Iron-Blooded Orphans – Episode 3

"Kudelia" needs to watch Pleasantville.

“Kudelia” needs to watch Pleasantville.

Episode 3 – Glorious Misogyny

  • Daisuki-DOTTO-NETTO!!
    • Double exclamation points are teh bomb.
  • “Eating again? – Or(l)ga
    • Yes, Or(l)ga. Humans tend to fucking eat. Repeatedly.
      • Are you in any way surprised that Augus is eating a lot after a battle in which a Hitler Nintendo NX nearly killed him?
  • Augus’ overcoat in no way flatters his ridiculously ripped physique. It looks like something made for the inhabitants of Planet Moscow. Or something.
  • That was the most boring and inconsequential opening of an anime episode I’ve seen in a while.
    • “Hey, eating again?”
    • “Yep.”
    • “Huh. Okay. Well then.”
    • [cut to opening sequence]
      • You know what this means, children: the budget ran ooooooooooooooooooooooooooout. Hee hee.
  • PSA: despite this opening sequence’s implications, Iron-Blooded Orphans’ gender ratio does not reflect reality.
    • Shocking PSA: there are slightly more women than men in the general population.
      • Very shocking PSA: they are people just as much as men, with their own dreams, fears, aspirations, and worth.
        • Sorry to blow your mind, Japan.
          • (But not really, you misogynist twerps.)
  • Oh ho ho, Biscuit is in charge of food after the crisis. It’s not like he could be a competent engineer or anything. Fat people love food.
    • Ha ha. It’s funny because Japan is still stuck in 1954.
  • Great idea, Biscuit: give a giant boiling pot of food to your twin sisters to carry. They’re only, like, eight years old. The pot probably weighs as much as both of them combined.
    • Are you trying to give them second-degree burns and a horrific childhood memory?
      • World’s Best Brother, AD 23-something: Biscuit.
  • ありがとう、アトラ。皆喜んでいる。” -Biscuit
    • Oh, of course the woman is in charge of food too.
      • Looking past the tired, happy-feely horseshit that Biscuit seems to Chief of Staff for, this scene is clearly implying that women have nothing to contribute to society beyond supporting men.
        • Thanks, Sunrise. Thanks for moving our species forward into the future.
  • And of course, Atra blushes and smiles by squinting her eyes at Biscuit’s tired, useless, patronizing compliment.
    • Hey, Atra: where’s that guy you’re mooning over that doesn’t give two shits about you?
      • Even if he does, he doesn’t show it in any discernible way, so it’s the same thing.
        • Hey, Atra: since all these people are horrible idiots, how about next time you poison all the food and watch them die in painful convulsions? That would make your character both way more interesting and useful.
  • Continuing this show’s brave march into the Land of Misogynia, “Kudelia” naturally wants to help prepare the food, like a good Japanese woman, but like a good token “strong”, “female” “character”, is hilariously inept at it.
    • It also reinforces that she’s rich, even though everyone could tell by the fact that she has a personal factory for supplying her with hairspray, which she requires for sustenance.
      • Yes, “Kudelia” is so spoiled and pampered that she’s completely useless with a ladle, which requires only the most basic amount of hand-eye coordination.
        • She’s acting like it weighs 100 kilograms or something and is a bizarre object crafted by an alien civilization.
          • Someday, somewhere, Sunrise will stop treating its female characters like shit.
  • No, I’m not getting off this soapbox. All the female characters in this series are in this scene, and they are all delicate objects of desire and support for the men. This is sexism at its most sinister and subtle. It’s so bad that a stereotypically butch female pilot character with the personality of a lead bar and a boringly tragic past would be admirable progress for these writers.
    • So no, Sunrise, this scene is no way funny. It’s fucking insulting.
  • “Kudelia” is so useless and ignorant she DOESN’T KNOW HOW TO USE A KNIFE.
    • Excuse me while I go use a knife on some Sunrise writers.
      • Aww, the annoying brat with no distinguishing features gives “Kudelia” cute but absolutely useless advice on culinary preparation techniques.
        • “When cutting vegetables, make cat paws”.
          • DAWWW, KAWAII DESU.
