Anime Thread of Doom

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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby kiniget » Fri Jan 22, 2016 10:52 pm UTC

Pandora in the Crimson Shell still feels off somehow, but I'm enjoying the characters enough that I don't mind too much

also I'm having fun seeing what the world was like when cyberization was first becoming somewhat commonplace

no amount of silly story and weird animation and lackluster music can dent that
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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Feb 05, 2016 4:15 am UTC

I finally got around to finishing Aldnoah Zero... it was about half good. The first 6 episodes and the last 6 episodes were good to watch. The middle 12 episodes were utter bullshit however.

But its an anime with complete closure. Not a lot of character development however... and not a lot of sense either IMO.
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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby Derek » Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:02 pm UTC

The last episode was complete ass, I don't know how you could forget to mention that. That showed had so much potential, but it was squandered.

Lots of animes have complete closure. That's actually one of the big reasons why I watch anime instead of western shows. It's definitely a good thing, but also not really notable for an anime.

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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Feb 11, 2016 2:58 pm UTC

I dunno. Maybe it was weakened expectations, but I look back upon the show and it managed to toe the line between unique and tropey as all hell.

Its ultimately a kinda-standard emo mecha anime, but from an underdog perspective. I mean, yeah, Inaho basically delivers the vast majority of the killing blows vs enemy mechs, but not because his mech is better, often because he takes advantage of teamwork or terrain in some degree. Also, the emotionless character is the main character (ie: Rei is the main character, instead of Shinji). I don't think that's been done before, the emotionless dude / emotionless chick is normally a major character, but never the main. I can respect the show for taking a different direction here, even if it didn't work out very well.

The primary problem with Aldnoah Zero was the march of the Red Shirts, who are hopelessly incompetent and way too obviously placed. However, at a base level, the Red Shirts are there to remind us that the United Earth forces are fighting at a severe disadvantage technologically. The Martians are all outnumbered like 20 to 1, kill a ton of redshirts before Inaho (+ teammates) finish them off. Oh yeah, and obvious plot armor was impenetrable. I mean, holy crap the plot armor of this show (Don't ya know, a gunshot wound to the head ensures survival in this damn show...)

And the writer's grasp of physics was inconsistent. Sometimes it was utterly horrible, but a number of fights "done correctly" made up for it.

Spoiler:
The Battleship Deucalion + Inaho's team vs the Laser Mech is one of the most plausible in the show. The Laser Mech loses, even though the laser was significantly a better weapon (more accurate / faster shot / etc. etc.) because the Deucalion can hide behind the curvature of the Earth. Modern Battleships do in fact have this capability with their self-correcting shells as well. They used the red shirts to distract the mech, and then killed it with (extremely) long-range cannons.

Some are borderline. Inaho uses a grappling hook against the lightning Mech (before he shoots lightning) to equalize his electric potential. And now that he's at the same potential, any lightning attacks are guaranteed to miss. There are some physics issues with this... (he'd receive a shock when he lands back down on Earth for example), but the general concept is actually completely sound. It was great to see the trope of "electricity fight" handled with at least some semblance of physics. They even lampshaded the "lets try Rubber" approach, by explaining why that has no chance in hell of working. (IE: Air is the best insulator. The Mech's lightning attack already penetrates Air so Rubber won't do shit)


On the other hand...

Spoiler:
Shooting your own mech with grenades to "keep it warm" against the Martian who literally stops molecules from vibrating causing a perma-freeze would not have worked. Grenades aren't warm, cushiony explosions... they're filled with shrapnel that will rip things apart.


The politics of the show made very little sense. Inaho's robot eye had more personality than he did, character development was rushed. Almost every move that Slaine makes is senseless and shortsighted. But as a villain, his moves created conflict and therefore drove the plot. I do prefer mastermind villains who have a big, overarching plan... and Slaine contrasts with them, immediately doubting his own actions as he's making them. He's a broken, tragic character who was abused by the majority of the Martians.

Slaine was different. He didn't quite work for me, but I liked that he was different.

And while a lot of the politics make no damn sense, the big important political moves of Count Cruteo and Count Saazbaum do make up for it.

Spoiler:
And once Emperor Vers is revealed to be in an advanced stage of Alzheimer's, then all of the dumb-as-hell moves from earlier in the show makes a lot more sense. It's Count Saazbaum who has been pulling the strings the whole time.

And once you realize that Count Saazbaum's motivation is "The world sucks, so fuck the Vers nobility, fuck you, fuck earth, fuck everybody", his evil plans to sway the Emperor sorta make sense. I'm not quite sure how his plans to fuck everything up would have resulted in a better political system for Vers, but he was eeeevviiiiiillll... and that's really all that matters.

Besides, Count Saazbaum wasn't even the main villain. Slaine elevates himself to that role rather spectacularly. (Time to TAKE OVER THE WORRRLLLDDDD)


The final episode was a generic "Last Stand" that mostly hits the checkboxes.

1. Final fight between rivals (Inaho vs Slaine)
2. Space fight
3. Easing of Relations to stop the war.

Actually, from the political side, I think they did a good job addressing my concerns.

