Retrocaustic: Code Geass – Episode 1

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

SILLY.JUST-LET-IT-HAPPEN

Shhh. Just let it happen.

Episode I – The Empire Strikes Back Again

  • We get it, Japan. Cicadas happen in the summer. Summer has cicadas. Can we never have this trope ever happen again?
    • NOPE.
  • THE HOLY BRITANNIA(N) EMPIRE IS IN NO WAY SIMILAR TO THE AMERICAN EMPIRE, WHOSE TUTELAGE IS THE FOUNDATION OF OUR ENTIRE  COZY GEOPOLITICAL AND ECONOMIC POSITION BUT ONE WE WILL RESENT TO OUR DYING BREATHS.
    • There. I have summarized all of Japan’s foreign policy for the past 70 years.
      • Also don’t remember how we raped China and Korea for three-ish decades. That never happened. Just keep reminding everyone how we were conquered by a vaguely America-shaped power as if we didn’t deserve it.
        • Even though we did. Really bad.
  • Oh, Japan lost its name. How cute. What hegemon would do this? This doesn’t make any linguistic sense. Renaming Japan as “Area 11” and actually calling them all “Elevens” is so fucking retarded. They seriously reach for the anvil in the first thirty seconds of this show.
  • Knightmares (what a pun!) are the most impractical weapons ever depicted. I know of no way these things could possibly work or provide any advantage worth their incredible expense and numerous obvious engineering flaws over the tried and true methods of warfare already at these nations’ disposal.
    • No, seriously. They’re giant humanoid soldiers that rely on melee combat, i.e., cannon fodder in an era of precision-guided munitions, not to mention are immensely expensive. They can be disabled with a few well-aimed shots to their legs or other weakspots so glaring they might as well be bosses from God of War. Kneecaps, anyone?
      • Why would you even want to emulate the anatomical disaster that is the human kneecap anyway?
    • Knightmares exist to sell toys. That is literally their only purpose in this series. Everything else could have been better accomplished through conventional weapons.
  • Enter Lelouch Lamperouge, who, at eight-ish years old, now has a grudge against an empire he is party to. All after living in Japan for a few months.
    • Suuuuuuuuuure.
  • What did Britannia do to Japan? Why is there all this ruin and devastation in the ghettos alongside a pristine capital after only seven years? Do you really expect me to believe that many Britannians moved to Tokyo in less than one decade and that they were able to build such a pristine capital in that time? Why? Why would they even destroy Tokyo so much anyway? Enough to push the 40 million people living on the Kantou plain into a ghetto? Do writers have any sense of demographics whatsoever or how colonization has actually proceeded before?
    • No.
  • Lelouch Lamperouge is a wunderkid, showing that these writers have no idea how basic human neurology works.
    • Chess is a bullshit way of showing intelligence. People have been working out the strategies to chess for five hundred years and more. It’s a matter of rote memorization.
  • Lelouch Lamperouge is playing hooky many miles away from his school, because this school sucks at basic things like accountability. Of course.
    • Idiot rich nobleman with immense resources and frivolous idle time to play chess with random people remarks how time-stressed, exam-laden high-school students have so much free time. Someone has never gotten laid.
  • [4:31] Did they set that chess board up wrong? Because I’m pretty sure everything about that chess setup is wrong/impossible.
    • SILLY.STUPID-CHESS-1
      • Lol.
        • Lol.
          • I’m going to go kill myself.
  • Speaking of which: enter Shirley, tragedy bait.
  • Of course #2: a terrorist attack.
  • Enter Clovis, death bait.
  • Terrorist attack involves the inevitable scene where the racist Britannimericans call the Japanese “Elevens,” then the racist Japanese protest they are called “Japanese” with no sense of irony towards how the Japanese treat Koreans/Chinese in the real world.
    • This happens because writers do not know how to convey racism in a natural, convincing way. They literally have to hold neon-lit arrows labeled “RACIST” over their characters’ heads.
      • This does not bode well for the next forty nine episodes of this series.
  • Enter Kallen Stadtfeld, the humanoid growth attached to Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere.
    • Also the least Japanese-looking Japanese person since every other “Japanese” protagonist.
  • Enter Diethard, the evil journalist.
  • The Britannimericans are utterly incompetent in controlling their own capital. I should like to know how these ragtag Japanese terrorists–who, despite the collective protests of all anime in history, stick out like sore thumbs–managed to sneak into the heart of the Britannimerican district, steal a top-secret truck supposedly containing POISON GAS, all while having in-tow an uncamouflaged Knightmare. Absolutely nobody in Tokyo does their jobs.
