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 2:00 p.m. EST. We will then be watching Mawaru Penguindrum at 2:30.
ETA: Chatlog below the cut!
[14:00] <Arrlaari> The main thing is Dornkirk died and his fate machine caused the killing blow to accidentally also kill older brother
[14:00] <@Sylocat> Click
01[14:00] <Froborr> See, those are both things I forgot.
[14:00] <Arrlaari> and then his ghost showed up and told Hitomi to check this cool shit out
[14:00] <@Sylocat> Yeah, Folken did a murder-suicide on Dornkirk
01[14:00] <Froborr> The ghost I remembered as soon as you mentioned him dying.
[14:00] <@Sylocat> Folken thought it would end the fighting, but instead it activated the Zone of Absolute Fortune, and we’re about to find out what the Zone of Absolute Fortune does
[14:01] <Arrlaari> I got the impression Folken was prepared to lose the fight, not to accidentally kill himself
[14:01] <@Sylocat> Well, he knew he was going to die, and he planned to take Dornkirk down with him
[14:01] <@Sylocat> Ah yes… here we go
[14:02] <@Sylocat> “Eternal Love,” is the episode title
01[14:03] <Froborr> Ah, and now all the people allied against the Empire are turning on each other.
[14:03] <@Sylocat> The machine grants everyone their wishes… and guess what people wish for
[14:04] <@Sylocat> They wish for conquest, of course
[14:04] <mere_oblivion> really? I thought it was oney and love
[14:04] <mere_oblivion> that’s Money and love
[14:05] <@Sylocat> Ah… so HERE’S where Dilandau is
[14:05] <@Sylocat> Flashback time
01[14:06] <Froborr> The whole Dilandau thing is so fucking weird.
[14:07] <@Sylocat> Aww… Jajuka takes the sword for her
[14:08] <@Sylocat> Van’s reaction to that information is… understandable
[14:11] <@Sylocat> Uh oh…
[14:12] <@Sylocat> Huh… I’d forgotten how she stopped them
[14:13] <@Sylocat> Say it
01[14:15] <Froborr> Nope, the Dilandau/Celena thing is still really freaking bizarre and left-field.
[14:15] <mere_oblivion> But in a good freaking bizarre and left-field way, I feel.
[14:16] <Arrlaari> It’s like those jerks have never heard of Escaflowne
[14:16] <@Sylocat> I think most of them still haven’t, come to think of it
[14:17] <@Sylocat> Heh… I’d forgotten, the series actually acknowledges that it might be teenage infatuation rather than True Love, and then outright says that doesn’t matter
[14:18] <@Sylocat> That even impermanent bonds can still be moving and meaningful
[14:18] <@Sylocat> Uh oh, flash-forward
01[14:18] <Froborr> Wait, why are we on a train platform now?
01[14:19] <Froborr> HOW IS HITOMI IN BOTH WORLDS AT ONCE!?
[14:19] <@Sylocat> I think the train platform was a flash-forward
[14:19] <@Sylocat> I’m not sure though
[14:22] <@Sylocat> A whole cast montage
[14:22] <@Sylocat> Even Mole Man!
[14:22] <@Sylocat> I’d forgotten about him
[14:22] <@Sylocat> Yeah, it was a flash-forward
01[14:23] <Froborr> So… that happened?
[14:23] <@Sylocat> So… that’s Vision of Escaflowne
[14:24] <Arrlaari> We’ve observed this before, but they made it the final climax: Vaan being a shonen protagonist is The Problem
01[14:26] <Froborr> On the other hand, he solved the problem by throwing himself at it while shouting, so in a sense being a shonen protagonist was also the solution?
[14:27] <@Sylocat> Heh
[14:28] <@Sylocat> Though it was a different problem than the usual “Oh no, I don’t want to be violent but this villain is leaving me no choice.”
[14:29] <@Sylocat> In fact, this show’s main thesis really is critiquing that whole style of narrative mechanics
01[14:29] <Froborr> That’s true.
[14:30] <Arrlaari> In fact, they establish that in addition to their principled desire to see the war end, they have a contradictory desire to fight each other to See Who’s Best
[14:30] <@Sylocat> I didn’t really understand that when I was a kid. I mean, I still loved the show, but at the time I was also like, “So wait… what did the Fate Alteration Engine thingy actually DO?” It was only when I came back to the show later as an adult that I realized
[14:32] <mere_oblivion> My first time through I thought, “So anime series lead up to completely inexplicable climaxes, eh? Well . . . that’s okay, I guess.” But now it doesn’t seem nearly so inexplicable.
