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1 hour ago, Proudfeet said:

@Toth Not sure if you are interested in Japanese Drama, but you seem to like murder mysteries and the final episode of one is airing tomorrow/tonight. It seems like its a hot topic over in Japan so I'm trying to find a place where I can watch it. 

What gave that away? Is it the Umineko quotes? XD

Well, thanks for the recommendation. I have already read several times that there is right now a new golden age for "honkaku" murder mysteries in the style of Agatha Christie going on in Japan and this sounds very much like one expression of that. Then again, I never watched any Japanese drama and don't think I have time to go out of my way to search for it.

Though... speaking of Umineko... in the latest Case Files episode I couldn't help but think of Battler's fear of rocky boats when Gray used poor Add as a snowboard. It's probably the similar screams... They do have the same voice actor after all. XD

Edited by Toth

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33 minutes ago, Toth said:

What gave that away? Is it the Umineko quotes? XD

Well, thanks for the recommendation. I have already read several times that there is right now a new golden age for "honkaku" murder mysteries in the style of Agatha Christie going on in Japan and this sounds very much like one expression of that. Then again, I never watched any Japanese drama and don't think I have time to go out of my way to search for it.

Shrug, general impression of you. I think you've said something about it before.

Yeah, its a pain when its not readily available and you have to sift through google. I managed to figure out that archives are available on Japanese Hulu, but it doesn't seem like it has been picked up internationally. Pity.

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On 9/7/2019 at 9:47 PM, Proudfeet said:

Shrug, general impression of you. I think you've said something about it before.

Yeah, its a pain when its not readily available and you have to sift through google. I managed to figure out that archives are available on Japanese Hulu, but it doesn't seem like it has been picked up internationally. Pity.

Could be. XD

If you still want to read some genuinely good mystery, can I recommend some "When they Cry" to you? Those are my absolutely favorite stories of all time. Stories made by the Master of Unreliable Narration, Ryukishi07, who will confuse you with layers upon layers upon layers of mysteries. Especially Umineko is a master piece:

 

Even though that AMV manages to make the Anime look good, better search for the Manga or the original VN! The Anime is unfortunately bad, like, really bad. And was cancelled half-way through.

Otherwise, if you didn't already have, you could still watch its predecessor story Higurashi, which however is more on the Horror side:

 

Edited by Toth

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I think I've looked into it once before, but it felt like too much of a pain in the arse and I ended up putting it off indefinitely. It's somewhere on the priority list along with a couple of books that I've bought maybe five years ago. Its just that new things are nice and shiny. :bang:

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26 minutes ago, Proudfeet said:

I think I've looked into it once before, but it felt like too much of a pain in the arse and I ended up putting it off indefinitely. It's somewhere on the priority list along with a couple of books that I've bought maybe five years ago. Its just that new things are nice and shiny. :bang:

Which one? Higurashi or Umineko? Higurashi has a decent Anime adaptation of just 50 episodes, so it's not quite as impossible to get into. With Umineko... well, I'm well aware that it's a bit threatening, what with the original VN having twice the word count of War and Peace. But it's so absolutely terrific! And... well, you are the one who likes to track down voice actors. It has like all of them! XD

https://myanimelist.net/anime/4896/Umineko_no_Naku_Koro_ni/characters

Edit: Also screw me. I just found out that there has been a demo version of Ciconia When they Cry uploaded, the next installment of the series. While I am still extremely skeptical of the Attack on Titan like setting, I obviously just had to download it right now... damn it! No time to actually play it though...

Edited by Toth

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Okay... that demo version of Ciconia When they Cry was surprisingly short, I was peeking into it this morning and already through it after a bit more than half an hour. And I'm frankly very glad about that.^^

Here to recap what happened:

Spoiler

The Prologue starts off with a cheesy propaganda film depicting a young boy showing off the capabilities of the Aerial Infantry, dubbed "Gauntlet Knights", which are super soldiers who can fly, conjure up a plethora of weapons from some pocket dimension and guard themselves with a force field that for some reason drops a bunch of feathers each time it's hit.

