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EP. REVIEW: Schwarzes Marken


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ryanvamp



Joined: 08 May 2007
Posts: 368
PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 8:32 pm Reply with quote
I like this series so far. I disagree 100% with a previous comment about this show making Gundam IBO nuanced. I watch both shows and IBO is as dumb and mainstream as you can get, with only Mika & Biscuit showing glimpses of a more interesting conflict. I think Schwarzesmarken is much more interesting with the whole east germany backdrop and even with its clear flaws (production values) it's much more engaging than IBO and its constant repetition of the subjects it attempts to cover.

I should say I am what you could consider a Gundam fan, but since every entry in the franchise is done by a different staff my enjoyment of each series greatly varies.
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jirg1901



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 2:57 am Reply with quote
MakoMori wrote:
Sounds like an interesting video! I'll watch it if they find a way to put it up again.
Another thing to add, though they probably mentioned it in their video (was it only about episode 1?) is that the German in the articles Theodor reads as well as in the order Irisdina receives is not only grammatically correct but also sounds "right", i.e. like an article or an order. It's a minor detail (and yes, I obviously stopped the video to read it), but I was impressed nonetheless. I have to hand it to the creators, it sure seems like they did their research.

Although I haven't seen his name in the anime credits they had a Japanese speaking German work with them on the game version.
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walw6pK4Alo



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 4:01 pm Reply with quote
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the way large breasts show through the uniforms is more of a distraction than appealing fan service,

Too right. They should have been more transparent and had the nipple contours as well.
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invalidname
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Joined: 11 Aug 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 6:13 pm Reply with quote
walw6pK4Alo wrote:
Quote:
the way large breasts show through the uniforms is more of a distraction than appealing fan service,

Too right. They should have been more transparent and had the nipple contours as well.

Sadly true Muv-Luv fact: that's actually the rationale behind the cadets' fortified suits in Muv-Luv Unlimited.
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hurafloyd



Joined: 06 Oct 2008
Posts: 78
PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:40 pm Reply with quote
Oh crap, this last episode with Lise, they put up some heavy Nazi psychological manipulation in there, the Stasi with the soviets just perfected their methods. Watching this anime made me remember some books I've read about Gestapo interrogation methods and the Stasi style of spying.

I really hope this doesnt end as nasty as I think it will...

[Spoiler?] spoiler[I want the team to spoil Lise's manipulation methods... the issue is how will it end for her if she fails.]
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invalidname
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Joined: 11 Aug 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:57 am Reply with quote
A few news nuggets from around the web:

  • Hours ago, the Muv-Luv kickstarter, which finished well beyond all its stretch goals, announced that they will be using their excess funds to do an English translation of the Schwarzesmarken visual novel demo, with a suggestion that it might lead to bringing over both Schwarzesmarken VNs in the future
  • The Type 94 blog has a post about the first three episodes of Scharzesmarken, focusing on how the show is on track to adapt all seven light novels in a single cour. Credit for the breakneck pace goes to director Tatsuya Watanabe, who did the same thing with Rumbling Hearts, adapting a long VN (similar in size to Clannad or Fate/Stay Night) into a briskly-paced 14 episodes. It's fitting, of course, since all of Muv-Luv (including Schwarzesmarken) is technically a spin-off of Rumbling Hearts. Type 94 also notes translation improvements over Total Eclipse: getting military ranks correct, and abandoning the absurd practice of referring to TSF pilots world-wide with the Japanese term "eishi".
  • Our eastern German (but not East German) friends have posted their "What's German in Schwarzesmarken" videos for episode 3, in two parts (1, 2)

This is long, so I'll try to keep my own comments on episode 4 brief. I loved the joke about "can you eat a BETA", and how it perfectly established camaraderie among the German pilots. Also, we finally saw Destroyer-class BETA (the hard-shelled type) in large numbers; had Schwarzesmarken showed them at all to this point?

It was also a relief to see the beachhead attack carefully planned out (with a period-appropriate overhead projector!). Something that was noticeably missing from Total Eclipse was these sorts of briefings (the last arc is a confusing mash of "let's go here, no wait, let's go there"), as they are a cornerstone of the military tactics in the Muv-Luv VNs. Strategies like the escape route during spoiler[the 12/5 incident], and the attack plans for spoiler[Operation 21] and spoiler[Operation Cherry Blossom] are visually presented to the characters, and thus the reader/viewer, and serve the purpose of teaching the viewer how to follow the material they're about to see. I remember watching a Siskel & Ebert show decades ago where they pointed out that Kurosawa did this a lot in his films, using a diagram to teach the viewer how to parse a battle sequence later in the film, and once you know the trick, you can never not see it again (for example, Doc Brown's model of the town in Back to the Future helps viewers understand that film's very busy final reel and the spatial relationships of the various set pieces).
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Key
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 8:10 am Reply with quote
invalidname wrote:
[*] The Type 94 blog has a post about the first three episodes of Scharzesmarken, focusing on how the show is on track to adapt all seven light novels in a single cour. Credit for the breakneck pace goes to director Tatsuya Watanabe, who did the same thing with Rumbling Hearts, adapting a long VN (similar in size to Clannad or Fate/Stay Night) into a briskly-paced 14 episodes. It's fitting, of course, since all of Muv-Luv (including Schwarzesmarken) is technically a spin-off of Rumbling Hearts.

