XII: Thank You for Blogging, Thank You for Reading

It only takes one frame to trash a grunt, after all.

I usually end my twelve Christmas posts by thanking the bloggers and readers of the anglotakusphere. You guys are great!

Well, all the bloggers could stand to proofread and redraft a bit more and a lot of you have aesthetic criteria so unconsidered that it’s a miracle I still subscribe to your feeds… but I do, so well done. You guys aren’t great, but for a bunch of humans you’re alright. Readers: you’re great.

I don’t really post any more, and reading back through this blog I’m dissatisfied with most of my old posts. I do miss blogging with ideas, though, despite the fact that they were usually rubbish ideas. Continue reading

‘Mantles and sabres are so passé nowadays’

Writes ak of Mouretsu Pirates‘s first episode:

And of course the fact that Space Pirate Captain Harlock was referenced is good: the “password” that Ririka trades with her old friend is the very first line of the Harlock OP song.

This is indeed good, and, as he goes on to say, it would be almost ungrateful not to acknowledge Harlock in a space pirate anime. What interests me is that this isn’t just thrown in the background somewhere: it’s being used as a passphrase. In a show more po-faced than Mouretsu, a passphrase would be something inocuous and definitely not related to piracy. But that show would be boring. In this show the phrase is a bold identification.

Taking the opening words of SPCH‘s opening—which is I think fairly obviously a creed from Harlock himself—as the phrase the pirates use to identify themselves to one another suggests that what makes an anime pirate piratical is that they are in some way Harlockian. Or, more narrowly restricting this to the phrase itself, that they have the Harlockian attitude to space: not a threatening final frontier, but a manageable ocean, and moreover my ocean, for my yacht. Taken this way I think it functions as a nice tribute, intentional or not.

(And was that first episode as a whole any good? Goodness, I don’t know. Ask someone else.)

XI: Others

I don’t have an image from Dennou Coil, and I’ve chosen not to find one. Because I don’t have copies, legal or illegal, of any of its episodes.

Thing is, you see, I’ve been watching it at an anime club. I used to avoid those, but, having returned to university after graduating and working a desk job for a spell, I was feeling sociable and gave this one a try.

It’s true that these societies don’t have the practical function that they used to, allowing the efficient showing of rare VHS material. But it’s fun! Everyone I’ve met seems to be able to hold down a conversation. People make jokes I couldn’t have thought of myself, which I think is one of the most excellent, most gracious functions that humans perform for each other.

Speaking of humour, the club also solves one of my anime-watching problems: usually I only find comedies funny if I watch them with other people. And the club is also a useful device which makes me watch titles such as Dennou Coil. I’ve known it’s good for ages, but left on my own I’d never have managed to tear myself away from my solid diet of giant robots for long enough.

* * *

This is likely a short-term membership, because the wheels have been coming off my postgraduate career lately. I think I’ve become a bad investment, and I’ll probably be leaving again within the year. But I’m nevertheless glad I returned to university: I’ve learned I was wrong about a lot of things, and one of them was my judgement of social watching.

X: The Bungler Who Descended Into the Darkness

can_his_desires_be_sated_by_half_a_peanut_a_day.jpg

Freighting the smallest actions with importance, and making them take up lots of tense viewing time, is Kaiji‘s stock-in-trade. The second series started well with a willing surrender to excess, as Kaiji dug himself still further into debt in the Teiai Group’s underground labour camp. It was good to reconnect with our hero’s hapless side.

But Kaiji’s not a bungler when he’s in a nasty enough place, so the real payoff was his subsequent rise, uniting the debt-ridden lowest of the Teiai slave undersociety to beat Ootsuki at his own game. Those bloody dice narrowly edged out Cure Aqua’s lightsabre in the competition for my choice of Weapon of the Year!

IX: Redlaughter

One of the best bits of Redline was the bit during which it looked really good: if you have a copy to hand, that’s from about the first minute to around the ninety-eighth minute.

But it was also pretty witty. I don’t mean it was funny in the sense that one could gather some friends and laugh at all the ridiculousness—though it was—I mean, there are some neat little jokes, and some neat grand ones too, come to think of it. (The gradual disintegration of Roboworld’s plans into a maelstrom of self-inflicted disasters, for example…)

I particularly recall Machinehead’s restaurant entrance. Ooh, this Little Deyzuna guy is in trou- no, he’s oka- oh, crap. Oh crap.

That place better have insurance.

(And in this post ak offers one possible reason, modified in the comments, for Machinehead’s presence in that restaurant in the first place…)

VIII: Shambling Monstrosity

Undersea, overground, shambling free...

The Shamblo owned much of the latest episode of Gundam Unicorn.

I like good mobile armours, I think because they’re usually bestial, and it does the soul good to see a small humanoid figure (the Gundam) squaring off against something like that. And it’s a salutary reminder that Gundam is at least as much unstable psychics riding monsters as it is hard-bitten soldiers piloting war machines—you will note that the painting stuck in Banagher’s memory is not titled The Lady and the Ordnance QF 17-Pounder.

VII: I Fought not in Vain

Alas.

I finished watching Zambot 3 this year. Zambot 3 is a short 1977-8 super robot anime, directed by Tomino (for the show’s salient features, see here and here). It doesn’t pull its punches, and I liked it, even though it wasn’t very animated at times. Before you ask, no, there isn’t a ‘well-‘ missing from that last sentence.

Zambot 3 ends well. I sat where I was and didn’t want to do anything for a bit. The rest is spoilers.