Old and new

Some of my dear readers have likely played Dark Souls. This article by Josh W makes a very interesting connection between Dark Souls and the Book of the New Sun series by Gene Wolfe. Having read the first book of this series and watched the game, the comparison strikes me as quite apt. I really need to start reading the second book in the BOTNS series.

Res Studiorum et Ludorum

claw of the

Looks like my blog completely bypassed the octave of Christmas, leaving my Dickens audiobook hanging. Perhaps next year I’ll get around to the second stave of A Christmas Carol. It’s still not quite over yet, so – Merry Christmas!

Speaking of unfulfilled tasks, I’ve begun re-reading The Book of the New Sun. Anyone who’s spent some time on this blog knows that this book means a lot to me. So much so that I began a chapter by chapter exegesis a year or so ago. My hope is that this re-read will help prime me to resume that project.

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10 Movies to 400 Anime

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Some of you may have remembered my “10 Days to 300” back in February of 2014, when I watched ten anime movies in order to reach a total of 300 anime watched.  There were some spectacular movies in that series.  Now that I’m ten away from 400 (I guess it takes me about two years to consume 100 titles), I’d like to do that kind of serial again.  But, this time I have chosen half of the movies, while my dear readers shall choose the other half for me.  Here are my five:

  1. Garakowa: Restore the World
  2. Lupin III: The Secret of Mamo
  3. Patlabor the Movie I
  4. Urusei Yatsura the Movie I
  5. Venus Wars

Looking at the list of movies I want to watch on Anime-Planet, here are the ten movies which jumped out at me.  Choose the five you’d most want me to watch and review.

Thanks for your participation!

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Thoughts on The Wind Rises

At last, I have managed to watch Miyazaki’s latest, but no longer final, film, and my biggest regret is not to have seen it in theaters.  The animation and sound effects held me spellbound.  I also loved the manner they included foreign languages and how they intimated that the characters communicated in a foreign language even though Japanese is spoken on screen: one or two lines would be spoken in the foreign tongue, but then the characters would conclude the rest of the dialogue in Japanese.  My friend found this method jarring, and it did take a little time to accustom myself to it; but, it was a nice technique overall.  Most striking for me was that the Italian lines were spoken with heavy accents, while the seiyuu spoke German pretty fluently.  Despite the sounds of Romance languages being closer to Japanese, the seiyuu’s pronunciation of Italian produced snickers while their skill with German produced awe.

WR1

Many of my dear readers remember the controversy surrounding The Wind Rises when it was released.  The film was accused of glossing over Japanese war crimes and its complicity in starting WWII.  To the critics’ defense, most of the blame for the war is placed on German’s head, while Japan is characterized by Jiro Hirokoshi’s best friend as a poor country trying to become as prosperous as Western nations.  Neither of these assertions are strictly true, save for the fact that Japan had been seeking parity with Western countries since the advent of the Meiji Era.  But, they had generally succeeded by Hirokoshi’s day.  Remember that Japan had wiped the floor with Russia during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905).  This was contrary to many predictions that Russia would prove victorious.  Also, Japan, in imitation of the powerful nations of the West, had established colonies across the Pacific and into Asia prior to WWII–not exactly something of which a poor country is capable.

Japanese Empire

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Rating the Anime of Fall 2015

I’m a little late to the party, aren’t I?  To tell you the truth, my dear readers, I have not even settled on the shows I’m going to watch this season with the sole exception of Ojisan to Marshmallow, which is a very amusing short.  Feel free to give me your three favorite shows so far in the comments section below, and I promise to take a look at them.

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Looking back at the anime of Fall 2016, the high scores I awarded to the shows struck me.  Have I become even less critical than normal?  Then, your humble blogger realized that last season’s worst shows haven’t ended, and I decline to rate shows until I see the ending–unless Beneath the Tangles requires one of me.  So, let me talk about the worst shows of the past season before I get to the good stuff.

Worst wine pour in anime ever.

Worst wine pour in anime ever.  Is that ketchup?

