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Dated 10 January 2023: Witch Gundam: Some people need killing, Suletta

Suletta
Space Oomfie.

As you may have noticed, I really enjoyed the first cours of Kidou Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo (Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury). I've watched so little from the Gundam franchise that I'm hazy on a lot of its common, recurring themes. Nevertheless, I at least know the depiction of death and the consequences of war are integral companions (in some way) to the cool-robot plastic-model-sales aspects.

Nika
Nika realizing how much extra work killing that guy is going to create for her.

However, I'm not well versed in terms of how Gundam presents these elements or how it communicates its perspectives about them. My assumption is that it adopts a "killing is bad" approach, but I'm willing to trust it at least has a more nuanced view than something like Sword Art Online II:

2016-01-08-18:16< Evirus> The robber had already killed one person and was about to shoot the mom, the teller, basically everyone. But sniper girl, who was like five at the time, managed to get the gun and shot the robber dead. And she was a pariah ever since, even to her mother.

ANYWAY, I don't know if this ultra-pacifist view crudely depicted in SAO II in any way accurately reflects a mainstream Japanese view, nor do I know if Gundam has anything similar. For the purpose of this blog post, I'm going go assume neither are true. That said, episode 12 of Kidou Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo ends with a violent death that leaves one of its leads shocked and deeply troubled.

Prospera and Suletta
At a minimum, Prospera is way better than Sinon's mother.

Now, the most important aspect of this character's reaction is her disbelief the person responsible for the killing could appear untroubled by the act. That is the critical focus of the scene, but the implication "all killing is bad" still looms. We'll have to wait until the second cours begins in April 2023 for more clarity on these points, but anything other than unambiguously concentrating on the mental-state aspect of the scene will appear alien to me.

Unidentified gunman
I think this qualifies as an imminent threat to life or bodily harm even if he's not using the sights.

The distinction derives from my inculcation in a common American belief that using deadly force is justified in the defense of others. The legality and scope of this doctrine varies by region and jurisdiction (as do American self-defense doctrines and perspectives as a whole, for that matter), but I presume it's at least much more common in the United States than it is in Japan. I just don't know how it's portrayed in Gundam.

Dated 29 November 2022: I look forward to Bocchi the Rock! and Kidou Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo the most each week

Ikuyo and Hitori
I wonder if she has her eyes open.

I look forward to Bocchi the Rock! each week because it's excellent, not because I'm anticipating big surprises or anxiously awaiting the resolution of cliffhangers. If I thought about it some more, I could probably reasonably chart out how the rest of the season is going to go, but it doesn't matter. The key to Bocchi's tremendous appeal is its impeccable execution. This is a great show, top to bottom, back to front.

Suletta and Miorine
Despite what you might think, this gesture is definitely threatening.

I'm not quite prepared to call Kidou Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo (Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury) a great show even though it's also doing everything well so far. Nevertheless, I do look forward to each episode even more than I look forward to Bocchi the Rock! each week. I think the biggest contributing factor is that Witch Gundam has greater potential for unpredictable (and unsettling) developments. Even though it's been good so far, basically anything can happen because it's Gundam and because there aren't really any constraints on the possible directions the story may take.

Chuatury
Chu-squared is one of the good people, okay.

In light of this distinction, is it worth pointing out Bocchi the Rock! is about a character with anxiety, whereas Witch Gundam is about generating anxiety in the viewer? I suppose it's not really about generating anxiety, but I don't think I'm alone in experiencing some apprehension as to how the series will play out. I do mean this in a good way, though. Consequently, on some level, this means I look forward to Bocchi the Rock! each week because I'm eager to see good things to happen to good people, while I look forward to Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury because I'm concerned bad things might happen to good people.

Dated 4 October 2022: Which Gundam? Witch Gundam

Aerial
Everybody has a plan until they get Gundamed in the face.

Despite blogging about anime for more than 20 years, I know surprisingly little about the Gundam franchise as a whole. Aside from some inescapable tropes and details, basically everything that I do know comes from Gundam SEED and Gundam SEED Destiny (the only installments that I've watched). Oh, and the compilation movies for the original Mobile Suit Gundam, but that was a long time ago. However, after the prologue to and the first episode of Kidou Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo (Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury), I'm fairly confident in assuming regular-type Gundam TV ain't normally like this. And I'm not just saying that because the lead character is a girl.

Suletta and schoolmates
Be nice to the new girl.

I've seem multiple fans describe Mercury Witch Gundam as Utena Gundam, which seems about right to me, with the heavy caveat that I don't know anything about Shoujo Kakumei Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena) either. It at least fits the stereotypes I've encountered related to Utena. Maybe nobody has turned into a car yet, but it's only been one episode. Basically everything that did happen in the first episode was absurd, and that also fits with my secondhand impression of Utena. Y'know, maybe it's not that weird. Maybe Gundam is always like this and I just never knew. I'm at least aware people get slapped in Gundam, and there is slapping in the first episode of Kidou Senshi Gundam: Suisei no Majo. Maybe it's not that different after all.

