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errinundra
Enjoying the time of EVEEnjoying the time of EVE


Joined: 14 Jun 2008
Posts: 2660
Location: Melbourne, Oz

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:10 am Reply with quote
Penguindrum

Reason for watching: Again, it was the Best First Episode tournament, which has sure turned into a fruitful viewing source for me.

Synopsis: Himari and her brothers Shoma and Kanba are orphans living as a constructed family in a brightly painted tin shed in the Tokyo suburbs. Sixteen years earlier their parents were involved in a terrorist attack on the railway system and disappeared shortly afterwards. On a visit to a penguin exhibit Himari dies, only to be resuscitated by a possessed hat bearing a penguin design. The three return home and try to lead a normal life, however things are complicated by three penguins invisible to everyone else, the aforementioned hat that triggers a foul-mouthed magical girl transformation sequence, a schoolgirl desperate to be impregnated by the boys' science teacher, an idol group that should have been called Triple Ecchi, a woman with a laser-guided shanghai that fires memory erasing balls (and with a penguin of her own), a prima donna with a secret sex life, a pink-haired librarian come doctor who shouldn't be there, and a dead girl whose diary has fate changing power. We will have to find out what happened on the trains all those years ago to understand how all these characters are connected and what fate intends for them. Can the power of love overcome destiny?


Shoma, Himari (with the hat), Kanba, and the three penguins. One of the penguins is
warning us the "Survival Strategy" magical girl transformation sequence is about to start.


Despite the seeming novelties in the above synopsis, Penguindrum has a tried and true structure: terrible things happened in the past; many people's lives are affected by those events; no single character knows the full story; the past is slowly revealed allowing the various connections to become visible; one or more of the characters use the revealed knowledge to bring closure to the story. This structure allows for big reveals and a satisfying conclusion but it also runs the risk, especially in early episodes, of a lack of direction or, worse, of becoming tedious. (The classic example of this kind of failure can be found in Madlax). Director Kunihiko Ikuhara (best known for Revolutionary Girl Utena) avoids these pitfalls by using various stratagems, not the least being the sheer novelty value of what's going on. Add to that a sly knowingness that pervades everything about the tale, bucketloads of symbolism that may or may not be meaningful, constant background visual commentary via the penguins and the animated public announcement banners on the trains, and a cast of highly memorable characters led by the maternally inclined whackjob Ringo Oginome who manages to make the series her own.


Molest and be arrested. It's worth paying attention to the advertising banners on
the trains, even at the cost of being distracted from the main action.


The character and development of Ringo was, for me, the single best thing about the series. It's interesting to compare her prominence with Himari's as the show progresses. In the early episodes it's apparent that Himari (too much a clone of anoHana's Menma for my liking) and her dominatrix magical girl alter ego was intended to be the premium character. The design of the latter, in particular, suggests that merchandising was in the forefront of the producers' thinking. It's almost as if a quarter of the way in Ikuhara realised that the dominatrix magical girl wasn't going anywhere whereas Ringo had tapped a vein of gold. Subsequently, for long stretches of the series, magical girl Himari makes no appearance whatsoever. At the very least the viewer is saved the extended and tiresome transformation sequence.

For spoilerific reasons I won't go into, Ringo devises ever more elaborate schemes to get bedded and impregnated by Keiju Tabuki, who happens to teach both Shoma and Kanba. She is so obsessed with her fantasy that she even sleeps under the floorboards of Tabuki's bedroom. At one stage I wondered if she would be bringing out a meatcleaver but, thankfully, Penguingrum didn't fall back onto a yandere routine. Ringo might have become a one-note character but for the sheer hilarity of her personality, for her capers and for her growing friendship with Shoma. It's through that relationship that she grows as a character. Needless to say the two are well matched. It also slowly dawns on them that they are connected by past events and that, ultimately, they share the same goals - to mend the past (and, thereby, the present) and save Himari. As her love for Shoma and her understanding of what's going on grows, Ringo's role in the resolution of the tragedy becomes central. At the grand climax of the story, Ringo has completely grown into the role while Himari (whether as sister or magical girl) is entirely passive, both literally and figuratively.


One of my favourite moments: Ringo coming back from the pit of despair when Tabuki asks her out to a restaurant. Typically, things don't go the way she wants.
(Please bear with my first ever attempt at creating and posting a gif file.)

