No Poor Choices: My Experience with Anime Summer 2015 Thus Far

How are my dear readers enjoying the new anime season?  On my side, I’m enjoying all my picks, though one show notably falls short of the rest in quality.  At any rate, these kinds of posts tend to run long, so let’s jump right into the anime.

AxM2

1) Aoharu x Machinegun

Here’s a lighthearted comedy with just enough seriousness to make the plot interesting.  The first episode featured our heroine, Hotaru Tachibana, being dragged into an airsoft team after picking a fight with an innocent host, who happens to be her neighbor.  The matches thus far have been quite suspenseful.  Even though the characters are not terribly original, the anime manages to immerse the viewer in their struggles and keeps the viewer eager to watch each new stage in our heroine’s journey.  Another plus is how much it reminds me of my favorite show of last year: Sabagebu!

vlcsnap-2015-07-17-14h22m46s187

2) Gangsta!

For some reason, American mob films have never appealed to me; however, I’ve yet to run across a bad yakuza anime.  Curiously, of the shows Anime-Planet users recommend to fans of Gangsta!, I’ve seen all except Michiko to Hatchin and have enjoyed the rest.  Gangsta! sets itself apart from other yakuza anime in having better world building.  Only Gungrave comes close to it in this regard.  The heroes fascinate one by how they try to live in a world of violence and exploitation with some honor.  The sword vs. gun fights are utterly unrealistic, but most of the fights are very exciting.  However, fans who don’t like bloody violence, sexual situations (the show has eschewed explicit sex thus far), or nudity should give Gangsta! a wide berth.

Continue reading

The Moe Manifesto

I had the good fortune to win this book in a contest put up by Random Fantasy for a title from Tuttle Publishing.  The Moé Manifesto by Patrick W. Galbraith takes on the misunderstood topics of moé and otaku through looking at the perspectives of people as diverse as mangaka, singers, economists, psychologists, directors, and  self-professed otaku.  The interviews are generally of good quality.  The result is a fascinating work which I finished in practically one sitting.  The introductory chapter, where Patrick Galbraith explains his own views and history with the moé movement, is the most difficult to sit through; but, I would not recommend skipping it, because it holds very cogent information.  The pages turn quickly after that, a speed of reading which is helped by the fascinating and odd pictures included on every page.

moe-manifesto

Continue reading

Examining Old School Anime: As the Tree Falls

medievalotaku:

Here’s my latest article on Captain Harlock under the Examining Old School Anime column. Soon, I’ll start writing articles for another old school series, since I’ve blogged the daylights out of this classic. Maybe just one or two more articles on it.

Originally posted on :

Few anime possess the brilliance of Space Pirate Captain Harlock.  On the night when I became inspired to write this article, I watched no fewer than seven episodes in a row.  This viewing also happened to give me another, more happy topic, but the topic of death appeared more interesting.  To be more precise, Captain Harlock inspired me to write about a theme in Catholic eschatology.  Episode 17, “The Skeleton Hero,” was unique in focusing on the life of the Arcadia’s chief engineer, especially his relationship with his former captain, Yamanaka of the warship The Braves.  (Most of the crew have amazing backstories.)  What caused this reminiscence was the Arcadia receiving a distress message from Captain Yamanaka, whose ship has become stranded in the Horsehead Nebula.

IMG_7157

View original 529 more words

What Medieval Otaku’s Been Doing, Part II

Below are various shows I’ve been watching but have yet to finish.  Many of them are quite old with the oldest produced in 1978 and the latest in 2014.  Tomorrow or the day after, I propose to finally get around to writing about how I feel about the new season.  Let’s get started!

IMG_6529

1) Space Pirate Captain Harlock

Many of my dear readers may not understand the appeal of a thirty-seven year old anime.  After all, the animation is rougher, the action less fluid, and the characters often downright cartoony–a trait undesirable for many anime fans.  Also, the opening song is much more military sounding than in those found in contemporary shows.  Perhaps, it is the differences which make it my recent favorite.  Captain Harlock is a singular figure.  At first, I thought of him as the prototype for Alexander Row of Last Exile, but Captain Harlock is not a Byronic hero.  After watching over twenty episodes, Harlock’s personality strikes one as rather similar to Robert E. Lee’s.  (An article on that forthcoming.  And yes, my reference to General Lee in a prior article was not random.)  You’re not going to find a character comparable to one of the South’s greatest heroes in contemporary anime!

