I promised to write this article a long time ago, and I’m very happy to see it published. Legend of Galactic Heroes has garnered many fans throughout its three decades of existence. (The OVA itself needed nearly a decade to complete: 1988-1997.) Part of the charm of this series is that it asks an eternal question: what is the best form of government? Monarchy, aristocracy, or democracy? The dress and cultures of our heroes reminds us of the First World War, and we recall that great cataclysm in the obscene casualty levels of each interstellar battle. Yet, does the Empire really represent the Second Reich and the Free Planets Alliance the Allies?
The question on the best form of government has its antecedent far before World War I: Herodotus’ Histories contains a scene where Persians debate over the best form of government for themselves. In the end, they decide on monarchy, since they argue that aristocracy and democracy are too unstable. They say that the natural course of affairs is for one person to gain all political power anyway; so, they might as well establish a monarchy!
A little more than nine years ago – January 21st of 2008 – saw the first piece of writing published on The Null Set, and, thus, began a slipshod experiment that I’m shocked has continued for as long as it has.
I’ve yet to question my desire to continue blogging because, even in this recent time of diminished output, I still feel like that I get more back from my blog than I put into it. One of the reasons for this comes from the feedback I get from people who take the time to leave comments.
So, to my readers and commenters, Thank you! I want 2017 to be a better year for The Null Set than 2016 was.
Watching Chain Chronicle has proven quite fun so far. This classic fantasy provides the viewer with a bevy of strong heroes, implacable foes, beautiful warrior maidens, and a Luke Skywalker-ish hero for its viewers to engage in “egocentric castle building,” as C. S. Lewis termed it in An Experiment in Criticism. This is a fantasy fully in the spirit of Dungeons and Dragons. It’s fun, but nothing within the story thus far has struck me as uncommon.
Bruckhardt’s fall from grace counts as the most interesting event of the story thus far. From the first, my ears heard “Blackheart” when the seiyuu pronounced the knight’s name, and episode three revealed his transformation to a Blackheart indeed. The twin scourges of pride and melancholy oppressed him on account of the preferment Yuri gave to Aram. This allowed him to fall easy prey to the evil influence of the Black King’s demon. There is no faster way to hell than pride: the way Lucifer fell and the chief fault of Adam. Even the early Church Fathers wrote that pride alone suffices to send one to hell, even as humility provides the surest means to salvation among the virtues.
A Christian ought to daily nourish his spirit with theology or the good example of the saints. The Bible accomplishes both admirably; yet, it can sometimes strike one as too abstract or its familiarity blocks us from receiving new insights. This is where spiritual books are an enormous help.
St. John Bosco, pray for us!
Below, I have included three recommendations and write a little about what makes them unique. Hopefully, one or more of these will make your reading list in the near future.
1) Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson
This is probably the most prosaic version of the world’s end I have ever encountered. Written prior to WWI, Benson actually predicted that war and posits that the world will end in the early 21st century. Readers of the Apocalypse know that there shall be widespread irreligion at the end of the world: the religious shall be few and far between, and God’s punishments will cause the impenitent to curse God rather than amend their lives. What is the primary cause for the world ending around the beginning of the 21st century? The rise of communism and the culture of death.
Dan Jones covers a superlatively violent period of British history: 1420 – 1525. This period sees the death of King Henry V, the loss of English land in France under Henry VI, a period of Civil War which only ended for good with the ascension of Henry VII, and the reign of Henry VIII before his troubles with the papacy. Most writers describe the Wars of the Roses as a conflict between two rival houses (York and Lancaster), which only ended when Henry VII married Elizabeth of York in 1486–thus combining them. Even so, many of the events following 1486 have to do with Henry VII and Henry VIII either dealing with attempts of pretenders to the throne to invade England or killing off everyone with Plantagenet blood in his veins. And so, it is fair to say that 1525 marks the end of English internecine conflict and the threat posed by people who might claim succession to the throne.
This history is every bit as violent as the preceding paragraph makes it sound. Edward IV, Richard III, and Henry VII all won their crowns on the battlefield. Henry V bequeathed his subjects a stable and prosperous kingdom, but died while his son and heir was a mere infant. The clashes between aristocratic families over who held the reigns of power during Henry VI’s infancy led to England becoming every bit as turbulent as France during the Hundred Years’ War. (Maybe more violent. I don’t think that France can point to a Battle of Towton, which left 28,000 casualties…all killed.) The usual story of two rival houses needing to unite in order to end this strife, popularized by authors like Shakespeare (Henry VI – Richard III, with Romeo and Juliet offering a tragic version of the same), found acceptance among earlier English historians. Dan Jones challenges this notion by pointing out all the political problems caused by Henry V’s death. His history shows that England’s civil strife was hardly that simple.
