Life and Memory: An Overview of Programmatic Introductions and Mnemosyne

– The Most Artistic Detective Anime (That isn’t Really a Detective Fiction)

From a programmatic perspective, the opening scene of this anime is perfect. Both scenes. The only thing I could think to change would be the placement of the opening (put it after the opening scene, not before it! It’s more dramatic that way.)

Before I begin, let me set up the program for this review. I’ll be covering the first part of Mnemosyne: Mnemosyne no Musume-tachi, localized as Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne. Although, more accurately it can be translated simply as: Mnemosyne: Daughters of Mnemosyne. I will cover:

  • The first opening
  • Meeting Maeno
  • The Hotel Scene

So, with that out of the way, let’s begin.

The Opening Scene(s)

With the exception of the very “fast” final episode, Mnemosyne is a very tight, well-managed anime. By that I mean that every scene, almost every action, has its place. There would be something missing if you cut five or ten minutes from this show. Compare this to other anime or even television shows—think of how many scenes are just there for fun and may not add anything to the overall story—and you will quickly see why this is a complement.

The opening scene is a great example. Any good anime, television show, novel, play—any art form with a temporal aspect should tell you what it will be about within the first twenty or so minutes of the experience. The simple explanation is that you need to make sure your audience knows what they’re in for. Some people, certain academics anyway, call this the “program” of a narrative. Like the program you get if you go to a play or performance, the program of an anime tells you what’s going to happen, but skips the juicy details. If you’re in, your mind will ready itself for the payoff of the show. If no,  you can switch away knowing that you won’t be missing anything you wanted to see.

Mnemosyne opens with the intro song, which I might get into later, and then an opening scene. A woman is running up a stairwell from someone, a predator—a mercenary, sent to kill her. The setting is dark and urban, I might even call it noir, but I don’t know enough about the noir genre to correctly categorize anything. Who we presume is our hero makes it to a door, wearing only a button up shirt. It’s locked! Moving fast, she pulls out some steel and picks the lock, locking it behind her. Running up the stairs, she makes it to the rooftop just as the mercenary breaks the door down behind her. The, the mercenary arrives, armed with a shotgun. She spots her target and shots are fired. Rin sprints beneath the night sky and jumps to the other roof. Our hero didn’t make the jump—she’s hanging by one hand. The mercenary smiles, and shoots her. We watch Rin  fall to the ground, dead, followed (rather artistically) by her dismembered arm. The mercenary leaves, but not before crushing Rin’s fallen  glasses beneath her foot.

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3:49
So, is this programmatic of the anime? Simply put, yes. There are a few important elements. The first would be the violence. Not just blood, but a full disembodied limb. It’s enough to give it its well-earned R+ rating at the very least. Later, there are at least two scenes of torture, so an audience had better be expecting something along those lines. The touch of nudity is also important, if only because there’s a bit of sexuality and nudity in the anime. Violence an nakedness are ever-present aspects of Mnemosyne, so a viewer should know right away that there’s a potential for their depiction. More important than the violence, however, is Rin’s reaction to it. She is very calm, despite her doom. This is also meaningful. It is a valid expression of the overall tone of the anime. Mnemosyne: Mnemosyne no Musume-tachi is a calm, intelligent deliberation on the value of life and immortality.

After this opening scene, Rin wakes up in her bed. A scene later, she’s in an office, wearing standard professional clothing, complete with a vest and tie. Is this a flashback? We’re left wondering for quite a few more scenes. We find out that Rin’s job is something of a jack-of-all trades type private investigator. Almost a Jessica Jones, without all the edginess. Shortly after, we meet another very important character, the character with the problem for the episode. He’s being hunted by some men in suits, and using swift and deadly combat abilities she saves him and they begin to talk.

The man, named Maeno, says he doesn’t know who he is. The scene is rather therapeutic, with him sitting on a red chair, facing perpendicular. “Amnesia?!” Shouts Rin. “No, I have my memory. I also know my address and phone number.” He explains. Maeno has a far worse problem, one a little more original. I won’t give it away, this episode is well worth the forty-five minutes. Right now though, neither party knows what’s wrong with him, although it is revealed by the end of the episode.

