Ra! Ra! for RahXephon!

Merciful heavens, I did not expect this.

Ever since I watched Evangelion (at an age that was really not appropriate to see it, I might add) I had promised myself never to go, “Well, I have to see what everyone’s talking about” with something again. Watching Eva is like getting invited to have a wonderful feast at somehow’s house and then finding out you’ve been really invited to be tortured with hot needles all over your body. I won’t completely condemn it, there are some interesting ideas and some competent directions in a few parts, as well as some very original creature designs and some good action scenes. Everything else though…what I really hate about Eva and anime like it, is that it isn’t just a mindfuck, its a soulfuck. I feel like I must have done something to deserve the experience of watching it. It makes me feel depressed for the state of storytelling everywhere that it exists.

So it was that a little while ago I was incredibly bored and looking for something to do and stumbled upon something I do every year and a half or so, which is rent anime titles from Tsutaya and fill in the gaps of the episodes I saw on TV for the more promising stuff. This is where I ran into RahXephon, a show I had avoided because of what I know now are very braindead protestations that its simply a rip-off of many big robot shows, especially Evangelion. And here I am, not so huge on big robot shows in the first place either. (Patlabor movies and Giant Robo are the ones I really like.) But the bits of episodes I glanced in passing had a wonderful, surreal, dreamlike quality to them that I was quite attracted to and exuded a warmth and charm that was absent from worse stuff. I decided to rent it from the beginning and see what the fuss was about, and the minute I got the sense that the show was trying to rape my sense of propriety, back it would go to Tsutaya.

Not only did that minute never happen, but I got addicted to the show. I simply HAD to see what happened next. And when it was all over, I immediately bought the full set, because I knew it would be worth watching all over again. And it was.

I was expecting a competent show with some slight higher artistic aspirations of dreaminess and surreality that you can see in some of the best anime.

What I got was a true masterpiece, with the kind of regard for quality storytelling that is way, way, way too often shrugged off in anime. Plus, an absolutely stellar soundtrack. (Those piano pieces are amazing, as is the main theme and the piece that plays over the final credits.) The director seems to have learned from his past experiences (most notably in the great Patlabor and the um, not so great, Gasaraki). Here, once again the mecha may be cursorily important to the plot, but are really just a foil and a tool for the characters, yet much like newer mecha plots, they kind of take on a characterization of their own.

Better yet was the somewhat unique way (for an anime), the plot unravels. There’s been lots of discussion of stories that are more like onions with one layer after another unraveling, but RahXephon is more like a song or a composition with plot and character as its notes. That may sound pretentious, but its actually very simply implemented into the show (hell, a big theme is sound and music in the actual show) by not being any more blunt or subtle about it than need be. That is, we see a story with an underlying plot, but what’s on the screen are a series of images and scenes that could have revealed the same thing if they had been entirely different scenes, characters and images. I hope I made that sound intriguing, rather than just confusing.

You see, its very simple, we see an opening scene that is really, later on, revealed to be in the middle of the tale and ending scene that reveals (and I mean literally the last thirty seconds) a completely different take on what’s been seen so far. Both are valid and both are true, but as you rewatch RahXephon, you come to realize that if you take it as a science fiction tale, it has a very different mood and layer, yet as a mythology, a significantly different slant. The only meaningful point the series seems to want to make is show us how different the interpretations between these two kinds of tales can be and what kind of person would be drawn to which interpretation, which is in itself, I think a pretty worthy and original idea. But that’s not all. No, not at all. Despite all the fantastic elements, you could also take it to be general interest slice of life or a love story. And these are not all parts of the same plot, there are different plot lines entirely. They don’t mix together so much as they all exist at the same time. They’re like different instruments, or parts of melody and harmony that you can single out and identify as worthy of being regarded on its own and self-reliant on its own plot and story that you don’t need the other parts.

However, RahXephon doesn’t feel the need to pontificate on life or throw out cliched, pop psychology and philosophy. It also doesn’t want to be the kind of work where everything has meaning from beginning to end. Some of RahXephon’s purpose is to be like a dream, where you can interpret meanings, but some of it is just uncanny or surreal and has no meaning. This is the stated intent of the director. Usually this would be bad because you get this mess of abstract symbolism that reduces to characters to characterizations and makes the plot one huge ball of “huh?” and doesn’t connect with the viewer, but alienates them. But RahXephon separates the scenes it absolutely needs to be concrete and specific about in order to tell a good tale and the ones that are there to make the song stronger and more mysterious, so to speak.

