Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199 – Episode Nine – Clockwork Prisoner


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After all those episodes focussing on ship warfare, character interactions and growth, there is finally a chance to slow down a little and look at Analyser, the ships robot and sub-computer. I have a soft spot for robot characters, yes they can often be used to explore overly complicated interpretations of what it means to be human, but as characters they can be used to look at the way the rest of the cast behave and act. I particularly like this episode because of its use of the radio as a story telling medium, with narration carried out by Yuria Misaki in the form of a story about automatons, loneliness, and artificial intelligence. I particularly like its use of a classic 1950s style radio in front of books – something of a retro image given the series futuristic setting.  Read more of this post

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu – A Change in the Wind


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Much of Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu has been about following Kikuhiko as he struggles with his feelings for rakugo, feelings that are complicated by his past, and the existence of Sukeroku, a seemingly untouchable rakugo apprentice. He is an uncertain character, one who continuously questions his own choices, and whether he is even capable of truly telling food rakugo. This contrasts with the absolute certainty of Sukeroku, an individual who never practices, and yet continuously produces exceptional performances that have the audience rolling with laughter. Read more of this post

Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199 – Episode Eight – Wish Upon a Star


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This episode provides an excellent, and enlightening look at Gamilas society, especially Desler, the supreme leader of what is effectively a fascist state, complete with symbolism and uniforms that could have come from the 1930s. But then that’s the point, Gamilas is supposed to be portrayed as the great evil next to the good, and just Earth forces – although as with everything, the picture is somewhat more complicated than it initially appears. Read more of this post

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu – A Different Sort of Rakugo


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Throughout the first half of Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, Kikuhiko has spent his time trying to come to terms with his life as a rakugo-ka, often musing on why he is there, and whether he can be a true story teller. His uncertainties are contrasted with the absolute certainty of Sukeroku, who neither wavers, nor questions his current existence, always believing in his story telling ability, and knowing that what he truly wants to do, is to entertain people. Read more of this post

Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199 – Episode Seven – Farewell to the Solar System


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After six episodes of tension, action, and the seemingly never-ending threat of Gamilas attack, episode seven offers a chance to slow down. Whereas previous episodes have tended to focus on the Yamato as a battleship, with lots of mechanical actions, procedure, and the introduction of main characters, this episode explores the crew as a whole, introducing new character dynamics, while reinforcing old ones. Read more of this post

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu – The Seduction of Theatre


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So far Shouwa Genroku Rakguo Shinjuu has been a fascinating glimpse at a period when two Japan’s collide, something that I am particularly interested in. As the series has progressed Tokyo, and the world around Sukeroku and Yakumo (Kikuhiko) has changed, with the old world of the Taisho and early Shouwa periods gradually disappearing, or being consumed by the ever advancing economy and society of post-war Japan. Indeed, we now see the old and the new side by side, jostling for space, which ultimately results in the old losing out. Read more of this post

Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199 – Episode Six – The Sun Sets on Pluto


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This episode picked up where the last one left off, with the apparent sinking of the Yamato on the seas of Pluto. But, we are finally given our first glimpse of Gamilas’ leader, Aberdt Desler, the absolute ruler of the Gamilas Empire, and a very relaxed dictator who views reports on the progress of his conquest to be a simple amusement. With his introduction we have finally seen the face of Gamilas, an autocratic empire that also seems to have a deep connection to Iscander since Desler can see the planet from his palace.  Read more of this post

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu – Blinded by Perfection


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Up until now, Shouwa Genrku Rakugo Shinjuu has largely focussed on the early Shouwa period, a period that saw Japan shift towards an authoritarian, and nationalist regime. It also represents a period where Japan was simultaneously an industrialised, and modern country, while also maintaining a direct link to the more traditional past, with dirt roads, and classical architecture in abundance through the last two episodes. Read more of this post