Musings and Reflections – Winter 2020 Weeks 6-11 (yeah…) and status report (sort of)

Hey!

     Took me long enough to catch up with the season, didn’t it? After my trip I seriously took up anime again, only to be stopped after a few episodes. Work got a bit hectic at the time with one pretty big task that had to be finished ASAP. That led to me getting involved a lot more than was expected of me, but oh well, I kind of enjoyed it. Pulling off a record of an 18 h-workday sounds rather horrible, but like I said, I wanted to finish it, it was kinda fun, deadlines were coming and it happened only once. Also, it’s kinda oddly fulfilling to leave work at 3 AM and feel like you really accomplished something. I guess I can call it a satisfaction over a completed work that makes you a bit proud, even if the task itself wasn’t anything ground-breaking.

     Then the virus outbreak really broke out. It’s kinda calm in my country, but close European countries were already reporting cases so my Uni didn’t wait and closed down. Actually, very soon the whole country also went into the quarantine. Officially the quarantine was set to last 2 weeks (last one and this one) but it seems like soon it will be  officially prolonged for at least a month. Anyway, last week simply disappeared with me trying to adjust to the rhythm of working from home. Actually, the majority of stuff I do at my Uni can’t be accomplished from home, so I more or less got an indefinite holiday.  It can be nice (sleeping until 10 for example) though I came to realize once more how much time I voluntarily give to the work. It has become more like an another home (with colleagues becoming if not family members then at least dear friends). And it’s not the easiest of times when you got all that cut out. I’m also a person who doesn’t like huge changes, so having to change the rhythm of a day feels a bit hard. But oh well, so far so good. And, as one colleague sometime says, “humans are adaptive systems”. Everything should be alright. More or less.

     One really good thing that came out of this quarantine business is the fact that now I have time to go for walks as much as I like. I guess I really needed some time just to be alone, to walk for, say, half an hour, sit on a bench with a good book, read a bit, then stroll on. The funny part is that lots of people seem to be doing the same. The quarantine should mean self-isolation, but now lots of people simply flood parks or area near the river which flows through the middle of the city I live in. Sometimes (not now I’m afraid) I go to my Uni by foot, and usually take a path that goes along the river. In the mornings if you meet, say, 10 people along the path (~1,5 kilometers, probably), you can think that it’s hectic. A few days ago during a walk down that same path I realized that looking from a single point (~100 meters in both directions) I saw no less than 50 people. I guess it’s good that people wish to spend their time near greenery, but even the local government seems quite worried about such a situation. Oh well, maybe I’ll refrain from my walks for a day or two.

     Anyway, even if at the moment I seem to be more interested into watching every single movie made by Wes Anderson, anime also will get more time, which is definitely nice. 

      Hope you’re all alright. Going to check others’ blogs, it’s been quite a while since I did that. 

Anyway, cheers!

One phrase impressions

Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! (Ep. 6) – All hail producers!
Dorohedoro (Ep. 5) – Characters are not that likable after all…
Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! (Ep. 7) – Mizusaki’s viewpoint 
Dorohedoro (Ep. 6) – The story just goes on (randomly)
Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! (Ep. 8) – Nothing too memorable…
Dorohedoro (Ep. 7) – Baseball, Dorohedoro style
Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! (Ep. 9) – Kanamori’s roots – pretty interesting
Dorohedoro (Ep. 8) – Seems like calm before the storm
Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! (Ep. 10) – Can’t the student council not be jerks?
Dorohedoro (Ep. 9) – Shocking, scree scree!
Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! (Ep. 11) – Penultimate episode already, huh?
Dorohedoro (Ep. 10) – Nikaidou’s in the center of all the things

Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! (Ep. 6)

  • The show definitely doesn’t waste any time underlining all the ways making anime is hard.

  • Seems like Eizouken couldn’t be more slice of life than it is now. It’s fine, and time went really fast when I watched it, but, to be frank, I’ve watched more interesting shows.

