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EP. REVIEW: Schwarzes Marken


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Key
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 1:41 am Reply with quote
Apologies for the late reply on these two posts; apparently I missed seeing them come up.

invalidname wrote:
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.

Thanks for this explanation and the rest of the post. I was never aware that RH was that closely-connected to Muv-Luv.

Vaisaga wrote:
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.

That pretty much goes without saying, doesn't it? The only female characters still alive that I don't see as potential harem-bait are Brehme (because sexy enemies don't necessarily get caught up in harem antics), the white-haired pilot, and maybe the second-in-command who had her arm in the cast. And I wouldn't rule out one or both of the latter two being drawn into Thedor's orbit before everything is said and done.

Of course, this is also me at my most cynical.
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MakoMori



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 4:10 am Reply with quote
Key wrote:

That pretty much goes without saying, doesn't it? The only female characters still alive that I don't see as potential harem-bait are Brehme (because sexy enemies don't necessarily get caught up in harem antics), the white-haired pilot, and maybe the second-in-command who had her arm in the cast. And I wouldn't rule out one or both of the latter two being drawn into Thedor's orbit before everything is said and done.

Of course, this is also me at my most cynical.


It seems like every female character will get some tension with Theodor, mainly because he's the only attractive and available guy, but so far I don't think the harem antics are too over the top. Not even with that final scene, which is fan service, but also serves to further the plot and the characters.
I'm not exactly defending the everyone-has-the-hots-for-main-guy-trope, I'm just pleasantly surprised that they didn't overdo it...yet.
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DuskyPredator
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 5:54 am Reply with quote
I think the biggest evidence against Lise is when she got Katia and the other girl to feel sorry about her where they said they will try to believe her, followed by trying to get information, and then crying to Theodor that they don't believe in her. One would guess that Sylvia had been following enough to see how Lise acted earlier before crying to Theodor, and that is why got a gun out to arrest Lise.
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invalidname
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 8:49 am Reply with quote
Key wrote:
Thanks for this explanation and the rest of the post. I was never aware that RH was that closely-connected to Muv-Luv.

NP. It looks like we got a Muv-Luv + Schwarzesmarken + Rumbling Hearts cosplay gathering on the schedule for Anime Central, so if you're coming this year (I think you're in the midwest like me?), come say hi.
Quote:
and maybe the second-in-command who had her arm in the cast.

The one with the flowers in her hair? That's Pham, the Vietnamese member of the 666th. As our German friends pointed out in their video, the GDR had an extenstive Vietnamese guest worker program dating back to the 1950s, so her presence is surprisingly on the mark.
MakoMori wrote:
It seems like every female character will get some tension with Theodor, mainly because he's the only attractive and available guy, but so far I don't think the harem antics are too over the top.

This being Muv-Luv, the harem stuff kind of comes with the territory, but at least what we've seen so far has some intrigue and payoff. By comparison, Total Eclipse invested far more time into the Yui-Cryska-Inia-Yifei harem around Yuuya and none of it worked.
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Key
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 10:08 am Reply with quote
invalidname wrote:
It looks like we got a Muv-Luv + Schwarzesmarken + Rumbling Hearts cosplay gathering on the schedule for Anime Central, so if you're coming this year (I think you're in the midwest like me?), come say hi.

We'll see if my schedule allows for it, since I will be there in a reporting capacity. The only event that I can be absolutely certain that I'll be attending is Anime Hell - and good luck finding anyone randomly in that crowd.

Quote:
The one with the flowers in her hair? That's Pham, the Vietnamese member of the 666th. As our German friends pointed out in their video, the GDR had an extenstive Vietnamese guest worker program dating back to the 1950s, so her presence is surprisingly on the mark.

Interesting. I had thought her being Vietnamese seemed awfully random.
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MakoMori



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 11:12 am Reply with quote
Key wrote:

Quote:
The one with the flowers in her hair? That's Pham, the Vietnamese member of the 666th. As our German friends pointed out in their video, the GDR had an extenstive Vietnamese guest worker program dating back to the 1950s, so her presence is surprisingly on the mark.

