How to participate in the liveblog chat: Option 1: Whenever you watch the episode, comment on this post as you watch with whatever responses you feel like posting! Option 2: Go to http://webchat.freenode.net/. Enter a nickname, then for the Channels field enter ##rabbitcube, and finally fill in the Captcha and hit Connect! We’ll be watching Vision of Escaflowne and commenting there starting at 1:00 p.m. EST. (That is 1 hour earlier than normal. Also there’s no new MLP or SMC this week, hence Escaflowne.)
I’ll post a chatlog once the liveblog is complete!
ETA: Chatlog below the cut!
[13:01] <@Sylocat> Ahahah… they have to introduce Folken to their allies
[13:02] <@Sylocat> Gee, ya think?
[13:02] <@Sylocat> Huh… we haven’t had a time-skip voiceover in this series before
01[13:03] <Froborr> Something about the tone of the voiceover feels very Xenogears-y.
[13:03] <@Sylocat> Oh, Merle
[13:04] <@Sylocat> Hmm?
[13:04] <@Sylocat> Oh, it’s Millerna
[13:04] <Arrlaari> It’s Highly Visible Royal Charity
[13:04] <@Sylocat> Uh, Dryden?
01[13:05] <Froborr> Yep, I was about to compare it to the scene where Margaery does something similar in ASOIAF/GOT, which in that series is used to establish how dangerous a politician she is.
[13:05] <@Sylocat> I was thinking the same thing
[13:05] <@Sylocat> Merle has a backstory?
[13:05] <@Sylocat> Allen, go away
[13:06] <@Sylocat> I mean, yeah, Zaibach is after her in particular, but still…
[13:06] <Arrlaari> Allen finding reasons to be patronising
01[13:06] <Froborr> This is a weird place for an insert song.
01[13:07] <Froborr> UNless we’re about to get a scene transition revealing this to be diegetic music?
[13:07] <@Sylocat> Yeah… a whole lot of new narrative devices introduced here
01[13:07] <Froborr> Huh, she’s taking up running again?
[13:07] <@Sylocat> The last insert song was diegetic IIRC
[13:07] <Arrlaari> The lyrics read like they were written for this scene
[13:07] <@Sylocat> Or wait, we learned ahead of time that it was
[13:08] <@Sylocat> Ahahah… “I can’t say I’m okay with it.”
[13:08] <@Sylocat> Is Van getting jealous over this, too?
[13:08] <@Sylocat> Whoa… that looks higher-tech than most of the other airships in this show
01[13:09] <Froborr> “The hour of ripla”? Was that a translation error or..?
[13:09] <@Sylocat> Must have been… or else it’s the name of the airship
[13:09] <@Sylocat> Allen doesn’t know that Hitomi knows this?
01[13:09] <Froborr> Wait, didn’t Hitomi already know that from a vision?
[13:10] <@Sylocat> Yeah… granted, there was a lot of other stuff going on (to put it mildly)
[13:10] <Arrlaari> I didn’t question Ripla because it looked like nerd bait to me
[13:10] <@Sylocat> Oh… look who’s back
[13:10] <@Sylocat> And he’s not any more stable than before
[13:11] <@Sylocat> Ah yes… “Alone” is one of Dilandau’s trigger words
01[13:11] <Froborr> If anything, less stable. Losing his entire force seems to have upset him a bit.
[13:11] <@Sylocat> And he didn’t even remember that until Jajuka told him
[13:12] <Arrlaari> Dilandau’s new soldier must have got a very thoughrough briefing
01[13:12] <Froborr> Which is the first bit of competent management we’ve seen in the Zaibach military.
01[13:12] <Froborr> You WOULD need to give Jajuka a very thorough briefing to handle Dilandau’s situation.
[13:12] <@Sylocat> Indeed
[13:13] <@Sylocat> Oh, THIS again…
[13:13] <@Sylocat> Didn’t they do the “I have this friend thing…” Oh. Yes. Yes they did
[13:13] <Arrlaari> I’m pretty sure she did have a vision for this
01[13:13] <Froborr> Okay, I will admit to being amused by this play on the “I have a friend” transparent lie.
[13:14] <@Sylocat> It’s on
01[13:14] <Froborr> Uh-oh, his mech is red now.