            • Except not. What does that even mean? That doesn’t even make sense as an analogy for cutting vegetables. Have these writers never cut vegetables before either?
              • She’s pressing on that knife like she’s performing CPR. So either these are Martian cucumbers with skin as resilient as granite or that knife is duller than a worn slab of granite.
  • Enough talking with women, Biscuit. It’s time for MAN WORK.
      • And they’ll thoughtfully shield them from such harsh, masculine affairs. Women should be unblemished and pretty for the men when they get home.
  • Meanwhile, the men are down in the dumps and struggling with REAL emotional torments.
  • Lupin IV actually insults Biscuit by telling him to put his butt meat inside his soup.
    • That got odd really fast.
  • “Kudelia” has acquired the Skill [Basic Hand-Eye Coordination]! Her DEX increases by +5!
    • But she still scales worse than all the men.
  • These little brats call her お嬢様 and act like her serving them food is the best thing ever, even though it’s no different from any of the rest of the glop in the kitchen.
    • Remember, children: women support men like good mothers. It’s how it works.
      • *wink*
  • Augus is as personable and likable as ever.
    • He’d make a lead bar dance and sing with his stoic gaze and piercing eyes.
  • “Kudelia” is so incompetent at cutting things she made big vegetables. HMMM. LET’S SEE IF AUGUS TAKES THEM.
  • Augus, of course, treats her warmly and likes her food. In three…two…one…
  • And “Kudelia” blushes in shocked surprise.
  • And now she’s rubbing her hands in delicate feminine angst.
  • Now an insightful, gentle-voiced man will talk with Atra about Mikazuki. In three…two…one…
    • Atra sheepishly says she’s “imposing” on the manager.
      • Which is something only a dutiful Japanese person would say.
        • No one else would even give a shit about the manager in their store a hundred kilometers away.
            • THE PERFECT WOMAN.
    • Atra, of course, being a woman, has inexplicable insight into Augus’ mental state, even though he has exactly two facial expressions: bleh and MURDER.
      • Side note here: the black guy who’s over six feet tall has the surname of “Yukinojo”.
  • Oh, are you wondering why I care so much about their names? Because you should, clueless anime fan.
    • See, there’s a very good reason why all the potential antagonists (half of whom look like devils for some odd reason) have weird-ass foreign names while the Martian children all have Japanese names. It’s a tried and true psychological trick to make the Japanese viewer more inclined to sympathize with them. Tamaki looks like he went to a private school on Long Island, New York, but give him an absurd name like “Tamaki” and the Japanese brain instantly categorizes him as being part of the “IN” camp as opposed to the “OTHER” camp.
      • Tl;dr, racist chauvinism.
  • Atra is about to ask “Yukinojo” a favor because she’s so cute and delicate that she doesn’t have the courage to ask Augus herself.
    • Even though Augus will probably go “Oh, huh” and forget about it two seconds later because he’s a braindead stoic protagonist with no personality or relatable feelings.
      • This is how anime writers developed characters five decades ago, in case you didn’t realize.
        • Cut away from the scene without finding out what said favor is.
          • BRILLIANT!
  • So the coup has begun. WAIT. IS SOMETHING HAPPENING?
    • Lupin IV wakes to realize his…thumbs…have been restrained?
      • His THUMBS?
  • How wonderful, they did something slightly clever and spiked the food with sedatives. Something IS happening.
    • Hallelujah.
  • Hey, Or(l)ga: instead of keeping this group of people in a room with a lock, I have a better idea for you.
    • It’s called death.
      • As in make them die.
        • Kill them all.
          • Or at least drop them off somewhere in the hellish Martian landscape and have them fend for themselves or something.
            • Because this is going to come back to bite you in the ass.
  • Lupin IV, like the good little monster antagonist he is, demands something while in a position to make no demands whatsoever.
    • Augus just EXECUTED that guy.
      • Well, you certainly took my advice, Or(l)ga. Kudos.
        • But JESUS CHRIST, that was a LITTLE over-the-top.
