Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Things No One Cares About:Tampopo

Go ahead and read the last post if you want to know why I'm not reviewing Mistress Fortune this week,I'll wait.

Tampopo is a 1985 Japanese comedy that bills it self as the first Ramen Western. It comes to us courtesy of the late Juzo Itami who's films were mostly comedies and satires. It concerns itself with a main plot and a smattering of b-plots with no relation to each other outside of one or two. It flits between the plots with the smoothness of Colt 45 and is all tied together by the concept of food and how it shapes our relationships.

The main plot plays out like a heist movie without a heist as we follow a trucker named Goro and his sidekick Gun,as they help the titular Tampopo build up her dead husband's noodle shop. They start gathering men to help her out including a hobo,a drunk interior designer,and a butler. It's actually pretty fun with a smattering of great jokes and a fun dream sequences that wouldn't feel out of place in West Side Story.

The romance subplot is slightly underplayed and I question why they really brought it up. It's sad because the two leads play very well off each other. The plot comes to a halt bout twice as we go through some subplots:some good,some ok ,one stupid. The ones that work like one about food politics in business is really great,then there is a set of them focused around a white suited man and his girlfriend engaging in literal food porn. Those are really fun and even the mediocre one about two cons is fine. Then there is one that to save myself from ranting(for now, just doesn't work. It's message is heart warming but feels really forced just to make it.

I just have to talk about these transitions as they ultimately make Tampopo work. Every single one of them is marvelous and gives the film a sense of scope that brings home the idea that food connects us all. The only time it does not work is after we've spent a good portion of time on the main plot it abruptly switches to a completely different scene. After that it's back to flowing like something flow-y,but it's jarring compared to everything else and also doesn't help that main plot was ramping up by that point.

Every actor/actress is bringing their A-game and we get some really fun performances from a group of vagabonds. The man in the white suit tends to steal every scene he's in and perfectly sets the tone of the movie with his forth wall shattering opening scene. It's a good thing that he's in his own plot or he would completely overshadow Goro and friends

So yeah it's a great movie that is definitely worth a watch for anyone who loves food or just wants to laugh. It is also really fun to snark at if you're in the right mood. As always, Stay Positive

Sorry for this being a little on the late side,I'll beat myself for it later. See you next week for the beginning of JoJo month.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Housekeeping Hijinks

Decided I'd do one of one of those fancy updates and let people know how the next month or so is going to play out.

Despite being a woman,I do tend to enjoy Shonen on occasion and most of the Shonen works featured on here  have been mildly ok and nothing to get worked up about.Well I feel like getting worked up and as the the temperature gets hotter,my blood follows suit.It only seems right to to talk about a series that has blood hot enough to boil noodles.I am of course talking about Princess Tutu...just kidding I'm talking about Jojo's Bizarre Adventure. Jojo is one one those old school series that many other series have taken inspiration from.Though it started out drawing from the also influential Fist of the North Star. It follows the long history of the Jostar family and their very odd lives usually intertwined around a man named Dio and later his followers. It also has enough western music references that describing this series to other people is hilarious. It's really fun to be able to say that Lisa Lisa was tricked by Cars or that Dio's right hand man is Vanilla Ice. Ok enough about subjects you can read about on Wikipedia,let's move on.

I'll admit that while I am a Jojo devotee I have not read past part 4 so I really can't comment on the later part of the series(maybe next year). This month will be covering the various anime products that Jojo has  received over the years. However I'm going to kick it off in a couple of weeks with an Arc words on the Phantom Blood section of the manga.After that we'll take a look at the Stardust Crusader OVAs and then talk about the game based on the same arc.We'll finish out the month on a high note with the most recent anime adaption. Before I get ahead of myself this week we'll be tackling Tompopo,a Ramen Western and then cooling my blood with Mistress Fortune.

Here's a list for people who hate paragraphs

May 29th:Tompopo
June 5th: Phantom Blood

June12th: Startdust Crusaders OVAs

June19th: Stardust Crusaders(SNES)

June 26th:Jojo's Bizarre Adventure(2012)

July 3rd:Mistress Fortune

That is all I  have for you today so for those who acknowledge it have a good Memorial day and a happy Monday to the rest of you. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Things No One Cares About:Ramen Fighter Miki

So as I'm sailing along on the ship from last time and tempting fate by whistling the theme song to Gilligan’s Island when a storm of inconvenience comes rolling along to ruin my day. It's at this time that I regret using the boat from Link's Awaking but hey hindsight is 20/20. Anyway I washed up on an island with my clothes ripped conveniently to show off my belly. As I explored the island, I stumbled upon a group of scientists conducting an experiment called Ramen Fighter Miki.

Or...that's what one of them called it, another called it Noodle Fighter Miki, one of them called it The Unbeatable Delivery Girl, and one man that no one liked called it Invincible Poster Girl Miki. So right of the bat I could tell this experiment was run by some bang up guys. Either way this was a weird experiment .

They had set up a replica of a small town shopping district and made it as mundane as possible to, I suppose, see what happens when you populate it with sociopaths. As I sat there with them and watched this go on for about 24 fifteen minute experiments, it occurred to me that the subjects were all total sadists and the only one who wasn't was the little girl. It was like Tom and Jerry was too unrealistic for them and this was the logical fix. Everything was solved with violence that was so over-the-top it was actually kind of funny. Oddly enough after every experiment one of the men left the set. Turns out he was a scientist too, designated to play the straight man and make references to the experiment. He really sucked at that though as he only made those references about three times Though occasionally they brought in one of the others guys to replace him,who was a little too much into super sentai shows.

As we watched I also noticed that the subjects were kept on a diet of sugar and mood uppers to make everyone hyper as all get out. This had the odd side effect of making them all very violent in different ways. However when the woman who had the role of mother was taken off that mix of sugar and meds, she got weirdly introspective and it was really odd. They quickly decided to never do that again and moved on to getting some of the subjects drunk. I also think they put metal plates in everyone's foreheads because one of the subjects threw how dog skewers into various peoples heads with alarming regularity and they didn't seem phased. I was pleased that despite the fact that this group was made of old men none of them were that dirty and the girls weren't flashing panty shots or anything of the sort.

These experiments went on with little in the way of connection to one another and ended on such weird notes that I had to ask these men what the point of these experiments were. They looked at me as if insane and said “To make people laugh and find the best jokes .”

I rebutted by saying that these were jokes only a ten year old would find funny.

They shot back “But of course that's who were targeting not twenty somethings.”

Oh, I said OK that all well and good but can you help me get of this island I'd really like to get back to Senien to see Waiting For Miura . They again looked at me and said kid your not on a island your in Senien and the play you wanted to see did it's final production last week while you were here. So I left through the door embarrassed and headed back home to cry alone and in pain till next Wednesday.

Next Time:Seriously not this again and also Mistress Fortune

Monday, May 20, 2013

Little Miss Thinker:Shipping Disasters

Just as a heads up this post contains Berserk minor spoilers for the Golden Age arc.

