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Old 2017-09-05, 00:54   Link #141
Darthtabby
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mugen26 View Post
TSR Episode 10:[LIST][*]We start off with Tessa essentially giving a religious/spiritual blessing for her crew right before the mission. We know Mithril consists of many different ethnicities and creeds so it's interesting to see. Given her background, I figured Tessa to be catholic but can't remember if that was confirmed in the novel or not.
I seem to remember something about Tessa being Catholic too, but I can't remember anything specific that states that she is.

Quote:
[*]From the DVD extras, we know that Gatou and director Takemoto had a visit to Hong Kong for research. As it stands, they did a damn good job encapsulating HK in anime form. From the accurate street signs and building structures, it's pretty impressive.

...
[*]A large part of this episode really takes it's time to explore the scenery. The way it's paced leaves more room for the more mundane driving scenes than what you'd expect from a usual 22 minute long episode. Normally it's a plus with me to get to explore more of the in-between scenes, but I actually think it drags a bit too long in this case. After the adrenaline rush the last few episodes, we get the "exciting" awkward silence scene between Mao and Sousuke as he's too depressed and lost in thought to focus on the mission.
A minor criticism I'm inclined to make is that they may have made the streets a little too devoid of people. Yeah, a lot of people are going to try to evacuate if they can but there's still a lot of people living in a comparatively small area in Hong Kong.

I should actually try to watch that extra about locations scouting. I've had the series on DVD for a while (picked it up at a local anime store -I thought I was buying the Bluray edition because of the color scheme Funimation used for the packaging on the "Anime Classics" release that I bought* ) but I've never actually gotten around to watching that extra.
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Old 2017-09-10, 12:27   Link #142
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TSR Episode 12: "Burning Hong Kong"



I could probably have done without that scene of Gates making a phone call to the surviving twin. It felt like it was in poor taste.

According to the novel, "Kowloon" is pronounced "Gauron" in the Cantonese dialect. I wonder if many fans were surprised to see him still alive. It seems a little strange that he has to explain the message he used to lure in Sousuke to Sousuke but I guess they felt they needed to make it obvious to the viewer and anime is a bit more limited in how it can explain things than a novel.

Am I being overly nitpicky if I think Sousuke should be keeping his finger off the trigger of his pistol?

I think I mentioned earlier how I wondered if the idea for this novel came from people pointing out issues with the series' premise. Here's another issue getting addressed -why is Amalgam after Kaname if they already have a whispered?

As I suspected, they didn't cut Tessa's confrontation with Mardukas after all, they just moved it. This is a pretty powerful scene, but what particularly stood out to me was what Mardukas did with that hat of his. It might seem like a minor gesture, but if you've read the short story where Mardukas actually got that hat and know who he got it from it takes on much greater significance.

This may seem inconsistent given my disgust at the scene with Gates, but I'm a bit disappointed that they cut Gauron saying how he'd have liked to have killed Sousuke then screwed his corpse. The novel also has Gauron accuse Mithril of hypocrisy for spending so much on weaponry -he asks the question of how much aid could be delivered for that price. Not that I think Gauron actually cares much about that kind of thing...

I have to wonder if Gauron simply assumed that Kaname hadn't survived her encounter with his assassin or whether he lied just to screw with Sousuke. At any rate he got quite an effect. To quote/paraphrase something another fan wrote years ago "How often do you see a hero just go over to the darkside like that?"
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Old 2017-09-17, 11:20   Link #143
Mugen26
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TSR Episode 11 thoughts:
  • Gate's comment about possibly engaging in a necrophilia act with Yu Lan is just another addition to his list of immoral acts. The dude is seriously messed up.
  • It's pretty sad to see Sosuke just wandering aimlessly around. He figures to drown out his sorrows with booze, but he only knows so much about it without actually experiencing it himself.
  • From a storyboard and animation perspective, it was neat to see Woo cover Corporal Yang's six after they notice a corpse.
  • I always though the chinese prostitue part reminded me of the movie Full Metal Jacket, the title of which this anime is based on. I know the most obvious reference to that movie was the (hilarious) Fumoffu rugby episode, but I think there may have been a few subtle nods here as well. Just glad the Kaname look-a-like never said "me love you long time".
  • It may be for more dragging out purposes, especially since much of this episode is anime-only content, but once again The Second Raid isn't afraid to show some "real time" waiting. Sousuke's thought process on whether or not to join the Kaname doppelganger took a whopping 30 seconds! As a viewer, even I was getting fed up with his wait for an answer.
  • The life advice of a chinese prostitue is amusingly terrible. Not much else to be expected. She also mentioned that she knew a guy who looked similar to Sousuke. Where they playing with the idea that everyone has a look a like soemwhere in the world?
  • We probably get the most stellar shot of the TDD-1 rising to the surface of the ocean in the entire series (thus far). I do have high hopes that Xebec, the studio in charge of the upcoming Invisible Victory anime, won't be out shined from animation over a decade old. At least when it comes to the Mecha/Military scenes I'm fairly certain it'll be an improvement.
  • I got amused when Sousuke spit out the alcohol saying how can anyone drink this stuff.
Overall 6.5/10. Another relatively slower episode with some amusing part here and there. We are finally setting up for the grand finale.