  • Eizouken devotes probably more time than Shirobako to stress how important producers are for the show to be born. As someone not too knowledgeable about the industry, to a question “what do producers do?” I could probably answer something like ”uhm… they produce? I mean, they talk to people and gather materials needed?” Well, that’s sort of true, but it doesn’t really do justice to people who actually make all the wheels turn. It’s a good point that while Kanamori is admirable for her ways of getting everyone on the same page, I wouldn’t say that she’s well-liked. Usually Kanamori’s ways seem fun and ingenious, but this time I felt a bit of worry that her behavior at points really started to come alarmingly close to harassment. Well, on one hand, it’s for the good of the production. On the other, I wouldn’t really like to work under such a strict and uncompromising boss.

  • The sound girl might become sort of important later on, judging from her more-detailed-than-the-needed-minimum character design. People of the art club also tried to make themselves useful, only that was far less memorable. Seems like every club has something to offer. I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole school will be unified under the girls’ project by the end of the show.

  • So yeah, making anime is hard. Really hard.

Dorohedoro (Ep. 5)

  • The only thing Ebisu is useful for is comedy. Somehow I was under an impression that she’s supposed to be quite a strong sorcerer. If not strong, then maybe at least decent. Could it be that her encounter with Caiman and Nikaidou left her that useless? I’d love to see more of her doing something more than just comedy.

  • I seem to have forgotten why exactly Caiman is killing every single sorcerer he encounters. Sure, a single sorcerer gave him his reptile face but what about others? Are all the sorcerers that bad? I wouldn’t think that, for example, Shin and Noi are that dissimilar from Nikaidou and Caiman himself. Why all the violence and animosity between the factions?

  • Now I want a toilet with fire-flushing. It’s amazingly weird, but it so makes sense in this world.

  • I’m quite intrigued by Nikaidou. On one hand, you can’t not like a beautiful and cool girl who’s a co-protagonist of the show. Having some mysterious past is also a plus. On the other hand, I’m not sure I approve of her methods. Trying to sell something and in the end simply robbing a dude because she needs money isn’t something I like. She might have good intentions but brute-forcing her way does irritate me quite a bit. That and once again quite bland performance by Caiman makes me like the two protagonists even less. While Shin and Noi are far too brutal for my tastes, at least they’re honest. At least more than Nikaidou.

  • The show needs more fights. A few seconds of incredible moves of Noi and Nikaidou aren’t enough. It does cost extra money, but please, I want more of that!

  • Demons in place of roosters? Neat!

  • The ED is trippy. And original to say the least. Like it.

Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! (Ep. 7)

  • Interesting to see that Mizusaki’s fascination with movement has a long history. And it’s not just movement, it rather is a wish to capture it, to be able to repeat patterns that happen in everyday life. It’s no wonder that she went to join this club. I doubt that her future will still be entwined with anime, but I could totally see her as an aspiring live-action director, and a pretty good one. Nice to see that even at young age Mizusaki was able to apply her observations to practice. I doubt that even the smallest percentage of aspiring animators (and motion observers) are lucky enough to see their knowledge applied in real life, but oh well, good for our girl. And her grandma.

  • Yep, communication is essential, and not only in making an anime. I also agree that most of times it’s far more reliable to do something yourself than try to explain it to someone and see them do something similar but not exactly as you wanted (which isn’t always a bad thing, though more often than not is). Again that boils down to time available – can you do everything by yourself and possibly miss all the deadlines, or rather make it in time, though not as perfect?

  • Later on – more of Mizusaki’s philosophy. I get the idea, as I get all the real animators doing some random sketch just because it’s cool. And, yeah, it is, most definitely. Yet, I remain a story fan – someone who wants to see the big picture and all the elements comprising it working in harmony. Even if individual elements are not as perfect (say, a robot animation), if it conveys something bigger than movement itself, if it tells a story that resonates with me, for me it’s far superior. But that’s just me. I presume all the viewpoints are equally valid.

Dorohedoro (Ep. 6)

  • If that doesn’t count as surreal, I don’t know what does. By itself that’s quite good and enjoyable, but there’s also a price to be paid. Especially since I watched this ep. when quite a bit of time had passed after my last watching of the show, I can’t deny that I’m confused. Even before it wasn’t the easiest of tasks to track all the characters with their motivations and plans (and all the weird stuff), and now it was even harder since I had to rack my brain pretty hard to remember why, for example, Nikaidou was roaming En’s mansion and what exactly was going on.