Shipping for the uninitiated is the act of rooting for a fictional relationship to happen.Shipping can get pretty brutal at times. It can also be dang hilarious when people start shipping hats with tables. I'm no stranger to doing it my self and tend too not take it to seriously. However there are two exceptions:First is Yukiko/Chie from Persona 4 which is one I support  because of it's obviousness and cuteness. The second one is Griffith/Casca which I truly despise and why I made this piece.

It just doesn't work for so many reasons. First Griffith does not feel that way and probably will never feel that way about Casaka. This is because he really can't see people as anything more than tools to be used.Second Casaka is aware of the first point and stops her pursuit of him once she does because it'll end in heartbreak for her no matter what. She eventually realizes it's nothing more than hero worship and pursues the relationship with Guts because he can understand her and she can trust him to have her back. Something Griffith would only do if it benefited his dream. So it just doesn't work for me and if later events which I'm about to discuss didn't happen I'd be pretty ok about the paring. After all I still ship Axel/Roxas so who am I to knock Griffith/Casca.

 That being said it's the fact that Griffith rapes Casca that sends me into a foaming fury at this pairing. The rape it self is nothing that could be construed as love and is ungodly insulting to do so.Some have even said that Casca enjoyed her rape that completely destroyed her and reduced her to the mental age of two.I'm normally not a violent person or even that big a defender of Gut/Casca but good lord do these people make me want to hurt them.This notion careens right past nasty into what the hell is wrong with you territory. To top it off Griffith shows no remorse for what he did and just goes on doing what he want's for the sake of his dream. So seriously fuck these people,I hope you stay in the minority from now to the end of time.

Sorry for that little outburst but this is one things that I''m insulted by as a Berserk fangirl and as a human being.I'm not saying you can't ship Griffith and Casca and if you can find a way to make it work that's not despicable then by all means go ahead.
So until next time try and Stay Positive, because I'm having a hard time myself.  

Friday, May 17, 2013

Little Miss Thinker:Otona Ni Nuts and Fanservice

If you can recall the far flung past of last Wednesday and my questionable review on Otano Ni Nuts I commented on the weird amount of fan service.If this was a Shonen, I wouldn't bat an eye, it's par for the course there.However this was a shojo manga and one of the covers looked like this:

I understanding wanting to broaden your demographic but this is just shameful. Yes,some girl manga put a changing scene or the like just to get  some male readers but it usually flows with the story. Nuts decided that half of volume two should be about putting our lead in loads of revealing swimwear.It just bizarre and is fairly creepy when you remember that this girl is in the fifth grade.

I actually thought the Tokyo Pop covers were pretty clever and were wasted on this series. I'd describe them but I'd rather show you so here one is:

 It takes the needlessly risque cover and turns it into something nice that would not make me think this is boring tripe.Not the most exciting cover in the world but still not bad.It looks like the publisher was trying instead of "hey boobs". I don't mean to come of as a prude,I'm defiantly not.I'm all for go go action sexy,but it doesn't need to pervade everything.

Might as well  I make some comments on fan service in general.I'm okay with it for the most part.Yes,it can ruin pretty ok shows like last year's Sword Art Online,but used in moderation I don't mind it. Fan serivce can use it to great effect when done right to make great sex comedies like the hilarious  "My Balls". It works there because the book goes whole hog on it and is not trying to be serious. Same thing with High School Of The Dead, the fan service fit the very sleazy zombie movie feel the show was aiming for. Shojo tends to be more subtle about it's fan service for the female gaze,letting it occur naturally.It can be gratuitous Ala Absolute Boyfriend but usually stays on the believable side.

In the end do I think fan service is bad:yes,it can cheapen a great show,cripple an alright show but if used the right way it's perfectly fine.
Also as a challenge to the five people who read this blog, go check out Otana Ni Nuts' first volume and tell it wouldn't be a decent one shot before that stupid doctor shows up. Till next time: Stay Positive.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Things No One Cares About: Otona Ni Nuts

About seven days ago, I told you about my fictional train ride through a fictional land. I also mentioned my childhood friend was a manga and I'm pretty sure everyone thinks I am a nutter now. Well this story of said visit with Otona Ni Nuts will do nothing to dispel that notion.

As we talked on the way back from the station to her parent's home,I saw she was still the silly immature girl I'd always known. Loving the attention from boys even though they only wanted her for her body. She wasn't very interesting to begin with so maybe this was for the best .

Her parent's weren't there when we arrived. Though now that I think about it I'd only ever caught glimpses of them and didn't even know their names. As we sat down on the couch to catch up a little more she started telling me about the time she at some nuts that made her into an adult. I vaguely remembered the events because they sounded like wacky hijinks and I was determined to stay out of that . I think I started playing acoustic guitar at that time,it was an odd few years.

Either way just as I thought she was finishing her story, she just keep going. I thought she trying to tell me that she learned a valuable lesson about maturity but she keep going on about other topics. From men trying to marry her to some woman challenging her to beauty contests. I try to forget the early 2000's and their rash of impromptu beauty contests. I think she went of on a couple weird tangents about bears and her summer vacations. Near the end I think she started making parts up to see if I was paying attention(fun fact: I wasn't). I say this because she started talking about helping some kid but I'm pretty sure she was talking about a GTO episode. Also the way she talked about nuts was just disturbing.

She kept bringing up our other friend Asuma who decided to not forgo said hijinks and stick around with her to play straight man. It wasn’t that surprising,as he was the only guy who actually liked her as a person,so they were pretty close. He was always dependable and they grew even closer during those events. Our group had a betting pool on when they would finally start dating,that I lost forty bucks in. Everyone else in her story was either bizarre or lecherous and I decided to call her out on her cock and bull. I used the ancient method of calling a bluff:pics or it didn't happen. Unfortunately she had four whole albums of the events and showed me all of them.

There were the pictures of her and Asuma looking like typical Shojo people(Shojoites?) and everyone looked like normal people. The other people I didn't recognize looked odd and the pictures were a little blurry so I couldn't quite make if they were male or female. It didn't help that many of the pictures were jumbled around on the page. Their were also a alarming number of shots of her teddy bear underwear and some fetishistic outfits that would make Amu blush. I decided not to question those pictures and conceded that her story was true. I would have brought up the fact that you think people would have heard about nuts that could turn you into adults. However she's was always pretty stubborn,so I dropped the subject.

She was disappointed that I had to leave again so soon, failing to notice that she had been talking for about eighteen hours. On our way out we passed her younger sister who spoke a language I couldn't understand,so I payed her no mind. We walked back to the station only to find it shut down due to an accident and being slightly cliché. She offered to let me stay with her for a few more days but I had to get to Seinen to see the new play Waiting for Miura. So I decided to commandeered a boat to get there in time and to have an easier segue into the next review. It was a nice visit but even as I relate this story to you I've already forgotten most of it.