Dated 3 August 2021: The Walther P99, Mireille's pistol in Noir

Walther P99 and Beretta M1934
Size comparison between Mireille's P99, Kirika's M1934, and their respective ammunition.

Complementing Kirika's Beretta M1934 in Noir is Mireille's Walther P99. Walther introduced the P99 in the '90s as a polymer departure from the metal-framed pistols it made previously, such as the P88 and the P5. This made Mireille's firearm relatively modern when Noir aired in 2001. I guess this also makes her the exception to the rule of thumb that allows viewers to judge how dangerous the characters in Noir are by recognizing the inverse relationship between the characters' lethality and the modernity of the weapons they use. Mireille may be out of her league compared with Kirika or Chloe, but she gets by.

Mireille
Mireille might not be as good as Kirika at killing people, but she does dress better.

Fans of Cowboy Bebop may also recognize the Walther P99 as the pistol Jet uses throughout the series. There are probably other anime examples I've overlooked. Certainly, there is no shortage of P99 appearances in live-action TV shows and movies. At a minimum, I know Brosnan-era James Bond adopted it to replace his iconic Walther PPK for a while. (Coincidentally, Bond is also shown with a Beretta M1934 in Dr. No.)

Jet
Cowboy Bebop takes place in 2071, but Jet's old-ass gun
is still newer than the Jericho 941 that Spike uses.

Mireille and Jet would have both carried the first-generation Walther P99, as the second generation did not come out until a few years after their anime aired. Somewhat surprisingly, Walther was still making the P99 as of early 2021 (in Ulm, for people who care about that), although a Wikipedia entry currently claims (without citation) that both it and its 2011 successor, the PPQ, are discontinued now that the PDP is out. That's a shame if the P99 has reached the end of its production, as the PDP is only offered with the American-style magazine release button. Adherents to the European flappy levers will have to look toward Heckler & Koch now, I guess.

Dated 14 February 2018: iDOLM@STER XENOGLOSSIA is a classic story about a teenage girl and her giant robot finding true love together

Haruka and Imber
Shameless flirting.

I was a stranger to the iDOLM@STER franchise the first time I watched iDOLM@STER XENOGLOSSIA. I mentioned this before, but perhaps I should have noted I was also mystified by the amount of hostility displayed by some fans of the original games (arcade and Japanese Xbox 360 exclusive) toward Xenoglossia when the anime came out in 2007. Although I understood in principle the objections fans would have concerning the different character designs and replaced voices, I was not personally invested in any of the characters, so some of the more venomous attacks seemed excessive. Moreover, the character designs looked fine to me, at least relative to other anime of the period and Sunrise shows in particular. I finally watched my DVDs over the past few months, and actually enjoyed Xenoglossia a lot more on re-watch than I did during its initial broadcast, despite having a better understanding now of THE iDOLM@STER as a whole. Or maybe I like Xenoglossia more because I've watched several cours of bona fide iDOLM@STER anime now, not "despite" watching them.

Iori
Yukarin Iori with purple hair is good too.

Still, I'm not quite sure how I would characterize iDOLM@STER XENOGLOSSIA. It's not really much of a giant robot show for a show about giant robots, and it's not an idol anime despite having (regular-type) idols and iDOLs in it. It's not a "cute girls doing cute things" show, nor is it an early example of the more recent phenomenon where anime girls band together to be really excited about some typically male-dominated activity, like Bakuon!! or Two Car or GIRLS und PANZER. Honestly, it really is a love story about a teenage girl and her much older robot boyfriend. Notably, the affection Haruka develops for Imber is not at all unusual, as all of the other pilots also develop complex feelings toward their robots as well. In fact, jealousy plays a huge role in the plot, as do the inevitable love triangles.

Azusa
Also, Xenoglossia Azusa > regular Azusa.

IDOLM@STER XENOGLOSSIA does not take itself too seriously, but does not devolve into camp either. I buy into the HARUKA X IMBER pairing enough to believe there should be real questions raised about the ED once its setting becomes clear. I also enjoy the romance enough that I think I like the Xenoglossia Haruka more than I like the regular Haruka. Not that there's anything wrong with the regular Haruka necessarily, but I like the Xenoglossia Haruka's attitude better. Perhaps it's because she comes across as more of a main character in her own show, while the "real" Haruka necessarily seems more like a token default protagonist in a franchise with an ensemble cast, must the way I regard Miyafuji in Strike Witches or ol' Bucky in the Kantai Collection anime. I don't know if true fans of THE iDOLM@STER will ever regard Xenoglossia as positively as I do—the different voices must be especially jarring for them—but perhaps they'll come to appreciate the series if they think of it as one of those in-universe television programs the iM@S characters themselves occasionally feature in as actresses.

