Musings and Reflections – Spring 2021 Week 4

Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song (Ep. 5) – The show must make sense of its convoluted situation.
Super Cub (Ep. 4) – Ah, that’s relaxing, exactly as expected.
Mashiro no Oto (Ep. 4) – Lucky you, grandma.
Fumetsu no Anata e (Ep. 3) – That was some brutal confrontation.

Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song (Ep. 5)

  • Seems like the solution of evading a war after 100 years is causing one much sooner. I thought the Bear (of course he’s here again, sadly) had a better vision about how Vivy’s actions change the history. But again, I’m still not sure I can trust him.
  • Vivy seems to have confidence in this scientist for no reason. Sure, he was being attacked by their common enemies, but you just don’t spill the beans everywhere, do you?
  • The Bear, or, rather, the Cube is very unpredictable in its abilities. One moment it can start flying and activating various mechanisms in the vicinity, and after a few minutes he’s just a helpless toy who asks Vivy to do stuff. It just doesn’t seem predictable enough to be trustworthy.
  • Heyyyy! That’s just super cute – trees that come to you when they need to be watered. Actually, as far as I know, it’s not a complete fiction – scientists really are trying to make some similar smart-plants or robo-plant hybrids. No real use of them at this point, but to see that in an anime is just a really nice touch. +10 points to the writers.
  • Aaand I’m pretty confused about the motivations of that scientist. So, he married an AI, so, especially remembering the scene before the OP, it seems like he is ok with them. Then, he for some reason joined with a group that wants to destroy AIs. What? Then he ran away. Ok. He has created a program that stops AIs but doesn’t destroy them. Ok. The evil dudes want to have that program? Why? They attack the island anyway? Did that program somehow make the AIs murderous? Did the scientist lie and actually wanted to activate the AIs with his program? But then why was he a part of the evil group? It‘s just too convoluted. I bet we‘ll get some explanations, but they‘ll probably be as unsatisfactory as they were during the last arc, and now I’m just not convinced that any mental gymnastics on my part now would be worth it.
  • Meanwhile, we once again encounter the idea of postponing evolution. As if it‘s the answer to anything. Say, you postpone AI evolution, but then what? You get a war 120 years later and not 100? What‘s the difference?
  • The Cube didn‘t want the evil dudes to attack the island because of what? So that a war between humans and AIs won‘t happen? Well, looking at those meagre copters and boats, I‘d say there‘re 100 people at most in that group. Let‘s say they destroy the island. Perfect – AI developments slow. Let‘s say the dudes get massacred. Ok, then the world sees that AIs are bad and terminate them. A win. Or are the AIs already too strong to be eliminated? Then the Cube already failed and he can do nothing about that. It just doesn‘t make sense!
  • The ED was pretty. Falling dominoes may mean history that Vivy and others create doesn’t stay in one place but causality moves everything forward – you like it or not.
  • In principle I don’t have a problem with the time jumps per se. The problem is that Vivy simply follows orders (which mean walking and fighting) which involves very little self-reflection which in turn leads to Vivy showing very little emotions and being like a closed book. The Cube just chatters, so there’s no point in talking about his personality, and other characters so far have seen only limited spotlight. In essence, the show lacks some relatable characters. A lot.

Super Cub (Ep. 4)

  • I’ll have to get the OST somehow. The show’s full of music perfect for chilling out.
  • Last time I said that the show has to attempt something new in order to stay interesting. Well, it didn’t try anything completely new, but everything it did was enough to be worth watching. It’s even strange how the same big theme “A girl gets a bike and becomes happy” can be presented with so many very similar but still different aspects so that it remains engaging episode after episode.
  • Again, there’re feelings that aren’t vocalized, but are very clear, very simple, and very relatable – of course everyone gets to experience that nervousness before their first job, a joy when a purchase turns out to be as useful as expected (or even more), or a joy of attempting something new and finding it not as challenging as expected and ultimately very rewarding.
  • However, the summer job itself seems a bit pointless, knowing human connectivity nowadays. I don’t know during what year the story happens, or how sophisticated is the bureaucratic system in Japan, but I bet there should be a more efficient way of exchanging data in some electronic format rather than have a person deliver all the documents in paper format. Not that I complain that there was a job opportunity. Story-wise it was perfect, though it made look the school operating level somewhat similar to that of schools during stone age.
  • I’m not really looking forward to it, but I think some time in the future there should be an episode where the bike experiences some serious technical problems, or the girl gets into an accident while driving. It’d be a very good way of introducing some deeper emotions and more drama. Not that the show really needs it right now. But I’m afraid that such a mini-story might come up eventually. Guess we’ll see.

