Musings and Reflections – Spring 2021 Week 1-2

One Phrase Impressions

Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song (Ep. 1) – lots of obligatory sci-fi world-building/exposition.
Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song (Ep. 2) – the Bear is just too shady.
Super Cub (Ep. 1) – unexpectedly wholesome product placement.
Mashiro no Oto (Ep. 1) – shamisen overshadows the characters and the story.
Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song (Ep. 3) – a time jump and even more exposition.
Super Cub (Ep. 2) – look – the bike fetched you a friend!
Mashiro no Oto (Ep. 2) – settling in Tokyo with more shamisen in the spotlight.
Fumetsu no Anata e (Ep. 1) – … yeah…

Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song (Ep. 1)

  • The start feels like Macross x Ghost in the Shell x Steins;Gate.
  • I can see a million ways how this show could go wrong. Time travel is always tricky. The talking bear does nothing useful and so far can be described only as “a character who talks too much”, while Vivy hasn’t done anything to make me care about her. I guess that’s sort of a point, since she’s a robot, and her journey might make her more human. Still, at this point she doesn’t have anything resembling a personality.
  • The staging of the scenario takes up a lot of time, and, well, it’s probably worth it in the long run, but that doesn’t make a very interesting first episode. Sure, the world is mildly interesting, sci-fi and robot rebellions also always pose many questions, but so far there’s just nothing to talk about – just stated facts about the world, a talking bear and some sinister plot that doesn’t really get you invested. Hope it’ll change for the best.
  • These “missions” an AI has are pretty vague. For example, I’d say that Vivy’s task (and a sole thing she’s really good at) of singing to make people happy would mean she has a nice voice and enough knowledge to use it properly. But it appears that singing to make people happy also involves capabilities of running quite fast and repeatedly saving people from getting assassinated. Robots that don’t follow instructions closely and have more functions than necessary always mean trouble.
  • Knowing that the show came from Wit Studio, I expected more of a spectacle. By no means it’s visually bad. The blue-silver color scheme does make the show look unique, though it’s too cold for my liking. Detailed close-ups are also pretty great, but generally it’s more normal and forgettable than not.

Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song (Ep. 2)

  • I find the whole idea quite interesting – Vivy has to save a person from getting killed because otherwise the person’s ideas will be realized and that somehow will lead to a bad future.
  • On the other hand, why would the Bear need Vivy? He seems pretty capable if by using his vision alone he can control the environment (that he presumably has never been to before) and some basic robots.
  • Well, I’m not convinced the writing is good enough. The very first episode was adamant that an AI can have only one mission where it is good at, so doesn’t uploading some fighting skills to Vivy deny that? And in the first place, Vivy seems to be able to deal with at least one professional soldier at least for some seconds. Doesn’t seem to me like a robot made solely to sing.
  • The Bear’s excuse that he doesn’t trust Vivy and because of that he doesn’t disclose all the information from the start is lame. It’s just a bad and very weak excuse to make some drama. And in the first place – why is Vivy needed at all?
  • Classical villains – speak when they should just act, stop shooting when the heroes need to have a talk…
  • The OST is pretty nice (it’s Satoru Kousaki from the Monogatari series).
  • I just don’t trust the Bear the tiniest bit. He’s just too omnipotent and selfish. I wouldn’t be surprised if what he reported about the future actually was false.
  • I think the whole idea about preventing the evolution of AIs is a dumb goal. You just don’t do that to evolution. Let’s say you slow it down somehow, but then what? Evolution still happens regardless of your feelings. If AIs are going to turn murderous, it doesn’t matter if it’s 100 years or 200 – if the problem is integral to the concept of AIs in the show, it will happen no matter what. If the goal was to somehow eliminate AIs or somehow redirect their evolution – that’s fine, I can live with that. But to slow it down? That’s a nonsense. And well, by the definition given by the show itself – Vivy’s only good at singing, she shouldn’t have the capacity to do anything else properly. Wit Studio showed its caliber by some very nice close-ups. Vivy’s acrobatics also turned out into a very cool scene. I still don’t buy an ounce of it, but it was pretty cool.

