Iron-Blooded Orphans – Episode 2

My character has only been done a zillion times before!! Tee hee!!

My character has only been done a zillion times before!! Tee hee hee!!

Episode 2 – Hitlerami Damacy

  • Stiiiiiill 15 seconds of logos.
  • Augus the Japanese sexily exhales blood.
    • This generally means he should go to a hospital.
  • Did it…really just take him 5 seconds to swing his giant-ass sword and cleave that enemy Mobile Suit in two?
    • I don’t even remember the asshole’s name from last week. What was, it…Orlis? Maybe?
      • Who gives a fuck.
        • No, seriously. Either the asshole is dead OOOOOOR he’s going to stay dead for X amount of episodes until he comes back via deus ex machina with an absurd revenge complex v. Augus. Complete with a very scarred face.
          • YOU KNOW I’M RIGHT, BITCHES.
  • Fade to black, then to a flashback WE’VE ALREADY SEEN BEFORE.
  • Holy. God. In Heaven.
    • SILLY.KUDELIAS-CRAZY-HAIR
      • Augus, someone has to style “Kudelia’s” hair. It’s a suicide mission, I know, but IT’S A JOB ONLY YOU CAN DO!!
        • Some poor Martian logistician somewhere: “how does all the hairspray on the planet keep disappearing?”
  • Um, so some random-ass door opens up and reveals Augus shirtless in front of the princess. How did either of them get from point A to point B?
    • “Kudelia” has just been standing around like a useless twerp while Augus was just in a Gundam two seconds ago. How did any of this happen?
      • Fuck it, it’s all about establishing sexual tension or something, right? Right.
        • Sunrise is the laziest anime studio on Earth, Mars, and goddamn Pluto.
  • 15 seconds of drilling and mechanical work. And I don’t mean sex, kids.
  • LOL.
    • Maruba, the worst businessman on Earth, Mars, and goddamn Pluto, stowed away a fully-functional Gundam that doesn’t have a scratch on it just to sell it to someone else.
      • That is more convenient than a conjunction of all nine planets in the solar system.
  • Wait…wouldn’t removing all the space around the cockpit negatively affect its capabilities? And why would they do that anyway? That’s an unnecessary expense if you’re just going to resell it.
    • Maruba, the worst financier on Earth, Mars, and goddamn Pluto.
  • Man, it’s a good thing these highly complex machines can be stored for a bajillion years with no maintenance and still go straight into combat without a hitch AND interface with highly complex military combat interfaces that were built centuries after it.
    • Huh. Mars and Jupiter are aligning all of a sudden. Weird.
  • “Alaya-Vijnana.”
    • There is no way that eponym will ever not be hilarious.
      • That’s another 100 trillion yen, Japan. Pay up.
  • Since I’m the only viewer paying the slightest bit of attention, the “Calamity War” took place two centuries ago, so there is no fucking way this Gundam’s combat system is even remotely compatible with any of this technology.
    • Sunrise, your bullshit deus ex nonsense isn’t cool or impressive. It just exposes your complete lack of ambition or creativity when it comes to this exhausted franchise.
  • OH MY GOD. “KUDELIA” SOMEHOW KNOWS SOMETHING ABOUT A 200-YEAR OLD WAR MACHINE.
    • (But not any of the real problems contemporary Martians are dealing with right now.)
      • Nah, that requires her to touch the truth with her own hands or some happy-feely Japanese-y bullshit.
        • At least she found some moral compunction buried underneath all that hair.
  • “Using nanomachines, it creates a pseudo-brain lobe that governs spatial awareness.” -Or(l)ga
    • Wow. Okay.
      • 1. How’s this for a translation? “And with those nanomachines, it creates a simulated brain lobe that governs spatial awareness.”
      • 2. This is the most fucking amazing technology ever. Why is this thing sitting in a junkyard waiting to be resold for scrap?
      • 3. Oh gee, what a surprise, it allows the brain to directly process Mobile Suit data.
        • Huh. That sounds oddly familiar.
          • 04
            • Oh yeah. That was in another Gundam series made two decades ago and it just happened to turn every person who used it into ADOLF HITLER.
              • GREAT IDEA, MORONS.
                • We can’t waste any time. Gotta introduce the Crazy-Gundam system in Episode 2 instead of Episode 30 this time.
  • Let’s just stop and consider how pathetic it is that Sunrise is ripping off the same character designs and story elements from one of its own series from twenty years ago.
    • “Kudelia” just happens to look and feel a lot like Relena Peacecraft.
    • Augus just happens to look and sound a lot like Heero Yuy…except, you know, without all the legendary psychopathy.
    • Augus’ Gundam uses the Zero System because Sunrise couldn’t think of anything original to save its hide from anus-probing space aliens from Uhgpoiahpblax II.
  • If they’ve managed to perfect artificial brain simulation, then why isn’t everyone on Mars/Earth in a virtual simulation right now?
  • “Without this system, an uneducated kid like him couldn’t operate this thing.”
    • Wow. Okay again.
      • 1. Thanks for having your own characters say “it’s basically just a fucking plot device.” It really clears things up.
      • 2. That’s not how the human brain works. Even with a magical brain simulation thingie, you’d still have to take loads of training just to know how to operate any Mobile Suit in combat, let alone effectively.
        • Leave it to Sunrise to come up with a twenty-year-old plot device that doesn’t even work under its own logic.
  • BY THE WAY, Augus, this just might sooooooooooooorrta kinda possibly maybe make you want to kill all the Jews.
    • If you’re okay with that.
      • I mean, I’m not judging or anything.
  • “Your cerebral nerves could…”
    • “That’s okay. I never use them much anyway.”
      • Except right there.
        • And in every moment of your waking life.
          • Ha ha ha, what a fucking retarded joke.
  • “Kudelia” expresses shocked concern. Not because she’s thinking through how FUCKED UP all of this actually is, but that’s what her character is supposed to do.
    • “Is your life not precious to you?” -“Kudelia” Aina Bernstein
      • BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARF.
    • “Of course it is. My life and everybody else’s.” -Mikazuki Augus
      • BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARF.
    • *exhale of shocked revelation* – “Kudelia” Aina Bernstein
      • Now I need a goddamn Hitler Machine.
  • Hey, let’s use this 200-year-old neural interface device WITHOUT TESTING IT FIRST.
  • “Barbados.” It means “Zero” in Martian.
  • “How do you read this?” -Mikazuki Augus
    • LOL
      • What, are you saying this asshole mechanic can fix up a 200-year-old war machine but CAN’T READ THE LATIN ALPHABET?
        • He just babbles on for five seconds going “Barb..bara…ba…”
          • WAIT. AUGUS CAN’T READ IT TOO.
            • PBTH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.
  • Augus suffers horrendous neural feedback and probably tetanus + gangrene after interfacing recklessly with the 200-year-old Hitler Machine.
  • Biscuit casually reminds them that there is still, in fact, a battle going on outside.
    • Shame that nobody in this scene expressed any concern whatsoever about that.
  • Oh boo. Instead of dying in horrific convulsions like any human being actually would, Augus overcomes the Hitler Dance Party Machine through sheer force of will. Somehow.
    • One of my lifelong dreams has become seeing Sunrise’s HQ burn to the ground in righteous, cleansing fire.
  • How did the Hitler Rave Device teach Augus its own name? Why would it have the capability or mechanism to do that?
  • Um, are you bleeding from your nose, Augus?
    • Eh, whatever. It’s probably not a life-threatening aneurysm. You can go.
  • Man, it’s a good thing this 200-year-old retinal projector is working perfectly fine after 200 years of rust, neglect, and a complete lack of maintenance.
  • “Kudelia” actually asks if the protagonist of an anime with 25 planned episodes can win a minor skirmish in its second episode.
    • Gee, “Kudelia,” I dunno. The odds sure seemed stacked against him.
      • It’s so suspenseful.
  • Biscuit spouts cliche Japanese nonsense that hasn’t inspired anyone since 1989 and basically amounts to stating the obvious.
  • The English in this opening sequence is so goddamn stupid.
    • When did this become a trend in Japan? Having Japanese bands hire some hack English writer to scrawl out incoherent gobbledygook and collect a check?
      • “All misleads they give ignoring our decisions.”
      • “Killing yourself your soul we have inside.”
      • Notice how the only female characters visible are not only outnumbered just by the male extras 10-1, but are also all in supporting roles.
        • Would be nice to have a FEMALE LEAD GUNDAM PILOT sometime in the next two hundred years.
          • At least “Lieutenant” Noin was shown to be a kinda-competent Mobile Suit pilot in an anime from TWENTY YEARS AGO.
  • And now back to the combat. I wonder who’s going to win.
  • The scared n00bie pilot is freaking out over here or something.
    • WE RUSHED IN WITH BAD INTELLIGENCE AND NOW IT’S COMING BACK TO BITE US IN THE ASS. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE WHAAAAA.
  • Calm down, Ein. (Thanks for telling me his name again.) You haven’t seen Orlis’ body yet. I’m sure it’s quite possible he’s still alive.
  • Man, it’s a good thing this ragtag group of underfunded child laborers had the proper fuel to make this 200-year-old Hitler Race Race Revolution Machine move.
  • “NIGASU NNA!”
    • Oh, so terrifying: it’s a line that every anime character in combat ever has uttered in indignant rage. The suspense grips me.
  • Let me guess: Crank, a veteran with a machine that is 200 years newer and who has far more combat experience, is about to be crushed by the 12-year-old kid with the Hitler Karaoke Machine.
  • Um. WAIT. IS AUGUS USING HUMAN SHIELDS? HA.
    • That Hitler Xbox sure doesn’t waste time, does it?
      • I am losing my shit.
  • Sigh, Ein charges in recklessly and protests that this highly reckless attack will somehow do something even though it clearly won’t.
    • Ein, how does it feel to be a one-dimensional character with a highly predictable character arc?
      • Must be quite the existential experience, I’d warrant.
        • Maybe you should find another job that doesn’t crush both body and soul.
          • Like at Wal-Mart.
  • Of course, they’re both magically on the same radio frequency.
    • Sunrise, go fuck yourself and jump in a frozen lake.
  • 20 seconds of pressing against each other’s weapons. Yawn.
  • Crank is surprised to find a child piloting a Mobile Suit after attacking an installation he knows is filled with children.
    • I can scarcely imagine how Crank will react when he finds out that water is wet. He might have a heart attack.
      • Nobody tell him.
  • Augus is talking about slaughtering them all.
    • Um, Sunrise? Is this supposed to be profound? Because it’s just horrifying.
  • “I AM LOSING BY STRENGTH.” -Crank
    • These subbers suck my balls.
      • What native English speaker would EVER say that?
        • Hey, here’s an idea: “HOW IS HE OVERPOWERING ME?”
          • Put me on this subbing team, for Christ’s sake.
  • “WHAT GREAT REACTION SPEED.” -Crank
    • Can you guess what Japanese word started that sentence?
      • HMMMM.
        • Could it be…なんて?
          • NOOOO. NO WAY.
            • I, being in no way fluent in Japanese, could script an anime episode with little effort.
  • WTF. THE GUNDAM IS RUNNING OUT OF FUEL.
    • HOLY SHIT, LOGISTICS EXISTS IN THIS UNIVERSE.
      • MY SOUL IS REVIVED. PRAISE BE THE LORD MARS.
  • “Yamagi” has a bowl-cut of golden hair.
    • I could accept maybe one or two of these guys having Japanese surnames by sheer chance. Not five, six, or EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM.
      • Are we sure Sunrise also isn’t running a Hitler Karaoke Booth at its HQ? Someone go get a SWAT team and sort that shit out.
  • Oh dear, a bit of incompetence leads to Augus running out of fuel mid-battle. Not the sheer difficulties of a 200-year-old war machine even being compatible with modern fuel.
