Fairy Gone Episode 6: Seems to be balancing many threads

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History lesson in progress

As I started to mention last week, I still get the feeling that I’m wringing information out of this series where I can. This week’s episode seems to start out by suddenly shifting the focus over to these 5 dukes, none of whom we really know except Ray Dawn. I’m waiting for the moment when it all clicks together, but there’s no clear schedule like with Boogiepop.

Another mysterious death of a duke

I’m guessing I should take note of the fact that the dukes seem to be rebelling against the prime minister Golbarn shortly before their deaths. From the introduction, it sounded like Golbarn gave away the title of emperor, implying that he was the previous emperor who lost the war. So, it’s weird that he seems to have an important position. Shouldn’t it be more overtly suspicious that his former allies are betraying him?

The artificial fairies go out of control

I’m actually incredibly interested in the concept of an “artificial” fairy. Are they just armor or inanimate objects possessed by fairies? Or are they robots designed to exhibit characteristics similar to fairies? The fact that they are controlled with whistles makes me think they’re sentient, but so far, they kind of just exist in the world.

Marlya teams up with Klara

It’s kind of anticlimactic to find out that the previous Black Fairy Tome page was a fake. This week’s episode was interesting for pushing Marlya into teaming up with a different character, but it almost felt like Klara was just there to look tough. We also see a bit of her past, as a victim of the war, which makes me stand by my statement from last week. That flashback definitely could have been placed in the conversation last week, and it would have made more contextual sense.

Sweetie misses the train

I’m still curious to see how the factions will continue to play into the story. It’s fun to see familiar characters from the various groups all making a mad dash for the same objective. Maybe there’s some hidden meaning behind which characters show up in any given encounter. That would be a cool reveal.

The duke finds out about the malfunction

If I remember correctly, the Duke of Hybranz was talking with Wolfram in the previous episode. Wolfram has been shown to have ties to some form of illegal artificial fairy trade, so it would make sense that the duke would have some nefarious tie to a malfunctioning artificial fairy. I’m happy to see that sense of consistency in the series. Now what does it mean?


Fairy Gone Episode 5: The old days are lost

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Veronica's life is bright

This series seems to be slowing down a bit and fleshing out its characters, but it still seems pretty shallow so far. I think I’ve got a better handle of what’s been bugging me about the series. It doesn’t seem to waste time explaining what people are thinking or expanding on a given situation. Normally, this would be okay, but I don’t get the sense that the series has equipped me well enough to fill in the blanks. Maybe I’m just dense, but it’s the feeling I’ve gotten.

Marlya wonders if she causes disaster

I do like the contrast at the beginning of the episode, but I have to point out that it’s a trick that the series has done already with Marlya. Still, I like the idea that Veronica lost her bright, happy life, while Marlya already had her own doubts.

Veronica confronts Ray

I’m not sure if I’m supposed to draw this conclusion, but doesn’t Ray Dawn look like the guy who was taking care of Marlya? There’s no clear link, so I’m not super confident, but they at least share basic appearances. Additionally, it might explain why Marlya’s a little bit more guarded about her past than Veronica is. Marlya might feel partly responsible for Veronica’s suffering.

Marlya burns the area

As I’ve mentioned before, this series is somewhat lacking in the fight monologues. As a result, I have no real sense of how strong the fairies are or even what kinds of abilities I’m supposed to expect from them. I don’t think I could properly explain the identifying trait of any fairies other than Marlya’s and Veronica’s. In this scene, I don’t even know if I understand why the fire works so well.

Free wins his fight

That being said, I think that Free’s fairy fight ended up being a lot more interesting. He seems to have the closest relationship to his fairy amongst the main cast, to the point where his fairy is more of an autonomous partner than servant. It’s fun to watch, and I guess it makes sense with his background as a soldier.

Wolfram addresses someone noble

The allegiances in this series are way too hard to track. I guess Wolfram has some connection to royalty or something? I thought he was part of the illegal artificial fairy trade. Am I supposed to conclude that he’s undercover or something? I honestly think he’d be a more intriguing character if he didn’t have a generic vengeance mentality. If he’s channeling his sorrow into helping maintain order, I might end up respecting him more.

