Category Archives: commentary

Analysis or thoughts about things which have finished

Robotic Vomit

When Banagher threw up in the second episode of Unicorn, I thought it was natural. Marida just punched him in the belly, after all.

But that’s ridiculous. The Kshatriya, not Marida, punched the Unicorn, not Banagher, in the belly. He succumbs, I suppose, to the amount of force applied to the cockpit as a whole (and the NT-D’s demands?), rather than to any particular part of his body. And yet part of my mind still thinks these are human-scale bodies or suits of armour.

(Compare that scene in Votoms where Chirico’s wounded in the leg, and his blood, escaping from a bullet-hole, runs down his Scopedog’s leg. Though, re-reading what I just wrote, we could probably do other things with that.)

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Where We’re Going…

Maybe Kycilia told you that the Zeong is only eighty percent complete, says the mechanic, but it’s at one hundred percent of its operational capability. Legs? Legs are merely a matter of appearance, whatever the officers think.

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And They Say Gije is an Honourable Man

If you watch the eighth episode of Space Runaway Ideon, you will see Gije struggling to make combat honour work. If you ask me, his increasingly wild rules-lawyering provides much of the episode’s pleasure. ‘Okay, I had to take children hostage to make you duel honourably with me, but they’re being held hostage by my assistant, and the warrior code doesn’t apply to him as he’s a commoner, now can we get on with it please’.

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Caligo Madocae

I’m a little tired of this angle.

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The Burnt Remains

It should be obvious that this is a war story.

On Boxing Day I finished watching Dougram, a longish old anime about a small band of rebels and a prototype war machine. A fairly standard recipe for its time, distinguished in this case by understated mecha and heightened attention to politics. This is the first thing Takahashi directed (Anglophone fan-rumour has it that Takeyuki Kanda rode shotgun), and it began airing in 1981. It feels a little like an attempt to do a toned-down Mobile Suit Gundam — with which it shares a scriptwriter — though, being an anime history dilettante, I don’t know whether in 1981 Gundam was regarded as something influential, interesting or successful enough to be worth imitating.

I liked it rather a lot. I’ll say why I liked it in a bit, but first I think it’s worth pausing to note the significance of my being able to finish watching it at all. Continue reading

Ideon 9 & 10

Until last night I hadn’t watched any Ideon for roughly two years and ten months. Too long, I think.

The adventurousness of it all is what’s pleasing me most. I feel like the screen’s sending me messages along the lines of

  • Cheer! As giant war machines clash in the depths of hyperspace!
  • Gasp! At the grotesque lifeforms of a crystal world!
  • Weep! For the champion killed by unthinking beasts!

There’s a lot here that comes across as pretty odd, though. For example— well, Zeta Gundam is noted for all the personal violence between characters, and that’s absurd, sure. But there’s a scene in the tenth episode of Ideon in which two characters exchange at least seven slaps to the face mechanically, like puppets. (I say ‘at least’ because it’s implied they continue after we leave the scene.)

Encroaching Emotion

I recently joined Goodreads, partly because I hope it’ll give me the chance to slap more people in the face with my lit-peen and partly because I find it useful to have a place to look up books I’ve read in the past — going through the bibliographies of past work is a time-consuming and haphazard method. I’d include a link to my profile, but I don’t want to, so I won’t. Continue reading