Extra: Big brother

unlimitedAh, science fiction. How very paranoid you make us all. But considering SciFi originally came from Gothic literature and horror, it shouldn’t be all that shocking. The very first works that would eventually become known as science fiction, were very dark and did not have many kind words for the future. Instead, they often had only doom to tell of. But before you think that the authors were just really depressing people (although some of them might have been), like many forms of Gothic literature, this new genre was dedicated to getting readers to question the world around them, especially the things they took for granted. The emergence of science fiction came about right around the same time as a great scientific fad. That’s right. Science was once a fad. People scrambled to find meaning and sense out of every single thing, often making up large and ridiculous theories with little proof. The good side of this flurry of activity was quite a few legitimate discoveries and inventions. The bad side? Some of those inventions were outrunning safety. Newer technology was being produced, but few knew how to use it and caution was rarely used in the light of the “new age.” For example, machines that could make cotton fabric cut out years of work, but they had no attachments to keep the excess material in check and thousands of workers died slow and painful deaths from the cotton fiber stuck in their lungs.

In the mist of this mad rush for “improvement,” there were those that questioned if this new technology was being used correctly or if it was even good for society at all. They worried where technology was leading the world and how that would affect human life and the planet itself. It was people like this that created science fiction, using visual warnings on technology’s dark sides via deserted worlds, crazed scientists, and oppressive government systems. And it is that last one that concerns the current day the most.

Today’s science fiction  shows, novels and movies often seem overly fixated on the “Big Brother,” aka ever watchful and controlling government, angle. Shows like The Unlimited, Rideback and Shangri-la are good examples, although the amount of anime that falls for this story element is vast. Considering that all science fiction has started from a very real worry as to where current technology is leading, this endless repeat of a single plot devise tells us a great deal about our world now. With every electronic device asking where we are and what we’re doing at all hours and those devices now traceable from nearly any location on the planet, it’s clear that more than a few people are worried about just how much personal info the government holds and manipulates. And not just the government. Even run of the mill citizens can dig up info on each other with only a few runs of a search engine.

So before you roll your eyes at another repeat of the Big Brother angle, take a minute to reflect on our world today. And maybe avoid tagging your location to your latest Facebook post. I’m sure your friends can wait a few hours to hear about your latest trip to Safeway.

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THE UNLIMITED Hyobu Kyosuke Review

Story:
Andy is an ESPer who has never fit in with others of his kind. Desperate for a place to belong, he joins an organization that is dead set on controlling other ESPers, specifically the ESPer “terrorist” group called P.A.N.D.R.A. But when he manages to join this eccentric group in question, he soon finds out that it wasn’t exactly as he had been told. Not by a long shot.

Violence:
This is a pretty violent one. Gun shot wounds, being cut and even being exploded by ESP attacks all happen in this show. And, yes, there is blood. This section alone got this show bunked up to a YA rating.

Language:
All the usual bells and whistles for a YA show, d-mns, b-words and such. Nothing happening every other word, but it does happen.

Nudity:
Surprisingly, not much goes in this section. A few girls have a large… chest, but other than that, nothing really goes on. Oh and a few characters joke that Kyosuke has a lolita fetish. But nothing ever happens, it’s just a joke.

Theology/Mythology:
Some of the ESP abilities cause hallucinations and others seem to see into the future somewhat. Nothing religious comes up about it. It’s just accepted as a part of the world and not really discussed in depth.

Personal Impression:
This series was actually pretty interesting. Kyosuke is a complex character and they sting out his motives along most of the show, keeping it interesting and not just a fighting show with superpowers. The political aspects are especially well done.
As for the details of the show, the music is decent and the animation, although a bit strange at times, is good as well.
Although this show doesn’t do anything too far from form, it does keep a few of the more common cliched characters out of the show. The main character, Andy, doesn’t fall into a clichéd ending and the future of the characters is still largely a mystery. In fact, the biggest mystery of the show never gets explained as it is still a far off projection of the future. Although it can be a bit frustrating for some not to have every little thing wrapped up, the series does leave off in a pretty realistic (for anime, anyway) fashion.
So if you like action and a bit of political intrigue, you might like giving this show a try. Just be warned that this isn’t a violence free zone.

Personal Rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: Sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre(s): Action, science fiction, fantasy
Website: n/a
Legal streaming: Crunchyroll
Screen shots:
 photo u2_zpsda693624.jpg photo u1_zps6c6904e0.jpg photo u3_zps87d026bc.jpg

Extra: Is this… all?

problem childrenAh, the twenty-six episode standard. But those of you paying attention might have noticed that the the last few shows coming out have a few… differences these days.

Back when anime first made a major boom in the early 2000s, most full series were twenty-six episodes, with single seasons sometimes being half that (thirteen, for you lazy people who refuse to do math outside of class). But recently I’ve noticed more than a few shows with an odd number of episodes. Some entire series being only twenty-two episodes and others seeming to suddenly cut off at ten (as is the case with Problem Children). For some of these shows, a second season might be in the works as they are very recent streams. However, it still makes for an odd number of episodes in the end. It also means that these newer shows often suffer from an odd… pace. Story arcs are often sped up, making the relationships in many of these shows more unbelievable and awkward than they might be otherwise.

As for why, well, it could be for any number of reasons. It might be to save money in production costs. After all, animation is far more detailed now and, depending on the show, can take no small amount of money to make. Not to mention all the legal fees for openers and enders (although this fee might be determined as a single payment as well). Although the biggest factor is likely the networks that originally air these shows in Japan. To networks, ratings are all that matter. If a show is airing and doesn’t pull in as many viewers as the network wants, they pull the plug. For some shows, funding depends heavily on networks, or on companies that only care about a show airing on a particular network. Show politics, in other words.

In any case, this change could be a good thing for shows that need some story condensing (meaningless spa episodes, anyone?), but overall it could prove fatal for some shows. Some stories just can’t be condensed. Instant friends are just too awkward.

(my apologies for the lateness of this article. It was written and ready days ago, but a glitch in the new WordPress kept it from being scheduled properly. I’ll be making sure this doesn’t happen again)