Top Five for Spring 2008

Here’s my top five shows of the Spring 2008 season. There’s a few shows that I haven’t watched and thus don’t make the list (Code Geass Season 2 for one, didn’t watch the first season) but I think it’s a pretty good countdown.

First off is:

5. Library War

In my review I said this was an absurd premised show but after reading this, I got to thinking again. I originally thought it was absurd since the government would never a) arm both sides in the censorship debate and b) allow urban warfare within the country; but, I thought if the use of force is meant to represent the verbal sparring both sides use than it’s not really that absurd. It truly can feel like a war when, for example, a parent wants to have a book removed from the school library and those that support the parent try to pressure the school board and those that are against censorship try to keep the book available in the library. And while I’m almost always against censorship of books, I realize that as a free society the other side is allowed to believe the way they do and really if I tried to stop them from protesting – I’m making a free society less free. Which I think is shown in the show when those of the library force say that they are not the defenders of good and the other side is just following what the law says as well as when the Library Force allows the seizure of some material by the other side.

I don’t mean to change the subject but if you like Library War you’d probably like the book Little Brother, read my review here, or you can just start reading it here. Legally, since Cory put it up in the first place for free – he believes the more people that read it free online, the more people will buy the physical book.

4. Daughter of 20 Faces

I feel bad that I somehow neglected this show on up until now. If you haven’t a chance to catch the show – it’s about a young girl, Chizuko, who is heiress to a large fortune and is being raised by her aunt and uncle. When Chizuko starts to realize that her food tastes slightly off she retreats to her detective novels and realizes that her aunt and uncle are poisoning her. ’20 Faces’, the notorious thief (who never kills anyone and seems to have a bit of Robin Hood in him), has infiltrated Chizuko’s house looking to steal a very large gem and does so after deciding to allow Chizuko to come with him if she wants. She does and works to become a member of ’20 Faces’ large family-like organization.

After 5 episodes we’ve gone through 2 years of time (yeah for realism – no one could become a master thief instantly) and Chizuko, at the age of 13, is already showing the signs of being a serious bad-ass. At the end of episode 5 we might have been introduced to the person that will be Chizuko’s adversary in the future (because what’s Lupin without Detective Zenigata).

3. Kurenai

A great slice-of-(screwed up) life show that also has hints at something darker under the surface (what’s up with Shinkurou’s arm?) that makes me want the show to come out quicker. Muraski, the precocious young woman, is a blast to watch as she learns about common everyday life (remember don’t tap your DS stylus to hardJ). Also if episode 6 was ‘filler’ then we’re in good hands for the rest of the series.

2. Maid Guy

The guilty pleasure of the season is also the best comedy. Kogarashi, sorry, KoGARashi, is like an unstoppable force of nature that is only marginally better to have on your side than against.

If the people that did the first season of Minami-ke remade this – it quite possibly be the funniest show ever.

1. Kaiba

Shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that this show was my pick. Not much more I can add for this show.

Anyone notice I wrote less as I got higher in the countdown? Weird, and I even started writing this from 1 down to 5 so I got more wordsy as I went along. Well what did you think – did I miss any gems? or do you have a better countdown – I’d like to see it.

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4 thoughts on “Top Five for Spring 2008”

  1. Yup, the amount of writing has decreased as you went higher in the countdown. It is not easy to write about Kaiba because it involves so many different things. Perhaps, you could link some of your episode reviews to your countdown.

    I agree with most of your list 🙂 I would place Macross Frontier (I don’t care about mecha at all btw) on the second place though for its songs, animation, and excellent use of archetypes 😛 I have not seen Daughter of 20-Faces and have no intention to check it out because it does not seem like the type of show I would enjoy, but it looks like I should check out Library Wars 😉

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  2. Macross Frontier was one of the shows I haven’t watched mainly because I know it’s not the first work in the series and I haven’t watched any of the earlier series/OVAs/movies. Is it possible to watch the show without prior knowledge of what’s going on?

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  3. The only other Macross anime I saw was Macross Plus (the OVA version, not the crappy movie version with fanservice) and I really liked it (Voices is one of my favorite songs of all time – I even learned to play it on piano 🙂 ).

    Macross Frontier is chronologically subsequent to Macross 7 (1994-1996), but you don’t have to see any other Macross movie because characters are different. The Macross Universe is the same, so if you seen other movies, it will be easier for you to get the jargon, but they do explain the basics of the situation in the beginning of Macross Frontier episodes. I have no trouble following it and frankly, I don’t really care about all those special names of the ships lol

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  4. Judging from the top picture, why is the penultimate trick to demonstrate superior strength to lift a guy up and then to grab him by the throat to demonstrate the intent to kill.

    That seems just cliched by now. And not because it works or doesn’t work, but because there are better ways to do it. And in reality, it’s not often done anyways even if one could, physically, accomplish such.

    One of the clear limiters to determine whether a person has an intent to kill is whether he is talking. Negotiators keep hostage takers talking because it is a solid theory that a person engaging the verbal cortex of their brain is not at the same time killing.

    There’s a fundamental focus gap here. Killing requires total concentration and talking is not evolutionary required when killing. Or hunting. In fact, talking is a detriment.

    It’s simple, really. Hunters have to shut up or else they’re going to alert the prey, or alert a predator that they are around. If you are talking, then you aren’t listening. That’ll get you eaten at night. Listen, carefully.

    “Is it possible to watch the show without prior knowledge of what’s going on?”

    Macross is sort of like a bubble universe. Supposedly the plot and time frame all ties together, but the story was never about any one particular event or any particular group of people. So in that sense, it is logically discontinuous. You can take each production on its own merits, since it has no logical connection with the other parts. Often times it is hard to even connect different Macross stories together in the same universe, unless you see the mecha and the fortress.

    The large draw of Macross would essentially be the singing and the culture. By culture I mean both the pseudo military mecha operations and the universe itself.

    Btw, the various martial arts techniques used to break the neck are rather numerous. Although they aren’t well known, due to the security classification/onion effect of various martial arts ryus. It can be done using one’s own body as leverage, other person’s body as leverage, both body’s leverage, pure strength, the planet (the ground), or tools. Tools tend to be rather popular. It’s also numerous because anatomically speaking there are diverse anatomical structures in the neck that can be damaged leading to death. Breaking the spine-brain connect at the back base of the neck, which you can see the effects of in Christopher Reed’s unfortunate horse fall leading to quadriplegic consequence, can produce that or it can produce unconscious or it can produce a total failure in the heart and lung functions. The arteries in the head and neck are similar in vulnerability. The wind pipe is also a key point, which if damaged results not in instantaneous death but in a choking death that can last several minutes until all functions cease. Destruction of the wind pipe, partial or total, swells the tissue in the neck blocking out air. One cannot open up the wind pipe to draw in air or evacuate it. A total shutdown leads to unconsciousness in a minute or so. Same as if someone was holding their breath, though shorter due to adrenaline increase in heart rate. A partial blockage has the same result, except the person can remain conscious for longer given that some oxygen is still going in. Just not enough.

    The effects of a side ways twist in the neck resulting from someone’s fist holding them in front as often seen in some shows, producing instantaneous death or unconsciousness, is tricky. A lot of leverage, or force, would be necessary to snap the spine that way. Muscles can be broken that way, but muscles in the neck do not induce immediate death if destroyed or torn.

    In certain matters for fight scenes, I suspend a lot of disbelief for the process. And so long as there are no glaring logical inconsistencies, it is of no import either way.

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