Anime World Order Show # 93 – Podcasting and Human Gestation Take Just As Long

It took something like nine months, but now that Clarissa isn’t working full time and taking a full load of graduate school classes she can now bring to us her review of the Viz Signature release of Kingyo Used Books.

For this endeavor, we are joined by “Chiaki Tachibana” from the Anime Addicts Anonymous Podcast. We make this distinction to note that she is NOT he Shin Megami Tensei character, NOR is she the one from the hentai After Class Lesson whose character bio according to MyAnimeList is “The fifth girl who was raped, she is lesbian and a miko.” (That biography is completely inaccurate since she wasn’t fifth.) Daryl was previously a guest on their podcast; for links to that as well as all of our other guest appearances on other podcasts, refer to the “Guest Spots” link at the top of the page.

In the emails, we end up talking about Infinite Ryvius and somehow BLASTER KNUCKLE~!, which prompts the question “do we even need to review Blaster Knuckle now?” You already know everything you need to know based on what was said about it here! We also mention this Yotsuba&! Photoshop on moe (featuring a more different manga about manga than what we reviewed this episode).

On the subject of Kingyo Used Books: Volume 1 and Volume 2 are currently available for sale, and you can read sample chapters from each volume as well as Volume 3 via the Viz SigIkki website.

Oh, we almost forgot: Bob from Pittsburgh made this logo for us! Well, not so much FOR us so much as practice for himself, but we’ve decided we would steal it and maybe start using it for publicity things someday. Thoughts?

Unlike our current logo, this was not created by us in MS Paint in 5 minutes.

Unlike our current logo, this was not created by us in MS Paint in 5 minutes.

25 thoughts on “Anime World Order Show # 93 – Podcasting and Human Gestation Take Just As Long

  1. I finished Ryvius about a week or two ago and loved the thing, but I’m a big fan of Tanaguchi in general so eh. Ryvius has the same ‘spiral out on control’ quality Geass has, except it’s a much lower key spiral and it’s confined to each characters mind going crazy rather than the plot. It’s gruelling and depressing to get through but massively rewarding

  2. Well if you guys do use that logo, I’ll have to throw it in my portfolio…

    BTW, if you do end up using it for something and need a higher quality version, just let me know and I’ll email it to you.

    Cheers!

  3. I apologise in advance for my lengthy comment.

    On ‘Infinite Ryvius’:

    I consider ‘Infinite Ryvius’ to be a great show that everyone should check out, including Daryl. I’ll briefly address a few of the things brought up when you folks discussed it. There are two major points that I’ll address with at once – the opening of the series and watching anime in a group.

    I’ve personally never watched anime with a group of people (well that’s not technically correct, I have screened ‘Giant Robo’ to see what people thought of it but that wasn’t really a planned event) but I can’t imagine it being a crowd pleaser. This is because the show opens with a series events happen without context given via form of exposition. The show will go on to detail how those events came to be but not immediately. I probably wouldn’t have progressed past this opening if I wasn’t told that eventually the show would go on to make considerably more sense.

    Whether or not you’re a fan of this particular technique, it’s a storytelling method that assumes the audience is adult enough to work out some things on their own. It certainly never requires that you consult the back of the box. A few other anime have used a variation on this technique, such as ‘Baccano’, ‘Fantastic Children’ and more recently ‘Wandering Son’. You could perhaps argue that it’s an excuse for jumbled storytelling but I feel that in all of those examples it was part of some clear plan carefully crafted by the directors.

    For television, think of the opening few episodes of ‘The Wire’. I certainly wouldn’t want to watch that show in a group. Even showing it to one friend produced a hail of questions about who everyone was and what they were doing, questions which the show would eventually get around to answering, given enough patience and investment by the viewer.

    Having watched ‘Infinite Ryvius’ for the first time a few months ago you’d imagine that I’d be able to remember the episode where the show starts to unfold in a more traditional manner, but I really can’t. Suffice to say, it doesn’t take many episodes at all.

    Gerald mentioned that hard sci-fi can turn into dry technical manuals but that’s not the case with ‘Infinite Ryvius’, primarily a drama about a group of people forced to deal with an impossible situation. For this to work successfully the characters have to be well written and thankfully they are, a feat not often accomplished in anime.

