Gasaraki is one of the classic mecha anime. “If it’s a classic,” you ask, “why have I never heard of it before?” Despite the great animation (at least, to a connoisseur of 90’s anime like myself), many layers of intrigue, a unique plot, and great mecha battles, the dialog can be very abstruse–so abstruse that I switched from the Japanese to the English dub after four episodes. Esoteric anime generally don’t enjoy much popularity.
After four unintelligible episodes, the dub is a great improvement. The person who wrote the English script must have worked with the same translation, but he elevated the translation from “translationese” to proper English. Some of what occurred still went over my head, but the enigmatic nature of some of the dialog made me meditate longer about what the show was about. The show juxtaposes the individual against collective or group structures to highlight the…
On Day 4, I watched From up on Poppy Hill. You’ll be amused to learn that I did not find an English sub or dub and had to watch it raw. Despite having only a low intermediate knowledge of Japanese, I never felt lost while watching the plot or listening to the dialogue. That the themes of this movie revolved around basic things like family, friends, love, and young people striving for independence helped.
That the animation imitated an older style (it felt like I was watching something from 2001, not 2011) added a nice touch to the story. The images of the ships and the waterfront were beautiful, but I also enjoyed the scenes of crowded city streets. All in all, the backgrounds do a nice job of immersing the viewer in that time and place.
Hello, All! It’s been too long since my last movie review, and so an update of sorts seems appropriate. I should get back to the movie reviews starting today. From up on Poppy Hill and In This Corner of the World were both very well done, and these two films might be treated in the same post. After that, I’ll get back to writing one movie review a day–if all goes well.
I had forgotten that Satoshi Kon directed Millenium Actress until his name rolled across the opening credits. Even if one had missed his name, the quirky Satoshi Kon method of transitioning from scene to scene would have tipped me off. Millennium Actress reminds me of Perfect Blue. The two movies have many points of comparison; yet, their treatment of living in a fantasy world are very different. You might call Perfect Blue‘s treatment of fantasy and delusion via negativa, while Millenium Actress stands as a via positiva. I’d love to read any blog posts comparing and contrasting the two. Send such a blog my way if you’ve written one, dear reader. I’ll reblog the first three of you!
Millennium Actress covers the life of Chiyoko Fujiwara from her teens in WWII Japan to her old age in contemporary Japan. The movie is a framed story, with Chiyoko’s life being the center and the interview of Chiyoko conducted by Genya Tachibana, a very avid fan, with his assistant in modern times framing the tale. Amusingly, Genya and his assistant–in the fashion of how Satoshi Kon mixes reality and fantasy–appear to film her life as if they were right there beside her. I won’t spoil just how much Genya participates in Chiyoko’s life, but there’s not another movie which uses quite the same idea.
The Boy and the Beast was a fun movie–even a great movie. I loved the animation, which excelled both in the action sequences and when depicting the backgrounds. Some of the scenes in Tokyo do a remarkable job of making the viewer feel like he is right there with Kyuuta. The soundtrack melded seamlessly with the action of the story.
My biggest complaint might very well be the dub. I watched it in English, and actresses were selected to voice the boy characters. The Japanese do this all of the time. However, when the Japanese actresses take on the roles of boys, I never find myself thinking: “Well, that’s an unnaturally sexy voice coming out of that kid.” It might very well have been better to have used some young male talents for these parts. The voice talents of John Swasey as Kumatetsu and Ian Sinclair as Tatara stood out as the two best performaces. I do not think that I have heard the latter gentleman before. Sinclair’s voice sounds very similar to Steve Blum’s (Spike Spiegel of Cowboy Bebop and Makoto Shishio in Rurouni Kenshin).
About every two years I add one hundred anime to my Watched list. (Not too impressive when you consider that shorts, OVAs, and movies also count as separate titles and that I stay away from series with over twenty-six episodes.) Also, as usual every two years, I want to let my dear readers vote upon what I watch to finish out this new hundred. Since I ran into Ex-Driver and Submarine 707 Revolution the Movie at my local 2nd and Charles bookstore, you will get to vote on eight of the last ten. (I think of 2nd and Charles as an earthly paradise of sorts. Book, manga, and anime lovers who live nearby such a store know what I mean.) Below is a list of thirty-two movies from my Want to Watch list arranged by production date, please select eight choices. I intend to review each and every movie in the final lineup.
