Iron-Blooded Orphans – Episode 1



Episode I – Get in the Fucking Robot

  • 15 seconds of logos.
  • PP 3/5. Man, they don’t waste time with the inane foreshadowing.
  • Oh great, they’re kids. Because no Gundam series could ever deal with adults and be successful.
    • Oh good, they’re not kids. They’re teens instead. Who…somehow have the voices and bodies of adults. Or something.
  • “Slacking off” apparently means “sleeping” in their language.
  • Why does he have a Japanese name in the future? I mean, really? What are the odds of that, considering he has WHITE FUCKING HAIR?
  • “Maruba” (another inexplicably Japanese name) is the “president”. Ooookay…
  • Oh look, it’s a Gundam. Ten bucks says one of these two will be piloting it in less than thirty minutes.
    • Money. It’s a gas.
  • If the engine room is “top secret”, you should probably keep it guarded instead of unlocked and easily penetrated by two truants.
    • One minute into the series and these people are idiots.
  • We’ll give the Gundam one extra scene. Gundams always need more screentime so the kids will buy our shit–I mean, because they’re very important to the story.
  • And we’re on a terra-formed Mars. I seeeee.
  • Of course the representative has a daughter and needs escorts for her trip to Earth…as if she has any sort of diplomatic experience or authority.
    • Gee, I wonder who those escorts are going to be. HMMMMMMMM.
  • “The Third Group” looks like the most unprofessional group of whatever-the-fuck-they-are on the planet. They’re wearing green and orange uniforms. Green and orange.
    • Not one of them is gay. Calling it right now.
  • “Kudelia Aina Bernstein.”
    • Pbbbbth ha ha ha ha ha. Did they pick three random English words out of a name dictionary and smash them together? Pbbbbbbtttttth.
      • As required by the Diet of Japan, the voice actor paused for 0.68 seconds to say that weird “English” name.
  • “Biscuit.” Oh, he’s chubby. That’s why they named him biscuit. How cute.
  • So “Kudelia’s” mission just happens to be a cosmopolitical fulcrum that, should something untoward happen to it, might trigger a war or open conflict. HMMMMMMMMMMMMM.
    • Sunrise, you might want to try a different plot. I’m pretty sure there are a few dozen others ones you can work with. Just go take a writing class and stop being lazy.
  • “Kudelia” picked these guys. Since when does she have a say in her military escort? Is she a soldier? Does she know anything about that? Does the President of the United States handpick his Secret Service escorts every day? No.
    • (Latin American diversity quota: check.)
      •  I’ll call him Lupin IV. He looks vaguely like him.
        • Yeah, way to go, Lupin IV: talk down to them and treat them like shit for no goddamn reason. That’ll help.
    • HOLY SHIT.
  • Wait…why are they not wearing shirts while piloting these? Um…okay.
    • I mean, I don’t mind per se. It’s just incredibly fucking stupid.
  • “Mikazuki Augus”. That is not his fucking name.
    • Like, seriously, what are the odds this random guy is Japanese?
    • Real sympathetic, Martians. I so want to root for you now.
  • Racist caricature of a Caucasian man. His jaw is crooked and his cheeks are shaped in the form of evil.
    • For great justice, Nippon. Except to anyone who doesn’t look like us.
  • “CGS”. Why do they all have these uniforms and these teenagers have none?
  • Blonde guy questions the idiocy of this entire plan to escort “Kudelia”.
    • Oh, nice job on translating “お嬢様” as “Young Miss”, you lazy subbers. As if any person speaking a language other than Japanese would say it like that.
      • They’d call her by her actual name. Be creative for once.
  • Biscuit is eating happily. It’s funny. Because he’s fat.
  • Takaki, the guy who does not look at all like someone of Japanese lineage, has a Japanese surname. Why?
    • Ethnocentrism, 123! It’s bad for you, but good for me!
  • The Blonde Guy is now spouting off exposition in order to kill time. Nobody gives a goddamn shit, you asshole.
  • Uh, “Kudelia”, I don’t think picking a squad of greasers to escort you to another planet was the best idea you’ve had in your short life.
  • “Eugene.” At least he looks like he could be “Eugene”, not fucking Takaki over there who looks like he was born in fucking Connecticut.
  • Mikazuki nearly rips this poor guy’s ear off. So sympathetic.
  • “Akihiro,” the first person with a Japanese surname who actually looks like he could kinda sorta be Japanese.
    • …progress? I guess?
  • Oh God. “Kudelia” calls her mother “お母さま”. Why. WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY.
    • Bitch is a stuck-up ho. Because that’s the only way a woman can be competent.
      • Equality is for LOSERS.
  • Why does her mother call her by her middle name “Aina” and sound like every other old Japanese mother in every anime ever? Sunrise is really pulling out all the cliches in this one.
    • Oh, and she’s so softspoken and ladylike and drinking tea. The perfect stereotype of a perfect noblewoman.
      • Fuck you, Japan.
  • “お父様”.
    • Fuck you, “Kudelia”.
    • Fuck you, “Mom”.
      • Also, why is your father giving you such an important task as this? It seems, I dunno, batshit insane.
        • Also also, how many gallons of hair spray do you go through a day, you little twerp?
  • This poor maid is probably like “Bitch, I have to change your shit-damp sheets every day. I don’t want to hear about your First World Problems.”
  • “I want to see and feel the truth.”
    • This is the extent of “Kudelia’s” character. There is a 10^-billion chance she’ll be developed any further.
  • “I chose these child soldiers to escort me because they weren’t born under Earth Rule.”
    • I will also ignore they’re child soldiers and that using them is morally reprehensible on its face.
      • I, “Kudelia”, am the best mediator in the universe.
  • “I have to interact with such people to learn what the real problems of Mars are like.”
    • As opposed to reading about it and educating yourself beforehand through far safer means at far more appropriate times.
      • If you’re planning to represent your entire planet, you might want to have done a little homework in advance before the day you set out.
  • “Norman Bernstein.”
    • He lives in a split-level tree.
      • Hee hee, the Japanese have no idea.
        • Oh, of course he’s craven and weak-willed. Like all Japanese fathers.
  • “Sir Coral.”
    • Is an evil asshole.
      • Yellow and silver uniforms. Not a single person drawing this show is gay.
  • Orlis is also an evil asshole. He has that lovely Caucasian face that looks like it just went through an industrial blender.
  • Ein is an insecure n00bie. He’ll probably panic.
  • So many proper nouns we can’t pronounce, so little time! Woo hoo hoo hoo!
  • In order to properly set everything up in an anime, the first line out of a character’s mouth must include another character’s name.
  • “Gaelio.”
    • He needs a buff, Riot.
      • What nationality has purple hair?
  • “McGillis.”
    • Is also an evil asshole who waxes philosophical at every opportunity.
  • “The economy of Earth depends on Mars.”
    • Which is used up.
      • Somehow.
        • Lazy cosmopolitical setup is laaaaaaazy and stupid.
  • “Gjallarhorn.” Who comes up with this shit?
    • In case you didn’t notice, the Japanese are addicted to weird-ass foreign proper nouns. It’s like crack for them.
      • Their uniforms are only 600 years out of date. No one dresses with capes anymore, you retards.
  • For forced labor conditions, those cots are absurdly roomy.
  • Gay chin-up contest is gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.
  • It takes 5 months to go from Earth and back. And Earth plans on enforcing its will on Mars…how exactly? That’s a longer time than it took to go from Great Britain to America.
  • I have no idea whom Orga (Olga?) is talking to.
    • “Whiskers”? The fuck is going on? What are these people talking about?
  • “Man-Machine Interface, the Alaya-Vijnana System”.
    • That one alone cost them 100 trillion yen.
  • Oh, Olga is the kinda of guy with the will to overcome incredible pain without anesthetics. I’m pretty sure that’s not how biology works on any planet.
  • Please let Mikazuki and Orga be lovers. That would be fun.
  • “AFEWA” is the name of a popular Mars department store.
    • That, or the animators threw in the towel two minutes into drawing this scene.
  • What a very timely mass protest.
    • Complete with girls in swimsuits. Oh, Japan. You never change.
  • Wait. I guess it’s actually “Safeway”. Huh. Well, they got me there.
  • Enough about peaceful protesting. Time to go to the slums.
  • “Haba’s Store”. Prime cacti for sale.
    • Wait, so…who are these people?
      • One thing’s for sure: the black lady is definitely not a protagonist.
        • The white chick has red eyes. You know who’s the protagonist. Don’t try to deny it.
  • They stand with their feet apart when going to “attention”. Yeah, these are real soldiers. Totally.
    • And they show up in work uniforms as opposed to any sort of service dress. Mmmm, Okay.
  • Awkward greeting with “Kudelia” is awkward.
    • The poor guys are probably just trying not to laugh at her retarded name.
  • Of course she takes an inexplicable interest in Augus. We could never be original.
    • Fumitan (her maid) is like: “Bitch is on the prowl.”
    • And of course she’s now attracted to him because he was basically considerate.
      • Fumitan: “Bitch is a virgin.”
  • Sunrise still thinks it’s really insightful to have everyone pontificate about philosophy in their spare moments.
  • The Ahab Reactor is a plot device.
  • “Humans are like that.” I WAS WAITING FOR IT.
  • And all of a sudden there’s a massive armed attack.
  • Fumitan: “I’m not fucking paid enough for this. See ya, bitch.”
  • Augus, of course, is a genius at combat.
  • The leaders, of course, are craven and money-grubbing.
    • Every non-protagonist looks like a savage white devil. It’s so comical.
  • “Kudelia” is hopelessly naive. Because reasons.
    • No one saw *this* coming.
  • “Danji” is a fucking idiot and risks the lives of his squadmates in order to be a hero.
  • “Kudelia” is holding her hands together in a typical pose of womanly helplessness.
  • About time for the Mobile Suits to show up.
  • Orlis is a sociopath.
  • Nobody thinks to, like, shoot at their legs. Or something.
  • Yawn. Augus comes to save the day in a fancy Gundam.
  • Orlis is dead.
  • Look at all that katakana in the credits. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.
  • The English in this song is complete gibberish.

Keep avoiding risks and repeating the same tropes, Sunrise. At least it’ll get you into Purgatory.

The Avengers: Age of…ugh…

Spoilers, idiots.

I think it’s safe to say a solid fraction of the American Empire went and saw the Avengers: Age of Ultron last night. In retrospect, this might have been a bad idea in light of how crowded movie theaters tend to be, yet I don’t think this dampened or interfered with my experience overall. I can tune other people out just fine. What I couldn’t tune out was the movie, which by about halfway through, I honestly was trying to do. I’d say this movie has plainly exposed the cracks and fissures in the Marvel Universe and how it is likely to fall apart at the seams. Not only did I have to sit through three or four identical trailers for some other superhero movies that did not interest me whatsoever (yes, that includes Jurassic World), but I had to sit through a two-hour-long trailer for another five years of this shit. God.

