Martin Wisse

Emiya-san is the best series Ufotable has ever made

And I don’t say that just for the happily eating Saber pictures in the opening.

Emiya-san: protect that smile

Though they do help a lot. Rather, it’s that they’ve taken the usually dour, staid Fate/Stay Night universe and made a comfy, cozy cooking and eating food with your family show out of it. Ufotable’s greatest flaw as an anime studio has been that their series have either been glitzy but soulless (God Eater, Tales of Zestiria) or glitzy and taking itself way too serious (Fate/*, Kara no Kyoukai). That’s why I actually prefer Deen’s original Fate/Stay Night over Ufotable’s efforts. With Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan however they’ve finally made a series with a bit of heart to it, one that actually allows itself to have fun and isn’t interrupted by fifteen minutes of characters philosophising at each other, badly.

Emiya-san: Lancer knows what Taiga needs

And it has Lancer and Taiga being drinking buddies together while annoying Saber and Shiro, which makes a nice respite from all the “being Lancer is suffering” everwhere else in the Fateverse. I really like how Emiya-san treats these characters, make them feel like real family, where Lancer is the annoying uncle who invites himself to dinner, but is at least polite enough to bring the good sake. In general I like the Fateverse characters more outside of their own setting, like in Carnival Phantasm or even the Ilya magical girl series. The regular setting is just too poo-faced for me. Seeing all those Servants and Masters relaxed and eating good food with each other makes this the best Fate series.

Emiya-san: ice cream headache

Or maybe it is those Saber faces in the opening.

“Oh!” said his wife. “It’s like the War”

Owen Stephens recalls how in 2000/01 he ran a roleplaying session for Wizard of the Coast’s then new Star Wars D20 game when an elderly gentleman with actual commando experience showed up at his table. (Via).

Also a nice example of how backwards most of the warfare in the Star Wars universe is, that WWII commando tactics can completely rip apart the opposition…

Slow Start — the slow burn of forbidden love

We’ve all been there.

Slow Start: waking up hungover is always awful

It’s a school night and you’ve let yourself be tempted to go out for a few drinks with a co-worker or friend after work. Because you can’t actually hold your drink all that well, the one or two beers you drunk are enough to make you blotto and you have to be brought home by someone. So the next morning you wake up on the couch with a terrible hangover, not knowing quite how you got home. As you slowly wake up, you idly look around your apartment and realise you barely remember anything from the previous night. You don’t even remember bringing your student home with you, let alone why you tied her up.

Slow Start: Eiko is tied up

Slow Start episode 7 was …interesting. In a season with quite a few outstanding slice of moe series, Slow Start was looking a bit lost, a perfectly competent adaptation of yet another Manga Time Kirara series but offering nothing not seen before. Apart perhaps from slightly more overt yuri content. Throughout the series so far the girl tied up above has been shown to be very affectionate with another one of the main cast, her childhood friend who had barely grown since she last saw her in elementary school. Eiko herself meanwhile being one of those cool beauties that has a girlfriend in every class. All of which is as expected until this episode, when she was the focus character for once and it turned out she was heavily into their home room teacher, the poor woman who woke up to find Eiko tied up in her living room.

Slow Start: Eiko is a bit masochistic

Earlier in the episode Eiko is celebrating her birthday in class, with all her classmates having given her hair pins. When the teacher shows up, Kiyose teases Eiko a bit about her many many hair pins before putting one in herself: a paperclip. As Eiko and the rest of the main cast discuss all this, she lets it slip that Kiyose is her type exactly: cold and a bit overbearing. She certaintly likes to flirt with her, as the episode shows, with Kiyose not exactly playing along or encouraging her, but still having a natural rapport with Eiko. In the safe world of a slice of moe yuri baiting series all this is very cute.

Slow Start: Eiko is my student

Nevertheless I’m not sure I’d be onboard if the series does anything more with it. There was a strange seriousness to this episode, almost as if it was intended to be romantic rather than comedy, an erotic undercurrent (what with the needless tying up of Eiko) out of place in a series like this. There’s nothing wrong with Eiko having a crush on her teacher, or trying to flirt with her and test her boundaries that way, but the show as a whole seems to root for her and that’s a bit iffy. Student/teacher romances are always a no-no no matter if it’s yuri or not: too much of an age and power difference to be healthy. Which is a pity because the flirting between these two is really nice. Eiko is light hearted and teasing, Kiyose has an innate ability to just say or do exactly the right thing to melt Eiko in a puddle of embarassement. I could cheer them on if only they weren’t student and teacher. Luckily even when drunk Kiyose still remembers Eiko is her student; she does nothing to encourage her. I like Slow Start, so I hope it’ll be back to normal next week and the flirting just becomes a running gag again rather than the way too intense forbidden love it wanted to be this episode.

Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow

I’ve got such mixed feelings about that story. Rereading it just now, having been triggered by Tegan’s tweet, it still choked me up, as it does every time. But I’m also fully aware of how schmalzy it is, how dependent on having feelings for Silver Age Superman with all its silliness already.

To start with, the creative staff for what was to be the very last story to be ever told about the classic, Silver Age Superman and his world, was pretty much stunt casting. There’s Curt Swan, the classic Silver Age Superman artist, brought back to team up with two of the hottest flavours of eighties DC: Alan Moore and George Perez. It makes sense to have Swan there, but not have him being inked by e.g. Murphy Anderson, not having Cary Bates or Elliot S! Maggin or any of the other long term Superman writers write the last ever Superman story feels a bit sad.

The real problem is the context in which Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow was published. DC had decided that it didn’t want to be saddled with its fifty year history anymore, that all that old stuff was dumb and embarrassing, that they needed somebody modern like John Byrne to come around and give Superman a make-over. Even with Alan Moore being quite fond of Silver Age Superman, he was still in his make superheroes edgy phase and that same mood pervades Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow. Imaginary stories (“aren’t they all”) were always much more bloodthirsty than mainstream Superman, but Moore turns it up to eleven. Just because Lois and Clark survive and get a superbaby doesn’t make this a happy ending.

Everybody dies: friends, villains, lovers, superdogs. Bizarro destroys his own planet before attacking Metropolis. The Toyman and the Prankster murder Pete Ross and reveal Clark Kent is Superman. Metallo attacks the Daily Planet to murder Superman’s friends. The Legion of Supervillains murder Lana Lang and Jimmy Olsen when they’re defending the Fortress of Solitude. The Kryptonite Man takes out Krypto but not before he’s bitten to death by him. Brainiac usurp’s Lex Luthor’s body. And the one responsible for the carnage turns out to be a bored Mister Mxyzptlk, because “a funny little man in a derby hat” doesn’t work in the eighties anymore. Next issue Byrne would come and reboot Superman as Superyuppie.

Thirtyplus years on it’s all just as silly as the Silver Age Supes it was saying farewell too and a darn sight more offensive. The combination of nostalgia and carnage would be a prelude of some of DC’s worst instincts during the next three decades, constantly killing off, rebooting and killing off again. In hindsight, I like the imaginary stories of Mr and Mrs Superman much better.