This Art Club Has A Problem Episode 3 – Lessons to Takeaway

This Art Club Has a Problem Episode 3

Week 3 of Yomu’s collaboration and this week I’m looking at the lessons to takeaway from the episode. Turns out This Art Club Has a Problem is surprisingly deep. Remember you can check out the other posts in the collaboration or get involved by visiting Yomu’s blog.

So let’s begin.

Lesson One – Don’t Make Assumptions

Uchimaki has a problem this week when Colette (who we finally met) tells him she lost her locket with a super precious picture inside. Uchimaki immediately assumes the locket must contain a picture of her parents who apparently went back home and left her in Japan and he visualises an entire tearful farewell scene. This makes him feel kind of stupid when he realises the only thing in that locket is… well watch the episode and find out.

Lesson Two – Some People Just Can’t Be Helped

Still looking for Colette’s locket, Uchimaki does the sensible thing and actually asks her where she’s been. At first she answers but then she suddenly gets super paranoid about what he might do with that knowledge. Honestly, at that point he should have just walked away but I guess we also learn that Uchimaki is either really, really, really nice or he’s a sucker for blondes.

Lesson Three – Some Times You Have To Cut Your Losses

It becomes apparent that Colette has actually not lost her locket, and at the inconvenient moment of right after she all but accused her two club mates of potentially stealing it, and she’s forced into a situation where she has a choice. She could: A – admit that she made a mistake and apologise. B – Pretend she’s a magician summoning her locket. Clearly she chooses option B. The problem is that the lie is apparent and there’s just no saving the situation so she’s just making things worse for herself. You know what they say, know when to hold them, know when to fold them, and know when to walk away.

Lesson Four – Sometimes The Other Person’s Happiness Is Enough

Usami is put in an odd position this week where Uchimaki seems to have lost his inspiration mostly because he can’t think of a hair-style for his latest waifu. After first suggesting a bob (can’t imagine why) she ends up giving him a magazine of reference images of women’s hairstyles (though she isn’t altruistic enough not to post-it note the bob). Still, she was genuinely happy for his happiness as he leafed through the magazine and began to get enthused again.

Lesson Five – If You Are Cornered and Running Isn’t An Option, Sometimes You Just Have To Grin and Bear It

Look at those pained smiles. Usami’s friends visit the art room and then, mostly to mess with her, decide to have a drawing contest of the two. They position her closer and closer to Uchimaki before finally presenting their work. Personally, I think Usami should have chosen to run away when her friends first said they were going to visit the art club but having left it too late, she was trapped with no way out. Nothing for it but to smile.

Finally – If Your Friend Is A Reporter Your Life Is Fair Game (Watch Out)

Yep, they made front page. I think the lesson here is self explanatory though.

And that is it. Six lessons from This Art Club Has a Problem Episode 3. Looking forward to next week’s themes.

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BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT – PREMIUM EDITION
BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT - PREMIUM EDITION

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Friday’s Feature: There Are Many Ways To Appreciate Anime

Anime is…

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I’m certain most of you were finishing that sentence for yourself and I’m absolutely certain that for every reader the answer is going to end up being a little bit different (even if the same word comes to mind). Why? Because even at the individual level, I watch anime for a wide variety of reasons and each anime that I enjoy is enjoyed or appreciated for a slightly different reason. I don’t want every show to feel the same or to look the same and I’m not looking for the same feeling as I move from one show to another.

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Earlier this year I wrote a fairly positive review of Chain Chronicle: The Light of Haecceitas. If I were to compare that particular show on a more objective level to something like March Comes in Like a Lion or, more sensibly given technically they are at least both fantasy based, The Ancient Magus’ Bride, it becomes quite clear Chain Chronicle isn’t that good of an anime. Visually it is quite rough, the narrative has some issues, and most of the cast remain largely undeveloped. Yet, my review emphasises that despite these flaws the show was really fun to watch if you were a fantasy fan. It was entertaining, it hit the right tropes for the genre, and managed to do it without feeling too derivative in the process. I appreciated seeing an unapologetic, non-parody/comedy fantasy world for a change.

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Whereas, the word fun isn’t one I apply very often to March Comes in Like a Lion. I don’t sit down to watch the next episode of that assuming I’m going to have fun and I’m not even looking for ‘fun’. What I’m looking for is emotional resonance and occasionally a cathartic experience. I know that by the end of most episodes I’m going to be a little shattered and have to take a moment to pause and reflect. The smiles I get in the episodes are ones of seeing characters overcome tough situations or find ways to grow despite the hurdles before them. What I also know I’ll get going into an episode is a visual feast for the eyes and beautifully executed visualizations of emotions and inner turmoil. So despite the absence of a ‘fun’ label on this anime, there’s still much to appreciate that appeals to me as a viewer.

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Then, for some reason, there was Days in 2016. An anime about a weedy looking kid with few friends who decided to try out for a soccer team after being invited to play futsal once by a classmate. I hadn’t watched pretty much any sports anime at that point and time and had no real reason to think I was going to like Days. Then I found the optimism of the main character charming and even though the animation quality was questionable (okay, it was mostly bad), the story pretty standard for a sports story really, and a lot of the cast overlooked until it was their turn for an episode, I really enjoyed watching Tsukamoto each week. It was emotionally uplifting and I didn’t have to think too hard about it so it was just a relaxing way to kill twenty minutes each week with enough of a draw to make me look forward to the next episode.