Interesting. I had thought her being Vietnamese seemed awfully random.


Same. So all silliness aside, I actually learned something from this show Very Happy
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Scherzo



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 1:07 pm Reply with quote
Noted this before, but one of the things I really appreciated in the Gdansk episodes was that it was about cooperation and using each nation's tactics in concert. It doesn't feel the need to make the NATO nations utterly incompetent to show that Schwarzesmarken has value. It might be a bit unfair to compare to GATE, since that series is point blank about the JSDF, but I feel this series could have very easily gone the route of playing the GDR as simply a victimized nation that needs to be completely independent from evil foreign aggressors. That GATE went that route really turned me off the show, so I'm glad they didn't do it here.
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invalidname
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 12:23 pm Reply with quote
Mid-week rant: So I was looking through the very mixed reviews over on Crunchyroll and this one caught my fancy:
Quote:
1. If mankind as a whole was under attack by Aliens, you'd think we come together as one and fight the opposition.

2. Why did Germany have a falling out amongst themselves during such an invasion.

3. Why do they have Mechs in this time period?

4. Hope this doesn't turn into a love story like TOTAL ECLIPSE

For most of these, it is something of a running joke in the Muv-Luv fandom to respond with one of several images (NSFW example) that basically say "read the f'ing VN".

But the second one here amuses me, because the implication I get from this is that the reviewer has no idea East Germany ever existed in the real world (or that it was a result of Soviet occupation at the end of WWII). Thinking about this, along with the catastrophically misguided summary of the show in the ANN Preview Guide, made me reflect on the fact that most anime fans have never known an "East" Germany. Certainly no one under the age of 25, and probably not even 30.

So I do wonder if fans of Schwarzesmarken, and the Muv-Luv franchise in general, tend older just because it is so rooted in the Cold War, and while that plays true to those of us who lived through it (I'm 48 and remember rational people believing that Reagan, if elected in 1980, would happily start World War III given even the slightest excuse), it's just another alternate reality detail to anyone who wasn't there.

Thoughts?

Related: a screencap from Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse:
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Scherzo



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 7:43 pm Reply with quote
invalidname wrote:
Mid-week rant: So I was looking through the very mixed reviews over on Crunchyroll and this one caught my fancy:
Quote:
1. If mankind as a whole was under attack by Aliens, you'd think we come together as one and fight the opposition.

2. Why did Germany have a falling out amongst themselves during such an invasion.

3. Why do they have Mechs in this time period?

4. Hope this doesn't turn into a love story like TOTAL ECLIPSE

For most of these, it is something of a running joke in the Muv-Luv fandom to respond with one of several images (NSFW example) that basically say "read the f'ing VN".

But the second one here amuses me, because the implication I get from this is that the reviewer has no idea East Germany ever existed in the real world (or that it was a result of Soviet occupation at the end of WWII). Thinking about this, along with the catastrophically misguided summary of the show in the ANN Preview Guide, made me reflect on the fact that most anime fans have never known an "East" Germany. Certainly no one under the age of 25, and probably not even 30.

So I do wonder if fans of Schwarzesmarken, and the Muv-Luv franchise in general, tend older just because it is so rooted in the Cold War, and while that plays true to those of us who lived through it (I'm 48 and remember rational people believing that Reagan, if elected in 1980, would happily start World War III given even the slightest excuse), it's just another alternate reality detail to anyone who wasn't there.

Thoughts?

Related: a screencap from Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse:



I'm only 24 myself, but honestly the entire reason I got into Schwarzemarken is because of the Alt-History Cold War Mecha concept; I'd only heard of Muv-Luv in passing previously.

But yeah I think it's a combination of Cold War history being pretty esoteric to most Millennials and the fact that Mecha fans are so often inundated by Bullshit Proper Name Terms and fake countries that when they're presented with actual examples of them from history, they can't tell the difference.