  • Man, it’s a good thing Augus has all this time for these two retards to spasm comically  about how they can’t do their fucking jobs.
  • If its thrusters don’t have fuel, how can it move?
    • Like, what’s the energy source allowing it to run around the battlefield like that? It has to be coming from somewhere.
      • The souls of small children? Does the Hitler Disco Party draw energy from them? I’m more willing to accept that than anything else I’ve seen so far.
  • Ein somehow received a shoulder wound through no discernible chain of events.
    • And is somehow piloting his complex Mobile Suit with one hand on the controls.
      • Sure, Sunrise.
  • Crank’s years of experience tell him to retreat at the exact moment when the tactical situation shifts overwhelmingly in his favor.
    • They could seriously just kill Augus right now, but aren’t for some reason.
      • That reason is called bling-bling.
  • Uh, Augus? I think your jugular vein just ruptured.
    • I’m sure you’ll be fine. You’re in good hands with Grandpa Hitler Doll.
  • Meanwhile, the evil Caucasian peeps still haven’t had time to fix their faces.
  • No no, just stand there staring pensively at the Gundam while Augus is bleeding to death inside. He’ll wait.
    • He doesn’t use those nerves anyway. His words.
  • Random female character whose name we don’t even know is driving an impossibly stupid and dangerous one-wheeler truck across the Martian landscape.
  • Oh yeah, she totally heard those two girls shouting at her over the roar of her engine.
    • Nothing in this series makes any goddamn sense.
  • “何?失敗しただと?!”
    • No, seriously, I could go write an episode for Sunrise. Why not?
      • How shocking that such a hastily and ill-conceived mission whose objectives weren’t ever clear in the first place failed miserably.
  • “We lost a third of our soldiers and a Graze.” -Crank
    • Um, correct me if I’m wrong, but I saw Augus kill exactly one person. I guess that technically counts as a “third”, but really? That’s overselling your losses, Crank.
  • “Kudelia” is actually “Kuderia.”
    • I don’t give a fuck. It’s not changing, bitches.
      • Besides, as retarded as “Kudelia” sounds, it still sounds a billion times better than “Kuderia.”
        • No, seriously. Try pronouncing “Kuderia” with an English r-sound.
          • Now you feel bad, don’t you? You should.
  • ”ふざけるな!!”
    • I’m typing up my resume to Sunrise right now. How do you say “To Whom It May Concern” in Japanese?
  • “NANTE KOTO KA?”
    • First-grade literature right here.
      • How did my terrible plan fail so terribly? I must now bristle at the sweat on my brow while clenching my fist on my desk.
        • What a unique and original pose no anime character has ever done before.
  • “Kudelia Aina Bernstein” is apparently also the leader of the Martian independence movement.
    • Uh, two hours ago she was just the daughter of Mars’ leader who wanted to find out about the real world. When did she become the leader of an opposition movement? While she was fixing her insane hair?
  • Huh? Their plan was to assassinate “Kudelia” using clearly-marked Earth security forces and hope the Independence Movement just fizzled out instead of flaring up?
    • These writers haven’t the slightest inkling of how humans or geopolitics actually work.
      • Or anything else, for that matter.
        • Sunrise? More like Sundown.
          • …sorry, that’s all I got.
  • Then Mars would go into further turmoil and hate Earth further…which would accomplish what, exactly?
  • This man is insane. How did he get into a position of power?
  • “WHO CARES IF THEY ARE KIDS?” -Asshole Commander
    • Um, all of humanity.
      • This commander apparently has never heard of the term “PR”.
        • How does slaughtering children out of hand help solidify support against the Martians?
          • Answer: it doesn’t.
            • But this moron is a thrall of the plot, so he must say comically genocidal things just to get things moving instead of having relatable people do relatably tragic things in a tragic conflict.
  • Oh dear, Danji is dead.
    • ….no one cares.
      • Except this guy, for some reason.
        • I don’t care that he’s dead. He went out like a fucking idiot and got himself killed. Boo hoo.
          • And apparently his only defining character trait was that he wanted to die smothered in breasts.
            • ….is that supposed to be funny, Sunrise?
  • Generic First Corps guys all have the same face.
    • I am not kidding.
  • This one Caucasian Devil needs twenty rounds of plastic surgery.
    • He is never passing on his genes, that’s for sure.
  • Some random Italian-looking guy rubs his nostrils with his finger and looks all sheepishly conniving.
    • Yep. Confirmed. Sunrise has a Hitler Playstation.
  • Why is this twelve-year-old girl allowed to drive across a Martian landscape to deliver goods to a rundown military unit?
    • She’s four feet tall and is driving a truck with one wheel in its front. How does that thing even survive a bumpy road?
  • Biscuit has twin sisters named “Cookie” and “Cracker”, neither of whom are fat.
    • ….is that supposed to be funny, Sunrise?
  • Uh, are you expecting me to believe this rundown brigade has a fancy, modern waiting lobby?
    • Seriously?
      • I hate this series. I really fucking hate it.
  • Aww, the twin sisters are acting precocious just like all other 妹たち have done in every anime ever.
  • Oh, her name is Atra. Only took 45 minutes of total screen time to say it once.
    • But they have all the wherewithal to say every male character’s name every two seconds just to make sure the audience doesn’t forget.
      • It’s fucking insulting.
  • “Where’s Mikazuki?” -Atra
    • Oh, nowhere. Just suffering a brain hemorrhage in a place with no medical facilities.
      • Wait, he couldn’t cut the link to the Hitler Goat Simulator while Augus was unconscious and the system was off…?
        • He had to turn it back on just to disconnect it?
          • …….
            • I have no words.
  • Poor you, Crank. Your attack on child soldiers cost you one casualty while slaughtering 110 of the other side.
    • What a “crushing” defeat.
  • Atra has an unrequited relationship with Augus.