------

TSR Episode 12 thoughts:
  • So we have the big reveal: Gauron's still alive! I think most fan reactions where like "he's a damn cockroach!". At least that's what I've seen throughout the years. It's a fresh take to know he's just half a body underneath that bed sheet. Many like myself would have been pissed if he was completely fine.
  • Quote:
    Originally Posted by Darthtabby View Post
    According to the novel, "Kowloon" is pronounced "Gauron" in the Cantonese dialect.
    When I was younger I had always wondered what the significance of Kowloon meant since it doesn't sound like Gauron in English. Eventually I figured by hearing the pronunciation that it sounded enough like Gauron in Japanese to pass.
  • After we see the Amalgam task force go to ESC mode, we see Gate's assistant (forgot his name) being knocked off a building, presumably to his death. It's a bit of amusing dark humor that comes out of nowhere and is barely noticeable.
  • The quick flashback scene of child soldier Sousuke burning the bodies of the dead soviet soldiers was a good visual. Gauron spoke how he love his eyes, like those of a saint. The large light reflections KyoAni animated on his pupils brought this description to life. I wonder if it's more romanticized due to it being from Gauron's point of view?
  • Quote:
    Originally Posted by Darthtabby View Post
    As I suspected, they didn't cut Tessa's confrontation with Mardukas after all, they just moved it. This is a pretty powerful scene, but what particularly stood out to me was what Mardukas did with that hat of his. It might seem like a minor gesture, but if you've read the short story where Mardukas actually got that hat and know who he got it from it takes on much greater significance.
    Agreed 100%. That scene is one of the first things that I think of when I remember the latter half of The Second Raid. The dialogue, music, and storyboarding greatly intensifies the drama of the scene. The unspoken significance of Mardukas' hat was the icing on the cake.
  • I do love the tactics the SRT are doing with the technologically superior enemy. They aren't engaging in 1-on-1 fights, they switch out and try to catch Yu Fan of guard while Kurz provides sniper fire from a distance. It's really all they can do to survive against a lamda driver.
  • Sousuke finally snapped and laid Gauron to waist with his pistol! Truly a tension-ridden buildup to a surprising end. Although if there was any villian in the entire series to send Sousuke over the edge, it sure would be Gauron. Whether or not Gauron was screwing with him or truly believed Kaname was dead (I prefer to think the former since there couldn't possibly be photo evidence like he described), Gauron was ready to die and planned to take Sousuke with him. The narrow escape from the rigged bomb was quite an exciting finish to the episode.
Overall 9/10. Some spectacular drama and conclusion to the most memorable villian to the franchise gave some high remarks for me in terms of entertainment. Next episode is the finale of the franchise thus far before the new season next year!
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Old 2017-09-17, 13:27   Link #144
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TSR Episode 13: "The Continuing Day by Day"



I think in general I find the second half of this episode more satisfactory than the first half. I have some issues with the first half.

In the novel, it's a couple of Hunter's people who followed Sousuke, not his comrades in arms. In the novel I think they were there primarily to explain how Mithril knew where to send the Arbalest. They depart the scene soon after they arrive, with nothing like the drama of Corporal Yan threatening to shoot Sousuke. I had mixed feelings on that bit even before reviewing it. Its an interesting follow up to Clouseau's comment about Sousuke being in danger of becoming like the people they fight. But it also seems a bit much for Yan to pull a gun on Sousuke so easily, especially seeing as how Sousuke just mentioned losing someone important to him.

