Monday, December 24, 2007

キミと夜空と坂道と

This song's been rattling around in my head. "Kimi to Yozora to Sakamichi to", something about You and the Night Sky and the Slope, if I'm parsing that correctly. "Slope" isn't very romantic, of course. Neither is most of Myself; Yourself. Okay, that was a bad segue; I'm still watching it after all. The good part: Nanaka miko banzai. The bad part: unlimited loli works. Okay, I'm stretching again, but to spend two episodes on whatshername offends my sensibilities. I guess you can't create a visual novel for the mainstream without hitting all the major demographics. And there's probably not enough plot to fill out 13 episodes otherwise, even though they've thrown in just about every cliché they could. Well, I take that back, they've got several characters' worth of plot left, probably; Ep 7 implies that there's even a path for Yuzuki-sensei. Admittedly the anime has made me mildly curious about the visual novel. For example, these frames are pretty much instant tsundere gratification.

(Slight change of topic) Looking at ANN, Nanaka's seiyuu, Ami Koshimizu, has done a lot of other roles. This season, she's also in Kimikiss, as Hoshino-san, a role that's close to that of Nanaka. Interestingly, she's also the voice of Tenma in School Rumble, quite a different character. Even more curiously, she's going to be Horo in Wolf and Spice/Spice and Wolf/Spicy Wolf, something of a teasing role. Well, next season should be interesting.

Oh yeah, the song. It's very catchy, particularly the refrain. For awhile I had "ボクらしく,そう,キミらしく,ただ夜空を見める" repeating endlessly in my head. That line pretty much sums up my romantic attachment to this song. Listening to it now, I can identify other catchy aspects. There's that guitar riff after the lead-in, which turns into a chromatic upward cadence -- it's a major rush. I've also started to notice the stunning effectiveness of simple backup voices, whether in harmony, or to add breadth to the melodic line. In this case there's a lot of groovy "whoo-hoo"ing which somehow works extremely well. Man, there's an organ in the mix too. These arrangements never cease to amaze.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The lately

I haven't been doing much of anything lately. Watched one or two episodes of Noir. Read the usual unending trickle of manga; some may be worth discussing in depth.

The only thing I really caught up on is Kimikiss. Certain portions are absolutely inane (you know, the frogs) but the rest is exactly the vicarious romance that the doctor ordered, in a variety of addicting flavors. (The worst part about romance material is withdrawal, after all.) Putting that matter aside, it seems that the production committee blew their budget on that sax CG. That said, it's actually pretty good CG for once, and musically accurate (disclaimer: the only wind instrument I play is the recorder). But the question is, why'd they devote the effort to it? Why go so far as to integrate a solo passage into the CG sequence? It boggles the mind.

Oh, since I was in the city today, I went to Kinokuniya. It seems they've expanded into the ground floor, basically directly below the second floor space, with a reduced footprint. The first floor is all manga, and the second floor is "other stuff". The expanded store might be larger than the San Jose location, but I'm not sure. I somehow felt that the manga selection wasn't as large, but that may be because I wasn't able to find Moyashimon.(Their website shows it in stock at SF, but I looked around the KC section several times and didn't see it. Maybe I should just ask next time. Or bring one of these along.) But I got the rest of what I was looking for, and resisted buying some mysterious $10 boxed Haruhi figure. (Seems to be the Solid Works Collection DX.)

The requisite picture:



I haven't been keeping up with news, so it was gratifying to see that Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is getting a second season. The volume of N.H.K. is for a friend who's also slowly learning Japanese. Minami-ke is just for staying current, even if I can't read it properly.

Mokke is definitely much better than the anime adaptation would lead one to believe. It feels like a seinen manga -- and I'm not talking about the lack of furigana.

All this manga piling up means that I need to start studying the language seriously. I've been sitting on this textbook for almost six months, sigh. Time to get cracking.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

sola = art?

So there's this umbrella sold at MoMA...

Friday, November 2, 2007

Fall impressions the third

It pains me somewhat, but I've actually started taking notes after I watch an episode. This way my thoughts remain fresh and snarky when it comes to committing them to hypertext. It should also help me get more things off my chest; otherwise the really inane, cliché things start piling up inside me and I get very sarcastic.

I'm tempted to just cut and paste my vague notes, but that strikes me as being far too lazy, even if this is a throwaway anime blog. (Yeah, and it doesn't even have screenshots.)

