Musings and Reflections – Winter 2019 Week 4

     I guess this one goes just for the record. Being a whole week late with episode reviews makes them pretty useless. I guess reading (and not watching) Boogiepop and somehow getting tangled into rewatching both Cowboy Bebop and Black Lagoon stole a lot of time…

One phrase impressions

Boogiepop wa Warawanai – I guess I warmed up a bit.
Sword Art Online: Alicization
– Alice shows some class.
Dororo –  Underdeveloped, but fine, really.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai (Ep. 5)

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Boogiepop Anou Shinjirou

  • If I remember correctly, during their first date Masaki and Aya were supposed to see a movie together, not to go into an aquarium. It’s either a very weird change from the light novel (have you ever seen such long queues near an aquarium?) or my mind works in even weirder ways.
  • I think my initial concern about Aya was not as founded. I still stand by my say that her cutesy character design isn’t the greatest thing about her (again, judging from the point of someone who loves the light novels) but everything else is about right, from the voice acting to the general feel. Though still, the show’s Orihata looks like she wouldn’t hurt a fly and is just a typical kuudere with all antisocial behavior and stuff. Of course an adaptation has the right to be its own thing, and I can do nothing but praise it for trying. But the LN’s Orihata gave a more noticeable vibe of something being wrong, a vibe of not belonging to the society but not only because of her apparent shyness. I miss LN’s Orihata’s constant questions “why?” about the most obvious things. More “sorry” also would’ve fit the picture. Well, I guess it’s just a thing I prefer, probably simply because I experienced the LNs first.
  • It wasn’t obvious that it was Anou who staged attack on Ttitan Masaki. At first I wrongly assumed that his character was cut out completely. Thankfully that wasn’t the case, though I still can’t say that his portrayal did justice to a person who’s really confused about his own feelings. And the critical scene with Aya in the balcony could’ve used more emphasis. She should’ve been shivering out of desperation, and that brief moment didn’t really show that. I could point out other scenes that could’ve benefited from some breathing space. I think the pacing is far too fast – stuff keeps happening but there’s no sense of tranquil peace or lurking mystery, something any show with horror elements could take advantage of. Plot points are shoved to the viewer who can miss some vital information if not being attentive enough. Come on, show, this is a telling of a story, not some damn race.
  • Spooky E was spooky. Nice! Though I have to admit that his resemblance to the Moe Titan is uncanny.
  • The fight between Spooky E and Boogiepop was a bit underwhelming. And the more I hear it, the more Boogiepop’s slow and rolling intonations seem to annoy me. For some unknown reason.

  • About the episode as a whole, I think I liked it, even if pretty much everything I’ve written so far has been simply “go read the light novels” kind of rant. Oh well.

Sword Art Online: Alicization (Ep. 16)

Sword Art Online: Alicization Kirito fighting energy ball

  • The very first SAO OP had Asuna’s and Kirito’s swords crossed, and that was a pretty nice way to end the OP. I’m not trying to imply anything, but what do you think – the 2nd OP of Alicization also has two swords crossed – Kirito’s and Eugeo’s. It might be that somebody who drew the OP simply ran out of new ideas, unless… Well, according to the ladies, Kirito really is hard to resist…
  • So what’s the point in any suspense if Cardinal can materialize some healing potions right from thin air? Can’t you just take several dozens of them and drink them when bosses pause fights to give speeches?
  • I think if Fanatio (if that’s her name) had died, the story would’ve been more interesting. Goody two shoes Kirito with a clear conscience isn’t as likable as Kirito who makes fatal mistakes and has to suffer because of it.
  • I think I quite like Alice’s design and sharp contrast between blues and yellows. Even if she’s a Saber clone.
  • Speaking about the fights, probably only the dynamic camera needs to be praised. It isn’t as dynamic as one in Hand Shakers (thank goodness) but even some mild movement definitely adds kinetic flavor. All the other stuff – jumps, colorful clashes and battle speeches – we’ve seen before, so there’s nothing that impressive. I just wish that Kirito lost, and lost badly. So badly that he died. And that would be pretty dramatic if then he’d return to the real world, have a fight with Asuna, leave her crying and beg all the science-y dudes to let him return to the game in order to save Eugeo and Alice. But then it’d turn out that the time in the game is far quicker so he’d find Eugeo at his deathbed (at best). Man, that sounds like a reasonable story. Maybe I should try writing a fanfic?

Dororo (Ep. 4)

Dororo some dude with demon sword

  • I always assumed that Dororo is walking barefoot. Is this some kind of footwear (whose color doesn’t differ from the color of Dororo’s feet) or did the creators decide that he’ll be just fine with fewer toes? It rather looks like a footwear, though it seems pretty soft then, too soft to be usable for a longer period of time. I’m confused.
  • I wonder why Hyakkimaru prefers blades in his removable arms rather than a conventional sword. There’s no way his in-arm sword provides a better reach, and reach is a lot in any fight.
  • I don’t think the format Dororo chose is the most suitable for this kind of story. For episodic storytelling to work you need to have very strong one-time characters or very touching stories. In other words, be like Mushishi or Natsume Yuujinchou. Ginko most of times is barely an observer, and Natsume, while he gets his own screen time, participates only minimally, as the episodic stories most often are not about him but about some youkai. Dororo looks like it tries to have its cake and eat it too – to both develop the central characters and also provide some memorable story each time. And it doesn’t really work. Looking at how undeveloped both Dororo and Hyakkimaru are (one is only a good-hearted kid (most of times) and the other is a fighting doll), they receive far too much screen time. For example getting to know the siblings of this episode would’ve been preferable. I did like this story but I can’t say that the brother’s conflict between staying with his sister and succumbing to the sword’s will was that interesting. There was just too little time to make me care.
  • So, I think the current formula isn’t that great. To improve, the show would need to either destroy the gas pedal and go full speed the “main character development” route or, alternatively, push them into the background and concentrate on the stories of one-off individuals. Probably neither will happen.
Leave a comment

2 Comments

  1. ” Goody two shoes Kirito with a clear conscience isn’t as likable as Kirito who makes fatal mistakes and has to suffer because of it.”

    Truth! The whole of SAO/Aincrad Arc is driven by Kirito’s guilt over Sachi’s death. And it pops up again in SAO II/Fairy Dance. (I think it’s even referenced in Ordinal Scale.)

    Liked by 1 person

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