    It’s fair to describe ‘Infinite Ryvius’ as a rather overlooked series. Which reminds me that Gerald and Clarissa have recommended another overlooked work, ‘GaoGaiGar’ which had a 25 run of the mill episodes before it got great. ‘Infinite Ryvius’ becomes an impressive show far quicker than that, so I recommend that they give it the benefit of the doubt. However, considering that my own taste doesn’t overlap with Gerald’s on a regular basis I don’t know if he’ll start to enjoy the show more as he gets further into it.

    Also there are some creative and interesting action sequences, as mentioned in the e-mail which triggered the discussion. I love seeing thought and effort placed into action sequences considering how many shows are content to have people flying around and missing each other with lasers for three minutes.

  4. Goro Taniguchi’s one of those anime directors that are actually quite good and, in my humble opinion, very interesting to study once you get used to their quirks and tricks…but probably not one of the greats.

    I would argue his overall formula, so to speak, seems to be that he likes making the main characters of his shows go through hell and back before giving them what they want, even if not in the exact way they originally hoped or wished for…and yet he doesn’t necessarily attempt to spell everything out or answer all of the questions in the process. Some would call that sloppy, and perhaps it is, but I don’t think it’s automatically a bad thing.

    I also believe he cares more about the characters and resolving their internal conflicts rather than about the surrounding plot or setting and even Planetes, which is probably Taniguchi’s most critically praised project (as opposed to Code Geass, which is obviously his most commercially successful one), tends to show signs of this as well despite being a manga adaptation.

    You could also add Scryed and GunxSword to the list too, now that I think about it. He tends to make many interesting and entertaining shows, even if they usually aren’t the best in terms of writing or plausibility. Then again, this also varies as some of the blame/credit extends to his respective scriptwriters and collaborators.

    It’s a matter of taste, because not all people are going to like his directorial style to begin with, but also a question of balance.

    When the formula works out alright, the audience won’t care about a few unanswered questions, a leap in logic or a strange line of reasoning that is left up to interpretation because they aren’t essential to the characters and what their true conflicts are all about.

    But when things don’t go exactly as planned, the “method to the madness” becomes less and less clear in the eyes of the viewers and the rough edges tend to drag everything down (Code Geass R2 being the best/worst example thanks to the rushed production, creative compromises and a change in plans between seasons, but I’d say you can still make some sense out of it).

    In the case of Infinite Ryvius though, I think the relatively restricted and isolated setting helped make things clearer as the show progressed because there was far more time to get to know the characters as individuals within an ensemble cast, and less room for other distractions…but I’m sure your mileage may vary.

    Fun fact: I believe there was even Japan-only re-release of Infinite Ryvius where all of the space scenes have no sound at all, in true-to-life Planetes fashion, and the BGM itself was re-arranged or re-recorded.

  5. I got the first DVD of Ryvius for free by winning a RightStuf contest years ago, and that show bored me senseless. I think I managed to finish three episodes before giving up.

  6. Since I mostly talked about the director himself and not the series in particular…I suppose it’s worth posting, as my final comment on the subject, a link to a review of the first disc of Ryvius that acknowledges both the positives and negatives of the show:

    http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/review/infinite-ryvius/dvd-1

    I’d say my own position is a combination of this and what Jack has already posted above.

  7. Booooourns… bring back the epic 3hr long podcasts. Any true AWO fan should be able to take it straight up!

    Great show by the way and neat feature with the guest appearance on the site (now I don’t need to scour the web for my Gerald fix)

  8. Fun fact: IKKI, in its planning stages as a magazine concept, considered calling itself PULP Japan, after the U.S. magazine–which, near the end of its existence, ran a bit of IKKI’s No. 5. Stores with stock (not necessarily staff ^_^) like Kingyo Used Books can be found in the neighborhood of the Shogakukan and Shueisha headquarters; if Mandarake doesn’t have an old book or magazine, it’s certainly worth checking around there.

