Filler Post: It happens sometimes…

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

Sorry for the simple post today. If you’re following me on Twitter, you might know that I’m in Finland this week for work. It’s been a pretty busy week and I’ve done the best I can to stay on top of my blog posts. Unfortunately, I’ve had no time to myself today, so I’m gonna have to get creative. Given my recent post about blogging principles, I felt like it was worth explaining myself today.

My philosophy is to always get something out to show. It might be shallow, but I feel like I’m missing out otherwise on opportunities to try new things. As such, I tend to have plans in place when I know I’m going to have trouble getting a post ready. Today happens to be one of those few moments when I really have nothing (they’re not hard to spot if you look for filler posts in my past).

Anyway, I plan to get back on track tomorrow with Sakurada Reset. Hopefully it all works out.

Knight’s & Magic Episode 6: More suits

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

A lot of pieces in this episode felt off, but I think I was okay with a couple of the main points. This episode seemed to really push Ernesti’s motivations. He’s afraid that he won’t be able to accomplish his goal of creating his dream machine before he runs out of time. I don’t particularly have a problem with this, but I have to say that the nightmare sequences were a bit strange, especially the second time.

I also get the sense that the Silhouette Knight Laboratory and the Order of the Silver Phoenix will work out okay in this series. The Laboratory has shown itself to be capable of translating Ernesti’s designs into more practical models, while Ernesti continues to break the mold with his new Silhouette Knights. I know it was shown as a rivalry, but they clearly compliment each other.

Let’s get into some of the stuff that didn’t really make sense. First off, we had this random innovation with the “simpler” powered suit. Was I supposed to know enough to understand why a miniaturized Magius Engine would make it easier for a suit to be piloted? That seemed to come out of nowhere and Ernesti’s explanation didn’t seem to help.

The “lock and key” system for the Silhouette Knights also came as a bit of a surprise. I understand that it logically followed from the recent theft incident, but it once again came out of nowhere. The key seemed like a pretty big innovation that tied together with past events, but Ernesti literally pulls it out of thin air and we’re just supposed to accept that.

But anyway…we got a new suit. Next week, let’s see it in action.

Fate/Apocrypha Episode 6: Back to the Servants

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

Alright, looks like we’re back to Mordred…I suppose it’s hard to be the main character in a seven vs. seven deathmatch. I’m gonna stop commenting on fight animation in this series because I feel like I say the same things every week. I think there’s plenty more to say in this episode anyway.

Let’s start with Mordred. From her perspective, I think her past wasn’t particularly interesting. She’s really easy to boil down to “Daddy didn’t notice me”. On the other hand, Arturia’s motivations might be a bit more interesting. We’ve seen her vulnerabilities in other Fate series, so her reaction to a father-worshipping son is probably justified. Also, I’m not even gonna try with genders.

I didn’t mind this, though…

I can’t say I have an issue with sacrificing Gordes either.

This scene was just hilarious. Making Fran hate electricity is just a really nice touch.

I can’t tell whether they’re being serious with this character. She’s literally Dr. Octopus right now. But all of that aside, the cliffhanger at the end of the episode feels a bit cheap. I get the sense that her brother (the glasses guy) will show up to save her and potentially die himself. His comment about summoning Fran with a Command Spell if he gets in trouble seems very much like a death flag. Surely, they wouldn’t just make Fran disappear so early, right?

Princess Principal Episode 5: More surprising than it should be

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

This series continues to be full of surprises. Of course, I don’t mean the whole deal with Chise and her father. That much was pretty obvious. This episode threw a few new things at us. I believe this episode is the first mention of the titular “Principal”, but I’m not sure what I’m supposed to gather from it yet.

The episode also showed Princess taking action for the first time, rather than acting diplomatic or standing on the sidelines. Granted, it might just be because Ange is usually overprotective, but it was still nice to see.

The episode started off with a pretty natural opening as well, introducing the disparity between East and West through the commoners on the street. We can easily see the stereotypes that are associated with the East in a way that doesn’t really distract from the episode.

I also respected that the episode went directly into Chise’s introduction after they skipped forward to a second mission with her in last week’s episode. That last episode raises the questions about her character and the next episode immediately handles them. The fights in this episode also looked pretty nice. It’s something you don’t see often in a show like this.

Was I supposed to be conclude that Chise only won the fight because of the sudden collision of the two trains? If would make sense that a sudden stop would fling her forward into Jubei. However, he would theoretically have moved as well, and they should have been affected by the brakes long before the trains collided. Hard to say, but not hugely important.

