Beatless Episode 10: Are we seriously getting another recap?

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I really want to praise this week’s episode for being interesting, but I felt like the plans were overly convoluted. I’m willing to accept that I might have just misunderstood, but I felt like the episode relied too much on outright lying to the audience to force a twist.

Does it really make sense for a major tech company to be okay with an hIE lacking a valid registration number? Shiori’s plan is to force an audit of the Egyptian hIE, so they’ll just see an hIE without a valid number. If that was okay from the start, why did Lacia go through all of the trouble to fake an ID in the first place?

The random introduction of Arato’s father aside, I’m not sure I follow this experiment. Why even run it with hIEs? If you’re just looking at how hIEs interact with other hIEs pretending to be human, I feel like it would be much more efficient to just simulate that scenario. Isn’t that the point of robot minds?

I did find it weird that the Black Monolith and Kouka made it to the fight in time despite Methode’s assertion that they wouldn’t. You wouldn’t expect a computer to miscalculate like that. I get that this contributes to the reveal later in the episode, but I’m really not sure I like it.

I think it ultimately depends on where the series goes with Lacia. Her actions in this episode make a lot more sense if she has some kind of hidden agenda that she’s keeping from Arato. Otherwise, I don’t see why she pretends to go along with Shiori’s plan if she already has countermeasures for it.

Why exactly can’t Shiori just order Methode to save her? Is it because Methode can override her order? I don’t see how it can conflict with one of the other owner’s orders.


Sora yori mo Tooi Basho Episode 12: They just keep coming

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First Violet Evergarden and now this. These shows really aren’t letting up on the feels. This week’s episode was really great. The buildup was done well and Shirase’s mentality was believable.

Ugh, the show literally warns us by showing Shirase peeling onions while talking about crying. Stop being so good at subtlety!

Shirase’s hesitance was explained well and it made a lot of sense. For pretty much the entire series, she’s been telling her friends that she’s fine when they ask about her mother. She probably says that because she’s been hung up and unable to grieve. Her fear that the feeling will never go away seems reasonable in that light. She likely has been dealing with that pain for years.

I also liked Gin’s take on Takako. It’s refreshing that she didn’t do the typical adult thing of guessing the wishes of the dead.

I had to check because I was curious, and the password to Takako’s computer is Shirase’s birthday (1101). It’s not a hard one to guess. I’m actually way more curious about Shirase’s first attempt. She types “0417”, which doesn’t seem to be a birthday. I’m going to be really upset if there’s an obvious explanation that I’m just missing.

That final scene really hit hard. It’s not only the fact that Shirase finally “connect” with her mother. We’ve been shown Shirase’s phone many times through the series with the “Dear Mom” heading. I made the assumption (which was probably the intended assumption) that Shirase was unable to send her messages to her mother. However, this scene confirms that she’s been sending those messages the entire time. That realization really drives this scene home.

Also, it looks like there’s also a message in a different folder. I’m guessing that’s an outbox, which means that Takako probably left a message for Shirase. I think the worst is yet to come.

Winter 2018 Grab Bag Week 11: Sangatsu no Lion, Mahou Tsukai no Yome

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Something witty.

3-gatsu no Lion S2 Episode 41

This episode started with a nice break from the action, but it still felt like it had plenty of stuff going on. The bullying incident hasn’t been resolved, which is fine with me. People don’t just change at the drop of a hat after all.

I really liked that the series acknowledged the lasting impact on Chiho. This scene shows her progress as well as the damage that has been done really succintly.

This scene with the new teacher also brings up a point that I quite like. Justice is an interesting topic for me, and I’ve always been curious about how people regard perpetrators after they’ve been labeled “evil”. Do we punish perpetrators just to dispense justice or are we trying to correct their behavior. It’s easier to make the argument with kids, but I think it extends further. Either way, the new teacher’s questions demonstrate the kinds of reactions I find questionable.

This line just feels really relatable. I wouldn’t say I’m the same, but I’ve had thoughts like this in the past.

Mahoutsukai no Yome Episode 23

The first half of this episode felt a little strange in that I didn’t fully get why it needed to be here. I guess the point was to show that the fairies wish for Chise’s well-being, but don’t necessarily respect her wishes.

What interests me about Cartaphilus’s story is that it’s a bit of a role reversal. Based on the setup we’ve seen so far, we expect that Joseph is being held prisoner in this eternal life by Cartaphilus. However, Cartaphilus really comes off as the pitiful one in the flashback. Instead, the “Cartaphilus” that we’ve seen up to this point has really been Joseph, who is desperately trying to free himself.

We’re almost at the end. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this story gets wrapped up.

Kokkoku Episode 11: Pretty random

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What…did I just watch? Am I the only one who thought this episode was a special kind of nonsense? From what I saw, it seemed like this episode was just making things up out of nowhere. Sure, I guess that gives points for being unpredictable, but most of these developments felt like they had no relationship to established story points.

I was happy to see Juri ignore Sagawa’s story and go straight for the kill. It’s too bad nothing came of it. Why didn’t Juri just keep using her power? She states that she could expel Sagawa if she used her power on his a few more times and decides to switch to using a knife. That kind of change is just begging for Sagawa to escape his death somehow.

