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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Kizumonogatari Rewatched:

Kizumonogatari has its good points and bad points.  Oshino's deus ex machina at the end is lame.  He should've just done that from the beginning if he had such an ideal solution.  Why wait until after everyone has suffered and risked so much?

The artistry is really great, but it also often goes overboard with surrealistic scenes that seem totally out of place and unrelated to what's actually going on.  Was there any reason for Tsubasa to be running around nude in some weird sub-space? (without any nipples, making it all the more awkward and dumb).  Why did they have Shinobu and Araragi running around and dancing when they were, in fact, just talking on the roof together?  Stuff like that gets annoying really fast.

The best parts of the movie trilogy were the conversations between Araragi and Tsubasa.  That's where all the real drama was located.  That's when people's feelings were really on the line, that's when we got to know Araragi best as a person.

But what really annoys me is I went and watched Nekomonogatari Kuro right after that, which is just an extension of the pre-Hitagi Tsubasa x Araragi romance story, and it makes absolutely no sense.  He starts off totally in love with Tsubasa, which is to be expected because he promised to get into a romance with her once 'the new semester begins' in Kizumonogatari.  But by the end of the story, for no reason, inscrutably, his feelings have completely changed.  He's no longer interested in her as a woman, but just sees her as some kind of saintly figure to be admired from afar and helped when needed.  This complete shift in polarities is not explained by anyone at anytime.  It just suddenly happens out of the blue.  It clears the way for him to get romantically involved with Hitagi, so it's convenient to the author, but it makes absolutely no sense from the viewpoint of the characters.

Before a guy can reject a girl as a romantic interest, he would have to find her company disagreeable.  This doesn't happen.  Or he could see her as no longer sexy.  But again this doesn't happen either.  Perhaps he could feel like they have nothing in common, but again they have tons of things in common, so that doesn't fly either.  Or he could think that she's out of his league -- but that's ridiculous given that she already consented to have sex with him in no uncertain terms and he's an immortal all-powerful vampire, which should be more than enough credentials for any girl.

It just makes no sense.  The author just tells us as a fait accompli -- despite all the build-up I just did in Kizumonogatari, all of that just 'went away' like Mad Mordagon's love in Willow, for no reason, out of the blue, all of a sudden.  It just 'went away.'  I swear, web novels have more pride than to stoop to such unnatural plot twists.  How the hell does Nisio Isin get away with this?  Why did no one call him on it?

If I had an option I wouldn't get with Tsubasa or Hitagi, I find both of them to be poor companionship.  Nadeko is obviously the best girl.  But I'm not frustrated that Araragi chose the wrong ship, I'm frustrated that the author did a complete 180 u-turn from his previous characterization without any explanation.  He developed a romance in Kizumonogatari and then just by judicial fiat abolished it in Nekomonogatari.  I don't want Araragi to be with Tsubasa, but I do want plots and characters to make sense.

I plan to rewatch all of Bakemonogatari in chronological order, but I can't actually do that until Zokuowarimonogatari comes out (because it occurs, chronologically, before Hanamonogatari.)  I can at least go a long ways towards completion, though, and the summer season isn't very far away, so everything will fall in place soon enough.

Meanwhile, Rurouni Kenshin's manga is finally resuming this June.  Manga is in dire need of help to stay a relevant industry so every return from hiatus is a big deal.

Tensei Shitara Ken Deshita has a great manga, but the actual web novel has just been a chore to read.  I'm not sure if I'll actually get anywhere with this series, so I certainly can't recommend it or label it a must-read to others.  There are plenty of other web novel/light novel options to pursue so there's no reason to fixate on a series that just isn't working for me.

Star Ocean 5 is playable and has great music, but there are way too many annoying and frustrating aspects to the game, like how much time it takes to traverse the world map.  Even Final Fantasy XV was better than this.  The reason I love the Star Ocean franchise is because of game 4.  This one's just a miss.

With Kizumonogatari down, the only anime I haven't rewatched from 2016 is Dragon Ball Super and Mahoutsukai Precure, both of whom are series that are still coming out so there's no sense rewatching.  I'll probably end up rewatching them soon anyway, though, just because 2017 has such a paucity of options, especially when you look at what's available in blu-ray.

Until 2017's anime starts coming out in blu-ray, I can't rewatch any of it.  It's already been a year for stuff like BanG Dream! and not even the first episode is out in blu-ray.  It's no longer to the point of troublesome and has actually gotten worrisome how far the fansubbing community has fallen behind.

12 of the top 14 anime are getting additional content in the future.  In this environment, it's physically impossible for new series to make any major impact in my rankings.  It would take ten to twenty years just to build an anime as long as the current front runners.  And all of the most genius storytellers are content to just keep expanding their old franchises rather than switching to new ones, so where would these new epic stories even come from?

This season, with stuff like Card Captor Sakura, Basilisk and Steins;Gate, represents a crystallization of my rankings.  2019 is going to do lots of cool stuff like complete the stories of SAO, Fairy Tail and Fate/Heaven's Feel.  Once completed, these shows will be completely unassailable by any competition, for the simple reason that they aren't complete like these shows are.  Zokuowarimonogatari is going to fill in the last remaining hole in the Bakemonogatari plotline later this year.  It's a great time to be one of the greats, but it also signifies the irrelevance of the rest of our lives.  Nothing will ever match the series that are finishing up right now.  I doubt my rankings will change much even a century from now.

If some already ranked series got their proper sequels and conclusions, they could shoot up the charts.  But for series that haven't even appeared yet, the mountain is just unscalable.  They're too far behind, and there isn't enough time left to catch up.  The world will be so different in 100 years I doubt anime will even exist.  It's dubious whether mankind will even exist.  AI, virtual reality, spaceflight, genetic engineering, the cure to aging, etc, etc, will all be things that completely upset our common sense.  The people living in that era won't live like we have.  The geniuses of that era won't be spending all their time on anime like we do.  This world that has crawled to a halt, where passivity is the best and only real option because no effort is ever rewarded with anything of permanent value commensurate with said effort, will turn into a world of action and achievement again.  And at that point we won't even need anime to keep us company.

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