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EP. REVIEW: A Centaur's Life


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mgosdin



Joined: 17 Jul 2011
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Location: Kissimmee, Florida, USA
PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:38 am Reply with quote
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It's probably going for something more subtle about how the government's professed (to the point of authoritarianism maybe) commitment to equality obscures the fact that equality hasn't been achieved at all.


In the manga it's become fairly obvious that the authorities have to sit on people hard to keep active discrimination from occurring. Rather than equality not being achieved it appears that it is impossible to have equality, at least as their politics defines it. For the folks living in that world it's a struggle to get thru the day like it is here with the added fear of a virtual "Thought Police" to be avoided.

Mark Gosdin
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AnimeLordLuis



Joined: 27 Jan 2015
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Location: The Borderlands of Pandora
PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:40 am Reply with quote
My only real problem with A Centaur's Life is the animation quality but beyond that so far it's a really good show with an intriguing plot and well written characters. Smile
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zztop



Joined: 28 Aug 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:05 am Reply with quote
I'm not sure how the anime will handle it, but the source manga is (in)famous for going through extreme tone and mood whiplash between chapters. For example, one chapter can be about cute SOL stuff. Next chapter will be an observation on racial prejudices between the people of Centaur's universe. Then the next could be a conspiracy by a 3rd party of demihumans to influence world politics.

The manga used to get a fantranslation, but the translators dropped it because they couldn't stand the whiplash.
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KML777



Joined: 07 Apr 2016
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:18 am Reply with quote
zztop wrote:
I'm not sure how the anime will handle it, but the source manga is (in)famous for going through extreme tone and mood whiplash between chapters. For example, one chapter can be about cute SOL stuff. Next chapter will be an observation on racial prejudices between the people of Centaur's universe. Then the next could be a conspiracy by a 3rd party of demihumans to influence world politics.

The manga used to get a fantranslation, but the translators dropped it because they couldn't stand the whiplash.


Just like that one chapter where it was revealed that spoiler[There was an alien invasion plot to abduct humans from the US farmlands, then the next chapter everything was fine and dandy.]
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Lactobacillus yogurti



Joined: 17 Aug 2011
Posts: 306
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:47 am Reply with quote
The scanlators mostly dropped this because it was too much work to translate it, as the author was publishing a ton of chapters at a time.

I love this series, but I am rather disappointed at the animation. And I myself think the OP song doesn't quite fit the tone of the series. It's too upbeat.
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ChibiKangaroo



Joined: 01 Feb 2010
Posts: 2741
PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:59 am Reply with quote
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A Centaur's Life looks to be the monster girl show that resolves most of my issues with the genre – the relentless male gaze – to cut right to the fun stuff: fantastical antics alongside examinations of how people live in a world where the exceptional has become normal.


This is the best thing about this show. They've presented monster girls as real characters, existing in a realized monster world. This means monster boys and monster teachers and monster parents, rather than all those things being replaced by one self insert otaku avatar who is supposed to be the audience's ticket for ogling their bodies.

I am hopeful for this show, but the production was highly questionable in episode one. The soundtrack especially was bad. WAY too much use of horns.


Last edited by ChibiKangaroo on Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Asterisk-CGY



Joined: 09 Mar 2007
Posts: 355
PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:32 am Reply with quote
Lactobacillus yogurti wrote:
The scanlators mostly dropped this because it was too much work to translate it, as the author was publishing a ton of chapters at a time.

I love this series, but I am rather disappointed at the animation. And I myself think the OP song doesn't quite fit the tone of the series. It's too upbeat.


That did surprise me to. I went into Centaur Worries looking for another Flying Witch thing, maybe even Haibane Renmei, and cheery pop is not what I associate with this series.

But hey, thank you scanners cause it got me in on this series.
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meiam



Joined: 23 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:35 am Reply with quote
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This mermaid also bemoans how much it costs to buy a mechanical walking device, bringing financial inequality into the mix


At the same time the show seems to say that the government was heavily subsidising those walker things, which brings an interesting aspect, is it equality to spend a disproportionate amount of money on a specific groups?

As much as I would like a show to seriously tackle those idea, these show usually end being incredibly preachy and more often than not simplify problem. So I think SOL show with some background commentary might have a good shot at seriously looking at those issues.

The show is fine otherwise, the dialogue and character feel quite natural. Not crazy at the merfolks design, that crotch is really out of place.
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John Thacker



Joined: 28 Oct 2013
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:13 pm Reply with quote
Compared to most other wealthy countries, Japan has an extremely low level of government protection against discrimination, especially by private individuals and businesses. The concept of "public accommodation" is much weaker, and resembles pre 1960 in US law. The generally high standards of politeness and voluntary actions are generally the tools against discrimination, though certainly there are people who get unfair treatment with no real legal recourse other than attempting to take their business elsewhere. On the other hand, Japan is also notable for not doing any sort of ethnic or racial classification - nationality only is measured, including for the purposes of attempting to measure discrimination (towards historically lower caste Japanese ethnic groups as well as groups like Ainu or Okinawans, or people with substantial Korean, Chinese, or other ancestry, or any recent immigrants.) Again while this can be viewed as ignoring discrimination, it's mostly from a perspective of sins in of omission rather than government enforced.

So for the most part it is difficult to view this too much as a satire on current Japanese policy (though perhaps to Japanese attitudes), and easier to view it as a satire of the attempts done by other countries, whether Western or the PRC approach to Han chauvinism.