Mokke 1: This wasn't as polished as I had hoped. I expect a lot from my slice-of-life entertainment (OK, I expect a lot from everything), and while there's interesting glimmers of philosophy and character development, the mood just isn't there. It may be a good window into traditional Japanese culture though. Since the manga runs in Afternoon, I think I'll pick up the first volume and see how it is in its original format.

Myself; Yourself 2: I'm still finding segments of this series difficult to endure. I skipped through a lot of this episode. They probably blew their budget on the pivotal scene near the end. The sudden glow and rush was really nice, and I'm glad to note an attempt at animating the correct piano notes for once.

Myself; Yourself 3: Still painfully bad, but ultimately worth it for tsun -> dere drama. I may as well rant: it's obvious that they're selling this eroge visual novel, and selling it hard; the ED sequence is proof of that. We've got the classic inept protagonist, the more-capable best friend, and even a loli waiting in the wings, apparently. But I shouldn't complain too much; this miscellany comes with the territory. Rather I should thank them for indulging my miko tsundere osananajimi sensibilities. Can't think of much that's cuter than a girl toying abstractedly with a pretty rock, jealous thoughts in her mind. Make that girl with towel, fresh out of the shower. Sheesh, these people are clever.

Clannad 2: Hey, it's still good. Surprise surprise. For once, the protagonist is actually well characterized, and it helps that the seiyuu isn't I Can't Believe It's Not Kyon. It's also good that they're not focusing on an uguu girl, although there seems to be one here too. Lastly, I don't know too much about Key, but either them or KyoAni has a thing for rushing through fields, and it's ... well, a rush.

Kimikiss 2: They say that Japanese fans of the PS2 game are up in arms about how the protagonist has been split for the anime. Well, tough, I say. This is a Very Good Move on the staff's part. It not only avoids the Curse of the Inept Protagonist, but in this incarnation it brings Mao to the forefront, and she's a very strong character. I suspect those complaining don't want to lose their individual vicarious thrills, but consider that with the split approach we get at least three vicariously successful (I'm willing to bet) romances as opposed to one. And there's an assortment: awkward, inscrutable, and forward. We'll see far fewer "how dare they not include $girl's ending" posts too. So why complain? I, for one, welcome our multi-protagonist, decent-sax-CG, declining-production-budget overlords.

Sketchbook 1: This is surprisingly good. (It's amazing what they can do with a 4-koma these days. The anime for Sketchbook, Hidamari Sketch, and Lucky Star are all totally different in style and execution. Truly fearsome.) Out of first episodes this season, I would have to say this is the best. The mood is spot-on, there are cats, there are weird girls, and there is simple enjoyment of life. Why, the soundtrack is even made of jazz. I give my full blessing.

Genshiken 2 2: Not much to say here. It's well done. The OP is way over the top though. Doujinshi is a dangerous thing. (Something to note: it helps to have read and mostly forgotten the manga before watching the anime. Particularly the forgetting.)

Blue Drop 2: This was quality, except for one jarring comic-style reaction 2/3s of the way through. Still unclear what's going on.

Ghost Hound 1: I think this is the first series I've seen that is truly HD in scope and implementation. The sound design alone is worth a few years of continuous applause. I like how the background sound goes from drones to FM synthesis, and such. As for the much-vaunted "Spiritual Animation", it's cool, but it doesn't seem particularly groundbreaking. The backgrounds are fantastically detailed. I like the OP song: swing that's dark instead of cheesy.

Kaiji 1, 2: This is very well done: they've nailed the art style and the over-the-top delivery. My interest is flagging, however, so I'll probably end up reading the manga sometime.

Kimikiss 3: The budget seems to be running down. Definitely more annoying parts. Belatedly, I note that the (admittedly pedestrian, but effective) technique of fading in the ED is being carried over from Honey & Clover.

Gundam 00 1: Ah, where to begin. The opening sequence animation is fabulous; they definitely spent a lot of time on it. However, from the get-go we have a strong allusion to Full Metal Panic!, which only gets stronger as the episode plays out. The OP sequence is standard Gundam, but it's really interesting how the OP song quotes part of the second Zeta Gundam OP. I take this as a sign that everyone is going to die. I can't say I like the non-Gundam MS designs, and I haven't seen enough of the Gundams to weigh in on their aesthetics. The seeming focus on physical combat is a bit strange; perhaps somebody watched Code Geass a bit too rapturously, or maybe even was responsible for it. (Rant on reel-in kinetic weapons forthcoming.) I'm terribly amused by how everyone's all like "hey it's marked GUNDAM I wonder what that means" and then a few minutes later say "oh it's another gundam". Oh, I can see all the glorious Gundam clichés coming from a mile away. Since those clichés include pulchritudinous princesses, I guess I shouldn't complain.

