Violet Evergarden: The Movie

Last night, I finally got to watching something I’ve been putting off for a few years. Because on one hand, Violet Evergarden is one of my favorite anime and on another, the synapses suggest a box of tissues potentially required. Which is kind of true of the series as well, but also well worth it.

I kind of love how Violet’s story is overlaid with the future. A young woman named Daisy learns how her recently deceased grandmother Anne had received a letter from her own mother every year on her birthday for fifty years, and that they were penned by who at the time was a very famous Auto Memory Doll named Violet Evergarden. Reading them, she understands so much more about the one she’s lost and then she sets out to discover just who this Violet Evergarden was, and in turn manages to put her own feelings into a letter to her parents once she reaches the end of her journey.

Violet, I think is a superb case of character development and the movie finally brings it full circle both as a character and as a story. In the series when we’re introduced to Violet, she’s like a void; an empty slate where human emotion should be. By helping other people express their true feelings, she grows as a person and manages to do some very good things along the way. The side story of the boy Yuris serves to show just how special the CH Postal Company is compared to simply scribing and delivering mail, and serves as a great close to the era of the Auto Memory Doll.

When unexpected means brings Violet and Hodgins to the Island of Ekarte in search of Gilbert, Violet very much captures human emotion and how much the character has grown since we first met her at the beginning of her story. Violet’s feelings about seeing Gilbert again, and her reaction when she finally does are beautiful renditions of what it’s like to be a human being. Violet’s reaction when a young boy on the island describes the nice man that serves as their teacher, who happens to be missing both an arm and an eye, are perhaps some of the best renderings of the character’s expressions–as she becomes certain that the one she loves still yet lives.

I mostly think of Violet Evergreen’s story as one about people’s true feelings reaching the people they wish to express them to and that’s why it’s so poignant. And with the movie, we finally have the chance to see Violet and Gilbert’s true feelings reach each other rather than being cut by loss.

Plus, the story deals with the most important words of all, 愛してる (I love you), so what isn’t there to enjoy? 🙂

Revisiting one of my favorite anime, I’m again saddened that we’ll likely never see translations of the original Light Novels. I tend to enjoy stories that take tropes, and turn them on their ear, and Maoyu is one of those. But more than that, I think it takes a more unique tack than most stories.

The Hero goes to slay the Demon Lord, and it quickly derails when he’s trying to slice down the archnemesis and she keeps side-stepping the sword and saying hello in greeting, 🤣. It’s kind of a classic trope for a confrontation to the death to erupt from two such forces meeting. But it quickly flips over when faced with two key problems: if the war suddenly ends, it’ll be calamity for all and if either side wins, it spells doom for the other. Rather than fighting, they pledge each other to the other and seek the other side of the hill, that undiscovered country where both their dreams may be found–peace.

Thus the Demon Lord becomes the Crimson Scholar, finding ways for humanity to avoid the starvation and economic collapse the war’s end would cause; and the Hero becomes the Black Knight, cutting down foul human and demon alike to create a world where both sides may come together. But of course since peace isn’t challenging enough they must also face forces that would see the war continue in perpetuity for the sake of lining their own pockets.

I think that tropes are tropes for a reason. Like romantic comedies and action movies, both genres are full of tropes. The couple will end up together. The good guy will triumph over the villain. Yada, yada. Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes tropes make for a nice cheesy goodness; there are reasons why the patterns repeat themselves, because we enjoy the journey not just the results. Yet that also means deviating from those established patterns in amusing ways, can be quite a pleasant result.

Catching up with Tensura

It’s taken a while to pivot from Baldur’s Gate 3 marathoning to other things, like cleaning and organizing my garage 😅. But one of those pivots has been ripping the Blu-rays I bought for Christmas and feeding them through Handbrake after MakeMKV is complete. Two of the things I bought for Christmas was season 2 of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime (aka Tensura) parts 1 and 2, and The Sleepy Princess of Demon Castle. The former being a series I’m especially fond of and the latter a series that I find especially amusing.

Deciding to splurge on the special edition of Tensura season 2, I decided to finally thumb through the booklet that came with the part 2 disc set. I had gone through the art cards on Christmas, but filed the booklet for later. Concept art, information, interviews, etc. Quite a nice value add IMHO.

The part that surprised me most however was the interview at the end with Fuse sensei, the author of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime. Much to my surprise, he had a different plan for the demon lord awaking arc that became featured in season two of the anime. A vital part of Rimuru’s evolution into a demon lord, revolves around Falmouth’s attack on Tempest killing a hundred of his people, including his secretary Shion who died defending their people. Having a roughly 3.14 percent chance of resurrecting them is what leads to Rimuru becoming a demon lord, and quite frankly, Shion is integral to the entire story arc. Doubtless, Rimuru would still do anything to save his people but it’s Shion’s death that makes the resurrection business so compelling as a story.

From having browsed the wiki, I had learned of Shion’s fate well in advance of reaching that part of the novels, or even season two of the anime. Otherwise I would likely have been very pissed at that leaping off point in the anime’s air dates. What I didn’t know, is Fuse had different plans for what was to follow. Apparently, people were to become mistrustful of Rimuru leading to a bad end to the series where Shion is killed again. But thanks to reader feedback (and the knowledge that he would be called a demon :D), Fuse sensei apparently decided to take a different tack and that’s part of why Tensura carries on considerably longer.

