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Offline MahluaandMilk

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Simoun
« on: July 06, 2018, 04:37:34 PM »
This is probably going to be a long review, or at least a long thread, if the Sister Princess one is any indication. It’s not even so much that I love Simoun, though, as much as it is that there’s just a lot to unpack in it. Might as well get straight to the point.

Simoun

Year: 2006
Studio: Studio Deen
Genre: Yuri, coming of age, romance, sci-fi/fantasy
Why did I watch this: I remember watching it in high school and loving it, so I bought the box set on sale a while back, and boy did I forget some things…
Dub or Sub?: Lol this didn’t even get dubbed, so this isn’t even really a question. 10/10 would love to participate in a fandub for, though. It’s interesting to note though that all the seiyuu for the show are women, and that even the men are voiced by women. More on that later.
OP: “Utsukushi Kereba Sore de Ii” by Chiaki Ishikawa. I have to say it’s probably one of my top 20 favorite anime Ops, like, ever. So pretty and uplifting…
ED: “Inori no Uta” by Savage Genius. Definitely in one of my top 5 EDs of all time. It’s got a pop feel, but it’s so hype. I’ve said before and I’ll say it again: I could shout “Inori no Uta” and “Dancing in the Velvet Moon” every day and not even be mad when I lose my voice.

Concept: As war breaks out, young priestesses who have not undergone the age rite of passage of selecting their permanent gender must pilot divine aircraft to protect their country. If any of that confused you, you probably read it correctly.
Execution: The show actually does a fantastic job juggling all sorts of themes at once, and does not let you forget that these are children in war. Simoun really gets its hands dirty and dissects a lot of things about being a kid, growing up, experiencing first loves, and good gods the angst. There’s only about one thing I’d nitpick, personally, and that’s the relationship between two of the priestesses…one of them is clearly over the age of 17 but is clinging to her religious duty, and, well, the show is pretty heavy-handed in suggesting that she gets with literally the youngest member in the Chor, who is like, 12 at best. In universe standards, I get that they’re both technically “children” despite the obvious age gap, but I am still uncomfortable and not sure that the suggested romantic aspect was really necessary.

Main Characters: Two captains, thirteen maiden priestesses, one vice captain, one military councilman, one high priestess, one mechanic, and whatever tf you’d call Onasia. For the sake of my sanity and everyone else’s time, I’ll just focus on the sibyllae of Chor Tempest—the official title of priestesses who pilot the divine two-seater aircraft known as Simoun. I’ll try my best not to spoil, but ah…yeah good luck.

Note: when I say “pair”, I mean that the two fly in the same Simoun, and my spellings come from the official sub version that I watched, which is not concurrent with some of the popular accepted spellings.

>Amuria: Originally paired with Neviril. She had a lot of ambition and her strength used to hold Chor Tempest together.

Spoiler
Until, you know, she died in the first episode, causing everything we really know about her to mainly come from flashbacks.


>Neviril: Known as the best pilot, more or less. Everyone seems to have a boner for her. I don’t really get why. I mean, I do get that she’s hurt, she’s pretty, she’s tragic, she’s the best at what she does, but I didn’t really start liking her at all until towards the last quarter of the show.

>Paraietta: At first she’s shown to be the “cool” one. Everyone expects her to become a man when they all undergo the right of passage so she can be with Neviril, her childhood friend. Through the show, she breaks down, crashes and burns, hard. I recall in the director’s commentary that Paraietta’s emotions are some of the easiest to understand, and I think that’s a fair assessment.

>Kaim: Paraietta’s usual partner in the Simoun. She seems to have a deep fondness for her pair and looks up to her a lot. She also has issues which breech way into spoiler territory, but I’ll mention it under the spoiler because it deserves a content warning for those sensitive to it:
CW: sexual assault
For a good part of the show, we are led to believe that Alty sexually assaulted Kaim, although a later conversation snaps Kaim’s memories back right and it is suggested that it was the other way around. Because of this, Kaim will not refer to her sister by a family title, but only her name, and often becomes irate when Alty calls her “nee-san”.


>Alty: Kaim’s sister, usually paired with Floe. Despite what was mentioned in the spoiler above, Alty still looks up to Kaim. She’s a bit of a crybaby, not nearly as bad as some of the others, but she wants to be strong for her sister.

>Floe: Alty’s usual pair. She’s such a boy crazy hot mess at first, with explosive feelings and a knack for mischief. Somehow, though, her advice usually turns up solid?

>Roetreamon: A quiet little rich girl whose partner seems to vary depending on the situation. She wants to understand others, but comes to realize that given her position, it may not always be possible to bridge that gap.

