Monday, February 27, 2012

Weekly Digest: 2/26/12 – Brave 10, Mobile Suit Gundam AGE

[Hadena] Brave 10 - 08 [1280x720 x264 AAC][39AA96C4].mkv_snapshot_04.55_[2012.02.26_10.43.13] [sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_20_[720p][D4A5FDF6].mkv_snapshot_04.42_[2012.02.26_16.20.48] [sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_20_[720p][D4A5FDF6].mkv_snapshot_17.27_[2012.02.26_16.38.26]

I guess it’s time to start a pool on which episode Arisa dies.

Brave 10 – 08
[Hadena] Brave 10 - 08 [1280x720 x264 AAC][39AA96C4].mkv_snapshot_00.28_[2012.02.26_10.39.38] [Hadena] Brave 10 - 08 [1280x720 x264 AAC][39AA96C4].mkv_snapshot_03.33_[2012.02.26_10.41.50] [Hadena] Brave 10 - 08 [1280x720 x264 AAC][39AA96C4].mkv_snapshot_10.54_[2012.02.26_10.49.11]
[Hadena] Brave 10 - 08 [1280x720 x264 AAC][39AA96C4].mkv_snapshot_11.42_[2012.02.26_10.49.59] [Hadena] Brave 10 - 08 [1280x720 x264 AAC][39AA96C4].mkv_snapshot_14.21_[2012.02.26_10.52.38] [Hadena] Brave 10 - 08 [1280x720 x264 AAC][39AA96C4].mkv_snapshot_17.04_[2012.02.26_10.55.22]
[Hadena] Brave 10 - 08 [1280x720 x264 AAC][39AA96C4].mkv_snapshot_21.07_[2012.02.26_10.59.24] [Hadena] Brave 10 - 08 [1280x720 x264 AAC][39AA96C4].mkv_snapshot_21.30_[2012.02.26_10.59.48] [Hadena] Brave 10 - 08 [1280x720 x264 AAC][39AA96C4].mkv_snapshot_21.45_[2012.02.26_11.00.02]

At long last, Brave 10 can live up to its title.  Too bad we only have four eps left to see it in action.

With the addition of pirate Nezu Jinpachi (Nakai Kazuya) Sanada’s ten braves have finally all been assembled.  And just in time too, as Sanada has made an enemy of the biggest bully on the block, Tokugawa Ieyasu.  It’s pretty rare you see Ieyasu – arguably the most famous historical figure in Japan – portrayed as such an outright douche in anime, but he’s definitely a loser here – a cowardly bureaucrat who quails at his own shadow and relies on Date Masamune to do his dirty work. The Ten Braves are assembled just in time too, as Sanada  needs all their power to fight off Ieyasu and Date’s attempts to capture Isanami.  They all prove useful, too, with Benmaru’s explosives especially handy, and Kakei having brought Jinpachi’s ship to rescue the others and escape via Lake Biwa.   As fun as it is I still see the same essential problem with the series – just how much can it really do in 12 episodes?  Two-thirds of the series is gone just assembling the cast, and the overriding plot has barely been touched in the last few episodes.

Mobile Suit Gudam AGE – 20
[sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_20_[720p][D4A5FDF6].mkv_snapshot_08.06_[2012.02.26_16.26.24] [sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_20_[720p][D4A5FDF6].mkv_snapshot_08.37_[2012.02.26_16.26.54] [sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_20_[720p][D4A5FDF6].mkv_snapshot_10.00_[2012.02.26_16.28.46]
[sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_20_[720p][D4A5FDF6].mkv_snapshot_12.48_[2012.02.26_16.32.54] [sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_20_[720p][D4A5FDF6].mkv_snapshot_17.24_[2012.02.26_16.38.24] [sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_20_[720p][D4A5FDF6].mkv_snapshot_19.02_[2012.02.26_16.40.02]
[sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_20_[720p][D4A5FDF6].mkv_snapshot_20.11_[2012.02.26_16.41.10] [sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_20_[720p][D4A5FDF6].mkv_snapshot_22.08_[2012.02.26_16.43.07] [sage]_Mobile_Suit_Gundam_AGE_-_20_[720p][D4A5FDF6].mkv_snapshot_22.09_[2012.02.26_16.43.09]

That was a rather good episode, I thought – certainly the best of the second arc and maybe the best of the series thus far - even the BGM seemed peppier and sharper.  While I’ve enjoyed most of this series, the storytelling has been sort of lazy and flabby at time.  There’s been too much fluff and wasted time.  This episode told a rather concise story, and did it with a lot of style.