The first time you watch RahXephon, you certainly don’t know which of these elements is which, because you’re still discovering the story in that dream image way. There are so many scenes that have a tense, unreal feeling of “this can’t be happening” to them. A kind of delightful paranoia, as weird as that may sound. It kind of soothing underneath the skin in an otherworldly way. But instead of going for disturbing, the effect for me was this weird kind of charming unease, like I’m looking at things in a museum that I like, but don’t know where they come from or what they are, even though I understand them on a certain level. This has the effect that when the scenes that are normal and average and everyday come around, they seem surreal, because the “reality” of the series, as in the majority of the scenes and tone and style is so surreal. Its a neat trick, used very well. That slice of life genre I mentioned that you can watch it as becomes a lot of fun once you realize the plot behind it given this context.

Most especially fun are the interactions with a certain group of characters. Everyone else has a relatively normal way of interacting, but these characters don’t seem to want explanations from each other or need them, they talk and understand and act with each other as if all the bizarre things they do are pretty normal. This wouldn’t make any sense if not for the brilliant use of tying the imagery they are involved in to their true identities which is a lightbulb that tells you, “Ahhhh, so that’s why they LOOK human and have human characteristics, but often act like they are broken, somehow wrong, or out of tune, operating on some other level.” If it had been everyone, the show would have sunk into incoherency, but they allocated this trait to just enough characters and scenes for it to dominate the overall resonance of the show in trippiness without unraveling everything into abstract glop where character motivation doesn’t exist. (In other words, characters who act like this are the minority, their reasons become clearer. But no matter you understand why, every time you watch it, you still can’t quite wrap your head around their sublime sixth sense that’s a different way of understanding how the world works that’s beyond human.)

I think the thing to be said about RahXephon is it fulfills the potential of good anime. And that would be a merge of more traditional animation premises of storytelling with the idea of freeforming, exaggeration and distortion, that at its definition has nothing to do with storytelling in manga (since manga exhibits far wider application as a medium than a storytelling one). It hasn’t forgotten to have the virtues all good stories have and simply nixes one bad anime trend after another:

-It doesn’t destroy tension or a scene that was trying to evoke our sympathy or interest by breaking it with a silliness or abstraction like calling out attack names or narrating one’s thoughts as they do something. The old adage about showing and not telling, ya know.

-There is no pretentious dialogue at all. Thank heavens. (There is one character who can listen to music and then kind of prophetize what will happen in the form of poetry, but its lovely, well-done and I’m unsure (since its mostly waka and haiku too) whether the poetry translates well, but some of them are marvelous quotes, some original and some a clever combination of the two. I hold that this doesn’t count as pretentious.) In fact, dialogue usually isn’t a strong point in even the best of anime, as the animation in the best ones proves to be the best storyteller, but here its often clever and subtle, with an outstanding performance by the voice-acting cast, one of the very best acting jobs in anything animated (Ayato’s mother and Makoto are particularly amazing). (Don’t know what the dubs sound like though.) Things do relate to a purpose that is, as with most mecha anime, world-changing in nature, but whatever meanings that has is, thankfully, left up to the viewer to interpret, as it should be, thanks to…

-A generous application of well-considered story-telling elements. Light moments of comedy are never inappropriate or jarring. All the allusion is not only well-considered and relevant, but uses much new and fresh material that hasn’t been covered and mined for ages. Symbolism is rare, used for good effect and only one is cliched. Imagery isn’t confused, the pacing is wonderful and the variety of story-telling angles is excellent.

-Everything is pretty classy. No one is assumed to be a likable character “just because” and then inserted into some nasty anime trope and given a voice actor just so they can spout something you’ve heard a million times before. Whatever irrelevant sexuality there is is so minor, it ought not to be counted as that infamous “fanservice” word.

-Eminently likable characters. Even that super-bitch, Helena, had the scene in her childhood where she was making the potion that was extremely charming. The lead is well-adjusted and adapts to his problems both without making them seem too easy to overcome and without making us hate him since he’s not being a spineless, idiotic retard. That scene with Megumi at the end is just too wonderfully awkward and hilarious for words and Asahina’s last scene is heart-wrenching. You know characterization is good when you can boast of a character who you have a strong, massive aversion to every time they appear on the screen, but can’t help feeling somewhat sad for them (Ayato’s mother). Her voice-acting was especially noteworthy, especially that freaky “phone call” scene.