No one will *ever* get tired of this.

Gee, I wonder if the Avengers will win.

If you had to ask me, I’d wager Joss Whedon probably got more a lot more creative freedom on this movie than he had on the first Avengers. Since the vomit-inducing disaster that was Dollhouse, I thought humanity had learned not to let Joss Whedon run amok in a studio unsupervised. I guess not. Whedon, much like his partner-in-crime J. J. Abrams, has some really great ideas and a unique style that can make a movie unforgettable if applied intelligently, but much like their mentor, George Lucas, they need adults to keep their darker impulses in line and remind them what a good movie actually looks like. That did not happen this time around. The result is a two-hour-long mess of endless, boring action scenes, half-hearted character development, an almost comical villain, disjointed themes, horrible philosophy, and an ending that makes you unsure if anything of substance really happened when all was said and done, triggering a neverending cycle of existential angst.

Let me address a complaint/apology I’ve already heard from people about AoU: “you had to follow Agents of SHIELD and the Winter Soldier to really get it.” Okay, 1) that’s a really shitty way of handling your franchise’s universe, and 2) no, you didn’t. I had enough knowledge on the EHMAZING plot twists and developments that I knew vaguely that Hydra was Shield (somehow) and that Hydra are the bad guys. That’s really all I needed to know. I didn’t feel like I was lacking too much on the backstory, to be honest. Sure, the movie opens in some stupidly-named fake city in Eastern Europe (as opposed to the many real cities in Eastern Europe with amazing scenery and rich histories they could have easily made use of) with the Avengers beating up some Hydra guys whom I’ve never seen before and couldn’t care less about. They also don’t speak Russian/Serbian/Ukrainian/Whatever despite being obviously Slavic and surrounded by Slavic people, but none of that mattered because I knew what Loki’s scepter was and how valuable it could be. Past that, any information about Hydra and whatever didn’t seem to be and didn’t turn out to be anything important. The movie’s plot was decently contained to its own scenes, so I don’t hold this against it. I have the whole rest of the movie to do that.

And it will be glorious.

And it will be glorious.

So, surprise, they get the scepter and clean out the Hydra base. Here the movie starts to break down, specifically the scene where Scarlet Witch messes with Stark’s mind. Not only was it very poorly done in terms of cinematography, but the movie had no sense of what kind of thematic continuity it wanted to achieve. After watching this scene, I assumed the movie would be a little more psychological and focus on the Avengers’ deepest fears and weaknesses. Buuuut nope. The movie had one scene in Stark’s head and that was it. There was no follow-up, i.e., no thematic bridge. This is not trivial; it was the crippling flaw of the whole film. It’s especially relevant afterward: while all the We-Can-Build-Ultron-We-Have-The-Technology scenes were happening, I had no idea that Scarlet Witch’s nightmares were influencing Stark. He just seemed totally normal, talking with Banner and making his cutesy-wootsy chit-chat with him. The movie didn’t reinforce or deliver on what it tried to set up, as if it had no idea what it wanted to set up in the first place. A simple way to do this would’ve been to have other flashbacks in Stark’s head while he’s analyzing the Scepter’s data or whatever and have him mutter to himself. Show him sweating or agitated, then maybe have Banner come in and have Stark lightheartedly brush him off or even shoo him away, etc. See what I mean? Instead, post facto I have to be told that his nightmare was what drove him to make a mistake, but even that theme of hubris falls apart immediately, because it’s very clear that Stark had nothing to do with Ultron’s emergence. He was at a fucking party when the whole thing was happening. So instead of feeling angry or betrayed by Stark as a viewer or sympathizing with his humanity, I have no investment in what’s happening period.

Then, since these movies can’t possibly sit still and let things percolate for five seconds, they have to jump to a whole number of subplots and stilted character developments that just seem to come out of nowhere. Let’s take Romanov and Banner’s little romance. Was there ever any sort of hint of attraction between the two characters before suddenly right now? I mean, we didn’t have any real time to get to know these characters in that way since the Avengers came out. My point is that it felt slapped on. Like, with freaking kindergarten glue. Maybe I’m missing something because I’m gay and I don’t find either Romanov or Banner physically attractive, but it just didn’t work for me at all. I was bored during these scenes. If you really want to make a film about character development, then make the film about character development. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. This movie tried and ended up puking on the floor. Another way it did this was during the party scenes: there were people here I had never seen and didn’t care about either. Who’s this guy joking about the tank and the general? Who’s the random Korean lady whose name they said, like, once? Why am I supposed to be laughing? In contrast, one of the best scenes in the film was the post-party scene with them all trying to pick up Thor’s Hammer. This fit well and was done well, not to mention it had a clear thematic connection to the idea of teamwork and camaraderie. Maybe I was being too hard on the movie initially. Maybe things will get better.

Things don't get better.

Things don’t get better.

Buuut Ultron shows up. Sigh, Ultron. What happened to you? Oooh, artificial intelligence is scary, I guess. Seriously, though, Ultron was the least-compelling villain I’ve ever seen in a Marvel film, hampered most by, again, not knowing what he wanted to be. Wasn’t he supposed to this massive machine intelligence that could protect the world on his own? Then why did he just seem like a random, wisecracking asshole without the imposing presence or intellect such a character would naturally have? Then we find out that he’s kinda like Stark for…some…reason, but he hates being compared to Stark for…some…reason. Then he hates humanity for…some…reason. Like, why? Why did he get that way? Why did Stark build a homicidal Hal? Why did anything of this shit happen the way it did? What was his motivation? What did humanity do to Ultron to piss him off so much? What did…geez. Oh, wait, we’re moving on. Ultron’s gotten away with the Scepter, because all these people are useless until they aren’t. Then the cracks start widening into fissures and my eyes gloss over to protect themselves.

What do I mean by that? I mean we have to sit through another ninety minutes of uncompelling action scenes. Who else was bored after the first five minutes of the Avengers tearing robots to shreds? Well, I was bored two minutes into it. Suck on that, nerds. I couldn’t take Ultron’s little minions seriously at any point during the film; they were about as effective as the Trade Federation’s droids. On that note, did anyone notice how all the major flaws in this movie are eerily parallel to that of the Star Wars Prequels? I can’t help but notice this: no thematic consistency, bland characters, a weird plot, a bad villain, an overemphasis on action scenes with cheap enemies that nobody cares about, a stilted, awkward romance, etc. The salt in the wound was how the cinematography was just…bad. Everything was so fast and wildly shot that I couldn’t even enjoy the action because my eyes were barely keeping up with it. It would’ve been nice if I’d had, oh, an extra second here or there to process that cool combo Thor and Captain America did. That would’ve made the movie a bit more fun, and fun was what the movie lacked most of all. What’s that sound? Oh, it’s a million rabid Joss Whedon fans wagging their tongues about how witty their self-styled idol is. A snarky jab here and there does not make a movie fun. I said the lack of thematic continuity was what sunk the film and I meant it: the movie was trying so hard to be “dark” that everything just felt depressing. Everything felt gloomy, morose, and suppressed. Some of that was just the lack of originality in the delivery too, considering they obviously took out a clipboard with “Things we have to have in a Marvel movie” and went right through it. One of the worst was Captain America’s very-not-inspiring speech that we’ve seen a thousand times before. Hey, I have a nice way to subvert that: after having a bunch of thoughtful, psychological character development scenes that end in some sort of painful yet meaningful triumph for the team’s cohesion, have Captain just kinda peter out and go like “Yeah, you know the drill.”

Then the maw of hell opens wide.

Then the maw of hell opens wide.

Nope. Instead, we go to Africa, where we meet the Maksimov twins and learn how not to pronounce Slavic names. It’s MahkSEEmuhf, not MACKsimahf, you ignorant morons. Anyway, Ultron finds a random group of beached container ships somewhere and misses a very obvious opportunity to use a slaveship metaphor. Did nobody else catch this? I mean, there’s a fucking greedy-ass white guy overseeing a bunch of African people working for nothing in a cramped ship with poor lighting. Maybe Ultron might’ve been more compelling had he explained his misanthropy a bit, particularly with such a low-hanging fruit hitting him in the face. Yawn. Ultron wants the McGuffinanium that will do something that we don’t understand but probably don’t need to regardless. As the movie demands, the Avengers show up and fight in this confusing, industrial environment with yet another set of really disjointed scenes that drag on for ten minutes. Then, finally, Scarlet Witch does her thing to all the Avengers and makes them go all crazy in their very pretty heads. This was the most interesting part of the movie and the one I was expecting and anticipating: psychological thriller roles! Yay! Then I was expecting the battle to peter out and the focus would shift over to all the Avenger’s nightmares. I may have been drunk at the time to expect something so natural to proceed from this, because what I got was twenty-ish minutes of typical disaster porn in which somehow nobody dies, which completely ruins the impact of the disaster porn. Another suggestion, Joss: how about you have Iron Man and Hawkeye running around the city trying to gather up the rampaging Avengers spliced in with inner scenes that show what’s tormenting them and driving them to such madness? Instead of wasting so much screentime on a boring fight between the Iron Man and the Hulk, one we know Stark is going to win, how about you cut to Banner waking up from his own nightmare and beholding the devastation he has just unwittingly inflicted upon New New Mombasa? That would make this half-hour, you know, exciting?

We have now reached the obligatory lowpoint of the film with the Avengers, again, running away with their tails between their legs after a defeat. Yawn. Our course this time takes us to…some random house in backwoods Americana, where we meet Hawkeye’s lovely wife and children that the movie took all of four seconds to set up or hint at. Was this ever mentioned in the Winter Soldier or another film I missed? I dunno, nor do I think anyone would’ve remembered anyway. This, again, is the perfect opportunity and environment for some rumination and psychological focus on the Avengers’ inner demons as it affects their teamwork, so of course it doesn’t happen. Thor eschews spending time with the team and building up his relationship with them, opting to go off to shoehorn into the movie a tie-in to the larger Marvel Universe that ended up proving totally unnecessary. Captain America sulks and whines at Stark about how he didn’t tell the team about something he didn’t even know was possible nor could they have possibly understood on a practical level even if he had, so this scene falls on its face. He also wonders why Stark doesn’t want to talk about what happened between them the night before, even though it was the most magical moment ever and Stark was so wonderful and blah blah, ha ha, gay jokes about Stark and Captain’s sexual tension or something. Romanov and Banner note about how their barely-established relationship is practically impossible, which is why no one cares about what they’re saying here. Then Romanov wastes her potential nightmare arc by talking about–not showing–that she was sterilized and thus can’t be a mom, because that’s what all women really want to be, right? Mommies.