  • Nikaidou’s jump was cool. The show from time to time offers some very pleasing action sequences, but they’re few and far between. Oh well.

  • Oh, Shin’s backstory. Nothing groundbreaking (although unexpectedly brutal), but it’s always good to know about important characters and their past. I wonder if we’ll see Noi’s past. Nikaidou’s past is certainly coming on a plate some time, but Noi’s secrets also would be welcome.

  • Nice touch, MAPPA.

  • One of the reasons the story isn’t the easiest to follow is because of the randomness. What are the chances that Nikaidou would be kidnapped by a person who has a history with Caiman? And has a giant insect pet/colleague named Jonson? I can’t say causality and logic don’t exist in such situations, but if they do, such a logic is very strange and alien compared to one in our world.

Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! (Ep. 8)

  • The show clearly stated its intents via Mizusaki’s perspective last time. Eizouken’s primary goal is to be a very loose collection of cool stuff accompanied by also very loose commentary about how that stuff works. By that logic it can be implicated that the girls and their lives aren’t really that important. Any of the girls could be exchanged for a similar student and the show still could work in a better or worse way. The bottom line is that Eizouken doesn’t try to be very good at either the story or the characters, simply because it has other stuff in mind. And I, conversely, have precisely opposite wishes – to experience a great story or great characters. Again, as I said last time, that doesn’t make the show bad in any way, it just makes a show that I’m not really the target audience of. I still can awe at the expressive animation, but at the same time I feel that the story arcs don’t really work as arcs. For every arc we’ve seen there’s always an initial explosion of momentum when the girls start something new. Then there’s quite monotone sequence of episodes with the girls simply working, and finally and quite unexpectedly from the dramatic point of view the conclusion happens (also quite flamboyantly). The point is that the development of the initial ideas doesn’t really work – the girls simply work and there isn’t a clear rising of the stakes, there is no building up of the momentum, there’s only the beginning, the end, and something in between that hardly connects both ends of the story and works as a development.

  • Another point – I clearly remember how mesmerized Asakusa was when she first saw the new town she now lives in. I’d argue that the location (which is clearly unique) is severely underused, especially in an anime that tries to be as creative as possible.

  • Oh hey, Mizusaki even incorporated that drink spilling moment that her grandma fascinated her with. That’s cool. That running as well. Double cool.

  • Yep, that’s some fine and expressive animation. I guess I’ll always love some early Gainax stuff (and the like) over anything like this, but it does deserve credit, it certainly does.

Dorohedoro (Ep. 7)

  • The baseball game was oddly entertaining. Well, that’s Dorohedoro as always – things make little sense, but it certainly is entertaining. I think I’ll read the manga.

  • Well, yeah, there’s little to actually talk about. Most of the jokes land pretty well, just as that one with Ebisu trying to take care of Jonson using some pesticides. Well, I guess it’s just fun, period.

  • The fact that it was Ebisu who cast the lizard-magic on Caiman reveals surprisingly little. She isn’t completely sane, and even if she was I doubt much would be clearer. At least others also know the fact, and En should probably investigate further. What could be better than new advances in the story?

  • Again a new ED? How many do you need? Especially since I quite liked the last one, and now this looks incredibly low-lost and simplistic. Oh well.

Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! (Ep. 9)

  • Backstory of Kanamori’s business-like roots was kind of interesting, especially the moving 3D shots in her memories. Apart from that, kind of bland stuff. When the girls finished their first project, it felt like an achievement. Last episode seemed less elevated, and now the next project doesn’t look like something worth much passion. It’s like the girls’ hobby has become their job. It’s definitely interesting to hear more about anime production (this time about marketing), but without anything else such thoughts seem not particularly relevant. In short, I feel rather bored.

  • As probably was obvious, the end of the episode had the girls again brimming with ideas. Only that was seen before. At least twice. As a story fan, I can’t immediately approve a random story that rides on a concept “cool battle between UFOs and people on the ground” without providing any context and inner logic to such a project. So yeah, not particularly impressed yet again.

