Weekly Digest: 2/5/12 – Last Exile: Ginyoiku no Fam, Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, Shakugan no Shana III

[SFWhine]_Last_Exile_-Fam,_The_Silver_Wing-_-_15_[720p][Hi10P][B7BCD9F5].mkv_snapshot_03.28_[2012.02.05_14.18.59] [sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_17_[720p][10bit][A345DE5A].mkv_snapshot_07.03_[2012.02.05_17.11.11] [SS-Eclipse] Shakugan no Shana Final - 17 (1280x720 Hi10P) [E75092AA].mkv_snapshot_11.09_[2012.02.05_20.09.18]

Ewww – you got Kaji Yuuki in my Shana…

Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam – 15

[SFWhine]_Last_Exile_-Fam,_The_Silver_Wing-_-_15_[720p][Hi10P][B7BCD9F5].mkv_snapshot_03.16_[2012.02.05_14.18.47] [SFWhine]_Last_Exile_-Fam,_The_Silver_Wing-_-_15_[720p][Hi10P][B7BCD9F5].mkv_snapshot_06.59_[2012.02.05_14.22.30] [SFWhine]_Last_Exile_-Fam,_The_Silver_Wing-_-_15_[720p][Hi10P][B7BCD9F5].mkv_snapshot_10.58_[2012.02.05_14.25.13]

Try to imagine the “Star Wars” prequels if Jar Jar Binks had been the main character, and you have a pretty good notion of why Last Exile’s sequel is simply unable to take flight.

This episode is full of the same problems that have plagued the series since the very beginning, so as not to be a broken record I won’t rehash them in grisly detail.  Fam simply weighs down the show too much for it to ever amount to anything – her scenes are close to unwatchable, and instead of developing she seems to be regressing even more as the rest of the series gets grimmer and darker, and she stays exactly the same as she’s been all along.  Sophia got a mention this week, and Claus and Lavie turned up in the preview.  Now admittedly the preview is of another recap episode – and two recap eps in 16 weeks is an embarrassment for Gonzo – but I don’t think they’d show them even in that context if they weren’t about to enter the story.  With Anatoray and Sophia about to become central that makes sense, but my fear is that Gonzo thinks they can save the show by injecting the stars of the first one into it now.  To be honest, I’m hoping the three of them don’t show up – I’d rather their contribution to the mythos stand as is that see it mixed in with the sequel.

I’ll be skipping the recap ep unless there’s something notable in it, and it seems like a good opportunity to put the series on blogging hiatus.  If nothing has changed in 15 eps it’s not likely to change now, and in rereading my posts on the first few episodes I realize my view on the series’ problems is almost identical now to what it was then – except that I have much less hope that things will get better.  My approach for the rest of the series is that I’ll continue to watch and if I see something noteworthy I’ll blog it.

Mobile Suit Gundam AGE – 17

[sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_17_[720p][10bit][A345DE5A].mkv_snapshot_04.17_[2012.02.05_17.08.24] [sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_17_[720p][10bit][A345DE5A].mkv_snapshot_05.20_[2012.02.05_17.09.27] [sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_17_[720p][10bit][A345DE5A].mkv_snapshot_11.59_[2012.02.05_17.16.06]
[sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_17_[720p][10bit][A345DE5A].mkv_snapshot_17.40_[2012.02.05_17.21.47] [sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_17_[720p][10bit][A345DE5A].mkv_snapshot_18.28_[2012.02.05_17.22.35] [sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_17_[720p][10bit][A345DE5A].mkv_snapshot_21.08_[2012.02.05_17.25.16]

This arc definitely feels like more of a traditional school drama than the first did, at least so far.  We have Zeheart emerging as a love rival for Romary’s affections, we have a good deal of focus on Asem’s friends (who look too young to be classmates of a 17 year-old, and act even younger) and we have the developing prospect of a conflicted relationship between Asem and both his embittered father and his double-agent friend.  The focus on more conventional relationships in this arc is paired with a general lighter tone and faster pace, though there’s plenty of violence and potential for heartbreak here, too.  I think it’s fair to say that now that the UE have a name and faces, the morality of the conflict driving the series is much more clouded than it was in the first arc, and that’s a positive change in my view.  I’m not emotionally invested in this batch of characters yet, but there’s definitely potential there.   

