New commentary track, on new recording setup. Hope it’s not too bad. Link to the episode is here. After this we move back into episodes we’re enthusiastic about, especially episode 9. Good times a’comin’.
A common refrain seen on the anime-o-sphere is that this episode of Gargantia was filler nonsense distracting from the true “meaning” of Gargantia, a piece of fluff no better than the usual beach episode minus the sand and watermelon.
This is nonsense. This episode gets to the heart of Gargantia, and its true meaning as a statement of sociopolitical solidarity with Japan’s young generation of much-maligned NEETs and freeters. Urobuchi has said the show was intended as a statement for these young people about to enter the world.
And frankly, it’s a little too on the nose. It’s not even subtle.
Here’s Ledo, poor guy finding himself uncertain about his life for the first time. He’s been raised in a strict, regimented educational system that prioritizes efficiency and is dedicated to only one thing: passing exams, er, killing space monsters. But in this new world, vaporizing people is looked down upon. He has his Master’s Degree in Space Monster Vaporization and it’s completely unsuited to the needs of the post-wormhole economy.
And on top of the unemployment he’s saddled with massive debt he doesn’t even begin to know how to pay off. Sure he has some neat technological gizmos that allow him to do cool things, but what can he *himself* do? He’s not sure, and it seems that no matter where he looks on the ship, there’s no place for him.
If I had to place my bet, the show isn’t about Hideauze murdering cute little moe girls, or even about the culture clashes of two alien races. It’s simply about one person facing a future he has been in no way prepared for, and having to find his way on his own. Murdering pirates and mecha battles were just to show how his education has left him unprepared for this new reality. This episode is what Gargantia is really about.
But also cute girls and barbecue so it’s not totally depressing.
I was good and patient and waited 4 years for End of Evangelion, and 2 years for Evangelion 2.0, but the internet being what it is now, I decided I had to watch Evangelion 3.0 before the whole thing was spoiled for me. And there is quite a lot to spoil. So if you haven’t seen it, I would not read further. But I would recommend all Evangelion fans watch this movie, like it or no, because of what it is.
The complaints against Evangelion 3.0 are that it ruins Eva, it changes everything, it gets rid of everything good about Evangelion, and it seems like lousy fanfiction. All but the first are true.
Shinji basically wakes up after 14 years of post-Instrumentality dissolution, probably as primordial soup in the cockpit of Unit 01, and everything has gone to shit. My theory on Rebuild is it’s basically Kawaoru’s attempt in a time loop to re-do the events of Evangelion with different results, ending up in a non-self-loathing Shinji. Whereas obstacles in TV Eva were internal, in the movies, they are external as Shinji has more confidence and more willingness to actually DO things. Shinji, instead of not deciding to destroy the world through passivity and just letting it happen, decides to destroy the world actively through some unfortunate decisions.
This being post-impact, this movie seems to take place in an alternate dimension of sorts, along the lines of the wacky school hijinks in episode 26, except now it’s a kind of demented fanfic where everything is wrong.
When I first saw Eva 2.0 I called it the most postmodern movie ever, because it so often relied on visual cues from the TV series to express ideas and emotions. The waves that we saw lapping up on the beach so often in the TV series now looked different with red waves crashing up against the facility where all of the animals were kept post-Second Impact. It was all semiotic signals to people who had memorized the TV series, signaling emotions while having the events be slightly different.
Except in 3.0, all of those semiotic signals are now completely wrong and send unpleasant and incorrect signals. The whole movie is based around semiotic dissonance. Anno created a movie where everything is different and wrong. It’s kind of crazy, and kind of assholish, and kind of masturbatory, but we have a full-length movie here designed to, basically, “troll” Evangelion fans by fucking with their minds. I’m not sure there’s anything else quite like it, except maybe some sections of the Utena movie with Nanami being a cow, and the bits with Akio being a total dunce.
Going through everything that is changed and demented in this parallel Q universe would be impossible, but here are some of the big ones:
1) Shinji is proactive, doing things, sometimes stupidly, instead of hesitating. He wants to pilot the Evangelion for once and is expressly denied the ability to do so under threat of death.
2) Asuka, instead of having her mind destroyed by an Angel in space, goes out into space and fights an Angel. Her body is apparently damaged and she’s lost an eye, but she no longer expresses any self-doubt or self-loathing, and is kind of a professional soldier with no warmth now. Her being stuck at age 14 is clearly an echo of Noriko in Gunbuster.
