What you are reading here is the beginning of this blog’s 500th post. I worked it out so amazingly well that it falls dead in the middle of another bunch of posts and so it will be buried for weeks on end. So in that spirit, I’ve decided to do a list of my top anime. The humiliation won’t last all that long because of when this is scheduled thankfully.
It’s certainly been a long time since I used the term “Malaise Era” to refer to anime. Actually it goes back to that terrible idea of writing 40 posts in 40 days about the anime of the 00s. I can’t help but do a lot of revisiting that time period since much of the terribad anime actually predates the period I’m talking about. I’m referring specifically to the period from roughly 1997 through 2005. Continue reading
I’m not too big on bandwagon jumping. My votes in the Anime Power Rankings reflect that. Plus, the spring isn’t actually looking all that promising. So following Inushide, Lostty, Caraniel, and Yumeka (along with many others who have probably done it, but I hadn’t seen) I’m answering a set if 50 questions that have been going around this particular blogosphere.
I’ve been slacking of late as far as the non-episodic posts. Blogging 4 series at the same time tends to lead to burnout rather quickly, so I plan to get to that when times aren’t as busy. Now that it’s down to 3 series I have a programming issue I haven’t had to address in many a year. I guess people want to see more insight into the personal lives of the people they are following because it makes it easier to relate to them. There’s quite a bit of that on Twitter, but these questions are supposed to address that. Here goes nothing
1. Who is your favorite male anime character?
This is really a hard question to start with because I generally have a hard time deciding on one. Ask me in 10 minutes and my opinion would change. I’ve gone from thinking Vegeta was utterly badass to going through various generic main characters because of the rest of the cast. I even had Kuroda from Giant Killing in this high tier of characters. Ultimately though I had to settle on Jinto from the Seikai franchise. The man takes action when necessary, and fully commits himself to the one he loves.
2. Who is your favorite female anime character?
This one is actually much easier. That would be one Hildegard von Mariendorf. Who could not like a character who was the perfect foil for the man who conquered the entire galaxy? Her marriage was rather farcical given that it came as a result of the two of them giving n to their passions. If anything, it actually made her character that much more endearing.
3. What is your favorite anime soundtrack?
I’d probably go with the OSTs of Macross Plus. It was the first anime I watched where it felt like the music mattered. It was essential to the plot as is the case in most of the Macross series. It then led to a rapid gathering of much of Yoko Kanno’s collection to that point. This was over a decade ago, I should add and this OST still gets into my music rotation.
4. What is your favorite anime opening + animation?
Eden of the East, at least the broadcast version because the music from the Mancunian band does feel necessary. The animation itself actually gives a full synopsis of the plot and the sense of desperation coming from Akira and Saki.
5. What is your favorite anime ending + animation?
Oh boy, endings. I don’t really watch many of these. Kare Kano probably doesn’t count since it isn’t animation. I’ll go with the ending from the 7th episode of Hanamaru Kindergarden. A tribute to silent film before a silent film could win an Academy Award. Unfortunately, I think everyone involved has probably moved on to a different studio by now.
6. What is your favorite anime scene?
Episode 82 of Legend of the Galactic Heroes. Anyone who’s watched it will know exactly what scene.
7. If you could meet an anime character who would it be?
I’d probably go with Fumihiko Matsumaru from REC. The guy works in an office all day and probably has good tales to tell over large amounts of beer.
8. What anime character is most similar to you in terms of personality?
Watashi from Tatami Galaxy, in the worst possible way.
9. What is your favorite thing about anime?
If I was completely and totally honest, I would probably say because it’s different. Not different in the way that those straight-to-Sci Fi Channel movies were during my teenage years, rather it’s more like a grocery or liquor store. There’s a section devoted to stuff from abroad, which makes it seem unique from everything that’s considered normal. It may cost a little bit more, but it seems like it’s different.