-Not dependent on understanding anime’s past, present or future to enjoy, unlike so many shows today. Though RahXephon is working from a lot of material, both character, setting and plotwise that has similarities and predictabilities, it is that unique sense to use these things to their utmost level and play around with them in unique ways that makes you forget that we have certainly seen some of these scenes. Plus the whole music and painting angle. Can’t forget that.

Basically, RahXephon is what happens when the creators present are both talented and have the common sense and knowledge to know what to do with a show like this. My only complaints are that in one episode, the animation quality is a little more variable, whereas elsewhere its excellent and that the mythology angle isn’t as evident if you didn’t know its sources (like the Okinawana myth of Nirai Kanai and Nahuatl terminology), but here RahXephon is helpful by giving any watcher who watches closely the material with which to research it on their own and find out quite easily what the series is referencing. The only thing is, some of the character motivations would become a bit obscure if you didn’t know a little more about who they were with these mythological references, but again, there’s more than enough within the anime itself to let you reach that conclusion naturally. I have to say, the references to things like Faulkner and modern short stories were refreshing, and how entire episodes and scenes were cut in the cloth of famous painters and paintings (not all surrealist, but some, mostly Rene Magritte). One would also get more of out the show if they caught all the music references too.

Its this final thread that makes me like RahXephon the most. Certainly, it is a show that decides its not going to be accessible to everyone and such can be quite confusing until you figure it all out. However, watching it closely and rewinding every now and then to rewatch a scene is all you need to understand it on a first viewing. It isn’t some director’s ego laughing at you as he draws through muddled storytelling that is ultimately pretentiously stupid like Xenogears or something. Here, its simply the unique plot structure and the way the show is approached. The show will give away answers easily to anyone, its unwilling to hide all the plot behind layers of obscureness and pretend that that’s deep.

Its not just that, but the directory has said that what he wishes to do is make a show that is very mysterious, while still being a good tale and advance the giant robot genre’s boundaries. He succeeds on both parts and I think that was a wonderful goal to set. I hate hidden agendas in storytelling and art.

The mixture of what he has created is a something wonderful and set apart from all the comparisons you could make, that you would never guess from the seemingly cliched synopsis. You might have noticed I’ve tried to avoid mentioning the plot, but that’s mostly because if you’ve heard of what its about I want to convince you there’s so much more to it. Also because if you start talking about it, plot twists get revealed and this series is always throwing you on mad loops and reversals that would be mean to spoil. And to start talking about any of it makes it tempting to reveal some of the most masterful scenes (Hellloooo, episode 19! WOW!)

I will tell you that there is one character who is trying to paint a picture of a girl throughout the series and I thought that was the ultimate way of describing this work: instead of picture that becomes a story or a story that resembles a picture of a situation, or paints one for you. Its a strong, coherent story where the elements of the story work together to paint different, almost unrelated pictures – surreal pictures that sound like a song.

“Yo wa oto ni michita,” says Quon, our poetry spouting lovable lunatic. “The world is suffused with sound.” RahXephon flies you to the music.

-Kitsune

Oh man! Anything I say about it at this point is going to read like I wrote it with a purple crayon on a cocktail napkin!

I definitely liked Rahxephon better than Evangelion. The characterizations (especially of Asahsina, like you said, but also Haruka) are pretty great, and very consistent which is somewhat rare.
However, after finally sitting down and watching the whole series back to back (and seeing the final episode), I’m a little disappointed… the ending feels like a bit of a cop out.

SPOILERS to follow

Ideally I would’ve liked to see the Tuning of the World bring some of the characters back to life, but that’s probably just my sentimental North American sensibilites talking. Obviously I don’t mean the ones killed by the Mu or during the battles, but the ones taken out by the Ayato/Rahxephon at the end.
I’m a bit conflicted on it though. On one hand the scenes with Kim confronting Ayato about Yagumo’s death are very good, I can’t help but feel Ayato’s actions were so bizarrely out of character that some compensation must be given…
The way the ending was shown, with Ayato and Haruko living happily ever after, also felt like the Star Trek Enterprise “reset button” resolution. “Everything’s all better now!”, while probably the only possible result of the Tuning seemed very abrupt and unsatisfying. On the other hand, I could actually understand what was going on, unlike End of Evangelion

SPOILERS AHOY! DON’T READ IF YOU WANT TO DISCOVER RAHXEPHON ON YOUR OWN!

