Pride and Virtue Mix Like Oil and Water

Watching Chain Chronicle has proven quite fun so far. This classic fantasy provides the viewer with a bevy of strong heroes, implacable foes, beautiful warrior maidens, and a Luke Skywalker-ish hero for its viewers to engage in “egocentric castle building,” as C. S. Lewis termed it in An Experiment in Criticism. This is a fantasy fully in the spirit of Dungeons and Dragons. It’s fun, but nothing within the story thus far has struck me as uncommon.

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Bruckhardt’s fall from grace counts as the most interesting event of the story thus far. From the first, my ears heard “Blackheart” when the seiyuu pronounced the knight’s name, and episode three revealed his transformation to a Blackheart indeed. The twin scourges of pride and melancholy oppressed him on account of the preferment Yuri gave to Aram. This allowed him to fall easy prey to the evil influence of the Black King’s demon. There is no faster way to hell than pride: the way Lucifer fell and the chief fault of Adam. Even the early Church Fathers wrote that pride alone suffices to send one to hell, even as humility provides the surest means to salvation among the virtues.

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Anime Winter 2017 & Some Blog Resolutions

The winter anime season is practically upon us, and I’ve yet to wrap up IzettaTrickster, and Flip Flappers.  But, these shows ought to be finished and reviewed with the other fall anime choices of mine on or before January 7th, which appears to be the new season’s official start.  And, I’ll have to reveal my favorite anime of last year!

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Many upcoming shows caught my eye:

  1. ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka
  2. Chain Chronicle
  3. Chaos; Child
  4. KonoSuba 2
  5. Little Witch Academia
  6. Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
  7. Onihei
  8. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu 2
  9. Spiritpact

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Forgotten Summer 2016 Anime Reviews

Happy All Saints’ Day and first day of NaNoWriMo or NaBloPoMo–whichever you prefer to undertake.  I’ll be undertaking the latter.  The challenge for National Blog Posting Month is to post once per diem for the month of November.  Usually, I get through with a combination of original articles and reblogs.  So, you just might see a post of yours up on Medieval Otaku this month. 🙂  At the same time, my reading challenge on Goodreads shows that I need to finish fifteen more books, i.e. I need to read about two books a week until the end of the year–sounds doable.

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It occurred to me that I never linked my summer anime reviews on Beneath the Tangles to this blog.  That was remiss of me, and here they are: Alderamin on the Sky, Active Raid, Berserk, and Sweetness and Lightning.  That season, I also had the pleasure of finishing 91 Days and ReLife, which went unremarked upon.  Below, I hope to correct my overlooking of them.

Enjoy!

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Practically a Mid-Season Review for Anime Fall 2016

Here we are five weeks into the new season of anime, and I have yet to write a post about what I’m watching!  Keshikaran!  Mattaku keshikaran!  Procrastination counts as one of my worst vices.  It seems to have gotten worse of late, and one wonders how I shall manage to bear with NaBloPoMo.

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Limiting myself to six anime was surprisingly easy this season.  I’ve yet to watch Luger Code 1951, but I’ve kept up with the other five.  And so, I’d like to invite my dear readers to suggest a couple more for me to add to my watch list.  Without further ado, the following are the shows I’ve been watching:

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1) BBK/ BRNK II

The CG animation in this show is some of the best I’ve seen.  The second season started with its best foot forward: action packed mecha battles.  All the characters are as likable as they were in the first season.

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The greatest problem with the show thus far is how the characters all strike me as rather confused.  Epizo works for the villain, Guy, because he loves Laeticia–even though the villain intends to eliminate all Bubuki users in the end.  Despite being one of Guy’s most devoted allies, Kaoruko, Azuma’s sister, has betrayed the villain…and been simultaneously abandoned by our heroes.  Reoko looks like she’ll be a good girl this time.  And so, I find myself just going along for the ride as I hope for the plot to make more sense.

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Lovely Blog Award from LynLynSays

Almost a year ago, LynLynSays honored me with a Lovely Blog Award, for which I am very grateful.  (It’s about time I write this post!)  LynLyn has a very entertaining and cogent style of writing, and I can’t encourage you enough to read her posts.

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Here are the rules:

  • You must thank person who nominated you and include a link to their blog
  • You must list the rules and display the award
  • You must add 7 facts about yourself
  • You must nominate 15 other bloggers

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A Brief Criticism of Drifters and Defense of St. Joan of Arc

Drifters stood at the top of my list among the present season’s anime, and I wrote as much in the chat of an entertaining conversation hosted by LitaKino.  Then, one of my best commentators, David A, pointed out that St. Joan of Arc was portrayed as a crazied pyromaniac in the show and as one of the villains.  This counts as the most wholly inaccurate and unflattering representations of a saint I have heard of since Wolf Hall, a show which portrays St. Thomas More as a corrupt fanatic.  I cannot get behind a show which calumniates a saint.  At least Joan of Arc’s portrayal in Shingeki no Bahamuteven though it presents a Joan of Arc who falls from grace for a time–still presents a character bearing her name as noble, courageous, and just.