While I'll admit to finding it funny, I kind of dislike how violent Kaname is during her reunion with Sousuke. After reviewing things however, she's also pretty violent in the novel version of the scene so that may be a case of me being a bit unfair to the anime adaptation.

"I guess determination fades after a day goes by..." Were you thinking of confessing to Sousuke by any chance Kaname?

On to the second part:

Gates assumes the role of Amalgam's task force leader in the anime. Actually I've theorized that Gates might actually have grown out of the character of the task force leader, whom Gauron described as a "crazy bastard." It could just as easily be that Gates was created to support new content earlier in the anime and inserted into the finale later though. Anyway heck of a threat escalation with with five Codarls showing up...

...and then Sousuke shows up and wipes the floor with them almost as easily as he took out those five RK-92s in Khanka back in season one. One could argue he's pretty OP in this scene but really the scene works -its cathartic to see what he and the Arbalest can do when they finally get in sync. There's one change from the novels here that I think is a particularly good one: that's Gates taking Clouseau and his Falke hostage rather than a random South Chinese M6 that chose the wrong moment to wander into the scene.

Given Sousuke's newfound partnership with AL, I wonder if it might have been better for him to take off to rejoin Kaname after linking the Arbalest up with one of the transport helicopters rather than simply abandoning it. That scene with Leonard is anime original (or at least content that was cut from the novel) and seems like it might be of help if the new anime skips DVMC and goes straight to adapting COMO. Makes me wonder what may have been planned at the time.

I sometimes feel like Sousuke was unnecessarily provocative during his confrontation with the Mithril leadership. He definitely needed to show that he was willing to stand his ground, but I don't think he needed to rile General Amit up that much. He's lucky Lord Mallory found his behaviour amusing.

Speaking of amusing, I think it would be remarkably easy to misinterpret the anime version of what Sousuke says to Tessa for a love confession. He's lucky she got distracted by him calling her by her first name.

You know it really bugs me when snipers in movies use laser sights. The only possible reason to do such a thing would be if they wanted the target to know they were being threatened. It actually makes a bit more sense here than it usually does because Wraith is just trying to screw with Sousuke.

I really like how Kaname was going to hit Sousuke for his antics, but then ended up gripping his shirt and crying instead. Of course her friends had to interrupt just as he was about to give her an awkward hug. But at least there's they make a little progress in that after credits scene...

Anyway after the better part of a year this is finally more or less complete. I'm considering trying to do the TSR OVA at some point but for right now I think I'd like to take a bit of a break (as much as I love FMP it's going to be nice to not have to worry about getting something up on Sunday mornings). Thanks to all of you who participated!
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Old 2017-09-19, 22:06   Link #145
Yu Ominae
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I thought the flying kick scene was pretty funny. Shows how Kaname's really frustrated. Even scared the shit out of those two SRT guys.
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Old 2017-09-20, 10:52   Link #146
Darthtabby
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Originally Posted by Yu Ominae View Post
I thought the flying kick scene was pretty funny. Shows how Kaname's really frustrated. Even scared the shit out of those two SRT guys.
I'm probably being a bit nitpicky here, but aren't Yang and Wu PRT not SRT?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mugen26 View Post
[*]After we see the Amalgam task force go to ESC mode, we see Gate's assistant (forgot his name) being knocked off a building, presumably to his death. It's a bit of amusing dark humor that comes out of nowhere and is barely noticeable.
I seem to have missed that. I do remember Gates kicking him out of a helicopter into a river and blasting an apple with a handgun though. I find it interesting the guy didn't quite -or just shoot Gates. (As mentioned before Gates' craziness is actually one of my issues with the series -with Gauron the novels at least acknowledgement his unsuitability for a higher level position in Amalgam.)

