Picture may not be indicative of podcast. You decide.

A new podcast brings a brand new podcast virgin to put through the paces. I promise it’s not as weird as I make it sound. (It’s weirder.)

Let it not be said we’re kind, because we’re totally not. Passerby has barely been here a month, but we dragged him onto a podcast anyway and prodded him until good conversation came out. And lo and behold, good conversation is what we got! I think this may be our best podcast to date, and while I say that all the time, this time I actually meet it. (Suck it, Enzo! Just kidding, you rock <3) We ended up going over fewer topics than normal, but with three of the most-watched shows of the season on the docket, this isn’t a podcast to miss. You know what? If you’ve never listened to one of our podcasts before, I suggest you give this one a try. I feel like we’re finally figuring this whole thing out.

Remember to subscribe to us on iTunes if you want this podcast to technomagically appear on your mp3 playing device, and enjoy!

  Participating Writers
  Time Index

Opening: Turbonugget by Jake Kaufman. Ending: Pamgaea by Kevin MacLeod.

  Listen to the Episode

Download 160 kbps (119 MB)


  1. ………Well, judging from the time Index, Akame ga Kiru wasn’t necessarily a main topic but, regardless, it is understandable that it is hard to watch considering on (spoiler) how the characters can die. Anyway, to possibly many, I can imagine that Seryu Ubiquitous has been ranked somewhere on the top of most hatable characters of anime currently watched in Randomc.

  2. Darn it. All the shows covered in the podcast are shows I want to watch but due to multiple reasons (wanna marathon it, already read the LN, too much anime already on the plate) I have yet to get started on them. Guess I’ll have to put off listening to this episode for now.

  3. While I’ve been enjoying Akame ga Kill, I have to agree with Passerby. I wouldn’t consider them villains, but monsters – and not particularly intriguing ones, at that. I just can’t really get behind the characters and feel sad or much of anything due to the fact there’s so many attempts at emotional manipulation of the audience via wickedly bloody deaths and cartoony “monsters” being evil.
    Doesn’t mean to say I don’t find it enjoyable to some degree – I really do enjoy the fact it doesn’t seem to take itself seriously, so just let it slide – but it’s one I consider a popcorn show.

    1. It’s the line between “villain” and “boss monster”, I think. Akame ga Kill is certainly full of monsters, but not giving the truly horrific ones their due as being really bad monsters doesn’t feel right. I think calling them boss monsters is a good name for them.

      1. Hah! That’s funny. Saving that one ^^

        And don’t worry PB, everyone is like that the first few times. You’ll get used to it. Eventually you’ll hear yourself as everyone else does, and get to be horrified of that. (I kid, I kid!)

      1. @Lke
        Thanks, I needed that.

        Curiously, people tell me that I don’t have an Australian accent, though I do have a respiratory condition that makes my sinuses go funny, which I presume is almost the same thing.

  4. LOL at Passerby, I actually would love to see if Kirito got shot in the head, that would be priceless.

    I think you guys gave some pretty interesting opinions that highlight what some of us are thinking and then some.

  5. Man Show Spoiler ▼

    Stilts edit: Beware of unnecessary upcoming Akame ga Kill spoilers. Don’t just tag spoilers, mark them so people know whether to click or not! I clicked on the spoiler thinking it would be a funny joke >_<


  6. I know the early villains in Akame Ga Kill are pretty flat, straight psychopaths more than anything, but some of the later villains, most of the Jaegars, were surprisingly well written, rather than being, well, as you said, are legitimate villains instead of monsters.

  7. It is part of the whole issue of LN shouldn’t be required reading, but source material for SAO in Aincrad Arc does reference the Laughing Coffin conflict substantially more, but difficulty of stringing together a coherent narrative meant certain things were cut.

    I also agree with comments on Mahou Sensou being terrible, one of few anime I dropped and have had no desire to finish from that season.

