Archive for May 22nd, 2008

Macross Frontier: Why Is The Quarter a Macross-Class Ship When It Is Only 400 Meters Long, You Ask?

This is why.

I am now fully convinced that Kawamori Shouji has lost his mind, and this is a glorious thing indeed. We have: some of the most ridiculous Itano circuses ever. I mean, an Itano circus is already pretty awesome, but the only way they could have made a better Itano circus in episode 7 was by having an Itano circus of missiles that release their own Itano circuses, creating a stream of missiles that crisscross each other in a giant missilegasm. And, as ridiculous as this idea sounds, this is a very possible reality in a Macross series where the main Macross-class ship not only undergoes Transformation but can actually move like a Valkyrie after undergoing Transformation. I mean, seriously. The Quarter is essentially a gigantic Valkyrie, except it’s a Macross. It alwayts bugged me in SDF/7 that, after undergoing Transformation, the Macross ships just kind of floated through space in a ludicrous and fixed pose, which kind of made the whole “battleship turns into a mech” aspect of Transformation fairly disappointing. If I had been a child of the proper age when the Macross part of Robotech was airing on American TV, this episode would have been like a childhood dream come true. It’s somehow more impressive than all the variants upon the Gurren-Lagann towards the end of the series, where it just got bigger and bigger, but that’s mostly because it’s Macross doing it.

Considering the explosion-fest that was episode 7, it might be hard to forget some important points, one being whatever it was that happened with Sheryl’s earring in Alto’s cockpit. It’s unknown whether it was primarily Sheryl’s fault or Ranka’s fault that the music transmitted and created such a powerful reaction in both Alto and Mysterious Humanoid Alien Enemy (who strangely faintly resembles Gavil from Macross 7 for some reason, which is a good thing because Gavil was hilarious). [SPECULATION WARNING] It also, too, could be both of their faults, with the duet triggering some kind of base instict in both human and alien alike, which, of course, since this is Macross and the love triangle is between Alto, Ranka, and Sheryl, means that we could be in for some serious drama later on as Alto perhaps has to perform a difficult balancing act keeping Ranka and Sheryl on good terms with each other while still being true to his feelings (whatever they end up being).

That setup seems somewhat similar to the original SDF, or, well, Do You Remember Love? (since that’s much fresher in my memory), where you had Hikaru having to convince a distraught and heartbroken MInmei that she had to sing to bring an end to the war with the Zentradi. It also sounds much more fun from a straight-up drama perspective, but, as that is entirely speculation, we really don’t know how things are going to proceed from here. I don’t usually engage in prediction of plot patterns, but equally usually when I do do it, I’m rarely dissatissfied with the results, as when a series doesn’t go the way you expect it to go but instead down a different and surprising route it’s more fun than the imaginary series you had in your head (and it also shows that the writers are one step ahead of the viewers), even when the direction taken doesn’t always work out that well.

Whatever happens, though, it will probably be incredibly awesome in the way that only a Macross series can be incredibly awesome. I may prefer Gundam on a personal level, maybe, but as the two really aren’t compatible series at all (Macross is a true bona-fide old-school space opera that’s primarily about having a ton of fun, whereas Gundam strives to be somewhat philosophical to varying degrees of success, and is quite a bit more “realistic”) and therefore shouldn’t be compared quite as much as they usually are, they’re both excellent franchises whose initial series had lasting influence upon anime in general since their broadcast in the late 70s/early 80s. I really don’t think that either one would have caught on with the public if it hadn’t been for the other, as it’s always been said that Gundam created the “real robot” genre, and SDF Macross popularized it (the original Gundam was cancelled, with most of its fame coming after broadcast; Macross was a thorough success practically from the start), so they exist in a kind of symbiotic relationship. I find it criminal how little attention Macross seems to get in the States in general (although I run into far more people who go “Hey, Macross is cool!” than “Hey, Gundam is cool!”, but neither franchise is that popular here), although I can report from firsthand experience that Macross Frontier is getting people who haven’t given the Macross franchise a shot yet the incentive to go back and watch its origins. And this is always a good thing.

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Toshokan Sensou: The Only Thing Missing Is a Card Catalog

I love you even when you’re mad, Iku, although I’m sure Doujou loves you more (and, if not yet, soon).

I still don’t care how little sense this series makes. It’s totally awesaome. The best part about episode 4 was the part where, in order to get around the problem of not beling allowed to fire weapons off library property unless given special dispensation to (which brings up the interesting dynamic of the librarians being the defenders in this war, rather than the offense–more later) simply by declaring the building where Iku and the librarian administrator were held the newest branch of the Kanto library. Of course, that was made even better because they managed to storm the entire place without firing a shot, but, hey, we always need more libraries around.

I also highly enjoyed the “discussion” (more like reminder) of the basic prinicples of library operation: do not restrict access to information. Of course, in a real library, this is a somewhat thorny problem, as things become somewhat complicated when you start mixing the public in. Pulbic libraries and major academic libraries that let patrons in from outisde the university, which is most of them; I think I’ve only been to one private library in my life, a horse-focused one in Keeneland (yes, I live in Kentucky; no, we aren’t all hicks, and no, I will not send you moonshine), so it’s probably less of a concern there. Still, in public settings (I work at two of them, so I’ve seen this process twice) there are sensitive issues such as whether or not people should access things such as pornography at a library. The government-run public library has a strict computer user policy where you can theoretically be ejected/banned from the library for accessing such material, although in practicality this almost never happens. The worst most people get is all the librarians sharing a hearty laugh in the back room about it. At the other library, though, it’s not forbidden so much as, if another patron/staff member raises a complaint about what someone is looking at on a computer, security steps in and tells them to find a new computer (and there’s like 50 quintillion of the things in the building).

More relevant to Toshokan Sensou is the rather strange fact that, as mentioned above, the libraries are on the defensive against censors, rather than on the offensive. Perhaps it’s just that we’re all a bunch of pacifists, but it’s interesting from the social commentary position that libraries have to defend freedom of speech and expression from a public (or, in this case, a government-sponsored organization) that strives to censor information. I’m not entirely sure about how one can be on the offensive about freedom of speech, but,.as a librarian, it’s always struck me as strange that people would want to abridge freedom of speech. This is a crazy complicated issue, as the ALA likes to speak out against things such as book burnings, which, if you look at them funnily enough, become a matter of free speech, in that their burning of the book is their way of saying that they abhor this book. More straightforward is the banning of books, which is clearly a violation of freedom of speech. I’m still vastly amused over the hubbub when a few rogue librarians threw a hissy fit over The Higher Power of Lucky after it won a Newbery because the word “scrotum” was on the first page (the scrotum in question was attached to a dog, but this didn’t stop them), and banned the book from their library, declaring it unfit for children. Freedom of speech is awesome and I would totally join an army to protect it, especially if we got to recite these lines here as our own personal Articles of War.

Oh, and just for fun:

What the hell kind of classification system are they using? Maybe I’m just too unfamiliar with the general operating mechanics of the Nippon Decimal Classification, but this doesn’t make any sense at all. First, why are there no decimal numbers and Cutter numbers and, second, why aren’t the call numbers (if one can call such abominations “call numbers”) in numerical order? Do your library research, Production I.G. (Or maybe I just don’t know how things are done in libraries in Japan, as I know I’ve seen that style of call number label in anime before, but it doesn’t seem to be any use to anyone at all)


NOTICE SHAMELESSLY STOLEN FROM G.K. CHESTERTON

I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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