chaostangent

Posts with the “war” tag

A reckless disregard for punctuation

A review of the first season of Aldnoah Zero

Gen Urobuchi has stated unequivocally that he had nothing to do with the ending of Aldnoah Zero. Washed his hands of it. So done. Once you see it, it’s easy enough to see why: divisive, to the point where it overshadows the rest of the series that, when all’s said and done, is entertaining but shallow.

imprisoned by gunmetal grey military vessels and featureless wastelands

It treads in familiar footsteps with its concept: mankind divided, the Earth threatened, a war fomented. A force with vastly superior technology attacks an unprepared populace, oh the humanity. This isn’t anything that you haven’t already seen before in numerous other mecha shows and, depending on the breadth of your experience with that genre, done better.

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War, what is it good for?

On Rail Wars! and Toshokan Sensou

The "dream railway paradise entertainment" story is set in a parallel world where Japan did not privatize its national railways.

I’ll admit I only got through the first sentence of Rail Wars! description before passing judgement on it. I decided to watch it primarily on the strength of illustrator Vania 600’s character designs but without knowing much else. The alternate reality and mention of privatisation of the railways evoked images of different government departments duking it out on trains - it had “wars” in the title after all. As is my brain is wont to do, it pattern-matched this idea to what I’d heard about Toshokan Sensou (Library War) which had a similarly ridiculous sounding premise of library backed paramilitary groups battling with government censorship groups.

he is now part of the thrilling and sexy world of trains

Having not previously seen Toshokan Sensou, I decided to watch the two series in parallel, fully expecting to be equal parts amused and baffled by the surreal alternate histories but otherwise underwhelmed. What I didn’t expect was for Toshokan Sensou to be so serious, and for Rail Wars! to be quite so pants-on-head dumb.

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Snakebite

A review of the Canaan anime series

First released: July 2009
Version reviewed: BluRay

A lot of media start right in the thick of things, in media res, but Canaan is the only series I’ve seen that seems to start at the end of things, ad finem. As if all of the interesting development has already happened and this is the epilogue where the elves are sailing west. Wikipedia informs me however that Canaan is in fact a sequel to a Japanese-only Wii game and “conceptualised” by Type-Moon (of Kara no Kyoukai and Fate fame) co-founders Kinoko Nasu and Takashi Takeuchi. Whether having played that game helps in understanding the series is unknown, though unlikely given it shares only a few characters, one of whom is secondary at best.

everything scrapes against each other like rusty clockwork

The broad strokes though: photographer Maria Osawa and journalist Minoru Minorikawa travel to Shanghai to cover an anti-terrorism summit. Maria reunites with an old friend, Canaan, who is a mercenary for hire and possessed of the gift of synesthesia, allowing her to see odours and hear colours (amongst other things). A fine setup, but proving the exception to the rule that anything Type-Moon touches turns to gold, Canaan as a series is like the parade in the first episode: colourful, chaotic, and thoroughly unintelligible. How could it go so wrong?

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Circumspect

A review of Senkou no Night Raid

In my three episode preview of Senkou no Night Raid (Night Raid in a Flash / Night Raid 1931) I expressed my concerns over whether the series would sensitively deal with Japan’s questionable activities during that time period. I can safely say that it is all too aware of the feelings evoked by that era and is hyper cautious about stepping on anyones’ toes, perhaps even a little too cautious. For example, when it first aired, the series’ seventh episode was streamed rather than broadcast amidst rumours that the episode’s Japanese point of view on the events around the Mukden incident worried some TV executives.

at ideological odds to the hard scientific and political background the rest of the story has

That should give you an idea of the kind of emotions that, even 80 years later, revisiting 1930’s Japan can evoke. For America it may have been a time of prohibition and organised crime but in the prelude to the Second World War, Japan was embroiled in grand scale military imperialism in and around Korea and China. Buoyed by their successes during the Japan-Qing and the Russo-Japanese wars (the latter of which, bizarrely, was rather covered by the atrocious series Lime-Iro Senkitan), it’s at this turning point that Night Raid starts.

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Bountiful

A review of the Maoyuu Maou Yuusha anime series

Maoyuu Maou Yuusha (Demon King and the Hero) was nothing like what I expected. My ill-advised method of choosing anime to watch based on animated GIFs that I find on Tumblr led me to believe it was going to be just another medieval fan-service series; sharpen claws, commence slating. How wrong I was. I had seen the first episode when the series first aired and didn’t continue watching for some unknown fickle reason but frequently heard it compared to Spice and Wolf. In that series, wolf spirit Holo wanders around naked for a not insignificant amount of time which is likely where I assumed the comparison came from.

“I’m here to kill you!” “You want some tea?” “...” “...” “Sure”

In actuality it’s from the pointed approach to medieval affairs than chest out fan-service; so whereas Spice and Wolf busies itself with the minutiae of trade economics, Maoyuu Maou Yuusha goes for a more nuts-and-bolts cultural approach, dragging in some good old fashion politicking to go with it. You have the Demon King, the red haired poster child of the series, who makes a deal with the Hero, Generic McBlandpants, to set aside their racial and ideological differences in order to build a better world.

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