In Divine Gate Adapters are folks with powers over their realms of Air, Water, Earth and Fire, each realm existing on a different plane of existence and each accessible to the others through a mundane gate. The Living, Heavens, and Underworld become connected to each realm after a Divine Gate is opened, adding another set of layers to the situation, and whoever opens a Divine Gate can change the universe as they desire, including changes in the past and future. Adapters use Drivers to control their powers and keep them from going into meltdown, but they don’t always (or often) work. I have been enjoying this one a lot this new season, and can’t wait to see more.
Recently I have been using my Friday post to talk about something you can watch streaming over the net, but this time I had to shift gears for a moment to mention Comet, an indi film that was released on disc this week. The write up I read sounded like an ordinary romcom, but now that I have seen the trailer I realize it is anything but. Even without the indications of parallel timelines crossing each others paths like Sliding Doors, the visuals are amazing, and the acting looks interesting too. I think I am going to have to check this one out.
The summer season has just started, with most shows only having 1 or two episodes streamed so far, but I have already become addicted to one of them: Gate. When I saw the first episode, and a portal between parallel universes opened up, I was certain it had to be based on the Hell’s Gate series by David Weber and Linda Evans. The first book in 2006 saw two Parallel Universe crossing civilizations, one based on magic with dragons, gryphons, spells, and wizards, and one based on advanced steampunk science and technology, stumble across each other. During that first encounter, where neither side understood the others language or customs, a series of mistakes and misunderstandings led to a massacre, with subsequent encounters leading to all out war between the two cultures.
It turns out I was wrong. It was actually based on Takumi Yanai’s Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri, a 2006 Japanese Fantasy Novel series later turned into an assortment of Manga, and finally the Anime. In it, a portal between universes opens up in Ginza, and an invading hoard of dragons, elves, ogres and wizards attack Tokyo. They get beaten back by the JSDF, who go on to secure a foothold on the other side of the gate. Tanks, missals, and other modern weapons give the Self Defense Forces a noticeable edge in the combat theater, although the fighting is anything but one sided. The protagonist is Yōji Itami, a serious Otaku who is promoted because his quick thinking saved a lot of lives during the initial battle. He gets put in charge of a squad sent to do reconnaissance and see if they can find a way to get the other side to the peace talks table. This seems appropriate, since the author is also a serious Otaku (he has to be to write this kind of story) who is a former member of the JSDF.
You can watch the stream on Crunchyroll, the third episode just went live this afternoon for Premium members. If you are a free member (yes, membership is free, but the paid service doesn’t have commercials, comes in HD, and you can watch the shows the same day they air in Japan) you can watch the first two episodes right now, and today’s episode next Friday.
I didn’t find many genre Movies or TV shows this week, although Paddington is a fantasy as well as a children’s tale, so should be included in this list. Certainly it has some of the best CGI effects playing the part of its title character I have seen in a while. There is a live action Japanese movie that fits the genre criteria coming out this week, in the form of 2013’s Arcana. When you watch the trailer see if you can spot the actor who played the primary villein in the Korean sci-fi TV romantic dramedy My Love From Another Star. While not genre, Inherent Vice is based on the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name, so should be both darkly funny and appropriately twisty.
We do much better in Anime this time around, starting with D-Frag!, where Kazama’s plan to rule the school using violence is tanked when he runs into the pretty psychopaths of the Game Creation Club. Now he will be lucky just to survive the whacked out games these girls play. In Nobunaga the Fool: Collection 1 the giant mechas were built by Leonardo Da Vinci, and Joan d’Arc needs to convince Nobunaga Oda to use them to unite both planets under a banner of peace. Then there is Hayate the Combat Butler: Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, another 12 episodes forming season 3, continuing the epic fight for Hayates life, and his charge’s freedom and well-being.
World conquest has been a dream of would-be dictators for centuries, but has never actually happened. At least not until one girl pulled it off in World Conquest Zvezda Plot, possibly the strangest tale of world domination ever told. I should also mention a couple of classics being re-released for another generation this time around: Fushigi Yugi (a book transports 4 friends into a parallel universe, giving them 52 episodes of adventures before they can escape) and Saiyuki (4 reluctant heroes are just as concerned about having a good time as they are about saving the world for 50 episodes). My super-short description of the two tales may sound similar, but they are far different than you might suspect. Plus, they are both absolute classics of their kind, and well worth your time to watch and enjoy.
Syfy has a pitiful track record at made for TV movies, but both their original TV series and their miniseries have been excellent, and Ascension looks like it could be a winner. The premise is simple; what if the space race Kennedy started in 1962 didn’t collapse once humanity made it to the moon, but kept going. If that progress had been steady, by now we would be launching our first expeditions to the nearer stars… and what a different universe that would have been! Of course, to keep up that constant development, you would have needed someone to race against, who also didn’t falter or pause.
The Higgs Boson is often referred to as the God Particle for the simple reason that once they find and understand it, it could literally open the universe for us. The first video is Professor Michio Kaku giving a very brief introduction to the concept, and why the discovery is important. They came very close in December, and the actual discovery is expected, or at least hoped for, this year. The second video goes into a bit of additional detail on the concept of the Higgs Boson, which interacts with all but three other particles. Which means the discovery and direct observation of the Higgs could give us the key to the ToE (Theory of Everything) that Einstein spent his last 30 years working on, and pretty much every physicist since has taken a crack at. The key to time travel, FTL travel, as well as access to higher dimensions and parallel universes, this discovery could be the game changer that brings the future alive.