[personal profile] jtniehof
Trey of Swords, Year of the Unicorn, The Jargoon Pard, The Crystal Gryphon, Lloyd Alexander documentary, Game of Thrones season 2-4, Love Live Season 1, Btoom!, Oremonogatari, Shokugeki no Soma, Comical Psychosomatic Medicine, AnoHana movie, Ellis Paul concert.

Trey of Swords (Andre Norton): A bit bland...not strictly derivative, just not distinctive. All three stories reference the past of Estcarp, but the events of the past seem context-free, nor do we see any substantial impact on the present. It's all rather toothless.

Year of the Unicorn (Andre Norton) (reread): I remembered this was good, but forgot just how good: fantastic up until the last twenty pages of fever-dream (and a reasonable denoument just the same.) Part of the genius lies in establishing a new central conflict as the previous one is resolved, so there's the simple problem at the start engages the reader while more complex plots get spun. I remember feeling unresolved the first time I read it, but on this read, can't see what I thought were dangling threads.

The Jargoon Pard (Andre Norton): The direct sequel to Year of the Unicorn, although it reads just fine on its own given the new protagonist. (You'll recognize the characters from the previous pretty quickly, but it doesn't matter.) I didn't find it as compelling as Year of the Unicorn. It doesn't help that the protagonist is a big of a jerk.

The Crystal Gryphon (Andre Norton) (reread): Another example of what's so great about the High Hallack setting. There's a lot to pick up on for having read more of the Witch World than I had at first reading: more of an idea of the Old Ones (which float quietly in the background) and their connection to Escore, already knowing the outcome of the Dales invasion, the origin of Alizon's strange weapons.... So even though I don't like every entry equally, the lesser Witch World stories stll add richness to the best. In its own right, though, the changing PoV narration is potent, particularly since it imbues both characters with equal agency. There is also, simply, a constant tension throughout.

Lloyd Alexander documentary: I don't know if this has any actual title; apparently it was a Kickstarter project once upon a time. We decided to watch it as part of our last day with Gully. It's fairly rough--the mixing in particular could have used some work so you'll need to ride the volume--yet not distractingly amateurish. The early life and works stuff is great (even if a bit rote); later, I would have liked to see a little less Prydain and some actual mention of Westmark. You can watch the whole thing here.

Game of Thrones season 2-4: I'm not sure why I'm still watching, other than for the spectacle. The cuts and condensations, while necessary, leave the plot borderline incomprehensible without the books, and they're far enough in the past for me that it's difficult. It feels like the pander-to-the-audience priority necessitates rushing until the next point where they can justify some nudity or gore, and then linger there for awhile.

Love Live Season 1: I'll admit this is not the most original; the plot points hit right in the expected line. But budget is worth something: the music is solid J-Pop and I really liked the animation. Despite other opinions, I thought the CG came closer to seamless integration than anything else, really only hurting in the mismatch of lip flap. There didn't seem much reason to go on to season 2, though.

Btoom!: Started with promise, bogged down for several reasons. I tend to enjoy "competence porn" but it gets tiresome when competence is the protagonist's only redeeming feature. Himiko, on the other hand, exists solely to play victim, and it's really rapey. The question of justified violence, which keeps coming up as a central theme in anime (e.g. Kenshin) gets a really simplistic brush-aside. Thematically and morally it's unsatisfying, and in plot it's incomplete.

Oremonogatari: This show is so adorable while managing to avoid stomach-turning sweetness. It's played really quite straight: when it looks like things may take a dark turn, it all gets cleared up fairly directly. It's rather soothing. I think the length is about right...longer would start to feel repetitive...but it's very cute and well worth a watch.

Shokugeki no Soma: Over-the-top competition anime, plus over-the-top food porn (in a couple of senses of the word, although the orgasmic reactions were a lot less skeevy than some other shows.) The characters may be painted with a really broad brush, but they're well-developed and fun to root for. Enjoyed every minute of it.

Comical Psychosomatic Medicine: Not particularly interesting. Occasionally funny in a mostly obvious way; I sat through the entire thing (the episodes are short) but it's not worth seeking out.

AnoHana movie: Probably should be watched much closer to the TV series; it's useless without remembering and making contact with those events. It did still make us cry. I liked how we got not only some different perspective on the events of the series, but they showed us a little bit of the future, as well, making it a sequel as well as a side story.

Ellis Paul concert: Concerts are hard to write up, as they're rooted in the immediate experience. The venue, a garage that the owners converted into a house concert space, made for a wonderfully intimate concert, and Ellis played the audience so well. He performed the last song out on the driveway watching the eclipse. Fantastic.

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