21 June 2010

Update on life and Fate/Stay Night

Hey again folks,

So far, I'm at episode seventeen of Fate/Stay Night. This show is as plot-driven as Azumanga is character-driven. (Okay, warning, possible spoilers ahead here too)

It's a good thing that Fate/Stay Night is more plot, because I'm not crazy about the main protagonist. From what I was reading online, the source for Fate/Stay Night was a hentai videogame, which was first cut back into a videogame, which was then adapted to the screen.

A dispassionate viewer can tell these things, because as I have continued the series it's become more of a harem-building as it goes along. So far, the harem count is at five. There's still eight episodes left for that number to go up too. I mention this because this is one of the few subtypes of anime plot that to me is just unbelievable. There's really no analog to this plot in Western drama or shows, yet it pops up every once in a while in anime. It must just be a cultural or wish-fulfillment thing that makes this subgenre tick.

It's a shame, because the rest of the series has been pretty decent with the overall story. Even if the main protagonist is a doofus, the plot they've built around him has been interesting and there are some nicely-animated fight sequences.

I'm too late to stop watching, as I've covered two-thirds of the show and I am curious how they will resolve the plot. I'm almost to the point of fast-forwarding some of the scenes though, and have only held off because I figure they may attempt to advance the plot while I'm least expecting it.

I think I spoiled myself finding both The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Azumanga Daioh as the first two series to jump back into anime with. Both were fascinating and while they each had a couple of slow or dull spots, I remain very impressed with the product as a whole even a few weeks later.

If both shows were a 10 (forced to choose, I'd pick Azumanga by only a hair), this one is treading a 6. The odd part is that it started at a 6, getting into the plot nudged it into a 7, but the main protag took it back to a 6, the harem stuff started knocking it down further, but the fight sequence in Ep. 14 was terrific and gave it a notch back. There's a LOT of ground for this one to make up, and unless the ending is stellar (or completely terrible) I don't think the 6 will be changing.

The worst part is that it could've been a solid 8, something that'd be worth revisiting every once in a while and would be worth looking up fanfiction for. The plot of the show, the overarching story driving the plot (even the super-magical MacGuffin) could lead to many interesting stories, but not with these characters. Hopefully, the remaining third redeems it somewhat, but this may be my final review depending on how it ends.

Work, as if they couldn't have tried harder, has become worse. It is now tied to the fact that all of us peons have had our status change, from salaried to hourly workers. Now, the almighty clock becomes our enemy, as if we hadn't had enough enemies to choose from to begin with. Of course, it's only the lowest-level of workers that this is happening to, our management is so not hourly because they'd be like given eleventy billion hours of overtime weekly because of all the awesome work they do.

The worst part is that they've "assured" us that our salary and none of the other perks (vacation time, insurance, etc.) will change in the future. This gives me zero confidence, because they've already changed a major fundamental piece of my compensation and I won't be the least bit surprised to hear, six months from now, "We've got to change you all to put you in line with other hourly workers." I've played the hourly game exactly once, as a contractor a long time ago. I'd never wanted to deal with it again. Every single job since then that I've taken has been salaried.

Now, without any choice, I'm back to the tyranny of the clock. Making peanuts. Watching others get big bucks due to work relationships rather than due to effort and/or ability. And now, the sledgehammer is close enough to all our heads to be plainly visible instead of lost in the fog (or hidden behind management's back). At least this final swing is slow enough that hopefully moving out of the way (i.e. finding another job) is possible, though this absolutely puts my educational plans in a complete bind.

Thankfully, lately, we've been able to resolve more than a few issues. This weekend, it was the below family issues... they're finally mending, and it's something that we don't have to spend time feeling bad or worrying about. Now, it's just this. I hope that the same magical fix-it tape that's fixed the other problems below is not out of tape yet.

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