[14:32] <Arrlaari> Anyway, the event that turns the crisis around and leads to Vaan breaking the machine was Hitomi realising that she is a shoujo protagonist and therefore has a crush on the main dude
[14:35] <@Sylocat> What I like is that, most fantasy series pay lip service to preaching a code of nonviolence, but then contrive events so the hero has No Choice but to kick the villain’s ass in an FX-laden action sequence
[14:35] <@Sylocat> Dornkirk, being an unimaginative writer, takes that at face value and doesn’t see the human instinct that that’s really playing to, so he thinks that granting everyone wishes will bring peace
[14:39] <mere_oblivion> And so it’s people dreams that will bring about Gaea’s continued . . . existence?
[14:39] <mere_oblivion> people’s dreams?
[14:40] <@Sylocat> So it’s saying, “You can’t take away conflict just by kicking the ass of the evildoers. Even when people have perfect freedom to choose peace, there’s way too many people (maybe even “you,” dear viewer) who will still choose war, and only by understanding that and addressing that can you bring peace.”
[14:40] <@Sylocat> I assume that “People’s dreams” line was metaphorical from Van’s POV, though given the metafictional aspect of this series, it had an extra meaning for us
[14:41] <Arrlaari> Earlier we learned that the Atlanteans created Gaea? I guess that line implies that it’s actively sustaining the planet in some way.
[14:42] <mere_oblivion> Most of us are such divided souls–even, or especially, in ways that are least apparent to others–that peace feels like a terribly fragile dream. If we can’t find peace within ourselves (though some are better at faking it than others), how can we find peace with each other in any lasting way?
[14:42] <@Sylocat> Is that a quote from something?
[14:43] <mere_oblivion> No, it’s me, though I have a hard time viewing anything I say as original!
[14:44] <mere_oblivion> Or maybe I’m projecting my own self-division onto everyone else?
[14:45] <@Sylocat> Whoa, it’s quarter-of already.
[14:46] <@Sylocat> Have we heavied you guys away?
[14:46] <@Sylocat> (yet?)
[14:46] <Arrlaari> From what I hear, the heavy is just beginning.
01[14:46] <Froborr> Still here.
[14:46] <Arrlaari> It’s Penguindrum time
[14:47] <@Sylocat> So… any remaining thoughts?
01[14:48] <Froborr> Nope.
[14:48] <Arrlaari> Nor I
[14:48] <mere_oblivion> Thanks for the chats, everyone. See you again very soon, I hope.
[14:48] <@Sylocat> So… didja like it?
01[14:49] <Froborr> It was better than Kill la Kill.
[14:50] <@Sylocat> Ouch
01[14:51] <Froborr> Sorry?
[14:52] <@Sylocat> Eh, ‘sok
[14:53] <@Sylocat> This was my first “big” anime series, until I saw this, the only anime I’d seen was Cat Girl Nuku Nuku, some of Ranma, Birdy the Mighty, and the dubs of Pokémon and Digimon
01[14:54] <Froborr> Yeah, I’ve been wondering how different my attitude toward this would be if I’d seen it when I was 17.
[14:55] <@Sylocat> Rose-tinted goggles may be in play, but I do think it holds up pretty well
01[14:55] <Froborr> Both in terms of me not having seen as much anime, and in terms of this very likely feeling a lot fresher and more original in 1998.
[14:55] <@Sylocat> I think it was 96 *Googles real quick*
01[14:56] <Froborr> Okay, so 15 then.
[14:56] <@Sylocat> I first saw it in 00, I think
[14:56] <@Sylocat> But yeah, this was pretty darned original for its time
[14:57] <@Sylocat> I think it even predates Utena come to think of it
[14:57] <@Sylocat> *Googles again* Yep
01[14:57] <Froborr> I mean, it’s not *bad* by any means. Pacing is a little weird, probably could’ve moved the mid-series cliffhanger 6 episodes earlier and given the latter half where all the actual ideas are more room to breathe, but it’s competently executed.
01[14:58] <Froborr> It just never *clicked* for me–there were no characters that jumped out at me and said “Yes, this is someone whose story I care about.”
[15:00] <@Sylocat> Fair enough
[15:03] <@Sylocat> Whoa… relevant opening
01[15:03] <Froborr> Indeed.
