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EP. REVIEW: Sonny Boy


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John Thacker



Joined: 28 Oct 2013
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2021 2:01 pm Reply with quote
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Pony, the president, only got elected thanks to electoral fraud, and she freely uses her advantages as a member of the ruling class to squash the voices of her dissidents. I don't have to tell you that's a really freaking spicy angle to include in your societal allegory in 2021,


It's about the same angle as it's always been, but I grant it plays differently to different people depending on whether your mind goes to Chief Executive Carrie Lam, General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Nicolas Maduro, Miguel Díaz-Canel, et al., or instead to various petty American concerns.

An original work from a non-American country made for a non-American audience may, in fact, not always have American events foremost in mind. Doesn't stop people from draw analogies, poorly or not, but certainly for a Japanese work it's not a particularly spicy angle to include in 2021 as opposed to any other year.
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meiam



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2021 2:59 pm Reply with quote
Forget region, is there ever a time when "ruling class rig the system and use their power to stay in power" isn't the bog standard story to tell? I imagine there's far more story like that than one about ruling class trying to be good shepherd and not abuse their power but being thwarted by ignorant common class (which would be a wayyyyyyy spicier position to take).

This is my problem with almost every symbolism heavy show, they say things that only sound edgy to teenager but are always super banal. Except they say it in vague way so that the audience can pat themselves on the back and go "I'm not a sheep I can tell what the super advance commentary in this work is saying" while also leaving enough room for interpretation that you can more or less see anything you want. It's the story equivalent of a Rorschach test. On top of that they spend so much energy in making things vague and obtuse that they never really go beyond a surface level analysis of subject they pretend to touch on. Case in point, none of the character feel like real person since they have to spend all their time spouting vague allusion to meaty subject.

It's a shame, I really like how it look. Maybe I'll watch it in Japanese and pretend its saying interesting stuff to go with the visual.
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ANN_Lynzee
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2021 3:13 pm Reply with quote
Can you guys at least try to engage with what Steve's saying without implying his views are "petty American concerns" (compared to what, valid concerns about the LDP? It's the same shit, different country) or "immature" for appreciating the symbolism ("they say things that only sound edgy to teenager but are always super banal.")
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25thchestnut



Joined: 14 Sep 2020
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2021 3:14 pm Reply with quote
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[Lord of the Flies] suggests chaos, not order, is our species' natural state (or at least the natural state of British schoolchildren). Sonny Boy, however, posits the opposite: order, not chaos, is the natural state of the universe. Society and civilization form because of nature, not in spite of it. […] This is Sonny Boy's grand rhetorical magic trick: what if the social contract were as inviolable as the laws of physics, and what if the laws of physics were themselves malleable?


I think this is a really sharp comparison and observation. Equally excited to see where this show goes next, and for the commentary from these reviews!
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ATastySub
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Joined: 19 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2021 3:15 pm Reply with quote
meiam wrote:
Forget region, is there ever a time when "ruling class rig the system and use their power to stay in power" isn't the bog standard story to tell? I imagine there's far more story like that than one about ruling class trying to be good shepherd and not abuse their power but being thwarted by ignorant common class (which would be a wayyyyyyy spicier position to take).

This is my problem with almost every symbolism heavy show, they say things that only sound edgy to teenager but are always super banal. Except they say it in vague way so that the audience can pat themselves on the back and go "I'm not a sheep I can tell what the super advance commentary in this work is saying" while also leaving enough room for interpretation that you can more or less see anything you want. It's the story equivalent of a Rorschach test. On top of that they spend so much energy in making things vague and obtuse that they never really go beyond a surface level analysis of subject they pretend to touch on. Case in point, none of the character feel like real person since they have to spend all their time spouting vague allusion to meaty subject.

It's a shame, I really like how it look. Maybe I'll watch it in Japanese and pretend its saying interesting stuff to go with the visual.

I sure wonder why for some reason that is such universal story for people and cultures all over the world and “benevolent ruler undermined by the idiots he lords over” isn’t.
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meiam



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2021 5:44 pm Reply with quote
ATastySub wrote:
I sure wonder why for some reason that is such universal story for people and cultures all over the world and “benevolent ruler undermined by the idiots he lords over” isn’t.

