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Messages - Somariel

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Himitsu no Kimochi / Re: The OT3 Roles
« on: March 16, 2018, 11:10:47 AM »
Among Hikaru, Lantis, and Eagle, Lantis is always Person C, but I think that Eagle and Hikaru are equally likely to be Person A or Person B.

Yasashiku Dakasete / Re: 2017 Week 10: Episodes 37-40
« on: June 27, 2017, 09:54:16 PM »
Finally getting around to writing up my extended thoughts on these episodes, although I'm sure I'll be coming back to this post after rewatching the episodes again.

Episode 37
As amusing as it would have been to see Umi and Aska butting heads, the overall plot definitely works better with Fuu being the one captured by Fahren, since Umi never would have managed to get through to Aska about the limitations and unfairness of the Pillar system the way Fuu does. As a matter of fact, I rather doubt that Umi and Aska would have ever gotten to the point of having the conversation about why Aska wants to be the Pillar.

Ferio narrates the "Coming Next" segment on this episode. The funniest line is "Will I have a bigger role? I've gotten less airtime lately."

Episode 38
There is so much Hikaru/Presea subtext during the scene in Not!Presea's bedroom, especially with the song that's playing. I have to admit that it was probably this scene that made Hikaru/Presea my secondary Hikaru 'ship, 'cause even though I recognized the 'shippy undertones in the manga, they were nowhere near as strong as the ones in this scene.

I really have to agree with MokonaLord that the scene with Umi and Caldina in Ascot's room would have been a great scene for Ascot's confession.

Honest to God, I just cannot with the way Hikaru get swarmed by the birds as soon as Lantis gives his seal of approval.

I will never not be amused by how Eagle kills the moment that Hikaru and Lantis are having. It really seems like he has a sixth sense or something where the two of them are concerned. I mean, this is, what, the third or fourth time his arrival has interrupted a conversation between the two of them?

Caldina narrates the "Coming Next" segment on this episode. The funniest line is "How far has my relationship with Lafarga gone?" *giggle giggle giggle*

Episode 39
Eagle being willing to Umi as a shield against Hikaru at the end of the previous episode and the beginning of this one is a large part of why I feel that one aspect of my "What if Nova didn't kidnap Hikaru from the NSX at the end of Episode 29" AU is fully in character for him. (I say one aspect because it's not just what he is (or isn't) doing, it's also some assumptions Lantis is making based on how well he knows (or doesn't know) Eagle.)

It's a really good thing that the GTO isn't a Mashin, because if it was, Geo would have lost his right leg from the knee down when Hikaru attacked.

The music in the last... third? quarter? Not quite sure... of this episode keeps faking me out into thinking that the episode is almost over because it's too dramatic for the middle of an episode and keeps hitting the highest drama notes on good cliffhanger moments.

I really love the anime's conservation of character at the very beginning of the fight in the residential area, what with reusing not just Mira and her mother, but also the woman that Lantis saved back in Episode 23.

As much as the miscoloring of Lantis' sword amuses me, I honestly have to wonder how the hell that slipped past the entire animation team to make it into the episode.

The end of this episode and the beginning of the next one seriously need a seizure warning for the flashing light.

Ascot narrates the "Coming Next" segment on this episode. There aren't any funny lines, just stupid shipping stuff.

Episode 40
I swear to fucking God, I absolutely HATE the way this episode opens. We already fucking SAW this scene, the animation team didn't have to give Hikaru post-cognition! And they go and fucking compound things by having Zagato flat out TELL Lantis that he's in love with Emeraude and giving Lantis a butchered version of CLEF'S lines from the manga!

Hikaru, you are such an adorable cinnamon roll, but seriously, you sweet, sweet summer child, what on earth makes you think that the pendant Lantis gave you is a WREATH?! Did you not even notice the actual wreath of lilies hanging on the wall in your room?

Ugh! Just... so much ugh! Why did anyone ever think that the entire business with Umi's skirt was worth including?

Honest to God, I really love the (relatively) subtle foreshadowing of who the Pillar candidates are going to be that occurs in this episode.

Lantis narrates the "Coming Next" segment on this episode. The entire segment is hilarious:

Lantis: I am Lantis.
*dead silence*
Primera: Lantis, what are you doing? If you don't say anything, the preview will be over!
*dead silence*
Lantis: *announces the title of the next episode* Watch it.
Primera: Who made Lantis do this?!

Yasashiku Dakasete / Re: 2017 Week 9: Episodes 33-36
« on: June 25, 2017, 06:55:38 PM »
Finally getting around to writing up my extended thoughts on these episodes, although I'm sure I'll be coming back to this post after rewatching the episodes again.

