Category Archives: anime

Lessons of Star Driver

Star Driver – been going a bit crazy burning through episodes of this anime – slim pickings,  but turns out this is pretty good.  A surprisingly good amount of slice of life,  and these are not simple caricatures but more complex characters with motivations, secrets,  desires…

It is easier to chase a dream if you know what it is.

Sometimes, the things you thought you lost were never lost at all.

Do you love the girl, or the adventure?  And what if you had to choose one over the other – would you make the right choice?

What are you willing to sacrifice for your ambition?  Everything?

Only the truly strong can forgive.

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When to give up…

Never give up, never surrender right?  One of my favorite anime bloggers (Star Crossed) is picking up Seikai no Monshou (“Crest of the Stars” – maybe that ought to be rather “Star Emblem”).  Actually,  was super excited for a moment when I thought that a new installment in the series was coming out – still holding out hope for the next chapter.

Still,  thinking again of the first episode,  when the president of the planet surrenders against an interstellar armada – should you fight to the bitter end when you know you’re beat?  Not only that,  but before even trying?  After all,  isn’t it better to end it all without bloodshed?  Sure,  the conquering Abh have a more feudal-style class system going with lords and royalty,  but if all it took was to have a hereditary governor for them to leave the planet alone.  And you could even have the governor be someone sympathetic … or even from the planet itself … like the president …

And yet,  surrendering at that juncture labelled the president to those terms with words like “traitorous scum” … you can imagine how popular that made him (hint: the key word is “executed”). I guess that’s why martyrs probably look like foolish idiots at the time,  and it’s only in the 20/20 vision of hindsight that we recognize their true importance.

But the story isn’t about the president,  but rather his son – completely blameless,  but suddenly becoming the hereditary “lord-prince” of a planet that really wasn’t all that keen on having a lord-prince,  and his life in a completely different culture.  All this is barely scratching at the episode 1 – wait till we run into the royalty. Good stuff.

Yeah, looking back it seems that I was intrigued by this again a year ago …notsalgia still going strong.  Maybe I’ll try hunting up the novels – seems Tokyopop is translating the original novels!

Edit:  It seems there’s a (partial?) fan translation of the fourth novel (latest non-animated installment) by Baka-Tsuki.

So stupid…it gets bonus stupid points

I’m not entirely sure why I keep downloading and watching Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. It’s a giant robot anime, which gets some bonus points in my book…but in my opinion, most of the characters are pretty ugly, the mecha are pretty ugly giant talking heads…in general, the entire art style isn’t really to my taste. Plot is paper-thin, and that’s an insult to the thickness of most paper, and the characters are so flat they’re almost one-dimensional. But maybe that’s why it’s managed to worm its way into a special place in my heart – I find myself laughing at the sheer stupidity of it all. And really, the situations and the characters go out of their way to be extra stupid. Which brings me to the hilarious clip of the day

Frightening how ridiculous this scene is. Kamina (stupid manly main character) is piloting the big red robot and is getting pummelled by Viral, the evil mutant in the big white robot. Simon (wimpy crybaby) finally gets over his fear and comes in on his mini-drill-head-robot to join the fight. And then, Kamina praises Simon for becoming manly and then introduces his secret weapon – the stereotypical “Gattai” robot combination attack. Never mind that these are two completely unrelated robots, and there’s no obvious way to combine it. His “Gattai” is all of shoving the drill robot into the top of his robot. And then he proclaims “Ha! Now we have two heads too!”.

Bonus stupidity points for the ridiculousness of it all.

And don’t forget his manly attack yell. No, it doesn’t mean anything in japanese. It really is “Dabbu-Dabbu-Dabbu-Dabbu!”

Cartoon Morality

Realised that now that I’ve had a minute to take a breather,  that I want to find a new action-anime.  It’s been a little while since I’ve taken a look at the available things to watch,  but I usually figure there’s some guilty-pleasure anime out there that has thrill-a-minute action combined with conscience-soothing minor flakes of plot.   For the last little while,  it’s been Code Geass,  but with the carnage-filled cliff-hanger not-quite-ending that won’t be resolved until the final two episodes not airing till summer,  there’s now a gap to be filled.

Code Geass has definitely scratched the morality itch — I’ve had plenty of inner turmoil about the value of chaotic revolution versus careful evolution,  ends-justifying-means,  or not?   Handy that the show has a choose-your-own-hero aspect,  although “Lelouch of the
Revolution”  subtitle is a not-so-subtle hint as to who gets most of the focus.  I know that the corresponding mangas also include one called “Suzaku of the Counterattack”,  and part of me is thinking that might be a likely name for Season 2.  The other part of me wants the big finale right away!  I’ve reconciled my support for both by believing that everyone needs to choose their personal poison — usually,  it’s going to an anguishing couple notches beyond what you’d prefer,  but real life isn’t usually concerned about the easy path.  And, of course,  be ready for those who don’t see the world your way.  You can’t be everyone’s hero,  and you’re bound to be someone’s enemy.

Black Lagoon also had the fun with guns aspect — no giant robots,  but you can’t win them all — with a little philosophy thrown in to think about the role of mercs and other agents of “necessary violence” and their role in society.  I’m resolved on this point in believing that in this age, agents of violence are created by a society,  and as usual for anything we humans imagine up,  we both love and fear its power.

So in some sense,  I’m a firm believer that we’re all a victim of circumstances beyond our control.  Nature or nurture often turns out to be the same — usually, limited choices here. And I’m a big fan of taking responsibility for the actions anyways.   But because of all this,  I’m ultimately of the forgive the mistakes,  because I’m so far from being “free of sin” that it would be ridiculous for me to throw the first stone.  Or any stone,  for that matter.  Stones hurt, after all,  so be careful not to dish out what you can’t take in return.