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5 Favorite Anime Blog Posts from 2023 Week 17

Every week, I visit over 300 anime sites looking for posts that celebrate amazing moments in anime or otherwise blow me away with their wit and charm. These five posts are my favorite for the week! I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did!

You can see a list of the sites I check here: Massive List of Sites!

The Infinite Zenith

Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury – Review and Reflection Three Past The Halfway Point

I have a soft spot for political intrigue. You might that impression if you’ve read any of my novels! I blame the book Dune. It blew me away in high school, and it set my expectations for what that genre could deliver. That’s part of why I’ve so enjoyed Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury Season 2. I’m not saying I’ll remember it like I remember Dune. But I am saying it’s scratching the same itch.

However, there’s a drawback to well-crafted political intrigue. It requires attention. There are times when I lose track of the characters, situations, and institutions in The Witch from Mercury. That’s my fault, but it makes me sensitive to reviewers who apparently don’t share that particular shortcoming. InfiniteZenith falls into that category! This post on The Infinite Zenith proves that. This is the most detailed, thought-provoking, and downright fact-based review I’ve ever read of this series — and I’ve read most of them! See what you think!


Ancient Magus Bride: Season 2 – Episode 4 Review

I think I warned you that I was going to gush about The Ancient Magus’ Bride Season 2 this season, didn’t I? I hope I did, because there’s something about this show that speaks to me. Part of it has to do with the authenticity of the world and the relationships of its inhabitants. My reaction reminds me of how I felt about Lord of the Rings or David Brin’s Uplift novels. These works feel like they always have been and always will be. They feel real.

One of the things about KVASIR369’s reviews is that he conveys the vibe a show presents. He will also often compare the anime to its manga roots, as he does in this post on Kvasir369. I think that combination is why KVASIR369’s reviews of this series resonate so strongly with me. They capture the show in a visceral way. See if this review helps you relive the fourth episode!

Lita Kino’s Anime Corner

What Made You Love Life More?

Why do I watch anime or read novels? I could be flippant and say it’s to find “amazing moments in anime,” which is part of this site’s tagline. But why am I looking for amazing moments? To be completely honest, it’s because I want a reminder. It’s like Sam said in The Return of the King, when he saw a single star shining above the clouds Sauron had sent over Middle Earth:

For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.

Tolkien, J.R.R.. The Return Of The King: Being the Third Part of the Lord of the Rings (p. 95). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

The last decade’s been tough; the last five or six years in particular. I look for amazing moments to remind me that what I’m dealing with now is not permanent. In a recent post on her site Lita Kino’s Anime Corner, Lita also talks about how anime can be uplifting. It’s no casual thing — fiction is powerful, and I can vouch for the series that Lita chose to illustrate her point. See if she mentioned any series that are special to you!

The Mind of the Hybrid One

Anime Discovery XXIII: SPACE Dandy – #241

Fiction doesn’t have to be deep, or touching, of even subtle. Sometimes, you just want to laugh your butt off. Which kind of describes my week! So it’s a good thing that I came across this post by MARK KING on the site The Mind of the Hybrid One, because it brought the series Space Dandy to my attention. I’d heard about it, but I think my initial impression was a bit off — which means that yet once again, because of an excellent review, my Back Log Grows(tm). Well, there are worse things. See what you think!

Side of Fiction

Is Presage Flower a Good Start to Heaven’s Feel?

How to explain the Fate Franchise? The best attempt I’ve found is Gigguk’s funny video “trying to understand the fate series.” It helped clarify things for me! Even if it didn’t, it was hilarious. My point here is that the series is hard to explain. Every time I start one of shows, I go in with sky-high expectations because of how close the previous show I watched came to greatness. But none of them seem to hit the bullseye. Which is okay, because I’d much rather watch a series shoot for greatness and fall short than not try at all.

And let’s face it: my tastes are subjective. There are plenty of folks who adore the Fate series, and I respect that. As proof, please let me direct your attention to Jacob – Your Friendly Overlord’s post on the site Side of Fiction. The post talks about Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel – I. Presage Flower. He talks about what made the movie so powerful. I gotta say, I watched the movie before. I even bought the Blu Ray. And this post made me appreciate it even more. See if you agree!