Blue Drop 3: Strangely enough, the mood is consistent through the whole episode, except for a jarringly comic outburst two-thirds of the way through, just like ep. 2. But I've gleaned basically enough of the plot and have lost interest.

Rental Magica 2: Was the time-slip announced? I was rather confused. Anyway, this is the Kaze no Stigma for this season: kinda bad, but exciting nonetheless, with solid novel-based plot and characters. The distinction is that the originally seinen Kaze no Stigma was turned into a aggravatingly shounen anime. At least the Rental Magica novels are shounen to begin with. Still may pass on this series for the shounen-ness.

Moyashimon 1, 2: I must say, I was expecting more from a Noitamina production. At least the OP and ED are up to snuff. There are some brilliant sequences in the anime, but the execution of the rest leaves a little to be desired. I think I'll investigate the manga for this one too.

Egh, that's it for now. I would have been done much sooner had it not been for those meddling adults. Anyway, I'm on restricted internet for these two weeks so I'm not getting any new stuff. I may have some retrospective ponderings instead.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Fall impressions the second

I consider myself a patient person, but Myself; Yourself 01 was terribly cloying and I had to stop halfway through. Some things (like the backgrounds, and the girl with the violin) are very nice, other things (Aoi's voice, corny music, saccharine-ness) are very bad.

Also in the potboiler department is Dragonaut, which is a very strange beast. Mix one part of everything and season well with cliché. Serve lukewarm.

ef is kind of uneven. There's sections that are well done, sections that are clunky, and sections of sudden jumps to the avant-garde. There must be a certain artistic desire to kick things up a notch stylistically, but fancy stuff doesn't automatically result in a work of great artistic merit. Uneven as it is, at least they're trying. There's yet to be a much of a plot, but there's enough hints to keep me interested.

I started skipping around to the end of Myself; Yourself 01. I actually have a friend who watches anime like this, skipping through just about everything. This method may help me keep my sanity while still enjoying Nanaka's miko tsundere osananajimi moe-ness. うふふふふううう~

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fall impressions the first

First off, Kimikiss pure rouge 01. I didn't expect a PS2 renai game to make for such a well-executed show. According to ANN, Kasai Kenichi storyboarded the first episode, and it really does feel almost like Honey & Clover. The art has the same softness, and the characters go comedic in exactly the same way. But given the setting, there's a distinct naiveté, or maybe a better term is seishun. So this show promises to be sentimental, though the way the characters are being introduced hints at a happy ending. I should add that Mao's seiyuu (Haruna Ikezawa) is impressive, very impressive. Nitpicks are not-so-great CG and clichéd flashbacks.

Blue Drop 01: Yes, the animation is superb. The direction is also superb. I don't have anything to complain about; I wish I did.

Minami-ke 01: They made it cheesy, sigh. Maybe the second installment will be better, but I'm not holding my breath.

Genshiken 2 01: Wow, it's really really good.

Rental Magica 01: This was also pretty good, though a tad shounen. Shinsen loevs noets too, which I appreciate.

It appears that the shows this season are of fairly high quality. The prospect of having too much to watch has left me in despair.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Not again

Aish, another season of anime already. The people who actually animeblog regularly say there are 42 fricking new series. There's a collage of shows image, as usual, but it's too unwieldy for my format. So I'll just use hashihime's ordering, skipping what I don't have anything to say about.

Mokke: Spirits plus slice of life. Sign me right up.

Rental Magica: The title is familiar, and the character range means it's not a harem series, but I still get a bad vibe from this one. I'll probably hate it.

Minami-ke: I hold the original manga in high esteem, so I'm a bit worried about this anime adaptation. After all, I was dissatisfied with how Today in Class 5-2 was adapted. To make things worse, the studio and director produced the infamous Cabbage Love of awhile back. [I just watched the OP and it's fairly cheesy. From screens, the quality looks fine; I'll watch the raw later. I predict disappointment, fueling a renewed drive to learn more Japanese and translate volume 2 of the manga.]

