Musings and Reflections – Winter 2018 Week 7

One phrase impressions:

Violet Evergarden Comets and stuff.
Koi wa Ameagari no You ni –  Rebuilding the friendship.
Ito Junji: Collection – Whut?
Mahoutsukai no Yome – Do you really need so many new characters?
Fate/Extra Last Encore – New floor, same stuff.

Violet Evergarden (Ep. 6)

  • I can’t say this episode was best the show can do, but it was good enough.
  • It seems like again we experienced a time jump and Violet of this episode is more mature than Violet of the last one. Alas, much of her development (again) happened off-screen and I’m more than surprised to hear that now Violet sees her work not primarily as means “to know what love is”, but as something that is important to the society. Also appreciating the beauty of the comet isn’t the most Violet-like thing to do, at least it hasn’t been up to this point in her story.
  • I’m not sure I understand Violet well enough though. On one hand, we know from the past that she is very strict by-the-book girl, obsessed with the Major. On the other hand, now Violet can write emotional letters, talk to people and do such inefficient and illogical things as watching beautiful sky. These two Violets are constantly taking over one another and this mix is somewhat baffling at times. It’s very difficult to believe that Violet talking about her job being important to the future generations and Violet confessing that she doesn’t understand if she’s feeling lonely is the same person. If Violet really sees the Major as the most important person in her life, as important as the life itself, couldn’t she take a vacation and go look for him then? Could it be that she’s already come into terms with the impossibility of their reunion, even if only subconsciously?
  • During Luculia’s episode I wished we got more of her, and yeah, we got that, but two seconds aren’t enough no matter what. Sure, it’s nice to see that she’s doing fine, but maybe have a conversation, girls? Have so much time passed that Luculia, even if attached to Violet during their lessons in the school, couldn’t find any moment to say a word or two? I’m not even talking about having a lunch together or something.
  • This work process of manuscript transcription seems to be tailored to fit the plot. I doubt that Violet could be perfect at a language that was used 400 years ago – different spelling, occasional mistakes (it’s a manuscript) and probably weird vocabulary doesn’t seem like a job that can easily and correctly be accomplished by one person reading and the other typing. Even then – how about the pictures? It has been said that some pages are so brittle that you can touch it only once, so do these librarians choose to scrap all the pictures?
  • The OST did a fantastic job this time. I think that especially the first half would’ve been quite boring without this upbeat music telling about all the hustle and many excited (key work – excited) people at work.
  • The comparison between Violet and the comet looks quite cheesy. I understand that the point is that Violet with her seemingly unwavering urge to find the Major might inspire people to pursue their dreams, but the problem is that Violet at this point isn’t doing anything in order to find him. I could justify her lack of activity previously because she could’ve thought “hey, nobody gave me an order for me leave”, but now she should be able to judge the situation and go search for her love.

Koi wa Ameagari no You ni (Ep. 6)

