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Chatlog below the cut!
[14:01] <Sylocat> When we last left off…
[14:01] <Sylocat> We had just got that shot from the opening credits, and Van got a shiny green energist
01[14:01] <Froborr> “Never forget, Van. You are actually the main character, because you are the boy.”
[14:02] <Sylocat> Uh oh
01[14:02] <Froborr> Annnd they teleported again.
[14:02] <Sylocat> Allen tagged along on Van and Hitomi’s little dramatic warp moment
[14:02] <Arrlaari> Kind of miffed that Millerna stood and watched that looking distressed instead of following
01[14:02] <Froborr> If Hitomi and Allen come out the other side as some kind of Cronenberg nightmare…
[14:02] <mere_oblivion> the gravity of density is a much better title than The density of gravity
[14:03] <Sylocat> “Causality detector.” I love it
01[14:03] <Froborr> It makes sense, too, because the more characters see the future, the more effects precede causes, reducing the amount of causality in the system.
[14:04] <Sylocat> Exactly…
[14:04] <mere_oblivion> most male anime villains have either very deep voices or effeminate ones, yes?
01[14:04] <Froborr> Okay, that’s a MUCH cooler “town is a giant magic circle” than Seyruun or Central City.
[14:04] <Sylocat> Ooh, a citywide transmutation circle!
[14:04] <Sylocat> Yep, they just got warped to meet the Emperor
[14:05] <Arrlaari> Thisis a kind of arbitrary way for the party to meet the emperor
01[14:05] <Froborr> Okay, for a second I thought they teleported to the same room as the Emperor, and I was like “Whoa, that’s a bit early for direct confrontation!”
01[14:05] <Froborr> Wait.
01[14:05] <Froborr> THEY ACTUALLY DID!
[14:05] <Sylocat> Eeyup
01[14:05] <Froborr> Holy shit!
[14:05] <mere_oblivion> this series keeps making things happen before we think they’re going to.
01[14:05] <Froborr> Dude!
[14:06] <Sylocat> Uh, Van… it’s probably not that simple
01[14:06] <Froborr> You don’t just yank another guy’s sword out of its sheath!
01[14:06] <Froborr> That’s gotta be some kind of massive violation of warrior etiquette.
[14:06] <Sylocat> Time for backstory!
[14:07] <Sylocat> Would they indeed…?
[14:07] <Sylocat> Gee, and his name is “Isaac” too…
[14:07] <mere_oblivion> Who did Issac’s perm?
01[14:08] <Froborr> Wow.
01[14:08] <Froborr> This is some grade-A New Age bullshit.
[14:08] <Arrlaari> He looks to have been from a long time ago
01[14:08] <Froborr> I mean, the story already had both Tarot and Atlantis in it, so that’s to be expected, but still.
01[14:09] <Froborr> True.
[14:09] <Arrlaari> Like, before science separated from alchemy
01[14:09] <Froborr> Ehh, his clothes look more 18th century to me.
[14:09] <mere_oblivion> Dryden and Newton in one story!
[14:09] <Sylocat> Indeed
01[14:09] <Froborr> So one of the holdouts clinging to alchemy after the intellectual community of Europe had moved on.
01[14:10] <Froborr> One of the people who kept it alive until the 19th century, when it revived through things like the Golden Dawn and such.
01[14:10] <Froborr> I 100% missed his backstory prior to founding Zaibach, how did he get to Gaea?
[14:10] <Sylocat> Oh, a flash of light on his deathbed
01[14:11] <Froborr> Ah.
[14:11] <Arrlaari> I bet power spot sounds a lot cooler to Japanese ears
01[14:11] <Froborr> Lol, Power Spot.
[14:11] <Arrlaari> and not at all dorky
01[14:11] <Froborr> Turns out this is all a game of Archon.
[14:12] <Sylocat> Especially since every action changes destiny
[14:12] <Arrlaari> Suddenly: The Moon is going to explode
[14:12] <Arrlaari> Or I guess we have to be specific: Luna is going to explode
01[14:13] <Froborr> So he’s BASICALLY built the Zohar from Xenogears/saga, only instead of Qabalah and Gnosticism it runs on alchemy and Tarot.
[14:13] <mere_oblivion> It’s all one big ball of wax, as Kierkegaard used to say (actually he didn’t, i made that part up)
01[14:14] <Froborr> That room looks SO MUCH like the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
[14:14] <Sylocat> Ah, these guys again
01[14:14] <Froborr> Ah yes, the bane of empire: internal power struggles.
