In great examples of media that feature an opposition of ideals, the villain (or antagonist) is just as important as the hero. The Dark Knight is one of the more recent examples of this: although Christian Bale’s portrayal of Batman was cerebral and well-acted, it was undoubtedly Heath Ledger’s Joker who stole the show. He was irrational, brutal, and yet extremely effective. I even sincerely believe that as far as villains go, his was the best (and consequently, the worst): most people would agree, as he had won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. An actor portraying a supervillain winning an Oscar was unprecedented, yet most people were in approbation of the choice. The Dark Knight was nominated as one of the best pictures of 2008, and is recognized by many to be one of the best, if not the best superhero film of all time.
Psycho-Pass possesses the same dynamic: in a futuristic world that is half-Neuromancer and half-1984 (as Makishima connotes), crime is prevented before it has even occurred. The series undeniably borrowed elements from The Minority Report (written by Philip K. Dick, and also alluded to by Makishima) as well. The story begins relatively innocently, with an intelligent rookie joining the Public Security Bureau. As the crimes progress in severity and brutality, however, the idea that a mastermind acts as a puppet-master to all the heinous crimes recently committed surfaces. As the story unfolds, he was a familiar figure in Kougami Shinya’s past (the Batman of this series).
Makishima (or the Joker) is a bit of an anarchist, although like Joker he enjoys destruction in and of itself. The whole series is essentially a cat-and-mouse game between these two characters. Like The Minority Report, however, the Sibyl System that holds together the society that everyone currently enjoys actually comes from dubious sources. The question of ‘free will’ looms over the characters, and like Louis Salinger of 2009′s International, Kougami has to go beyond what is defined to be ‘law’ in their place to actually enforce justice.
I love the literary allusions, from Rousseau, Kierkegaard, Foucault, and even Jeremy Bentham. Is it truly all right to sacrifice one man for the good of mankind? Is he not a human being all the same? The series offers no easy answers, and the ending, while by no means surprising, is actually a revisit of the themes that pervaded Nolan’s Dark Knight: sometimes, the only ones who could dispense justice are the ones that go beyond the law.
It’s a brilliant series that has restored my faith in anime once more. It’s been a while since I truly wrote about anime, and while not as special to me as Tatami Galaxy, Psycho-Pass is a great anime to watch, to think about, and to enjoy.
I think Summer 2013 will force me to return to watching anime.
I’ve ignored anime for too long.
But with the coming of Tsukihime, and even a new season of Spice and Wolf and the last season of Full Metal Panic, plus great manga adaptations such as Otoyomegatari, Yankee-kun to Megane-chan, and Yotsubato, I don’t think I can hold myself off any longer. Of course there’s also a new series helmed by Shinichiro Watanabe, and a new season of Sailor Moon.
Yesterday, I had so much to say about different things. I guess after running on a day and a half without sleep, what I had to say condensed itself a bit. Perhaps these may simply be rants, but I hope it makes sense to someone who’s reading it.
I developed a recent hobby after saving for and purchasing a rare Casio console roughly three years ago. After receiving the item I bought on eBay, I was exposed to its beauty and madness. I honestly still wish to purchase certain items, although I’m still sane enough that I can hold myself back from emptying my savings on an obsolete video game system.
I think my last chance was with someone who sells these systems with a fair price. That’s extremely rare, but it is possible when the magic of video game collection fades to become mere embers dovetails with the pragmatism of saving space and breaking even. I found someone like that who had sold a rare cartridge of a rare system for a fair, even cheap price, but sadly he hasn’t replied recently and I really don’t have much time to wait anymore.
I could try and return to pining for tees but then again a lot of the good ones still end up very expensive, and I get outbid most of the time. One tee that I kept on my watch list ended up selling for 50 dollars. That’s as expensive as brand new original Adidas shirts. I tried looking for alternatives. I’m just searching for stuff to bid for to transform boredom into pining.
And I found it in ballpens.
