Off on Pilgrimage

My first day of vacation starts tomorrow.  I put pilgrimage in the title because Montreal includes part of this vacation, and I cannot imagine that we shall visit that fascinating city without stopping by St. Joseph’s Oratory.  This oratory was made famous by the miracles produced there and its association with St. Andre Bessette, who might have called himself St. Joseph’s doorkeeper.  He was famous for thousands of miraculous cures, which he attributed to the intercession of St. Joseph.

Since it is late, and I do not want to spend too much time writing (I wake at 3 AM on the morrow–four hours from now!), I decided to briefly list some highlights of my anime hobby and spiritual life.  I hope you find some of them interesting.

  • Watched Girls und Panzer: This is the Real Anzio Battle.  I greatly enjoyed it.  It felt like a longer TV episode but still had a great tank battle.  The following is my favorite quote from the OVA:
Only in a perfect world!

Only in a perfect world!

  • Akame ga Kiru stands as a faithful adaptation of the manga.  Things will really pick up once Esdese appears.  (I prefer the fan naming system and will stubbornly stick to that until the official naming system becomes more universal.)  The great thing about Akame ga Kiru is that it essentially turns shonen on its head: we have the same kinds of happy-go-lucky and quirky characters, but they’re thrown into a really corrupt, dark, and bloody world.  This is why so many people like myself enjoy the show.
  • The first three episodes of Aldnoah.Zero really took the cake in terms of the setting and action.  I hope that the quality of the characters catches up soon.
  • I’m somehow still finding the motivation to fit in an episode of El Cazador de la Bruja here and there.  It’s a rather mediocre show, but the characters are enjoyable enough that I find myself continually drawn back to it.  It will probably take me as much time as I took for Bodacious Space Pirates for me to complete.
  • Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun is one of the best comedies this season.  The oddball characters are splendidly amusing to watch, and I like the fact that the hero is a shoujo manga artist, which makes many of the episodes’ plots revolve around him finding material for his comics.

No law Breaking

  • Gintama is one of those shows which I can put down for a while and then pick up again.  The quest to capture the aliens who were running amok turning people’s bodies and body parts into screwdrivers didn’t grab me, but the arch where Shinpachi gains a pen pal was more hilarious.  This show goes everywhere from toilet humor to maudlin to boring to hilarious to epic.  One just needs to wait for the best stories.
  • Many bloggers loved the first season of Hamatora, and I’m enjoying the show thus far.  Episode four, where the desire to own a gun was portrayed as rooted to evil desires, irked me to no end.  Cannot people get that some people love tools?  Especially men?  Guns are tools and a lot of fun to shoot.  People enjoy shooting at paper targets, cans, bottles, abandoned houses, cardboard boxes, etc.  Wishing to have a gun by itself in no way means a person is inclined to violence.  Just watch this video if you don’t believe me.
  • For some reason, I’m really enjoying Hanamayata.  I suppose my identification with Hana (she’s also from NJ) goes a long way, but somehow I find this slice of life comedy still a lot of fun.  I have a an article in the works for it.
  • Did you know that Mushibugyo has an anime adaptation?  I didn’t, and this decently animated adaptation is a lot of fun to watch.  Perfect for a lover of samurai shows.

Jinbee strikes

  • I’ve kind of stalled Nadia: Secret of the Blue Water.  At this point, Nadia, Jean, and Marie have met back up with Senora Grandis and company, which means the action should improve.  Man, the Island arc was exhausting!
  • I don’t exactly know how, but a friend of mine finagled me into watching Nisemonogatari.  I couldn’t even finish episode one of Nisemonogatari the first time around, despite being a fan of Bakemonogatari.  But, I find myself at episode four and wanting to know more.  (By the way, Nisemonogatari essentially decided to put Holo in its story via Shinobu.)
  • Many bloggers like despising Rail Wars!  But, I’m enjoying how the characters deal with the obstacles each episode.  It reminds me a lot of You’re Under Arrest, and even if it doesn’t hold a candle to season one of You’re Under Arrest, it’s certainly better than season two thus far.
Aoi losing her gun has to count as one of the saddest moments in the show thus far.

Aoi losing her gun has to count as one of the saddest moments in the show thus far.

  • Sabagebu! stands as one of my favorite shows this season.  This is pure comedy gold.  The action can get rather nuts; but if you liked Full Metal Panic! Fumoffu, Azumanga Daioh, Excel Saga, or Pani Poni Dash, I can practically guarantee you’ll love this show.
  • Concerning ARGEVOLLEN, the show is nothing special, but I’m enjoying it, and there always exists the chance that it will get better.  Basically, if I drop anything this season, it will be this show.
  • Tokyo ESP‘s not bad.  It’s doing everything well so far, and it feels a little similar to Samurai Flamenco‘s first half so far in that we have ordinary people who suddenly conceive that they have a duty to repress the darker elements of society.  However, it still has a long way to go in order to surpass Ga-Rei Zero, in which series’ world Tokyo ESP exists.  And I love how Leonidas has a cameo role. xD

Tokyo_ESP_Manga_01

  • Somehow, I haven’t been able to get into Zankyou no Terror.  I loved how they referenced the Sphinx and the fact that there are two riddles according to mythology.  (Actually, I’m pretty sure “What walks on two legs, then four, then three?” was an invention of later writers.  Classical authors loved to mess around with mythology and add their own improvements on the canonical version.)  Yet, somehow, the story doesn’t grab me.  Like Sky Crawlers, it’s probably too intellectual for my tastes.

