August 31, 2010
I’m not too sure how people managed to finish the series and found the last movie boring to watch. In fact, while it wasn’t as amazing as the series, it returns to the very cerebral approach the series relished in that was very much absent in the first movie.
I found Mononobe’s well planned subtle movements in slowly removing the competition extremely intriguing compared to Akira’s brilliant if spur-of-the-moment reactions in keeping himself in the game and keeping people safe a very suspenseful and gripping game of cat and mouse between the last two active players in Saizo’s cruel game of national revolution. Furthermore there wasn’t a dead moment in the entire movie. No scene felt wasted as every character from the mains to the supporting acted and reacted to every bit of activity and news as they attempt to sort out whatever plans Mononobe has and simply trying to assist either side in their plans for the game.
My biggest complaint is probably Mononobe’s talk and Ato’s revelations at the halfway point of the series. It feels rather anticlimactic to the tension of the first half, but it did manage to put Mononobe’s pessimistic views of the citizenry and his more fascist ideologies into perspective. At least this was evened out by Ato’s revelation about why he chose Akira to be IX, and just the way he talked to Ato about his own views on money and people in general speaks volumes about just how different a person he is from the rest of the masses that Mononobe describes. In a way Mononobe is right, but Akira still possesses some of the optimism for the future of the people that Mononobe has lost.
While some might complain with Akira again acting the terrorist bit to try and salvage the situation, I think it’s missing the point of Akira’s last act entirely. Akira took the cudgels of blame again to drive home the point that the country’s solutions to it’s problems isn’t a radical, drastic and newfangled approach to changing the country, but instead tapping into the unused potential that has been inside the fresh and young citizenry of the country that has existed since the moment they stepped into the world.
THIS is the social commentary I think was the message of the story all along, and Ato Saizo helped bring it further into perspective by extrapolating on the point of how the older generations contributed in alienating the young generations due to their strict adherence to aging values that no longer completely work for this new and wired world. This is the reason why the story and Akira in particular had always highlighted the NEETs and brought them to the center stage: to show the rest of Japan the untapped potential in the youth that they had helped drive into their room watching anime and playing eroge all day.
Ato Saizo said it best: The young generations were the losers of the conflict between the old world and the new world. The very people who could have brought back Japan from the edges of economic turmoil were driven into their rooms by the sheer pressure of social conformity and adherence.
Akira became the scapegoat yet again as he had did before. I am very much sure that he had this in mind the previous times he tried because he knew: he was part of the new generation, and unlike some of the old ideas being driven into the minds of the youth, he believed in things very much differently. While the NEETs turtled in their homes, he was given the chance to make these fresh ideas into reality with the 10 billion yen. You could say that he became the figurative representation of the disillusioned youths and NEETs who’s heads filled with new ideas to turn lives around yet silently toiled in a strictly conformist society.
Which makes the suggestion that it all came back to the status quo rather unfair. We cannot really for certain say if his message actually caused any change in people in Japan but that’s not so much the point as it is the realization that there is INDEED a problem, and the solution lies in those with untapped capacity to cause this much needed change. If there’s any status quo being maintained here, it’s everybody else.
The amount of money isn’t as much meant to actually do something as it is a symbolic challenge. As we might have guessed it’s his way of saying “Here’s some cash, now go do something for others and yourself”. This is quite ironic because by this gesture he did the same thing as Ato. Maybe money won’t be enough to change things, but money isn’t the point as it is the meaning of him giving everyone 1 yen in e-money. It’s a starting point of sorts, and from there, everyone can move forward and do something with their lives and each other. I think this is the best scene of the entire series.
When the mind erasure sound came out again I was telling myself “oh fucking shit here we go again!”, and when it comes that it didn’t work on Akira I took a big sigh of relief. The man who was almost king fled again into parts unknown for more adventures.
Saki narrated how things did change a little but nothing permanent with the NEETs and public society took hold. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that his actions have done something, and based on public reactions and NEETs decision to make something of their lives, his words had at least taken root in the public consciousness even if they aren’t being acted upon by everybody. A pebble dropped in the sea starts as a ripple, but if not stopped can become a wave and all that cliche. Six months pass and no big changes have occurred,but it is starting because people know. They’ve been forced by Akira to deal with the gorilla in the room they’ve so far refused to see. Now that it’s been put into the spotlight and can no longer be conveniently ignored, it’s only a matter of time before everyone remembers again and true, drastic action is needed.
She says so herself. Things are changing in places the naked eye cannot see. This is where it all begins.
