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!
People have written about Kamina, and rightly so, but I don’t want to talk about him today. Today I want to talk about Mitsuzi Ishida. Continue reading
At the beginning of Kaiji 24, something unusual happens. Kazutaka Hyodo (the Chairman) asks Kaiji for something. It’s not something important – all he wants Kaiji to do is to let go of his wrist – but it is a request. Having tried to beat Kaiji’s arm away with his cane, the Chariman resorts to calmly asking Kaiji to do something (he should’ve hit Kaiji on the left side of his head, but in the heat of the moment perhaps he forgot about Kaiji’s injury).
This entry, like many others, began as one of ‘those’ comments on someone else’s blog; you know the type, a comment which makes you run Notepad so you can save drafts and print proofreading copies, a comment which stretches down the narrow comment field like the ever-rolling stream of time itself. The blog in question was iniksbane’s. His remarks on Kaiji and Lelouch prompted me to once again enter the field wearing Code Geass‘s token.
Kaiji and Lelouch both seem to defy categorisation – almost always a good thing, when it comes to characters – and I hadn’t considered comparing them. I think iniksbane neatly nails down Kaiji’s character: Kaiji has a clearer vision of the choices he’s faced with than the other debtors, hence his realisation that pushing someone off his girder and then apologising is stupid, but he’s incapable of being the cold bastard that he’d like to be (and perhaps that the yakuza would like him to become too). In fact (extemporising here) part of Kaiji‘s appeal is that Kaiji sometimes manages to fight his oppressors’ dehumanising systems by becoming more rather than less heroic in his behaviour.
Normally I try to restrain myself from looking too closely at characters, but I’m not so sure I agree with iniksbane about Lelouch. I’ve struggled to describe Lelouch in the past, but I’ll take another wild stab at my own understanding of him here (spoilers ahead, of course). Continue reading
‘The School of the
UnDefeated of the East!’
The allusion was too tempting, and Tonegawa even looks just a little like Master Asia. (If anyone’s interested, this entry contains a moderate-level plot spoiler for Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann too; not a character death, or anything, but more of an arc-structure point.) As for this entry’s title, I suppose it demonstrates the global dimension of current US politics. If I were a homeowner, I wouldn’t have any control over the sale of the big mansion next door but I’d still like to know who it was likely to be sold to.
There’s probably little point in me praising Kaiji to you now; if you’re reading this, you’re probably a Kaiji fan already – and if you’re not then further paeans are unlikely to persuade you. So I will simply note that Kaiji continues to be my favourite currently airing anime before moving on to consider what happened in Episode 22. Continue reading
Shamelessly swiped from Beta-Waffle¹
In my last entry on GAR, I suggested that, through a (usually unconscious) process of emulation, watching an anime laden with GAR can be good for one’s character. In the process of replying to those who kindly commented, I began to feel the need for (yet) another GAR entry rather than my usual ‘epic-length’ [‘Of arms and the GAR I sing’] reply-comments. Sadly, therefore, this is less a coherent argument, and more a set of musings. Continue reading
This is what happens when a Victorian imagines a knight¹
[This is part of a series of entries considering GAR. The first one sets out what’s happening. The second one reinterprets the epic tradition through the lens of GAR. The third one examines the relationship between GAR and gender.
Contains minor-to-moderate spoilers for Akagi and for the first sixteen episodes of Kaiji.]
Akagi and Kaiji are closely linked by sharing the same manga-ka and by the similarities in their anime adaptions. Comparisons are quite revealing, and allow us to draw some wider conclusions about the nature of GAR, as well as the role of weakness and sacrifice. Continue reading
Psychological thriller which will probe the very darkest depths of the human soul
Genres are words – labels – we attach to things, as part of some giant, messy and Escher-esque Venn diagram. As genres are words, it’s all a matter of definition by example, which I have harped on about before. Continuing my commitment to be descriptive rather than prescriptive, I thought I’d throw down [?] a few thoughts on the way that we classify anime.
[The first two parts of this post are the boring bits. The third part is the interesting bit. Feel free to skip ahead.] Continue reading
Potemayo and Kaiji are not, perhaps, two series which one would immediately think of as candidates for a dual-subject blog entry. What they share, however, is the use of simplification – whittling away external distractions – to focus more clearly on something.
This post is dangerously long and contains spoilers for Kaiji up to and including the fourteenth episode. It also contains spoilers for Potemayo, but if you’re watching Potemayo for its deep and thrilling storyline then you have more serious problems.
The Blob, The Whole Blob, And Nothing But The Blob
A simple desire, simply expressed
Potemayo is widely noted for taking the concept of a ‘moeblob’ literally: Potemayo and Guchuko are blob-like beings (their existence is never explained, but that’s not the point) who provoke moe reactions. Their size and appearance is an obvious starting point for this process, as we naturally feel protective towards small, cute things. From this point on, however, the two blobs diverge somewhat. Continue reading
Garmbling in action
On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
Eleven Debtors Garmbling,
Ten Mu A-Questing,
Nine Spears A-Striking,
Eight Butlers Battling,
Seven Mingin’ Monsters,
Six Shower Showdowns,
Five Flag Furores,
Four Gundam Bishies,
Three Empty Paragraphs,
Two Heroes Dueling
And a Bloodstained Euphie. Continue reading