Next time:Probably not this again

As always comments,requests and death threats are welcome.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Little Miss Thinker:Journalism

I figure that this being my blog I can do more than just review things no one cares about so that's why I'm going to post random crap I think about,sometimes silly,other times serious and on occasion something coherent.
The following is just random musings and not meant as an attack against journalism or any one writer, I'm no where near knowledgeable to do that.

I read an old article about Chubby Checker eating at Penn Station and the gentleman who wrote looked older.All I could think about was:is that where he wanted to be in life? Writing about celebrities eating cheese steak. Did others who write articles akin to this for papers and tabloids set out to do this. Did they pursue this career to ship/gossip about various famous people or were they hoping to break the next Watergate scandal.If it's the latter then what set them upon this path of seemingly broken dreams? Was it failure to suck up to the right person,did they just plain whomp at writing or something else. I feel sad for them,to have to write about a Kardashin instead of a Bin Laden. To be stuck there writing this tripe when they know there are more important things in the world.That to me would be hell.Can you really live with yourself after you've published an article about Hillary Clinton dancing with a woman while Bill Clinton dies of cancer.

Though maybe they did set out to do this and it makes them happy.Are they content with this because they get to do what most people love to do,gossip, and get paid for it.Perhaps it's just making the best out of a bad situation.I mean sports writers tend to set out to do sports so it follows that thees people do the same for celebrities, Maybe their in denial and hide behind a facade of laughs and colorful language.Do they bleed?probably.

Insight into this topic from you  is more than welcome.I'll see you Wednesday for a new review      

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Things No One Cares About: Tomorrow's King

Sorry for the slight delay,I promise to flog my self and get the next review out on Wednesday.

I was riding a train from the land of Shojo to see my childhood friend,Otona Ni Nuts, Otona for short. Yes my childhood friend is a manga,shut up. As I rode alone through the flower fields, I was approached by a middle aged woman selling Gokult. I politely declined but she slipped me a small package which contained 6 volumes of a manga. Bored, I figured I read it to kill time and to my surprise it was quite enjoyable. So in the spirit of killing time let's talk about Tomorrow's King.

Tomorrow's King is a 1996 Josei manga by Emiko Yachi and the only of her works to see any kind of translation,so no I won't be making a fool of myself like I did with Glass Wings. It concerns the life of Sasaysa Yuu and her journey through the world of acting. If your getting Glass Mask vibes stop that now, the series does have a similar start but quickly comes into its own. So before I end my fictional train ride,we'll determine if Tomorrow's King is worth your time.

The main theme of the work is that dreams can often change and you should pursue this true dream. Yuu herself goes from wanting to be an actor to being a playwright. Her love interest,Touya,goes into TV acting despite earlier protests. This theme really does bring the series to life,grounding it in believability. Most of the characters flit in and out depending on their relationship to Yuu. It's akin to real life with people not related to your endeavors being forgotten for a while because your busy. It's all firmly grounded in reality and makes Yuu's struggles and triumphs all the more fun to read.

The books also deal with the world of acting and the almost symbiotic relationship between the actor and the director. Most of the strife comes from the cut throat nature of the business though it is interspersed among the rivalry between Yuu and fellow director, Rin. To it's credit,the drama takes a backseat to said rivalry and never feels melodramatic. No one is secretly evil nor does a script some how bring about the end times.. Again it's firmly grounded in reality and that's where it's comfortable.

One could argue that this does take many notes from shojo juggernaut,Glass Mask(GM), but that's be unfair to both works. They both have a person in the field of theater,who has a talent for their craft and their struggles in life. However Yuu is not portrayed as a genesis playwright and has different goals and priorities than Maya from GM. The beginning sets you up to believe Yuu will some how be an acting prodigy but then she's terrible at it. When she tries to do Maya's schtick of perfect mimicry,she fails miserably. After that the story just moves on to doing it's own thing and I stopped making the comparisons.

This being a manga with good looking guys and girls who work closely together means love will eventually bloom. The book works love in a beautiful and mature way. It's very subtle till the end where the sexual tension is think enough to cut with a guillotine. In fact all the relationships are done very well and are clearly defined with out shoving it in the readers face. I could say the love triangle is semi useless because you know from the beginning who she'll end up with. However the other guy does serve to make the finale more personal,so he's fine by me.

My only real problem with the story is pacing. The story will gloss over things that seemed like they should have warranted a chapter. This gets really obvious near the end when the big play that's been hyped up seems to be mostly happening in the background. This may have been because the book wasn't doing well, I don't really know.

This being a bit of a character study of  Sasaya Yuu,it's probably be good to talk about her and the cast. She is an earnest and kind person with a fiery passion. Her character is used to play with the main theme about dreams but also the concepts of identity and self worth. She grows from a naive girl fresh from the farm to a confident playwright. She isn't a perfect person,she can be selfish and slightly sadistic when it comes to her scripts. However that just serves to highlight the passion she has for the scripts. As she does grows more confident that passion does intensify. During her first foray into TV writing she uses her determination to overcome her hate at seeing her serious scripts become comedies. It's her passion and kindness that make her interesting and increases the desire to see her do well.

The rest of the cast go through their own little arcs in relation to Sasaya's and this does bring up a minor problem with her love interest Touya. He's not particular interesting as a character,his with his only qualities being that he's good looking and is an exquisite actor. However his interactions with Sasaya are great and it's clear why he eventually falls for her. The rest of the main cast stands on their own and usually gets some nice growth if they need it. All those mini-arcs go towards the main theme of pursing your true dream. Except for Yuu's mentor,Shougo, who serves as the motivator for Sasaya.He is the end result of following your dreams.Even Kina who plays the role of the snooty girl antagonist gets her own arc that makes her more sympathetic. We see what motivates her and therefore understand why she is this way.

I'll ask you dear reader this are you a fan of a more realistic style because that's what your getting when you read this manga. It can be jarring for the first few chapters especially with the author's love of inking in the lips. It's very weird but once things get going you start to see beauty in the designs. The chapter splash pages are delightfully cheesy but are still well drawn.

As the train reached my hometown on the outskirts of the land of Shojo I reflected on Tomorrow's King. I thought that it was a great story that handled it's themes in a mature way and was quite enjoyable despite it's flaws. As I got off the train Otona greeted me in the way she normally did with a big hug and then some events happened. That is a story for next time.

As always comments,requests and death threats are always welcome.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Things No One Cares About: Pretear

Originally published May 1st 2013'

This is the last re posted review for this series,so next time will be something wholly new. I try and put a review out every Wednesday but that is subject to change due to real life.

For all five of you who read the last review no doubt are wondering something(maybe) and that is Pretear is a weird way to spell Gata-Pishi. Don't worry I haven't had a massive brain hemorrhage and forgotten how to spell,yet. No, apparently Glass Wings is the only one of Misuzu Asaoka's works that has any form of translation and I can't read Japanese. So instead we'll continue our journey through the land of Shojo with Pretear.

