Wednesday, May 31, 2017

I tried watching an Anime called Avenger

It's a Bee Train show.  Bee Train has a bad reputation in certain circles.  Among DigiBro fans I have qualified as probably the biggest defender Bee Train has, and that was based on only having seen 3 shows, the "Girls With Guns" Trilogy.

To be honest, of that trilogy, I would only truly fully recommend Noir.  Even Noir is a show where much of the appeal to me is it kinda embracing how ridiculous it is.  But Noir also has an artistic depth to it, one that the alleged cheapness of it's Animation quality only heightens, giving it that "Noir" feel.  Noir would be ruined not helped by Sakuga.

Madlax and El Cazador I would recommend only to someone who already loves Noir and wants to try something similar but different.  Only context in which I might recommend one of them to someone who doesn't care for Noir is if someone is really into certain sub-genres those fit into that Noir doesn't.  El Cazador is sort of a Neo-Western, and Madlax is.... well..... I guess a Pseudo Vietnam War setting is the best I can come up with.  Noir's equivalent sub-genre is, well, Noir.

I have always known that .Hack isn't for me.

Avenger I heard about watching Digi's series on every Anime he's dropped.  Avenger is mentioned as another Bee Train show with somewhat of a Yuri aspect.

It is a rare Bee Train show not composed by Yuki Kajiura, and I figured that out before I checked the credits.  The Music did not sound like Kajiura, but kinda like it wanted to be.

Art style wise it looks kinda like Madlax, but it was made before Madlax.

There is nothing I can really say I hate about it.  The premise interests me, people living on Mars in the future, with sentient robots.  But it's execution is failing to really grab me.

I've seen three episodes and decided to put it on hold.  I might return to it, or I might not.  Maybe the lack of Kajiura music is all it takes to kill this studio's appeal, a great score is a powerful tool.

I think Digi's hostility to Bee Train came a lot from Bee Train being one of the few studios doing Yuri and other such things back then, and his frustration at not being satisfied with what little he was getting.

For me, Noir is what got me into Yuri in the first place, and even it was a show not brand new when I watched it.  Well the Dub might have been, sometimes Dubs take awhile, but when I watched it even the Madlax Dub was at least partly released already.

So if I now find their output lackluster, it's in the context of knowing I've got plenty of other great stuff to enjoy.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

That was the best Episode of this Half-Seaosn so far

Maybe even of the whole season, or of the entire Five Years Forward.

We got some good reveals.  And this story-line with Aria is great, I love that it's Spencer who's onto her, I love my Sparia.

Hopefully this is a sign the show's finale won't disappoint.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

That episode was decent

I think next episode will be better.

That Comic that Lucas and Chalrotte made would make a good Anime.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Wolfram's Parzival and The Grail in Arabia

I've talked about Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival in two prior posts on this Blog.  The Holy Grail and the Silmarils, and Biblical Influences on Arthurian Legend.  In both of those I mentioned Graham Hancock's theory that Wolfram's Grail was really The Ark and he was secretly supporting it being in Ethiopia.  I no longer agree with Hancock's take on it, even as much as I used to.  Fortunately his theories were irrelevant to my actual arguments there.

I do think The Ark's imagery was an influence on how Wolfram depicted the Grail.  But I think there is also another key influence to possibly consider.

Disclaimer, this is a fiction Blog not a History blog.  While I'd like to think some hints at forgotten History might be here, I am not claiming Wolfram was simply changing names of a true story.   I include this disclaimer because you'll be surprised how often this type of fiction inspires real conspiracy theories.

People sometimes criticize Wolfram for Medieval European ignorance in calling Arabs Pagans.  However this criticism seems to forget that the story is supposed to be contemporary with King Arthur (516-537 AD according to the Annals Cambrie, died in 542 according to Monmouth and the Brute Tysilo), a generation before Muhammad was born.  Arabia at this time had Pagans, Jews and Christians, it was diverse.  Mecca specifically was mainly Polytheistic, with 360 Idols in the Kaaba before Muhammad took it over.

But the key thing with my differing from Hancock is I can no longer agree with Zazamanc being based on Aksum.  Much of the geography in Wolfram seems intentionally confusing, and scholars have long disagreed on if Zazamanc is placed in Africa or Arabia.  It's safe to say many medieval Europeans often didn't know the difference.  And what was meant by India or Indes was also confused and contradictory as Hancock discuses.

Queen Belacane is not named after Makeda, but rather after a name for the Queen of Sheba from Arabian tradition, Bilqis.  (most theories on the Eytmolgoy of Bilqis I disagree with, it probably comes from combining Baal with Qos or Quzzah)  But more interestingly is how the name of Zazamanc possibly resembles the name Zamzam, the name of a Well near Mecca that Islamic tradition says is the Well where God spoke to Hagar in Genesis 21.  And if the theory that Kadesh-Barnea is Mecca is true, then I think it very well could be.

