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Old 2012-04-19, 23:46   Link #261
velocd
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Not much to say that hasn't been said. Very enjoyable episode. I didn't expect any religious undertones in this series (not a manga reader), so I'll be curious how that plays out.
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Old 2012-04-19, 23:50   Link #262
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The translation says "Christians," but Ri-chan's chapel veil and rosary almost certainly makes them Roman Catholics.
Kaoru actually says "Christian"... It's doubtful he'd know the difference in terminology anyway.
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Old 2012-04-20, 00:07   Link #263
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I don't even know what to say, or rather how to say it properly. This show acts as if making a classic is a piece of cake. Once again, my only real complaint is the fact I have to wait another week for another dose.

Everything in this episode kept me highly entertained, as well as amazed at what the episode was able to encompass. If someone were to describe the variety of scenes this episode covered to another they would think it would be rushed, and full of holes. Normally this would be an accurate and justified assumption. Yet this show manages to tie everything together and transition between them so fluidly it's somewhat impeccable.

Simply watch the series of events flow into each other as they unfold. The fight, into the live, into the beach scene. There is no disjoint between these events, and further insights and development of the characters are woven in between as well (the church, summer break, etc.)

As for the live, I enjoyed it as much as everyone else. A definite treat for the eyes and ears. No catch, no reference, no history lesson, you just had to sit back and enjoy it.

Lastly, I have to say how much I adore Ritsuko. Obviously the time period this takes place in is a factor, but there's no need for skimpy clothes or a moeblob with a catchphrase. She's a joy to watch, and a very welcome breath of fresh air. Though speaking of breaths of fresh air, Kaoru is impressing me as well. He's doing things I don't expect him to do, and is surprisingly multi-dimensional.

As always, can't wait for more.
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Old 2012-04-20, 00:13   Link #264
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Originally Posted by Haohmaru View Post
Nice drumming dude. That was pretty awesome.
OMG, I hope you didn't think that was me drumming. It was just a clip I came across while wandering the internets.

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Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
Spoiler for Catholics:
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Originally Posted by Quarkboy View Post
Kaoru actually says "Christian"... It's doubtful he'd know the difference in terminology anyway.
A bit of historical background is needed. The story is set in Kyushu, the southernmost island of the four "home islands" of Japan and also incidentally where Jesuit priests first landed in the 1500s. Now, as some of you may know, the Jesuits were among the preeminent Catholic missionaries of their time. Highly educated and often very politically astute, the Jesuits usually integrated very quickly with the local culture of whichever place they proselytised.

As far as the Japanese — particularly those in Kyushu — were concerned, they identified these missionaries as "Christian". The dogmatic differences between Catholicism and Protestantism never arrived to Japan, even with the later arrival of Dutch traders, who were more interested in commerce than the conversion of souls. More importantly, in the context of the Sengoku period, converted Japanese were specifically referred to as Kirishitan, that is, Christians, and were considered a powerful, and sometimes rebellious, faction that the Tokugawa Shogunate eventually crushed during the Shimabara Rebellion.

It should be noted that the Kirishitan approach to the religion isn't necessarily as evangelical as many in the West may think. It has been observed that they keep the religion sometimes because of tradition and loyalty to ancestors who converted to the faith. So, it's not necessarily a result of some sort of epiphany that they became "Christians".

Although, in Sentarou's case, there seems to be a deeper reason. I get the feeling that he is doing some sort of penance. It is a feature of Catholicism to have adherents explicitly confess to sins and be absolved through atonement. Given Sentarou's wayward nature, his religion is probably what keeps him grounded and on the side of "good", as it were.

By the way, what's Watanabe's religion? Does anyone know? I would guess he's Christian/Catholic, too. The Christian element was also introduced in Samurai Champloo, if I remember correctly.

Spoiler for Samurai Champloo:
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Old 2012-04-20, 03:14   Link #265
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
By the way, what's Watanabe's religion? Does anyone know? I would guess he's Christian/Catholic, too. The Christian element was also introduced in Samurai Champloo, if I remember correctly.
I've seen nothing indicating that Watanabe is anything but the "Born Shinto, die Buddhist" combination that's predominant in Japan - including no mention by him in an interview he did with the mangaka, Kodama Yuki, where her religion was discussed.