Want to Read More of My Favorite Anime Post Lists?

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Copyright 2022 Terrance A. Crow. All rights reserved.

11 thoughts on “5 Favorite Anime Blog Posts from 2023 Week 17

  1. “That’s also a tough concept to implement, because it exposes the narrative to the question, “If they are atemporal, how can they interact with Subaru at all?” Though if you change “atemporal” to “separate temporality”, then that might make some sense. There is a time in Echidna’s (and the other witches’) time/space enclave, it just flows independently from ours, and the only relationship is when they manage to make contact.”

    You make a very good point here. Maybe it being in a separate temporality makes more sense than it being atemporal.

    “I’m really interested to hear your thought on the relationship between Pandora and Echidna.”

    It’s hard to say what Pandora and Echidna’s relationship is aside from Pandora probably trying to make a select future written in Echidna’s Tome of Wisdom come true. I do think it’s interesting that both of them have the same bushy eyebrows, even though their hair colours aren’t the same. Had their hair colours been the same, I would have jumped at the chance to call Pandora Echidna’s mother, but the difference makes me hesitate to suggest that they have a blood relation. But given that Subaru has his mother’s eyes and his dad’s hair colour, it is still within the realm of possibility that Pandora is Echidna’s mother. Pandora and Echidna appear to be humans and not elves after all given that they don’t have elven ears.

    “That also sounds a lot like something Frank Herbert would do. I wonder Tappei Nagatsuki read Dune, Destination Void, or an of Herbert’s other works.”

    Well, given how most people who have interest in sci-fi have at least heard of Dune, it would not surprise me if Tappei has read Dune. Vivy: Fluorite’s Eye Song was Tappei’s original story, and although it wasn’t a hugely ambitious story, it showed that Tappei does have some interest in sci-fi even if the story wasn’t particularly complex.

    1. I know Scott from Mechanical Anime Reviews was pissed off at Vivy because it didn’t follow what he expected from sci-fi anime tropes, but I could tell from the beginning that people were reaching for the stars in some of their predictions of what would happen in Vivy. I take pride in being able to clearly follow a story without getting lost in my own expectations.

      To give you a bit of context without spoiling Vivy for you, TCrow, there was a portion of Vivy watchers who based on one character’s eyes decided that the story must be headed in a very particular direction because it must obviously be foreshadowing. On an anime forum, I made it clear to one poster that he was wrong about that belief since the eye detail only happened exclusively in a very particular situation, which suggests that that particular eye detail was not foreshadowing but something that happens out of necessity to show that a particular action had occurred. People like Scott and that poster on the forum I responded to were very upset that Vivy didn’t end up following their very rigid expectations of what would happen, which led to them being trashing the series.

      I realized early on in Vivy that it was a simple story that mainly focused on the uniqueness of individual experience, so I was not disappointed since I knew what Tappei was trying to tell in the story. Maybe it wasn’t a grand and ambitious series, but because I had no expectations of the story having particular tropes that needed to happen, I was not let down like those people I mentioned were.

      1. I have a post here somewhere that talks about why I didn’t like Vivy — with a full disclosure that I did not finish the series, so my concerns might not have been founded.

        Expectations can be a challenge to deal with. takt.op Destiny, for example, raised my expectations of a high-energy combat series, with everything that happened in the first episode. By the mid-point, it was clear that wasn’t happening, so I had a choice: dislike the show or adjust my expectations.

        I suppose I could blame the writer for including scenes that set my expectations, but seriously: with almost eight billion people on Earth, how can a writer know how a given scene will affect even an appreciable percentage of the population? The writer is responsible for getting their vision in front of the viewer. The vision is what it is; the writers with the most integrity are the ones that are least likely to write to market, so their stories are least likely to conform.

        So, I adjusted my expectations and ended up enjoying takt.op Destiny.

        I might do the same thing with Vivy. But this site celebrates anime, and I actively adjust my expectations to fulfill that goal. With science fiction, though, even if it’s anime, I had to admit that I bring an arrogant-level of standards to the table. I don’t tolerate cliche. Even worse, if the story starts with a contradiction, or what I perceive as an impossible premise, then I’m out. I can’t engage with it.