Sketchbook: Yet Another 4-koma Adaptation, for crying out loud. Somehow they turn out very well.

Kaiji: Watched the first half of episode 1. Aside from the art, it's done in a conventional approach. If it stays conventional, I'll drop this and read the manga when I get a chance.

Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro: Probably too shounen, but may be interesting enough.

Myself; Yourself: Watched the beginning of the first episode. I'm a sucker for certain types of romance, but this may be too saccharine.

Dragonaut: Dragons in space. Hahaha. Ah, why not give it a shot.

Ghost Hound: Highly anticipated acid-trip genre anime, I guess. Looking forward to this one.

Moyashimon: A guy who can talk to cute microorganisms, producing stuff like alcohol and yogurt. This looks and sounds totally awesome.

You're Under Arrest: Full Throttle: Repeat after me: furu surottoru.
I watched the OP and the first bit. I have to say, it seems sluggish. Not really in the mood for a long series; besides, I still have to watch the original.

Shana Second: I have yet to watch the first season beyond the first episode or so, but I am glad that my tsundere supply will not run dry anytime soon.

CLANNAD: Every AnimeSuki thread about KyoAni's Key adaptations would invariably turn into a "I hope they're doing CLANNAD next!" thread. And here we are. I watched ep 1 and I think I'm sold on this series. It probably has something to do Kyou and Tomoyo.

Genshiken 2: No real need to say more about this.

Gundam 00: From the previews, this seems like a hybrid of UC designs and AC over-the-top symbolism/characters. (Only recently did I notice just how gaudy the Gundam Wing designs are, compared to the stoic UC stuff.) Looks like fun.

ef: Yet another eroge adaptation. The preview is rather intriguing. Faces are animated in a way that brings to mind visual novel transitions. Music should be good. Looks to be the sola of this season, albeit with a potentially better story (cough).

Shion no Ou: Chess? Yes. Or rather, shougi.

Hidamari Sketch OVA: Woot.

Nasu OVA: Woot. More bicycles and eggplants. Reminds me to check up on Iou Kuroda's current work.

Counting up... we're approaching 20 shows?! Not a sustainable schedule. The blurbs at Random Curiosity have me considering a few more too: Blue Drop (bleh yuri, but superb animation?) and Kimikiss (Kasai Kenichi (Honey & Clover) directing).

20 is way too much, so let's take a step back. If I had to pick a handful at this point, I'd say Mokke, Ghost Hound, Moyashimon, CLANNAD, Genshiken 2, and Gundam 00. That seems manageable, and is a quantity keeping with historical trends. Now to finish watching stuff from Spring and Summer...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Hmm

I've fallen into a rut lately. Put together a semi-new computer and my schedule went all to hell. And then I started re-reading Maison Ikkoku and Kimagure Orange Road -- though that's not really related to the schedule collapse. Anyway, normalcy should reassert itself in the coming days.

On to tonight's subject: figures. PVC, resin, kit, pre-painted. Those sort.

I only became aware of the vast figure ecosystem when I started getting deeper into the otaku subculture. The watershed event that precipitated this descent was the airing of Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu. All of a sudden I was obsessed with a anime like I never had been before. I had considered myself fairly into Modern Visual Culture; I read manga voraciously, developed a pile of moonspeak volumes for verisimilitude and pride's sake, and watched certain anime that piqued my interest. Genshiken had provided a sketch of the otaku lifestyle, but I was unprepared for the sudden desire to go and acquire ridiculous quantities of goods. In trolling forums for news, I would come across T-shirts, rare towels, and other miscellany. Character albums? A manga adaptation? I had been peripherally aware of the massive marketing machine which invariably accompanied a popular property, but my personal interest brought it into painful, glaring focus. Should I bid on that towel? Should I import those soundtracks? Where can I get the novels without disfiguring my pocketbook? Special edition R2 DVDs with lemons? (Answers to these pressing questions will appear in future posts.) And finally, what's with these figures?



(Moar.) I still think this is one of the better Haruhi figures. Some of the others have odd faces, and bunny girls just aren't my thing, I guess. For a while (and right at this moment, actually), I was seriously contemplating getting this figure -- it's only around $30, an expense I can easily justify to my inflamed mind. Just imagine Haruhi standing between my monitor and my lamp, pointing aggressively, "Do your work, you lazy bum!" I can't say if it would provide tangible results, but it's a nice picture nonetheless.