A story about the director's past

I felt like this drinking party revealed less than it should have. Typically, a round of drinks should bring out the stories, but most of them seem to get cut off. Even the discussion about the director doesn’t seem to go anywhere. Just let me know who these people are…

Fairy Gone Episode 4: Old friends

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Sweetie taunts Free

If this series continues on with the general chaos of multiple organizations fighting for the Black Fairy Tome, I think things could end up working out. It’s interesting for me to see how the different groups interrelate, so I can follow along. That being said, I still think the series kind of forgets character points or somewhat shoves them into background a lot. As a result, I get the sense that information is annoyingly fragmented in ways I don’t think are necessary.

Sweetie's fairy reflects damage

I guess my main question for the episode is still Sweetie’s fairy. There’s no follow-up to the confusion from last week in this episode, and the issue is largely forgotten when she escapes. Her fairy’s power seems absurdly powerful, but the whole black mist makes it hard to see the fight. Additionally, there’s no confirmation about how she got the fairy, so I guess I’m meant to assume that she has an illegal organ implant similar to Free’s.

Free is skeptical about the Fairy Tome

I’d be more willing to believe Free’s skepticism here about the Black Fairy Tome if we hadn’t already experienced the dismissal of a fake page from the first episode. If it was so easy to call that page a fake, then the fakes are probably easily identified. So, I’m guessing this page is real…even if it makes the previous episode more confusing. What is this Damien guy playing at?

Free and Marlya are distracted by the odd pair

The significance of Jonathan’s theft in this scene seems lost by the fact that we don’t see it. We get the sense later in the episode that he’s a slippery guy, but I would have liked to see more of a hint of what was happening. It’s almost like you have to see more of Free’s reaction to understand what happened.

Free figures out the true target

I’m a bit worried about the fact that Patricia’s target isn’t the Black Fairy Tome. If she’s truly after Free, I have a bad feeling that Sweetie just wants to abduct Free out of some odd form of obsession. It makes her seem more like a jilted ex, which I think is a lot less interesting for a character trait.

Veronica shows up to save Marlya

I don’t actually mind how Veronica was set up throughout the episode. There’s a brief moment where we see her watching over Marlya while she’s recovering in bed, so this scene makes sense. The episode also has an unnatural focus on Marlya’s memories of Veronica, so this development plays into the idea that Veronica hasn’t truly changed as much as she claims. I think it works overall.

Fairy Gone Episode 3: Adding to the chaos

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Surviving Fairy Soldiers are few

While this week’s episode still had its disagreeable moments, I thought it was a lot better than the previous two episodes. It actually seemed like it was trying harder to explain the world, and I didn’t get the sense that it was bombarding me with action sequences. Additionally, we get a better explanation of the Black Fairy Tome, which is potentially less of a MacGuffin than it seems to be with the developments at the end of the episode.

Wolfran discusses his intentions

I feel like this series has an issue with restating things that it’s already established. From the previous episode, it’s not hard to guess that Wolfran’s wife and child were killed in the war, fueling his current endeavors. However, the episode starts by showing him as he figures this out. I’d be fine if it added something else to his background in the meantime, but I didn’t get that sense.

Free and Marlya learn about the Fairy Tome

I think the description of the Black Fairy Tome is a bit reminiscent of the “One Ring”, but it’s fairly interesting. We get a decent sense of why everyone wants to find it, and the episode seems to introduce multiple factions that are targeting it. Additionally, this comment about fairy possession implies that Marlya’s condition is somehow related to the Black Fairy Tome, which could be promising.

The tome is a trap

I’m not sure how to interpret this scene. It seems like Damien’s suggesting that he set up Axel’s robbery, which implies that he wouldn’t risk the real Black Fairy Tome page. Alternatively, he could just be saying that the implication about the Black Fairy Tome itself was meant to draw the attention of Arcame, Dorothea, and Gui Carlin. Either way, I find it hard to believe that they’re fighting over something legitimate.

Free confronts Sweetie

I do like the idea that Free’s past with Gui Carlin isn’t just a throwaway, and he’s legitimately confronted by Sweetie. Ridiculous names aside, the chaotic structure of the post-war world is interesting to see. We get a decent sense of the major powers that have cropped up in the aftermath.