Wait, what? Having seen Rumbling Hearts, I'm not seeing the connection at all. Can you elaborate?
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invalidname
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 9:10 am Reply with quote
Key wrote:
Wait, what? Having seen Rumbling Hearts, I'm not seeing the connection at all. Can you elaborate?

The original Muv-Luv VN is set at the same school a few months after the main story of Rumbling Hearts (or Kimi ga Nozomu Eien), and features the younger sister Akane as a crossover character. Everything about Muv-Luv's packaging presents itself as a lightweight, comedy harem romp -- to some, it was almost acting as an apology for the angst and misery of Rumbling Hearts.

But, of course, that was just a front. Completing the main two routes of the harem comedy reveals that what you've played is "Muv-Luv Extra", only the first part of the larger story. This unlocks "Muv-Luv Unlimited", in which the main character wakes up in the parallel reality in which humanity is 28 years into its losing war with the BETA. The later sequel "Muv-Luv Alternative" is also set in the "BETA-verse", and brings in alternate-universe versions of not only Akane, but also Rumbling Hearts' heroines Haruka and Mitsuki, members of a TSF squadron alongside the player-character, Takeru.

Today's Rumbling Hearts fandom (myself included) lives somewhat as a distinct entity within the larger Muv-Luv fandom -- one of the top Muv-Luv bloggers goes by the Twitter handle @kiminozoguy, and one of the translators working on the Muv-Luv translation for âge/Degica, @enjoievan, is also working on finally translating the Kiminozo / Rumbling Hearts VN, which has never been fully translated into English.

The connection of Rumbling Hearts to Schwarzesmarken (or Total Eclipse, for that matter) is impossible to see via anime, because the switch from Extra-verse to BETA-verse has never been animated. The closest we got was a crazy OVA called Akane Maniax, also directed by Tatsuya Watanabe, a direct sequel to Rumbling Hearts which also features the only anime appearances of Muv-Luv lead characters Takeru, Sumika, and Meiya, and ends the day before Muv-Luv Extra begins (it even uses the main Muv-Luv theme song for its end credits)
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Vaisaga



Joined: 07 Oct 2011
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 11:46 am Reply with quote
Quote:
the Huckebein Batallion's special missiles


The special missiles belong to the American Jolly Rogers Squad.

Quote:
From a more cynical viewpoint, the tensions easing a bit also will allow an opportunity for Kirke to be drawn into Theodor's harem.


I'm not sure why you jumped to that conclusion. At no point is she shown developing any sort of interest in him. Unless you're just assuming because she's a distinctly designed female character she's automatically a harem candidate.
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ryanvamp



Joined: 08 May 2007
Posts: 368
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 3:41 pm Reply with quote
I've been quite satisfied with SchwarzesMarken so far, it's a damn shame the budget is tiny. I hope that the show sells decent and they manage to fix at least some of that quality.
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invalidname
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:09 pm Reply with quote
A few things rang false for me in episode 5… weird, I know, because usually harping on stuff like this means you're not fully bought in to the story, and as Theron said, that was just fine this week. Still:

  • Katia bowed while saying thank you to Lise for saving her last week. As our German YouTube friends remind us, what's customary for the Japanese would be completely out of place in East Germany.
  • Irisdina telling the 666th their attack on the second flock of BETA is a "suicide mission"… and then everyone comes back alive? Way to oversell it.
  • Also, the brief shot of Irisdina outside of her TSF after it crashed… great way to get eaten if you're not careful. spoiler[Anyone who's played Muv-Luv Alternative remembers a certain character getting chomped in a battle theater.]
  • Katia rallying the West German TSF pilots to help… they're awfully trusting of someone who just defected to East Germany a few weeks back, right?
  • Posing for the photographers after the mission with both the East and West TSF pilots… what base are they at? If it's the Polish base they've liberated (and that was atypically left standing after the region fell to the BETA), then those photogs must've been embedded with the army. If they're back at Beserbee Base, would the Western pilots have been allowed by their superiors to linger in the East for a photo-op rather than returning to NATO territory?
  • Would really like to see Beatrix developed more than "evil Stasi lady who shoots people in dark buildings". Also, was I supposed to recognize the subject of her interrogation? I think I've overlooked something.
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Key
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:36 pm Reply with quote
invalidname wrote:
Also, was I supposed to recognize the subject of her interrogation? I think I've overlooked something.