This Tsuruya-san was announced recently (coming to my attention by way of Heisei Democracy). Need I rationalize the desire to get this figure? Yakisoba meido? やきそばメイド!? My fervor is tempered by the fact that I live at home for the time being, and I don't need any more reasons for my parents to think I'm getting too obsessed this stuff. Which, you know, isn't true at all.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Zetsubou OP




Episode 4 brings us a graphical OP sequence. To cut to the chase, it's absolutely brilliantly insane. Sparse, yet intensely fast-cutting, with a surprising dose of overt, yet repressed, sexuality (if that makes any sense). I was absolutely floored the first time through.

This is a good time to appreciate the use of textures in this show. There's this feeling of authenticity, of harmony, of just plain aesthetic coolness. I can't find the words at this hour to fully express my enthusiasm, but man, this show is hip.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Zetsubou 03



Well, we're not quite at the zillion-screenshots-plus-plot-parroting stage yet, but we're getting there.

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei episode three was good, but not as brilliant as episode two. There are plenty of Shinbo moments, though. And the chalkboard scribbles -- I think I may have to end up watching each episode twice, once straight through and once frame-by-frame. Death Note parody, Jigoku Shoujou parody? I know there's a whole bunch more cultural references that are going over my head. But ah, this show is at turns deliciously morbid and deliriously chromatic.

I also ended up watching Hayate 18 last night. All I can say is: moar Hinagiku pls, kthxbye.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Agh mahou shoujou agh

In some terrible lapse of judgment, I decided to check out Moetan and Nanatsuiro Drops. I hereby declare that I am of sound mind and body once again (mostly).

Moetan wasn't too bad at the beginning. I can forgive the unexplained-loli-in-high-school setup, and the excessive love interest fixation (I'm starting to think this is asian-culture gender-role-shaping in action), and the sorcerer duck fellow. But in the end, the deal-breaker is the loli factor. Can't stomach it. I couldn't handle Sumomo mo momo ... for the same reason. To the people who enjoy this stuff: you're sick, the lot of you.

Thankfully, Nanatsuiro Drops is free of the loli scourge, at least in the first episode. Rather, we get gobs of moe. The heroine is cute, but I can't help but see her as an amalgam of CLAMP's Sakura prototype and Kanon's Ayu. The setup, again, is unremarkably cliché: guy gets turned into talking stuffed animal. Guy gets girl to be all mahou and go collect mahou tidbits in order to call the dragon fellow turn him back to normal. The production quality is pretty good, and I like the OP. The main thing that irritates me is how things are presented in an utterly facile manner. The comical face distortions and such are each given their own moment in time, and this over-emphasis is quite grating. Overall, I don't want to watch this. But... there is one intriguing aspect, which is that of the weapon-wielding tsundere girl. That's good enough for me... However, I just watched the OP again, without the hypnotizing music, and can confidently state that I am quite disgusted at ever being slightly interested in this series.

On the other hand, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is, in a word, brilliant. I'm all for dark, cynical humor; and neurotic girls, provided I don't have to deal with them in real life. But really, this is a vehicle for director Akiyuki Shinbo's visual flights of fancy, and random scribbles on the blackboard.

The only other new series that I've touched is Doujin Work. I'm not sure what to think of it. The animation is low-budget, and so is the rest of the production, it seems. And the subject matter has been somehow worn to death, in my mind. The episodes are short, though, so it's less of a waste of time.

Still need to watch: Potemayo.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The onslaught of summer


So, everyone and everyone's mother has probably seen this picture, but here it is once again. Whoever makes these things is pretty darned clever.

The summer cour has begun, and there will much in the coming weeks to watch, or mock, as the case may be. I find myself disconcertingly interested in far too many shows, and I still have a major backlog in regards to this season, past seasons, past years ...

Anyhow, I'll vent at length on the spring cour someday soon. Right now what concerns me is this image of tiled images. Starting at top left and skipping the not-so-interesting:

- Code Geass 24 and 25. Of course. No idea how they'll wrap things up in two episodes.

- Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei. It's Shinbo. Should be aesthetically intriguing.

- Higurashi S2. Haven't seen the first season, but people are big on this franchise, so I'll get around to checking it out.

- Zero no Tsukaima S2. The first season was pretty cliché, but consistent. The tsundere moments are the only reason I watch this stuff. Must get my tsundere fix, fufufu.