During that interview, incidentally, Kodama-sensei said that she's not a Christian, but attended a Christian school as a young girl and fell in love with Jesus because she thought he was hot...
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Old 2012-04-20, 05:35   Link #266
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Originally Posted by Guardian Enzo View Post
During that interview, incidentally, Kodama-sensei said that she's not a Christian, but attended a Christian school as a young girl and fell in love with Jesus because she thought he was hot...
For some reason, I can't stop laughing when I read that.

Well, everything I can say has been said by other people already, but this really is a well-done anime. To add a bit about the song they played at the Church, the song is unmistakably the hymn 'What a Friend We Have in Jesus.' I think that's an excellent touch that showed a great amount of research, as that is EXACTLY the kind of song they'll be playing in an old church like that. I'm seeing that the women in the church are wearing a hood, and I'm pretty sure it's not usually mandatory...there's probably a denomination where that's encouraged, but I don't know which one.
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Old 2012-04-20, 07:29   Link #267
SeijiSensei
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Originally Posted by Saturn Beaver View Post
there's probably a denomination where that's encouraged, but I don't know which one.
Roman Catholic women were required to cover their heads during Mass at this time. (I'm pretty sure it's no longer required these days at least in the US.) That's why Ritsuko is wearing that veil.

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Originally Posted by Quarkboy View Post
Kaoru actually says "Christian"... It's doubtful he'd know the difference in terminology anyway.
I wasn't taking issue with your translation, Quark. You know I've been an admirer of your work for years now. Crunchyroll is lucky to have you on their team. I'm sure Kaoru wouldn't know the difference either.

To my ears trained in Catholic traditions, I did find the hymn amusingly out-of-place, though. "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" is a Lutheran hymn and, in my mind, distinctly tied to evangelical Protestant practices here in the US. Even after the growth of ecumenism within the Catholic Church that followed Vatican Council II and the brief papacy of John XXIII, it would be an implausible choice for a Catholic liturgy in 1966, at least here and probably in Europe as well.

The Wikipedia article suggests the hymn is rather well-known in Japan, though. Three different sets of Japanese lyrics have been set to the tune, and apparently it's commonly played during weddings. However the titles of the Japanese lyrics ("World of Stars") makes me wonder whether Jesus is left out of those versions altogether. As TinyRedLeaf's historical notes suggest, I suspect Japanese Christian liturgies incorporate a variety of themes from both Catholic and Protestant practices. Alternatively the use of the hymn here could represent the same process of incorporating Christian symbolism in anime that I mentioned above. That wouldn't be too surprising if the author's view of Christianity is that "Jesus was hot."

The role of Christians in the Sengoku period has begun to appear in the most recent fansub releases of Hyouge Mono, by the way.
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Old 2012-04-20, 07:42   Link #268
duckroll
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Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
I wasn't taking issue with your translation, Quark. You know I've been an admirer of your work for years now. Crunchyroll is lucky to have you on their team. I'm sure Kaoru wouldn't know the difference either.

I did find the hymn amusingly out-of-place, though. "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" is a Lutheran hymn and, in my mind, distinctly tied to evangelical Protestant practices here in the US. Even after the tumult within the Catholic Church that followed Vatican Council II and the brief papacy of John XXIII, it would be an implausible choice for a Catholic liturgy in 1966, at least here and in Europe.

The Wikipedia article notes that three different sets of Japanese lyrics have been set to the tune and that it's commonly played during weddings. As TinyRedLeaf's historical notes suggest, I suspect Japanese Christian liturgies incorporate a variety of themes from both Catholic and Protestant religions. Alternatively it could represent the same process of blending Christian symbolism that I mentioned above. That wouldn't be too surprising if the author's view of Christianity is that Jesus was "hot."

The role of Christians in the Sengoku period has appeared in the most recent fansub releases of Hyouge Mono, by the way.
I don't know about the Europe and the US, but I'm from Asia and my family is Catholic. What a friend we have in Jesus is a popular hymn among both Catholics and Protestants (I attended a Methodist school in my childhood) and I've been familiar with it all my life. Historical research suggests that it would not be unusual at all for the hymn to be used in Japan at the time either.