        If you’re interested, the post is here:

        1. Yeah, I did see your write-up, and the reason I only made a comment referencing Re:zero is because I respected your decision to not continue watching it. I didn’t think it would be your cup of tea.

  2. Sam’s quote from Tolkein is an important one to remember as some of the world looks ready to pass into Shadow.

    The Fate series is one of those beautiful things that come along every now and then. I wonder if they are trying to catch lightning in a bottle again? That usually doesn’t happen.

    1. I’ve often wondered: if I wrote a book series that really took off, how would I feel if subsequent series failed? Or didn’t live up? Sure, I could point to the initial success as something positive. But it would only highlight future failures!

  3. Hmmm… I know you and others have suggested that I blog before, TCrow, and if we are really getting a year of Re:zero with 50 episodes, there will be plenty for me to blog, so I might decide to start a blog after all. I’ll probably make no more than one post a week unless an episode has just that much fodder that I need to make another, or I have an epiphany regarding something.

    Should I indeed choose to make a blog, I wonder if I would be able to continue it after Re:zero’s third season ends. I’d have to choose to blog about something I find very engaging, so else I wouldn’t have any inspiration to continue blogging.

    1. Cool! I think that would help expose your ideas to more folks. Also, more blogs is a good thing!

      I’ll comment on your other post as soon as I can. I’m absorbing and considering it now!

  4. TCrow, the post ended up not being as long as I thought it’d be, but I guess that’s okay.

    With this post, I propose that Echidna has been guiding the world to its current state for 400 years and that she deliberately set up Roswaal for failure, never intending him to defeat Subaru in the first place. I believe she is also the creator of the Gospels used by the Witch Cult. Unfortunately, I couldn’t think of an easy way to construct this post, so I will be going on many tangents. Please bear with me.

    Now, it may appear that I am going on a random tangent at the onset by bringing up Emilia asking for Subaru to give her deliberate proof of his love for her, but there is a reason for why I am leading my post with that, and you’ll see what it is.

    Subaru has a history of breaking promises to Emilia. First, by breaking his promise to not follow her to the castle, and then by breaking his promise to not use magic so that he can heal his gate in using Shamak against Julius. Subaru then proceeded to break Emilia’s promise to stay with her through the night so that he could draw all over the chamber of the first Sanctuary trial room without even revealing that to her when she was wallowing in self-hatred. To put it simply, Emilia couldn’t believe that Subaru loved her because he had a history of breaking promises and to break a promise when she was at her lowest emotionally and extremely isolated due to Roswaal resulted in her demanding for material proof of his love. The point of my choosing to lead with this is that if one’s actions don’t line up with the words, why should they be listened to? I will reference this again later on in my post.

    Okay, if you’re still with me, I now propose that Echidna deliberately wanted Subaru to turn down the contract she offered to him. And it’s specifically because her actions didn’t line up with her goal of wanting Subaru to accept her contract. Echidna let it slip in Episode 34 that she tried to vary up the trial with 3 days of trial and error for Emilia in an attempt to help Emilia pass the 1st trial. She then proceeds to tell Subaru that maybe he can give the cowardly princess wings, which is basically telling Subaru that the correct course of action that will lead to him achieving his goals is to have Emilia take the trials. However, this flew over Subaru’s head, and he was determined to do the trials in Emilia’s place after that interaction. Why would Echidna do this if she wanted him to accept her contract? It makes no sense. I have more reason to believe what I do, but unfortunately, I have to take another detour.

    Now, I assert that if Roswaal and Beatrice’s not-quite-Tome of Wisdoms were truly connected to the Tome of Wisdom, that Roswaal’s not-quite-Tome of Wisdom would without a doubt account for Otto’s actions. I believe Otto’s emission from Roswaal’s book is that Echidna deliberately omitted Otto so that Roswaal had no way of foreseeing what Otto would do, which was the key to Subaru’s victory in the Sanctuary arc.

