My Experience with the Anime of Summer 2014

As you know, I wrote that I would try to marathon the anime which I stalled this season.  Having watched straight through episodes 8 – 12 of Aldnoah.Zero, I’ll be able to add my assessment of it to this post–making for a total of five anime.  Expect the reviews of the others to be published singly or in pairs.  Let me start with the two anime which I’m unable to rate due to their series not being finished.

One of the most beautiful images of the season of one of its most charming ladies.

One of the most beautiful images of the season with one of its most charming ladies.

1) Aldnoah.Zero – no rating

Quel finale!  If they had not promised to return for the winter season of 2015, I would have rated it 3 1/2 stars just for crushing the audience’s souls at the end!  (And before the last few minutes and finding out that it would get a second half, I thought about giving it 4 1/2 stars!)  The action sequences were truly awesome, the animation beautiful, and the plot compelling.  The characters were nothing to write home about, but Slaine and Inaho made for great protagonists and even the princess started to grow on me.

I cannot but confess that I found this takedown very cool.

I cannot but confess that I found this takedown very cool.

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As others have noted, certain parts of the anime evinced bad writing.  A few of the characters’ decisions made little sense, especially *MAJOR SPOILER* Rayet killing the princess.  But, that might play into the theme of envy and hatred being motivators for war.  I know Inaho disagreed, saying that there were always other main causes for war.  But, anger and hatred make war especially bitter and often increase the destruction of war and the willingness of nations to begin them.  Just think of Great Britain and France.

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FUTURE POST ALERT: How envy influences Martian politics lines up nicely with a book I’m reading titled Leftism by Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn.  So, the role of envy in modern politics and how envy squelches liberty and diversity will certainly feature as a post in the future.

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2) Akame ga Kiru – no rating

Akame ga Kiru got off to a slow start, but I feel that the second half of this season was much more exciting than the first–just as the case was in the manga.  I must confess that the manga does several things better; but, the way that the show handled the presentation of Esdeath’s character was rather adroit.  (I still prefer the fan translation name, Esdese.  That seems more like a girl’s name than that of an allegorical character, doesn’t it?)  Some of the fights could have been better, but episodes 6 and 11 more than made up for them.  You also need to love Akame ga Kiru‘s style.  It exudes a Renaissance setting, but a million anachronisms fill its scenes–especially the modern style of the clothing and the presence of modern firearms.

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Despite certain flaws in presentation, the adaptation made the pages of the manga come alive.  The voice actors in particular were very well chosen.  I look forward to the second season!

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FUTURE POST ALERT: Also, despite Esdeath being a unique character, I believe that I have discovered the base for her character.  Be sure to look out for my post on which character appears to have been the inspiration for Esdeath!

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3) Rail Wars! – ★★★

The likability of the characters save this show from being rated 2 1/2 stars.  In some respects, especially the tsundere, Aoi Sakurai, many of the characters fall into tried and true character types.  Yet, each character feels unique, e.g. the hoplophile ways of Aoi or Naoto’s obsession with trains.  As a matter of fact, even though Naoto feels like a the weak willed protagonist of a harem anime, he shows guts when the occasion demands them of him, which was another good point to this show.  The character relationships were also done quite well, even if those episodes which focused on this facet of the show tended to be rather fanservicey.

Rail Wars

Though the series can’t be called action-packed, episodes 10 and 11 stand out for the excellence of the fights, and who can forget the train ride from hell in the seventh and eighth episodes?  On the other hand, the final episode annoyed me quite a bit: in a 12 episode series, who needs an episode dedicated to saying good-bye to the characters?  At least, it had more to do with trains than many of the prior episodes.

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In case you were wondering, yes, I would certainly watch this again!

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4) Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun – ★★★★

A well-deserved four stars for this comedy!  I loved how closely the manga covered the process and struggles of writing good manga.  Like Rail Wars!, it boasts a great host of characters who are oddballs in one fashion or another.  As iblessall writes, this show’s ability to tag different people as tsukomi each episode stands as one of its salient features: each person has a turn at playing the straight man as others act ridiculous around them.  Though, Sakura seems to hold this position more than most of the other characters.  A truly great comedy!

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I’ll also admit that I fell for Seo.  Watching her blunt honesty and inability to adjust to the feelings of others was a trip!