Silly women.

Silly women, thinking and all.

This is another rabbit trail I want to talk about, namely the irritating misogyny in these films. Why do all the female characters in this franchise suck? Yon Black Widow doesn’t cut it anymore, particularly after we find out her BIG INNER REGRET is not being able to have children. Really? Not Budapest? Not any of the mental torture she was subjected to as a child? Not being forced to be an assassin that kills people with no normal life? Really. Okay. Also, can we have at least one other female Avenger? Scarlet Witch does not count. She was a B-character with nothing of substance beyond her relationship with her brother, whose death was so weirdly done and so pathetically telegraphed that I was chuckling when the dramatic music started playing. Considering almost no time was devoted to either Scarlet Witch or Quicksilver to begin with, I wouldn’t have cared had I known more about her anyway. We could’ve found out about their backstory in a more creative way than having Quicksilver talk about it in a totally-not-native Slavic accent. I should also note those two characters are idiots, being unable to suspect the towering, red-eyed machine monstrosity that’s talking about “extinction” and “evolution” in such foreboding terms. Eventually Scarlet Witch has to be shown a literal vision of an extinction level event to figure out that Ultron might be a bad guy. Does her English suck that bad? What did she think he wanted to do? Make cupcakes?

After wasting another twenty minutes of time not focusing on the inner troubles of a film that is clearly trying to spin itself around the theme of inner troubles, Mace Windu shows up literally out of nowhere (how did he get to the house? What mode of transportation did he use to get there? Was he waiting there in Hawkeye’s barn for weeks waiting for the Avengers to arrive?) and gives another speech about how the Avengers need to come together, an issue the previous Avengers film had already addressed and resolved. Now it feels tacked on and cliche, because the movie didn’t bother to provide us with the thematic experience it thinks it wants us to absorb. Then the movie just kinda totally forgets about this whole psychothriller aspect and whisks us all off to South Korea to go chase after Whats-her-face (you write such strong female characters, Joss). Ultron is there with the McGuffinanium to build a new body that he clearly doesn’t need but really wants for some reason. This is also ironic, since he babbles on about evolving and how “nothing but metal will be left alive” after his new iteration on Zechs Marquise’s Armageddon Remake–all while lusting after some bullshit mechano-organic hybrid body. The Avengers show up to stop this inexplicable dastardly plan, and the Smirnov twins realize they’ve been working for a monster who looks very much like a monster and has never hidden the fact that he’s a monster. The telegraphed allegiance shift out the way, away we go: time for a truck chase scene through Seoul in which amazing amounts of mayhem and destruction happen, yet nobody dies or even suffers a paper cut. Alas, all bad things must come to an end.

Like all good Stark Trek.

And good Star Trek. Sigh…

Back to the Halls of Justice, which Ultron doesn’t decide to attack even though he knows exactly where Avenger Tower is, has successfully attacked it before, and had a major hard-on for dat body that he immediately loses all interest in. To ensure Joss Whedon doesn’t have to write any more scenes involving women for a while, Black Widow is captured, locked up, then left alone and unmonitored to jury-rig a radio. Like, Ultron doesn’t even torture her or tackle her psychological issues, again missing another obvious opportunity to establish a theme. The Avengers disagree over whether or not to put Jarvis into the magical body of magic. For some reason. Jarvis has, after all, done nothing but serve the Avengers faithfully and even protect the Internet from Ultron without even knowing about it, but apparently everyone is mad at Stark for the thing that was clearly not his fault and doesn’t want to use the obvious weapon they need to give them a critical edge against Ultron, who is trying to make humanity extinct. Who is doing what? Why? Why does everyone hate AI so much? Stuff happens, glass shatters (shattered glass apparently does not cut human skin), and Thor shows up after his cold spa day to force this plot to move forward. Jarvis melds with the magical body and has a really awkward scene where he kinda-sorta-maybe explains who the fuck he is and what his motivations are. Then they mention the Mindstone, which is the dumbest and laziest name for a magical gem ever, rendering Thor’s spa day utterly pointless except for the fact that we got to see him without his shirt on. I dunno. Let’s get this ending sequence over with.

We return to Not-Moldova and find out that Ultron has been building an army of Iron Man suits based off the equipment the Avengers apparently did not bother to clean out or destroy after their successful raid, something which would’ve prevented this scenario from happening. We also find out that Ultron’s grand plan is to induce an extinction-level event by turning Not-Moldova into a comet, which begs the question as to what was the point of the whole rest of the movie. Why didn’t he just do this in the beginning? What purpose did the McGuffinanium serve? What is going on? So the movie cops out and doesn’t make rescuing Romanov a thing. Banner just kinda rescues her awkwardly and then…I dunno. They attack, and they fight the robots, and people scream, and the town lifts off, and Magic-Jarvis barely participates, and Mace Windu shows up with a helicarrier that nobody noticed at all or heard coming even though it’s propelled by giant-ass fans that crush all life on the surface below them, and Scarlet Witch blows things up, and they say witty things, and people kinda-sorta get paper cuts but don’t really die, and Quicksilver dies and nobody cares, and they save the day as expected. So. Fucking. Boring. I was laughing at the big scene where Ultron’s minions were fighting the Avengers while Ultron was just standing there doing, like, absolutely nothing, even though he could’ve just flown in during the confusion, hit the McGuffinthingie, dropped the comet, and won. The movie honestly thought two minutes of confusing action in which the Avengers totally dominate their foe without any struggle would be exciting. Maybe it was exciting for the five-year-olds in the audience, but I was about ready to pass out. Then everything is fine and dandy and that’s somehow supposed to mean something to me.

I'm lying to myself.

Everybody lies.

Finally, to twist the knife in the wound, we have to sit through a scene where the last one Iron Man Suit with Ultron in it talks with Magic-Jarvis so that Joss Whedon can have his chance to spin his quasi-pacifist, semi-misanthropic bullshit. I will pay someone money to go find a cardboard tube and shove it down Whedon’s throat every time he tries to write something that is not cutesy-witty. Joss Whedon, you are not the scion of Socrates. Make up your mind: either humans suck or they don’t. Either humans are worth it or they’re not. Don’t feed me this high-school rhetoric about how “there is grace in their failings” and all this nonsense. It is not convincing. This scene was so awkward and contradictory that I didn’t understand what happened. Nothing Ultron said made sense; nothing Magic-Jarvis said made sense either. So nobody was right or wrong, and I had no idea how to feel. Cut to the end scene where we are apparently exactly where we were at the end of the last Avengers movie, bringing the relentless cycle of existential dread to a close: Thor runs off for another spa-day even though we all know he’s gonna come back, Banner runs off to Fiji even though we all know he’s gonna come back, Stark talks about retiring even though we all know he’s going to come back, and Black Widow and Captain start training more Avengers. Yay. Was that all worth two hours of my time?


No, it wasn’t.

But you know what is?

Video games. Sweet, sweet video games.

Retrocaustic: Code Geass – Episode 3

Code Geass is stupid. But how stupid? Let’s find out together.

Oh. A gun. I thought you'd never ask.

Oh. A gun. I thought you’d never ask.

