Summary: What is this, I don’t even…okay, this episode. Hisako continues to mostly outperform Storm and Wolverine in combat for no reason, the X-Men continue to have great difficulty with the “the U-Men have analyzed your powers and are using them against you” concept, and everything I thought I understood about the whole secondary mutation/DHS thing is kind of thrown out the nearest window and into the snow. Lots of snow. On the plus side, Beast does stuff.
Summary: In the best episode thus far, Hisako punches Cyclops in the face several times, and really, what else matters? Well, I suppose everyone who was getting yuri vibes from Hisako and Emma’s relationship can now get thoroughly heterosexual, but much more disturbing, vibes from Cyclops/Hisako, since they are both way, way too passionate about pushing each other’s buttons. Oh, and Storm is horrendously out of character in yet another way.
This episode certainly turned out differently from what I was anticipating. After the teaser from Episode #7 mentioned that the last episode was going to take place in Japan, I kind of assumed that Stu and the Otaku 6 were going to descend on the island nation, Team Mangaloids’ short-shorts and Dre’s unbelievable eyewear collection in tow. However, after saying a brief goodbye to the group early in the episode, we’re introduced the judges of the competition- whom I didn’t know existed until this point- and then it briefly became the Chris Wanamaker Show as America’s official Greatest Otaku toured Japan.
Chris was clearly a good choice (and he should totally host AGO Season 2 if they make one), but like everything else about this show, the final episode was split between the genuinely interesting and the baffling. Hit the jump for my final (sniff) AGO Season 1 rant.
Summary: This week, I would say Armor kicks ass and takes names, only Armor doesn’t care what your name is unless your name happens to be Emma Frost. A pretty decent breather episode is marred by some poorly animated, bafflingly dark action scenes, but on the plus side, we get to see Beast do some more SCIENCE!, and the X-Men have a pretty bitchin’ coffee machine.
I do apologize for bringing up Evangelion AGAIN, but you know, there are some areas where the two shows are opposites: in Evangelion, there’s a ton of symbolism relating to the Abrahamic faiths, but the show isn’t really about any of that; Madoka doesn’t bother with much religious symbolism (in fact, most of the symbolism is about other things entirely), but the show is literally about a girl who dies for our sins. Evangelion uses religious trappings, Madoka uses actual religion.
However, one thing they have in common is that while at first the Christian parallels on both shows jump out at you, to me the real substance of the religious material in both shows has more to do with Jewish mysticism and/or ideas that predate Christianity. Rather than being a token similarity, or the fact that one show was influenced by the other, I think it’s because both shows want to deal with religion (to the extent that Eva deals with it at all) on a more primal level, and if you want to go truly primal with religion, the year 0 is just too recent.
I said all along that the reason I wasn’t recapping Madoka was because I was too shocked after each episode to write anything, and that’s partially true, but there was another reason; it’s because I didn’t feel a need to. It’s fun to take a show that maybe isn’t appreciated as much as you think it should be and point out its nuances, but Madoka wears so much of it’s greatness right on its sleeve, I didn’t think anyone needed me to explain to them what the show was doing, or why it was so good.
For the same reason, while I did want to chime in with a few thoughts on the finale, I’m not going to go into too many specifics, because everyone else is doing a great job already- the show seems to have brought out the best in the anime community online, because I can’t remember the last time so many blog entries and response posts I read about a show were this insightful.
So if I spend a lot of this post comparing Madoka to other landmark anime, or talking about the show’s handling of religious ideas, rather than the actual plot and characters, you can go elsewhere for discussion of those things very easily- seriously, pick a website that deals with anime, someone will be saying something about this show that’s worth reading. But you’re certainly welcome to hit the jump for my personal and slightly-loopy take on it.
The Third Birthday: NOT The Birthday I Wanted
This is a good time to point out that I’m not a feminist. Granted, I probably agree with equity feminists on many points, but in my opinion, once you’re putting a specific gender front-and-center in the name of your ideology, you’re still too hung up on gender. It’s not that I don’t think women should get equal pay for equal work and whatnot, but if the idea of “masculinism” remains unacceptable, it seems to me that feminism should be too for the same reasons. Let’s just all be proper humanists and call it a day, I say.
Summary: On the plus side, this was the most watchable episode yet, largely thanks to the infusion of Hisako and Emma Frost, who have actual character and motivations and thingys. On the minus, this has got to be the dumbest team of X-Men I’ve ever seen.
It’s obvious that this level is a sister level to City of Khamoon, but what I didn’t realize until this time around was that it’s also a sister-level to St. Francis’ Folly; it’s all about going vertical. The main Obelisk room is all about the height, and most of the side puzzles involve traversing great heights. It also benefits from being a level with a strong central location, without it being too obvious how you’re supposed to progress.
However, unlike SFF, jumping from down from on high isn’t necessarily fatal, and it can actually be useful- it’s just a more inviting atmosphere. It’s interesting in that this is one of the levels where the whole thing is obviously an elaborate puzzle expressly created to keep people out (hence my feeling that this whole Egypt section is one giant tomb), but it never really feels like Lara isn’t welcome.