It then cuts to the seats of a cinema where two high-ranking military dudes discuss what they have seen. An old general who is very impressed and wants to speak with the boy from the propaganda film and Okonogi... who goes on to describe the plethora of flaws and dangers of the system, which resulted in the blinding and ultimately death of the boy in question, but he then shrugs it off and says that they've got a lot more cannon fodder where he came from.

The next scene introduces our protagonist Miyao. Who is jumping down a skyscraper in Tokyo, going on about the thrill of being a Gauntlet Knight and describing why Tokyo somehow looks like a shizotech monstrosity with both large skyscrapers and neon billbords and Victorian style 19th century buildings in between, but is soon caught up by his partner Jayden with whom he has a "mock battle" that somehow involves life ammunition and the thrashing of several buildings including cleaving through a conveniently empty restaurant. Given how there later is lifelike VR technology mentioned, I have to wonder whether what we have seen is actually just a simulation, especially how there is an instructor mentioned when another Gauntlet Knight team joined them. I really doubt they can just go out and battle each other like that just because they are bored...

In any case, Miyao is portrayed rather interestingly. An acute observer who analyses every movement, but acts upon it more like a teacher giving both praise and criticism to his colleagues... while still being very self-conscious about his height issues and not above jokingly playing up being a sore loser when he ultimately gets defeated in the mock-battle. There is also this not very subtle ship-teasing between him and Jayden, with the latter being quite flustered in his presence. Which... I think is a first. The When they Cry series already had a transsexual main character, openly lesbian and implied gay supporting characters, all of which appeared later down the line, but never started out strongly implying gay main characters right off the bat in the very first chapter.

Well anyway. After that the intro runs and then we already start the really weird festival that the trailers promised. With fighter jets doing maneuvers, military parades... and an unsettlingly cheerful announce droning on and on about how these men and women down there are the guardians of peace. And noting walls protecting them. At then moment the scene is abruptly cut short by a black screen, the music stopping and a John F. Kennedy quote about how the walls of peace crumble when not being supported by both sides or something. Pretty much a sombre reminder that things will inevitably go wrong at this thing.

... aaand that's it.

So to my own impression of that little part we have gotten: I am still on the fence. The setting doesn't feel quite as forced and stilted as I was afraid it would be, the steampunk stuff felt quite natural and I like the depth gained through the several layers of unreliable narration that are already extremely present in only these four scenes we have gotten. So it feels quite a lot like Ryukishi. But will it also feel like a When they Cry title? I know it changes up the formula quite a lot with each installment, but at its very core Higurashi and Umineko were both character-driven mystery stories where the same events were repeated again and again with different results. I truly hope that this essence of When they Cry will come up here again. But right now it sets itself up more or less like a political thriller with odd battle scenes sprinkled in. In a way, it feels more like how I expect Rose Guns Days to feel like (with the advantage of it not looking like Ryukishi is whitewashing his setting... what with him already questioning the Gauntlet Knights and use of child soldiers in a similar way of how he deconstructed the Guardian organization in Rewrite while his writing partners at Key portrayed them unambiguously as heroes).

So... I guess I'm waiting for the initial reception of the first full episodes before deciding whether to give the full thing a try. It already looks like a decent story, but my interest in steampunk is quite non-existent and I'd rather prefer to see it embracing the narrative creativity he showed with Higurashi and Umineko.

Edit: In completely unrelated news, the first trailer for the new Madoka Magica spin-off series is out and it looks terrific:

 

Edited by Toth

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8 hours ago, Toth said:

Edit: In completely unrelated news, the first trailer for the new Madoka Magica spin-off series is out and it looks terrific:

The concept and art for this show were terrific but I really found the writing disappointing. Maybe this spinoff could be better.

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1 hour ago, Rippounet said:

The concept and art for this show were terrific but I really found the writing disappointing. Maybe this spinoff could be better.

What exactly did you find disappointing about the writing? I always found it pretty good with one egregious exception towards the end, so I'm genuinely curious.

