I recently marathoned through KyoAni’s outstanding high school drama, Hibike! Euphonium. One of my favorite reasons to watch was the character Asuka Tanaka. When I took to Twitter to talk about my experiences with the series, I discovered, to my great surprise, that she is far from universally beloved among the fans. Some even refer to her as an out-and-out bad person. This is a claim that I simply can’t get on board with. However, at the same time, Asuka’s behavior is so inconsistent that it’s difficult for me to put forth a competing characterization. Though I feel we won’t truly grasp what makes her tick until season two airs in 2016, I believe that the thing that makes Asuka so fascinating is, in fact, this very inconsistency.
Warning, this piece hits a few spoiler notes.
I absolutely cannot believe I waited this long to watch Diebuster. I have never been more annoyed with past-me accepting the views of other critics as gospel truth, regardless of how “big time” the critic or how vehemently expressed the opinion. In many ways, this notion of freeing myself from previously held biases and expectations has been the story of my fandom in 2015. It was a year of trying things I’d been led to believe were not good and…and actually liking them. By the middle of the year, I was re-evaluating a lot of my previously adopted standards and filters.
BUT…that doesn’t have much to do with the anime at hand.
So, I did a kinda scattershot podcast about Diebuster in late November. I shared a lot of my opinions about the series there, but I didn’t exhaust my thoughts on it by any means. So, I’m going to briefly discuss one of the coolest aspects of a show with tons of coolest aspects, namely its ability to be read as two separate stories.
Yes! Yes, I am, actually. And, no, you’re not bothering me Supporter-chan. Not in the least. I’m just trying to figure out how I can explain to these fine folks that Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? (Danmachi) is a good show, worthy of their time. I sure as hell didn’t expect to enjoy the show as much as I did. I did not think this was for me, and I am not confident recommending it to me would have done much good. Yet again, I was wrong. And, I want to speak to those out there like me who might miss out on an enjoyable experience. Hmmm…how can I communicate how much fun this show is?
Any ideas, Supporter-chan?
TV Gundam has had a rough go of it in the last decade. Ten years ago, the legendarily poor Gundam SEED Destiny was finishing up its run. A couple of years later, there was the improved-but-not-great Gundam 00. In 2011 Gundam AGE failed to excite fans with both character designs and plot moves that were almost universally derided. If you don’t count Gundam Build Fighters as a Gundam show proper and consider it a spin-off, then last year’s enigmatic Reconguista in G was the most recent television Gundam series before this year’s Iron-Blooded Orphans (IBO).
This track record is less than stellar; however, IBO has turned out to be something that is easily the best franchise entry in the last ten years and may even be the best TV Gundam since Turn A aired in 2000.