Most of the other characters also get their moment to shine. Himari is the only dud character, while even her alter ego's attitude rapidly wears thin. The pink haired Sanetoshi is creepy - as he should be, the appropriately named prima donna Yuri Tokikago's duplicity is highly entertaining while Tabuki has some surprises of his own. Yuri's lesbian lover, Tsubasa Yuuki, is voiced by none other than Romi Park. In the series Tsubasa is a woman who plays the male roles opposite Yuri in her theatre productions. I think Romi Park has the sexiest voice in anime yet she seems condemned to voice young male characters. The irony of her roles in Penguindrum and its theatrical excursions is no doubt deliberate and an example of the sly humour found throughout the series. Of the three "siblings", Shoma stands out, being at once comic, sympathetic, believable and appealing. His "brother", Kanba, has an angry streak that prevented me from having the same level of affection, although that suits his role in the story quite well.

I liked the uncluttered (the inside of Himari's tin house excepted) visual style and the clean, precise animation. I appreciate it when directors aren't afraid to leave lots of empty space. It's not a high action show so any animation limitations weren't severely tested. The repetitious magical girl sequences had little variation but it was, nevertheless, a very handsome show.

The bitter-sweet denouement came as something of a surprise to me, leaving a sour taste in my mouth. What happened to whom seemed too arbitrary, and not grounded convincingly in preceding events. Perhaps it's just me hoping for a "happy ever after" ending. Earlier I spoke of the "reveal" structure of the series, with its surprises and pitfalls. One of the great things about good examples of the type is their re-watch value - I love to re-live the story, but this time knowing what is going on. I'm looking forward to seeing Penguindrum again. Perhaps I'll get a better handle on the ending.

Rating: Excellent with some reservations.


Last edited by errinundra on Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:12 am; edited 7 times in total
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CrowLia



Joined: 24 Feb 2012
Posts: 2049
Location: Mexico

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:27 am Reply with quote
Finished The Book of Bantorra yesterday and I feel like I have plenty to say, with lack of the right words to say it. I enjoyed the show; it was action-packed, it had cool fight scenes, interesting plots and very fascinating characters. I have to give it a badge for the weirdest character names I've seen, not a single person in that show had a name I had ever heard in my life.

I was thrown aback by the show's boldness, how it could singlehandedly kill off main characters without so much as a warning. spoiler[Noloty's] death was particularly crude in that aspect. Then there were those characters with fascinating abilities that got killed off without second thoughts, like spoiler[Feekie] and spoiler[Mokkania]. In the end I suppose it was a sort of plot device so that spoiler[Hamyuts could invoke all those dead guys to fight Nieniu]. Still, a really good show, with fantastic arcs that intertwined with each other all throughout the story. It was complicated and a bit messy, but I think it was well handled.

Just today I watched the first episode of Katanagatari, and had I not been stuck with other plans, I'd probably had marathoned it all. It's adorable. I love the art, the design is beautiful, probably one of my favorite in a long time and the characters are very endearing. There's a bit too much talking -at some point I was wondering when was people going to start beating the crap out of each other instead of babbling for hours on end about how they were going to do it- but the dialogues are smart, funny, and the interactions between the two main characters are very sweet and nicely set up. I can't wait to watch more.
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DuskyPredator
It...it's not like I post for you or anything!It...it's not like I post for you or anything!


Joined: 10 Mar 2009
Posts: 7842
Location: Brisbane, Australia

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:28 am Reply with quote
If there was one stand out series that I have not watched despite its popularity, it would be Evangelion, I had caught some shots and was not impressed by the animation. I probably never planned on watching it due to the all the still shots, and what I had heard of a mind screw. But recently I caught a trailer to it on the DVD copy of Karin, and was impressed by the level of animation and have since blind bought Evangelion: 1.11 You Are (Not) Alone and Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance.

I am about to watch the first one now, I think I will watch the dub due to leaving it late to watch (11:27 PM). I hope it lives up to its reputation.
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victor viper



Joined: 18 Jun 2011
Posts: 627
Location: The deep south

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:45 am Reply with quote
errinundra wrote:

It's worth paying attention to the advertising banners on
the trains, even at the cost of being distracted from the main action....At the very least the viewer is saved the extended and tiresome transformation sequence.


I concur with the comment about the banners. There were many times where I had to rewind because I'd missed some snippet of dialogue while trying to decipher the daily message on the banner. The mascot characters on the train banners are awesome; for purposes of comic relief, they're not unlike the shadow girls from Utena. I didn't mind the transformation sequences. After all, they're a hallmark of any Ikuhara-directed work. Maybe after all those recycled lead-ins to duels during Utena, I've been desensitized.
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DuskyPredator
It...it's not like I post for you or anything!It...it's not like I post for you or anything!