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11:35
There are some beautiful scenes in this anime, held back only by its budget. This image is the scene on which I’ll end my analysis of the introduction. Rin is on the phone. We don’t know with whom, and we won’t know until well past halfway through the series. This is important for the program though, as it alludes to something going on behind the scenes. (As does Rin’s references to the name “Apos,” and the appearance of the partially-incorporeal figure at the end of the hotel scene later.)

I have a lot more to say about this terrific and oft-missed anime, but I will end it here for today. But first, I’ll reveal whether or not the second scene is a flashback. Or rather, I’ll let the mercenary reveal it for you.

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20:32 (The Hotel Scene)
Rin is immortal, she survived the fall, and regrew her arm.

Mnemosyne: Mnemosyne no Musume-tachi is a brilliant, bloody and artistic series. It’s loaded with symbolism and detail that even after analysing, I don’t think I’ve completely come to understand. It is not perfect. I believe that it needed on more episode, as the final one was a little too rush-paced. But that aside, if you’re looking for something truly unique, and with the ethos of an “anime was produced to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the AT-X network,” then Mnemosyne is not an anime to be passed on.

Daniel Triumph.

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for art: DeviantArt and Instagram.

Saotome Senshu, the Boxing Manga

After I caught up with Hajimete no Gal, I struck out in search of another romance manga, and I’m happy I did. I found Saotome Senshu.

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The champion and her trainer.

Story

Like many romances, Saotomi Senshu has chosen to lower the complexity of the story in order to focus on the romance. Let me tell you a secret. In manga, this is a game-winning idea. Most of the best romances have decent stories, but what they trade in for story, they gain in character.

The reason I think Saotome Senshu, Hitakakusu has a rating of 7.32 on MAL (as of May 2018) is for two reasons:

First, the two main characters get together early on, and their relationship has actual progression. You never feel like you’re being led on, or that filler is being thrown in for something meaningless—things found in other manga, such as the author being afraid of actually letting the main couple get together. This is notable for me anyway, as I used to watch a lot of romance anime when I was a tween, and the main pair would either get together at the end, or never get together at all.

Second, I’ve never seen a coach/athlete combo. Not just romance either, like, in anything ever. (Although, I guess I don’t have enough sports manga experience to really see it). Points for originality.

Story? 7/10*

Characters

And here we go. The main character is timid and shy. Oh no, you might be thinking, a cliche right off the bat! Well, fear not, he’s also dedicated, driven, and focused. Satoru is a huge boxing fan. He knows all about it, but he’s quite bad at actually boxing.

Saotome confesses to him, something I’ve never seen a female manga character do. And then they have natural relationship progression!! Augh! Finally!

Anyway, that aside, the coach makes Satoru into Saotomi’s trainer, so that they have an excuse to be together all the time. (Because Saotomi is famous, and you don’t want people talking, right? Honestly, I feel like the secrecy is just put in for tension, but I guess tension is good…) I remember there was a scene where their really pushy friend / manager Mito asks them what they’ve done together.

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Remember manga reads right to left

Sex? No. Kiss? No. Have you two even held hands?

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The couple just stares at her, proud and sparking like they’re in a shoujo.

Among all this, the pacing remains natural. They really get to know each other before they move to the next step. This manga isn’t like Akikan or Elfen Lied where they’re just immediately making out all the time.

Back to characters; Mito is fairly interesting. I think we all know someone who loves shipping characters, right? Well, Mito has shipped the main characters—but, she’s actually in the story with them. So what happens? Well, I think it’s enough to say that she acts on her ship. Mito becomes quite the orchestrator in later chapters.

Characters? 8/10*

Art

The mangaka has a fairly unique style. It looks like heI’m a huge fan. Satoru looks really shabby but entirely lovable, and Saotomi has a stoic, piercing gaze. Expression is top notch, with people like Mito giving us all sorts of interesting looks.

Also, it seems to be a trend among artists to not give their female characters (even warriors) any muscle mass whatsoever. I personally live by a very simple principal: if a character uses weapons, give her the muscles necessary to wield those weapons. (It’s similar to my clothing principal. A character should dress in a way you would expect them to dress themselves.)

Art? 8/10*

Enjoyment

Honestly, this might become my new favourite manga. Hajimete no Gal is great, but its release schedule is really long, like once or twice a month. I’m not sure what Saotome Senshu’s is, but it’s really fast. Weekly maybe?