Yeah, I remember feeling a sense of general malaise about a lot of the ending scenes, except for the final two, which I thought were awesome. Other than the spectacular Barbem Foundation showdown in the church, I too couldn’t quite understand what Ayato was doing. In rewatching the series, I noticed that he must have been told who he really was by Maya in episode 18, when he’s going all nuts and looks like he’s being doing crack for days. It makes sense, since you can see her whispering something to him and him being shocked, but not hear what she’s saying.

So after that initial shock, when he’s trying to reconcile himself to the fact that he’s a reincarnated god in a human shell, it pretty much goes well, because he doesn’t yet have to confront the god. Also, Helena/Barbem tells him right before he completes the RahXephon cycle that he can remain human. Knowing what he does from Maya and being the trusting soul he always is, he thinks he can get away with tuning the world and still be home in time for dinner.

I can think we can both attest to how utterly nutsoid and surreal tuning scenes are being in RahXephon, it doesn’t even remotely human, despite the humanoid form. Especially that freaky part when he and Quon are singing an aria in the clouds. BTW, did you know notice that he can now project his form like Ishitori can? And if you watched it again, did you see the part in the show where Quon learned to do that? I that was really subtle and effective.

Because of the experience on Tokyo Jupiter under Maya’s control, he doesn’t have any memories of past movements or his role as an Ollin. Notice for instance I don’t think he expected it to be so different and that’s what explains the dramatic shift, until Quon pulls him out of it. He’s got that whole angel comes to earth and falls in love with human, and thus being a human thing going on, though thank God it isn’t a major part of the plot focus.

So that part of it improved for me, what I hated to confront about the ending was that Haruka would have died in such a random and seemingly meaningless way. I’m glad things turned out that way. I do agree that the resetting effect is always a bit disheartening, but here’s why it doesn’t bother me more.

To me, its very Buddhist. Basically, they get to the Pure Land, despite it all being South American mythology. I suppose in that state, you wouldn’t exactly forget everything that lead you to nirvana, but you’d probably be too enlightened to care much anymore. In the same way as the whole story is a kind of play and composition played for Ayato and Quon’s benefits in order to get material to decide how to tune the world, so is an illusionary world one must decipher through to reach nirvana. In that context, its not really negation, but a kind of overcoming or overturning.

I also think it can support a good many endings. Could be that everyone did get resurrected in a way, in that they never had to die that way. Certainly Mamoru and Hiroko do, since we have proof. That they live, and that Quon gets her dream of being normal like Ayato got to be, might mean that somehow he found a way to integrate Mu with humans. At the same time, you could say, people like Itsuki, Helena and Makoto wouldn’t ever come about because there’s no need for Barbem in this new world. Perhaps things went the same way and Ayato and Haruka continued to have age differences. If you look the paintings and the surroundings of their apartment, you’ll see what looks like a memory of everything that happened in the show. And somehow, they remember to name Quon that, so Ayato probably still has his consciousness as a god in human form.

Or maybe not and Mu and Barbem and TERRA are gone. In which case, people like Yagumo and Kunugi are probably living much happier lives.

It seems to support a great deal of interpretations and I love endings like that.

Remember the part earlier when Quon teaches Ayato about tuning and he two do just that for a brief second, rewinding time so it can look like Elvy killed the Dolem and not Ayato? Makoto and Itsuki are having a conversation at the same time and there are two versions of the conversation, due to the retuning. Afterwards, it looks like they have memory of both conversations and when Ayato talks to Quon, he’s naturally curious about that was, showing that he remembers it. I wonder if the real tuning had some of the same effects, just on a higher level, or was more severe. It certainly seems to say that the real tuning could have had some of the same dynamics at work.

Then you can also say that since much of the situations turned out to be a play of sorts for Ayato’s benefit, that its a kind of regeneration that fits into the whole Aztec theme, the idea of rebirthing the world, the egg imagery and the whole idea that Maya, Quon and Ayato are reincarnations. I’m not entirely familiar on the whole workings of karma or how RahXephon would define theme, but I think despite all the trouble one goes through to be reincarnated to a better form, despite having no memory of the experience, the meaning is still there.

So yeah, on all those levels I liked the ending. Though initially I was a bit indifferent to things that were going on, I find I like it a lot better now. Likewise, with episodes 8 and 9, which at first I thought were kind of wasteful.

BTW, is it just me or there is not nearly enough love in this show for that episode where the Mu presents a vision of his own desires by injecting that weird thing in his mouth and Ishitori pulls it out? That kicked all kinds of surrealist ass.

Oh yeah, the part where Ishitori comes in and wipes the plates with Makoto seriously kicked ass. That has to be one of the biggest, best cases of getting totally OWNED in all of anime.