That sums it up for my anime watching.  I still owe you guys some manga reviews, so expect that around St. Edith Stein’s feastday (Aug. 9th).  Speaking of saints, I find St. Thomas Aquinas’ Catena Aurea a constant source of inspiration.  There are almost four hundred pages of commentary on Matthew before I can move to the Gospel of Mark, but St. Thomas Aquinas’ ability to draw so many relevant Church Fathers on each passage of Scripture is nothing short of amazing.  Also, I’m reading George MacDonald’s The Seaside Parish.  George MacDonald is a genius of the spiritual life and every page contains something quotable.  Why don’t people read him anymore!!?  I’ll be right alongside C. S. Lewis in thanking George MacDonald for his works when I get to paradise.

Until August 9th, you’ll be seeing no more articles unless I am so lucky as to find a wi-fi hotspot.  But, I should be able to respond to commentary.

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13 comments on “Off on Pilgrimage

  1. Yeah, Rail Wars definitely does remind me a lot of You’re Under Arrest in terms of atmosphere and one of the reasons why it is still on my list. Both Zankyou no Terror and Tokyo ESP I couldn’t manage to get into (did like the Gai-Rei: Zero cameo and shout-outs in the latter), so I will most likely save them for next season.

    Hope you enjoy your vacation :3

  2. Sindar says:

    Yesterday I was listening to a review on Akame ga Kill and it seems to be kinda strange series. Basically they said that it is an anime about a group of people who took it upon themselves to eradicate rotten elements in their society, and that they actually go through with that in a pretty bloody way. But the review and google image search also let me to believe that there is a cat girl in this show, and a girl with a body-size scissors-like sword, and straight from anime classic – a girl with two pink pigtails operating some weapon that I have no idea how even to describe. I am just having hard time imagining how that kind of story can work with those characters. Does it work?

    • I think the story works. In the beginning, it might seem that Night Raid is acting independently–they do fulfill private contracts against corrupt government officials, but it is made plain later that they work for the rebel forces. They perform the same role as Kenshin Himura during the Meiji Revolution.

      The characters are all oddballs with the exception of our hero. The cat girl gains leonine strength from her special weapon, which causes a minor transformation. So, Leone’s not a bonafide cat girl. (Yeah, the mangaka was not too creative with her name. 🙂 )Some scenes are pretty dark and downright gruesome, but the great action, likable characters, and interesting gray areas make the story work. However, Esdese needs to enter the scene before the story improves markedly.

      • Sindar says:

        Alright, I will take your word for it =) Maybe we should credit the director for that, cause making a dark anime with those odd characters seems like a challenging problem. Though from your post and reply I get an impression that the original manga was quite good too, that probably made the director’s life easier a little bit.

      • The original manga’s great, which is motivating the director to follow it pretty closely. I prefer the black and white art of the manga, since it fits the darkness of the tale much more. The way they have colored the characters in the anime reminds me of the Power Rangers. Otherwise, I love the way the manga has been adapted. The voice talents were very well chosen.

        I hope that you enjoy Akame ga Kiru!

  3. TWWK says:

    Have a wonderful vacation!

    Also, I rather enjoyed Nisemonogatari, until the “toothbrush episode.” It was then that I checked out.

    • Because everyone who’s watched the show has mentioned it, I decided to watch it myself. And yes, that’s one scene they should have cut completely. But, I’ll wait to see whether they give further grounds for dropping it before I do so. My friend tells me Monogatari is a masterpiece, so I’m curious to see whether his judgment is correct.

      • TWWK says:

        I certainly consider Bakemonogatari a masterpiece, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the other portions of the series are the same (though I found Nisemonogatari too boring to complete).

  4. David A says:

    Aldnoah.Zero is one of the best shows from this season.

    About Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, I was checking the manga first. The “school prince” character was disappointing. Can’t believe how common that trope has become. Well, one show less.

    • Aldnoah.Zero is quite awesome for the animation, setting, and the mech battles. Despite most people’s distaste for the characters, I find Slaine and Inaho quite interesting. The war scarred Lieutenant’s not bad either.

      Oh, you can’t discount Nozaki-kun for just that! Comedies always use flawed or eccentric characters in order to produce humor. We see that from Aristophanes to Sabagebu! Of course, there are certain perversions or graphically explicit material which should not be tolerated even in comedy; however, Nozaki-kun gives no impression that the school prince is courting any of the girls seriously. It’s like when Gawain courted the fourteen year old girl in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival and was her “true knight” for a week before he bid her goodbye.

      I encourage you to give it another shot–unless that school prince and other things in the series really do bother you. De gustibus non est disputandum, as the Romans said.

      • David A says:

        Trillram and Vlad are very unlikeable, specially Trillram.

        Inaho is quite clever, but havin him be such unemotional character seems a bit stereotyped. Slaine is interesting. Same with the princess and her little girl companion.

        I think these type of jokes, around that topic aren’t appropriated. Still, I’m studying and reading about the moral implications of shows.

      • I also wonder about the moral implications of the kind of jokes we find in anime. Some people argue that we shouldn’t make jokes out of perverse behavior or vices lest people find these faults acceptable. But, I think that by laughing at characters’ flaws most people are led not imitate these characters lest they too be ridiculed. And, it’s good to be able to treat other men’s fault’s with a degree of humor lest we treat them too harshly. And if we treat them too harshly, we shall treat ourselves too harshly. Lightheartedness occasionally devolves into levity, but without lightheartedness we shall never attain the virtue of cheerfulness, which forms a part of humility.

        Of course, the most famous author for viewing human flaws with good humor is Chaucer, and it can easily be shown that he did occasionally go too far. So, it’s often a hard line to tread.

Legens, scribe sententias tuas.

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