Musings and Reflections – Spring 2018 Week 6

One phrase impressions:

Hisone to Maso-tan – Deserted island and some seriousness
SAO Alternative: Gun Gale Online – Recap time!
Piano no Mori
– Dvorak!
Golden Kamuy
– The flow is better, the comedy – not necessarily.

Hisone to Maso-tan (Ep. 5)

  • Well, emotional blankness and insecurities – isn’t HisoMaso going the EVA route? Not that I complain.
  • It’s finally time for the girls to build their relationships. After the girls spent some time each by herself I expected a more flashy union but I guess that can be saved when Hoshino will forsake her solitude. Hoshino definitely has qualifications to be a good leader, only her attitude towards her partner (sorry, vehicle) seems to stop her. Other girls look to have warmed up to one another but there’s still some way to go. A flashback or two would make things more interesting because plainly stating “I have problems” isn’t enough to make a character likable. I hope the next episode will delve precisely into that and the bonding will advance at least several levels.
  • I’m still a bit baffled by the role of Nao. I’d expect such a character who at first was second most important girl after Hisone to be featured more prominently. Nao seems to switch continuously between a delinquent and a newfound friend of Hisone. I guess her position as an important bystander but also a somewhat involved person makes sense but still I’d like to see more of her. I think the logical resolution to her arc would be for her to acquire a personal dragon in the end. Or can Masotan be ridden double?
  • Comedy this time is a bit of a mixed bag. Hisone reciprocating friendly licking was funny enough but these dudes and their sexual humor felt out of place. You either have decent male characters or you have none. And that was sort of fanservice that has no justification that would serve me.

SAO Alternative: Gun Gale Online (Recap)

  • First flaw: it’s a recap, and even if the meta-reason for it is kind of justifiable (Pito wants to know what happened), it’s still cheap.
  • Second flaw: can’t Pito download the live footage herself?
  • Not a flaw: I like such meta elements like Pito apparently listening to a song that actually is the OP while M downloads the footage. The same goes for the recapped scenes that apparently represented the live footage that Pito actually watched.
  • Third flaw: and then all the meta goes out of the window when in this supposed footage we start hearing what Llenn thought.
  • Fourth flaw: I don’t think the show needed to remind me how incompetent rival teams were.
  • So, in the end it’s a half-assed recap, as expected. The only saving grace might have been the commentary of Pito and M, but they didn’t say anything that interesting. At least, a few stand-out lines weren’t worth the length of an entire episode. Also, the fact that they randomly fell silent during the last match was too random.
  • Isn’t it saying something about the show if I think that this recap didn’t miss anything substantial that happened during all the episodes? And I don’t mean that in a good way – I don’t think anything that wasn’t shown was interesting. Countless minutes of explaining the rules, backstories that don’t care about much, niggardly seconds of Karen’s daily life – nothing had much meaning at all.
  • The recap also confirmed my suspicion that showing the tournament in a chronological order makes more sense. When all these backstories and random explanations don’t interrupt and clog the narrative, the story flows far better.
  • That post-credit stuff wasn’t funny at all. Sigsawa-san, please either invent another clever way to write yourself into the story or do anything.
  • In the end, it’s an ok recap, but a bad episode. Wonder what the next arc will bring.

Piano no Mori (Ep. 6)