Joined: 10 Mar 2009
Posts: 7842
Location: Brisbane, Australia

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:55 am Reply with quote
So I watched Evangelion: 1.11 You Are (Not) Alone, and I did find it rather entertaining. I found the main character Shinji to be rather frustrating, though I get the feeling it may be intentional, instead of being some bad ass that they could have easilly written him as instead. Although on that topic they did not show what he was physically like when the Eva went beserk the first time, whether it was him who was in control while that happened. I might complain a little that the first battle with the spoiler[beserk Eva] actually kind of harmed the emotional attachment for a first fight as it has hard to feel excited when the main character spoiler[is so indestructeble that they can survive the enemy selfdestructing]. Perhaps this had a different impact when it was split into episodes in the original, but it kind of made the stakes feel a little low to happen in the first 20 minutes. The following battles averting it did change expectations a little.

The animation was beautiful at times, there was a couple times I double taked to hae a look at some artwork, but I think that there may have been an issue with trying to replicate the original. From what I know about the original it had to use quite a few tricks such as having a character talk off screen, show the characters in a big room where you did not need to see them move or talk, or pure use of a still shot to convey the atmosphere during a conversation. It seems rather odd that it can have so many nicely animated parts, but then you have will have it doing the things I mentioned above. It did try to cover its track by doing things like having the background with slightly changing CG, other objects that had some pretty CG, or some beautiful artwork of characters (done to show they are not being lazy). The problem is that they only serve to highlight these areas that might be described as problems.

I think I may have to watch this movie again tomorow (today), possibly with my siblings, so I can take it in again, before I move onto the second movie. I do think the mechanical/organic fusion of the giant robot was rather fun, it made sympathising with damage easier than if it was just machine. And the giant spoiler[blue crystal angel] was pretty awesome, all the spoiler[screeching and rappid shape changes] were rather exciting, likely my favourite parts was seeing it.
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errinundra
Enjoying the time of EVEEnjoying the time of EVE


Joined: 14 Jun 2008
Posts: 2660
Location: Melbourne, Oz

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:02 am Reply with quote
victor viper wrote:
...The mascot characters on the train banners are awesome; for purposes of comic relief, they're not unlike the shadow girls from Utena...


I think they're also meant to be Hibari and Hikari, the Double Ecchi idol stars.
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murph76
Space CowboySpace Cowboy


Joined: 26 Jul 2006
Posts: 2815
Location: Akron, OH

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 12:54 pm Reply with quote
Time to watch a bit more Kodocha. I found a fansub for the rest of the series, so I've been rewatching it. I finally have moved past Funimation's release, and it's really getting good.

This series makes me laugh out loud. Even the serious moments are balanced with humor. Not that the series doesn't take itself seriously, but it never forgets it's a comedy, either.

Sana's so hyperactive that she should get annoying, but she shows enough warmth and love for others that she never does. Hayama may be the only person (apart from Sana's mom) to see through her act and know when she's hiding her pain behind the cheerful girl routine.

Anyhow, I feel like I'm repeating what's been said about the series a thousand times already, so I'm just gonna go watch it now. Smile
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danilo07



Joined: 25 Dec 2011
Posts: 1545

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:09 pm Reply with quote
DuskyPredator I think it would be best for you no to see the second movie.don't get me wrong I think it is a fantastic movie,but it is meant for fans not for newcomers.The reason for that is that some things that are really important for the story,such as Asukas back-story and what EVA actually means to Shinji are simply hinted not revealed.Now there is big chance that those things will all be revealed in the last two movies,but there is no guarantee for that(also from what I have heard of the third movie is bad).But if you were to watch the second movie and then watch the TV Series some things wouldn't have that impact.SO the safest course of action would be to watch TV series and not watch the second movie.
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DuskyPredator
It...it's not like I post for you or anything!It...it's not like I post for you or anything!


Joined: 10 Mar 2009
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Location: Brisbane, Australia

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:47 pm Reply with quote
danilo07 wrote:
DuskyPredator I think it would be best for you no to see the second movie.don't get me wrong I think it is a fantastic movie,but it is meant for fans not for newcomers.The reason for that is that some things that are really important for the story,such as Asukas back-story and what EVA actually means to Shinji are simply hinted not revealed.Now there is big chance that those things will all be revealed in the last two movies,but there is no guarantee for that(also from what I have heard of the third movie is bad).But if you were to watch the second movie and then watch the TV Series some things wouldn't have that impact.SO the safest course of action would be to watch TV series and not watch the second movie.

Now is this a fact, or purely opinion as I would prefer to watch the movie than look online for the tv series that I would rather not watch. The first movie seemed to be a good introduction to the movie akin to a remake, are you telling me that the second one is not a continuation of the remake?