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5) Sabagebu! – ★★★★★

I bet you were not expecting me to grant Sabagebu! five stars and a place on my top fifty list!  Yet, it does so many things to make it the most brilliant comedy this year.  Unlike Nozaki-kun, this is a black comedy; so, I can’t recommend it to people who want nothing atrocious to happen to characters.  One needs to be able to laugh at characters who suffer everything from other characters shamelessly using them to shooting them dead in amusing ways.  (Fans of Looney Tunes are sure to love this kind of comedy.)  Our lead character, Sonokawa, in particular has no qualms about using others as stepping stones on her road to victory.  Fortunately, the violence and death only occurs in the characters’ imaginations–most of it anyway.

Sabagebu Sonokawa

But, this show could not have reached five stars had it not been for the excellence of the gun fights and its ability to parody 80’s action movies.  (The parodies of Predator and Mad Max made for some of my favorite scenarios.)  Episode twelve presents a mind-blowing finale to the show.  I must add that Miou was my favorite character; though, Sonokawa’s vengeful deeds are very fun to watch!

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Those are my thoughts for these five shows!  Stay tuned for more!  What was your favorite show this season?

A Brave New World and Its Consequences

medievalotaku:

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this, but Nami has started to blog regularly again! Be sure to check out her blog. Right now, she’s managing to fit one post per week into her busy schedule. I hope that we shall be treated to more like this one.

Originally posted on The Budding Philosopher:

I’m writing a post about some pop music that (like much music today) objectifies not only women but human beings, and lauds them as simply sexual objects. That led to this little brainstorm here.

As I have come to see again and again, morality is not a set of arbitrary rules one must follow. It is about the way things are, and the consequences of our actions stemming from these realities. Some things are the way they are: blue is blue, red is red, water is the liquid form of H2O and ice is the solid form. Blue is never going to be red, or red blue, and ice is never going to be a liquid nor water a solid.

Or say you’re trying to lose weight and you allow yourself one sweet thing a day; and if you eat that cookie before dinner, you can’t have the cake for…

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“Stop spinning my maid without my permission”: Thoughts on GJ-bu

Ever since reading Marow’s opinion on GJ-bu, my interest in watching this show has been aroused.  Having finished it, I find myself in the curious situation of having loved this show but not knowing how to praise it.  Taking a lighthearted look at the foibles of human nature stands as the show’s best point.  After all, the club does not have a goal besides hanging out.  Shion plays online chess, Megumi makes tea and cake, Kirara eats meat, Tama waits for food which never makes her gain weight, and Kyoro–the only male in the club–reads manga as he awaits the president to bully him–or bite him for that matter.

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My predilections lean toward shows rich in character, and GJ-bu excels at making interesting and memorable characters even if they don’t do much.  (As you note, I only forgot one character’s name, and that’s because everyone is always calling her bucho, i.e. president.)  Teasing each other, especially Kyoro, stands as their main hobby.  They force him to brush their hair, doll him up, and compell him to transform to “Ore-otoko,” where he pretends to be a tough guy for a short time, sending shivers of delight up the girls’ spines.  Not sure if that sounds interesting to you.  In my own case, a room full of people teasing each other sounds like home.  It also helped that Shion’s chess junkie ways and Megumi’s tea connoisseurship made me identify with these two characters very easily.  But, watch episode one and see what you think.

No, Shion.  Q-K1 and then QxQ checkmate.  Don't be lazy when playing against yourself!

No, Shion. Q-K1 and then QxQ checkmate. Don’t be lazy when playing against yourself!

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As a side note, it pleased me that all of the characters had siblings–even large families.  (Shion has at least eight brothers for example–perhaps more!)  As you know, Japan has a declining population, and this seems reflected in so many characters being only children or even just living alone.  So, it is nice to see a show where family was of such importance, especially in much of the comedy.

Kirara's sister is probably the cutest of the characters' siblings, especially how she delivers these lines in English.

Kirara’s sister is probably the cutest of the characters’ siblings, especially how she delivers these lines in English.

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Anyway, I’m finished describing–or, rather, attempting to describe–the joys of GJ-buGJ-bu is a show to be experienced and enjoyed rather than read and written about.  Do yourself the pleasure of picking up this show on a rainy day.

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Can't not include a picture of the only male in the cast!

