July 5, 2011

ghostlightning on Gundam The Origin, Gundam AGE, and The Viewers

This is the text I intended to put on the original post: Our Preliminary Reaction to The Fact That There are TWO Major Gundam Projects Upcoming (and Unicorn Isn’t Even Finished Yet)

…but I decided to use it as a response to the first involving comment.

ghostlightning says:

July 4, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Didn’t get drunk at all, except from our own hot-blood and love for manly robot anime songs! (We sang Yuusha no Tanjou, The Winner, Crossfight, Aura Battler Dunbine, and Skill!)

Here’s the thing about Gundam AGE: it’s perfect. Not just for the Gundam franchise, but for anime in general. Robot anime has increasingly been the passion of the following distinct demographics:

1. Annoying elitist Oldfags
2. Annoying teenage Newfags
3. Fujoshi

The first group keep getting older, crustier, more irritable, and pissed off. Nobody wants to even try robot anime knowing that these guys will pick on them and act superior. The second group tend to appreciate robot anime in terms that annoy oldfags — they enjoy the shonen fightan style of flashy battles, they proclaim the few robot anime they’ve seen as the best shows ever, and they are unwilling to watch and appreciate most older shows. The third group doesn’t watch robot anime for the robots.

Of course there are the general anime fans, the casualfags, etc. These groups aren’t bad at all, but they tend not to watch robot anime for the robots. The robots are incidental to them, and instead judge the robot anime for general merits such as plot, verisimilitude (worse: realism /facepalm), character development (groan), and originality (kill me now). They will like a few shows transcendent of the robot anime genre, and mark them down for the ways that they remain being robot anime (I just died again).

Here’s an example of the possible reactions to say, Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin anime:

1. Oldfag: Man they better do this the RIGHT way.
2. Newfag: I hope it doesn’t look you know, old.
3. Fujoshi: Meh. Huh? Garma x Char wait what?
4. GeneralElitist Anime Fan: Why do they keep making OYW rehashes? This franchise is so dead.
5. Casualfag: Hmmm. New animation? May check it out.

Of course, these aren’t the only possible reactions. Casualfags may prove to be quite negative too. As for me, I think Gundam Unicorn is the best way to present a Gundam show: with the appropriate seriousness, focus on combat, include the grand thematic sweep, and use spectacular production values. To do this with the main storyline is a very good thing. For almost 2 decades, we’ve seen AU Gundam shows re-present the main Gundam story in attempted fresh ways. Each subfranchise has its own fans: W, SEED, and 00 had their own takes on the Universal Century narrative and its themes. These shows have been useful in bringing some of the newer fans to discover the rest of Gundam.

This is why Gundam the Origin is so good: There’s no need to repackage the main narrative into an alternative universe. It IS the main narrative, in TV anime form — stripped of all the compromises the original production staff had to make as pioneers of real robot anime. Also, new animation with higher production values to me is ALWAYS worth watching.

This may create newfags, and may transition existing newfags into their oldfag journey. BUT, Gundam the Origin being such an adult show may not really create fans of Gundam and robot anime in general in large numbers so as to infuse the community with growth and new blood. For this, you have to go beyond the UC, beyond your typical AU show (read: it can’t be something like 00 which was very faux adult). Gundam AGE on the other hand, is perfect for this.

I couldn’t ask for anything better. Yes, I asked for something like this, in very specific terms:

My Wishes for the Robot Anime of the Future.

I want Gundam to create a mass base of fans at the grade school level, just as I was a fan when I was a kid. I saw super robot shows in kindergarten and saw Macross in the 3rd grade. I want the game and merch tie-ins to be brilliant. I want the kids to go fucking nuts over this. This is what will sustain all of us. This is what will sustain the war effort for another decade.

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May 26, 2011

soulassassin547 on What’s Priceless in Macross Frontier

Original Post: Moments of 2010: The Deifying Moment of Awesome (The Galactic Fairy Becomes the Goddess of Battle)

soulassassin547 says:

May 25, 2011 at 12:54 pm (Edit)

I watched it two night ago, and was pleasantly surprised by the outright changes in the storyline. But more noticeable was, IMHO, the greater amount of development on Sheryl’s part, thus I have come to like her much as Sachiko Ogasawara or Asuka Langley Soryu.

Hmmm… about her credit card:

*A holographic stage dress custom-built by Miyake and LAI: 5000 credits
* Lunch at the Frontier Terra: 300 credits
* A special rescue mission by the SMS private military contractor, with a Macross Quarter, four Messiah squadrons, and optional special offensive weaponry: 120,000,000 credits
* Seeing even half of your Galaxy fanbase alive as they come to see refuge on Frontier: priceless.

There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’sIsland Premium Card from Vega. :)

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May 24, 2011

Matt Wells on The Blog of Origami Cyclone

Original Post: Hero of the Weak: Tiger and Bunny 08 (Also Why I Should Be Part of the Writing Team For This Show, Para-text Section)

Matt Wells says:

May 24, 2011 at 1:15 am (Edit)

YES. I just caught up with Tiger and Bunny, and you should do these entries, in character, FOR EVERY EPISODE OF THE SHOW. If I don’t have a life, why should you?! Great entry, but it needs more obvious coporate whoring. And superhero comic style purple prose!

“The crazed vigilante Lunatic struck at me with blazing crossbow bolts of gushing flames! Shu shu, Zupan! Its at times like those I’m glad I have the refreshing flavour of Pepsi Next! Goes down smooth with every drop! The preferred drink of justice lovers everywhere! Cools down 3rd degree burns like nothing else!

“Ahem. Thanks to the teachings of my Shishou-Sensei Kotetsu Tora-sama-senpai-kun-chan, I both stood up for my friend, and found conviction in my own admittedly shitty powers. Speaking of Tora-sama-dono, did you know his Figuarts action figures are coming in this January?! Low low cost, maximum posability, form meets function! Order now and recieve a 15% discount!

“So in closing, my friendly followers of blazing firey righteous justice? Stand by your convictions and your friends, and one day they may too forgive you for your ineffectiual wangsting, and your blame in their decades long incarceration. Just like me! But…WHAT IS JUSTICE? WHAT IS EVL? IS MINE JUSTICE BUT ANOTHER MAN’S SORROWFUL WRONGDOING? How will I find the truth? Click on the link and donate some of your hard earned Sternbills to continue my blog of evil smiting, and help me find out!”