Whether or not they ever meet again we may never know. I personally believe they will once Akira has done what he needs to do. He did finally meet Ato again, and clearly he still has some work to do for the country. Once he’s done with what he needs to do, one of anime’s best leading men will have a young lady waiting for him.
Some people lose themselves in fear, too afraid to act or move in their catatonic state and thus the zombies have a free meal. Others take advantage of the situation and enact their own grandiose schemes for the future, as evidenced by Shido’s attempt to manipulate the minds the terrified lesser minds. There are others who, despite the odds, try to make sense of the situation and try to struggle on the desire to survive and live another day. Most of everyone else falls under this.
There will also be others who become intoxicated in the maddening allure of power and control. The violence they unleash on their weaker enemies takes control of them and inside, with every swing and every shot, they realize the need to feed the bloodlust brewing inside.
This would be Saeko.
This is Takashi’s second separation from the group and Saeko’s first. While the others have been rescued from their predicament, these two have to find another route towards Saya’s house, which is likely one of the few safe havens left in the city. Their travels take them to a auto shop where they commandeer a amphibious vehicle and seek temporary refuge on the river sandbar which, as the pic above shows, puts him and Saeko on a rather questionable predicament.
It doesn’t take too long for them to try and fight their way to a temple where they plan to seek shelter for the night, and it’s here that Saeko’s problems become readily apparent.
Upon seeing little child zombies, she suddenly realizes the directions her own humanity has gone to. She suddenly loses the will to fight and the will to dismember zombies with a wooden sword, and this forces Takeshi to take her and find safe havens in old temple. Here she goes into a little ball and tells him her story. The story of her “true nature” that she thinks does not give her the right to be a “normal girl”.
The monster inside her.
Getting lost in madness is something more people probably understand than they are willing to admit. Power has always been intoxicating and controlling as the old cliches and sayings say. Saeko admits to how she is no different, as she recalls to Takeshi the first time she realized this when she beat a man who assaulted her to within an inch of her life. Self-defense is one thing, but goading them into assaulting just so you could exercise the deadly force that you possess is another. She comes clean with her bloodlust and calls herself a monster for enjoying it. Unlike Takeshi she’s been like this for a while, and this is the darkness inside her. This is the monster she lets loose when the need to do so becomes uncontrollable.
But doesn’t everyone have something like that? A dark secret in their souls that they are ashamed to speak of, yet are forced to let loose when the caged animal cannot be contained?
All it takes to get her back to her senses is the Boob Grab of Destiny (BGD). The male equivalent would probably be the Junk Grab of Destiny (JGD) but that isn’t the point right now. While over the top, Takeshi’s speech to her probably was not. We can say that he understands the madness that fuels her drive to fight and live. It’s very easy to get completely lost in the madness of this crazy new world, but it’s much harder to admit it and take control when the need to arises. Takeshi tells her that he will stay beside her despite the madness and the insanity she displays as the zombies converge, and he will help keep her in check in all this fighting so as to keep her “herself”, to not become like the monsters that now infest the planet like a pandemic.
I find it odd that the sword she got in the temple that she used to quite easily dispatch of the zombies in their way is gone at the end. They probably left it there, but everyone agrees that she would be far more awesome than she already is with it. Whether or not she’ll get a new one viewers are likely to hope for, but at the rate the series is going I have an idea of where and when the season is going to end.
If it ends there, suffice to say that a second season is very possible. This is a ridiculously popular series after all and I wouldn’t be surprised.
August 30, 2010
I find a bit odd that while she’s been presented maybe once or twice before in previous episodes, there hasn’t been any sort of suggestion that Ringo and Himeno shared something in their past. She took a bit of spotlight as the winner of Miss Otogi contest but other than that it feels a bit manufactured that Ringo’s entire issue with her suddenly came out of left field despite her previous appearances.
Not to say that it’s bad, actually for the most part the drama was done reasonably well, but it came a bit sudden honestly. In a way it feels like it was made just to let Ringo have an original reason to be in Otogi City.
August 26, 2010
I could literally just pile this post up with obituary praise for the man and the amazing things he has done for the medium, even if it were only one series and a few movies, but I won’t. I’ve looked around and I’ve seen that the internet has done it’s job in speaking about the man that any superlative praise from me is going to sound redundant and opportunistic of the event that has transpired the other day.
I’ve posted in forums about it before, but you cannot really blame the doctors or medicine itself for not diagnosing his condition earlier. Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is one of the deadliest cancers known to man, with 5 year survival rate of 5%-10% at the time of diagnosis, making it the 4th leading cause of cancer death in the world (Pathologic Basis of Disease, 8th ed.). It is an indolent disease that progresses and spreads silently, almost always only becoming clinically detectable when it has overwhelmed the pancreas and has metastasized to adjacent abdominal structures. By that time… well… it’s practically too late. There are no real laboratory tests yet developed to accurately detect it. There are no therapeutic procedures considered to be curative. For the most part, it’s palliative, just waiting for the end to come.