I also didn’t get this cards scene at all. It mostly distracted me from what the characters were saying because I couldn’t figure out why the soldiers weren’t reacting.

Blogging Principles: Motivation

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

Since there’s no Re:Creators or Kakegurui this week, this post is going to be a bit of an experiment. I’ve been wanting to talk a bit about my own blogging principles and how I approach blogging in general. I do this mostly because I don’t think I have the credentials to give true advice, but I wonder if talking about my thought processes might be helpful.

To start things off, I want to talk a bit about motivation. I’ve been writing posts on this blog for quite some time now and I often ask myself how I’ve managed to keep it up so long. Of course, I’ve been interest in anime for a long time now, but I want to go a bit further than that.

To help out, I want to also talk about a hobby of mine, solving Rubik’s Cubes. Speedsolving, as it’s called, is something I picked up in high school, and it’s one of those things I claim as a talent. On the other hand, writing is an area in which I’ve notoriously performed poorly. So why is it that I haven’t done more than a handful of Rubik’s Cube solves in the past 3 years, but I can continue to write blog posts every day?

My answer goes back to my original motivations for starting this blog. I started my blog for two reasons: I wanted to start a website and I wanted to improve my writing. The second piece is the important bit. As long as I feel like I’m continuing to improve and learn, I will continue to keep this blog alive.

If my motivation was to create a popular website or one that made me money, I’m sure I would have quit by now. My stats aren’t exactly impressive. This is why I make the comparison to speedsolving. These stats are similar to my solve times in that I’ve reached many points in my blogging timeline when my stats have plateaued like my solve times. If I treated blogging like speedsolving, I would have have stopped for the same reason at those points.

I think the greatest reinforcement I’ve felt so far was in a recent encounter with my family. I was asked to write a tribute to my mother and how she affected my life, and my parents told me that my writing had greatly improved. Sure, this doesn’t seem like much, but my parents berated me constantly about my writing skills when I was growing up. So to me, this change felt like acknowledgement that I had actually accomplished something. That experience made me feel like this blog was worthwhile.

That’s pretty much all I’ve got on this. As my final point, I want to say that I still feel like I’ve got a lot more to go. I’ve been trying to engage with the blogging community more in recent years because I want to learn from all of the other styles out there. Anyway, let me know what you think of this post and maybe I’ll think of more stuff for the future.

Made in Abyss Episode 5: New old powers

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

Well, the Abyss still looks like a cool place despite the fact that this episode seemed to focus on the reality of the food chain in it. It’s a bit odd that Reg always seems so much more expressive and reacts more naturally than Riko does when he’s supposed to be the robot. When the episode focused in on his thoughts and doubts during his attempt to rescue Riko, he seemed very human. It’s really tough to believe that he’s really a robot.

The return of the laser ended up being pretty quick. It brings up certain questions about how effective it will really be, but at least it makes Riko’s survival in the Abyss a lot more believable. I’m guessing that the scene where Reg passes out from firing the laser is also meant to be a bit of a reversal. It’s probably meant to show that Riko can support Reg as well.

This week’s main monster probably looked the most reasonable out of the monsters that have been introduced so far in this series. At the very least, I didn’t notice anything crazy while watching the monster move. I don’t think I can say the same for the monkeys, though.

Anyway, next up is meeting Ozen. I’m sure it’ll be interesting since White Whistles have been subjects of great praise so far in this series. Given Habo’s warning, Ozen might be the contrast to that perception. I’m curious to see how that turns out.

I have a random question about this end card. Riko and Reg are always shown separately in the diagram despite being in the same spot every week. Will there ever be a point when they’re actually separated on this map?

Sakurada Reset Episode 18: Secret plans – Urachi side

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

While a couple of details are still missing, we pretty much found out Urachi’s plan this week. Force the Bureau to hit the panic button and wipe out all abilities by making it look like all abilities, especially the dangerous ones, are starting to go out of control. I really need to stop mixing up the manifestation of an ability with its actual function. I pretty much convinced myself that Urachi wasn’t the person from Kei’s first day in Sakurada because I thought his power was different.

Kei’s kind of an interesting existence in this world. The whole concept around abilities in this series revolves around this idea that a talent that you don’t realize is effectively a talent you don’t have. As such, Kei pretty much acts as a perfect embodiment of the idea that knowledge is power because he can never not know.

I think my main concern with this episode was some of the stuff surrounding Ukawa. I don’t understand why Kei would say to look for Ukawa in “child form” if he knew Urachi’s plan. Even if he hadn’t fully figured out Urachi’s power yet, it doesn’t make sense for Urachi to use Ukawa’s child form. The Bureau is already aware of her power, so wouldn’t they notice that Ukawa looked drastically different?