  • We’re speaking about highly sensitive and classified information within earshot of three dozen or so people with no business knowing any of it. Now I’m beginning to understand.
  • Why are the streets so goddamn empty in the middle of the capital?
    • The animators were lazy cheapskates.
  • Why did the driver drive that way? You know, the worst way possible? What reason did he have for veering off the road like a maniac? It was just a motorcycle. Use the right lane (it’s Japan) and pass him.
    • In other words, if Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere’s dumbass driver had not been a douchebag, Code Geass would not have happened.
  • Why does Rivalz use the word “puraido?” Do the Japanese not have a word for pride in this alternate universe? You know, like 誇り?
    • At no point do the Japanese get to complain about the decline of their language ever again. Code Geass has taken away their hall pass.
  • Oh look, Lelouch got stuck in the truck. I wonder what will happen next.
  • Why are you using Knightmares to chase down a truck supposedly filled with POISON GAS? What makes you think Knightmares are the tool for such a delicate situation (or any situation)? For God’s sake, just track the truck and summon some special forces to surround and capture the people when they eventually stop somewhere. Or better yet: announce the idiot Elevens have stolen a truck filled with POISON GAS that they have no idea how to contain or handle.
    • Note: this is actually how the situation ends up being handled anyway. The Knightmares prove utterly useless.
  • Wait, why was a top-secret project supposedly involving POISON GAS allowed to be located in the middle of one of the most densely populated areas on the planet?
    • Not even God knows.
  • Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere’s dumbass driver suggests unleashing POISON GAS in the middle of one of the most densely populated areas on the planet. Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere should think about why she brought this monster along with her.
    • It certainly wasn’t for his fantastic driving skills.
  • How does Kallen Stadtfeld’s Derriere have the required military training needed to use a Knightmare? Like, how is that temporally possible?
  • Enter Jeremiah Gottwald, flamboyant nutcase.
  • Enter Lloyd, the Mad Prince of Awesome.
    • And the woman who works for him. Whatever her name is. I don’t remember. That’s how badly they treat her.
      • Go Japan. Yaaaaaaaaaaaay.
  • IT’S POISON GAS. GASP. (Hee hee.)
    • Except POISON GAS doesn’t talk.
      • Or sparkle.
  • Why are 40 million people living in a massive ghetto that definitely does not have the resources to support their numbers? Does Britannia not know this will inevitably lead to very bad things?
  • Enter Suzaku Kururugi, also known as Mary Sue Goody Two-Shoes (MSGT). This is his name now. Yes.
    • That karate move MSGT just did is literally impossible.
  • Lelouch: “You don’t want more deaths? Then obliterate Britannia!”
    • This would require more deaths, Lelouch.
  • Lelouch is reasonably shocked that MSGT would join the Britannimerican military, of all things.
  • Canister opens at the most random of times.
    • For no reason.
      • At all.
  • Enter C.C., servant of Morgoth.
  • MSGT believes he can change the system from within.
    • Thirty seconds later, MSGT is shot by his brutal, sadistic Britannimerican commander.
      • MSGT might be mistaken.
  • WE’RE SO CORRUPT WE’LL KILL OUR OWN PEOPLE BECAUSE REASONS.
  • Clovis orders his armies to destroy one of the most populated areas on earth on a whim. This is not a good idea: it is neither possible to carry out on any reasonable time scale, nor does it accomplish its stated purpose, since it merely displays that Clovis is an utterly incompetent ruler who has lost control of the situation.
  • I think it’s been like ten minutes since one of the human beings on this show did something rational.
  • Why does Lelouch think Suzaku is dead? There was literally no blood from that gun shot. None. Check the frame.
  • DEAD BABY.
    • That baby is fucked.
  • Shirley strikes. Her aim is deadly.
    • Why didn’t Lelouch set his cellphone to vibrate or silent in the half-hour he was hiding in the back of a truck being driven by people he thought were terrorists?
  • C.C. takes one for the team. It’s funny because the higher-ups know C.C. can’t die, so they would never believe these murderous soldiers’ cover story anyway.
  • Enter Nunnally, walking plot device.
  • C.C. spawns a web of foreshadowing that the show will never follow through on.
  • Why do they all cackle when they kill themselves? And why do their guns sound like water balloons?
  • So this was actually one of my favorite parts of the series, when Lelouch narrates his whole saga and commits fully to the path he’s set himself upon, switching from the past tense to the present seamlessly and elegantly in Japanese. The English translations have always been rather lackluster. I’ve always preferred something a bit like “So it’s worth it” for Lelouch’s last line in the episode, rather than the dry “So that’s why.”
    • Anyway.