I’m really wondering who Arisa’s mother is at this point.  They’ve been hinting at it enough that I assume it must be someone connected to the story.  I’m starting to get this Gundam thing I guess, because I gather that as the far more interesting love interest she’s certain to lost to Romary and likely to die.  I like the cut of her gib – she’s not shy, that’s for sure (why didn’t the girls I went to HS with feel so comfortable slapping guy’s asses?)  Also of note was the introduction of the now adult Desil (Terashima Takuma) who’s just woken from cryo-sleep.  Zeaheart calls him “Nii-san” and it’s clear it’s not a close relationship, as Desil loves to lord it over Zaeheart and seems horrified to learn Zeaheart was appointed Commander while he’s been napping. 

The fundamental conflict of this arc, unlike the first, seems more internal than external.  Zeaheart and Asemu are each fighting their own instincts, as Zaeheart can’t bring himself to kill (or hate) Asemu and Asemu is tormented by the thought of the enemy mobile suit pilots he’s killing.  It’s nice to see that mentioned, because it’s a real part of the story and it can’t be an easy thing for a 17 year-old’s conscience.  When Zeheart commits treason by failing to kill Asemu after he’s defeated him in combat, Desil senses the truth – and that’s sure to be a problem for Commander Zaeheart.  Both these young men seem to have the impulses of peacemakers rather than warriors, and I wonder if this second arc is destined to end sadly, but also to set up a potential reconciliation between humans and Vagans in the third and final arc.


33 comments:

  1. While Gundam's never really been known for amazing female characters, I am truly in awe of how horribly written everyone with two X chromosomes is in this show. Granted, people with Y chromosomes aren't written much better, but there is a distinct difference.

    Is it really necessary to make Arisa look like a complete incompetent every time she sorties?

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  2. I liked Yurin, even if she was named after a bodily fluid.

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    Replies
    1. I liked Yurin too, that doesn't change the fact that her character was badly written, horribly cliched, and pretty damn offensively handled when you get right down to it.

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    2. I disagree on that, shocking I know. I think she was the best-written character of the first arc. But it's all relative - we're not talking about Dostoevsky here.

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    3. I can name probably a half dozen female characters with pretty much her exact story arc, solely from Gundam series.

      And yes, she very well may have been best written character of the first story arc, do you realize how APALLINGLY BAD that means everyone else was?

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    4. Yurin's sole purpose in the story was to give Flit a reason to hold an eternal grudge against the Vegans, and she didn't even have the dignity of piloting the damn mobile suit she was being used in. She was a fucking battery.

      Sure, I guess you could technically say she was well written, but there wasn't anything for them to fuck up, as they didn't attempt anything resembling character development and growth. She's pretty much a textbook example of a refrigerator girlfriend.

      I'm not sure whether her treatment was better or worse than Emily, who had almost no purpose in the entire 15 episodes except to nag Flit and then pump out his babies between generations.

      And this arc is showing no signs of improving. The show is really going out of its way with Arisa. I think she set a record for the number of times a mecha pilot needed to be rescued in an episode.

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    5. Well, in terms of "no signs of improving" I think this was actually a very strong episode - probably the best of the series so far. I wish there had been more like it, I won't deny that.

      I'm basically viewing this as a Saturday morning cartoon aimed mostly at kids, because I think that's the spirit in which it's intended. I'm not enough of a Gundam fan to be offended if that's not true to the franchise - frankly, I don't really care. By that standard, I think the show is actually decent.

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    6. Even by the standards of "Saturday morning cartoon aimed at kids" the show is terrible.

      Want to watch some anime aimed at kids thats actually good? Go watch Smile Precure.

      Also, you are, once again, ignoring the point at hand.

      (and yes, this was one of the show's stronger episodes. Thats not a good thing)

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    7. It doesn't have what you like - yuri and an all-female cast. That doesn't make it terrible. I could ask why you're watching it if you hate it so much, but clearly it's for the pleasure mocking it gives you.

      This argument is intensely boring for me to be honest, because of all the shows I blog, this one isn't especially prominent on my radar screen. I'm not taking it especially seriously and certainly don't consider it a shining example of cutting-edge anime. But it seems rather silly to use is a pretext for lecturing on gender roles when the ones held up as contrary examples either treat girls as purely sexual objects, idealize them to the point of obsession or glorify them as objects of abuse and suffering.

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    8. I actually haven't held up those shows as counter examples, in fact, the only show I have held up in this thread is Smile Precure.