Pretear comes to us courtesy of Junichi Sato who serves as the manga's writer and Chief Director. He's probably better know for his work on fellow Magical girl shows Sailor Moon and Princess Tutu. Though he had no part in writing those books. He's also responsible for great comedies like Sgt Frog and abysmal ones like Slayers Premium.

The show is loosely based on the legend of Snow White and asks what if the seven dwarfs were good looking men. Hey get back here,I know that does sound a little silly but I swear it's not what you think.The story has some surprising depth dealing with loss of a parent and identity in ways I would not think a show like this would handle it. Sadly it is marred by some shallow ends,which you will see as we go on. So is Pretear worth your time or did I waste twenty bucks at a used bookstore?

As I mentioned about three sentences ago,the story does get some depth but sadly it's mostly on the character side and leaves the story to play out as a typical magical girl show. It follows the monster of the week plot,introduces a dark magical girl and then ramps up for a decent ending. It actually flows well and while it is a bit by the numbers it manages to be interesting. The big hook is the transformations which are done by combining with one of the seven bishonen knights. This gives her a separate costume and power. It's similar to the later(and decidedly more sexual) Uta Kata .The different costumes do lead to a few scenes that scream we wanted to show this costume off this episode.. Love is a big component  in this show and as such it contains a few love triangles. To the shows credit, it is worked seamlessly into the story and adds to some characters.

The Snow White connections are are more thematic and character based than truly story based(with exceptions). There is the obvious seven dwarfs to knights all with a predominant element as opposed to a temperament. Sato himself compared the life force,Leafe,to the poison apple from the original story with one half of the apple giving and the other half  taking life. The other ties to the plot and characters will come up later in the review.   

The plot doesn't pull any real horse hockey outside of the ending. Even then it comes of as more of the didn't say it couldn't happen or makes sense if you remember Snow White. The show does shine in it's more comedic moments with some great running jokes,slapstick and refuge in audacity. A particularly great moment is the chauffeur taking casually to these massive animals while everyone else is panicking. Though maybe only I find that funny. However it does go into the darker elements with little mood whiplash. Overall it's entertaining and serves as a nice backdrop for the much better characters.

Himeno is our leading lady and predictably is one of the more developed characters. She's fairly mature for a sixteen year old but they characterize her as odd any way so that just adds to it. She's also given above average strength and uses it to great comedic effect .Her willingness to take up the Pretear mantle does show how much she wants to be needed. As the series progresses she does cling to this role(detrimentally)and her short depowering gives her perspective on family and her own self worth. By the end she becomes the strong person she was destined to be and fulfills her role as a Pretear..

The secondary female role is played by our dark magic girl,The Princess of Destruction. She plays the evil queen analogue here with a more tragic bent. Right now I'm going to just throw up a spoiler warning for this entire part because to talk about her is massive spoiler territory. I'll mark when they end for the people who don't want the story ruined.

The Princess of Destruction is actually the last Pretear, Takako, and is a frank look at what happens when you entrust the world's safety to a teenage girl. The inherent closeness and sexuality in regards to the transformations really does screw her up and her unrequited love for Hayate,the main knight,does drive her over the edge. That love still never falters and even up till the end she has a hard time killing Hayate,often regulating that to her own knight. It gives her character a sad edge that the original queen lacked.

End Spoilers

Now we come to the Seven Knights who are the protectors of life and help Himeno along the way. They are Hayate,Sasame,Go, Kei, Mannen,Shin and Hajime all with various degrees of characterization. The main two are Hayate and Sasame who are interconnected in terms of powers wind and sound respectively. They are also a big part of the love connections that run through out the show.  They are a shining example of what the anime excels at and that is personal relationships. Without the show saying anything it is easy to tell that these two are close friends. However they are used to show how you can not truly know somebody even if you think you do. They do have the more angsty of the back stories being involved in a love triangle with a former Pretear. However I still liked them as they felt like people and it never felt melodramatic. The remaining 5 knights have base personalities and their interactions are nice if lacking. They all play off of Himeno well enough that this isn't a huge issue. I guess it's the curse of not being a true lead of which only Mawata escapes.

Speaking of Mawata,Himeno's family also plays a mid-sized role in this tale. Her father,step mother, and stepsisters along with a chauffeur and a maid comprise the household. I will say those last two are more comic relief and semi-mentor respectively and leave it at that. The older stepsister,Mayune, gets nothing in personalty besides being a jealous jerk  Her father and mother bring more of the great relationship pie to the table playing the part of love struck newly weds. It is sadly under utilized as we see some hints of bigger issues that are never explored. They are a good example of how broken their family is literally and figuratively. They are never abusive just stupid,failing to realize that their daughters are hurting.  Himeno also has this friend who is a romance novel otaku and her silly theories on love are actually pretty funny,nothing else to say about her.
Moving on...wait I'm forgetting something,eh probably nothing.

Oh yeah Mawata the best supporting character in this show. She gets to deal with the death of her father and what happens when you try and be the emotional rock  for too long. Her struggle with grief and identity are central to the show. Even when she begins to open up to Himeno, a relatively minor incident sends her off the edge. This along with her inability to communicate with her family and never properly grieving her father opens her up to manipulation by the Princess of Destruction. Her attraction to Sasame is lovely as they both have the same problems but fall into the same pitfalls due to their own stoic traits.

There isn't much to say about the art: The girls are cute,the guys are hot and the monsters are terrifying. It's animated well and looks good for a 2001 anime  The various costumes worn by Himeno are great looking and not to ostentatious,Ice and Sound being my personal favorites. They reflect the person she combined with wonderfully and her last dress is fantastic in it's simplicity. Even her regular casual wear is really nice with the colors complimenting each other. The rest of the cast dress like you'd expect them to with the knights getting suitable  fighting clothes based on their role and element. There is also a subtle nod to the original story's dwarf house that I thought was clever despite it being a tad out of place. 

What have we learned today besides useless trivia about a director? That Pretear is actually an enjoyable watch and a great entry into the Magical Girl genre. That aside if you like magical girl then go out and find this sucker and if you hate it then you probably haven't read all the way down here, you losers. Oh and this probably won't endear you to the genre.If you're neutral to this type of show then also check it out.
Till next time: Don't die.

As always comments,requests and death threats are welcome and encouraged
Next time:Something completely different

Things No One Cares About:Glass Wings

Orginally Published: April 24th 2013

For most of the inconsequential things I reviewed up to this point they fall into the major categories of Shonen and Seinen. Genres where I'd be considered the periphery demographic but love none the less. So today we are taking a walk on the girly side with Glass Wings. This is the 2003 debut of Misuzu Asaoka better known for...nothing else really, moving on. This is a short anthology series containing 3 stories: the titular Glass Wings,Firefly and Jion Princess. They are all connected with the theme of love conquers all. For a change of pace we'll dissect art before everything just so my comments don't become redundant when talking about the stories.