          • Augus is also a complete psychopath. It’s confirmed.
  • The Caucasian Devil with the Bucktooth and Sunken Face is still here, somehow.
  • Of course the craven guy with glasses betrays his comrades.
    • Not that they were worthy of anyone’s loyalty to begin with.
      • But it’s telling you can tell everything about his character design by his squinted face and huge-ass spectacles.
        • NERDS HAVE NO SPINE, BITCHES. That’s what Sunrise believes, anyway.
  • His name is “Dexter Culastor”, and he’s in charge of accounting.
    • Pardon me for just a moment.
      • [loud noise]
        • Sorry, I had to go crack my skull on the wall in my study.
          • I feel so much better now.
            • Yes, that’s good brain damage. Very good. Mmmm. Tangy.
  • Dexter goes “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEH??” like a good wussy nerd.
    • And he’s wearing a tie, for some reason.
      • Because all nerd types wear ties.
        • Fuck you, Sunrise.
  • Eugene barges into Or(l)ga’s office muttering something about severance pay and shit. Dude is drunk off his ass.
    • Dexter is now released and working for them, because these sluts still need accountants to run shit. Bwa ha ha ha ha.
  • Or(l)ga is noble, so he gives these assholes severance pay for leaving.
    • I don’t care.
      • No, I don’t. There are arguments for this and against it, both legitimate.
        • It doesn’t make me like Or(l)ga any more or less.
  • Eugene, for some reason, wants to throw these guys out onto the street with no money instead of changing how they treat them.
    • Which is the whole point of taking over due to mistreatment.
      • Deeeerp.
  • Eugene is also objecting to them doing honest, upright jobs that will give them a good reputation.
    • Because reasons.
  • Also, that creepy, crunch-faced Italian guy (I’ll call him Il Duce) with the HITLER MUSTACHE is still around.
    • Apparently nobody in this future has heard of Adolf Hitler.
      • Which would explain why they are so eager to use a Hitler Machine.
        • Huh. I just made this series make a little more sense somehow.
          • Goddamn it.
  • Il Duce even talks with a stupidly retarded accent, just to emphasize he’s a smelly foreigner.
  • Yukinojo is staying and is an old man. Good to know, twats.
    • He looks like he’s 35.
      • “Old”.
  • “Kudelia” waits impatiently for her daily hairspray shipment.
    • The fools know not what forces they toy with.
      • She then absentmindedly and pointlessly picks up a random nut, heedless to any heavy machine traffic going on around her.
    • Or(l)ga is looking for Mikazuki, because we’re supposed to care.
      • Now he recognizes “Kudelia’s” tragic existence.
  • “Kudelia” gives Mikazuki a compliment in his absence.
    • Or(l)ga will now sternly correct her on how mistaken she is (LIKE A WOMAN) and how Mikazuki is somehow nothing special and just an orphan from the streets or something like that. In three…two…one…
      • BULLSEYE.
  • Japan, you said it again. Tsk tsk.
    • “Alaya-Vijnana System.”
      • 100. Trillion. Yen.
        • Now.
          • You wouldn’t want to make India angry, would you? They outnumber you ten to one.
  • Or(l)ga rightfully asks “Kudelia” if she has any plans or inkling of what she’s going to do next.
    • “Kudelia” calls her father “父” as opposed to “お父様”. She is learning, finally.
  • Now she’s wavering due to the idea that the innocent might suffer or be sacrificed in order to accomplish things.
    • Gee, “Kudelia”. Welcome to history.
      • Here’s a complimentary fruit basket for figuring that one out, you highly-educated rich girl who seems to know jackshit about anything for no logical reason.
        • “Kudelia”, in reality, would be lecturing these morons on geopolitics or how to work the Alaya-Vijnana System or something, but she’s a woman in an anime, so she gets to do exactly nothing.
          • What is with this nut? Is it supposed to be a metaphor or something? It doesn’t mean anything.
  • “Do you think you’re responsible for our comrades’ deaths?” – Or(l)ga
    • Um, hey. Didn’t we already go through discussion this last week?
      • Snore.
    • I’m going to need some more paper for this tropes list I’m assembling.
    • Fuck it, I’ll just order an entire ream.
