Musings and Reflections – Fall 2018 Week 6

One phrase impressions

RErideD: Tokigoe no Derrida – Was the flashback really needed?
Sword Art Online: Alicization
– I’m mad for the defense of Kayaba.
Banana Fish – Why the villains are always procrastinating?
Golden Kamuy 2 – That was actually pretty good!

RErideD: Tokigoe no Derrida (Ep. 10)

RErideD: Tokigoe no Derrida Angelica Donna

  • Well, the show really tries to give Donna a decent backstory. Yet, since I hardly cared about her in the first place, I choose to view this flashback as an almost unrelated snapshot of the past of the show’s reality, not necessarily connected to anything that’s relevant now. As with many ideas, RErideD wants to accomplish much but along the way gets bogged by questionable details. I really like the idea that unbreakable computer logic, if tasked with copying a human personality, may drive the real person more than slightly insane. Yet, I didn’t enjoy the way this idea was realized. Competent scientists would cancel a possibly dangerous experiment right away if the least important parameter started behaving weirdly to the point of generating some danger. Experiments should be started from the bottom in the first place – why not try to instill, say, a dog personality on a robot first to see how everything works? And if somebody is really brave to start experimenting with humans, the first second the human subject showed clear signs of stress should be the moment to cancel everything. Not just keep repeating “I’m going to cancel the experiment” without doing nothing. Why are the vitals measured then in the first place? And what kind of monitoring team lets people (or robots) start using knives and brawling? Well, it’s just a terrible experiment planning. If people of the same competence were responsible for the whole technical progress, I’m not surprised at all that everything ended up being a huge mess with robots going amok.
  • I also liked the next big idea – sometimes life decides for itself what to do with you. You may try, you may quit, but the results aren’t that easy to foresee. So you may as well do your best and live a life without regrets.
  • Mage feels like a big McGuffin. Vidaux has some things going for him, as well as Derrida, but others look very one-note. Maybe Donna might become someone (or something) interesting, but there’s hardly any time left for that.

Sword Art Online: Alicization (Ep. 6)

Sword Art Online: Alicization Angry Asuna

  • Well, it sort of makes sense to stimulate Kirito‘s damaged brain in order for it to heal by forming new networks. It’s an established fact that if one region of the brain is damaged, the brain sometimes can reorganize itself and transfer the function of the damaged part somewhere else. That means that if a brain region responsible for a specific function is no more, the owner of such brain doesn’t necessarily lose his ability to perform the said function. Such versatility of the brain is extremely fascinating and I’m glad that such topics at least partly are included in an average (sorry about that) anime.  The part of the stimulation also makes sense, though I don’t think that such stimulation as Kirito is receiving is tried and true – you need to know what exactly you’re stimulating and how. Wrong procedure can fry the brain by its own right. And you don’t need fancy light-in-the-brain stimulation machines – old magnetic or electric stimulation should work just fine. But oh well, sci-fi needs some fiction, doesn’t it?
  • Going on with brain matters, it’s really impressive that Rath has scanned human brains. There’re almost 100 000 000 000 neurons in the brain. There are also cells that support neurons (feed them etc.), and their counts are probably at least as astronomic. So if you wanted to map human brain and provide only spatial information, that’s not even terabytes or petabytes of information. Then, each neuron has about 1000 connections with other neurons, so that’s vital information in deciphering their function. The bottom line is that mapping the whole brain by today’s standards is impossible and I don’t think it’ll be possible any time soon. Sure, there’s some great progress, but the future SAO shows seems too utopic. But then, think about the possibilities – if you know exactly how the brain works, you can identify any mental disease possible, you can construct an artificial person (that’s what Rath’s after for some reason), you can do anything.  Of course, as the show indicates itself, ethical questions would be extreme. So yeah, such scientific advances may be the greatest thing humans can ever accomplish, and at the same time the worst deed, the blackest page of dystopic sci-fi.
  • The way Asuna pronounces “VRMMO” is incredibly funny. Somehow.
  • Well, the idea that it was Kirito who influenced Alice to differ from a normal AI makes sense, but you should do better than that in order to convince me that Kirito influenced Alice’s tripping. That was how she broke the Taboo, wasn’t it?
  • Continuously trying to absolve Kayaba is a hypocrisy. Asuna, do you really think that each person has done something wrong so it’s alright, their sins don’t matter? Yeah, one person tore off a branch of a tree, another petted a cat in the wrong direction, and then one dude killed 3000 people, and later on, when asked about that, he answered “yeah, I don’t know why I did that”. So all these bad deeds are equally forgivable, right? Dear Asuna, I’m really glad that you had a great time when every third person was butchered for no reason at all. Can you also say that some underlings of Stalin and Hitler were pretty well-off during their reigns so that excuses their crimes? I get that the idea is that nobody is flawless and there’s always some light in the darkest of places, but there’s only so far you can go with such ideas.
  • Yeah. I probably shouldn’t have let so much steam off. Anyway. I only got more emotional during the latter half of the episode because the first one almost put me to sleep. It wasn’t just boring, it was almost painfully stagnant. It was an immensely lengthy scene of people talking, interrupted by another scene with people talking in a game. Should I remind anyone that anime is primarily a visual medium, and even the best of ideas (I admit I really appreciated most of them this time) should be represented visually, since it’s a TV show, not a book. In a book I’d have far less problems with lengthy exposition scenes, but come on, a whole episode of people talking, and talking, and talking, and once again talking without doing nothing at all is the worst thing an anime can do.