Episode 33
Ascot just about breaks my heart at the beginning of this episode with how frank he is with Caldina about how he feels about both Umi and his past actions. And then there's his desire to not regret anything anymore that he shares with the Magic Knights.

I really, really, REALLY FUCKING HATE the "Presea's sister" subplot in this season. It's just SO FUCKING STUPID! Nobody possibly could've known that the Magic Knights would return, so that shouldn't have even been a consideration in putting on the masquerade, and I find it incredibly hard to believe that Sierra would, at least at first, care enough about the person who killed Presea to want to ease his guilt over having done so.

Down suggested an AU where Sierra actually is Presea, who got mentally fucked up by being buried alive and pretending to be her own twin is how she copes with it, back during the rewatch chat for Episode 31 and the one exchange in this episode of "What is your real name?" "My name is Presea" really, really makes me want to write it, since it sounds so much like Sierra KNOWS, deep down inside, that she is Presea and is unwilling to make up a name to answer Clef's question.

And of course, the anime then had to go and compound the stupidity of the "Presea's sister" subplot by having both of them be in love with Clef.

I swear, pretty much the entire Nova and Debonair plotline only works because someone surgically attached the Idiot Ball to Hikaru. The case in point for this episode being that in the manga, Hikaru at least understood that the reason they didn't know why Zagato was doing what he did was because Clef didn't tell them. Hell, Clef outright acknowledges this when they return, both in the manga and in the anime.

Episode 34
The entire "reviving her sword" subplot for Hikaru is just so incredibly frustrating. It's not like she needed to be put through a forced willpower boost to be a viable Pillar candidate, given that she does just fine without one in the manga.

I really love how everyone wants to have no regrets this time around. It's just so understandable and one of the handful of things I actually like about this season is how it makes that explicit on the part of so many people.

Honest to God, the conversations in this episode between Umi and Selece and Fuu and Windam just leave me a WAFF-y puddle of goo on the floor. )The same is also true of the similar one between Hikaru and Rayearth in Episode 29, but to a much smaller extent.) I just cannot with how our girls address their Mashin as friends they'd like to get to know better.

Episode 34
Seriously?! Fucking SERIOUSLY?! It's the Umi episode and they couldn't be bothered to give us some Umi before focusing on Hikaru?!!

Honest to God, every time I watch this episode, I just about die laughing from all the snark.

I mentioned this in the rewatch chat, but I'd never actually really thought about the reason for Chizeta not being able to expand into the cone shaped areas on either side before Amboato raised the question during her liveblog of this episode on Tumblr. And it is so much more satisfying to have an actual reason instead of simply being like "Eh, whatever."

Aska is just so utterly ridiculous that it is adorable.

Episode 36
I LOVE how Fuu manipulates Aska into accepting the archery match here simply by being her usual polite and humble self. Like, we all know that she's really, really good at archery, but she's not one to brag about her skill, so she understates it and that makes Aska accept the proposed match. I really have to agree with MokonaLord that Fuu has amazing villain potential.

I will never not love Ascot's epic arrival as the cavalry for Umi and how Umi decks one of the djinn right after Ascot's arrival. I also love how much more careful of his friends Ascot is this time around.

Aska's choice of targets for the archery match is utterly glorious, although they probably did have a small role in her losing the match.

Aska getting jealous over Sang Yung crushing on Fuu is just so adorable.

Fuu's degree of understatement in declaring her win will never cease to amuse me. I mean, honestly, given the actual amounts, saying "It seems I got a few more than you" is rather like saying "I'm bleeding a little bit" when one of your arteries has been cut open.

It is so in-character for Aska to fail to honor the deal she made with Fuu even though Fuu won.

I am completely convinced that it's Fuu's wind magic that lets her shoot in such a way that she's able to tear the clothing without injuring the person wearing it.

Not!Presea narrates the "Coming Next" segment on this episode. The funniest line is "We've gotten a lot of questions about my name. Watch the show 'til the end and you'll find out."

Yasashiku Dakasete / Re: 2017 Week 8: Episodes 29-32
« on: June 21, 2017, 07:16:33 PM »
Finally getting around to writing up my extended thoughts on these episodes, although I'm sure I'll be coming back to this post after rewatching the episodes again.

Episode 29
Between the moment when Hikaru wakes up on the NSX and the moment when Zazu leads her out of the room, there are several full-front, head-and-shoulders shots of her that make her look a lot like a boy and that is giving me AU ideas.

I really love how Hikaru instantly goes on alert and readies herself to fight when she sees Eagle. It just feels so right - like, she was willing to just go with the flow when she didn't really know what was going on, but seeing the guy she was essentially just fighting causes her "fight or flight" reflex to kick in. And of course, then Eagle goes and upends her expectations by being kind and gentle with her.