    1. That’s nice to hear, but if it was supposed to be a big deal it should have been referenced in the Fairy Dance arc as well. Something so seemingly important should always be lurking beneath the surface, not referenced, shelved entirely, and then brought back when it’s important again.

      Not disagreeing with you, just saying that even if it popped up in the original Aincrad arc more, that’s not enough to justify the sudden turn.

      I dropped Mahou Sensou after three minutes into the first episode. From what I’m told, I dodged one hell of a bullet.

      1. The point here is that Kirito successfully suppressed his memory of the event until he got reminded about it. Why should it be refeerenced during the Fairy Dance arc if he is not even once talking to anyone about it? And where would you have inserted that talk if you hade written the anime?

        On the other hand, suppressing a trauma is not the best way to deal with issues and why he is now paying for it.

      2. I would have emphasized it more during Aincrad, and given hint that it was being suppressed during Fairy Dance. For example, when he was fighting that one badass player enemy general. Maybe give him a moment when he is about to finish him off (kill him), but Kirito demures, saying he doesn’t like to kill other players (cue confusion from everyone else, but Kirito is thinking of SAO rather than ALO, etc).

        There are ways to do it if the author wanted to. The point is to have it in one place or the other, and preferably both, though I can easily forgive leaving it largely out of Fairy Dance because writing is hard and you don’t always remember everything. If the novels showed it better back in Aincrad then that’s one thing, but I still would have liked a little lead up before the full PTSD hit him. It was still hella abrupt.

  8. Hooray for the Xenoblade reference!

    As for SAO II, I will say as someone who hates the show, no, it’s not as bad as Mahou Sensou. But still, that’s like comparing Michael Bay at his worst to Ed Wood. Sure, one’s better than the other, but it’s still garbage. Now I had my issues with SAO II right from the start, but it is true that Sinon’s antics brought SAO more to okayish in quality than usual. And then Kirito showed up again. I’m right there with Passerby in saying I would’ve freaking cheered for the show if he immediately got a bullet through the head. But no, as per usual, he overshadows everything while he’s such a boring character. And honestly, he’s the biggest thing dragging the show down now, in my opinion. Because it lacks the terribleness of Fairy Dance and I can’t be dissapointed anymore that this didn’t live up to expectations or is even a real MMO show to begin with (Log Horizon fullfilled my needs for that). However, watching Kirito isn’t fun for me. He’s predictable, he’s bland, overpowered to the point that anything revolving around him lacks any tension whatsoever and he single-handedly curbstomps every interesting idea the show has (like indeed, him bringing a sword to a gunfight). And because Kirito is such an all-devouring black hole of a character, he destroys the chance of any other character getting enough time to themselves to be truly interesting. It’s so frustrating to watch. Though I suppose everything else that I’m watching this season looks better in comparison, so it at least has that going for it.

    And tis a pretty interesting idea that the whole summer-Hollywood-blockbuster feel of Aldnoah is totally deliberate. The way the action unfolds, the position of the main character, the use of music supporting the scenes. Yeah, I can see where you’re getting at. It’s working for me, at least. The show may not be all too deep, but it’s incredibly entertaining.

    Finally, there really is a lack of good villains this season, thinking about it. Plenty of insta-hate characters (Seiryu, MAENO) but rather lacking in terms of foils for the main characters. Now a lot of shows don’t need them, but I’d still like to see some more actiony shows utilize them well.

  9. I find SAO to be ok, somewhere between below average and slightly above. I don’t see it earning neither the high praise or complete loathing it’s been getting, but that’s just me.
    I do agree with Zephyr though, season 2 and Shinon were more interesting before Kirito went to GGO.
    On SAO’s defense for Kirito’s sudden trauma, the latest episode Show Spoiler ▼

    Even when it comes to weaknesses, Kirito upstages other characters.

    Now I’m expecting a crazy evil group of company presidents kidnapping him and licking his face…
    And that reveals the point of trap-Kirito too; to show that he gets hit more than actual girls.