Sorry I just copied your concept almost to the letter, but I had to get that idea out of my system. I think the show should really play up the otaku weaboo angle on Origami Cyclone, its better than watching him emo out for an entire episode. I hope they alternate the blatant eycatcher adverts too. I want to see Rock Bison advertising Suntory Whiskey!

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March 18, 2011

Chris on The Achievements of Gundam Unicorn (Robot Battles)

Original Post: The Possibility of Being SUPER (Robot) and Mobile SuitGundam Unicorn 03 (Also, an Offering of Sympathies to the Japanese People Affected by the Magnitude 8.9 Earthquake)

Chris

March 14, 2011 at 8:48 pm

You know, it’s really hard to give Gundam Unicorn the praise it deserves, without slapping it with a bunch of superlatives, but I’ll try my hardest not to. Take it from an individual who’s a perfectionist in VFX, 3D, and animation in general, as well as constantly having the need to over-analyze everything he watches, but Unicorn is quite possibly the best Gundam series I’ve watched, at least three volumes in. Anyway, back in 2009, I saw the film District 9, which featured one of the coolest mechas I ever saw (this story will be relevant to how I came across Gundam Unicorn), and it revived my interest in mecha and robots in general. But one of the things that made D9 so special to me, is the fact that it balanced solid storytelling, an interesting character arc for the protagonist, and quality action sequences. I remember wanting to find a recent mecha anime to watch after seeing that film, which would have reignited an interest in a medium that I had put on the backburner years ago. I wanted to find something that contained those compelling traits of District 9.

So, after going several months without finding anything riveting (and keep in mind, I had never watched a single Gundam series til’ this), I ended up reading up about Gundam Unicorn in March 2010. It caught my interest and on a blind buy, I was floored by the visuals, from the bright color-palette contrasting the dark shadows of space, to the brilliant animation of the characters and more specifically, the mechas themselves (I honestly believe that Gundam Unicorn is the best digitally animated mecha anime that I have ever watched, I say that with absolutely NO exaggeration). At first, it was hard for me to take in the story and its characters, as I was busy salivating at this visual feast my eyes were greeted with, but after several rewatches, I came to the realization that Gundam Unicorn was what I had been looking for… a mecha anime for ADULTS. It just had that perfect balance of blockbuster action, colorful visuals, excellent weaponry, and a nice, believeable story with likeable characters.

However, I was a bit disappointed that I wouldn’t have the second volume til’ months later, but it’s understandable, considering that OAVs take longer to produce due to the higher quality of animation. It was during this time gap, that I tried to find other mecha anime’s to fill my desires and I found some solid shows in Macross Frontier, Gurren Lagann, and even old school Votoms, but I kept itching for Gundam. I ended up watching the original Mobile Suit Gundam, Zeta Gundam, ZZ Gundam, Gundam 08th MS Team, and almost every other UC timelined show til’ the second volume of Unicorn dropped. It was also nice to finally have a backstory to certain characters that I could piece together, I.E. Char/Full Frontal and Marida and her Puru clones from ZZ Gundam. Now, as I watched the second volume of Gundam Unicorn, I couldn’t helped but be blown away by the outstanding choreography from the mecha battles… the entire sequence of Full Frontal taking on the Nahel Argama and the Unicorn Gundam, was just breathtaking. A close friend of mine, who makes short action films and is practically an action guru, made one of the best and plausible comments at that time: “The choreography in this series is so good, that even Hollywood action directors could take inspiration from this.” It was at that moment, that I realized I found something really special in Gundam Unicorn… it had finally elevated the metaseries above JUST being an anime, it was becoming a technical achievement for its genre.

Now, I know those are some very broad and bold claims to make, but I think the action and pacing of those sequences validate those responses. I even remember reading where the producer of Gundam Unicorn made mention that this was the first Gundam series to feature really quick edits and kinetic pacing during the mech battles, to be more specific, the Unicorn/Kshatriya sequence in the opening of the second volume, features very quick editing and frantic pacing, which was said to be very complex and time consuming due to having maintiain a fluid and coherent pace. And that battle is then followed up by the aforemention Sinanju/Nahel Argama/Unicorn battle, which also features moments of quick editing and unique camera angles. If there is one thing I’ve really come to appreciate about the battles in this series, it’s Kazuhiro Furuhashi’s involvement in the choreograpgy, as he brought a newfound style that Gundam has never seen before. His angles and attention to detail is to be appreciated, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise. If you’ve seen Samurai X or Le Chevalier D’Eon, then you know his eye for action is one of his best traits as a director. I hate to keep sounding like a broken record, but I’m telling you, Gundam Unicorn is SQUASHING every other mecha anime that’s out there right now, at least in the mecha battle department… it’s almost not even fair.

Finally, to stop sucking off the visual quality of this animation, as visuals alone can’t drive a series… I think the story and characters are very solid. One thing I’d really like to single out is female characters, specifically Marida and Mineva/Audrey. How many times in the past have Gundam series weakly integrated female characters into their story? If there’s one pet peeve I have with Gundam collectively, it’s the inability to feature captivating female characters in most of its series. But that’s not the case here, in fact, I’d argue that Marida Cruz is the most interesting character of the series so far. The way they handeled her past in this third volume was so tasteful, touching, and imaginative. They took what could be seen by many as a poor plot device, due to how sexually degrading her past is, and ended up using it as a driving force for her characterization. This is when you know a production studio is attempting to go all out for this series. And as for Mineva, her past is vague when you remove her scenes from ZZ Gundam, which I think makes her motives a bit more interesting, considering her past ties with Char. She may not be AS well written as Marida’s character, but I think Mineva’s bigger payoff won’t be coming til’ later episodes, so I can forgive that for the time being.

There’s so much more that I’d like to say, but I gotta run… all I know is, I feel like Gundam Unicorn is elevating Gundam above just being a typical mecha-action series. I feel like I’m watching something that has a lot of imagination and integrity behind it, and it’s for those reasons, why I love Gundam Unicorn so damn much. I really, really cannot wait for volume 4… should be a good one.

