Musings and Reflections – Summer 2018 Week 8

One phrase impressions

Shingeki no Kyojin 3 A coup!
Hanebado! – Again an intense match between friends.
Yama no Susume 3 – Reefs in a friendship.
Banana Fish – Is LA cursed for our group?
Sirius the Jaeger – Sorry, but it’s pretty boring

Shingeki no Kyojin 3 (Ep. 5 /42/)

  • It’s a bit funny that Erwin tries to justify the existence of the Scouts by saying that they are the spear of the humanity. Well, by definition scouts should only, you know, scout. But I guess such linguistic nitpicks aren’t particularly reasonable.
  • About the main events I have little to say beyond that it was interesting. The coup ran quite smoothly and logically. I guess I’m only unsatisfied by how dumb these politicians were. What did they expect after ordering to shut the gates to people whose families would be left beyond those very gates? A guy who loses his cool the very second his plans are not going his foreseen way isn’t particularly suitable to rule, or be a part of a ruling council. I guess I expected more resistance from them. Or from the king himself.
  • The unaddressed part about how all this situation with the royalty happened to persist still intrigues and at the same time worries me. It’s still unknown how did the true king was left out and this fake one got the throne. What really happened and how? Another weird thing is that it seems like Reiss is in the same boat as the other politicians – they all talked about Eren being eaten and Eren is now with Reiss. Would Reiss object if his own daughter became the queen? Is he the true king? What’s the point in working in the shadows? All these questions (and many similar ones) confuse me but I’m probably the most concerned about the fact that the Scouts don’t seem that interested in answering them. It’s true that saving Eren is the most important thing now but knowing the motivations and goals of your opponents always is a useful thing, only none seems too interested in getting the answers.
  • By the way, who the hell attempts to overthrow a king, succeeds, and when people say “ok, so who’s the new king?”, tells them to wait because at the moment the person who is supposed to be the king (or in this case a queen) is kidnapped and it’s not at all clear that she would agree to rule in the first place?

Hanebado! (Ep. 8)

  • When an anime makes me smile and wholeheartedly cheer for the protagonists, I can do nothing but love it.
  • Even when I knew that Nagisa and Riko share a long history and that Nozomi also is no stranger to Riko, I didn’t connect the dots to assume that Nagisa and Nozomi also know each other. The badminton world seems to be quite small. Well, all the better.
  • Nozomi looked like she was seriously threatened by Nagisa’s presence and the luck that lead both of them to the semifinals. As far as I remember, Nozomi wasn’t a klutz when she played with Riko but now she looked confused and not concentrated at all – even her signature was wobbly. The match to her meant the answer to the question whether she had been really chosen because she’s easier to deal with and shape by the coach’s desire or she truly possesses something that Nagisa doesn’t, and that something with the right guidance might see her through. As always with Hanebado, key matches have much psychological significance to both players, and at the time a match seems the most important thing in the world.
  • Yeah, Nagisa’s possesses some muscular arms. Loved that backhand – they’re always especially fun to perform when the move somehow manages to succeed. Of course, my experience with badminton is only super family friendly exchanges now and then but yeah, backhands deserve lots of love.
  • Once again an opponent of a heroine (in this case of Nagisa) is shown to be sympathetic. A few words about Nozomi’s situation and past weren’t much but I think with the time given her backstory and possible thoughts were highlighted very well. She wanted to prove her worth to herself, but do that by her own power. Caging a person by flawless theory isn’t always the best path. Nozomi’s win strictly sticking to her coaches plans probably would’ve felt to Nozomi as a defeat – such a win would be her coach’s win, not hers.
  • Returning to the theme of humanizing characters, even the annoying coach of Nozomi in the end was shown to be not so obnoxious. He definitely had a point that a flawless strategy might work but his failure to let Nozomi breathe and to find her own style of play backfired psychologically. Yet, in the end Nozomi got over her confusion, stiffness and worrying. Sticking to the game plan might have let her win or at least lose by a finer margin but she chose to have fun and could leave the court with her head held high. As with Riko episode, Hanebado underlines the fact that sport should be fun. And it truly should.
  • Out of all the characters at this point Nagisa seems to be the strongest one psychologically. She sorted out her problems by the start of the show and even if she might have a hard time, she’s open-hearted enough even to encourage Nozomi, knowing full well that it might work to the favor of the latter. It actually didn’t but it showed great sportsmanship of Nagisa. And I couldn’t say the same thing about Ayano.
  • Ayano-machine is rolling but it’s only a matter of time for her to get stuck. It’s sad to see a cheerful girl (and we know how carefree she can be) to be caged by her mad side. She doesn’t even try to listen to Elena’s pleas – stretching while your friend is trying to have a serious talk isn’t the most respectful thing ever. Hanebado might be overdoing Ayano’s jerky side but the point is clear. And, judging by the philosophy of the show, Ayano should learn the hard way that pleasing her mom isn’t the most important purpose of a sport.
  • Speaking about Ayano’s mom, she clearly is in the building, but she hasn’t made contact with anyone important. Up until now the show has absolved all of the characters of questionable morality – Kaoruko, Connie, Nozomi’s coach – all were given even a small segment but a segment nonetheless to humanize them and to show that their perspectives are also valid. It’s really interesting if the same will be done with Ayano’s mom. To justify her actions will be truly difficult but I think the show will attempt that. The only question is whether it will be successful. I hope it will.
  • I wonder how the show will choose to use its time. 5 episodes are left (I wish it was 25) and the story moves steadily towards the final of the tournament which would be a fitting conclusion of the show, especially if it was Nagisa winning over Ayano. Say, one episode for Ayano’s semifinal, two for the final, one for wrapping up things – and there’s still clearly some time left, so that’s very intriguing.
  • By the way, the technical side had a little dip this time. Character designs not always seem as polished, there were some stills, and breast physics might have needed more attention to be tamed.