I swear to fucking God, I want to shoot whoever decided that in this season of the anime, Umi and Fuu could not be allowed to have a conversation with each other that didn't revolve around Hikaru. I mean, it's not like the two of them don't have anything else they could talk to each other about. But noooooooooooooo, the viewers can't ever be allowed to ~possibly~ run the chance of forgetting that Hikaru fucking exists! It's the same damn problem that the Bechdel test measures, just centered on Hikaru instead of a guy.

How Eagle and Lantis are described as meeting here in the anime has long been adopted as my headcanon for how they met in the manga as well, although some comments made during the rewatch chat for this episode have caused me to at least alter the circumstances to the match having ended up a draw, since it did always feel just a little odd for Lantis to have won, even with a lucky shot, when Eagle's had his whole life to learn to pilot a mecha and Lantis had only had a few months at the most.

Exploring what might have happened if Nova hadn't kidnapped Hikaru right in the middle of Lantis and Eagle's fight is definitely the oldest of my anime AU ideas and I'm really going to have to write it someday, especially since it seems like it would fit quite well into the "Innouva as the Season 2 villain" AU.

Episode 30
Of course this episode starts out by handing Hikaru the Idiot Ball again, because that's the only possible explanation for why she thinks it's a ~good idea~ to try to talk to someone who has just expressed a desire to kill her and is now attacking her. And the same is true for why she didn't fucking TALK TO SOMEONE about her dreams after this.

And then the episode has to go and throw the Idiot Ball to Umi and Fuu as well, because they for damn sure should have asked Hikaru about her dreams later, given Debonair's comment about being the one who appeared in Hikaru's dreams.

Episode 31
I seriously believe that Aska would likely devote herself to her studies somewhat better if Sang Yung wasn't always around to bail her out when she doesn't know something she's supposed to.

Caldina is just so utterly outrageous with her comments and suggestions that I can't help but laugh.

Tatra is just such a troll and has so much fun winding Tarta up that it is glorious.

Episode 32
I think that what I love best about this episode is that Hikaru is barely focused on at all, which is so rare in this season.

Anata Ga Oshiete Kureta / Re: a big miscellaneous AU dump?
« on: June 20, 2017, 07:22:47 PM »
I had a... modern-ish? urban fantasy? Not quite sure how to categorize it... AU appear pretty close to fully formed in my head the other day. It has some definite influences from Del's Anarchistic AU, but is very much its own beast.

Yasashiku Dakasete / Re: 2017 Week 7: Episodes 25-28
« on: June 20, 2017, 04:44:13 PM »
Finally getting around to writing up my extended thoughts on these episodes, although I'm sure I'll be coming back to this post after rewatching the episodes again.

Episode 25
Primera is just so incredibly vain. I can't imagine how her prettiness could have any effect on her ability to sense things and yet she somehow thinks it's necessary to mention how pretty she is during the discussion about the monster Alcyone is standing on.

Zazu is such a Mashin fanboy. I mean, seriously, he literally climbs Geo so that HE can be the one to make the report and thereby gush about the Mashin to Eagle. And actually, now I'm wondering if he might have Asperger's. Because I have it and although I'd never climb someone to create one, I will take any chance I get to gush about whichever of my fandom obsessions I've been thinking about most recently.

Episode 26
Aska is just so adorably ridiculous in her overconfidence and dramaticness. And she's at least as much of a Mashin fangirl as Zazu is a Mashin fanboy (since I will always remember that in the manga she somehow thought is was possible to have a Mashin sleep on/in her bed like a puppy).

I'm really quite amused by how annoyed Aska gets over the Magic Knights constantly dodging her attacks. I mean, what the hell else should they have done? No one sane is just going to sit there and meekly take an attack if they have another option.

For as obsessed with Lantis as she is, Primera sure seems to do a bad job of keeping track of him if she's only just noticing that he's gone. I mean, he must have left when the Dome showed up at the latest, so it's been a while.

Episode 27
Given that Hikaru refers to the room the girls are having tea in as their room in this episode, I really have to wonder where the hell Umi and Fuu sleep. Given how shittily the rest of the season treats them, it would not be at all surprising to learn that they have to sleep on the floor.

Okay, who handed Hikaru the Idiot Ball? Because seriously, there is absolutely NO other reason - not a SINGLE FUCKING ONE - for her to not have TOLD PEOPLE about her dreams once she sees the crown room and recognizes it as the place from her dreams.

And the Proof of the Pillar is such a FUCKING STUPID concept! Needing to have the strength of will to create a Road from Earth back to Cephiro makes SO MUCH MORE sense as a method of Pillar selection. And don't even get me started on how the animators couldn't be bothered to make sure that the circlet in the crown room actually matches the one Emeraude wears.