  • Visual storytelling at its best. Man, I love this show.
  • Akira’s and Haruka’s friendship is in the spotlight this time, and it’s a great way to broaden our perception of Akira and also give more characterization to Haruka. Due to Akira’s trauma the girls became more or less estranged. It was probably inevitable since one of the most important elements of their relationship always had been their shared love for running. I definitely wouldn’t argue that there wasn’t anything more to it, but once such a huge part of their friendship transitions from being uniting to being divisive, it’s hard to maintain a relationship as if nothing happened. For both girls it’s just too painful to be next to one another because the mere presence of each other reminds them of Akira’s trauma. Naturally, Akira concentrated on her part-time job and Haruka tried to continue her club activities. Even if on the outside it seemed like everything was ok, both of the girls felt downcast – to each of them it seemed like the other simply found other new friends and was in no need to retain the old.
  • The flashbacks were unexpected but much appreciated. They confirmed that Akira and Haruka had been able to retain their friendship even when they had to spend some years without each other. Considering their age it’s quite an achievement that again emphasizes how much the girls were attached to each other.
  • In the bus there’s almost a visible veil of awkwardness. No wonder since the synchronization between the girls isn’t there. Even when they are walking together, they are separated by lines – be it the pattern of the pavement or sunlight/shadow.
  • Finally, Haruka becomes willing to overcome the distance between them (nice tie with the flashback) and though she’s on a higher ground in terms of the ability to run, she is the one who makes the right step to reconnect and greenlight their relationship.
  • To briefly summarize the other storyline, Akira seamlessly ties Kondou to her once more, understanding his love of books and making him borrow one in her name. If Kondou’s main leisure time activity is reading, it’s a huge step for Akira.
  • Akira sure is obsessed – taking each and every possible action to get closer to Kondou, no matter how unlikely it is to help her.
  • It’s heartwarming to see that even when Akira is head over heels for Kondou, she takes one book because of him (Botchan) and one symbolizing Haruka. The rebuilt friendship between the girls also worked as a way for Akira to ease her suffering because of her trauma. It doesn’t matter that she can’t run and cause the sound of wind in her ears – the wind can also find her standing and make her feel very similarly.
  • Could that Chihiro person somehow be Kondou’s wife?
  • I’ve been continuously praising the OST of Violet Evergarden and this show but I don’t think I have said it enough times – it’s exceptionally beautiful.

Ito Junji: Collection (Ep. 7)

  • You know, panning shots and stills aren’t animation…
  • Well, that escalated quickly to say the least. Generally I like stories about the mysteriousness of music, as music itself is a very strange thing – as far as I know, it isn’t completely understood why music is appealing to humans. How could a particular set of different frequencies of vibrating air evoke an emotional response? The unknown is always mysterious and therefore the power of music is a particularly great theme for a horror story. Yet, as far as these type of horror stories go, I prefer them to describe the music but never to show it directly. When you listen to this strange song, you feel that it’s a bit weird, but then your mind suddenly drops a question “that’s it? I thought there was something more impressive”. By this logic such a story works well in its original manga form by letting the reader imagine the song and regret that it isn’t possible to hear it. In anime form the song is heard, but an unseen object, unheard sound and the unknown in general is more enticing compared to stuff in broad daylight any time.
  • The second part… Well, I’m immensely confused. So many different ideas and their mash up don’t make much sense. Peepholes, dreams, random wooden buildings, random masks, Aristotle, serial killers, mad aunts, people with a gazillion of eyes… I don’t even…

Mahoutsukai no Yome (Ep. 19)

  • A very big part of the show’s charm comes from the beautiful rural settings, be it England, Japan or wherever else. Tie-ins with mythological elements and detailed backgrounds also help that a lot. So I guess it’s natural that bare auction halls and time spent only talking don’t interest me that much.
  • I wouldn’t call the way this new arc was introduced a smooth gear-changing. For example, how many new characters did we get? Two extra exorcists and the telepathy woman. Add that forgettable auctioneer dude and you have a pretty grand addition to the story. Later on these characters may develop into something memorable but at this point I see only more than necessary blabbering mouths.
  • It’s also unsurprising that with many additions come many questions that I hope will be answered. What is this college stuff and why Lindel is associated with it, if magicians and sorcerers don’t get on well at all? Was it really Elias’s help that the sorcerers wanted and not some way to get profit from Chise? What’s with that Cartaphilus-infested dream? At his heart the villain may really need some help but as far as I remember he’s the last person to admit it. And again, why Chise? Why would he choose to manifest to her?
  • I would like to know more about the law in this magical part of the world. Is there some law enforcement system? Or is it completely natural to sell a dragon on an auction even though everybody knows perfectly well that all the dragons are never supposed to leave Iceland? I think a self-respecting auction should confirm if a seller really owns what he tries to sell. Unless it’s an underground auction where you can sell anything no matter the legality of it. For example underaged girls.
  • Elias remains very possessive. I highly doubt his decision to once again withhold certain information from Chise is a good one. He just never learns, doesn’t he?