Especially since when it comes to writing in this one... well, if you already didn't like Madoka Magica, you probably will be bored by this one, given that my impression from having played the game is that it's a nice expansion upon the setting though without any of its tragedy and almost every character being protected by such absurd amounts of plot armor that it kills any shred of suspense in its infancy.

The trailer however ended up being a pleasant surprise to me. It seems like they have every intention to make vast improvements upon the story, if only by adding Kuro (the girl with the black hood) into some kind of prologue before Iroha arrives at Kamihama. This looks a lot like the Valentine's event story, just with Iroha being the one to befriend Kuro instead of Homura and if they indeed have it end the same way, it will have vast consequences for the atmosphere of the main story, even if they change nothing else.

Edited by Toth

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On 9/8/2019 at 4:35 AM, Toth said:

Which one? Higurashi or Umineko? Higurashi has a decent Anime adaptation of just 50 episodes, so it's not quite as impossible to get into. With Umineko... well, I'm well aware that it's a bit threatening, what with the original VN having twice the word count of War and Peace. But it's so absolutely terrific! And... well, you are the one who likes to track down voice actors. It has like all of them! XD

https://myanimelist.net/anime/4896/Umineko_no_Naku_Koro_ni/characters

Umineko I believe. I forgot why I didn't start on it, but it is something that I'm interested in. 

I do follow some voice actors but I don't watch all their anime. They draw my attention to anime that I otherwise wouldn't have taken a second look at, but I don't follow them. Its usually after the anime receives good reviews that I start watching. For Umineko, having a star studded cast is a plus point, but as I was already interested in it, it doesn't move the needle much. That book I bought five years ago is right in front of my mouse pad and I look at it everyday and I still haven't started on it. :leaving:

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16 hours ago, Toth said:

What exactly did you find disappointing about the writing? I always found it pretty good with one egregious exception towards the end, so I'm genuinely curious.

I have to admit... I can't remember exactly. I just remember being intensely bored with the story mid-season until finally reaching the final episodes. And it wasn't the story itself (that was pretty good), there was just something with the pace or the writing that wasn't working for me.

Maybe it's just that I didn't care enough for the characters though.

16 hours ago, Toth said:

Especially since when it comes to writing in this one... well, if you already didn't like Madoka Magica, you probably will be bored by this one, given that my impression from having played the game is that it's a nice expansion upon the setting though without any of its tragedy and almost every character being protected by such absurd amounts of plot armor that it kills any shred of suspense in its infancy.

Well that's good to know, thanks.

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6 hours ago, Rippounet said:

I have to admit... I can't remember exactly. I just remember being intensely bored with the story mid-season until finally reaching the final episodes. And it wasn't the story itself (that was pretty good), there was just something with the pace or the writing that wasn't working for me.

Maybe it's just that I didn't care enough for the characters though.

A bit odd to call it a 'mid-season' when there are just 12 episodes, but okay.^^ So... I'm actually a bit sad that this is the part you liked the least because Sayaka is my favorite character and the middle part is essentially her story with its The Little Mermaid imagery until Homura takes over center stage. I really liked Sayaka's tragedy of setting impossible ideals for herself and then worrying about failing to live up to them, with Kyouko being essentially a female Sandor Clegane, who has become acidly cynical and who sees in Sayaka what she used to be. The whole dynamic played out really well.

My own gripes with Madoka Magica that I have, though they don't really hinder my enjoyment of the franchise that much, are twofold: First the structural dependence on surprising you alongside the characters with revelations about the nature of the setting. Spoilers essentially kill almost all of the suspense. The second one... well, that's Kyubey's penultimate rant about the setting in one of the last episodes. It's the single most problematic piece of writing in this, I keep pretending it doesn't exist and yet the narrative treats it as a foundation of the setting:

Spoiler

I mean the speech in which Kyubey shows Madoka historical Magical Girls. All of them being famous women of history which is bad in itself because it devalues their actual stories by claiming that they cheated with magic to become important, all the while completely running counter the story's theme that Magical Girls suffer and die in the shadows, without anyone ever learning their names.

