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Sirius the Jaeger – 01

「蘇えりし者、夜に嗤う」 (Soerishisha, Yoru ni Warau)
“The Revenant Howls in the Darkness”

It seems that every season Netflix looks into the future and claims one show on Passerby’s list just to spite him (er, me) and this season it’s Sirius the Jaeger. We’re are not going to let that stop us (again, me), though, so let’s try to at least give this thing an introduction here on RandomC. This one actually looks like it could be pretty good and it’d be a shame if we just let it pass us by, subs or no.

The show that instinctively came to mind when I watched Sirius the Jaeger was Joker Game, based on just the setting. Sure, Joker Game had no vampires in it whatsoever, but sufficiently advanced spies are indistinguishable from vampires and, more importantly, the two shows are set in around the same time period (roughly the 1930s). The second show that came to mind was Kekkai Sensen, which was not set in the same time period but was something like a period piece with vampires in it. The common element between these three shows, and what really sells them to viewers like me, is that they are awfully stylish. I don’t know what it is about period pieces that may them so shway. Maybe it’s the snazzy hats. Maybe it’s the impractical pipes. Maybe it’s the boxy cars. Whatever the reason, the early 90s apparently oozed style before a bunch of wars came along and bombed it all into rubble. And style is where anime is effortlessly strong; as I mentioned in the preview this is a medium that is surprisingly good at period pieces and this may be why. That’s a good thing for Sirius the Jaeger, as it relies on style to basically carry this pilot. Characters are just being established, the plot is still thing, and the dialogue isn’t anything to write home about, but what we have action and violins and that was good enough for me. The emphasis on style also helps us turn our brain off and not get caught on narrative-stupidity, like shots where characters are obviously posing for the camera, improbable weapons, and luck-based survival.

That last point is worth expanding on as it plays into the other thing this pilot of Sirius the Jaeger is commendable for: relatively little exposition. So often so many anime are so eager to jump right into the plot, and to do that they rely on dumps of exposition to explain everything as quickly as possible. It’s an easy fault, as 12 episodes for your standard anime is not a lot of time and there’s a rush to get to the exciting plot stuff. But exposition can ruin an anime in many ways. One, it bogs the pace and takes us out of the story, as even well disguised exposition is the writer talking at the audience. Two, it undercuts mystery, one of the best audience hooks. Three, it leads to information overload for the audience; we already have to take in the setting and characters and don’t need more distractions (especially; there are a lot of characters just floating about without purpose right now). Four, the side effect of distracting information that takes us out of the story is that it makes the audience have to turn their brain back on to process it, which is not something you want if you want to deliver a purely visceral but not necessarily logical experience. This, I’d wager, is why Sirius the Jaeger limits its exposition in this pilot; it just wants us to go with the flow and let things slide so long as its cool. All we really need to know is that there are vampires and folks who hunt vampires, and everything else is simply detail. That’s the trick to exposition; it’s not about how much information you can fit in, but how much information you can afford to leave out.

Of course, considering the jargon they tossed around this episode about Sirius and Jaegers (roll credits) and talk of ancient artefacts in the premise it could be that Sirius the Jaeger is gearing up to do an exposition dump in the near future and traditionally episode 02 is the place to do it. We would understand the story more, but I think we should actually keep in mind: is more understanding always better? We shall see. For now, Sirius the Jaeger looks like a solid, stylish vampire-action period piece. It doesn’t really need to be more than that, but I think it plans to be, and time will tell whether those plans will bear fruit. Netflix willing.

 

ED0.01 Sequence

ED: 「シリウス」 (Sirius) by 岸田教団&THE明星ロケッツ (Kyoudan Kishida & The Akeboshi Rockets)

Preview

July 15, 2018 at 3:28 am
16 comments »
  • July 15, 2018 at 4:08 amMagnus Tancred

    I’m never exactly sure why the vampire hunters are as dedicated to the masquerade as the vampires are.

    To protect the normalcy of the world.

    • July 15, 2018 at 7:28 amPasserby

      There’s already indiscriminate vampire attacks and denial isn’t really going to change that. But mostly I was thinking about the policemen, and how maybe more of them would have survived if somebody warned them about homicidal vampires.