10. What is your least favorite thing about anime?
The thought that it could be considered a special product just on it’s own. Anime is capable of being just as bad as even the worst live-action movies and TV shows. I guess this is more an indictment of certain fans over anything else. So sticking entirely to the topic, I’d split it between the name used to define a block of 12 episodes at a time and the phenomenon of officially shortened titles.
11. Who’s your favorite anime couple?
Jinto & Lafiel from Crest/Banner of the Stars. When the question going around the aniblogosphere was “What anime would you want to see?”, all I could think of was more of those two. I don’t think anything else comes close.
12. Who is your favorite anime animal?
Leader from Honey & Clover. Though if we can count just non-human entities I would go for Chizuru from Kanokon, purely for superficial reasons.
13. What anime would make a good game?
The World God Only Knows as a dating sim would be incredibly meta
14. What game would make a good anime?
This is going to be a bit difficult as I don’t play that many games that translate into a story. Just for the hell of it, any of the new Street Fighter games to be adapted as top quality terribad viewing.
15. What was the first anime you ever watched?
This is sort of a difficult question. It could really be a number of things when I was a kid, like Speed Racer, Voltron or Robotech. Purists may not count that, but under other conditions it could also be Dragonball Z, Ranma 1/2 or Sailor Moon. It’s not a simple question to answer.
16. Do you think you’ll ever stop watching anime?
I could make this question morbid, but I’ll just settle for it’s highly likely that I would at some point in the distant future.
17. What is your favorite genre of anime?
I’m not really one for picking a favorite genre. That said I do usually consider what genre a show is trying to be when trying to rate it.
18. What is your least favorite genre of anime?
See the above answer if I’m trying to be fair. If not, then I would just stick to the “slice-of-life nothing happens ever” genre.
19. Are you open about watching anime with people you know?
There’s one guy at work who I took to ACen last year who knows. The rest of the people I know have never even bothered asking what I’m into. So I guess it’s more of an “if I’m asked directly about it” question than not.
20. Have you ever been to Japan?
No, but maybe some day when I actually have the money to do so.
21. What anime was the biggest letdown for you?
Clannad, which was supposed to have this emotional appeal to a large audience. I just wanted to violently throttle Jun Maeda into unconsciousness after watching it.
22. What anime was better than expected?
Probably Kaiba had the biggest jump between what I was expecting and what I watched. I really high on the show based on initial impressions and how poorly the show did in sales, and that it’s unlicensible outside of Australia. Turns out it was an absolute joy to watch. It’s a shame there’s little interest in it.
23. What is the best anime fight scene?
This is actually a pretty hard one, simply because I really don’t want to count mecha battles. For the way this battle concludes with the completely out of left field athletic ability of one of the participants, I choose this:
24. Who is your anime waifu?
I never really understood this concept. What the hell does it even mean anyway? As soon as someone can give me a logical reason for having one, I will get around to choosing one.
25. What was your favorite video game as a child?
Probably Sonic 3 & Knuckles, that locking mechanism was state-of-the-art for 1995. Think I got hundred of hours out of that game.
26. Most embarrassing moment?
You would have to talk to me in person to get this story, sorry.
27. Can you drive?
Yes, though it feels like I have a target on my rear bumper sometimes.
28. Are you mature?
I don’t think so. I do lots of stupid crap all the time and waste time and energy on things that I really shouldn’t.
29. What year were you born?
1983, 16 years after the Summer of Love.
30. Do you prefer dogs or cats?
Dogs because cats just use people for their own ends.
31. Describe yourself physically.
6 feet even, and otherwise I don’t stand out in any particular way.
32. What would you name your first child?
I honestly haven’t thought about it because I’ve never thought the possibility I could have a kid was realistic.
33. What is the worst injury you’ve ever had?
I impaled my leg on part of a tree when I was 8, that’s probably about as bad as it gets.
34. What is your worst habit?
Always hiding who I really am from people. So fear is my worst habit.