This is gonna be fun. Hee hee hee.

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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.

SILLY.FUNNY-FACES

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!

SILLy.ANVIL

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.

SILLY.L-STUPID

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.

SILLY.MEXICAN-LIGHT

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.

SILLY.STUPID-PILLS

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.

SILLY.RYUK-GOKU

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.

SILLY.KIM-JONG-IL

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.

SILLY.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.

SILLY.L-SUGAR

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.
SILLY.FUNNY-FACES

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.

SILLY.FIRE-GIRL

You know the words.

An Update

SpSILLY.AHH-YEAHoilers ahead, ye denizens of the Internet.

Dragon Age: Inquisition has been beaten. It took me about 100 hours to complete the game, which is amazing for an RPG. I think both Origins and DA2 came in at about 50 hours each. Loved the game. The story was mediocre, but the lore and surrounding characterization more than made up for it. The combat system, though better than Origins’, was not as good as DA2’s for me. The PC interface took a long time to get used to and was the most significant minus and source of frustration for me. Overall I rate the game about 8.5/10, if that scale makes sense. I’ll write up a lore post going over my thoughts on the deeper lore elements revealed in DA:I soon.

On the anime front, I’m caught up on Sword Art Online II and Unlimited Blade Works. Combined blog posts incoming sooner rather than later, hopefully. The latter anime was more decent than I expected, so that’s a plus. UBW continues to be beautiful and elicit the question what the everliving fuck is the budget for this thing? The pain of Zankyou no Terror is properly fading, thank God.

Now I have to balance my time between writing, Super Smash Bros, other playthroughs of DA:I, WoW PVP, and League of Legends as the new season comes on the horizon (LOL LUCIAN NERFS APPEARED ON THE PTR TODAY. SO HAPPY…even though they might have gone too far.). One thing’s for sure: we’re not in a drought anymore in video game land.

Wish I could say the same for California, though. :/

Sword Art Online II – 18

I’m confused. SILLY.WATDid I just witness some character development in Sword Art Online II? Who let that happen? I guess Kawahara Reki must have remembered that Asuna exists and might stand to have a little bit of time dedicated to her character that wasn’t entirely demeaning and misogynist. The material isn’t too much, to be sure: the storyline is telegraphing some arranged marriage proposal that Asuna, like an idiot, naturally won’t tell anyone about until the most inconvenient time, creating some emotional drama and no doubt requiring some shenanigans in ALO-land to rectify because the evil, lecherous man with rapey-eyes will just happen to play ALO hardcore. Or something like that. They could just play a children’s card game and save some time, you know. What’s nice is that Asuna stopped being the neglected trophy wife for an episode and was depicted as something resembling an actual human being, even though she’s still not fucking Kirito every second they’re alone together like a repressed rich girl would. Here we saw a little bit of refreshing criticism, as paltry as it was, toward Japanese culture and its treatment of women. Asuna had the gall to say that dressing up in kimonos and play the part of a rich girl sucked, even though none of her friends took her seriously despite all the obvious red flags she was waving. You guys are terrible friends, by the way. Can’t you take a hint? Sinon didn’t even see Shinkawa coming, and that shit was color-coded with neon lights and blaring trumpets.

Kirito, of course, is over there not noticing any of this because he’s a moron. I don’t hold this against him, though, since it serves to make him less of a Mary Sue. The guy is really only good for defying computer code in contrived life-or-death situations. When it comes to the normal grind of everyday life, he’s just another Joe Schmoe. Moreover, he’s always sucked ass at reading people or paying attention to the emotional needs of the friends/creepy admirers he’s surrounded himself with. It’s not like we had an entire half of a season to watch this character flaw unfold in slow motion. Oh wait, we did.

So Asuna is going to fight this Zekken guy and probably win, leading to her getting a badass Original Sword Skill. That would be nice. It would be nicer if Kirito had nothing to do with her success in this particular venture and this arc focused on her doing things her own way. Am I holding my breath? You know the answer, but still, this was the first SAO2 episode in a while that didn’t rub me the wrong way. There is some balm in Gilead after all.

Back from Blizzcon

Had a wonderful trip. One of the best of my life. Met many of my guildmates and other awesome people. I’ll write up some impressions later on, maybe.

I will be streaming tomorrow. Don’t know what exactly, though. Season 4 in LoL ends tomorrow, so maybe I’ll do some practice matches on the new Summoner’s Rift update. Who knows.

The normal anime posts are incoming as well.

Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works – 3/4

Missed last week’s po63a8f57f-414f-4e56-a5ce-a2a92ac134d51st for Fate/stay night, probably because I was still recovering from the visual orgy. I do love anime when it has no budget restrictions. Watching Berserker and Saber clash in a foggy courtyard and Rin/Ilya duel was a sight to behold. I’ll be honest: I was afraid the writers would try to be lazy and copy the first few episodes of the original Fate/stay night, but I’ve been happy to see they didn’t fall into that trap. We’ve met Lancer as follows, but I seem to recall that they encountered Rider next and did not go straight to Ryuudou Temple. Caster didn’t even play a part in the original anime until the very end of the series. Still, that just gives us more opportunity for beautiful animation, and it keeps the plot from losing its luster so quickly.

Alas, what goes up must come down (Spider-man is wrong here), and even if you don’t have budget restrictions, you will inevitably spend less time and effort on some areas than others. In anime, this typically follows immediately after a full-budget episode, so episode 4 was pretty quiet and, frankly, the worst episode of the anime so far. It wasn’t particularly bad in anyway, just dull when compared to the last few weeks. Not much happened except at the very end, where Rin got to show off her power again. She needs to shout more German. That’s fun.

I eagerly await next week.