Category Archives: Strike Witches

Autumn 2016 Housekeeping

Just some housekeeping items. Links to relevant quoting. Bolded for topic. Some replies to blogs and some are just seasonal anime musings.

Shall we make a wish?

Usagi Drop is a solid anime, don’t let people who follow/read/gets spoiled by the manga tell you anything otherwise. It’s not about morality, but about mode of consumption and letting that dictate what you ought to do, when it might not be a good reason. When I read that post I thought about how anime adaptations sometimes live in this different world than the manga experience. Then again I dig these kind of controversial stuff so I am hardly unbiased.

The only thing I can say about Shirobako’s commercial success is that they sold out of the first run of the Blu-rays pretty fast, but that might have to do with low expectation to begin with. It already has a Blu-ray box on the horizon, too. Given the industry these days it would not be a surprise to hear in a couple years that PA Works will go back to that well. Certainly it would out-delight that recent announcement about Uchoten Kazoku.

I have mixed and some reserved feelings about Girlish Number (PSA: don’t put the (a) in there). I think it is also the anime made just for me. I say this only because a number of us have said this. Are you one of us? For well-intended Americans and Canadians, the show streams on Hulu on Wednesdays with 1 week behind-cast schedule. I might actually do this to rep the show (especially now there’s no more ads for paid service). Anyway, as much as I still have mixed feelings about the whole thing, I can’t expect any more than what it has already given me: a satire on seiota fandom/industry.

Adults are different, but overrated. I would even add a lot of people enjoy adults who act like this, what is the point of being one then… I can confirm this observation, although I made it when I first watched Yuri On Ice. When it comes to pro figure skating, age ranges can run the gamut…of young, as it’s not a sure thing based on the teasers. What’s more interesting isn’t why but what it does. I feel that can make some shows more interesting (Matoi) and some shows tried and tired (3gatsu). Maybe it doesn’t really matter. Man Shaft doing 3gatsu feels just all full of try-hard. I guess when Yamamoto Sayo is directing a girl-pandering anime in the same season, nobody can win against that. On that note, it’s good that we have adults, in the case of children hitting each other with butts and tits seem to call in the moral judgment police–that’s one valid use case.

Matoi and Mahoiku are both good shows to watch together if just for comparison’s sake. I can’t speak about magical girl anime or which tier of nerd hell we’re in in regards to talking about them, but these two approach probably very similar things in a different way. I mean it’s obvious Matoi’s mom will come forward as a key plot item, much like the dying game Mahoiku is doing. Can we get that idol killing game an anime too? (And … Idol Death Game TV TV would be delightful of a name for a TV anime. I kid.)

There’s some Chinese animation that passes for season fare this season. I’m not sure how to feel about all this, other than the toilet humor gag anime does work still. It really comes down to the core staff and material. Also, if the skill and process still need development, try not to create something too ambitious like Bloodivores. Maybe this is related to that one news bit about an animator thinking there are not enough animators to go around. Well, that seems like an obvious thing.

Izetta had me at episode 1 and lost me by the OP. This gun-riding witch thing is hilarious, in that while I’m okay with it as a matter of plot, I’m not so much okay with it when it is the main visual gimmick. It also reminds me of a D&D character I created who would swing around a Spell-Storing Broadsword. I have nobody to blame but myself, to a degree, but this is dissonant when you expect something closer to Indiana Jones and got Guilty Crown (ok not that bad).

Euphon S2 is great. I love what it has going, but I hate how it’s 2 episodes long for a pilot. This show doesn’t hold my attention very well…except if I can marathon it. The voice acting seemed to change even closer to live action. That took a little getting used to.

Nanbaka is dumb. Natsume is chill af, FliFla is weird I guess? I think I would tough it through if it had a good story to tell. Maybe it’s like reading some good writing on news blogs and only to realize the stuff they talk about is dumb and empty. Quality art/passion projects sometimes feel like more an exercise than a thing that can take on life on its own.

What else do I need to name drop? Drifters is OK. Udon no Kuni is not bad, and I like it more than Sweetness & Lightning so far. Trickster is uh, Gackt? I love how 1hope Sniper works in this and that always mean I end watching the episode smiling. Brave Witches is, well, a brave new sequel. I feel like Brave Witches is re-engineered for the present, in that this series incorporates some lesson learned from other franchises and its progeny. I have some hopes for this in fact.