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March 18, 2011

Maglor on Genetic Evolution and Memetic Discourse on the Newtype Theory

Original Post: Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn as a Eulogy for the Newtype

maglor

March 18, 2011 at 1:30 pm

[…] What people needs to realize is that Evolution at its core is merely changes in ratios between genetic elements within a species, and it is something that will inevitably occur over long period of time as mere result of certain genetic elements lending to an individual, more opportunity to procreate. If fragments for genetic element for newtype can be found in sufficient portion of humanity, then even though most may not show the sign of being a New Type, a New Type individual will emerge at pretty regular interval. It is possible that New Type individuals may prosper better in a society that is relatively free from threat of war. If so, slowly their frequency will rise.

What also needs to be explored is that New Type may have memetic components; it is the openness to other’s thoughts and emotions which is required for the New Type abilities to be triggered. It is likely that Zeon Zum Daikoon’s message was more about need for Social evolution instead of genetic evolution. The guesses and feelings about social evolution are presented through diverse individuals in UC Gundam stories from the UC 0079 to Gundam Unicorn time, and hopes and despairs for New Type-like Society seems to be constantly changing. I guess we may get to see several twists to the visions for the New Type as the series continues.

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March 18, 2011

KrimzonStriker on (The Tears of) Time That Newtypes Didn’t Have

Original Post: Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn as a Eulogy for the Newtype

KrimzonStriker

March 18, 2011 at 5:49 am

One thing I believe that was crucially missed [in this essay] was the conversation between Banagher and the Nahel Argama’s Doctor in relation too the Newtype theory. And going back even further in regards to Cardeas’ own speech in regards to Newtypes. At this juncture the promise of Newtypes has been abused and perverted, monopolized from its original intention, and is now slowly being rejected from society as a whole because it lacked the one thing it needed most… time.

As the Doctor points out, it is far more likely that humanity will destroy itself long before the Newtype theory can ever reach fruition, and why there is now such importance in trying to discover a way within our ordinary and limited understanding. This sheds new light and importance on Riddhe and Audrey’s quest to find a political solution to the conflict, alongside the wild-card of Laplaces Box that carries such mystery, but also promise, to give new life to the Universal Century.

At this point in time I do not think it is quite so necessary to bury Newtypes in the grave, so long as humanity itself exists then the possibility will remain, someday, we simply aren’t ready for it yet. Like Yang Wenli’s comparison of fire and democracy it will take a vast amount of time and much trial and error before we can truly determine its worth and value to mankind as a whole.

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March 18, 2011

J. Marshak on the Means and Ends of Zero (Code Geass)

Original Post: Acknowledging Our Guilt for Our Choice of Heroes: Code Geass’ Lelouch Lamperouge

J. Marshak

March 18, 2011 at 9:18 am

[…] In my mind, the Empire is a rotten institution, it is a corrupt and evil edifice that is systemically broken and has to be destroyed. Therefore, I always saw Lelouch/Zero’s role fundamentally as a cleansing force–the person who was to tear down an irredeemable evil so that society can move past it and aspire to something better. To rise up like the phoenix from the flames.

I also saw Lelouch as part of a much greater tradition, so thus he became more sympathetic. Lelouch is Paul Atreides, Judah Ben-Hur, and Alan Moore’s V all rolled up into one hot mess. Well, Lelouch and Zero–each of his aspects embody different narratives. Lelouch is fundamentally the spurned prince a la Ben-Hur and Paul, motivated by revenge and hate, but importantly also by real, though perhaps selfish, desire to see what is best for his Sister (cf Ben-Hur’s mother and sister, Lady Jessica. What’s with the mother/sister infatuation? There has to be some silly psychoanalytic reading for this archetype). I think people here have really ignored the divided nature of Lelouch’s motivations, focusing only on his desire for revenge and ignoring his equally real and important desire to protect his family, which would ultimately become his redemption, whatever little of that he earned.

Zero, on the other hand, is a much different beast. Zero is V (or Zorro, if you will), Zero is Maud’dib (and through Maud’dib, he has shades of Jesus, but I agree with an earlier commentator who pointed out who the comparison isn’t really apt): the insurgent messiah who comes to reign down fire and destroy the old order to bring in the future and give voice to the oppressed. Does it matter if Zero is real or not? Zero gave people something to believe in, made them aspire to something better. He gave them hope that the Empire could be cast off, that a new world was possible. Not only that, more importantly he gave them a way to make that new world possible. But as the destroyer, he has to destroy himself in order for his actions to mean anything, just as Paul learns in Children of Dune. Not only that, he had to realize and accept his own evil before his sacrifice would be meaningful.

But I’m not completely convinced on this issue. Perhaps like Moore’s V, Lelouch is really nothing more than a revenge blind madman, with no real concern to the number of people he destroys in pursuit of his revenge. Or perhaps even there was some hope for the Empire–this is what the liberal humanist in me thinks, as opposed to the revolutionary. That it was Lelouch’s own hubris that destroyed any chance for peaceful change, in possibly what is one of the greatest moment in any Anime, the perfect definition of Poetic justice and classic tragedy.

Do the ends justify the mean? I say not–means change ends. Was the ends that Lelouch achieved the “best”–I honestly can’t tell, but I can say it’s one I’m decently comfortable with.

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February 10, 2011

ghostlightning on The Death of the Author (and The Intentional Fallacy)

Original Post: Cyborg Soldiers: Child-Machine Weaponry

ghostlightning

February 9th, 2011 at 9:56 am

I have a very clear stance on the “Death of the Author” thing (as well as intentional fallacy — which is a distinct but related thing).

I think it is wrongheaded to dismiss the author’s statements, or any writing approaching the work using the creators as starting points or as dominant subjects.

What I rather think, is that the creators’ statements is part of their own readings of their work. I give them no further privilege beyond the novelty of their proximity to the work itself.

But it doesn’t mean that theirs aren’t interesting. Theirs undoubtedly are, and will continue to be as they prove to be interesting individuals.

What I object to is to treat the authorial reading of the subject work as definitive, sacrosanct, and as intellectual forcefields marking the borders of what are acceptable readings of the texts.

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February 10, 2011

jpmeyer on Anime Blogging (history, nature, growth and decline)

Original Post: Is The Anime Blog Dying Out?

jpmeyer

February 7, 2011 at 11:00 am

Two other things:

1) The first big bump in anime blogging occurred in 2006, which comes as no surprise since that was also the peak year in anime production.

