Slight Addendum to My Conrevo Post

(Second semester of college, as it turns out, can be quite a busy time, so this one will be just a short extension of my Conrevo post. Granted, with better time management I can still write a better quality post, but eh.)

For the longest time I’ve dabbled on why superhero is such a compelling figure to me. Truth to be told……I just like them. They’re guys with extraordinary abilities like shooting laser beam out of their eyeballs and they get to do cool stuff like saving bunch of people. For the most part, those tangential qualities is the reason I often look forward to movies and series about them.

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Saekano and the Moment Where it All Breaks Down

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(Warning, spoiler for Saekano episode 9)

In consideration that the second season is premiering this spring, I decided to catch up on the entirety of Saekano season 1, the light novel adaptation by the much regarded Fumiaki Maruto. Before this, all I’ve been doing was joining the bandwagon about how frustrating Saekano self-referencing routine is which…….I admit not exactly a “good” behavior to take for a series that I haven’t even watched.

Soooo, episodes later, I came out enjoying Saekano. The girls are pretty, the meta element aren’t as cringe-worthy as I thought it would be, and Maruto is still a really good writer that can write witty clever banter. I do admit that the fact that the characters strictly adhere to basic anime stereotype does more harm than good to the show. It really limits their characterization and the emotional space of the characters, so ultimately it’s just shooting yourself in the foot.  Maruto basically just write a well-written cliche.

Now, you could argue that the characters embodying those stereotypes is a way of portraying the way otaku engage with their media i.e. mimicking their favorite characters. After all, in social conversation, there’s certain degree of “performance” we do in front of people that we converse with (this is slightly emphasized by the fact that the heroines are acting out their stereotype only when in front of Tomoya). So while I find the execution to be a miss, I could see this was (probably) done out of well-meaning intention.

If that was the case in Saekano, it really makes what happened on episode 9 truly satisfying.

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Dissecting Gintama’s Comedy

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So, my usual M.O. of watching anime as of late has been just watching whatever it is that’s either mostly fell under the radar of the anime community that I’ve been (or just not watching anime entirely *cough*Buffy the Vampire Slayer*cough*it’s pretty good*cough*). Gintama more or less fell into that M.O which is a weird thing to say considering it was one of the most successful anime and manga franchise in Japan and, to a degree, in the “mainstream” anime demographic of the west.

So short impression, I like Gintama. It has some of the most absurd out-of-left-field gag I’ve seen out of….well almost anything. Beyond that, it has a strong entertaining cast of characters, which the series utilized very well, and also surprisingly has a really heartfelt character-driven drama.

I’ve pretty much caught up to the entirety of the old series (including the second movie, which was…..good, I guess?) and are now watching to the 2015 series. Considering how much time I’ve invested, I more or less become familiar about Gintama’s consistent comedic tricks. Tricks which I am now going to share to you to introduce you to the madness that is Gintama.

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Concrete Revolutio and The Courage to Change the World

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“I’m weak, that’s why I wanted to grow stronger”

Katararezu Tomo

Those words always rang in my mind every day of my life.

Highschool are probably still one of the most shaky times of my life in terms of my identity and belief. It’s also the first time where I’d become more aware about current political climate and various issues in the world, particularly surrounding the Islamic world, where I was previously ignorant of it.

To this day, I still think what a blissful ignorant that was. All of the revelation became too much for my poor mind, which resulted in me trying the best I can to be always in the dark regarding discussion on Islamic politics.

One of my former classmate however, whom I shall only refer to on this post as R, embrace that revelation. R was intelligent, driven, sociable and probably one-of-the kind person that I’ve ever met in my life. Much like the superhumans in Conrevo, he’s passionate to change world. At the same time however, he also held belief that, in my mind, both naive and extreme which always makes me uneasy. I never tried to voice my disagreement whenever he spouted his belief, which to my annoyance he often does whenever opportunity present itself, because I can’t ever get the correct words right and frankly, I’m too cowardly.

Nonetheless, his passion are undeniable. He even managed to inspire many of my own friends to agree with him. Despite my disagreement of his view, being socially inept for most of the time, I’m always jealous over his boldness and his ability to influence other people around him, often for positive effect. And so, despite my unwillingness to engage in discussion, my jealousy did became my drive to learn more and think critically about narrative, fiction or otherwise, which helped me to learn more about human condition, and to some extension, how various system came to be. I wanted to be able to voice my concern about R’s belief or anyone else sharing his belief and discuss it with them.

I wanted to grow stronger.

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So, I’ve Watched Konosuba

Fantasy series that involved, in one way or another, a protagonist from our world who struggles in a, well, fantasy universe tends to signal a warning light in my head. Even more so when said fantasy universe was deeply inspired by MMO mechanic. Stories of such nature, while not only has been prevalent in the industry in this post-SAO world, is something that I don’t associate with good-storytelling. There has been some exceptions, like last year decent-but-not-too-remarkable Danmachi and this season slice-of-life focused MMO anime Grimgar. But on the whole, I remained skeptical in a story with this sort-of premise.

Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!, or Konosuba, however, thankfully rebuked my earlier expectation that it’s going to be another bland entry to the fantasy-mmo genre. And while it’s comedic-centric conceit is a fresh of breath air, unfortunately, I can’t say that it’s a particularly noteworthy entry either.

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My Personal Favorite Digimon Episodes

Just a few months ago, I’ve decided to rewatch the entirety of the original Digimon Adventure. On the whole it was….enjoyable but not exactly something I could recommend, at least not casually. It has highs, emotional resonance, engaging and also diverse main cast, and the love it receive from its fans are certainly understandable, but half the time its ranging from below average to solid but not remarkable. The entire production doesn’t help either. The background are nice, but the animation is often limited. The direction sometimes capable, sometimes its stale. One of the most engaging moment in the series are only when the episode focused on Digidestined internal struggle and with each other which……only came about halfway point of the show.

But, I’m not here to review Adventure. With the second part of Digimon Tri just came out, I thought this will be a good time for me to personally list my favorite episodes of the show. Spoiler alert, obviously. Although, if any of you who wanted to get into the franchise wondering if several highlight would be worth an entire watch, this would be those.

Also, when I said Digimon Adventure, I left out 02, because…..well, 02 isn’t particularly good. It has highlights, but on the whole it’s kind of a mess.

Anyway, in no particular order, the list!

(For the sake of convenience, I will be using the english title)

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Grimgar: Walking Together

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If you been following my tweet, you know that I’m currently in the process of returning into my Uni after I, eh, ran away half a year ago.

So far, it hasn’t been easy. My lack of social skill cripples me. For some reason, just a simple conversation with my fellow major was proven to be a tough challenge for me. I could manage some idle chatter like homework or class, but it never goes off beyond that, which made me frustrated even more.

When I confessed all of this to one of my fellow major (which may or may not involve tears), he also said that all of them are also confused in how are they going integrate me into them. The fact that I’ve been quiet and closed doesn’t make things easier for them either, even though in reality I’m just as clueless on how to deal with them.

By the end, he said that he’ll talk once again with my fellow majors on how to handle my situation.

Although, up to this point I had no idea what they can do to help me.

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