Weekly Digest 5/31/15 – Sidonia no Kishi: Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki, Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works

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Sidonia no Kishi is starting to resemble one of the strangest reality shows you’ll ever see.

Sidonia no Kishi: Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki – 08

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On the face of it, not a whole lot of ink need be spilled over this episode of Sidonia no Kishi.  It was a sitcom ep that pretty much spoke for itself, and Sidonia has a pretty rough history with those sorts of eps anyway.

Along the way, though, something funny seems to have happened – literally.  I’m not sure whether it’s that the comedy here has actually improved, or that watching so many clumsy and lame attempts at humor has turned my brain to mush, but I’m actually laughing at Sidonia no Kishi now.  Last week’s episode had some very nice comedic moments, and I LOL’d several times during this one.

So what’s changed – the show or me?  Well, for starters the stuff involving Izana was always a cut above the rest of the character material, and she’s effectively been the main character these last two weeks.  Also, for whatever reason, adding the literal moeblob to the mix seems to have acted as a kind of comedic catalyst.  Every scene involving Tsumugi, especially the “moeblob ay home” stuff, is just so absurd that it’s hard not to laugh.

I also really enjoyed the scnes with Shinatose.  Watching her force Izana to wear her old bondage gear out on the town was great (Grandma must have been an interesting lady in her wild youth), but the prize winner was when she gave Nagate his “assignment (nominally: “investigate” the ICP, “Thousand Year City” – effectively: ” bang my granddaughter ASAP”).  I mean seriously – she tells him she filled his head with explosives, and she’ll blow his head off if he doesn’t complete the job or if he tells anyone she’s involved?  That’s so unbelievably silly that I don’t see how you can’t laugh.

Effectively, then, we have Izana and Yuhata in a full-out catfight over Nagate now, and even that’s kind of making me laugh – Yuhata not only invites herself to move in, but she kicks Izana out of her own room.  Also, we get a sort of teaser/torture in a mini-episode of “Blame” – which is very cool to see, except that it sports much better animation than the actual series we’re watching.  Between that and the eyecatches, Polygon seems determined to rub our faces in the knowledge of just what we’re missing…

Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works – 21

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Goodness me, but Fate characters sure do love making speeches.

As I said in last week’s post, with the events of that episode I pretty much checked out of the hotel as far as the substance of Unlimited Blade Works is concerned.  At this point it’s strictly a matter of popcorn entertainment for me, but popcorn entertainment can be a lot of fun when it’s as slickly produced as this show is.  All of those speeches (this episode may be the worst yet in UBW for that) do have the unfortunate effect of grinding the narrative to a halt, but on the whole this was a solidly entertaining episode.

No surprises in the way the Shirou vs. Shirou fight turned out – that was telegraphed from the start, whether you knew the outcome going in or not.  The execution was good – again the backgrounds were splendiferous.  The real fun comes in the aftermath, with Gilgamesh’s arrival.  Yeah, his monologue was about twice as long as it should have been (for the Nth time, anime are not visual novels) but Gil is rarely boring.  His pure narcissism and megalomania is perhaps the aspect of the Fate universe that most rings true – it’s not burdened with ponderous philosophical evangelizing.  Ironically, the depiction of the most vainglorious character in the cast is the least self-important and most unpretentious in the UBW canon.

Now, at least, we can take a half-step back from all the preachiness and deal with a straightforward conflict, with apocalypse on the line.  I sort of think ten years observing modern humans would drive a guy like Gil to exactly the conclusion he arrived at, so I have no problems with his motivation here.  And I certainly have no problems with what he did to Shinji – at last proving useful – though of course that kind of fate is also a cliche telegraphed from the beginning.  Sadly, though, we are losing cool characters one by one, and UBW needs all of those it can get.



  1. d

    I don't get why they added more dialogue to Shirou vs. Archer. I suppose to it to reach the middle of the episode, but if that was the case they should have ended the whole thing last episode like it was supposed to be.

  2. R

    I sort of think ten years observing modern humans would drive a guy like Gil to exactly the conclusion he arrived at, so I have no problems with his motivation here.

    As is with the other legacy characters (kotomine, rin, shirou, etc.) I wish they had shown at least a bit of those intervening years for Gil. Not that I don't get his motivation, I just want to get a bit more into his character.,

    But hey, seeing Shinji transformed into that hideous cancerous "thing" was the best part of the episode. Satisfying.

  3. Why, those intervening years are covered in the VN. Why shouldn't that be enough for anime-only viewers?

  4. R

    Hey, is that "are" or "aren't"?