Continue reading

What Medieval Otaku’s Been Doing, Part 1

For the past while, I’ve found myself too preoccupied, too lazy, or too weak-willed to write as much as I ought, especially on this blog.  Most recently, my move to Alabama provided a good excuse for missing my last installment of “Examining Old School Anime” on Beneath the Tangles.  Having recovered from the fourteen hour drive from New Jersey, I feel ready to blog again.  However, I have a warning for people passing through Tennessee: the police cars have an outrageous paint scheme.  They are a dull brown above and below, a flat, light yellow in the middle, and have a black silhouette of the state of Tennessee in the center.  All this considerably breaks up their image and makes for excellent camouflage.  Not only that, but they try to pull people over by speed signs so that one cannot argue being ignorant of the limit.

10620017_1464777677130446_8277237144204646260_o

But, you would not be reading my blog if I only wrote about travel.  Below, my dear readers will find some succinct summaries of various anime.  I hope that these recommendations from my watch list prove interesting to you.

IMG_5235

1) Strike the Blood – ★★★½

Some of my readers may be surprised to find such a fanservicey and silly show here.  But, I confess a weakness for harem shows and action-packed vampire anime.  How can I resist a show which combines the two?  Also, the main character, Kojou Akatsuki, has personality, unlike the harem lead of a certain show last season.  (*cough*BellCranel*cough*)  The ecchi varies between cute, silly, and rather uncomfortable–as may be expected from the fact that Kojou’s vampire powers, which he frequently resorts to, only surface when he’s aroused.  This leads to the harem becoming frequently infuriated with him, although Kojou himself does not have any attachment to his powers and has avoided sucking the blood of young maidens until a series of violent and potentially cataclysmic events strike his city.

Continue reading

What Makes Seraph of the End Enjoyable

People rightly point out the flaws in Seraph of the End.  The middle of the show exhibits many high school anime tropes, some facets of the animation can be lacking despite the incredibly immersive backgrounds, the plot is not so straightforward, and it may be accused of being an Attack on Titan look-alike.  However, with Attack on Titan, the story only dragged me along by way of suspense.  After nine episodes, the only character I cared for was Mikasa, the world was too horrific to be loved, the society was filled with too many treacherous and cowardly people for me to root for their survival, and the bold lines of animation and still frames bothered me.  With the exception of the use of still frames, Seraph of the End proved to be the exact opposite and provided some interesting ideas for me to chew on.

vlcsnap-2015-05-26-23h22m07s098

Recently, my friends introduced me to a fascinating book called The Way of Men by Jack Donovan.  They had been prompted to recommend it by my article “The Post-Modern Fallacy on Manliness.”  (A while back, I mentioned that I was contemplating an article on the topic of manliness, and the result of that meditation seemed to fit Aquilon’s Eyrie more.)  Few works explain male psychology so well.  In particular, Donovan displays a perspicacious degree of Classical learning (he quotes Cicero, St. Augustine, Livy, and others) and knowledge of psychological and sociological studies.  Though, I will say here that his atheistic perspective gives an incomplete picture of man, and one wonders whether the tactical virtues of strength, courage, mastery, and honor are a good replacement for the cardinal virtues of temperance, courage, prudence, and justice.

Continue reading

Links to Anime Season Reviews and the Battle of Gettysburg

At this point, I’d usually review the anime I’ve watched from this season and rate them from one to five stars.  This sort of season review might still come about on Medieval Otaku, but I already have reviews up for every show except Seraph of the End.  You’ll find these reviews scattered over three posts on Beneath the Tangles: Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.  In the first part, Kaze gives Seraph of the End the same rating I’d give it.  The second part features an amusing picture of Hestia with a caption added by yours truly.  I found the picture particularly endearing because of it’s resemblance to the “Kilroy was here” image used by the Allies to mark their progress in WWII.

vlcsnap-2015-06-14-00h07m47s795

Let me remind my dear readers, as I did last year, that we celebrate the 152nd anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg from July 1st – July 3rd.  Lord Drako Arakis created a beautifully drawn and tragic music video to commemorate last year’s anniversary, and I hope that he has one planned for this year.  (His latest video is a ribald song not at all in the spirit of the battle, but click here if that doesn’t bother you and you want a good laugh.)  At any rate, July 2nd saw one of the most thrilling fights of the war on Little Round Top.  This was Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain of Maine’s most famous victory, which he wrote about in the article “Through Blood and Fire at Gettysburg.”  I highly recommend the article for how well Chamberlain immerses one in the action on that fateful day.  Also, Chamberlain stands as the greatest hero to serve in the ranks of the Army of the Potomac and is worth learning about the Battle of Little Round Top for that reason alone.

