Musings and Reflections – Spring 2018 Week 11

One phrase impressions:

Hisone to Maso-tan – Rejections left and right.
SAO Alternative: Gun Gale Online – Unrealistic action left and right.
Piano no Mori
– New characters left and right.
Golden Kamuy
– Sexual jokes left and right.

Hisone to Maso-tan (Ep. 10)

  • About this Hoshino-Zaitou situation. The guy must be really transformed to genuinely care about her. He started as a totally unlikeable jerk. Well, at this point I think I don’t despise him anymore but still he doesn’t come off as a very likable character and I still don’t think he should be paired with Hoshino. Because of his past, Zaitou’s sacrifice isn’t particularly effective, and at the same time it once again shows that he doesn’t really know Hoshino. Sure, her wish has always been to fly but you know, wishes might change. Deciding what’s best for her instead of asking her wasn’t the wisest move but oh well, the guy had good intentions.
  • Nao desperately needs more screen time. I’m still waiting (and probably fruitlessly) for her to receive a validation that she’s really important to the story, because now, to be frank, she really isn’t. As she was introduced as the first important supporting character, I wish she had more to do than to be a substitute to Hisone.
  • The funny thing is that when Hoshino rejected Zaitou, it was framed as her choice was a bad one. Then a similar thing happened to Hisone. In fact, all too similar – a beloved one makes clear that the girl isn’t necessarily needed or is the only one in the world. Naturally, Hisone acted just like Hoshino did – rejecting Masotan and feeling that Nao may substitute her just fine. I think the show also frames Hisone’s decision as a wrong one but I feel like she’s right. Yes, she understands Masotan better than anyone (probably), and even if she quits being a pilot, nobody can deny that she would be more than decent caretaker of him. Or she could simply move out with Okonogi. All these outcomes to me seem like a more natural thing for her to do. And there actually lies a critical difference between Hoshino and Hisone. The former rejected a person in order to be with a dragon while Hisone did the opposite.
  • Thinking objectively, the right decision should be that which lets the girls be with someone they care the most of and will provide a good future. As someone living in a dragon-less world (probably) I think creating a family is more important than having a dragon to fly. Well, I can repeat again that I’m biased but Hisone’s choice seems to be a legitimate one in the long term. In that way even Nao would get her own dragon, and that counts for something. Still, I expect that the show will find a third way, such that Hisone could have both Masotan and Okonogi. But yeah, you can never know for sure.
  • Even Okonogi hints that the chosen miko will have it bad. I wonder how exactly.

SAO Alternative: Gun Gale Online (Ep. 10)

  • I call that High-schoolers ex Machina. You just don’t resolve cliffhangers like that. You don’t. I also have an issue with this idea of an “honorable fight”. I fail to believe that in a game whose objective is to shoot down people somebody would question a good opportunity to eliminate somebody simply for “honorable” reasons. It’s probably safe to assume that the tournament isn’t simply for glory but also for some (probably valuable) loot so compromising your chances of winning simply because “it’s an honorable thing to do” sounds like a very bad idea. It’s a game in the first place. If you want to have an equal match while in equal starting conditions, simply meet up any time you want anywhere in the game and shoot each other to your heart’s content. I don’t think a tournament is any place for personal matters. Hell, when you prepare for an equal duel in a tournament, a third party may come and slaughter everyone. And it would be a natural outcome.
  • The green-haired girl doesn’t like shooting people? Then why the hell is she playing GGO in the first place?
  • I’m sorry but it’s damn funny – “Oh, Pito is a personalization of the evil itself – she shoots people in a game whose objective is to shoot people!”, “She hurts people – she’s the worst, she ins’t human!”. Man, it’s an MMO, not the real life. Of course she isn’t human. She’s an avatar of a person.
  • All these ceasefire situations in my mind are questionable. I fully agree that in real life it could happen – simply because people value and respect life. What would happen in an MMO if a truce was breached? Nothing, really. A bunch of dudes would respawn and that’s that. Also, these “words of gentlemen” have far less meaning in any virtual world, as people to some level are dissociated from their avatars. A kindest person in real life could be the meanest troll on the Internet simply because virtual actions usually doesn’t affect the real life in any way. The idea is that everyone should be a dozen times more cautious of any agreements in a virtual world. I’m surprised agreements even exist in the first place. And yeah, Pito is a terrible terrible person for trying to win the tournament. I’d say the opposite is true – she’s the only one trying to win it.
  • Yeah, so charging head on is the best tactical option? Apparently having no cover when a covered sniper is before you is an ingenious plan. Of course, why would you try to take cover or surround the enemies? Or use Fuka’s grenade launcher for example? Well, an anti-tank rifle works well, too. Only the delay cost 2 lives.
  • It’s a terrible game if headshots can be healed. I can (more or less) live with the fact that legs can regenerate but what’s the fun if healing can resolve every problem?
  • Lighsabers! Because why the hell not? I do appreciate various connections with SAO but man, please be a little more subtle. There’s probably a reason why swords aren’t the most popular equipment in armies these days. There’s enough illogical stuff in SAO already, you don’t have to repeat it. Really.
  • And why would it matter if Pito was killed not by Llenn? I double checked and there was nothing M had said way back that implied that it must be specifically Llenn who kills Pito. M simply wanted for Pito to have a great match and lose. That’s all. He could’ve simply used one less healing potion and everything would’ve been just fine. Well, apart from Pito’s problems, but they aren’t to be solved in a game.

