Fa, despite becoming a pilot, never really becomes more than a girl nursing an unrequited crush; Reccoa's whole defection and resulting character hinges on her desire to be loved; Sarah starts out as an over-eager rookie before becoming little more than Scirocco's groupie; and Rosammy is literally programmed to be co-dependent on her "brother". And these are most of the female characters around by the end of the show!

Part of the reason it grates is because the show can be good when it wants to be. Four and Haman both have love as a motivator, but in such a way it provides texture and meaning to their circumstances. But most of the time, it doesn't want to— worst of all is Rosammy, who breaks from her conditioning to be cool and competent… and is then right back into her co-dependent self the very next time. They had set up a competent female pilot, only to walk it back in favour of another unstable, emotional woman. It's a very unfortunate choice.

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  #2104  
Old 06-25-2017, 02:35 PM
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I think you're very right, Conchobar, and I think it's mostly that Zeta is a product of its time. It's trying to be progressive (women fighting on the front lines!) and appeal to women viewers (romantic character arcs!) and between the two it winds up stumbling into a thicket of sexist tropes.

Surprisingly, it seems to be a common trend in mecha shows of the period? VOTOMS, Macross, MOSPEADA, Southern Cross, and Orguss all feature women as front-line soldiers, and many try to mix romance plots in to their action formula... Huh.

Still, definitely awkward and hard to watch.
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  #2105  
Old 06-25-2017, 10:33 PM
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Yeah, Macross of the time (especially DYRL) definitely has the issue of "everyone of all genders and races can be extremely capable, but we still have a lot of very rigid ideas about what Men and Women ultimately are and want". Comes with the territory of the times, I suppose.
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  #2106  
Old 06-25-2017, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by conchobhar View Post
The difference, as I see it, is that the men can have romantic interests without being defined by it.
On a minute to minute level, sure they aren't talking about love in their cockpits nearly as much. But if we're talking about character motivations and what defines their worldview, I still stand by what I've said. Especially with guys like Amuro & Char. And maybe that's influenced a bit by what we learn in CCA, but when both of them spend their last few minutes of life talking about their fucked up love lives, culminating in Char's omission of an Oedipus Complex, they're definitely driven primarily by love, or specifically the ghosts of love. When you deconstruct what each of these character say to each other about their ideology, most of it's bullshit used to mask or validate their real motivations. They're just not as honest and forwards with their feelings like the women typically are in the show.

And this mentality of everyone is motivated by love continues on through ZZ too. It's not always romantic love, like with Judau and his platonic devotion to his little sister, but it's almost every character's primary motivating force. Beecha and Mondo particularly spend much more time doing stupid shit in the name of love than say Elle and Roux.

Last edited by WisteriaHysteria; 06-26-2017 at 03:56 AM.
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  #2107  
Old 06-26-2017, 12:20 AM
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I do think there's a gulf there, since the entire character dynamic in CCA is how Amuro's processed his baggage and become a functioning adult, whereas Char's back on his old shit and trying to settle old grudges he should have gotten over. Granted, Amuro has a leg up in that he got to have a vision of universal love that Char didn't get until he and Amuro beam away during Axis Shock
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  #2108  
Old 06-26-2017, 04:44 AM
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That's not really my reading of Char & Amuro in CCA at all. We see Amuro still literally haunted by Lalah's ghost, something he admitted in Zeta that kept him cloistered away from the world for seven years. He's "become a functioning adult" insomuch that he is no longer living in fear away from the world, but it's not remotely something he's gotten over. In fact, given his successive fleeting relationships with Sayla, Beltorchika, and Chan, I'd make the argument that it stunted his maturation.

Also, one of CCA's primary themes is on the ethical duty of adults to lead the next generation. CCA posits through Hathaway & Quess's story that both Char and Amuro are abject failures who didn't live up to the potential of their youths and as Newtypes. Newtypes were supposed to usher in a new age of understanding and enlightenment, and instead war and strife persists in part because neither Amuro or Char stepped up to the plate to help guide their societies. And in the microcosm of Hathaway & Quess, both failed by either neglecting their needs or manipulating and using them like tools. And in the larger scope of things, both hide away from society in the cockpits of mobile suits instead of being good leaders and role models to humanity like Blex and the AEUG wished for Char, and all of Amuro's friends wish for him in Zeta. Instead both run away. Char flees his duty to the AEUG and leaves that organization reeling with its enormous leadership vacuum, and Amuro flees life in general by trapping himself inside a Gundam.

And Char isn't out to settle old grudges. That's the facade he displays to the public when he assumes control of Neo Zeon as Casval Rem Deikun. I'd argue his actions are instead, the actions of a man who is looking to commit suicide by police. I doubt he ever cared about the ideological crusade of his father's because it doesn't matter to him in 0079, and his gross perversion of the Zeonic ideology in CCA wouldn't have occurred had he both truly understood and cared. And if it was just about carrying out his revenge, he could have easily done it if he hadn't sabotaged his own plans by giving Amuro the means to stop him. In CCA he's simply a man who has succumbed to fatalism and seeks to end it all.
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  #2109  
Old 07-01-2017, 03:08 PM
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Missed this when it showed up in the first episode of Origin. I think I'm in love.

