Sukitte Ii na yo 08 – Romance for Beginners

The importance of being true to yourself and understanding that being in a relationship isn’t necessarily an easy thing was finally realised by our main characters in this weeks episode. Throughout the series Yamato has come across as good-natured but also incredibly dense. His kindhearted nature and willingness to get along with everyone has its good points but ultimately lead to a near breakup with Mei. There continues to be a fine line between kindness and simple ignorance with Yamato frequently crossing it with regards to his relationship with Megumi. It is this relationship in particular that has caused the most drama and problems for everyone, with Yamato demonstrating how little he really understands about human emotions or relationships in recent episodes. However, to label him as the only one at fault would be wrong because the current problems that both Yamato and Mei are going through are a product of both their and Megumi’s attitudes and ways of approaching life and their own relationships. Read more of this post

Psycho-Pass 07 – A Stress Free Society, Apparently

The idea that the Psycho-Pass system was a way of lowering stress levels in society is an intriguing notion, and while it doesn’t really stand up to the evidence that recent episodes has provided it is nevertheless fascinating. The reasoning within the series is that Psycho-Pass eliminates stress, and yet, as we have seen, the system itself doesn’t eliminate anything, but instead controls it though a series is tight checks and regulations. No system can truly eliminate stress within society, and anyone that claims otherwise probably doesn’t understand society or even the system. What the Psycho-Pass system does do is control society wide stress levels through a series of (arguably) arbitrary checks and levels in order to make it more manageable. This is rather similar to every society at the moment, with various different activities used to relieve stress so that you do not allow it to build up to exploding point. Read more of this post

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! 08 – Acceptance

The complicated nature of Chuunibyou and the main characters of Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai was once again explored in this episode, although the focus was on Rikka and her growing relationship with Yuuta. Chuunibyou as an idea and a ‘problem’ is clearly far more complicated that the first episode of Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai would have you think. It is something that hides an immense amount of emotional and psychological turmoil within which various characters and people move. Within the series it has become clear that Rikka’s Chuunibyou is a way for her to escape from the truth, a means with which she can continue to believe that her father is alive and that her family still exists as she once remembered it. Her various role-playing games with Dekomori can therefore be viewed to have a dual meaning. They clearly incorporate an element of fun, with Rikka and Dekomori enjoying themselves and pulling everyone along for the ride, but they are also a continuation of her on-going struggle to come to terms with her father’s death. Read more of this post

One-Dimensional characters and plot flaws in Psycho-Pass

Psycho-Pass presents a fascinating world, a vision of a dystopian society within which your every thought can be tracked and quantified. It presents us with a highly stratified and controlled society where simple test scores can determine where you work and what your life will be like. The ideas that Psycho-Pass presents are therefore all potentially very fascinating, but at the same time, none of them are unique or new to this series. This in itself is not especially terrible though as every anime, film, music album and so on has in some way taken inspiration or ideas from another. That the issues in Psycho-Pass can be found in Ghost in the Shell or any Phillip K. Dick book is hardly surprising, especially given the wide-ranging influence of Philip K. Dick on the science fiction genre. There is however one distinct problem, Psycho-Pass hasn’t made any of these ideas its own, they have been borrowed almost wholesale in some cases and simple pushed into a space that will fit. Read more of this post

Sukitte Ii na yo 07 – Hiding Away

It would be very easy to suggest that the problems Mei is currently facing were the fault of Megumi, but in reality the situation is more complicated. The appearance of Megumi has certainly had an effect on the group dynamics within the series. Her appearance and status as a well known and popular amateur model give her the sort of presence that Mei lacks, and she is also relatively open about aiming for Yamato (at least she is open to Yamato himself). The group of friends that Mei has slowly been acquiring has therefore been invaded in a sense, and with the appearance of Megumi, the activities that they want to do have changed. Before there is the assumption that this group may not do things that Mei dislikes, and instead focuses on other activities, but Megumi has changed all of this. She is a straightforward and very strong willed character, someone that pushes forward and in a way gets exactly what they want through the strength of their character. Her appearance has therefore changed the way this small group of friends works, with characters like Asami and Kenji all to happy to be associated with her. Read more of this post