    • 10 points to Gryffindor for originality.
  • Suddenly “Kudelia,” who two hours ago was just a girl trying to find out the truth of the world, is speaking to the United Nations and conveniently explaining Mars’ cosmopolitical setup that has lasted since the Calamity War.
    • Apparently Earth is divided into four economic blocs…?
      • And this division is what caused Mars to be poor.
        • …okay. That makes little sense on its face.
    • And this setup has caused lots of children to die.
      • Because Mars has a developed industrial economy but also has a high birthrate somehow?
        • …no.
    • Oh, I get it. This is supposed to tie in with the “Iron-Blooded Orphans” title.
      • They honestly want us to believe that Mars is a planet populated mainly by children
        • It’s not happening, Sunrise.
  • “Kudelia’s” stupid hair offends my soul.
    • She has the gall to lecture Earth on how children are dying, but consumes more hairspray than an entire city.
      • And now she blames herself for all this…?
        • Why? She had nothing to do with it at all.
  • Fumitan returns.
    • “Where have you been?”
    • “Hiding like a smart person, you stupid bitch.”
  • Norman Bernstein wants his daughter back.
    • I wonder if “Kudelia” will defy his wishes.
      • Oh look, “Kudelia” just defied his wishes.
  • “This trip to Earth was supposed to be done in secrecy.” -Kudelia
    • Funny how every single person on Mars knew about it somehow.
      • And how would you keep a 5-month journey to represent a planet a secret anyhow? What would the point of that be?
  • I, “Kudelia,” having just nearly died in a horrific attack involving the massacre of innocent children, must now refuse safety until I can “confirm” some vague philosophical goal and develop my character a millimeter forward into well-traveled territory.
    • Fumitan, get me some more hairspray.
  • CAN WE HAVE ONE FEMALE PROTAGONIST IN AN ANIME THAT IS CONFIDENT ABOUT THEMSELVES FOR ONCE?
    • MY GOD.
  • Augus has the balls to cut her off.
    • But only to lecture her about looking down on his nakama-tachi or something. Because reasons.
      • This is anime at its lowest and most cliche.
  • GENERIC SHOCKED LOOK OF REACTION.
  • Now it’s time to pontificate about how ignorant she is for five more minutes.
    • HER HAIR IS WIDER THAN HER ENTIRE BODY.
      • OH, HIS EYES. THOSE EYES WERE SO FIERCE AND DEFIANT.
        • TAKE ME AND DEFLOWER ME, AUGUS.
  • I want these twins to die impaled on a rusted metal girder.
    • “Kudelia,” for her part, can die drenched in hairspray with a burning match tossed on top of her.
  • The evil thugs appropriately look like thugs.
    • Mr. Caucasian Devil still needs his teeth and/or cheeks fixed.
  • Why are any of these people afraid of Lupin IV? He’s obviously a complete shitbag who tried to abandon them in the middle of battle and they know it.
    • Why don’t they just call him on his shit? They just saved their asses. You really think anyone in the unit besides Lupin IV’s little cowardly cadre will support him?
  • “あいつらゆるせねえ!”
    • Cliche line #96874635213654698745.
  • Oh wait, they’re actually talking about doing something. Finally something mildly engaging might happen.
    • “I did, but in this sort of situation?” -Eugene
      • You mean the one where they just tried to leave you all for dead and then beat your leader to a bloody pulp for standing his ground and doing his job?
        • It sounds like the perfect time to take over. Eugene was willing to suggest a coup when everything seemed peachy. Why is he getting cold feet now, of all times?
  • By the way, I still don’t know what “CGS” stands for.
  • You know, if Maruba and the First Corps were such scum, it begs the question as to why these guys have put up with this shit for so long in the first place.
  • Or(l)ga is the distant ancestor of Trowa Barton or something.
    • Or(l)ga, the second-most prolific hairspray consumer in the Mars Sphere.
      • Also this scene’s Exposition Maestro.
  • “We’re human debris.” -Akihiro
    • As if any Japanese viewer would know off the top of their heads what “Hyuuman Debburi” means.
      • And he declares he’ll mindlessly obey whoever’s in charge instead of, you know, taking charge.
        • What a memorable character.
  • Or(l)ga forgot about Augus, the guy who is probably still bleeding to death somewhere.
  • MEANWHILE, AT THE HALLS OF JUSTICE.
    • Ein’s only redeeming quality is his delicious pecs.
      • Magical cartoon bandages heal all injuries.
    • Crank seriously intends to go back and fight the people who just kicked his ass all by his lonesome.
      • Good on him. I hope he fucking dies.
  • Crank babbles on about soldiers and disgrace, forgetting that he just killed 110 children.
    • OOOOOPS.
  • “I don’t want to fight.” -Crank
    • So don’t fight.
      • “But if I have no choice but to fight…”
        • So just run away and don’t fight. I honestly don’t see what’s the dilemma, Crank.
  • Augus is apathetically fatalistic.
    • Meh. I don’t care either.
  • Blah blah blah, gambare, blah blah blah.
  • “But if it’s something you decided, I’ll do it.” -Augus
    • Ummm….what if it involves killing all the Jews?
      • Oh wait, no, you’re cool with that already.
  • Great. These fuckwits showed up.
    • “Specialist Major” Fareed and “Specialist Major” Bauduin.
      • Anaphylactic shock, here I come.
  • MWA HA HA, I AM MAJOR CORAL AND I LOOK LIKE THE LOVECHILD OF ALEC BALDWIN AND CLAUDE FROLLO. BO HA HA HA HA.
    • LOOK AT HOW EVIRU AND GROVORINGU I AM.
  • Oh gee, the highfalutin Specialist Majors (as if that’s a rank somewhere) interrupt Major Coral in order to establish their imposing will of character.
    • No one’s ever done that before.
  • KATAKANA CREDIT BARRAGE GOOOOOOOOOOOO.
  • ….is that a cross explosion?
    • Hideki Anno is gonna sue somebody.
  • Look at all these children climbing unaided on this five-story-tall war machine.
    • It’s totally not dangerous.
  • “Kudelia’s” hair is taller than the cornstalks in this frame.
    • Burn the corn. Burn the land.
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Sword Art Online II – 23