Dated 25 September 2016: Looking forward to autumn 2016 anime

Kogane
Who's ready for more BBK/BRNK faces?

There are a surprising number of shows I'm interested in scheduled for autumn 2016. Most of these are sequels of some sort, but there are a few new properties that have caught my eye. Notably, I've yet to do any concerted investigating into the upcoming season, so the following only include titles that I noticed at some point and deemed worthy of preemptively annotating in my anime spreadsheet.

(more…)

Dated 27 January 2015: Cross Ange second cour: Let's Get This Rondo Started

Salamandinay and Ange
Oh, Sunrise.

I'm not sure precisely when Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo (Cross Ange: Rondo of Angels and Dragons) went off the rails, but it's pretty much just headed straight towards where the fuck ever now. There's a post-apocalyptic parallel universe populated with randy dragon girls, for crying out loud. P.S. Spoilers.

Ange and Tusk
I'm starting to think Ange and Tusk are both bar magnets.

I've seen some viewers claim that it's worse than Kakumeiki Valvrave now in terms of making sense, but that's honestly an unfair and misleading characterization. Whereas Valvrave suffered from lots of annoying bullshit that didn't make any sense, Cross Ange is packed with amusing bullshit that doesn't make any sense. It's an important distinction, okay. Blessed Haruhi, this is a great show.

Dated 6 November 2014: I'm so stoked Cross Ange is going to be two cours

Ange
All things considered, Angelise is taking this rather well.

I should probably be blogging about Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo (Cross Ange: Rondo of Angels and Dragons) on a regular basis because I think it has the potential to provide as much mileage as Gundam SEED Destiny did. Let's be clear. I am not watching Cross Ange "ironically," okay. This show is shit, but it is great shit. It's never boring and you'll stare in disbelief at some of the idiocy that transpires, but I still enjoy it a great deal. It's got Banana Mizuki stabbing dragons in the face, for crying out loud!

Tusk and Ange
Yes, it's true. This man has no dick.

If you've been paying attention to the OP and ED, you should have figured out the cast doesn't comprise entirely of lesbian rapists and their Stockholm Syndrome-afflicted victims. There's also at least one young man who appears positioned to be Ange's love interest despite appearing to lack genitals. Well, he's here now, and seemingly not some alpha male rebel soldier who will help Ange bring righteousness to an unjust world, but rather a well-meaning doofus with Yuuki Rito's vulnerability to anime gravity. He's not Potato-kun, because he doesn't adhere to the Otaku Virtues, but he's still more of a schmuck than I expected.

Tusk and Ange
Stop complaining and eat your gruel, princess.

I assume Sunrise was sort of trying to set up the Meet Cute that transpires in My-Otome 0~S.ifr~ between Lena Sayers and Not Kira Yamato, but it doesn't go quite so smooth. For example, Tusk (forget it, Jake, it's Sunrise) tries to praise and flatter Ange at one point, but the only compliments he can think of are all about her looks. "You're completely mental, but I've seen you naked, and you're really hot, plus I've been alone on this God damn island alone with nothing but poisonous snakes to keep me company for a long time, okay. Let's make out." To be fair, I don't think I'd be able to come up with anything better given the circumstances.

Ange and Tusk
Stab it again for me, sweetie.

I appreciate that anime is capable of mature romances and poinant scenes of meaningful character development, but it's also capable of ignoring all that in favor of showing how a squadron of lesbian rapists, hapless well-meaning rookies, total cunts, and spoiled princesses can join together to promote vague objectives by fighting a convenient menace. It's important to remember that nothing in this show is realistic to begin with, so trying to preserve any sense of logic or reason while watching Cross Ange is counterproductive. There are dragons and people using magic, you know. This is a world where a frilly bra and panty set crammed into an air intake can render a war machine completely FUBAR.

Hilda
Hilda? Also a snake.

Try not to wonder why a venomous snake might leap up out of nowhere simply to bite Ange deep in her inner thigh. Moreover, don't object that sucking on a snake bike doesn't actually remove the venom, particularly if enough time has passed for the poison to circulate through her body and completely incapacitate our uppity little princess. Sometimes crotch sucking makes the heart grow fonder. I heard absence can do that too. Maybe being reunited after spending all that time on the island will help Ange get along better with the annoying girl she bitched out for no reason, the broads that banded together to mutually despise her, and the Yukarin psycho who tried to kill her.