Archive for the 'allison & lillia' Category

Allison & Lillia: War Ends, War Starts

Lookin’ sharp, there, Allison. Adds an air of mystique to your general personality.

So,  having just seen episodes 4 and 5, the first of which is the final part of the “treasure hunt” arc, and the second of which is the start of the “you thought the war was over PRANKED” arc, Allison & Lillia is getting decidedly more complicated than I thought it would be, especially given episode 5.

In episode 4, the revelation of the treasure (which wasn’t really a revelation for the audience as it’s right in the middle of the OP) illustrated the important fact about conflict that everyone needs to keep in mind: we may have our differences, but we’re all humans. Sigsawa has been hammering, by proxy of the anime adaptation, this point in hard up to this episode. Facts and histories are exaggerated by governments/the media/other people (often unconsciously, as I honestly doubt that there’s a vast media conspiracy out there that all the network execs have to pledge to before becoming an exec that dictates that they intentionally warp and skew things; warping and skewing is what happens when one person tells something to someone else, it just gets out of hand when one person tells 100 million people something), leading to a perpetuation of a state of conflict, and it often seems as if people have lost track of the fact that we’re all in this together. The “treasure” of the mural of the two sides of Roxche and Sous-Beil cooperating (instead of being enemies forever, as everyone had been brought up to believe), as well as the fact that military officers from both sides (Allison and Kar) cooperated to make it to the treasure all point to one thing: people should get along. Perhaps Haro was not so wrong after all!

This isn’t to say that we should all be a bunch of tree-hugging Woodstock-attending hippies and gather around a big campfire and hold hands and sing Kum Ba Yah for eternity and anon, or even that we shouldn’t be allowed to dislike other people, but there’s a difference between “dislike” and “hatred”, and, while the former is perfectly fine to feel, the latter tends to cause more problems than it solves. I’ve seen lots of people (myself included, lest you think I am riding Big Brown rather than Eight Belles [people from Kentucky will get this. Everyone else won't.]) totally throw logic, reason, and rationality out the window as a result of the burning hatred they feel for something. And often, you hate something you don’t understand, or can’t even begin to comprehend. It’s a difficult emotion at best, and completely unstoppable if left unchecked. And, if left unchecked, Terrible Things (such as the war between Roxche and Sous-Beil–see, it ties in!) result from it.

This seems to be the next step for Our Intrepid Heroes Allison and Wil as they stumble headlong into what appears to be a terrorist cell of some kind, which illustrates another point: you can’t please everyone all of the time, and as much as I hate to admit it, it’s practically impossible to acheive the lofty goal of World Peace unless aliens come down and replace us all with emotionless robots. Which just goes to illustrate the terribly complex nature of the world in which we live. Allison & Lillia, for all of its plot simplicities, is managing to make this incredibly hard-to-grasp concept clear for all to see. How is it accomplishing this? Through same plot simplicity, through skilled writing, and through delivering it all in a package with a spunky-yet-cute Air Force pilot teenage girl.

And people say that cute girls in anime are bad. Shame on them. A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.

Allison & Lillia: Yearning For Youth

Those who have been tragically left behind as the result of an altercation, we salute you.

Allison & Lillia is maintaining its steady flow of warm-hearted children’s lit into anime form. It’s easy to see why it’s airing on NHK–it’s a very simple story, told in a cheerful voice. It is about a war, yes, but it isn’t about the violence of combat. And neither does it glamorize war. Alllsion, the original novel, is clearly a Sigsawa children’s novel (I have no idea if Kino no Tabi was a children’s novel too or not), and, thereby, probably won’t appeal to a large portion of the Internet anime-watching populace because of this, since in order to enjoy it, one has to have the ability to appreciate a simpler story. I almost wish that Allison & Lillia, should it ever be licensed, would get a broadcast run in a timeslot aimed at children. If that happens, it would be interesting not only to see the reaction during its run, but also the reaction as said children grow up and have fond memories of the series. It’d be kind of like how I have fond memories of anime series that aired on NIckelodeon back when it was an actually good network (i.e., the late 1980s): my mom swears up and down that I loved The Little Prince, which I can’t remember ever having watched, and I have extremely vague memories of The Adventures of the Little Koala (or a similar series, Nickelodeon aired several koala-themed anime series during that era, and I have no way of telling which my hazy recollection fits up with). I know other people have fond memoeries of The Mysterious Cities of Gold, which they also aired, and on the non-anime front I also have fond memories of David the Gnome, which was Finnish, I thnk). Natsukashii~

