Living the Good Life, Episode 7 (Back to the Routine): June 3, 2016

Back to my normal schedule, I suppose.


WATCHAN:

Jojo episode 9, and Macross Delta episode 9, The Vision of Escaflowne (full TV series)

Jojo: Spoilers, but suffice it to say Koichi got an upgrade which I thought was pretty cool. ;D

Macross: Very cool. The protagonist scored his first combat kill, but he took it better than most mecha protags I’ve seen. Interesting stuff ;o

Escaflowne: Honestly, one of the best series I’ve ever seen–perhaps my favorite fantasy mecha series ever, though admittedly that’s not a long list (Galient, Dunbine, and a few others). Brief summary: In modern-day Japan, a high school student named Hitomi Kanzaki is just about to confess to her crush when a strange sword-wielding boy from another world is teleported to hers, along with the dragon he was fighting. After he kills it, both he and Hitomi are teleported back to his world, Gaea. He reveals his name is Van, the next king of a country called Fanelia, whose samurai fight with giant robots called Guymelefs, which are common in warfare across the continent. However, not long after, Fanelia is attacked and devastated by the overwhelming military might (and stealth Guymelefs) of the Zaibach Empire. Van is forced to flee with Hitomi along with his mighty Guymelef, the Escaflowne, which just might hold the key to both defeating Zaibach and saving all of Gaea–the rest of the series focuses on his adventures, as well as the love triangle between him, Hitomi, and one of his allies, the noble knight Allen Schezar.

There’s so much good about this series. The animation is fantastic; aside from some small scenes it’s generally as good as an OVA, or at least it seemed to me, which is surprising for a 26 episode TV series! The music is equally wonderful, a stirring orchestral score that’s one of the best OSTs I’ve ever heard. The protagonists–Van, Hitomi, and Allen–all had both strengths and weaknesses, virtues and flaws, making them quite three-dimensional and appealing. The world of Gaea itself isn’t necessarily the most exotic fantasy setting ever, but in addition to the mechs it has many fantasy races to make it interesting, though only a few are relevant. Still, the show manages to be tremendously engaging through all of its 26 episodes.

My only complaints: I didn’t really care for the ‘love triangle’ parts of it. I know Shoji Kawamori, its creator, is a big fan of love triangles (a basic component of the Macross series he’s more fond of) but in this setting I didn’t find it as interesting as I did in the sci-fi setting of Macross. Also, more importantly, I think this series may have done well with the more typical 40-50 episodes rather than 26…after about episode 15 or so, so much stuff starts happening that a lot of character development seems kind of sudden or under-established, some plot points appear without being elaborated on, and everything moves faster than might be wise. I’m not sure I quite understand the ending, despite it being suitably heartwarming and impressive.

Still, that complaint pales against the incredible accomplishment that is Escaflowne as a whole. I’d like to return to Gaea some day, at least the Gaea portrayed in the TV series. I didn’t think too much of the movie, but the TV series solved pretty much all of those concerns. Truly a great experience.

P.S: I think some of the scenes from the Playstation game, which were included as extras on the DVD specials, would have been nice to put in an expanded series. But alas, twas not to be…

PLAYAN:

Playing a lot of Warhammer: Total War. Honestly, in all of its components it feels like a lot of the other fantasy 4x games I’ve played, not much different. I suppose that may be why it kind of disappointed me. I mean, with heroes y0u can either attach to armies or send on quests, the basic concept of a world map where each army was led by a character, etc., it played just like games like Endless Legend or Forgotten Enchantress, except the battles were realtime rather than turnbased as well. Still, it was certainly pretty entertaining, and deserves the massive sales it’s got. Good for Games Workshop!

READAN:

Still working on Feser’s The Last Superstition, but I’ve also been reading a lot of other stuff, ranging from Marx and Aristotle to The Dilemma of the Southern Intellectual. Why? I guarantee, my friends, that you’ll see next week. ;D

WRITAN:

As above, I’m writing a BIIIIIG essay, but you’ll see it next week ;D

TIMAN:

Dragonar 18 is out!

https://msubsreleases.wordpress.com/2016/05/28/metal-armor-dragonar-18-the-blue-falcons-surprise-attack/

Dat does it for this week, see ya next time ;D

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