[14:15] <Sylocat> Uh oh
[14:15] <Arrlaari> Oh, they’re trying to pull the energist out and it’s going to pull Vaan’s heart out
[14:15] <mere_oblivion> That’s gotta hurt.
[14:15] <Sylocat> Yeesh
01[14:15] <Froborr> Yep, the link works both ways.
[14:15] <Sylocat> Ahahah… he’s officially OP now
01[14:15] <Froborr> That 200% synch ratio is working out well for him.
[14:16] <Arrlaari> Stupid boy shit getting in the way
[14:16] <Sylocat> Uh oh… Dornkirk’s watching them
01[14:16] <Froborr> Ah, but Hitomi’s psychic powers are needed to form the link?
01[14:16] <Froborr> As well as blocking out the fate machine, interesting.
[14:17] <Arrlaari> She’s basically acting as his mentor in new age stuff
01[14:17] <Froborr> Makes sense people with prescience would screw with prescience.
[14:17] <Sylocat> Whoa
[14:17] <Sylocat> Yatta!
[14:17] <Arrlaari> If Escaflowne just busted the roof, what were those cages hanging from?
[14:18] <Sylocat> A different part of the roof, presumably
01[14:18] <Froborr> The top of the screen.
[14:18] <Sylocat> Nonlethal force? That’s surprising
01[14:18] <Froborr> Why do you even BOTHER with armor?
[14:19] <Arrlaari> Also he just karate chopped a dude in the back of his armor and he fell unconcious
01[14:19] <Froborr> He just knifehanded that dude through FULLPLATE!
[14:19] <Arrlaari> which was so unbelievable the second dude froze up
01[14:19] <Froborr> This is SO OBVIOUSLY Vector from FF6.
01[14:19] <Froborr> The parallels are ABSURD.
[14:19] <Sylocat> Indeed…
01[14:20] <Froborr> I mean, look at that!
[14:20] <Sylocat> COme on, just warp out of there again WHAT THE HECK
01[14:20] <Froborr> Turbo Mode Activated
[14:20] <Sylocat> Escaflowne has rocket engines?
[14:21] <Sylocat> Whoa… they got there in a hurry
01[14:21] <Froborr> That was a good one!
[14:21] <Sylocat> Indeed
01[14:22] <Froborr> So far, the second half of this show is WAY stronger than the first.
01[14:22] <Froborr> But I’m still annoyed that it’s taking this long for Hitomi to, y’know, matter.
[14:22] <Sylocat> Well, she has saved their asses countless times by now
[14:22] <Arrlaari> So the preview for this episode (from last time) was neat because it was just a punchof characters saying “change fate”
[14:22] <mere_oblivion> That comes in handy
01[14:23] <Froborr> I mean, kind of?
01[14:23] <Froborr> But hte ability to see the future is pretty much just “because the plot says so.” It doesn’t really count.
[14:24] <Sylocat> Mild spoiler: That’s both more true and less true than you realize…
[14:24] <Sylocat> But anyway
[14:24] <mere_oblivion> Without giving anything away (since my brain is too feeble to remember much from back when i saw it first), I think it’s leading up to something more profound for her.
[14:24] <Arrlaari> Well, we just learned that Hitomi has been in posession of and inadvertently using an Atlantean magic pendant for years
01[14:25] <Froborr> Yeah, I mean, it’s starting to happen.
01[14:25] <Froborr> I just wished she’d been more of a main character before this.
01[14:25] <Froborr> I mean, say what you will about Miaka in Fushigi Yuugi–and yeah, there are a LOT of problems with her character–she never comes across as just being along for the ride.
[14:25] <Arrlaari> There was that first arc where she repeatedly saved Vaan’s life with warnings
[14:26] <Arrlaari> But overall she has mostly functioned as an enabler or teacher to Vaan
[14:26] <Arrlaari> Also, Isaac / Dornkirk’s backstory is a pretty textbook White Savior narrative.
[14:27] <Sylocat> From his POV, anyway
01[14:28] <Froborr> Yes, but at the same time it’s also playing out from everyone else’s point of view as white colonialist empire-building, which is a nice touch.
[14:29] <mere_oblivion> With a Christian-ish undertone (or is that overtone?), which of course is connected with the whole White Savior shtick anyway.