Sweetie summons a fairy

Based on Free’s reaction here, I think it’s safe to assume that Sweetie shouldn’t have a fairy here. At the beginning of the episode, it’s suggested that the government keeps track of all known Fairy Soldiers, so he would presumably know that. If it turns out that Sweetie is fairy-possessed, that could have some cool implications for the Black Fairy Tome, so it’s my preferred interpretation. Alternatively, she could just have an implanted heart like Free, which probably gets closer to the artificial fairy production stuff that’s happening in the background.

Fairy Gone Episode 2: This seems familiar

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Marlya thinks she's unlucky

After spending the first episode reuniting the main character, Marlya, with her old friend only to have her escape, the second episode…basically does the same thing for Free. I guess that’s one way to do it. My opinion of the series is largely unchanged by this episode. I think the series is blazing forward with introducing its plot without taking a second to give the characters or the world any reasonable sense of focus. We’re introduced to various aspects of the world without any context, so it’s hard to tell what’s normal or taboo.

Free becomes a Fairy Soldier

That being said, I did like how Free and Marlya are contrasted at the start of the episode. Marlya sees the death around her as a form of bad luck, leaving her to suffer alone. Meanwhile, Free describes this same property as good luck, given that he’s survived. It sets the two up as having opposing views on their pasts, even though they end up being fundamentally similar. I don’t think it’s a bad way to introduce two allies.

Marlya's condition is strange

I guess it turns out that Marlya has a rare condition after all. I’m not sure how to react to that, since everyone seems to be fairly chill about it. I think that having the main character end up being an exception to the rule is fine, but it just doesn’t feel deserved to me. In the first episode, Marlya doesn’t do anything in particular for the fairy in the jar, so I don’t see why it would have formed a bond with her.

Free confronts Wolfran

As for the main focus of the episode, it’s hard not to draw parallels with the first episode. Free confronts Wolfran with knowledge of their past, just as Marlya does with Veronica. In the end, Wolfran is fundamentally different than the person Free knew (presumably because his wife and daughter were killed), and he escapes.

Artificial fairies come to life

How big of a deal are artificial fairies in this world? Given how little the series wants to describe its setting, it’s hard to tell whether these are meant to be some new technology or an established concept.

Marlya jumps out of the way

Can we appreciate how ridiculous this scene looks? At the moment when Marlya reacts, it seems way too late to properly get out of the way. And even when she does jump out of the way, she looks like she starts the jump from a safe point anyway. To top it off, the car(?) looks incredibly impractical.

Fairy Gone First Impressions (1): Bring back Veronica

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War is harsh

Well, that could have gone better. There seemed to be a decent amount going on in this first episode, but I didn’t get the sense that I had enough information to make a decent judgment by the end. The story takes place in a post-war fantasy world where humans can use fairies to fight. The main character, Marlya Noel, is one of the two survivors from her home village of Suna, and she desperately searches for the other survivor, Veronica.

Free explains what fairies are

Aw, I really wish Free would have finished here. He stops for literally no reason other than to tease the audience, so it’s frustrating to see. The fairies are presumably the most interesting part about this world, so I kind of want to know what their deal is.

Veronica steals the page from the Black Tome

I know there’s a synopsis and all, but this episode felt like it was “jumping in” a bit too quickly. Without any context on what a Fairy Soldier is, it’s hard to follow the motivations for characters like Free and Veronica. Free makes more sense later when he reveals that he’s part of Dorothea, but it means that the entire “Gui Carlin” thing was effectively a throwaway.

Veronica brushes Marlya off

Marlya herself also isn’t a particularly convincing character. Veronica’s grudge again Lay Dawn (who definitely is not named “Lay Down”) makes sense, as he’s a native of Suna who came back to massacre the townspeople. From what we can gather in this episode, Marlya has apparently been roaming by herself in the meantime to find Veronica, and she cuts all tension in this episode in her vain attempts to reunite with her old friend.

Marlya binds with a fairy

From the synopsis, it sounds like fairies normally get implanted into Fairy Soldiers after they possess another animal, so it would seem that Marlya’s interaction with this fairy breaks the rules of the world. It’s not necessarily a bad thing if that’s the case, but it gets back to what I said about context. Without that sense of how the world works, this scene has no real impact. For all we know, this happens all the time.

Veronica faces off against Free

I’m kind of sad about the action in this opener. I don’t care too much about the CGI monstrosity bit. Sure, the fairies look like they don’t belong in this world, but that might actually be appropriate. The heartbeat sound they make when they use the fairies is a bit distracting, but what can you do?

