ANIME WATCH – EPISODE TWO

Second Episode Roundup

Time to dip into the second episode of these suckers. Spoilers, obvi.

Lost Village

I forgot most of these people already aside from Main Guy, Main Guy’s Potential Love Interest and Girl in Adorable Hoodie. Having 40 plus characters is not a plus, even if they’re given incredibly broad strokes for characterization. All I know about tall angry guy is he’s tall and angry and an asshole. Great.

Bus breaks down on the way to the mystical Lost Village. Mob of Unknowns walks there – we learn more boring backstory about Main Guy. Oh, great, he’s yet another youth who can’t look out for himself and needs someone else to take care of him – thus, his Best Friend With Dark Hair has joined him on this journey.

Now some OTHER asshole in the group – a glasses asshole – has the Mob of Unknowns give all their money to the surly bus driver. I guess because all these people are running away to the lost village to remake their lives, or whatever, and don’t need money anymore? Fine.

Jokes on them, though – they find the lost, abandoned village, and it just looks like some Japanese village from the 50s. Like, straight out of a Miyazaki semi autobiographical film. Shit’s grown over the buildings and stop signs and…is that a fucking school house?? Fine, okay, but they’re treating it like it’s mystical. I was expecting some like. In The Deep Past Village shit, not a post modern village that just needs a bit of cleanup.

Wh – someone is saying “Maybe the people who lived here built this up on their own?” That school wasn’t built without a backhoe, babe. It’s a ghost town, and a little spooky, not something removed from time built by the Hata or whatever. I’m severely disappointed by how people are treating the rusted bus stop as some sort of magic.

Boring flashback boring flashback, possible nefarious something in the town – oh, shit.

I’m watching Lost, the anime version aren’t I!? I refuse to be bored by all but a single episode of intrigue, only to be totally disappointed by the ending!

HARD PASS *swiftly removes from queue*

Let’s move on.

Sengokuchojyugiga.

Okay, see, here’s the deal – these episodes are literally three minutes long, including the credits, so I just watched a shitload in one go. Or, rather, I watched an episode, and then googled the historical Japanese figure who was being riffed on, and then watched another one, and then googled, etc etc. I’ve learned a stupid amount about the Sengoku period now, thanks to this short anime series. I watched like, seven in a row. They’re cute, they’re silly, they feel like the art project of a bunch of friends.

Will continue watching.

The Devil is a Part-Timer

We’ve got the first episode with the theme song. Cuuute! Oh, man, every moment of this is pure joy. The CELESTIAL HERO of the realm Satan is from IS CONFRONTING SATAN! With a 100 yen store knife! She works at a call center!

She’s trying to figure out Satan’s SINISTER PLAN! His plan involves going to the bathhouse on time! There’s cute fighting between Satan and the Hero!

They’re totally gonna dooo iiiieeeet.

Oh, also, there’s some underlying plot shit going on beneath all this cuteness. It’s unimportant because Satan’s bike tire got a flat!!

Will continue watching.

Katsugeki Touken Ranbu

We’re dropped back into the EEEEPPPIIC BAAATTLE That the first episode ended on! BISHI ACTION TEAM – GO!

Ooooh, one of them has a guuuun like a badboy! He’s gonna show these Time Criminals who’s boooooh, shit. That’s a lot of blood and cut up people. So I guess…time has been changed?

Totally unknown! Let’s go to Boyshorts McGee, who is killin’ smoke assholes by talking at them with his weirdly low voice! Badboy is shootin’ smoke bastards and scaring Dutch merchants! But it’s fine, the tiny fox creature who has magical computer powers says time wasn’t changed – just a lot of dead nameless guys, no biggie.

Woo! Tiny Boy Loli Leader has deemed The One With the Hair the team captain! They powwow at an inn and go around a circle to introduce themselves and share their favorite foods. Apparently they’re all weapons that gained sexy sexy human form. Because of course they are.

NOW! THEY! FIGHT! TIME! CRIMES!

This isn’t a great anime at all, but I’ll keep watching the Bishi Action Team for now.

Death Parade

Some chick wakes up in a tree, and a Young Girl Of Indeterminate Age takes her on a magic trolley to the Purgatory Bar. She seems strangely fine with this for not remembering her name or how she got here. INFODUMP – These people are the arbiters who determine who in a pair of humans who die together goes to heaven, and who to hell.

Ah, I see, this episode is the nuts and bolts of how the staff make the decision, showing the back end of the first episode. Looks like the nameless chick is our audience insert here, and is assisting the inhuman arbiters in choosing who gets reincarnated, and who gets sent to the void.

This show is genuinely enjoyable so far. Will keep watching.

