April 14, 2016

My first Instalanche....

I don't post to my WordPress writing blog often, but when I do, I try to make it significant. Sarah Hoyt read my latest, Don't Pirate Indies, and used her guest-blogger rights to link it. I peaked at somewhere around 137 hits/hr. Roughly 800 hits in a 24 hour period that came from Instapundit, and a fair number from Facebook. Not the System Crushing onslaught of Slashdotting, but still far more traffic than I've ever gotten before. And given the nature of Instapundit, the rate slacked off in direct proportion to time until the hits started coming from page two.

Oddly, File 770, which makes a practice of selectively quoting and misrepresenting various blogs, including mine several times, hasn't picked this one up at all.

Posted by: Mauser at 04:46 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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April 06, 2016


For some reason (Okay, fan art I found... somewhere) I tracked down and downloaded Symphogear (and the two followons). Amazingly someone was still seeding them.

I will, of course include spoilers. But this will be pretty short.

Hibiki is one of those main characters in Anime who is kind of pale. She's not especially smart or talented, but she's a "Good Friend" and "Helpful to everyone" and 99% of the time she's totally out of her depth. But her determination to help people carries her through. Virtually everyone else in the cast except her best friend is more interesting.

There are monsters that seem to pour out from another dimension called "Noise". They come in a stunning variety, but for the most part stand around to be slaughtered by the heroines. If they touch a person, said person turns to ash.

The government likes to keep this under wraps, in spite of the massive public spectacle of the attacks. But that's what Special Disaster Department 2 is for. Actually, they're there to support the two users of these ancient mystical artifacts that with the right verbal and tonal key, turn into cute armor suits and weapons that let them fight the Noise. Plus crews to vacuum up the remains....

Hibiki is invited by her friend to go to a "Zwei Wing" concert, but at the last moment, she has to cancel, leaving Hibiki to attend the concert alone. Is anyone surprised to find out that Zwei Wing is composed of the two heroines? Is anyone further surprised that the Noise attack? What's really surprising though is that one of the heroines gets killed defending Hibiki by using her artifact's most devastating song. And Hibiki really needed saving because some of the Noise attacks broke off bits of her armor and drove them into Hibiki's chest, leaving her moments from bleeding out. You know, the kind of mortal wound that can be forestalled by shouts of "Don't Die on me!" etc.

By the way, the purpose of the concert was to try to activate some other artifacts. Department 2 (Where is Department 1?) has a kooky science chick who has theories about how these things work. This series may pre-date Steven's fetish for red half-rim glasses, but I figure there's no harm in mentioning it here where he won't read it. The experiment goes badly, and somehow, some of the artifacts they were working on get stolen.

But who is the REAL bad guy? These monsters are largely aimless and purposeless. Someone must be controlling them....

Yep. Chris-chan is a girl who also has the ability to use these artifacts - one of which can summon the monsters, and another that is a set of heavy armor. (Later she is just left with one that manifests ranged gun-like weapons. Very sophisticated, these ancient Babylonians.) She had a tragic past: her parents, who were musicians, went on some kind of world peace tour, got killed for their troubles, and she was basically sold into slavery, until the Big Bad got her hands on her, and really messed with her head, and got her hating the world and considering the brutal sadism she was subjected to the only form of "Love" she could accept.

Anyway, Hibiki and her best friend go to this music-centered school, which JUST HAPPENS to be the cover for Section 2's base, and where the remaining half of Zwei Wing is a major attraction as a senior (Okay, I'll admit, I don't remember her name, and I can't be bothered to look it up). After her best battle buddy died, she got all serious and shit, and is all about pretending she's an unfeeling weapon instead of being human, and blames herself for being inadequate in that battle two years earlier.

Okay, Spoiler time. It turns out that the Big Bad and the Kooky Science Chick are actually the same person. Big Bad is actually some sort of genetic memory that took over Kooky Science Chick - awakened by the same music that our remaining heroine used to accidentally activate the first artifact many years ago.

The bits and pieces of the other artifact embedded inoperably in Hibiki's chest happen to work too. And so she becomes the new Battle Buddy, except Miss I'm a Weapon is all about fighting alone now.

When Hibiki ends up fighting Chris, she's all helpful and friendly and crap, "We're both humans, we should be able to talk and understand each other." This, of course, is the approach least likely to work with this kicked dog of a girl, who believes in no such thing as friendship. But she is doomed to have a heel-face-turn because once the Big Bad is done with her, and she's thrown out with nothing but the interesting clothes on her back and a single artifact (!), she has no place to go. Hibiki's friend finds her and takes care of her, and insists on becoming her friend. Naturally this will cause much consternation later.

And once the Big Bad's plan comes to fruition the three girls team up, although Chris, of course, insists she's not actually teaming up. They all must make the ultimate sacrifice to stop a big chunk of the moon from falling to Earth.

And then they blow it all by tacking on a scene at the very end to allow a sequel, breaking the tragic bookending the show had with Hibiki's friend visiting her grave. "Sorry, Couldn't tell you I'm not dead. Government secret." As if the shattered Moon isn't a clue.

This show also featured some of the WORST tortured spoken Engrish I've ever experienced. And the translators didn't help themselves with sounding things out that they should have had cultural knowledge of (like the Tower of Babel, not Balel.).

Still, it was cute, most of the characters were reasonably well-developed and interesting (except for the main one), and didn't depend on people being stupid to advance the plot. And while the final reveal of the Big Bad's plan was an invitation to facepalm, is that really so important? Although I have to wonder, if the governmental organization is fighting an enemy that is inside the organization, would the problem not exist if the department had never been formed? Do they cause themselves to be needed by existing? Maybe we can protect the world by NOT forming special governmental agencies to protect us from excessive weirdness.

Posted by: Mauser at 08:35 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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