Takafumi also gets a pretty good moment here when he demonstrates his resolve to kill Sagawa. However, he also feels like he’s wasted when the following scene shows Juri removing him from Stasis.

It’s the same with Makoto. His awakened power seems squandered when he only contributes slightly to the battle in the previous episode. Now, he’s just gone. I guess this episode was trying to tie up loose ends, but you could at least make it look thought out.

I think I can sum my problem with this episode up pretty simply. The developments in this episode seem to rely way too much on the fact that the Stasis world is a mysterious world of magic. When very little has been done to set up the rules of the world, it’s very easy to make up whatever development you want because you can explain it away with “magic”. It’s a style of explanation that I don’t like seeing, so I have a pretty low opinion of the series going into the next episode (which is presumably the final episode). Will the series make up for it in the finale?

At this point, Sagawa has done nothing to convince me that he deserves a second chance, but he’ll get one anyway. It makes the ending feel forced and sucks away any meaning.

Darling in the FranXX Episode 10: These klaxosaur battles are starting to feel like cheap openers

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This episode really left me with a lot of questions about this world. We finally get a look at the adult world and it’s full of mysteries. I think the ultimate verdict on this episode depends on whether we get any payoff in the future, as the episode was really intriguing and deserves a reveal. The focus on Zorome in the episode also felt reasonable since he’s always the most enthusiastic about becoming an adult.

I really question the effectiveness of a door that doesn’t let you know whether you can pass until you try to do so.

The whole concept of the “infected” kids was pretty interesting in this episode. This rejected handshake doesn’t seem like much until it’s combined with the disinfectant part later in the episode.

I guess this is still relevant. Points for not just ignoring the confession from last week.

There’s a fun question here. What are the kids really protecting? The adult world we’re shown seems to be a bit of a standard dystopia where the adults just kinda numb themselves to the world outside. What are the adults doing that’s so worth protecting?

The fact that the woman in this episode knew Zorome’s code and Zorome’s own comments make me wonder if this woman is Zorome’s mother or something. That makes me wonder if the adults are kept around for reproductive purposes. Also, I’m wondering if the city is actually full of adults. Zero Two calls the city lifeless and Zorome wanders around for a long time without seeing anyone. It’s very possible that the adults are all secluded, but part of me wonders if the city’s just empty.

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens Episode 10: The war begins

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This week’s episode felt like it had a lot more of what I like in this show. We’re back to showing multiple parallel stories that eventually converge on each other. I’m curious where this story will go…mostly because I don’t see Feilang as a future ally.

These two have a pretty fun rivalry. Their banter’s pretty entertaining to watch…probably because it’s a swirl of baseball and killing style talk.

I’m not sure how much I’m supposed to read into this line because we’ve seen this guy come to Saruwatari’s aid in the past. I guess you could make the argument that Saruwatari still has some use or something.

I like that this scene omits the unnecessary detail. We saw Saruwatari remembering that he has to leave his shuriken as a calling card in the first assassination, so it’s reasonable to conclude that he leaves his shuriken at the second location to fulfill his contract. At first, I was wondering why they would place the second killing on him, but now I realize that it makes sense for Saruwatari to want credit for both assassinations.

You’re really making your contribution there, Saito…

This scene’s another example of omitting the unnecessary detail. We saw in the earlier scene that Enokida asked his informant about the person in charge of evacuating the Kakyuu execs. Here, we see Banba using the information without a scene between him and Enokida. We’ve seen Enokida tip Banba off in the past, so it’s a reasonable conclusion that he asked the informant for Banba.

Okay, I was wondering why Feilang was relevant, and using him to force a rift between Banba and Lin makes sense. I guess we’ll see where this goes. Also, I sure wonder what they’ll do with that bomb Enokida found.

Violet Evergarden Episode 10: Right in the feels

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Alright, fine. I thought this week’s episode was great. I pretty much knew where the story was going, but I’m a sucker for time skip epilogues. I didn’t have any clue what this show would be like after the “finale” we got, but I might be inclined to call this episode my favorite so far.

I really liked watching Anne as she warmed up to Violet in this episode. It didn’t seem forced. She just naturally wanted to play with someone after feeling neglected by her mother.

I think the most surprising part of this episode was just how knowledgeable Anne seemed to be. I wouldn’t expect a child to understand that her mother was dying and be willing to reason out that every moment left with her mother was precious. To a certain extent, I found that a bit unbelievable, but it makes for good drama.

I have such a weakness for this scene. Watching Anne read the letters as she grew older was just really satisfying.

The scene at the end surprised me the most, though. When everything is over, Violet reveals that she was keeping her emotions back the entire time. After what we’ve seen from Violet in every other story before this one, that statement felt like it had a lot of impact because it was coming from her. That scene actually wrecked me inside.

Beatless Episode 9: Pretty confusing

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I’m really starting to get tired of Arato’s nonsense. It’s hard to really care about him when he seems to have such muddy intentions. His friends are bombarding him with pretty reasonable arguments, but he refuses to even have the conversation. It’s just frustrating to watch.