“Examining Light Novels” has returned to Beneath the Tangles! I decided to write it on a somewhat contentious topic–at least, in Catholic circles. The idea was mentioned in volume thirteen of Spice and Wolf. I wonder what religious ideas the next volume will present the reader?
This show successfully combines elements from Strike Witches and Maria the Virgin Witch. It provided us with two of the best heroines from this season. (Only Kyouka of Bungo Stray Dogs struck me as a better heroine because of her greater moral struggle.) The action was top notch, and all the WWII vehicles very realistic. Aside from the magic, only a few moments in the show struck me as unrealistic: things like soldiers being able to provide Izetta with shorts while on campaign and Germanian guards being armed with Lugers rather than Mausers or MP 40s. In other words, the show seldom rocked me from my suspension of disbelief.
FUJINSEI KEMPO Achieving Enlightenment the Otaku Way ~Cross-shishou
Osu! Greetings, shokun! It is I, Cross-shishou, back as promised for the last part of this 2-Part Lessons Series. Last week, you learned “10 Reasons Why It’s Awesome To Be An Anime Fan”. But like I always say in my Fujinsei Kempo lessons, everything has a dark side. Today, I’ll be teaching you “10 Reasons Why It Sucks To Be An Anime Fan”. As much as I would like to turn a blind eye to this dark side of the fandom and bury it into oblivion, it is my responsibility as your Otaku Master to inform you about it, so you don’t find yourself corrupted. So are you ready? Let’s start. Osu!
Happy Feast of the Epiphany! Here are my reviews of the six shows I watched this season. Usually, I review some over at Beneath the Tangles but did not get around to it because of my hiatus. (Feel free to read my fellow bloggers’ opinions in Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.) To my surprise, my break from my column on BnT was longer than I imagined with the last post of “Examining Light Novels” seeing the light of the interwebs on October 26, 2016. Readers of the series will be happy to know that it shall return on January 18th with a topic from volume thirteen of Spice and Wolf.
Anyway, let me get on to some general observations about Fall 2016. The general quality struck me as quite high. Many other bloggers were very enthusiastic about the season’s shows, and I myself rated one of the six below four and a half stars–not every season has a show which reaches that level! May you recognize two or three of your favorite anime below or in part two.
The winter anime season is practically upon us, and I’ve yet to wrap up Izetta, Trickster, and Flip Flappers. But, these shows ought to be finished and reviewed with the other fall anime choices of mine on or before January 7th, which appears to be the new season’s official start. And, I’ll have to reveal my favorite anime of last year!
Let Christmas count as the end of this blog’s hiatus. The cause for me taking breaks likes this lies in the components of my writing, which I have compared to the hurricane cocktail in an old post, being out of whack. These are still not in perfect proportion–especially the passionfruit ingredient; yet, so many ideas have come into my head during this time that I must open the floodgates of my imagination.
The present article was one such inspired by my thoughts on THE SCENE in the film Excaliber and the Advent season. If you have never seen Excaliber, by all means stop reading now and watch this cinematic classic. Those of you who prefer to pass over this pleasure may get a sense of what I shall write about below by watching THE SCENE and the events immediately preceding it:
Well, my dear readers, it’s time for me to take another break from blogging here. Also, my column “Examining Light Novels” on Beneath the Tangles will be put on hold for the time being; though, I intend to write one article for their “Twelve Days of Christmas” series. It’s a shame that this hiatus comes before the end of National Blog Posting Month, but so be it. Medieval Otaku will return at some point in January. In the meantime, I might write some articles on my two other blogs which I have neglected in favor of this one in order to keep the writing muscles in shape.
Saraba ja or Saraba da is an antiquated Japanese term for good-bye which I learned recently. The closest expression in English is “Godspeed!” and the Spanish “Adios!” might be even closer in meaning. Apparently, the samurai used to wish each other good-bye with Saraba ja, and, if blogs are to be believed, it’s Buddhist in derivation and wishes “eternal wisdom” on the addressee. (Kodansha’s Essential Kanji Dictionary gives the kanji in the valediction two meanings “yes” for zen pronunciation and “nature” for nen, but I am certain this is not exhaustive.)