    As for Aldnoah, it’s definitely the action scenes that make the show for me, the music really gives them a nice bit of extra oomph. It’s one of those shows that manages to make episodes feel shorter than they actually are.

    On a side note, I laughed (in a good way) at Stilts bringing up Kyoukaisen even here.

    1. On SAO, I think it’s the central conceit (or what I called the lie) that earns to so much love and hate – either it’s a quasi-MMO situation where people (who can play MMOs today!) can imagine themselves as the invincible hero, or it’s a fantasy anime that’s wearing the skin of an MMO anime, badly. If you see it as the latter (ex: Zephy), the lie trumps all else. I can understand the former as well. Based on its merits alone, it’s only average; good for some reasons, bad for others.

      There will never be a podcast where I won’t be able to reference Kyoukaisen, Sakurasou, Log Horizon, or my upcoming book. Usually I can do all four (got three this time!) ^D^

      1. It’s interesting how being a writer seem to get in the way of your enjoyment. Although it is rather strange how you critique the novel writer rather then the anime company for how the anime turns out. Even more so as most things you complain about are diffrent in the novel.

      2. @Znail

        It doesn’t get in the way, but it does change the way I enjoy fiction (see my post on the Four levels of consuming art). In this case, I actually enjoy SAO MORE because of my storyteller tendencies, because as a pure viewer I wanted it to be Log Horizon, which was why I hated the first season. It took me a while to get past the central lie of it not being a good MMORPG anime.

        (To clarify, the MMO systems in SAO, ALO, and GGO oscillate between wonky and complete shit. Can’t choose your gender (GGO), can’t choose your appearance (ALO), game skills that get better with physical skill (ALO), invincible hero in a fundamentally cooperative medium (SAO & all of them), whaaaat.)

        As for criticizing the novel writer rather than the anime, I’ve always heard that the anime has been a fairly faithful adaptations. Some reordering in Aincrad and the occasional omitted detail, sure, but the latter is hard to avoid, so it’s understandable. I criticize the novel because the central conceit – being an average fantasy story rather than an MMORPG story – is inherent in the setup, and I’ve never heard anyone say it’s any different in the source.

        I try to criticize (or celebrate) whoever is responsible for the decision whenever possible, and in this it appears to fall to the light novel writer. I could be wrong, but unless someone tells me why I can only persist in that assumption.

      3. The anime is faithful in that there are not a lot of anime only material added. But that doesn’t mean that there are a lot of stuff removed. There are plenty of MMO mechanics mentioned in the novel and that part is basically totally gone in the anime and that is one of the things you complain about. Not that I disagree with that as there is too much info in the novels to include everything in an anime. The anime is in a way a diffrence genre then the novel as the novel is hard core sci-fi with every detail about what is going on is examined and explained, while the anime just shows what happens. That makes the anime in a way more advanced as you need to pay attention and figure things out for yourself. This does lead to some issues with people who only try to figure out plot holes and doesn’t try to figure out what plugs that hole. This also leads to some readers vs viewer conflict as the easy answer to any suggested plot holes are found in the novel. It also means that there is a lot going on behind the surface and anime only viewers need to pay attention or else miss that there is something going on beyond the surface story.

        As for the Log Horizon comparison so do I think that one is more a case of a fantasy world that happens to follow the MMO rules. SAO is very much a VRMMO and the VR aspect is the key to most of what happens and the focus of the story. The first arc isn’t really about an MMO as about how diffrent people deals with being trapped in a VR death game. It’s quite a challange to count all the diffrent reactions by people, even the ones shown in the anime. Asuna alone goes from catatonic->suicidal->driven->more balanced. Although, much of that is sadly left out of the anime. This is one of the main complaints I and many other novel readers had as the 2nd episode of the first season was extremely shortened and cut.

        Short version, you shouldn’t judge the novel based on the anime as while the main story is the same so is it presented totally diffrently.