I don't want the opinion purely based on how a biased long time fan would think about the story as a whole. I want to know if I can get a proper story from these movies.
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Yttrbio
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Joined: 09 Jun 2011
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:48 pm Reply with quote
It doesn't make any less sense than the show itself did. You should be fine.
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Tuor_of_Gondolin
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Joined: 20 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 6:59 pm Reply with quote
DuskyPredator wrote:
Now is this a fact, or purely opinion as I would prefer to watch the movie than look online for the tv series that I would rather not watch. The first movie seemed to be a good introduction to the movie akin to a remake, are you telling me that the second one is not a continuation of the remake?

I don't want the opinion purely based on how a biased long time fan would think about the story as a whole. I want to know if I can get a proper story from these movies.

I'll agree with Yttrbio: go ahead and watch the second movie.
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danilo07



Joined: 25 Dec 2011
Posts: 1545

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:41 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
I don't want the opinion purely based on how a biased long time fan would think about the story as a whole. I want to know if I can get a proper story from these movies.

You will get a proper story but some of the parts which make Evangelion what it is today were left out and were only hinted(although these story elements may be introduced later on).The second movie changes a lot of scenes and introduces us in to the new third movie which has nothing to do with TV series.
There you go,these are all facts,whether you want to see it or not is your decision.
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classicalzawa
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Joined: 19 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:47 am Reply with quote
So holy hell, I don't usually complain about adaptations, but I feel I need to. Sure, things are going to change, but the main objective is to keep the important parts intact, unless you're planning to go in a whole new direction anyway (or maybe your original manga was just a one shot and is being expanded). So, I saw the first two Phoenix movies a while back and was pleasantly surprised by them. I think Space/Uchuu-hen was done especially well compared to the manga. Actually made parts of it a bit clearer. Yamato was decent too, but Space was simply a better chapter to begin with. So I went into Karma/Houou with extra high hopes because dammit, this is one of the best Phoenix chapters to begin with. I subjectively prefer Resurrection myself (which had an adaptation in name only imo), but objectively, it's hard not to call Karma possibly the best chapter in the saga.
But with Yamato, and the chapters actually adapted in the recentish series, they definitely took the right things. But here, I feel like they missed the whole point. For one, it's too rushed, a big thing was slowly seeing Akanemaru turn into a jerk and Gao slowly turn into a nice guy. And we also see when he becomes a carver, here, it's just like a light switch and we suddenly see him carving. Another big thing was that Akanemaru was on this huge journey to find the Phoenix. This was a big thing, but I feel like it gets brushed over in the movie. Here, he sees a decorative wall rendition, and that's enough. I recall him seeing possibly dozens in the manga and always searching for the real thing, refusing to be satisfied without it. Oh and another big thing is that in the beginning, spoiler[Gao totally wrecks his arm] to the point where it's essentially useless. And that was a major thing, here, it's like it never happened. In the manga, Akanemaru had to spoiler[completely learn to re-carve as a result of the injury sustained], but here, he's just using a hammer like everything's a-ok. And one more major thing was that Akanemaru spoiler[wanted to be reborn as another carver. The Phoenix told him he would become a fish in his next life.] But it was more than that. Gao clearly comes back in a hell of a lot of stories (at least the ones where he hasn't lived to be over 400 and through 3 different Phoenix sagas anyway, which happens twice, including this incarnation living to the beginning of Civil War). But the key thing about Akanemaru is that spoiler[the Phoenix told him that he would never be reborn as a human ever again], and it seems like that didn't need to be cut at all. I think a simple additional line or two would've fixed that without adding to the budget too much.
Now, Gao and Akanemaru both get companions. For the most part, Gao's companion bit was done really well. But Akanemaru's...well Buchi comes out of nowhere and leaves just as quickly. I distinctly remember her being around a lot longer, but here, she seemed pretty worthless and not at all necessary. It seems like that time could've been used for Akanemaru to look for Phoenix related things or whatnot and not just prance around with Buchi for no good reason.
I would rate this 4 out of 10, it had nice enough animation, and like I said, the start up through Gao's companion scene was done quite well. The rest of it though? Seemed like a trainwreck, especially compared to the so carefully crafted manga.

