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Messages - Walter

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Vagabond / Re: Official Slam Dunk thread
« on: June 01, 2018, 07:06:23 PM »
Oh man ... these covers look really good. What do you think Walter?

They don't excite me. And this is the second time that I know of for the series to be re-released with new covers. After all that, I still prefer the originals. Each one tried a different style, so that even those that aren't great at least showed an artistic attempt at some fresh take on the characters/mood. And these pristine-looking things are really going to contrast harshly with the art inside them, which developed considerably across the years he produced Slam Dunk.

Anyway, this all seems like a cheap grab for attention and money -- a path of least resistance for Inoue to make a bit of cash. And why not? It's his series. But if Inoue is going to revisit this material, I'd prefer to see something a little more substantial. A teasing flash forward would be pretty powerful for longtime fans (Sakuragi and Rukawa in a college game, for example). The "10 Days Later" serial was too low-effort to satiate that appetite. I doubt we'll ever get a "sequel," despite many seeds having been laid for one throughout vols 20-31, though I can certainly live without one.

Podcast / SkullKast: Episode 96
« on: May 28, 2018, 06:11:16 PM »

Episode 96: Bakiraka (+Ep. 356-2 Review) (1h4m)

It's a new era -- shorter Berserk episodes means the return of topic podcasts. We take a long overdue dive into the Bakiraka and their significance in Berserk, along with their historical background.

Aazealh's thread fro 2005 about Bakiraka weaponry and their historical basis:

A 2016 interview with a guru of Kalaripayatt, and the history of the martial art that's at the core of the Bakiraka:

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or by plugging this address
into your favorite podcast app:


Current Episodes / Re: Episode 356 part II
« on: May 28, 2018, 12:50:04 PM »
What are you guys going to do for the podcast this month? Will you do another volume re-read since this month’s release is so short, and simply cover the second half of 356 in that?

It's already done. Will be posted later today.

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 356 part II
« on: May 28, 2018, 12:52:34 AM »
Since its seems to have been confirmed that the most recent release was in fact Part Two of Episode 356, besides renaming the thread, how should it be recorded in the sites' Episode table archive?:

Pretty simple: Through the magic of merging cells! Also, for convenience, I switched over to this URL a few months back:

Should it be counted as two for the "# releases" with a *note stating that one episode was split apart or should it be vice versa?

Boy, that's more thought than I've ever put into that column :ganishka: I think it counts as two releases,  yeah. Hakusensha is gaming the system a bit, but it is technically two consecutive releases in Young Animal, even if they add up to one episode at the end of the day.

Berserk Miscellaneous / Re: Berserk: The Flame Dragon Knight novel
« on: May 24, 2018, 04:19:26 PM »
I don't know for the first part, but, well, the actions of Ganishka'son weren't much better.

I disagree, and you're selling Ganishka short here. Ganishka being able to sacrifice his son spoke volumes about how he felt about him. And though I haven't read the book yet, it doesn't seem like Edvard and Grunbeld had developed the same kind of bond as, say, Guts and Griffith, or in Ganishka's case, as father and son (a son whose life had become driven by fear just as Ganishka had endured). Edvard seems just tacked on as a sacrifice. His friends had already been wounded, (and/or violated) so it's all quite watered down from other sacrifice scenarios in Berserk. And of all aspects of this story where Miura could have provided guidance or an outline, one would have thought THIS would be it, the climax of the character's story arc, and basically establishing his character motivation. And yet, based on the outcome, I can't imagine this was sourced from Miura.

Becoming a demon in Berserk is a wholly selfish act, and putting an anti hero spin on it kind of negates the whole point of "cutting away your humanity"

Indeed, that's the other part of it. Grunbeld is basically just empowered through this ordeal.

Berserk Miscellaneous / Re: Berserk: The Flame Dragon Knight novel
« on: May 24, 2018, 02:12:33 PM »
Apparently Edward, Benedicte and the Blonde knight get branded, and Grunbeld kills them. In every other apostle ceremony the vortex takes them.

 That's not true. As the eclipse showed us, apostles are free to devour them after branding. And even in standard sacrificial ceremonies, we've seen apostles devouring the bodies, or at least in the proximity of the bodies — the Count and Ganishka. The Vortex's function is to take the soul of the branded.