Personally, the Cold War Military/Geopolitical Stuff is one of the things that's entertaining me the most. Having the USN build tons of Iowas and Montanas is total fanservice to me; as is having the VF-103 Jolly Rodgers in Mecha!Tomcats. All the attention to detail to things they'd usually just brush over is so cool to me. (Though I was a little annoyed that AIM-54s are now cluster munitions where 4 klicks is considered 'long range', but I guess it just comes with the territory).

If Schwarzemarken is indicative of what Muv-Luv is overall though, it's probably less age related and more about being aimed more squarely at Military Otaku than mecha fans in general; particularly ones who care about context as much as the gear itself.

I do think though that the aesthetics of the TSFs are bit too sleek for something from the 80s; I'd prefer it if they were bulkier, and that they wore something more like flightsuits instead of NGE-esqe Plugsuits.

In the end though, the Cold War stuff definitely is what got me into it, and I really like how it's digging into it more, especially the political machinations within the Stasi. It reminds me actually of Bridge of Spies which I saw last year, which had as major plot point the GDR trying to maneuver around the Soviets and get the West to treat them as an independent nation worthy of respect.

Also, here's a song the series reminds me of: https://www.youtube.com/watchv=eFTLKWw542g
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invalidname
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 7:07 am Reply with quote
Scherzo wrote:
If Schwarzemarken is indicative of what Muv-Luv is overall though, it's probably less age related and more about being aimed more squarely at Military Otaku than mecha fans in general; particularly ones who care about context as much as the gear itself

Muv-Luv is really all over the map in terms of tone and style… after all, the whole reason it has that silly name is because it starts as (and wants you to believe it is) a by-the-books harem comedy romp. It's in these sequels and spinoffs set in the BETA timeline that there's a lot of stuff for military and mecha otaku to sink their teeth into.

Aside: it struck me the other day that watching Schwarzesmarken by itself is like if they turned a Star Wars "expanded universe" novel into a movie, and you saw it without having seen anything else in the franchise. It would have its own story and themes that make sense and work well enough, but would probably have references, an established tone, and other assumptions that fly right past you.

Quote:
I do think though that the aesthetics of the TSFs are bit too sleek for something from the 80s; I'd prefer it if they were bulkier, and that they wore something more like flightsuits instead of NGE-esqe Plugsuits.

That's definitely a fair knock. Actually, it bugs me in kind of a different way. According to the books of Muv-Luv lore that have been published (and the Kickstarter backers can look forward to like 500 pages of this stuff in English later this year), the first TSFs took flight in 1974 and 1975, less than 2 years after the BETA landed. They were hastily and somewhat clumsily reconfigured from fuselages and other parts of existing fighters (F-4s and MiG 21s), which is why TSFs are commonly referred to by their equivalent fighter names like "Phantoms" and "Balalaikas".

So on the one hand, there's a very rapid refinement to get to the TSF designs and capabilities we see in Schwarzesmarken. What might be worse is that this technology level is more or less equivalent to what we see in the main Muv-Luv series (and the Total Eclipse anime) set in 2001: TSFs have roughly the same features, pilots have long had the headgear that put heads-up displays directly in their retinas, they already have the health-monitoring boob-suits that can absorb strong impacts, etc. How did the technology advance so quickly in the first 8 years of the war, then barely at all for the next 18?
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BlackPoint.



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:09 am Reply with quote
Well at ep7 teodor thought he had lise under control BUT when lise asked him to leave and escape from this pointless shizzle he told her he cant do that because of irisdine that she is his hope and reason to live and this basicly meant in lise eyes that she was betrayed and that teodor will always choose irisdine over her so yeh at that point i wasnt surprised when that last scene ended and as the review said her turning this way was probably both being somehow connected to stasi and her yandere love for teodor, i am also guessing she had a choice like escape with him but when teodor denied that option she had then only i choice left get rid of irisdine etcc etc anyway as always a great episode for me this anime is one of the best this winter packed with action and politial shits.
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Vaisaga



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:51 am Reply with quote
MakoMori wrote:
but so far I don't think the harem antics are too over the top.


