New Podcast: Deluded Fruitcakes Anonymous

Two of my good friends have started a podcast.  It sounds like they want to discuss books, movies, swords, anime, and manga–basically, their interests.  I myself might appear on a future episode of their podcast.  Why should you listen to them?  They’re funny, articulate, and their interests might cross with yours.  Anyway, drop by and say that Medieval Otaku sent you!

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Dropping Golden Kamuy

Here’s a show which I feel sorry to drop.  Golden Kamuy stood as one of my favorite anime from two seasons ago.  I loved the aspects of it which dealt with the Ainu, the beautiful backgrounds, Hokkaido, and turn of the century Japan.  The action was great, and the characters interesting and fun.

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Yet, one unfortunate element intruded itself towards the end of season one: the author’s interest in serial killers.  Our heroes’ trip to the fishing village in search of more clues introduced a seriously disturbed fisherman, Henmi Kazuo, who became sexually aroused at the prospect of murder and death.  I found myself enduring rather than enjoying these couple of episodes.  And so, it probably comes as no surprise that I dropped the anime after the second season begins with introducing yet another crazed serial killer: Yasaku Edogai the taxidermist.

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Reblog: When the Barque of Peter is Tossed by Storms… Pray to St Michael Archangel! —

From Fr George W. Rutler’s Weekly Column Nostalgia is a selective editing of the past. For instance, there are those who wish we had today some of the architects of thirteenth-century cathedrals, but who avoid mentioning thirteenth-century dentists. In recent times, the general conceit has been the opposite of nostalgia. The philosopher Owen Barfield spoke […]

via When the Barque of Peter is Tossed by Storms… Pray to St Michael Archangel! —

Goblin Slayer and the Root of Horror

The Halloween season has given me some impetus to think about the horror genre.  A while back, an academic named E. Michael Jones was on the Patrick Coffin show explaining how he thought about the horror genre.  He has written at least two works on this subject: Monsters from the Id: The Rise of Horror in Fiction and Film and Sex with Monsters.  Jones believes that the modern horror genre arose as a reaction to the free love movements of the 19th century and reached its full flowering following the Sexual Revolution.  Many persons were hurt by the myriad problems which inevitably arise from sexual licentiousness and enjoyed a cathartic reaction from a central message of many horror stories: sex can kill you.

School Days

You all know how this story ends.  Or, if you don’t, School Days should be on your list.

School Days might be the anime locus classicus for such a theme, but my dear readers know–know even a priori–that playing Don Juan for a length of time is going to lead one to embarrassing, painful, and even dangerous situations.  People don’t like being used as playthings, and the relatives of the playthings take an even dimmer view of such conduct.  The fact that one’s partner consents to the relationship does not take away from the feeling of being used.  The Sexual Revolution tried to paint promiscuity as a desirable thing, even promoting contraceptives and abortion so that women could participate in “consequence- free” sex.

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Fall 2018 First Impressions/At the half way point/Something

Mechanical Anime Reviews

I’m a very late with this one. I’m sorry. October was busy for me. Not only has school been getting busier and busier for me, I’ve also had some projects on my blog that have taken quite a bit of work and time for me to focus on. I mean, my time has been slowly draining away from me over the past month. I didn’t even write an OWLS post. Writing a first impression post isn’t as easy one would expect. Writing down thoughts for things like this could be much more complicated than one would think.

I have been watching a lot more shows this season then I anticipated. I said in my Summer 2018 in review post that I would try to keep my list lower and watch only nine shows or so. I personally don’t count Space Battleship Tiramisu because it’s a short and Thunderbolt Fantasy isn’t…

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Further Ruminations on Old School Anime

My thanks to all who have commented and participated in the poll below.   Your comments have forced me to think a little more about just what counts as old school anime.  In particular, I needed to think about how to separate it from both ancient anime and modern anime.  An old school anime has the following qualities:

  1. Not black and white
  2. Uses cel animation
  3. Character animation is less influenced by Disney’s style, usually with a sharper look
  4. Has a story which appeals to teenage and older anime fans, which appeal is proved by current fans of anime still seeking out these stories
  5. First aired between 1970 and 1999

D and Doris

The fifth point likely surprises some of my readers.  My old parameters for old school anime stretched from 1960 – 1989.  This was based on the misconception that Ashita no Joe, an old school anime par excellence, aired in 1967, and I expected to find many others like this show in style.  Ashita no Joe actually only officially aired in 1970 (a pilot episode did appear in 1969), and only two anime exist in the in 60’s to which do not strike me as ancient: Tiger Mask (1969) and Star of the Giants (1968).  Not enough to classify the 60’s as an old school decade!

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What is Old School Anime?