Quote:
[*]I do love the tactics the SRT are doing with the technologically superior enemy. They aren't engaging in 1-on-1 fights, they switch out and try to catch Yu Fan of guard while Kurz provides sniper fire from a distance. It's really all they can do to survive against a lamda driver.
I also appreciate the teamwork demonstrated by the SRT. Being elite troops isn't all about individual skill.
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Old 2017-09-20, 18:12   Link #147
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Oh crap. You're right. Apologies. Yan and Wu are PRT.
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Old 2017-10-06, 23:46   Link #148
Mugen26
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Sorry that it took me this long to get my review in for the final episode of this segment, but I had a lot going on these past couple of weeks. If anyone still reads this even though the thread had been complete, I thank you taking your time to do so since you'll notice that I have a butt-load of thoughts for this episode. I've basically watched this one WAY TOO MANY times in the past 12 years so I know I have a lot to say on it. Here it goes!

Full Metal Panic! TSR - Episode 13 thoughts:
  • Right off the bat I must say that 2 versions of this episode exist; the TV version that aired in 2005 and the DVD/Blu-Ray/streaming version. One difference is that the OP and ED in the TV version were skipped, replaced with the logo on a black screen to kick the episode off and the ending credits on top of the 2nd half of the episode. Personally I prefer the TV version for a couple of reasons that I'll get to.
  • The confrontational exchange between Corporal Yan and Sousuke made somewhat more sense when going back to Clouseau's comments. Seeing how Sousuke seemed very emotionally unstable, Yan took no chances with him.
  • The fateful reunion between Sousuke and Kaname that had been building up midway through the series gets an ultimate knee to the face with a literal knee to the face. It's kills any sort of tension and drama and you know what...it was sure needed . The last few episodes have had just about zero comedic bits that it lightens the mood. Plus what else can you expect from our favorite tsundere Kaname? A cheerful hug? Nah too plain for her.
  • Of course, we want Chidori to confess whatever she had built to the courage to do so, but nah, not the right time according to Gatou. What a troll lol.
  • I can't help but note that the audio commentary with Satsuki Yukino and Tomokazu Seki, the were really playing up the angle of Kaname's legs and how they almost had an upskirt shot when Kaname leaned forward. "Almost!" they both joked. It makes me think back to Gonzo's series 1 and how they most likely would've have gone there. Thankfully KyoAni didn't ruin the mood that way.
  • One of my absolute favorite moments in all of the anime is having the sun gradually rise behind Kaname as Sousuke stares in awe. Not only is it beautifully animated and accompanied by Sahashi's perfectly placed music track, it serves as a visual metaphor for Sousuke ridding his self doubt at that moment and coming to terms with himself. Brilliant stuff.
  • One think that consistently irks me is the English dub line of Gates toying with the corpse of Yu Lan: "Direct from a roof-top in the middle of who-gives-a-damn, Japan; your little sister!" Seems to me that the script adapters needed some extra time to fill and added some "colorful" dialogue for the eccentric Gates. However they clearly forgot the setting is in Hong Kong, not Japan. It just comes off as a lazy foresight.
  • The brutality of Gates knows no bounds as he comes in and quickly dispatches of Yu Fan with an impaling spear. However the sisterly bond is expressed till the end as she clings for her body before being incinerated from her exploding AS.
  • A new challenger appears: Sousuke Sagara! But seriously, he comes in the most heroic way possible. It's surely reminiscent of an 80's action hero, of which FMP takes some inspiration from.
  • Sousuke goes completely gung-ho now that he's solved the problem between him and the Arbalest. We know the lamda driver is an extremely OP device, but he dispatches them with ease. To the point where it feels anti climactic. Knowing the rest of the content has to be squeezed in for the last episode it makes sense, but the pacing is so tight that it's harder to be in the moment.
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Darthtabby View Post
    There's one change from the novels here that I think is a particularly good one: that's Gates taking Clouseau and his Falke hostage rather than a random South Chinese M6 that chose the wrong moment to wander into the scene.
    I hadn't realized that. Making Clouseau the hostage certainly add more steaks for the audience. A fitting change.
  • Here's another difference in the 2 versions: In the TV version, the OP theme "Minami Kaze" plays while Sousuke explains to Gates who he is before destroying him. In the home release version, it's the track from the OST, "Shutsugeki", that plays instead. Not sure why they felt the need to change it up? Maybe because the OP played in the beginning and felt they didn't need it twice? As much as the standard BGM fits, I found the OP playing much more exciting because of the more upbeat/enthusiastic tone. Maybe I'm just a sucker for special OP/ED insert songs.
  • I really love how Sousuke gets a certain machismo ever since he found new purpose for himself. Like he can do anything now. It goes a bit far with General Amit but since he's a valuable asset willing to work for half his pay, he has room to bargain with. Also, I believe this is the first physical appearance of Lord Mallory in the anime.
  • The "Tessa" scene is adorable as hell. I mean if it weren't for Kaname, I find these two to be a cute match. Even if just friends, it took a lot for the super-formal Sousuke to loosen up with his commanding officer. That's a win in Tessa's book. Surely a step forward towards their relationship.
  • We see glimpses of a mysterious woman who we now know is Wraith, the lady who brought Kaname to Hong Kong. She sure knows how to play up Sousuke's paranoia comically. Having him jump on an unexpected Ms. Kagurazaka was a sneaky move. But having a closer look at Ms. Kagurazaka's face as she's on the ground, she might have slightly enjoyed it .
  • The scene that I have watched countless times over and still gets me everytime is Kaname's breakdown sob on Sousuke after scolding him. Gawd I love this. Even though it gets ruined by the annoying high schoolers, it perfectly encapsulates that while everything is back to the way it was, they've grown closer after their traumatic experiences/separation. They both realize how important they are to each other even moreso than with the haircut scene. Satusuki Yukino's voice acting is beyond perfect. Quick story: recently I had randomly played this episode while playing on my PS4, and my friends behind the headphones couldn't help but comment how superb that voice acting was when I got to this part.
  • The last difference is, as I mentioned earlier, the inclusion of the ED on the home release version. I'm super conflicted on which one I like more. In the TV version, there's a natural flow from the high school setting to the subway scene because the BGM "Yuuai" is playing all the way to the end. However the inclusion of the ED makes perfect sense because, while we've seen the ED animation after every episode, it's as if it was meant to be used as the bridge for the series finale this whole time! (Mind blown!) However, the beautiful BGM track is instead cut down, leaving no music for the subway scene afterwards. I know, it's a really small and (ultimately) dumb difference to point out, but having the music transition heightens the emotional quality for me.