Piano no Mori (Ep. 10)

  • Ah, the OST kicks right from the start. You can say anything you want about the CG but the music part of the anime is what makes music-themed anime great. Both the external OST and internal performances of the characters are always a joy to listen to.
  • The Japanese don’t get along with the Chinese, do they? Rivalries are to be expected but such a sudden introduction of such an apparently important character (everybody kept saying “man, he’s so good” to convince the viewers) felt too abrupt. I guess it’s a problem that once again stems from the fact that the manga is far longer than a 2 cour anime could adapt in a natural pace. I don’t think it comes off as natural when you hear suddenly that there exists an adversary who’s especially powerful but for some reason has never been heard about before.
  • This Adamski guy at first seemed to be another villain (for some reason) but it turns out that he could be ok. Not entirely sure though. Still, I doubt that these new characters will be explored as much as they deserve. For example that toilet girl made the briefest of appearances after the flashback but for some reason she’s sidelined again. Would love to see more of her.
  • It’s probably impossible to do as the manga is too long for such an adaptation, but I think it would be far better to take a more drastic outlook and concentrate only on characters that are absolutely needed while cutting off the rest of them. Well, that would probably make the fans of the manga very unhappy (though I doubt they’re especially happy right now) but that would make more sense as the anime should be able to stand on its own regardless of its source. Too many characters doing too little may become a very serious problem. A problem that also detracts screentime from Kai and Shuhei, and that’s absolutely undesirable. Shuhei has altogether been demoted to a mere supporting character recently. Not good.

Golden Kamuy (Ep. 11)

  • Isn’t it strange that before the change of location the crew slept in the wild in a makeshift shack at best and now suddenly they can afford a hotel?
  • Ienaga’s character design does look gorgeous. And the move to a more confined place seems quite novel so far. Of course snowy fields did set Golden Kamuy apart from other anime but probably everything there was to do is already done, so a city, and especially a confusing hotel is a nice change.
  • I’m not particularly satisfied about how the show treats women. I guess it can be viewed as an alright depiction if you consider the time period Golden Kamuy is set in. Also, the women aren’t simple damsels in distress. Well, there’s only Asirpa, her grandma and now this proprietress, so the scope isn’t that diverse but they all seem to be self-sufficient. Another aspect that makes the approach better, or at least should make better, is that pretty much everything is treated as a joke. The problem is that I’m not comfortable (and I’ve never been) with the show’s crude and even vulgar sense of humor. All things considered, the way men are portrayed as simplistic lusty demons and that it’s completely alright leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Some homosexual and rape-related undertones naturally also don’t sit well with me. Maybe my outlook is too guarded for these sorts of things?
  • So, Ienaga turned out to be yet another mini-villain that received even less characterization than her predecessors. It’s a pity that her arc was so short. On the other hand, that would mean digging deeper into how she apparently used to be known a man (and an old one), and that is a territory better left unexplored. At least not by the kind of a show that Golden Kamuy is.
  • Only one episode left. I doubt anything will be resolved as the protagonists will simply continue their journey in the pages of the manga. When I first heard about the manga I thought it to be something well worth checking out, but after the whole season of rudeness and little entertainment (I do like the OST but that doesn’t exist in manga) I doubt it’s a good idea.

 

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