Man, I always mean not to write so much. Sorry! :cry:

-Kitsune

Kitsune, I honestly have very little interest in anime whatsoever…but your post makes me want to investigate Rahxephon.

It’s good to have you back.

So the way to make people watch Revolutionary Girl Utena is to write absurdly long posts about it? Well, that’s good to know.
And well, I guess I have to see RahXephon now (I’ve seen the first few episodes).

Anders, I don’t think you could write that much about animate lesbians if you tried. Try and prove me wrong, though, it should be entertaining!

Kitsune, your post has inspired me to track this down.

No, but he can post lots of images.

That’s exactly how I felt about it when I saw it in the issue of NewType USA. I’ve got the first episode on the bundled DVD, but have yet to actually get around to watching it.

The lead is well-adjusted and adapts to his problems both without making them seem too easy to overcome and without making us hate him since he’s not being a spineless, idiotic retard.

This alone is encouragement to check it out.

I tried watching the first episode once, but just didn’t have the patience at the time, and buried it in a pile of discs somewhere. Great write up, regardless!

I just discovered that Netflix has the 7 disk boxed set, #1 should be on its way to me tomorrow :)

EDIT: thanks for the recommendation, Kitsune-sensei

I watched it all and still thought it was a rip off of eva. Of course I liked eva. waits patiently for the eva bashing to begin

RahXephon was alright. I actually watched it all, which is a rare occurence with most anime for me.

I think Kitsune pretty much took care of that for us.

Heh, I’ve already finished the first disc thanks both to this thread and Netflix.

Now on to the others.

I don’t care what anybody says. All I know about it is that it has giant robots with angel wings. Even if everything else about it is great, it’s still a piece of shit for that fact alone.

Just a quick update on other RahXephon products, in case you liked the TV show and are wondering.

The Movie - If you want info spelled out to you and literally told to you, instead of the cool way the TV show doles out to you and utter lack of subtlety, then I guess this would be the way to go. Pretty mediocre and not nearly up to the standards of the series. Does take the love angle somewhat farther, but at the same time kind of destroys it, by killing the whole surrealist/realist thing the show had going. Also takes out or marginalizes a whole bunch of characters (Quon’s new role is beyond stupid) and can be considered one way the interpreting the story. I guess its worth it if you want to validate one of the many interpretations one might have about the show. It gets a…MAYBE.

The OAV - A short 14-minute diddy included with the videogame (you should already know to PASS) on that one. Waaaay too whacked out for the most part and also doesn’t seem to carry on the genius of the TV show. Beside a lovely ending and some rather clever musical touches, a definite…PASS.

The Manga - Rule of Anime #1087 - The manga based on an anime ALWAYS sucks. PASS

The RahXephon Bible - If you watched the entire show and are still missing a few things, but don’t want to go hunting around on message boards, articles and websites, and want an art book that will stir up memories of this show’s superb art direction, this might be for you. The only caveat is that whoever designed this was clearly more interested in the mythology direction of the show, so if you liked another one of the directions better, it might not float your boat. Since part of that is accepting that the images mean nothing, then this certainly won’t explain all the mysteries. Then again, I doubt anyone on this board lacks the intelligence to understand this series. Makes a surprisingly coffee table book…THUMBS UP

The RahXephon Kouryaku Guide - Holy shit! I had no idea until I read this how much some of this rooted in some neat science fiction. Some of their ideas are really neat. I guess if I were more of a science guy I would have found that angle more fascinating, but personally, it was the least interesting of the four angles the show had. In any case, this is like the Ultimania for RahXephon, it will explain just about everything. Nothing is left to the imagination unlike the show, though again, some stuff is left for interpretation (The nature of Barbem for instance). There’s hardly an art, but lots and lots of theory. So…MAYBE

And there you are. Kitsune’s Complete Guide To RahXephon…Owari!

Like I mentioned in the first post, I’ve been renting various anime to clear up wholes in shows I hadn’t completed. Scrapped Princess has such a beautiful ending and Scryed I have now rented for the third time, PLUS I watched every episode as it came on TV back in…2001? Its proof of violence’s bad influence on people. :wink: Every time I see it, I want to HIT people HARD. There’s still Kazuma vs. Ryuhou water cooler conversations to this day (I pick Kazuma by the way). Its made me wonder if I should purchase these series. Thing is, the only anime series I own is Kino no Tabi (Kino’s Journey, and that because I own the videogame and the novels, and consider the whole project an excellent manifestation of modern day setsuwa) and Mirai Shounen Conan (Conan, the Boy from the Future? anyway, its my all-time favorite show as a kid and I will never stop loving it) and now RahXephon. I kind of don’t want to clutter that up. Hmmm. (I do own a lot of anime movies though.)