This is just a little question for my dear readers.  I once argued with someone about the definition of Old School anime.  He argued that the term covered 90’s anime, while I said that it did not apply to 90’s anime.  I’m curious what the consensus is on what qualifies as Old School anime.  So, I’m placing a poll below asking about which decades you think this term applies.

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My opinion is that the 90’s counts as a transitional period from the old, hand-drawn cell method of animation to the more computerized version of animation we see in the 21st century.  I just refer to anime from that decade as “90’s anime.”  (You might say that we’ve entered another transitional period starting in around 2015, where CGI animation is becoming more used and accepted.)  I call 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s anime Old School, while anything before the 60’s is simply ancient.  (I ran a search on anime made during the 50’s on Anime-Planet, and the only thing I recognized was Hakujaden, aka The Legend of White Snake or Panda and the Magic Serpent.)  But, I imagine that some of my readers might call 60’s anime or even 70’s anime ancient.  At any rate, please satisfy my curiosity below.

Thanks for participating!

Quick Takes for Old Anime

It’s been a little while, my dear readers.  It looks like the regular anime season is past the mid-point, so I should write something up about what I’m up to.  If you recall, most of my current watch list consists of old anime on my backlog.  I did make an exception for Cells At Work, which was recommended by MIB of MIB’s Instant Headache–an excellent recommendation.

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Most of you are familiar with the idea and the format of Quick Takes, so I’m just going to jump right in.


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Vampire Princess Miyu TV (1997-98) comes pretty close to being a masterpiece at ★★★★ 1/2.  The closest anime to compare with this show has to be Hell Girl.  Both share a female protagonist bound by fate whose closest companions are otherworldly beings–called Shinma in Vampire Princess Miyu.  (The English translation simply used the Japanese word.  “God-demon” is the most literal translation and the most confusing one.  Often, one will see creatures like this just called demons despite the Japanese equivalent for what is usually meant by the word demon is akuma.  Subbers should just borrow the term longaevi from the Latin, as this is the most accurate term for a host of beings in Japanese mythology.)  While Ai Enma is summoned to send usually wicked people to hell, Miyu works by keeping her territory clear of stray Shinma.  She’s often willing to ignore the presence of stray Shinma as long as they behave, but she’ll send them into the demon realm within a fiery inferno should they choose to prey on humans.

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On Pope Francis’s Apparent Reversal of Catholic Teaching

Pope Francis seems to want to reverse the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church on capital punishment.  I’m sure that plenty of my dear readers have heard about how he intends to change the current passage in the Catholic catechism.  It is important to discuss this change, because it has the chance to undermine all Catholic dogma.  If the Church was wrong about whether capital punishment is an intrinsic evil, can we ever trust the Church about anything?  Moreover, God Himself seems to strongly encourage capital punishments at certain times during the Old Testament.  Is Pope Francis then saying that God commands people to do moral wrongs or that God is completely arbitrary?  These are very troubling notions which really can completely undermine the authority of the Catholic Church.

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Elijah slays a Prophet of Baal

 

Before I comment on the new one, let’s take a look at the old passage:

2266 The State’s effort to contain the spread of behaviors injurious to human rights and the fundamental rules of civil coexistence corresponds to the requirement of watching over the common good.  Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime.  The primary scope of the penalty is to redress the disorder caused by the offense.  When his punishment is voluntarily accepted by the offender, it takes on the value of expiation.  Moreover, punishment, in addition to preserving public order and the safety of persons, has a medicinal scope: as far as possible it should contribute to the correction of the offender.

2267 The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.

If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, given the means at the State’s disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender ‘today … are very rare, if not practically non-existent.’

So, the old statement says that the State has the right to use capital punishment in defense of society.  At the same time, it offers the opinion that First World systems of penal correction are sophisticated enough to protect society from even very violent people; hence, there is no need for Canada, the United States, Europe, and certain other countries to have recourse to the death penalty.  There are many developing countries where the prison systems are not so perfect, so that line of argument does not fit there.

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Skip the Summer Season!

This judgment of mine is coming a little late, but here goes.  Yours truly has been browsing through the 2018 Summer Anime Chart and reading the opinions of various bloggers.  At this point, I can honestly say that Summer 2018 looks like the worst anime season I have seen in a long time.  The only show that piqued my interest was Dies Irae: To the Ring Reincarnation, because I wonder whether they can salvage the anime from the train wreck of the original season (★★).  The best news about this summer is that certain good anime from the previous season are carrying over into this one, like Isekai Izakaya.*

Izakaya

I can’t think of a better opportunity for catching up with one’s backlog.  Surely, you have some anime you’ve placed on the back-burner.  (From casually browsing Anime-Planet, my Want to Watch list numbers 361 titles!)  Now is the time to watch these shows.  Anime is more than the year 2018 after all!  This year counts as the hundred and first anniversary of anime, which began with Namakura-Gatana (1917), which means there’s more anime than the average fan can watch in a lifetime.

