Quick Shots: Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka

I’m going to start calling a series of articles this, where I don’t do a deep dive but only a quick review based on the first episode or two. Got another coming up for tomorrow, I hope.

Someone’s been sniffing the same glue as Gen Urobochi. Well, the glue that holds his book together anyway, because they’re taking a page from it. Asuka continues the trend from last season in which the stories are a bit more hard-core and the horror is real. Ok, ok…not just last season, I admit. But it’s not the unmitigated horror of Parasyte; it’s more like the mix of traditional “cute” with the edgy violence of Goblin Slayer.

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Safehold: the Snooze-fest.

David Weber’s latest novel in the battle for the future of humanity’s tortured name-spelling has come out, and I’ve finally finished it after three days. That’s not good, for someone who routinely reads such books in a single day.

This novel could have been compressed to a few chapters at the start of the next novel. In fact, I’m going to try to recap it in 25 words or less:

  • Snarky, interchangeable people. Youth romances; old farts die; Charis innovates. Siddemark collapses; elects Democrats. Harchong disintegrates into civil war. FINALLY, the avatar of Schuler appears in Zion…and declares war on Chihiro.

Dammit, 32. Well, everything but that last was just a mish-mash of “who are these people again?” and “Lets waste time with boring stuff and refrigerator moments.” The “inner circle” is now about the size of Tellemark. The SNARC’s and Narhman develop glaring blind spots. No unhappy marriages of state; everyone happily falls in love with their Destined One. Illiterate Harchongese peasants become Republicans overnight. Lots of the usual “David Weber introduces a character for a page and a half, then kills him/her.” He spends half a page giving a background to a woman that’s never seen again.

Really, wasted my money buying a setup to the next arc. That’s all this is. Too many novels in this series are just… wastes. Nothing really happens… shades of Robert Jordan.

Posted in Full-size Novels, The Written Word | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Some of us Had Better Days

Wonderduck didn’t. Just noticed today — that’s what I get for being absorbed in my own problems.

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Follow-up

There’s a “Is it OK to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon” (DanMachi for short) movie coming out February 15th. Looks like we get to see some outdoors action, and a new character.
Story here. Trailer

Hey, you’re not reading this blog for the timely news. Right?

Posted in Random Nonsense | 1 Comment

The Joys of Amazon Prime (Side Story)

I have discovered them, yes I have. So, all in all, I’m pretty much working on getting my act back together, having made it to work a whopping two days last month. Burning vacation like nobody’s business, but at least I had it. Anyway, I’ve been distracting myself with computer gaming, reading, and anime. Having Amazon Prime and being able to grab cheap books on a whim – even Japanese LN’s has been awesome. Two day shipping? Who cares? So I thought, maybe I should check out their video – after all, Netflix had some anime. Lo and behold, after a lot of “page-downing” I ran across Sword Ortorio: Is it Alright to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Side Story Um, Japan, we need to work on brevity here….

So Side Story is about 1/3 the same events we saw in the original series, with a heavier concentration on the Loki Familia and Aiz (or Ais as they translated it.) There’s a scene you may remember in it, where Bell’s been tricked into buying an expensive meal at Mama Mia’s, and the Loki Familia is eating there too. Bete, the werewolf, starts ridiculing “tomato boy”, not realizing Bell Cranel is in earshot. The scene is important to Side Story (where it’s repeated from the Loki POV) because it shows all the focus characters that are in it. Loki, Ais, the semi-twins Tione and Tiona, the boss, the dwarf (both of whose names escapes me) and two elves, one older.

It’s the younger elf that is the other MC. Lefiya, the “Thousand Elf” who can use any spell cast by someone else, as long as she understands it. However, she’s only Lvl 3, and has a huge disadvantage – she freezes in battle. Another third of the story is that she has a YUGE yuri crush on Ais. To make a simple story even simpler, with the support of her teammates, she comes through, and becomes a valuable member. Yay, that. The final third of the story is what’s going on in the deep dungeon, below level 50. That’s another “safe zone” like 17, only it gets invaded by some weird plant-like creatures in the first episode, which Loki Familia ends up defeating. With their weapons mostly destroyed by the creatures’ acid, they call off their efforts and return to the surface, only to be ambushed by minotaurs on level 17. The minos soon realize they haven’t bitten off more than they can chew – their teeth aren’t hard enough to bite this prey. They stampede for the upper levels, one making it to level 5…and the rest is history.

The rest of the story goes like that, with the events of the first series intertwined with the second. While Bell is progressing by leaps and bounds, there is something going on in the deeper levels of the dungeon, below 50. The Loki familia, having four level 6’s (Ais is a 5 but levels up late in the series) is at the forefront of dungeon exploration, having gone deeper than anyone since Zeus (which is hinted to be pre-historical). These days, Uranus is in charge of the dungeon, or rather, regulating it to keep the monsters from reaching the surface. That means he’s in charge of the Guild.

I won’t go further into spoilers, but the series was fun, though disappointing a bit in the end. The Lefiya part of the story was particularly by the numbers, and the big mystery was disappointing in the end. Though it left the door open for further story, there is a connection with Ais and her backstory that just didn’t make sense. I have to hope it is part of a deeply-laid plan by the author, but I don’t think so. The world-building just doesn’t have any amount of logic, rhyme, or reason to it. Therianthropes, humans, dwarves, and elves are all mixed together. Apparently hobbits (not-so-hairy and called “Prum”) exist here; the guild boss isn’t a blond-haired kid, but one of them. We know nothing of other lands outside the city; other nations or why a major section of the city is in ruins.

Still, if the story continues on, either the Bell or Loki sides, I’ll continue watching. It’s a fun show, and Bell’s believably dense about the women around him. Especially the goddess…

Posted in Webcast Review | Tagged | 1 Comment

In Memorium: Lane Domino 1952-2018

I was worrying about the wrong person. My brother passed last night, in his sleep. Like brothers, we fought, we argued, we pulled together, we helped each other. I loved him, he loved me. That’s the way it was, and ever will be.

Posted in Life, etc., The Real World | 4 Comments

I Wonder if Steven Saw Things Like This?

Though he never stated what it was (at least online, and that I’m aware of) Steven Den Beste made note that he was having health problems in his last few years, and that his medicine had side effects that he didn’t care for. But he needed it if he was to have the clarity to blog on anything more important than anime. I don’t have that problem, because there’s no medicine for a slow decline into senility.

I wish I were joking. At least it would only be tasteless. Yesterday I was faced with this evidence, however.

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Posted in Bitching, Life, etc., The Real World | 1 Comment