Of course there's plenty of reason why its the usual story, but its not a really freaking spicy angle, its par for the course for a societal allegory in 2021.

Symbolism/allegory story are useful when you're trying to tell a story in an environment where censorship is heavy, but that's not 2021 japan/western market (at least not the subject of "ruling class bad"). Or when you're trying to convince an audience that would otherwise not bother watching if you made your theme/message explicit from the begin. So if someone wanted to tell a story of “benevolent ruler undermined by the idiots he lords over” but thought that most people "ie the audience" wouldn't like that message, and quickly stop watching before he could finish making his point, he might start his story by making this part heavily symbolic and obscure and then slowly peal off the layer over the course of the story in an attempt to get people look at an issue from a point of view they wouldn't normally adopt (ruling class).

But here the message is a "universal story", its told from the point of view that most of the audience would normally adopt (powerless/oppressed people) and it's presented in an environment that wouldn't attempt to stop that message. At best the allegory aspect of the story serve no purpose, at worst they make the message less applicable to the real world and waste so much time and energy on the allegory that it cannot properly explore the subject.
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moroboshi-kun



Joined: 17 Feb 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2021 10:19 pm Reply with quote
Maybe it's just me, but I find this show weirdly unsettling so far. Like, I tend to watch a lot of shows right before bed (or even as I'm dozing off) but this one kept my attention and made me worried/hopeful it would give me funky dreams.

The absence of music (if there was any, I don't remember it) is part of it, and the whole "Lord of the Flies" angle seems to have been mostly covered in the first episode. The corruption of the class prez and the other two opportunists seems less a kind of commentary on the current state of the world and more just about the natural corrupting nature of power - political cheating is not a recent invention. But, art is not a one-way conversation, and if someone interprets it as reflecting current events, who am I to say otherwise. I could easily be a commentary on modern times, I'm just not sure if I see it that way yet.

I like the portrayal of superpowers - by the time they hit the beach, they're almost bored with them. The kid who scouts around (sorry, I don't know the names just yet), was almost blase about it. The delivery thing I kinda lover as a device.

If there is a larger metaphor here, I don't think it's solidified yet. Then again, I've only watched the first two once...

BTW, I appreciate the extended write up, and I hope they continue. This may be this season's Odd Taxi for me, in that I start getting obsessed with it and consuming every bit of commentary I can find about it.
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Animegomaniac



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2021 12:50 pm Reply with quote
25thchestnut wrote:
Quote:
[Lord of the Flies] suggests chaos, not order, is our species' natural state (or at least the natural state of British schoolchildren). Sonny Boy, however, posits the opposite: order, not chaos, is the natural state of the universe. Society and civilization form because of nature, not in spite of it. […] This is Sonny Boy's grand rhetorical magic trick: what if the social contract were as inviolable as the laws of physics, and what if the laws of physics were themselves malleable?


I think this is a really sharp comparison and observation. Equally excited to see where this show goes next, and for the commentary from these reviews!


And I disagree with it; I'd say the show posits order begets order and there's nothing natural about it. At best, nature/chaos and order are at war and at worst....

They are working together. Normally, it takes energy to make order but now the class can make chaos and order separate of energy. It may split into students that follow/create order and those that follow/create chaos... but that's better described by two distinct words, creation and destruction. Those that build up, those that tear down.

Or not, this is a drifting series after all and today's truth need not be tomorrow's. And while Lord of the Flies is an obvious title to mention because they're mostly kids... did anyone else hear Hoshi speak with an older man's voice?... but may as well list two other obvious works that were robbed, Lost and Peter Pan.

"Second star on the right and straight on till morning." Both episodes have ended this way and while Nozomi calls the skill "compass", you don't find Never Neverland with a compass.... tora, Tiger. And Lily would be Yuri... I better stop before I try to figure out if Hoshi is Tinkerbell or Captain Hook.

Or both.
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gsilver



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2021 8:36 pm Reply with quote
Magically enforced capitalism? What kind of dystopic hellscape is this?
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Neko-sensei



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2021 4:18 am Reply with quote
What, no wild, unsupported speculation?