35. Do you drink or smoke?
Yes…alright, I don’t smoke is that fair enough?
36. Do you have a tattoo?
Of course not. I just think any tattoo on me would look terrible.
37. Are you a morning or a night person?
Mornings because that’s just how I grew up in maximizing video game time when I was a kid.
38. Have you ever slept past midday?
Now that I think of it, probably not.
39. Do you regret anything?
Tons, I have that recurring wish that I could go back 11 years ago and change what I did then. I’d probably use that ability for evil, though.
40. Can you count the number of friends that you have on one hand?
Sometimes it feels like I have many, other times it feels like I wouldn’t need any hands to count. It really just depends on when I’m asked this.
41. Do you wear glasses?
I go with contacts. I was picked on when I had glasses as a kid, plus my parents basically picked for me. I still have a pair, but it never goes out in public.
42. Are you a picky eater?
Not really, I’ll actually try most things that look somewhat edible. I used to hate anything with mushrooms, and though I don’t love them, I will at least eat stuff with them in it. I do know people at work who consider pizza a vegetable, so I’m not terrible.
43. Would you die for someone?
As I am now, I probably wouldn’t. If I had kids then it might be a different story.
44. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Charisma to the extent that I could convince anyone to do anything I wanted. I’d be like the guy in these commercials:
45. Do you believe in the supernatural?
Not really, that’s something used to make more money be those selling supernatural goods or the idea itself.
46. Would you rather be rich or famous?
Rich, so I could use the money to become famous. Like donating enough money to have a hospital wing named after me, or kicking my Congressman out of office.
47. Have you ever committed a crime?
You’d have to ask me in person to get the answer, it’s related to the earlier question.
48. Time traveler or ghost?
Time traveling because screwing around with history and having untold consequences sounds exciting.
49. Does anybody have a crush on you?
I think my existence probably doesn’t register enough to make this possible.
50. Are you in a relationship?
Oh heavens no. I don’t think I deserve it either.
The 3rd and final Legend of the Galactic Heroes movie takes the story from the aftermath of Tiamat though the battle at Astate. The movie takes in 2 separate story lines revolving around Yang and Reinhard before circumstance brings them together for the 2nd time in battle. Ultimately, this proves to be a much more comprehensive and refined look at Astate than the main OVA’s first pair of episodes.
The final episode of Dishonor sees the detective story come to a rather dissatisfying end for almost everyone concerned. Kircheis talks to Johanna who happens to have been a key player all along. However, she forces Hoffman and Kircheis to go straight to Basel to try to incriminate him. They nearly have him before Johanna enters the story again at the climax. However, Keyserling returns to save himself at enormous emotional cost.
The 3rd episode of Dishonor takes the mystery in an entirely different direction than I had expected. After meeting Basel and Keyserling, Kircheis then follows a man acting as though he was on drugs. He is then ambushed and survives before going on to save a woman from a hostage situation. He finally figures out who is behind the drugs plot, but he has to convince Keyserling to revisit what he had said at his court martial.
The 2nd episode of Dishonor sees Kircheis move from meal to meal with an attempt on his life in the middle. He first ends up getting invited to dinner by Keyserling, who shares a story of unrequited love before Kircheis as he waits for her arrival at the station. Hoffman then shares more information that reflects poorly on Keyserling. That night, Kircheis is woken up by a dream about Annerose only to be in the midst of an attempt on his life. He finds air quickly enough to save himself, and he discusses the incident with Hoffman who reveals more about Keyserling. Finally, the episode ends as he sits down for another meal with Keyserling.
The first episode of this arc takes place on a vacation that Kircheis does not welcome. After Reinhard is given several admirals to serve under him for the next expedition, he also reveals that he will take on the Lohengramm name after he is promoted to High Admiral. Then, he also asks Kircheis to take a vacation because he doesn’t want Annerose to think he is treating his friend badly. He ends up heading to the satellite Kreuznach II which he sees as a sinful place. Once there, he saves a disgraced former officer and gets dragged into an investigation of a drug smuggling operation.