Psycho-Pass 06 – Behind closed doors

Someone who can play the system, find the loopholes, the blind spots and the flaws will always remain anonymous. They are the kind of person who can work from the shadows, or if they are particularly good, in plain sight of those who are supposed to be keeping the peace. In particular, when you are presented with a system such Sibyl or even the Psycho-Pass system, there are numerous ways with which to use and manipulate it for your own ends. That the system is heavily and perhaps inherently flawed may be obvious to many, but it is the faith that inspectors like Ginoza place upon such a system, which may ultimately lead to its and their own downfall. There are simply too many ways with which it can be manipulated and used for other purposes, and in reality, the system is restricting the ability of those who wish to catch the criminals. In particular, this and episode three help to demonstrate how the system is not all encompassing and how the state has created numerous areas free from the influence of the internet and therefore not connected to the Sibyl system. These areas are created for a specific purpose, and the government appears to perceive them as neutral areas, or at least those that they can easily control. Read more of this post

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! 07 – Living in a Dream

Rikka has always been a curious character, not because of her personality as the wielder of the Tyrant’s Eye, but because of everything that has gone unsaid. We know very little about who she truly is behind the mask that she has created, and even less about her past. The reasons for her Chuunibyou have slowly begun to make sense of course, with Rikka placing a great deal of importance in the hobby group and everyone that has gradually gathered around her since the start of the series. As I have explored in previous posts, the entire concept of Chuunibyou is both interesting and arguably flawed. As a word and means with which to describe a series of factors largely based around adolescence it doesn’t allow for the necessary complexities of this period in life when trying to explain why certain people act in particular ways. The major problem with the term is that it tries to cover too much, an instead is used to describe the weirder end of the spectrum – characters like Rikka, Dekomori, and even Nibutani and Yuuta. Read more of this post

Sukitte Ii na yo 06 – Judging a book by its cover

As anyone who has watched romance anime and in particular shoujo anime before, the most recent developments wont be much of a shock. The appearance of a beautiful rival to Yamato’s affections, while slightly cliché works rather well with the story that Sukitte Ii ya no tells. At the core of Sukitte Ii ya no is a story about the frailty of human emotions and how superficial relationships can be if they are based purely on physical appearances. Mei is certainly not the most beautiful character in the series, and the numerous other girls who flock to Yamato outdo her in this respect, but she has demonstrated the dangerous nature of simply believing what you see. Mei has been capable of seeing through the superficial nature of many people, and although she has yet to fully trust anyone you get the impression that she truly wants friends and people whom she can trust and enjoy her life with. Read more of this post

Psycho-Pass 05 – Illusions and Reality

Over the past couple of episodes Psycho-Pass has introduced numerous new concepts dealing with the overlap between the virtual and real worlds. For many the virtual world is an extension of who they are, with highly crafted virtual personalities evident across the Internet. For some these avatars are merely a way of communicating to a wider audience, while for others they can become an escape, a new start, carrying with them an element of anonymity and the promise of creating a new self, different from the real world. In this respect the boundaries between the virtual and real worlds become blurred, with many seeing the virtual world as more real than others. What Psycho-Pass has been dealing with though is the issues surrounding the theft of virtual identities and the idea that given the right information anyone can take your space. Read more of this post

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! 06 – A mans hair is his life!

As we have seen throughout Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai, the delusions and general role-playing of Rikka and Dekomori have played a large part in moving the story forward. Their pretend fight scenes become the centre of the episode, with other elements seemingly moving around them as if these daydreams have a gravitational pull. But, it is what happens around these trips into the fantastical that provide the backbone of the story, fleshing out its characters and allowing the delusions to exist. Interestingly, this episode lacked the grand fantasy realm or otherworldly visions that have become common place in the series so far. Instead it focussed on the club and the characters that take part in the strange rituals that only characters like Rikka, Dekomori and Kumin could dream up. Read more of this post