Mashiro no Oto (Ep. 4)

  • The episode started not very enthusiastically, but by the end I think I started to like it. Well, it told a very simple but still deep enough and universal story, so empathizing with that wasn’t a problem.
  • For some reason I thought from the very beginning of the episode that the grandma would say something like “It’s not the sound I remember, though you’re still good”. Well, that happened – it’s the most reasonable outcome. The story itself is one of evolution – grandma encountered grandpa many years before, and the situation was totally different, the performer was different, and, obviously, their emotions were different. Time changed both the memories and the music itself, so getting the same thing after so many years would’ve been impossible to begin with. Still, it shows that the music is still alive, and the performance that Setsu gave was valid. The very song symbolizing spring gave hope to the grandma and now can be a new start for Setsu. It’s sometimes really sad that things change and you can do nothing about it, but that’s the nature of, well, nature, and becoming different doesn’t mean becoming better or worse, just different. And that kind of message I do appreciate.
  • Speaking about the characters, Setsu’s made rougher than normal anime protagonists usually are. In a way, it’s a good thing because that makes him a bit more unique, but, on the other hand, it doesn’t really appeal to me. You can be a bit gloomy with no problem, but I don’t appreciate such rudeness as telling an old person “don’t die until I finish (and then you can, I don’t care)”. It also seems like he doesn’t care about his friends and thinks only about himself. Unconventional – sure. Likeable – not really. It doesn’t help that Setsu is one and only clear protagonist, while others are just there to form a story around him. They are more or less nice sort of people that until now just don’t have much character. Or, to put in in other words, they don’t have character when it doesn’t involve anything concerning Setsu: Mashiro no Oto ultimately is a show centered around Setsu (and it’s ok), but a show centered around pretty much anyone out of the supporting characters would be rather dull.
  • I came to think that while I do appreciate the shamisen parts, it’s difficult for me to distinguish which songs are more or less difficult and which performances are that good or bad. When a similar show uses a piano (say, Piano no Mori or Your Lie in April), I at least have a better knowledge of what constitutes a technically challenging performance, as I have some knowledge about pianos. With shamisens it’s way more difficult. I’ve never tried any string instrument (a guitar for example), and shamisen is a unique entity itself, so judging both the difficulty and the performance becomes challenging. Sure, the songs sound nice, but they all do, and they just can’t evoke the sense of awe that I’d probably get if I knew more. I just can’t like the shamisen parts more than “oh, that sounded quite nice, I’ve never heard anything like that” which doesn’t mean that I’ve listened to many songs and these particular ones used by the show are especially great. No, for me even the simplest stuff would probably have evoked the same reaction.

Fumetsu no Anata e (Ep. 3)

  • I do understand that it‘s a two-cour show and the production might need to cut corners wherever possible, but does it really need a 2.5 min recap in its third episode?
  • That‘s one huge bear. If it was just a little less realistic (well, the enormous size isn‘t enough), I‘d say it‘s something straight from some Ghibli film. And that‘s a compliment. It’s a very good trait for a fantasy show to be able to offer something mysterious and awe-inspiring – if you can come up with anything, why not come up with something truly memorable? Especially if these fantastic ideas are woven into the world organically, just as this show does. So yeah, fantasy elements get an upvote. As does the orchestral OST.
  • The purple-haired girl has some strong plot armour. That cliff wasn’t that low so that she could get away with only wet clothes and not pretty much all broken bones (if she was lucky).
  • The fight was rather impressive. Well, once the idea settled in that this human-wolf-rock-something creature is really immortal, there simply was no way it was going to lose the fight, no matter how many times it had to try. Still, even without the high stakes, it was a spectacle, though far more brutal and painful to watch than I expected. The creature apparently learned how to regenerate quickly and, another of his previously unseen traits – to change between his previous forms. I guess it’s still part of the set up, but maybe next time the story will really kick in.
  • Yep, the “Arigatou” had to be said eventually, I just didn’t expect it’d be done in the wolf form. Nice.
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1 Comment

  1. re:Vivy
    “Falling dominoes may mean history that Vivy and others create doesn’t stay in one place but causality moves everything forward – you like it or not.”

    That’s shown, or at least implied, in the opening scenes of this episode. History is changing, and it’s due to Vivy’s actions.

    re:Super Cub
    Despite Japan’s reputation, it’s not actually all that technologically advanced in actual practice. Faxes are still a thing, and cash is mostly still King. Many times when an anime talking about “email” on a phone (especially dumb phones), it’s actually a form of texting app… So, taking that into consideration the situation didn’t strike me as that anachronistic.

    Also, I’m starting to see Super Cub in the same spiritual family as Laid Back Camp and Non Non Byori. Especially the latter, which is slice-of-life in practically it’s purest form.

    Like

    Reply

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