This picture commemorates the famous bayonet charge lead by Col. Joshua Chamberlain.  At the center, Chamberlain captures a Confederate at saber point whose revolver either misfired or was out of ammo when he tried to shoot Chamberlain.  Chamberlain simply said to him:

This picture commemorates the famous bayonet charge lead by Col. Joshua Chamberlain. At the center, Chamberlain captures a Confederate at saber point whose revolver either misfired or was out of ammo when he tried to shoot Chamberlain. Chamberlain simply said to him: “You are my prisoner.”

Examining Old School Anime: How a Mazone Shows the Importance of Mental Prayer

medievalotaku:

Here’s my latest post under the Column Examining Old School Anime.

Originally posted on :

Episode 15 of Space Pirate Captain Harlock features, after Queen Lafresia, the most interesting Mazone we’ve yet met.  Aurora been posted inside an ice palace at the North Pole, where she waits for Captain Harlock to investigate the curious pattern produced by an aurora borealis.  Her only purpose in life is to kill Captain Harlock, and Aurora has meditated on him and their fateful meeting for years.  However, her long contemplation has brought home to her how good Captain Harlock is, and she quite naturally falls in love with him.  (What woman can resist the manly bearing of Captain Harlock?)  Unfortunately for Aurora, she tries to trap Captain Harlock inside the palace and picks a fight with Miime, an alien woman who owes her life to Captain Harlock.  The Mazone’s attack is cast back on herself and brings about her demise.

Miime, surprisingly powerful for a soft-spoken woman Miime, surprisingly powerful for a soft-spoken woman

View original 586 more words

Two Final Prayers of St Thomas More

medievalotaku:

I had no idea that St. Thomas More’s feast day was yesterday. I just purchased a book on his life and writings and have started to make progress in reading it.

Originally posted on :

These beautiful prayers were written by St Thomas More (whose feast day we celebrated yesterday, 22nd June) while he was being held prisoner in the Tower of London.

Sir Thomas More, by Hans Holbein the Younger, 1527 Sir Thomas More,
by Hans Holbein the Younger, 1527

“Give me the grace, Good Lord:

To set the world at naught. To set the mind firmly on You and not to hang upon the words of men’s mouths.

To be content to be solitary. Not to long for worldly pleasures. Little by little utterly to cast off the world and rid my mind of all its business.

Not to long to hear of earthly things, but that the hearing of worldly fancies may be displeasing to me.

Gladly to be thinking of God, piteously to call for His help. To lean into the comfort of God. Busily to labour to love Him.

To know my own vileness and wretchedness. To humble myself…

View original 314 more words

Reasons to Watch Scholagladiatoria

Matt Easton of the YouTube channel Scholagladiatoria recently posted a video thanking those who’ve spread the word about his channel to bring the total number of subscribers up to over seventy thousand.  Those of you who’ve clicked on my Guide to Becoming a Scholar of Swords and Swordplay page know that I place this channel above all the rest in terms of the accuracy of information one finds there and the breadth of Matt Easton’s knowledge.  But, let me do my part here by sharing some awesome videos of his with you, and I hope that many of you who have an interest in the Middle Ages or fencing will subscribe if you haven’t already.

The following video explains how to accurately grip a Viking sword.  More people grip a Viking sword incorrectly than any other blade.  While one can often get away with a wrong grip in the case of other blades, doing so with a Viking sword will cause the pommel to jab into one’s wrist when cutting, which leads to the user hating a perfectly good sword.  One cannot but admire the facility with which Easton shows that he can wield the blade when gripped correctly.

Continue reading

Rose of Versailles: The Changes of Oscar de François de Jarjeyes and the Dignity of Human Life

medievalotaku:

This is a beautiful post on Rose of Versailles. I must confess that I was rather iffy about watching this, but iblessall has done much to change my mind.

