Uchuu Sentai Kyuuranger Space 9

“Wish… upon a star!”

I wish Shou had kept that line.

The writer for this series clearly knows their Super Sentai tropes, as they were able to carefully navigate the concept of bangai heroes to give us what seems to be a core team member but also still seems to be a bangai hero.

Not only is this series very well-written in the basic technical sense – continuity is tight, it is entertaining, there are no plot holes to speak of, the dark and light scenes are really well-balanced – they also clearly have the attitude that this is, first and foremost, a Super Sentai series. People describing it as being like a “knock-off” are absurd – this is the most Super Sentai-y Super Sentai series since Kaizoku Sentai Goukaiger!

I really do love Shou Lonpou in general, now, not just his craziness. His hammer, scissors, paper trick on Lucky was just brilliant, as are his interactions with Kotarou. I find it hilarious how the whole team just accepts Kotarou’s presence – Hame was surprised to see him on ORION when she got back, but didn’t even really question it. It isn’t even an oversight in the writing, because Kotarou acknowledges its weirdness multiple times.

Stinger’s resting bitch face continues to amuse me, as I am an RBF sufferer myself.

The flashback with Supreme Commander Big Bear was a bit chilling. This series clearly has no fear to go dark, and dark series are often my favourites (Timeranger!), but when you go from very light to very dark very quickly, it can seem even more dark than it really is – and I am sure that was the intention.

And, hey, it let us finally know how Shou Lonpou got his awesome coat!

It strikes me that the Rebellion commanders could easily pass for commanders in the Space Police from Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger. I hope there is a crossover episode when the Space Squad movies come out, where we learn that that is, in fact, what they are – continuing to fight against Jark Matter from within once their sectors of the galaxy have been conquered. The Kyuurangers’ have already indicated a lack of knowledge of Earth, so that could easily explain why Shou Lonpou didn’t phone Doggie Kruger the minute he got to Earth for backup. And since Jark Matter is operating from multiple locations on Earth, we could also easily have the Dekarangers and Gavan say they’ll go fight them elsewhere.

Anyway. Awesome series. Probably my second favourite now.

Eureka Seven Vol.4

Writer: Kataoka Jinsei
Penciler: Kondou Kazuma

Another vast improvement.

Despite the fact that a lot of things still haven’t been explained – I really think the creators expect you to watch/have watched the anime – the story is becoming increasingly engaging. I really care about most of the Gekko State characters, and even Dominic Sorel, and want to know what happens next.

Anemone is becoming quite scary, primarily because of the mystery surrounding her. But I do think this would be less so if I watched the anime.

The plot sounds more and more like a Final Fantasy game each volume. This could easily have been based on Final Fantasy VII, but with the flying, tech bent of some of the more recent FF games.

I don’t know what exactly has changed with the art, but it is now quite easy to follow what is happening. Part of that, though, may be me understanding more of the story and the characters, so I know what I’m actually looking at.

Yes, I would like things to be explained more clearly and fully, but I am nonetheless invested enough that I really want to see how it all ends.

And then go watch the anime.

Eureka Seven Vol.3

Writer: Kataoka Jinsei
Penciler: Kondou Kazuma

Wow, that was much better!

Not only did much more stuff happen in this volume, but it was clearly explained in the dialogue. The artwork was also waaaaaaay more clear. I still found it hard to follow anything involving LFOs, but generally, I understood 10x more going on here than in either previous volume.

We also finally got answers! We sort of know a bit more about Eureka and Anemone! We have a sense of what Nirvash might be! We know who Dewey is! We know stuff about the Thurston family!

It has only taken three volumes, but we know what we should have learned in the first half of the first volume.

The best bit? It also explained what had been going on in the previous two volumes, especially the first. Holland explained what shocked everyone when Renton was inside Nirvash for the first time (I couldn’t get it from the first volume’s art) and we learned that Eureka crashing the Nirvash at the Thurstons’ mechanics’ yard wasn’t a coincidence!

Whew. Now that things have been explained I feel way better about the series. It is exciting, the characters are cool, and I really want to know what happens next – especially now that I can follow the art!

Eureka Seven Vol.2

Writer: Kataoka Jinsei
Penciler: Kondou Kazuma

That was even harder to follow than the first volume. The art remains the largest barrier – it is very, very difficult to tell what is going on a lot of the time. But the translation is also unhelpful. It seems the writing expects you to already have some familiarity with Eureka Seven – i.e., the anime. So even when translated well, things are a bit confusing. But the translation here is often quite weak, so it just gets harder and harder to know what’s going on and why.

It also didn’t help that in the middle of this volume Renton and Eureka end up inside a “Coralian” and things there were deliberately very confusing; combine that with the confusing art and confusing translation and I was lost for a large chunk of the volume.

This volume did, however, introduce Anemone and Dominic. I like Dominic, but he seems a bit creepily in love with Anemone. I increasingly want to know why Dewey was locked up, too – he seems like a very interesting character, but we’re only getting weird, random views of him.

Once again, the manga focused a bit too much on young mens’ underwear. Maybe the anime explains it, or maybe the mangaka are just creepy. Not that I’m complaining about Holland spending so much time being nearly naked, mind you… 😉

I am now hooked by the story and want to know what happens next, but the manga still has its weaknesses.

XX (2017)

Screenplay by: Various
Directed by: Various

Uh… ok.

Four films! Directed by four women! I don’t know if women wrote them though – one I know was written by Jack Ketchum. No idea who wrote the others.

But they do all have one thing in common: their leads (all female) act like idiots.