As much as I’ve enjoyed the series’ many arcs, and found Shion’s return to be one of the better “Serious” sides of the series. I think, if Fuse sensei had gone with his original direction, he would have found a lot of anger — I sure as hell would be pissed, and quite frankly, I’ve tried not to grok at what lays too much further ahead in the series, because there’s a whole lot of novels to catch up on!

On the flip side, this makes me think about Team Reborn, or the Purple Victory Team made up of the one hundred resurrectees. Kind of like a royal guard under the command of Rimuru’s Number One Secretary and Personal Body Guard, aka Shion. I kind of imagine if we lost Shion again for a bad end to the series…well, a bunch of people in purple would be quite upset with our dear author. My thought at reading about this in the booklet’s end interview was, “I’d throw a sock at him” 😂 and being very glad that Fuse sensei apparently considers reader feedback.

To say that Shion is my favorite character in Tensura would be fair. I’ve now named four devices after characters in the series (Rimuru – a demon lord class desktop, Veldora – it’s stronger big bro, Benimaru – a red iPhone, and most recently, Shion my laptop). In naming my laptop Shion, there were kind of three factors to that. One of course, is the favorite character meets most used devices factor. Another is that my laptop kind of functions much like a secretary to my desktop, which happened to be named Rimuru. And of course, thirdly there’s the fact that the “Midnight” shade of Apple’s M2 MacBook Air reminded me of Shion’s stylish purple business suit.

So, yeah, I’m quite fond of the character 😝

Remarks on The Slime Daries – S01E6 – Changes

This week’s episode of Slime Diaries basically had me bust a gut from the first scene.

Shizu’s spirit comes to visit Tempest for Obon, and comments that she’s heard rumors that Rimuru now has a human form similar to her own appearance. Oh, how embarrassing! Clue Rimuru dressed as a bunny girl, crying and running away from Shion and Shuna, whom are chasing him with a swimsuit and maid outfit.

As usual a multitude of amusing stories, but this joke basically runs through the entire episode. Again with the three adventurers visiting the town to pay their respects, and ask Shizu to continue watching over them. In walking off discussing having dreamt of Shizu, we learn that it involved her running in a bunny outfit and their thoughts on how well that suited her. If a ghost could die of embarrassment, I’m pretty sure Shizu-san would, lol.

The view of Shizu watching Rimuru and the others at the festival, is a beautiful and heart warming render. After which a good short summary of her life is inserted. That’s quickly followed up by a cut to Rimuru in front of a mirror, again being tormented by Shion and Shuna. I kind of like the final scenes where Rimuru pays his own respects, and the “Tell that to them” moment pops up, hehehe.

Slime Diaries is definitely an amusing spin off 😃

As it turns out there seems to be more upsides to building a demon lord class machine than expected. A while back, I discovered the massive improvement this makes in H.265/HEVC encoding times.

Series currently running has been averaging about 6 minutes per episode, since it’s one that’s more talky and less stabby than some. But the interesting thing is the responsiveness. See, Centauri could do video encoding at a modest pace but HandBrake would render the desktop hardly usable and nicing it out to take over the whole system didn’t help much because there was no head room above the encoding. Thus leaving the system rather lethargic even if you tried to keep it usable. Rimuru, just doesn’t care.

Rimuru on the other hand remains functional and responsive despite running full bore, it’s spare cycles just breeze through. To the point that I was able to pipeline my work by having MakeMKV start ripping the second disc while the first was still encoding in HandBrake. I couldn’t even tell that my system was under load, as opposed to the “Gah, I’ll come back in half a day” approach that Centauri could offer.

 Watching The Way of the Househusband on Netflix, and my initial thoughts: “Oh my fuck, this guy is awesome”. A few episodes in, and I’m already tempted to check if the manga has any English digital releases.

Mobile Suit Gundam Anime That Started It All Launches on Crunchyroll.

Now there’s a surprise. Crunchyroll has long had plenty of Gundam series available, but I don’t recall anyone carrying the original series. Thus why /dev/shelf contains the Blu-ray 😉.
Don’t think that I’ve watched the entire series from end to end in a decade plus. But it’s definitely one worth watching. I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of the animation style from back then, so much as Gundam’s One Year War era.

 Sometimes it’s hard to gauge whether he’ll hath frozen over a few more degrees, or if I should be hopeful.

Crunchyroll’s Fire TV app has been upgraded to “2.0”, making an experience more like what their iPad app has been like for quite a while now. Even more so than the redone Xbox One app from a while back, but that’s probably because Android and iOS have more in common.

Being less useful to me, I don’t use the iPad app much unless I’m working around bugs in the old Fire TV app, like how it would like to only list partial data; like showing several European dub and omitting the English sub version from the UI.

Thus far the new app doesn’t seem to have any obvious bugs, and brings the more useful data set the iPad app does. Somewhat slow, but hey, at least the fucker works. I’m usually just glad if their (often crappy) apps work without death by buggy crash happy software.

Of course my test of the app? KonoSuba!!!