Winter 2012 – Week 5 Anime Review

This week (really last week but whatever): frustration with opponents in Future Diary, thoughts on warfare tactics in Mouretsu Pirates, and enjoying the history lessons in Chihayafuru.

Another (Episode 4) – The first episode of Another inspired me to begin theorizing about the show, trying to pick up on hints and clues throughout the episode and try to explain what’s going on.  Since then, however, I haven’t really spent much time trying to come up with theories or try to find subtle hints and clues throughout.  I’m not sure why but I have a few ideas.  One is that the story has been progressing at a sluggish pace and the information being presented is often minimal or irrelevant.  With a bottleneck on the information and revelations, it’s hard to come up with new theories and of the theories that already exist, they’re usually quite broad this early in the anime so they can account for fluctuations and variability in the plot.  That’s one.  The other is that I just don’t really enjoy this anime all that much which, unfortunately, is true.  And if I don’t feel passionate about something, it doesn’t seem worthwhile to analyze something deeply and try to explain what’s going on given the current situation.  Perhaps when the information or surprises starting accumulating again, then I might change my tune and crank out my thoughts in my next weekly post.

Brave 10 (Episode 5) – You’d figure Isanami’s persistent depression and crying would get irritating or tiresome but it really hasn’t, at least not for me.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite.  Isanami has a compelling reason for constantly crying which have been explained in her character.  She’s gone from a compassionate, cheerful and selfless girl to someone who brings death and destruction to anyone who associates with her.  And to add to that, she assumes the blame for all that death and destruction on herself, isolating herself away from those who wish to help her.  She’s clearly distressed by all this trouble she’s brought on everyone and feels great remorse for all that has happened.  Given her kindhearted, innocent and sensitive nature, it’s no surprise to see her overwhelmed with sorrow and loneliness.  In that state, it only makes sense for a character like her to cry and cry and cry.  And until any of that changes, I won’t have a problem with Isanami’s constant crying.

Chihayafuru (Episode 17) – You’ve got to feel bad for Kana with how everyone disrespects the poems.  True, this information is trivial and irrelevant to the sport and the only time you ever get any level of depth into the meaning of the cards or the analysis of the poems is when Kana has the opportunity to speak.  Everything else, including every other character in the series, is into the sport itself (besides Chihaya until the end of the episode after hearing Kana’s opinion).  But these trivial facts and history are one of my favorite parts of the anime.  I really enjoy hearing Kana go on about some obscure line and explain the meaning behind the words we always hear during each match.  It doesn’t really affect anyone in the anime, but for someone who enjoys history, I can’t help but appreciate these scenes.

Future Diary (Mirai Nikki) (Episode 17) – Perhaps I’m just bitter but I don’t think I’ll ever be happy with any villains in Future Diary again.  Ever since Fifth showed up, I have not enjoyed any of the opponents Yuki and Yuno have faced.  No matter what happens, no matter the advantage or the circumstances, they always seem to do something that causes them to lose.  Seventh had numerous times to win over the past few episodes but continued to choose not to do the right thing.  Contrast that with Yuki and Yuno who almost seem to do the right thing given their situation and, with a little bit of luck, they survive.  It’s frustrating to watch the opponents act stupid during these battles while Yuno and Yuki use their brains and always win.  I realize that Yuki and Yuno have to survive for the sake of the story but I’d actually like to see the opponents try to kill them rather than just ‘play’ with them.

Mouretsu Pirates (Bodacious Space Pirates) (Episode 5) – The whole concept of electronic warfare is pretty clever but why not engage in real warfare and electronic warfare at the same time?  Obviously you have both options available at all times, so, when assaulting another ship, why not try to do both?  I suppose it makes sense to suspend the ship and take it without damaging it at all (make more of a profit) but why not destroy the engine or sails while you’re at it and force them to surrender that way?  And what if electronic warfare does not resolve itself and continues indefinitely?  At some point, real warfare needs to kick in and I’m a bit surprised to see it happen only after the opponent, Lightning 11, forced all their computers and communication off.  I would’ve thought they’d try that tactic sooner, especially when they were being hacked by their opponent and while they had their computers online.  But then I suppose these aren’t the best pirates around, so it’s natural to assume they make mistakes in their piracy (like going after Marika and her friends).

Persona 4 the Animation (Episode 17) – We’re about three-quarters of the way through Persona 4 and we’ve finally assembled our final party now that Naoto has joined.  And given how awesome Naoto is, I really wish she joined earlier so we could see more of her throughout the last half of the anime.  It’s kind of a shame that forming the party took as long as it did since different characters saw varying levels of involvement and development throughout.  Now that everyone is together, I’m assuming the anime will immediately begin making the final preparations for the finale and begin that story next.  But it’s a shame we never saw Naoto go out on those school trips as a part of the group, being friends with everyone.  I doubt we’ll see anything like that now that all the pieces are in place for the story to conclude.