I had initially sought to purchase a Parker Jotter in violet, as that’s my favorite color, but then the curious part of me managed to end up interested in a Papermate Powerpoint. Currently, that’s what I’m bidding for. I never said it was sane, but people in such tiring and stressful situations such as I need something to run to aside from their friends and family. I have my chess and my video game collections. Seeing that both have slowly been taken away from me because of a lack of free time shared with friends, I decided to go with the name that was eponymous to an office program that has so many uses for a medical student. I’m hoping that I could win the bidding so I’ll probably increase my bid a bit more, but if I lose I will simply stop and look for other alternatives. Here’s hoping get to bid for a cheaper one.
I was interested in the pen because of its ability to write in any position, but I was interested primarily because of its amusing videos despite the pen’s age. Here’s one among them:
At the end of it all at least I’m no longer spending thousands on extremely obsolete video game systems. It saves me a lot more money, so I have to find even cheaper alternatives.
(Yes, it’s obvious that I didn’t even have energy to edit my sentences properly. Forgive me.)
I probably won’t be able to write tomorrow seeing that I return to duty, but I like the new Lupin series. I didn’t even know Takashi Koike was involved, but I was impressed with the first episode, so I decided to keep watching. The second episode didn’t really let up in terms of quality, either. I hope the series keeps up the grit I’ve been seeing the past two episodes, because it is something one rarely sees in a Lupin III series.
I watched some Lupin III episodes back when I was younger, and I wasn’t impressed with the bungling misadventures of Lupin and his friends. However, in stark contrast to that, Lupin was a competent and intelligent thief in the very first episode of this Mine Fujiko series: his verbal fencing with Mine Fujiko and their maneuverings throughout the episode were fun to watch. The series seems to retain the insouciance of Lupin without making him seem like a joke character, which was what the original manga was all about anyway.
The second episode didn’t have less of that grit. Although it dealt with Jigen this time around, the story was actually quite captivating: it wasn’t until the end where Cicciolina’s motivations were cleared up, and it turned out to be no less than a tragedy.
I often feel empathetic toward stories that have one character seek their inexorable damnation through the people they love the most. I think I love the duality between love and sacrifice that evince itself through these situations: that’s probably the reason why I like the Cowboy Bebop movie quite a bit, because Vincent Volaju was a bit like Cicciolina.
There’s always something in a first episode that insinuates greatness in an anime. It’s difficult to describe, but it’s akin to a sliver of pain and happiness that touches the heart. I felt that from the very first minute I tuned in to Sakamichi no Apollon. Perhaps it’s because it’s been years since I heard YUKI in an anime series; perhaps because it’s been years since I’ve seen Shinichiro Watanabe direct an anime, or perhaps it is because of a multitude of factors combined.
I had been touting Sakamichi no Apollon as probably going to be the year’s best even before I saw one episode of it because of its staff, and after the first episode, it seems that I’m not wrong. Although quite unlike Watanabe’s previous two series in that it’s not rooted in action and violence, the characters and the dialogue remain to be sparkling yet minimalistic at the same time, approximating Hemingway’s works. It’s beautiful, in every sense of the word, from its fluid ‘action’ scenes to its character build-up.
It’s so good that to even attempt to summarize it would be to do it a disservice as words cannot, at least for me, express how beautiful it coalesced the characters and the plot together. But if one were to watch only one series this year, I suggest one watch this. I doubt that Watanabe would let up with his excellence, as he had never done so with his two previous masterpieces.
I actually finished Ano Natsu de Matteru weeks ago. Sadly, however, I haven’t been able to log on for quite some time due to issues with my connection. It ended very well, save for the Men in Black hijinks, but it was a nevertheless very well done series. The video of the friends spending their summer together despite their separation with Ichika was honestly tearjerking, and the uncertainty and sadness with Ichika being spirited away from Kai was quite overwhelming.
This was my feeling when I finished Ano Natsu.
I was happy with how it ended, though, and how it subtly showed Ichika’s return. I had no expectations whatsoever with the series, but it was honestly one of the best Winter 2012 had to offer. I honestly doubt it would end up as one of the best of the year, however, especially with the strength of the Spring season. It was a series one could say little about, but it was a great series simply because it did everything in its ability exceptionally well. It was great with its handling of its characters; it was great with evocation and although the plot was barebones the rest were enough to carry the series beautifully.
And yes, it was better than Ano Hana. Any dissenting opinions?