He also claims that humans would still live in caves if not for Magical Girls, which I think is supposed to be taken as all of human progress being built upon suffering, but still literally means that all of human progress rests upon impossible wishes instead of human ingenuity. My only headcanon to fix that is that Kyubey was misleading as usual and what he actually means is that if there are no Magical Girls and therefore no Witches, negative human emotions would still birth Wraith who would keep mankind down. I can't headcanon the other stuff away though.

The third and most annoying part is how Urobuchi wrote himself into a corner with the worldbuilding. So Kyubey harvests despair to keep the universe running with the laid out rules making it abundantly clear that he can get the despair from anyone making a contract with him. So now the story comes into trouble with explaining how we never see a boy making a contract, aside the Doylist view that of course it's a grimdark Magical Girl show. And now of all the excuses he could have made, Urobuchi went for the old downtrodden "girls are more emotional" trope to justify Kyubey's bias. I've thought up a bunch of other possible things he could have said (including a criticism of how coping with mental health issue is differently socialized in our societies) and yet he went with that of all things... Statistically speaking, there just HAVE TO be male victims of Kyubey for the setting to make sense and not being offensive.

The problem from all that mostly arises by how we are supposed to see Kyubey as a villain who misleads and manipulates but makes it a point to never lie and yet he throws around all these toxic biases we are supposed to treat like scientific facts.

But then again, these things are things I can manage to ignore and still enjoy the story and characters told. After all, it still manages to pull off a reconstruction of the genre while still challenging with some worthwhile questions. So that's something at least.

7 hours ago, Proudfeet said:

Umineko I believe. I forgot why I didn't start on it, but it is something that I'm interested in. 

*eager whispering* Do it! Take it from someone who read the story 6 years ago and still is absolutely obsessed with it! It's definitely the most intelligently crafted tale I ever saw!

 

Edited by Toth

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BTW, I just recently noticed that there is another trailer for the Fate/Grand Order Babylonia Anime out there:

Okay, maybe it is just me, but doesn't the animation look really cheap? Or at least it does compared to the Magia Record trailer. So here we have two adaptations of freaking Mobile Games, with FGO clearly being the most profitable thing on the market and yet the amount of effort Studio Shaft poured into their product just blows this lazy cashgrab out of the water.

(and yes, I have come to post this after utterly unexpectedly managing to summon Merlin in FGO earlier this day, knowing that I'm kinda biting the feeding hand there)

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Youtube's bonkers algorithm just shoved me the trailer to Psycho-Pass's third season into the face:

Oh my god, where the hell is Akane? Why isn't she a regular on the show anymore?!? :(

Well, at least we get a new protagonist who isn't Mika... though it still makes me wonder... did she have to go underground? But the end of movie made it look like Sybil still doesn't feel threatened enough by her to not have her stick around. This is all very strange...

... also I'm kinda iffed that I can't find the three prequel shorts that released in January anywhere.

Anyway... last episode of the El-Melloi Case Files episode is done. It's really strange that after all the set-up of the last episode with the giant clash between Gray and Faker, they just skipped immediately to an epilogue. That was a really odd call, leaving us hanging like that... if they don't continue the show now, it's going to be a major dick move.

The end however, with all its nostalgia, was great:

Spoiler

Waver realizing that he has to fight his own battles instead of constantly pursuing Iskandar's shadow was great. And then the dream sequence! "Has your journey so far been fun?" with Waver grinning, crying and saying yes with his faltering voice. I teared up myself there. Iskandar is back, baby!

 

 

Edited by Toth

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On 9/29/2019 at 9:04 PM, Toth said:

Anyway... last episode of the El-Melloi Case Files episode is done. It's really strange that after all the set-up of the last episode with the giant clash between Gray and Faker, they just skipped immediately to an epilogue. That was a really odd call, leaving us hanging like that... if they don't continue the show now, it's going to be a major dick move.

I think its a stylistic choice. They haven't shown the immediate impact of the spear either time she used it. They only show the result/aftermath. Its just going to be two forces colliding anyway.

As far as a continuation goes, you need to hope sales of the Blu-Ray goes well, otherwise the best you can hope for outside of reading the novels is a movie. Although who knows? Maybe they decide that they have money to burn like what I heard of the FGO April Fools events. 