In any case, I thought Witch Hunter Robin was a well-done show, but I’m kooky and enjoyed the stand-alone episodes more, thought the show could have gone on a lot longer with that premise, as they were all well done and I thought there was a lot of potential for more of that. Without falling into standard cliches, the team worked well together and there was a surprising amount of variety with which they tied together each episode. Nice atmosphere too and something to throw into people’s faces when they claim there is an “anime style” and that it is “homogenous.”

Not so good were the rest of I! My! Me! Strawberry Eggs, Piano and Mahou Tsukai ni Taitetsu Koto (errr, Important Things for a Magic User), I should have left the bits and pieces I’d seen alone and I would have a much higher opinion. Talk about duds. Better were Boys Be (which I avoided for a long time because of the utterly freaky commercial break shots) and Saishuuheiki Kanojo (Ultimate Weapon Girlfriend?). SaiKano is waaaaay too melodramatic and has far too much crying and repetition, but for all that, its also very smart, with some excellently written monologues and a clear focus on war’s effects on the “little people” so to speak. Kind of rubs your emotions raw though, talk about a manipulative show. I remember this manga was EVERYWHERE a couple of years ago. Boys Be was just a cute, light-hearted show, nothing special, pretty low on the angst factor, sometimes very fun. That part where the baseball tries to grab parts of his own skin to compare it to the touch of the girl he just met is sooooo CUTE! ^_^ I loved the final episode cameo, it was probably the best episode, with its excellent little character sketch (not a pun, really) though the one with the photographer and the one with the weirdest airplane imagery I’ve ever seen (the one where they all think the main character is going gay) are pretty good too.

I had thought of checking out that one about the greywing angelic creatures, but I’m pretty sated as it is, having seen everything I liked in its initial TV run or checked it out already. Here’s to the next gem I might find 2 or 3 years from now. I always tell myself its crucial to watch more anime if I’m going to work in the manga industry, but there’s so much good manga to read and so little time, and I just find I don’t have the same appetite for anime. Then again, neither does the rest of Japan, so I guess I’m not alone.

-Kitsune

Minor exception to rule - The Eva Manga. Less of a soulfuck and the story plays out differently, Shinji is less of a wimp, we get to find out a bit more about Kaji, Rei is less of a doll etc.

Really disappointing that they decided to make the RahXephon manga a fanservice frenzy given the anime had quite a serious tone for the most part and turned out to be an excellent sophisticated show.

Are you a fan of “Read or Die: The TV”, Kitsune?

After reading Kitsune’s post(I skipped all them spoiler posts, so maybe somebody said this already), I decided to give it a shot.
I know it’s a giant robot anime, but Christ, the first episode better have been a parody of Eva, because that went way beyond fair use.

But it brought up something interesting:
Does pragmatism have a negative connotation in Japanese culture? This episode and it’s source Eva episode both have the whiny main character throwing a tantrum because they have to put someone at risk for the greater good. I don’t know why I’m trying to avoid spoilers, but you get the point. The most dreadful parts of FFX’s plot were when(Spoiler, but who cares) Tidus was whining and crying about Yuna having to sacrifice herself. As a westerner, all those situations struck me as absolutely bizarre, and I don’t think those plots “hit” me the way they were intended to. No one whose job was giant robot pilot would be such a determined pacificist they’d rather be killed than put another person at risk, in my opinion, so I was always siding with the “heartless” people.

While it’s something of a stereotype in more than one anime series that the person who just happens to be “the chosen pilot” tends to be a whiney pacifist, I think I can handle that better than watching guys ignore females who are obviously trying to get into their pants.

If there’s one thing about anime in general that tends to bug me, it’s the seeming lack of full on romantic relationships between characters. Of course, that’s probably because my exposure to the genre is limited and rather scattershot, but I’ve seen entirely too many series in which even the blind can see two characters like each other and yet they never do anything to even try for a relationship, usually until the very end of the series, if even then.

As for this particular series, I just sent disc number four back to Netflix, and it’s been entertaining so far.

His and Her Circumstances bucks this trend nicely. Of course, it’s pretty much the only one of its kind, but hey.

From the length, I was sure this was a Koontz post. Then it got longer, and I remembered Kitsune came back :)

Oh, and ogres are like onions too.