[15:03] <@Sylocat> This is trippy
01[15:04] <Froborr> “IT”?
01[15:04] <Froborr> Okay, so Hulu is doing that garbage green squares thing.
01[15:05] <Froborr> If it doesn’t fix by the ad break I might have to reload.
01[15:05] <Froborr> Oh, never mind, fixed itself.
[15:05] <Arrlaari> Ads at the end of the op
[15:05] <@Sylocat> This is going to be a weird one, methinks
01[15:05] <Froborr> Ad.
01[15:05] <Froborr> And this is Hulu, so expect ~70 hours of ads.
[15:05] <@Sylocat> Eeyup
[15:06] <@Sylocat> And my connection is awful, so the ad keeps stuttering
[15:06] <@Sylocat> Oh, only two ads, each 30 seconds
[15:06] <@Sylocat> I’ll let oyu know when I’m back
01[15:06] <Froborr> I’m ready.
[15:06] <@Sylocat> Back
01[15:06] <Froborr> We’ll wait for a click from Sylo.
01[15:07] <Froborr> You ready Arr?
[15:07] <Arrlaari> not yet
[15:07] <Arrlaari> Ok, ad over and apaused
[15:07] <@Sylocat> Click
[15:08] <@Sylocat> Super Mario Galaxy!!!!!!
[15:08] <@Sylocat> (that just popped into my head, sorry)
[15:09] <@Sylocat> This will all make sense later on, I assume?
[15:09] <@Sylocat> Ahahah, they actually label the flashbacks
01[15:09] <Froborr> What’s not making sense? She was sick, got out recently, they’re bantering lightly?
01[15:09] <Froborr> Then flashback reveals she’s dying.
[15:10] <@Sylocat> AHAHAHAH
[15:10] <@Sylocat> Did everyone else get that “Note” at the top of the screen?
01[15:11] <Froborr> That note was great!
[15:11] <@Sylocat> That’s helpful
[15:11] <Arrlaari> Yeah, I saw the note
[15:11] <@Sylocat> That reminded me of the opening of Summer Wars
01[15:11] <Froborr> That’s what I was thinking of!
01[15:12] <Froborr> Those inverted penguisn are messing with my head, man.
[15:12] <@Sylocat> For a second I thought that was MY phone
[15:13] <@Sylocat> What the
[15:13] <@Sylocat> Ah, so that’s where the title comes from
[15:13] <@Sylocat> Suddenly this is an urban-fantasy series?
01[15:13] <Froborr> It’s Ikuhara. Whatever else it is, it’ll be surrealist.
[15:14] <@Sylocat> Indeed
[15:14] <@Sylocat> So, did they tell her the diagnosis?
[15:15] <@Sylocat> So, did they just choose the medicines at random for the medical babble?
01[15:15] <Froborr> Well.
01[15:15] <Froborr> Ad.
[15:15] <Arrlaari> ad
01[15:15] <Froborr> @Sylo: probably.
[15:15] <@Sylocat> Because she’s apparently dying of about three or four different conditions
[15:16] <@Sylocat> Lemme know when you’re back
01[15:16] <Froborr> I recognized epinephrine and erythromycine, so apparently she’s having an allergy attack AND an infection.
[15:17] <Arrlaari> ad over, paused
[15:17] <@Sylocat> And Atropine is a heart-rate stabilizer
01[15:17] <Froborr> I still have 60 seconds of ad left. Fucking Hulu.
[15:17] <@Sylocat> Dang
01[15:17] <Froborr> Oh, failed to load the next ad, so it added 30 more seconds as punishmen.t
[15:17] <@Sylocat> Still preferable to watching the ad IMO
[15:18] <@Sylocat> (but I’m petty like that)
01[15:18] <Froborr> Well, yes.
01[15:18] <Froborr> Back and paused.
[15:18] <@Sylocat> Okay…
[15:18] <@Sylocat> Click
[15:19] <@Sylocat> Wait… is she dead?
01[15:19] <Froborr> I think she’s dead, yeah.
[15:19] <@Sylocat> Dang
[15:19] <@Sylocat> I was not expecting that
[15:20] <@Sylocat> Wha…
01[15:20] <Froborr> What.
[15:20] <@Sylocat> Okay, I was expecting her ghost to possess a penguin or something
[15:20] <@Sylocat> Oh, she’s possessed, that explains it
[15:21] <@Sylocat> Now, put the hat back on so it can finish giving them the mission briefing
[15:22] <@Sylocat> Uh oh
01[15:22] <Froborr> Is it a penguin?