My personal takeaway from this is that the ages and the corresponding heights in this show are messed up. They confirmed that Waver (and by extension his students) was 19 in Zero, so basically have a growth spurt once at 10 (for Olga-Marie) and another at 20? I'm giving the mental maturity thing a pass, but the height thing is just odd. Its not important or relevant, but it really stands out.

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Posted (edited)
On 10/5/2019 at 9:07 PM, Proudfeet said:

I think its a stylistic choice. They haven't shown the immediate impact of the spear either time she used it. They only show the result/aftermath. Its just going to be two forces colliding anyway.

Mmh... could be. But wait, we saw Gray blasting the fairy beasts at the cursed manor and the magic portal withstanding it. So it's not like they don't want to show it off at all, but rather that they want to avoid showing Gray dueling a Heroic Spirit with a beam-o-war. Which, to be honest, I can't exactly blame them for given how boring I found the battle choreographies in Stay Night where they are just endlessly hacking at each other with no visible finesse.

On 10/5/2019 at 9:07 PM, Proudfeet said:

As far as a continuation goes, you need to hope sales of the Blu-Ray goes well, otherwise the best you can hope for outside of reading the novels is a movie. Although who knows? Maybe they decide that they have money to burn like what I heard of the FGO April Fools events. 

Oh, FGO has given them a ridiculous amount of money to throw at things... so I wouldn't exactly be suprised if the show was meant to gauge interest. And given the positive feedback I have seen everywhere (well, aside from it sucking as a fair mystery thanks to the bogus magic) I am fairly optimistic.

Speaking of Fate... so the Babylonia Anime started yesterday for real. I... have watched the first episode and already counted three close-up shots of someone's ass (Mashu twice, once for Ishtar). So yeah, it's a Fate show alright. -.-

Can't exactly say anything yet to the story. Aside it looking like a fairly faithful adaptation. At least the start is not slowed down by First Order's painful "protagonist becomes protagonist for sleeping at a briefing" nonsense and it starts out right away with Ishtar and Enkidu being encountered... well, exactly like they did in the game. The only thing that irks me a little bit is the artstyle. I can't describe very well what about it irritates me, but I've somehow started to consider it artificial and lifeless. Which is odd because it is very high quality animation... but maybe it is just too polished and too much CGI.

Edit: I just peeked into the FGO wiki and already see the rabid fans ganging up on a few users bold enough to make some sarcastic remarks about the ass shots. So it's business as usual.

Edited by Toth

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9 hours ago, Toth said:

Mmh... could be. But wait, we saw Gray blasting the fairy beasts at the cursed manor and the magic portal withstanding it. So it's not like they don't want to show it off at all, but rather that they want to avoid showing Gray dueling a Heroic Spirit with a beam-o-war. Which, to be honest, I can't exactly blame them for given how boring I found the battle choreographies in Stay Night where they are just endlessly hacking at each other with no visible finesse.

They made the impact exceedingly bright so much so that there was a time skip after it finally cleared up. I wouldn't say that we saw it.

10 hours ago, Toth said:

Oh, FGO has given them a ridiculous amount of money to throw at things... so I wouldn't exactly be suprised if the show was meant to gauge interest. And given the positive feedback I have seen everywhere (well, aside from it sucking as a fair mystery thanks to the bogus magic) I am fairly optimistic.

It just occurred to me that the animation studio and the game studio are likely separate and they don't actually have money to burn. They really need the Blu-Ray sales to justify a sequel. 

10 hours ago, Toth said:

The only thing that irks me a little bit is the artstyle. I can't describe very well what about it irritates me, but I've somehow started to consider it artificial and lifeless. Which is odd because it is very high quality animation... but maybe it is just too polished and too much CGI.

Don't think I'd watch Babylonia, but looking at the trailer, some scenes look like the characters are protruding out from the background. Majority are fine, but when it happens it does look really odd.

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I didn't find a manga thread so, im gonna try my luck. 

I want to read Akira, but i learned that there are like 3 version, and i've read that the Dark Horse one might be the best one, with the best english translation. 

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