Spoiler:
They showed the various knights as they figured what they should do. A minority had loyalty to Princess (now self-declared to be Empress) Asseylum, and immediately stopped their attack as soon as she issued the command. Others were greedy bastards, and were going to take the side of the winner. So they remained neutral. Others more did not like Slaine, and were simply waiting for an excuse to stop working for Slaine. So they also stopped their attack.

I think that was quite realistic, politically. Asseylum's order was not really a "rallying point", but it was enough to cause confusion in the ranks of Slaine's alliance. It shattered the fragile alliance of Slaine, which was mostly built up through the "might-makes-right" rule plus a healthy dose of Princess Lemrina's illusions. After that, With only three major mechs (including Slaine's Tharsis) against the might of Inaho + Earth forces + Count Cruteo (the younger) + Count Klancain, the show ends with a resounding victory. There's still the irrational "last stand" that Slaine's most loyal troops did, but this more or less follows the tropes so I don't really have an opinion one way or the other.

I guess its more typical to see the "Good Guys" attempt a heroic last stand. When the evil bad guys attempt a heroic last stand, it definitely felt more awkward and harder to connect with. But, an "evil bad guy heroic last stand" almost never happens. I give major respect to the writers having the courage to do that! It probably could have been done better yes, but I still give it respect.


The damsel in distress trope often is annoying in how often it is deployed and recycled. But Asseylum becoming the damsel is mostly acceptable.

Spoiler:
Due to being unconscious from a gunshot wound to the head. A helpless damsel due to being unconscious is a hell of a lot more workable than other damsel-in-distress tropes I've seen in anime. The two years of bodily atrophy that should have occurred is kinda ... ignored... which seems to be common in these shows. (Ehh... I'll give it up to Martian advanced science for why she recovered without atrophy). Overall though, Asseylum was an extremely active damsel, with courageous actions throughout the show. There really need to be more characters like her.

Its the damsel in distress trope done correctly, although the dialog and other details needed a lot of help. I mean, I wish they did it in a way that didn't feel so much like heavy plot-armor (I mean seriously? Gunshot wounds to the head?). But in the great scheme of things, it did its purpose.


The main issue I have with the Princesses (Asseylum and Lemrina) is how little their pistols mean anything. Its kind of a "listen to me, I have a gun" attention grabbing device, but never really works. But aside from these false displays of force, they are very aware of the limits of their political power... almost to the point of being genre-savvy. I'm also impressed that

Spoiler:
Inaho never got together with Asseylum, and that Asseylum instead seeked the politically advantageous marriage with Count Cruteo (the younger). This is one of the first shows I can remember where the male lead + female lead were extremely good friends with each other, but the relationship never became more than that. Not every male lead + female lead needs to end with a romantic ship at the end, and I'm happy for Aldnoah Zero bucking the trend here.


Another little detail: Inaho, despite being the best pilot, never interacts with any military member above the rank of "Captain". (specifically: Captain Darzana Magbaredge). This is a rather low rank in the great scheme of things, and Captain Magbaredge has to play the role of "middle manager" between the shady generals and the rest of the team. Generally speaking in mech animes like this, the ace main-character pilot holds a lot of political sway all the way to the top. But in this one, Magbaredge + Deucalion team are just a small part of the UFE forces.

----------------------

Ultimately, its a show that made a ton of mistakes... an absolute shit-ton of mistakes. And you've definitely seen the tropes that they employ a billion times already. But the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The little details of how the show implements certain tropes are surprisingly well finessed, despite the blunt sledge-hammer like usage of Red Shirts, Plot Armor, Main Character is one-punch man, and friendship is power.
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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby Derek » Fri Feb 12, 2016 6:12 am UTC

The last episode made absolutely no sense. It's been awhile since I watched it so I forget exactly how things go down, but the writers established that there was absolutely no reason to fight and then fought anyways. Oh right, I remember the other problem too. Slaine spent the entire second season setting up his grand plan, and then he fucking gives the whole thing up at the first moment that something goes slightly wrong. You don't spend an entire season setting up the mastermind just to have him give up, that's not what masterminds do, and it's not interesting to watch.

KnightExemplar wrote:Also, the emotionless character is the main character (ie: Rei is the main character, instead of Shinji). I don't think that's been done before, the emotionless dude / emotionless chick is normally a major character, but never the main. I can respect the show for taking a different direction here, even if it didn't work out very well.

Gundam Wing did that. I'm sure there are others.

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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby Grop » Fri Feb 12, 2016 10:12 am UTC

The main character in Darker than Black was also supposed to be emotionless ~ as well as many characters in that series. But that was part of the setting.

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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Feb 12, 2016 3:29 pm UTC

Derek wrote:The last episode made absolutely no sense. It's been awhile since I watched it so I forget exactly how things go down, but the writers established that there was absolutely no reason to fight and then fought anyways. Oh right, I remember the other problem too. Slaine spent the entire second season setting up his grand plan, and then he fucking gives the whole thing up at the first moment that something goes slightly wrong. You don't spend an entire season setting up the mastermind just to have him give up, that's not what masterminds do, and it's not interesting to watch.


Slaine wasn't a mastermind. He just stumbled from plot-point to plot-point. He more or less just kept taking advantage of things that came about his way and was constantly making short-sighted decisions.