Overall, if you like romance or boxing, or sports, or just a good drama, read Saotome Senshu, Hitakakusu. It’s wonderful!

Verdict? 8/10.

It might even get higher, depending on how Hajimete no Gal goes, and how this goes. Both series are just starting, and I need a lot more information before I can place a final score on either.


*Update as of May 2018

(Or chapter 68)

Old Scores
Story
Characters
Art
Total
7
8
8
8
Updated Scores
Story
Characters
Art
Total
8
7.6
7.1
8

As of chapter 68, I have a better grasp of Saotome Senshu. The story has more depth than I had previously expected, although conversely the characters aren’t as amazing as I initially thought. Sort of the reverse of Hajimete no Gal.

Eventually, I’ll write a fully updated review. Hope to see you for it Feel free to follow this blog.

Daniel Triumph.

You can follow me:
For updates: Facebook, and Twitter
for art: DeviantArt and Instagram.

Tales of Symphonia

The next few days of my life will be a sort of strange vacation. Me and 1-2 friends will be playing Tales of Symphonia in its entirety. So, most of my blog posts will be like this, a simple stream or youtube video of us playing this game,

So, if anyone is interested in watching me and my pals play this game, check it out! You can hear my voice and my opinions almost in person.

Here are the rules

  • Get a full grasp of the story and characters
  • Beat the game before Tuesday
  • Defeat Kuchinawa
  • Do all costume events
  • Do all character sidequests
  • Do all imposter events
  • Make early pacts
  • Do all Sword Dancer fights
  • Aifried Side Quest
  • Read all the books
  • Battle with all characters
  • Experience all Hi-Ougis
  • Devils Arms Quest

Enjoy! 😀

Old Goals: Tales of Symphonia: What I Plan to do

Daniel Triumph. (My Patreon)

Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

EDIT: Looking back at this review a couple months later, and I gotta say, it’s awful. I could barely get through it, I write like I’m a whiny 10 year old! I honestly want to go dig for my notes and re-write this, it’s so bad. I must have been in a poor state of mind. Or drunk.

So, before the actual review starts, let me just say that the following are still true.

  • Deathly Hallows felt like a let down after Half-Blood Prince.
  • Deaths in this book were handled far worse than in other books. They had far less impact, and I only remember a few.
  • A lot of things that were built up fell flat.

The biggest reason, I think, that this review is so angry and pouty, is because I think I felt betrayed by Rowling. The Half-Blood Prince was so polished promising, and in comparison, Deathly Hallows felt rushed, and shallow. The writing quality dropped back down to that of books four and five, and so my hopes were dashed.

Hopefully I find time to come back and fix this in the future, to be more fair. Until then, here’s a rather rude rant-review. Sorry if it offends, but it even offends me, the writer of it. :/

I would like to start this (long awaited) review with this.

Link to Quiz

Your in-depth results are:

Gryffindor – 15
Ravenclaw – 11
Slytherin – 10
Hufflepuff – 9

To be honest, I fancied myself a Slytherin or a Hufflepuff. I guess Gryffindor is in between, eh? Anyway, I didn’t take the official test on Pottermore because I refuse to make an account.

Start Weak

Everybody agrees that Deathly Hallows part I, the movie, was one of the worst in the series. Well, the first 2/3 of the novel was very boring as well. Even when it bothered to get interesting, it would quickly get boring again. The whole horcrux thing was a great idea, but it was played off really poorly.

Deaths

No deaths in the entire Harry Potter series was handled perfectly. Sirius was handled pretty well, but he was quickly forgotten, as if he had never existed. Dumbledore was the same way, but I will admit it was done much better.

In Deathly Hallows the people who died were so forgettable that I don’t even remember them while writing this review! I could go look it up, but if they were so minor I can’t remember them then… why bother mentioning them in a review? Oh! There was Moody. Right. The guy who was super interesting and clever until he got replaced by his real self. right. See my point?

The Hunt for Horcruxes

Look, the horcux thing was cool. Harry finally had a mission. But… this should have come about way back in book two or three, or four. Not six. And then IT’S THROWN ASIDE HALFWAY THROUGH??