    • Would that be in Jimbocho? We did make a circuit through there but most of the stores in that area were closed even days after New Year, so there weren’t too many we could actually check out. Not sure when I can make my next trip, but I’d like to make a note to swing by those stores. There’s some older things I want to hunt down and while old shonen and even gekiga/experimental stuff (like issues of COM or Garo) seem reasonably easy to find at Mandarake, supplies of older shojo seem a bit less comprehensive.

      Of course, right now one of the things I’m trying to look into is pre-Showa 24 group shojo and that’s old enough that it might either be impossible to find or too expensive for my price range.

      • Exactly, the area around the Jimbocho intersection. Besides fans, people who work for manga companies are naturally major customers for old manga. Of course, you can also find used books and prints of all sorts in the area, including Angura posters from the 1960s and 70s, and works from the Edo period.

        Considering that manga readers tend to throw away their magazines (imagine U.S. comics fans simply throwing away their comics after reading), it makes those odd surviving issues that turn up in those little bookstores oddly poignant. It occurs to you that it’s probably for the best there are so few of them, as the idea of trying to stock complete runs of a manga magazine, or anything like it, would be unthinkable given Japanese shelf spaces. I have a five-foot high stack of Morning in my office–it sounds impressive, until you realize that’s one year’s worth!

  9. Ikki’s best days seem to be behind them sadly, from what I’ve read it started off as an anthology dedicated for the more avant-garde and eccentric mangaka of Shokakugan, they had little to no editorial input and almost complete freedom to do whatever they wanted.
    I can’t imagine stuff like No. 5 and Ryuguden ever being published in any other magazine. Unfortunately a lot of these awesome manga-ka have moved to publishers like Ohta and Enterbrain or in Matsunaga Toyokazu’s case, just quit the industry all together. Which leaves ikki now publishing .//hack knock offs and generic high school romance garbage.

  10. Frankly I can’t see any redeeming traits to Infinite Ryvius and I’m puzzled as to how anyone could find it enjoyable. Tanaguchi seems to swing wildly between excellence (Planetes, Gun X Sword) and trash (Code Geass, Inifinte Ryvius) with no middle ground.

    Leaving aside Hirai’s character designs, the show’s characters were some of the most infuriatingly irrational people I’ve ever seen. I understand that they are all supposed to be children but much of the cast seemed to suffer from wild mood swings and erratic changes in character that were bizarre even for kids. A character might be strong and confident for a few episodes, then collapse into cowardice, then become strong and confident again; not for any particular reason.
    I would have been delighted if Tomino had taken the reigns for the final few episodes. That is the biggest difference between Lord of the Flies and Infinite Ryvius. In Lord of the Flies there seem to be consequences for people actions – namely that people die when society breaks down. The worse that is faced by the kids of the Ryvius is being bullied. Sure, being bullied sucks but bullies are hardly murderers. Infinite Ryvius had no Piggy and it suffers as a result.
    I remember the ship battles being quite good, but since the show refused to divulge any details about their opponents I could hardly care about why the fight was occurring. A new boss ship would appear at regular intervals, usually conveniently timed with some relationship crisis among the children.

    • I think you’ve raised a number of specific issues that are worth addressing in detail.

      Although I’ve admittedly enjoyed most of Taniguchi’s shows myself and have argued against such extreme and polarizing judgments before…they’re really very different in subject matter, genre, intended audience, commercialization and writing quality. Nobody is guaranteed to like all of them and, of course, the phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” surely applies here.

      But it’s ironic that you would say Infinite Ryvius is “trash” and GunxSword is “excellent” because critics tend to have the exact opposite opinion. In fact, there’s a good chance Taniguchi would have never been selected to direct Planetes -let alone anything else- if it wasn’t for Infinite Ryvius putting him on the map to begin with.

      “A character might be strong and confident for a few episodes, then collapse into cowardice, then become strong and confident again; not for any particular reason.”

      I beg to differ. The concept of children or younger teenagers having a weak or outright false sense of self-confidence that crumbles under pressure is exactly what applies here. You might not sympathize with them or their reasons,but the circumstances and their own nature do explain those changes. Their emotional or mental maturity shouldn’t be taken for granted at all.