Spoiler:
It was clear that he didn't intend to kill Count Saazbaum for example (the advanced shots were intended for Inaho). But he wasn't going to go out of his way to save his ass either. He didn't intend to give up on Assylum, but after two years he did and began to conquer the world with Lemrina. The "only" plan of Slaine's was when he went full-tilt int conquer the world status, and that lasted maybe 4 or 5 episodes at the most... and he didn't really want to do that once Assylum finally recovered.

Besides, he gave up after Assylum's public announcement on Count Cruteo's (the younger) ship. At that point, it was clear that he lost the fight. But his cohorts would rather die fighting under Slaine than surrender. So they go out in a final, all-out attack. IE: The typical "hero's last stand" sequence, except it was executed by all of the villains so it felt weird. But really, just think of it, its not much different from say... Gurren Lagaan's ending. The heroes are in a hopeless last fight situation, but they go all out anyway.

The difference is that the villains lose in Aldnoah Zero, even after fighting to their last breath. (Heroes almost always win after all)


I don't think they ever even tried to portray him as a mastermind. True, he became a powerful force with loyal cohorts, but that doesn't give him "mastermind" status. Based on the pseudo-redemption ending, I argue that they were going for Slaine to be more of a confused, abused, tragic character.

Anyway, I agree with you that the show didn't really communicate its concepts very well. I could be looking at things that aren't really there and I'm definitely stretching some points out a bit. But this is the logic that I'm using to interpret the show.

KnightExemplar wrote:Also, the emotionless character is the main character (ie: Rei is the main character, instead of Shinji). I don't think that's been done before, the emotionless dude / emotionless chick is normally a major character, but never the main. I can respect the show for taking a different direction here, even if it didn't work out very well.

Gundam Wing did that. I'm sure there are others.


Heero Yuy was more of a "ice cold" jackass character though. I almost imagine him as a "Bad Boy", akin to Seto Kaiba (yes, I just compared him to Yugioh Lol). Although you're right in that Heero Yuy is an excellent counterpart to Rei (who was also more of an ice-cold foil to Askua)

Inaho was warmer, although still rather emotionless. He never really does a jackass thing to anybody, he's just... a stiff, robotic and emotionless character.
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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby Derek » Mon Feb 15, 2016 1:12 am UTC

Grop wrote:The main character in Darker than Black was also supposed to be emotionless ~ as well as many characters in that series. But that was part of the setting.

He's not emotionless, and that's an important part of the plot.

Spoiler:
Contractors are supposed to be emotionless and rational, but Hei isn't a contractor. His contractor powers come from his sister, who he somehow absorbed inside him. As such he retains all his human emotions and often behaves irrationally, much to the consternation of everyone else in the plot. This is also why he has the same star designation as his sister (because it's actually his sister's star).


KnightExemplar wrote:
Spoiler:
It was clear that he didn't intend to kill Count Saazbaum for example (the advanced shots were intended for Inaho).

Spoiler:
That was not an accident. Remember that his mech's ability is to see the future. There are several other times after that where he manipulates people or events to establish himself as the head of the orbital knights.

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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby KnightExemplar » Mon Feb 15, 2016 6:00 am UTC

Derek wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:
Spoiler:
It was clear that he didn't intend to kill Count Saazbaum for example (the advanced shots were intended for Inaho).

Spoiler:
That was not an accident. Remember that his mech's ability is to see the future. There are several other times after that where he manipulates people or events to establish himself as the head of the orbital knights.


Actually, the first thing he says at the beginning of the episode was:

Spoiler:
At the beginning:
Image

It appears that the Tharsis can see very far into the future, but only on the magnitude of maybe seconds or minutes... certainly not hours before the battle happens.


And to confirm that he didn't actually intend to necessarily hit...

Spoiler:
Count Saazbaum:
Image

Which he says way late in the episode, right when said character was blowing up.


So its actually quite clear that he wasn't in "control" of the situation. It was ultimately an accident, but he wasn't going to shed any tears about killing the guy. Hardly the actions of a "mastermind", ya know? And more of a guy who was just stumbling upon fate as it were. He really didn't like the guy who ended up getting hit by the trap though, so he was perfectly fine with letting him die.
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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby kiniget » Wed Feb 17, 2016 3:39 am UTC

I read that second bit as him having changed his mind somewhere between firing the shots and the battle actually happening
and who's to say he wasn't checking on those bullets from time to time?

either way, the show really took a dive after the first season ended, but then the writers gave themselves that hole to try to dig their way out of
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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:41 am UTC

kiniget wrote:I read that second bit as him having changed his mind somewhere between firing the shots and the battle actually happening
and who's to say he wasn't checking on those bullets from time to time?

either way, the show really took a dive after the first season ended, but then the writers gave themselves that BULLET hole to try to dig their way out of


FTFY. And the way they got out of it was ignoring it ever happened apparently.
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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby Grop » Sun Feb 21, 2016 1:49 am UTC

Did we never discuss Parasyte/Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu at all? The only reference I can find in this thread is me saying it ended well. I think this anime was one of the best when it aired (late 2014-early 2015), and (after talking about it in an other forum) I am surprised not to see anything here.

...

Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo is very fun. It's a similar unoriginal setting as SAO/Log Horizon/Grimgar, but is a comedy.