2) The decline in anime blogging can also be somewhat attributed to the rise in fansubbing. Anime blogging started out as mainly consisting of blogs that posted episode recap summaries back around 2004 or so, and that model really endured for years despite becoming increasingly obsolete. There was a demand for these since not everything was being fansubbed and what was being fansubbed could still take a while to come out. And when I say a “while” here, I don’t mean being butthurt over it taking a couple hours for subs to come out. I mean taking weeks to show up.

As a concrete example, people Garten and Momotato got large audiences when they would post episode summaries of My-Hime because the subs for the show were almost two months behind and it allowed (the many) people that were following raws to understand the parts of the episode that they couldn’t follow purely based on the visuals alone. Subs still weren’t really coming out for everything (or in a quick turnaround) until around 2007 or 2008, so there was a need for these recap blogs to provide a place with information about shows.

I would also attribute the constant decrease in anime production as a source of declining need for anime blogs since it’s a lot easier now to watch everything that you want to watch in a given season. We noticed that we were writing episode summaries for something like a dozen shows per season back in 2006. Right now, there’s only about 4 or so shows per season we even watch.

Additionally, Wikipedia took a while to take off. Nowadays, there are pages for anime up well before they even air. My-Hime didn’t even have a Wikipedia page until it had nearly aired, so if people wanted to find out about it, it was blog time. It’s almost like why there are no “fan pages” any more. There’s just no need for them. Similarly, there’s no point for most people to write episode recap blogs any more. People will have seen the episode.

Finally, has anyone ever really stopped to think if maybe the whole “anime blog” thing is kind of weird? I’m really having trouble thinking of some sort of equivalent for Western TV and film. It’s more like Television Without Pity-ish forums, or posts on professional sites which basically serve more as a comment thread for people to talk about the show like they would in a forum. I never see stuff like “Here are my thoughts about moe, and by moe I mean women in Ice Road Truckers. And then tomorrow I’ll ‘interpret’ Dancing On Ice With The Stars.” Or “Here are the plots of this weekend’s movies”?

jpmeyer February 7, 2011 at 11:07 am

Oh, one more thing:

In fandom studies, one reason that fans are drawn to fan activities and purchasing memorabilia is an attempt to extend the pleasure derived from the object of one’s fandom. Think about if you’re a fan of say, Firefly. You watch the show a few times, but then if you want more Firefly-related enjoyment, you’ve gotta do other things than watch the show. I’d wager that part of the growth of anime blogging had to do with there only being so much accessible anime back in the day (even if the amount produced by Japan had been higher), so people needed to come up with other things to do if they wanted some more “anime experience”.

 

jpmeyer´s last blog ..Why is everyone raving about Kimi ni TodokeMy ComLuv Profile

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January 22, 2011

ghostlightning on Macross’ justification of the existence of giant humanoid mecha

Original Post: Super Dimensional Fortress Macross (My boyfriend is a nimrod.)

  1. Here’s what I have for you:

    Macross, more than any other robot anime, actually presents the least ludicrous justification for giant humanoid robots as weapons.

    Let’s remove the sillier super robot shows out of this (sorry Mazinkaiser, sorryTTGL, etc).

    Then, let’s consider the most anal anime involving mechanized weapons: FLAG,AppleseedGhost in the Shell. You’ll notice that only AS has humanoid robots, but they are far closer to human sized. They are nowhere near the trope humongous mecha. The larger mechanized weapons in these shows when they occur, are NOT humanoid.

    Why is it important to distinguish this? It’s because humanoid robots allow the anime to entertain us with robot grappling, robot sword fighting, and basically giving everything a battle anime/action show can give only even more awesome (metal!).

    So having removed those shows out of the conversation, we are left with Gundam — the most prominent representative of the “Real” robot sub-genre.

    Gundam doesn’t even really try to justify the conceit of having giant mobile suits. There’s no particular reason why aircraft or spacecraft cannot perform better as fighting units over mobile suits. There’s no particular reason why tanks cannot outperform them on the ground.

    Mobile suits are not aerodynamic, are slow everywhere within the atmosphere; and in space they present a rather large target for the kind of ordnance they bring to bear (of course, the super prototypes of the AU Gundams will “justify” this, but they suck).

    They are conceits, because watching humanoids fight is great. It really is. Now make them giant humanoid suits of armor, then we’re talking about one of the great contributions to entertainment (you’re reading the opinion of a robot fanboy, don’t even act surprised). Gundam has no strong excuse as to why giant robots exist, and are the best ways to conduct warfare, except that they look awesome.

    I am okay with this.

    Macross does better. How? It matches the conceit of giant humanoid robots with giant humanoid enemies! The Zentraedi are effing giants, so the humans designed their Variable Fighter to be able to survive close quarters combat with these giant infantry.

    This is remarkably consistent with the logic of the anal robot shows I mentioned earlier. The Zentraedi, being giants already — do not need further use of proportionally gigantic robots for themselves. They use mobile coffins in space, I mean for all intents and purposes non-humanoid mechanized weapons (Regult, Glaug). The most humanoid forms are actual suits of armor (Quaedlunn Rau) powered to move in space and mounted with weapons.

    The logic is symmetrical, or at least consistent. There is no need for giant humanoid weapons, until there existed giant humanoids. The giant humanoids did not have proportionally giant humanoid robots because there was no one that much bigger than they are.

    Beyond the idea that the Variable Fighter is the finest military-use mecha in the robot sub-genre (which is another essay altogether), Macross shows (and it’s funny how these kinds of things elude most viewers) how well thought-out it is, despite obvious inability in parts to make things perfect.

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January 18, 2011

Autonomous on the Harem Dynamics of Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

Original Post: Nagato, or, Pinocchio Foiled

Autonomous said this on January 18, 2011 at 3:38 pm |

I can be persuaded that Haruhi fancies Kyon.

I can be persuaded that Mikuru fancies Kyon.

I can perhaps be persuaded that Nagato can overcome her extraterrestrial, interfacial nature and somehow fancy Kyon.

But that all three of them do??? To the extent of destroying and recreating worlds???

Ah. Well. Let’s examine this, shall we? I’ll preface this by saying that it’s been a while since I’ve examined Haruhi, so we’ll take all the AFAIKs and IIRCs and IMOs as implicit.