  • Well, I genuinely liked the episode, and I’m surprised at it myself.
  • Let’s leave the best stuff for later and think about the death of the Forest Piano (quite predictable once random lightening appeared). On one hand it’s hilarious because the Piano is treated as a person. Still, I can’t deny that such an unfortunate event was a serious blow to Kai. On the other hand, I’m not sure it’s the best course of action. Last episode Kai found that the Piano had become mute and that meant that Kai had outgrown the forest and needed to move on. Simple (although with too much magic for my taste), clear and effective. Kai was already set to find another piano, so what real purpose did the fire have? As I said, it was a dramatic scene and all but it could’ve been better. For example, fire could’ve been a substitute to the part where the Piano became mute – these scenes basically have the same meaning, haven’t they? It would also allow to have as little magic as possible. Another possibility (that I like more) could’ve been a turn of events when Kai understands that he can’t play the Forest Piano anymore and travels somewhere far away to learn, but once he returns, he finds out that the Piano was burned. I think that could be a very powerful ending to the series. And now as I said – emotional effect is there but it doubles what already has been told and serves not that mush purpose.
  • Dvorak rocks. He’s one of classical composers whose music, if arranged appropriately, may be indistinguishable from a typical (and certainly not the worst) rock band performance. And that’s great. For those interested, the piece Kai performed is the 4th movement from Dvorak’s 9th symphony “From the New World” (give it a listen, simply because the conductor is rather funny). Does the name remind you of anything? Yeah, the ethereal 2nd movement was used in Shinsekai Yori. Dvorak seems to be quite popular, isn’t he? Anyway, the whole symphony is interesting by itself because Dvorak (a Czech) during his stay at USA was impressed by Indian and Afro-American cultures. It’s weird that a slav would try to connect Longfellow’s The Song of Hiawatha and Afro-American spirituals while immersing it in a decent dose of his own cultural environment. The result seems to be quite successful though.
  • Returning to the anime, I think the music choice isn’t random. The New World connects to Kai’s story very well, as the kid is about to pursue something he hadn’t thought about before. New experiences, new people, new goals – an exciting mix of novelty, just as the Symphony itself.
  • Continuing the musical theme, I think the first piece that characterizes Kai – Chopin’s Minute Waltz – also fits him rather well. The piece is also known as The Waltz of a Little Dog, and who can deny that such a title fits Kai? Young, perspective, full of life – that’s what Kai has been. And when from a solo piece that’s almost too comical Kai transfers to a big Symphony (although it’s arranged for a smaller group of performers), we see that Kai progresses quite a lot. Maybe at this point his ambitions are way higher than his abilities, but it’s only a matter of time.
  • By the way, when did Kai learn to read sheet music?
  • OST is terrific. Neo-Romanticism gets a pass from me almost every time. Well, a good OST is natural for a music show but it can be overshadowed by the music that the characters perform incredibly easily, especially when the performed pieces are famous. Well, thankfully it’s not the case with Piano no Mori.
  • Well, I guess the show’s strength quite naturally is music. When it’s good, I’m able to completely overlook everything else. From the musical perspective this whole season is great.
  • If you haven’t hear yet, the show’s length turns out to be 24 episodes, not 12. Good.

Golden Kamuy (Ep. 6)

  • Maybe it’s an acquired taste but each new episode to me seems more evenly-constructed and less genre-juggling. Even if this episode had the same elements as always – a cooking segment, an Ainu culture segment, a comedy segment, and inevitably an action segment  – but the flow of them all was more to my liking than before.
  • Speaking of comedy, I can’t say I really enjoy that sort of humor but I can’t deny that it does fit the character. Hard times make hard people, eh?
  • This hunter character was tied to the main story quite well. It was already time to return to the main story, as everyone seemed to be too occupied with everything except the supposed main goal. I understand that elaborations and character development must take place and that the author naturally wants to keep the manga going as long as possible so the main plot will advance only slowly, but these meanderings do make me a bit anxious. It’s one thing when you have a manga that can go on on its own pace as much as the author needs but an anime should take advantage of the limited time. Only I don’t know how because already some events seem to happen pretty fast but the grand picture is hardly changing. New characters are introduced but I doubt the anime will have enough time to do much with them. Oh well, it’s probably another “read the manga” adaptation.
  • What else was there? Too many stills for my liking. The emphasis of naturalistic beliefs of Ainu was a good thing. And isn’t it a bit too late to start giving Sugimoto flashbacks of his time in war? Why did it happen only now? He must have killed animals before. I hope this subplot will be explored more. It would be interesting to know more about Sugimoto’s backstory as well.
  • Hm, somehow I got a feeling that Tomokazu Sugita would fit Sugimoto’s role perfectly.
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  1. Sometimes I think they are better off to skip a week rather than have a recap so soon… I guess I don’t really know how the production side works but yeah…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Skipping would definitely make sense for the viewers. I guess the TV time slot must be filled with something and binding contracts are pain in the ass. Still that’s not justifiable enough.

      Liked by 1 person


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