Hey, the whole idea that Erica was cryogenetically frozen is pretty interesting. I wish there was more to it, though. Erica makes an offhand comment about being in hospitals before she was frozen, which would suggest that she was frozen because she was sickly. Maybe she was unfrozen to be cured. But I guess that’s not important…

Instead, we get a pretty strange bit of characterization. I guess I’m supposed to conclude that Erica ascribes to some sort of philosophical materialism or something with the way she attempts to quantify affection and love. It seems a bit backwards…you’d expect the more advanced society to lean more in that direction, but Erica is a relic of the past.

Seriously, I feel like I have to conclude that Arato’s only character motivation is that he will always side with the hIE. At this point, I’m pretty sure his views are just horribly inconsistent and I’m more inclined to side with Ryo. I get the sense that Arato is only the protagonist because it’s a common protagonist mentality to side with the robots in shows like this.

I had a lot of trouble wrapping my head around this conversation. My eventual takeaway is that Shiori is trying to invalidate Arato’s ownership of Lacia by proving that Lacia’s registration number was faked. But in this conversation, she sounded like she was trying to tell Arato that the nurse hIE was the fake. It doesn’t help that Arato contributes nothing to conversation by immediately changing the topic to the hIE’s “feelings”.

Blogging Principles: Being specific

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I haven’t written one of these in a while. If I was being smarter, I’d wait until a Beatless recap episode before publishing this post, but I can’t help myself.

Previously, I talked about the format of a blog post, so I want to talk a bit about my approach to content. When I’m writing any post, there’s one particular thought that I’m always keeping in the back of my mind: Be specific. Admittedly, I’m still working on improving at this, but it’s one of my bigger writing goals.

So, what do I mean when I say this? Put simply, it’s just a matter of asking myself why I think the way I do. I want to avoid becoming someone who always expresses vague feelings or thoughts. I’m the type of person who likes to trace the logic behind anything, so I endeavor to provide as much detail as possible.

One thing that I hear often in discussion is “it’s just my opinion”. It’s something that I hate to hear and I think it’s related to this topic. Of course, people are absolutely entitled to their own opinions. But there has to be a reason that you’ve come to that particular conclusion, and saying “it’s just my opinion” has completely shut down the discussion. I don’t care if you have an interesting opinion. I care if you have a good reason for your interesting opinion.

For example, it’s just my opinion that mecha shows are really interesting. For the most part, I hold this opinion because I like watching robot battles. If I were to go deeper, I would probably say that it has to do with my early exposure to shows like Gundam. The fact that I watched a lot of Power Rangers as a kid is probably also a large contributing factor. I’m not saying that you should be prepared to give this kind of analysis for any random opinion that you have. These are just the kinds of things I want to think about.

The end result is that most of my episode posts are just a list of points. My approach is to come up with a list of things I liked and disliked in an episode, so I can try to go through why I felt that way. It also gives me a convenient list of reasons why I might like or dislike a show overall.

In the interest of full disclosure, I also want to point out that I find this approach frightening. From what I’ve seen, it’s difficult to attack a broad opinion such as “I like this show”. The more specific a claim gets, the more refutable it becomes. If I say that Steins;Gate is the most scientifically accurate time travel series in existence, I don’t think it would be too hard to come up with a contrary argument.

But I’m honestly fine with this. I want my opinions to be founded on good reasons. If you present an argument that I think is reasonable, I will change my mind. I really hope that I’ve done a good job of expressing this mentality in my comment responses. Our opinions are our own, but changing them doesn’t mean that we lose something.

So, that’s my spiel. Let me know what you think. Or you know…change my mind.

Sora yori mo Tooi Basho Episode 11: What a team

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This series is such a great weekly dose of fun. Shirase and Hinata’s relationship makes me so happy. They have such opposing personalities, but they’ve had the best moments together.

I still hold that Yuzuki is a hidden hero in this series. Sure, she’s just playing the straight man, but she’s doing it spectacularly.

Ugh…my grandmother does this when I play cards with my family and it’s the worst. Stop giving away my hand!

The way the shot zooms in before showing Shirase really adds to the delivery of the joke.

I really liked the way that Hinata’s story was revealed. I probably should have been suspicious of her “old friends” when they suddenly decided to come back just as Hinata was going to be broadcast. However, the way this flashback was presented actually made me wonder if it was an honest mistake.

Personally, I’ve never really liked the idea of catering to third years. They could have just been giving an honest opinion that backfired later. But the following scenes made it clearer and clearer that these girls were not good people.

Shirase’s reluctance to confront Hinata makes a lot of sense in this episode. It’s similar to the situation in Singapore, when Hinata that she didn’t like when others were considerate of her. Personally, I kinda wanted something about how false empathy can be. There are many times when someone will say that “they would be bothered by X”, but I honestly don’t care. That being said, I understand that it’s not the type of episode this is, so I don’t think the actual theme detracted from my enjoyment.

Shirase gives the best speeches for the most camera-shy character. Watching her stand up for Hinata was really heartwarming.