Maoyuu Maou Yuusha 08 – The Coming Storm


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As with all things, regardless of how successful you may have been in helping others change their way of life, and even helping in the creation of new trade routes, if this course of action threatens the Hegemony of society then they will inevitably be cast out and labeled as a traitor or a heretic. In the case of Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, this was an obvious conclusion to the work that Maou had been doing in creating localized economies and an independence from centralized government. In Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, demons and by extension the Maou are easy scapegoats that humanity uses to blame for all of their problems rather than take responsibility. But in doing so, various rulers and other nobles are able to prosper from the war and reduce the possibility of popular uprisings due to commonly held beliefs about the nature of demons and what they have done to this world. The constant presence of the demon world, and the ever-present threat of invasion (at least according to central nation and the church) helps to maintain a delicate power balance within the human world. Maou and her new methods of farming, along with the new crop and her increasing power within the Economic Alliance of Free Merchants and Southern Independent Cities (at least in terms of trade) is a clear threat to this power balance. Her very existence, coupled with the miraculous work that she has achieved in Winter Kingdom, including the retaking of Bright Island turns her into a figure that central nation and the church fear. Read more of this post

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT – A question of friendship


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As most people may know, friendship is hardly an exact science; we can’t always choose who our friends are, or even work out exactly why we became friends in the first place. Friendships, while important are also a curious aspect of human interaction and can create lasting relationships, or simply be a brief period in our lives, but one that is no less important than longer lasting friendships or relationships. The central aspect of Haganai is that of building or creating friendships in a highly artificial, and often rather bizarre way. This series brings up some rather fascinating points about friendship and closer relationships in general, and particularly in the context of anime. The majority of high school anime involve a close group of friends, and for the most part we don’t really know why or how they became friends, just that they are, and this is the group that the series will be focussing on. Generally speaking these groups are far from being particularly well known or popular, although they are at least acknowledged in their classes. What we see in Haganai however is the complete opposite; instead of an already formed group of friends we are introduced to a number of different character who for various reasons lack any real human interaction or a deeper friendship with those around them. Read more of this post

Maoyuu Maou Yuusha 07 – Changing the course of history


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The story of Maoyuu Maou Yuusha is more of a retelling of western civilisation than anything else, with the characters of Maou and Yuusha acting as the key figures in the creation of many important, and even essential inventions. Maou is the enlightened one with knowledge that no one else possesses, and an ability to look at what humanity needs in order to survive and create a sustainable society and economy. At the same time, her wish to stop the war is highly idealistic, and arguably futile given humanities propensity towards destruction, conflict and greed. Her wish to stop the war isn’t wrong, because as we have already seen throughout the series so far, this particular war, one without end or even beginning has caused hardship and strife throughout the human and demon realms. But her goal is almost too grand to ever be fully achieved, and yet, to even wish for, and strive towards such a goal will bring about the necessary changes to help stop, or at least slow down the circle of violence between demons and humans.

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Shinbo and Nisioisin – Nekomonogatari and a creative dead end


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I deliberately chose these screenshots as I feel they are representative of Nekomonogatari and to a greater or lesser extent the majority of the Monogatari Franchise.

Most should know of Shinbo Akiyuki and Nisoisin, they have both been involved with numerous projects that have been highly successful for one thing, and they are also well known for their particular style in directing and writing. However, over the past couple of years, it has become increasingly obvious that this director and writer seem to have hit a creative dead end, as can be neatly demonstrated in the stupid, pretentious, and downright offensive works that have been released recently. Nekomonogatari in particular neatly demonstrates some of the significant problems that these individuals have come across, while also showing us how little they have really changed despite their success, and arguably because of their success. With Nekomonogatari we are perhaps seeing the inevitable conclusion of their creative vision, a OVA film that lacks any substance and instead focuses entirely on the sexualisation of its female characters, while working under the pretence of a deeper, more complicated story. It is an OVA that helps to demonstrate what is wrong with Nisioisin’s writing style at the moment, while also showing us how little Shinbo has really progressed since his earlier works. Read more of this post

Maoyuu Maou Yuusha 06 – The Curse of the Strong


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The reasons for war are never really clear, partly because there are numerous reasons for a country or nation to go to war, and these reasons largely depend on the time, place and society. Also, even when war is declared it is important to note that different social and political groups may support or advocate for war for numerous different, and often contradictory reasons. Then of course we have the tricky area between the public perception of war, with state propaganda and the real reasons that a state or nations leaders will choose war over other courses of action. If we look at wars during the Middle Ages and beyond they happened for a number of reasons (at least according to historical documents, that are in many cases highly biased and must be taken with a grain of salt, even if the grain is pretty big) ranging from religious to economic. The crusades for example happened not just because of religious beliefs, but because of economic and social issues in Europe, with the crusades themselves acting as a means with which European rulers deflected attention from their countries problems by focussing on the apparent need to destroy ‘infidels’ in the Holy Land. While the conflict, at least in historical records is framed in terms of the religious significance of Jerusalem and other neighbouring territories, there are also elements of the states involved responding to political and social movements within their own countries, and the church itself. Read more of this post

Tamako Market – Looking at the world through the eyes of a talking bird


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Tamako Market is a fascinating series largely because of how normal it is, with the characters going about their daily lives without having to contend with demons, magic or giant mutated monsters or aliens from outer space. The very presence of Dela Mochimazzi is also rather curious because of how normal a talking bird is in the context of this series; far from being weird or out of place he has quickly become just another character in the Market. The normal world that we see in this series is however a highly romanticised one; we never see any crime, violence or social disharmony; instead everyone goes about their businesses and generally remains happy. In many respects Tamako isnt necessarily the main character of the series, rather the community of shop and business owners in Tamako Market make up the single most important character, or more accurately existence within the series. Tamako and her friends are a part of this community of traders and we are given a glimpse into their lives through her families business and everything that revolves around it. Read more of this post

Maoyuu Maou Yuusha 05 – Living in another world


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As Maoyuu Maou Yuusha has progressed it has become increasingly clear that while the war between the demon and human worlds helps to maintain the balance of power, it is also a cause of many hardships and strife. Numerous kingdoms and groups are all attempting to make as much from this war as possible, with the conflict used as justification for their policies and attitudes. We have already seen the naked ambition of Seinen Shounin with regards to the knowledge, and by extension power that Maou possess, however, now we are seeing the ambitions of Economic Alliance of Free Merchants and Southern Independent Cities and their wish to control trade routes on land and at sea. But, to do so they need to retake Bright Island from the demons that hold it, and true to form they are also helping to supply various armies and fleets in order to bring their dream of a fast trade route to fruition. The Alliance aren’t the only ones who benefit from this war however, with other countries and nations maintaining a strong military and political presence due to their role in providing arms and men for the war effort. They are however away from the fighting and arguably exist in another world where they can sit back and see what happens rather than take part in any form of fighting directly. Read more of this post