You have. She's Marai, the right-hand woman to Major Hannibal, who was given a hint about what to look into by Major Hannibal should he meet an untimely death. She was shown using the password she figured out to look into secret files last episode, and apparently she tripped an alarm in the process. Her being taken out means that the 666 Squadron no longer has anyone watching their backs when it comes to the Stasi, so that's definitely a major complication, one which they don't even know about yet.
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Scherzo



Joined: 27 Feb 2013
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 9:10 pm Reply with quote
invalidname wrote:

[*] Katia bowed while saying thank you to Lise for saving her last week. As our German YouTube friends remind us, what's customary for the Japanese would be completely out of place in East Germany.


I think stuff like his is just because it's being shown to a mass Japanese audience; specifically having the tropes of the waifish moeblob.

Quote:
[*] Irisdina telling the 666th their attack on the second flock of BETA is a "suicide mission"… and then everyone comes back alive? Way to oversell it.


If I remember correctly, that was before she secured the NATO Fire support. I really liked that it showed the operation as a joint effort, which makes the military fetishism much more pleasant than when it's delivered with frothing xenophobia like say GATE.


[quote][*] Katia rallying the West German TSF pilots to help… they're awfully trusting of someone who just defected to East Germany a few weeks back, right?[/quoute]

I kinda doubt a random Bundeswehr detachment would recognize she was formerly a West German pilot by voice. Even if she could, she could've been press-ganged for all they know. The GDR is in need of pilots after all.


Quote:
[*] Posing for the photographers after the mission with both the East and West TSF pilots… what base are they at? If it's the Polish base they've liberated (and that was atypically left standing after the region fell to the BETA), then those photogs must've been embedded with the army. If they're back at Beserbee Base, would the Western pilots have been allowed by their superiors to linger in the East for a photo-op rather than returning to NATO territory?


I'm pretty sure it's Gdansk since they return to Germany the next episode. The reporters were probably attached to the USN or RN, since the article is in English.

spoiler[Would've been better for them to say US Navy or Military instead of Army though...]
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hurafloyd



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 10:26 pm Reply with quote
Damn I love these political and psychological stuff, I need to write down these thoughts and see what you guys think about it. If you haven't seen the latest (6th) episode then watch it first before reading. I'll divide my reasonings in two groups, with all the points I give in the first part, there is one in the second that makes me doubt:

1) Liese is willingly a spy because...

- On a previous episode from the very beginning a silhouette was shown that appeared to be her behind Brehme and Axmann. Probably to instill a prejudice on us?
- Her sudden appearance when not even Theodor knew about her whereabouts to fill an empty slot in the squadron. Convenient?
- How she saved Katia from the BETA. Another convenience to get closer to the squadron?
- Why play ignorant that she did not know Axmann since she was with him in the middle of a purge with Brehme? (based on the first one).
- Trying to garner doubt on herself on purpose to instill pity and consequently deflect doubts on herself. As said in the anime.
- Why did she have Katia's pendant? When did she lose it? Did she even lose it? Why being so thorough to check and open a pendant that is not hers? (it is typical of socialists to take something that isn't theirs for their own convenience Razz).
- Why inquire about the captain and Theodor and suggest a hypothetical protection if Katia tells her about their plans? Actually, how did she even know there are plans? And even worse, protect them from whom? Does she even have the influence or power to protect them from anyone? Her? A "simple" soldier?
- As a last resort, she went to the brother and tried to seduce him?, trying to garner more pity since she failed with the other team members?, is it to give a feeling of weakness so he can give her support?
- Historically (and with glimpses of this shown in the anime), Stasi members were masters on psychological/emotional manipulation, sabotage and torture. Being Theodor the poor bastard victim of these measures.


2) Liese is not willingly a spy... or I don't know anymore, while writing this made me process the information better:

- She appers to be doing it unwillingly. Related to how she looks when accused.
- She is being coerced because her brother is related. This one is my supposition.
- She is playing the spy mask since her brother might be targeted if she does not comply. Another supposition. But... if it this were true, why not seek help?
- Why did she tell Katia about the contents on the pendant? Wouldn't that be sufficient evidence to delate her since the contents related to the man in the picture were censored for some reason? This one made me doubt but... now I think that it was done to get definite information regarding the Captain's plans as intelligence. The issue is, which one? The one regarding Katia or the one related to the supposed Stasi split that for me it looks more than a way to hunt down dissidents for a purge? (socialists love purges).

I believe Liese is a spy 99,99% (the remaining 0,01% being the "visual proof") but I don't know why I think that she is doing it because of her brother. Probably proof of her espionage will come next episode. Still, I insist, is she doing it willingly?
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Scherzo



Joined: 27 Feb 2013
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 12:30 am Reply with quote
I think the most likely option is she is programmed 'Manchurian Candidate' spy; she isn't consciously aware of being a Stasi sleeper agent.
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