Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Anime update: Yare yare daze...

I am now twelve episodes away from the finale of Victory Gundam, and I plan to simply follow that through to the end before revisiting From the New World. While Victory Gundam does present some strikingly aged storytelling devices and animation aspects, I feel it holds up overall better than most old Gundam series. So far there has only been one major moment where I rolled my eyes at a particular character’s behavior, and though there are some cheesy bits here and there from Uso and gang, the fact that this story is centered on what is effectively a group of child soldiers engaging in guerrilla-tactic warfare lends the whole thing to carry a dark and serious air about it. The body count for characters that see some actual development is notably high here, but even with the more adult nature of the themes at play in Victory Gundam, it doesn’t stop the anime from being a fun watch.

I’m also now two episodes into Stardust Crusaders, the second season of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. Obviously everything presented thus far has been in the interest of setting the stage for what is to come, but season two did not kick off to quite as big a bang as season one. Part of that is due, I think, to the fact that viewers are already familiar with Joseph Joestar and Dio Brando, and even Jotaro Kujo was teased briefly at the end of season one. I’m not particularly hot on the new animation style. It doesn’t look poor by any stretch of the imagination, and technically it probably is a step up in quality from that of season one. But in terms of aesthetics, I much prefer to look of season one. Perhaps I will come to appreciate it more when the Stands start duking it out on a grander scale. If nothing else, it is a nice little nod to the ever-changing art style of the manga (which I intend to read more of after Stardust Crusaders has concluded).

Beyond that, the next major anime viewing I have on the to-do list is the final episode of Unicorn Gundam, which airs next month. The most recent trailer sure highlighted a lot of major plot points – more than I had expected, in fact. But given that this final entry is reported to have an hour-and-a-half runtime, there is a pretty good chance that all the currently revealed info and footage is merely the tip of the iceberg. Unicorn Gundam has had an incredible run, and is one of the few recent anime I’ve followed from start to finish as it was airing – that used to be a habit of mine back in the days of Toonami, obviously, but these days I find it generally more convenient to simply wait until an anime has finished airing to start my viewing of it. With Stardust Crusaders, however, I intend to keep up with new episodes as they are released.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Wolf Among Us journal - entry three

Similar in length to the second installment, episode three, titled ‘A Crooked Mile’, effectively plays a dual role. The first half is a direct continuation of the events of episode two, picking up with Crane’s sudden absence and Bigby furiously trying to figure out just how involved the acting mayor is in the string of dark events which have fallen upon Fabletown. ‘A Crooked Mile’ is less about exploring the fantasy nature and history of the fables themselves, opting instead to hone in on a few key characters to progress the story. Toad is absent from this episode entirely, while Grendel, the Woodsman, and Georgie all take side seats to grant Bigby, Snow White, Bluebeard, and a couple new characters more time in the spotlight.

There is also a sense throughout the first half of episode three that Telltale wants to wrap up a couple plot lines that ran through the previous episodes. This is welcome, as the plotlines in question were really only ever present to set the stage for larger things to come, something very much evidenced by the way episode three concludes. New faces and tense situations seem to imply much is in store from episode four, and the fact that episode three ends with such a bang should place plenty of pressure on Telltale to make the fourth entry just as good.
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