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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Summer 2016 Anime First Impressions Part 2:

Amaama to Inuzuma:  Based on the second episode, this show is too dull and has too few challenges for its characters.  There's nothing unique about the story.  Single fathers with children is better with Usagi Drop.  Cooking and eating to bring about harmony and friendship is better with Koufuku Graffitti.  This show is just strictly inferior to other anime and thus has no reason to exist left for itself.  Fail.

Mahou Shoujo Naria Girls:  This isn't even an anime.  It's a CG low budget monstrosity.  I'm amazed they thought they could put so little effort into making it and still expect people to waste valuable time on watching it.  Aren't they taking this business too lightly?  Fail.

Battery:   The characters are too violent and too antagonistic.  Aiming snowballs at birds, picking fights with neighbors, being rude at the dinner table, everyone criticizing and disobeying each other.  It's such a horrible atmosphere, if Asa were in this environment she'd never be able to breathe.  I may not be as sensitive as Asa to bad human relations, but no one could possibly enjoy a story utilizing characters like these.  It's a shame a bunch of lovely artists and animators were shanghaied into producing such a crappy plot.  Fail.

As a result, the summer season has 20 shows worth watching, for now:

1.  Planetarian
2.  Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 3rei
3.  Rewrite
4.  Love Live! Sunshine
5.  Kuromukuro (sporadic releases)
6.  Kyoukai no Rinne S2
7.  Berserk 
8.  New Game
9.  Dragon Ball Super
10.  Macross Delta (sporadic releases)
11.  12-Sai (sporadic releases)
12.  Mahoutskai Precure (sporadic releases)
13.  Naruto Shippuden  
14.  Tales of Zestiria the X
15.  Qualidea Code
16.  Regalia
17.  Kono Bijutsubu ni wa Mondai ga Aru!
18.  Jojo's Bizarre Adventure - Diamond is Unbreakable
19.  Re:  Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu  
20.  Orange

12 Sai should be leaving the list shortly, once its final episode is finally subbed, but at the same time One Piece should be rejoining the list July 31, so it will still be at least near 20 shows for the foreseeable future.  The only shows that are even in danger of being cut are Qualidea Code, Regalia and Orange.  The rest are quite lovely.  Twenty shows in a single season is a very good number, as expected of the season I've been lauding since the start of the year.

Meanwhile, I finished volume 5.5 of Hataraku Maou-sama!, leaving only the recently released volume 0 before I'm all caught up with the english translation.

Meanwhile, the Boruto movie came out.  It pressed down hard on the theme of not cheating, and that taking the quick and easy path would never lead to long-term success.  The problem is that's not true.  The samurai were overthrown by a bunch of footmen who needed only to point their guns and pull the trigger.  People who trained all their lives for battle were rendered impotent by some random peasants with a couple weeks of training.  There's nothing karmic or fair about this world, and the amount of effort you invest into anything never equals the return you get from it.  Bill Gates makes millions while asleep in his bed while other people toil away at backbreaking farm labor and can't even make ends meet at the end of it all.  A fair world that universally rewarded effort would not have adultery or divorce for all the good men who did everything right in their marriage but were still spurned anyway by the 50% of women whose vows can no longer be trusted.

This is a nihilistic, amoral world that no God produced nor does any God preside over.  Nature just takes its course and it tramples over everyone mercilessly and absolutely heedlessly.  That's why it's better to focus on artificial worlds where karmic justice does reside.  In a visual novel, if you court the girl, you get the girl at the end.  All it takes is the time and effort to turn her eyes your way.  In an rpg, if you grind against enough snapping turtles or whatever, you can defeat any demon or dragon at the end of the dungeon.  People can also measurably improve at any other game or sport they put time into just by memorizing what works and what doesn't over time.  This is why all our free time is spent in ways we find personally rewarding, where effort leads to success, instead of in 'nature' or 'public' where trucks arbitrarily run you down for daring to celebrate a national holiday with your fellow countrymen.

Now just imagine if machines produced everything we needed to live.  In that case you would never have to go outside.  Instead we could live in virtual realities where karmic justice really does exist.  Your level 90 ninja wouldn't just be mowed down by a level 1 rifleman.  You could gather ingredients together and use alchemy to concoct potions, decorate your house with furniture, or go out hunting for wonderful steak dinners without any fear of overpopulation because every boar you kill respawns a few minutes later.  If anyone annoys you, you just click the ignore button and they disappear forever.  It is physically impossible for anyone to hurt you, violate you sexually or destroy your property.  You could build entire new worlds like in minecraft and invite the people you like to live in them.

Virtual Reality is the world we've wanted to live in from the beginning, 'heaven' is just one fantasy example where we would prefer to replace the cruel and thoughtless real world with something more ideal for human senses of right and wrong.  World of Warcraft is the closest approximation to a virtual reality we have so far, with a bustling life full of various activities to occupy your time in, in a strictly fair world that will never let you down.  But until virtual reality also includes the senses of taste, touch and smell it can't truly replace reality.  We still want to eat, swim, have sex, etc.

Reproduction will remain a fly in the ointment until immortality is invented, or we can get brain scans and simply upload our souls as data to the virtual world, after which we can simply artificially construct new data organisms to be our children.  Artificial intelligence could reproduce itself indefinitely without our having to intervene to do anything anymore, at which point humanity could gracefully die off, and all sentient existence would be in a karmic, just, ordered world instead of the natural amoral chaos we find ourselves in.

The problem with political law codes is they're impossible to enforce.  But virtual law codes are written into the very laws of physics and no denizen of a virtual world can rebel against them.  Their very souls are compelled to follow the rules.  Plus, the rules are objective and applied correctly to everyone, no more Philando Castile shootings by inept or corrupt enforcers who can't even follow the law they're inflicting on others.  Virtual realities are also true social compacts.  If you don't like the rules in this virtual reality, just go live in another.  There are infinite possibilities and anyone can craft a new one just by making the 1's and 0's flow in a slightly different pattern.  Unlike Earth's finite resources, data organisms can have as many resources as they can imagine to work with.  People could all be galactic emperors if they so chose.

In any event, Boruto's theme is too naive and underestimates the capricious power of cheaters.  Cheaters win all the Olympic medals, and they never get caught.  Cheaters can take 75 lives and injure 100 more just by pushing their foot down on a gas pedal, lives that spent thousands of years being constructed through arduous effort by tens of thousands of people every day.  Cheaters always win, and it's the people who work hard that are the suckers and end up with nothing at the end.  So you may as well just be lazy and not even compete.  The real world is a shitty game, a divine joke, and the only way to win is not to play.  No Game No Life seems to have understood that very well, it's time the rest of us recognize their wisdom too.

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