  • “I’m just angry at myself.” -“Kudelia”
    • Which is the reaction no actual human being would have in this situation.
      • “Kudelia”, honey, you were caught up in a treacherous situation you knew nothing about and had no control over. Your own father sold you out or something for some reason, right? So why are you angry at yourself? You should be angry at your FATHER for SELLING YOU OUT.
        • And possibly your mother for NOT TELLING YOU ABOUT THIS.
    • “Over how powerless I really am.” -“Kudelia”
      • Yeah, that’s what you should be angry about. Definitely not your own family handing you over to vicious murderers and rapists.
        • Fuck you, Sunrise.
    • So they have 3 months of solvency left. They could have said that in five seconds. Not two minutes.
  • I’m trying to understand how severance pay and normal maintenance costs are eating into their bottom line so much.
    • The severance pay can’t be that much, considering maybe five guys are leaving. The maintenance costs can’t be that much either, considering they just lost 110 people and only a few machines, which aren’t in great condition anyway. Their costs should actually be way down.
  • Or(l)ga, having found out they have 3 months of solvency, declares they must find work immediately or go bankrupt or something.
    • 3 months = nothing, apparently.
  • “But with our current situation, people will take advantage of us”. – Biscuit
    • You mean how you have a priceless superweapon and just fought off an assault from an elite interplanetary security force?
      • Yeah, what a desperate situation that people will take advantage of.
        • Go shove food in your mouth, Biscuit. It’s where you belong.
  • Il Duce has to be the one to point all of this out, because these people are morons.
      • They are really milking this “despicable foreigner” stereotype.
        • Il Duce even has a noticeable beer belly, because les raisons.
  • Oh boy, someone from Gjallarhorn has come back.
    • I wonder who it is.
          • (Honestly, a tedious children’s card game would be more interesting than this.)
            • Unless this involves more of Augus executing people like a veteran of Stalingrad.
              • Then it’d be fine.
    • (Seriously, where is the microphone? He has no microphone.)
  • Okay, Crank, have you actually thought this through? What is this duel supposed to accomplish?
    • No, seriously.
      • Yukinojo somehow knows the history of things as they were 200 years ago.
        • No, I don’t believe that people settled things in duels before the Calamity War.
          • That’s fucking bullshit. Shut up.
  • Hmmm, I have an idea: shoot this fucker while he’s outside his Mobile Suit.
    • Or decline.
      • Hey, is anyone wondering why this Gjallorhorn asshole is out here by himself without any support? Anyone?
        • How about you just capture him or shoot him or ignore him?
        • Jesus Christ, when did you have time to change into that outfit?
          • (Which is still pants-on-head retarded, not to mention it looks like you are ACTUALLY WEARING PANTS ON YOUR SHOULDERS)
  • Golly. I wonder what’s going to happen next.
    • Maybe Augus the Stoic will object and offer to fight Crank for her honor and glory or something.
      • Yaawn. Someone wake me up when Sunrise does something mildly original.
  • “Meaningless battles should be avoided, correct?” -“Kudelia”
    • Uh, except this wouldn’t be a meaningless battle by any stretch of the imagination, you dimwit.
      • Il Duce, like all those of Caucasian, not-Japanese, dishonorable heritage, suggests very cravenly that they let her go and cravenly negotiate for some money in the process.
        • No Japanese person has ever sold another out for money, btw.
          • Ever.
  • “Kudelia” continues to try to solve a problem she clearly does not understand, all out of a misguided desire to assert herself.
    • Fuck you, bitch. I hope you die.
  • “And I do not plan on just dying.” -“Kudelia”
    • Oh yeah, like you’ll have any say in it.
      • What are you going to do? Smack them with your hair?
  • Or(l)ga’s face says it all:
    • “Holy shit, what am I doing with my life?”
  • Or(l)ga, rationally, doesn’t trust this random prick who just tried to kill them all yesterday.
