It’s the penultimate #TheJCS (part 5)

Today, you’re getting Day 8 and Day 9 of #TheJCS. I divided it up this way in the hopes that more people will see more posts. I hope that you enjoy my introductions as well.

Day 8

So I started posting The JCS on the blog yesterday, and as I was doing that, I forgot that on the second day I made a comment about thinking about doing something really weird. When I was considering it, I thought about maybe trying to turn these intro sections into some sort of diary of the apocalypse, or tracing my eventual descent into anime madness.

You might be wondering why I didn’t do that. Well, it’s for three reasons really.

The first is that I would mostly be trading in tropes of the madman tortured by floating images of moe girls and being chastised by Chirico Cuvie. While it might be entertaining in the short term, it’s not a joke that would carry past a couple of days.

As someone who is never afraid to let a joke go unbeaten like a dead horse, that is hardly the main reason I didn’t do it.

The second reason is that it would breed confusion. Inevitably, the people would wonder why I’m talking about the Before Times and having to hunt rats for food as I’m discussing their posts. I don’t expect people to read more than one or two of these, so that seemed like a non-starter.

This played some factor in my decision. I like clarity even if it’s boring.

The third reason was really the one that sold it to me though. It wasn’t fair. I always knew that I was going to work in semi-chronological order of when people submitted. This means the people I know the least well would likely be going last. It seemed horribly unfair to stick them with my bad jokes when the people at the top of my list weren’t going to be.

Maybe next year.

OK. That is enough navel-gazing, let’s talk about some posts.

So I’ve been wanting to talk about Fred’s post about How Not to Summon a Demon Lord since he added it to TheJCS post.

One of my biggest failings is that I don’t like to watch things that I don’t think I’m going to like. I have no desire to challenge myself. I don’t care how many people say it’s good, I’m never watching Breaking Bad or The Sopranos or the rest of Game of Thrones.

So when others do that, I’m happy.

This is why I’m glad that Fred has watched this demon lord anime, so that I don’t have to.

I’m not really interested in harem shows unless it involves sad girls in the snow (and then only sometimes) or if it is Toradora or Higurashi (and it’s only sort of a harem show.) I find that kind of pandering male fantasy bothersome. I want characters struggling to understand each other. I want pathos and character growth.

I want some goddamn josei in my harem show. Give me more Honey and Clover.

I always appreciate that Keni comes up with interesting questions like Is Watching Anime Childish? I saw that Aria took a crack at this question as well.

Please go read Keni’s post before reading my response here, because I think it’s worth seeing what other people think. His underlying message is beautiful.

I think we need to be careful to not conflate simple with childish. Most anime are simple stories. There is a good guy who needs to defeat a bad guy or horrible things will happen. This may sound reductionist, but I think that basic plot can be applied to most adventure stories.

Indiana Jones needs to defeat the Nazi’s by finding the Arc of the Covenant or else they will have access to a weapon that could destroy the Earth. Luke Skywalker needs to rescue Princess Leia so she can get the Death Star plans to the rebels to prevent the Empire from winning.

These are both simple stories. It’s very clear who is good and who is bad. When there is a shade of gray in there, it’s often to redeem a character.

These aren’t challenging stories, but that is OK. I don’t think simple means childish though, or at least, I think a story needs to have more than just being simplistic to be childish.

But maybe I’m wrong, and everything I enjoy is childish.

There are two types of cover songs. There are covers that try to recreate the original faithfully. They can range from decent to bad, but they’re never better than the original. Even Weezer’s version of Toto’s Africa, which is amazingly close, is just like listing to Toto’s Africa.

It feels like a waste of an effort.

On the other hand, I love covers that take the original and put it into a different genre. There is a bluegrass version of Thunderstruck that I love, or the jazz version of Eminem’s Lose Yourself.

That is why I like AMVs. When they’re done well, they recontextualize the show and the song. Sometimes they use the anime to tell the story of the song, and sometimes they use the song to tell the story of the anime. And occasionally they just make something that is completely disconnected from either.

I like tfwanime’s AMV using Fire Force and Robin Hustin’s song Feelings. It’s definitely fun and you should watch it.

From cover songs to the ultimate original of all time — Alice in Wonderland.

Here it comes, I have not seen Kyousougiga. I mean looks wonderful. Even though I’m not a fan of most isekai, I’m willing to give this one a try. The folks over at Galvanic put together a nice video about how the ties of family bound the main characters.

I have to give kudos to the person who wrote the script and edited the video. Well done guys. And the two actors were wonderful.

But I really want to talk about Alice in Wonderland for a little bit because I think we often forget just how weird that story is. The Queen of Hearts is really just a small part of it, and so is the Red Queen and the Catepillar, etc.