So that’s how Asuna geSILLY.WAVE-OF-NOSTALGIAts her mom to stop being a bitch: a nostalgia trip. Which begs of the question of where and when in the past few episodes (amidst all the emotional turmoil of Yuuki’s situation) did Asuna have the time to create this tiny sanctum that represents a major part of her life and psyche, one we’ve never seen before? I mean, had this been a more regular theme of Asuna’s home and virtual experience that she kept going back to without much explanation, I might have found this “reveal” to be more moving, but it just seemed so random that it took me out of the moment. Anyway, now Asuna’s mom understands her kid a bit more because she took LITERALLY five minutes out of her time to listen to her for once. Did anybody else laugh at this part too? Communication solves problems between human beings? No fucking way.

I mean, the rest of the episode was okay, I guess, but I think I missed something, or it’s just that I’m not terribly into the story at this point. This is a lesson about pacing and why telegraphing stuff only works in certain situations and contexts. Yuuki’s terrible, terrible plight has been hanging over everyone’s heads for so long that it’s worn out its welcome. We get it: she’s stuck in a horrible situation and is making the most out of it. Gambaru and all that. It’s not working, Kawahara Reki. Yuuki seems like just another tool in this story’s box of cliches, a means to resolve Asuna’s own character arc with some token sympathy tropes to tug at your heartstrings. It all comes across as way too utilitarian to me, not to mention how much these episodes have just dragged on and on. One of the most annoying traits of B-grade anime writers is their incredibly bad habit of just throwing in ten tons of dialog if they can’t figure out what else to fill their scenes with (Log Horizon is even worse at this than SAO, somehow). Did we really need another talking episode to explain everything? Did these people not learn the lesson of show, don’t tell back in writing school? This arc could have been half as long and been just as effective. Better idea: we could have shaved off those three useless Viking episodes and spent more time developing this shit with proper pacing, focus, and tone. I might have said this before, but I think one of the worst accusations that can be made against a writer is sheer laziness. I’m no Stephen King, but if can spend five minutes and come up with very basic adjustments that would significantly improve the quality of the writing, it’s fucking bad writing. Shows like Stand Alone Complex demonstrate you can make twenty minutes of nonstop dialog effective, dramatic, and gripping, but there has to be a method to the madness. SAO is all the latter, and it’s not particularly fun madness at that.