  • Augus is perfectly fine with piloting the 200-year-old Hitler Youth Club after it ruptured his jugular vein less than 24 hours ago.
    • Wipe them out, Augus. All of them.
  • This episode is titled “Glorious Demise”. I think we can guess what happens.
    • Or do I have to pull out the Book of Isaiah again?
  • Augus’ physique is perfect somehow.
  • “Alaya-Vijnana System”. Pay up, Sunrise.
    • 100. Trillion. Smackaroos.
  • LOL, “Kudelia” actually throws out the idea of her piloting the Hitler Disco Ball so she could help people.
    • Yeah, that’s the only way you could help people. Not by putting your educated mind to use or something.
      • I hate this stupid, inane, self-deprecating stereotype of a woman so much, let alone the middle-aged men who wrote her.
  • “We were just lucky”. -Or(l)ga
    • Yep, that sums up the whole series. No logic or sense. Just pure coincidence and bad writing.
  • Meanwhile, let’s all stand out here on the battlefield exposed to whatever debris or flotsam that might result from the duel between two towering Machines of Death.
  • Leave it to Augus the Stoic to only ask how the winner of the duel will be decided after starting the duel.
  • “What Coral…No.” -These Incompetent Subbers
    • Here’s a translation for us poor English types: “Coral…no, we just wanted Kudelia’s life at first…”
      • That’s way clearer.
        • Also, listen up, “Kudelia”: these people just want to kill you. Bet you feel smart now.
  • “Children should not be victimized for adult strifes.” -These Incompetent Subbers again
    • Real English: “Children shouldn’t be dragged into the conflicts of adults.”
      • I thought subbers had learned how to translate Japanese after almost three decades of experience.
  • Crank waxes mournful about children suffering unnecessarily while fighting a child unnecessarily.
    • I don’t think you’re really sincere about that, Crank.
  • Augus wants to kill this guy simply because Or(l)ga told him to.
    • ……….
      • Right.
        • Okay. That’s not creepy or twisted.
  • “Mika knows that he has to be strong in order to live.” – Or(l)ga
    • Incoherent philosophical Japanese babble, AWAY!
      • And now they’re going to wax philosophical about risks and strength and blah blah blah blah blah.
        • Tl;dr: gambaru-ing solves all your problems, no matter what they are.
          • So get back to work, salaryman. Your boss needs those projections by 3:00a tomorrow. Stay late if you have to. Sacrifice your happiness for the company. Gambatte.
  • “He’s [Augus] boorish yet honorable.” -Or(l)ga
    • I’d say he’s just boorish, considering his demonstrated penchant for cold-blooded executions.
      • “He’s full of contradictions. But that’s why he’s strong.” -Or(l)ga
        • Some Sunrise writer: “My characters are so three-dimensional and well-rounded! Tee hee hee!”
          • Neither God nor Satan will take the souls of these writers when they die, alone and unmourned.
  • “Will I be able to fight like him?” -“Kudelia”
    • As if that’s a desirable goal for any sane human being.
      • “Kudelia” processes, struggles with, and ultimately abandons the insane idea of having the surgery to pilot the Hitler Hungry Hungry Hippos, all within five minutes of it popping into her head.
        • Because now she knows she can fight in another way. Or something.
          • Yay, “Kudelia”. That character arc lasted less than fifteen minutes. Congratulations.
            • Now get back in the kitchen and cook food for the men. You can use your hair as kindling.
  • Notice how none of these retards are the least bit concerned about this pitched battle between two towering Machines of Death happening twenty feet away from them.
    • It’s almost as if they read the script in advance.
      • One also wonders how “Kudelia’s” dress is still immaculate after being exposed to the wrath of the rusty soil of Mars.
  • “I’ve never been victimized for anything. I’m just doing what I can for me and my comrades.” -Mikazuki Augus
    • LOL.
      • Sure, kid.
        • Sure.
          • You know, apart from growing up as an orphan, having a life-threatening surgery forced upon you, being forced to work for assholes, etc.
            • Your entire life is the definition of victimhood, you fucktard.
              • Tl;dr, gambaru-ing solves all your problems. So get back in the kitchen, Japanese housewife. Make that dinner and don’t worry about your own fulfillment.