The art here is actually pretty nice: the characters look nice and the backgrounds are beautiful. However they are in a constant war to out dazzle each other and as a result everyone loses. Scenery blends together in ways that shouldn't be possible. Speech bubbles pop in like an annoying kid brother trying to see what's going on. It makes the first story an incomprehensible mess and muddles the other two stories. Which is pretty sad because the character design is very pleasing to the eyes with nice if elaborate costumes. That's all I'm going to say about the art for now. Moving on to the stories;first on the chopping block, Glass Wings itself.

Glass wings to put it bluntly is a mess that makes the remaining chapters seem better by comparison. To sum it up in short: A boy(Hagane)with deadly blood is abused by his mother (Tsubaki)and falls in love with his sister(Ruriha). They escape and are assaulted by a kid whose sister Hagane killed. They kill him then are back with Tsubaki and escape again while she sets their home on fire... I think. Everything is so abstract and confusing that it's like an episode of Revolutionary Girl Utena written by an idiot. It doesn't help that the first chapter explains very little and nothing else gets explained much later. The chapters flow with the grace of a dead swan,so good luck getting your head around it before it changes settings again. The main leads are decent in a traditional sort of way,drawn together by their cursed blood. Tsubaki is fairly sympathetic and I did feel a little bad for her at the end. Overall this story feels like it could be so much more but cripples it self at the first hurdle. Moving on to Firefly.

This story fairs somewhat better than its predecessor but only slightly. This one is much less muddled and doesn't feel like I started reading halfway through. The plot concerns a demon(Yuinne) fleeing his clan and living in a village. Sadly it doesn't take clairvoyance to figure out that this plan goes south quick and people try to murder him for being a demon. It works for the mot part however the romance in this one is pretty weak. It wants to focus on our lead brooding rather than giving him a decent romance. Which when your wanting to convey true love,is a bad thing. Yuinne and the girl(Mia) share about 3 panels before she's killed off in the mob scene about 20 pages later. The designs are again nice and the demon tattoos are cool. The climax does drop the ball hard enough to kill though mostly because of the art. The mob tries to kill Yuinne but somehow Mia takes the blow then his old boss shows up. It happens so fast that I'm left with whiplash trying to figure out where the humans went and what Aion  is doing here. The ending is lovely even if Mia sucks. So overall a story about true love redeeming marred by a poor love interest,time for some yuri.

The final story is Jion Princess, the best of the three. It's about a girl (Soyogi)whose a magical net for a princess'(Yura)bad luck and sickness because they look alike. The eventually fall in love and then tragedy strikes. The main girls are actually pretty interesting and their relationship is realistic. It tackles proximity love and self worth in a interesting way. It's also one of the rare times I've seen a lesbian tsundere so that's neat.The art has reached a truce here and flows well.There is a scene with the two in dresses that just looks really nice and emphasizes how alike the girls look.If I have to gripe and I will,it's that somehow Yura gets sick at one point despite Soyogi being a barrier to catch that. It's still mediocre but looks better in comparison to the previous two stories.

Ok,overall we have muddled stories that are trying to say something but the art is too busy having a civil war to let that happen. It has potential and the stories did keep getting better to the point of making sense. The book is bad but the little nuggets of good really do shine. Still if your going through the used bookstore and see this avoid it. Try to find Skip Beat instead, a much better series.

The book did get me interested enough to check out her other work. So next time, we'll keep on with Asaoka's work and look at Gata-Pishi.

As always comments,criticism and death threats are welcome.

Things No one Cares About:Japan

Originally Published:April 10th,2013

It's been a while since I've talked about things no one cares about which has given people plenty of time to not particular care about me coming back . So in a way I'm creating an apathetic cycle that's too lazy to break out of it self. It's like a perpetual motion machine except  it isn't and I seem to have lost what I was trying to say so here's a picture of the cover of the book I'm reviewing today

So I guess you can tell that I'm reviewing Japan,the unholy baby of the authors of Fist of The North Star and Berserk.  I found this in a used bookstore and seeing the names I decided that this seems like a winner. I've since learned to ignore my inner voice,the bastard. So with out further monkeyshines let's look at  Japan.

This is the part here I get to beat up on Buroson because he's taking credit for this heavy handed tripe and it means I get to let Kentaro Miura off the hook for now. The story is fairly simple in it's set up and does a good job of characterizing the main an extent. The basic plot follows a love struck Yakuza member,his brother, his love interest and a group of wimpy college kids and their journey through the wastelands. They are forcibly sent there to learn about how economic weight throwing and too much national pride is awful and will cause terrible things. That right there is why the story really does fall short it's very unsubtle. Every thing that the characters say is so heavy handed that I'm surprised  they can lift said hands to punch. So while I do admire that it is uncompromising on it's views, many of it's views are just stupid.

That being said, the issues being brought up are fairly relevant and I actually do agree with a few of them: Don't forget the past, being pro active,don't let nationalism over take things,and what is a man.But it's presented in such a stupid way that I feel embarrassed to agree with it.  There's also this undertone of sexism used against the main female leads. Yes they are not really suited for combat being in decidedly less fighting heavy roles in normal life. However neither are the boys who are just college students with no real experience in fighting. Yet they are expected to man up and protect the girls. It just adds to some of the more unsubtleness that the book loves.

Now for a short part on the characters: they are not good,moving on.

Ok I'll say some things about them: they are generic,have very un-inspired  characters arcs,and their relationships are standard. The college boy trio predictably go from wimps to brave like every story that does this. For some reason the collage girl falls in love with the younger Yakuza member and both have no arc to speak of. The rebel leader is a meat head with out any personality beyond bruiser. The TV reporter love interest is a bland damsel for most of it before gaining some guts to try and save her man. Even then all she does is drive the car, the boys who just completed their growth do the leg work.

Oddly enough I do enjoy the main character somewhat. Yeah he's a very simplistic mouth piece for the author but he's a little likable. His single mindedness  is admirable in a stupid way however he still punches anyone who doesn't agree with his way completely. He gets the most characterization but is still playing the thug with a heart of gold archetype. So he's fairly balanced in a weird way.

Now that I've done yapping about themes and characters I do want to mention a minor thing that bugs  me. The very beginning has it seem like this world is some sort of illusion or test  but never really addresses it after it happens. No one talks about trying to get home or wondering what the hell the crypt keeper was. They just sort of go along with it and start a revolution. Which is weird because this was a one shot so having them being sent back after learning what they needed to learn would have wrapped up nicely. Instead it's just a vaguely heroic declaration to reclaim the land. Maybe they meant to go further but weren't able to. 

So the story and characters are heavy handed and weak respectively but that's just one part of this super star tag team. What about Miura's contributions, well good news the art is great. First thing to realize that unlike Buroson who had quite few works under his belt before Japan, Miura did not. This came out in 1992 about 3 years after Berserk had started so the art is very reminiscent of the Golden Age arc. His designs do bleed though here and that works for the most part. The main leads look like Guts and Caska expies ,if Guts decided to ingest a fridge. Every one else looks like his standard  character designs and the landscapes are bleak. The man knows how to make things look like nasty places and it shows.It's typical Miura,which is fine just no real stand out designs or landscapes. 

