Last week: questioning the relevance of Isla being a robot in Plastic Memories, considering the skill of the professionals playing the instruments in Hibike! Euphonium, Joseph Joestar’s amazing achievement at the end of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders – Egypt Arc, and criticizing the monotonous comedy in Ore Monogatari!!
Best episode of the week: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders – Egypt Arc (S2)
Anime trending up this week: Hibike! Euphonium
Anime trending down this week: Ore Monogatari!!
Plastic Memories (Episode 12)
Is there something special or necessary about Isla being a dying robot? Couldn’t the story of Plastic Memories be just as effective, if not more effective, if Isla was a dying human? To me, the whole issue of robotic deaths – the limited memories, the strict robot lifespans, and the robots that become impractically strong and berserk at a specific time point – have actually detracted from Isla’s story and taken away from her character. Do we need to have such specific and rigid details about these robots for us to understand or care about Isla? Are they necessary tidbits for her death? Rather, couldn’t she just be a human dying from some mysterious anime disease while keeping the same job and thinking about death with these robots? Why have all these details about robotics if they’re not relevant to the story – the story of Isla’s last few months alive? Really, I think Plastic Memories would’ve been better without these unnecessary details and have Isla be a dying human being instead.
Ore Monogatari!! (Episode 11)
Ore Monogatari!! has two jokes and only two jokes. The first is that Takeo is big and strong and super cool. The second is that Takeo doesn’t know how to act around girls, and he’s always awkward, yelling and overreacting over everything. And that’s it… that’s been all the comedy through 11 episodes now; I’ve just summarized the entire Ore Monogatari!! series to date. Had there been some diversity in the humor, or even basic character development, then the series might’ve keep those two jokes serviceable, but not after using them a dozen times in every episode. They’ve been beaten into the ground now. Yes, Takeo has remarkable size and strength. Yes, Takeo has never had a girlfriend before and is super silly when he tries to do things. We get it. What I don’t get is why every episode has to be the same in terms of its style and content. The characters can grow and change, thereby leading to different jokes or humor. Ore Monogatari!! can diversify its humor; it doesn’t need to tell the same joke over and over and over and over again. And by doing this, it makes the series feel uncreative or undeveloped, that it can’t move on beyond, ‘hey, our main character is unusual, isn’t that hilarious?’ Yeah, maybe a couple times, but not when that’s all the series has to offer.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders – Egypt Arc (S2) (Episode 48 [Finale])
You’d figure that the finale of Stardust Crusaders would end with Jotaro being the pinnacle of the series. After all, Jotaro is the main character of Part III – he’s the JoJo after all – and it was up to Jotaro to defeat Dio and save the life of his grandfather after his spirit had parted this mortal plane. I mean, it was the perfect ending for him to be the highlight of his own story. But it was Joseph’s revival and subsequent jokes in the ambulance that stole the spotlight from Jotaro, and right at the very end, too. Yes, only someone as awesome as Joseph Joestar could pull off a feat like that. His humor was such that, even in the aftermath of all the action and drama, he could steal the focus from Jotaro’s accomplishments for one final laugh. And after going so long between jokes at the end, it was a refreshing way to reestablish Joseph’s quirky character and charming personality after all he did in Part III. I do feel a bit bad for Jotaro, for being usurped right at the end of his own story, but there really was no better way to end Stardust Crusaders than what we just saw.
Hibike! Euphonium (Episode 11)
One aspect I love about music anime is thinking about the professionals playing the instruments in real life. These people are not only required to play the awe-inspiring, dramatic, and emotional performances, playing to the best of their ability to express the skill and feelings of the greatest characters, but they must also struggle with their instruments, playing pieces like beginners and making errors on simple notes. To me, I find that playing music poorly must be the most challenging aspect of their job, since they are already accustomed to their instruments and know how to play them. Imagine being hired to play an instrument for Hibike! Euphonium and being required to make frequent mistakes in order to play the role of a beginner or bad student. Imagine being the director and needing to listen to these pieces and think if they’re bad enough, or maybe good enough, to fit the scene and the anime. And let’s not forget expressing the character’s personalities or how to coach up these professionals to match what the director thinks is needed for the scene. It must be challenging for these professionals, to do something so different and so much worse than what they’re capable of. And because of these thoughts and realizations, I truly appreciate what these professionals are doing for music anime.