As for the inconsistency in this novel, it has to do with two of the sacrifices being "willing" sacrifices, along with the fact that Edvard made for a shitty sacrifice given his actions throughout the book, particularly the ending. Neither of those things pass the smell test, to me.

Berserk Miscellaneous / Re: Berserk: The Flame Dragon Knight novel
« on: May 23, 2018, 09:01:01 PM »
I think no one should buy it.15 euro are far to much for this book,the artwork is very good but the rest suck. I am ashamed
that i have buy it :farnese:

Everyone can do as they will, of course. :idea: I feel somewhat obligated to get it. But at the same time, I fundamentally don't want to support anything about this new novel endeavor.

Berserk Miscellaneous / Re: Berserk: The Flame Dragon Knight novel
« on: May 23, 2018, 01:31:48 PM »
The novel is out in germany and i have read the first 65 sites.I really hope that this is not canon.It seems that the autor dosn´t know that berserk isnt only about gore,rape and violence. In what i have read it feels like that there is far to much rape and detailed violent i really don´t like it. I regret to buy it.  :judo:

Indeed. I've only read summaries, but it seems quite ridiculous and juvenile how sexual violence is used in the story. And I've heard similar accounts from those who have read it, walking away grossed out that it has Berserk's name on it.  :azan:

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 356 part II
« on: May 22, 2018, 04:29:27 PM »
So I actually do think this is really "episode 356, part 2" and not episode 357.

That's the best case scenario, then. It means the strange brief pacing of the past two releases will be limited to the episodic experience, not the volume experience. I'm fine with that, particularly if it facilitates more regular releases.  It's just a shame that it comes with a cost of less to discuss each month (in this case, quite a bit less).

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 356 part II
« on: May 22, 2018, 02:26:30 PM »
Hiatuses or not, 9 pages episodes would kill this manga.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves, man. Not sure how much I can stress that we shouldn't conclude anything yet. We're dealing with scanlations at this point.

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 356 part II
« on: May 22, 2018, 01:54:23 PM »
Someone on Reddit said that this is an addition to Episode 356, that's why it's so short. If it's true, it makes sense, maybe YA editors or Miura himself chop those pieces so we don't get hiatuses.

So technically it is still 356, I think. It's going to be less confusing in the volume.

It's worth discussing, but far from conclusive. Consider that that episode number was edited by the Korean scanlators. There's a possibility they mistyped it. It's a big enough change in the production (one episode published across 2 months) that I'd rather see the title in Japanese before hanging our hat on this possibility. However, 356 (15 pgs) + "357" (9 pgs) does equate to one large-sized episode (24 pgs). So it's not a crazy thought. Just a whole new ballgame.

In any case, it certainly looks like each release was structured around an episode-ending climax, which is standard with Berserk. But if shorter releases become the status quo, my concern is that if each release builds to a climax in a shorter page count, that could effectively change the way the story is told.

While this episode was basically just eye candy, I have to say it was premium grade stuff.

Speaking of "eye candy" check out the juice coming out of the hydra's eye!  :beast:

Vagabond / Re: Official Slam Dunk thread
« on: May 22, 2018, 11:54:47 AM »
Is this a commemorative "Remembering Takehiko Inoue (1967-2015)" edition?

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 356 part II
« on: May 22, 2018, 11:50:41 AM »
The mystery of the thicket revealed!  :ganishka:

Cool to see Zodd tear into the hydra. I was surprised such a creature required a triple-team of apostles to take down though. Of course, I also didn't realize it could immediately pop a new head.

Too bad about the strange shortness of this episode. From 15 pgs, which was noticeably short last time, to 9 (not including the new title page) is a bit disheartening, given that this is now effectively a HALF length episode.

It's a shame we didn't get anything major this episode but at least there's nothing left to attend to now.

Indeed, but I kind of expected that resolution near the front end of this episode, with more revealed afterwards. I guess that's coming in (3) though.

Movies, TV, Books & Music / Re: What are you reading?
« on: May 19, 2018, 06:25:26 PM »
Wheel of Time is....incredibly dense, and spends way too much time with the guys thinking the girls are bossy bitches, and the girls thinking the guys are stubborn dumbies.

Shootin' the Breeze / Re: Adventures in YouTube
« on: May 18, 2018, 02:48:12 PM »
Can someone explain to me what's happening.