01[14:31] <Froborr> Indeed.
[14:32] <Arrlaari> Like I said earlier, I’m a bit miffed Millerna didn’t follow because it’s previouslly been suggested that she’s determined to follow Allen and will take risks to do so
[14:32] <Sylocat> Merle ran right towards them and didn’t get swept up in the light beam either, for some reason
[14:32] <Arrlaari> But in this episode the writers decided she would have been superfluous and so she does the frightened woman thing
01[14:32] <Froborr> Yeah.
01[14:33] <Froborr> I mean, leaving Merle behind, good, because Merle is always superfluous.
01[14:33] <Froborr> But would’ve been nice if Millerna at least TRIED to follow.
[14:33] <Arrlaari> The bit with her and Allen’s hands reads to me as being significant in the love triangle plot which blerg.
[14:33] <mere_oblivion> The explanation for Merle not getting swept up is that Isaac/Donkirk is felinophobic. (That isn’t canon, though.)
[14:33] <Sylocat> More like love pentagon
01[14:35] <Froborr> I mean, they could have had Millerna run up and not get teleported too, because Dornkirk only wanted those three.
[14:36] <Arrlaari> Dornkirk was kind of fronting in that scene
01[14:36] <Froborr> Or, like, he’s tugging on threads of fate and those three are connected and the others aren’t.
[14:36] <Arrlaari> He acts like their arrival is According To Plan but just before that we see that he was expecting something more
01[14:37] <Froborr> True.
[14:37] <Sylocat> Yeah… Dornkirk and Hitomi are in a tug-of-fate contest
[14:38] <Arrlaari> They’re both using Atlantean techniques to predict and control the future. He’s got a lot more gear and goons backing his effort but Hitomi still has the edge because she’s Authentic
[14:39] <Sylocat> As opposed to the more mundane technique of controlling the future, which is to, y’know, take any kind of action at all
[14:39] <Arrlaari> But like – as far as I can tell only Hitomi and Vaan really need to be there, Allen is only in this episode as muscle to move Hitomi to the roof
[14:40] <Arrlaari> But he’s allowed to participate trivially while Millerna isn’t
[14:40] <Sylocat> Well, Allen needed to confront Dornkirk since Dornkirk had his dad killed
01[14:40] <Froborr> Which is what provoked Dornkirk into telling his backstory, more or less.
[14:40] <Arrlaari> Oh yeah, that bit
01[14:42] <Froborr> Okay, any other final thoughts before I copy this up?
[14:43] <Sylocat> It’s never officially stated who Isaac “was” on Earth, but this episode makes it reasonably clear, yes?
[14:43] <mere_oblivion> Isaac Hayes?
[14:43] <Arrlaari> Oh, Newton? Because he talks about gravity?
[14:43] <mere_oblivion> Wait . . .
01[14:43] <Froborr> Sort of, but it doesn’t really work…
01[14:44] <Froborr> He feels at least a century later.
[14:44] <Sylocat> Gravity, alchemy, and an obsession with scientific mysticism
01[14:44] <Froborr> Honestly I think he’s just a guy named Isaac.
[14:44] <mere_oblivion> Though Newton was something of an alchemist.
[14:44] <Arrlaari> Also, he doesn’t read to me as consistent with historical depictions of Newton’s appearance
01[14:44] <Froborr> Newton was a massive alchemist, though it’s really hard to get ahold of his alchemical writings.
01[14:45] <Froborr> In terms of amount written, he really seems to have been an alchemist who dabbled in physics more than the other way around.
[14:45] <mere_oblivion> And a Biblical literalist who tried to make science match the Bible more than the other way around.
01[14:46] <Froborr> Not a literalist precisely, there really wasn’t any such thing until the 19th century, but yeah, basically.
01[14:46] <Froborr> I feel like Isaac is most likely named in reference to Newton, but I don’t think he’s supposed to be him.
[14:47] <Sylocat> IIRC, the story editor more or less confirmed it in an interview, but I can’t find that interview now (or even a translation of it)
01[14:47] <Froborr> Well, okay.
[14:47] <Sylocat> So I could be misremembering
[14:47] <mere_oblivion> Yeah, the 19th century was a trip: Darwinism + Marxism + fundamentalism + papal absolutism . . .
[14:48] <Sylocat> But then, extradiegetics and all that, so…
01[14:48] <Froborr> Yeah.
01[14:48] <Froborr> Either or.