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EP. REVIEW: Drifters


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Luke's JRPG Channel





PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:36 am Reply with quote
Ah so that is the enemy that the drifters will have to defeat.

The fighter pilot is the exactly kind of crazy person the drifters need on their team.

I must say I was disappointed with the dragons been shot down as easy at that, Gate had a dragon that needed modern day explosives and rocket launchers in order to kill it.
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Gina Szanboti



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:40 am Reply with quote
Interesting that the Drifters now (or soon will) have a pilot from the Shinsengumi Squad while the Ends have Hijikata. Smile Was he summoning samurai ghosts to help him slice and dice?

Edit: nvm cat's out of the bag now. :/


Last edited by Gina Szanboti on Sat Oct 22, 2016 7:40 am; edited 1 time in total
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DuskyPredator
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:59 am Reply with quote
Luke's JRPG Channel wrote:
I must say I was disappointed with the dragons been shot down as easy at that, Gate had a dragon that needed modern day explosives and rocket launchers in order to kill it.

Well fantasy has different types of dragons. You have the ones that can be tamed and rode by people, sometimes instead called wyvern, these were in Gate also and were torn apart by military weapons. And then you have the dragons that are practically gods in their own right, which hoard treasure, generally uncontrollable, and are big bosses in Dungeons & Dragons. Just because the ones shown so far were the mount kind, does not mean you should feel cheated compared to a different type of dragon.
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Azmodeus



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 4:19 am Reply with quote
Gina Szanboti wrote:
Interesting that the Drifters now (or soon will) have a pilot from the Shinsengumi Squad while the Ends have Hijikata. Smile Was he summoning samurai ghosts to help him slice and dice?



Not just any ol' Samurai. That uniform they have clearly show them being his old Shinsengumi compatriots from the revolution days.

And i i really don't have any problem with the Ends anti-humanity stance. Even if they where altruistic figures till the end, things like Joans burning would probably change that perspective pretty drastically, what with any figure being taken at the point of death.
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jojothepunisher



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:43 am Reply with quote
I couldn't guess who that Black King was until in the manga he started to spoiler[heal and revive] soldiers. Really impressed with James ability to grab references.
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James_Beckett
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 10:36 am Reply with quote
jojothepunisher wrote:
I couldn't guess who that Black King was until in the manga he started to spoiler[heal and revive] soldiers. Really impressed with James ability to grab references.


There was a moment that caught my attention, where the Black King mentions "The mandate of Inexorable Tribulation". Googling that, I found it came from a passage of writing by a famous Scottish Clergyman named Edward Irving:

[/img]
Quote:
Therefore, sustained by the frequent example of our Saviour, the most tender -hearted of all beings, and who to man hath shewn the most excessive love, I return, and give ment to wit, that the despisers of God's law and Christ's gospel shall by no means escape the most rigorous fate . Pain, pain inexorable, tribulation and anguish shall be their everlasting doom!


Obviously this could be coincidental, or an in-reference on behalf of the translators. Or, perhaps, the Black King could be Irving, or some similar, more modern figure.

But seeing as the Ends seem to be comprised of martyrs so far (at least in the case of Joan and, arguably, Anastasia), that seems a bit unlikely, since Irving simply died in shame, not in violence or sacrifice or martyrdom. And given Anime's historical willingness to play fast-and-loose with Christian symbolism and mythology, I wouldn't be surprised at all if Kouta Hirano took his premise to it's own logical conclusion and said "You know who the most famous martyr of all time probably is?".

To be honest, I think it'd be pretty kilarious of the Black King was Jesus, in kind of an awesome way. Could you imagine if the show I'm reviewing starred a bunch of Japanese war heroes, Hannibal and Scipio, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, all of whom were being murder-stalked by the likes of magic power wielding Anastasia, Joan of Arc, and spoiler[Jesus Christ]?