    Overall, 9.5/10. Even though it has some pacing problems during the first half of the episode, the overall finale serves as a sweet conclusion to the story thus far. For plenty of the anime viewers who don't have any knowledge of the rest of the series tend to find this episode disappointing that there was still no love confession between our two leads, despite it being teased vigorously. However I attribute much of that disappointment to the biggest problem of all: That there was no more anime after that! (Not including the Bonus OVA of course). Luckily that's all about to change once FMP! Invisible Victory starts airing in the spring~ It's been a loong time coming but I know it'll be worth the wait.


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Old 2017-10-09, 22:17   Link #149
Darthtabby
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Originally Posted by Yu Ominae View Post
Oh crap. You're right. Apologies. Yan and Wu are PRT.
Part of the reason I phrased it as a question is because I'm not 100% sure on Yan's status. I think he might have actually switched between the two at some point...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mugen26 View Post
Full Metal Panic! TSR - Episode 13 thoughts:[LIST][*]Right off the bat I must say that 2 versions of this episode exist; the TV version that aired in 2005 and the DVD/Blu-Ray/streaming version. One difference is that the OP and ED in the TV version were skipped, replaced with the logo on a black screen to kick the episode off and the ending credits on top of the 2nd half of the episode. Personally I prefer the TV version for a couple of reasons that I'll get to.
Interesting, I didn't know that. I probably saw the broadcast version since I first watched the series via fansubs shortly after it aired but that was years ago. For this event I just watched my DVDs.

Anyway your getting around to watching the final episode encouraged me to finally get around to doing the OVA (it helped that its the Thanksgiving Weekend here in Canada so I had some extra time).

TSR OVA: "A Relatively Leisurely Day in the Life of a Fleet Captain"



The scene where a half asleep Tessa wanders into the hangar while Sousuke is absolutely hilarious. Its probably one of if not the funniest scene that's been animated to date. I particularly love the way the reports about the progress of the simulation from the Arbalest's AI seem like they could be taken as referring to either the simulation or what's going on between Sousuke and Tessa. Actually considering the recent discussion about the AI's character I have to wonder if it was doing that deliberately. Food for thought...