    If you’re understanding this train of thought, I do not believe the not-quite-Tome of Wisdoms actually truly tell the future but are merely connected to Echidna’s mind, and she can freely decide what appears on those texts. Roswaal specifically called the Gospels the Witch Cult makes use of as defective variants of the Tome of Wisdom, and I believe that they are defective because Echidna herself decides what appears in them much like I proposed for the 2 copies of the not-quite-Tome of Wisdom. Whether we are talking about the nearly perfect not-quite-Tome of Wisdoms or the Gospels use by witch cultists, I believe that since Echidna is the source of one of them that she is also the source of the other one, the Gospels. But how can she be responsible for the text appearing in these books? Wouldn’t it take too much time for her to do? If I’m right, not really. Echidna and the other Witches of Sin haven’t reincarnated despite being dead for however long they have been, which suggests that their souls have been confined in a place that exists outside of time to prevent reincarnation, meaning Echidna has an infinite amount of time to fill those texts with whatever she wants.

    I believe Echidna specifically distributed an undetermined number of copies of Gospels to Pandora or whoever truly leads the cult 400 years ago since Pandora had the authority to give Petelgeuse the title of Sloth after he took in the Sloth Witch Factor, making Pandora probably the de facto leader of the Witch Cult. But the caveat is that, if my speculation is correct, it is Echidna, not Pandora, who has guided the Witch Cult and the world to its current state with her Gospels and Roswaal’s not-quite-Tome of Wisdom. That would make Echidna the true mastermind behind the Witch Cult, and the one who deliberately forced Subaru into the Emilia camp and put him into a nearly inescapable situation at the Sanctuary. That means Echidna truly could have forced Subaru into a contract if she wanted to, but she never did.

    Another example in which I propose that Echidna was lying is that she gave Beatrice a blank book because Echidna had wanted to see who Beatrice chose. I believe Echidna fully knew that Subaru is the one who would free Beatrice and that Echidna specifically chose to tell Subaru what she did was because she wanted to seem so outrageously evil so as to deter Subaru from accepting her contract. This is backed up by Echidna saying to Subaru after he rejected her contract that she didn’t want him to think she was the only one of the Witches of Sin who is evil, which led to her revoking Subaru’s qualification for entering the tomb. Subaru was using his right to enter the tomb as a crutch at that point, and Echidna did him a major solid by taking it away so that he’d be forced to do all he could to help Emilia pass the trials. Echidna clearly knew how evil what she said about Beatrice was. Echidna’s actions do not read as somebody who wanted to force Subaru to accept her contract no matter what. The true reason Beatrice’s book was empty was probably because Echidna needed Beatrice to stay in the library in case she died or something, and since all she did was stay in the library, there was no need for further instruction. If you’re still not convinced, think of it this way: A woman tells you she loves you. After this, she punches you in the face, asks the man who bullies you out on a date and specifically calls you a wimp on social media. Can you agree that this woman does not love you? For the same reason, I also believe that Priscilla asking Subaru to lick her foot had nothing to do with entertainment and everything to do with giving Subaru a chance to redeem himself in her eyes given all that she had to say and the rage Subaru’s action elicited in her.

    Okay, so here comes the elephant in the room. Why would Echidna propose a contract with Subaru if she had no intention of forcing him to accept it even though it’d be a dream come true for her to have that contract considering she has an unsatiable desire for knowledge? I surmise that one reason was keep Subaru in the dark about Echidna’s true role in the story. If you read my post about Subaru seducing Echidna, you’ll see that I speculated that Subaru from 400 years ago and Satella might have the same plan even thought Satella wants to die and that this plan was gleaned from Subaru looking at Echidna’s Tome of Wisdom. If Echidna puts the pursuit of knowledge above all else, then perhaps Subaru back then suggested that a threat was coming in the future that would be a threat to her pursuit of knowledge since the world itself would be at stake and that they needed to do all they could to avoid that outcome. Perhaps Subaru, Satella, Echidna, Pandora, and whoever else was involved 400 years arrived at a grand agreement to steer the future to a path that avoids the end of the world. Echidna would have a crucial role as the one who guided the actions of the Witch Cult and Roswaal for 400 years up to the present day with causing Emilia to freeze Elior Forest and herself and drawing Subaru into the Emilia camp. The Frozen Bond strongly inferred that the one who sent Puck to search for Emilia was no other than Echidna herself with the reveal in Season 2 where the same font used in the OVA was used for Echidna’s speech in that season. So Echidna knew that Emilia’s memories would be sealed by Puck, and I surmise that Echidna created the Sanctuary trials as a way for Emilia to unseal her memories, regain her memories of Pandora that were erased, and to help Subaru learn to rely on his friends and also get Emilia over that hump with the trials instead of bearing the weight of everything by himself. Whatever the future holds may require a strong relationship between Subaru and Emilia and needed for Emilia to be traumatized and frozen in the past so that Subaru could help her get past that.