The 2nd of 3 Legend of the Galactic Heroes movies is mostly devoted to two separate battles which showcase the talents of Yang and Reinhard and marks the beginning of the rivalry between the two. The first is a battle on the Planet Legnica before concluding with the 4th battle of Tiamat. In that time, the weakness of those higher up than Yang and Reinhard are fully revealed.
The conclusion of the 3rd Battle of Tiamat, as well as the final episode of the second Gaiden series sees Reinhard come to the rescue of the Imperial fleets on the battlefield. That also means the end for Holland, though his fellow commanders could see that coming from miles away. They do well to avert further disaster which earns them respect from Reinhard, though that would not come to fruition for years. Finally, Reinhard earns his promotion to Admiral at just age 19 and with it a prize bestowed on very few.
After the conclusion of the events at Iserlohn, the Empire launches an offensive on the 30th anniversary of Friedrich’s coronation. Reinhard is pleased that he’s able to participate in an expedition, but at the same time he’s reach a new level of cynicism because of how they got there. On the Alliance side, Rear Admiral Holland sees himself as the new Ashbey and the higher-ups pretty much let him have their way. When the battle gets underway, he impresses everyone on the Imperial side, except Reinhard and Kircheis who are unimpressed by his abandonment of tactics.
The final episode of this arc ends with the Alliance managing to turn a moral victory into a humbling defeat. Who else but Reinhard would cause that of course. The real story from this episode was a generational one. The Empire relied on its younger commanders to engineer a victory, while the established order in the Alliance rank stood in the way of Yang and his ilk.
The penultimate episode sees the 6th Battle for Iserlohn get underway, which allows Reinhard the opportunity to do some damage on the Alliance forces. Eventually, the battle becomes a mess which leads him to withdrawal. Meanwhile, the Rosenritter wreak havoc on the battlefield and Luneberg is successfully called out. After he meets his end, Kesler reveals all he knows about Luneberg’s family thanks to Grimmelshausen.
The 10th episode of this story finally gets back to what Legend of the Galactic Heroes always did best, fleet battles. In the latest battle for Iserlohn, Reinhard now finds himself in charge of a fleet of 1000 ships and takes the opportunity to take out one of the Alliances young guns. Meanwhile, a plan suggested by Andrew Fork is utilized in this battle because no one else could think of anything better. Yang also gets involved and indirectly clashes with Reinhard for the first time. Also, Schenkopp wants to kill Luneberg among other details.
The 9th episode begins with social formalities and ends with preparations for the next expedition with near fisticuffs in the middle. Reinhard heads to a formal dinner to celebrate Grimmelshausen’s promotion, which happens to be one of the events where Imperial policy is decided. Luneberg is also there and the two of them get into a disagreement over Reinhard’s assisting Luneberg’s ill wife. Kesler breaks things up before the fight begins, however. Prior to the next expedition being announced, Friedrich makes his decision on Reinhard’s future.
The 8th episode of this arc is a strictly social one with a look at both aristocratic and common life on Odin. Kircheis returns home for the first time in eight years to reunite with his parents and those he knew when he was younger. He also visits the former Müsel residence; now owned by another family with tragic circumstances. Meanwhile, Friedrich thought he made a decision to make Reinhard’s life easier by allowing him to inherit a noble title. This, however, would not go down well with the rest of the aristocracy. Also, a strange rumor about Luneberg’s heritage begins to gather steam.
This is part of a series of shorter posts recapping some of the more whimsical aspects of 2011, and not necessarily having to do with any of the main topics covered by this blog.
A lot of work goes into light novels, from writers and artists alike, to create the product that is picked up by a potential buyer at a book store. I had not taken this into account as I was quickly dropping Koukai Senjou no Horizon as I passed it off as just another silly fanservice show with gigantic breasts everywhere.