Locating her so far from Yemen need not discredit the significance of her possibly being named after the Queen of Sheba.  The breaking of the Mar'ib Dam caused many migrations northwards in Arabia, and the area of Mecca is believed to be have been controlled by people from Yemen for much of the history leading up to Muhammad.  According to Sarwar (Hafiz Ghulam Sarwar. Muhammad the Holy Prophet. pp. 18–19.)  400 years before the birth of Muhammad, a man named "Amr bin Lahyo bin Harath bin Amr ul-Qais bin Thalaba bin Azd bin Khalan bin Babalyun bin Saba", who was descended from Joktan and was the king of Hijaz placed a Hubal idol onto the roof of the Kaaba.

In addition to Zazamanc, I have a hunch Janfuse and Tribalibot with it's cities of Tharbronit and Thasme should be placed in Arabia as well.  Maybe even also specifically the Hijaz.  Tabala south of Mecca could be related to some of those names.  Also Thabir, a mountain near Mecca. 

There was also Thawr an ancestral figure of the Kindah.

That's a total of three kingdoms ruled by Queens in Parzival.  We are sadly lacking a lot of information about Pre-Islamic Arabia, but I have argued that there is some evidence it may have been surprisingly Feminist.

In Secundille's kingdom of Tribalibot lived a race of half-men boar like creatures which included Cundrie and her brother Malcreatiure.  The Koran says in Sura 5:60, 7:166 and 2:65 that Allah once turned a group of Jewish Fishermen living on the Red Sea into Apes and Swine for violating the Sabbath.  Muhammad refers to this as a story the Jews of the area already knew, so it was probably a now forgotten local tradition among some Arabain Jews of the Hijaz.  Could this story have inspired Wolfram?

Secundille gave land of hers to Feirfez to rule with his bride the Grail Maiden.   And that was Hancock's reasoning for thinking Wolfram was saying the Grail wound up in Feirfez's kingdom, wherever it was.

I'm considering identifying Secundille's tribe with the Quraysh and Belacane's with the Banu Khuza'a.

Wolfram's Grail indeed was not a Cup or linked to the Last Supper in any capacity.  It is described as a Stone from Heaven.  The Black Stone of the Kaaba is also supposed to be a Stone from Heaven.  Jason Covalito speculated that Wolfram's Arabic inspiration was the Emerald Tablet of Thoth, but I think the Black Stone of the Kaaba itself is a far more direct comparison.

What about the Grail Castle, Munsalvaeche?  That name means "Mount of Salvation", while my first instinct was to think Moriah or Zion or The Mount of Olives to be that mount.  There is one potential Biblical Mount of Salvation we shouldn't overlook.  Mount Sinai aka Mount Horeb.

I have argued Mount Sinai could be Jabal Shu'yab in Sana'a the Capital of Yemen.  That city wasn't there in antiquity of course.  The City was founded in the 530s (contemporary with King Arthur) by Abraha.  After the Jewish Himyarite King Dhu Nuwas was defeated by the Aksumite Kingdom in 525 AD, Abraha was appointed to be the Aksumite Governor of Yemen.  But he wound up declaring himself an independent King, and made Sana'a his Capital.
He aroused the wrath of Kaléb, however, by withholding tribute who then sent his general 'Ariat to take over the governorship of Yemen. 'Abraha rid himself of the latter by a subterfuge in a duel resulting in 'Ariat being killed and 'Abraha suffering the injury which earned him the sobriquet of al-Asräm, "scar-face." [ "Abraha." Dictionary of African Christian Biographies. 2007. (last accessed 11 April 2007)]
So he could also be described as a Wounded or Maimed King, and it was even specifically a Duel.  Could he be partly the basis for Anfortas? Along with material taken from the earlier grail romance.  And removing things that painted him more negatively.

He is also said to have built a great Church at Sana'a Al-Qalis and repaired the irrigation system at Ma'rib.  Islamic Tradition says he died in 570 AD, the same year Muhammad was born, when Allah thwarted his attempted invasion of Mecca.

Feirfez marrying the Grail Maiden, Repense de Schoi, daughter of Anfortas, could be read as implying the Grail moves to his Kingdom.  That aspect of Hancock's theory I think is valid.  So is Wolfram trying to secretly say the Black Stone of the Kaaba at Mecca used to be in Yemen at Mount Sinai?  That's a stretch, but it may have interested him to construct such a narrative.

There also it seems used to be other Stones at other Kaabas.   A Red Stone in the city of Ghaiman and a White Stone at Tabala south of Mecca, which I mentioned above.  It's been argued that the concept of Kaabas and their stones originally came from Yemeni religious practices.