At least next week this nightmare will finally be over. I’m sure the soulless anime industry will crank out something equally placid and unremarkable to take its place forthwith. I can’t wait. (The previous sentence is all lies.)

 

Sword Art Online II: 19-22

Well, good joSILLY.NOT-BADb, SAO2, at achieving some level of substance. After wasting three episodes on half-assed Viking-esque shit nobody cared about, this past arc has explored and touched on some of the more practical sides of virtual MMOs, namely their assistance in treating the handicapped or the terminally ill. We find out Yuuki is the victim of a botched blood transfusion through which she contracted HIV, and she’s been using a virtual interface to ease her way through what little time she has left. This did not really surprise me, as the anime has been telegraphing some sort of tragic ending for a while now, but I do have to hand it to the show for pulling itself out of its ass and returning to more grounded territory before it takes its bow. At this point, the show really should just end here on this sort of bittersweet note. I doubt something like that will happen in the fantastic land of Japan, where milking a cash cow is something akin to a sacred art. You never know, though. Maybe God will smile on us.

Some other good things about this arc. Don’t be shocked at what they are:

  • Little to no Kirito. Thank God the show pushed Kirito Sue the Magnificent out of the limelight for a bit and remembered it had an actual female lead once upon a time.
  • Actual character development for Asuna. While Sinon has fallen off the face of the earth yet again, Asuna has taken center-stage and had her character tapered down into something more well-rounded. Most of the scenes we’ve encountered so far should have happened a season ago, but there’s a hymn about counting your blessings I remember learning somewhere as a kid.
  • Asuna’s mom being a total bitch who still has a reasonable thing to say or two. Asuna’s mom might be a controlling monster, but she is right that Asuna is several years behind her peers and can’t spend the rest of her days living in a fantasy world with Kirito and Co. Kirito at the very least has shown some practical drive to learn job skills and focus on real life for once. Asuna has been floundering about in an annoying bout of self-imposed depression. Asuna’s mom just has no idea how to approach her child about this, so she comes off as a giant cunt. Granted, she is a giant cunt and would get a hell of a lot of mileage if she took the time to try to understand her child’s point of view, but, you know, people tend to suck in this department.

