Shana II, Episodes 19 & 20: Why call it GAR?

Got caught up tonight. I have to say, that while I will not forgive this series for wasting a dozen episodes on high-school hijinks and angst, nor will I give it a good score for the same reason; it has finally gotten off its ass and started kicking some instead. Yuuiji mans up, gets his act together, and lays down some serious smack on a small Tomogara. There’s nothing left of it when he’s done. When the calvary comes flying in, it’s more a matter of him saving them, as he’s figured out the enemy plan. With his information, they put paid to second tomogara. And then the wheels come off, because there is a third. And this one seems to be damn near unkillable.

Sabrac is his name, and he is an assassin among Tomogara — and the reason that the Reiji Maigo is not still a part of Johann. By the end of episode 20, he is the first villain in this series that I have really feared, since Friagné. He may not be as frighteningly insane, and he isn’t nearly as well-rounded (if you could call that madman “well-rounded”). In fact, he’s almost a one-dimensional killing machine. His sneaking admiration for Wilhelmina’s ability to hold him off, and a couple of mannerisms save him from being another Gauron (FMP) though. Make no mistake — admire her or not, he plans to kill her. And so far, he’s well on his way to doing that, having taken Shana and Marjorie (and a fair chunk of Misaki City) out of the battle with his opening attack.

All in all, I’m really looking forward to episodes for the first time since ep.2. The series is still managing to nod towards it’s angsty roots, but manages to keep the action going enough to be interesting.

Now all that is just so I can toss this observation in. In some quarters, the concept of “GAR” has been gaining traction. Endless discussions: What is GAR? Who is GAR? Kamina is GAR. Yuuiji is GAR. Is Lelouche GAR? Mako-cakes wouldn’t know GAR if it bit him on the ass.

I consider this a bunch of nonsense, indicative of the decline of Western Civilization. I read all the GAR this and GAR that, and I scratch my head. I don’t understand why it has to be so complicated. Why do we have to invent absurd terms and throw in a lot of gobbledygook to describe, explain, and/or justify what it means to be a man?

Not “a male.”

Not “masculine.”

A. Man.

Color me old-fashioned, color me reactionary. Maybe I read too damn much RAH when I wad growing up, but I seem to recall there was a time when, if you asked ten men, “if forced to make a choice, would you rather be a live mouse or a dead lion?” nine of the ten would answer, “dead lion.” And at least four of them would stipulate that their foe would be equally dead, under their bloody claws. Even if, in the pinch, three or four of the nine might suddenly choose to be live mice after all, they’d never admit it to themselves ahead of time, for shame.

Today, I don’t think that would be the case. Sometimes I feel like today’s proportions would be one “dead lion,” six “live mice,” and three tedious lectures on how the question indicates the asker is part of an outmoded, jingoistic, male-centric philosophy geared to the oppression of women, minorities, and persons of non-Christian faith.

Whatever. Thank God (or the deity you may or may not believe in) that we’ve still got that one lion willing to defend us.

There’s an old phrase that has been turned into a joke, as a part of eviscerating Western manhood: “A man’s gotta do, what a man’s gotta do.” The original: I know this–a man got to do what he got to do. John Steinbeck (1902 – 1968), The Grapes of Wrath (1939)

Before that was reduced to a not-very-funny example of humor, it encapsulated the entire concept. If you want to be a man, not a sniveling, narcissistic trash heap of self-gratifying, self-justifying, cowardly relativism, then there are things you just have to do whether or not you want to do them. Whether it’s sucking it up and standing by your word even if it costs you, or bringing down the temple walls, or standing with 299 of your best friends in a pass, hoping for relief that isn’t coming while the bodies pile up around you. A man sees what needs doing, and does it. Maybe he does it with style, maybe he doesn’t. Maybe he has panache, maybe he doesn’t. But he does what he does, because he can’t not do it, and still be a man.

Have we become so unfamiliar with the concept of being a man, that we do not even recognize it anymore? Has it become so anathema to our society that we have to sneak it back into vogue under a new guise? Is being a man (and I will state for the record that the definition absolutely does include women) so unusual that we have to give it a new name and enshrine it, almost as a revolutionary ideal?

What kind of man would sneak around in such a manner, instead of declaring himself for all to see?

Since the original phrase has been made an object of ridicule and a joke, perhaps we need a new one to describe manhood, and I for one, would like to nominate one of the variants used by a favorite author of mine in several of his works:

“Here I stand. I can do no other.”

Cut to the chase: GAR = MAN, and be done with it.

This entry was posted in Fansub Review, Random Nonsense, Snap Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Shana II, Episodes 19 & 20: Why call it GAR?

  1. Pingback: Mahou Meido Meganekko » Blog Archive » Stupid Meme Night

Leave a Reply