Manga Mausoleum / Re: Dark Horse Releases
« on: May 14, 2018, 07:36:30 PM »
I didn't even know Dark Horse sold them independently, weird. They have their own app and comic reader? I'd contact Comixology and let them know you have a license from Dark Horse, and ask if they can grant you that on their end. I wouldn't think that it's two separate licenses (just two different portals), but maybe I'm being naive...?

Berserk Miscellaneous / Re: Stuff that reminds you of BERSERK
« on: May 14, 2018, 02:12:27 PM »

From Steamworld Heist, which I'm about 10h into now. Towards the end of the game you can find these. The description makes it pretty obvious that it was an intentional reference.

Shootin' the Breeze / Re: Adventures in YouTube
« on: May 14, 2018, 01:32:31 AM »
So I recently found this channel out and like it was fate, it pumps out a Berserk video.

I found the approach to the underlying themes of conciousness and form quite spot-on, even though the whole shebang with the Idea of Evil is likely not getting adressed, at least not directly.

I think it's a pretty complicated topic to dive head-first into like this, so I admire the approach. And I think they do a serviceable job addressing the Plato connection, but there are still things left on the table (kind of hard not to with this topic, its tendrils are everywhere). Still ... it's much better than most of the Berserk "lore" videos on YouTube, and we certainly aren't making these videos, so props to her for that.

So I had no idea, but the new LoGH series is streaming on Crunchyroll:

I'll probably check it out.

Current Episodes / Re: Episode 356
« on: May 10, 2018, 10:35:23 AM »

Podcast / Re: SkullKast: Episode 95
« on: May 06, 2018, 12:18:04 PM »
Any chance we might get to hear you guys do another volume re-read? I mean, 24 is soooooo close...

We will eventually. If 357 doesn't land this month, I'll either have a v22 re-read or a different topic-based show, which I've wanted to return to for a while.

Movies, TV, Books & Music / Re: Movies you've recently watched
« on: May 06, 2018, 01:27:58 AM »
BTW, here's another phrase I hate that gets bandied about in these situations: "Plot Armor" Everyone quit pretending to be so clever or just stop reading stories if you can't help but see through them at every moment.

Agreed, this is also why I hate sites like TV Tropes that try to distill every story beat down into a litany of derogatory phrases ("They fridged Casca for 20 years!" Fuck off.).

Oh man, I keep forgetting what an unrepentant hippie you are on this front. =) I for one welcome the comforting blanket our corporate overlords pull over our eyes! Seriously, I will point out those things, being characters and being brands,  aren't mutually exclusive, or to effective and entertaining storytelling, even if it's a turn off for you. Tony Stark has changed and evolved in his MCU tenure, and also like Captain America will likely die, but I don't think that's going to change your mind because that's not really the problem.

I get what you're saying here, but I'm not anti-brand, or anti-capitalism (well...). I just recognize that a "story" from a deeply entrenched franchise has some explicit boundaries, and historically, those are deal-breakers that prevent me from engaging with them. BTW, the origin for these firmly rooted feelings likely come from growing up on '90s American comics, and realizing what a circular hellhole it all was after about 5 years. And it's not just Marvel movies that frustrate me like this, it's pretty much any story where the writers seem stricken with fear to evolve the story beyond a comfortable neutral zone.

Tony Stark has changed and evolved in his MCU tenure

This is a strange tangent to open up after this lengthy discussion, but I genuinely do not see that evidenced in this movie. Take this Tony, put him alongside Iron Man 2 Tony ("I'm a rockstar superhero"), what's the difference?

I think you're also biased against these Marvel movies and pick them apart on a higher level than they even deserve considering.

Listen, if these goddamned things were just a novelty, and came out every 5 years or so, they wouldn't receive such derisive commentary from me. But they have literally swallowed the film industry whole. I'd probably be levying the same criticism against Pirates of the Caribbean 8 if those movies were so successful and so dominated our pop culture.  The difference is of course that Pirates does not resonate with me at all, but with Marvel ... we've got a history  :mozgus:

just say it's crap and I'd get it.

