Weekly Digest 7/19/14 – Glasslip, Shirogane no Ishi Argevollen

Glasslip - 03 -5 Glasslip - 03 -16 Argevollen - 03 -10 Argevollen - 03 -18

Right now Glasslip is like a P.A. Works cover band – everything basically looks and sounds as it’s supposed to, but the experience is strictly superficial.

Glasslip – 03

Glasslip - 03 -1 Glasslip - 03 -2 Glasslip - 03 -3
Glasslip - 03 -4 Glasslip - 03 -6 Glasslip - 03 -7
Glasslip - 03 -8 Glasslip - 03 -9 Glasslip - 03 -10
Glasslip - 03 -11 Glasslip - 03 -12 Glasslip - 03 -13
Glasslip - 03 -14 Glasslip - 03 -15 Glasslip - 03 -17
Glasslip - 03 -18 Glasslip - 03 -19 Glasslip - 03 -20

To a certain extent I do see improvement with Glasslip, but there’s enough good shows this season to where if it doesn’t show me a bit more next week, I’m likely going to drop it.  My biggest issue with the series remains the degree to which is feels very calculated and self-aware – I really get the sense that if a bunch of staff (or an algorithm) got together and tried to describe “everyone’s idea of a P.A. Works series”, Glasslip is what they’d come up with.  And who knows, maybe that’s how it happened.

I do like the visuals, of course, though the reliance on stills and sketches is starting to get a little too precious.  And the way the series sort of just dives into things (be they romance of magical realism) is at least somewhat uncommon.  Glasslip deserves credit for actually confronting romantic issues rather than endlessly drawing them out, but the problem is I’m not especially invested in any of those romantic issues because the characters aren’t especially fleshed-out, and are especially archetypal.

Glasslip is watchable, certainly, and makes a pleasant diversion.  It accomplishes more than you realize in spite of its leisurely narrative style.  I just need to be a little more interesting, or a little more inventive, or the characters a little more endearing.  And in my case, it needs to happen very soon if I’m to continue following it either as a viewer or a blogger.

Shirogane no Ishi Argevollen – 03

Argevollen - 03 -1 Argevollen - 03 -2 Argevollen - 03 -3
Argevollen - 03 -4 Argevollen - 03 -5 Argevollen - 03 -6
Argevollen - 03 -7 Argevollen - 03 -8 Argevollen - 03 -9
Argevollen - 03 -11 Argevollen - 03 -12 Argevollen - 03 -13
Argevollen - 03 -14 Argevollen - 03 -15 Argevollen - 03 -16
Argevollen - 03 -17 Argevollen - 03 -19 Argevollen - 03 -20

I don’t see a whole lot changing with Argevollen, which given my feelings about the first two episodes is both good and bad.  There’s absolutely nothing exceptional about the show so far, but in fact the modest ambition is largely working in its favor.  The lack of histrionics, coherence about the strategic situation (if not the root causes of the war itself) and by mecha standards high degree of realism are appealing elements.  And the mecha combat, if not expansively animated, is quite nicely choreographed and not dependent on CGI to an unreasonable degree.

What I said last week still holds true – the waters don’t run deep, but the do run clear.  But – especially given that this is a two-cour show – we’re getting to the point where the depth needs to start factoring in.  Be it the social and political dynamics of the war or the backgrounds of the characters and some semblance into who these people are and why, motivation and consequence need to be a part of Argevollen soon.  “What” can only take you so far, even if it is a pretty good what.


Tokimune seems to have gained an arch-enemy in the person of Lt. Richtofen (Sakurai Takahiro, and what a busy boy he is) the Aryan-esque superpilot Ingelmia sends to break up the Arandas retreat and scope out the mysterious new mecha.  His judgement is certainly sound – the mech is awesome but the pilot another story – and his declaration that he wants Argevollen for himself seems to portend a long-standing duel in the offing.

I can definitely see where Tokimune’s continued insubordination in time of crisis is annoying, but I kind of like the conundrum it puts Samonji and his unit in – because of the (conveniently) singular nature of Argevollen, they need Tokimune and they need him as mentally stable as possible.  In effect he’s got a free pass that exempts him from military discipline for the moment, though that can only go on for so long.  I was also slightly dodgy on the mechanics of the whole Arandas plan to retreat through the Gate of No Retreat – be it via boats or simply climbing over the rubble, it really doesn’t seem like this final plan is all that final in terms of keeping Ingelmia out.