LOL, what harem antics? Pretty much all of that stuff got left on the cutting room floor for the anime. Theodor doesn't walk in on anyone changing, doesn't accidentally grab some one's breast, doesn't get Drill Milky Punched, etc. There was just that one scene where he looked at Irisdina's chest and she didn't even notice.

Quote:
So who is this other faction?


Remember it was established that there are two Stasi factions now, so it's probably the pro-USSR group.
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zrnzle500
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 12:20 pm Reply with quote
invalidname wrote:
Mid-week rant: So I was looking through the very mixed reviews over on Crunchyroll and this one caught my fancy:
Quote:
1. If mankind as a whole was under attack by Aliens, you'd think we come together as one and fight the opposition.

2. Why did Germany have a falling out amongst themselves during such an invasion.

3. Why do they have Mechs in this time period?

4. Hope this doesn't turn into a love story like TOTAL ECLIPSE

For most of these, it is something of a running joke in the Muv-Luv fandom to respond with one of several images (NSFW example) that basically say "read the f'ing VN".

But the second one here amuses me, because the implication I get from this is that the reviewer has no idea East Germany ever existed in the real world (or that it was a result of Soviet occupation at the end of WWII). Thinking about this, along with the catastrophically misguided summary of the show in the ANN Preview Guide, made me reflect on the fact that most anime fans have never known an "East" Germany. Certainly no one under the age of 25, and probably not even 30.

So I do wonder if fans of Schwarzesmarken, and the Muv-Luv franchise in general, tend older just because it is so rooted in the Cold War, and while that plays true to those of us who lived through it (I'm 48 and remember rational people believing that Reagan, if elected in 1980, would happily start World War III given even the slightest excuse), it's just another alternate reality detail to anyone who wasn't there.

Thoughts?

Related: a screencap from Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse:


I just turned 25 this month and therefore was born 2 years after the Berlin Wall fell (though demolition didn't finish until 92). Most fans my age should know about East Germany and by extension the Cold War , judging that the Cold War is definitely covered in history classes, but in terms of actually living through it, it's no more than another historical event like say WWII. You can see the effects of not living through the Cold War in people my age's views on foreign policy and support for socialist Bernie Sanders (though actual socialists would say close but not quite). Personally, I watch this show for both the mecha action and geopolitical intrigue. Though I am probably in the minority of my age group in being fascinated by both historical and current geopolitical machinations. It being (somewhat) true is definitely increases its appeal to me. I do shake my head at the historical ignorance of someone who presumably is in my age group.
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invalidname
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 12:47 pm Reply with quote
I was surprised at how good the battle sequences against the Heavy Laser Class were this week, considering action was never going to be the strength of a modest production like this one.
Vaisaga wrote:
MakoMori wrote:
but so far I don't think the harem antics are too over the top.

LOL, what harem antics? Pretty much all of that stuff got left on the cutting room floor for the anime. Theodor doesn't walk in on anyone changing, doesn't accidentally grab some one's breast, doesn't get Drill Milky Punched, etc.

Or have two girls cooking for him, like Sumika/Meiya in the VN, or Yui/Yifei in Total Eclipse.
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invalidname
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:05 am Reply with quote
Late-week rant: can I just say that while there's a lot I like about Schwarzesmarken (the plot, mostly), this show has possibly the most inert and incoherent OP I've ever seen in an anime. The pacing of those first few shots against the music (Katia falling into the snow and being caught by Theodor, a TSF flying by the camera to show the "666" on its counterweights, etc) just feels really off, and the song by Fripside is not a standout.

Total Eclipse did a lot of things wrong, but its first OP (Kumi Koda's "Go To The Top") and ED (Minami Kuribayashi's "Signs") were much stronger, musically and visually.
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