  5. e

    "I pretty much checked out of the hotel as far as the substance of Unlimited Blade Works is concerned." There's a lot to be said about Fate but the Shirou/Archer conflict is actually interesting, and Shirou is a well-written character. His rebuttal to Archer leaves something to be desired but for the rest I don't see any problems.

    "for the Nth time, anime are not visual novels", you have to take the source material into consideration. My dislike for source purists is modestly high but most VNs are notoriously difficult to adapt to anime because the mediums are inherently incompatible. This especially counts true for any +50 hour VN. In fact Yona dilly dallied on its own pace yet you praise it (& Kingdom) for its 'dragging' pace but punish Fate when it dares to languish on a scene.

    I wasn't particularly a fan of this episode. Probably the weakest of this cour.

  6. D

    Sidonia: Still not finding Sidonia funny. Something like the bomb threat I thought was stupid.

    F/sn UBW: I have a lot to dislike with this ep, but I did like how Shirou beat Archer. Basically Archer just standing there. It was more so a fight of ideals (should talked it out over wine), not a fight of power, and giving up I thought was a good way to show it. Everything else sucked as usual.

  7. G

    I'm surprised that I still don't find Sidonia insufferable for all its plot digression and questionable choice to intersperse comedy in places where the narrative could have benefited. The comedic moments themselves aren't even that funny, but the humor in those scenes is easily elevated by how ludicrous they are set up. I don't even know anymore if I'm just enjoying this series purely on ironic entertainment. The series is still decent, but it's just frustrating how obvious it is that Sidonia can be exponentially better than this.

    UBW is in a complete shambles right now. They squandered 2 and a half episodes to only culminate in Shirou's flimsy argument. How does his stubbornness triumph over Archer's philosophy? How does his resolution change his fate from that of Archer's? Are being obstinate and refusing reason the answers to this shallow interpretation of Kiritsugu's ideals? That they managed to stretch this fundamentally flawed idea only to give it an inadequate resolution keeps me from appreciating what otherwise could have been a decent story.

  8. D

    What this series doesn't properly get across is Shirou's and Rin's romance. Shirou won't become Archer because half of his motivation to continue living during the fight with Archer was for her and she'll be there to guide him down the right path in his coming years.

    The anime has failed to communicate just how important Rin is to Shirou and that a partner/counselor was never what Archer had.

  9. M

    I honestly feel that Rin felt more important in Deen's adaptation than here, at least so far.

  10. R

    @Drake Chandler
    I find this particular issue amusing. When Enzo criticized the series for limiting Rin to the obligatory tsundere role, someone confidently insisted that it would be just in the beginning and that Rin would be moved into the background in favor of "more important" plot elements. Now that Rin does get moved into the background a bit, we end up seeing a gaping hole in those "more important" plot elements.

  11. D

    Lol Yeah I remember that. I think I was too preoccupied at the time with the anime's current short comings, as were most of us I'm sure, to rebuttal that future reference. Either way, what's done is done and UBW will continue to be just as looked down upon by the fans as DEEN's incarnations.

    I don't think adapting Fate is impossible. I thought the 2006 series hit all the right notes actually. I still didn't like it either but that's not the point. Both UBW adaptions have failed to see the true heart of the story. The makers strike me as so preoccupied by GAR that they don't actually understand Shirou at all.

  12. R

    Yeah, from a writer's perspective, I don't think adapting any of the routes as a stand-alone series is not impossible either. For my part, I think the problem here is that the creators seem to be concerned only with churning out something to keep the franchise alive. I've said it countless of times, but it doesn't seem the writers want to go beyond what the VN has to offer.

  13. R

    *is impossible, I mean.

  14. d

    I just don't see how Rin is important in UBW even in the VN, she is just there. A lot of people argue that she is more important in the other routes, actually.

  15. D

    @dromeus I'd say she is in Heaven's Feel. I can't remember what she was good for in Fate besides to be a tutor, here in UBW she's the romantic interest (we were discussing how this adaption wronged Shirou, not Rin), but in HF she's of substantial use to connect Shirou's romance with Sakura, deliver on the Tohsaka/Matou twist, and saving Sakura as well.

  16. R

    Ummm, I don't get how Rin is not supposed to be important here in UBW. Giving her a loarge amount of screentime, only to say "eh, but she is not that important after all" is symptomatic of bad writing.

  17. I've freely admitted that the comedy in Sidonia may be just as bad as ever – it's just that repeated exposure has caused my standards to plummet. But I have to say that doesn't happy too often, and for whatever reason I am finding all this stuff with Shmoomugi and Bondage Granny pretty hilarious.

  18. J

    The comedy has switched from physical to situational, which I guess is a step up. But just wait until fourth girl Teruru Ichigaya makes her appearance.

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