Another

Creepy girl with an eye patch is still creepy. And also still a ghost, even if we aren’t supposed to know that yet I GUESS. Meanwhile, the main character is still clueless, and his classmates are acting weeeird. “No, don’t go into that room!” *he goes into that room*

What’s in the room!? It’s creepy ghost girl, who is acting seriously goth. “I’m drawing this picture of a woman with wings. Is she an angel? Who knows? I don’t. Let me tell you this in a monotone.” Being dead doesn’t mean you can’t give us a smile, luv!

Not much happens, and then Main Dude stalks the ghost girl like a fuckin’ creeper. And then he finds out from a nurse that the creepy girl is dead right when he follows the girl to a creepy as fuck doll shop. The creepy string music is turned up to eleven at this doll shop. Creepy ghost girl with an eye patch shows up again and we leave the show with her taking of the patch dramatically. Great.

One actual cool thing about this show is that the main character is into horror, and they keep referencing actual horror and thriller authors. Clearly someone on this show was fanning out.

I’m not sure what I think of this show so far. It’s trying…really really hard. WAY too hard. But I’ll keep watching for now.

Erased

Wooo, let’s get this shit started. So, last episode Main Sad Dude introduced that he is sent back in time a few minutes every now and then to look for stuff that’s changed, when he was a kid a child killer killed two people in his school and a dude was framed for those murders, his mom was killed in his apartment by someone who may be the actual killer, framing Main Sad Dude for murder in the process, and Main Sad Dude was sent back in time to 5th grade, right before the child murders.

WHEW! So now we’re in 1988, and Main Sad Dude has to figure shit ouuuut.

First of all, the art is seriously great. I really enjoy the quiet moments, and the detail. It’s really rather lovely.

And I enjoy that this guy who was such a sad sack and rather angry at his mom for being a bit flighty is now super appreciative of her now that he’s seen her murdered. He’s all “Thanks for dinner, mom!” And “I love you, mom!” And “You really work hard, mom!” I would like to show this to my sisters and give them hopeful feelings that their children at 29 will be launched back into their present day bodies after witnessing disaster and then treat them with respect.

I uh. I should also probably call my mom.

Anywhoozles, the guy goes about figuring out what he should do now – and obviously it’s to prevent the murders that happened when he was a kid. Wooo! Let’s see what he can do with an 11 year old body and the mind of an adult!

Absolutely gonna keep watching.

Kado

Okay, so some Master diplomatic negotiator was luckily absorbed into this giant fucking cube of doom that landed on a Japanese airport strip. How fortunate! Now the telepathic Albino Bishi Alien is talking to all of the people with the help of this negotiator. I guess some chick with purple hair is gonna negotiate for the human side, and this masterful diplomatic negotiator will go for the Albino Bishi Alien? Okay, whatever.

MAN, this show is taking itself super duper seriously. The premise got silly the moment that the Albino Bishi Alien in a Cloak of Awesome appeared at the top of his giant cube ship. And it didn’t help that he goes through a lengthy naked creation scene. Watching him try to learn how to speak to humans was pretty great, though. Lots of whale song. He also has a companion cube! Cyuuuuute.

Master Negotiator was the one who told him to wear a power cloak. This guy is fuckin goood.

We’re given a few silent montage panels of Alien Bishi telling ALL THE SECRETS of who he is and why he’s on earth to Master Negotiator, but get none of them. Great. I hate that in media. It’s a cheap way to create a cliff hanger.

And that stupid ploy worked. Damn it. I need to keep watching. If it bores me next episode, though, I feel no qualms about dumping it like I dumped The Lost Village.

Aight. Second episodes – COMPLETE.

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Episode 16: Miss Hokusai and Artemisia

We spend our 16th episode pissing and moaning about a terrible movie we watched. We also spend it praising a fun movie we enjoyed. One of the films is Miss Hokusai and the other is Artemisia. They’re both historical films about female artists – the first is set in the 19th century Edo period of Japan, while the second is set in 17th century Baroque period Italy. Which did we like and which did we loathe? Tune in and find out!

Episode 15: Mobile Suit Gundam and Star Wars

gundam
In this month’s episode the PodCastle crew looks back at the humble origins of two iconic science fiction mega-franchises with 1977’s ripping space opera Star Wars and the three film theatrical compilation of Yoshiyuki Tomino’s 1979 television mecha series Mobile Suit Gundam.
In the years subsequent to their release, the aesthetic and narrative conventions of the science fiction and mecha genres would each be irrevocably transformed by the imprint of these two pieces of art. Is it now possible some 40 years later to disentangle and appreciate their value as individual pieces of art from their larger cultural legacy? How does one guide a Zaku into a death pose when being cleaved in twain by a giant beamsaber? Will Bright Noa’s urge to slap his underlings ever be satiated? All this and more on an exciting episode of Podcastle in The Sky Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace!

