Weekly Digest 10/14/13 – Gingitsune, Kingdom 2

Gingitsune - 02 -9 Gingitsune - 02 -20 Kingdom 2 - 19 -7 Kingdom 2 - 19 -18

Just for fun I thought I’d pair up two of the most mismatched shows ever.

Gingitsune – 02

Gingitsune - 02 -1 Gingitsune - 02 -2 Gingitsune - 02 -3
Gingitsune - 02 -4 Gingitsune - 02 -5 Gingitsune - 02 -6
Gingitsune - 02 -7 Gingitsune - 02 -8 Gingitsune - 02 -10
Gingitsune - 02 -11 Gingitsune - 02 -12 Gingitsune - 02 -13
Gingitsune - 02 -14 Gingitsune - 02 -15 Gingitsune - 02 -16
Gingitsune - 02 -17 Gingitsune - 02 -18 Gingitsune - 02 -19

Gingitsune is certainly a steak without a whole lot of sizzle.  While the art is quite attractive the animation itself is quite basic, even rough.  Plot-wise the focus so far has been squarely on the mundane, with the loftier mystical elements quite secondary.  It’s a slice-of-life all right, and that there’s a quaint quality to the whole enterprise makes the somewhat dated visuals less of a problem than they might otherwise be.  But so far it could hardly be said to be gripping.

About the flashiest part of Gingitsune is Miki Shinichirou’s standout performance as Gintarou, so an episode like this one where he’s not much involved is going to be have even less pop than normal.  To be blunt it bordered on boring for me at times, and the school scenes dragged more than a little.  There’s not a lot of subtlety in the moral positions the series takes, so the scenarios play out more like children’s stories where they tell you the moral at the end (though it isn’t necessary here) than anything else.  I think the series could use a jolt of energy and a little conflict, and maybe the arrival of the boy Makoto’s age with his own Shrine Herald will bring those elements – he’s quite prominent in the OP and ED so I’m surprised we haven’t seen him yet.

For all that, though, I still like Gingitsune.  I won’t deny that it may in large part be due to the fact that this is a show tailor-made for Shinto otaku, and I certainly am one – who knew you were supposed to walk on the left side of the stairs, for example?  I fully agree with Makoto – shrines are magical places, and you do get the feeling that ageless spirits might be watching you when you visit one.  That won’t cut it for everybody, but the series has other charms, mainly the fact that it has a lot of heart and it wears it on its sleeve.  It needs a little more going for it to be truly engaging and it’ll need to show me more if I’m going to blog it, but my leash will be a little longer with Gingitsune than most shows because it pushes a lot of my buttons.


Kingdom 2 – 19

Kingdom 2 - 19 -1 Kingdom 2 - 19 -2 Kingdom 2 - 19 -3
Kingdom 2 - 19 -4 Kingdom 2 - 19 -5 Kingdom 2 - 19 -6
Kingdom 2 - 19 -8 Kingdom 2 - 19 -9 Kingdom 2 - 19 -10
Kingdom 2 - 19 -11 Kingdom 2 - 19 -12 Kingdom 2 - 19 -13
Kingdom 2 - 19 -14 Kingdom 2 - 19 -15 Kingdom 2 - 19 -16
Kingdom 2 - 19 -17 Kingdom 2 - 19 -19 Kingdom 2 - 19 -20

The first thing that should be said about this week’s episode of Kingdom is that it was a lot better visually than the last one, which is quite a relief.  That means more with this show than it would with most, given its history – there was a bit of bad CGI this week, but much more in-line with what we’ve been seeing for most of the season – the occasional crowd shot or galloping horse, rather than the extended stretches of really off-model stuff and character close-ups.  If this episode is any judge, Kingdom doesn’t seem to be headed for a full-on relapse.

As long as that’s the case we’re free to soak in the epicness of it all, which Kingdom delivers with remarkable consistency, especially this season.  It really is a terrible break for Qin that Lian Po happened to end up in Wei, because that country was really supposed to be little more than a speed bump on Qin’s road to unifying the Warring States.  As it stands they seem to have the upper hand in the first direct skirmish between the main armies thanks to Lian Po’s stratagems and the brilliance of his inner circle.  So far the attention has mostly been on Lun Hu, who’s the point on Lian Po’s spear, but we see one of the other jewels in Lian Po’s crown start to have an impact at last.

Though it wasn’t his direct intention, it’s Xin and the Feixin Unit who break up Lun Hu and Wang Ben’s tea party, and one suspects just in the nick of time for the latter.  Wang Ben is good with a lance and good as a leader, but Lun Hu is simply better – and the fact that he’s twice Wang Ben’s age and has probably ten times the battle experience doesn’t hurt either.  The young thousand-man general does manage to land a glancing blow when he unleashes his signature move, but it’s nothing Lun Hu hasn’t seen before – and he seriously wounds Wang Ben before he or any of his men even realize he’s been attacked.  But the Feixin Force is slowly turning the tide of the battle and moving the center of gravity towards this duel, and becoming the first flaw in the perfection of Lian Po’s strategy.