Fate/stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works (TV) (Episode 24)
Considering the overwhelming and destructive power of the Holy Grail in FSN, how has the world not been destroyed already? I mean, consider all the different characters participating in the Holy Grail War, what types of personalities they had, what their wishes were, and what they were capable of… and consider that no one has yet made a wish to take over the world or anything of that nature. Or maybe not even taking over the world, but considering the malice and malevolence seen by the participants, how does the world still function the way it does? Perhaps there’s something I’m missing in all this, but I’m surprised the world is normal considering that such a dire force exists in the world, and that malicious people with selfish desires are all competing for its power.
#1 by Joojoobees on June 28, 2015 - 8:29 AM
Yeah, can you imagine being given direction such as, “Now play this as if you were a beginner, and a bit awkward, but have terrific spirit and innate ability.”
#2 by JekoJeko on June 28, 2015 - 9:06 AM
That or they could record a number of beginners playing the part until they find one who plays it the way they want it to sound :)
#3 by avvesione on July 3, 2015 - 6:45 PM
I was thinking that too, but considering that they have to pay these people to play, I think they just hired the best possible people to play a range of characters. I mean, considering the orchestra pieces they play with all the instruments, I’m guessing there’s quite a bit of money and effort spent on the orchestra compared to the anime production in general. In fact, thinking about how much time and money and directing goes into the music and how well the anime has been makes Hibike! Euphonium even more amazing.
#4 by JekoJeko on June 28, 2015 - 9:12 AM
With regards to the significance of the sci-fi elements of PlaMemo, I agree that the speculative nature of the show – which sci-fi elements bolster – was largely abandoned for the sake of a singular romance. That being said, I would have rather they’d used those elements better rather than say that they should have changed the genre of the piece (wouldn’t it then just be another The Fault in our Stars?). Sci-fi and romance can go very well together – Ano Natsu de matteru comes to mind – but you have to work the two genres, and the expectations that come with those genres, together. By the end of PlaMemo the sci-fi context is all but background noise, whereas it functions as thought-provoking material before.
Then again, perhaps the lack of necessity for the sci-fi genre tag near the end is a sign of development in Isla, that she has become more human through her experiences. It still comes at the cost of a speculative experience though, as I found myself having little interest in the implications of her death (also partly because of heavy-handed symbolism).
#5 by avvesione on July 3, 2015 - 6:49 PM
You raise a strong point on the sci-fi elements needing to blend well with the romance to make a rewarding story. It’s a shame that they felt disjointed and that the sci-fi elements dropped off at the end since I did enjoy the beginning with the idea of defined robot lifespans and dealing with robot death.
As for the second half, I do wonder if it was because Isla became more human. From the start, she always seemed human, as did all the other robots. In fact, if they didn’t tell us she was a robot or there were robots, I never would’ve guessed.
#6 by foshizzel on July 3, 2015 - 5:11 AM
I fully agree on Plastic Memories! I didn’t really care for the fact that Isla was a robot and the idea that Tsukasa falls in love with her was so freaking dumb for me! WTF really? REALLY? I guess sure she looks human and is ultra cute helps things for her outside appearance, but whatever I didn’t buy their “love” in the first place and since she was dying obviously that was super forced drama to cause some emotional response in the viewer much like Ano Hana.
I will miss JOJO! I hope part four and five get animated, but honestly people might be a bit JOJO-ed out at this point cause we got the third part for what half a year? As much as I love JOJO I could use a bit of a break from it xD
#7 by avvesione on July 3, 2015 - 6:52 PM
I can’t be too hard on Tsukasa since Isla was pretty cute, and I probably would’ve fallen for her if she were my partner, too, but I think Plastic Memories had issues with its writing for the most part. I think there was a good idea at the core of Plastic Memories, but the author couldn’t develop in a genuine way to build up this story. It feels like a first draft rather than a final product.
As far as JJBA, I can’t wait for Part 4. I am really curious about Parts 4+ since I knew bits and pieces of Parts 1-3 but nothing of 4+. To me, I’m really excited to see where this series goes and if it’ll eventually catch up to JoJolion (which I have about 2 years worth of content in my mangazines).