Pretentiously posting about one’s musical taste

Remember when I used to post those fluffy top ten lists? In an attempt to bring this blog back to some sort of normalcy and to give myself something to write, I’ve drawn up another one, albeit of a topic I still haven’t managed to talk much about here: music.

It seems a particularly apropos choice, given that this has been a year where it’s been difficult to even commit to spend a couple hours of my free time watching a movie. Music has been one of the few aesthetic pleasures to remain uninterruptedly enjoyable for me in 2020, and for that reason has assumed a greater degree of importance in helping me ride the year out. So it seems fitting to take a look at some albums I love.

The only hard and fast rule I gave myself was to limit one album per artist. Also I ranked them in chronological order, since saying “yeah, this is the one album I’d like to listen to over and over again on a desert island” is impossible.

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UNDERSTANDING XENOSAGA EPISODE III

(Episode I, Episode II)

I’ve been having trouble getting my thoughts down on Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra. In addition to being something that requires an encyclopedic knowledge of not just the previous two episodes but the entire Xenosaga EU in order to understand (none of which made it out of Japan to my knowledge), the game managed to strike a few nerves with me.

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Personal stuff post

I’ve been meaning to give a bit of an update on how things have been with me this year, spiritually.

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Xenosaga Episode II: Attack of The Clones

Xenosaga Episode I could be likened to two thirds of a large sausage, in that it is an item of considerable solidity and consistency which lacks a proper ending. Episode II is like if you took that last third, diced it into pieces and mixed it into a cheese omelette while overdoing it on the salt and pepper. If Episode I was a relatively conservative dungeon crawler which just happened to have long cutscenes, Episode II feels like an experimental attempt at crafting a truly cinematic RPG experience. The beaker exploded in the process, but kudos to them for trying. Its own uniqueness in that regard, combined with my inordinate fondness for these characters makes it special to me, even if the actual experience of playing it was…..a little on the rocky side.

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Xenosaga Episode I, or: A Trip To the Militian Star System

So a few months ago I did a little series of posts on Xenogears that I never bothered to finish. Now I can make up for it by starting a new series on Xenogears’ spiritual successor, the Xenosaga trilogy. I mean, I could instead be talking about Andrei Tarkovsky’s experimental flick, (The) Mirror, but

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Here and elsewhere

So before I jump into the meat of this post, it’s perhaps worth noting that I’m trying my hand at a new, anime-only blog. I’m not sure why I feel so moved to do so – but I’m also a bit curious if a specific focus can help reinvigorate my interest in blogging.

So if you’d rather be reading my thoughts on Sailor Moon, there’s a place where you can do so. Because here I’m going to talk about my latest arthouse watch: Wong Kar-Wai’s In The Mood For Love.

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It’s still good

So I’ve been rewatching Avatar: The Last Airbender, something I haven’t done for about a decade. This used to be one of my favourite TV shows. It even inspired my first significant act of blogging. On a (now defunct) blog I set myself the task of reviewing each episode individually, and managed to, I think, get as far as the season one finale before giving up.

It turns out the show is still great, so perhaps a blog post is in order.

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Politics

I haven’t talked much about politics on here for quite some time, so digging into my past for the sake of context is perhaps in order before I start running my mouth about current events.

The household I grew up in wasn’t rabidly political, but could be described as having a generally classical liberalish feel to it – belief in the free market and individualism, suspicion of politics which were more authoritarian or collectivist.

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More weeb nonsense

Promare wasn’t the only anime movie schlock to come out in 2019. We also had producer James Cameron’s long, long gestating project of adapting the Battle Angel manga finally hitting theatres. As a fan of the original run of Yukito Kishiro’s cyberpunk story, I do think that this Robert Rodriguez helmed version makes a lot of the right aesthetic choices, and it leaves me with a goofy grin on my face, but it also commits a lot of the narrative sins of contemporary franchise-based Hollywood movie making.

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Talking about Promare

It’s incredible to me that within the space of less than two years I’ve been given two animated movies that are very special to me. The first, of course, is Spider-Verse. The latter, and subject of this post, is Studio Trigger’s first feature length movie, Promare. Indeed its incredible for me to say this, but I actually have wound up loving Promare even more, albeit for disreputable reasons. Promare is schlocky in a manner that Spider-Verse is not, but rarely is schlock done with this degree of craftsmanship and wit. Moreover it’s my kind of schlock.

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