March 10th, 2008

Bishoujo squad!

Finished series: Idolmaster Xenoglossia

We've finished watching Idolmaster Xenoglossia. My first episode review is here.

Let's start off by mentioning that this series is very loosely based on a arcade videogame that is quite popular in Japan. As a manager, you have to nurture your favourite girl into becoming an idol. Obviously, it works with savegames etcetera.
So if you thought this series was about cute girls singing and dancing on stage and overcoming their competitors through optimism and hard work, you were wrong. It is about cute girls piloting mecha and kicking the shit out of meteors and each other! There is a sideplot that mentions idol singers, but that gets only minimal screen time... So it's kind of a weird tie-in with the game, to say the least.

But it all starts off innocently enough. Haruka gets into an audition to become an idol singer (!), and she gets through the preliminaries! She has to move to Tokyo, where a room in a dorm is reserved for her. She has to take this weird keychain-thing with her all times, and she will go through the rest of the auditions there. And so she sets off to Tokyo, but by the end of the first episode she is already in the cockpit of an iDol -- something with that one (called Imber) reacting to her keychain and/or personality.
iDols are man-made mecha that have been built around cores that were found on the moon, that are capable of generating limitless energy. Since the moon fractured, there is a lot of debris falling down (and the changed atmosphere jams cellphone reception when the script calls for it), and there is a huge network that tracks the movement of the rocks orbiting the Earth. Most countries use (nuclear) rockets to shoot 'em down when one threatens to land on their patch of the planet, but Japan doesn't want to use such technology (for obvious reasons) -- so they use the iDols!

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Technically, there is nothing wrong with this series -- certainly a trend in recent anime. Especially the CGI is executed very competently.

Good things:
- Very well animated, with great CGI effects;
- Fun story with lots of action.
Bad things:
- Bit shallow in its treatment of certain themes.

All in all, fun to watch, but not one for the top of the list. A 7.5.
Counting (Shuffle)

The review queue

I have taken to administering the anime viewing in a spreadsheet. One worksheet has the series: which title, from which group, how many episodes total. When I have all episodes of a series, I indicate that with a background color.
The other worksheet has my review queue for completed series. As regular readers of my journal have noticed, I am slowly chipping away at it -- it's slow going, because new series are added to the queue regularly too...

Right now, the queue is down to twelve items, but within three days there will be another series added to it. It's slow going, but we're getting there!
  • Current Mood
    determined determined

Violence in games...

Of course, by now everyone knows all about the various arguments for and against the theory that violence in videogames begets real-life violence. And if not real-life violence, then perhaps gamers get desensitised to violence, making the threshold to perpetrate violence lower...

So instead of some wonky thought experiment, one researcher decided to measure involuntary muscle responses, galvanic skin reactions, the whole range of physical indicators of emotions. He found something interesting: gamers are distressed when they shoot an enemy in-game. (Instead, the gamers reacted positively to... getting killed (in-game, of course). The reasons why that is so are explained in the article, but that is not what I want to focus on.)

Apparently, shooting an enemy in a FPS game does not provide the player with pleasure. It probably triggers some deep-seated ethical responses to violence. It would be interesting to see whether the response increases as games become more and more realistic -- that would mean that gamers are getting more moral teaching from modern, realistic shooters than from, say, Space Invaders!

I propose we make violent games as realistic as we possibly can, to educate everyone on the awful nature of violence!