  • Though it must be stressed that Asakusa’s character acting was pretty impressive indeed.

Dorohedoro (Ep. 8)

  • Once again I’m quite stunned by the world and its diversity. While the whole story of Caiman going alone, helping a dude who works in a restaurant and thus getting a job is anything but plain, the weirdness of the people as well as the whole world make up for that hundred-fold.

  • Nikaidou will surely try to track Caiman, they’ll get in some trouble (possibly involving En’s team), will argue a bit and still remain friends.

  • I guess Risu (or rather his reanimated body) has become an important character as well.

  • This Blue Night seems interesting. Possibly with lots of gore and action, which is great.

  • Is it a too far-fetched guess that this rare sorcerer who can control time is none other than Nikaidou?

  • How many EDs can there be?

Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! (Ep. 10)

  • Again there’s that us vs them divide. The girls are portrayed to be faultless – they’re simply pursuing their dreams while the student council and the teachers are complete assholes who only get joy from destroying stuff. And I thought that black-and-white morality was no longer a thing in this century. Can’t they just create a story with all the sides behaving a little more grey? I doubt there’s a single decent thing the student council was portrayed doing, the teachers look either completely disinterested or completely conservative. I also don’t really like Kanamori’s bluntness that she knows everything and it’s her right to do as she wishes and everybody else should know better. And I thought that humbleness was one of Japanese’ more valued traits. What I wished to see was a more rounded discussion with teachers saying that school is meant to be a non-commercial institution but something like charity could be accepted. I think it would be reasonable that the profit the girls made could be transferred to the club budget and to the club budget only. I’d even say it’d be reasonable for the school to take some percentage of the profit for its own uses. Thus all the money the girls make could benefit the school and most of all the club which could prosper by its own effort. Of course my knowledge of economics is probably only as good as something one can learn from Spice and Wolf, but still, unless someone proves me wrong, I stand by what I said.

  • Hm, recently I complained a bit that the show fails to take advantage of the locations of the town the girls live in. Getting to know the surroundings better and including them in the anime they’re making is a great start. Though so far everything still looks a bit duller compared to Asakusa’s first impression of the town.

  • It’s kinda nice that sound department also gets the spotlight. That’s one thing Shirobako mentioned only briefly. VAs also doing a damn good job imitating sound effects, as always.

  • Only Asakusa’s creativity doesn’t really astonish me anymore. Been here, seen that already.

Dorohedoro (Ep. 9)

  • It’s weird, but I think I really started to like the show. It has its internal logic that’s very hard to pin down but it definitely is there.

  • I think Noi and Shin might be my favorite characters of the show. I doubt I’d like to meet the in real life (too aggressive people are never a great idea to meet), but they possess that specific sense of comradery (and I have no doubt a bit more than that). And when people really work together and make each other work better, it’s just great.

  • Fujimura and Ebisu pairing up probably didn’t surprise anyone. Compared to Noi and Shin, they’re incredibly ineffective – Fujimura usually just performs as a straight man who has almost no powers and Ebisu just fools around. But oh well, they do have a place in the show and they do perform their roles well enough.

  • Caiman on the other hand remains a mystery. I just don’t get him – is his whole reason of existence to find one person who turned his head to that of a lizard’s? By the way could there somewhere be a lizard walking with Caiman’s head? Everything I can say about Caiman is that he works in a clinic, likes gyoza, wants to find Ebisu and is a friend of Nikaidou. To think about it, that’s pretty little considering he’s the main character, right? I’d understand if he was your everyday self-insert guy. Well, based on some aspects of his character, he kind of is, but I doubt anyone would like to self-insert himself into a person with a lizard’s head. And, moreover, a person who’s determined to kill some other dude who made that huge plate of gyoza drop to the ground. So yeah, Caiman isn’t interesting enough for me to care about him but he’s too different from other typical anime protagonists to be a self-insert character. Weird.

  • Well, the whole show is weird. I bet there could be a much easier way to tell the story in a more coherent manner, but I guess this chaos is part of the heart of the show. So yeah, even if I can find faults in many characters (if not all of them), the worldbuilding and relationships work for me wonders. Thanks, show.

Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! (Ep. 11)

  • Not that interesting. Student council still behaves like douches for no good reason, the girls fool around for no good reason and stuff just happens for no good reason.

  • Coexistence is all good and it kind of make sense in the context of the whole show – even extremely different people can work together if they have the same goal. But otherwise such a theme doesn’t really impress me. I guess I’ve seen too many anime where power of friendship solves all the problems.

  • I wish Kanamori’s sickness would’ve been explored more. She’s basically the engine that powers the whole club, and watching other girls struggle and try to fill the vacancy would’ve been very interesting. Oh well.

  • Another episode where I find myself disagreeing with the outlook of making some cool stuff just because and only then trying to fit it to some half-baked story. Oh well. I guess Yuasa’s really not my cup of tea.

Dorohedoro (Ep. 10)

  • As always, fight scenes are cool, though far too short.

  • I think I’ll develop a somewhat weird and unsavory feeling towards mushrooms. Wonder why.

  • Poor Nikaidou. Seems like her rescue and overall fate (inevitably intertwined with her past) will be the story that will provide the climax of the show. Knowing the length of the manga (but not much more about it), I highly doubt Caiman will learn everything about his past and tie all the loose ends. I guess rescuing Nikaidou and going to a temporary retreat would be quite enough for the show to finish and don’t leave many unsatisfied viewers.

  • Generally speaking., I think the show took the right decision to start with lots of seemingly nonsensical mini-stories that didn’t seem to mean much. The thing is that such an approach quietly built up the world around the characters and once the story really took off, it’s so much more engaging. Of course, getting to the characters and their problems from the get-go would also have been a viable strategy, but I think I prefer the way it was actually done. The first episodes certainly did seem extra weird and didn’t make any sense, but now the pay-off is huge.

  • A cockroach ex Machina wasn’t something I expected to see. Well, there’s all sorts of things that I expected and didn’t see and vice versa.

  • What does “Dorohedoro” even mean, anyway?

  • Seriously, how many EDs can there be?

Musings and Reflections – Winter 2020 Week 5

One phrase impressions

Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! (Ep. 5) – Suddenly, mecha.
Dorohedoro (Ep. 4) – Long-lost cousin of Golden Kamuy, right?

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Musings and Reflections – Winter 2020 Week 4

One phrase impressions

Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! (Ep. 4) – First episode that I can’t wholeheartedly like
Dorohedoro (Ep. 3) – Zombies, huh?

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Musings and Reflections – Winter 2020 Week 3

One phrase impressions

Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! (Ep. 3) – Three episode rule survived, obviously.
Dorohedoro (Ep. 2) – Weird, again.

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Musings and Reflections – Winter 2020 Week 1 and 2

One phrase impressions

Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! (Ep. 1) – Creativity rules!
Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! (Ep. 2) – Wheels are hard to animate, aren’t they?
Dorohedoro (Ep. 1) – Extra weird.

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I’m watching Vinland Saga, and so should you

     What do you usually think when somebody tells you a particular anime is based on some more or less true historical events? Chances are that it’s yet another take on Oda Nobunaga with some weird spin – all the characters are girls or the setting is changed to a high-school, or something in a similar vein. If not that, Japanese do love a good old Victorian setting, Alice in Wonderland included (or no Alice, for a change). One way or another, in all likelihood I‘d freak out after hearing that such a thing like Vinland Saga does exist. Really, what are the chances that a Japanese dude could make a compelling story about damn Vikings? With no anime girls (pretty much), no high-schools and (virtually) no slap-stick comedy?

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Musings and Reflections – Spring 2019 Week 3

One phrase impressions

Carole and Tuesday (Ep. 3) – Cool second song.

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Musings and Reflections – Spring 2019 Week 1 and 2

One phrase impressions

Carole and Tuesday (Ep. 1) – I’m hooked.
Carole and Tuesday (Ep. 2) – As slice of life as it’s going to be.

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Musings and Reflections – Winter 2019 Week 5

One phrase impressions

Boogiepop wa Warawanai– Aya gets deeper characterized – yay!
Sword Art Online: Alicization
– PHYSICS DOESN’T WORK THIS WAY!
Dororo –  War isn’t tasty…

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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.

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