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  #2110  
Old 07-02-2017, 11:57 PM
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I'm rewatching CCA, and, yeah, I agree with your reading, Wist. Amuro's definitely more noble and higher functioning than Char, but they're both still traumatized messes.


Watching it, I do think there's a good a queer reading that could be done of the movie. Not because 'char and amuro are gay for each other lol', but because both of the principles engage in performative heterosexuality. There's an active contrast between the legitimate affection - but not true love - Amuro shows for Chan, and the sociopathy of Char's relationships. But I don't really have the vocab to do it, alas.
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  #2111  
Old 07-18-2017, 01:45 AM
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The last episode of this "season" of Thunderbolt happened.



I enjoyed this 2nd Season of TB a lot but it's vastly inferior to the last. If only because the story isn't nearly as coherent and focused, nor does it end in such a satisfying and conclusive place. The entire 2nd season just felt like a prologue to something bigger and better to come (that we'll likely never see).

The music is still fantastic though (that cover/remix of Electric Lady at the end tho!), and it still serves the purpose of being the best slice of mecha-porn this side of the millennium. The fights between Ground-Type Gundams and Acguys was a highlight for the entire franchise for sure, and Io hopping between Dodais was dope AF. The only thing I find problematic is the whole brainwashed/victimized girlfriend plot which borders on some unpleasant themes that I'd rather not see in Gundam, but are historically appropriate for the franchise.

Someday maybe we'll get more TB*. I mostly tho just want to see what this animation team will do next. After Unicorn and now this, they should be given some freedom to do something original, instead of scraping the bottom of the barrel of supplemental side-stories. (Inb4 calls for Crossbone)

*We will be getting a movie-compliation "Bandit Flower" like with December Sky, so that'll probably have some added scenes, but obviously nothing to conclude a story that's ongoing in the manga which has no ending in sight.

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  #2112  
Old 07-19-2017, 08:05 PM
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Thunderbolt S2 was some exhilarating fluff. I enjoyed it for what it was, but it doesn't come close to the first.
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  #2113  
Old 07-31-2017, 08:53 PM
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Is there anyone who enjoyed IBO? I remember posts being pretty negative on a week by week basis. In retrospect and now that the series is over, did anyone like it?
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  #2114  
Old 07-31-2017, 10:18 PM
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My brother liked it. I did not. We both pretty much agreed on what its flaws were, but differed on whether or not they made it bad (they did).
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  #2115  
Old 07-31-2017, 11:00 PM
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The discourse I've read surrounding IBO online in English speaking places is relatively positive. Most of its fans tend to be on the younger side, and/or this is one of their firsts exposures to Gundam.

Of the opinions I've read, my impression is that people enjoyed it largely on the most basic levels of being a badass male power fantasy.* Most people seem to be aware of how stupid the story/writing/characters are in some capacity, but either ignored it because cool robots or went to great lengths to battle with their cognitive dissonance by inventing convoluted and nonsensical reasoning for why things were so stupid, and how it was secretly actually very smart and not stupid at all! I had some solid laughs at the expense of people trying to hamhandedly argue how IBO "deconstructed Gundam" or some other nonsense. Those excuses began drying up by the show's end however; most people seem to agree that it could have done a better job of exploring its setting or had an ending that wasn't ass.

From what I can tell, it hasn't done well in Japan at all. It had a primetime TV slot and couldn't meaningfully outperform a show like G-Reco that was a kid's show that was aired at midnight. Its disk sales were likewise mediocre to bad for Gundam, and its gunpla sales likewise seem pretty mediocre as well if the thinning of the IBO-line is any indication (where as, there's always a half-dozen new GBF kits every month, even though we're several years removed from GBF at this point).

*Which probably goes a long way towards explaining why the ending of the show was generally not received well, when their fantasy gets interrupted by an abrupt whiplash of the protagonists losing.
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  #2116  
Old 08-01-2017, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by WisteriaHysteria View Post
I had some solid laughs at the expense of people trying to hamhandedly argue how IBO "deconstructed Gundam" or some other nonsense.
Actually deconstructed Gundam:

* Turn A

Did not actually deconstruct Gundam, but would very much like you to think they did at least some of the time:

* IBO
* 00
* X

The east is burning red!

* G
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  #2117  
Old 08-01-2017, 10:16 AM
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I think the only thing X deconstructed was the "Newtypes are super-awesome" stereotype.
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  #2118  
Old 08-01-2017, 10:38 AM
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I think the only thing X deconstructed was the "Newtypes are super-awesome" stereotype.
And even that it didn't really do, apart from a last-minute "oh well they're still awesome but they're just mutants! They don't mean anything!" "reveal". I feel like the whole series is full of sophomoric '90s attempts to be profound that just wind up being empty navel-gazing.