Title: The Black Cat Takes a Stroll: The Edgar Allan Poe Lectures
Japanese Title: 黒猫の遊歩あるいは美学講義 (Kuroneko no yūho arui wa bigaku kōgi)
Author: 森 晶麿 (Mori Akimaro)
Translator: Ian M. MacDonald
Publication Year: 2016 (America); 2011 (Japan)
Publisher: Bento Books
Let me preface my review of The Black Cat Takes a Stroll by saying that this book is misogynistic pseudo-intellectual garbage.
I’ve tried to keep my tone sane and reasonable, but I don’t want to mislead anyone into wasting their time reading about something that celebrates notions of male dominance and superiority. If you know this sort of thing won’t appeal to you, it’s probably best to skip this review.
The Black Cat Takes a Stroll is a collection of short horror-themed mystery stories centered around “the Black Cat,” a genius 24-year-old professor. The narrator is a first-year PhD student specializing in Western literature. She became…
Yuri on Ice is one of those shows which I can never see myself watching, but I applaud MRNewman’s discussion of the concepts of Agape, Philia, and Eros within the context of the show and the Bible, in which these three loves appear. Click on the link below!
Anime: Because where else can you get a massage from two monkeys in a hot spring?
Plot: Lettuce wins a free trip to a luxurious resort and brings the other mews along for a much needed vacation. However, they find a boy named Aoyamada who looks exactly like Aoyama and has a rough first confrontation with the girls. They soon find out that the free pass to the resort is dated for next year and the resort hasn’t even been built yet, but it’s well into the process. Aoyamada is hell bent on stopping the construction, but things get more complicated when Kisshu decides to use the boy’s pure spirit to make a chimera animal.
(I apologize that these screencaps are lower quality than I’ve been putting out. I can’t find a copy of the cleaner version. If anyone can point me to a better quality copy, please tell…
Yesterday, in reponse to my latest reblog, a few of my friends brought up that Perfect Blue has some scenes that are plain hard to watch. Another said that I should warn people about the nudity, sexual violence, bloody violence, and vulgarity contained therein. That last request I hesitated to meet, but here is my content warning for Perfect Blue: it has bloody and brutal murders, a lingerie/swimsuit photoshoot which turns pornographic, a rather disturbing simulated rape scene, and an infamous masturbation scene. (N. B. The last is non-explicit enough that one might not realize what’s going on–if memory serves me right–in that five second scene.) There you have the worst content in the movie. The question now occurs to me of why was I so loath to write about these details and even angry that they were brought up in regard to Perfect Blue?
At any moment throughout the day, do you ever think about what distinguishes fantasy from reality? What you perceive with your eyes, hear with your ears, touch with your fingertips, the smell of the fragrance of your surroundings, are those real? You can experience all these sensations in a reverie or a vision. So, what sets them apart from one another? If the dream world suddenly begins to feel like more than just a simple caricature of your inner thoughts and feelings, how would you discern the difference of what’s real and what’s not? For today’s Inkling Movie Review, I will be focusing on Perfect Blue.
Perfect Blue is the directorial debut of Satoshi Kon, who sadly passed away in 2010. It’s a nerve-racking psychological thriller that showcases a more foreboding and nightmarish view on Japan’s pop idol music industry, which is often romanticized in anime and seen…
We all got into anime because of the unique stories and scenarios offered by the medium. Still, moments of originality become harder to come across the more anime one watches. I just came across one of these moments of originality while watching Heavy Object of all things. This is the series that nearly drove iblessall mad with how ridiculous it was. The first five episodes are terrible, and the fanservice often becomes uncomfortable. Why did I stick with it beyond those first five episodes of stupidity? I liked the man vs. machine and buddy soldiers facets of the story, and it certainly made me laugh as it provided a good dose of action.
The fun factor counts as the most important reason behind me never actually dropping the anime. (My watching of it has frequently stalled.) Last night, my decision to continue watching the show felt completely vindicated when I turned to a friend and said:
Cardinal Zen said the Vatican’s plan would be a ‘surrender’
Cardinal Joseph Zen, China’s most senior cleric, has made an eleventh-hour appeal to the Vatican to call off its agreement with China.
A deal between Rome and Beijing, in which the Vatican will acknowledge state-appointed bishops, is reported to be near. But in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Cardinal Zen calls the plan “unacceptable” and a “surrender”.
The Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) was established under Mao Zedong as a state-run replacement for the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church was driven underground by persecution and Catholics remain marginalised, hidden and frequently persecuted.
The Vatican has long been hostile to the CCPA and regarded its bishops as illegitimate. But according to recent reports, the Vatican could soon accept four CCPA-appointed bishops…