  10. Interesting discussion about Akame ga Kill. For the most part I agree, but I think Akame’s world qualifies as a dystopia world per the definition (i.e. “An imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives”, or “An imaginary place or state in which the condition of life is extremely bad, as from deprivation, oppression, or terror.”). It’s a macro term (i.e. world) so don’t see why it matters that a few main protagonists are not constantly suffering and/or oppressed (in the past they have suffered personally or by extension via family, friends, etc.). The vast majority of the people in that world are constantly suffering/oppressed in disturbing ways – so much so that I personally find the theme beaten to death (no pun intended) after reading a few volumes of the manga.

    That being said, I do agree that primary purpose of the dystopia world setting is to provide a platform which justifies the heroes (IMO “vigilantes” is a better term) running around killing these super evil sadist bad guys at whim. After all, it’s not like they can turn the bad guys over to the police – the police (and government) are at the heart of the problem. Personally, I do think this setup can work, but if want to the story to go beyond bloody, gory violence and “shock value” of sadistic deeds committed, then you’ll need to focus sufficiently on at least protagonist character depth and development to do so. Whether Akame accomplishes that…YMMV. I also think you need to moderate the super evil sadist uber grim-dark antics so that other aspects of the story are not overwhelmed and/or that it becomes “cartoonish” evil villainy which can boot a reader/viewer out of immersion in the story. Well, unless you happen to like torture I suppose…

    As for the villains, if I understand Passerby’s complaint, while they are capable/competent in terms of battle (i.e. not cannon fodder), they lack appropriate depth. Stilts’ referred to the issue as one of lacking complexity. I tend to think of it as too one dimensional, but pretty much the same thing. They are super evil sadist because they like it and are able to do so. That’s pretty much it (the PM being a good example). So I agree with that complaint in general though to be fair to the story, that’s not true for every single villain. There are some exceptions.

    1. I think Akame ga Kill has a dystopian world, but it doesn’t feel like a dystopian story because the protagonist are too powerful to feel repressed. It’s a subtle distinction, and I think that’s where the difference of opinion stems.

    2. Basically what Stilts said. Dystopian fiction doesn’t necessary require bad things happening to people all the time–if you look at classic dystopia stories like Orwell’s 1984 or Huxley’s Brave New World, there isn’t actually as much general nastiness as Akame ga Kill. To cherry pick from your quoted definitions a bit, the key elements are ‘dehumanisation’ and ‘oppression’. Violence may feature but violence is not the point; the point is having the individual at the mercy of society. Since the protagonists are the gateway through which we experience the world, if they don’t feel the sense of oppression then neither do we.

      1. @Passerby: As for cherry picking, I don’t think you can overlook “fear” and “terror” (present in each definition respectively), but semantics are probably not the issue here.

        “Since the protagonists are the gateway through which we experience the world, if they don’t feel the sense of oppression then neither do we.”

        That’s where we disagree. I don’t think said gateway is limited to just what happens to the characters themselves. There’s plenty of oppression, dehumanization and/or terror experienced by “misc.” characters throughout the story. Just because that doesn’t happen to a main character doesn’t deny the fact that it happens and routinely so in the setting. In fact, some characters cause said oppression, dehumanization and/or terror. (Ex. Esdeath/Esdese in EP 05).

        To be fair, the anime has toned down some of the manga’s (source material) more severe grim-dark scenes. Furthermore, it’s quite possible due to having read the manga my perspective is different. Regardless, we’ll have to agree to disagree here because Akame ga kill’s world is pretty much a quintessential dystopia IMO.

        “…there isn’t actually as much general nastiness as Akame ga Kill.

        Perhaps so far in the anime, and again perhaps due to the anime toning down things. Right now, EP 07 just finished up vol. 03, chapter 12. Vol. 05, chapter 23.5 “special chapter” is pretty damn “nasty” if you ask me. In fact, I’d be surprised if the anime even included it.