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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Wed Mar 02, 2016 3:11 pm UTC

I finally got around to watching my new favourite anime -- Puella Magi Madoka Magica -- for the first time (followed immediately by the second time).
Spoiler:
I had never cried at an opening theme before, but now I can't make it through Connect without welling up.
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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby Zohar » Wed Mar 02, 2016 4:15 pm UTC

Ugh, such a wonderful show. Question, for those who've seen the show:
Spoiler:
I felt it had a pretty obvious sex-trafficking analogy in it (and a wonderful and empowering message as well). It was very clear to me when I was watching. But when I rewatched it with my husband, he didn't notice it at all, and I didn't want to mention anything about it until we were done watching. Granted, he doesn't watch anime usually so he might have been concentrating on other matters, but did other people also have similar ideas about that when watching the show?
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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Mar 02, 2016 4:54 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:Ugh, such a wonderful show. Question, for those who've seen the show:
Spoiler:
I felt it had a pretty obvious sex-trafficking analogy in it (and a wonderful and empowering message as well). It was very clear to me when I was watching. But when I rewatched it with my husband, he didn't notice it at all, and I didn't want to mention anything about it until we were done watching. Granted, he doesn't watch anime usually so he might have been concentrating on other matters, but did other people also have similar ideas about that when watching the show?


Is this about Madoka? Because...

Spoiler:
The only analogy that I we could come up with was Liches. Its a very strong fantasy trope (Lord Voldemort is a Lich for example), but in this case the only difference is that the "Liches" didn't choose to become a lich. The girls became soulless abominations due to Kyubey's trickery.

Few creatures are more feared than the lich. The pinnacle of necromantic art, the lich is a spellcaster who has chosen to shed his life as a method to cheat death by becoming undead. While many who reach such heights of power stop at nothing to achieve immortality, the idea of becoming a lich is abhorrent to most creatures. The process involves the extraction of the spellcaster's life-force and its imprisonment in a specially prepared phylactery—the spellcaster gives up life, but in trapping life he also traps his death, and as long as his phylactery remains intact he can continue on in his research and work without fear of the passage of time.


The "Contract" to become a Magical Girl is extremely standard. Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha explicitly gained her powers from a contract-seeking magical Ferret named Yuuno Scrya. It is very obvious to me that Madoka is primarily "based" on Nanoha. Of course, Madoka draws upon the long traditions set from all magical girl series, like Magic Knight Rayearth (Mokona), Cardcaptor Sakura (Kero), and even Sailor Moon (Luna). You just trust the magical creatures, even if they offer contracts you don't understand, and then they grant you powers. That's.... just how every magical girl show worked until Madoka.

Even Fate/Stay Night has Emiya Shiro unwittingly create a binding spell for his summon Saber (and the magical-girl spinoff Fate/Ilya has the rods make an agreement with Ilya). In Bleach, Ichigo (normal human) makes an agreement with Rukia (A Shinigami / Death God) to gain his powers. Naruto meets with Jiraiya, who's first training task is to sign the Contract of Toads, which granted Naruto his ability to summon Gamabunta, and eventually allows him to visit the Toad village and gain "Sage Form". The contract for greater power has always been part of Anime, and Gen Urobuchi (director of Madoka) is a bloody genius for subverting it
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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby Zohar » Wed Mar 02, 2016 7:43 pm UTC

Yes, it is about Madoka
Spoiler:
I'm talking about a layer of modern symbolism the show employs. There are multiple layers I see to it:
1. These are specifically girls, essentially becoming owned by a male figure
2. They literally sell their bodies at the cost of their souls
3. In order to become powerful/survive they must work against other girls
4. There's (supposedly) no hope of redemption or escape
5. They enter their contracts without full knowledge of the consequences, being tricked by the man soliciting them

All of those point very obviously towards sex trafficking. At least that's the very first thing I thought of. And the resolution of all of this is empowerment of women, and the victims owning the process of their liberation, which is a big part of modern social movements (the allies are not the ones leading the battle, the marginalized group is).
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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Mar 02, 2016 7:53 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:Yes, it is about Madoka
Spoiler:
I'm talking about a layer of modern symbolism the show employs. There are multiple layers I see to it:
1. These are specifically girls, essentially becoming owned by a male figure
2. They literally sell their bodies at the cost of their souls
3. In order to become powerful/survive they must work against other girls
4. There's (supposedly) no hope of redemption or escape
5. They enter their contracts without full knowledge of the consequences, being tricked by the man soliciting them

All of those point very obviously towards sex trafficking. At least that's the very first thing I thought of. And the resolution of all of this is empowerment of women, and the victims owning the process of their liberation, which is a big part of modern social movements (the allies are not the ones leading the battle, the marginalized group is).


Spoiler:
I think the key which prevents me from agreeing with you is on #1 and #5: Kyubey is at best gender-neutral, and it is voiced by a female voice actress / seiyuu in both Japanese and English. I think I've seen more people describe Kyubey as "it" than either gender. I'm personally unable to see Kyubey as a male figure, so your analogy basically falls apart.