For a start, we have no evidence that Mikuru cares for Kyon as anything more than a friend. There’s a fairly popular theory that I’m partial to that she’s willing to play to his (unusually explicit) desire for her in order to exert influence over him (and thus indirectly Haruhi), but I don’t think she’s ever done anything that could be unequivocally qualified as eros rather thanphillia, unlike the other two girls.

Now, let’s examine Nagako. You make three important points in the above quote. A: she’s an alien. B: she’s an interface. C: she reconstructs the world to be with Kyon. The latter you single out as an exceptional act of devotion, possibly unaccountably so.

Is it? She is, as per point A, alien, with an alien viewpoint. You or I attach great significance to the regeneration of the universe, she might not. Of course, this requires speculation on the nature of Nagato’s alieness, which we simply don’t have the information to support. But I think we can reach this point another way.

Nagako is an interface. What exactly does that mean? She was created explicitly to perform a function; to facilitate the observation of and communication to humanity by/from the Integrated Data Entity. Now, I think it follows that in order to do this she needs to be able tounderstand humanity. She needs to understand, in particular, their emotions. I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to allow that in order to understand emotions you have to be able to feel them- and even if we disallow that, I think it’s safe to allow that the IDE, itself incapable of understanding emotion, would not have been capable of making a creature that understood it but did not feel it.

So, Yuki Nagato. Not an alien in the form of a human, but a human/alien hybrid. A bridge between the two worlds.

Humans are social animals. They long to connect with other humans, and I believe Nagato’s human part longed for that as well. But even a cursory examination of Nagato’s life shows how profoundly disconnected she was. Her home is empty; just a box to store herself in. The IDE simply does not exist on the level she wishes to connect on. Asakura seemed much more to the side of the alien than the more emotional (no, for srs) Nagato and, being the glove to Nagato’s hand, was far more connected to the world in any case.

And then the SOS Brigade comes into her life. Haruhi, of course, cannot seem to grasp the concept of empathy. Mikuru and Itsuki think of her as “the alien”; Mikuru is terrified of her, and the latter offers only the same distant courtesy he grants everyone else, which serves as much as a barrier to connection as anything.

And then we have Kyon. Kyon who thinks of her as “Nagato”, who introduces her to the magical wonderful glorious library- who places more importance on her feelings than perhaps even she does. So finally she connects with someone.

I put it to you that by the time of Disappearance, Kyon constitutes Nagato’s entire world. He is only only remaining thing she attributes value to at all. In “destroying the world”, she’s actually doing nothing of the sort. Kyon, remember, is completely unchanged, as in old world so in the new. All she did was rearrange the unimportant bits to her liking.

Reviewing this, what surprises me most is not that she remade the universe but that she killed Asakura for Kyon’s sake. She cared enough about her to remake her. I can only attribute it to a loyalty to her mission that was later eroded by the ordeal of the Endless Eight.

Haruhi is a similar case. She’s brusque and unfriendly, and anyone who tries to get past that she drives off. Kyon perseveres. Not even he understands why (or at least, he prefers not to ;) ), but he does, and before either one of them understands what’s happened, they’re friends. Connection. And Haruhi, like Nagato, is disconnected from most everything.

So why does she destroy the world to be with Kyon. We can’t claim alienness of perspective here. Or we can, but it’s unlikely to hold up to scrutiny as well as in the case of Nagato. For all of his importance to her, we can’t claim that Kyon is Haruhi’s entire world.

But there’s an important difference; Haruhi did not consciously destroy the world. It’s a core tenant of the series that Haruhi does not know what she does or who she is- and that might be just another lie among Nagato’s inherent inscrutability and Itsumi’s dissembling and Mikuru’s (possible ;) ) manipulation and Kyon’s unreliable testimony, but let’s assume it’s not. Haruhi’s power is a blind, instinctive thing, fumbling and flailing towards her desires with no understanding or oversight; an act of will devoid of mind. She rejects the world, everything except Kyon, and it destroys the world.

It’s one thing to rail against something and entirely another thing to conciously choose to destroy it. Remember Henry II? “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”

Of course, Kyon doesn’t need to win the hearts of all these lovely young ladies for them to love him (people die if they are killed LAWL). All he needs is to win Haruhi’s heart. She wishes for the object of her affections to be desireable -> he is desired. But the “Haruhi did it” option is always the lazy fallback position for Haruhi SPECULAH ;)

Or maybe he’s just that goddamn top-grade knicker-flooding bishie gorgeous. He wouldn’t be the first unreliable narrator to be unreliable first and foremost about his own appearance…

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December 28, 2010

Xard on the Edible Evangelion

Original Post: Moments of 2010: You Can (Not) Advance The Plot Using Slice of Life

Xard says:

December 28, 2010 at 12:30 am

[…]

Yes, this whole sequence was fantastic from beginning to end. In general I loved the way Anno manipulated common anime tropes and cliches in Evangelion 2.0 with same brilliance as in original (albeit nothing will beat the genius that was Tokyo-3 morning montage with music from the 70s nigh-classic scifi film man who stole the sun playing in the background. Incredible, multilayered sequence in so many ways).

The whole deal with the usage of food (in particular: bentos) as a motif was great and this is just another link in the chain. That Rei truly starts opening up to Shinji here – as well as truly establishing the food motif for the pseudo-triangle drama – during the cooking scene is also very important event that happened here which I think is worth mentioning among the ones you listed.

This is not the first time Anno has used food as motif in NGE, mind you. In episode 17 food/eating played big role in scene changes and as a setup for scenes (more numerous to count) as well as setting up false expectations of happy anime narrative with the whole deal with Hikari cooking for Touji. In ep 18 the brutality of harsh reality destroyed the blooming romance: mercilessly illustrated by the post-Bardiel scene of Hikari cooking and wondering if Touji eats/will like what he cooked tomorrow, oblivious to tragedy that had just happened. For such a minor scene it has haunted me to unusual degree.

What Anno does with food motif in Rebuild is quite similar but far larger in scale and complexity. In very similar way to ep 26′s “alternative universe” material we see Rei and Asuka “competing” over Shinji via cooking, following closely the laws of romance anime cliches. The rich meal enjoyed by Kaji et al during the picnic is contrasted with rations eaten by Gendo & Fuyutsuki during their trip to moon etc. Shinji also shows her caring and love for others mainly through cooking and as such apron-Shinji fussing around in kitchen is one of the key images that represented the “family” Shinji, Misato and Asuka build during the point it seemed Shinji Could Advance. It’s not by coincidence Anno included shot of abandonded kitchen in the scene Shinji abandons Misato, the apartment and Tokyo-3. I think there even was the very same tablet in the shot Shinji used in Asuka’s “toothpick” scene.