His final words were just a few days before he died, but out of respect and redundancy (you can find it around the net) I won’t post them anymore. Instead, I’ll put up a quote from Millenium Actress that I think really described the way he wanted to leave this world after I read his testament:
It won’t appear tomorrow, but I like This moon better. After the full moon begins to wane. But after fourteen nights, starting tomorrow, I hope to see it again. I gotta go. – Man of the Key.
I think this described the man perfectly.
August 24, 2010
Some say boobs and bullets don’t mix. I say that these two factors make up two of the three essentials of a Michael Bay movie (the other being explosions every 5 seconds). This isn’t a Michael Bay movie so I think we can safely disregard that. What we do see is lots of boobs and lots of bullets, including the tried and true bullet time.
Bullet time as probably existed in cinema for a while but most people will remember it’s overuse in the Matrix films. The series takes it’s cue from that with a generous share of slow motion projectiles and slow motion… mammary vibrations.
August 20, 2010
Whether or not a unique friendship can really evolve into something deeper really depends on who you ask. There are many relationships that had started out as a close friendship that had turned into romance. There are even those that had started out as enemies and eventually became the opposite (keep your enemies closer as they say). Some romances you could see from day one, and others you would never had seen in a hundred years.
People have often said that good friends make great lovers, but obviously that does not always apply to every heterosexual friendships. Some are really better off as just friends, while some are really geared up for going to the next level.
How about Junichi and Kaoru?
August 19, 2010
Do you like them short or tall? Fat or thin? Flat or busty? Demure or deranged? Active or lazy? Smart or stupid? Savvy or lame? Curious or dull? Clean or messy? Nice or naughty?
There are so many girls in this world ripe for the taking! I claim this at the risk of sounding sexist! This is the truth! Take your pick! It’s easy! Just close your eyes and point!
Unless of course you’re a 12 year old rich kid with a butler who knows the in and out truths of every type of women in this world from the wonders of the pettanko to the effects of gravity on anything that is bigger than a C cup. I don’t know whether to call this butler weird or wise. Perhaps both. Maybe.
August 18, 2010
It’s been many, many years since I was in high school. Many years since I was really a child. Okay I’m not really that old yet, and in many ways I’m still childish inside, but it’s already coming to me how even the memories of almost ten years ago is becoming fuzzy in my mind. Not to say that I’m forgetting, but looking back at those years, it really tells me how long the road in between has gotten. I got into college, graduated, got into medical school and I’m almost about to get my MD as well. Ten years for older generations might feel like a short span of time, for young adults like me it feels like an entire lifetime of change and advancement.
There are times when I actually felt a little jealous of the girls in K-On!, even though I’m a guy. High school was so long ago, yet watching this series that revels in its silliness, I still get reminded of days long past. Days that are over and will never return. This doesn’t mean that I want to return to those days, but nostalgia is sometimes a funny thing: It makes you want the days of old but makes you realize you can never have them again. It makes you sad in remembrance, but makes you happiness with its fondness.
Life as always inevitably goes on, even in anime. I never expected that these girls would be in high school their entire lives, but you never really expect that sort of self-awareness of the inevitable future. They’ve skirted the issue before, as seniors, content in ignoring the gorilla in the room as they eat cake, sip tea and procrastinating before eventually going on to practice.
But again, life goes on. In this finite universe, things that start must invariably end.
August 16, 2010
Honestly, who here wouldn’t want to save a loli in distress in a heartbeat?
One could call Takashi and Hirano impulsive, foolhardy or whatnot, but you can’t deny that they did what they felt was right. While Saeko so rightfully implied that it is unrealistic to want to save everyone, it doesn’t also mean that you shouldn’t save the ones you can. Everyone wants to survive and will do whatever they can, but again it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to throw your humanity away to keep on living at the end of the the world as we know it.
Did the two badasses make the right call? You decide.
August 14, 2010
If chocolate really solves everything then goddammit I must be doing it wrong.
At least for Kaoru it seemed to work. I guess what’s even more surprising is the fact that Junichi even remembered just how she loves chocolate, especially the seasonal ones. It says more about just how he knows and understands her more than anything, which really goes against both their assertions of being “bad friends”. Bad friends wouldn’t be this understanding of each other.
They know what to say, when to say it, what to do and when to do them. What could ultimately result from such a heterosexual relationship? Wow that sounded so cliche.