[13:15] <@Sylocat> It was always red
01[13:15] <Froborr> …
01[13:15] <Froborr> Quiet, you.
[13:15] <@Sylocat> Hahah
[13:15] <@Sylocat> Van’s eager for an enemy that requires straightforward violence instead of playing nice
[13:16] <@Sylocat> Which, yeah, Folken can be aggravating like that
[13:16] <@Sylocat> Uh oh
[13:16] <@Sylocat> Hitomi’s seeing the action from afar
01[13:17] <Froborr> It occurs to me fire has some advantages in mecha combat, at least at this tech level.
01[13:17] <Froborr> You can’t do much to the mech with it, but if you bake the pilot…
01[13:18] <Froborr> Oh yeah, ALlen’s like a legendary swordsman or something, isn’t he? I forgot.
[13:19] <@Sylocat> Poor Hitomi
01[13:19] <Froborr> You know, there’s only a few episodes left, Dilandau basically has to die either now or in the second-to-last episode.
[13:19] <@Sylocat> Yes, he used Hitomi’s warp light
[13:20] <@Sylocat> And dang, Jajuka is worried about him
[13:20] <@Sylocat> Again, poor Hitomi
01[13:21] <Froborr> Ah, of course.
01[13:21] <Froborr> Should’ve seen that coming.
[13:22] <@Sylocat> So yeah, this show just told the Protector Fantasy to get stuffed
[13:22] <@Sylocat> (don’t watch the next-episode preview BTW)
01[13:22] <Froborr> I think you mean the White Knight fantasy.
[13:22] <@Sylocat> …Yes, that’s what I meant
01[13:23] <Froborr> Protector fantasy is kind of the inversion of the White Knight–it’s daydreaming that someone powerful will take care of your problems for you.
01[13:23] <Froborr> So, thoughts?
[13:24] <@Sylocat> Right. But (to distract from my mistake in terminology), the point is that this show actually looked at the excuses for violence that many shows indulge in
01[13:24] <Froborr> Yep. I’m quite glad they made that choice.
[13:25] <@Sylocat> Like, the mopey hero who just HAS to kill enemy mooks to protect those he cares about… but no, that’s just what he tells himself
01[13:25] <Froborr> It’s one of the advantages of this shoujo-shonen hybrid they have going, they can use the two genres to critique one another.
01[13:27] <Froborr> So Hitomi’s feelings about being protected, which in shonen would be ignored, are here given center stage, and in the process the White Knighting typical to shonen heroes is revealed in all its selfishness.
[13:27] <@Sylocat> And using Hitomi’s fortune-telling/psychic stuff was a very convenient way of conveying that
01[13:28] <Froborr> *nods*
01[13:28] <Froborr> I’m curious about the glimpse of crying baby!Dilandau–have we gotten his backstory before?
[13:28] <@Sylocat> We’ve only seen that in brief flashbacks
[13:29] <Arrlaari> We’ve seen that flashback before but it wasn’t explained
[13:29] <@Sylocat> Remember, right back after he’d lost his entire squadron, we saw, in a brief flash, that crying little kid saying, “Don’t leave me alone!” which is why the word “Alone” was such a trigger for him
01[13:29] <Froborr> I vaguely remember something sort of like that?
[13:30] <@Sylocat> We only saw a brief glimpse of it… and no further explanations yet
01[13:31] <Froborr> Okay, so I expect fuller explanation in episode 25, right before Dilandau dies, clearing the path to the final battle.
01[13:32] <Froborr> I am open to the possibility that Dilandau is on Earth, but probably not. I expect most of next episode to involve Hitomi coming to the conclusion that she has to return to Gaea.
[13:33] <Arrlaari> The same episode that first showed that flashback also established that Dilandau is the subject of Zaibach “fate alteration” experiments.
01[13:33] <Froborr> Oh, I’d forgotten that!
[13:33] <@Sylocat> Yeah… and the “instability” was blamed for his hallucinations and memory loss
[13:33] <Arrlaari> So he’s in line to have an experience similar to the luck enhanced catwomen just after, or concurrently with, his death
[13:34] <Arrlaari> I meant to write his flashback
[13:34] <Arrlaari> He obviously could not have that experience after dying
[13:34] <@Sylocat> You never know, with this show
[13:35] <@Sylocat> I mean, Allen’s had entire conversations with his dead dad, and Van with his mom
01[13:36] <Froborr> To be fair, fate manipulation isn’t too far off from time travel.
