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EP. REVIEW: In/Spectre


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NeverConvex



Joined: 08 Jun 2013
Posts: 923
PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2020 1:40 pm Reply with quote
The "it spread quickly because it fit a pattern of past behavior and reinforced an already-established narrative of desperation and deception within the Pete campaign" bit felt a little overboard, I thought -- in a piece where there's no room to explore or justify a claim like that (and in which doing so would take us further afield, if anything), it's easy for an assertion like this to parse to readers like casual, explicit partisanship cloaked as an interesting topical example.

Steve didn't linger on it, though, and I agree with Gina that the example itself was well-motivated (and I found it pretty interesting, not least because I don't spend much time on Twitter, invest little in stories primarily propagated through it, and had missed this whole incident entirely). I don't think it's anything worth getting terribly worked up about, and I'd rather ANN authors feel free to draw occasionally on real-world events rather than feel straitjacketed to never try relating the real, contemporary world to in-show events & ideas. I guess on balance I have no real complaint about it, even though I probably would have left out that follow-up generalization had I been in Steve's shoes/pen/keyboard.

Separate from the political example, I personally find this kind of philosophizing quite disagreeable (not in the sense of not wanting ANN authors to feel free to say things like this, but in the more prosaic sense of thinking that the idea is, to be unintentionally 'meta', not true): ""truth" isn't an immutable thing, but rather something we each decide for ourselves". This kind've post-modern and/or nihilistic rejection of objective truth as existing at all, even as something that's hard to get a grip on and never directly viewable, has always felt to me deeply non-productive and largely a non-starter for making any genuinely useful insights about the world or people around us.

It is certainly one way to read Kuro's in-universe power, though, especially as it relates to the rest of the themes in the show. Going forward, I'll be very curious to see if the show ever explicitly reinforces (or undermines) the idea that we're supposed to explicitly connect Kuro's selection between alternative futures to Kotoko's de-emphasizing objective truth.

As a small aside, I rather like the way Kuro's limitations have been described in-universe. His inability to sift between all possible futures due to their number/cardinality/variety constraining how far into the future he can have an effect, and limiting his ability to choose the genuine optimal one, is mathematically quite fun.
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steelmirror



Joined: 22 Oct 2015
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2020 1:18 pm Reply with quote
NeverConvex wrote:
The "it spread quickly because it fit a pattern of past behavior and reinforced an already-established narrative of desperation and deception within the Pete campaign" bit felt a little overboard, I thought -- in a piece where there's no room to explore or justify a claim like that (and in which doing so would take us further afield, if anything), it's easy for an assertion like this to parse to readers like casual, explicit partisanship cloaked as an interesting topical example.
It irked me too, but I don't think it crossed any lines, really. I took a moment, thought that this is probably what Trump supporters feel like when I casually toss some shade his way in an unrelated comment on something, and then I tried to move on. I mean yeah, I think my comments about Trump are way more justified than a comment about Buttigieg that EVEN the person making the reference admits was false to begin with, but I suppose that's the point. We all think we're justified when we complain about something we don't agree with, and it's usually nice to try to keep that out of something unrelated like, say, an anime discussion, in the hopes that we can keep this as a space where more people can have fun and relax with the hobby we all enjoy, even if we disagree on other things.

But hey, since the reviewer brought it up: I like Pete, and will vote for him when the primary reaches my state (late in the schedule). Hopefully that doesn't mean we can't be friends. Very Happy
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TarsTarkas



Joined: 20 Dec 2007
Posts: 4403
Location: Virginia, United States
PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2020 5:50 pm Reply with quote
This is not an anime about American politics.

Why on Earth bring politics to a review of a supernatural show that has nothing to do with American politics. And if a reviewer can bring up American politics in this non-political show, you can sure bet you gave the green light for everyone to bring up their favorite quotes or analogies from the current political climate. Your just throwing kindling on the fire.
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NeverConvex



Joined: 08 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:59 am Reply with quote
Personally, I think it's silly to suggest reviews just plain shouldn't ever make comparisons to contemporary politics (or, more broadly, world events), or that those comparisons should only be made when a show explicitly invites them, but maybe there should be 'political example' warnings at the top of review articles? People seem to react to them about as well, here, as to other sorts of content that get 'traumatic content' warnings, and the label would help folks avoid reviews that're going to lead to them losing their cool about the style of a reviewer's rhetoric & ideas.
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:20 pm Reply with quote
7
Did I miss something as usual? How is Rikka revealed to be the mastermind behind the rumor, with revenge as her motive? I suppose bringing her up at all points to that, maybe, rather than just some complication for Kuro, but it seems a little like jumping the gun in this review.