Episode III – Lelouch Lamperouge’s Day Off

  • It’s this fucking recap again. As predicted.
    • In the face of the Knightmare Frame, Japan lost its marbles and forgot it could shoot bullets at the following established weak spots: the eyes, knees, foot propulsion units, arms, legs, and any other part resembling a human joint.
      • Remember last episode where we learned there have been six previous generations of Knightmare frames…somehow? No way this weapon was a surprise for the Japanese military. Therefore, I submit a formal request to Sunrise to stop lying to us and reveal themselves for the Lizard Overlords they really are.
  • The Knightmares randomly open up their cyclops thingamabobs and scan things or something. Why do they do that? What function does it serve? Do they have no knowledge of the battlefield until they use that? If so, that makes them blind at almost every point on the battlefield.
    • The real answer is that the animators thought it looked cool. Without even thinking about it.
      • This is not necessarily a bad thing:
  • Are we still on this recap we’ve seen twice already? How inattentive do they think their viewers are–oh wait, it’s over.
  • I know it’s a cool shot, but that part of the opening where Zero is standing on a 2-inch-wide pillar randomly located in the ocean isn’t something anyone but the most physically apt human being could do. Lelouch is the exact opposite of that.
  • “The False Classmate.” That’s a very good title, albeit confusing, because all these “high-school students” attend, maybe, two classes out of the year, still get full credit, and don’t miss out on any relevant information that would affect their careers or ability to function in society. So who is it referring to?
    • Fuck literacy. Fuck education. Fuck viable job paths. I CAN PILOT GIANT ROBOTS.
      • It worked out so well for Shinji.
  • Yeah, soldier. You’re smart. What did happen to that POISON GAS that started this whole massacre out of the blue anyway? Where did it go? These are important things to wonder, but life is confusing and disappointing, so don’t expect anything satisfying.
    • Where are the Japanese people? There are no Japanese people in this shot.
      • Real Japanese People:
      •  Japan's Economy Shrinks More Than Forecast After Record Quake
      • Not Japanese People:
      • And now there’s a random French Guy?
        • I’m very confused.
  • Hmm. Prince Clovis has been giving orders that are so out-of-character as to defy belief, and now you realize he’s the only one on the command floor. Hmmm. I have a theory: you need to be fired.
  • Why does Lelouch’s gun have a red lightbulb on it? What does that do? How does it add to the gun’s functionality? It still fires bullets, not lazers. What’s the point of the lightbulb?
  • Clovis tries really hard to pretend to be nice and compassionate after casually ordering the massacre of 40 million people twenty-ish minutes ago.
    • Great plan. I’m sure it’ll work.
  • Hey, um, Lelouch? Why aren’t you calling Clovis out on his rank moral travesty instead of thinking entirely about yourself and your “tragic” childhood that was better off than, oh, 90% of all humanity ever?
    • Our fearless leader, ladies and gentlemen.
      • These guys take forever to talk. By now, competent security forces would have stormed the place and taken Lelouch captive. Thankfully, no such things exist in the Holy Britannia(n) Empire. They have no need of them.
        • Except for, uh, right now.
  • Holy shit. These random terrorists storming the Royal Palace had such an advantageous position they were able to lay strafing fire through all the open windows of the palace? What was everyone else doing? Smoking weed?
    • And how the fuck did Nunnally survive? How did they hit everyone except the small, helpless child being held in her mother’s arms?
  • Clovis, again, it’s not so hard to believe you’d be complicit in the cold-blooded murder of someone. Go back three bullets (hee hee) and see for yourself.
    • One death is a tragedy, but a million is breakfast at Clovis’.
      • His favorite dish is blood crumpets.
  • Sigh. Here is why Lelouch sucks as a character and a messiah figure. Instead of chastising Clovis for ending his short career as Third Prince by trying to one-up Pol Pot, Lelouch makes everything about this massacre and all the events of the past two episodes all about him and his personal vendetta with the Empire. Then instead of thinking about it for five seconds and turning the Third Prince into a reliable source of information or influence within the internal workings of the Empire, Lelouch wastes his trump card a singularly personal question, as if Clovis would know anything about the murder of Lelouch’s mother. What is he basing this hunch on anyway?
    • Surprise, Clovis knows jack-shit. Too bad for that Geass.
      • And then he just straight-up murders the guy. Not that Clovis didn’t deserve it, but that’s the problem: Lelouch didn’t seem to give a shit that Clovis had done all those bad things. Why did he kill him? Just because he didn’t like him? Woo, go Lelouch. I believe in you now.
  • Ashford Academy, home of spoiled Britannimerican children who pay no attention to their royal history and have not already recognized Lelouch Lamperouge as Lelouch vi Britannia.
    • They must all be smoking weed and/or pixie dust.
  • Just to emphasize how fucking spoiled these kids are, we’ll have a creepy horseback riding club member strut his horse right outside the window. Most schools struggle to get a budget for a good music program. How much money does this school have?
  • Wow. So the leader of the Ashford Academy Student Council is a perverted whore. This place is nuts.
  • How big is this fucking school? It makes Versailles look like a run-down hostel.
  • In a world not run by sociopaths, the school would have been evacuated after a supposed incident involving POISON GAS. Fear not: Milly Ashford knows best and checks out girls years younger than her in the school locker room.
  • Gee, Lelouch. Why would the tyrannical World Empire cover up the fact that its Third Prince had been inexplicably murdered in its own backyard?
    • I have a suggestion, Lelouch: go back to your history class at your fancy-ass academy and learn how autocracies tend to operate. Then you won’t ask retarded questions.
  • Uh huh. Lelouch has already been shown to be a sociopathic crazy man. Why is he vomiting over killing Clovis?
  • Jeremiah somehow has the brains to recognize that the mysterious killer of the Third Prince won’t be found by a cursory, superficial investigation, but not the brains to fight inexperienced Japanese rebels using inferior technology.
  • Villetta spins some cockamamie idea of moving up in the world in the wake of Clovis’ untimely demise. Lelouch was 17th in line to the throne. That leaves at least 15 other people who could succeed the Emperor. How does this change the political situation of the Empire in any way that either of them could exploit?
    • In other words, Villetta is high as fuck.
      • I still want to know what country she’s from.
        • And what hair dye Jeremiah uses.
  • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere shows up at Ashford Academy. Like magic. From pixies.
    • The girls gawking over her clearly imply she has been at the Academy for a while. How did Lelouch not recognize her?
  • Geez, that name must’ve been hard for Rivalz’s voice actor to pronounce.
  • Rivalz, you must be high too. Doesn’t anyone question how a frail girl who is never in school somehow remains at the top of the class? That isn’t how scholastic ability works, you know.
      • Rivalz somehow knows all of Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derrier’s personal history, but teases Lelouch for having a crush on her. Lelouch does not tease him back for being an obvious creep.
  • “What’s a bee doing in here?” – Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere.
    • What…?
      • Huh?
        • Has Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere never been outside in its life?
          • You’re in a lush garden filled with trees and flowers.
            • Do you not know what bees do?
  • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere has a violent outburst in the middle of an open courtyard which she karate-chops a bee out of thin air and rants about how she has to act like an invalid.
    • Everyone was freaking out at the bee two seconds ago. Did she think nobody would keep watching her? Or that her voice wouldn’t carry?
      • Oh wait, everyone is high. I forgot.
  • “Oh crap, he saw me!”
    • No shit, asshole.
  • Aaaand Lelouch not only wastes his trump card yet again, he uses it in a conspicuous setting in which any number of a hundred normal things could interrupt his mindrape of this girl.
    • Like, say, one of Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere’s terrified friends coming over to see if she was okay. That might throw a wrench in this scenario.
      • But of course it doesn’t happen, because no one in this universe knows what the fuck bees are.
  • Man, it’s a good thing nobody in this courtyard is listening to Lelouch talk about being in Shinjuku yesterday and piloting Knightmares.
  • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere is half-Britannimerican, half-Japanese. Which definitely explains why she looks nothing like a Japanese person.
  • Oops, something went wrong. What a shock.
    • Luckily for Lelouch, Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere is as retarded as she has ever been, as she refuses to question why she doesn’t remember talking to this weird guy she’s never met or why he specifically mentions Shinjuku and reacts as guilty as humanly possible. Nor does she recognize his voice after listening to it over the radio for hours.
      • Duuuur, what’s a bee, Kallen? What’s a bee?
  • Lelouch is a retard. He already knew his magical powers had limitations through his encounter with Villetta. Why didn’t he test it out beforehand instead of risking everything offhand?
  • Holy crap, Nunnally’s maid actually resembles a Japanese person. There is some order to this galaxy after all!
    • But because this show sucks ass, they had to dumb it down for the audience (which is primarily Japanese) and show them making origami cranes. Because there are no other elements of Japanese culture these Japanese writers could think of.
      • This scene also establishes that Sayoko knows British.
  • Why does the top-secret not-POISON-GAS military research facility use crappy laptops instead of top-of-the-line mainframes and equipment? Is it to show we’re in the future?
    • Fuck you.
  • Wait. Wait wait wait wait wait wait. These people know exactly what Geass is and what it’s capable of. They have Geass-empowered subjects in containment literally right next to them. And later on, we see that mind-controlling powers are a dime-a-dozen among their research subjects. So explain to me how these people are running around with their heads up their asses without the slightest inkling as to what’s going on?
    • Seriously, why doesn’t General Bartley put two and two together and figure out that C.C. probably ended up giving someone a mind-control Geass? This is the obvious conclusion that they are obviously missing, and they have all the relevant information to come to this conclusion after two seconds of thought.
      • Bartley, you already know that the Emperor knows what you’re doing. Or should at least suspect it.
        • This show is so fucking bad.
  • There is no way Nunnally does not know what origami is after living in Japan for almost all her life. It was probably the first thing they showed her when they arrived in Japan eight-ish years ago. This is only done to setup the fact that Sayoko is their very Japanese maid and establish a shallow motif of compassion for Nunnally because the writers can’t think of competent ways to develop her character.
    • God in heaven.
  • What did her talking fast have to do with her soup dripping from her mouth? She wasn’t talking when she put it into her mouth.
    • This studio can’t keep track of basic continuity.
  • Why does she call Lelouch “onii-sama?” What normal Japanese person would call their brother that? And how would that even translate properly? Dude, these two characters aren’t Japanese. They’re British…ish. Their culture does not have equivalents for “ani” and “otouto,” nor do Western cultures call each other by their social positions so stiltedly. Nunnally would just call him “Lelouch.” So why doesn’t she?
    • Because these writers are racist idiots, in case it wasn’t obvious as the color of the sky.
      • By the way, it’s totally appropriate, grammatical, and natural among Japanese families to just call each other by given names. This goes beyond racism. It’s sheer laziness. The writers are following established tropes without thinking about anything whatsoever.
        • News flash, anime fans: Code Geass is commercial trash, not an anime masterpiece. It’s about as creative and intelligent as Grey’s Anatomy.
  • Blah blah blah, if you fold a thousand cranes, a wish comes true. The trope is fulfilled, the motif is established. Let’s move onto something else that doesn’t make me want to punch people.
  • Nunnally wishes for the world to be a gentle place. She is living in an elaborate mansion with a maid of a conquered people in a conquered land and never has to want for anything.
    • Nunnally is a shallow, spoiled, vapid child without an ounce of perspective.
  • Lelouch responds with a bland platitude that no insightful person would believe.
  • Let’s stop for a second here: there is nothing physically wrong with Nunnally’s eyes or body, right? It’s just the Emperor’s Geass affecting her, correct? So how does Lelouch not suspect something is really weird about all this, particularly after having just received magical mind-control powers?
    • “Psychologically-induced blindness” is bullshit, people. The human nervous system does not work that way. No, don’t try to use “psychosomatic response” as a euphemism for plot magic. There has to be some sort of damage to the brain, the nervous system, or the eye for one of the most fundamental and critical human senses to stop working. People cannot subconsciously will themselves to stop seeing or hearing, and thank God that is so.
      • So again, Lelouch should be a little disturbed by how his sister cannot see for no discernible reason.
        • How is she so well-adjusted anyway for having witnessed the wholesale murder of her mother? Put her in counseling, for God’s sake.
  • Wait, maybe they do all have brain damage.
    • Or I do.
      • Shit.
  • The Ashford family, which runs a palace-school in a conquered Britannimerican territory that is literally in sight of the capitol complex, is sheltering an exiled Prince of Britannia.
    • The Holy Britannia(n) Empire has no need for “intelligence.”
      • And why are they sheltering them anyway? Isn’t that risky? What are they getting in return? Are they doing it because they’re nice?
        • Oh, wait, no, they glossed over that and moved on. Okay.
  • I have to laugh, Lelouche. As if none of these bright, elite Britannimerican students haven’t figured out who you are.
    • After all, you look exactly like him, are still using your name, are still using your mother’s maiden name (really crafty there), and have your sister, Nunnally, right there with you.
      • I do hope none of them ever get the whimsy to type “Lelouch vi Britannia”–or even just “Lelouch”–into Not-Google, otherwise your whole scheme is totally fucked.
  • Oh, pity poor Lelouch. I’m pretty sure an oppressed Japanese child scrounging for dirt to eat would trade places with you and your terrible fate of living in comfortable mansions and being political tools/prey of others’ conspiracies.
    • You pretentious jackwaggit.
  • “I have to make a world where Nunnally can live happily.”
    • The perfectly comfortable life with her brother in a mansion where she is waited on hand and foot without fear or want doesn’t count, apparently.
      • Remember this, kids. It might have some relevance somewhere down the line.
  • Yeah, Japan. The Japanese invented the pinky promise. No other culture has something remotely similar to this.
    • Wikipedia seems to indicate the pinky promise has existed in America since 1860, if not earlier. Hmm. That’s weird.
      • It also seems to indicate the Japanese tradition of 指切り likely originated in China.
        • China. I wonder where that is.
          • Do you still like this series? I fucking hope not.
  • How did Sayoko communicate a Japanese poem to Nunnally without her having a deep knowledge of Japanese culture or language? It’s almost as if this whole scene was written by Japanese writers with only the most vague sense of how other cultures outside their own operate or might communicate things.
    • China. Never heard of it.
  • That’s the grossest pinky promise I’ve ever heard of. I love it.
    • Lelouch, I hope you do eat a thousand needles. It’s the least you deserve.
  • Don’t worry, Nunnally. I’m sure Lelouch will never lie to you.
    • Neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeever.
  • Is this fucking scene over yet?
    • It is. Hooray.
  • “This the only weapon I have.”
    • Not your intellect. Not your connections. Not your scandalous knowledge of a potential cover-up of your mother’s murder. Nope. No other weapons.
  • So that’s interesting. The Britannia(n) capital was transferred to America after being defeated at Edinburgh. That sounds rather fascinating. Maybe the show should concentrate less on Lelouch’s idiotic plotting and more on this alternate history.
    • I know, I know. Bad joke.
  • Lelouch does some basic investigatory work. I’ll admit, this does put him ahead of L in the intellect department at least.
    • Though that’s not saying much.
    • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere is talking on a radio on an open balcony. Sound waves travel approximately two feet in this universe and go no further.
      • Nor is anyone intercepting this radio communication somehow.
  • Wait. This isn’t a radio communication. This is a cellphone communication.
    • Holy shit. They are sooooooooooooooooooooo fucked.
      • Like, completely, totally fucked.
        • Jesus Christ, you idiots. Don’t you remember who built the fucking cellphone network here after the war? You really think the Britannimericans won’t intercept this call?
    • But she can’t recognize his voice. It’s probably just one neuron. Alas. I had such high hopes for her.
  • Why do they paint their Knightmares purple? That’s fucking stupid.
  • Wait, what just happened with Bartley and Jeremiah and all them? Why did he brazenly attack a funeral procession? How is something so sacrilegious going to advance his standing in the Empire? Why didn’t the show tell us what just happened?
  • So the student council has its own separate mansion for a club house. That’s it. I feel absolutely no pity for any of these people anymore. They can all burn in a fire.
  • What was Lelouch planning to do once he brought Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere here? He knows she can kick his ass. What was his plan?
    • Skipped over that too. Instead, let’s learn how spoiled these kids are some more.
  • Oh, so Milly’s dad asked her to let Kallen, a borderline truant, into the school’s student council. That makes no sense.
  • Why did Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere bow just like a Japanese person would? THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT JAPANESE.
  • Rivalz is the secretary. Pbbbbbth. No wonder this student council gets jackshit done.
  • Shirley, of course, lists no official role in the student council as part of her introduction. She does, however, mention she’s in the swim club. What relevant information that Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere would never be interested in.
    • Some forty-year-old Japanese guy would, though.
  • Nina doesn’t even tell her anything about herself at all. Fuck it.
  • Rivalz suggests underage drinking. Rivalz is da bomb.
  • Did nobody catch how Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere caught that cork like nothing? Why don’t these people ever suspect anything their nervous systems tell them?
  • That wasn’t remotely sexual in anyway.
    • Nor is this totally necessary shower scene.
  • Oh, poor Lelouch. He lives in a mansion with his sister. Here’s a single, solitary tear from the Native American people.
  • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere doesn’t seem to consider how jumping to conclusions like this and giving away the truth about her physical condition might backfire.
    • She also a knife in her purse. For some reason.
  • Why does she say “yes” and “no” in that sentence? Does the Japanese language not have words for either?
  • What. What the fuck.
    • Why is there a random phone in this bathroom?
      • Why is it there?
        • Who would authorize the expense of installing a phone line into this bathroom?
          • What?
            • How?
              • Why?
  • No, Lelouch. There is no way you could have planned this out.
  • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere has no concept of “operational security.”
    • This resistance is more doomed than the Noldor.
  • Ha ha ha. Lelouch spins it as a game on the Interwebs. Ha ha ha.
    • I hate these writers so much.
  • Oh yeah, KSD. Lelouch, whom you believe to be innocent, has no reason to suspect you for A) lying about how weak you are and B) for having a fucking knife in your purse and threatening him in the shower with it after C) getting a weird phone call from some guy that mentioned a “ceasefire.” Isn’t it kinda weird how cool and calm he’s taking all this?
    • Huuuur, what’s a bee, Kallen?
  • This school has automatic doors. It has fucking automatic doors and fancy phones in every bathroom.
    • I hate this school so much.
  • Again, there is no way Lelouch could have planned that.
  • Lelouch gives examples of how the student council just doesn’t require much work. You heard it, people: creating a school budget, planning major events and festivals, etc., do not take work. Lelouch has never worked a day in his life.
  • There’s a Cross-Dressing Party?
    • A Silence Masquerade?
      • A Swimsuit Day?
        • (I wonder what demographic this is for.)
  • Clovis is dead. The mass murderer is dead. Everyone is so, so sad.
  • Hey, Suzaku. Still think you can change the system from within?
  • Drown, you motherfuckers. Drown in your champagne with a bathroom telephone wrapped around your necks.