Originally posted on Mage in a Barrel:

As I started the final five episodes of Rose of Versailles, a friend warned me that I was in for a “rollercoaster.” Having come off the ride, I think I’d have to say that, as thoughtful as the caution was, it was unfortunately understated, as the conclusion to this magnificent series wrecked emotional havoc on me like it had not in 35 episodes prior. In considering why, I of course ended up at some of the easier conclusions for explaining my emotional wreckage—character investment, Stockholm Syndrome, lack of sleep, an exceptionally doomed ship—but I found myself unsatisfied with those answers. However, in considering the show as a whole, rather than simply a five-episode excerpt, I came to understand that I had, to continue to metaphor, been on a rollercoaster the whole time. On a terrifying and exhilarating ride known as “life.”

Rose of Versailles

View original 1,439 more words

The whitewashing of England’s Catholic history

medievalotaku:

This is a very interesting article, especially since one doesn’t think that much about Catholic contributions to British economy, political liberty, and literacy.

Originally posted on :

from: The Catholic Herald:  http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2015/06/16/

A 19th century view of Magna Carta

The invention of liberty, literacy and prosperity have all been wrongly portrayed as Protestant developments

Last week I was writing about Magna Carta and how the Catholic Church’s role has been written out, in particular the part of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton.

But the same could also be said about much of English history from 600AD to 1600; from the very first law code written in English, which begins with a clause protecting Church property, to the intellectual flourishing of the 13th century, led by churchmen such as Roger Bacon, the Franciscan friar who foresaw air travel.

However, the whitewashing of English Catholic history is mainly seen in three areas: political liberty, economic prosperity and literacy, all of which are seen as being linked to Protestantism.

Yet not only was Magna Carta overseen by churchmen…

View original 415 more words

Opinions on Spring 2015 Anime

vlcsnap-2015-05-26-23h48m32s696

Shinoa’s the Xellos of Seraph of the End.

I have often commented that for a blog to be successful the blogger must read more than write; so, one can only expect that yours truly has broken this rule many times.  This season of anime, my opinions feel rather isolated despite at least three popular shows appearing in my lists.  Yet, I think that I have read plenty of blogs over the past few months.  Perhaps I have not read the right blogs?  But, I thought that I only followed like-minded people!  Shikata ga nai.  Angryjellyfish has six of these shows on his watch list (just missing Danna ga Wakaranai), but I cannot find another blogger with as similar of a list.  The end result is that the following opinions of mine feel more shallow than usual, as there are fewer sources of opinion from which to glean ideas.  Well, there is always next season, and my dear readers can satisfy my curiosity as to which of the following shows wound up as their favorites this season.

Continue reading

Examining Old School Anime: the Arcadia as the Church

Originally posted on :

Occasionally, I find myself writing posts like this, where I ramble on about a vague idea.  They have the virtue of giving my dear readers an insight into how my mind works, though I can’t claim the following as a polished article.  In this case, the condition of Captain Harlock’s world in 2977 A.D. reminds me of Our Lord’s complaint to St. Faustina about how many modern souls are lukewarm with respect to religion.  This lukewarm attitude may be traced to the Enlightenment.  (Actually, some trace it to the late Middle Ages, but the symptoms became obvious after the Renaissance.)  More and more people questioned the validity of religion: didn’t religion lead to eighty years of continuous warfare during the Renaissance?  Isn’t faith purely irrational?  It became popular to cleave to a deistic model of the universe, and devoutly following the precepts of an organized religion became associated with the…

View original 583 more words

Friar Pedro vs. Maragato the Bandit

medievalotaku:

I love reading stories like this. The story features some beautiful artwork too,

Originally posted on Aliens in This World:

Goya is known for portraits of horror, war, and nightmare.

But he did paint a series of humorous paintings about a story of raw heroism… and earthy comedy.

Maragato was a notorious bandit. He wasn’t even ashamed to steal a family’s dinner and eat it all himself. But when he accosted a barefoot Franciscan, Friar Pedro Zaldivia, and held him at gunpoint, the friar cleverly took his gun away and pointed it back at him. Maragato ran off, and the Friar gave him a parting gift of shot in the backside. The bandit gave up and the friar tied him up until the authorities could come. Then… he protected the bandit from the many people willing to beat up a disarmed bad man!

