Musings and Reflections – Fall 2018 Week 12

One phrase impressions

Sword Art Online: Alicization – and, suddenly, umu!
Banana Fish –  that’s actually a pretty good ending!
Golden Kamuy 2 – that’s also a pretty good ending (at least some of it).

Sword Art Online: Alicization (Ep. 12)

Sword Art Online: Alicization Cardinal

  • I can’t say I’m impressed by the fights. They surely are flashy but I’m reminded of Sunday-morning cartoons when violence happens but ultimately no one gets harmed. I remember some guy counted how many times the thieves should’ve died in Home Alone, and the number certainly is larger than one. Here also no matter how spine-shattering falls the protagonists receive, they are invincible. Until they get an arrow to the knee foot, that is. But even then the injury is forgotten in a matter of seconds, with no limping or anything like that. Am I wrong to expect realism of a show that tried to become serious and dark? Only Yuki Kajiura’s music elevates everything quite a bit.
  • Hey, hey hey, did I just detected “umu”?! Yep, turns out my ears didn’t deceive me. After the (pretty disastrous) Fate/Extra, “umu”-ing Red Saber has really engraved herself in my mind so much that from a single “umu” I now can detect that Cardinal of SAO is voiced by none other than Sakura Tenge. To be frank, Red Saber is a far more impressive character. Just saying.
  • Whenever omnipotent-but-not-really and possibly personified computer programs enter a story, be it SAO, Fate/Extra or something else, I immediately get skeptical. Such characters usually may do anything (heal wounds, materialize things) as long as the story requires them to do so, but only so long as it remains convenient. Then at some point never-before-heard-of limitations are usually introduced and such a character from an omnipotent one suddenly is demoted to an ordinary one, until a time special powers (also previously unheard of) become useful again.
  • Ah, another exposition while drinking tea… It actually was pretty interesting, but still…
  • I’ve no idea why did Cardinal choose to help Kirito. She said that her job primarily is to keep the balance as it is, so isn’t getting involved means that she upsets the balance? Or does the balance mean something different? Like the world before that purple girl usurped the power? Well, only time will tell.

Banana Fish (Ep. 24)

Banana Fish Ash library dying

  • Yeah, and when Ash is anesthetized and safely locked to a chair so there’s no conceivable way of him escaping, his escape oh-so-conveniently happens off-screen. Just because he’s so powerful, we don’t even need to know how he escaped, right? Could it be that he simply shot some lasers out of his eyes and thus burned through the ties, and later on simply by using power of friendship and love managed to overcome anesthetics?
  • The ED in the middle of the episode was quite on point. Slightly more ambitious animation also made it feel more like a finale. Once again I can say that villains that come into the story only last minute are never going to be that impressive, or that the scene with the helicopter could’ve been more flamboyant (a la Godfather 3 for example).
  • Why did the bad military dude go to fight Ash alone? Didn’t he have like a whole squad of underlings to help him? Simply shoot Ash’s legs for example and he’d be far more manageable.
  • Yeah, Ash is able to rescue Sing, no matter that he’s been anesthetized and injured multiple times. Yeah… It’s not even interesting to watch because there’s no way Ash can be seriously harmed.
  • By the way, instead of throwing the suitcase away, couldn’t Sing at least attempt to throw it on a floor? He didn’t even need to exert himself that much – just let the suitcase fall and give a slight push in the horizontal direction – physics could do the rest of the job just fine.
  • I’m quite pissed off by the constant “He’s dead! No, he’s just fine!” and “Hey, he’s seriously injured! No, it’s alright!” attitude. It’s not a way to go if Banana Fish wants to be treated seriously.
  • Sing and Yut Lung look like a couple. Well, it feels a bit underwhelming to see one of the most interesting characters being absolved so easily. Yeah, Yut Lung’s actions can partially be excused because of his past, but it’s not like he gets a free pass because of that. And the fact that it took Sing like 3 minutes to resolve all Yut Lung’s problems feels nothing like a natural flow of things.
  • However, despite of everything I already said, I appreciated the ending very much. Sure, it’s over-melodramatic and stuff, but in the end it’s very fitting. Moreover, it’s complete, and made in a very subtle way, so the show regains many brownie point it had lost here and there. I didn’t cry over Ash’s fate, and all the previous flaws enabled me to still make some cynical remarks under my breath, but in the end it was a very good conclusion. Thanks for that, show, thanks.

Golden Kamuy 2 (Ep. 12 /24/)

Golden Kamuy Season 2 Inkarmat Asirpa crying

  • What can I say – the first half of the episode was one of the most effective Golden Kamuy I can remember. It somehow even surpasses the backstories in the middle of the cour, and they already were pretty good. Once again the soundtrack remains at its best, and the story quite neatly ties pretty much all the subplots together. Asirpa looking for her father has been a major part of the story so the final (almost) meeting and the subsequent demise of him as well as (supposedly) Sugimoto was very effective. Well, it’s just some good drama centered on main characters and their dreams that were destroyed on the brink of being fulfilled.
  • I was even ready not to get annoyed at CG bears, so that’s something.
  • The problem is, however, the second half. If the episode had finished right after the first half, it would’ve been one of my favorites of the whole season, but once again mood switches isn’t something Golden Kamuy is good at. Quite lame attempts at comedy after an epic battle isn’t what I call a seamless flow of things. The whole reveal that Sugimoto is alive and kicking also undermined pretty much all of  the previous build-up. He, Shiraishi and Asirpa are probably the only ones that can never worry about their survival. Of course the viewers knew that, but a big hole in Sugimoto’s head at least attempted to disprove that. Well, that almost worked, but the effect was completely destroyed moments later. How can anyone feel any suspense anymore when even after being shot in the head a guy calmly eats some porridge? The only positive thing out this can be that Asirpa still doesn’t know that Sugimoto isn’t dead. But she believes that, so even this tiny opportunity for maybe some recollections about life and death and dear people lost in war is killed almost instantly. I guess Sugimoto will join Asirpa rather quickly and everything will go on as if nothing had happened. And in my book that’s a pretty bad management of dramatic ups and downs.
  • I had no idea that Ogata had teamed up with Kiroranke. Well, actually I had no idea about any of his motivations in the first place. Oh well, he just shot the best lead to the gold. Luck searching now!


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