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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”