For some reason Sousuke's "Shut Up!" to the AI got stuck on my screen during Tessa's fan service shower scene. Not sure if that's a problem with the encoding on the disc or my player.

Um, Mao, what exactly are you doing to Tessa in that flashback? The bit with the two M9s doing the tango is also pretty funny. Definitely a misuse of Mithril resources though.

Clouseau is pretty much the last person in Mithril you'd expect to be an anime otaku (well okay, maybe Mardukas would be more unexpected). Which is probably why Gatou made him one.

On a similar note its kind of awesome that Kalinin wears a pink apron while cooking. We actually learn quite a bit about Sousuke's fears in this episode. In addition to half naked and half awake Tessa, he's apparently terrified of Kalinin's borscht.

I'm with Clouseau here. Messing with someone's favorite anime is an unforgivable crime. BTW I feel sorry for Tessa getting caught up in that lecture from Mardukas.

LOL Sousuke is dense. "Are you seriously that stupid?" Yes Tessa. Yes he is...

Yeah, not sure there's a whole lot insightful to say about this episode given that it's primarily comedic. Though I will note that I think the ending with Tessa hoping she can "keep having this kind of terrible day forever" does resonate since Tessa can only keep having "this kind of terrible day" as long as Mithril has no crises to deal with.
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Old 2017-10-11, 19:32   Link #150
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Originally Posted by Yu Ominae View Post
Oh crap. You're right. Apologies. Yan and Wu are PRT.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darthtabby View Post
Part of the reason I phrased it as a question is because I'm not 100% sure on Yan's status. I think he might have actually switched between the two at some point...
Yan is Urzu-9 right? As far as I know, only SRT members use the Uruz call sign.
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Old 2017-10-16, 01:05   Link #151
Darthtabby
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Yan is Urzu-9 right? As far as I know, only SRT members use the Uruz call sign.
About that...

Spoiler for Minor Spoiler:


I'm pretty sure Wu was PRT.
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Old 2017-10-22, 03:38   Link #152
Yu Ominae
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Me apologies on Yan being PRT. Yeah, now I remember him using the Uruz code name, so he's SRT but he wasn't qualified to handle an AS.
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Old 2017-10-28, 17:20   Link #153
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Is Fumoffu in by any chance?
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Old 2017-11-08, 13:48   Link #154
Darthtabby
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Originally Posted by Yu Ominae View Post
Is Fumoffu in by any chance?
Thing have gotten a lot busier for me lately. If we're going to do Fumoffu then someone else is going to have to take the lead.

(Sorry for the delayed reply -I'd seen your post a while back but forgot about it.)
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Old 2018-05-31, 07:26   Link #155
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Going back to revisit some episode commentaries and see what I can say that I haven't said yet... And my thoughts on them that I should have said.

This'll be a long post.

Quote:
I find it a bit odd that the NOT! North Korean soldiers are armed with the same folding submachine guns as Gauron's hijackers. Those weapons are designed for clandestine work, they lack the range and punch needed by a general purpose infantry weapon like the ubiquitous Kalashnikov rifles.
Yeah it is strange. I don't know if Gatou had a hand in this.

Quote:
I know its basically directly from the source novel, but am I the only person who thinks that garbage man one liner is a bit out of character for Sousuke? He's not generally snarky.
I think by this point, Sousuke is being "hazed" in the sense since he's the new kid in II-4.

I should know, I've sorta been there. But the next generation of high school kids after me had that removed. Changed it into a older guy mentor the younger guy-type of event now.

Quote:
I find it funny when both Chidori and the Lab woman quickly lost their strong bravado after someone shoots near them. "I wont cooperat---(shots go off) --- Ok I'll cooperate!"
I'm sure since that she sees Sousuke as a high school student and not a SRT operator.

I laughed at this too when I first saw this, although I think it was awesome too.

Quote:
The title of the novel this story arc is based off of is "Fighting Boy Meets Girl." It arguably fits the arc as a whole better than the episode itself
And it does. It fits Gatou's intention for the entire franchise, even when it went to FMP! Another.

As a side note to "Dangerous Safe House", Yang's suppose to be the driver who helped Tessa escape the covert JDA research center. He's got a thing for racing and had to give it up when he was placed into national service turned enlistment into special forces. The anime changed it to make it like Tessa did it all.

