Ourai no Gahkthun: Primer and Impressions

ss (2014-09-21 at 05.30.37)輝きを持つ者よ。尊さを失わぬ、若人よ。
O, brilliant one.  O, young one who lost not your splendor.
お前の声を聞いた。ならば、呼べ。私は来よう。
Your voice has been heard. Call, for I shall heed.

The year 1908. The 20th century had only started – the age of steam-powered Engines holds a lot of promise for Europe. Exported from the faraway world of Kadath, the Engines started a technological revolution – all the world’s great cities have embraced this new technology. As a result, the once-blue skies are now shrouded in grey, and the once-clean oceans are dyed with a putrid black.

In the Kingdom of France lies the Marseille Offshore Academia – a city of learning which stands on an artificial island. It is a bustling city with its own culture, founded solely by the students who live and study within its walls.

A young lady – a poor student of the Academia – once again goes to her job at the Dropout District. Every night, she works as a helper at a restaurant until right before dawn. Overworked, fatigued, and helplessly lonely, she looks up to the tower Chateau d’If. It is whispered that at its summit, there is a bell that grants the wish of any student. As she looks at the summit with her golden eyes, what will she wish for?

In the middle of April 1908, for the first time in the school’s history, a transfer student arrives. Proud and haughty, on his first day he declares to everyone in his classroom:

ニコラ・テスラ。72歳。転校生。
“Nikola Tesla. 72 years old. Transfer student.
マルセイユ洋上学園都市10万の学生諸君。運命に呪われたお前たち、全員。
Students of the Marseille Offshore Academia. My hundred thousand friends who have been cursed by Fate.
私が、この手で、救ってやる。
I will, with these hands, save all of you.”

At the top of Chateau d’If, the Bell of Gahkthun rings in celebration. Thus begins Ourai no Gahkthun, the sixth entry to Hikaru Sakurai’s Steampunk Series.

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Hanamonogatari: Regret and the Sweet Taste of Misfortune

[Commie] Hanamonogatari [E055B3E8].mkv_snapshot_00.05.23_[2014.09.01_01.27.34]There’s really something special about Monogatari when it can make two hours of material cover two characters just talking and baring their souls to each other and still make it very rich and compelling. Of course, quite a bit of it has to do with the characters involved in conversation. It’s interesting how Hanamonogatari – compared to the rest of the series – feels more “normal” just by changing its viewpoint character. Kanbaru, compared to the viewpoint characters thus far (Araragi, Hanekawa, Nadeko, Kaiki), is very normal. She’s just your typical, jealous girl who got involved with something that she shouldn’t have meddled with.

On the other side of the coin, there’s Numachi. Unlike Kanbaru – whose problems were caused by her taking action – Numachi’s problems were caused by her inaction. Kanbaru and Numachi are pretty much complete opposites – offense and defense, action and inaction, fortunate and unfortunate, God (原) and the Devil. Quite fitting for a pair known as archenemies on the basketball court.

Which is perhaps what makes Hanamonogatari so fascinating: it’s two hours of Kanbaru and Numachi baring their souls to each other. Two completely different characters trying to come to an understanding is a timeless form of conflict. Hanamonogatari is the Monogatari Series‘ spin on the oldest form of conflict known to storytelling.

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