Heroes of the Storm and the Deathly Release Date

SILLY.SNAPE-PREPAREDBlizzard announced the Heroes of the Storm release date today. June 2. Huh. Well, I’ve been playing HotS up to my eyeballs–enough to keep me from posting on this blog–and have a pretty high MMR, so I’m confident enough to speak on the game’s current status, particularly as to whether or not the game is actually ready for this sort of transition. Snape, loving curmudgeon that he is, has already given away my opinion.

As an aside, yes, I am alive. I do plan to post more, but there’s not too much to talk about as far as anime or whatever goes this season. I will do another Code Geass post soon, as that was a shitton of fun to write and read. Lelouch Lamperouge must be taken to task for all his “grand” schemes that make no bleeping sense whatsoever. I will need many bullets.

Get it? “Bullets”? They’re…eh. Philistines.

Oh, I was talking about Heroes of the Storm. Yeah, Blizzard, I don’t think you know what you’re doing. The game isn’t ready. It just isn’t. I play at high Diamond level and am pretty close to Master. From my perspective, the game has a lot of grime that needs to be rubbed off before you toss it out for public consumption. Most notably, we need more Heroes. Lots more Heroes. I was talking to a friend about it just now and we both agree the Hero pool isn’t sufficiently deep enough to create a healthy meta that supports flexible team composition selection. Sylvanas was a good step in the right direction, but since you’ve so thoughtfully set us down a collision course with destiny, we need about six-to-seven more Sylvanases to be in a decent state come June. Given that you’ve been releasing champions around every six weeks, that’s not enough time for more than two champions…unless you’ve got some surprise package of Heroes in the pipeline just waiting to go. To be honest, I was hoping today’s announcement was going to be a Diablo trio of Heroes or something thereof. Talk about disappointment in that category, but it just brings us back to the relative dearth of meta-viable Heroes to take into the Nexus. In an interview a few months ago, Blizzard stated clearly there were six Heroes in development at that time. Since then, both Lost Vikings and Sylvanas have been released. So that leaves us four. I’m going to assume that since then at least one other Hero has moved into the acute development stage or whatever you want to call it, so say five. Five isn’t enough, especially when there’s no guarantee all of them will have the same release-date quality as Sylvanas.

But that’s not all, Blizzard. There are other problems afoot at Hogwarts, since this school is run by morons who think putting soul-sucking, life-scarring Dementors a hundred yards away from school children is a perfectly sane idea.

Talents. Talents, talents, talents. Talents are a relatively new development in HotS, and it shows. Jaina and Sylvanas both demonstrate that Blizzard is finally getting the hang of what talents ought to look like, but so many other Heroes need an update in that department. There are only a few meta-viable talent builds for every Hero; many of those are sub-optimal. Some Heroes are stuck in the short end of the pool as far as that goes. Tassadar, Tyrael, Uther, etc., all have talents that suck really bad and no one will ever pick in any universe, prime or alternate. Furthermore, that’s not the kind of change you can realistically push out in the space of seven-ish weeks. Sure, surprise me by all means, but I remain skeptical, as I ought to.

Then there’s matchmaking, the canker afflicting HotS. People are not really matched well based on their actual MMR or some other solid performance indicator, but speed and general accuracy. This is less of an issue at the lower ends of the game where no one knows fuck-all and runs around thinking Anub’arak is OP or something, but it quickly becomes a serious issue the higher your skill level goes. At the very top end, it’s pretty annoying at best to be matched regularly with people at half your projected MMR, not that the other team doesn’t suffer from this just as much. It still takes the wind out of the sails of high-end competition. Few things in HotS are more enjoyable than a high-level match between equally skilled teams, win or lose. Trust me, I’ve done it. The problem is that it’s so rare that you have to slug through ten matches of Gazlowe-obsessed weirdos before you can face gather a proper team comp.

Suffice it to say, I’m not sure if Blizzard has listened to Illidan on this matter. We’re not ready for public release. The game systems need to be refined more, the talents need serious attention, we need more Heroes to shake things up and provide more viable picks and counterpicks, along with a simple team/guild/clan system and other similar features. HotS has the potential to be a great MOBA, but that only comes with time and patience. Am I wrong to suspect this release date is more internally dictated rather than developer-oriented? Maybe, but I wouldn’t bet one of my horcruxes on it.

I have no horcruxes, by the way. That was a joke.

Death Note – Reaper of Brains

Let’s be fair: my review of Gundam Wing was sort of/exactly like taking candy from a baby. Not that it wasn’t the most delicious candy. Or a crime. Nevertheless, I felt it better to set my sights on a more beloved, serious, and respected series. Death Note was chosen to be my victim out of happenstance. I come back to Death Note around every year or so to partake of the marvelous English dub, with Alessandro Juliani’s magnificent performance of L easily stealing the show. To humanity’s great fortune and sanity, this is no “little battle seed” dub, and despite the complaints surrounding Misa’s voice actor (who was well cast), the English performance is consistent in its excellence. Nevertheless, as no man is without sin, no series is without its flaws. Alas for Death Note: as intelligent as the series pretends to be, so many logical landmines and incompetencies infest the plot as to make repeated viewing impossible without some ruthless parody. Into this minefield we march with our thinking caps on and minesweepers set to their lowest sensitivity possible, because I think the deepest hazard is buried, like, two centimeters into the ground and marked with neon-tinged flags. You know what? Skip the minesweepers. Anyone stupid enough to actually step on one of these mines should not reproduce.


Your face is about to get an awesome workout.