Beyond that, the positive, feminism message runs extremely strong in Madoka (and Magical Girl shows in general... to varying degrees of success). But Gen Urobuchi goes above-and-beyond the trend by not only having a strong cast of believable female characters, but also by seeding Madoka's family with a stay-at-home father and Businesswoman Mother who is actively vying for the position of CEO in her company. Most importantly, Gen Urobuchi never explicitly calls this out, and instead just leaves it in the show as if it is natural (which IIRC, it is far more common in the US than in Japan, which says a lot because the US still has glass ceiling issues).

Unlike other feminism shows where it becomes obvious that they're purely gender-swapped versions of otherwise male characters (ie: Hunger Games), Madoka embraces the femininity of the cast of characters, as opposed to shoehorning characters into male roles and vice versa (ie: Peeta becoming a Dude-sel in Distress). Its always been a strength of the Magical Girl series but Urobachi really takes it to another level of excellence. Its a very good example of feminism done correctly. It isn't preachy, it is extremely positive message (wrapped in a dark story, but strong positive messages nonetheless), and its subtle. Feminism is more than just having girls act like a stereotypical male, IMO anyway. I'm a boy, but that's how I feel on the issue.
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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby Zohar » Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:07 pm UTC

Spoiler:
I find some conflicting things about Kyubey's gender - seems the creator mentioned they're genderless, but there's at least one or two times Kyubey refers to themselves in the masculine. I personally read Kyubey as masculine.

As for the second part of your comment, I don't really understand? I mean, I agree with you completely - it's a very feminist show, and the way Madoka's parents are portrayed is wonderful. I don't see how that contradicts what I said. I experienced Kyubey as being evil, or at the very least apathetic and uncaring, and what he's doing is definitely wrong, and he's (to my mind) essentially practicing sex-trafficking, and the show goes against that and says it's wrong, and Madoka finds a way to break the circle of violence. I wasn't implying the show was trying to promote the concept of sex-trafficking, quite the opposite.


BTW I disagree with your comment about Hunger Games, Peeta is not a "Mr Damsel". But that's not really related to what we're discussing. :)
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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:13 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:
Spoiler:
I find some conflicting things about Kyubey's gender - seems the creator mentioned they're genderless, but there's at least one or two times Kyubey refers to themselves in the masculine. I personally read Kyubey as masculine.

As for the second part of your comment, I don't really understand? I mean, I agree with you completely - it's a very feminist show, and the way Madoka's parents are portrayed is wonderful. I don't see how that contradicts what I said. I experienced Kyubey as being evil, or at the very least apathetic and uncaring, and what he's doing is definitely wrong, and he's (to my mind) essentially practicing sex-trafficking, and the show goes against that and says it's wrong, and Madoka finds a way to break the circle of violence. I wasn't implying the show was trying to promote the concept of sex-trafficking, quite the opposite.


BTW I disagree with your comment about Hunger Games, Peeta is not a "Mr Damsel". But that's not really related to what we're discussing. :)


My words weren't supposed to contradict with what you said. Its commentary on my thoughts on feminism, and why I really like Madoka.

Spoiler:
Ultimately, I guess this comes down to how you view Kyubey's gender. But even then, the argument for the classical "Lich" is far stronger in my eyes.

Ignoring Kyubey's gender for a moment: here is another point where the analogy breaks down: Mami lived her entire career as a Magical Girl and never learned of the dirty secret. Its very hard for me to match this up to the sex-worker analogy. In fact, the majority of magical girls are said to not know of the dirty secret that Kyubey hides, even when they're fully active in the job. Homura learned it through time travel magic, and then the rest of the group learned of it through her.

In contrast, as soon as you become an active sex worker, you know about the issue. Its not a "secret" that is kept from prostitutes at large. Another issue: Kyubey believes his job to be for the greater good of the universe. Ultimately, the magical girl / witch cycle allows Kyubey to prevent the Heat Death of the Universe, and all beings of the universe will benefit with the sacrifice of a few girls he tricks into the job. Its hard to figure out where this analogy matches up to sex workers

I mean, there could be an analogy drawn here... but it isn't as obvious or as straightforward as X-Men == Homosexuals / LGBT community, ya know what I mean?
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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby Zohar » Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:27 pm UTC

I see, sorry for the misunderstanding. Regarding your last comments:
Spoiler:
1. Why can't the analogy work for both things? Why can't they be both a nod towards liches as well as towards sex slavery?
2. Just because they aren't aware of the full extent of the contract doesn't make them any less exploited. And in the end every magical girl either dies, or becomes a witch, with the former being presumably better.
3. As for Kyubey not seeing themselves as evil - that's not a convincing argument for me, honestly. I think most people think they're doing good, or at least not doing evil. They find justifications for why what they're doing is OK. I imagine a common one is "these things I'm dealing with are less worthy than I am, they're not people, they're not important", which is pretty much what Kyubey is doing.


Edit: not that this is proof that I'm right, but other people had a similar idea as well (spoilers, of course, but not massive ones).
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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:34 pm UTC

Well, exploitation has go to beyond simple "getting exploited" if you want it to be a sex-worker / human trafficking analogy. Otherwise, Neo from "The Matrix" was exploited by the robots eating up his delicious energy... but I don't think you'd make a strong argument for sex trafficking in this case (even if the robots were literally conducting human trafficking, the story was more about "Wake up Sheeple" than anything else.)

