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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Women's World Cup Should Have Dispensed with the Round Robin and Went Straight to 16 Team Elimination Round:

Women aren't nearly as good soccer players as men.  As such, watching a women's world cup game cannot be watched for the sake of 'the beautiful game.'  Any random MLS soccer game would be infinitely more beautiful.

But that doesn't make the women's world cup a bad idea.  It has two advantages over an MLS game -- the patriotism of rooting for your favored countries for completely non-athletic related reasons -- and the beauty of all those fit girls running around in ponytails.  (There it is, that dreaded eros again!)

Women's soccer certainly has something men's soccer doesn't, and that's the blonde Swiss girls' team.  I could watch them play all day.

However, this is soccer, not a beauty pageant, so I'd like the women's teams to display at least some level of skill while they play.  The USA and Australia game had a watchable level of skill, where you didn't feel like you could get on the field and do better than the people playing in the World Cup.  Cameroon and Ecuador did not.  They shouldn't be in the tournament.  They need to practice a hell of a lot harder before their performance is worth putting on screen in such a rarefied and dignified manner as a World Cup Tournament.  Germany demolished the Ivory Coast 10-0.  Ivory Coast does not belong in this tournament.  They aren't even near ready to play actual soccer.

Also, I don't see the point of all these games when, ridiculously, 3/4 of the teams will survive until the next round.  You could go out there and play totally halfheartedly and still manage to get into the next round like this.  They should have raised the stakes way higher than that.  16 teams, single elimination, with proper seeding before the tournament begins based on international rankings.  The tournament could have been wrapped up a hell of a lot sooner, and the soccer we watched could have been a hell of a lot better.  Watching a game where the result is almost meaningless, because everyone gets to move on the next round no matter how well or poorly they do, is far from thrilling.  In the NFL playoffs and March Madness, one loss and you're done.  The same for college football.  If you lose even once in your entire season, even to one of the other top teams in the country, odds are you won't be included in the top 4 playoff championship at the end of the season.  Just look what happened to poor TCU.  Those games matter.  They have weight.  This tournament doesn't.  There's virtually nothing at stake here.  Even if you lose to all the decent competition, so long as you pound on your group's version of Ivory Coast, you'll still stay in 3rd and go on to the next round.  And there are so many teams in the tournament, there's an Ivory Coast in every group, that exists solely to be used as the other team's punching bags.

The women's world cup is worth watching.  But not yet.  Call me when they narrow it down to 16 teams and the games are single elimination already.  That's when the real women's world cup will begin, not this exhibition nonsense.

Meanwhile, Tales of Vesperia got a new manga chapter translated.  Ordinarily, I don't include any manga in my rankings which are based off of a prior source.  I don't consider them 'true' manga series and therefore they can't be held up as good 'manga.'  They're more properly good light novels, visual novels, or whatever.  So why do I count Tales as a manga franchise in my manga rankings?  This might be selfish, but if the manga version far surpasses the original source's version, I think it's fair to say it's a good manga first and a good video game second.  I wouldn't want someone to have to go back and actually play all those Tales of X games from the 90's.  That's just asking too much.  Tales games were far inferior in the past, with all sorts of annoying restrictions like only being able to fight on a straight line and bad mechanics, plus half of them never even got translated and released in English, so there's no way to play them anyway.  The manga version doesn't have any flaws, because manga by its nature is a flawless medium.  As such, a manga of the events from an early Tales game, like, say, Tales of Eternia, is far more enjoyable to read than the game is to play.  In that case people are better off just reading the manga, hence, the cause of Tales being in my manga section as the masterpiece work of art it is.

Tales is getting a new anime in 2016, but we don't know of which game (if any) the anime will be based on.  Depending on whether they choose a good game or not, the anime can vary wildly in quality as an additive bonus to the series' worth as a whole.

Akatsuki no Yona's blu ray sales have been poor, so there's basically no chance of the anime getting a sequel anymore.  This is a real shame because the manga has just been getting better and better ever since where the anime cut off.  Akatsuki no Yona is one of my favorite manga these days, but the anime is stuck all the way down at 128.  Just like Negima, you just can never tell a source work's worth by its anime adaption.

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