3) Misato, instead of being awesome and the best character, is a mean dick Gendo replacement who risks the life of her crew on a stupid airship lifted out of Nadia: Secret of Blue Water. She expresses almost no love or protectiveness for anyone, except perhaps in waiting too long to murder Shinji. No alcohol, no fanservice, no Penpen, just Gendo Mk II.
4) Rei, always accused of being a mindless doll, actually becomes the mindless doll everyone has always accused her of being. She is identified more with corruption than purity, and the scene where Shinji walks in on her changing has an entirely different outcome.
5) Kaworu gets to spend time with Shinji like he wanted, and he even learns how to sync up with him like Asuka by using a song. Shinji gave up playing the cello, but here picks up piano and attempts to find some satisfaction from playing music. Shinji descends with Kaworu into terminal dogma, but in this situation, Kaoru kills himself by decapitation, instead of Shinji having to make the agonizing decision.
7) Toji’s sister, instead of being the unseen victim, is now a heroine of sorts, and it’s Toji who is dead and offscreen.
8) All of the visuals of wreckage in NERV, the different designs in the “Wunder”, the addition of a fourth group “Wille” to go alongside NERV, Gehirn, and SEELE screw with our expectations. Gendo is wearing the evil Keele Lorenz’ glasses. The energetic Fuyutsuki is wizened. Instead of red seas, we see the red floor of Shinji’s room. Instead of the warmth of Misato’s apartment, Shinji stays in an automated, robotic room.
Basically, it’s a monster of Anno changing Evangelion to do things fans always wanted, or to change things people always complain about – Shinji is finally not passive, and yet things still get fucked up. Rei literally is the brainless sex doll that people seem to secretly want. Fuyutsuki explains the plot directly to Shinji instead of being purposely confusing.
Everything is wrong, and everything is un-Evangelion, and it’s the post-apocalypse we haven’t seen after the events of End of Evangelion. That Kaworu speaks of fixing the world suggests that the fourth movie might finally end the series with a definite conclusion, a final “answer” after the questions raised in all of the movies.
But with Eva 3.0, Anno again suggests that the answers we think we want and the changes we think will improve things are horrible, horrible mistakes.
TL;DR: Anno is again fucking with everyone by creating a parallel post-Instrumentality world where what we know about Evangelion clashes against what we see on screen in specifically designed ways to be unsatisfying and infuriating.
And it totally worked. Though entertaining, Eva 3.0 is totally joyless. As a stand-alone movie it’s kind of a wreck. But as a piece to a puzzle it’s necessary to see.
Not a post I’m thrilled to write, as I love Sentai Filmworks and hate translation quibbles.
But there’s complaining about “Demon Queen” vs “Demon King” and “nakama” vs “friend” and then there are real serious matters that change the meaning of a work.
This is one of the latter.
The following contains a major spoiler for the first Blu-ray set of Mawaru Penguindrum. Be warned before continuing on.
There is a term used in episode 11 and 12 of Penguindrum, 事件 or “jiken”. Literally it means something like “thing that happened,” but it’s translated often as incident. It can also be used in compounds like 自動車事故 where it becomes “jidoushajiko”. In this case, we’d call it an automobile accident since that’s the word we use for automobile incidents when two of them crash. Even though someone may be at fault, it’s an “accident”. In English, there’s a great deal of difference between an accident and an incident, in terms of responsibility and fault.
So if you’re going to translate it as accident, it really needs to be an accident.
The Aum Shinrikyo gas attacks in 1995 could not be called an accident.
I was willing to give the translation the benefit of the doubt because I first heard it in a flashback. But going back to the end of episode 11, in the present day, Ringo still refers to it as an accident.
There’s no point in morally grandstanding about how an intentional act of terrorism is not an “accident” by any definition, but if you do not know what the show is referencing in 1995, what happens in Penguindrum becomes entirely incomprehensible.
This is not cool. This is very, very bad. And it’s a shame, because Sentai’s release does contain translation notes to Haruki Murakami and Night on the Galactic Railroad that I would have missed otherwise.
How this slipped by is a mystery, but this needs to be corrected for the second set. A 事件 like this should not happen again.
Here we go with the commentary for episode 6. The link can be found here.
As I do realize there are quite a lot of these now, I do plan to edit together a digest version for those who want the analysis without as much of the oohing and aahing, and coming in at less than 6 hours. That will come out once we’re done with the episode commentaries. But this is about the halfway point.
Just in time for Christmas, it’s time for commentary of episode 5, Blood-Soaked Triangle!
Which we found wasn’t very much in line with our theories or analysis at all. Oh well.
As always, the file can be found here.
And, as always, we were not involved with the production of the show and claim no ownership. Please support Fujiko Mine when the BD or DVD is released in your territory.