I’m more bothered by the fact that the sword/knife fight. Most of the attacks were erratic, and the slashes were pretty much instantaneous, making them hard to follow. As a result, they seemed like a formality while the fairies fought in the background

Free threatens Marlya

I’m actually curious what this means as well. Is it just the case that Fairy Soldiers were discarded after the war ended? I guess it would work if Dorothea is hunting down Fairy Soldiers just trying to survive in the world.

Egao no Daika Final Episode (12): Pushing the giant reset button

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The soldiers figure out that Yuki is here

I think the best I can say about this ending is that it pretty much hit all of the points I expected to resolve the plot. As a result, I’d say it wasn’t anything special, effectively hitting the baseline. As a whole, I think this series had issues with justifying a lot of its developments, which made many of those developments seem rushed as a result. The ending isn’t too much different in that regard.

Stella finds Layla turning on the machine

As I mentioned last week, I was somewhat hoping Layla would survive in the end. I think she would have bridged that gap between Yuki and Stella in many ways. In the end, her death seemed a bit sad, since Stella never ended up finding out who she really was. It was almost like Layla was killed just because it’s the style the show had adopted, not for any particular character reason.

Stella finally faces off against Yuki

The argument that Yuki and Stella have in the end wasn’t too bad, but I still have trouble agreeing with Yuki despite the fact that she ultimately “wins”. It’s not that I have a problem with her optimism, since I generally agree that people are inherently good as well.

Stella chooses to help Yuki

It’s just that she ultimately admits that she’s gambling on her world-altering solution. Heck, the fact that the chrars drain the nanomachines keeping the world habitable never even comes up, even though it’s a perfectly rational justification. On the opposite side, I guess I never got the sense that Stella was truly “convinced” by Yuki.

The crops recover after the destruction of the chrars

Along those same lines, I think that the ending ends up working out too well. Yuki acknowledges that people will be upset at the loss of the chrars, but things will ultimately be better because people won’t die. And after taking her gambling, that…just happens. For a show that tried to emphasize the gritty nature of war, it’s a strange shift. Yet, the crops rebound without an issue.

Yuki and Stella meet up

As I said, this could have been worse. I think a lot of my opinion is colored by a general sense of disappointment. I would have liked to see a relationship build between Yuki and Stella. Additionally, much of the Grandiga side seemed ultimately pointless. We see the emperor appear in person for the first time in the final episode, and what did he even do?

Final Score: 6/10 I respect how the show played with perspectives in order to tell the story of two sides, but it seemed to have trouble making its plot developments feel earned.

Steins;Gate 0 Review: The other time travel series

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Mayuri reaches towards the sky

Boy did this series have a lot to live up to, given how much I enjoyed the original series. Based off a separate timeline, the series follows a version of Okabe Rintarou who is unable to save Makise Kurisu. The story portrays his attempt to move past the trauma of that event. For a series that inevitably lives in the shadow of its predecessor, I thought that it did a relatively decent job, but it definitely took its time getting moving. The tone is also considerably more tense than the original, as it’s largely missing the goofiness that was Hyouin Kyouma.

Mayuri meets up with Rintarou

My favorite part about this series is that it continues to explore the concept of time travel that was introduced in the original series. Rather than dwelling on the same concepts, it plays with new ideas. There’s an episode where Suzuha seems to be in danger of erasing herself from existence, and it’s probably one of my favorite episodes in the series.

Granted, some of these attempts get a bit confusing (without knowledge from the visual novel), especially with anything concerning Kagari. But in this sense, I think the series played to its strengths a bit.

Maho announces a new AI

The other major theme in this series was the implications of artificial intelligence, namely through Amadeus. The series toys with the idea of using Kurisu’s image to further interfere with Rintarou’s healing process, but I thought that the AI angle was ultimately squandered as the series returned to its time travel concept.

Feris is not amused

And while I truly enjoyed the final scenes in the series, I have to say that many of the developments leading up to that ending felt incredibly similar to the original series. Without getting into details, there’s the example of Rintarou having to repeatedly time travel once again for effectively the same reason.

Maho gets annoyed about her height

Overall, this series is a much slower version of the original series, but I think it works as the spin-off that it is. It got me thinking about time travel in different ways than I did when I was watching the original, and I greatly appreciated that experience.