Later additions to the Chor:

>Aer: The spunkiest new kid on the block who starts out with zero social tact and might only score a 30/100 on it by the end of the series. Eventually becomes Neviril’s permanent pair, although she had to fight for it…literally. It’s that fighting spirit that makes her special, though.

>Morinas: Like Roetreamon, she has shifted partners various times through the series. She has a fascination for how the Simouns work, although she comes to appreciate them as more than just machines, which may or may not have something to do with that mechanic boy…

>Rimone: The token kid genius. She has difficulty fighting at first, and even making decisions for herself because she was so used to simply doing as she was told. I’m a little squicked as to some of the environment that caused some character growth, but I am glad to see how she progressed.

>Mamina: A former servant in Roetreamon’s household who was only allowed to become a sibyllae because the war had killed so many priestesses that they were coming up short. Like Floe, she has rather explosive emotions, but after fighting over who she would be paired with (or wouldn’t be), she calms down. She’s still a mischievous little bugger, and I love her for it.

>Yun: Came along with Mamina and detests war. She remains distant from the Chor and also doesn’t really stick to a pair. Her gender reveal and explanation is by far one of the most interesting outcomes, so look forward to that.

And, last but not least…ugh.

>Dominura: I really, really want to like Dominura. It’s just—from moment one in Chor Tempest, it’s startlingly evident that she’s obsessed with Rimone. It’s weird as hell and kinda gross, especially as the series progresses and you start to realize just how long she’s been a maiden priestess. Taking my mind off that, though…she’s a strong leader, and her ability really kickstarts Paraietta’s fall from grace, as it were. She’s competent, she’s in control, she’s level headed, and damn if she isn’t good at the war game. I could respect her determination and vigilance if I just pull the wool over my eyes and pretend like it’s not being suggested that there’s a romance between her and a f*cking child, but I can’t really bring myself to overlook it.

---
Art: Really, really nice IMO. The backgrounds look fantastically hand-painted, and the skies are beautiful. The character designs really amplify their representations.
Animation: Pretty well done, although there are clearly some repetitive shots. The fact that some of the machinery appears to have been done with a 3d modelling program and is layered with the 2d may be strange to look at at first, but it’s not really all that bad, considering, y’know, 2006.
Soundtrack: Classical and saucy. Somehow it vaguely reminds me of Revolutionary Girl Utena. The use of lack of music as a mood enhancer is also exceedingly well done. Let’s not forget that lullaby and the song from Aer’s music box, because those are nice, wholesome little additions, too.

Final thoughts:
Like I said, this show explores a LOT, and yet, it breathes so well. I guess that’s a benefit of still coming in at the tail end of when 26 episodes was the norm for anime. There’s time to explore what’s being thrown at you, and there’s time to sit back and smile at the laughter and really remember that these are just kids thrown into a war out of their control. A lot can be said about the representation of gender, especially once everyone’s gender is revealed at the end, and how it plays back to their characters. You’ll certainly leave remembering that kids are way smarter than we sometimes give them credit for. Depth of an ocean here for Simoun.

Overall: 8.5/10
Because I can’t give something with blatant pedophiliac suggestions a 10, no matter how fantastic everything else is.
"It is always by way of pain one arrives at pleasure."--Marquis de Sade
But yes hello I am the freakier freak than you.

Offline MahluaandMilk

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Re: Simoun
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2018, 05:12:06 PM »
Also real talk every time @Forlorn Serpent gives his description all I've ever imagined is when the mechanic boy Waporif except fully transitioned into being male. I love the little touch the anime pulls by gradually shrinking his chest as the series progresses.

"It is always by way of pain one arrives at pleasure."--Marquis de Sade
But yes hello I am the freakier freak than you.

Offline Forlorn Serpent

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Re: Simoun
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2018, 09:37:59 PM »
@MahluaandMilk What the f r u talking about?!?!?!?!!??

Offline MahluaandMilk

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Re: Simoun
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2018, 10:09:02 PM »
Pretty sure it was you who gave a description of having dark hair and tanned skin. Of course, my memory has been known to be faulty. Iirc, your description was asked for due to your cameo in the Great Raid of 2017.

Even if I have been mixed up, my memory was somehow convinced that it was you who gave a description like that so either way I've been seeing fully transitioned Waporif every time I've imagined your appearance.
"It is always by way of pain one arrives at pleasure."--Marquis de Sade
But yes hello I am the freakier freak than you.

Offline Forlorn Serpent

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Re: Simoun
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2018, 10:15:32 PM »
Oh, yeah. I’m that.