Then there's the whole "only three objects can open this door" shit. I can understand how Lantis got away with taking the sword out of Cephiro, given that he seems to have left without telling anyone, but is there a back-up plan for if all of the objects get destroyed (like Zagato's chest plate was) or are unavailable for some reason? For that matter, are there rules about who gets to possess the objects? I know that the distribution we're aware of suggests that the Master Mage, the High Priest, and the Captain of the Pillar's Guard are the possessors of the objects, but if that was the case, then Lantis should have left the sword behind when he left Cephiro, since he wasn't the Captain of the Pillar's Guard after he left.

Episode 28
I will never not be amused by Umi's "I'm totally not pacing, I must have teleported over to here" bit in this episode. It's just such a great bit of humor.

I really, really love how calm and unruffled Lantis is when Eagle starts shooting, just standing there coolly confident that he won't be hit. And I KNOW I'm going to be coming back to this episode after I've rewatched it again, because I have a bunch of one-to-three word comments in the rewatch chat that I KNOW went with moments in the fight that I had further thoughts on, but I can remember what either the moments or the thoughts are.

One of these days, I'm really going to have to make my own screencaps of this episode, since it contains the only look we ever get at how Lantis stores his sword behind him.

Yasashiku Dakasete / Re: 2017 Week 12: Episodes 45-49 (Finale)
« on: June 19, 2017, 02:55:16 PM »
Getting this one done while it's still fresh in my mind.

Episode 45
The anime just seems determined to screw up everyone's characters and character arcs. Practically NONE of what Clef and Lantis discuss in this episode makes sense as a discussion to be having at this point. The discussion about protecting Emeraude's happiness is completely POINTLESS because she's DEAD, whereas in the manga, it happened before Lantis left Cephiro. Clef saying that he planned to tell any Pillar candidate the full truth could simply be him putting a good face on things after the fact, whereas in the manga, it happened at least a day before Mokona revealed himself, so he still had no idea who the candidate(s) would be. Also, in the manga, it was FERIO who raised the specter of a fully informed candidate deciding to NOT become the Pillar. Not that Clef did anything to indicate that he disagreed with the assessment that having a fully informed candidate would be worth having the candidate step back, but it's just another sign of how little the anime cared about anyone's character arc.

Oh. My. God! I had completely forgotten that they gave Lantis the GODDAMN FUCKING STUPID excuse of "If I hurt Nova, Hikaru will be hurt, too" so they could have him ~hold back~ against an apparently real threat to his life! I mean, it's not like it was necessary, given that the way Nova actually captures him is to throw an illusion of Hikaru up in front of him when he decides to charge her monster, then slip in behind the illusion and run him through when he brings his charge to a screeching halt. And if they thought that it was necessary for Lantis to hold back for pacing reasons, well, Episode 30 already established that this alternate dimension is capable of nerfing Umi and Fuu's magic, so I see no reason why they couldn't have simply had it nerf the fighting ability of a magic swordsman.

I worry about my sanity sometimes, given that my reaction to Lantis collapsing as the result of being run through Nova's sword is "Unf, that's hot." And I have the same reaction to him being tied up (essentially) in the next few episodes.

Aska (with a few comments from Sang Yung) narrates the "Coming Next" segment on this episode. The funniest line is "But who is Nova?", said after she announces the title of the next episode.

Episode 46
I really love how everyone gets a chance to shine during the group battle against the red monster. And the fact that Hikaru doesn't interrupt the fight makes it even better.

Seriously, given that Nova was created by Hikaru's heartbreak over having to kill Emeraude, there is absolutely ZERO reason for Umi and Fuu not having Nova equivalents. And if they really had to, they still could have centered Hikaru and Nova by making Nova the leader of the Shadow Trio because she's the strongest of the three Shadows. (I'll confess that I've always seen Hikaru as being a little more heartbroken over killing Emeraude than either Umi or Fuu were, partly because she was the only one vocalizing disbelief after Emeraude revealed the truth and partly because she was invested in their supposed mission from the very beginning, so I can easily see her having cast a stronger shadow.) That could have actually been really interesting, to contrast the warm and friendly relationship between Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu, where Hikaru sort of just naturally falls into the role of leader, with the certainly dysfunctional and unhealthy relationship between the Shadows, where Nova maintains leadership by means of threats and rigid control.

What the hell happened to Ascot's robes in the shot where he's running out of the throne room? There's no conceivable reason I can think of for him to essentially have a wedgie, especially not while he's running.

I still find it surprising that the anime manages to get me to have some noticeable sympathy for Alcyone at this point, given that I have effectively ZERO sympathy for her at any point prior to this, with the possible exception of Episode 43.