      2. I think I have been misunderstood somewhat, so let me try again.

        I am not saying that the world of Akame ga Kill is not horrible. I was in fact saying that it was sometimes nastier than what you might find in actual dystopian fiction. And have as much fear and terror as you want. Go nuts. But the question is not about the construction of the setting, but the method of storytelling. Simply constructing a nasty world does not a dystopian story make. As Stilts pointed out in the cast, the world-building of Akame ga Kill was to create a setting for the ultra-violence of the show, not necessarily for the sake of a dystopian story. It’s not that Akame ga Kill is not ‘dark’ enough; dystopian fiction is not about just making things darker. If that’s not what Akame ga Kill means to be, that’s completely fine. But we must not confuse the species of the beast.

      3. @Passerby: Fair enough on the degree of “horribleness” point since it does seem I did indeed misunderstand you. My mistake on that. That being said, the issue (if I understand you correctly this time) seems to revolve around the story-telling and the role that plays – i.e. “Simply constructing a nasty world does not a dystopian story make.” Creating a “nasty world” where the majority (arguably vast majority) of the populace is oppressed by the government/those in power, subject to dehumanizing treatment (e.g. slavery, torture “for fun”, treated as objects, referred to as “cattle” & again see above about Esdese’s mind-break human “dog”), and live in fear (whether “going nuts” or otherwise) does satisfy the definition of a dystopian world setting. Furthermore, the ultimate goal of “Night Raid” is to topple said oppressive, dehumanizing, and terrorizing government/those in power.

        The reason I didn’t reply to Stilts is that his comment has to do with one of impression – “it doesn’t feel like a dystopian story.”[emphasis added] OK, fair enough. That’s different than “Simply constructing a nasty world does not a dystopian story make.” Now whether Akame is a good dystopian story is a an entirely different matter. Frankly, that seems to be what you’re arguing as much as whether it is in fact a dystopian story. IMO Akame meets the criteria of the definition for a dsytopian world. If you disagree, then we can agree to disagree here.

      4. I–and I suspect a lot of the writers do too but I won’t speak for them–come at these issues from a storytelling point of view. It would be a mistake, I think, to conflate features of the setting with features of the story. One can say that their world is nasty until they’re blue in the face and that won’t necessarily make the story dystopian, in the same way one can’t simply say that a scene is sad and expect the reader to immediately break into sobs. Again, my position is essentially the same as Stilts; it’s about how it feels. I strongly recommend that you give at least Brave New World a shot; it’s a very good and very important read.

      5. It’s a dystopian setting, but not a dystopian story. The setting is justification for the bloodbath; it’s not something intended to be explored in its own right.

        Something like that. By the way, good to hear that you look at things from a storytelling perspective, Passerby. There is much potential in you, my young padawan ( ゚∀゚)アハハ八八ノヽノヽノヽノ \ /\/ \

    1. Please be respectful, boingman. I make it a policy of not deleting comments unless they’re espousing something so heinous I can’t imagine sharing the same site with them, or spam…and in practice, it’s almost always only the spam comments that get the axe. I prefer not to censor people just because they’re saying something I don’t like or spoiling incautiously, though I will protect others by hiding and marking when necessary.

      That’s my choice, and general RC policy. Please respect that instead of telling us what we “should” be doing. Thank you.

  11. Well with that enticing accent coupled with his opinions being virtually the same as mine I can say that Passerby may already have a dedicated fanboy =).

    Pretty much everything he stated on the subject of Akame ga Kill is spot on to what I feel about the show. With the main group going around killing people you’d think there would be some “anti-hero”ish vibes that would come from them. After all killing others for your own sense of justice is technically never justified. But all the villains have indeed just been pathetic “monsters” that I never felt should have any other purpose than to make the audience wish for them to die. In that sense it ends up justifying what the heroes are doing which SHOULD NOT be the case imo. The show tries many times to emotionally manipulate it’s viewers but it comes in such a heavy handed fashion that it’s really hard to take it seriously.