In summary: poor story,poor characters,great art. Sadly great art can not save this mess and it's defiantly a pass. As always criticisms and death threats are welcome.

Next time: Slayers Premium(maybe)

Things No One Cares About: Berserk II: The Capture of Doldrey

Originally Published: February 10th 2013

Well I'm back and like it or not I'm reviewing things no one cares about and like it or not I'm talking about Berserk again. Luckily we're still in the Golden Age arc,unluckily it's another Berserk movie. However Studio 4° C being made up of people with hopefully functioning ears(if not very capable sign language experts) listened/saw when people told them that the first movie was a travesty. Unfortunately some of the criticisms went in one ear and out the other and then they made this film with what was left.

I guess I should actually say what I'm reviewing, in case your like me and just saw Berserk and said screw reading the rest of the title. This time it's the sequel to The Egg of the King(Egg for short), The Capture of Doldrey. This movie has a longer running time of 90 minutes and covers the battle leading up to Doldrey and ending with Gut's departure from the Hawks and Griffith's capture. As said above this movie is an improvement to Egg but it's still left with a bit of egg on it's face(make sure to tip your waitress). So enough pussy footing around let's do some reviewing.

The plot is actually much tighter this time with that extra twenty or so minutes it has to fill so there is a better sense flow. They spend a little more time building up Guts' and Casca's relationship,which is nice as it is a focal point of the arc. However they still manage to screw that up by having the section where Guts and Casca await rescue be weirdly stilled and shoe horns in Casca's motivation with nary a framing device. Which is somewhat odd considering that the manga handled it in a graceful way. In the end it leaves that part a bit of a jumbled mess before going into the next battle.

As someone who's gone through the Golden Age arc in all in both anime and manga form,the story manages to still be engaging and was actually fun to see unfold. As said a bit earlier that flow makes it easier to watch. However while they learned that skipping around is bad the bug apparently isn't out of the studio's system just yet.

How they cut things is like a crescendo,with my voice following its example. First they forget a minor thing or two like the Adon Coborlwitz's brother,eh not a big deal. The scene he's missing from really doesn't have to have him and he was one off cannon fodder anyway. Then they cut Zodd out of the titular conflict, again not too big a deal as all we're deprived of is a character moment for Zodd. Guts is still bad ass just not with the extra amount of bad ass that Zodd's weapon gave us. Then they decide to cut out the Flaming Tombstone chapters which without spoiling things are fairly important. Seeing as it is a bit of the last straw for Guts and further cements just how terrible Griffith can be. Instead they decide to cut straight to Guts leaving the Hawks, which to me would have been a great way to end the movie. Instead we're treated to Griffith taunting the king with a plot point that doesn't really come into play till a little later and the creepy as hell dungeon master. Again not an awful ending it's just that part feels so sped up that it should have just been saved for the next one.

So the story and characters got a little better, so by that logic the art should be better too right. The answer is actually sort of yes. The CGI is still god awful but it's less noticeable and it never gets as bad as Guts' fight with Bazuso in Egg. Plus those jarring art shifts are smoother, more like a squeaky hinge then a air horn signal. The fact that this still remains fully uncensored is really nice as the scenes where the violence gets ramped up does feel visceral. It's most notable during Guts' slaying of 100 men,it's brutal and the art reflects that. Plus the entire section where Casca and Guts are naked is left in without having to worry about increasingly silly ways to cover Casca's chest. So all in all the art department sobered up and we're all the better for it.

Well on to the all important yes/no section of the review,which really shouldn't be that important but hey some people want it and I feel like indulging so here it it:no. I can't really say you should go
out and buy this movie because it's still bad however I won't say treat it like a social outcast. Its an improvement and hopefully by the time the get to the next Arc they'll have figured this out. Till next time,don't die.

As usual comments, criticism and death threats are welcomes

P.S Manga fans should be on the look out for a nice little early bird cameo from some of Guts' future companions. It sort of makes sense I guess.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Things No One Cares About: Berserk: The Egg of The King

Originally published February 3rd 2013

Hi Ulty here, you may remember me from such classic reviews such as Therme Romae and Baki the Grappler, among other. Well I'm back to review thing people may or may not care about and on the stand today is Berserk: Egg of the High King. Sadly though if this movie was on trial it'd be found guilty on a charge of being awful and a few counts of amateur animation.

First a little background,this is the first of a trilogy of movies meant to tell the story of Berserk's Golden Age arc with hopeful attempts to move on to the arcs after that. It covers our main character,Guts, as he meets with the band of Hawks and ends shortly before the battle of Doldrey (I.e the main focus of the second movie). This is where the movie hits it's first major problem.

See what I just described is not the true beginning of the story, it really starts with Guts kicking some ass/world building then starting the big flashback that is the Golden Age arc. So the movie either skips it(in the case of pre flashback events) or hastily explains it( as in Guts' childhood). This trend carries over into the rest of the movie as well. Many minor events that build up the characters and what not are skipped just to rush to the next battle scene. The movie has no sense of pace and feels rushed. It doesn't help that they only had an hour and ten minutes to cover a massive amount of material.

This ties into the next problem,the characters are bad. Without all of the nice character moments to build things up everything just short of happens. Relationships change with little warning and it's jarring . We have no real understanding of the characters and therefore can't get behind them. With no reason to give a shit about them, we can't really care about the narrative either. So in this two legged race both story and character fall flat on their faces at first hurdle.

Okay so maybe the story/characters lost their event to make this a good movie,maybe the animation can win it's event and help at least take home the silver. Well unfortunately, someone put laxatives in it's sports drink and it is just soiling it self all over the course(and with that I've done to metaphors what Guts does to people). What I'm trying to get at is that the CGI is awful. It's like some one was trying to make a PS2 game and then they decided to say screw it and made a movie. There is some better looking animated scenes that only serve to make the others look even worse. To somehow make it even stupider, the changes between the two are clunky enough to give you whiplash. One moment Casca looks fine then the next she's a monstrosity.

Now this is where I saw some nice things about the movie:umm,hold on. Oh yeah, it's mostly uncensored,which is nice because the source material is extremely violent(for a reason). Also Griffith's eyes are still terrifying. Yeah that's about it.

So if you just skipped to here for a simple yes or no, then shame on you go read it then come back down here. My recommendation is skip this garbage and go read the manga or watch the TV series,rage at the ending, then read the manga and enjoy one of the best stories ever written.
Until next time,don't die.
As always comments, criticisms and death threats are always welcome.

Things No One Cares About:Baki the Grappler

Originally published January 9th 2013

Welcome back to Ulty reviews things people don't care about,where I attempt to either make you care about them or hope you stay uncaring. Either way today we're looking at Baki the Grappler's first season. I would comment on the manga which is completed or the second season but I haven't read/watch those so I won't till I do.