Banana Fish (Ep. 18)

Banana Fish troubled Ash Eiji

  • I know I shouldn’t push my own expectations on the show but still, manservice and comedic side of Ash and Eiji’s relationship isn’t the most interesting thing in the world. For me at least. I’m sure there’re many fans who enjoy precisely that.
  • Somehow I refuse to believe that there could be a sniper as good as Blanca. And that Ash’s windows can take multiple bullets but don’t break. I guess Ash’s enemies want to play mind games – at first announcing that they’re after Eiji and only then starting the hunt, but it’s the same as with killing Ash himself – if you really need to do it, just do it rather than playing around for too long. Too often villains in any kind of story are too arrogant and convinced by their abilities to even think about the possibility of accomplishing their goals effectively and not flamboyantly showing their power and failing in the end. Because how could such a perfection as Ash ever lose?
  • Another thing that bothered me was the fact that both Ash and Golzine seem to change their goals quite quickly. At first Golzine simply wanted to get Ash back, then he was completely enraged and tried to kill him and now the boss is once again looking quite content by only making Ash his puppet again. This transformation has been happening over the episodes, but Ash does a similar thing in a matter of minutes. At first he mindlessly accepts the idea of a suicide, so how exactly does his phrase to Blanca ”If I let you go, I couldn’t sleep in my grave” fit into the picture? Did he change his mind for some reason? It’s also not that consistent with Ash’s wish to make Golzine pay. Sure, Eiji is definitely an important person to him, but I didn’t believe Ash to be as selfish as to attempt suicide in order to protect Eiji (which is not given, by the way). If America is so dangerous, fly Eiji back to Japan (as was planned initially), and, if need be, make him a fake identity, or something. It sounds far more compelling than Ash simply giving up on everything. Why try a suicide if there’re other far more sound and logical options around?
  • The whole idea of finally trying to get to Ash through Eiji doesn’t feel new – Yut Lung already had Eiji before, though for some reason he didn’t do anything to him. But why such a long period of time was needed to understand Ash’s sole weakness and act upon it? And, well, just like I said – kill Eiji, collect broken Ash (or, better still, kill him right away), and world dominion is but a child’s play. Why all the complications?

Golden Kamuy 2 (Ep. 6 /18/)

Golden Kamuy Season 2 Tanigaki backstory

  • I probably sound like a broken record, but it’s the OP I like best this season.
  • And that was the first episode of the show this season that I really liked. Considering the end of the last season, it’s probably an even brighter star in the whole picture that I’m not too fond of. Out of everything the show is trying to be, I’d scrap the majority of Golden Kamuy: The Comedy, Golden Kamuy, the Cooking and Golden Kamuy: the Weird One-Note Discardable Villains and leave everything concerning Ainu and the human drama. Such episodes are what make historical fiction interesting – very human characters, tossed into extremely hard circumstances and trying to survive, to do their best and retain both their lives and their sanity.
  • Before this episode I didn’t give a damn about Tanigaki. I didn’t even remember his name. And now? Well, this whole story didn’t blow me away, but it was good. Life is already hard, war makes it unbearable, but acts of hope, encouragement, bravery and forgiveness make the world a better place. Even such little touches as Sugimoto being the man who showed the way for Tanigaki speaks of hope, of some goodness that might unexpectedly happen. It’s a harsh and weird world for out characters, and I don’t always agree with the way it’s portrayed, but I’ll definitely remember Tanigaki’s story, and his name.

 

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5 Comments

  1. The villains in Banana Fish really are playing out of the stupid villain rule book. It is a little depressing to be honest when you think logically about the story and realise just how many holes are in it. That said, I’m still loving the show and feel like it gets the emotional moments right so while it isn’t exactly a masterpiece of writing, it has been great fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Yeah, I agree that while some aspects definitely are frustrating, it’s a cost still worth paying. The relationship that Ash and Eiji have alone feels pretty special and unique – not a great deal of anime venture into that territory.

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  2. People keep telling me that this arc (of SAO) gets better… But that day seems to keep receding.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Yep. Still, for an arc as long as this one is, an introduction also might be quite lengthy. I hope next few episodes will try to brew something interesting and kickstart some story with clear future goals and stakes. Well, goals more clear than “Let’s look how’s Kirito” and “Let’s try to find Alice”. As things are now, I can’t think of a logical reason why this arc should be held as so better than previous ones.

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      Reply
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