I think I did pretty well with my Fall predictions. K, Tempest, and PSYCHO-PASS, if nothing else, were golden, Lychee Light Club was a flop, and BTOOM! was an atrocity. I’m going to try my hand at this again.
I skipped Girls und Panzer and Kamisama Kiss last time, which were both errors on my part. If I don’t mention a given series, just consider it’s a “NO” or a “Not for me.” Let me see if I miss out on anything big this time.
Chihayafuru – This isn’t even trying, so…
Ishida to Asakura - Gag seinen manga that seems to have no marketable appeal whatsoever. That means it has to be good. Looks like a goofier Cromartie with some fanservice.
Maoyuu Maou Yuusha - Always an obnoxious title to type, but it’s the spiritual sequel to Spice and Wolf, reuniting the same cast in a story about economics. Not the same author as Spice and Wolf, but I imagine the appeal and chemistry will be largely the same.
Bakumatsu Gijinden Roman - The big gamble. It’s based on a Pachinko machine with designs from Monkey Punch, so it could be Musashi Gundoh: Rainbow Gate. But the director worked on Bantorra, and it seems to have the same goofy action as Lupin, so I suspect it will be good, or awfully wonderfully terrible. K proves that bad and good are ultimately equivalent.
Courtesy of Zettai Karen Children - The mangaka of Ghost Sweeper Mikami has my trust. I think this will be funny with my sense of humor.
Sasami-san @ Ganbaranai! - If I regret any prediction, it will be this one. It sounds like it has the invalid/imouto disease that’s going around, but Shaft might do something interesting.
Beast Saga – Lion men and tiger men fighting for the appeal of young boys. How can this not be rad?
Cuticle Detective Inaba – Weird enough premise to work, if it doesn’t pander in predictable ways to fujoshi. Plus a mastermind goat that eats money? Sounds great.
Tamako Market – New series by cancer studio Kyoto Animation has mixed gender love triangle and is not based on a 4-koma series. I think it will work. I’m really surprised, myself.
Yama no Susume – Moe mountain climbing. It will be the harmless, relaxing show of the season. But mountain climbing is new and interesting and can’t be easily sexualized in creepy ways.
Mangirl! – My gut says to believe in the power of easily misinterpretable titles.
Love live! School idol project – This should be a surprise hit. It’s Sunrise, and their pandering should at least be of expected quality.
Serious Milky Holmes – Stop it. Just stop.
Vividred Operation – The only way to destroy the appeal of an action sci-fi series with an all female cast is to make them all 14. Director of Strike Witches strikes again.
Amnesia – Fujoshi pandering isn’t as tired as otaku pandering yet, but the designs here are so blatantly stereotypical I have little hope for the story.
I was doing so well, but I got a fever and that throws things off.
I finished Utena. I started watching it back on CPM’s VHS tapes, then got the CPM DVDs, and then the RightStuf editions, but I never actually finished it. Because no more Utena means no more Utena.
But with Penguindrum coming, I decided it was time. The ending of the TV series was sad, and the movie made no sense, but it had a lot of good moments. The “Utena becomes a car” is so famous everyone knows it happens. But THIS is the car moment that stuck with me.
The movie basically makes Akio, the powerful supercilious douche from the TV series, into an utter goofball. He deserves it. It’s fantastic.
The second anime GIF moment of the year will surprise no one, due to how often I’ve expressed my affection for it.
Was this moment scripted? Was it put in by a specific animator? We may never know. But boring miss goody-two-shoes suddenly had a SOUL, and CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT, and she didn’t even have to change her hairstyle.
The theory that she’s secretly a sociopath emerged from these few seconds of animation.
That is a good day’s work, Mr. or Mrs. Animator. Feel proud.
Occult Academy gets mixed reviews. But people who don’t like it are wrong, and I am confident that history will vindicate those of us who sleep with the box set between our pillows.
I could defend the ending, which is a cleansing and triumphant moment of emotional catharsis that is rarely matched in anime, but I don’t have to because Landon does it better than I ever could.
No, I have to pinpoint the exact moment where I realized Occult Academy was a masterpiece.
The hopeless male lead, Bunmei, does something stupid. Maya puts her bracelet on and delivers a tsundere punch.
And I laughed. God help me, I laughed.
In front of other people.
At a tsundere punch, the most overused comedic device in current anime.
Something about the timing…? or the animation?, or maybe the characters just made it work. And I still laugh when she does it, despite multiple rewatches.
Not even Studio Ghibli has pulled off a tsundere punch that worked as a joke.
Occult Academy is a masterpiece.