    I believe that there is a high possibility that there is only a finite number of futures in which Re:zero’s fantasy world can be saved, and considering how the significant the number 3 is in Re:zero, I believe there are only 1-3 futures in which that happens at most. Given how Tappei loves to make Subaru suffer, I expect that there is probably only one future where the world will be saved, and it will require Satella’s battle power for the world to have a chance, meaning that Satella will possess Emilia’s body at the end of Re:zero. That would make Satella’s request to Subaru to kill her as being a necessity to save the world as after the first world-ending threat is dealt with, Satella herself will need to be defeated. Considering that Tappei has a thing for silver-haired heroines, Emilia having no agency at the end of the story would be a terrible way for her to go out, so I suspect that Emilia will deliberately choose to be possessed by Satella of her own free will to save the world. If you’ve seen my mayonnaise foreshadowing post, I believe that the ultimate dilemma Tappei will put Subaru through is to choose between the world and save Emilia at the end of the series. If that’s the case, I can see Subaru trying to talk down Emilia from getting possessed by Satella as being a situation that guarantees that the world will destroyed and that Subaru will need to come to grips with that and choose the world over Emilia, letting Emilia make her own decision as full-grown adult to sacrifice herself. Given that Emilia is Tappei’s favourite character, that’s not the end of Emilia’s story. Subaru and all those in the know will spread the word about Emilia’s sacrifice, making her revered much like the legendary dragon in the future. People of the world will make pilgrimages to the statue of Emilia that is erected at the site of where she chose to be possessed by Satella once a year to pray to it, and Emilia will be seen as a virtuous heroine who gave her very life (literally) to give the world a fighting chance. Thus, Echidna is merely the main instrument of a plan concocted 400 years to guide the world to a future with hope.

    1. “Okay, if you’re still with me, I now propose that Echidna deliberately wanted Subaru to turn down the contract she offered to him.”

      Frank Herbert often setup situations like this in Dune. They’re tough to pull off, because the obvious question the viewer would ask is, “Why did Echidna ask at all?”

      I’m not saying you didn’t account for that; I’m commenting as I go through your comment!

      “meaning Echidna has an infinite amount of time to fill those texts with whatever she wants.”

      That’s also a tough concept to implement, because it exposes the narrative to the question, “If they are atemporal, how can they interact with Subaru at all?” Though if you change “atemporal” to “separate temporality”, then that might make some sense. There is a time in Echidna’s (and the other witches’) time/space enclave, it just flows independently from ours, and the only relationship is when they manage to make contact.

      I’m really interested to hear your thought on the relationship between Pandora and Echidna.

      “I surmise that one reason was keep Subaru in the dark about Echidna’s true role in the story.”

      So, you’re proposing Echidna went through the motions so Subaru would have a certain set of assumptions about her and her motivations — to hide her true motivations. I can see how that would work. It’s like hiding in plain sight, but with a few extra machinations.

      “Whatever the future holds may require a strong relationship between Subaru and Emilia and needed for Emilia to be traumatized and frozen in the past so that Subaru could help her get past that.”

      That also sounds a lot like something Frank Herbert would do. I wonder Tappei Nagatsuki read Dune, Destination Void, or an of Herbert’s other works.

      I have to say that I like your forecast of the way the story might end. It’s poignant, and it gives the main characters a chance to shine.

      Now I want to see season 3 even more!

Please let me know what you think!

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