I guess I was raised to value the complexity of intelligence and the intelligence of complexity that it reflects in my passions and wishes in life. I have been quite vocal regarding undeserved praise towards pedestrian novels such as the Twilight saga, and I admit that my favorite novels are those that are either ignored or willfully unread by the hoi polloi. I know that what I read are classics, although they are currently rather ignored. Among my most favorite novels is William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom, which jarringly shifts through time and person to tell a story that coalesces upon itself at its end. In the same vein is the symbolist masterpiece, Petersburg, by Andrei Bely.
I think the same could be said with regard to my choice in movies. I don’t seek to be idiosyncratic, but I prefer The Killing to any other movies by Stanley Kubrick, and sincerely wished that Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy replaced an undeserving Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close in the recent Academy Award nominations for Best Picture. I love watching films that so beautifully invoke the tip-of-the iceberg image by Freud: there is an elephantine mass gurgling and burbling beneath the surface that is up to the viewer to decipher, enjoy, and decode for himself, with so little to see on the surface itself. I was never fond of the easy way out in the things I loved.
Because this show is that awesome
I think that I have been consistent, even in relatively lesser media such as anime. The Tatami Galaxy was a masterpiece of prognostication, multiple viewpoints and intertwining realities, but it took rather astute observers to appreciate its nuances. Steins;Gate was also masterful because of its ability to connect and twist the story to become esemplastic, and it was reminiscent, at least for me, of The Sound and the Fury.
While I prefer the complex and intellectual examples in my favorite media, there are exceptions to all of them, and the most recent one is the series Ano Natsu de Matteru.
The series is not complex: it does not require multiple re-watches to understand the story, but like the simple and yet beautiful Mice and Men novella by Steinbeck, it simply and incandescently gets the job done. It is a bildungsroman of a certain Kaito, who, like most of us back when we were in high school, sought his own identity in the context of his society. While the story is essentially a rehash, the characters that interact with one another make it one of the better, if not the best examples of anime, because it has characters that are essentially human but also essentially good.
While most people would probably be unimpressed with the flow of the plot, I simply found the empathetic characters to be among the best-written among the series I’ve watched. We all have to admit that it was Lennie and George who made Of Mice and Men, after all. Anything can have a barebones plot, and as long as the characters that pepper that story are rife with life and color, it would be at the very least good. I think Ano Natsu approximates that.
It would probably take me a dozen posts and perhaps some tens of thousands of words were I to try and dissect the entire Madoka series. It is a series rife not only with symbolism, but also with meaning that to try and encompass it to a single post would be a sacrilege and a disrespect to its greatness. Other pundits of anime have also spoken volubly on it that I have no desire to reiterate what a lot of them have already said.
I have been almost three years removed from any meaningful study of philosophy or literature that I cannot write intelligently about literary theories any longer. I have also never properly tackled the concept of deconstruction so I cannot give any rational comment on Derrida and Foucault. As much as I would like to analyze the series in those lenses, I have been inundated with only medicine these past few years. Instead, I would like to merely recall and expound on certain points that have resonated within me as I was watching the series.
Among the recently-aired anime, I’ve really only kept up with Ano Natsu de Matteru. To be quite honest, I did it because I really liked its art; however, I’ve been following it lately because I love how the plot is unfolding. Frankly, I think it’s even better than Ano Hana as of the fifth episode: while extraordinary existences are relied upon to drive the story forward, I like the fact that Ichika isn’t Menma. She doesn’t cry all the time, and is a well-adjusted, human-like alien.
Cutest thing ever
More than that, however, I like the fact that the people in Ano Natsu are more adjusted than the people in Ano Hana. Just because the people in Ano Natsu are more decent does not make them any less realistic is my contention: a lot of people all over the world are decent individuals who, although unremarkable, aren’t excluded from society although they may not be towering examples of humanity. As an observer, one may think that Kaito was slow to pick up on Kanna’s emotions for him, but this is where I think the realism of the series lies: it never really is quite easy, especially when friendship blurs whatever probable hints at romance the lady sends out. First, Kaito is not privy to Kanna’s excursions as we are, and second, it really is difficult to tell whether your lady friend is really interested in you or just treats you as a friend. I myself couldn’t differentiate which was which in the past.