Eagle's "grave illness" was so much better in the manga, not least because someone coughing up blood like he is in the anime really should have died by now.

The fade from Hikaru to Nova near the end of this episode is, I think, the best example we've gotten of how their faces - and just their faces - have the same exact structure, which helps with explaining why people mistake Nova for Hikaru. It doesn't help a lot, but it does help some.

Nova narrates the "Coming Next" segment on this episode. There aren't any noticeably funny lines.

Episode 47
Let's discuss how to keep your audience from learning important information too early. There's a good way to do it and a bad way to do it. The good way to do it is to not start talking about it at all or, at the very least, cut away at the end of a sentence so it doesn't feel so much like a deliberate attempt to conceal the information. The bad way to do it is to cut away after starting to talk about it, often in the middle of a sentence, making it very clear that you don't want the audience to have that information.

So which method does the anime use in this episode to keep the viewers from learning what Hikaru plans do if she becomes the Pillar? Naturally, it uses the bad one! TWICE! And given that it uses a very clearly contrived scene cut the first time, that makes it impossible to simply write off Nova's arrival (which is the interruption that keeps Hikaru from telling Umi and Fuu what she decided) as yet another example of her shitty timing/"Let's kill Hikaru's good mood" radar.

Also, on the subject of that conversation between Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu, the anime manages a twofer with it - too little, too late with a manga conversation and making it seem like the only thing Umi and Fuu have in common is Hikaru. In the manga, not only do Umi and Fuu have this entire conversation without any involvement from Hikaru, but, like Clef's conversation with Presea about planning to tell any Pillar candidates the full truth, it's well before they have any idea who the candidates will be and they explicitly acknowledge that, at that point, they don't really have any right to criticize the system and are doing so anyway, because they feel that strongly about it.

Eagle's return to the NSX always reminds me of a fic I once read where he didn't die, but since weird stuff was still happening, the NSX had stuck around to help. When Eagle left the NSX for the third time, Geo VERY POINTEDLY handed him a communicator as he was getting into the FTO and I think he even made a comment along the lines of "If you forget a communicator again, I'm going to have one surgically attached to you."

Episode 48
Seriously, I'm really concerned about my sanity sometimes, given that my reaction to Lantis moaning in pain is just "Unf, that's really hot."

I really love getting to see how the Chizetan and Fahrenese groups try to help out in the residential quarters.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again now - It's a good thing that the Autozamian mecha aren't Mashin. In this case, because if the FTO was a Mashin, Nova would have killed Eagle when she destroyed the FTO's head.

I really, really love the setup for Clef using his magic to hold the castle together. He knows he's weaker than normal right now, so he goes to the magical heart of the castle - hell, it's probably the magical heart of Cephiro - so that the resonance of his position with Cephiro's magic can ensure that the magic he encircles himself with will also encircle the castle.

The scene in this episode where the Mashin fuse into the Uber-Mashin really confused me the first few times I watched the anime because my first source was an online rip of the original DVD release (not that I knew that at the time) and I was unaware of how the OPs had been messed with for that release, so I just could not figure out how the animators had managed to have that scene ready for the OP 27 episodes earlier.

Episode 49
I have so many mixed feelings about the first scene in this episode. I can, intellectually, understand why Hikaru takes the gentle and accepting route with Nova - I mean, one of her defining character traits is that she's an All-Loving Hero incapable of holding a grudge - but if the creative team wanted me, as the viewer, to feel that Hikaru was doing the right thing in this scene, they should have A) toned down Nova's "psycho" (and especially the "psycho lesbian") vibe, B) given some hints earlier in the season that Debonair was manipulating and possibly abusing Nova, and C) revealed Nova thought that Hikaru believed people could only be happy together when they were dead at a much earlier point.

Oh. My. God. Oh. My. FUCKING. GOD! I was very clearly suppressing my memory of the Season 2 finale, because I had completely forgotten that it is basically just a redux of the Season 1 finale. I mean, SERIOUSLY?! They couldn't come up with ANYTHING other than rehashing the final battle of Season 1?!!!!!!

The creative team clearly had a death grip on their own Idiot Ball when planning this episode. In addition to the complete failure to come up with an original battle, they went and handed the Idiot Ball to the Cephirans again - the general population this time, instead of the secondary characters, but still! These people have lived in Cephiro all their lives, they should already know that monsters are created by the fear in people's hearts! And then the incredibly FUCKING STUPID "Let's all ~believe~ in the Magic Knights" shit! The Magic Knights don't NEED the belief of Cephiro's people to beat Debonair - Hikaru is the proto-Pillar and Umi and Fuu have got to be pretty damn close to matching Lantis in strength of will!