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Calumniating the memory of the saints and great men counts as one of the blackest crimes a writer can commit.  Not only does the calumniator blacken someone’s reputation, but he damages the heritage of new generations.  Each generation has a right to have heroes to look up to and emulate.  One can claim that Drifters‘ portrayal is mere fiction, but most people get their information about the past from media, especially because schools don’t properly educate the youth on the subject of history.  Many people do believe that St. Joan of Arc was insane and delusional.

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Quick Takes: Turkish-style Coffee and Other Things

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Welcome to a suitably random series of quick takes, as you can tell from the first topic.  Those who wish to read a random assortment of things about yours truly are encouraged to continue.  Which reminds me, there are two award posts I should do in the near future from Josh W and Lynlynsays.  Look forward to them!

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I’ve determined that my favorite method of brewing coffee is the Turkish method: stirring very fine coffee grinds into some water, simmering it for five minutes (I try to keep it between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit), and then stirring before pouring it into a cup.  My grandmother uses this method, though I never employed it myself until the past month.  One interesting thing about this method is how one can stir up the grinds on the bottom of one’s cup to heighten the flavor.  The end result is very strong–especially with the Death Wish Coffee (the most caffeinated coffee in the world) I’m using now.

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Interest in Project Itoh: Empire of Corpses, Harmony, and Genocidal Organ

I’m writing this simply to see whether anyone else is interested in Project Itoh.  Of the blogs I follow, only Beatslars of Konnichiwa Anime no Yuujin has delved into both Harmony and Empire of Corpsesand Genki Jason has mentioned the two works here and here.  Those two works and Genocidal Organ have their origins as light novels, apparently written by the only fan to ever understand Hideo Kojima’s video games.  The story behind the novels, especially how the author wrote them from his hospital bed as he lay dying of cancer, is fascinating:

Curiously, Genocidal Organ (still a work in progress) is the last of the three light novels to receive an anime adaptation, even though it was the first novel of them to be written.  Harmony, with its investigation into the nature of happiness and free-will, strikes me as the most interesting.  But, all three seem to delve into philosophical questions, even though Empire of Corpses sounds mostly like a zombie-slaying adventure.  Besides the philosophical aspect, the world building in these movies, either the steam punk 19th century suffering a zombie apocalypse of Empire of Corpses or the dystopian future where everyone’s minds are controlled in Harmony, strikes me as the sort which makes anime worth watching.

Here are a couple of short articles on Harmony:

Fantasia 2016 Review: “Harmony”

Book Review: Harmony

So, are any of my dear readers also interested in these works?  I certainly want to find time for them!

On Suicide, the Negation of Being, and Evil

The anime Bungo Stray Dogs, another called Shigofumi, and certain blog comments have inspired me to write this article.  Shigofumi, an anime highly reminiscent of Kino’s Journey, (For interesting me in the latter series, my thanks go to Genki Jason of the blog Genkinahito.) hits the nail right on the head in the way it portrays evil as the negation of being in the first couple of episodes.  Since many of my fellow bloggers watch Bungo Stray Dogs, my article will focus on that series rather than Shigofumi, but I highly recommend it to those who love introspective dramas.  There are some spoilers, but you should be fine as long as you have watched the first seven episodes of Bungo Stray Dogs.

Seigi ga Buuki

In this series, I have been flabbergasted by both Osamu Dazai’s predilection for suicide–which is treated as absurd–and his nihilistic outlook, which shows his predilection for suicide to be no laughing matter.  His statement “Justice is a weapon” stands as the most nihilistic statement I have heard all year.  (By the way, if you wish to read an excellent article on Dazai’s statement and the nature of justice, read Annalyn’s article here.  No more digressions–I promise!)  Dazai, even if he works for the good guys, counts as an anti-hero if not a downright villain.  Though he pooh-poohs ideals, his statements prove that he has his own ideology, which is not far from the ideals of some of the worst villains.

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Battles and Hope

Angry Thrust

We’re in the eighth week of the season, and I should write my mid-season review soon–perhaps this Sunday.  Yet, so many shows are about to expire on Hulu: Tide Line BlueProject ArmsMagic Knight Rayearth, etc.  My determination to at least sample from these fine old shows has inspired me to write the following article on Magic Knight Rayearth.  (Also, I did finish the Dirty Pair OVA, which I hope to review soon–and no, that show is not as bad as the title makes it sound.)  This series falls into the genres of shoujo and fantasy, along the lines of Pretear and Escaflowne.  (I apparently have completed five shows which fall into both categories, all of which have a rating of four stars or higher from me.)  Magic Knight Rayearth has greatly amused me by the realistic reactions of Umi and Fuu when faced with monsters: scream and run away!  (There is a reason why history has not recorded conquering armies of high school girls.)  However, Hikaru is much more spirited than the other two, and they are gradually rising to the challenge of saving the world from the evil Il Pallazo Zagato and his minions.