Fate/Extra Last Encore (Ep. 4)

  • As much as I enjoy Fate in general, I’m afraid this show isn’t nowhere near as interesting as it could’ve been. It looks like it exists for the sole purpose of animating Red Saber. Anyone else and anything else simply doesn’t matter – the OP is the best argument for that.
  • It’s still interesting to see how Fate and Shaft are complementing each other but head-tilts and other Shaft-isms are slowly losing the feeling of novelty. This episode featured some very beautiful forest backgrounds and intricate shadows, but an anime can’t rely only on that, can it? Unless, of course, you’re Makoto Shinkai, but Fate clearly isn’t created by him. Or is it?
  • I wonder if it’s my lack of knowledge of the original game but instead of excitement I mainly feel disappointment about super-dry exposition scenes and characters that appear out of nowhere just to save the day. And, of course, give more exposition dumps later on.
  • So it seems like this Ascension Capsule (or whatever it’s called) apart from Hakuno and Saber also elevated Rin, but 1) where is she now? and 2) does that mean that a master who won can take his family and friends with him without anybody batting an eye?
  • Probably the best thing about the show is the “umu” counter.

 

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9 Comments

  1. Kind of feels like anything goes at the auction really in The Ancient Magus’ Bride, though possibly we’ll get an explanation. I’m interested in what is going on in the show, but this episode was definitely set up and I can’t help but remember how many other times this anime has set things up just to resolve the immediate crisis minutes into the next episode. Still, I’m hopeful they do something with all that set up.

    Liked by 1 person

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    • That’s true – the show’s been guilty of premature resolve many times. This time though I also strongly hope to be different. Otherwise all these new characters would’ve been introduced without any reason, and let’s remember that seasonal PV when Chise clearly had some stuff to do with a dragon. That’s reassuring.

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  2. The second story of Junji Ito Collection was for me pretty creepy. I tried to imagine what it would be like in real life to have our lives completely without any form of privacy and that is quite the scary prospect to say the least.
    As for Violet…I was a bit disappointed with the fact that they did not continue with the storyline they left us with in last week’s episode. I felt that maybe this would have been the time that they finally took the storyline in a different direction. Unfortunately they didn’t. That’s not to say that I don’t like the show, I still do…but I am getting to the point where I am beginning to feel it is becoming a little bit repetitive.

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    • Well, that story did have an unsettling atmosphere. Nonetheless, I would’ve liked to see a more structured narrative with one theme only – stuff like Aristotle and the killer for me felt like they came from a completely different story and had little to do with this one.
      Repetitiveness certainly is a growing problem for Violet Evergarden. At least they finally started adapting the original novels, and there I hope Violet’s progression is more visible. I think we’ll return to the dropped storyline in the future. It might not be the direct continuation but Violet will inevitably have to deal with Major’s brother. Some people say that that confrontation was the reason why Violet in the beginning of this episode looked a bit down, but I’m not sure if that’s the case.

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      • Yeah….true, I guess the story did take on too many elements. I did like the very unsettling atmosphere for this one though. And when compared to real life…as I said I would really be freaking out if I did not have any privacy.
        Yeah, I think the series will hopefully return to the cliffhanger they left us with, but I don’t know I just had been looking forward to finally seeing the series head in a different direction. But as I said I am still enjoying the show, and the animation is really incredibly beautiful 😊😊

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
        • Well, I’d massively freak out if anything resembling Ito’s stories happened in real life. It’s too scary even to think about that.
          Agree, a different direction for Violet would be a good idea. I have faith in KyoAni that they do have enough brains not to iterate virtually the same story 14 times.

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  3. Loved the write-up on Violet Evergarden and After the Rain as usual. Keep up the amazing work!

    Liked by 1 person

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