I suppose in light of all of that concentrated ~stupid~, Hikaru not talking about the Pillar system's flaws and the outside perspective she, Umi, and Fuu have before abolishing the Pillar system is only a minor complaint, but it still smarts, because the result is her upending the status quo without giving any explanation for her actions to the people who don't have any basis for understanding why she's doing so. And given that the anime made those same people crucial to the victory over Debonair, it's even more aggravating than it would have been in the manga.

This is incredibly helpful.

Also, I really wish that those title page pictures of Autozam, Chizeta, and Fahren had been included one of the artbooks. (And I'm including North Side and South Side in that, too.)

Yasashiku Dakasete / Re: 2017 Week 6: Episodes 21-24
« on: June 16, 2017, 04:30:46 PM »
Finally getting around to writing up my extended thoughts on these episodes, although I'm sure I'll be coming back to this post after rewatching the episodes again.

Episode 21
I really, really, fucking HATE the fact that the "Hikaru is the Sole Protagonist" thing started this early (before the title screen for this ep). And yes, I do realize that the Season 1 clip show could be considered a Hikaru-centric recap, but if that was the intent, they should have used the plot-important first evolution of her sword instead of clips from the ONLY Season 1 episode that is 100% filler (as well as being the first time Hikaru was given the Sole Protagonist treatment). From this point on, you can take it as a given that I'm grumbling every time the anime has changed something to make Hikaru seem more speshul, whether it's the dream-visions or simply giving her her own room.

I really don't understand why so many people think that Hikaru's family is so much poorer than Umi's and Fuu's. I mean, yes she does go to a public school and her house is smaller than either of theirs, but the plot of land her house is on is at least as big as plots for Umi's and Fuu's houses and it's the amount of land that determines the price of the property and the property taxes, not the size of the house. That much land, within Tokyo city limits (and it's very clear the house is within the city limits), is NOT cheap. (Also, as a side note about Hikaru's house, it's in a more traditional Japanese style, which, at least to my knowledge, does tend to run to smaller houses than Western style houses.)

I can very easily believe that Hikaru's family doesn't have as much money, but I just have one hell of a lot of trouble accepting the "Hikaru's family is middle class while Umi's and Fuu's are upper class" concept that I see so often. And I'd also like to point out that Hikaru's family is larger than either Umi's or Fuu's, meaning the family expenses are naturally higher, so Hikaru (and even her brothers) going to a public school could very easily be a practical choice to allow them to keep the property that quite easily could have been in the family for generations.

I really hate how they took out Fuu's line about not being able to play video games anymore because it feels too real for her now. It was a great line that really showed how ALL of the girls have had parts of their life altered by their experiences in Cephiro, but noooooooooooooo, the anime can't possibly have Umi or Fuu being as strongly affected by those experiences as Hikaru was.

Episode 22
I am so incredibly salty about Presea's goddamn "resurrection". It's just something that you shouldn't even PRETEND happened in a CLAMP series. I mean, their number one rule is that NO ONE can be resurrected. NO ONE! It's such a hard rule that CLAMP characters automatically receive a 4 on the Sliding Scale of Deadness on TvTropes and TRC establishes that you would literally have to break reality as we know it before you could resurrect anyone.

Episode 23
Something I didn't really notice until this time around is that the anime has this annoying tendency to make guys in wide-shouldered outfits look like kids playing dress-up Daddy's robes or armor. Clef has had that look from the moment he appeared in Episode 1, Zagato sometimes suffered from it in Season 1, Ferio suffers from it for a large part of this season, and I think even Lafarga occasionally falls victim to it.

I know I sort of touched on this in the rewatch chat, but the anime actually managed to make Primera's possessiveness of Lantis worse than it was in the manga. It was actually amusing in the manga, but here she comes across as enough of a stalker that it honestly feels sort of like she might try to rape Lantis if they were the same size.

Episode 24
Given how much the anime pushes the Umi/Clef ship, it's really odd that it left out Clef holding Umi's hand during their scene together in this episode.

I am so incredibly bitter about the fact that the anime failed to use the rings as the gift from Ferio to Fuu. The communication orbs do have a very little bit of the same significance, at least at this point, but the rings were so much BETTER, what with their being a physical embodiment of Emeraude's wish for Ferio to have the happiness that she could never have.

Honest to God, Mira is the only 100% positive change or addition that the anime made. She's definitely a bit filler-y, but it's good filler that enhances the plot by giving the girls (and us) an ordinary Cephiran's perspective on things, which is something I rather wish we had gotten in the manga.

Yasashiku Dakasete / Re: 2017 Week 5: Episodes 17-20
« on: June 15, 2017, 04:31:38 PM »
Finally getting around to writing up my extended thoughts on these episodes, although I'm sure I'll be coming back to this post after rewatching the episodes again.