Can’t not include a picture of the only male in the cast!

Fall 2014 Anime to Try Out

It is that time of the year when people across the aniblogosphere write about which new anime excite them most.  I myself thoroughly enjoyed the present season–despite feeling the need to prune my watch list–and hope that the next season produces an equally enjoyable a crop of anime.  Many bloggers seem to be disappointed with the current season in general, but the fault seems to lie in certain shows not meeting the expectations the bloggers placed in them.  What I mean to say is that the majority of shows still being quite good in themselves, just not so great in the minds of the critics.  (But, I will say that I feel very sorry for the people that slogged through Glasslip.)  Shortly, I even hope to pick up all the summer 2014 shows I stalled and finish them by way of marathoning them–the most enjoyable way to watch any show.

Tokyo ESP is at the top of my list for that marathon.

Tokyo ESP is at the top of my list for that marathon.

At any rate, hence follows the list of shows I intend to try out next season along with a brief description of why.  To my mind, the list looks a little weaker than the one for the summer season.  Of course, some of these anime might hold some latent excellence.  Since this list concerns the shows I am not already sold on, I shall not include Hitsugi no Chaika 2 and Psycho-Pass 2.  How could I not watch the sequels to my favorite show of 2013 and my favorite show of the prior season?  Whether the sequels prove to be delightful or disappointing, I’m certain to watch through them both.  If they do prove disappointing, I hope that my complaints and vexation may at least prove enjoyable for you!

Sekai Trigger

1) World Trigger

Sounds like Freezing without the fanservice.  Fighting off giant alien invaders always sounds like an interesting premise for me, so I must give it a shot.

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2) Nanatsu no Taizai (aka The Seven Deadly Sins)

While perusing the aisles of Kinokuniya in New York City (the best Japanese bookstore on the east coast since the demise of Sasuga–yet another reason to hate the current recession), I came across this manga among the “Kono Manga ga Sugoi!” award winners.  With that endorsement, I purchased the volume one.  Though I have not yet gotten around to reading this Japanese edition yet, the artwork looks rather amazing and the action intense–big pluses in my book.  For the above reasons, I’m giving the anime a shot.  I really need to read volume one before it premiers.

3) Amagi Brilliant Park

Here’s an addition whose inclusion owes much to Caraniel’s excellent season preview post.  Before reading this post, I had not known that the author of Full Metal Panic was behind this series.  That’s all the endorsement a series needs in my book.  Though, I hope the dark and twisted psychological influences present in Full Metal Panic: The Second Raid are utterly, completely, and absolutely gone, lost, abandoned, forsaken, and anathematized from this new series!

4) Denki-gai Honya-san

Another comedy, this series of shorts involves the workers in a manga bookstore.  Can’t hurt to give it a shot.

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5) Akatsuki no Yona

The manga version has the honor of being dropped by yours truly.  At a certain point, the plot and characters ceased to hold interest for me.  This does not exclude the anime version from outdoing the manga–as, exempli gratia, is shown in the cases of Knights of Sidonia and Saber Marionette J.  Especially as the scenario is rather interesting (though Rolan the Forgotten King executes a similar idea better), I am willing to give this story another shot.

6) Shingeki no Bahamut Genesis

Can’t be worse than that other Shingeki anime, can it?  (I jest.)  The preview boasts cool swordplay in a dark fantasy setting.  Worth a shot just for that.

7) Madan no Ou to Vanadis

Another show I wish to check out just because of its fantasy setting.  It must be confessed that this anime almost failed to make the list.  But, this preview promises the possibility of a fun show.  It could turn out to be another Blade and Soul, i.e. atrociously fanservicey and dull; but, one can’t know for sure until one tries it.

Garoo

8) Garo: Honoo no Kokuin

If you haven’t perceived it ere now, I’m a sucker for fantasy settings.  This one seems to have a good story.  A mix of Scrapped Princess and Chronicles of Lodoss War perhaps?

9) Inou Battle Within Everyday Life

Solely because Trigger is behind it.

10) Terra Formars

The plot sounds like a combination of the movies Starship Troopers and Mimic.  (I had no idea those came out in the same year.)  What’s not to love about a show about soldiers fighting giant man-eating cockroaches on Mars?  In any case, man-eating cockroaches are eminently preferable to man-eating monsters in human form–at least, to me.

