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Plastic Memories and Sudden Feels

mabushii

Yay, new anime season.

I had a feeling that this show was gonna be pretty good. Ended up enjoying the show. Also, the main character has dacryphilia (arousal from seeing others crying or sobbing), probably. Not really. But I’ll tell myself it’s a legitimate reason for the above scene to have him immediately encapsulated within the girl’s charm.

Plastic Memories managed to just barely evade the high-school setting with a freshly employed 18-year-old MC named Mizugaki Tsukasa. Dogakobo hasn’t failed to disappoint on the animation front either. Yes yes, I know associating a studio with key and inbetween frame animation quirks isn’t good, since studios could simply rotate out staff members as needed, with individuals and teams that don’t need to hold any loyalty to any one production house. But how can you ignore the level of effort and time that’s crammed into nearly every first episode of every series that Dogakobo has done? Their work style on Celestial Method, Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun, and Engaged to the Unidentified is impossible to miss. The director from Engaged to the Unidentified is also on board, so it looks like we’re gonna get bodied pretty hard.

Spoilers ahead.

-maserbeam

Aria Returns for 10th Anniversary

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For it’s 10th anniversary, a new production is underway for the series Aria. The revealed project title is “Aria the Avvenire“. Other good news includes returning staff members like Sato Junichi and Yoshida Reiko.

And holy shit, am I surprised it’s already been this long. This show was my panacea when I felt angry, or sick. But I can’t say it’s saved me during the darkest moments of my life. Frankly because there haven’t been any in my life. It’s a dull life. An uneventful one.

But I’m not in dire need of action. I wholly enjoy a slow lifestyle, which is why shows like Aria are simply extensions of my general disposition. You know, that general “enjoy nature and the small things in life” kinda deal. Friends would probably argue otherwise, since I’m always shut in with my guitars and my computer. I’m not one to actively go outside to enjoy nature and walking on a hiking trail, but if I find myself on one, I often end up thinking that it’d be a hassle to go back home and that sticking around for another hour is fine. In this respect, I often cannot watch a single Aria episode. It spurs on this giant desire to watch several episodes, agonizing over the idea that if I stop watching, I’m no longer immersed in the calm and comfortable atmosphere of a gondola ride with Mizunashi Akari.

The soundtrack of this show is also a mellow landscape of lilting melodies. Acoustic guitars and soft piano works are the hallmark of the show, with accompanying orchestral instrumentation. The Choro Club helms most of the music in the show, and the amount of experience and skill behind the group is massive. I can easily say that it’s a direct inspiration to my own guitar work. Sure, there’s probably some other acoustic guitarist that I should be listening to, for own my sake as a musician (I only really know about Andrés Segovia). But I can’t help but bask in the convenient combo of Aria and Choro Club. So much of this show is about gently lowering you into the calmest of moods, that sometimes it’s just a jarring whiplash against the high-octane planet breaking melodrama of the other shows.

Sometimes I do question my ability to assess and recommend anime if I can enjoy both Detroit Metal City and Aria.

It’d be pretty funny to have Iso Mitsuo or Matsumoto Norio doing some animation for the show during a calm scene. Just one ridiculous animation bump to destroy everyone’s pants.

top image by creayus. (some girl who can’t seem to stop drawing C.C. from Code Geass. can’t blame her, C.C. is love.)

-maserbeam

Euro Truck Simulator 2. Yes, really.

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It’s been out for a while. But I didn’t notice this game until it popped up on the Steam store front. Euro Truck Simulator 2? I almost rudely scoffed at it, but then I also realized, “Hang on. This is a sequel.” I was dumbfounded. I was curious enough to seek out the demo and try it out. It ain’t so bad. It’s surprisingly solid as a simulator. Come on, how often do you get to manage a fleet of trucks? (To answer that question directly, people have been able to do so since the first game, released in 2008.) I know that trucks are the lifeblood of the USA, if not for others as well. If it weren’t for these vehicles, we wouldn’t have be able to distribute the massive amounts of products that are purchased everyday. Such logistics allow for the amount of infrastructure that current society operates at.

Admittedly, most of the gameplay is driving these multi-ton vehicles. Which is nowhere near having the same type of action a racing game does. That is decidedly a handicap in the current casual and mainstream gamer market. It’s not helping that the preferred input controller is a driver wheel with a clutch and pedals. On the opposite end, enthusiasts will appreciate the depth of the game. There’s even several people on Youtube posting Let’s Plays of the game. With people enjoying them. It’s a small group of people, but hey, they’re enjoying themselves.

There is a particular reason I’ve decided to mention this game, despite the current leaning of this site being heavily populated with anime entries.

Remember that show Aria the Animation? It was a slow, slice-of-life show about a female gondolier living in Neo Venezia. There was a focus on the aspect of being a citizen of a city, and providing a valuable service to others and striving to keep the gondola experience as pleasant as possible. While Euro Truck Simulator 2 does not have the same focus, you’re still a — initially contracted, potentially independent — truck driver. You’re still hauling around cargo, such as heavy industrial equipment, food, and dangerous materials, such as pure oxygen or chlorine gas. Stuff that needs to be moved.

The amount of expertise needed for being a professional truck driver or professional gondolier is an admirable thing, in my opinion. Heck, anyone who takes their job seriously and takes the time to perfect any techniques or continually expand the knowledge used within their profession are people who I admire.

It’s the biggest reason for my current career path. Who knew that video games and anime would give me the motivation needed to change my life?

And there you have it. I’ve found a topical link between a truck driving simulator and an anime. Not too much of a stretch to associate Euro Truck Simulator 2 with Aria the Animation since the anime takes place in, what amounts to, a European setting.

-maserbeam