Thanks for your input on which movies will be in the new series of posts! Be sure to pass the poll onto your friends so that they can throw in their two cents also. The poll will remain active through January 23rd. If a group of movies require a tie breaking vote, I’ll hold another such poll afterwards. Thanks again!
EDIT: I notice that one title did not come out properly in the poll. Where you see “(2015),” it ought to read “<Harmony> (2015).”
Don’t ask me how I forgot to review Girls’ Last Tour yesterday, for this oversight is a mystery even to me. If anything can explain it, it’s the fact that I dropped the anime for a while until some commentators convinced me to give it another try. (Yours truly ought to more frequently apply the three episode rule.) Reading Infinite Zenith’s “Girls’ Last Tour (Shōjo Shūmatsu Ryokō): Full Series Review and Recommendation” reminded me of the fact that I had both watched the show and not reviewed it on my blog. Infinite Zenith features very detailed posts with plenty of screenshots, and I highly encourage all my dear readers to read the post linked to above.
What first attracted me to this anime was how unique the setting was. As a lover of snowy settings and post-Apocalyptic tales, I had to give this show a try. As the series unrolled, one could see that the mangaka essentially explored what makes life worth living. Each episode provided one possible answer, and overall the mangaka simply answers “friends.”
The time has come for my season review. The seven anime I watched rated from two to four and a half stars with only two shows receiving the same rating. This is to say that my shows run the gamut from disappointing to near masterpieces. Fall 2017 well rounded out a good year for anime: the quality of the shows were generally good even if nothing truly spectacular came about. I’ll write more about this when I write about my top five shows of last year. The shows below rank from least to greatest.
Without further ado, let’s begin!
7) Dies Irae ★★
As a cross between Fate/Stay Night and Hellsing, this show boasted a unique atmosphere–one of the most unique of the season. It also boasted some likable characters, and one really roots for the hero to overcome the immortal Nazis trying to massacre his city. The above makes me sad that I cannot in justice give it more than two stars. Though the plot eventually becomes discernible, the events in the anime tend to be scatterbrained and the tale descends into bloody and disturbing violence. The flashback to Sister Liza Brenner’s past as the mother of Lebensborn was probably the most disturbing part of the anime.
I found this pretty interesting. Isuna Hasekura has contributed to a new Medieval European Studies journal published during autumn of last year. The acknowledgements read: “We gratefully acknowledge a generous donation from Mr. Isuna Hasekura and Mr. Nobuo Matsuki which made the launching of Spicilegium possible.” Cytrus, a dear reader and fellow blogger, once sent me a reading list of what Hasekura studied in order to write Spice and Wolf, but I had no idea that his passion for the Middle Ages was great enough for him to sponsor a historical journal! Spicilegium is run by the Japan Society for Medieval European Studies, and I hope to read their first issue soon. As of now, it only contains three articles, but I hope that the journal will grow in the future.
On another note, I hope to be publishing blogs more regularly in the near future, so look forward to that!
Recently, I received a couple of questions from Luminas, a great follower of this blog, through the “Ask Medieval” page. The first will be answered in this post and the second in a later one. After that, I have high hopes of answering my next dear reader and hope for many more questions to follow!
This question concerns why I am so devoted to Padre Pio over other saints who are similar in many ways. First, let me start by describing Catholic worship and devotion for those who might not be so familiar with it. It consists of three levels denoted by their Greek names: latria, hyperdulia, and dulia. Latria refers to worship giving to God alone as Author of the Universe, Savior of the Human Race, and Source of All Goodness, Truth, and Beauty. Hyperdulia refers specifically to the reverence paid to the Blessed Virgin Mary for being the Mother of God, the human being whose cooperation was most essential for humanity’s salvation, and the most graced human being in all of history. Dulia refers to the reverence paid to the saints and angels for being devout servants of God and dear friends of God deserving of imitation. Latria is absolutely necessary for salvation, hyperdulia morally necessary, and dulia necessary to practice when obligated by one’s diocese (as in a saint’s feast day being declared a holy day of obligation) but mostly subject to personal taste. Having said that, many spiritual authors strongly recommend devotion to St. Michael, St. Joseph, and the holy angels as a group. Be sure to thank your guardian angel for putting up with you so patiently since your days in the cradle!
With such interesting posts behind him, I decided to check out his new blog. Curiously Dead Cat has only been around since November 29th, but it has a nice assortment of articles out by now. My eye was particularly drawn to his posts on Shirayuki Hime (I really need to watch that show) and Recovery of an MMO Junkie, which is my favorite show of the current season–what a shame that it only airs for ten episodes! I rather enjoyed Dr. Steve’s (who now uses the handle NegativePrimes) post on the opening song of the latter anime and how it displays the idea of the characters having their identities fragmented between real life and the internet world.