Also trivia: Misato failed to fight Shinji (Allison Keith voices the former and Spike Spencer voices the latter in Eva) and nearly got killed by Behemoth.

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Only having previously seen the dub of this episode, Seina didn't use "darling" to refer to Kalinin in English (I choice I agree with). We knew she had some interest in his character, but even so the use of the word darling seems out of left field. I mean, this isn't Urusei Yatsura or Kimagure Orange Road dammit! Since she didn't have a family, maybe she had a need for a strong father figure type? And it developed into an attraction at some point, despite her claims of hating him? Her character is far more complex than I realized I guess.
Actually the reason is that Seina sees Kalinin as a reminder of her father figure Seiji Takechi.

Same way Kalinin see Nora as a reminder of his wife, Elena. Only because she physically looks like her.

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Seina and A21's revenge plot point seems a bit extreme to me. I don't really find them all that particularly interesting either, so it hinders the tension. Meh.
Actually I read Seina's quote in the novel. Seiji was teaching them the harshness of reality. IIRC, the Hong Kong Police Force instituted a similar thing to juveniles who got into trouble with the law and used it as an alternative than face a record.

Side note: The A21 base camp in the jungles of the Philippines may be a shoutout to real life stuff since the Japanese Red Army did have safehouses there (Read old news of it) and probably trained with the New People's Army. There's allegation that some Singaporean leftists also did the same way. It's only in the novels...

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Is secretary really a proper translation of Shinji's dad's rank/title?
I think it's just in the camp where his dad works since he has an office position, as per job title. Don't recall which part of Narashino he works in, if it's in the novels at all.

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In particular I feel the personnel from the other unit that Sousuke has to work with are way too blatantly hostile towards him. There's probably an argument to be made for being blatant given the medium and the limited run time this arc has to work with.
Those guys (except Gray) are just in denial that someone with Asian features could possibly be in Afghanistan at the time and he's just brought in from another unit to assist. To them, they feel like their superiors in the IOU don't trust them to do the job effectively.

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It might not have been the writer's intention, but I'm sort of inclined to think of Grace Wiseman as an adopted name/persona. It doesn't really sound Eastern European.
Agreed. Reminds me in the FFL, you can choose to change your name during your enlistment and get your real one back if you wish.

At one point when I was fed up with my folks and such, I wanted to do the same thing....

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How did Kurz not get in trouble for the stunt he pulled with that bingo game? BTW, there are actually valid storytelling reasons for the anime to make Lian the third competitor in the three way bingo showdown, but in the novel the third competitor was Pave Mare (transport helicopter) pilot Eva Santos.
Had a feeling that I heard the name before after I watched IV.

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BTW I seem to remember reading that the reason Sousuke and Kurz were hiding their true skills was because they weren't sure what to make of Mithril yet (though I don't know whether that's something that's explicitly stated in the original short story or whether that's just speculation).
Same camp as you, though I'm leaning on the latter.

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Despite Mithril having a high morale, as Gauron states, they are all still mercenaries motivated by money.
This gets a callback during the meeting Tessa's in with other officials of Mithril and Amit painfully points this out.

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The school rooftop scene with the nerdy pervert was borderline Fumoffu comedy with how quick and expressive it was.
Well he is a drama queen after all. XD

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Speaking of the Chinese civil war, according to this episode it started eight years ago. With the anime being set in 2001 that would mean 1993? (Note that the original light novels were set in 1998.)
The anime's suppose to be in 2002. So the first instances of the war started in '94. I'm thinking it rocketed after the Tianamen Square incident in which it became way hotter before the PLA can quell them fast.

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Can anyone tell what Kaname was using to hit Sousuke? Was that a part of Miss Kagurazaka's disassembled car, or a roll of something? The expression on Miss Kagurazaka's face when she sees what Sousuke did... that woman does not get paid enough to be his teacher.

Mithril's hologram technology is cool and all and helps reinforce that this is a sci-fi story, but would plain old video conferencing not have done the job?
Looked at it again. Sure it was a rolled up projector screen.

I'm guessing the holographic conference is due to the secrecy needed since they fear being infiltrated by moles and double agents. And with the TDD-1 (and the Nanking incident), their fears were justified.

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I think it's pretty clear from her lecturing him that talking while driving is illegal and that he should pull over that she doesn't realize he was actually being shot at.
It didn't help that the cell reception Kaname had was bad static.