Death Note is set in a contemporary Japan in which pitiful Light Yagami, intellectually stifled wunderkid-sociopath, is bored with the trite challenges of the Japanese education system and frustrated to his core by the immense injustices of Japanese society, which has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and is by far one of the safest places in the world to live in. I suspect, my lovelies, that Light Yagami is the ancestor of Heero Yuy, given his immense lack of perspective and sexual experience…and also his propensity to cackle maniacally at the most inappropriate times. To put this in some perspective, Light Yagami’s psyche is so relentlessly deprived of any sort of thrill or satisfaction that he later turns the act of eating a potato chip into some epic, sexy maneuver of drama or something while he knows he is being videotaped. I would rather like to see Death Note analyzed as a psychological case file not just on Light Yagami himself, but on modern Japanese culture as a whole. This would be certainly pique my interest more than whatever plot follows, because it is a doozy of doozies that makes less sense than Sexy Potato Chip Consumption Porn–which is undoubtedly a fetish somewhere.

To catalyze said plot into motion, the hellaciously bored Shinigami Ryuk (why is everyone in Japanese cosmology either insane and/or bored out of their skulls? I think the Japanese are trying to tell us something….) happens upon Light and deems him worthy to receive a deadly weapon of mass murder: the Death Note. The eponymous book possesses the power to kill anyone whose name is written in it, as determined by the most conveniently incomplete ruleset in the history of gaming, one spelled out in just enough detail at the beginning to seem thoughtful and encompassing, but left waiting in the wings whenever the author needs to get Light out of this week’s knot in the plot. As is typical in literature, the practical applications of such a power are never seized upon by anyone, not even Light himself. At first, the kid even shows some incomprehensible humanity about the book and waffles over using its untold powers to wreak destruction upon the sons of man–until he happens to see a woman being sexually harassed/raped right on a busy public street right before his eyes. Oh well, the Japanese justice system doesn’t work! Time for fun! Buckle up for your ride on the social commentary train!


Just so you don’t forget.

Once the Killer Notebook has been confirmed to be Working As Intended (tee hee hee), Light drives the train at full speed towards Moronville, Population: Everyone, and starts killing vaguely defined “criminals” at random via heart attacks. Rejoice, ye maniacs, for the premise of Death Note provides irrefutable proof of spontaneous combustion. In other words, where the ever-living fuck is Light is getting this information from? The methods shown in the manga and anime are absurd. I’ve watched broadcast Japanese TV: they do not list the names and faces of criminals en masse. As anyone who has ever encountered it knows, Japanese TV is a self-caricature if there ever was one. It’s divided into the following five categories without exception: boring, scripted newscasts, quirky hosted television shows, anime broadcast at four in the morning, billions of nature programs, and trillions of shows about people shedding tears over the joys of eating. In fact again, nobody in the world broadcasts or otherwise releases the names and faces of criminals on such a scale as shown in Death Note. And before ye sycophants protest too much, keep in mind that Death Note was written from 2003-2006, i.e., before the Great Dawn of Social Networking, which doesn’t change the fact that this sort of information is still not publicly available anywhere.

Well, that makes no sense, but who cares! Your brain is elastic and can adapt to anything, so stop asking completely logical questions. Despite knowing all the rules of the notebook right off the bat, such as the fact that he can kill people by any means, Light decides to take the easy way out and creates a pattern that will be noticed by any coordinated government agency within ten seconds. And lo! Interpol figures out criminals are dying due to heart attacks all over the world (somehow) against all medical logic and reason. Gasp: a trend. However, an opportunity to commentate must not be missed, thus Interpol and the various governments of the world order are portrayed as being so utterly helpless and incapable of conducting a simple investigation that they must immediately summon the most mysterious and unsupervised of detectives: L. Short for Lieutenant Gaeta. Jubilations! Anyway, the whole world unanimously agrees to turn over the inquiry into one of the most disturbing and troublesome medical and criminal trends in recorded history to some random pseudonym whose entire identity, motives, and methods are unknown.


Seems legit.

Well, that makes no sense too! L proceeds to do some basic detective work and ascertains that Light is in Japan, as Light’s larger presence has already been identified and dubbed “Kira” by the Japanese Internet (the only Internet that exists) in homage to its adoration of terriburu Engrish. Apparently nobody seems to be concerned that some shadowy persona possesses the power of God and is flagrantly abusing it, because they think all his victims really deserve it. No one has any honest moral reservations about this whatsoever. Just so I ensure this is clear: JAPANESE SOCIETY IS OPPRESSIVE. SEE? SEE HOW RELEVANT THIS IS? IT’S COMMENTARY. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?

Sorry. I don’t know what came over me. Ahem. L gets his chance to shine by setting an elaborate trap for Light. He arranges the secret arrest of a criminal on death row and gets him (somehow) to pretend he’s L on live TV so that Kira will take the bait. Kira, having declared residency in Moronville, takes the bait faster than a League of Legends team and kills the poor fake L, creating an amusing .gif in the process. The real L then reveals what a total schmuck Light is, as he’s now revealed the following to all mankind:

  1. He exists beyond a shadow of a doubt.
  2. He is the personality “Kira” as determined and identified by the Japanese Internet.
  3. He’s responsible for and remorselessly guilty of all the crimes committed by that personality.
  4. He’s in the Kantou region of Japan.
  5. He has the ability to kill someone without being present with a heart attack.
  6. He’s a fucking monster, as he had no reason to believe the person on TV was who he said he was or was even guilty of anything at all.
  7. Surprise, he wasn’t.
  8. L’s coming for him. Suspense!

What more of a confession could you possibly want? In real life, of course, the Japanese public would have realized Kira is a sociopath who can kill anybody he wants and holds no restraint in doing so, destroying all support he might have ever had and galvanizing the governments of the world to hunt him down in a combined show of force. In Death Note, however, everyone has taken stupid pills. Including L. Why exactly did L identify himself as the head of a secret government investigation into Kira? What was the point of that? Let’s also note that L’s decision to broadcast in Kantou is not exactly a sign of a deep intellect, considering Kantou holds a literal third of Japan’s population of 120 million. That demonstrates the standard by which this series judges “genius.” Beyond all that, the governments of the world, instead of creating said sensible joint task force lead by the Japanese, apparently decide this inexplicable global trend of criminals dying by heart attack at the whim of a lone arbiter (a power every military and intelligence agency ever would be lusting after beyond description) to be a solely Japanese affair, as Kira is in Japan and that settles that. The implicit myopia and ethnocentrism in Death Note just gets appalling the more and more you think about it.


This makes more sense than this series.

Moving forward to explore the rest of Moronville, L arrives in Japan and quickly realizes he actually doesn’t have enough to arrest Kira yet. He also seems to have no resources, staff, or anything else provided by Interpol or any other government agency, because who gives a fuck about someone who can kill someone from afar with magic and loves doing it. Nevertheless, L does more basic detective work (genius!) and deduces, given the time and nature of the killings, that Kira is almost certainly a naive, idealistic high-school student who probably has access to police information relating to the Kira case. Thereafter absolutely nobody suspects the families or relations of the mere five or so people working on one of the most important criminal cases in the history of the universe. That would be silly. Light realizes that he’s kinda given away everything about himself and starts changing the trend of his killings to obviously contradict this previous, blatant evidence. Luckily for him, L has inhaled a whole bottle of stupid pills in the form of sugar cubes and ignores this solid confirmation of his suspicion into oblivion.

But suddenly: PLOT TWIST. And by “plot twist,” I mean “Americans.” The FBI, reasonably, decides this Kira guy is a huge-ass problem that needs to be investigated by a professional agency with proper oversight and experience. Wow, this series isn’t even subtle. Unreasonably, it presumes it has any jurisdiction outside of America whatsoever. Wow, it really isn’t subtle. Without a hint of objection from the Japanese government, the FBI sends twelve agents into Japan to investigate what L’s genius is not: the immediate relations of all the Kira case investigators, specifically zeroing in on Light Yagami, the person who fits the obvious profile of Kira to a tee. Ryuk, the dispassionate, disinterested immortal being utterly apathetic to Light’s plight in any way, shape, or form, instantly informs Light that he’s being followed because what the fuck did I say about logical questions, Billy? Do you want the rod again? I didn’t think so. Light, Idiot Extraordinaire, then comes up with an elaborate trap of his own that, through a ridiculous combination of events that only succeed through the FBI’s sudden, inexplicable incompetence, allows him to kill all twelve of the FBI agents at once, essentially declaring war on America and involving every level of its government in his case. Moreover, as L immediately grasps, the identity of Kira has now been limited to the twenty or so people the FBI agents were investigating shortly before their sudden and simultaneous demise, one of whom is a high-performing, extremely intelligent, slightly isolated male high-school student who is the son of the chief investigator into the Kira case. If that weren’t enough, just prior to the death of all twelve FBI agents, Light Yagami invited a high-school friend of his on a very random and uncharacteristic date in which they came into contact with one of the dead FBI agents. In other words, the police have everything they could possibly need to suspect, arrest, and convict him.

But suddenly: nothing. Ignoring the ten thousand problems with Light’s scheme in killing the FBI agents, Light has painted a literal bullseye on his head for the AMERICAN EMPIRE to shoot at, an Empire that, given contemporary experience, would almost certainly (and righteously) assassinate Light once they determined his probable involvement. But nothing happens. The series should end here. Far from being a genius, Light is the most retarded divine serial killer ever to walk the written page. Step-by-step, he has handed his conviction to L and the Kira investigators on the shiniest of silver platters, but nothing fucking happens. There are no other leads on Kira–certainly no other better leads–and no reason for Light to get away other than the demand to sell more copies of Death Note, the true God of this bizarre world. So the series continues by author fiat.


Best. Plot Device. Ever.

The most egregious flaw in L’s investigation methods is his refusal to exploit Kira’s easily inferred, crippling weaknesses. If Kira requires both a name and face to kill someone, then the obvious way to shut him down and capture him is to control and limit that information. Simply putting a moratorium on releasing criminal information to the public would neither be hard nor ineffectual. Light would have no ability to use the Death Note. The authors explain this away using L’s supergenius reasoning skills, which lead him to conclude that Kira would just start killing innocents randomly if this were to happen. Of course, it never actually bothers to follow that reasoning up. For one, Light might be a brazen sociopath, but there is some method to his madness. His whole raison d’etre is bound up in the persona he’s creating as Kira, which would lose all credibility with the public if it started offing random innocents in a childish rage. For another, names are easy enough to find in a phone book, but the corresponding facial imagery is almost impossible to acquire on the scale and pace Kira requires. The mere acquisition of such information, either in person or electronically, is easily traceable. Once again, sycophants: Death Note was written in the early 2000s before social networking attained widespread adoption, but even if we ignore that, the government would simply have to release the knowledge of Kira’s suspected restraints to the public. People would naturally alter or eliminate whatever public information they control. At the very least, Kira’s power and influence would be sharply reduced and his options gravely limited.