Also, I have now seen every Phoenix chapter that got an anime! I've yet to see Space Firebird 7227, but I will soon. And it's not adapted anyway. Here are my thoughts on them:
Dawn-equal for both anime and manga
Future-anime a little better imo, but manga is excellent
Yamato-about equal, just not a favorite chapter of mine anyway
Space/Uchuu-really awesome anime version
Karma/Houou-dear lord, read the manga instead
Resurrection-has an adaptation in name only, definitely a superior manga chapter
Strange Beings-the anime is like the manga to the T, both fantastic
Sun (past chapter)-I don't even fault them for leaving out the inferior future chapter when they did such a damn good job you didn't even know it was missing

And for the non-adapted chapters:
Civil War-could probably use one, it's fairly boring on its own, an anime could spruce it up
Nostalgia-dear lord, kill the manga with fire. I don't normally say that about Tezuka stuff.
Robe of Feathers-could make an interesting short, I'd like to see this animated.
Strange Beings-would make a fantastic anime imo. Maybe tag it with Robe of Feathers for a double feature.
Sun (future chapter)-not as good as the past chapter by a long shot, but could still make its own nice movie.

On a happier note, I watched 5 more eps of GaoGaiGar and found my new favorite mecha! Volfogg! Damn is that an awesome robot! I mean, I know he's not allowed to actually save the day as that is clearly something only GaoGaiGar is able to do as the show makes a huge deal about him being the only one who can save the day, but man, I don't even mind that it took The Lancer 12 eps to show up as he was well worth it! And it a giant robot! And I am somehow perfectly ok with it being a purple ninja robot....VOLFOGG!!! Also, I like how the OP updated to include him, I noticed it updated to include Enryu/Hyoryu/Choryujin when they were introduced, nice to see Volfogg and those two assist robots on there too! Like, I thought they were setting up Choryujin to be a lancer, but he's more like the mildly useful big guy if you ask me (and TVTropes disagrees and calls Volfogg the smart guy, which he is, and Choryujin the Lancer, but in combat, Volfogg is totally the Lancer imo)
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DuskyPredator
It...it's not like I post for you or anything!It...it's not like I post for you or anything!


Joined: 10 Mar 2009
Posts: 7842
Location: Brisbane, Australia

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:49 am Reply with quote
Alright, now I have seen Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance. The first thing I will have to say about it is that my complaints of the first movie were averted this time; I felt that there were much fewer parts where it put in parts that resembled still frames of original. As a newcomer not looking for animation designed to appeal to nostalgia I enjoyed it quite a lot.

I also felt more attached to the characters this time, though this may have been from the anymosity of Shinji and Rei out of the way. But I would aslo say that the characters felt more badass this time, originally brought up by Mari who was spoiler[crazy/awesome/reckless, which was a good change from Shinji and Rei in the first movie]. And a little latter by Asuka that I found rather fun with her spoiler[confidence that made her delight, but the inclusion of insecurity] adding some depth, her decision to spoiler[let Rei have a chance for Shinji to see his father] also pushed her away from being too selfish.

The first movie gave me trouble to really connect as Shinji whined a lot, and Rei just seemed to do very little. But this time I felt rather affected by events that had Shinji spoiler[lose control and forced to watch as he tore Asuka's EVA apart, including it biting her pod, and him trying to save Rei from the Angel]. I found myself getting rather emotionally involved and sympathising with the actions which was important.

If I had to complain about one thing, it would be that one creepy song that was used during the DVD menu. I think it was used as sort of spoiler[ironic creepyness when Shinji's EVA was out of control terrifying, but used again when Shinji was trying to save Rei as being emotional]. This made what the point of the song was kind of confusing.

I am not entirely sure of my ratings, but I gave 1.11 a rating of "Good", although some good parts do have me wanting to bump it up a little for the end bit. And 2.22 a solid "Very good", it felt like it fits the "don't miss it" description. The fact my ratings are lower than the average has me thinking that I am not appreciating some fact of the movies yet, I do plan to watch both movies again at a later date in Japanese, I did enjoy the movies enough that a rewatch seems very likely. I might even raise them.
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CrowLia



Joined: 24 Feb 2012
Posts: 2049
Location: Mexico

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 2:58 pm Reply with quote
DuskyPredator wrote:


The first movie gave me trouble to really connect as Shinji whined a lot


I'm a relative newcomer to Evangelion, I watched the show and movies less than two months ago, but the impression I got was that yes, Shinji is incredibly infuriating due to his indecissiveness, but I thought that was the point. That the battles were not heroic, not performed by selfless, baddass heroes who will altruistically and courageously risk their lives for everyone else.

You mentioned before that the first battle with the berserk Eva01 was awful because it left a sour taste as a first battle. Again, I think that was the point. These are not battles of glory and heroic feats, it's just crude, raw humanity struggling to survive, even in the ugliest ways
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