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but for a tech guy, like Bluno, who prolly had no torture-resistance training, it might work quite well.
Specifically, he's a comms engineer.

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Couldn't Sousuke have just put that notebook through Kaname's mail slot, perhaps along with a quick note explaining the situation?
He would. My two cents is that he's aware that Wraith's monitoring him and he may tell Amit if he's doing something suspicious.

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I have to wonder a bit at the practicality of Wraith's fat salaryman disguise. Perhaps Wraith doesn't plan to interact with others much, but it still seems like it would be preferable to wear something that didn't interfere with natural facial expressions. Seems like it would be more trouble than its worth.
Japan's stereotype (one of them) is the salaryman. I'm sure Wraith did the research considering that the novels did mention IIRC that Wraith was an ex-State Security Department agent, which meant that Wraith would have infiltrated Japan as part of the job.

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I've always loved the callback to Fumoffu as Tessa reminisces about the hot springs trip via her picture. A much more simple and fun time back then as opposed to the current stress she feels. It also is a proof for that Fumoffu comes before the Second Raid, which I still don't know how some people continue to get that wrong.
Even though it's a gaiden anime, I'm glad that I'm not wrong with that photo.

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Even to me, Michiko Neya's attempts at Chinese (not sure if Mandarin or Cantonese) don't sound very convincing. :lol
She spoke Cantonese, which is like a Japanese speaking bad English. It's even worse in the English version. I can tell since I can speak Cantonese, even just a bit to get around.

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BTW something that I should maybe have mentioned in one of my earlier write ups about this series: I think that if Sousuke's mission to protect Kaname had been terminated early in the series, he might have been a bit disappointed but he would have been able to move on without too much difficulty. It took time for him to get attached enough for being taken from her to affect him this much. That's something I appreciate from a story/character development perspective.
It's a good eye you got on that one. I like it that how Kaname (and her friends and the Jindai High staff/faculty and the civilians he encounters) helps humanize him in such a way.

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We definitely see Sousuke at his lowest point of the series thus far. The way he bails out of the car like he's given up on everything that matters to him is far from the person we know. This of course makes this portion of the series so compelling because of that too. The comparison Mao makes of Sousuke's eyes and the cold eyes of Yu Lan was a great touch as well. He sure looks like he's gone off the deep end.
I noted that this was coming the moment I heard Closeau's conversation with Mao that Sousuke needs to step his game up.

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Interesting that Sousuke actually tries drinking the whiskey in this episode. It often seems to me that underage drinking is the one sin anime is deathly afraid of showing for some reason. So many shows ridiculously insist that whatever the characters are drinking isn't actually alcohol even though the characters are obviously getting drunk of it. Is there some legal reason for that? Didn't something change between when this show was made and when later shows were made?
My two cents for this is that Sousuke was raised in Afghanistan with Muslim values and also out of pragmatism. And also, it's showing him at his low.

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Yeah, a lot of people are going to try to evacuate if they can but there's still a lot of people living in a comparatively small area in Hong Kong.
Maybe the evacuation order is strictly enforced and they don't want to be caught in the war?

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Am I being overly nitpicky if I think Sousuke should be keeping his finger off the trigger of his pistol?
You're not, but considering he saw him again.

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I have to wonder if Gauron simply assumed that Kaname hadn't survived her encounter with his assassin or whether he lied just to screw with Sousuke.
I think he's assuming that the assassin sent to kill Kaname died doing the work.

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I do love the tactics the SRT are doing with the technologically superior enemy. They aren't engaging in 1-on-1 fights, they switch out and try to catch Yu Fan of guard while Kurz provides sniper fire from a distance. It's really all they can do to survive against a lamda driver.
It's a nice callback to the 1st episode where the Balican army was gunning for the Arbalest.

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I'm with Clouseau here. Messing with someone's favorite anime is an unforgivable crime.
I heard that it was way different in the novel with porn being used instead of pigs kissing each other. Although the latter does have a brilliance into it since he's a Muslim and it's haram to eat pig. (I hope I got the term right).
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Even if we were at odds with each other, I still thank you for training me, Instructor Bowman - Yu Ominae, reflecting on Bowman's death after killing him in Phantom Island
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