However, there’s more to it than that. By methodically releasing the information of choice criminals through select channels at the strictest times, the police could easily identify what methods Kira was relying on to get his information. Once this was established, they could match it to whatever channels their suspects were observed using. Since their list of possible suspects is so blessedly short, the process of elimination would quickly lead to Light.

No, that’s too logical. In the aftermath of the FBI massacre, America does absolutely nothing. Meanwhile, thousands of miles away, L logically limits the investigation to Souichirou Yagami’s family, with Light being the prime suspect. Here the authors of Death Note finally realize the series is writing its own abrupt (and thoroughly unprofitable) conclusion unless something is done, so they have L and the rest of the investigators ingest as many stupid pills as Pfizer can manufacture in a year, causing the foolishness of their actions from this point on to defy all believability. They somehow get the authority to bug and wiretap every square centimeter of the Yagami residence, but in all their efforts, they never bother to actually search the household once. The manga hand-waves this by having Light concoct a booby-trap in his desk that will set the Death Note on fire if anyone triggers it, thereby eliminating all evidence of his culpability easily. The obvious implication here is that even if the police had searched his house as they would have done as a matter of course, they wouldn’t have found the Death Note anyway. So they just don’t search it period, because it’d be a waste of time that they somehow know about anyway. Don’t worry. It all makes sense after you’ve watched Eraserhead and Memento simultaneously.


Or that. That works too.

While your brain shuts down trying to process the previous paragraph, realize that the series actually tries to depict Light’s dangerous dance with the gift of Prometheus as a sober, effective way to conceal his guilt, saying that “if anything happens, I’ll just say I was protecting my private diary” or some shit like that, then proceeding on its merry way. Uh, Light, my little virgin, it’s time to learn about the birds and the bees: when a man and a woman love each other very much, the police immediately arrest you for attempted arson, property damage, and criminal negligence, as not only is your room a veritable tinderbox of full bookshelves and flammable materials that would easily ignite and burn your house down, potentially endangering the lives of your family and the neighborhood around you, but no person in their right mind would consider an incendiary bomb to be a “reasonable” way to protect your diary. Suspicion on you would merely intensify a hundredfold. This is even ignoring the fact that such a measure would be a laughably unreliable way to keep the Death Note out of the wrong hands. Fire doesn’t just instantly incinerate everything it touches on contact. If the police even recovered A) a small bit of the Death Note with the names and/or times of death of criminals on it or B) worse, intact portions of the Death Note rules, you’d be fucking screwed. What’s more, even if this disastrous contingency measure somehow succeeded perfectly, they’d have more than enough evidence to incarcerate you for awhile, at which point your killings would abruptly stop and you’d be screwed again.

Whatever. That never happens. What does happen is yon (in)famous Sexy Potato Chip Scene, in which Light “defeats” L in this astounding “game of wits” the same way everyone “wins” in Yugioh: cheating. First, the ever apathetic and disinterested Ryuk immediately informs Light his house has been bugged, something he would have never known about without this surreptitious tidbit. Light devises a simple plan to circumvent this otherwise foolproof vice closing in on him: he buys a miniature analog TV without anyone in the thoroughly bugged house noticing, manages to convincingly seal the TV into a bag of potato chips without anyone noticing, brings it into his house without anyone noticing, sets in it the cabinet without anyone noticing, retrieves it, opens it while pretending to study in his room, places it in such a position in which he can somehow see the TV through the potato chips but nobody else can, turns the mini-TV on and tunes it to the proper channel without anyone noticing, and uses it to kill criminals whose information is being broadcast at that exact specific time while appearing utterly innocent. Then he disposes of the TV without anyone noticing. Somehow.


The Great Leader deserves an answer.

As I’ve already written a thesis on this whole topic, I’ll resist the urge to write the paper the inanity that this scene demands. Ignoring the extremely suspicious and damning behavior that could not have gone unnoticed and unidentified if Light were under constant surveillance, the sequence of events as demonstrated in the manga and anime is literally impossible. In this scene, Light is portrayed as being under video and audio surveillance from absolutely every angle. The manga even goes out of its way to make this clear. So what, does Light think the police won’t notice him writing down the names of criminals when they can see everything he’s doing except the TV in the bag? Furthermore, Light cannot turn the miniature TV on and get it to whatever station he needs at the proper time without giving the whole thing away. For the more creative apologists out there, Light could not possibly leave the TV on in the bag and wait until the proper time. Doing so would be far too risky and certainly noticed by the people observing him, seeing as the mere movement of the bag might jostle the TV’s position in the bag and ruin the plan. Nor can he reliably watch the TV at the constrained angle as portrayed and pretend to study without tipping L off: he has no idea when the news broadcast will show the information he needs.

Wait, I think there’s another problem here, kids. What do you think it is? “Tell us, Dora!” comes the answer. Duh, retards: the TV has to be muted to evade the audio bugs, so Light must be able to clearly see the names and faces of the criminals he must kill to prove his innocence. To top it all off, Japanese names are depicted by characters that do not scale down very well, nor do they contain actual phonetic information. They’re ideograms whose pronunciation, particularly when it comes to names, is arbitrarily assigned and learned entirely through experience. So what happens if Light encounters a name that’s written with a character he doesn’t know how to pronounce, or is pronounced several different ways? In order to ensure he has a reasonable chance of success, Light must stare his sexy visage unceasing into the black void of his beloved bag of potato chips (phrasing), which wouldn’t be suspicious at all, of course. This all plays into how much of a dumbass the marvellous prodigy Light Yagami is. He has allowed himself zero margin of error to work with: the gig is up if he misses even one criminal. Id est, the scene simply does not work. Light is actually caught here too. As usual, the manga just pretends it doesn’t happen and marches forth into a parallel universe.


Accurate depiction of Death Note’s plot.

In that universe, solemn and dejected, lies the logic of L’s brain. Defeated once again by no discernible chain of events, L shifts his strategy in a radical example of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” He up and decides to confront Light and tell him he’s L. Why he does this is never adequately explained in the series. To be fair, L certainly tries, but it never comes across more than yet another naked excuse to keep the plot going. Why would you expose yourself to your chief suspect in such a direct way? Why would the government authorize such a deliberate and crippling security breach? What does L gain by doing this? They have no other viable suspects whatsoever. That little chain of questions keeps growing and twisting until it asphyxiates the asker and drags it down to the realm of Poseidon, where we find L and Light in a predictable dance of “wits” that entertains greatly only through its pretentious idiocy. After some other events that involves a tennis match and other nonsense, a second Kira enters the fray, except this one exhibits a completely different personality while showing none of the traits of the first Kira, leading to the obvious conclusion that these are two different people. In fact, this Kira seems infatuated with the first Kira and behaves herself as an unabashed teenage moron of the feminine variety. This series sure loves its bookends. Thus appears Misa Amane, the most utilitarian character in the series. I’ll explain: Misa serves zero literary purpose besides keeping Light alive. Her character itself is, by design, superficial, annoying, and altogether unedifying to both the viewer and the characters. She is merely a pawn at every level of her existence.  To make this even more misogynist, she’s drawn as a stereotypical loli-girl. Unironically. Keep trying, Japan. Maybe one day you’ll realize what a terrible culture you have.

So somehow, someway, somewhy, Misa immediately threatens Light’s position (which I remind you was already doomed as being the obvious guilty party out of a potential list of twenty-odd people in all creation) even further by letting slip some crucial details about the Death Note and such. She even mentions “shinigami,” i.e., Japanese gods of death, which L and the detectives immediately reject as too preposterous of a notion after months of working on a case revolving around a Japanese person with the power of a god of death. Excuse me for ten seconds while I howl at the moon in perplexed laughter. Okay, I’m good. Misa meets with Light in secret–since nobody on the team is keeping unceasing watch on their prime murder suspect–and admits to being a complete dipshit and unnecessarily compromising both their positions because she “loves” him. Instead of dropping this crazy bitch like a hot potato, Light, much like L a few minutes ago, does the absolute stupidest thing possible and actually incorporates her into his plans. Rem, Misa’s shinigami stalker, threatens to kill Light if he threatens Misa’s safety, which is exactly what he just did. (PLEASE GOD MAKE IT STOP MAKE IT END HELP ME.) …Anyway, thereafter Misa more or less stumbles into her own conviction, getting herself arrested and turning the plot into Jello pudding. But hold on, dear viewer, we’re on the cusp of some deliciousness you won’t want to miss.


Prepare your taste buds.

You see, only now, fifteen episodes in, do we find out that the Death Note can literally make its owner innocent whenever they want, which is very much the greatest asset any criminal mastermind could ever hope for. Holy shit, this is some of the laziest writing I’ve ever seen. How is this even a fair fight anymore? How is this supposed to be some epic battle of minds? Light has a killer notebook, a shinigami working for him, and an infatuated second Kira at his beck and call, none of which L knows about. This isn’t a duel of intellects; it’s a one-sided clusterfuck. What’s most exasperating is how fucking retarded L insists on being about this. After dealing with clearly supernatural abilities in the biggest case of his life, he honestly believes Misa’s charade (for charade it mostly certainly is, by all practical definition) and buys into her innocence. Why? She was acting guilty as fuck until suddenly she became amnesiac without any trauma or other causes that would lead to such a thing. Wow. How incredibly convenient. Seriously, who the fuck would believe her? Oh, and let’s talk about why Light hasn’t been using this incredibly powerful aspect of the Death Note to mindfuck L and the whole world from day one. It’s not because Light didn’t read the rules from beginning to end when he first got the Death Note. It’s because the writers clearly hadn’t thought of it yet until they realized (again) they had no idea how to get Light out of his current mess. And this is supposed to be one of the best animes ever made?

So Misa is arrested and confined to a torture chamber resembling something out of the Saw franchise, because L is suddenly a sociopath of the third kind or whatever. Hey, Rem. Does this qualify as “endangering Misa”? I think so. Might want to intervene. Which she does, but once again defeating her own stated aims. Misa relinquishes her ownership of the Death Note, which just happens to result in losing one’s memories. No, wait. I’m taking this shit down too. Why the fuck would the Death Note do this? What possible function could it serve for its intended users or designer? No Shinigami would relinquish the ownership of his or her own Death Note willingly, considering it’s the sum of their whole existence and all. I can think of no reason that’s organic to this world as to why this rule/feature would exist. It’s one of the most brazen plot devices I’ve ever encountered. Ugh. I’m getting tired of this horse shit.