01[13:36] <Froborr> What year was this show again?
[13:36] <@Sylocat> 199…6, I think?
[13:36] <@Sylocat> Yeah, 1996
01[13:37] <Froborr> I increasingly suspect it had a not-insignificant influence on Xenogears.
[13:37] <@Sylocat> I first saw it in, I think, 1999 or 2000
01[13:39] <Froborr> The Zaibach mechs’ flight mode, that voice-over timeskip, probability manipulation magic… Dornkirk’s pod thing… invisible flying cities, come to think of it…
[13:41] <@Sylocat> Yeah… Xenogears was only 2 years later
[13:41] <@Sylocat> So probably
[13:41] <@Sylocat> (Xenogears also took some heavy influence from NGE too, of course)
[13:43] <@Sylocat> So… final thoughts?
01[13:43] <Froborr> That’s all I’ve got.
[13:44] <@Sylocat> I gotta get to rehearsal
01[13:44] <Froborr> Later Sylo!
01[13:45] <Froborr> So, Arrlaari, any more thoughts on Escaflowne?
[13:45] <Arrlaari> All I can say is that this makes a lot more sense than I remember
[13:46] <Arrlaari> It was a long time ago but I remember watching the first few episodes of a show, I think it was called Escaflowne, and I was totally lost
01[13:46] <Froborr> Heh.
01[13:47] <Froborr> I will admit there have been a few points where I’ve needed you guys to remind me of plot points, for some reason most of, oh, roughly episodes 5-10 didn’t make it into my brain.
[13:47] <Arrlaari> Actually, I did notice something
[13:47] <Arrlaari> There was a very long gap in which Hitomi didn’t do any sprinting
01[13:48] <Froborr> Yes, there was. Thoughts on that?
[13:48] <Arrlaari> IIRC the last time she sprinted before the gap was the big moment where she makes the jump
[13:48] <Arrlaari> In other words, she uses track & field to cross a gap between her and Vaan
01[13:48] <Froborr> That’s the last time I remember.
01[13:49] <Froborr> Ooooh, I like that.
[13:49] <Arrlaari> In this episode, she puts on her track clothes and does a sprint and it seems to be the first signal that she’s thinking of going back to her home planet
[13:50] <Arrlaari> It doesn’t directly create it, but it’s the herald of Hitomi creating a gap between herself and Vaan
01[13:50] <Froborr> Yeah. Very interesting.
01[13:51] <Froborr> I was thinking of it more in terms of reclaiming a major piece of her identity, which had increasingly become subsumed in dealing with life on Gaea.
01[13:51] <Froborr> But that mirroring is definitely present, now that you point it out!
[13:52] <Arrlaari> Also it just occurred to me that Hitomi kind of invokes the legend of Princess Kaguya
[13:53] <Arrlaari> In that she is a magic woman from “the moon” who returns to her home on the moon
01[13:54] <Froborr> …huh. Interesting.
01[13:55] <Froborr> That would imply two things.
01[13:56] <Froborr> First, IIRC Kaguya-hime was sent to Earth to form material attachments, which she would inevitably have to break, as a punishment. This implies that Hitomi is “supposed” to suffer the pain of losing the people on Gaea she has come to love, or at least that that loss will be a significant element of the story.
01[13:57] <Froborr> Second, Kaguya-hime was known for setting impossible tasks for her suitors. Is there an implication here that her objections to Van’s violence are to be read as unrealistic?
[13:57] <Arrlaari> Wiki says that the material attachments as punishment is one of two common versions. The other reasoning is that she was sent for safety during a celestial war.
[13:58] <Arrlaari> Apparently it’s a very old story and may predate the introduction of Buddhism to Japan, in which case the attachment version would have to be the more recent one
01[13:59] <Froborr> True.
[13:59] <Arrlaari> I also just remembered that Hitomi is not the first moon woman to come to Gaea
[13:59] <Arrlaari> And though she didn’t ask for it, her Grandmother apparently caused Allen’s father to undertake an impossible task which cost his life
01[14:00] <Froborr> Implying this is a sort of sequel to the Kaguya tale? Interesting.