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Quick Takes for June 2018

Three weeks is a long time to go without me writing on Medieval Otaku.  The Muse has gone quiet on me, and I can’t but think it has something to do with how preoccupied I have been with work and everyday cares.  I am reminded of the one whose faith is sown among thorns: “And he that received the seed among thorns, is he that heareth the word, and the care of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choketh up the word, and he becometh fruitless,” (Mt. 13:22).  My writing has been anything but fruitful of late.  Deo iuvante, this will change in the near future.

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But, human beings are mutable  The curious thing about the states Christ describes in the Parable of the Sower is that a person might go through all four conditions in his life: that of having his faith taken away by the devil’s blandishments, withered by persecution or fear of man, choked by the cares of the world, or bearing fruit many times over.  What matters is for us to become good seed in the end by constant renewal.

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Having written that, let me begin my seven quick takes, which may be described as seven random items of interest.  Use the search bar to see just how random my quick takes can get.  What’s written below will be no exception to that rule; though, perhaps less random than my ABC Award.

 

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Divine Comedy

I’ve never read Dante’s Divine Comedy.  Sure, I’ve read The Inferno, and I hated it thoroughly.  Part of the reason, no doubt, derives from my hatred of hell.  Ignorance also plays a part of my dislike.  The verses are abstruse, and most of the damned count as personal enemies of Dante whom the world has forgotten.  It is hard to make a simple translation of Dante’s verse.  Prior to now, I had not gone further than ten cantos into The Purgatorio–no matter how many attempts I made to read it.

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Top Five Anime of 2017

This post has been delayed for far too long.  That I waited until this year to watch some of the best shows from last year contributed to the delay; though, laziness stands as the primary cause.  It is remarkable that four of the top five were aired on Amazon and that one streamed on Netflix.  Most of my anime is viewed by way of Crunchyroll, which often errs on the side of quantity over quality.  (Not a bad thing if one wants a more complete experience of each season.)  I have the impression that Netflix and Amazon have more resources to either contribute to making or culling the crème de la crème from each season’s lineup.

NJS 11

 

 

Having said that, I wish that I could have included a show streamed from that pillar of the online anime community.  If this list had been made in January, I would have included a couple of them.  And so, let me list a couple of them to begin with as honorable mentions:

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Violet Evergarden: Best of Winter 2018

Many people followed Violet Evergarden episodically over the course of the last season.  I waited for the Netflix release and watched it in spurts of three to four episodes at a time.  This is a good thing, because I could not imagine waiting a whole week for another twenty minute chunk of this masterpiece.  If it were not for the rather complete ending offered by the first season, waiting for the second part would seem like an eternity.

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Violet Evergarden excelled at many levels.  The animation was spectacular–easily the best of last season.  I loved how well they captured the look of Old World European cities for the backgrounds.  Besides being very detailed, the backgrounds did a great job of conveying the mood: whether of a bright, sunny day in town or a dark night of death and chaos on the battlefield.  The juxtaposition of war and peace in Violet Evergarden, the greatest tragedy against the great desire of mankind, makes for very powerful tale–as Leo Tolstoy also knew when he penned arguably the greatest novel of all time, War and PeaceViolet Evergarden uses the interplay of these motifs about as well as I’ve ever seen in any anime.

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Finding the Culture of Life in A.I.C.O. Incarnation

Here’s my latest post on Beneath the Tangles. It’s about A.I.C.O. Incarnation, the best anime you never heard of from winter 2018.

Beneath the Tangles

A.I.C.O. Incarnation found itself on my watch list very late in the season.  Netflix is one of the last video streaming companies I look at—especially since they sometimes stream an anime after it’s aired.  One nice bonus with Netflix, though, is that it has interesting options for a lover of foreign tongues like me: I can stream an anime with a English, Japanese, German, French, Spanish, or Portuguese dubbing.  (That said, I still watch 95% of new anime in the original Japanese.)  Subbing purists may be horrified to learn that I gave the French dub of A.I.C.O. a try and loved it enough to watch the entire series in that mellifluous tongue.  Somehow, the anime of a biohazard threatening to destroy civilization and a girl trying to regain her lost family does not suffer from listening to the French dub—perhaps because the plot and setting diverged so sharply from stock…

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Tu-tu-ru! Okarin and Mayuri’s Better-Than-Romance Friendship

Beneath the Tangles

If I learned anything from anime, it’s that a childhood friendship is basically an invitation to future romance. This is a truth gathered from Love Hina, Skip Beat, Nisekoi, and…just about every other anime in which there’s a road toward such a relationship.  But in the Steins;gate anime series, things work a little differently. While it’s true that the childhood friend doesn’t always end up with the MC (see most of the above examples), Steins;gate goes one further: there’s barely a even a hint of romance between Okarin and Mayuri; the focus instead is on a relationship often neglected in anime: friendship between the sexes.