8)  The Perfect Insider (aka Subete ga F ni Naru)

The fact that such a well constructed show finds itself at the bottom speaks volumes to how good the Fall 2015 was.  The Perfect Insider‘s problem was that it strove to appear erudition and merely became abstruse.  The philosophical queries at the show’s beginning drew me in, but the show became less about metaphysics and human nature and more about trying to learn the psychology of the killer, Dr. Shiki Magata.  One might claim that learning Dr. Magata’s psychology helps us understand philosophical ideas and human nature.  But, the usefulness of any philosophy we derive from a person’s psyche depends greatly on their sanity.  Dr. Magata has a few cards short of a full deck, is five cans short of a six pack, four quarters short of a dollar, and, in brief, is mad as a hatter.  Since insanity is based in pride and not in reality, one learns very little philosophy indeed.

Differing morals

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Feast Day of St. Anthony the Great

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Today is the feast day of one of the greatest saints of the Church and a great friend to whomever seeks his intercession: St. Anthony of Egypt.  He is renowned as the Founder of Monasticism, was one of the fiercest opponents of the Arian heresy (which denied the divinity of Christ and threatened to topple orthodox Christianity), and lived from 251 through 356 A. D.–making him one hundred and five years old at the time of his death.  Of course, the prime event to celebrate on a Sunday is the Resurrection, but I intend to remember the good things St. Anthony did, eat some good food, and toast with some Trappist ale.

Here are two articles about his life and a couple of quotes:

St. Anthony the Abbot

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On Forgetting God

Now, your humble aniblogger has at last caught up with all of the Fall 2015 anime on his watchlist.  Expect a post covering my general impressions of these shows and another on what I intend to watch from this season.  In a way, it’s useful to come late to a new season: people have sorted the trash from the mediocre and the good.  So, I reap the fruits of their efforts and time—spent or misspent as the case may be.

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At any rate, the idea for the present article comes from a thought which struck me as I watched the second half of Noragami Aragoto, which, like the previous season, ended on a spectacular note.  Others have likely also been struck by how easy it was for Hiyori to forget Yato, and how much of the conflict revolved around Hiyori retaining the memory of him.  This became especially poignant in the latter episodes where Nora succeeded in separating her and Yato for over a month.

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On Old Movie Sword Fights

Those of my readers who are interested in swordplay might enjoy this video of Matt Easton’s, talking about the most important sword fight in the movie The Flame and the Arrow.  It talks about how the swordplay one sees in mid-twentieth century films differs from medieval swordplay and what steps the actors take to stay safe.  This video has to be one of Easton’s best fight reviews.

Examining Old School Anime: Humility in Approaching Scripture

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Here is my latest post for the column “Examining Old School Anime” on Beneath the Tangles.  Galaxy Express 999 again proves to be an inspiration for this column.  Indeed, it’s really too easy.  For my next post, I intend to use a different anime.

Examining Old School Anime: Humility in Approaching Scripture

Favorite Anime of 2015

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You probably won’t be surprised that my favorite anime of 2015 was none other than Arslan Senki.  The only other anime I rated at four and a half stars was Eden of Grisaia.  Very few anime have parodied the harem genre so well.  I especially loved the hero’s resemblance to Sousuke Sagara of Full Metal Panic! and the show’s finale was nothing short of amazing.  However, Arslan Senki‘s quality animation, fascinating setting, and equally intriguing characters gave it the edge over its competitor.  Also, as an enthusiast for all things medieval, the realistic depiction of chainmail:

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Post on Scrupulosity

My latest post on Beneath the Tangles (the creator of which is unfortunately moving onto better things) was on the topic of scrupulosity, particularly scrupulosity in anime and other kinds of media.  Scrupulosity is an affliction suffered usually by those striving for moral perfection, in which the conscience becomes so over-delicate that the sufferer is tempted to believe that lawful things are sinful.  I myself have suffered from the affliction.  That post was written in response to a letter from a reader on this topic.  Of my response, the first paragraph is the most important and cogent, reflecting as it does the opinion of the Church Fathers and writers of the Counter-Reformation Era.  In the following ones, I reflect particularly on why it is foolish to scruple overmuch on anime and other types of stories and the great good of the storytelling profession in general.

Untangled: On Scrupulosity in Anime

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