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But sometimes, that isn’t what I want. I really loved ACCA earlier this year (and the first half of KADO) for the simple reason that I didn’t feel like I was being spoonfed a plot I’d seen a million times before. Both seemed to take a slightly different approach to what might have been a fairly generic set-up and both kind of liked keeping the audience in the dark but not in the maddeningly frustrating way that Dies Irae has managed just to baffle with its narrative choices. Basically, they were kind of clever in giving enough information that you could sense they knew where they were going and that eventually an answer would be revealed, but didn’t tip their hands too early. These were both pretty delightful to follow along with and speculate with others as to where the story would end up. They were also the kind of shows that were better to watch when you could discuss them week to week as the guessing was kind of half the fun.

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Overall, there isn’t a single reason why I might like a show or not. Sometimes it is the art and animation that will draw me to a show where normally that isn’t an aspect I pay a lot of attention to other than ‘this is pretty’ or ‘wow, that’s ugly’. Sometimes it will be the theme song that grabs my interest and makes me like a show more than I might otherwise. Sometimes its the characters or the narrative or the themes or it could be mostly anything. I watch shows to be amused, bemused, informed, inspired, shaken, exhilarated, stunned, and pretty much any emotion you can imagine I’m seeking at some point from a show.

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Quite clearly, no single show is going to hit every one of those buttons and nor would I want it to. That would just be a mess. I prefer that when I tune into show A that I know I’ll mostly get such and such a feeling whereas when I go to show B I’ll find something else. I try to sort my watching around that and avoid watching too many shows in the same style close together. I’ve also learned not to watch anything for at least half a day after an episode of March Comes in Like a Lion because that just doesn’t end well.

So what is anime to me?

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Anime is art. It is literature. It is music. It is emotion. It is drama. It is horror. It is a talking point. It is something that can lift me up and can tear me down and sometimes do both in the space of a single episode. It is a reflection of life. It is a doorway to world’s I couldn’t even begin to imagine and characters I can’t conceive. Basically, I love anime and I appreciate even the shows I would declare terrible because while they continue make anime, I know that something will come out that will leave an impression on me one way or the other.

What is anime to you?


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Karandi James.

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Re: Hamatora Series Review

Overview:

The sequel to Hamatora, the story picks up immediately after the events in season 1 so be prepared for a few major spoilers for season 1 if you read on.

Review:

Hamatora is an enjoyable enough story with a bit of mystery, a bit of super powered violence, some friendship stuff and a lot of bright colours. Re: Hamatora is a passable follow up but taken by itself is not a good piece of story telling nor character piece.

Actually, Re: Hamatora falls into traps that many sequels have issues with. Firstly, we ended season one on an enormous cliff hanger.

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Art shot Nice. Nice had finally beaten the crazy serial killer and saved the city and Art shot him point blank (or at least seemed to but of course it happens ‘off screen’). Art was his friend, and a detective, and completely committed to protecting others and the formerly believed to have been killed Art turns up and shoots Nice.

That’s a pretty big finish to a series and is more or less a guarantee that people will come back for a season 2.

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And yet, by the end of episode 1 we might as well say, well, that was pointless and move on with out lives. Nice isn’t dead (given he’s the main character and displayed prominently on the DVD case and pretty much every image of Re: Hamatora) and the motive for playing dead is at best incredibly lame. While we’ll need longer to figure out what is going on with Art and why he took that course of action this would only be a good enough hook if Art’s character had been developed as anything other than the nice guy, powerless do-gooder prior to these events. We don’t care about Art because season 1 gave us no reason to. Art’s death was a shocking moment. It came suddenly and with only a few minutes between the foreshadowing and execution so it definitely shocked, but it wasn’t because we liked Art. It was more the impact his death would ultimately have on Nice and that up until that point we had no reason to believe the killer would target non-minimum holders.

So before season 2 even gets rolling we have a shaky foundation with some questionable choices but the issues don’t stop there for the story.

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The show has always had a vague focus on the discrimination minimum holders and/or normal people face in the world (those with power vs those who don’t) and yet this isn’t actually part of the overall motive for the serial killer, Art, or Nice as all three of these characters are more or less indifferent to the issue. Even Nice who protects others at times doesn’t really see the point of discrimination in either direction and he’s ‘off beat’ enough to just sail through life without really dealing with it. Art on the other hand has more issues with his own inferiority complex rather than an issue with external discrimination. So a major theme that attempts to build some sort of social commentary in this story, and scenes and sub-plots around this dominate whole episodes, but don’t actually link in to the main plot in a cohesive or meaningful manner. It’s more just a backdrop that takes up a lot of time and space.

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Season 2 also sees an increased focus on Hajime (Nice’s friend who he regularly feeds at Cafe Nowhere who seems tough but we haven’t really seen her do anything prior to season 2). While she ultimately gets a really intriguing back story and a great side-story the link back to the overarching plot is again tenuous. Her story does lead to some complications with the powers of the characters and is probably the most interesting of all the stories we see in season 2, but it isn’t enough to carry the whole series.

Re: Hamatora ultimately has a bunch of ideas all competing for attention to the point where you all but forget that dramatic conclusion to season 1 or even what it is the characters were ultimately trying to achieve (if anything).

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Despite the story issues, of which there are many, it is the fact that the characters seem so disconnected from these events and do not seem to undergo much development or growth that really causes it all to come tumbling down. A fragmented story could still come together if the characters drove through the plot and learned from each of their encounters and took something with them. But Nice is apparently perfect from the get go and others just need to see he’s fine. The other characters personalities barely blink over the course of the events and so as an audience member you are not asked to care about any of the goings on but are merely expected to embrace the zany colour pattern (which is intensely bright, even more so than season 1) and the sickening scene transitions.

This is a watchable follow up and it does ultimately answer questions about the school and Minimum Holders and it does end, but honestly there is little point in watching unless you just like anything involving super powers. Because it is not bad. It may not be good but there is fun to be found in watching this just don’t expect anything amazing.


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