I guess... I've spent a semester of my college life on Women's studies across the world. And when I come across a sex-worker / human trafficking analogy, its far more obvious. I forget the names of the stories / examples at this point (this was a class that I got a "C" in from a long time ago), but they exist in Sci-Fi, Fantasy, modern stories. The metaphors are as diverse as Train Conductors falling in love with trains and trading them around, or aliens who steal people's bodies... or mages that permanently lose their magic when they've submitted their will to another mage... or what have you. Ya get what I'm saying?

I guess what I'm saying is... I've seen arguments for sex-trafficking analogies in stories, and they're a lot stronger than this one specifically.
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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby Zohar » Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:40 pm UTC

Spoiler:
Well, human trafficking is perhaps more accurate, I'll agree on that (and blame my imperfect knowledge of English exploitation terms as my defense), although I think there's a big element here of men (yes I know we disagree on this) exploiting women.

Also if you got a C, maybe you're not that awesome at spotting these? Kidding of course. I haven't taken any women's studies courses. I dunno, it felt really obvious to me, so I don't know if it's that far-fetched. I wonder what other people are thinking here.
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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:51 pm UTC

Lol. Fair enough. Its fine BTW for people to have different interpretations of shows. Its part of what makes shows / anime great.
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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby Zohar » Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:57 pm UTC

Oh yeah, I didn't feel you tried to invalidate my opinion, I'm just surprised it's not a more common interpretation.
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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:09 pm UTC

Well I can easily argue for the other side if it makes you feel better. I just find disagreements to be more fun.

Spoiler:
If we take episode 2 as the starting point, like the Tumblr page suggests, this was the episode where Mami introduced Madoka and Sayaka to the world of being a Magical Girl. Its hard work, it isn't glorious at all. You spend most of your time running between the Crime Districts looking for a job to do. Mami has no friends, no family to share her story with. She lives by herself and has to live independently. The majority of the time, she's battling it out with other Magical Girls who were contracted by Kyubey as well.

When the truth is revealed to Sayaka, she felt that her body was inadequate for her love Kyosuke. She preferred to continue slaying witches (ie: her job as Magical Girl) rather than seek out her relationship with Kyosuke. As a result, Hitomi x Kyosuke relationship improved and Sayaka was left in the dust: a debt too burdensome to bear by herself... but she continues to bear it for the latent-love she had with Kyosuke.


On the other hand...

Spoiler:
Sayaka is the Little Mermaid. Oktavia (her Witch form) has flippers for a reason. The true grim tale of the Little Mermaid is that the Mermaid falls in love with the Prince, so she sells her voice for some legs to live with the Prince. Unfortunately, the Prince sees her as the little retarded girl who washed up on shore, who doesn't know how to do anything. Her one talent was singing, but she gave it up just for the chance to get with the Prince. Eventually, the Prince marries a Princess from another kingdom: the Prince's true love. The Little Mermaid was then given a dagger by the Sea Witch: she can use the blood of the newly wed Prince / Princess to negate the deal and she will return to the water with her family (flippers and all).

Instead, the Little Mermaid throws herself back to sea without the blood of the Prince. Her soul was saved by the last decision and she now lives on forever as the sea-foam that washes upon the shore (supposed to be a happy ending: as the Little Mermaid ascends to a higher-being as the representation of Sea Foam. But I personally see it as a tragedy through and through).

Sayaka is a similar tragic character who gives up all that she has for her prince (Kyosuke), and Kyosuke never finds out.

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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby PeteP » Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:50 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:
Spoiler:
I find some conflicting things about Kyubey's gender - seems the creator mentioned they're genderless, but there's at least one or two times Kyubey refers to themselves in the masculine. I personally read Kyubey as masculine.



Spoiler:
Are you sure he/she/it did refer to itself as masculine and it wasn't just an artifact of the translation? Because in japanese it's relatively easy to leave something genderless. I refer to him as he to but I think that is more defaulting to it in my case since I can't think of any real reason.

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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby Zohar » Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:55 pm UTC

PeteP wrote:
Zohar wrote:
Spoiler:
I find some conflicting things about Kyubey's gender - seems the creator mentioned they're genderless, but there's at least one or two times Kyubey refers to themselves in the masculine. I personally read Kyubey as masculine.



Spoiler:
Are you sure he/she/it did refer to itself as masculine and it wasn't just an artifact of the translation? Because in japanese it's relatively easy to leave something genderless. I refer to him as he to but I think that is more defaulting to it in my case since I can't think of any real reason.

Spoiler:
I'm not sure - I just googled and found some mentions in different places, including TV Tropes which mentions Kyubey using the masculine.
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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby ameretrifle » Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:04 pm UTC

Continued Madoka analogy discussion
Spoiler:
Well, I didn't think of it during my initial viewing of the show, and to be honest, I'm still not entirely convinced it works very well. It's definitely about women being exploited, so there are obvious parallels there, but I don't see much that's more specific to sex trafficking.

1. When does the "sex work" start? It's kept secret, sure, for totally different reasons, and I'll give you Kyuubey's general bait-and-switch being similar to the way a lot (but not all, no idea whether or not it's a preponderance) of girls get drawn into sex trafficking. But it doesn't quite match the stereotypical sex trafficker bait-and-switch because they start out actually doing the exact job they were promised. Being a "magical girl" is not stigmatized; they see it as something proud and desirable. What girl would draw cute anime pictures of herself and her friends being prostitutes? So for it to be analogous, you have to consider becoming a witch as being inducted to the actual sex work-- which doesn't make a lot of sense. Their bodies have already been altered by that point, and many magical girls die instead of actually becoming witches, and what about being a witch is like being a sex worker?