It's mostly crap.

t I'd still point out that, on their own level, the Marvel characters have evolved and changed and had stakes beyond death in all the ways you cited, particularly their well being and their relationships to society and each other

It's all too circular for me — too eager to return to equilibrium. I don't mean to sound dismissive, I just don't care enough about the subject matter to explain myself beyond this. I've also skipped about 1/3 of the last 5 years worth of movies (what is that, 20?)

Side point, but in typical Walter fashion, I've devised the perfect counterpoint to my own argument: This kind of trumped-up death has to occur at this point in the franchise, because they've danced around the potential of lasting consequences for years in the movies. So it's really up to Part 2 to deliver on that. We'll see!  :void:

I HATE it at this point and think it's an odd sort of laughably high minded analysis of light entertainment that amounts to live action cartoons (but where are THE STAKES!?).

It is funny when you put it in that context, because it's true (What are the stakes for Snake Eyes' infiltration into Cobra Commander's HQ?!). But outside real-talk like this, that is not how these movies are perceived by the general public. I'm not sure what your office environment is like, but let me be the first to tell you, there are people that take these movies very, very seriously. So I'd bet that "serious" reviews are a response to that sentiment. My own review, it's just my honest take, for the eyes of members of this forum.

Movies, TV, Books & Music / Re: Movies you've recently watched
« on: May 06, 2018, 12:00:59 AM »
Phew boy, your Marvel fatigue sounds even worse than mine.

Well I've made no secret of that on the forum. Seeing this movie was a big gamble on my part, and I really blew it guys.

I wouldn't say death has no stakes at all in the film, as I'm pretty sure every one who was directly killed and not snapped away is actually dead. Which already gives it the highest body count of characters who matter than the entirety of the MCU combined.

I genuinely had to stop and think about a named character that actually was directly killed. Not even Gamora qualifies, since her "death" was the most nuanced in the movie. I don't doubt there were others, but could you let me know who they were? :ganishka:

Has Berserk any stakes anymore? Has it had stakes since volume 13 (did it then when we knew the outcome)?

In Berserk when someone dies, they stay dead. I don't think the same consistency is going to apply to a character like Spider-Man. And why should it? These are characters in name only. In actuality, they're brands, and they are more important now as brands than they ever have been. The actors help this little spell work on-screen, but their 2-3 year release schedule dictates their story arcs, and they aren't allowed to evolve beyond a threshold that violates that. So don't make the threat. Work around it, go a different direction, make the stakes different. Iron Man and Cap's ongoing lovers feud is a great example of working within the boundaries of a franchise setting and still allowing for earnest character development. But c'mon guys, don't place the one thing you can't actually do at the emotional heart of your movie and expect the audience not to call bullshit.

Which is why this movie in particular doesn't work for me, moreso than most Marvel movies, in which the above circumstances are, naturally, always in place, but aren't a glaringly obvious flaw in the overall suspense of the work. This was my whole point, and the part of my argument that you seemingly disregarded. I'm fine with the game of stakes being played in most works of fiction, because normally the threat of death isn't being lorded over us the entire movie.

I think Berserk is a particularly terrible comparison for Marvel. Miura has made substantial changes to his series, and his characters have genuinely developed and grown naturally as time has passed. Where will Guts be in 10 volumes? No fucking clue. Where will Spider-Man be in 10 movies? Gonna say ... probably New York City. So sure, the main cast in Berserk has stuck around in one form or another for more than 20 years. But the looming threat in Berserk is rarely just "death," because Miura knows how this game is played, and brings that card up only when he's actually going to follow through with it, or can at least trick us into believing it. 

When Guts and co. were battling the Sea God, were you afraid he or any of the main cast of heroes would die?

Actually, this was a good example of Guts' survival not being in question, but the condition of his body, and how he would survive that carried the suspense. Guts' wounds stick around. So of course he will endure, but HOW will he endure? That's suspense that works. Not impending, finger-snapping death at the climax of "Part 1 of 2."

That trick works for Miura because he has the authority to make substantial changes like that, and he's done so on numerous occasions. Marvel's screenwriter de jour doesn't, and they never will, so they shouldn't be playing with those cards if they want us to take any of this seriously and not just groan. I feel like you must know this, because I've explained my distaste for superhero comics before, and why I fell in love with Berserk.

