Okay, it’s been kind of quiet on the anime front lately. Let me just give a quick roundup of what I’m watching which is worthy of remark:

Durarara x2

I’m only a couple of episodes behind. It’s basically more of what we got in season 1, which is great because I liked season 1. “More of what you liked” is a pretty damn good thing for a show’s second season. It could just as well have been a decline in quality, after all (see: Sleepy Hollow). I’m still missing the first opening, though this new one is starting to grow on me.

Log Horizon

There was a Ghostbusters reference in the most recent episode. Earlier on in the present season, there was a character modelled after Leonardo, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Is the writer of the light novels a connoisseur of American cartoon shows from the eighties? I do know there was some influence from West to East – The Big O and its noir aesthetic owes a very great debt to Batman: The Animated Series, after all – but I always appreciate a nod to non-Japanese cartoons.

I’m also watching Saekano, of course, but I think it deserves deeper analysis than a quick paragraph. I may end up referring to Baudrillard and the hyper-real, so watch out for that.

The end of the world and what happens after

Archive of Our Own recently discussed something that I’ve never given much thought: what happens to our online presence after we die.

Okay, say you get run over by a bus. Hard luck, but death is that greatest of levellers which brings low the mighty and the weak. But there’s that Facebook account, the Gmail address, the blog, that thing of yours on Tumblr, the YouTube Let’s Play videos you’ve uploaded, and all the rest of the digital works that you leave behind as an online reminder that the world once contained you. What happens to all of that when you’re gone?

Nothing consistent, that’s what. Different sites have different policies, and it is likely that they won’t match exactly what you would want to be done after your death.

Well and good. This is the 21st century, after all, so why not write a social media will? Your executor will need to do all sorts of things that you’ve instructed them, after all, so why not include a few lines about your Facebook account on your will?

But there’s the rather sensitive sticking point of fanfiction. Maybe your executor isn’t someone you want reading your embarrassing works, which you were only comfortable sharing with anonymous people online instead of the aunt who knew you when you were in diapers. Even if you’re not leery of having the person responsible for selling your possessions handle your Transformers fics, they won’t necessarily be a fan of the same things you were and won’t understand exactly what to do with your stuff.

Enter the fannish next of kin. They’ll understand which fics you wanted deleted and which fics you were okay with leaving for future generations to peruse (and maybe laugh at). It’s a nice idea, and it’s one I’m glad Archive of Our Own came up with.

For myself, as someone who’s studied history I say preserve my fics until the heat death of the universe. I admit that they aren’t great literature, but there’s something to be learned even from the most unassuming of writings – linguistic quirks, the zeitgeist of a specific era, how ideas are propagated, and many more things I am unable to imagine.

Enjoy my fics, future people. I poured my heart and soul into them, once upon a time.

On meeting the 100% perfect girl

I started watching Saekano, which is about high school kids trying to make a video game. The show is rather metafictional in its presentation; the comments that the characters make about the game they’re working on usually apply to the anime they’re in as well. It’s not Grant Morrison so the fourth wall is never broken but the show is clever enough in that regard.

It’s also a harem anime, with the first episode full of fanservice and girls competing for the attention of the male protagonist. Still, the only relationship I’m actually interested in is the sole human relationship in the anime, which is the one between the protagonist and his muse.

See, our protagonist meets a girl on the road one spring day in a moment straight out of a romance. The girl could easily have been a blank and perfect catalyst for male actualization but she quickly destroys our hero’s expectations the first time they talk. I’m intrigued by where this thing is going so I’ll stick with it some more. This could very very easily turn to crap but I hope the show is self-aware enough to realize that the criticisms it makes of clichés can also be applied to itself.

Would you like to play a game?

Well, I finally finished Mass Effect 3. After all this time, I’m done.

I liked the Citadel DLC. It’s really big and it’s nice that the stakes are much lower. I also liked the combat simulator, it’s a lot more fun than the Pinnacle station from the first game. Plus I got to play with Zaeed again, who I sorely missed in the regular game. It was nice to see him, Javik, Wrex, and Grunt all hanging out shooting up empty beer bottles. I thought at first they were playing “cuckoo”, which was said to be a game played by bored Russian officers from the tsarist era – basically you turn off off the lights, hide behind furniture, then shoot at anyone who shouts “cuckoo”.

And let me just say that Kai Leng’s stupid ponytail and black trench coat annoyed the hell out of me. All he needs are sunglasses to complete the Matrix douchebag look. He’s like a prepubescent child’s vision of “awesome badass”. I enjoyed shooting him in the face with my sniper rifle.

As for the infamous ending, it wasn’t as bad as the online hyperbole made it out to be, but I still found it disappointing. First, this is a video game – where is my final boss? Yeah, I killed like a dozen Banshees and Brutes while defending the missile battery but that didn’t feel like a climactic battle. There was Saren in the first game and the Human Reaper in the second, but all we got was Space Boy in this one.

Speaking of which, none of the choices he gave seemed representative of what my Shepard tried to accomplish. The Destroy ending would have been the best choice for my character, except that it kills all synthetics and there’s no way my Shep would kill EDI and her geth allies.

Anyway, I discovered there’s a fourth ending. Just like Global Thermonuclear War, you can also choose not to play, or rather, you can circle “none of the above” and shoot Space Boy in the head. He’s unaffected but he says that the cycle will play out like normal and galactic civilization ends up destroyed. In the epilogue we see the warning Liara recorded for the next cycle, then we see some future alien telling her kid tales of “The Shepard” and how they owe their lives to this person. The end. I wanted a good-ish ending, so I reloaded and went with Synthesis because what the hell, let’s just end this.

Whatever ending you choose, the setting will be irrevocably changed, which is really too bad because I like this space opera galaxy of theirs. Why did we need to be fighting genocidal robot space squids, anyway? We could have had a spy game in the style of Alpha Protocol about the secret war between the STG and the Shadow Broker or a Seven Samurai one about recruiting mercenaries to defend an outpost against Batarian slavers or one of any number of scenarios. I know there’s a Mass Effect 4 coming but I don’t know how that’s even supposed to work.