Big Order and Taboo Tattoo will have been infinitely worth it.
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Enturax



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 11:15 am Reply with quote
Speaking of humor, I liked AoT one. It fit the Anime's atmosphere - no over reacting or slapstick for the most part and the jokes were actually smart, not some cliche reactions, like: "Oh, that's so cruel!" or other that are, pretty much, explaining the joke...
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D-Scythe911



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 12:47 pm Reply with quote
Just a quick heads up. That's was't Billy the Kid like the reviewer mentioned at the end. That was Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid of the Wild Bunch. Butch was the one with the cloak and Kid had the mustache.
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James_Beckett
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:40 pm Reply with quote
D-Scythe911 wrote:
Just a quick heads up. That's was't Billy the Kid like the reviewer mentioned at the end. That was Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid of the Wild Bunch. Butch was the one with the cloak and Kid had the mustache.


Oh man, I must have made some kind of Freudian slip! I'll try and fix that.
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Blood-
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:19 pm Reply with quote
Here's a chunk from Jame's review of the first two episodes that highlights something that bothers me when Westerners review anime (oh, I am a Westerner, by the way):

Quote:
Sadly, I'm definitely not interested in this series' sense of humor (or lack thereof). Kouta is rather infamous for his tendency to awkwardly jam silly humor and grimdark violence together, and while it may fit the macabre tone of Hellsing, it just doesn't work here. Dialogue is constantly being interrupted by silly jokes and asides that just aren't all that funny. Even worse, they can seriously undercut moments of genuine intensity. There's one scene near the end of episode two involving the murder of a military officer that's just plain horrific in its violence. The whole scene crescendos to a bloodletting as cathartic as it is emotionally shattering, and it's easily the best scene of the entire two episodes until Oda comes in and ruins it with a dumb gag.


Here's what bugs me about this value judgment: anime is created for a Japanese audience. Japanese audiences are not "trained" in the concept of tonal unity the way Western audiences are. In the West, if serious shit goes down, it is very rare to undercut it with dumb humour. That is a convention. Japanese audiences weren't raised with that convention. So Japanese creators who use this technique aren't doing anything wrong as judged by their intended audience. So it kind of bugs me when a Westerner comes in and tut-tuts about how something is "ruined" when he or she is judging something that was never designed for his or her sensibilities in the first place. There is something about this practise that I find culturally insensitive. Which is not to say there are not Japanese viewers who might feel the same way about the technique but I wish there was more conscious recognition among Western critics that you have to understand the cultural millieu that a piece of entertainment is coming out of before blithely dismissing something as "ruined" simply because it violates the sense of entertainment norms you have grown up with.
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James_Beckett
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 5:38 pm Reply with quote
Blood- wrote:

Which is not to say there are not Japanese viewers who might feel the same way about the technique but I wish there was more conscious recognition among Western critics that you have to understand the cultural millieu that a piece of entertainment is coming out of before blithely dismissing something as "ruined" simply because it violates the sense of entertainment norms you have grown up with.


I see where you are coming from, to be sure, but I have to diasagree with the very foundations of your argument.

It seems to me that you are saying that as a Westerner, I am unqualified to make judgements regarding certain aspects of Japanese writing and storytelling conventions. The premise seems to be "Since you are not a part of the intended audience, it is inappropriate for you to form judgements that run contrary to the cultural and aesthetic values of that intended audience."

My problem with this argument is fact that it goes against what I believe to be the fundamental purpose of criticism, particularly the criticism I engage in here.

This is a website made by and for a Western audience, the whole point of which is to provide a focal point of criticsm and conversation for anime fans who specifically exist outside of the Japanese audience. Indeed, any anime/manga publication or forum anywhere that exists outside of Japan fulfills a similar function.

My job as a critic is to provide a thorough and (hopefully) well wrought catalogue of my thoughts and feelings regarding anime productions, and to lay them all out in an effort to let my audience know whether or not those productions are successful in what they are trying to do. My understanding has always been that I am writing as a Westerner, for an audience that is looking for information about anime from specifically that perspective. It would only follow that my reading and reaction to any given piece of media would exist primarily within those parameters.

Of course, it is possible for me to try and prescribe the reaction a native Japanese viewer might have, but it would only ever be supposition, and it's accuracy would not only be questionable, but downright suspect. If one really wants to know if Japanese audiences would find something effective, I would say that the only way to really know that is to learn Japanese and seek that information out for oneself. You say that it is insensitive for me to criticise the show from a Westrerner's point of view, but I would argue that it would be more insensitive to assume I have the authority to tell someone what a Japanese person would say, since I am not, in fact, Japanese.