My first question received under the “Ask Medieval” feature came from Gaharet and concerns how knighthood can be carried into the modern age. To paraphrase, what are the essential features of knighthood and how might one be a modern knight? The first quality of a knight is to be able to fight. All other qualities of a knight surround the central fact of the knight being a warrior. A knight may hesitate to strike a blow, but will not hit weakly when his hand is forced. To that end in modern times, knowledge of how to shoot and martial arts are eminently desirable. Next there comes keeping fit and healthy for action. Thirdly, a knowledge of Historical European Martial Arts, though archaic, help in staying fit and better imagining what combat was like from a medieval knight’s perspective.
The central virtue of the knight is courage. The word courage derives from the French word for heart. The knight must take care to keep his heart pure lest the taint of sin lead him to use force wantonly. To which end, the virtues of faith, charity, chastity, honesty, magnanimity, obedience, loyalty, and good cheer are necessary. To perfect his character still more, the knight ought to take on the mantle of meekness, not vaunting his own achievements but giving the glory to God. The knight par excellence is a Christian gentleman.
Yesterday, a post I wrote for Beneath the Tangles was released on the site. Therein, I wax philosophical on human nature and the place of the will, using an interesting myth given by the jellyfish-like character King in the anine Houseki no Kuni. I hope that you enjoy it–or that you will at least enjoy my lengthy quote from St. Catherine of Siena’s famous dialogue with God. Click on the link below!
There comes a time in a blogger’s career when he must stuff a pipe, light it, and let nicotine act as his muse. At least, that’s how I feel as I sit down to write this mid-season review. Now, my list contains seven shows–the seventh being the formerly dropped Girls’ Last Tour. (That’s a much easier title to remember than Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou.) Not much happens plotwise in this show, but I think that I’ve discovered its thematic plot now that I’m four episodes in. (Yes, I’ve not quite caught up; but, I want to get my thoughts down now before I start procrastinating.) By the way, let me thank Gaheret for submitting a query through “Ask Medieval.” I hope to post my reply to him soon–as soon as I write that article for Beneath the Tangles.
At any rate, let’s begin those reviews!
1) Girls’ Last Tour
Yes, it appears that I dropped this show too soon. It does get more interesting after episode one, even if the episodes remain slow. The fact that the characters are not boys (Does this not seem the perfect setting for a boys’ adventure tale?) does not bother me as much anymore. More bothersome to me now is the heroines continually wearing those helmets in freezing weather. People often marvel that knights kept their armor on in the frigid campaigns against the Baltic pagans and the arid crusades against the Saracens. A helmet magnifies the cold in the same way as medieval armor! In reality, out heroines would both have stowed their helmets away long ago. Can’t we get a slice of realism with our moé?
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Or, minna, Kanshasai omedetou gozaimasu! Don’t fail to be grateful to God for your life, faith, family, friends, feasting, gifts, talents, virtues, intellect, grace, health, country, possessions, and all good things which come from our Heavenly Father.
Be grateful that you’re not a character in Galaxy Express 999.
This article makes a very interesting point, and it also brings up a famous petition signed by none other than Agatha Christi to preserve the original Latin mass. Their efforts gave England and Wales special permission to use it in addition to the modern mass within their parishes.
Many are stunned today at the speed in which western civilization is collapsing. Coinciding with this is the post-conciliar crisis within the Church, the fourth great crisis of Christendom as it has been described by that great defender of orthodoxy, Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan. What may not be as clear too many is the connection between the destruction of the Mass and of the collapse of the Christian west.
One man who understood this connection was Dr. John Senior, professor of English, Literature, and Classics and co-founder of the very successful Integrated Humanities Program at the University of Kansas. Dr. Senior taught for decades at the university level. He was also a convert to the Catholic faith, devoted to the traditional Mass and an attendee of Immaculata Chapel (SSPX) in St. Mary’s, Kansas.
Senior has been credited with inspiring a generation of young men and…
This post by Karandi has me reconsidering whether I was right to drop this show.
Review: Normally I would be the first to describe something like Girls’ Last Tour as dull. The plot does not exist other than two girls travelling around seemingly deserted world occasionally looking for food but mostly without any kind of direction. The two characters, while charming, aren’t anything particularly note worthy. Even the setting, post […]