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Posts Tagged ‘A Certain Scientific Railgun’

Sometimes anime characters start talking… a lot. The main selling point of animation is supposed to be things happening and people moving, so building a scene around just talking is a different kind of art and a test for both the staff and the seiyuu supposed to carry the scene. Here are some favourites for that kind of scene. I would call those monologues, but most of these are technically dialogues in which whatever response one side of the conversation can offer ends up not mattering against the verbal onslaught the other carries out.

hatoko

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace – Hatoko’s outburst (ep.7)

Inou Battle is studio Trigger’s mostly forgettable second series. However, it does have this scene, which is sure to keep it relevant at least as long as Hayami Saori remains active as a voice actress. Type “inou battle hatoko” into youtube and you can quickly get this scene as the top result.

Hatoko’s three-minute-long tirade is a result of years and years of pent-up frustration finally exploding. The initial stage is that of (plenty justified) anger at being brushed off once too often by a dear friend. But as further layers peel off, we see the sadness and finally desperation come to the surface. Were Hatoko just angry, an opportunity to let off some steam might have been enough. But here, the deeper issue is Hatoko’s fear and powerless frustration at seeing someone dear moving further and further away from her, beautifully expressed by the voice acting.

Hayami Saori pulled the scene off with no retakes during recording. Which just makes me imagine her verbally abusing her room mirror in preparation.

[FFF] Tokyo Ravens - 22 [BD][720p-AAC][8FB73474].mkv_snapshot_15.52_[2018.05.20_15.00.38]

Tokyo Ravens – Kon chastises Harutora (ep.22)

As most people already know, Asian languages tend to put a lot of weight on politeness, sometimes to a fault. It can be difficult to talk frankly and firmly with your superiors, even when the situation absolutely requires it.

Kon is a living example of this, as her nature as a familiar and complete and utter devotion to her master make her unwilling to even consider the possibility that Harutora is in the wrong, much less bring up such doubts out loud. But when the situation gets dire and her desperate master is about to get manipulated by the resident pair of villains, Kon is ready to grasp the nettle.

What follows is the most polite trashing session of Harutora’s life. Expertly using both the carrot and the stick, Kon first makes her master realise that he is an idiot and traitor to the memory of his beloved, and then uses his own words to lead him towards an ambitious, but more productive course of action. Listen as her tone shifts from trepidation to a no-nonsense bark, then to honeyed cajoling, and ultimately to a firm declaration of what should be done.

And then tail-wiggling ensues.

kaiki

Monogatari series – Kaiki Deishuu talks Nadeko out of being a god (S2, ep.26)

Well, the Monogatari series is all about characters endlessly talking to each other (or having internal monologues) and is thus ripe with examples. But while the main Araragi-centric narrative tends to get a bit preachy with its take on character flaws, letting two side characters duke it out during the conclusion of Nadeko Medusa/Hitagi End brings something fresh and enticing to the series.

Part of it is the obviously high stakes involved – Kaiki’s words are the only thing standing between him and death. Another thing is that, to quote the show: “Araragi is a bad influence on Nadeko”. During Nadeko’s introductory arc, she is close to being a non-character. Here, in Araragi’s absence, she gets a chance to shine with her own flaws and quirks. Finally, as the show also admits, Kaiki is the right person for the circumstances. As the sly conman somehow manages to steer the potential bloodbath towards a surprisingly wholesome resolution, the viewers are left with full freedom of interpretation regarding the feelings and true intentions of the characters involved.

[Mazui]_To_Aru_Kagaku_no_Railgun_-_24_[F64E8354].mkv_snapshot_11.40_[2018.05.20_14.53.32]

A Certain Scientific Railgun – Uiharu’s pretend-conversation with Kihara (S1, ep.24)

The finale of each Railgun season makes sure to give each character their time in the spot light, the catch being that half of the characters can blow up buildings with reality warping powers, while the other half could not handle a rabid dog if necessary. Still, the conclusion to the first season proves there is many a way to be badass as Uiharu figures out the location of the villain’s trump card and passes the information on to her hidden comrade all while keeping the villain in question occupied and unaware of what is going on. The heart of this faux-conversation is revealed in the very first line:

Capacity Down desu ne!? / That’s Capacity Down, isn’t it!?