Episode 17
The continuous off-modelness in this episode is really distracting. It also makes it impossible to tell if Innouva's wolf form was intended to be ugly, especially since the concept art in the materials collection wasn't ugly.

Innouva's confirmation here that he does actually know the real reason why Zagato is doing all of this just further cements my belief that he would have been a much better Big Bad for Season 2 than Debonair was. (Details for that idea can be found in the "2017 Week 4: Episodes 13-16" thread.)

The very first glimpse of Innouva that the Magic Knights get, just a shadow outlined by edge highlights, is a really superb example of...minimalism, maybe? I'm not sure what the right term would be, but that shot evokes stronger feelings in me than I think a nice and clear view of him would have.

The tiny Ferio in this episode is what firmly cemented my headcanon that Ferio was still really young when Emeraude became the Pillar. The manga does have one panel showing him this small and it has the line about him not being able to remember Emeraude ever truly smiling happily, which is what initially caused the headcanon to form, but he really sounds that young here.

Episode 18
Alcyone really needs to get a clue and realize that Zagato is not interested in her. This thought is a bit of a carry-over from the end of the previous episode, where she's still trying to convince Zagato to let her fight the Magic Knights again, but seriously, how much brain-power does it really take to consider that maybe Zagato isn't threatening Emeraude because you've been misreading him and he at least cares about her?

Episode 19
Something I missed commenting on during the rewatch chat is that during the very first bit of this episode, there's a moment where the glow outlining Emeraude isn't properly aligned with her hair and you can actually see it get adjusted to the correct angle.

I find it really weird how the girls don't even mention Innouva when they're recounting the enemies they've faced and defeated. Given that, aside from Hikaru facing Zagato at the Fire Shrine, he was the enemy they most recently defeated, he really ought to have at least been mentioned.

I'm very firmly convinced that this is not the first time that Emeraude has healed Zagato - that, in fact, she's been healing him every time she's noticed that he's been injured and it's actually contributing to her mental state precisely because, as Zagato points out, healing him makes it harder for the people going up against him, but she just can't stand to see him stay injured. I also think that when he can, Zagato actually does his best to hide his injuries from her for those same reasons.

I realize that other people may have a different opinion, but I really have absolutely ZERO sympathy for Alcyone here. Yes, finding out that she never had the slightest chance of gaining Zagato's love hurts, but I have a hard time believing that he would have bothered with her if she hadn't been so eager to prove how much she loved him.

This is something I only noticed this time around due to following Complete Over-Analysis' liveblog of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle over on Tumblr, but Emeraude's eyes being shadowed during the battle between Zagato and the Magic Knights is a BAD SIGN. COA has done extensive analysis about how shadowed eyes on a character are an indication that their darker side is coming to the front.

I absolutely love how Zagato actually manages to get through to Hikaru (at the very least) that the Pillar system is inherently unfair to the Pillar, but I really can't help but think that he might actually have succeeded on the "Getting the Magic Knights to not kill Emeraude" front if he'd had the sense to stop attacking while he talked to them. And this is, of course, on my list of "Fics to write someday".

Episode 20
Emeraude being able to just spontaneously create a Mashin due to sheer rage really gives a good idea of just how powerful the Pillar must be, given that I'm sure it took Zagato most of the time between the battle at the Fire Shrine and the Magic Knights' arrival at the castle for him to create his Mashin.

I honestly think that the manga ending scene for this part was one hell of a lot better than what we get here in the anime. To be completely blunt, it's just too damn soon for any of the girls to even be starting to think about maybe returning to Cephiro to help however they can. "It's not fair" really sums up how they must be feeling at this exact moment, which can't be much more than a minute or so after they killed Emeraude.

Dakishimechau! / Re: 2018 Meet-Up
« on: May 23, 2017, 06:50:51 PM »
I could probably make it to a stateside meet-up if it was in New England and was during the summer. Also, if I did come, any activities would have to be handicap accessible and I might need someone to be willing to push my wheelchair.

Getting into Season 2 in the MKR rewatch has for some reason gotten me thinking about this fic again and I've been finding myself bothered by another hair color issue - namely, the fact that all of the MKR characters have hair colors that are much brighter than any of the ATLA characters' hair colors. So I think what I'm going to do is to darken the hair colors of the MKR characters.

So Fuu, Eagle, Emeraude, and Lafarga will all have the golden-brown hair color Fuu has in the anime; Hikaru and Nova will have dark red hair; Caldina will have flat-out red hair; Ferio will have dark green hair; and Umi will have dark blue hair. Also, Clef's hair will be white instead of pale lavender and Debonair's hair will be prematurely gray instead of being white.