I want more isekai like that. Give me more Spirited Away and less truck-kun please.

So let’s finish up with talking about something I really enjoy talking about — difficulty settings.

How’s that for a motorized scooter?

Anyway, Frostilyte put together an interesting idea about how to make games more accessible to more people. Make different aspects of games have different difficulty sliders. In particular, he was talking about The Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

Though, I can’t imagine playing any of those games without the paint. I would be so lost. I love all of the remake games, but I wouldn’t say I’m good at them.

That said, it lets me talk about my favorite difficulty setting which comes from Morrowind. In there you set a percentage of how difficult you want the enemies to be. I usually set it on 20 percent below median and it’s just challenging enough for me.

Having a slider control conversation difficulty would be interesting, but I have a feeling if a dev was going to put all of that work in, they would just make it apply to everything.

Day 9

Well I’m in the home stretch now. What’s funny is that everyone who is reading this is seeing it over the course of a few days, and I’ve been working on it for more than a week.

It doesn’t help when I’ve had an exhausting day.

Like an emotionally draining day where I wonder if I did the right things, and how much pain and suffering have I caused by doing what I’ve done.

These are the days when I don’t want to write about anime blogs. These are the days when I just want to find a way to hide away from the world and pretend that it doesn’t exist.

Being an introvert in an extrovert’s world is just too much sometimes.

But responsibilities being what they are, let’s forge ahead.

Let’s start with Lynn Sheridan talking about Princess Connect Re:Dive.

Isn’t this the show about … Yes. It’s about the food eating guild. I still love the idea of this show, even if I haven’t watched it. I think Lynn does a good job of selling it.

It looks like there is a little more fighting and a little less eating than I thought there would be. I’m still OK with that. I don’t really have anything substantive to add because I haven’t watched the show.

What I do want to talk about is that if you get the characters right, then you can do anything, which is his takeaway. (Or at least part of it.) On the one hand I agree. If you have compelling and charming characters who drive the plot forward, you are more likely to have a successful show.

Especially if those characters have dynamic relationships that smack of authenticity.

But I wonder where that is broken but you still have a good show. Arguably, a show like Girls’ Last Tour has very subdued characters that don’t change much. Large sections of the plot happen to them, and when they drive it, the stakes tend to be relatively low.

What limitations does that make? Is that still a good show?

Anyways, let’s move on.

On to talking about manga.

So I Read a Manga over on YouTube put together a collaboration video about the manga they’ve picked up over the summer.

I have to admit that while I do watch anime (nominally), I don’t read a lot of manga. I do have the first volume of Claymore somewhere around here and I read through the first volume of Yona, I find that I only have so much time for entertainment in a day.

Maybe on the day when I strike it rich and am able to live a life of leisure.

That said, the cover of JoJo’s is just beautiful. I love it. I love it lots.

So let’s talk about A Certain Scientific Railgun.

Or in this case, Railgun T.

In my younger days, I must have been very naive. See when I watched A Certain Magical Index, I never thought it would explode into a multi-series franchise that has spanned more than a decade.

Though I can say, that even back then the railgun character was probably my least favorite. Granted this was 10 years ago, so my opinion might have changed if I watched it now.

I do like seeing people who are fans of series as they engage in a new installment of it, and that is what the appropriately named Railgunfan 75 has done. It’s like reading a fan’s letter to a series that they really like.

It’s almost enough to get me to watch A Certain Scientific Railgun.

Get in the Mecha Shinji.

OK. I said it. Now, I’m going to talk about the lovely Get in the Mecha podcast and their discussion of the role of animation in creating characters.

Good, well-planned animation is often the difference between a mediocre show and a great show. It’s one of the reasons why Evangelion works. I always go back to episode four where we see Shinji staring at the floor as people appear and disappear around him.

It conveys a sense of his loneliness and isolation without ever needing to have dialogue.

Now, I’ll be the first one to talk about how well-crafted dialogue can change the meaning of a show, but powerful moments played quietly are often just a powerful.

Just get in the mecha.

OK. Now time for about how 2020 is a disaster

COVID-19 has made for strange times for us all. What is strange is that it’s turned me from someone who doesn’t like to leave the house into someone who doesn’t leave the house.

Well unless I need to, but that is pretty rare.

That’s why I don’t really relate to Later Level’s talk about Lockdown Gaming. I mean I do, because I’ve also had burnout when I play a game or watch a show for 13 hours straight and I hate myself for staying up until the sun was just cresting the horizon.

But I can follow the same pattern of get up, take a shower, go to work, play games and go to bed for months.

It’s probably not good for me, but I like it.

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