Moving on Baki the Grappler is a Shonen fighting show about Baki ,a kid who would creep out Oedipus, and his attempts to become the strongest man in the world by beating the strongest man in the world. Said man happens to be his father,Yujiro, and most of the show is him either fighting things much bigger than him or learning things that never come up again. It has two basic arcs: the first being him training to beat Yujiro and after that fails miserably, a tournament arc. That's enough general details so lets get down to the nitty gritty starting with the characters.

The character design swings between very good and what the hell on one hand there is Baki who pre-timeskip looks like someone put an orange on an up turned love seat but then post time skip Baki grows his hair out,has decent proportions and is fun to look at. The worst offender is Hanayama who looks like this

and is apparently 15...yeah. So  the artist has a love for muscles bordering on the fetishistic, but he usually remember proportions,so it's not too bad.So lets actual start talking about the characters

This is where Baki really falls short,most have very simplistic reasons to fight which all tend to boil down to being strong. A weird thing though is the first half builds up always these side characters as being Baki's timeless friends  then they get dropped in the second half. There not really unlikable but at the same time I never gave a shit about them, The only really decent characters are Baki, his mother,Emi, and Yujiro. They all have very screwed up relationships with each other and the show really does explore them to some extent. It really makes the first half non-fights watchable. They sort of drop it in the second half of the show but by that time the shows turned off the part it's brain that isn't pertaining  to cool fights,so it's not too noticeable. So if the characters are pretty poor then I guess the story will make up for it...well lets talk about it, I guess.

This is where Baki is  mediocre/excellent ,the first half again deals with Baki training to fight Yujiro  by following his father's path interlaced with scenes of others fighting or Yujiro doing some over the top. Like I mentioned above when the show does look into Baki and his parents it does get interesting but other than that it's kind of slow which the show sort of realizes and draws out it's fights(most covering 2-3 episodes).While the 3 big fights are good they just go on for too long. It also has this habit of explaining these fighting concepts(moving unconsciously,endorphin release) which come of as not knowing what they're talking about  and after that fight are never mentioned again. This all culminates in at the halfway point which gives us a massive Wham episode that nicely ends the first half. You can tell the series wants to be serious but every time it tries Yujiro steps in and does something goofy like stopping an earthquake by punching the ground.  So the first half is slow,boring and a bit silly,then what justifies  the word excellent. Well reader let me tell you,it's called tournament arc.

But Allie your saying what's so great about a tournament arc,every fighting show has that. Well it's because this one is where Baki the Grappler gets to just let loose and have fun. The pacing here becomes brisk and exciting. All the fights follow suit,never out staying their welcome and Yujiro isn't in it half the time. The story in here is even more simplistic than the first half: Baki is going to bait his father by winning an underground fighting tournament with really strong people. Then he does just that and it sort of works. Like I just mentioned what makes this part work is that it's just fun fight after fun fight and when there isn't fighting it's talking about fighting. It's so good that it even made the fights with Yujiro fun by giving him an opponent that is more on his level. The fights that Baki has are on his level while still being tense. Plus every fight has a new fighting style which may or may not be based  on an actual style. The downside is that Baki's style or lack there of that is kind of boring as it's never really creative as say Jojo's Bizarre Adventure. It more just has him win through more improbable odds. The only other problem is that it just ends with a little teaser for the second season. It's really abrupt: Baki fights a tough opponent and that's the end , which is okay because it again  teases the next part of the show,but it's sort of a weird way to end things.

So we come down to the final paragraph where I tell you if I think it's worth a look. With Baki it really depends on your opinion of shonen fighting shows, if you dig them then this is the show for you, if your okay with them then you should probably watch this...eventually,and if you aren't a fan of  dudes beating the crap out of each other,then give it a pass.

As usual feedback,comments and death threats are welcome and appreciated.

Things No One Cares About: Thermae Romae

 A small note: This is my main series and what the blog was named for. I try and get one out every Wednesday but no promises. Original release date: January 6th 2013

Welcome to Ulty reviews things no one cares about, where I do just that. Today we talk about Thermae Romae,the anime about bath houses,please hold in your excitement. It aired in January of last year with 3 episodes divided into 5 parts. It chronicles the story of Lucius the hapless roman time traveler and bath house genius. Every part details him some how coming to modern japan via bath and learning about an aspect of their bath houses and implementing back in Rome with bamboo technology.

If it seems like I glossed over the time travel,it's because while this show loves it self some bath houses the time travel takes the MST3K mantra: It's a show so you should really just relax. The show really embraces this, it's silly and fun while being educational. The characters are sparse: there is our main guy Lucius the bath house architect,some Japanese guys that teach Lucian about bath houses,and Lucius's clients and that's about it. That being said Lucius is a likable guy and all the Romans are portrayed as a little over the top while the Japaneses guys are really friendly and don't seem to mind the random hulking blond in their midst. These little forays help Lucius find relevance again in a Rome that wants new and novel. He gives them just that through again weird tech that probably shouldn't exist but at the same time seems fairly plausible. So in a sense Lucius grows but is still a big lovable guy who really digs bath houses. The shows history on Rome is fairly solid and if you wanted to learn about bath houses then this is the place to do so.

The art is 2-D and the characters are almost like paper cut-outs. Very good looking paper cut-outs but still paper cut-outs. It's almost like a good quality version of High Score which came out around the same time. All the Japanese men look like your typical Japanese men. However it doesn't come off as malicious stereotyping(they look normal) but more as a very sharp contrast to your typical idea of the chiseled roman man. It's very fun to look at and the backgrounds are pretty too.

So it has nice art,fun characters and solid history, the question remains is it worth it? To which I'd say yes, because in addition to the above merits, it's very funny .It doesn't have any stand out jokes that I can remember but watching it will give you a chuckle or two. This show is just fun and you can tell those involved had fun making it. Go check it out.

Arc Words: The Black Swordsman

A small foreword on this:  This is Arc words and don't expect to see these that often. If I stole any thing from Berserk,it'd be the schedule slip. Originally published:October 5th 2012
Arc Words is a  series I'm working on where I examine manga / anime arc by arc and evaluate how it aids the work as a whole. I factor in many unfactorable elements but the big three I use are: characters,story,and enjoyment. These make up, to me at least ,what makes an arc good, bad,or mediocre . Art factors in but not as much though and will be mentioned in the other parts of this review .Note that this will contain spoilers not only for the arc I'm picking at but occasionally the work as a whole. I'll try to mark spoilers with a big bold Spoiler,so be on the watch.Also feel free to point out if I mispell/use story terms.

The first arc on my metaphorical plate is The Black Swordsman arc of Berserk if you couldn't have guessed from the thread title. This arc is oft overlooked when it comes to animation. The first part is only animated in the 1997 TV series and the Guardians of Desire chapters has never been brought to the screen .Which is sad because this is probably the most important arc in the context of building the narrative second only to The Golden Age arc(the part where Berserk gets finger quotes: Good). Here a few major players are brought in and everything we need to know about the world is established.