This is another “we’ll see” series – a lot will depend on the next episode, but it’s about on a par with Glasslip in terms of likelihood I’ll cover it.

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7 comments

  1. d

    The Mecca can climb over but those jagged edges ain't gonna let vehicles through
    No vehicles no logistics
    No logistic means no ammo and food
    Sending a line of meccha with no support is suicidal

    And it just seems that Japanese story developers have no idea how army really functions
    Or maybe the JSDF just functions differently from the rest of the world

  2. R

    Glasslip

    "Glasslip deserves credit for actually confronting romantic issues rather than endlessly drawing them out, but the problem is I'm not especially invested in any of those romantic issues because the characters aren't especially fleshed-out, and are especially archetypal. "

    Gotta agree with this. It's as if they were too eager to jump into the romance that they they forgot to give "life" to the characters. If you would recall, NagiAsu was excruciatingly slow in its character buildup, yet by the time it finished and headed towards the romance, it already had viewers invested in its characters that they willingly followed wherever the it went. That's what is missing here, they just dumped the characters and their love issues right in front of the audience without even trying to give a proper introduction. They don't even bother giving some context to Touko's clairvoyance.

    Argevollen

    I do hope that this series' first three episodes are intentional false starts (as seemingly hinted by the closing scene). Cause if it isn't, there is really nothing to see here anymore.

  3. m

    With Agrevollen I haven't been excited by any of the eps yet, but I also haven't been too bored. I think it's approaching the time where it needs to start coming up with answers. Either the main group is going to be on the run for the majority of the show, or they need to get to their destination and move forward. I will say that I keep having this underlying sense that, when things get moving, it's going to be an excellent show. It has these components that add up to a great mecha show if put in the right formula: large enough cast that it seems likely that it'll be a darker show where main group characters die, they don't give away much about what the "bad guys" are up to, (as Enzo said) there's a interesting sense of realism, along with other things not seen too often. The reason I'm expecting it to become a great show is probably due to how strongly it reminds me of Break Blade. I loved Break Blade until it veered off from the manga (and even then it was still pretty good) and Argevollen has a much longer ep count to work with than Break Blade did. That could explain why it's starting out so slow, but I agree it needs to start explaining some of the how and why and also where it is going. I do hope they don't put too much focus on the "bad guys". It's rare, but I like it when shows leave you in the dark and you get the same experience the characters get. Too often you get those "don't go down there the killers there!" moments because you're seeing both sides of the conflict. Which is fine, but it also tends to force the "bad" side to be over the top evil characters which is annoying. If you only explain the minimal amount required you can have them be the bad guys still without having to make them unrealistically evil.

  4. m

    As for Glasslip I liked this ep better than the last one, but I'm in full agreement that these characters have no qualities that make me care about them. That also creates a problem with the romance stuff being fleshed out immediately. If anything it's made them all seem really annoying as we've only seen each characters negative qualities (unless you like Touko taking airhead status to the extreme) and with the exception of guy who likes megane girl (he's the only character I like at this point) and transfer guy (I don't hate him but he's very boring) I don't think any of the characters have done anything that wasn't annoying. It's PA Works, and it looks great so I don't know if I would actually drop it before it ended. By the time I would usually drop a series (ep5-6) I would prob watch the other half of the show just to see what happens. If it were a 2-cour show it would be a different story, but as much as I have been annoyed, or just flat out didn't care, at this show I am actually interested in the whole seeing the future storyline. So it has that I guess.

  5. m

    BTW is it just me, or is the fact that the guy who like megane girl is the only nice and likable character (so far) make it seem like he's totally going to be the one who gets royally screwed at the end. It feels like that type of character is always the one who gets it worst if they aren't the MC.

  6. Well in theory they have a 3-3 gender split so no one has to be screwed royally in the negative sense…

  7. R

    Then again, that whole equal gender split thing will not always guarantee that no one will be royally screwed. For all intents, it might be Yanagi and Yukinari who end up being screwed, considering their setup.

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