Ultimately, though, it’s not Xin who causes Lun Hu to strategically retreat but Xuan Feng, the mustachioed old man who’s been in the background up till now.  His strategy is a simple one, but it causes chaos for the Qin forces – he bathes the battlefield in smoke, then uses small units clanging spears together to tell his archers where the enemy is.  What I like here is that Lun Hu, while obviously disappointed that he didn’t get to dominate the battlefield himself, doesn’t get caught up in nonsense like Wang Ben’s challenge for a one-on-one fight or seizing the glory for himself – it’s all about winning, and when the smoke hits he does what he’s supposed to do and slips away along with the rest of the Wei soldiers.

While there are many parts of Meng Ao’s army that haven’t been heard from yet – not least the two vice-generals and Meng Tian – for those already on the battlefield the situation is pretty dire.  It seems that it’s going to fall to Qiang Li to figure out the way to bear Xuan Feng’s trap and perhaps force another one of Lian Po’s lieutenants to reveal his strength.

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13 comments

  1. e

    Benny's neck saved by Xin's BroRadar yay! 8D
    I like the parallel of sort between Lian Po's shitennou's abilities being unveiled and the skills displayed by Xin's captains. Especially as the after the 'is there anyone in Qin who can use his brain?' the scene cut straight to Qiang Lei [btw her mesmerizing eyes gdjhgkjfdzkdyo aaaah <3 ] pinpointing the bell trick and swiftly taking the soldiers down, ohoh (talking of brain power I'm expecting Meng Tian to be of use soon against the enemy plans as well…).
    Behold the power of the Peasant Unit now with mustachioed horse-riding veterans 8D
    *pumped and smiling my toothiest beak-lipped smile*

  2. t

    gingitsune – this time it wasn't that "light" in terms of story, it was a bit deeper. surely it wasn't heavy either. it is just nice SOL and in a way it actually reveals (again) that..lovely peace in Shinto anime. magical indeed.

    Kingdom – decrease in that terrible CGI and slightly improvement in some other parts of pure-CGI, yet there were bad parts…well at least not as bad as previous episode.
    anyway..finally there is a full-time clash of armies, in other words – war, large scale one.
    obviously it's only the start so the generals keeps their cards close, but clearly it won't remain like that next. we'll probably see clash between armies' vice-generals.
    Lun Hu is real badass general. I still think Xin would kill him as revenge(he also has that terms)..but now even Wang Ben has unfinish business with that guy…will we see cooperation between the two in order to bring that monster general down?
    and that end..again Qiang Li saves the day(or will save probably). I think that unit won't last long without her, they obviously can't adapt quickly to changes in the battle. yes, they have spirit and great attacking skill cause they have been fighting together for a long time..but it's not enough. even Xin admitted that they have physical skill, but they cant use their heads (aka they aren't stratgiests)..

  3. Z

    See this is a problem I have with many Slice of Life shows where nothing much of consequence ever happens. Each episode blends into another and they quickly become borefests. Being earnestly warm and gooey will only get you so far.

  4. G

    Shows like Aria, Tanayura, and this series are gentle animated series. If you are looking for murders, love triangles, and other such earth shattering anime moments you probably aren't going to find it in a series like this. I think this series is fine just the way it is.

  5. F

    Fwiw I knew one was supposed to walk on the left side of the stairs, having learned so from the anime Photokano. 😛

    That being said, I was on the fence about whether or no to give Gingitsune a try, but after this review it definitely seems my kinda sammich, so arigatou for that. ^^

  6. K

    I really like Gingitsune so far. It's a nice pleasant watch and I liked the way the friendship was developed in this last ep. It's no Natsume Yuujinchou yet but I am hoping it will develop into its own special thing.

    And yeah I am also a Shinto Otaku I guess.

  7. Z

    That review would make me NOT want to watch it.

  8. F

    Diff strokes for diff folks and all that. :-)

  9. Z

    "Gingitsune is certainly a steak without a whole lot of sizzle."
    "But so far it could hardly be said to be gripping."
    "To be blunt it bordered on boring for me at times, and the school scenes dragged more than a little."

    Doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

    "For all that, though, I still like Gingitsune. I won't deny that it may in large part be due to the fact that this is a show tailor-made for Shinto otaku, and I certainly am one"
    So despite it being less than riveting viewing, it might be worth a watch if you just so happen to fall into the niche audience for shrines.

  10. F

    For me the primary issue not an issue of shrines or miku or whatever. I happen to love the slice of life genre, and like Natsume Yuuchinjou type material (or Mokke for that matter). Shrines or miku in of themselves are not a heavy selling point for me any more than space ships, hth combat or fictional settings, etc.

    But for me this particular blend works. I have watched ep 1 and yes – this series is my cup of tea.

    Enzo is familiar with some of my tastes over the years, and I betcha he'd not be surprised Gingitsune worked for me. ^^

  11. No, I figured you'd be in with this one, Flower, as well as Non Non Byori (perhaps even more). NNB is just a little too CGBC for me though, I think.

  12. F

    Manga seems very popular in Japan(pixiv is loaded with fanart) and will feature more human-Herald duos.

  13. There are reasons to believe this could be a sleeper on BD/DVD too (very positive online buzz, etc). Of course that's what it looked like with Kotoura-san too…

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