    I suppose I’m just trying to figure out what it really wants to be. Does it want to be an emotionally gripping thriller? Well the comedy really just gets in the way of that almost every time it tries to be serious. In the end the violence really ends up becoming senseless when it tries lead up anything important in terms of how compelling this world is supposed to be. While I admit the show has gotten better it left a rather sour impression on me during the first 4 episodes.

    Also just to clarify I have no problems with violence as long as it has a purpose in involving the characters and story in a meaningful fashion. To often I feel like the violence in Akame ga Kill just beats on the same dead horse “THE WORLD IS SO MESSED UP!” while never going further than that. Hence why it really annoys me since it’s really pointless sometimes. Senseless Fanservice = Senseless Violence in my opinion ^_^

  12. I have read a few books on writing stories, not that I have the hands-on experience of Stilts, but the best antagonists are a dark mirror of the hero. To quote Belloq from Raiders of the Lost Ark: “You and I are very much alike. Archeology is our religion, yet we have both fallen from the pure faith. Our methods have not differed as much as you pretend. I am a shadowy reflection of you. And it would take only a nudge to make you like me, to push you out of the light.” Then again, an antagonist and villain are not the same thing but really an antagonist needs to be a foil to the hero in some way. There needs to be similarity; the idea that both characters have an issue they are presented with and each has chosen a different way to confront this issue. In this way the antagonist is really just another path the hero could have gone down.

    1. That’s a good way to put it. The tension between their similarities, their differences, and the choices they have made can give a bit of a “There but for the grace of god…” vibe. Which is fun to play with.

  13. To me Zankyuu no Terror devolved into a traditional Detective vs. Terrorist story midway through. It’s still enjoyable to watch, but it feels like I’ve seen it before.

    As for the SAO talk, I wonder how this discussion would be like after GGO. Kirito barely shows up in the next arc IIRC.

    I personally love both SAO and Log Horizon. SAO reintroduced me back into the whole MMO-fiction genre that .Hack was a few years before.

    I think I’ve been a lot more forgiving about the writing on the series than I’d usually be due to a couple of factors that came together.

    First is of course the circumstances and time frame it was written, as a short story concept for a contest which became popular whose subsequent stories were simply tacked on. Secondly is due to the fact that the author does realize a lot of his early writings shortcomings as shown in the authors notes. Third is due to it’s popularity which bred a very severe case of hype backlash that left a significantly bad taste in my mouth. This left a really jaded view for me of anime viewers who I sometimes feel just hate for the sake of looking better than others. And finally a sense that adaptations really do leave a lot out of the equation. I believe others have already said this multiple times but a lot of the character development for the characters in this series was done through internal monologues, which due to time constraints and the visual basis of an anime is hard to convey.

    Anyways 2 years of constant controversy over the story writing of SAO has certainly colored a lot of my views on the community in general.

    As for Log Horizon’s basic Political theory and love of capitalism. It certainly does hook the PoliSci Major in me. The whole concept of rebuilding a society and interactions with other races certainly rings a lot of parallels with the author’s other work, The Hero and the Demon Queen (MaoYuu).

    Aldnoah.Zero is another mixed bag for me but I really should not judge until seeing the whole. It’s certainly had an interesting start, but personally I had more enjoyment watching the Martian sides various political maneuverings. Cause otherwise it’s traditional mecha fair, either the Martians are curbstomping Earthlings, or Inaho exploiting absurdly glaring weak points on Martian mechs with Science. :/

  14. Btw Passerby you voice is fine. Nothing to embarrassed.
    Fun Fact: Everyone actually has an embarrassing voice. But what what is most embarrassing is when you try to memories a long speech and do it wrong. Ending up like a robot.
    Natural talking just makes thing much interesting than those long speech.

    Take Stilts for an example. His just so drunk that by the end of the podcast he doesn’t even remember what he talked about but ends up making everyone confess something making the podcast fun.

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