The food motif – as goofy and clichedly animesque motif as Anno needed – also came ot represent opening up of Rei and the way to hope and fixing relationship between Shinji and his dad via Ayanami’s “party”.

And it all is – just like in original eps 17-18 – big buildup towards happy anime narrative that Bardiel incident destroys. The shot of Rei’s cooking boiling over as NERV agents come to her is the final shot and culmination of the whole food motif in the film. It says everything.

The “picnic” more than any other scene setup this “false narrative” and as such is one of the most important scenes in the film’s first half.[…]

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December 20, 2010

Shinmaru on Gundam SEED Destiny

Original post: To Make The Impossible Possible: Enjoying Gundam SEED Destiny

Shinmaru says:

December 20, 2010 at 3:14 am (Edit)

I think by the one-third point of SEED Destiny I was doing OVER 9000 double takes each episode at how butt-fuckingly retarded each episode was. The final stretch is just … something else. Meer’s stupid episodes (who fucking CARES about her??), two recaps in the last nine (WHAT), Ray going batfuck insane, the eye-rollingly stupid recall to Mu’s sacrifice in SEED, Jesus Yamato, Shinn x Lunamaria (god what a fucking nightmare), and so on and so forth. Just … fuck, what.

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December 20, 2010

schneider on the legitimacy of hate

Original post: To Make The Impossible Possible: Enjoying Gundam SEED Destiny

schneider says:

December 20, 2010 at 12:48 am (Edit)

I remember a poster in /m/ saying that every /m/an should watch all of Gundam SEED Destiny to know how bad it is, because “real /m/en finish the shows they watch.” The logic is kinda jacked in that one, but the thing with GSD is that it brings out what’s good with the Gundam franchise just by being irredeemably terrible. It also acts like a Gundam litmus test–if you think GSD is good, then you need to watch more Gundam shows (I had experienced this firsthand).

At any rate, I know some people who hate on shows as if they were the shittiest shit ever shat out of a butt after watching (and dropping) the first few episodes. But we /m/en don’t do that! If you want to be a hater, then you must know your enemy. And that is by finishing GSD, because you have more material to hate with all 50 episodes, right?

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December 19, 2010

Chan on Panty x Brief; Fit and Foil

Original Post: Moments in Anime 2010: Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt 12 and Remembering Love

Chan says:

December 19, 2010 at 1:24 am

Interestingly enough if one looks at Brief closely you’ll see that his fact actually resembles Panty’s. In fact one could call Brief both Panty’s spear counterpart and her foil, in his name, his appearance, and personality. Interestingly enough this episode did several things to bring both Panty and Brief to the same level.

Brief’s own is obvious, his facial features which Panty is attracted, too. The size of his *coughpeniscough* and his desire to help Panty even if he himself is powerless. There were two or rather three; his physical appearance, his prudence, and his *coughsexualstaminacough. Throughout the series Brief was basically shown as the guy that had all the qualities that Panty was looking for, only problem was Panty wasn’t look *at* him and also had he revealed himself then Panty would never have the attribute his behavior to personality. She would have been too superficial to look past his face.

Similarly the way how Panty was brought down to brief’s level and thus set up new barriers which actually go hand in hand with Brief’s prudence, and works in favor of their relationship. Previously as said before Panty likes men with big …penises, which Brief possess, she is also the kind of one who does not think long term which is attributed to her putting sex first in contrast to Brief who wanted to start a relationship first. The first one ends up becoming a problem as now that Panty is a virgin it actually is painful for her to have sex with someone so ……hung, she can’t get any pleasure out of it, and thus sex between them has now become an act of trust, as Panty won’t be receiving any pleasure out of it, that requires them to actually yes be in a relationship, before they pursue that level of intimacy. In other words Brief has effectively become the one person Panty cannot just “love and leave”. Adding on to that Panty has been turned into a normal human, which means she doesn’t have her guns anymore she has lost her super strength, and durability, and yet she wants to help Brief. The tables have turned Panty is now the powerless one who wants to help the one she likes even though she knows that she knows that she’s useless, in other words a role that Brief has been playing throughout the entire narrative. This would have been stranger in another narrative as a love story but it works in this one.

The reason why this all works is because of Panty’s established personality, is such that just letting Panty see how Brief really looks she would be too shallow to let herself see the real him. And while she probably would have given Brief more respect it would have been more for his face than anything else, she would have been more blind to his faults, therefore not allowing them to get as close as they did in episode 12. She probably wouldn’t have let any other guy see her so distraught and not in control of her situation, but because its Brief its okay. This is because it actually seems like it would be out of character for Panty to be distraught in front of a total stranger. In other words Panty isn’t the type of character in which the writers can just create a one shot character for her to fall in love with, if Panty has to fall in love it would have to be an established character otherwise it would be out of character for her. At the same time the poor smuck that falls in love with her better have a high tolerance and be very faithful otherwise it wouldn’t not work as a love story. This is why their relationship started out the way it did, and why it develops the way it does. Panty and Brief’s foil like nature, serves as a way to both keep them together and differentiate them each other, in other words opposites attract.

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November 21, 2010

Pterobat on Love and Fandom

Original post: The Rules of Love, Meditations on Fandom

Pterobat says:

November 20, 2010 at 4:20 am (Edit)

General thoughts:

I am full of love. Love for many different characters, series, plots, media, and fandoms. Because I’m an analytical sort, I try to discern trends and tendencies within the great pile of different interests that I have, and I have emerged with some definite trends, but more and more I find that the “root” of love for a fictional thing is inscrutable.

Why? Because while I might be able to predict if I would like something/someone or not, often these predictions fail. I don’t like *every* example of something I have a proven tendency to like, and may even find myself falling for a trope I normally loathe. Just like real life, we need plans and predictions to invite stability, but many of these fall apart if you look too closely.

Or consider the issue of cliche: each iteration of the cliche might hold something special for a certain viewer, who is otherwise uninterested in other examples of the cliche, despite them supposedly all being “the same”.