  • This is the worst Gundam Duel I’ve ever seen.
    • It’s beyond boring. I can’t even dedicate a single neuron to caring about it.
      • At least Gundam Wing had generals in Napoleonic uniforms flying around in blimps and shouting “INTELLIGENT BATTLE!!!!” and other such bombast to keep me interested.
        • This is less fun and exciting than watching Mike Huckabee talk about wholesome Christian methods for paint drying.
  • A weapon the size of a house just crashed into the earth literally two feet away from Or(l)ga.
    • The only thing anyone suffers from that is a mild pattering of Martian dust.
      • Sure, kids.
        • Sure.
  • “Tekkadan.” -These Incompetent Subbers thrice
    • “To call ourselves a rotten name like CGS just irritates me.” -Or(l)ga
      • That’s funny, because I still don’t even know what the fuck “CGS” even means.
        • So why should I give a shit?
    • See, it’s a Kanji joke. 鉄 (tetsu) is obvious, but you can’t tell by sound what “ka” means. “Kudelia” thinks “tekka” = 鉄火, but Or(l)ga means 鉄花.
      • The Japanese love their puns AND inside jokes. As if this show couldn’t get any worse: now it’s trying to be pretentious.
        • Good luck, dubbers. Good luck trying to make that shit work in English.
  • “The iron flower that never wilts.” – Or(l)ga
    • Um, Or(l)ga. It’s not alive to begin with, so of course it can’t wilt.
      • That’s a fucking stupid name.
  • Leave it to Augus, ever the morally upright, to ask what happens if he wins the duel only after he wins it.
  • So, basically, Crank achieved nothing and Augus achieved nothing. NOBODY ACCOMPLISHED ANYTHING.
  • “If I go back with negative results, my actions will reflect poorly on all the troops.” -Crank Zent
    • -And These Incompetent Subbers x4
      • Actual English: “If I go back empty-handed, I’ll have disgraced my comrades yet again.”
        • Reality: “Shit. I’ve already disgraced my comrades by disobeying orders and throwing my life away for no reason. Fuck me.”
  • “But if I can end my life here, I will carry all the responsibility with me…” -Crank Zent
    • ….
      • Go fuck yourself, Crank. Go fuck yourself and your suicidal Japanese obsession with honor or something.
        • Just fucking die, you worthless piece of shit.
    • Not only does he execute a man in cold blood the third time this morning, he then erotically SMELLS THE BRACELET ATRA GAVE HIM RIGHT AFTER DOING SO.
        • JESUS. H. CHRIST.
  • Il Duce, smiling cravenly, cravenly whines about not being able to cravenly get any money out of the situation.
    • Eugene, being also not-Japanese, agrees for no reason.
  • “Kudelia” asks them to keep escorting her, even though they have no reason to do so.
    • She even promises them money.
      • Except she has absolutely no control over any of her family’s assets.
        • The family that just tried to SELL HER OUT TO BLATANT MURDERERS AND RAPISTS.
  • Conveniently, “Kudelia” has gone from being the innocent, naive daughter of the leader of Mars to the leader of the Mars Independence Movement to a dissident with connections to rich people, all as the writers need her to be.
    • “Kudelia”‘s character is so misogynist she’s meta-submissive.
  • “Nobliss Gordon.” Pbbbbth ha ha ha ha ha.
    • These names. These fucking names.
      • Il Duce, cravenly obsessed with money as he is like all craven Europeans, cravenly knows about this supposedly super rich guy.
  • Augus doesn’t give a shit.
  • “We Tekkadan will make sure we deliver you to Earth safely.” -These Incompetent Subbers V
    • Having already explained that “Tekkadan” means “Iron Flower,” they use it again for no reason.
      • Actual English: “The Iron Flower will ensure you are delivered to Earth safe and sound.”
        • It’s even fits the deferential, honorific language Or(l)ga is using much better.
  • “よろしくお願いします。” -“Kudelia”
    • Look, a set Japanese phrase. IT’S CUTE.
      • Maybe something will happen now that we’ve gotten these shitty introductory episodes out of the way.
    • GOD.
  • Eugene has shifted to being a total asshole because puppies.
  • That’s a goddamn cross explosion. I knew it.
    • Maybe this will end the same way The End of Evangelion does: with everyone dying.
      • Whoops, spoilers.