Goya liked these good-natured paintings so well that he kept them.

The full story.

Goya’s series of six paintings telling the story. They are still all…

View original 7 more words

Notes to Philo’s Allegorical Interpretations

‘Tis safe to say that my goal of writing fourteen posts in fourteen days proved a bridge too far.  But, there is often value in setting goals higher than one can accomplish.  Such is especially the case with me: if I strive not for the moon, I have no hope of landing among the stars.  Nevertheless, I met the two goals of feeling confident once again in my writing and making writing a pleasant habit once again.

The Fall of Man

Speaking of setting impossible goals, reviewing Philo’s Allegorical Interpretations I-III in a complete sense would require more than the single post I’m willing to allot to it.  One stares agape in wonder at the wealth of information Philo provides and his facility of bringing forth relevant passages of Scripture and parsing Greek philosophy.  The three books draw interesting allegorical interpretation on the Story of Creation and the Fall of Man for discussing virtue and vice.  Treat the following post as notes to topics I found most interesting.  “But, can’t you be more thorough?  I know you: you’re just being lazy!” you say?  Well, to paraphrase G. K. Chesterton, anything really worth doing (as sharing what I gleaned from Philo surely is) is not only worth doing well but also worth doing badly, an adage I hope the present article proves in spades.

Continue reading

A Couple of Manga to Read in June

Usually, I have more manga than this to recommend.  However, good manga is hard to find.  This will be a very short article indeed, but I hope that you’re willing to try out one of the following two recommendations.  For a change, I’ve given ratings for content after each review.

No!  I promise that I really  did find only two manga worthy of recommending!

No! I promise that I really did find only two manga worthy of recommending!

Continue reading

Dragon’s Loyalty Award

dragonsloyaltyaward1

A little over a week ago, I had the pleasant surprise of receiving the Dragon’s Loyalty Award from Josh W of Res Studiorum et Ludorum.  Apparently, this award may be given to loyal followers of one’s blog whether they have a blog or not.  The rules are as follows:

1   Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
2   Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and a link back.
3  You must share  7  things other bloggers may not know about you.
4   Nominate up to  15  bloggers for Dragon’s Loyalty Award, provide a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.
5   Copy and paste the award somewhere on your blog.

vlcsnap-2015-04-01-00h15m27s615

Continue reading

Examining Old School Anime: A Christian’s Conduct in War

medievalotaku:

A short ramble on how Captain Harlock seems to demonstrate the best attitude for a Christian soldier.

Originally posted on :

Episode eight of Captain Harlock features a rare act of mercy: a captured Mazone is permitted to depart peacefully from the Arcadia.  However, Harlock’s decision does not please Daiba, whose father was murdered by a Mazone.  Part of his reason for joining the crew of the Arcadia was to get revenge on these aliens.  Daiba demands to slay the fleeing Mazone, and Captain Harlock bids him to do as he pleases.  The upshot of this event is that the Mazone is killed and Daiba, due to the damage received to his craft in the fight, suffers temporary insanity from oxygen deprivation.  Daiba’s desire for revenge almost led to his own death.

IMG_6240

The obvious message behind this event lies in how lust for revenge can destroy oneself.  A Christian would hardly disagree.  Yet, I wonder what opinion our dear readers have of Captain Harlock’s general ruthlessness toward the Mazone.  After discovering…

View original 385 more words

The Man Who Was Zidane (Part 1/2)

medievalotaku:

I have never played this game, but I love how Josh W shows how Final Fantasy IX asks several philosophical questions. Also, he describes it as the most Chestertonian RPG, which I find fascinating. The title of this series should instantly remind you of Chesterton’s most cryptic novel.

Originally posted on Res Studiorum et Ludorum:

09._final_fantasy_ix

(Note: I am going to spoil a fifteen year old game)

Final Fantasy IX is the most Chestertonian RPG game. That, I think, puts its finger on why I find this game to be so compelling as an adult. I feel that, having lived to see them, the corpulent man of letters would have dismissed electronic RPGs in favor of their pen and paper origins; but short of uncovering the manuscript of a high fantasy novel penned by the man, this is about as close as we’ll get to a G. K. Chesterton RPG.

View original 1,910 more words

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 581 other followers