As to flaws, I always seek to find awareness of a work or character’s flaws and never to shy away from acknowledging them. There are times when I feel a certain character’s actions are indefensible, but I maintain a strong attachment to them despite never feeling the need to lift a finger against their detractors. Why do I do this? I don’t know, really, but it’s an essential part of me.

I also believe that one should not only seek out the “best” of everything. To only search for perfection is to lead a cold, mechanical life. The way I go about it is that something hits you or it doesn’t–it doesn’t matter how good it is, to an extent. We are all human, and that means we are imperfect.

Perhaps because I do not seek perfection, and think that different things can be equally enjoyable, I don’t have one Most Favourite Character or Most Favourite Fandom, and what exceptions there are to this general rule of rankless love have been a long time in establishing themselves as such.

Finally, there is the issue of simple resonance–a thing that might have little value to others, but that you become attached to in a deeply personalized, idiosyncratic way that might make sense only to you, but makes a *tremendous* amount of sense regardless.

Love is a wonderful thing.

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November 19, 2010

Caithtyria’s Macross Continuity

Original Post: Is Kawamori’s Macross Your Macross?

Caithyra says:

November 19, 2010 at 8:02 pm

I wonder if one could possibly take it like this (at least I try to do, but there’s some places when it doesn’t work.):
“Real” Macross Canon (aka, the non-existent “real events” that Kawamori indirectly refers to, which we can discard because we never see them) >> TV Series Canon (including OVAs) >> Movie-Retelling Canon (DYRL, BH, TFS).

So, if you’re in “Real” Macross, you watched the TV Series, and within the TV series, you knew that the movies had been made re-telling history (kind of how we would watch a documentary about Jack the Ripper which also shows scenes from Jack the Ripper movies). In you’re in TV Series Macross, you’re just watching the movies. And if you’re in the movies, you aren’t watching anything.

Now, “Real” Macross is a middle-man that we can cut out because “Real” Macross does not add or change anything from what we watch, hence, we would be taking the place of “Real” Macross, just without their history with which to verify facts and compare to.

Which would make TV Series the Main Canon, i.e, the facts by which everything else will be compared, and the re-tellings would simply be as their events were recorded in the history books, with some added flair from the director (The director of TFS could, perhaps, be a Ranka-fan but unable to make her a heroine using her real actions and personality, and thus changed a few things to make it viable. It would also explain the over-the-top-perfection of Sheryl, who would probably be nearly a saint to Frontier. Minmay would probably get the polishing treatment no matter who made the movie because she was that important to humanity and aliens first getting along together. If we got an M7 retelling, it would be very divisive in terms of Basara, those who thought him irresponsible and the zombie-fans who would treat him like a god). Hence, we could see the movies as the public perception of the Macross people (would also explain why so many battles were moved from deep space to Frontier; people probably remembered getting their city smashed more than some distant battles in space, and gets a skewed perception as to how large a percentage of the battles were brought to their doorsteps).

It would also fit with the Ranka-love at the end of the last Frontier episode. The people of Frontier really, truly believes that their (TV) Ranka is like Movie-Ranka, which would fit the innocent messiah much more than Ranka’s immaturity and single-minded focus on Alto. To them, Ranka thought equally about Alto and her brother. To them, Ranka and Alto were childhood friends because they knew each other before Ranka was famous. To the Alto-fanboys, Alto used his Kabuki to solve the mystery of Sheryl (also, the movie would address the doubts people had about Sheryl’s allegiances to Galaxy and Frontier). Even Brera gets even more cool super-soldier actions, to make his and Alto’s alliance against Grace in the last episode all the more sweeter (you know, the feeling of completeness when Badass Warrior acknowledges the main character and fights back-to-back with him).

These movie re-tellings would also be colored by what happened during and after the TV series. Sheryl might’ve gotten along great with Ozma, so she gets extra interaction with Ozma in the movie. Brera might’ve grown closer to Sheryl and Alto, which would add extra interaction between them as well.

This would also explain why Battle Galaxy got all the added thorns and spikes: It’s more villainous. Battle Galaxy, if the Vajra were out, was the face of the enemy to everyone who couldn’t access Vajra Network at the time (see also Hades from Disney. In Disney’s version, Hades looks evil. In Mythical versions, Hades is just as handsome as his brothers).

It would actually be kind of fun to see an analysis of how Frontier views their heroes if TFS was their take on the events of the series. (Lonely Sheryl versus Sheryl Who Wasn’t Completely Alone Until Grace Abandoned Her. Innocent Ranka versus Ignorant Ranka. Blatant Alto versus Subtle Alto…)

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November 9, 2010

Jerry on the Other WW2 Reference in Mobile Suit Gundam (Unicorn)

Original Post: Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn 02 Unmasked

Jerry says:

November 9, 2010 at 7:55 am

I think the writer of Unicorn is really trying to link Zeon to WW2 Imperial Japan, and not Nazi Germany as many Gundam fans usually see it. And he’s doing it in a way that to me seems very obvious and direct, unlike Tomino who was more covert about it. In Tomino’s shows, there was the Battle of Solomon, which I thought was analogous to WW2′s Pacific war around the Solomon Islands. In Fukui’s episode 1 of Unicorn, we have a Neo-Zeon soldier saying “Space belongs to the spacenoids!” which is analogous to Japan’s WW2 slogan of “Asia for the Asians!” which was a message that opposed the colonization of the non-white world by white Western nations.
And in Episode 2 of Unicorn, Full Frontal tells us that the space colonists of the Federation had no ability to vote. All their leaders were appointed by people in the Federation. In other words, by white European imperialists, as it was in the various colonies found in Africa and Asia and elsewhere. Finally, episode 2 and 3 will take place in Palau, which is a mining colony in space. In WW2, Palau was a Japanese mining colony in the Pacific, and there was a big conflict there between the US and Japan. There’s going to be a big one in the Unicorn show too.

Before Unicorn, I often suspected that Gundam’s resonance with segments of Japan’s population was due to their ancestors’ participation in WW2, and how Japan’s younger generations have various paradoxical opinions about that. I believed that the reason the usual main character of Gundam was a Federation pilot, and either a spacenoid (Amuro, Camille, Banagher) or of Japanese background (Uraki), was supposed to appeal to the Japanese public’s sense that the modern Japan is allied with American side of things, despite the fact that the spacenoid cause is supposedly championed by Zeon (imperial japan). To me, Unicorn really proves my suspicions.

