I watched more good stuff last night:
Amanaideyo Katsu 2 (AK)
Kaze no Stigma 2 (KnS)
Pretty Cure 28 (PC)
Sekai no Senki III 1-2 (BotS3)
The latter is Banner of the Stars 3, of course, which is why my abbreviation doesn't resemble the title.
BotS3 was as good as the previous three series--BotS 1 and 2, and Crest of the Stars which began the whole thing--but too damn short. It's serious SF, and very well-executed. The entire series is a must-have.
The fansub of BotS3 does not use the same translation conventions for Abh names that the Bandai commercial releases of CotS and BotS1-2 do, which gets a bit confusing. I'm mystified at the fansubbers' spelling of "Lakfakalle", the capitol of the Abh empire. It's possible that the creative spelling might come from the English translations of the original novels. (Which I still want to go find somewhere, damn it. I need to make a list. Does that sparkle with everyone?)
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PC #28 contained no real surprises. What it did contain is a good bit of character-building--the girls find themselves feeling unhappy about their lot in life, having to spend their carefree junior high days fighting evil, instead of being normal girls--when the entire world will end up being consumed by the Dark Zone someday anyway.
In some ways it's an age-old philosophical debate disguised as an episode of a magical girl show. Why bother to do anything, when it's all going to end in ruin and decay anyhow?
Of course the girls "chin up" and fight the bad guy again, but at least the show makes an effort to show the girls being human beings who sometimes get discouraged by the magnitude of the problems before them. It's a rarity for magical girl shows; normally the heroines are relentlessly cheerful 90% of the time, particularly when they aren't actively fighting the bad guys.
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In KnS the story has developed a bit more, and in interesting fashion. Things are becoming clearer. The wind mage who has been killing the Kannagi family mages has begun to show his hand, and it clarifies the fact that it's not Kazuma doing it.
Kazuma showed his father up, which was actually pretty satisfying for me, too, because Kazuma's father is a prick. But the best line in this ep had nothing to do with that:
"Some moron sliced the hotel in half!"
...and the top third of the skyscraper then begins to slide off the lower chunk.
I have my suspicions about who is actually behind the killings--I'm thinking it's the Wolf Clan, the wind mages who serve the Kannagi family as spies--but that might be skillful misdirection on the writers' part.
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Fan service, woo-hoo. The new girl seems to have a vested interest in awakening Ikkou's powers, though I'm not sure why, just yet. But she seems to play with herself after she's made an attempt at it, which makes me wonder if she's not some kind of succubus or something. Lust makes Ikkou's power manifest; perhaps this girl has some kind of complementary power even if she isn't a succubus. (Are there even succubi in Buddhist folklore? Heck if I know.)
The story is building on the story from the prior series very well, too. Chitose's jealousy over Ikkou's attraction to the new girl is increasingly obvious. As a tsundere'kko Chitose has the usual complex of "I tell myself and everyone else that I hate him, but I beat the crap out of him if he shows any interest in any other woman" schticks. But Ikkou is supposed to be a monk, and Chitose is supposed to be a nun-in-training. What that means for Buddhists is beyond me, but I expect that "suppression of worldly desires" is part of the job description.
That's kind of a dog-in-the-manger attitude, now that I think of it: "I don't want you, but I don't want anyone else to have you!" Of course it's because she actually loves him but refuses to admit it to herself--but that doesn't excuse it, IMHO.
That's the roundup of today's anime.
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A comment inspired by BotS3:
I wonder if people in history ever looked forward like people do now, and thought, "I wish I could see that!"
Isaac Asimov once said, "For most of human history, 'ship' will mean 'space ship'." When I listen to Enya's "The Longships" it makes me think of the Apollo missions. Most of our space travel efforts are--relatively speaking--as primitive as Viking longboats were in their heyday.
We haven't even scratched the surface of space exploration yet. Men going to the Moon is the equivalent of some guy making a dugout canoe and rowing across a river. Someday people will routinely travel much farther than that, and probably in less time. (I have never believed that Einstein's speed limit was absolute. Physics already acknowledges that there are ways around it, and I'd wager that the simplest ones have yet to be discovered.)
The oceans were impassable for eons. Then we invented ships which could safely (more or less) cross them--first in months, then in weeks, and finally in days--and after a few hundred years of that we invented airplanes which let us cross them in hours. We've had--for several decades, now--the technology to be able to go anywhere in the world in less than an hour, and only the fact that it's not really economically necessary has kept that from becoming reality: "hours", even a day or two, is good enough.
When I look at my writing I worry that 2060 for the first use of hyperdrive isn't far enough away--but if you think about it, that's the way to bet because we went from box-kite airplanes to the freaking Moon in sixty-six years.
2060 is 53 years away, and it's not all that far-fetched, is it? Given that a few things have to go exactly right (and one of them is that the inventor of the thing is just now working on his doctoral thesis, which shows how to do it) but the rest of the infrastructure needed for this is already in place: we lack only the hyperdrive technology itself and the will to do it. In 1916, Goddard had patented liquid-fueled rockets but hadn't yet written his seminal work A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes. 53 years later, men were on the Moon.
We're standing at the very beginning of the history of space exploration. What we have done, so far, is nothing compared to what will happen later; one day people will look back at the museum reconstructions of the Saturn V and Space Shuttle and think, "WTF, people actually rode in these things?" Much the way we look at the Viking longships and wonder that anyone could possibly think of that as an ocean-going vessel, people will gape with astonishment at the size of a Saturn V and think, "Most of that was thrown away during use!"
When I think about how short the human lifespan is, that's what gets me: I don't get to see the wonderful things we will do in the future; I only get to see the little piece of it that's happening now...and this is the boring stuff.
People in the past--and most people today--who didn't (and don't) think about these things are pretty lucky, because they don't feel like this. What educated person, a contemporary of Hero at Alexandria, would be satisfied that Hero had managed to build a steam-powered whirligig, particularly if he could envision steam locomotives? I'm in the same boat: I see our most advanced rocket, and then I compare it to the possibilities that we have to learn how to build, and I'm unhappy because I won't live long enough to see those possibilities even if I somehow manage to live to be 200 years old. The way things are now, I won't ever get to hop the space elevator for a quick trip to orbit, followed by a couple days' transit to lunar orbit where I can get another elevator for the lunar surface. I'll never take a trip to Saturn, much less get beyond the confines of the solar system.
Earth is tiny and I am chauvenist enough to think Man is destined to own the entire freaking universe--yet like a Roman citizen in 100 AD I must look at the confines of Europe and be happy even though I know there's a much larger world out there; and I must do it knowing that in 2000 years there won't be a society I recognize going out and doing all the things I know mine could do, if we had the advantage of that two-millennial-advance in technology.
This is what some people call "existential depression". I'll get over it.