      While I'm not going to deny that I like yuri, and I like all or mostly female casts, thats not really the point at hand. I've watched and enjoyed plenty of shows without yuri, and with mostly male casts before, including basically every Gundam series ever made. Gundam AGE is, even by the really, really low standards set by the Gundam franchise in general, atrocious when it comes to treating female characters as, well, characters. Hitokiri summed up Yurin and Emily's treatment in the first arc quite well, and they are the only female characters of note in that arc, Millais did even less than either of them.

      Arisa's the only female pilot, period, thus far in the show, and she has had to be saved no fewer than four times in the last two episodes. Thats completely ridiculous. Hell, it'd be ridiculous if she were a male character!

      But it seems rather silly to use is a pretext for lecturing on gender roles when the ones held up as contrary examples either treat girls as purely sexual objects, idealize them to the point of obsession or glorify them as objects of abuse and suffering.

      And this is incredibly disingenuous.

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    9. And you're incredibly arrogant and dismissive towards anyone who disagrees with you. Just be careful changing lanes if you drive anywhere tomorrow - that blind spot can be a bear.

      In any case, this particular thread of conversation seems rather pointless to continue. Have fun with it.

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    10. And you, quite frankly, refuse to actually address the points I (and others) have brought up.

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    11. Honestly Fencedude, you're coming off as extremely arrogant and dismissive of anyone who has a different opinion.

      Yes Gundam Age isn't amazing. There's no denying that the show is aimed at younger viewers. Naturally, the plot and characters will be far more shallow than the average Gundam series or other more mature anime.

      As for sexist characterisation of females in Gundam...really? I'll be honest here - I personally think the majority of ecchi fanservice anime completely portays women as sex objects, as Enzo says - particularly in those yuri and female cast shows that you say you enjoy. I'm not saying that all of them are terrible, but considering that, Age does a decent job with its characters. Yurin might be cliche, but so are plots of half the Gundam series out there. As a long time fan who's even watched the original 1979 series - I don't expect huge innovations when I watch Gundam, and still manage to enjoy almost all of them.

      My impression of Arisa? She's outgoing, strong, able to cheer up and relate to fellow crewmates, DESPITE being an inexperienced pilot. I don't even understand why you think her character is atrocious - she's unfazed by her not-so-great piloting, and still has the best attitude of all of them. If that's not strength of character in a female, I don't know what is.

      Yurin is more cliche, sure, but every Gundam has the mysterious girl who loves the protagonist and dies tragically. It's not innovative, but I know what I'm getting when I watch Gundam. Non-issue for me personally, and never did I feel like the show was portraying women as weak-willed and pathetic.


      I'm not going to go any further, but I'm just going to say, if Divine and Enzo both think the series is decent - I think we can agree that not everyone thinks this anime is terrible. If you think this series is terrible - stop watching it, it's obviously not for you, and I can understand that. I think Divine and Enzo's opinions are far more well thought out and fair than yours. You would do well to remember that not everyone will agree with your points. I sure don't.

      tl;dr - People can have different opinions on the same thing. If you hate it, fair enough, that doesn't mean we all have to think its terrible. Your points are valid, but I perceive the same events in a different way. Rather than finding Arisa a weak female character because she's a not-so-great pilot, I think she's an excellent outgoing character that doesn't let her mistakes trap her in a cycle of self-hate - and I think that portrays females very positively.

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    12. @Snipyro, Re: Arisa

      Way to completely miss the issue.

      We're not complaining about her personality traits. I, Fencedude and one other person I'm familiar with who has the same issues we do actually like Arisa for the reasons you mentioned. She's by far the best character in the show. But a character's personality and how that character gets treated are two different things, and how the show is treating her contributes to an established pattern of astounding sexism.

      Arisa was rescued [i]three times[/i] in the first episode she appeared in and her mobile suit was the *only* one to take significant and visible damage. Yes, she's inexperienced, but so is at least one of her fellow male pilots, but the show is going out its way to show her in need of far more help from her (male) allies than anyone else in the show. Or any other Gundam series I've seen, for that matter (which is most of them).


      And the atrocious writing Fencedude and I are referring to is actually a completely separate issue from the blatant sexism. The problem is not that it is shallow (which is to be expected from something aimed at a younger audience and most Gundam shows aren't any better). It's not even an issue of characterization. It's that the many scenes (and several major plot points) are astoundingly stupid and fall apart with the slightest application of logic or critical thinking. Being a children's show is not an excuse for this show's failures.

      [i]As for sexist characterisation of females in Gundam...really? I'll be honest here - I personally think the majority of ecchi fanservice anime completely portays women as sex objects, as Enzo says - particularly in those yuri and female cast shows that you say you enjoy.[/i]

      It's as if people think the only way something can be sexist is if it sexually objectifies them.