Yama no Susume 3 (Ep. 8)

  • Unexpectedly a two-parter. But this little rift between Hinata and Aoi calls for enough screen time, so I guess it’s natural. I guess everything started last episode, and while it is a mere misunderstanding (anime loves misunderstandings), Hinata needs to learn not to be so possessive. Aoi has other friends, and that’s completely ok. Hinata does love to be the leader and it’s understandably upsetting when she can’t do that. Well, next time both expeditions will probably meet and completely reconcile their differences.
  • And Kaede again is there only briefly. How much does she need to study? Being mountaineering senpai, she has had surprisingly little screen time this season. And next episode is also very unlikely to give her the spotlight (unless it’ll be her job to pacify Hinata and Aoi). Maybe an episode after next one?
  • I think for some reason I prefer Aoi and Honoka vs Hinata and Kokona. Maybe it’s because Hinata at this point isn’t completely truthful with herself and isn’t ready to have fun for the sake of it and not because she wants to prove to herself that mountaineering without Aoi can be fun.
  • Who steals the show? First – the cat. Then – Honoka’s brother. What a chill dude.

Banana Fish (Ep. 8)

  • Well, that’s heavy. There’s probably not a single character in the show who isn’t touched by grief in one way or another. And Eiji should’ve seen something like that coming. You start dealing with mafia, you won’t remain clean and free of suffering.
  • I’m still not happy that Chinese characters look exactly the same as Caucasian characters. For example it would be far simpler to guess allegiances and possible connections.
  • So, the show tries to make this androgynous Chinese dude (whose name I don’t remember because it sounds so similar with other Chinese names. Sorry that it sounds racist, my exposure to all things Chinese has been extremely limited) a bit more complex. He doesn’t have the easiest life but right from the moment when we heard that he was not who he presented himself as, he automatically became labelled as a bad guy. More complexity is always a good thing but I certainly won’t start liking him just now.
  • Shorter confidently chose his sister over Ash. Well, to some extent he was right – Ash has far better chances to stay alive than Shorter’s sister, if being (theoretically) in the same situation. At least Shorter tried to take care of Eiji as long as he can. I’m still thinking that Shorter should’ve told everything to Ash, or at least that he’s in a position that might force him to behave against Ashe’s wishes. It would be vague but still better than this extremely sudden apparent change of sides. Still, because of his dilemma, Shorter became pretty much the most interesting dude in the show – everyone else is pretty bland, and  Ash is just an uncontrollable child with a gun and lots of issues, but it’s still pretty easy to foresee his reactions.
  • If an anime is set in a fantasy world, the antagonist will be a demon-lord. If the setting is realistic – a (mad) scientist. Why is that? Why can’t scientists live happy and peaceful lives? Was there ever a character who was a realistic scientist?
  • About the drug, I still don’t get how such a substance could be of any use. Ok, a person loses his free will, but, as far as I remember, one doctor way back examined the possible symptoms of Banana Fish, and such things like elevated aggression and destructive behavior were high up the list. How can you control such a person? A person becomes a walking bomb that can detonate any moment, and you still plan to control his mind? Sorry, I’m out, it’s just too risky.

Sirius the Jaeger (Ep. 7)

  • Isn’t it too easy to get some tanks into living quarters of a town and get them to shoot blindly? The military sure doesn’t want to question their superiors. And somehow I doubt that a thorough evacuation has been carried out.
  • Well, I’m fed up with villains who leave the protagonists alive even though they can finish them off and be done with that in a matter of seconds. It’s the worst a villain a can do. I get that Mikhail has some sentiments but can he really get away with leaving Yuliy alive even though he got precise orders to kill him? Also I’m more than annoyed with this Sirius box (or Arc or whatever) thing. Nobody tells anything about it unless it’s cryptic messages like “you don’t know anything because your dad moved it before you knew it but you must do something that you don’t know, but you absolutely must”. Sorry but that’s a load of dung. It sounds intriguing and mysterious but tells absolutely nothing and only wastes time. Even with a load of exposition nobody really explains anything in a language that I can understand. And can’t Mikhail finally decide whose side he’s on? You can’t try to seriously kill your brother and seconds later give him clues (no matter that useless clues) about something apparently important? You either kill him and be done with it or give solid leads. Dear Mikhail, you can’t always have your cake and eat it too.
  • I’m sitting fairly emotionless throughout the scene that should’ve been quite moving. Not always a protagonist learns that his mentor actually caused so much destruction. The fact that the Professor collaborated doesn’t mean that he knew what his work will lead to. Of course, that doesn’t completely absolve him from his misdeed and his silence but he at least tries to rectify his errors. But oh well, everything played out in a very unsurprising way. Kershner, being a temporary villain, wasn’t developed beyond giving him an evil grin and flamboyant desire to rule the world, and that’s a fairly poor characterization of any villain. Yuliy could never die at the hands of a temporary villain nor could he kill the Professor, so the fights had little gravity. And oh well, I don’t really care, at this point I‘m only interested to know what’s this box thing and will Mikhail really die at the end as a sacrifice for Yuliy.
  • Fights seem to be the only real reason why the show exists. Everything else looks more like a last minute addition. Except maybe the relationship between Yuliy and Mikhail. But that also isn’t the pinnacle of exceptionally great character interactions. Oh well.


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