So basically, Gundam’s appeal to the Japanese public has to do with how post-War Japan is in a kind of cultural conflict with WW2 Japan. Zeon is Imperial Japan and all its brutality. And some of its more noble sentiments. (Did you know that Imperial Japan advocated the passing of the Racial Equality Clause in 1919? Black American groups became fascinated with the possibility that the Japanese empire would somehow liberate the non-white world from Western European control.)

Spacenoids are the people who were taken over by the white Western powers. The Federation is America’s military protecting Western European imperial politics. I feel like Unicorn’s writer (Fukui) saw this pattern and really cemented it in. Who knows if Tomino intended much of this though, or Fukui and Tomino ever even met. And I don’t get the impression that the people who really Nazified Zeon in MS IGLOO were ever talking with either Fukui or Tomino.

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October 12, 2010

Suiman on Discovering Broader Perspectives on Anime Through Blogs

Original Post: Remember the Moment When You Really Fell Hard for Something?

Suiman

September 29, 2010 at 6:24 pm

I graduated from a Catholic high school way back in 2005. Unlike some of my fellow freshmen, I never experienced any culture shock during the start of college. Despite seeing conflicts between various political and social groups, I was too busy playing DOTA to actually care. My anime consumption was mainly composed of harem comedies-for the boobs, mecha-for the pew pew and NSFW- for the…. It was a very happy go lucky college life. During my junior years in 2007, a friend recommended Darker than Black saying that the action scenes were good and that Amber looked like C.C. It was an enjoyable yet forgettable experience.

After two years, for reasons I cannot yet pin point, I became more involved and critical of my surroundings, inside and outside of the university. I started reading newspapers and watching the news seriously. I felt guilty that it was only then that I became aware of the numerous atrocities happening around the country. Bad news far outweighed the good ones. I started valuing my immersions with various people, from the Right and the Left, the elite and the impoverished.

Teasers then appeared about DtB s2. Since I enjoyed s1 to some extent and found the new protagonist to be really hot (I picked some very bad fetishes along the way), I rewatched the first season via Animax. Watching without subtitles really helped me appreciate the visual aspects of the show. After the first two episodes, I was amazed and frustrated. I cannot believe that there was so much depth and content that I missed from the series outside Hei’s badass moves and Yin’s DFC. Hei did not help the people he met because he was a “good Samaritan” expected of a hero but because of his common field of experience with them. He was able to relate to them as I was able to relate with the show. Societal and personal oppression and “development through the enlargement of people’s choices” were some of its themes that captivated me. I fell in love with DtB.

It ignited a spark within me. I needed other perspectives to broaden my insights. Unfortunately, my friends were into the shounen holy trinity and did not share my enthusiasm in discussing anime beyond “Who is stronger?” or “Who is sexier?” which I still sometimes participate in. Luckily, some blogs participated in a DtB rewatch. Reading their works showed similar and different analyses from mine. I was surprised with the depth and variety of interpretations these bloggers were able to derive not just from DtB but from other anime as well. This motivated me to expand my aniblog lurking, WRL among others. I started rewatching and interpreting anime such as Elfen Lied, NGE, TTGL and FSN. My love for DtB has changed the way I now view anime and led to the enrichment of my guiding philosophies.

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October 12, 2010

Marigold Ran on Vagabond

Original Post: Legendary Feats of Swordsmanship: Berserk & Vagabond; Guts & Miyamoto Musashi

Discusssion starts here.

In the manga, Musashi is a genius and the reason is because he uses his attraction to Otsu to improve his sword techniques. For most people, the direction works in the other way (they use their fighting skills to attract women).

Continues here.

There was this one chapter where Takuan hit Musashi on the head with a stick after tricking him into becoming distracted by thoughts of Otsu. But Musashi learned very quickly from that experience that the correct way to deal with these distractions is not to fight them, but to go with the flow so that his attraction to Otsu will not hamper his fighting abilities.

In other words, Musashi is internally motivated at getting better at fighting for the sake of getting better at fighting, and this trait is something that all geniuses have. Unlike others, Musashi is not fighting for women or glory. Musashi’s friend, Otsu’s former fiancee, notes this on multiple occasions in his musings on why Musashi always seemed to be progressing faster and further than himself.

The other necessary trait for genius is talent, of which Musashi has an abundance of. The most successful fighters in Vagabond are all extremely talented and internally motivated (Kojiro, Musashi, Yagyu, and Ittosai). The second tier of fighters are extremely talented but are not particularly interested in fighting for the sake of fighting (Yoshioka Seijiro, and Inshun). Musashi improves the most from his fights with the second tier. The third tier are the characters are interested in fighting, but lack the talent (Yoshioka Denchischiro, Matahachi, and Gion Toji). These characters suffer terribly in the manga because they are never able to attain the genius-level of fighting they see in their colleagues despite their desperate, and frantic efforts. In the end, these third-tier fighters fall apart psychologically from the strain, or get chopped to pieces, or both.

Ueda Ryohei and Tsukihaje Kohei (the only character to survive a death match with both Musashi and Kojiro) are special cases. Ueda Ryohei has the desire and the talent to match Musashi, but he is hampered by his sense of comradeship and responsibility to the Yoshioka clan. This is why he loses. Kohei is special because he has first-tier fighting talent and the desire too. However, unlike Musashi or Kojiro who fights for the sake of fighting, Kohei fights for the sake of killing. In the end he loses too because clarity of genius (as expressed through Musashi and Kojiro) is stronger than clarity of malice.

And continues here.

Most of the enjoyment in Musashi comes from watching the second and third-tier fighters fall apart over the course of the story.

Matahachi finally learned, after losing everything precious to him, that trying to copy genius, when you’re not a genius, is a bad idea, but by then it’s too late for him and he’s already an old man.

Toji learned that his power was a the reflection of Seijuro’s genius, and that without Seijuro, he is nothing.

Denshichiro learned that he’s simply not up to par with people like Musashi or his younger brother. Not enough talent. Bad genetic luck.

Ueda learned in his final moments that his sense of responsibility kept him back as a fighter.

Kohei learned the hard way that there is always someone stronger than you.

Seijiro never learned anything. He was… beat. The only thing he may have regretted at the end was not killing Musashi when he had the chance.

Inshun learned that he never really wanted to fight at all.

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