Overal Score: 8/10

Egao no Daika Episode 11: Hard choices

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Wishing for a funeral for their allies

It’s weird seeing both perspectives in the same episode, but I suppose we’re almost at the end. It’s about time Stella and Yuuki met, so I’m definitely curious to see how it turns out. This episode does have me a bit worried about how the ending will go, since Yuuki has to convince Stella to help her in the final episode of the series. I’m curious how that will be split with the actual kill switch that Yuuki is trying to press. I’m mostly curious about the aftermath, so I guess I’m hoping for a bit of an epilogue as well.

Huey goes on a rampage

I do like the contrast between Huey and Stella, even if Huey comes off more as a jerk. He’s effectively there to tell Stella that words aren’t enough, as he uses his actions to reveal his true intentions. It’s easy for Stella to say that she won’t allow anyone else to die, but it only matters if she can actually do what’s needed.

Yuuki warns the Empire about her new weapon

I also liked seeing this broadcast from the Grandiga side. At this point, we still don’t fully know how much Harold’s death has affected Yuuki’s behavior, but we as the audience have a strong sense of what type of person she is. However, we see this scene from the perspective of Grandiga, who are less capable assessing whether her warning is in line with her character.

Yuuki hatches her true plan

As a result, Yuuki’s true plan isn’t as much of a surprise. That being said, I do appreciate that she’s willing to deceive the other officers in order to make her plan work. She’s really come a long way.

Yuuki plans to stop all chrars

Given the developments in the previous couple of episodes, I’m not too surprised that this is how the series will end. Honestly, I think this trope of hitting the hard reset button is a bit overplayed in media, so I’m curious to see how the series will implement the idea. So far, it seems a bit outlandish, but I guess I’ll wait and see since I liked the terraforming nanomachines concept. Maybe there’s a good reason why the Verde Kingdom thought they could reasonably eliminate all chrars.

Layla talks about her motivations

I guess this is just a random title reference. I sincerely don’t wish for Layla to die in the final episode, since I think we’ve had enough major character deaths for now. But she’s seriously asking for it…

Lily spots Yuuki

You could have at least tinted your windows…come on.

Egao no Daika Episode 10: On the other side

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Looking out over the bleak battlefield

While it’s a departure from previous episodes, I’m glad that this episode is effectively showing the events of the last episode from Stella’s perspective. I think it helped to redeem the previous episode a bit. I do think that it contributes to a bit of a confusing timeline overall, but I like how it was used. I’m still hoping that Stella and Yuuki meet, but it’s looking a bit unlikely at this point. I’m curious to see how things end.

Lily complains to a child

Part of the annoying thing about this episode is how much Lily has been asking to die. Given how many other squad members have fallen up to this point, I’d actually be a bit disappointed if she does end up dying in the end too. Her plot armor has gone on too long.

Stella struggles to survive

It’s nice to see a bit more from Stella’s past. It’s pretty clear that she’s had it rough.

Stella believes she's not putting up a front

I enjoyed this conversation between Owens and Stella. It’s not just Owens that sees the emotions Stella has repressed. We’ve seen the clear indication ourselves, so we can easily agree with Owens when he points out that he went from believing Stella had no emotions to realizing that she was putting up a front.

Harold faces off against Owens and Stella

Honestly, I was ready to point out last week that Owens and Harold very clearly shoot at each other, and we only see Harold die. Logically, it made no sense for Harold to miss at that range. I’m glad that I didn’t, though, since I liked the way this scene was presented. In the previous episode, no one on the Soleil side cares about the aftermath of the fight, so we as the audience aren’t shown the death of Owens. In reality, both sides are devastated by the incident, but we only see each side separately (as they would).

Owens sacrifices himself for Stella

There’s another smaller scene that similarly demonstrates a cool use of perspective in this episode. When Harold’s unit appears, the characters on the Grandiga side all recognize him from the previous fight that crippled Pierce. However, remember that we saw that fight from the Soleil side. As a result, the episode is able to use a flashback that’s completely new to the audience. I think it’s a great use of the flashback.

The squad questions the funeral for Harold

Also, I like the little fake-out at the end of the episode, where it’s revealed that the Empire is holding a huge funeral for Harold, an enemy combatant. While the main characters are mourning their leader, he ends up completely ignored by his own superiors. Instead, they’re recognizing his killer.