Anime roundup 5/26/2013: In the Long Run We Are All Dead

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HxH-80 Hunter x Hunter #80 – The Chimera Ant queen has just collected the brain of a man so misanthropic that he founded an entire country just to give him a base from which to make everyone else miserable. Chimera Ants are strong enough to be able to defeat a Nen user without knowing about Nen themselves, and they’re going to learn about Nen soon when Pokkle gets eaten. And the more independent ants are starting to abandon the queen entirely to pursue their own killing sprees.

Yes, I believe this is the point where the world officially looks screwed.

The flashback sequence in black-and-white line drawings was a completely new style for Hunter x Hunter, and I think it worked very well. HxH has such locked-in popularity that it doesn’t have to do anything that interesting, so kudos to that episode director.

If you know a little about how to count things in Japanese, there was a curious bit of information regarding how the ants see themselves. Japanese gets along fine without plural forms– indeed, without any noun inflection at all– but it makes up for it in part by dividing them into a zillion different categories for counting.

For instance, the word for “three” is san, but if you are talking about three people, they’re sannin, if you have three books you have sansatsu of them, if you have three thin flat objects you have sammai of them, and so forth. And the three soldiers of Zazan’s that the squad leaders were discussing weren’t sannin, but sambiki, using the suffix for insects and other small animals. While the ants may retain human knowledge, either they don’t see themselves as people, or they don’t consider their soldiers to have risen to that level.

Gargantia-7 Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet #7 – Up until this moment, I’d never have picked out Pinion as the character most likely to wind up on the path to becoming an insane gibbering maniacal villain. (After all, the only reason fictional characters ever have phobias is so they can be flung headlong into them later for maximum entertainment value. I see an involuntary underwater encounter with a lot of squid in his future.)

Every legend contains its grain of truth, and here the whalesquid as a sacred animal which should not be killed is a handy way of remembering that if you do manage to kill one, several hundred of its closest friends will want to have a word with you. Embracing a peace which consists of just trying not to provoke something that could crush you at any moment is something I don’t think you’d ever see presented positively in a US TV show. Back in the times of the original Star Trek, you’d be seeing low-level conflict until a breakthrough in communication led to peace based on universal sentient brotherhood and understanding; these days, it’s more likely that the grim-faced hero would declare that the aliens are oppressing the humans by limiting their God-given freedom– Avalon’s justification for the war, really.

But I also think that even if this were an American show, heading into alien territory with a fraction of your resources and an intent to annoy as many of them as possible would still sound like a really bad idea. Place your bets now on who lives and who dies.

Oh, did you notice that the squid were following the lightbug pathway? You may recall that Chamber identified them as nanotech left over by a vanished civilization. Perhaps they’re the work of someone still very much in residence…

Space-Bros-58 Space Brothers #58 – So in addition to having to imagine that all the characters are speaking English while in the US, it seems we should have been imagining one or two of them with the distinctive Upper Midwest accent. (I could see Vince having practiced his accent away.) For those outside the US and Canada, your best bet for hearing what it sounds like is to get a copy of Fargo, or watch Mystery Science Theater 3000 until you catch one of their fleeting old-lady impressions.

Pothill or anything resembling that name does not appear to really exist, but there certainly are open-pit mines in rural northeast Minnesota, pulling up the deposits known collectively as the Iron Range.

Knowing that Vince and Pico did eventually escape the suffocation of small-town life, that just leaves two questions: What happened to their Japanese-American buddy that Mutta is now so clearly being brought in to replace? And why choose to name their rockets after a bird which is well-known for being flightless and having a tendency to explode?

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