This should be as basic a Japanese sentence as it gets, except for the single emphatic particle at the end. And when asked what emphatic particles like the above “ne” (or others like “yo”, “zo”, “ze” and the like) actually mean, the usual explanation is that they do not mean anything by themselves, rather adding colour to a sentence. “Ne” can be used to soften a statement while also seeking confirmation or approval from the listener – thus some of the sub groups render it as “isn’t it” in the translation. But the key point in this case is that the particle singularly controls the theme/rheme distinction for the sentence. In other words, it signalizes that the information contained in the sentence is common knowledge and old news (the theme) for both the speaker and the listener, rather than something new the speaker wants the listener to understand (the rheme).

In this scene, Uiharu has to succinctly and clearly explain what Capacity Down is and how to deal with it to Saten, who is listening in on the conversation from her hiding place but has little knowledge of and is unable to experience Capacity Down the way espers do. At the same, she has to use various tricks like the above to keep up the charade that she is talking to Kihara to prevent her friend from being detected. All that while her head is being torn apart by the Capacity Down signal and with a deadly mech closing in on her. Sweet stuff.

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Image result for goku driving car

Nope, not this.

There are three common definitions for anime filler I see most often:

  1. Anime-original content
  2. Anime-original content that fully preserves the status quo of a series
  3. Anime-original content characterized by particularly weak writing and/or out-of-character moments (may or may not preserve the status quo)

I’m bringing this up because if we go by the third definition, “good filler” becomes an oxymoron, and that approach to the word is by no means uncommon. And it is no wonder that the word filler has become a pejorative term. How often do we see filler as a response to an actual need – additional development or answers, and how often is it a lesser evil – oh-crap-we-ran-out-of-material-better-drag-this-out? The difference between the two is all too obvious even to viewers with no knowledge of the original material, especially if there is a hundred episodes’ worth of side-quests suddenly derailing the main story.

Still, like some kind of legendary creature, good anime original content (good filler!?) can sometimes be sighted. Let us take some photos of those oddities.

Image result for slayers trySlayers Try

The year was 2001. The now long-defunct RTL7 TV station had begun airing the initial Slayers trilogy with one-man Polish voice-over. All insults about the main character’s flat chest carefully edited out so as not to blemish the young hearts of the children watching and the demon lord Death Fog coming out as Dead Frog thanks to the wonders of by-ear translation, this was indeed a magical time.

In Slayers Try, our trusted brigade challenges a new continent and an even greater evil. Importantly, with the addition of the Golden Dragon (spoilers!) Filia Ul Copt to the main cast, we had an even number of heroes, and people could label their fanfiction with the shorthand “trad couples” instead of typing out Lina/Gourry, Amelia/Zelgadis, Filia/Xellos.

Little did we know that Filia, well developed though she might be, was an anime-only character. Moreover, Amelia and Zelgadis were kind of shoehorned into the new adventure because there was no way the anime crowd would stand them sitting this one out!

Actually, I still kind of can’t believe it.

Tags: Anime, Pixiv Id 3936903, Naruto The Movie: The Last, NARUTO, Hyuuga Hinata, Uzumaki Naruto, Fanart From Pixiv, Fanart, Pixiv, NaruHina

Fanart by anele

Naruhina filler

Now, I am actually pretty lukewarm about Naruto pairings. While I cheered for Hinata finding confidence and happiness in life, I could have probably accepted Naruto ending up with Sakura or some other character. But honestly, if you have two characters married and expect people to watch a show about their children, you could, like, show them interacting or something? Pretty please?

At least the anime had the decency to give the two some filler screen-time together.

(Barely watched any of it, as I dropped the anime version when the first wave of fillers came, but I did see Hinata’s version of the 64 palms and it was cool.)

Image result for orichalcos weevil

Yu-Gi-Oh! Doma/Orichalcos arc

Not all of it by any means – the finale involves multiplying infinity by three to make it greater than infinity (Japanese maths). But there is something going on when possibly the most famous scene of a show comes from a filler arc (if you have never watched this part of the show, or the show in general, feel free to type in “berserker soul” into youtube).

In other news, the overpowered main character gets his first genuine loss (spoilers!) as his inner darkness, hinted at throughout the entire show but never fully addressed outside this arc, comes back to bite him. This is a daring filler arc that leaves itself just enough of an excuse with the whole Orichalcos stuff not to derail the main show.

Image result for railgun anime

Railgun filler

While A Certain Scientific Railgun itself stands out as a spin-off I consider better than the mother series, many of its best moments are delivered in anime-original arcs. If I am allowed to name only one scene in the show that left me with my mouth hanging open, it would be that one time when Misaka screams her head off and starts charging a shot, somehow assuming that Kuroko is around to hear and will deliver a projectile right into her arms in the nick of time… and that actually happens.