      That some other shows are sexist in a different way is completely irrelevent. It doesn't make Gundam AGE not sexist.

      Enzo: [i]"Well, in terms of "no signs of improving" I think this was actually a very strong episode - probably the best of the series so far. I wish there had been more like it, I won't deny that.

      I'm basically viewing this as a Saturday morning cartoon aimed mostly at kids, because I think that's the spirit in which it's intended. I'm not enough of a Gundam fan to be offended if that's not true to the franchise - frankly, I don't really care. By that standard, I think the show is actually decent."[/i]

      It was an improvement in that the writing was astoundingly terrible like in previous episodes of this gen. In terms of general story, this generation is certainly better than the first. But I was talking signs of its handling of the female cast improving.

      Now, maybe the show will actually start treating Arisa like the male characters, stop blatantly giving her different treatment, and let her become a competent pilot that doesn't get treated differently than the male pilots. I hope it does. But there's nothing in this episode to give any reason to think that will happen.

      And again, this being a kid's show or not "being true to the franchise" is not the problem. I didn't complain about the writing issues in the early episodes precisely because I was giving the show a lot of leeway due it clearly being aimed directly at a much younger audience than usual. But being a kid's show does not excuse the awful writing or the blatant sexism.

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    13. Snipyro, I confess it's puzzling to me why someone who appears to hate each and every aspect of a show would still be watching it after 20 episodes. Seems kind of masochistic to me. The most obvious reason is for the enjoyment of mocking everyone who doesn't hate it, and trying to ruin their enjoyment.

      I can see watching a series with mixed feelings, commenting on the good and the bad. I can see watching a series you hate for a few eps, then giving up. But the only reason for this kind of behavior is to feel superior and to mock the product. It's like going around pissing on people's cars. I could very easily go to Nisemonogatari boards and endlessly bore people about why everything by Isin Nisio is truly terrible - how false and pompous and self-aware the writing is, and how bad the success of pandering shit that tries to pass itself off as intellectual is for anime's future. But clearly, people have decided this is what they want - so why should I piss on their car? Let them have their place to say how much they love it without me going in their just to try and spoil it for them. I could - I've got lots to say on the subject - but it would be petty, small and immature of me to do it.

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    14. @Enzo: I agree completely, I don't see the point of watching a show that you hate every aspect of.

      @Hitokiri: I can see your points, I really do. But to sum it up my beef with your analysis is simple - you seem to expect so much of the anime that I cannot see you thinking ANY anime is not filled with tons of sexism or stereotypes/cliches. There really aren't any anime characters that are truly original anymore.

      You claim that being a show aimed at children doesn't excuse all the issues you mentioned. But I'm prepared to bet that for a kid, Age is exactly what they want atm - big mecha battles with teenage boys shouting at each other, backed up with a decent cast (I'm sure you'll disagree about the "decent" cast, but a kid isn't worried about cliches or sexism - even I don't when I'm watching Gundam).

      I also don't really see why Arisa has to get the same treatment as the boys. So far only Woolf and Asemu are competent pilots - the other two boys on the team seem just as bad and inexperienced, and they have far less personality than Arisa. More to the point Gundam's also a mecha anime, with a predominantly male audience. I don't really see it as sexism that they chose to only portray Asemu and Woolf as ace pilots.

      I could add a lot more but in the end, Divine, Enzo, me and a ton of others all think Age is a decent enough series, and not once have the others ranted about the sexism or "awful" writing. It's not amazing, but it's definitely not bad.

      If you really do think it's sexist, awfully written and a terrible series overall...as Enzo questions, why would you keep watching anyway? You don't sound as if you enjoy the series at all.

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    15. I'm watching the show because its Gundam, which means, for better or worse that we're stuck with it. I'll have to deal with the show one way or another going forward, so I might as well just watch it now and be done with it.

      Trust me, if it weren't Gundam, I would have bailed ages ago. Do note that I stopped watching Guilty Crown.

      As for the show being "for kids", its failing miserably in all demographics, so even kids don't like it.

      Delete
    16. "I can see your points, I really do. ... stereotypes/cliches. There really aren't any anime characters that are truly original anymore."

      If you see my points, why are you bringing up "cliches" and character originality? I never said anything about either of those.


      "You claim that being a show aimed at children doesn't excuse all the issues you mentioned. But I'm prepared to bet that for a kid, Age is exactly what they want atm - big mecha battles with teenage boys shouting at each other, backed up with a decent cast (I'm sure you'll disagree about the "decent" cast, but a kid isn't worried about cliches or sexism - even I don't when I'm watching Gundam)."