I find it a breath of fresh air that despite their shortcomings and interests in each other there’s really no vitriol towards the other characters. Although Kanna exploded with frustration during the recent episode, she really didn’t hate on Ichika, but on her comfortable and budding relationship with Kai. She then caught herself when she realized she went out of line, and then regretted her actions, striving once more to maintain her friendly relations with both Kai and Ichika.
Do I blame Kai for being indirect with Ichika? On the contrary, while I can’t say I praise him, he’s not being a coward: he’s only protecting himself, just as what Kanna did in the closing minutes of the fifth episode. It’s better to maintain a relationship rather than destroy one altogether by his confession: at least, when the relationship is there, a chance will always be present in contrast to when a confession is made and a rejection is the reply.
Admittedly, Ichika is also out of his league: she’s beautiful, kind, intelligent – and older. I don’t wonder why he doesn’t even try to voice out his feelings, and it will be all the more difficult after the fact that he knew that she would leave later on. Thus, I don’t find his actions contemptible: I find them realistic, and I find his character to be a great example of a human being. Lesser human beings would take advantage of having an extremely attractive lady stay in the same home, but all he does is look at her breasts and ogle.
I can truly put myself in his shoes, because that’s what I would do myself. I’ve grown up to respect women, even the ones with the seductive bodies, and not sully them, even in my mind. It’s not something most men would do, and this idiosyncrasy would sometimes result to people calling me gay because of it, but I find it necessary to respect the women I know not only when they see me, but also when they don’t. I do fail sometimes, however.
The lack of bathos in the series is truly quite pleasing. There aren’t any crybaby ghosts, but only people who are struggling with their emotions toward the people who don’t love them back. I’ve had my share of unrequited love, and to live with such decency as they have is something to truly emulate. I do think that Tetsuro’s brazen honesty at the end of the episode was borne out of his love for Kanna, because had she kept on doing what she did to Kaito, she would inevitably just keep getting hurt, without getting any closure except a dull hope that Kaito will look at her someday. Of course, admixed with this genuine concern is also his hope that she would, in turn, see his feelings for her that have been present for a long time.
Yes, while I do think there will be shed tears as the series comes to a close I also feel that it wouldn’t be as melodramatic as Ano Hana. I really liked Onegai Teacher, and I think this may even be better. Maybe at the end of all this, comparing the series to Ano Hana will be doing it injustice.
I hope this beautiful run continues, because this series is an early candidate for being among the year’s best, and I hope I won’t be wrong.
I changed boarding houses and now have an even more difficult schedule to handle, as in addition to academic responsibilities I now have duty to attend to. That has contributed to the dearth in my commentary; in addition, because my new boarding house does not yet have Internet, I have difficulty obtaining the newest series and updating my site.
I have, however, finally made strides with regard to the anime series I didn’t watch. I’m now halfway through Denpa Onna to Seishuun Otoko, a fourth through Madoka, and have enjoyed the newly-released Ano Natsu de Matteru. Among these three, however, I’d like to talk about Denpa Onna.
Its third episode was one of the best episodes of anime I’ve seen recently, even though I wasn’t quick to warm to the series. Although the plot waned in quality for the succeeding episodes, I appreciate what Niwa did during that episode, sacrificing himself in its climax that she may be enlightened. I still don’t know the reason: perhaps it was because she was his cousin; perhaps it was because she was beautiful; perhaps it was both and he loved her, but he managed to grab her back toward reality, and it was great to watch.
It was a noble thing to do, after all. He looked beyond what reality and others saw Erio as, and recognized that she had problems to deal with and resolved to help her as much as he could. From that point on, I saw him as a great guy. Not many people would risk their lives just to bring their cousins back to reality, but he did it and he did it in such a picturesque way that there’s little I could really offer on that episode but praise.
I love sacrifices made for the sake of love, and despite my shortcomings in it, I love watching love bloom between two good people. That’s probably why I love watching Ano Natsu de Matteru: they’re perfectly decent people who have goodness towards each other. I’m sure I could do better than merely confiding my impressions, but give me time and I’ll do the analyses that I loved to do back when I had a lot more time.