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11) I don’t Understand What My Husband is Saying

My line-up this season is devoid of comedy except for Denki-gai Honya-san, so I feel compelled to give this show a shot.  Besides, few anime I know focus on married couples, so this should be interesting.

12) Whatever You Like

As long as my list is this long, I might as well add a twelfth show, right?  No, that’s not the name of an anime coming out next season.  Rather I’d like to invite my dear readers to recommend a series for me that’s not listed above.  Whatever most people tell me I should watch by October 1st, I shall watch!

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I need to find time to watch the second season of Hamatora.

Within the first two weeks of the season, this long list shall be pruned by two-thirds, which means I’ll shoot for a total of six shows this season.  (I include Hitsugi no Chaika and Psycho-Pass in that sum.)  How does my list of shows to sample compare with yours?

On the Medieval Poem Pearl

medievalotaku:

I’m doing a series on the Pearl-poet on another blog of mine. These poems are very theological, and so I cannot help but think that they are also relevant to this blog. I hope that you find my little article interesting.

Originally posted on Aquila et Infans:

This 14th century poem written by an anonymous author from the West Midlands region of England traverses 1212 lines of exquisite verse, describing the anguish of a bereaved father and a vision of his daughter in heaven.  As far as I know, no other poem employs theology so well in its verses, and few are as well constructed.  The first and last lines of each stanza repeat one topical word until a new canto begins.  There are twenty cantos with five stanzas each, adding up to the perfect number of 100.  Each stanza contains twelve lines, and the whole poem numbers 1212 lines.  (Pretty neat, I think.)  This Middle English verse is heavily rooted in the Old English alliterative tradition–similar to Piers Plowman by William Langland; however, its Middle English is substantially more difficult.  I soon stopped trying to read the original West Midlands dialect, and Casey Finch does a…

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Jinbee Tsukishima as a Model of Sainthood

The more I read the Mushibugyo manga and watch the anime based on it the more fond of it I become. One of its greatest moments occurs in chapter 33 of the manga–covered within episode 8 of the anime. Our hero, Jinbee, discovers that Mitsuki has abducted Haru, his love interest, in order to draw him into a trap. Once Mitsuki has him inside a cavern crawling with giant bugs and lined with debris and buildings from a destroyed village, Haru finds a way to escape her bounds. But, Mitsuki still intends to crush both of them by bringing down the house on them–literally dropping houses from the cavern’s ceiling! Rather than lament his predicament, Jinbee quickly hits upon the plan of using the houses as a means to ascend to the top and escape! Not only does he not utter a single lamentation for his situation, but he even excuses Mitsuki of any wrongdoing–claiming that she must be being manipulated somehow!

Falling House

How many lessons this short chapter holds for a Christian! Those of you familiar with the series know that Jinbee and Haru are not the sharpest knives in the drawer, but their very simplicity allows them to act without hesitation. Curiously, intelligence can actually produce barriers to right action. Dostoyevsky’s underground man states that a truly intelligent man would never do anything. A man of action must be stupid. Why? The intelligent man tends to overanalyze and complain because their very intelligence allows them to see more difficulties. The knowledge of these difficulties stymies action. In Jinbee’s case, on the other hand, he seizes upon what he considers the best course of action and follows it without hesitation.

Great Idea

Some of the best Christian saints were also some of the simplest people. Sure, Christ has need of intelligent people, and the ranks of the Doctors of the Church are filled with them. Also, few religions have placed the same emphasis on learning as Christianity. However, when God needs something done, he often turns to the simplest individuals. Once God showed St. Francis of Assisi a room filled with thousands of swords and spears, and told him that he should win as many swords for God. The next day, St. Francis immediately bought some armor and set about to raise a company of soldiers for the Crusades! Fortunately, another dream that evening described that St. Francis would be responsible for raising spiritual warriors rather than Crusaders to the Holy Land. Like the good and single-hearted man St. Francis was, he returned to Assisi and set about creating the foundations for the Order of Friars Minor.

Happiness in Struggle

Neither St. Francis nor Jinbee allowed the struggles to daunt them from achieving their purpose. Haru also immediately consents to the plan of house climbing. If we take houses to symbolize temptations and difficulties, should not their ascent indicate walking the royal road to paradise? Temptations and obstacles ought to be met with cheer because overcoming them causes growth and sanctification. God permits temptations and obstacles in our lives so that we can triumph over them. As much as it may appear to the contrary, God would never permit temptations so great that we could never overcome them. We have no reason to be angry with God for the difficulties in our lives–though God is understanding of our frustration.

