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.
Number of Episodes Aired:1
Streaming: Nowhere? Let me know if I’m wrong, please.
Alternate Title Suggestions: Afternoon Tea Tennis, Light Tennis Club with Cows, Tennis and Raquet With PantyShot
I don’t usually like doing the whole “it’s just like [insert name of popular show] with [insert different activity]” thing, but in this instance, calling Soft Tennis “Like K-ON!! with Tennis” isn’t that far off. If you like K-ON!! and you have a healthy tolerance for double-entendre, you may enjoy this show; if you’re one of those people who watched K-ON!! and went “But where’s the PLOT?”, stay far away.
No. of Episodes Aired: 2
Currently Streaming on Crunchyroll
Alternate Title Suggestions: Better Than Koihime Musou, Usagi and Dogbert’s Excellent Adventure
Jon from Project Haruhi has been waging a brave internet campaign to get people to realize that Battle Girls: Time Paradox (also known as Sengoku Otome) is actually not bad, so I decided to give it a shot. It’s also being simulcast on Crunchyroll, so it fits with my new “try everything on CR this season” policy (although I made that policy before I realized that CR was apparently trying to license all of Japan one drawing at a time, which is why I’m currently up to my elbows in loli succubi and gender-swapped warlords, but whatever.)
I’m not going to talk much about the venues this time, because none of them really blew me away or were particularly bad either, so there isn’t much to report. I am convinced though that most motions in Kyudo are done for the sake of looking awesome and for no other reason.
Number of Episodes Aired: 2
Simulcast on Crunchyroll
Alternate Title Suggestions: I Can’t Believe My Grandma is This Sadistic, Flowers+Depression
The amazing thing to me about Hanasaku Iroha is that, with its premise, it should be horrendously depressing, yet mysteriously, it’s not. Our plucky protagonist Ohana gets kicked out of her normal life when her flighty Mom decides to run off with her boyfriend (it doesn’t matter why), and is sent to go live at her grandmother’s country inn- where she’s forced to do physical labor for her keep and is basically treated like dirt. Even Grandma gives her no sympathy, since she disowned Ohana’s mother and no longer considers them part of the family.
Summary: They’ve made Storm weak in order to make Cyclops’ ongoing PTSD over the whole “my girlfriend became a giant psychic bird-creature and died” thing an actual problem for the X-Men, and it’s a huge pain. While this episode is better than the first by virtue of stuff actually happening, these people are still really unlikable for some reason- something not likely to be fixed by introducing Emma “I’m a bitch, deal with it” Frost next episode. Oh dear.