Shadowy Zagato

This manga from which this show is adapted was published in 1993, but its focus on hope, following one’s dreams, and the importance of will power manifest strong influence from the eighties.  The eighties were an incredibly upbeat time, which can be felt especially in its popular music, and that quality draws may people to have a fondness for that decade.  What made it so upbeat?  From an American perspective, I can point to two reasons: 1) economic prosperity and 2) Ronald Reagan.  The latter reason probably made someone’s eyes roll, so I shall endeavor to explain the mood of the country prior to his election, as I have gleaned it from books, my parents, and others who experienced them.  (I myself only lived through four of those years.)

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On Creating an Anime for Christians Page

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Pondering the examples of other bloggers, particularly those at Beneath the Tangles, has encouraged me to create a page devoted to anime imbued with Christian ideals.  Many bloggers will tell you that there are no Christian anime besides Superbook and My Last Days, but I beg to differ.  Five other anime come to mind which have a clear Christian ethos behind them:

1) Arpeggio of Blue Steel
2) Ashita no Joe
3) Blassreiter
4) Mardock Scramble
5) Wings of the Honneamise

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Erased and the Two Forms of Salvation

Happy Low Sunday or Divine Mercy Sunday!  The anime Erased has got me thinking about the topic of salvation, as you know from my last article on the show.  In the finale, Yashiro was given a final chance of salvation by Satoru on the hospital roof: the statute of limitations had expired on Yashiro’s attempted murders.  He could have continued his ordinary and law-abiding life because Satoru had prevented his evil deeds.  Yet, Yashiro could not give up his evil obsession and was caught in the very trap he set: “They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down; they dug a pit for me; they themselves have fallen into the midst of it” (Psalms 57:6).  Like the reprobate soul I described in the past article, Yashiro pursued his own destruction despite all the help Satoru gave him.  (After all, if Socrates’ dictum that the one doing harm is harmed more than the one harmed is true, Yashiro himself received more benefit from Satoru’s acts than the children Satoru saved!) Yashiro refused to be deterred from sin and must now repent of it.

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Dragged Myself to 400 Anime: Final Two Reviews!

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At last!  Four hundred anime complete!  Actually, three more than that since I also recently completed New Dominion Tank Police and KonoSuba and forgot to add The Perfect Insider to my watched list.  But, this blog series is done, since I have watched Gintama the Movie: Benizakura-hen and Hetalia: Paint it White!  You’ll note that I needed to substitute the latter for Urusei Yatsura: Only You, but I hope to watch that and the rest of this creative and hilarious series in the near future.

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Gintama the Movie: Benizakura-hen portrays one of my all time favorite story arcs in the show.  I have mentioned before that Gintama is perhaps the most versatile show I’ve ever seen.  It’s mood varies from low-brow and toilet humor (I usually skip those episodes) to maudlin to legitimately hilarious slapstick and wordplay humor to, as we see in Benizakura-hen, action-packed drama.  The movie cut very little of the original material and increased the quality of the action sequences, which are downright thrilling.  I found myself at the edge of my seat several times while watching this.

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Impression of Anime Winter 2016: A Competent Season

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The following post is the result of your humble blogger not having kept up with the current season, with the exceptions of Gate, Erased, Ojisan to Marshmallow, and Shouwa Rakugo.  Usually, I’d be giving a rundown of what I thought of each show, but I haven’t been able to give enough attention to anime recently for that.  (At least, not yet.)  Here is the complete list of what I’m trying to follow:

1) Active Raid
2) BBK/BRNK
3) Dagashi Kashi
4) Dimension W
5) Erased
6) Gate
7) KonoSuba
8) Norn9
9) Ojisan and Marshmallow
10) Sekkou Boys
11) Shouwa Rakugo
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10 Days to 400 Anime: Patlabor the Movie

It’s been a couple of days since I last posted.  Long serials always prove difficult for me.  At last, here is my post on Patlabor the Movie.  Let me tell you off the bat that this movie impressed me.  The action sequences are good.  The characters were portrayed in a realistic manner: not overly exuberant or cartoony.  Also, the plot was very intelligent without becoming boring.  (See Sky Crawlers for a very intelligent yet boring film.)

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10 Days to 400 Anime: Windaria

Still having computer problems, but your humble blogger shall attempt to bypass them through using his newly acquired Kindle Fire.  (A very cheap $50 for what it does.) Blogging on this shall prove less vexatious than using a cell phone and will suffice for the time being.

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At any rate, I have decided on Windaria to be my first movie of the series.  This fantasy displays some great animation and offers the audience a poignantly tragic anti-war tale; though, considering how many mistakes were completely avoidable and unnecessary, I don’t think that they carried their point.  Our story begins with Izu and his wife, Marin, selling their vegetables in the capital city of Itha.  While in town, a saboteur attempts to flood this city by opening the dikes.  (Itha is very reminiscent of Holland with its dikes and windmills.) Izu thwarts this plan, but receives scant recognition at the court of Itha for saving their capital, which will lead to Izu’s easily being taken into Paro’s, the enemy country’s, service.  The court learns from the captured saboteur that Paro employed him, and they begin to take measures for their defense.

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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.

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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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