2. Where is the "sex work"? Magical girls fight witches. I don't see many analogies to sex work there. Witches drive people to murder and suicide. Also not seeing a good analogy. Witches are also immensely monstrous and powerful. I can see sex workers being stigmatized as monsters, but I'm not sure where the power would come from.

3. Where are the johns? You can take Kyuubey as pimp with no problem, but where are the other people knowingly, unknowingly, or "unknowingly" exploiting the girls? It's hard to read the people who are victimized by rampaging witches as analogous.

4. Where is the stigma? You can easily draw parallels between Sayaka's later story and the shame that keeps a lot of girls from speaking out, absolutely, but it's implied that most magical girls never have the slightest idea what's been done to their bodies. They take pride in their work, though they keep it secret. They believe they are providing a huge service to society. You can find plenty of voluntary sex workers who take pride in their work, but not so much involuntary, I should think.

5. Where is the trafficking? A lot of "sex trafficking" specifically involves girls being taken to a foreign land; that's why it's called "trafficking". Magical girls in the series tend to stick close to home. Again, obviously the series revolves about exploitation of girls, it's just that specific species of exploitation that doesn't seem quite reflected to me.

6. What is the power? Both magical girls and witches hold vast magical powers. Where does that fit into the analogy? I guess you could see being able to gratify sexual desires as a power, but ick.

7. What are the witches? The entire conceit of the show revolves around magical girls falling into despair and becoming powerful monsters that hurt people. How does that fit into the analogy? It's too huge a part of the show to just leave out. I guess you could sort of say that's what happens when they realize they're stigmatized and they're shunned and shamed and bitter? It might sort of work?

8. How does the ending work? Madoka saves the girls from becoming witches. What does that mean in your analogy? She takes away the stigma associated with sex work? I suppose that kind of fits; she is making the contracts purely voluntary. Except in cases like Mami's where it's do or die. Which I guess fits?

Not saying you're wrong-- it's hard to say an analogy is "wrong"-- but no, it's not something I originally thought of while watching the series, and I'm still not really sold. I think that it works inasmuch as the show is about the exploitation of young girls, and so is most sex trafficking, but I'm not seeing all that many parallels beyond that. But that may be enough parallels for you, which is perfectly valid.

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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:23 pm UTC

ameretrifle wrote:
Spoiler:
6. What is the power? Both magical girls and witches hold vast magical powers. Where does that fit into the analogy? I guess you could see being able to gratify sexual desires as a power, but ick.


Go go Valkyrie Drive. Oh, and Succubus / Incubus demons... of course.

Spoiler:
And Fate/Stay Night, which is a series I really liked. The H-scenes technically don't exist in the anime, but its like a dirty little secret that the fans of the series hold over people. Gotta go recharge that Mana somehow... and the anime's "Dragon Dream Sequence" is very inadequate.
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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Thu Mar 03, 2016 3:39 am UTC

Madoka
KnightExemplar wrote:
Spoiler:
Ultimately, I guess this comes down to how you view Kyubey's gender. But even then, the argument for the classical "Lich" is far stronger in my eyes.

Spoiler:
Sure there are parallels, but the Lich argument tells us nothing about the condition humaine. I don't entirely buy the sex trafficking argument per se -- I think a strong argument can be made for exploitative relationships in general, and that the lack of informed consent potentially pushes us into the realm of sexual exploitation, though that's where the analogy starts to break down for me -- but at least it tells us something about our lives.

It's fun to point out that the resurrection of Jesus is the most famous zombie story of all time, but the discussion doesn't have anywhere to go after that.
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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby PeteP » Thu Mar 03, 2016 9:22 am UTC

The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:Madoka
KnightExemplar wrote:
Spoiler:
Ultimately, I guess this comes down to how you view Kyubey's gender. But even then, the argument for the classical "Lich" is far stronger in my eyes.

Spoiler:
Sure there are parallels, but the Lich argument tells us nothing about the condition humaine. I don't entirely buy the sex trafficking argument per se -- I think a strong argument can be made for exploitative relationships in general, and that the lack of informed consent potentially pushes us into the realm of sexual exploitation, though that's where the analogy starts to break down for me -- but at least it tells us something about our lives.

It's fun to point out that the resurrection of Jesus is the most famous zombie story of all time, but the discussion doesn't have anywhere to go after that.

Spoiler:
I would say that even if you subscribe to the theory, just having parallels doesn't actually tell you anything about the condition humaine either. What new does it say about it?

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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby Zohar » Thu Mar 03, 2016 1:45 pm UTC

Spoiler:
Just a few posts ago we were talking about how great the portrayal of Madoka's parents is, and how it propagates feminist ideals in the viewers in a subtle way. Including an analogy for sex/human trafficking/exploitation, is useful since it propagates the idea these things are wrong. I mean, if you can't generalize ideals from stories you hear, then you can never really learn much from them unless they parallel your life exactly...