Yasashiku Dakasete / Re: 2017 Week 4: Episodes 13-16
« on: April 23, 2017, 10:29:33 PM »
Episode 13
This episode was seriously dragged down by not having the fight occur in the Sky Shrine, although the bit near the end where Umi says Caldina has to be okay because Ascot is willing to defend her with his life helps to redeem it somewhat.

Episode 14
The monster fight at the beginning was cool, but that and the discussion about Hikaru's family in no way whatsoever make up for the rest of the episode's blatant attempt to shoehorn Hikaru into the Sole Protagonist role. And I say that as someone who considers Hikaru to be her favorite character. I'm sure you'll hear more from me on this subject when the rewatch gets to Season 2.

Episode 15
The opening scene, with Innouva all but openly saying he knows the real reason why Zagato is doing all this, leaves me strongly convinced that Innouva would have been a much better Season 2 Big Bad than Debonair was. He could have made a very interesting foil for Lantis, having them both looking to achieve the same goal (the end of the Pillar System) for the same reason (it led to the death of Zagato and Emeraude), but where Lantis is at least concerned about the safety of the other citizens of Cephiro, Innouva doesn't care who gets hurt along the way, so long as the Pillar System is destroyed.

Watching this episode today made me decide that I really need to develop Sera into an actual independent character who exists in the manga universe. Because honestly, going climbing in the mountains, while Cephiro is so unstable, in order to get the medicinal herbs needed to treat her brother's fever, makes a great starting point for an interesting civilian character. And given that my MKR muse already badgered me into admitting Sierra into my manga headcanon as Presea's younger twin sister who knows that Presea is NOT okay after Emeraude's death, regardless of what Presea claims, and keeps trying to convince Presea to talk about whatever the issue is, I don't have a problem with including anime characters if they can be fitted in unobtrusively.

I honestly have a LOT more sympathy for Innouva's failure in this episode than I do for any of Alcyone's failures (and that goes for the ones in the manga as well). Innouva had a well thought out plan that got screwed up by the fact that Fuu refusing to take the easy way out activated Windam (since Innouva probably could have dealt with Fuu if Windam hadn't activated). Furthermore, when he's reporting his failure to Zagato, his report can be summarized as "I'm sorry I screwed up. Please let me resume my more powerful form so I have a better chance of dealing with the Magic Knights."

In contrast, Alcyone's failures all resulted from her repeatedly underestimating the girls and although the first time is probably excusable, the subsequent failures aren't, and every single time she reports her failure, it takes the form of something like "I didn't expect the Magic Knights to advance in skill so fast," which, at least to me, sounds an awful lot like she's trying to say "Don't blame me, blame the Magic Knights for being the exceptional magic users that their duty requires them to be."

Episode 16
I'm firmly convinced that at this point, Zagato's sanity was so far gone that he only cared about Emeraude's life, not her sanity, and was therefore trying to break her will with the whole "Lafarga is under my control" thing. After all, if she cares about the Magic Knights at all, she surely wouldn't want to force them to face to someone who's certain to kill them, right? Or at least, that's what he was thinking during that scene, especially since I refuse to believe that he hadn't tried every other possible means of persuasion since she entered the Water Dungeon.

Given the truth about the whole situation, I have to conclude that what's happening in the flashbacks Lafarga has is that Zagato is trying to physically keep Emeraude from doing Something Drastic. Although it's possible that Lafarga's memory was modified, I really don't think that Zagato would see that as necessary and it really didn't seem like Emeraude was aware that Zagato had Lafarga under his control before the first scene of the episode, which means that she would have had to modify Lafarga's memories with no preparation and from an extreme distance, which, to be blunt, I'm not sure she has the energy for at this point.

Anata Ga Oshiete Kureta / Re: OC Show and Tell
« on: April 11, 2017, 02:49:37 PM »
There's a part of me that if I ever get around to writing that alternate season 2 story I want to do that has the magic knights never making it back to Earth after season one and getting separated and trapped in different countries. I want to get into the stuff with a cou from Autozam's major trade partner (an OC country basically that wasn't interested in invading Cephiro) trying to reestablish the monarchy at some point because Autozam's original royal family married into this country's royal family, so they feel they have a legit claim to the throne. With some traditionalist supporters in Autozam who feel that it's the current government's fault that the country's environment is going to hell in a handbasket.

Oooooooooooooooooooooooh *waves hands* I am interested in this fic!

Seconded. I also like your Autozam backstory, VK.

Yasashiku Dakasete / Re: 2017 Week 2: Episodes 5-8
« on: April 10, 2017, 02:53:04 PM »
and Presea so jinxed herself about not dying until she made the swords, not cool Presea!

Yeah, she definitely jinxed herself when she said that.

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