      Once again, missing the point. Of course kids aren't going to notice these things and only care about the pretty explosions. That's precisely why Sunrise is putting zero effort into the story, but that doesn't make these problems okay. Especially the sexism.

      "I also don't really see why Arisa has to get the same treatment as the boys."

      Wow, really? Yeah, I can see that you don't care about sexism. Yes, no need to treat women as being as competent as men, what silliness is that?

      "So far only Woolf and Asemu are competent pilots - the other two boys on the team seem just as bad and inexperienced,"

      Bingo. That's just it. I'm not comparing her to Woolf and Asumu. There are two other boys that are just as inexperienced as her, but there is a stark difference in how that's been portrayed. How many times did the inexperienced guys have to be rescued? Once. Her? Three times [i]in one episode.[/i] She was also the only one to take visible damage (part of her arm got chopped off) and the only one to be rescued in this episode (by one of those other inexperienced guys)


      "More to the point Gundam's also a mecha anime, with a predominantly male audience. I don't really see it as sexism that they chose to only portray Asemu and Woolf as ace pilots."

      I wouldn't be calling it sexist if the only problem was that only males got to be "ace pilots" or pilots of the good, non-grunt suits. It would still be a step down from the last two Gundam TV series and would be problematic in a way, but it wouldn't be sexist.


      "If you really do think it's sexist, awfully written and a terrible series overall...as Enzo questions, why would you keep watching anyway? You don't sound as if you enjoy the series at all."

      Mainly because its Gundam. And in the vain hopes that it might actually get better at some point. And there are some things I enjoy, they're just rare and the show continuously ruins any potential it has. I was optimistic in the first episode of this gen when it looked like the show was going to do something interesting with the Asemu/Zeheart stuff and hoped maybe, just maybe, the show's execution of its ideas would improve as well.

      Delete
  3. "the storytelling has been sort of lazy and flabby at time. "

    That's being incredibly kind. This show makes Fam look like a paragon of good writing in comparison.

    At its best, its been kind of okay. And it hasn't hit that high point since, oh, about episode 2. The civil war arc in the first generation and the first three episodes of this generation were absolutely atrocious.

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  4. Your header is missing a head.
    I am not going to ask how an experienced commander's flight plan can be known by an enemy a third of her age.
    Is gundam sexist?

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    Replies
    1. Zeheart is obviously not just an average guy seeing as he's been promoted to a Commander at his age, AND he's an X-Rounder. It shouldn't be that surprising

      As for Gundam being sexist? Lol, have you watched Gundam 00? Sumeragi was a GENIUS strategic commander, and she was female.

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  5. @Enzo: I know how the third generation fosters peace. Zeheart the bishie goes off with Asemu's Imouto. Their son is the third Generation Age pilot.

    His aim is to bring peace to both sides. Gundam 00 style

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    Replies
    1. But you see, that would be interesting and creative.

      Thus has no chance of happening.

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    2. thanks for the Lol

      Delete
  6. Wow, first time that the Char mask actually has a purpose other than hiding the bishie visage/true identity.
    And it's 3 times faster!

    Anyways, the conflict between the rivals might be getting deeper but the basis on where it began still felt pretty weak to me. That 1 and a half year that Zeheart spent on HS being his infiltration mission and its payoff being measly data from Feds and not much data from Gundam is still bothering me up to this time. It didn't quite establish much the friendship and rivalry for the two. Meh, let's not let it weigh me down.

    AGE-1 vs AGE-2? And AGE-1 gonna explode? Wtf?

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    Replies
    1. Its like Kira and Athrun, only crappier.

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  7. Oh and Enzo, it's Nii-san, not Onee-san.
    Desil's got some nice abs you know.

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    Replies
    1. I have no idea to what you're referring...

      No one wants to talk about Brave 10, eh?

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    2. Sure you don't.

      And I'm not watching it and apparently no one wants to discuss it as well. What gives then?

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    3. Same reason why no one discuss Towa no Quon?

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    4. It's certainly true that virtually no one comments on Towa no Quon when I post on it. I will get to those last two eps eventually.

      Belatkuro, what it says to me is that Brave 10 doesn't have enough otaku pandering to make it onto most people's radar screen. It's not great or awful either, just pretty good.

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  8. I'd prefer Arisa died last episode.

    ...this is the GC thread, right?

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  9. Haven't seen the latest few eps of Blade 10 (mainly due to lack of time and mixed impressions from the first 4-5 eps), but if the ten heroes have finally all been gathered, I think it's time to catch up! :)

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