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.

Winter 2018 Grab Bag Week 10: Sangatsu no Lion, Mahou Tsukai no Yome

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I’m still trying my best to catch on shows that I missed while I was out.

3-gatsu no Lion S2 Episode 40

I’m not one who would know anything about the burdens of aging, but I still think this story has been seriously fantastic. I really don’t have too much to say about this episode because I was just having such a good time while I was watching.

I really liked the breadth of visual styles used to express Sakutarou’s inner feelings. You could see his desperation as he tried to keep hold of his friends’ expectations and dreams. It’s great that this match is so memorable despite all of the time spent commenting on how tough it would be to advertise it.

There’s something really satisfying about the episode’s conclusion and its simplicity. Sakutarou’s win felt deserved and satisfying because of how much we saw him struggle. And where do we leave off? Prepared to do the same thing the following year.

Mahoutsukai no Yome Episode 22

And with this, we’ve basically reached where the story is in the manga. We’re on equal footing now. This series really has me curious about how the story will end. The idea of switch Chise’s curse with Cartaphilus’s curse is quite interesting, but I can’t imagine it’s so simple. I do really hope that the series doesn’t end with Chise’s death, though.

Smug child Chise is so awesome. She seems like such a normal girl.

I thought the way in which the flashback ended was pretty interesting. I liked the idea that Chise refused to forgive her mother but ended up finally understanding her mother’s feelings. The whole idea of releasing herself from her interpretation of the situation is cool.

I’m not too surprised about where this is going, but part of me doesn’t really like the idea of “saving” Cartaphilus. I know that there’s another personality, “Joseph”, in there, but it’s really not helping.

Kokkoku Episode 10: The epic fight?

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Well, this week’s episode took kind of a strange turn. Too many points felt like they were really fizzling in this week’s episode, like Makoto’s power and the random dude who turned into a Herald. The main fight itself also felt really awkward to watch. It really didn’t seem consistent that Juri was acting reckless overall but left so many opportunities for Sagawa to get away from her attacks.

Majima brings up a really good question about the range of Makoto’s power here that just…disappears. The conversation is steered away from it and it’s never brought up again. All they would need to do is let the Herald walk really far ahead to see if “Takafumi” could still control it.

Am I the only one really curious about how the physics works in the Stasis world? I’m wondering what determines how quickly the baseball slows down after it’s hit by someone who can move. Is there just some arbitrary deceleration?

Given that Majima has some control over the physics in this world, I’m disappointed that her power isn’t related to how these baseballs work.

This scene really makes me think that there was no ultimate point to hiding Makoto’s power. It doesn’t really do much to establish that Takafumi’s a sleazy character because other scenes have done a pretty good job at that. Sagawa also isn’t fooled by it, so it doesn’t seem to serve a purpose other than…comic relief?

I’m not at all surprised by this development, but it still makes me sigh internally. We need to pad the run time some more, I guess…

Ugh, this line doesn’t bode well. I’m reserving judgment on Sagawa until I hear the rest of his story. So far, he’s just the son of a stereotypically corrupt priest who has decided that he wants to time travel. It doesn’t really seem that believable yet.

Darling in the FranXX Episode 9: Goro’s such a bro

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I’ve come to like Goro as a character in previous episodes, so I found this week’s focus on him quite welcome. I’m liking the way he approaches his love triangle with Hiro and Ichigo. He doesn’t kick up any excessive drama, but he also earnestly pursues his love interest.

I liked how Goro’s flashbacks played out in this episode. His approach of making people hate him so he could avoid interaction was interesting. I can understand and relate to that kind of behavior. Also, I liked that the flashbacks showed Goro’s thoughtfulness, even if Hiro would beat him to the punch.

I kinda wonder if I’m reading too much into this, but I saw a hint of what I interpreted as “shock” in Ichigo’s expression when she knocks Zorome out of the way. The boys are ultimately in control of the Franxx, so I thought it was a nod to the fact that Ichigo might not be fully aware of her partner’s plan.

This scene also surprised me by showing Zorome’s reactions in the background. While Miku and Ichigo are arguing, he’s slowly trying to escape the situation. I suspect that it’s because he’s technically responsible for getting Goro captured, which is a nice touch.