The Box, the first tale, features a woman whose son looks in a stranger’s box on the train. He says there was nothing in it, but refuses to eat and starts losing weight. Then he tells his sister what was in it, and she refuses to eat and starts losing weight. Then he tells the dad was in it, and he refuses to eat and starts losing weight. Then the woman has a dream that they kill and eat her. Then all three die and she starts riding the train looking for the stranger.

The first problem is that they take a heck of a long time to starve to death. The second is that the woman takes ages to take the kid to a doctor, and doesn’t appear to follow up at all until they’re about to die. Any sensible person would take them to a doctor, who would force-feed them.

In Don’t Fall, people go to a rock in the desert and get eaten and the woman just screams. Or something. It was hard to follow and didn’t involve falling.

In The Birthday Party, a rich woman’s husband kills himself the morning of their daughter’s birthday party. Rather than call 911, or tell the housekeeper to take the kid away while it is dealt with, or whatever, she keeps dragging the body around the house, narrowly avoiding discovery. When a guy in costume arrives to perform at the party, she buys his costume, dresses the corpse in it, and has it sit at the table. At the end, the kids take the costume head off and scream (she tries to stop them).

Um… why not call 911? Or put him in a closet? She actually hides in a closet with the body at one point. If she didn’t want to ruin the kid’s birthday (which is still pretty weird – priorities, people) why not leave it there or something?

In Her Only Living Son a woman’s kid may or may not be the child of the devil. When he acts like an arsehole she expects other people to discipline him, but when they don’t and say he’s “special”, she never asks why. Later he’s an arsehole to her and she tells him a story. I completely zoned out at that point. It is possible that she knew or at least suspected he was the child of the devil, as she mentions them having to get away from these weird people in the past, but she seemed to just act normal until shit hit the fan.

So… the thing we should learn from these films about female leads, directed by females, is that females behave stupidly in every situation. Or something?

Get Out (2017)

Screenplay by: Jordan Peele
Directed by: Jordan Peele

This film was just plain awful. But I still liked it, somehow.

The first half of the film was racist towards white people. The second half was racist towards black people (and still a little bit racist towards white people). It tried to be funny, but failed in an epic manner. It tried to be scary, but failed in an epic manner. It tried to be interesting… but failed in an epic manner.

It was really just The Stepford Black Guys.

The film was a bit disconcerting, as I couldn’t tell if some of the racist stuff was deliberate, in an effort to make some sort of insightful comment, or if the creators were just that ignorant.

Really, there is absolutely nothing to like about this film, in any way. Bad writing, bad acting, bad directing. Everything.

But still… I liked it.

Weird.

I doubt I’ll ever watch it again, though.

Uchuu Sentai Kyuuranger Space 8

Oh my gosh!

I loved this episode so darn much. Finally, Spada is growing on me; Yellows are usually my favourites, but there are (at least) two kinds of Yellows: the kind food ones (like KiRanger from Goranger) or the sassy, tough ones (like MagiYellow from Magiranger). I like most Yellows, but tend to prefer the latter… and he seemed definitely in the former.

The reason I tend to like Yellows, especially the latter type, is because… they are often played by really pretty people. I guess. But there’s another reason! They tend to look at things for themselves rather than just toeing the line. Spada hasn’t done much of that; his role appeared to be subsumed by Stinger (sort of giving us both types of Yellow in one series). But here, he finally came into full Yellow glory…

… but got it completely wrong.

I do very much empathise with him. If you know how much I love the (pre-BENDIS!) Avengers, you know my favourite storylines are The Collection Obsession and The Gatherers’ Saga, which feature Captain America and the Black Knight respectively just doing what has to be done, even though they seemingly can’t.

Here, Spada knew the people had to be fed and protected, so he let nothing get in his way. That’s admirable.

The difference is that when Cap and the Black Knight did it, while they were in grave danger, there was no immediate alternative. Spada had another priority which he just did not weigh up at all, and did not consider the long-term consequences. The other Kyuurangers were in danger – captured! – and unable to fight. If he stayed and fought the Governor and lost, he’d be out of commission, too. Then there’d be no-one to feed and protect the people OR save the galaxy at all.

He should have followed Shou Lonpou’s orders and saved Raptor and Garou (and then Stinger) as quickly as possible – then, if he wanted to, hurry back to fight the Governor.

It’s fine to potentially sacrifice yourself when there’s one clear-cut objective. But when there are two or more objectives, and you’re needed in more than one place, you need to prioritise. He prioritised very badly, and I’m actually somewhat amazed that Lucky and Hame stayed with him.

I’m also amazed that Ikaagen and Maadakko didn’t kill the other Kyuurangers when they had the chance. When Stinger was holding his tail to Maadakko and Ikaagen popped up, I expected him to cut the tail off, since he had the chance. Nope, but it didn’t stop Spada chopping off Maadakko’s hand! And then they chained up the captured Kyuurangers – and while seeing Stinger in chains is pleasant, why didn’t they just kill them?

I loved the stuff with Kotarou – both Shou Lonpou not being happy that he’s there but then leaving him in charge (the latter incident, I think, was a very depressed statement – he didn’t think he’d be coming back) and then, later, with Lucky asking for Pega-san. It was funny, and it prevented any plot holes forming; we couldn’t reasonably follow this episode without expecting Lucky to ask for Pega-san or another Kyuutama as backup.

I was really happy to see somewhere other than Earth again (I actually hope we get to see each Kyuuranger’s home planet at least once) and thought we’d just see a quick shot of Balance, Nagaa and Champ entering the caves there, then have them later pop back up with the Kyuutama. Instead, we got some hilarious misadventures that really did help the episode overall.

This series really is fantastic.