Bad things about this arc. Oh boy.

  • Laughable game design. I mean, seriously now: all MMOs use the concept of instancing. The scenario presented in this past arc with Yuuki’s guild was ridiculous and showed just how blatantly ignorant SAO’s author is about modern MMO game design. Yes, there are world bosses and such, but world bosses are meant for mass consumption and to encourage that kind of tagging thing. They aren’t actually meant to push the boundaries of the players to much, as the added factor of an open-world precludes you from utilizing some of the key fundamentals of boss/encounter design.
  • Kirito still being OP. No one cares. Kirito, instead of spending time in video games where you’re a living god, go give Asuna some head. You’re her girlfriend. Treat her as such. Learn some real skills, for God’s sake.
  • Asuna’s absent father. Really? We went with this shitty stereotype here? OK. Thanks, SAO2. Thanks for taking the lazy way out. Again.

Next week is the penultimate episode. Then we can finally forget this show ever happened, except I’ll keep seeing a billion people in LoL and other games with shitty SAO-related character names. Because humanity. Sigh.

Sigh…

Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works – 2

ThisSILLY.KNOW episode brought to you by Exposition, Incorporated, co-sponsored by its affiliate, Awkward Situations, LLC. Speaking of which: Saber, maybe there’s some sort of unspoken rule that repeat participants of a Holy Grail War cannot divulge what happened during the previous wars–even though I don’t think such has ever been mentioned anywhere in the series–but you do know the man Shirou is talking to tried to kill his adopted father, is a horrible monster of a human being, and is more or less responsible for everything that is happening now. That information seems a bit too pertinent not to reveal. At this point, of course, none of the characters have an inkling that Kotomine Kirei is a participant of this Holy Grail War as well, so it’s not like spilling the beans on Kotomine would really change anything from their perspective. It would just make Shirou more suspicious of him.

What else is there to say? I mean, yay, whatever-her-name von Eizenburg showed up, so next week we should get some juicy violence, but anyone who’s watched the previous series wouldn’t find this episode interesting. It sets up the basics of the Holy Grail for the newcomer. At least Shirou wasn’t so goddamned preachy about his morality like last time. He just listened and accepted things a bit more readily instead of going “PEOPLE DIE WHEN THEY ARE KILLED.”

I do love Kotomine’s voice actor, though. Such a unique timbre.

Sword Art Online II – 15

SILLY.WHY

Why is Sinon playing this fantasy MMO she knows nothing about? Why wouldn’t she be committing herself to the hardcore MMO she has already invested herself in and knows very well? I mean, yeah, this is a minor point. At least she stayed somewhat within her character, although I’d have preferred a sort of role-reversal where she took on a male avatar in Alfheim-whatever-online.

Anyway, this episode was pretty boring. Mostly a setup with lots of exposition that made little sense and gave me no reason to care. There’s no more risk of death anymore, so why does anybody give a fuck about this random conflict in this passe MMO? It’s a raid. This is not a new and amazing thing. Did they just forget about that whole aspect of Sword Art Online, where it only works if there’s a lingering, contrived threat of death hanging above everyone’s heads? The answer is yes. They knew they already had enough of an audience to turn Sword Art Online into The Totally Platonic Adventures of Kirito Sue the Magnificent. Only it doesn’t fucking work. Why do I keep having to go back to this basic element of storytelling with everything I see these days? In all honesty, I would rather it be Kirito Sue and His Gals Make a Porno, as that might be slightly interesting, even though I’m gay and straight sex could not be less involving for me. How is this 16-year-old nubile male teenager surrounded by adoring nubile female teenagers not fucking each and every one one of them on a schedule scrawled out on a whiteboard in his room? That’s what any other male would be doing, not this shitty MMO crap. Far from being virtuous or noble, it just comes across as being both ridiculous and boring. And why is Asuna still calling Kirito “Kirito-kun”? The fuck? How creepy can this shit get?

Blah blah blah, some MMO raiders got a quest to go raid a dungeon. That’s it. That’s the entire plot of this next arc. What the fuck? Am I in some sort of nightmare of unending torment? Did Sauron the Deceiver kidnap me somewhere along the line and my whole life has been one cruel lie after another conjured for his amusement? No, that can’t be right. Sauron wouldn’t waste such an opportunity with something as dry and boorish as depicting a raiding harem. He had a much grander imagination than that.