On the subject of Mount Sinai.  Second Maccabees, (a text that is included in Catholic Bibles) Chapter 2 verses 4-8, tells a story that Jeremiah took the Ark of the Covenant and The Tabernacle to Mount Sinai (doesn't name it but that's what it would be) where it was hidden away by God.  I doubt that is the Ark's real fate, but it's something Wolfram could have drawn on.

I don't know how old this tradition is, but I've seen Muslims claim The Black Stone was once in the Ark of the Covenant.  And that The Ark of the Covenant is hidden in The Kaaba.  (From this spun off a modern conspiracy theory about a Super Weapon called the Ark of Gabriel being in Mecca and now somehow was taken by Russia).  Specifically I've seen The Ark claimed to be in the Babut Taubah or Tabut Taubal, which is supposed to be just the stairwell to the roof of the Kaaba.  But it's claimed that "Tabut" means wooden box (I don't know Arabic), and they say The Ark is alluded to in the Koran in Sura 2:248.  Again, I also doubt those theories are true.

Well that's my speculation on Wolfram.  I may do posts about other Grail Lore in the future.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

My Spring Anime thoughts

This is my first time doing a post like this. In the past I haven't watched much Anime as it airs.

Last year I covered Sailor Moon Crystal season 3 episode by episode.  I've kinda lost my passion for doing that sort of thing.  I'm gonna keep it up with Pretty Little Liars till it finishes this season because that's perhaps the oldest tradition of this blog.  And then I'll be done with it.

Crystal has always been different from other Seasonal Anime.  My first time really following any seasonal Anime was for Flip Flappers and Izetta that Fall.  They were both great.

For Winter 2017 I followed Maid-Dragon, Tanya the Evil and ACCA, I enjoyed all three.  And I dropped Masamune-Kun after 7 episodes.

The first two Yuki Yuna prequel movies I already commented on, they're good, but if I saw them in Theaters I wouldn't consider worth the ticket price.

For this season I have a bit more mixed set of perspectives.  But even then I haven't tried nearly all of them.

Twin Angel is the best, that's the most consistent fun I'm having.  If you want to watch a not so Dark Magical Girl show without scaling the mountain of a 50 episode monstrosity, Twin Angel is what you've been waiting for. I highly recommend it.

The only other show I've been watching Subbed is Eromanga-Sensei, and that is largely to go along with Digibro's Podcast.  I'm not nearly as hard on the show as they are, but their assessments are hilarious.  It's a trashy guilty pleasure show, but nothing special.

For Simuldubs first and foremost is Attack on Titan season 2.  I'm enjoying it, time will tell if it lives up to the first two arcs.  I'm bothered that the Dub changed their pronunciation of Mikasa.  Maybe this version is closer to the original Japanese, but all three Abridged Serises I watched used the Season 1 dub Pronunciation.  So it's burned into my brain that that is how Mikasa should be Pronounced.

Love Tyrant I gave a shot, that premise for a Death Note parody could have been great.  But I had to drop it before finishing the second episode.

One I still haven't watched yet but that I might given my Mythological Interests in Seven Deadly Sins, similar for Gabriel Dropout last season.  Vrai seems to be enjoying it.

I want to end on Clockwork Planet.  This is a show many other seasonal roundups have been the hardest on.  And with only 2 episodes I can't be sure it'll keep my interest.  But for the time being it has my attention.

It has some Anime Fanservice, the second episode is kinda lighter on it which has me wondering if it's one of those that use it all up early on.  But even if that issue doesn't go away, I find the characters interesting, regardless of the fetishes they play into.

So that's my take on this season so far.  Maybe it'll hep you out, maybe it won't, but thanks for reading it.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Those reveals were almsot all the worst reveals

Been awhile since I did that thing where I copy my Tweets here.  One reaosn why I don't like ding it is how it always bumps my previous psot fomr the from page.  But I'll get around that by linking to it here.

I've now seen the BBC Count of Monte-Cristo staring Alan Badel

If you're viewing this post as a BooRadleyVanCullen person, I talked about Eugenie Danglars and Louise d'Armilly there.  If I cast a COTMC adaptation with as many PLL actors as I could, I'd have Lucy Hale as Eugenie, Ashley Besnon as Louise, Nolan Norht as Villfort, and Shay Mitchelle as Haydee.

Remember, start at the bottom to read them in order.

  1. More reveals, but not the one they advertized
  2. You've gotta be kidding me
  3. For Frak's sake
  4. Clearly not
  5. A few years ago I would've been more into a reunion.
  6. Don't tell me he's Charlotte's dad? Pastor Ted would've been more interesting.
  7. So the Shusher gets the 5th turn?
  8. Haven't even mentioned the mystery they promised to solve yet
  9. She looks too far along for Pills to work
  10. So no Aria and Nicole conversation? I feel cheated
  11. I wonder what the odds are people will start shipping Aria and Nicole?