- Doujin Work. A cat is okay too? Notorious enough to catch my interest, though it's Yet Another 4koma Anime.

- Moetan. I'm interested in bizarre English, not lolis, honest.

- Nanatsuiro Drops. Guy turns into sheep, with mahou shoujou miscellany. Wait, why am I curious about this series? I must be losing it.

- School Days. Uh, I realized that I'm probably not interested in this one. All aboard the emo train. Er, train wreck.

- Shigurui. Kotonoha's working on the original manga, but I have yet to read it. Unless this anime is truly EPIC, I'll skip it.

- Baccano!. Retro could be bad or good.

- Mushi-uta. Mind-control bugs? Sounds horribly cliché, but The Bloggers Who Grok Moonspeak are giving it a chance.

- Tokyo Majin S2. More supernatural / Eastern mysticism. I approve.

So far, I've only watched the first few minutes of Zero no Tsukaima. Horribly cliché dream sequence followed by big tsundere moment.


Ufufufu.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Now I've lost it

If you've watched Darker than Black, you'll recognize the spoken lines that open the ... er ... OP. "Now I’ve lost it; I know I can kill; the Truth is [something] beyond the Gates." I'm not too familiar with the horror genre, so this may just be a classic horror-type voice, but the association I make goes to a completely different place.

The voice is awfully reminiscent of the first bit of "Sing Me A Song Of Songmy", a collaboration between Freddie Hubbard and İlhan Mimaroğlu that is one of the most insane things I have ever heard, if not the insanest. The first minute is a layered mishmash of spoken word, violin, and "tape"-type electronic music. The spoken word is delivered in a strangely intense, declamatory manner, and the phrases are both baffling and chilling:

"Give me love. Give me love so that I can ... kill."
"He made me feel that I could play the guitar."
"I feel like I can hold a knife."
"We am. I are."

There's a lot more, these are just a few. After that craziness, the work falls into a more straightforward jazz feel for a while, and then goes all over the place. Overall, it's an anti-war work, and thus probably has little to do with Darker than Black (though the story in episodes 5 and 6 hints at that direction), but I wonder if the people who made the OP had this work in mind.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

colorless wind

The sola OP is made of win. From the perspective of someone who hates American pop music, and has a decent amount of classical training, anime openings are masterful creations that shamelessly utilize a variety of compositional techniques for maximum emotional impact. (OK, catchy melodies aren't really a compositional technique.)

Too bad sola seems to be a heaping mass of cliché so far. But I'll probably keep watching, due to the high production values. The zettai ryouiki is pretty powerful too.

More later.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Show/Hide

Clicky

Well, here we go again.

I'm creating an anime blog, because I need a place to vent about anime, manga, and otaku culture. (In other words, a platform to troll and fanboy-ize.) Eventually I want to make 4koma, but I need to learn how to draw first.

Anyway, today's subject is Code Geass. I started watching it last night -- I am most impressed. It has that cohesive feel that is the hallmark of a great series. The CLAMP character designs have a pretty significant influence on the show: Suzaku's idealistic intensity, Lelouch's flamboyant anger, and that silly scientist guy's ... silliness.

There are some nitpicks I can make about the series: the excessively upbeat OP, while kinda CLAMP-ish, doesn't really mesh with the darkness of the story. Plus it sounds a lot like Eureka Seven's opening, which, well, is admittedly by the same band.

And the story -- wow. This is serious stuff. While I get hints of Gundam storylines, there's definitely echoes of WWII, not to mention current events. Lelouch's terrorists are obviously the heroes of this story, but do their means justify the ends? We're obviously invited to ponder the nature of insurgency, in light of current events, with some Japanese nationalism thrown in for good measure. It's a complicated brew of current events and fantasy.

What really hit me, though, was the direct allusion to the Holocaust. The Japanese are portrayed as living in ghettos. The language Clovis uses -- "clearing a ghetto" -- made me think back to something I'd read recently about authoritarianism (which, by the way, should be required reading). Specifically, chapter seven, which relates in passing the gradual acceptance of genocide by common soldiers who made up the German "Order Police" in WWII. Geass doesn't flinch at showing the wholesale murder of civilians. Quite frankly, I was shocked at how graphic it was. I suppose there's a collective horror about being on the Axis side of the War which is still being worked out.

I watched way too much Geass last night (through 8.5 ><). Hopefully I'll have more self-control tonight.