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For that matter, we should avoid becoming angry at the people who place stumbling blocks and temptations before us. As Mitsuki sends houses crashing down on him and giant bugs after him, Jinbee claims that she must be being forced against her will. Flabbergasted by these excuses and the cheerful attitude of Haru and Jinbee–they essentially treat the attempts to kill them as a game, she vehemently asserts her malevolence, which produces more resolute denials of her wickedness from Jinbee. In a like fashion, Christians should make excuses for the people that wrong them and remember both that Christ died for that person and that their enemies possess the spark of divinity as creatures made in the image and likeness of God.

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Lastly, we cannot ascend to heaven on our own strength. No one is saved alone. At times, we must like Haru accept help; at other times, we must like Jinbee help others for the increase of our charity. John Donne puts it very well in his seventeenth Meditation:

…for affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it. No man hath afflicion enough, that is not matured and ripened by it, and made fit for God by that affliction…Tribulation is treasure in the nature of it, but it is not current money in the use of it, except we get nearer and nearer our home, heaven, by it. Another may be sick too, and sick to death, and this affliction may lie in his bowels, as gold in a mine, and be of no use to him; but this bell that tells me of his affliction, digs out, and applies that gold to me: if by this consideration of another’s danger, I take mine own into contemplation, and so secure myself, by making my recourse to my God, who is our only security.

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But, other people and our own efforts can only help us along so far. Our good deeds and patient suffering increase our merit and fortify our good will, but God Himself must draw us up to heaven as heaven is so far above our deserts. We often sin and must have recourse to God in straightening out our crookedness or indeed even infusing supernatural charity back in our souls after we do a grave wrong. And, we might say that that ever-present need of God’s salvation is symbolized by Jinbee’s associates breaking into that chasm to rescue Jinbee and Haru from Mitsuki, who would surely have killed them had not the warriors of Mushibugyo dropped in at the right time.

To the Rescue

Sometimes, samurai anime can be remarkably fruitful for contemplation!

“It’s Time to Enjoy Yourselves”: Taking a City by Assault Before Modern Times

The flashback to Najenda and Esdeath’s past in episode nine of Akame ga Kiru reminded me of a book I read recently titled Furies: War in Europe 1450 – 1700 by Lauro Martines.  The sack of the rebel town juxtaposed the two in my mind.  In sinister fashion, Esdeath orders the soldiers to do whatever they like to the rebel civilians.  Najenda is so horrified by the brutality of the rape, murder, and pillage that she quits the Imperial Army.  (Though, as an officer and a general, she should certainly have had some ability to mitigate the crimes suffered by the rebel civilians, which is the weakest part of the flashback.)  Esdeath has no pity for the weak and believes that the soldiers have a right to do as they please with the inhabitants.

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Curiously, by historical standards, Najenda has the most unusual reaction to the sack.  The standard features of a sack consist in rape, murder, pillage, arson, torture, and other vile crimes.  (Bernard Cornwell writes a great description of a sack in the beginning of his novel 1356, but I confess to being put off by the violence.)  Many people paint the Crusaders in dark colors because of the Sack of Jerusalem, which led to a massacre of the defenders and civilians.  But, that’s what happens when a city is taken by assault.  Muslims did exactly the same thing in the Sack of Constantinople in 1453, yet no one declaims against the villainy of the Turks.  And Renaissance soldiers committed very violent sacks also.  Sacking a city invites the worse parts of human nature run rampant.  The only bloodless sack I can think of is the Vandals’ Sack of Rome in 455.  However, in this case, an agreement had been drawn up between Genseric and St. Leo the Great (my confirmation patron saint) to spare the lives of the inhabitants.  Though, if an enemy army bursts into a city by force, anything goes.

Assaulting a Town

Generals and the officers of the Renaissance, the era to which the world of Akame ga Kiru most closely corresponds, were certainly complicit in giving their men permission to sack a city.  Sometimes sacks would last as long as two to four days before the officers would reign in their men.  During that time, thousands of civilians would be murdered.  The officers would restrain their men from the most violent crimes if they were present, but they themselves pillaged and took nobles as hostages to be ransomed later at high cost.  Many officers recorded in their diaries and memoirs that they were shocked by the brutality committed against poor civilians, but, unlike Najenda, they never thought of quitting the army just because of that.