I haven't gotten far enough to see how Right Stuf translated it, but the Turn A fansubs I watched eons ago had a great translation of a line that went something like "Turn X? But if you turn an X... It's just an X."
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  #2119  
Old 08-01-2017, 12:04 PM
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My wife still ended up liking IBO overall - she'll readily admit it has lots of writing weaknesses (blatant death flag abuse and so on and so forth) but it hit a lot of her personal story/theme kinks like found families hard. Quite honestly I suspect she could do a better job re-writing it around the same themes than the actual show did.
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  #2120  
Old 08-01-2017, 07:56 PM
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I feel like the whole series (X) is full of sophomoric '90s attempts to be profound that just wind up being empty navel-gazing.
You sound like you're describing Wing, not X to me. X was pretty good.
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  #2121  
Old 08-01-2017, 08:41 PM
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You sound like you're describing Wing, not X to me. X was pretty good.
Navel-gazing requires a level of coherence that Wing never quite reaches.
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  #2122  
Old 08-02-2017, 08:26 AM
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Gundam X is good. Don't lump it in with IBO and 00.
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  #2123  
Old 08-02-2017, 09:25 AM
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Gundam X is good. Don't lump it in with IBO and 00.
I quite liked 00, at least once it got over itself. "Newtypes don't mean anything" is not a message I'm interested in from Gundam, any more than I'd be interested in "giant robots are dumb and tanks blow them up" or "living in space doesn't work you just die" from it.
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  #2124  
Old 08-02-2017, 09:36 AM
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After much procrastination I finished Build Fighter Try!

It was, uh, only worse than Build Fighter. I can take the characters and their dynamics not working as well but the real disappointment was the fights. They could've done so much with the 3 on 3 set ups but rarely did it amount to anything more than 3 one on ones and Jigen Haoh super moves repeatedly. It took until the second last episode to get a fight equal to the average fight in Build Fighter, which is pretty disappointing. It wasn't bad per se, but it was just worse than BF in every conceivable way.

And now I've started the last season of Gundam to watch before I've conquered 'em all! IBO S2... Uh... Yay!?

The fight in the first ep was good, everything else has been IBO. After this I have a few OVAs to finish up (Still haven't seen 08th MS Team) and then I will have seen all of Gundam. It has been a year since I began.
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  #2125  
Old 08-02-2017, 11:35 AM
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I quite liked 00, at least once it got over itself.
00 never gets over itself.

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"Newtypes don't mean anything" is not a message I'm interested in from Gundam...
It's a lot more nuanced and complicated than that. It's much more along the lines that X uses the idea of Newtypes to demonstrate how people shouldn't be slaves to preconceived ideas, and should look at things with open perspectives rather than trying to confirm their biases.

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any more than I'd be interested in "giant robots are dumb and tanks blow them up"...
But I quite enjoy Metal Gear.
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  #2126  
Old 08-02-2017, 02:32 PM
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00 never gets over itself.
By the point it introduces a character named "Mister Bushido" who's an American and also clearly another character in disguise but no-one seems to notice this... Its tongue is planted firmly in its cheek.
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  #2127  
Old 08-02-2017, 03:53 PM
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I thought everybody did notice and just humored him? Or maybe that was a headcannon thing?

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It was, uh, only worse than Build Fighter. I can take the characters and their dynamics not working as well but the real disappointment was the fights. They could've done so much with the 3 on 3 set ups but rarely did it amount to anything more than 3 one on ones and Jigen Haoh super moves repeatedly. It took until the second last episode to get a fight equal to the average fight in Build Fighter, which is pretty disappointing. It wasn't bad per se, but it was just worse than BF in every conceivable way.
Yeah, Try is pretty bad. Finally finding out who Sekai's master was at the end was pretty hilarious, though.
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  #2128  
Old 08-02-2017, 04:02 PM
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I thought everybody did notice and just humored him? Or maybe that was a headcannon thing?
That could also have been! Which just makes it even funnier.
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  #2129  
Old 08-02-2017, 04:03 PM
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You're willing to give 00 the benefit of the doubt there, that it realizes how stupid it is... I'm not. Especially when things like Saji & Lousie's story-lines are all told in a "THIS IS SUPER SERIOUS! YOU SHOULD BE CRYING RIGHT NOW!" way.
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  #2130  
Old 08-02-2017, 04:32 PM
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Kishi Kishi is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 26,258
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Egarwaen View Post
Actually deconstructed Gundam:

* Turn A

Did not actually deconstruct Gundam, but would very much like you to think they did at least some of the time:

* IBO
* 00
* X

The east is burning red!

* G
War in the Pocket deconstructed Gundam before it was cool.
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