Because I'm calling it now: This World is literally, as Nozomi speculates to Hoshi, a test created by the teacher whose ring Mizuho wears, and who appears to be the same teacher in Hoshi's flashback telling—or more accurately, Mentor-ing—him about the trial to come. I assume he worked with Hoshi to certify Pony's falsified election results, gave Hoshi test answers ahead of time, and now serves as the voice in Hoshi's head (it sure sounds like his diction to me—Mizuho and Hoshi just hear different audio mixes). He wears a Significant Watch, talks about "society" and "being a child," and has motivation to set his students adrift—although whether it's vengeful (Mizuho's tearful apology suggests he got fired, at the least, and has reason to resent "society"), cautionary, or beneficent (a trial by fire), I'm not yet sure.

In fact, I'd go further and posit that Nozomi and Hoshi are both thinking of that teacher at that moment, not God. When Hoshi says that "I was informed ahead of time. Sort of like the questions on the test," of course the end of Nozomi's response, "Then the person behind that voice would have to be..." is, "a teacher."

Note also that Nozomi ("Wish"—upon a star) has the "Compass" power, which points to a light like the North Star, and "Hoshi" means "star." Clearly the teacher has set up Hoshi as the nexus of his Social Studies test, perhaps because Hoshi represents all that is most inescapable about society (no one has truly eluded him thus far). What remains to be seen is whether he served as Mentor to any of the other students apart from Mizuho and Hoshi (Nagara spoke with a different, obviously unimportant teacher in his flashback), or whether he's positioned the two of them as opposite "poles," so to speak.

But of course, I could be 1000% wrong about all this! Thoughts?
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Neko-sensei



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2021 10:14 am Reply with quote
Helpful (I hope) character note:

It took checking the official character page to figure out that Ace's maybe-girlfriend, the blonde electromagnetic controller, is called "Shanghai" and speaks Wu Chinese (often referred to as "Shanghainese"). Her final line this episode, when she comforts Ace, is in Wu Chinese, which was also the language of her outburst in episode 1 before getting punished. Her very brief attempt at telling Mizuho off in Japanese in this episode (at least, I think she's trying Japanese) could be generously described as "nearly comprehensible." I find this interesting because it implies either that Ace speaks Wu Chinese, an unexpected character trait (that seems unlikely given that he was only guessing at Shanghai's intentions at the end of episode 4), or that the two have some other method of communication. I wonder if one of their friends has a translation ability?

Of course, Shanghai's attempt to comfort Ace also serves as the thesis statement for an episode about the feeling of not being able to be where you belong. Ace can't return to his world of talent scouts and future prospects, Cap can't join the big leagues, the umpire monkey in the story can't play baseball, Nagara can't figure out where he belongs to begin with, and poor Shanghai can't even be around people who speak her language. All they can do is get as close as they can to where they want to be—playing for the school baseball team, being an umpire, or taking solace in the company of others as outcast as themselves. (Also, since Shanghai has a profile on that page but Ace does not, I have a sneaking suspicion she'll become more important going forward...)

Ms. Aki was last seen in the background of episode 1 being the office gofer while Nagara spoke to his teacher.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2021 2:43 pm Reply with quote
Neko-sensei wrote:
Helpful (I hope) character note:

Ms. Aki was last seen in the background of episode 1 being the office gofer while Nagara spoke to his teacher.


And when Ms. Aki was in profile in ep 1, she looked a lot less statuesque then when the camera panned up her on the beach in this ep. I'm wondering if she is some kid's wish fulfillment - created to be there for them- or just fanservice for the show. Or something else.

Being in this show, could be anything.

Meanwhile, the baseball duel and its outcome with Nagara's spoiler[power/direction control problems] sheds light on his situation - I guess?
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2021 12:57 pm Reply with quote
Quick question: did the number of eps for this show ever get listed anywhere?

Edit: Never mind, review cleared that up. Show has two parts, Ep 7 is in second part.
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DuskyPredator
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2021 8:27 pm Reply with quote
Does anyone have enough knowledge of Dr Strangelove to know what the principal/god resembling him could mean?
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2021 8:08 am Reply with quote
^ Giving the principle a Dr Strangelove look is probably just a generic mad leader look, I think.

For what it's worth, in the movie Strangelove was just another quirky character. He did an info dump, and his quirks were some of the comedy relief. The principle here seems like a more important character. So I don't think it has any important meaning; unless the principle used his god powers to make himself look that way. With this show, I have to put in that possibility.
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