Super Cub (Ep. 1)

  • I guess I can count myself among those countless people who at first thought that the show was about a very good after-school-activity circle. Or about a great bear youngling.
  • No parents, no money, no friends, no nothing – can’t you just stop beating that girl over and over again?
  • I kind of like the overall aesthetic – everything’s very washed out and there’s hardly any colors except all shades of white, black, and grey.
  • The CG is pretty noticeable, and when it is, it means it’s noticeable way too much.
  • Not even a 100 Euros for a scooter? I don’t think I’d buy a bicycle for that sum of money without expecting some hidden fault.
  • If the show’s not a huge product placement, I don’t know what is.
  • The OST’s really cool. Some smooth jazzy feel meshes really well with the soothing atmosphere.
  • Well, I think that the bike-seller should’ve explained how to fill a tank. And that’s actually a thing you have to do. The girl was clearly clueless (even after getting a license, which is weird)) – if you sell a thing to such a person, you’re morally obligated to tell her at least some basics.
  • Well, sometimes you just need a tiny quiet little show that doesn’t scream anything, that offers very basic but very easily identifiable emotions that are simple to empathize with.
  • I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike!

Mashiro no Oto (Ep. 1)

  • I’m sorry, but it’s a bit funny – the grandpa is giving a very good performance and suddenly it’s told that he died. As if that performance was the cause.
  • Well, I can’t call it not funny when Setsu falls on a yakuza, gets beaten (animation doesn’t shine there) and is saved by Yuna.
  • And of course it sounds straight from a romcom where a boy meets a girl and they start living together for some trivial reason – it’s as simple as that. Yuna’s boyfriend might complicate things, but I guess he’s just a temporary obstacle.
  • Well, it’s sort of right that Setsu doesn’t want to allow Yuna to give money to her boyfriend, but, on the other hand, it’s not really his business, is it? He just met those people, and he has no idea how they manage their finances, right? Well, yeah, he’s in the right morally, but it makes him not a hero but rather a country bumpkin with very little subtlety.
  • Well, Setsu got punched, and as he’s too self-righteous, he brought it on himself.
  • Is this comedy? Would you really put a guy with a shamisen (and a face that has been very recently punched) as an opening act to a rock concert?
  • Well, yeah, I did come for the shamisen and I got what I wanted. A story and characters that I would really care about still need to grow on me, but I think I could watch the whole show simply for the shamisen.
  • It looks like not the subtlest of shows. The first episode might have been a decent stand-alone OVA if the show stopped with Yuna leaving. I don’t think I’ll enjoy the characters much, but the music should carry the weight.
  • This Umeko… Well, I better just wait and don’t make any premature assumptions.

Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song (Ep. 3)

  • So that was the OP? If yes, then cool. In an anime where a singer is the MC having them sing the OP is a really cool idea. Not that the song is particularly memorable (at least for me for now), but still.
  • Whaaat? A random 15-year time jump? It’s just, well, too random. Seems like Vivy hasn’t missed the Bear at all. Neither have I.
  • Not to mention that with the time jump we have to hear another huge info-dump. As if the first wasn’t dense enough.
  • Well, there is a really huge question mark hanging above the Bear. He clearly stated that the development of AIs must be at least slowed. Now, when the AI developments have in fact surpassed the ones in the original timeline (where the politician was shot dead), the Bear tells it’s alright. Though, according to him, his goals were completely opposite. In the end, I’d throw him away. He’s not even cute.
  • I’m not sure how to feel. On one hand, getting a time jump and a completely unrelated story better showcases the diversity of the world and allows wider possibilities for development. On the other hand, there’s hardly any continuity. There’s just the Bear ordering Vivy to do stuff, and that’s not particularly interesting. Another problem is about the direction of the show. Sure, we have a vague goal – to stop the apparent war between the humans and the AIs. As the Bear seems shady as hell, I even start doubting such a war really existed. Even if it did, one thing is to have a very broad general direction, and another to know the exact steps that make up the journey. Saving one politician who already became unimportant or stopping a random spaceship from crashing seem like isolated stories that don’t really have much emotional connection with the grand goal. The show seems to be less about Vivy stopping the war or Vivy trying to find out why the war happened, but rather about the Bear chatting non-stop and Vivy just walking around and doing stuff. The bottom line is that were I not a completionist, Vivy would not have passed the 3 ep. rule.

Super Cub (Ep. 2)

  • A sad girl plus a bike equals a happy girl. Seems like having a bike solves all the problems in the world, even gives you friends. Actually, it’s great that the girl made an acquaintance.
  • At some point I though we entered a romance genre and a show called Girl x Bike.
  • I really like how the show doesn’t try to attack you with super heavy dialogue or lots of action. Everything is just so simple – for example, you just can’t not relate to the girl when she wants to boast about getting a new shiny thing (an old killer bike to be exact, but still). Going out of your way and finding something interesting is also very simple and relatable. Well, sometimes it’s best not to attempt anything overcomplicated and just work with the basics. And if the basics are realized to perfection, you can go very far even without attempting anything too sophisticated. Super Cub offers very basic emotions, but each emotion is clear, and clear not because a character verbally explodes about that. More shows need to show conscious restraint.
  • It’s a bit weird how the girl turns to the manual when she encounters a problem. I don’t know what is the supposed year, but she should’ve a phone, and googling something might be way faster. Well, it’s a good idea to read a manual, but nobody ever does that. Such a moment reminds you about the add-nature of the show, but whatever, it’s still good.
  • Again I have to compliment the OST. Some Debussy is always a good choice for slice of life. Add some original jazzy stuff, and you have something great.
  • It’s definitely not Yuru Camp, but the itch for slice of life so far has been scratched very well.