On the other hand, if you already understand how the tonal dissonance I found umbrage with might play, generally speaking, to a Japanese audience, then you don't need me to parrot that information back to you. If any other readers are specifically looking for the historical and cultural precedence that Kouta Hirano's writing style exists within, there are plenty of avenues by which they can do so. Perhaps I should also be one of those avenues, and I can certainly consider that.

However, my primary job exists within the function of a conversation. I am asked, "What did you think of this [show/movie/game/book/etc]? Was it successful or not, and why did you think so?" The writeup I produce is the response to that question. There are occasions wherein a certain level of cultural context and dissemination is absolutely apporpriate, even necessary. I simply don't find it to be the case here. People want to know if I find Drifter's jokes funny, and I do not.

I appreciate the opportunity for conversation, though, and genuinely welcome the feedback. I look forward to seeing what you think as the show goes on!
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Blood-
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:04 pm Reply with quote
@ James_Beckett - thank you for your thoughtful reply. First, let me mention that this is an issue that has been rolling around in my head for a while, so I don't want it to seem like I was singling you out. For whatever reason, today was the day I decided to say something about it.

To me, anime is rife with tonal disunity and it almost always falls into the category of "serious stuff juxtaposed (often rammed right up against) with goofy/dumb humour." A good chunk of the time, a Western viewer reacts negatively to this, which is not surprising. I effing love the technique. There is something about that approach that just resonates with me.

I 1,000% understand anybody who doesn't like it. I'm not even always onboard with it; it depends on the particular case. I do, however, get a little tired of the implied criticism that the Japanese creators are somehow doing something "wrong" when, really, all that's at play is a cultural difference.

I guess I'd like to see - just once in a while - a reviewer write something along the lines of, "this technique is not uncommon in anime, but non-Japanese viewers are likely to find it jarring," as opposed to "this is inherently wrong."
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James_Beckett
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:12 pm Reply with quote
Blood- wrote:

I 1,000% understand anybody who doesn't like it. I'm not even always onboard with it; it depends on the particular case. I do, however, get a little tired of the implied criticism that the Japanese creators are somehow doing something "wrong" when, really, all that's at play is a cultural difference.

I guess I'd like to see - just once in a while - a reviewer write something along the lines of, "this technique is not uncommon in anime, but non-Japanese viewers are likely to find it jarring," as opposed to "this is inherently wrong."


Ah, I see. We'll I definitely get where you are coming from!

What I would say is even though I'm the one writing the review, I would be the first to tell you or anyone else that I don't have any kind of monopoly on" Objective Truth". Whenever I say something does or does not work, the understanding is "...in my opinion, which of course will not apply to everyone, or even most people". It's very good that readers such as yourself know where you stand on aesthetic issues, and how they differ from mine. That's how great conversation is started!

Also, do know that when I criticize Drifters's comedy, I am only criticizing what I think does or doesn't work specifically for Drifters, and certainly not for anime as a whole. My wife and I just finished binging Noragami, which has a similar sensibility to its humor, and we both loved that. So, you know, your milage may very for any given thing. Wink
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Blood-
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:21 pm Reply with quote
Like I say, James, I appreciate you taking the time to discuss. I always like when reviewers don't remain remote atop Mount Olympus and actually engage with their readers. I look forward to more of your work. And to quote from your review of the third episode:

Quote:
Drifters is spectacle first and foremost though, and on that front it delivers. I can't think of any other shows where Joan of Arc and Anastasia Romanov square off against Hannibal and Billy the Kid, all while a Japanese ace goes head-to-head with a dragon. It's all ludicrously entertaining.


On that we are agreed!
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James_Beckett
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 8:44 pm Reply with quote
Blood- wrote:
Like I say, James, I appreciate you taking the time to discuss. I always like when reviewers don't remain remote atop Mount Olympus and actually engage with their readers.


It's my favorite part of the job! Besides, the shack I'm renting on Mt. Olympus is terribly insulated. It's really more of a summer home Anime hyper
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