As usual, Light concocts an “ingenious” scheme involving ten million moving parts and assumptions that all just happen to go off without a hitch, requiring you to drink another bottle of Jack Daniel’s to keep watching this circus. Ryuk, being the non-metaphorical tool he is, participates in this scheme for no reason instead of just laughing as Light gets his ass handed to him, while Rem continues to let Light take Misa on a rollercoaster that plunges her into more and more danger with each passing step. And of course, nothing in it makes sense, but here’s Light’s Grand Plan. It’s almost as good as Zech Marquis’ Six Pyramids Over Earth:

But God has us all beat in that department.

But God has us all beat in that department.

  1. Ask L to get him to confine him too because he thinks he might be Kira subconsciously.
    • Problem: No one would ever raise an eyebrow over the assertion that Light Yagami’s little noggin is home to both an innocent high-school student and one of the worst serial killers ever, especially when Light has shown no signs of psychological illness in his life.
    • Solution: L is addicted to Stupidia, a fast-acting intelligence inhibitor. Ask your doctor today if it’s right for you.
  2. Relinquish his Death Note while he’s in prison, thus magically becoming innocent.
    • Problem: This is 100% guaranteed to backfire. How weird: both Misa and Light suddenly forget everything about the past few months right as they’re being arrested, then undergo crazy personality shifts. Even more convenient. Not even L would be stupid enough to be fooled by this.
    • Solution: Except he is. Whee.
  3. Have Ryuk give Light’s Death Note to a crazy, unstable businessman in charge of a huge conglomerate.
    • Problem: Bad idea.
    • Solution: None. It’s the goddamn Yotsuba arc.
  4. Hope the unstable businessman keeps killing people so L will have to suspect someone else.
    • Problem: Everything.
    • Solution: Nothing.
  5. Tag along on the investigation to prove his innocence and eventually get a hold of the Death Note at some point once something else happens.
    • Problem: Light is a fucking retard.
    • Solution: Glorious suicide.
  6. Once the Death Note is acquired, Light will revert back to his old self with no cognitive dissonance, somehow deflect suspicion from himself after L has the key to Light’s entire scheme, then trick Rem into killing everyone except him and Misa.
    • Problem: Huh?
    • Solution: What?
  7. Light wins.
    • Problem: Fuck you, Tsugumi Ohba.
    • Solution: Fuck you, Takeshi Obata.

I think we’re at about 7 o’clock here.

Ugh. I mean, I don’t know if I can keep going. Not even Death Note’s most dedicated fans like the Yotsuba arc. It’s hard to understand why when the plot fell apart a dozen episodes ago and things have just kept going via the power of love and friendship, but then you realize that Light actually entrusts his apotheosis to a gibbering madman, who somehow then enlists seven other rational human beings in charge of one of the most powerful corporations on earth to get in on his serial killing rampage. Why? Why wouldn’t they just turn him into the fucking police? What could they possibly get out of being complicit in the high-profile murders of their major rivals and the accomplices of a mass murderer the whole world is looking for? At least the authors had the sense to have some of the Yotsuba group turn on this guy, but they only do it after participating in the scheme for weeks and months. Then suddenly one of them develops scruples at random and decides to back out, upon which the scheme unravels. Guess he was only a part-time sociopath. Time to retire, yo. He wants that social security.

So Light pulls this fuck-all plan off somehow and the team finally gets a hold of the Death Note. This ruins Light now and forever, as it explains everything that has happened from the very beginning, including his convenient amnesia. Light is arrested and…wait. He isn’t? What? Are you serious? Somehow that rule isn’t listed or is just completely ignored? What? Why doesn’t L–

Fuck it. Time to make Billy Joel a liar.


You know the words.

Sword Art Online II – 17



Oh, huh? Did something happen?


What. The. Fuck?

That was it?

That was fucking it?

That arc lasted, like, what, three episodes? And they made an opening sequence just for that? This anime isn’t even trying anymore. This episode was both tedious filler and incredibly boring. Thrym went down like this was LFR mode or something. Freyja transformed into Thor for…some reason. And then the quest was over. Kirito Sue the Magnificent pulled Excalibur out of the pedestal, still not bothering to explain why some old English legend is playing a huge part in a scenario based entirely around Nordic mythology, and woo hoo everything went back to normal Idontgiveafuckville.

Jesus Christ, what are they going to do for the next seven episodes? Hopefully it’ll be a romantic comedy in which Asuna goes and cheats on Kirito with some glorious hunk of a man. Or woman. Or something. I dunno. Just give me a reason to watch this tripe that isn’t masochism. I said I’d watch this through to the end and I will, but goddamn it if A1 isn’t trying to make it as arduous as possible.


Sword Art Online II – 16

And so the Totally PlatSILLY.SWIGGITYonic Adventures of Kirito Sue the Magnificent continue, charging forth into Boredomheim. This plot is so dumb. Oh no, Thrym is gonna rape Freyja. Who is Freyja again? Why is she here? Why is she about as developed as the other five females next to Kirito? Why do we care about the travails of a random NPC? Nobody ever does. This is an MMO. Have any of the writers or animators ever played or raided in an MMO ever? If so, then why did we spend fifteen minutes on them clearing trash? You know, the thing that nobody likes? That was most of this episode. They spent a significant part of their animation budget on animating a trash mob fight. What part of this sounds exciting? Are you trying to kill us all with boredom-induced atherosclerosis? That’s not the best plan.

Also, Thrym is gonna rape Freyja. LOL. Uh, dude. Practical concerns here: you’re a giant. She’s…what…an elf or something? I think I care about the niceties of Norse mythology in this anime as much as its creators do. Anyway, Thrym: your dick is probably bigger than her entire body. You’re not gonna rape her. For this reason, I laughed my guts out at this scene. Somehow in two episodes this series has transformed from a semi-serious take on an MMO into a complete caricature of itself. It has no plot; it has no characters; it’s just a waste of time and money. A1 Studios might as well take the yen they have out of their business account and smoke some weed with it. It would probably end up being more edifying to humanity than this commercial diarrhea.


No wait, maybe you should just kinda go along with it. It’s more action than Kirito will ever give you. Just ask Asuna. Ha. Ha. Ha.


Akame ga Kill – 1-3

I started this anime on a whim the othSILLY.KILLer day and found myself baffled within the first three minutes. Then I realized this show is taking the whole “conform-or-be-crazy” trope to a whole new level: everyone who is not a protagonist is a violent, depraved serial killer. For variety’s sake, everyone who is a protagonist is also a violent, depraved serial killer. I guess everything is a matter of degree, right? So this whole series revolves around “Night Raid,” a series of assassins who are part of a revolutionary movement who want to bring about the end of a corrupt government by assassinating everyone they think is involved in said corruption, including people who have nothing to do with the government, because reasons. This revolutionary movement has yet to be explained; its goals, manifesto, ideals, etc., are left undescribed and unsaid. Instead, the writers beat it into the viewer’s head that the government is evil by whipping out every comical stereotype of evil they can think of, including literal mustache twirling, to avoid nuance and the concept of grey in this ridiculous black-and-white world. In the first episode, some young tween rich girl does a hilariously unbelievable personality switch on the turn of a dime, going from kind, compassionate, slightly-ditzy-and-shopping-obsessed-rich-girl to Murderess Level 10, going on some maniacal rant about how she tortured a girl to death because her hair was straight without any obvious effort. I thought maybe the series was saying these people were possessed by demons, but that was only metaphorical, it turns out. These people are actually all insane for no discernible reason.

So I’ve kept watching past the first episode and I’m not sure if I want to keep going. Unless the series really goes beyond Tropesville and decides to realize that a simplistic story like this has no sustainable pull beyond violence porn, I don’t think I’ll be entertained for very long. There are only so many brutal eviscerations and physics-defying decapitations one can depict before it gets redundant. I think the author honestly didn’t care about what kind of story they were penning, only coming up with some vague literary scaffolding to hang the delicious violence porn over. The Imperial Capital is depicted as this bustling modernesque city with a consumption-based economy that is simultaneously mostly filled with slumdwellers and violent rapists and bullies. I’m not sure if that’s just lazy background design or shitty writing on the part of everyone. It’s frankly so unrealistic that it’s impossible to suspend one’s disbelief. I haven’t seen a series with as simplistic a geopolitical setup since Speed Grapher, which turned into a 24-episode-nightmare of what-the-ever-living-fuck-is-happening-she’s-fifteen-you-can’t-have-a-relationship-with-her-holyshit-we-get-it-capitalism-is-evil.

Human corruption is not so overt. When dictatorships and other such things arise, it’s usually done either with popular support or popular apathy, in which the majority of the populace is either prospering from the policies of the corrupt government and are so willing to tolerate its sins, as is typical in the modern world, or the majority of the populace is so removed from the government that its policies don’t really affect their lives much. In a situation such as depicted here, civil order would have collapsed a long time ago. Meanwhile, the revolutionaries either have no coherent goal they’re working toward or are playing their cards close to the vest, which makes me just as suspicious of them. In our democracy-loving, revolution-praising world, we don’t like to admit that revolutions have a disastrous track record, with nearly all of them ending up imposing governments that prove as bad or worse as that they replaced. If their whole idea is to just kill the corrupt people in power without destroying the system and replacing it with something more just and equitable, then I’m sorry to say that I think Tatsumi’s best bet is to get the fuck out of this empire and never look back. Except he won’t, because he’s a violent serial killer too, just not as depraved as everyone who surrounds him.

Someone also explain to me the logic of how people who revel in the moral simplicity of their situation, giving them the mental freedom to enjoy the thrills of butchering nameless henchman after nameless target, are somehow supposed to be respectable. These characters are all monsters to the ninth degree, and I don’t like watching monsters behaving monstrously unless there’s something beyond that, hence why the adoration surrounding Dexter and South Park continues to perplex me. Dexter I still don’t get, and I guess everyone now hates it because the ending sucked instead of how its protagonist killed people for fun; South Park was decent when it was trying to be satire back when it first began, but it quickly realized cheap laughs off of being assholes made way more money way faster, so they took that train and ran with it. This series lies sort of in the same vein: it’s way easier to make lots of money with mindless violence porn and a simplistic moral message that makes no sense than trying to do anything ambitious, like tell a more challenging, intelligent tale of human drama. Those have never succeeded.

(Cowboy Bebop; Planetes; Mushi-shi, Now and Then, Here and There; Fullmetal Alchemist; Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex; Neon Genesis Evangelion; FLCL; Welcome to the NHK; Wolf’s Rain)

Yep. Fuck trying. Trying is too hard.