You know what, fuck it. No more expectations. From this point forth, Sword Art Online II shall be blogged solely to lampoon it. Granted, that’s mostly what I’ve been doing anyway, but now I can just switch gears to full Apathy Mode. Cheers. Let me go pop some more popcorn. I always like mine slightly burnt.

Sword Art Online II – 13

Shinkawa, that randSILLY.EXPECTEDom, slightly isolated admirer of Sinon’s we haven’t seen in forever, is actually one of Death Gun’s cronies. Shocking. I will refer back to yon post here, six episodes ago, when I predicted exactly this.

Also, Shinkawa is a complete psychopath, because this is one of only two options in Japanese society: you are either perfectly normal and conform to Japanese cultural norms, or are batshit-holyfuck-allworkandnoplay-craaaaaaaaazy. There are no alternatives. Why else wouldn’t you conform to Japanese society unless you were completely fucking crazy? Only crazy people wouldn’t conform. I mean, seriously now.

Kirito beat Death Gun, thanks to Sinon finally figuring out she could do something, which she did. Plot Twist of 2014.

Following on this very concrete example, Sinon got it into her head that she’s not a worthless piece of crap and that she is capable of doing things to affect her reality for the better. Great. Why did that take 13 episodes?

Kirito also didn’t let things slide and realized Sinon might still be in danger. Common sense is a useful skill.

The nurse surrounded by IVs in a modern Japanese hospital outright stated that Kirito is actually at risk of being dehydrated. Um. No. No, he’s not. Not if you actually know how to do your job, bitch. Are you even a nurse? I’m seriously starting to question your creds.

In other news, generic anime is generic, but I’ll admit: this episode was fun. After three weeks of being talked to death, anything can seem exciting.

Zankyou no Terror – 10

What a fantastiSILLY.LOST-THE-PLOTc penultimate episode, closing out some lingering plot lines and using characters to their fullest to create a dramatic connection with its viewers, all the while setting the stage for Le Finale Grande. I was truly impressed.

The above is a very bad joke.

Yeah, this episode sucked, probably because the series tried to pull out a climax out of characters it never bothered to develop past the outline stage, since it was so busy distracting the viewer with LOL WE READ OEDIPUS plots. Maybe I might have cared a bit about Five and her relationship with Nine had it actually existed. You know, had we seen it played out in some concrete fashion. Had we been shown why she was so obsessed with Nine, why they had a connection, what kind of past they had, etc. Maybe we might have cared about Twelve’s depression after “betraying” Nine had we seen any sort of friction between their characters before the ninth fucking episode. Maybe all of this might have worked had the writers of Zankyou no Terror gone back to school and learned the basic structure of a plot and the basic mechanics of character development.

But fuck that. Once again we have a plot that makes no sense, all of which would have been prevented had the fucking police had bulletproof glass in the van carrying Nine. This is a standard feature of police vehicles, I’m pretty sure. This would have stopped Five’s measly handgun from shooting out the driver and setting up the absurd situation in which the episode ended. In the space of about three minutes the characters die multiple times but continue living anyway because of plot inertia. And then finally Five kills herself in her last throes after kissing Nine (meaning what?) and shooting the leaking fuel with her gun. Okay. Was that supposed to carry any emotional weight whatsoever? Because it didn’t. Who fucking cares.

Our grand climax turns out to be another absurd scenario where Nine lets loose a fucking atomic bomb to float in a hot-air balloon above the streets of Tokyo. How is this supposed to be a problem for the authorities to resolve? Hey Joe, what’s with the hot air balloon floating smack dab in the middle of the city? That seems kinda odd. Maybe we should go check on it. And how does this make Nine anything but one of the most monstrous terrorists in the history of the world? Threatening the most populous metropolitan area in the world (40 million people and counting!) with a fucking atomic bomb. Oh Yay! I’m totally rooting for him now! Who the fuck is the main character in this series? Who is the protagonist? Who is the antagonist? What are they doing? Why are they doing it? What the fuck is going on? How about some fucking answers?

Let me guess: Nine’s gonna teach the people of Japan a lesson about their terrible government and blah blah blah blah blah blah. Fuck you. You don’t have to whine whatever sobstory about how the government mistreated you or preach some forced geopolitical mantra by threatening forty million innocent people with nuclear annihilation. Fuck you, Nine. Fuck you, Zankyou no Terror. Fuck your shitty writing team and its hack, undergraduate prose. Fuck this pretentious bullshit.

I’m gonna go do something fun and wait for next’s week batshittery.