One thing to understand is that hymns are not actually part of the liturgy itself, but they are selected and planned by the choirs of the individual churches. It's really not unusual for hymn selections to differ greatly based on the cultural environment of that region. Occasionally if there are complaints to the local Archdiocese or if visiting priests or cardinals get word back to Vatican that certain regions are doing things which are deemed to be unconventional or does not conform with what is deemed proper, then there might be instructions handed down to the region to stop doing certain things. But aside from that, there is a lot of autonomy for minor things like this.

I didn't find the scene out of place at all.
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Old 2012-04-20, 07:51   Link #269
kuromitsu
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Well, Roman Catholics are Christian, too... But for someone like Kaoru who doesn't know Christianity well (like most Japanese) except for the usual "church-cross-Jesus" thing, I suppose all Christian denominations seem the same.

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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
As far as the Japanese — particularly those in Kyushu — were concerned, they identified these missionaries as "Christian". The dogmatic differences between Catholicism and Protestantism never arrived to Japan, even with the later arrival of Dutch traders,
Actually, Protestantism is very much present in Japan, but it's mostly a late 19th-20th century thing that spread mainly due to American influence. Catholicism has a much longer and more complicated background (for obvious reasons).
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Old 2012-04-20, 08:07   Link #270
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Originally Posted by Saturn Beaver View Post
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Originally Posted by Guardian Enzo View Post
During that interview, incidentally, Kodama-sensei said that she's not a Christian, but attended a Christian school as a young girl and fell in love with Jesus because she thought he was hot...
For some reason, I can't stop laughing when I read that.
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Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
As TinyRedLeaf's historical notes suggest, I suspect Japanese Christian liturgies incorporate a variety of themes from both Catholic and Protestant practices. Alternatively it could represent the same process of blending Christian symbolism in anime that I mentioned above. That wouldn't be too surprising if the author's view of Christianity is that "Jesus was hot."
This is off-topic but, still, I'd like to add that I can easily see where Yuki Kodama is coming from when she said she found Jesus "hot".

That's because it reminds me instantly of an extremely powerful British film I watched way back in the mid '90s while I was still an undergrad: Priest (1994). The title character is a Catholic priest who had to reconcile his homosexuality with his vocation. These were his words: "Sitting in my room, sweating, I turn to Him for help. I see a naked man... utterly desirable. God wants me to be a priest. I don't think it; I don't just believe it; I know it."
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Old 2012-04-20, 09:04   Link #271
Dop
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During that interview, incidentally, Kodama-sensei said that she's not a Christian, but attended a Christian school as a young girl and fell in love with Jesus because she thought he was hot...
Well, according to this he looks like Johnny Depp....!

But back on topic, the idea that both Ri'ko and Sentarou are Christians was pretty unexpected, and it'll be interesting to see where the story goes with that.

I loved the jam session, easily the best one since Whisper of the Heart, and when Kaoru joined in and got the hang of it was a real development from the start of the episode when he was trying to analyse the hell out of Moanin'.

Easily my favourite show of the season.
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Old 2012-04-20, 09:38   Link #272
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Well, according to this he looks like Johnny Depp....!
No, that's not right. I think Jesus would look better as a bishounen though a change of hair color (silver or gold perhaps?) would help.
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Old 2012-04-20, 10:00   Link #273
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Kaoru actually says "Christian"... It's doubtful he'd know the difference in terminology anyway.
Hell, I'm a Roman Catholic, and I'm blissfully ignorant of other denominations. I know that they're there, but hell if I can name the difference. How much more for the typical outsider? XD
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Old 2012-04-20, 11:43   Link #274
ookamigirl
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Kaoru is determined to learn jazz.
Sentaro always seems to save his ass.
Their jazz band sounded really nice.
Even Kaoru relaxed and enjoyed himself.
His feelings for Ri-chan were pretty obvious.
Day at the beach was nice.
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Old 2012-04-20, 13:07   Link #275
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Originally Posted by Dop View Post
Well, according to this he looks like Johnny Depp....!

But back on topic, the idea that both Ri'ko and Sentarou are Christians was pretty unexpected, and it'll be interesting to see where the story goes with that.

I loved the jam session, easily the best one since Whisper of the Heart, and when Kaoru joined in and got the hang of it was a real development from the start of the episode when he was trying to analyse the hell out of Moanin'.