A fan of the other characters? Uiharu dissecting the villain’s master plan and its weakness while making sure the good guys’ last comrade remains undetected? Here you go. Saten overcoming state-of-the-art technology with the use of her trusty baseball bat? Coming right up!

While the main characters are busy showing off, side characters receive well-deserved closure (Ganbare! Kiyama-sensei!). And in the final act of the second season, Academy City itself takes a stand against some of its dirt, fleshing out the setting beyond what the eternally-busy original series could afford. While some dislike Railgun for its Hollywood-esque cheese, it is some tasty cheese indeed.

Then there are series where the anime-original content devoured what it was based on and somehow ended up being better (coughK-On!cough). But that might be a different topic altogether.

So, what is your best filler?

 

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Kanji:         異口同音
Hiragana:         いくどうおん
Romaji:         i – ku – dou – on
Literally:         different – mouth – same – sound
Meaning:         Different people sharing the same opinion.




Featured this week is To Aru Kagaku no Railgun’s AIM Burst. A monster created from a network of ten thousand human brains, the AIM Burst is a menace to the entire city, boasting a multitude of powerful offensive abilities and possibly infinite regenerative powers. However, the true nature of the creature is the amalgamation of the emotions of the ten thousand children hooked up to the network.

The brains absorbed into the network all belong to students of Academy City. They are boys and girls of various ages, personalities and dreams, most of whom have never met each other in their daily lives. However, all of them are connected through the pain and frustration of failure in their struggle against the “absolute wall called talent”. Those who wanted to be acknowledged, those who wanted to meet the expectations placed upon them, those who wanted to be of use to others but found themselves powerless… all of their anguish is contained within AIM Burst’s shrieks.

Of course, more uplifting examples of the idea are sure to be found within the varied world of anime. A great leader uniting the entire nation to fight against an evil, a peace-maker helping a conflicted group strive for a common goal, or maybe a pair of sworn enemies gaining mutual understanding, what characters and scenes does this week’s yojijukugo remind you of?




Yojijukugo are four-kanji idioms representing some of the most important ideas and concepts in the Japanese language.

In this weekly series, I see how those ideas are represented in the anime world, and invite readers to share their own examples of series, characters and scenes best illustrating those concepts.

For other posts in this series, look for the Yojijukugo Series under the Category section on the right.

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Hands up those of you who can explain exactly how a refrigerator works. No, quoting Wikipedia is not allowed.

I’ll tell you, then. There’s a low-level gremlin living in the back of every refrigerator, and it casts a simple freezing spell-

What? You don’t believe me? What’s that I hear about a scientific explanation and chemical reactions? It’s not like you can explain those in detail, right?

Huh?

If we can believe something happens because it’s science, without understanding the process in detail, then science has indeed become a new religion. And that is exactly what we see happen in the world of To Aru Majutsu no Index. To the residents of Academy City, nothing that happens on the streets is surprising, even if it involves Gaussian acceleration, movement through the 11th dimension or subverting the principle of entropy. The kids studying there have seen so many incredible things that they can probably believe anything to be possible. That is, as long as you don’t mention magic.

A very powerful defense called the walking church. Supposedly.

The students are firm in their rejection of anything even vaguely smelling of magic. God, angels, demons? There’s no way something so unscientific could exist. That might well be a reasonable approach for the people of the new enlightened age… but how can they calmly reject any notion of this:

And nod their heads knowingly to this:

It certainly doesn’t seem like any of the kids have a firm grasp of what this ‘personal reality’ their teachers keep going on about actually is. If so, aren’t they magicians themselves? But that’s just it. They aren’t magicians

They are ability users. The Japanese term – nouryokusha (能力者) – is not that much different from the ESPers Haruhi made so famous, the chounouryokusha (超能力者). In fact, it is merely one kanji shorter. The missing kanji – chou () – means ‘to transcend’ when on its own, and it is the ‘supernatural’ in ‘supernatural ability user’.

Academy City is a world of the denial of the supernatural, and the brainwashing starts with the words the students use. Every time they use the term ability user, they’re also telling themselves there is nothing out of the ordinary about raining thunderbolts from your fingers. And if they keep repeating that long enough, they will start believing it. Because an ability is just science.

And science justifies everything.

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