Ping Pong Girls should deserve its own paragraph. It actually is less unlike to Ping Pong than I expected, which speaks volume for something mostly I consider as “throwaway Chinese anime.” Oh wait, I guess that would be Idol Memories (although the Chinese lessons are luls). I mean, what do you call these anime that are clearly made with the, uh, Tencent market in mind?

WWW.Working, on the other hand, seems to be made with the dumb audience in mind. It lacks a lot of craft and charm from the original series, but there’s enough carry-over charm to stick with it. Or maybe because the original series just wasn’t that good so the dropoff in quality doesn’t seem so bad, I’m too stupid to tell. Maybe.

PS. Such cramming for CG4th begins. Let’s see what that does to my viewing schedule. Someone asked me a couple days ago which shows are my top this season, and they were Yuri On Ice, Girlish Number, and maybe Occult 9 or Keijo!!!!!!!!. I don’t know if I have a number 3, but I can see a few shows making strong moves to that spot, with Takkyuu Musume, Matoi and Izetta probably moving up the ranks.


The Other 2.5D, Scarlet Rain

You know how there’s a furry scale? There’s probably something like a mecha scale too.

No, not really about Strike Witches (even if that’s a good example of both types of scales). Actually, one of the more attractive aspect of mechanical design for popular media is its ability to transform. A big reason people like the F-14 is its moving-sweeping wings. It is not a surprise to see the now-retired assault aircraft pairing off with futuristic valks in Macross Zero. And as you know, these witches transform into furry beings by magic and military weapons by mechanical parts.

The value in transformation almost implicitly point out that the degree of mechanization for a mechamusume is not a quantized value, but a sliding scale. It’s one thing to paint a girl’s picture to the side of your aircraft or bomb or tank. It’s another to replace the giant robot and replace it with a girl-android-thing. Maybe we can even put, at the extreme ends, just girls piloting these things on one side, and girls piloting these other things on the other end of the scale.

You know Aegis from Persona 3? She’s a pretty much middle-of-the-road for mechamusume. Now by definition mechamusume is combing traditional mecha with that moe bishoujo aesthetics, like “girl+tank” or “girl+RX-78“. Aegis is just a straight-up android, and by definition human-like robots will exhabit some humanlike-ness. If that style of femininity is what the android has, it might be difficult to consider that as mechamusume. Perhaps as a new dimensionality?

But to a degree one end of the mechamusume spectrum is kind of like how people get off on guro or, say, ableist porn–it’s all normal except insert-the-blank, where the blank is some kind of abnormal physiology. Androids approach this idea from the opposite, in that the question is how human-like that they may be, except for their ears and the on-off switch, as an example. I would say these kinds of mechamusume are almost just normal people; that’s kind of their schtik. That’s the 0%. After all we don’t quite put Miku in this category.

I think Scarlet Rain is a pretty good example of both the more extreme form of mechamusume, as well as the idea of this non-fixed value of how much of a mechamusume a character could be. For one, in Accel World, you are your avatar, and it isn’t something you pilot exactly–you could kind of control it, but it is ultimately presented as the version of you in Accel World. So in that sense, when Scarlet Rain is doing her bit of the story inside the Accel World universe, she’s only known as Scarlet Rain, and not Yuniko. It’s a pretty serious transformation in contrast with Strike Witches, don’t you think?

Or maybe better yet, perhaps we can posit that it is Strike Witches that is progressive in combining the mechanical aspect of the girls with the innate identities thereof. Yuniko is still just Yuniko in the real world, after all. To the degree Power Ranger Pink can transform from mundane to magical (sometimes with the hardware), it speaks a lot about the place our characters inhibit within the scope of what makes of mechamusume. As I would put it, it’s about venturing into that 2.5D land, that gap between the common-sensical and the fantastically two-dimensional construct of the mechamusume.

I suppose Drossel has met her match, though. Long live the (tsundere imouto) Red King!

[I wrote this before Summer Wanfest 2012, so for reference check out this and that. Or this plamo KOS-MOS, the most moe weapons platform]