I Love Simoun

I spend a lot of my leisure time with people on IRC. It rubs off on me, that pattern of behavior, you know, the entire bit about conveying emotion through emoticons, capitalization, image macro links, and just very clever asshattery. Jaded and now gotten used to the usual tricks, it is amusing what can be salvaged for my tarnished mental innocence, left floating in the gutter that is known as the internet.

Perhaps that’s why every time when I tune in to the plight of the Chor Tempest, I am right there as if I am Guraghief! Ah, this is the essence of the Battle Miko fetish, is it not? Or better yet, the best spin on the children of war theme? A symbolic coming of age?

But like most rewarding things in life, it doesn’t come to you without effort. Simoun is totally a show that got the shaft from the fansubbers at the get-go, but the fault lies on Simoun itself for being the best internally-consistent, unconventional fantasy setting probably since Last Exile. On top of that, the massive cast, the steadfast pacing, and a confusing (yet important) beginning can leave viewers bored, confused, disinterested, or all three.

However it has rather solid production values. Simoun boasts a competent voice acting cast, and it is directed by the director of Ranma 1/2. Working what’s left from their Fate Stay Night splooge, Studio Deen does what they do best: gorgeous (animated) illustrations. They’re frameable paintings, for crying out loud. The 3d-CG Simoun aerial fights covers their still-frame butts this time around, and while that looks cheap and takes getting used to, it doesn’t bother me after a few episodes. The music is nothing to write home about, but it is good.

If you are curious, definitely give the Wikipedia entry a read, or refer to Hashihime’s Simoun pages for quick reference.

What really captivated me was the focus on character drama. While we can pun away all day and night about the “they’re not really girls!” thing, Simoun presents itself very similar to a shoujo version of Last Exile–in fact the whole Tatiana and Alestia angstfest is a glimpse of what we see in Simoun. As opposed to renegade mercs, Chor Tempest is a parade of priestesses, offering their usual, but deadly, prayer to their theological object of affection when they dance in the skies.

On the other hand, you can look at it not too differently than day soap–it’s full of surprise, innuendo of rape; illicit relationships; people empathizing each other, people manipulating each other, and people growing up. Falling in love, falling from faith; claiming success, losing prestige. The whole nine yards. It’s a lot more subtle than offerings you find from Strawberry Panic, so it’s a little less “exciting.” At the same time, it deals with something that is just much more fundamentally resounding in me that I have to take it seriously. I just can’t do that for a 3rd rate Marimite spoof.

And again, there’s the whole children of war aspect. It’s blatant that shrine maidens are not meant for war (at least outside of Touhou). The mixed expectations crossed with the sacrilege of turning tools of worship into weapon for destruction goes beyond merely the secrets hidden within the Spring of gender crossing or the Simouns machina themselves, but in the heart of the Simoun pilots, or Sibyllae. It’s being backgrounded over time as the series marched on, but with the interplay of its setting, the enemy states against the Simulacrum, and the variety of priestesses for the one and only Tempus Patium, there’s so much stuff there that a 26-ep run will not exhaust it all.

So go watch it already! At least you can enjoy all these gorgeous vectoring of the eyecatches while fully realizing just how awesome this cast of half-misfits really are.

13 Responses to “I Love Simoun”

  • Aozora no Miko at Hop Step Jump!

    […] Omo beat me to it, but I want to point everyone toward these incredible vector traces of Simoun eyecatches, courtesy of NegativeZero. Typically, I don’t use vector traces for desktop wallpaper, but these are too attractive not to use (notebook | desktop). I look forward to seeing more. […]

  • psgels

    I couldn’t agree more with you. I really love Simoun at this point. It’s also great to know that we’ve got a very good and very fast subber on it. I’ve currently seen up to episode 19, and this show really is getting more amazing by the minute. :)

  • Muey

    Episode 19 = I cried, was greatly annoyed with the manner they went about the whole thing, yet couldn’t help to feel it was awsome despite that. Then I went to bed feeling like I’d lost my left arm or something.

    …I think I re-watched the episode 4 times again the next day. Grrr.

    It’s been a while since something pulled my strings that bad.

    And props for a good break-down on the show, I figure it works as good advertizement o/

  • omo

    I think NegativeZero’s traces do a better job advertising. Hot Trap-chan is… a big incentive o/

    Speaking of Episode 19, I have a very spoilerish bone to pick with it. Maybe for another rant.

  • Muey

    Yeah, I see what you mean. Brings back memories of SSO in a way, though that’s not really my main gripe with it =P.

  • dm

    Sigh. I haven’t finished Noein and have a couple of Honey & Clover eps., and here you’re pushing Simoun onto my plate? Damn you and Muey.

  • omo

    Simoun was on my back burner for more than 3 months, so I don’t see why you have any sort of excuse. You just have to clamp down and get it done! As an aside, I think H&C’s goofy josei romance hijinks go well with a more serious, but youthful outlook on life from Simoun. Try switching it up sometimes?

  • Nae

    Whoo, one of the best Simoun reviews I’ve ever read – kudos to you, Omo!

  • dm

    Yes, kudos. Thanks for the pointer. I’m hooked.

  • omo

    I only did what I felt I had to do. Which is to say, if every 3 episodes they’re going to drop the bomb from now till the end of the series, I’m going to Love Simoun A Whole Lot.

  • Nae

    “Drop the bomb”. Now there’s an interesting motif….

  • omo

    I presume, from that comment, you saw episode 20 already :D

  • omo

    I’m turning off comments on this post because the spam suddely got a lot worse. Feel free to comment on a later Simoun entry.