Disillusionment

Why were the rank and file so brutal?  In Renaissance armies, condemned men often had their sentences commuted to military service in a time of war, and these were no doubt the worst perpetrators.  However, the violence was general enough that one cannot only blame convicted criminals.  For a moment, imagine being a soldier in a besieging army.  For weeks or months, those infernal defenders had been shooting arrows or lead into one’s friends, pouring boiling oil over one’s head, slinging insults from the walls, and doing whatever else they could to make life unpleasant.  Prior to a successful assault, many messages calling for the city to surrender would have been refused.  During a siege, a soldier’s life was filled with squalor, disease, and other privations–including a maddening feeling of hunger every day.

Fallen in Battle

At last, the day comes when one breaks into the city!  Now, defenders throw themselves at one’s mercy!  Is a soldier going to be inclined to offer them quarter?  Balderdash!  They had perhaps three months to surrender peacefully if they had wished!  Revenge is the order of the day.  One kills until one can lift the sword no more, finds some plunder to sift through, or a good meal to consume.  That’s an awful reality, but reality all the same.

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Still, Esdeath takes things too far when she delights in the cruelty of the sack.  And without a long siege, I doubt that her soldiers could have been whipped up into the same frenzy I described above unless part of her men numbered among the Imperial Army that had been defeated in the prior expedition.  Those might indeed have been feeling murderous towards the inhabitants!  Yet, it is an officer’s duty to try to alleviate the misery suffered by the civilians, but Esdeath thinks that the strong have the right to do as they please to the weak.  Historical sacks show that many of the common soldiers possessed the same attitude, though officers would not give their men rights beyond the right of taking booty.  At the same time, the officers accepted that they could not prevent their men from committing grave offenses against the populace while they were not present.  No one would have thought of it as a good reason to resign from the service like Najenda, but I suspect that she was more disgusted with Esdeath than anything else.

The manga, as usual, conveys the moods and characters much better.

The manga, as usual, conveys the moods and characters much better.

How to Write (and Find) a Good Season Preview Blog Post

medievalotaku:

The most perfect and no-nonsense guide to writing a season preview post. xD That reminds me that I should try to write one soon.

Originally posted on Life and Anime:

As you know if you read my ask.fm or my Anitwitter rantings or (occasionally) my blog, you’ll know that I have totally disavowed season preview posts. Thus, to preserve my dignity, I will not be writing a season preview post for at least another season before I probably change my mind because I can’t keep my mouth shut and want to hype up anime I know nothing about and want to do so badly enough to eat my words and mocking of season preview season and endure all the people who will (righteously) come to shout at me, “You said you’d never do a season preview and that they’re stupid! Look at you now, you hypocrite!”

Those days are coming, but they aren’t here yet! So for all my friends out there who are writing your season previews, here are 5 easy steps to writing a good season preview blog post. And…

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New Page: Suggested Spiritual Reading

My dear readers, I decided that it would be worthwhile to include another page on my website.  Titled “Suggested Spiritual Reading,” it lists various books which have enriched people’s souls for a long time–some for over a millennium.  I’m curious whether you think that it’s a good list and what works you would wish to see on it.  Also, I wonder how you think about my division of the books of the Bible depending on their difficulty.  Did I rank some books too high and others too low?

As always, thanks for reading!

z_jerome-lion

Mercy in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Originally posted on :

As many Christians will tell you, mercy and grace are some of the dearest and most beautiful qualities of God. Not only does he show us mercy every day by guiding us through problems that we often bring on ourselves, but he gave everyone on earth mercy by dying on the cross so we wouldn’t have to take the consequence for our mistakes. Yet when the idea of showing such great mercy is presented to most people on earth, Christians and non-Christians alike balk at the idea. We make all sorts of excuses to avoid giving anything less than whatever we perceive as justice to those around us when they’re in the wrong, especially if it comes at a cost, despite the fact that there are few people who have never received a kindness they didn’t earn.

Mercy is also one of the main qualities of Edward Elric, the protagonist…

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