I don't really see why a guy focused show without the obligatory nebbish main character but yuri instead is any more all audience aimed than the female aimed shows that are all male instead of the obligatory girl like you could find anywhere main character. Neither variation really tends to broaden the audience by itself, as opposed to the effects of including other details like realism that breaks things out of the limited target audience.
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ChibiKangaroo



Joined: 01 Feb 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:53 pm Reply with quote
John Thacker wrote:

I don't really see why a guy focused show without the obligatory nebbish main character but yuri instead is any more all audience aimed than the female aimed shows that are all male instead of the obligatory girl like you could find anywhere main character. Neither variation really tends to broaden the audience by itself, as opposed to the effects of including other details like realism that breaks things out of the limited target audience.


In theory this might have some legitimacy. But in practice, I have almost never seen shows focused on one person of one gender surrounded by numerous people of the other gender attempt to tackle realism in any serious way.
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Northlander



Joined: 10 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:00 pm Reply with quote
The animation, from what I saw in the first episode, isn't outright terrible. It's also worth mentioning that, at least in the first couple of chapters of the manga, that the drawing style is generally very uneven there too. It's decent enough, but the running scene in the anime here looked rather... off... in the manga particularly, so you could say the anime did a better job at drawing Hime running down the street than the manga did. And the manga didn't do action scenes that well that often. Which isn't a major critique with me, since I tend to prefer the slice of life parts of this franchise anyway.

The only parts of the manga I haven't know how to place yet, or parts I even outright disliked so far, has been centered around some kind of odd alien, and this subplot where Hime dreams herself into some kind of dream fantasy world. They don't seemingly have anything to do with a particular agenda, so they just feel really random, and given how often this franchise weers away in completely different directions at times, well....

I'm not sure Centaur's Life can be said to have a political agenda. Anything having to do with the present are mainly about the high school students living there and their fairly limited political ideals and interactions (save for, potentially, the class president), and to the show's credit, it doesn't really seem to take any particular sides. Most of the stuff that has happened in the past seems to have been built on (how accurately, I can't say) events in our pasts, like the Napolean wars and such.
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Zin5ki
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Joined: 06 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:29 pm Reply with quote
Northlander wrote:
I'm not sure Centaur's Life can be said to have a political agenda. Anything having to do with the present are mainly about the high school students living there and their fairly limited political ideals and interactions (save for, potentially, the class president), and to the show's credit, it doesn't really seem to take any particular sides. Most of the stuff that has happened in the past seems to have been built on (how accurately, I can't say) events in our pasts, like the Napolean wars and such.

I would claim that this show is inescapably political in its aims. The speech in the first episode would be excessive in its scope were its presence not intended to reveal something about the characters' wider society, and thereby to reveal something about our own by contrast. Indeed, the comparison made to the quadrupedal humans of our world is a satirical one—in seeing the teacher assuming that our own, four-limbed lives must be harmonious due to our homogeneity of bodily structure, the audience recognises this character to be ignorant of the arbitrary nature of discrimination, an ignorance with which many can relate. (And this is to say nothing of the ominous suited onlookers.)
I shall agree, however, that the show's tone is not yet sufficiently determinate to reveal a prevailing moral stance on its subject matter. We'd be apt to expect it to eventually take a side though, as it were, in order to avoid its gesturing being indeterminate or even misinterpreted.
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Lorias



Joined: 08 Aug 2009
Posts: 14
PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:03 pm Reply with quote
My biggest issue with the first episode was the statement about how if they had evolved from 4-legged animals the only major differences would be skin colour. My issue isn't even the beat-you-over-the-head level of subtlety in that scene.

My issue is that it broke the immersion.

It is a remarkable leap in logic for the biologists of that world to assume that evolving from 4 legged animals would make skin colour our biggest physical difference. People might have overlooked that statement because it is true but how on earth would they know that. There are no normal humans in that world so there would be no reason or way for that's worlds biologists to reach that conclusion.

A real world equivalent would be our biologists claiming that if we had evolved from 6 legged creatures we would all be centaurs, angels, mermaids etc.
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Chrono1000



Joined: 05 Oct 2013
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:06 pm Reply with quote
I like this show a lot and it has more depth to it than the other monster girl shows I have seen. It looks like this show is set in a 1984 style world where the military enforces equality and people that go against that get sent to correctional clinics. That gives the show an edge that most monster girl shows lack since they are usually content to have cute monster girls. Of course that also makes this show more controversial and I have seen a few blogs get rather angry about it. I respect this show for trying to cover the subject of equality and it does seem to have a good heart to it. It has a lesbian couple as part of the class, Nozomi is clearly in love with Hime, and it briefly looks at the issue of disability.

meiam wrote:
Quote:
This mermaid also bemoans how much it costs to buy a mechanical walking device, bringing financial inequality into the mix


At the same time the show seems to say that the government was heavily subsidising those walker things, which brings an interesting aspect, is it equality to spend a disproportionate amount of money on a specific groups?
The show does mention both sides of the issue but it does show it from the viewpoint of the merfolk.
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Key
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:29 pm Reply with quote
So far this series is on my "drop because I don't have time for it" list, but if it really does start delving heavily into the politics of racial equality then I might have to force it onto my schedule. (Or else binge-watch it at the end of the season.) I'll be watching the reviews for indicators on that.
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