I know it will turn out that Steve is spot on, but I think I kind of resent having my faith in the series so affirmatively dashed before it actually shits the bed next week. Allow me my delusions as long as possible! Very Happy
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meiam



Joined: 23 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2020 7:56 pm Reply with quote
Gina Szanboti wrote:
7
Did I miss something as usual? How is Rikka revealed to be the mastermind behind the rumor, with revenge as her motive? I suppose bringing her up at all points to that, maybe, rather than just some complication for Kuro, but it seems a little like jumping the gun in this review.

I know it will turn out that Steve is spot on, but I think I kind of resent having my faith in the series so affirmatively dashed before it actually shits the bed next week. Allow me my delusions as long as possible! Very Happy


The after credit preview more or less confirm it, iirc.

Unrelated, but did Saki go to university just to end up as a traffic cop? That's pretty sad...
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Gina Szanboti



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:23 pm Reply with quote
Ok, yeah, I did miss that.
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michizure



Joined: 28 Jun 2006
Posts: 101
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2020 8:14 am Reply with quote
Quote:
The Internet being the culprit is a lot more interesting than Kuro's spooky cousin, in my humble estimation.

It has always been the case that (a) someone created the site and (b) someone posted the picture that defined Steel Lady Nanase. I don't think it's a stretch to discover that these are the same person, or that they have a motive.

Also, without getting into spoilers: the jury is still out on what that motive is. Wait for it.
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meiam



Joined: 23 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2020 9:39 am Reply with quote
michizure wrote:
Quote:
The Internet being the culprit is a lot more interesting than Kuro's spooky cousin, in my humble estimation.

It has always been the case that (a) someone created the site and (b) someone posted the picture that defined Steel Lady Nanase. I don't think it's a stretch to discover that these are the same person, or that they have a motive.

Also, without getting into spoilers: the jury is still out on what that motive is. Wait for it.


I mean, someone was the first one to start posting about the earth being flat, they didn't have any evil motive and they didn't control things from the shadow, things just evolved naturally has every person added their little bit of made up idea to the topic. No single person is really responsible, it just happened.

The story of Nanase was just way more interesting when it was about about the rumour evolving, something like: Suspicious death -> fake death rumour -> fake sighting of Nanase -> the sighting go unconfirmed -> well then, she's a ghost! -> some random makes "fan art" -> people pick up on the fan art and thinks it's real -> wiki is created -> well if a wiki exist, it must be real -> people make all kind of rumour -> people slowly one up each other to create the most exiting rumour, and so on.

Rather than: evil person did it, the end.
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steelmirror



Joined: 22 Oct 2015
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2020 12:44 am Reply with quote
NeverConvex wrote:
Personally, I think it's silly to suggest reviews just plain shouldn't ever make comparisons to contemporary politics (or, more broadly, world events), or that those comparisons should only be made when a show explicitly invites them
I mean I think that would be silly too, which is why I never suggested such a thing. I completely support reviewers who want to add some political interpretation to their reviews, if they think it enhances the review, or especially if they think the show itself is commenting on something political and/or topical.

My point was just that, sometimes, it's going to irk some of the readers. This time it was my turn to be irked, but that doesn't mean the reviewer was wrong to do it. Just that it gave me a moment's reflection on how some of my random comments probably have irked other people.

As to the actual point within the show, I am pretty much a sucker right now for commentary about the seeming malleability of what is "true" in the social media age. So I'm enjoying this arc for its high concept, even if it's been done before elsewhere. The pacing continues to be terrible IMO, but the premise is keeping me going more than previous arcs have done!
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NeverConvex



Joined: 08 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2020 7:46 am Reply with quote
Oh, yeah -- I didn't have in mind your reaction, steelmirror. I thought your take was thoughtful and constructive.

I'm enjoying the present arc, but not so much for its high concept. I was excited by Gatchaman Crowds' handling of the same kinds of issues a few years back, or maybe more to the point by Nick Creamer's write-ups on them, but I think I've since come to feel that anime's handling of the mechanics of large-scale memetic propagation tends to be pretty superficial. Looking back, I don't think Gatchaman's take was really all that interesting, either; it was just such a novel thing to see a show try to engage with that I was taken aback by it (and Nick's write-ups helped hype me up).