Nostalgia rant aside, Allison & Lillia is showing remarkable sophistication and creativity. From the episode preview, it seems like we’re going to find out what the treasure is next episode, something I didn’t expect to see happen until the conclusion of the Allison storyline around episode 13. That tells me that what’s important to the story isn’t the retrieval of the treasure, but the impact it has on the world at large. It’s allegedly a treasure that can bring peace to the war-torn world Allison and Wil live in, but I suspect that it will not be the treasure that accomplishes this by itself, but, rather, something that our two intrepid heroes will do as a result of the treasure.

I also like how the narrator of the story isn’t Allison, who is the “protagonist”, but Wil. It’s an echo of Crest of the Stars and all three Banner of the Stars series. Wil is playing the part of what SDS describes as the Rational Male Compaion much like Jinto played for Lafiel. It may not be love between the two (yet!) but it’s definitely something much more deep than mere friendship. And it’s not one of those frightening relationships where two human beings seemingly merge into one amorphous blob that has a bizarre amalgamation of the component humans’ personalities. It’s instead a relationship where each is their own, separate person, and they use their strengths to support the other. Wil’s mostly along for the ride, but he’s got the brains behind the outfit. Allison would have already been captured or, worse, killed, were Wil not with her, as she has a tendency to charge headlong into a conflict without thinking first. I love the Rational Male Companion relationship dynamic (partly because I’m a forward-thinking person when it comes to gender roles, and partly because I desperately wish to be someone’s Rational Male Companion. This latter desire, and ones like it, substitutes for an externally-focused sex drive, but that’s TMI and at any rate I’m incredibly weird, just like everyone else), so any time it crops up it’s a blast for me.

Whatever the treasure ends up to be, and however the peace comes to the land, I’m sticking wtih this one to the end.

Allison & Lillia: Sleepy Allison & War Humanism

There are two things about this episode I liked. One of them is pictured above. The other I’ll get to in a bit.

The second episode of Allison & Lillia (subbed) struck me much better than episode one of Allison & Lillia (raw), which was probably due to the subtitles again. Maybe I should just stick to watching Chi’s Sweet Home raw, but…

I almost felt like, somehow, production levels had gone up. The coloring style which felt flat in the first episode seemed to be much more natural and nuanced than in episode one. The characters also seemed to be drawn slightly better. I don’t really know if this actually happened or if I’m just making things up, but the art did strike me much differently.

On a seiyuu note: I almost feel like Allison is one of Mizuki Nana’s best roies. I mean, I’m a big fan of Fate Testarossa, but most of that comes less from a character standpoint and more from a aesthetic standpoint. Allison is a charming, lovable girl, and quite genki, and I always love genki girls.

Okay, that’s the end of short paragraphs.

I found it most interesting in this episode to see the portrayal of nationalism at work. Although she’ll probably only exist for this single episode, Radia portrayed an interesting issue in the mechanics of two countries with open or not-so-open hostilities towards each other. Radia, here, hated Roxche because the war claimed the lives of her two sons. This is (and feel free to shout “No shit, Sherlock” at the screen any time here) the product of any conflict between two people: enmity between one person and an entire country in general. We see this today in America with Americans’ perspectives on the MIddle East,. i.e., they’re a bunch of <offensive racial epithet possibly involving towels, camels, and/or burkas> and we should toss a couple nukes their way and save everyone a good deal of headaches. This may not be how you feel, but surely you know of at least one person who does. This is nationalism at work.

Nationalism, however, breaks down on the personal level, as Radia demonstrated here. When confronted with Allison and Wil, two wayward children from the hated Roxche, she intially treated them with hostility and threatened to turn them into the police. She took care of Wil through simple human courtesy, and fully intended to turn them over to the authorities, where Wil would probably be taken care of in a rather permanent fashion along with Allison. Even the most stalwart hatred, however, breaks down when confronted with an example of the hated object which exhibits none of the signs of being anything like the nebulous entity which you hate. And, so, when Radia discovers that Allison and Wil had known her friend Grandma Moot, who had migrated to Roxche to open an orphanage, she quickly realizes that Roxche is just like her country, Sol Beil: it’s made up of a large number of individuals, who all have their own thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and, when dealt with on a personal level, seem much less threatening. Unless they’re belligerantly pushing you around or something of that nature, in which case you probably don’t think too much about their humanity.