Episode 14: Little Witch Academia and The Worst Witch

Witchcraft is the name of the game in our latest episode as we cover Studio Trigger’s  Little Witch Academia and the 2017 CBBC/ZDF children’s TV show The Worst Witch – two contemporary throwbacks to a simpler time in the media landscape.

Do you remember getting up early on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons and running home after school to catch Full House? Do you remember what it was like to believe in magic and to think that the world would never stop being your oyster? Do you remember when your body didn’t get weird aches, seat belts were optional, and people smoked everywhere? Even if you don’t, you should listen to this podcast.

Episode 13: One Punch Man and The Tick

We go beyond good and evil as we discuss two superhero comedies: the anime One-Punch Man and the 2017 live action Amazon series The Tick. The nature of heroism, the ungratefulness of the common man, and the underemployment of Millennials are all things we cover as we solve all of Japan’s social and economic problems in episode 13 of our podcast. Sometimes we need a hero and sometimes we can’t hold out ’till the end of the night. In those times, we could really use heroes like the ones from these shows.

Episode 12: The Saga of Tanya the Evil and Wonder Woman

For the 99th anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I, Podcastle in the Sky looks at two fantastical versions of that war from this year – the feature film Wonder Woman and the anime series The Saga of Tanya the Evil. Women with supernatural abilities, godlike beings engineering conflict, pop culture memory of a war from a century ago – we have all!

Transcript

William: Welcome to this episode of PodCastle in the Sky. In this episode we’ll be looking at two pieces of pop culture from 2017 that deal with World War I in a fantasy way. The anime is The Saga of Tanya the Evil, also known as Youjo Senki, and the other piece is the film Wonder Woman. I’m William.

Amber: I’m Amber.

Tom: I’m Tom.

Jesse: I’m Jesse.

A: All right. So I would like to kick things off by actually commenting on both, because one thing I really appreciated about both of these was they both – and maybe because it was both of them are about war – but they both really bring in the idea of humanity being kind of incredibly sucky and reliant on vengeance and things like that. It seems like it’s two characters coming to terms in different ways with the worst aspects of humanity.

And Wonder Woman, she comes to the conclusion that even if humanity has a serious downside, it doesn’t matter, she’ll still fight for what is right because that is what is right. She believes that if she keeps fighting she can help humanity reach a better state, if you will.

Meanwhile, Tanya, her whole deal is essentially using humanity’s worst attributes against her enemies. Anybody who is too vengeful, anybody who is too angry, she flips it and uses it specifically to get ahead for herself only. Everything she does, even the heroic things she does for her team, are for her own benefit. I really like that both shows showed the darker side of humanity and showed what different personalities do with the discovery of that darker side.

J: Well, the thing is that Wonder Woman is a hero – a superhero – and Tanya is basically the villain. We’re watching the bad guy winning, basically, in The Saga of Tanya the Evil. Which, I can’t actually remember the last time an anime had the villain as the protagonist. Continue reading

Episode 11: Garzey’s Wing and The Sword and the Sorcerer

We test our fortitude by watching two legendary works of fantasy crapitude: the 1996 OVA series Garzey’s Wing and the 1982 movie schlockfest The Sword and The Sorcerer. Incoherent writing, awful acting, and incoherent writing abound in both of the items we review. Can we actually find anything nice to say about either work of fiction? Is there anything redeeming about either movie beyond their ironic camp value? And is it possible to watch either work without feeling oneself getting dumber? Join us this episode and find out!

Episode 10: Jin-Roh – The Wolf Brigade and The Company of Wolves

In this episode we discuss urban planning and transformative pubescent experiences. Also we talk about the movies Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade and The Company of Wolves. Both adapt the story of Red Riding Hood, with the former being about an alternate history fascist Japan and the latter being a magical realist feminist take on the traditional fairy tale. We had a couple of technical issues during recording, but we soldiered on for your listening pleasure. Enjoy!

Episode 9: FLCL and Tank Girl

flcl

In this month’s episode, the Podcastle in the Sky crew take a journey back to an era when alt-rock ruled the world and ennui was in by watching two cult favorites, Gainax’s sci-fi infused coming of age story FLCL and the 1995 film adaptation of Tank Girl. Does FLCL stand the test of time as a classic piece of animation, does Tank Girl’s box office failure mask a hidden gem? Listen in and all will be revealed!

Episode 8: Princess Mononoke and Last of the Mohicans

mononoke

This time Podcastle In The Sky looks at two works of fictional sumptuous epics set in the shadow of a developing landscape and dealing with indigenous groups – The Last of the Mohicans having Native Americans, and Princess Mononoke having the Emishi, a now vanished people believed to be related to the Ainu.