      This doesn’t necessarily make them the most likeable characters in the world, but they’re appropriate for the kind of story that’s being told. This is ultimately a matter of taste, personal preference and perhaps even misplaced expectations rather than an inherent flaw.

      “I would have been delighted if Tomino had taken the reigns for the final few episodes.”

      I wouldn’t, particularly because the idea that killing off characters at the end of a show is the only possible way to have “consequences for people’s actions” strikes me more as either mild sadism or subconscious nihilism and less of a storytelling necessity.

      I’d say Tomino himself overindulged in it to the point of predictability and repetition. Along the same lines, simply copying Lord of the Flies down to the last detail would have been equally unoriginal and unnecessary. Going in another direction is entirely warranted.

      Now, there were moments in Infinite Ryvius involving the threat of death, bodily harm, trauma or worse -without spoiling what actually did happen to at least one or two characters- but the overall consequences, so to speak, had more to do with how the characters grew or changed as individuals after going through what was a very painful journey. I’d say calling it “bullying” is a superficial way of describing what happened.

      “I remember the ship battles being quite good, but since the show refused to divulge any details about their opponents I could hardly care about why the fight was occurring.”

      While this may not be your cup of tea, keeping the identities and motives of the opposition mysterious or vague for a long time essentially places the viewers in the same boat as the main cast. It must also be said that things were eventually explained too.

      • “But it’s ironic that you would say Infinite Ryvius is “trash” and GunxSword is “excellent” because critics tend to have the exact opposite opinion.”

        Critics can say whatever they like. That does nothing to change my own impression of Ryvius. Although I would amend what I said to say that Gun X Sword was only good while Planetes was excellent.

        “You might not sympathize with them or their reasons,but the circumstances and their own nature do explain those changes. Their emotional or mental maturity shouldn’t be taken for granted at all. ”

        I can understand that children will not react in the same way as an adult, but even taking that into consideration the cast of Ryvius seemed to lack emotional maturity. I think the problem with the show was its massive cast being so unwieldy that no one could have gotten enough time to explain the rationales for their actions. Thus characters either never changed at all and remain as simple archetypes, or changed so quickly as to make them appear unstable.

        “I wouldn’t, particularly because the idea that killing off characters at the end of a show is the only possible way to have “consequences for people’s actions” strikes me more as either mild sadism or subconscious nihilism and less of a storytelling necessity.”

        Oh, it most certainly was sadism. My patience was completely gone by the end of the show and I wanted someone on screen to share in my suffering.

      • Fair enough.

        I don’t mind disagreeing with critics either, but in this case my underlying point was to stress that there is plenty of room for different views and, in particular, specifying Infinite Ryvius was actually well received back in 1999-2000.

        There is no universal obligation to follow such judgments now, no, but they do indicate it’s certainly possible to appreciate the show. Just as you’re entitled to criticize its real or debatable flaws.

        Outside of going into an in-depth character analysis on a case by case basis…I feel we will, likewise, have to agree to disagree about the cast.

        Those that didn’t change were usually in minor roles and those that went through radical mood swings weren’t exactly living the good life without any worries. Isolation from the outside world and internal conflict can definitely promote mental breakdowns among a group of survivors.

        It can be said that the show does go straight for drama and occasionally even frank melodrama, which not everyone is going to tolerate if you originally expected something different. I can understand why you could lose your nerve even though that wasn’t my own reaction.

  11. Thank you very much for reading my email. By just reading two gentlemen’s comment above about Ryvius, which I completely agree, I felt it was worth writing.

    Zegapain’s ending isn’t bad. It is well thought out, and decently satisfying one, I think. Some people would prefer it than the controversial but interesting ending on other shows.
    As long as it follows the mech genre’s tradition, ending has to be the final large battle with action heavy scenes. It is very difficult to make it satisfying, and at the same time, to make it interesting. It was good, but not great just because I had large tolerance for flaws and incompleteness, and I preferred interesting one over satisfying one.

  12. I was under the impression that Blaster Knuckle 1) only really has a short section that is specifically KKK (rather than generic white racist), and 2) takes place in the South, not the West, and is just drawn to look like the west.

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