The realization that the enemy is always human can go both ways: in the case of the world of Allison & Lillia, the people of Sol Beil could hate Roxche less, and vice versa. Nationalistic-based pride and scorn is a self-feeding machine–you hate them because they allegedly hate you, and they hate you because you allegedly hate them. It’s how people work, unfortunately, and there’s always people on both sides of an enmity like this who really do feel this way, but there’s also people who feel differently. The only thing that you can do about it as a person is to not hate the enemy you’re told to hate, be it the tyrants of Roxche or those cotton-pickin’ terrorists that hate our freedom.

Yes, in terms of the story, this might just be, for the jaded viewer, a ho-hum plot device designed to waste time before the actual plot starts, but, this being a Sigsawa Keiichi story, I highly doubt this was done for little reason. It’s a small message that serves both as a plot device and something that you  can extrapolate out into the larger scheme of things. Messages in fiction don’t have to be grand, sweeping, and life-changing to provide some kind of insightful comentary, no matter how small.

That, or I’m just bonkers. One of the two.

Allison & Lillia: Brief Post-Sub-Viewing Update

Okay, now that I’ve actuallyunderstood this episode (thank you subtitles), it makes much more sense (obviously) and the somewhat uneasy feeling I had after watching it raw (and not comprehending a fair amount of the important bits of the episode) is quite diminished. The strength of the series is indeed the writing (as I sort of figured from the fact that it’s based on a novel by Sigsawa Keiichi), and the script is quite strong, and the only really glaring flaw of the series thus far is the low-budget feel afforded by the character art. Since I was pretty down on the series with the original post (largely due to not comprehending much of it, although I did enjoy the episode) I figured I’d post this short update. Now that it’s at least going to be subbed, even if it’s going to be slow, I’ll stick with it a while longer, and probably the whole run. I probably should have waited for the subs, but I was quite curious and I didn’t know whether anyone would bother to sub it. Apologies.

Allison & Lillia: To Assuage Your Curiosity, No, The Motorbike Does Not Talk (yet)

UPDATE: A clarification here of my opinion, after I watched the first episode with subtitles. It was much better than I was afraid of. Thank god for small favors.

First, a warning: this episode has yet to be subbed, and I watched it raw. It’s pretty easy to follow, I think, it’s just that some of the specifics of conversation (especially in the second half) were hard to follow, but I got the gist fairly well.

Second, this series seems to me to be a kind-of low production value children’s series, at least from the first episode. It’s a pleasant first episode, though I wouldn’t say it’s for everyone. Allison & Lillia is this season’s Madhouse/NHK team series (kind of like Dennou Coil was for its season, almost a year ago). The first half of this series is based on “Allison”, a book by Sigsawa Keiichi, better known as the mind behind Kino no Tabi (hence the joke in the post title). The second half will be based on “Lillia and Trieze” by same.

I, of course, quite anticipated this series from when I first heard of it, and even though this first episode has let me down a bit (I expected the letdown once I saw promotional art for the series, so it’s not too terribly bad), it’s still something I’m going to give a fair shot at. I’d say that, from the fact that the novels are by Sigsawa Keiichi that there’s probably something deeper at work here, something that probably requires a better grasp of the Japanese language than I do. I hope someone decides to pick it up and sub it, as I don’t know that I could legitamately follow it and judge it from just a raw viewing, although I think I’ll continue watching it raw should it go unsubbed, for the practice if nothing else.

It’s hard to judge a series based on the first episdoe (Tower of Druaga taught everyone this lesson yesterday, I think) so I’ll refrain from passing sweeping watch this/don’t watch this judgements, but I will say that, if you do watch it (and I suggest giving it a shot, just to be fair), even if you don’t like the first episode very much, it probably needs a couple more episodes to hit its stride. Probably any dullness comes from the fact that the series is directed by the Mokke director, NIshida Masayoshi, and, while I didn’t mind the two Mokke episodes I watched, I wasn’t terribly wowed by them either. Only time will tell how Allison & Lillia ends up.

It might, however, end up one of those things that I want to read the original novels of, rather than watch the anime adaptation of, like Spice and Wolf. Alas.


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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