The Deathly Hallows

What was the point of the Hallows? They could have never been mentioned. Actually, no it’s a motivation for Voldemort. he’s finding the wand throughout the entire book, so we need that at least. Well then what about horcruxes? It seems like, if Rowling had bothered to ever write a second draft of anything, which I doubt she ever did, then she would have found and remedied this redundancy.

Redundancy is a huge issue with Harry Potter.

The horcruxes really did serve no purpose whatsoever because it never mattered. It was a useless obstacle for two reasons.

  1. Voldemort is only really encountered when all of the horcruxes are destroyed already.
  2. Harry never fights Voldemort head on while he has the horcrux safety net.

The only thing that really mattered here was the Hallows. Horcruxes should never have come into the story.

Voldemort is an Awful Villain

This goes without saying. Why? Because he’s evil because he’s evil. There’s no reason for him to be bad, he just is. Nothing happened to him, he doesn’t really have a selfishness that makes people go bad, he just likes causing misery.

Why?

We can never get an answer to that question because there isn’t one.

The Ending was not Memorable

I don’t remember how this ended, except for Harry and Volde coming out of the trees and confronting a line of wizards, then Neville killing the snake. After that it’s a blur. I also remember the short, pointless epilogue.

Why wasn’t the ending memorable? Well, it’s because

All the Build Up Went Nowhere.

Remember Grawp? Hagrid went through a whole lot of trouble and abuse to get him. He even had a connection to the half-giant, it’s his brother! What did Grawp, for all his trouble, do? Shove Hagrid through a window and that’s it.

Remember the Deathly Hallows? Well we had one already, the other we also had. The wand Voldemort found, and then what? Not much really. Pointless.

How about Dumbledore’s army! No, wait, Harry disbanded that in book six. Or the Order of the Pheonix? Well, after Harry went off with his two friends to do nothing for a few hundred pages they faded into the background and did @#$% all for the rest of the book.

Lupin had a whole book. Moody sort of had a whole book. Sirius… nevermind. But there were a lot of huge HUGE characters in the series that did nothing in the final fight. Why? Remember all the trouble Harry and Dumbledore went through to recruit Slughorn last book? Well Rowling didn’t.

The Payoffs that did Land Fell Flat

Horcruxes? Yeah, we had to destroy those! Three down by this book. And then… there was no payoff. Nagini died and that was it, it didn’t feel like a victory. That slog, torturing Dumbledore, and at the end of it all we feel unfulfilled.

Then Snape actually did something good for once. We all knew that deep down he was a great character, just misunderstood! I awaited the moment when he would get over himself and start helping out the main cast. Instead, after becoming Harry’s friend, he died. Sirius all over again! No deep attachment was made yet, but bam! Gone!

Defeating Voldemort though, that must have been great, after seven books of buildup, right? Well, no, not at all. He’s floating somewhere ethereal right now, like purgatory or something. He’s a crying child which, by the way, makes no sense. Like, he was a vile trickster even in his orphanage. What’s he crying about? Who cares?

I Don’t Know what to Do Now.

See, Harry Potter is beloved by so many, and while I don’t really hate it, I also can’t recommend it. I watched three of the movies, but there’s no rewatch/reread value whatsoever for me aside from maybe seeing what Luna looks like as an actor.

The worst thing about the whole series is that it’s not even a bad story, it’s just delivered poorly, and in bad prose.

It’s as if Rowling never learned how to be a writer, and just decided to write a series regardless. Oh wait…

JK Rowling ignored the advice that was given in rejection letters. Advice to take a course, or otherwise improve her writing. She just kept submitting, and got turned down more than fifteen times. By refusing to improve, she not only let’s down Harry Potter, but also her fans.

Verdict

Harry Potter and the Nothing Happens is a book about just that. It felt kind of Hallow to be honest. I didn’t feel Deathly, or even let down. I didn’t feel much of anything, which isn’t a good sign. I just didn’t.

54/100, not memorable. I honestly hope Rowling tries to improve her writing in the future so that her next series is a masterpiece that people love far above Harry Potter.

Want to chat? Check out the Reddit post.

You can find all the reviews at the Harry Potter Table of Contents.

Daniel Triumph.
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Interested in getting the book yourself? You can buy it here, Deathly Hallows (Amazon Affiliate Link)