And the special relationship between Okarin and Mayuri is expressed in Steins;gate… as much as the original (spoilers ahead). Mayuri is always on Okarin’s mind. He values his other friends immensely, too, but Mayuri is on a different level. In…

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A Call for Help – Guest Posts for Deluscar

I want to help spread this post around. Deluscar is a nice little blog, and Kai and his readers would surely appreciate anyone willing to help add some vitality to it. I am thinking about offering to write a guest post myself, but this opportunity is great for anibloggers just starting out.

deluscar

There’s no denying I’ve been slowing down. I’m… uhh… getting a little bit on in years. And as I age, I find it’s harder and harder to get into the right mood to write. A long time ago, you can see a new post every few days or so, but nowadays you would be hard-pressed to even see a new post per month.

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Brief Review of The Cat Returns

The Cat Returns strikes me as one of the lesser known Studio Ghibli titles.  There was a showing in theaters on Monday as part of Ghibli Fest 2018.  Today is the last day to see The Cat Returns in theaters, and I hope my dear readers are able to take advantage of it if they have the time.  Because no one talks about The Cat Returns, I assumed it was a mediocre film.  What I discovered on Monday was that it’s a splendid movie reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland and better than the Disney film of Lewis Caroll’s famous book.

Cat Returns 1

Before talking about the film, I must mention how vexatious Fathom Event’s presentation of the movie proved to be.  Having arrived twenty minutes early, I settled down to read some of Dostoyevsky’s short story “The Crocodile.”  It’s a very amusing short story which mocks capitalism and socialism at the same time.  The capitalist character basically lacks compassion for the poor and is overly academic.  The socialist character, who happens to get swallowed by a crocodile early in the short story, does not even live in reality.  This gentleman somehow manages to live after being swallowed by the crocodile and feels that his position, that of one cut off from humanity and in complete darkness, somehow qualifies him to propose new economic and social theories to mankind.  It has to be one of Dostoyevsky’s funniest pieces, and I’d recommend “The Crocodile” to anyone with some spare time.

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Anime Winter 2018 Season Review: Part 2

Well, I’ve delayed writing the second part of this series of posts enough to have watched Violet Evergarden in the meantime.  As you suspect, I waited until Netflix released it.  I have to say that Violet Evergarden stands head and shoulders above everything which came out in the winter 2018 season.  So, I modified my last post such that it covers #10-7, this post will cover #6-2, and Violet Evergarden deserves a post of its own.

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6) A Place Further than the Universe ★★★ 1/2

Many people have placed this show first for the season.  In my case, this genre is so far from one of my favorites ( my favorites being fantasy, action, and comedy) that A Place Further than the Universe had no chance of rising so far–especially with its standard quality animation.  Kudos still goes to this show for how eager I was to watch it every week.  In a more usual season, where there are more subpar anime, it would have risen higher on the list.

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Violet Evergarden 13 – Letters Written, Burdens Lifted

A very nice discussion of the final episode of Violet Evergarden. It points out that though most of the conflicts introduced by the series may be resolved, a few still remain in Violet’s heart.

The Backloggers

Violet Evergarden’s final episode is an episode largely of catharsis, and it is one that I, and many others, have wrestled with. In many ways, it brings us to the logical conclusion of the show, or rather to the stopping point for this portion of Violet’s story that we receive. In truth, I have watched this episode numerous times over, mulling its events over in my head, and it has been a process of numerous revisions to how I have come to finally view this last piece of Violet’s story (for now, anyway). Through this, I have found that my thoughts have changed significantly in more recent viewings. This final episode, depending on your reading of events, can be quite clear-cut on the surface, or somewhat more muddied as you dive deeper into it. It does give Violet a great sense of closure, a lifting of burdens, a renewed…

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Anime Winter 2018 Season Review: Part 1

I have not written many posts on the past season, but I managed to keep up with nine anime.*  Yes, that’s one more than I noted in my mid-season review and two more than I started with.  This season displayed good quality overall.  None of the following shows fell below three stars.  At the same time, none rose above four.  I thought that Kokkoku: Moment by Moment might have broken into the masterpiece or classic range, but it did not do enough with its unique cast and setting.  The plot slowed down after the first third of the show, and not much really happened over the course of twelve episodes.

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Anyway, the following season review will be broken up into two parts.  The first part includes the bottom four.  The second part will include the top five.  I hope to have that out tomorrow.


 

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10) Takunomi ★★★

Here’s a short about four female roommates exploring the world of alcoholic beverages together.  (That four women live in the same apartment rather highlights how expensive living in Tokyo is.  Though, rooming with someone in early adulthood is pretty common.)  The characters were all very likable and some scenes were outrageously funny.  Exempli gratia:

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