Keith Palmer (krpalmer) wrote,
Keith Palmer

Manga Thoughts: Arpeggio of Blue Steel 9

There are problems and problems, and "starting to feel a bit lost getting deep into a manga series" seems pretty far down the list. As I read through the ninth volume of Arpeggio of Blue Steel, though, I did wonder if my thoughts on this matter were becoming articulated enough to solve the different problem of "coming up with one more post," even if that's pretty far down the list too.

I must admit the general idea of "battling strange, superpowerful vessels that just happen to resemble Second World War ships and just happen to be personified by cute anime girls" got my attention. Hearing the anime turned over not just the "mechanical" but all of the "character" animation to computers, though, became an unfortunate sticking point; as much as there seemed some slight disagreement as to whether this series or Knights of Sidonia was mired deeper in the "uncanny valley," I'd gone for the outer space mecha series (and that after beginning to read its manga). Hearing the Arpeggio of Blue Steel manga was being published over here now, however, seemed to give me my easy way out.

Things drew me in well enough to begin with, but as the ships with their eccentric "mental models" multiplied, the conspiracies on the blockaded Japanese islands and other landmasses added up, and I got to wondering if I'd ever seen the setup for the situation at the very beginning of the story explained to the extent the general backstory had been, that sense of feeling a bit lost gathered. In articulating those thoughts, though, I did wonder if I was solving the small problem of coming up with another post at the cost of snapping the threads of inertia that had kept me reading the series. The best way I could think of compensating was to contemplate that after having watched Strike Witches and Girls und Panzer, but also after cutting myself loose from the Kantai Collection anime quite early on, Arpeggio of Blue Steel was my best option to form a strange trilogy of "oddly safe, if perhaps much too safe, World War II spinoffs." Perhaps more than that, I could also think back a lot further to an animated series featuring a science fiction submarine I'd watched years before I'd had anything more than a vague impression of a resemblance to Robotech to explain it had started over in Japan; bringing "Thunder Sub" into the mix helps in an odd way.

I can also contrast the "volumes every so often" way manga is still sold over here to the way that more or less ended for anime some years ago now, and face how I'm buying enough manga it takes special circumstances for me to go back to a story. I know, though, that Arpeggio of Blue Steel is available on Crunchyroll's online manga service, and has pushed further ahead than what's in print over here; that's at least an option.

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Tags: manga
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