Mashiro no Oto (Ep. 2)

  • So, it was Setsu’s mom. I guess the only stranger thing imaginable would have been for Umeko to turn out to be Setsu’s grandma. Oh well.
  • About Umeko… Well, since the moment she appeared, I have a preconception that I don’t like her. There’s very little information that may make her a good or a bad person – on one hand, Setsu is clear that she doesn’t really look after him, but she did come to him now. Still, she did that by violently barging in, which is not my preferred method of getting to people. But, apparently, she’s a good and dedicated singer. It definitely looks complicated, but as of now, I guess I just don’t really feel much affinity to people as flashy and as forceful as Umeko.
  • It’s definitely not the first time I encountered traditional Japanese singing. It’s definitely different from anything mainstream these days, it’s even more different from the manner of classical singing (you know, opera and stuff) or from traditional songs in my country and its neighbors. And, I’m afraid to admit, I didn’t find this singing particularly to my liking. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it, but I guess I need more time to get used to it. A shamisen solo – no problem, but with a voice added… Not my aesthetic preferences, I guess.
  • Whaaat? Setsu’s brother is forced to come to Tokyo? And Setsu’s a high-school student? I thought he already finished school. The show certainly doesn’t become more interesting with a high-school around. Setsu seems out of place there. A lot.
  • That original piece by the brothers sounded quite nice. I wonder what a full orchestra of shamisens would sound like.
  • By the way, I just want to remind you that such a thing like Wagakki Band exists.

Fumetsu no Anata e (Ep. 1)

  • Some said that the show might be good, so I decided to check it out, while already having decided to watch 3 shows this season. The bottom line is, now I‘m watching 4, and if I ever decide to drop one of them, I doubt it‘s going to be this one.
  • As with Super Cub, the minimalistic nature works really well so far. The plot can be described in several sentences at best, but the emotional weight is way heavier.
  • Normally I‘d say that the background, provided by the boy, might be considered as an info-dump, but in this case it‘s different. Firstly, the boy has been alone for an extended period of time, and his wolf has been absent as well, so naturally you want to talk to one dear person you meet after some time, and the species doesn‘t matter. I guess a period of quarantines and stuff make this point particularly raw. And, secondly, the story rides on emotion pretty high, so whatever objections one might have, they aren‘t important.
  • So yeah, it was a very gripping story, and there‘s nothing really to say about it except the fact that you should probably check it out if you haven‘t already. It’s simple but effective.
  • Thinking about the future of the show, it‘s rather foggy. As this episode made sure to conclude all the needed questions, the general direction of the show still remains undefined. I like the mystery of this creature, and it‘s definitely an area that has lots of storytelling potential, but it doesn‘t even need to be explored fully to make great story. I guess the origins might receive some attention eventually – the show‘s 20 eps. after all, but that still deosn’t tell us anything about what the show will try to be. Still, I‘m willing to stick with it. If it‘ll be at least as good as the first episode was, I‘ll count it as a win.
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2 Comments

  1. “Well, it’s a good idea to read a manual, but nobody ever does that”

    I do! But then, I acquired the habit at my father’s elbow way back when Sergey and Larry were still in diapers. I still think it’s preferable to googling because it’s an authoritative source. The web is typically a mish-mash of facts, opinions, and “well, it hasn’t caught fire when I do X”… It’s really, really hard to sort fact from fiction. And that’s setting aside Google’s habit of serving you up posts that aren’t actually quite about what you’re looking for.

    For example, when repairing my washing machine the other week… I had to reject 90% of where Google sent me because they were the wrong model, etc…

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Good point. It’s just that sometimes googling seems a more straightforward way to get an answer because manuals sometimes get very complicated and confusing, while people tend to talk in more understandable terms. I guess it boils down to what sort of problem you have – if it’s something as vague as “my car wouldn’t start” or “my printer seems dead” – then it’s google time, but if you have a very particular issue, then going to the manual makes more sense.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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