As for ameretlife, I never said the analogy is 100% identical, has the same business structure etc. I wrote what made me think of sex trafficking above already. If I gave the impression I think the show is a documentary about forced prostitution, then I apologize.
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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby PeteP » Thu Mar 03, 2016 2:28 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:
Spoiler:
Just a few posts ago we were talking about how great the portrayal of Madoka's parents is, and how it propagates feminist ideals in the viewers in a subtle way. Including an analogy for sex/human trafficking/exploitation, is useful since it propagates the idea these things are wrong. I mean, if you can't generalize ideals from stories you hear, then you can never really learn much from them unless they parallel your life exactly...

Spoiler:
I doubt you would see it as an analogy for trafficking if you didn't already consider it wrong. Non obvious analogies where you have to spot parallels are things you probably won't see if you don't already consider them parallels. But I was never very fond of allegories, so that colors my perception and I probably should stay out of discussion of people who like them. (So you built a tenuous allegory to say in thousand pages what you could say directly in 2-3 and it has less details and is fair less clear than these 2-3 pages because you have to fit it to a story, now what? It being hinted at in a story does not make it more convincing than clearly stating it. And it is far harder to discuss it because the details aren't clear but a matter of interpretation. And when people point out the meanings they are often something fairly trivial.)

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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby Zohar » Thu Mar 03, 2016 2:47 pm UTC

Again, an analogy does not have a binary value of being obvious or not, as witnessed by the fact both me and random person I found online (and, I assume, others as well) thought the analogy is obvious and that others did not. As for the value of a lengthy analogy as opposed to "straight up saying" what you want to say, I suppose that's another matter, and the example you gave is quite different from the one we were talking about (whether people consider it valid or not). I haven't studied literature or writing, but I imagine one of the reason people consider analogies useful in that they provide a clearer context for the issue at hand and allow a person to empathize with the issue more easily. Another reason might be to purposefully create distance between the actual point you're trying to convey and real-world implications people may be reluctant to discuss.
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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby Grop » Thu Mar 03, 2016 10:54 pm UTC

(Didn't notice that either Zohar).

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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby sardia » Sat Mar 05, 2016 2:42 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:Again, an analogy does not have a binary value of being obvious or not, as witnessed by the fact both me and random person I found online (and, I assume, others as well) thought the analogy is obvious and that others did not. As for the value of a lengthy analogy as opposed to "straight up saying" what you want to say, I suppose that's another matter, and the example you gave is quite different from the one we were talking about (whether people consider it valid or not). I haven't studied literature or writing, but I imagine one of the reason people consider analogies useful in that they provide a clearer context for the issue at hand and allow a person to empathize with the issue more easily. Another reason might be to purposefully create distance between the actual point you're trying to convey and real-world implications people may be reluctant to discuss.

Why doesn't it remind anyone of the abuse and excess of corporate power over the common man? This uses the same concept of contract "informed" consent and how corporations aren't so much people as emotionless psychopaths who do whatever it takes to make a profit (energywise).

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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby Jorpho » Sat Mar 05, 2016 8:51 pm UTC

Oy, there's a new Hosoda movie!
http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-b ... beast-2016

Wolf Children was literally entirely forgettable for me, but Summer Wars and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time were cool enough that I'm more than willing to give him another chance.

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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby Flumble » Sun Mar 06, 2016 4:46 am UTC

I still need to see all of them apart from TGWLTT. :o

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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby ConMan » Sun Mar 06, 2016 9:52 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:Oy, there's a new Hosoda movie!
http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-b ... beast-2016

Wolf Children was literally entirely forgettable for me, but Summer Wars and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time were cool enough that I'm more than willing to give him another chance.

Saw it in the cinema yesterday. Hosoda is definitely the best possible successor to Miyazaki right now. The film hits all the right notes, has some pretty good (but not over the top) fight scenes, and a good but maybe a little cliched ending.

Also, my fiancée pointed out that the subtitles missed one really great thing in the end:
Spoiler:
Kumatetsu didn't just take the lord's chance to reincarnate as a god, he took the chance to reincarnate as a god of decision-making.
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Re: Anime Thread of Doom

Postby kiniget » Mon Mar 07, 2016 9:00 am UTC

I go away for a week and look what happens

and just because I really want in on the discussion, I have to say I don't see Madoka Magica the way Zohar does, I'll grant you that it shows some parallels to sex/human trafficking, but I think those are incidental at most, given that all Urobuchi did was take the standard tropes of the genre and twist them, turning the standard "contract" mechanism into a faustian bargain and such. There's also the fact that the things that Magical Girls know in pretty much any show in the genre isolate them from the rest of the public by default, Urobuchi just took that to it's logical conclusion.

I think what I'm trying to say is that if Madoka Magica is an allegory for sex trafficking, then so is pretty much every other Magical Girl show ever, Madoka Magica just takes the potential for abuse present in the genre and turns it into actual abuse.

in other news, have I mentioned KonoSuba yet?

because KonoSuba is amazing

it's basically a parody of the "trapped in a game/fantasy world" genre and does it beautifully with a cast of the most useless characters you will ever see. I particularly like Megumin, the chuuni mage who only knows explosion magic and can only cast it once before passing out

because that's just how much she loves explosions
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