I'm loving the dialogue and character interactions, though. I'd probably watch the 3 main characters grow corn together, in real time, and still have fun with it.

And I'm curious to see how deep the rejection of 'truth' goes. I'm dubious about that kind of take's merit in the real world, but it is a more interesting philosophical issue than most anime tries to grapple with. So, maybe I'm on board for at least that part of the high concept, if only because I'm now wondering exactly what the show-creators are trying to convey.
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steelmirror



Joined: 22 Oct 2015
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2020 1:13 pm Reply with quote
NeverConvex wrote:

I'm enjoying the present arc, but not so much for its high concept. I was excited by Gatchaman Crowds' handling of the same kinds of issues a few years back, or maybe more to the point by Nick Creamer's write-ups on them, but I think I've since come to feel that anime's handling of the mechanics of large-scale memetic propagation tends to be pretty superficial.
Yeah I'm pretty much on the same page I think. I was most excited early in the arc when they introduced the concepts they would be playing with, but after the reveal that it was all one person's plot, the interesting part of the themes deflated a bit. We'll see how it ends. Funnily enough, the plot reminds me a lot of an episode of the show Supernatural called Hell House, with an internet-rumor fueled tulpa, that handled the theme much better IMO. But it's still fun to see different takes on it.

NeverConvex wrote:
And I'm curious to see how deep the rejection of 'truth' goes. I'm dubious about that kind of take's merit in the real world, but it is a more interesting philosophical issue than most anime tries to grapple with. So, maybe I'm on board for at least that part of the high concept, if only because I'm now wondering exactly what the show-creators are trying to convey.
Yeah it's a weighty theme that is easier to throw around than to meaningfully explore. But it's cool to see the ambition even if a given depiction falls short.

I also fall into the camp that isn't as skeptical about "truth" as a concept. I believe it exists, even if people can be really bad at recognizing it and really good about obscuring it, especially to ourselves. But really good media can get me doubting my judgement on that, starting to come around to the post-truth viewpoint. In/spectre hasn't been that kind of story for me yet.
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TarsTarkas



Joined: 20 Dec 2007
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Location: Virginia, United States
PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:48 pm Reply with quote
meiam wrote:

Unrelated, but did Saki go to university just to end up as a traffic cop? That's pretty sad...


Yeah, I never noticed that. Usually, college or university nets you as a specialist or detective. Traffic cop is starting from scratch.
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John Thacker
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Joined: 28 Oct 2013
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2020 1:15 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Again, intentional timing or not, it certainly behooves In/Spectre for it to be airing during an American presidential election year.


Even more poignantly during the novel coronavirus outbreak (and just as 100% not intentional, since of course neither would be.) Some of the insanity published by Chinese language publications like College Daily on WeChat far exceed anything else with similar reach, yet to get the truth you also have to check social media and articles archived at GitHub of all places due to official censorship.

The pervasive censorship of accurate information as being "fake news" if it's inconvenient to the CCP reminds one that for all the problems of disinformation, some of the instinctive ways to deal with it have their own problems.
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DRosencraft



Joined: 27 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2020 2:46 pm Reply with quote
When I come into a fantasy series, I already start off with my mind set to a differentiation between "reality" and "truth". Although most often the two terms are used interchangeably, I think in this arc of this series in particular that distinction is very important. As a result, I don't see the arc as critiquing the malleability of "truth" as much as it regards the parochial pragmatism in the choice of "reality". Early on it was recognized that there was definitely a truth to what the Steel Lady story was, just as there was a truth to the events in the last arc, and they didn't have much trouble finding it. But it isn't that those involved are looking for a "truth" that they can accept, just a "reality" they're comfortable with. Whether for fun, or as a joke, or for excitement, or plain stupidity, Steel Lady is a better story than the truth so that's what is spread.

There is a truth that exists regarding Steel Lady, and if that was so their choice our heroes likely could pursue that path (counter program, so to speak, the falsehoods and stop the mastermind from spreading their lies). However, for their parochial interests and pragmatic reasoning, they decide creating a bigger fiction that worked within the existing reality was easier than pushing for a reality that encompasses the truth.

In the end, the "truth" hasn't changed. It isn't a given that each individual can't be convinced of the truth. But that when the truth is unknown or unknowable, the more comfortable and convenient reality is what is chosen.
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