[15:23] <@Sylocat> Ah, so that’s what the opening was talking about
[15:23] <@Sylocat> This is a pretty clever way to save on assets
[15:24] <@Sylocat> Oooooooooooooookay…
01[15:24] <Froborr> It is.
[15:25] <@Sylocat> Ah, so he’s the only one who sees it?
[15:25] <@Sylocat> They’re all being sent by the same thing that revived Himari, of course
[15:25] <@Sylocat> And it’s paying them generously up front for whatever favor it’s going to demand in return
01[15:25] <Froborr> Yup.
[15:25] <Arrlaari> ad
01[15:25] <Froborr> Ad.
[15:27] <Arrlaari> ad over, paused
01[15:27] <Froborr> 70 seconds left for me.
[15:27] <@Sylocat> Ouch
01[15:27] <Froborr> Because Hulu hates me.
[15:28] <@Sylocat> Maybe it heard you bad-mouthing it before
01[15:28] <Froborr> Indeed.
01[15:29] <Froborr> Back and paused.
[15:29] <@Sylocat> Click
[15:29] <@Sylocat> Ahahahh
[15:29] <@Sylocat> So this WAS what was frozen
[15:30] <@Sylocat> So, they finally got the idea to put the hat back on Himari
[15:30] <@Sylocat> Wait, that’s how it ends?
01[15:30] <Froborr> I think she put it on herself.
[15:30] <@Sylocat> There’s still, like, 6 minutes left
[15:30] <@Sylocat> So this can’t be the closing song
[15:30] <@Sylocat> What in the name of…
[15:31] <@Sylocat> Even for Ikuhara, this is weird
[15:32] <@Sylocat> Ah, our old friend incest subtext
01[15:32] <Froborr> Indeed.
[15:33] <@Sylocat> They’re going with the “It was all a dream… or was it?” thing?
01[15:33] <Froborr> Okay, that went a bit past subtext.
[15:33] <@Sylocat> Yes, yes it did
01[15:33] <Froborr> Why does everything we watch have incest and kissing unconscious girls in it!?
[15:34] <@Sylocat> Escaflowne only had the former
01[15:35] <Froborr> Well. That was interesting.
[15:35] <@Sylocat> Well… this is weird and disturbing even for an Ikuhara work, but I feel an overpowering urge to see where it’s going, so…
01[15:35] <Froborr> Likewise.
[15:35] <Arrlaari> When they were on the train, there was a think saying to put trash in trashcans. I’ve heard they took all the trashcans out of public spaces.
01[15:36] <Froborr> Really? That’s a strange thing to do.
[15:36] <@Sylocat> Wait, what?
[15:38] <Arrlaari> http://www.quora.com/Why-does-Tokyo-have-so-few-public-trash-cans
01[15:38] <Froborr> Huh. Apparently Tokyo got rid of all trash cans in 1995, following the Aum Shinrikyo attack.
[15:38] <Arrlaari> Huh, it’s only Tokyo according to that
[15:38] <@Sylocat> This is one of those “Are you sure this isn’t the Onion” things
[15:39] <@Sylocat> Also, this DIDN’T lead to an epidemic of littering? Japan is even weirder than I thought
[15:40] <Arrlaari> I should find the thing written by a (former) Microsoft employee who was involved in negotations between the Xbox unit and Japanese video game companies
01[15:41] <Froborr> That’s really interesting about the trash cans, though. Adds an extra layer of unreality to the subway trip, which was already really weird, probably as foreshadowing for the weird musical number later.
01[15:42] <Froborr> And of course train tracks, fate, there’s something going on with that I expect.
[15:42] <Arrlaari> I can’t think of the right google thing to bring it up
[15:42] <Arrlaari> They referenced something that centers around a magical railroad, the note told us
01[15:42] <Froborr> Yeah, they did.
[15:42] <@Sylocat> Well, now I get to watch it again
01[15:43] <Froborr> Night on the Galactic Railroad. It is apparently a novel from the 30s that was adapted into an anime movie in 1985.
[15:44] <@Sylocat> Not to be confused with Galaxy Express 999
01[15:47] <Froborr> Huh, may have to track the movie down and give it a watch. Sounds interesting.
01[15:47] <Froborr> Anywaya, any further thoughts before I copy up?
[15:47] <Arrlaari> Should we watch it in the chat?
01[15:47] <Froborr> Too long, methinks.