I'll start with our characters:first up is Guts,our "Hero". Yes Guts is fairly flat at this point of the story but the story provides us with enough info to make him interesting enough to want to see more of. He comes off as a complete jerk for most of the arc. However we are shown some moments of compassion beneath this facade. He rescues Puck,he attempts to keep the priest and his daughter out of danger and his speech to Theresa at the end of the arc is genuine and an echo of his own life. It's established that the Snake baron is very strong and because Guts defeats him we see that Guts is very strong. There are numerous references to his sword being nothing but a slab of iron and Apostles fear his title,Black Swordsman. It intrigues the reader to want to know how this man became this strong and what his problems are. Which dovetails nicely into the Golden Age arc that essentially answers those questions. Remember this sentence you could call it this reviews Arc Words(Make sure to tip your waitress).

Our second protagonist is Puck the elf and we get a good feel for his character that he's memorable enough to forget we're not going to see him for the better part of 12 volumes. He's stupidly noble,naive and a tenuous bastard not unlike his companion Guts. For this part of the story he serves two purposes: being Guts' morality pet and the reader's gateway to the story. His role as the straight man allows the concepts that need explaining to be explained without feeling tacked on. It allows the reader a view of this world with out pandering. This is critical because it allows the next couple of arcs to focus on character development with out having to worry about the reader being confused.

The other characters will be brought up as they relate to the story but I'll give special mention to Griffith right here and now. He is set up as the villain and as Puck says" What happened between these two?" makes the reader want to know as well. This combined with the little glimpse we get of him, which dovetails nicely into Golden Age arc which answers those questions(told you that sentence would pop up again).
Moving down to the story and the meat of this arcs importance:World building. This story effortlessly brings up just about every major concept the series has. The first two chapters establish three things: What a Apostle is, what the Brand does and the kind of world Berserk takes place in.

Our first look at this world is dark, lawless and ugly. How do we know this asides form liberal uses of dark colors and shading,though that does help. It's the The Snake Baron,who has no claim to his title asides from brute strength(which he has plenty off). He's taken over the town and people live in fear of him. It shows that the central government is weak and ineffective or as we later see sick and twisted. That concept will be cemented in the next arc but for now we have the groundwork. The mayor of the town cow tows to him because he knows that he has no support from the outside. Him and by extension these towns are isolated from each other in this cold nasty world. The technology present and the methods of execution shown later let the reader know we are in the dung/dark ages .It allows us to safely insert things we know about this age and make the world even nastier then it already is.

The second thing is showing what an a Apostle is. Guts used the term to describe the Baron and the subsequent battle shows us the basic things that describe an Apostle. One,They are very strong,two you need to go all out when killing them and three they are monster. By having Guts fight him,it reenforces the notion that Guts is powerful. This is all woven in to a cohesive narrative that lays a nice outline for these concepts.

As we transition into the Guardians of Desire chapters and even during the previous chapters,the Brand is brought into the story by first showing the Brand bleeding and nasty creatures being drawn to it. It shows that it is some how a conduit for them. As Guts travels with the priest and his daughter,the creatures attack at night again as the Brand bleeds. This brings up the two thing we know about the Brand and reenforces them. it bleeds when these creatures are near and it that it gets particularly bad at night. This allows the story to not have to explain the Brand later on and lets us know,it's bad news.
The Guardians of Desire chapters take the concept of the Apostle further and serves as a precursor to Griffith's own fall by showing the reader the kind of person who would become an Apostle. It also puts some other concepts on the table.

The Count is shown to be a merciless man who hunts Pagans and rules with an Iron fist. Calling back to The Baron who also rules under a similar power= authority method.. Though here the church's power is shown as the simple accusation of being a Pagan is enough for death. It validates the ideas that the reader could probably gain about the setting and further cements the Dung Ages time period with the presence of the Church Which sets the mood for when the Knights of the Holy Chain show up in Conviction.
This is also the point in the story that does show Guts' cunning and endurance through his fighting style of the sword and his hidden arm cannon. He keeps the latter a secret to pull a fast one on the enemy and deal major damage. The other quality it brings to the table is Guts' role as a struggler. A theme that is brought up again and again in the story. His fighting style banks on insane maneuvers that have a high potential for failure that reenforces this struggling mentality he has. Every fight is a fight for his life and it shows that he loves that kind of thing.


Near the end of this is where the whole creation of an apostle is done. It first shows that a Behelit is needed. Th concept of the Behleit is introduced nicely by Puck being understandably ignorant . Doing this means we don't have to worry about explaining it later in the Golden Age Arc . So like the Brand we only have to see it to know it's bad news. Secondly a Sacrifice has to be made and it can't be just anyone but someone you love. Humanity has to be lost to become an Apostle. This is where the Count becomes a tragic figure and redeems himself to me. It shows that he was betrayed by the woman he loved with the very pagans he hated. In his rage and sorrow he sacrifices her to the God hand,thus becoming the monstrosity he is. It's fairly heartbreaking and even more so when he refuses to sacrifice Theresa. This is where the Count makes it right so to speak by owning up to his sins and going to hell.It shows that even those who are righteous are still human and can fall. Again a nice parallel for Griffith's fall later This section also brings up the God hand and Griffith's entrance into the story to provide the above mentioned story hook and to make things easier to identify near the end of the next arc. This whole end also serves to further reiterate that the Brand and these creatures are connected.


The final part of this story is Theresa threatening to kill Guts and Guts crying as he seems to be reminded of his past and reflection on what he's been doing before leaving and going into the Golden Age Arc.
The final part of this review/dissection is enjoyment. This being a purely subjective thing,feel free to disagree all you want. This section is really enjoyable because it weaves every aforementioned concept into a cohesive narrative with interesting/tragic characters The doctor from the Guardians of Desire part, is a great mirror for what Guts sees himself as and adds even more to Guts as a character. The two big fights with The Baron and The Count are visceral gore fests that Berserk would come to be famous for. Even the minor fights are well done.It's just fun to look and read about. Guts comes across as likable without being snarky and is a joy to watch fight.

To wrap it up,while I'll admit most of these concepts are fully realized till later but this Arc plants them into the story flawlessly.when I hit up the Golden Age Arc I'll go into more detail about some other material from this part.So yeah,if you aren't reading Berserk yet ,go change that now. The volumes are easy to find so go out and buy them like now .

ARC RATING: 4 out 5
Next Time: The Golden Age Arc Part 1

What's this all about

I started this blog to first post reviews and second boost my ego. What sets me apart from any other reviewer? No idea,but if your a fan of anime,poor editing and accidental insight then stick around and maybe you'll get a laugh.

Some ground rules for me and for you

For me: I'll really review anything if it strikes my fancy
For you: Don't be a dick.

Everyone got that, good moving on. I will gladly take requests for anything but don't spam me. I'll just ignore you harder.All reviews were originally on the Escapist and are still there,new reviews are posted both here and there on the same date for those who care.
The first few posts are going to be reposts of earlier reviews but I promise something new by the end of this week. So thanks for reading and hope you enjoy.