I have absolutely come to hate the buzzword "stakes" in regards to these movies and find it to have become a meaningless catch-all for people just not liking them

Pretend just for a moment that I don't read any other Marvel reviews beyond this forum.  :ganishka:

even capitalism (since that's the other lazy, or crazy, talking point against these movies),

What's crazy to me is that you can divorce yourself from the business side of these movies. For multi-part stories like these that demand such a time investment of its viewers, I expect some actual development to compensate, not a continual return to a neutral state. That hasn't worked for me since I was about 12 years old. So for the past few years for me, it's less a New Exciting Movie Experience than watching a circuitous machine complete another rotation.

Movies, TV, Books & Music / Re: Movies you've recently watched
« on: May 05, 2018, 02:05:40 AM »
I made time for Infinity War. My simple review: I shouldn't watch Marvel movies. I'm the worst at it.

Just because something is big doesn't mean that it has weight.  That's what I walked out of the theater thinking. And if
 you simply read that and not the spoilers below, you won't have missed much. My impressions all stem from that problem.

Stakes — what are they exactly in a multi-million-dollar Marvel movie franchise (a franchise that has become the de-facto life blood of modern movie making)? Wait, don't answer that. Better yet, forget I asked the question, because I just ruined the whole fucking endeavor here. What weight does "death" have in this kind of scenario? I acknowledge most movies are hinged upon the suspension of disbelief. And this isn't normally a stumbling block with me, because I get it, ("Are the good guys gonna win, dad?" "Of course, son.") but my god, don't attempt to rub my face in this faux-despair throughout the whole movie. Because the harder they try to lay it on thick that NO FOR REAL EVERYONE'S DEAD, the more profoundly unreal it feels.

The fundamental problem I have with all superhero stories, especially crossover stories, is that the stakes rarely feel real. This movie certainly doesn't escape that problem, because it constantly draws attention to itself. However, the writers did their best within the scope of what Marvel movies seem to allow (Thor should definitely have gone for the head, what the actual fuck). But honestly, I'm in my mid-30s. What am I actually supposed to feel when Spider-Man becomes dust and blows away in the wind? Am I supposed to mourn? Am I realistically supposed to be momentarily fooled into thinking they won't find a way to revive these multi-million franchise heroes?

It seems to me they found the right villain to tie together all the various threads the Marvel film business has cast out over the past decade. Thanos is cool. I mean, maybe not this Thanos. But it was the right character for the job. But when it came time to actually manifest Thanos' increasing cosmic powers, big punches, force pulls and teleports were all they came up with. There wasn't nearly enough creativity on display, given the scope of his powers. This is symptomatic of the lazy writing evident throughout the film, culminating mostly in Thanos (speaking of lazy, he really did wear his goddamned space wife-beater for 90% of it, didnt he? Christ). The motivation behind his ambition was flimsy (he lobbied city council to kill half the planet and they disagreed with his assessment, so now he's gotta become mayor of the universe himself to get anything done around here). The extent of his powers never made a lot of sense, which just got weirder over time, as he inherited more and more nuanced power (did he put that "soul gem" to use?) And the attempt to humanize him in several scenes just fell completely flat. Lots of checks being cashed. Not much in the bank.

I was actually impressed, like Griff said earlier, that despite the seemingly unwieldy cast, this doesn't feel any more like a big dumb movie than all the other Marvel movie mashups. Segregating everyone into three mini-movies seems to have worked from a screenwriting perspective, but it made a lot of assumptions to get there (like the audience actually caring about the Wakanda fight, which speaking of stakes, had about as much as that airport brawl in Civil War). I liked Thor's plot the best, and felt it delivered the most from beginning to end. Really felt nothing at all for the others. Has the Hulk done anything cool since the first Avengers movie...? What a waste of a character...

Regarding Quill being a frustrating, lovesick dumbass, ruining the best opportunity they had to eliminate the threat -- I found it fine. Dude was stricken. I think it'd have been strange if he just sat by after he learned about Gamorrah's fate.

Podcast / Re: SkullKast: Episode 95
« on: May 05, 2018, 01:15:23 AM »
love you all for making these podcasts; keep up the fantastic work!!
First time coming across the podcast. Really enjoy the discussion! Thank you for this great content!

Thanks for listening, guys! If you're new to the podcast, you might want to go back and listen to our volume re-reads, which started at ep 39.

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