Shakugan no Shana III – 17

[SS-Eclipse] Shakugan no Shana Final - 17 (1280x720 Hi10P) [E75092AA].mkv_snapshot_05.13_[2012.02.05_20.03.22] [SS-Eclipse] Shakugan no Shana Final - 17 (1280x720 Hi10P) [E75092AA].mkv_snapshot_10.37_[2012.02.05_20.08.46] [SS-Eclipse] Shakugan no Shana Final - 17 (1280x720 Hi10P) [E75092AA].mkv_snapshot_13.14_[2012.02.05_20.11.23]
[SS-Eclipse] Shakugan no Shana Final - 17 (1280x720 Hi10P) [E75092AA].mkv_snapshot_14.46_[2012.02.05_20.13.20] [SS-Eclipse] Shakugan no Shana Final - 17 (1280x720 Hi10P) [E75092AA].mkv_snapshot_22.11_[2012.02.05_20.20.45] [SS-Eclipse] Shakugan no Shana Final - 17 (1280x720 Hi10P) [E75092AA].mkv_snapshot_23.07_[2012.02.05_20.22.20]

That was a pretty fascinating episode on the whole.  Yeah, just what we needed, more character names to remember – but the three Earth Gods’ introduction was really a minor part of the episode, which centered mostly on giving some exposition at long last to the nature of Yuki/Snake of the Festival, and of his plan.  We got some standard obsessing over Shana cuteness, a brief cut-in of the Flame Haze fighting amongst themselves in Switzerland, and then things shifted back to Misaki City – and got really interesting.

I’m curious, so please feel free to comment – am I the only one who totally thinks Yuji’s plan sounds a lot better than anything the Flame Haze have come up with as an argument against it?  The God of Creation sounds like an idealist, there’s no question, but I really haven’t seen anything from the other side except that fighting is all they know how to do.  It was extremely interesting to hear Yuji explain his existence to Tanaka and Yoshida, and it really does seem as if the part of this existence that’s actually still Yuji believes in this plan of his own free will.  He was startlingly honest with his old friends about what his plan was, including the risk it was putting Misaki City under, though he never did give a good answer about just what he needs Yoshida for.  For her part it seems clear she still isn’t over Yuji in spite of everything that’s happened, and since she’s always been something of a tragic figure in this series it wouldn’t surprise me to see Yoshida go out that way.  It was nice to see Ike and Ogata too, however briefly – a real flashback to days gone by.

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10 comments

  1. A

    ''Zeheart emerging as a love interest and future rival for Asem''

    Fixed.

    😛

  2. M

    Incidentally the complaints of the Western watchers of Fam seem to be completely different from the complaints that the Japanese watchers have of it. From what I've read, they HATE the politicking and world-building that is making the series for us English-speakers, and instead want to get back to the action and flying.

  3. F

    am I the only one who totally thinks Yuji’s plan sounds a lot better than anything the Flame Haze have come up with as an argument against it?

    Ahh…you see, there is something about his plant that I'm not clear on, and no one has really addressed.

    What, precisely will the Tomogara be eating on Xanadu? And if Xanadu is a copy of Earth, just how…complete a copy will it be? This is a fairly relevant question!

    As for Kazumi, I am 99% sure that Yuuji (and presumably Sairei no Hebi) does not know about her agreement with Pheles. This would be why I'd assume she went with him, if she decides that his plan does need to be stopped, she would be in a good position to do so. And if she doesn't, well, then she doesn't have to do anything. Presuming that whatever his plans for her are won't cause any permanent damage (and I can't imagine Yuuji harming Kazumi anyway). Besides, its a given that Kazumi will summon Pheles, so they just need a good reason for her to do so.