I honestly wasn’t sure if Goro would make it out of this episode alive. I’m glad that he did, but I’m starting to feel like this show is asking for character death.

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens Episode 9: Trust no one

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This week’s episode felt really depressing. Lin’s background made sense and it definitely explained why he has trust issues. However, the story itself felt like it was trying to check too many boxes on a tragic backstory. It’s kinda similar to last week’s episode in that it seemed pretty clear where things were going. However, I felt like last week’s episode was actually setting itself up for the reveals well in contrast.

I know we’re continuing the trend that Lin sucks at baseball, but you can do better than this. Banba tells Lin about two signals before the old man tests Lin. Banba already demonstrated stealing a base, so Lin could have honestly guessed “bunt” without seeing a thing.

My first reaction after seeing this kid was thinking he would either be killed at the end of the flashback or return as a character in this arc. In a training facility for hitmen, I figured it was odd to introduce a character with such a deep connection to a main character.

Feilang’s betrayal also isn’t the most shocking thing in the world. The flashback opens with the facility telling Lin to trust no one. Given how rebellious Lin was, why would he listen to them? The only conclusion would be that something in his training instilled the behavior into him. Basically, I’m saying betrayal speaks louder than words.

So…did the facility keep Feilang alive or something? You could argue that they put a lot of effort into training himself, so it would be a waste to let him die. If not, they’re really bad at administering their “final” exam.

Violet Evergarden Episode 9: Somehow not the last episode

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Well, this episode wasn’t too bad for a last episode. Wait, what do you mean this wasn’t the last episode? It had the references to every previous encounter in it. What else could it be?

But joking aside, this episode wasn’t bad. The resolution wasn’t too surprising or anything, but it tugs at the emotions nonetheless.

The beginning of the episode felt like a bit of a letdown. The flashback was resolved quickly and much of it was composed with scenes we’d already seen. The only new information was the explanation of how Violet lost her arms. I’m on board with the grenade ripping off an arm, but is it really possible for a bullet to cut through an arm? I mean, she has bone there, right?

I sure hope this scene about a rebellion in a nearby region is relevant later. Otherwise, it’s really random.

This line from Hodgins is really cryptic. Awkwardly enough, it heavily suggests that Gilbert is still alive when taken at face value. Still, I’m probably just overthinking it. The other interpretation is that Violet now has other relationships to support her even if the major is gone, which is probably more appropriate.

The episode really went back and forth on whether it was about the dead major or the body count that Violet left behind. Maybe I was missing something, but the part about the major seemed to go to the background a lot. It felt like one of those concepts was tacked on and the episode couldn’t tell which one it was.

Bringing up the characters from previous episodes really made this episode look like the wrap up you’d see in a finale. I wonder where we go from here. Also, I wanted to be upset with Hodgins for distancing himself from Violet while she was suffering. However, the final scene in the episode made it look like he was talking about himself to an extent. So, I’m willing to accept that he probably didn’t know what to do himself.

Beatless Episode 8: Are they selling robot girlfriends now?

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This series really doesn’t have a good sense of continuity. The shift of focus back on Lacia’s modeling job seemed a bit weird, and Methode’s attack felt like it only served as a declaration that Methode would be the next enemy. It’s kind of a shame, though, as the episode had some moments that I would have preferred to talk more about in comparison.

This is the oddest commercial. It gives detailed information about the “historical” hIEs, which makes little sense because people would likely be more familiar with them. Then, it finishes with just a shot of Lacia with no context. When I first saw it, I thought they were just advertising the other hIE models with Lacia as a random sales rep.

Yeah, I get it. People in this world see hIEs as nothing more than objects. Why does this theme always feel like such a side comment?

Yes, this kind of stuff is what I want to see expounded. Shiori realizes that she sees herself as a tool in human form to be used by others, which is exactly how she sees hIEs. As a result, she tries to defy her position by working with Methode to prove her “humanity”. Doing so will likely end with her being “used” by Methode. This is the blurring of lines between humans and robots that I’m really interested in seeing.

This line seems like a pretty generic “good guy” thing to say. Personally, I think that interesting discussions about how we determine value as humans, but I guess I’m hoping for too much. And as I said before, I can’t see how Methode’s attack really accomplishes anything unless she really wants to stop Boy Meets Girl from happening.