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 1

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


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.
    • 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.
      • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.

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 – 24

Oh SILLY.KILL-ME-NOWmy God. Oh my Goooood. Oh my God the Father, the Son, and the fucking Holy Spirit. This finale sucked so fucking bad. It was a full 24 minutes of boring-ass dialogue coupled with as much cliched Sadomasochistic Japanese Tragedy Porn as possible. I don’t think there were ten straight, unbroken seconds of silence in the episode. Just taaaaaaaaaaaalking and taaaaaaaaaaaaaalking and even more taaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalking. No pacing, no style, no grace anywhere in the whole thing. And the tears. Geezus H. Christmas. WE GET IT. IT’S SAD. CRY SOME MORE. There is such a thing as overdoing it, and boy, did they forget that was true. They ripped the fuck out of any emotional weight of Yuuki’s death, then burned it on a pyre of dry, dead cliches. There wasn’t even an actual funeral scene. To top it all off, “Mother’s Rosario” turned out to have absolutely no meaning. It’s just the name of a sword skill. What the fuck is this bullshit? Can anime deliver on anything it sets up these days?

Also, I also need to get this shit off my chest: “gambaru” is the worst verb ever invented. Japan, stop this shit right now. Stop talking yourself into enduring everything because it’s too hard or annoying to change things. “Gambaru” is fucking bullshit. You don’t work yourself into fixing everything. All it does is justify unnecessary suffering and pain and let problems go completely unsolved. You don’t need to take a girl’s tragic death, even a fictional one, and use it as subtle collective reinforcement of your society’s superficial mantra. Yuuki’s death was a tragedy that should never have happened in the first place, but instead of taking people to task on messing up a blood transfusion or something, somehow everything worked out okay in the end for most people. Well, that makes this even carry even more weight then! Awesome! How am I supposed to believe Yuuki’s death really meant that much to Asuna if everything is sunshine and rainbows literally five seconds later? Real people don’t get over shit that quickly, or even at all. Adding a few thousand words of overmusing on the situation doesn’t amount to anything either, Japan. You’ve done this a billion fucking times before and it’s all so goddamn hollow. Stuff like Evangelion strikes far truer and deeper into the human psyche than this crap. Hell, the Fate/ series does better at philosophy than this shit. In fact, I’m think I’m going to watch that now so I’ll stop feeling like a desiccated corpse.

Tl;dr, Sword Art Online is a fucking terrible anime and it always has been. Spoilers galore there. What a complete waste of time.

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 – 15


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.

Zankyou no Terror – 11

It’s settled: this sSILLY.FUCK-YOUeries is a complete piece of shit. Not even Yoko Kanno’s music could save it.