Also, I don’t care about the etymology of the name. It’s still just a reference to the Spanish word, so I’m sticking with “Sakurada”.

Anyway, I guess the next step in this series is to find out what Sumire’s plan was. I’m curious about whether she really intends to obstruct Urachi’s plan. Her motivation could be as simple as wanting to save Kei from being alone as an ability user.

Knight’s & Magic Episode 5: Enemy hands

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

I think this week’s episode was more enjoyable overall because it had a lot more fighting in it. As much as I criticize this series, I have to say that the mecha fights look pretty good even when comparing to human fights in anime. It feels like I’m sitting back and actually watching two robots fight, not a jumbled mass of motion.

Now, on to criticism. I seriously have no idea what’s going on with the narration in this episode. In this particular scene, you would have be completely blind to need the narrator’s description of the scene. And at the end of the episode, an entire battle against a horde of demon beasts is completely skipped in favor of narration that effectively says “the main characters won”. It’s really frustrating.

Another point in the episode that rubbed me the wrong way was Ernesti’s introduction to the fight. While I perfectly buy that he’d be able to wipe out the enemies by himself, it seemed really odd that the enemies around the castle were completely still while he was attacking them. It’s shown later in the episode that the power suits are hard to see, but I feel like they should have been fighting someone else or running away.

I take minor issue with Kid’s win in this episode. I’m willing to accept it as comedic relief, but I think Kid deserved a chance to shine rather than a pure dumb luck win. They’ve established in previous episodes that he’s pretty capable from his training with Ernesti. But I admit this is a pretty small thing.

It’s a bit funny that the bandits effectively helped Ernesti with his goal by giving the king a reason to make him responsible for new Silhouette Knight development. Granted it’s not an ideal situation, but isn’t Ernesti pretty much getting what he wants?

Fate/Apocrypha Episode 5: Finding life

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

This week’s episode felt pretty mellow in comparison to last week’s episode, but it introduced some interesting elements. I’m guessing we needed to cool down a bit after Siegfried’s death. And on that note, I’ll start with Sieg. The stuff about his name was pretty simple. He probably only took half of Siegfried’s name because he thinks of himself as half a person or something.

I was a little curious about Sieg’s view of the other homunculi, though. If he was just like the other homunculi and still managed to escape his captivity, why doesn’t he wish it on the others? It’s true that there’s no Siegfried around to give any of the others a new heart. I guess the explanation could be as simple as that. He might not want to wish the suffering he experienced before his “death” on the other homunculi. But why does he make it sound like they’re incapable of acting as he did?

Introducing Assassin of Black as a third faction in this war makes things interesting. I think it makes the series get closer to the normal Fate stories if the alliances are a bit more shaky. Also, is she supposed to be Jack the Ripper? It seems like an appropriate identity for Assassin, and it would mean that she’s the next target for the series.

We also get some background on Ruler this week. I apologize for my misconception in episode 2. This explanation clears that up nicely. The mistake in her summoning was her lack of body, not the fact that she was summoned in the first place.

Is this a Ruler-specific power or is this just a mundane prediction? Is Jeanne able to see the future?

Also, Astolfo managed to get off pretty easy.

Princess Principal Episode 4: Jumping around

Click here to check this post out on my personal website.

The case numbers are really helping with the chronology of this series. I probably would have been a lot more resistant with the introduction of Chise in this episode if the first three episodes hadn’t conditioned me to look for the case number at the start of the episode.

And I think she gets a pretty good introduction in this episode regardless of the jumpy timeline. They mention that she’s on the team as a representative of some foreign entity, and her private conversation suggests that she’s an emissary of sorts to determine whether that foreign entity will side with the Commonwealth or the Kingdom.

The main piece of this episode that really bugged me was the whole deal with the Cavorite technology. I wish I knew enough about it to understand why the mission in this episode was so important. What about the miniature Cavorite device that the Kingdom developed makes it better than the one Ange is using? Is it just a matter of supply? Perhaps Ange has an experimental model or the Commonwealth is incapable of producing at a large enough scale. I would have liked to know that.

I also didn’t fully understand the line of deception in this episode. I understand that the episode was focused around further gauging Princess’s reliability, but what happened with the leak? Was there really a leak or did the Kingdom just happen to notice the spy camera? If it really was a coincidence, it makes the episode feel a lot weaker in my eyes.

And as a side note, the moment when Ange turned off Beatrice’s voice box was pretty hilarious. She was being a terrible spy, so it was well-deserved.

I’d say this was still a pretty fun episode overall.