A month had passed and National Novel Writing Month was well underway when the show came up for discussion again. Apparently there was a deep backstory that created a world with an enormous amount of depth. Just how deep I asked? Then I was informed that there was something like 5,000 pages worth of prologue. “So just like a Nanowrimo novel then?” I quipped, then tweeted to blank stares.
Actually that thought caused me profound sadness. Here was this potentially amazing work spoiled be terrible presentation that turned me off immediately. If they had only gone at it from a different angle then it could have been different. Then, I remembered just how badly directed the first episode of Legend of the Galactic Heroes was. Bad direction, staff struggling to get to grips with lengthy source material. As a lengthy OVA that had time to work itself out, maybe in 15 years Horizon will be looked on the same way and I will return to it as the 14th season of it begins.
Then again, Legend of the Galactic Heroes didn’t make use of gigantic breasts as much as Horizon.
The 7th episode of this arc brings the collision of court politics and the military to the fore. Reinhard and Kircheis adapt to the new level of respect they get following their return, while Luneberg visits Ovlesser to try to form a pact to stop Reinhard’s progression only to be met with stern resistance for who he is. Reinhard and Kircheis then visit Annerose to catch up and following that meeting Kircheis is promoted because of Grimmelshausen’s recommendation. Kircheis visits him alone and after a brief and honest conversation about Reinhard, he leaves in haste.
The 6th episode sees the conclusion of fighting at Van Fleet with the capture of Cerebrese by Reinhard. The aftermath focuses on the Imperial side where promotions get handed out to all with accomplishments in the battle, and cleanup of the base on the Alliance side. While the latter showcases war fatigue, the Imperial side continues to be ruled by politics over all else.
The 5th episode is the classic case of a battle being shaped by location more than the combatants. This is seen as fleets descend on Van Fleet 4-2 only to discover that there was little room to maneuver. However, the action on the ground was holding up a change of location. Ultimately, it proved to be a situation where everyone was unhappy where they were at, but no one could do anything about it.
The 4th episode of this arc took on a very different tone and look from the previous episodes. While the annoyance with incompetent commanders still existed on both sides; Reinhard with Grimmelshausen and Luneberg and Schenkopp with Cerebrese, the tone was really about the future. Reinhard has to deal with continuing his duties as a subordinate while at the same time Schenkopp takes over as interim commander of the Rosenritter and puts his own stamp of authority on proceedings. By the end, the battle had begun on what would be a bloody day.
The 3rd episode of this arc sees a little more filled in on Luneberg’s history, especially with regards to the Rosenritter. Schenkopp’s career gets a much needed boost, though not in the way he probably would have wanted it. Ultimately, the real theme of the episode is on how some people are not able to adjust to positions of power.
The 2nd episode of the arc sees the introduction of the Rosen Ritter and their rather jaded history as a remote area of the battle begins the take center stage. The Grimmelshausen fleet is sent to a satellite of the 4th planet in the Van Fleet system, which also happens to be where an Alliance base is located, where the Rosen Ritter are stationed. Conflicts over recon missions on both sides lead to a situation where Reinhard is serving under Luneberg and Schenkopp is chasing after his own commander.
The first episode of this longer Gaiden arc sees Reinhard, now at the rank of Commodore, in charge of a group of 205 ships as the Imperial Space Fleet takes on the Alliance. He has to deal with an elderly commander who seems not up to the job and those who enable him. On the other side of the battle, decisions were being made by those lower down the chain that would eventually have a deciding influence on the battle.
The final episode of this arc sees Reinhard and Kircheis crack the case of Karl Reifeisen’s death and the culprit would prove to be unexpected based on the last episode. The two head back to the crime scene where a bag of grain that nearly hits Reinhard proves to be what sealed the the case from his perspective. They then confront Steger and expose Hase before the conversation takes an unexpected turn.