Easily my favourite show of the season.
I loved that line, “I thought I understood the distinctive features of jazz in my head, but reproducing them was proving to be extremely difficult”. That's jazz right there - and the frustration of every music lover with no musical talent. Kaoru is all about structure and order, and he tries to apply that methodology to jazz - which is all about freedom and improvisation (which is what Sentarou is all about). It's only when Kaoru has to join in on a piece he's never heard before that he begins to get the idea.

That freedom vs. inhibition meme runs through everything in the series. The growing cultural divide of the 60's, jazz vs. classical, boxers vs. briefs, the titular slope itself.
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Old 2012-04-21, 04:50   Link #276
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At least in Western countries at the time religiosity went hand in hand with genres like Blues, R&B and Jazz, so I'm not surprised if there exists such a link for Sentarou and Ritsuko with regards to music. It's more evident in Protestant denominations however, as Catholic Churches tend to be more conservative with their church music. Historically however I'm more inclined to think they're Catholic than Protestant.

The clash between the more rigidly structural life Kaoru has with Sentarou's more easy going and free as a bird life is starting to shift, something reflected upon by their musical influences. I think Kaoru's starting to realize that he can have both if he tried.

Fantastic music as usual. I'm starting to think though that this won't be a trend; the animation for the live jam session will not likely send any messages to the industry, it's something special for this show and this show alone.
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Old 2012-04-21, 08:05   Link #277
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Originally Posted by MeoTwister5 View Post
At least in Western countries at the time religiosity went hand in hand with genres like Blues, R&B and Jazz, so I'm not surprised if there exists such a link for Sentarou and Ritsuko with regards to music.
I don't really see this connection, Meo. What differentiated those genres in the United States was race, not religiosity. There might be a "spurious correlation" between genre and religiosity because black Americans have been somewhat more religious than whites. But to say that jazz was the music of more religious Americans of all races is almost certainly false. Conservative religious groups powered the movement to prohibit alcohol, the lubricant of the jazz clubs in the Roaring Twenties. The modernization of jazz in the fifties had strong ties to the Beat Movement who were certainly no friends of organized religion and critics of "whitebread" America more generally.

While the "black" genres like blues, R&B, and jazz can trace their roots to African-American church music and gospel traditions, I wouldn't call those genres the musical voice of religious America.

As I mentioned earlier, Jazz by Ken Burns covers a lot the relevant historical material.
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Old 2012-04-21, 08:50   Link #278
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This show shows more effort in attempting to care about the material it's presenting in two episodes than your average anime does in it's entire run. You can tell that Watanabe really REALLY loves Jazz and that this show is essentially his love letter to the genre. Please don't let this go entirely unrewarded Japan.....I know there's no cutesy girls in this one and it's not based on a hit Light Novel or anything, but see it in your hearts to reward this show, Watanabe and co. for their efforts even if it means just letting it break even.

Honestly if I had even one complaint so far it's that the head movements during the live sessions look a little unnatural and kind of like a stop motion animation such that it's a little distracting, but otherwise far from a major issue.
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Old 2012-04-21, 12:55   Link #279
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Finished up ep 2 last evening, and wow - this is definitely my fave new series for this season. It is serious, realistic and thought-provoking material with pleasing visuals and audio - even with my not liking Jazz music in general.

And the OP and ED are without doubt some of the best of the season for me!

8/10 vote for ep 2 from me....
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Old 2012-04-21, 23:07   Link #280
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Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
While the "black" genres like blues, R&B, and jazz can trace their roots to African-American church music and gospel traditions, I wouldn't call those genres the musical voice of religious America.
Definitely not the voice of white religious America back in the 1960s. There's a very good reason why Martin Luther King once said, "the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o'clock on Sunday morning." Things are somewhat better now, but still hardly ideal.

The hymn being played in the church was "What a friend we have in Jesus," which is a decidedly Protestant song. However, the rosary and the big statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary are decidedly Catholic symbols. My guess is that the people making the show don't understand the difference.

In any event, any Christian church in Japan back in the 60s would have been started by white missionaries, which means they would have had a white musical tradition. No jazz there.

An interesting side note - a number of "mainline" churches today have introduced a Sunday evening service called "Jazz Vespers," in which a jazz combo comes in and performs music to encourage a contemplative/meditative state. It's very popular at my Episcopal church in Southern California. My choir also has a jazz musician who writes stuff for us and performs with us a couple of times each year. You've got to love living near LA.
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