    As for Fam and Age, you know my thoughts on Fam, but I'd have to say that I find Age to be far more badly written. This episode was really terrible on a number of levels. The larger war plot is pretty decent, and I think I like these characters more than the first generation, but oh god was this episode stupid.

  4. d

    Woah this might be a first in a Gundam Series. Female having 2 guys to pick from who are the pro and antagonist.
    I agree with Enzo on Shana. But i think Yuji's plan is flawed cause a copy of the earth would mean the people of the copied world is the people who will suffer. It is like cloning yourself so the clone and not you would get killed. Chrono Trigger?
    So it is all based on morality. Yuji only wants to protect his friends and family he does not care about the people of the new world. And the new world's resources can only last so long. Without Flame Haze in that world to kill off the monsters they would over populate. Food chain destruction.
    Flame Haze > Crimson monster > humans
    If Crimson becomes the new boss… well everyone who studied sciene knows what happens when the food chain gets destroyed. Humans become extinct and the Crimsons would return to the original world. Full of energy, over populated and no Flame Haze (only old retirees) to stop them.

  5. I don't think we know with anything like certainty that a disaster will eventually befall the new world, but I do think the flame haze haven't come up with anything like a compelling argument that it will.

  6. F

    I still want to know what the Tomogara are going to feed on in this "new world".

  7. d

    @Enzo: it is all hypothetical on the Flame Hazes part. But as the cop, judge and jury they prefer status quo against radical change. They rather fight the bad guys than take a risk. But yes they are pretty weak in arguing. Just change adverse. Bureaucrats and people in power hate change. — My take at least

    @Fencedude: Since it is a copied world. Copied humans. Either new set of humans or there is another set of each human (darker than black).

    Of course, if I was Yuuji, I would just use the Reiji Maigo to feed all the tomogaras. Certainly it would be less energy consuming to create food than A WHOLE NEW WORLD.

  8. b

    How is the Asuno residence a high security place when the ones guarding it are an old man and two farmers?
    And the security in that colony is just…ugh…if Vagans have attacked two consecutive times, the second one being the Vagan suit driven directly inside the colony.
    Apart from that, I still like Asemu's unorthodox fighting style. And the love triangle that's happening. Hoho.
    Preview shows the G-Exes. Woolf with sideburns pls kthx.

  9. d

    Although i must say his unorthodox fighting style seems pretty weak. And he is unable to concentrate on more than one enemy.

    What is most shocking is the security of the colony: that a guy on a bike is faster than mobile suits. Army reaction time fail.
    And no one noticed the Vagan being transported in the van? Hello? you just got attacked like a while back. What the hell is Flit doing? Leaving his family in that pathetic colony.

  10. F

    With Yuji's plan I still lean with the Flame Haze against it. Yeah there isn't a guarantee that a disaster will occur, but there isn't anything to prevent it either. We're supposed to trust the inherent good will of the Tomogara here? Like with people there are good and bad, but for that reason leaving them to their own devices sounds nuts. This idea that they will mirror everything including people is asking for trouble. Instead of getting along like Yuji seems to idealize it will likely be more of any good humanity being enslaved movie. That group is cooperating so they can get paradise and then they'll just go wild. Is it fine to set some world up for disaster so this one can be free and happy? Ideals are great, but this is an ideal without a safety measure in place. Things go bad and there will be nothing left but to wait for the apocalypse.

    Certainly the Flame Haze don't have a perfect solution which doesn't help them. But if the worst case happens while the situation stays like this then it's on the Flame Haze for not stopping it. But if it happens because of actions in Xanadu then they've betrayed the people of the future that will be killed by the catastrophe. In the end it's idealism vs realism, do you shoot for the dream solution or not? Personally, I wouldn't want to gamble that much.

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