Rinne no Lagrange (Episode 5) – So Muginami’s airhead personality and image were merely a fabrication to infiltrate Earth, bond with Madoka and steal a Vox.  What a relief.  Now that we know she has a brain and quite a good one at that, will she ditch this masquerade and act like according to her true personality or will she continue this charade and be a ditzy, busty girl throughout?  In case you couldn’t tell already, I want Muginami to act bright and intelligent throughout the anime and never revert back to her false personality again, even if she acts like that at school for pretense.  I already have a bit of trouble given her image and her style of dress with that personality, so anything away from that would be appreciated.  Actually, I think I’d enjoy it if Muginami continued to dress the way she does but completely undermine her old personality and be one of the smartest people in this anime given that image.  If I can’t get a personality change for a majority of the show (I’m assuming she’ll act smart during battles at the very least), I wouldn’t mind it if she had a costume change, even to something simple like the school uniform.

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  1. #1 by Joojoobees on February 9, 2012 - 3:00 PM

    On Chihayafuru poem discussion. You clearly aren’t the only one who cherishes these parts of the show. I for one certainly enjoy this aspect of the show. It is interesting how the poems can be distant and present all the time, then on a moment’s notice (most likely Kanade getting worked up) they are unpacked in all sorts of detail: both historical and symbolic.

    Bodacious Space Pirates – Electronic warfare versus a shooting war. I think it is useful to think of the psychology of someone who is mugging an old lady. They threaten the old lady and demand she hands over her purse. In their ideal scenario, the old lady gives them the purse and they leave. It is true they could probably win in a fight if the old lady refuses to cooperate, but that doesn’t mean they would start negotiations by challenging her to fight. Things are bound to go wrong if you start by trying to win an unnecessary fight.

    • #2 by avvesione on February 9, 2012 - 3:16 PM

      I never even considered that but you’re right, whenever Kana brings up the poems, they’re both historical and symbolic. I only thought I liked these tidbits because they were historical but I completely ignored the context they were in. I mean, if Kana just brought up these facts randomly, I wouldn’t appreciate them as much but when they’re a piece of the story and how they inspire Chihaya, they’re some of the best scenes in Chihayafuru. Thanks for pointing that out.

      That’s true, but I was thinking about it another way (and I’ll continue on your example as well): suppose we’re at the start of the robbery. Do you think the old lady would give in faster if the thug just asked, or asked and held up a knife/gun? Suppose we go further from that and the thug uses force and quickly turns to blackmail saying he’ll stop if he gets the purse. Obviously these situations aren’t perfect parallels but those were my thoughts on the issue. Actually, the allegory I originally had in mind when I wrote this article was sending in soldiers to siege a citadel (one type of warfare) compared to soldiers and catapults (two types of warfare). The soldiers are the ones who’d take over the fortress but the catapults would help by breaking down the walls and requiring further attention (also not the perfect example but what I had in mind when I took that stance).

      • #3 by Ante on February 10, 2012 - 1:56 AM

        About Bodacious…
        I guess the reason they don’t engage in real warfare is because they don’t want to harm the ship, they want it as functional as possible because:
        1) It is one of original seven

        Using real warfare directly will risked to harm the ship…
        They want the ship, but if the ship is damaged they will need to repair it and it isn’t very profitable…
        They maybe shoot in the end, but it because they are now desperate and furious…
        Desperate because they don’t have access to any electronic gadget and furious due to their defeat to their which is:

        2) The one that on board is High School student and girl nonetheless…

        Remember, they have tried to hijack the ship before and almost succeed thus they believe they can do the same this time with better result…
        With student girls as opponent in mind, they also believe they only need to scare them using electronic warfare…
        In the theif-old woman scenario, the whole pointing knife is electronic warfare while the real warfare is stabbing the knife to limb….

        Also, if you analyze it, you can see that they are not a strong pirate…
        They certainly realize that they are not the only one that seek the ship and thus using electronic warfare will allow them to take the ship with the least amount of attention…

        Hope it is understandable…

        • #4 by avvesione on February 12, 2012 - 2:37 PM

          I don’t believe the pirates that were assaulting the ship knew it was one of the original seven; the purpose of their mission was Marika alone. The ship being one of the original seven is still a mystery to most. Had they known it was that formidable, I doubt they would’ve tried to take over the ship with their basic electronic warfare and tried something else altogether (or probably not even bother knowing how great of a mismatch the battle was).

          Regarding the schoolgirl theory comment, you’re right, they should not have had to resort to violence to take them over but I still believe that the threat of actual violence would’ve been an added bonus. Going back to the thief/old lady example, the electronic warfare matches the verbal threat without the sign of any physical violence. Electronic warfare is just that, a communicable threat, one that can do no harm to the other. The knife however, is a physical threat and showing it would be equivalent to firing a cannon near the ship to show how serious the others are. I suppose the point about the knife stabbing would be analogous to the cannon actually hitting the ship. I was thinking that the pirates could do enough to immobile the ship through either electronic or actual warfare and then raid the ship in whatever fashion they deemed appropriate.

          I agree with your comment that they are weak pirates. But doesn’t that support my idea that they should’ve done more so they would’ve been successful rather than doing the minimum which was electronic warfare only? They weren’t concerned with using the cannon in the fight once they lost at electronic warfare, so it’s not like they were against using it the whole time. It would’ve been better to start with both to ensure victory rather than fumble around with their options and end up being captured by the imperial fleet like what occurred.

          Thanks for the detailed comment but I’m still steadfast in my opinion on the matter. I understand your points but I have a different impression of the scene which is why I don’t see eye-to-eye with you and your thoughts on the matter. Still, glad to see someone as passionate as you about Mouretsu Pirates here.

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