Nothing paid off. There were no answers. No resolutions. Zilch. Jackshit nada. Nine and Twelve just fucking die, and that was the best part of the episode: these two crazed, psychopathic, murderous fucks finally bit the bullet (in Twelve’s case, literally) and got what they fucking deserved. Meanwhile, they detonate a nuclear bomb in the stratosphere under impossible conditions (did you know a simple hot-air balloon can outclimb a fucking F-16 or its weapons components?), scattering radiation all throughout the earth’s atmosphere, destroying dozens if not hundreds of satellites, blinding tens of thousands if not millions of people, horrifically damaging Japan’s geopolitical position and social stability, and destroying the country’s entire electronic infrastructure, thereby sending the whole country plunging into a massive economic depression and wreaking untold suffering and havoc on over one hundred and twenty million innocent people for years. WHAT FABULOUS HEROES. WHAT PARAGONS OF VIRTUE. HUMANITY APPLAUDS YOU.

Oh, but “Von” means “hope” in Icelandic. That all makes up for it, right? That was the payoff we were all waiting for, right? I forgot that Shibazaki somehow represented Oedipus. To which I answer: HOW? HOW THE FUCK DOES SHIBAZAKI REPRESENT OEDIPUS? HIS CHARACTER AND ROLE HAD NO RESEMBLANCE TO HIM WHATSOEVER. DID YOU EVEN READ THE GODDAMN PLAY, YOU FUCKWITS? OEDIPUS IS A COSMIC TRAGEDY. THIS IS A FUCKING COMEDY OF STUPID.

This inane statement by Nine totally fits with Sphinx’s whole MO of incompetent terrorism that ultimately had no rhyme or reason behind it. It was just a childish tantrum of revenge against Japanese society for crimes a handful of politicians inflicted on them in secret. I was happy when Twelve got shot. I really was, even though there was no reason for the Americans to shoot him over the guy holding the detonator. Why not just shoot Nine instead? Oh, wait. They had to kill off Twelve first so that everything would be tied up in a neat little bow and seem poignant to idiots watching this show. This is not how you make an anime. This is never how you should make an anime. No one must ever make an anime this insultingly pretentious and grossly ill-constructed ever again.

Yoko Kanno can do wrong. I’m sorry, but it’s true. No one’s perfect, and some people are going to hell, specifically all the people whose names flashed onscreen during the last three minutes. Excuse me, I have to go call Light Yagami and tell him to get on that shit.

Sword Art Online II – 12

Oh my God, another fucking 20 minuteSILLY.FUCK-THISs of talk. It’s been three goddamn weeks. I nearly had a heart attack when something actually happened in this episode towards the end. Kind of. Did their animation budget run out and they decided to skimp on three episodes so they could animate the bullet-time stuff? Geez.

Oh, and of course Death Gun has a melee weapon hidden in his gun…a weapon he crafted, because his rare sniper rifle has a module that allows you to put a crafted weapon in it…and when was this mentioned anywhere in the series? Aren’t there weight restrictions? Can’t the writers stick with the established themes and limitations of a character for one fucking day without having to resort to another surprise or plot twist just to make things interesting and avoid being a tiny bit consistent? Seriously, why not just make it a fucking duel between Death Gun and Kirito based on the capabilities and constraints we’ve seen so far in the past twelve episodes? Is that so radical? Is that so hard?

Hey, Sinon, I have an amazing idea: why don’t you take this opportunity while Death Gun and Kirito are talking and standing still for ten minutes and fucking shoot Death Gun in the fucking head? I mean, why not? You can’t hear what they’re saying; you can’t possibly be distracted or captivated by it, and there’s no way Death Gun can convincingly duel Kirito and dodge sniper bullets from you, but he’s just standing there painting a huge target on his head that you don’t exploit because the writers are focused on BIG REVELATIONS and not thinking about anything else. If the prose in this series were any higher than second-grade, this whole anime would be over by now.

But expect more of the same, kids, because we gotta drag this shit out and milk it as long as possible. God help us if we take risks and challenge ourselves and our material.

(By the way, we have twelve more episodes of this.)

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.