      • July 15, 2018 at 8:14 amMagnus Tancred

        Sorry, haven’t watched it yet.

        If there are indiscriminate attacks, then the masquerade is already broken, right?

      • July 15, 2018 at 7:43 pmPasserby

        @MagnusTancred
        You’d think it would be, but apparently the vampires frame the gruesome blood-sucking murders on human criminals and that works.

  • July 15, 2018 at 4:29 amAngelus

    Dripping with blood and style, just how I like my tales of the undead. Let’s just hope that it manages to keep its sense of period immersion, because I really hate it when ill-informed production staff introduce anachronisms (Aoi Bungaku, I’m talking about you).

    • July 15, 2018 at 6:16 amPasserby

      Eh, we’re fully in the realm of fantasy here. Maybe there’s super vampire technology, who knows?

      • July 15, 2018 at 6:39 amAngelus

        Well, yes, but I was thinking of more like everyday things in the general setting rather than super gizmos the vamps (or their hunters) might have. I was a bit worried at first about the electric fan in one shot, but I looked it up and it turns out they were around in Japan from the late 1900′s so no problem there at least.

  • July 15, 2018 at 2:31 pmxchyssa

    Ohh, I love vampires.

    • July 15, 2018 at 10:02 pmBlackBriar

      So do I. They’re my favorite non-human species.

  • July 15, 2018 at 5:12 pmqwert

    Is no one simulcasting this? I noticed a fansub group finally picked it up but after watching their translation of Sunohara-sou no Kanrinrin-san I wanted to poke my eyes out. I was going to give them the benefit of the doubt when they claimed they’d actually QC’d this but then they went full on tacky and slapped their name in the corner for the entire show.

    • July 15, 2018 at 7:39 pmPasserby

      Netflix doesn’t do simulcasts, unfortunately, so we’re stuck.

      • July 15, 2018 at 10:09 pmBlackBriar

        Ugh, Netflix… No wonder I had trouble finding this first episode. I had to settle for watching it on KissAnime.

  • July 15, 2018 at 10:01 pmBlackBriar

    As a lover of all things vampire related, I’ve been waiting for this anime after watching the PV and I’m not disappointed. However, I’m surprised at the studio helming the production. First Kuromukuro and now this. P.A Works is definitely stepping out of its comfort zone.

    The alternate forms of the shapeshifting vampires really brings back memories of the Chiropterans from Blood+. Since it’s about vampires, almost any time period can work but choosing these old eras somehow give more energy to it all.

    The story seems straightforward so far but I’m skeptical about the direction actually being as black and white as it appears. The last sentence in its synopsis that’s begging a question is what brings it all into doubt. Since it wouldn’t be the first time a serious reveal twisted everything and changed perspective. Look at 2015’s Seraph of the End/Owari no Seraph. A series everyone and their mother would bet their lives was a carbon copy of Attack on Titan/Shingeki no Kyojin using its narrative to white knight humanity by putting it on a pedestal as the underdog of its story but in actuality, it’s a full blown agent of the “Humans Are the Real Monsters” trope using its narrative and non-human characters to relentlessly bash humanity for every ugly aspect of its nature. For those in disbelief of that, here’s the trope page’s summary on the series:

    “Though portrayed as the villains, demons and vampires in Seraph of the End believe humans to be the truly frightening ones, citing that humanity’s greed and passion are why humans will ultimately be the ones who destroy the world.”

    Continuing from Seraph’s specified site section:

    “Demons, vampires, and angels seem to believe this at least. The human magic cults and organizations in this story are depraved at best and sickeningly atrocious at worst. The tendency of humans to engage in immoral experimentation and push boundaries that should not be pushed when left on their own is remarked on by several vampires, and in Chapter 43, Shinoa’s squad (Yuu, Shinoa, Yoichi, Kimizuki, Mitsuba) agrees that the JIDA (Japanese Imperial Demon Army) is actually more dangerous than the vampires, who for the most part only care about their next meal.”

    • July 15, 2018 at 11:55 pmMagnus Tancred

      P.A Works is definitely stepping out of its comfort zone.

      IIRC Kuromukuro was a special anniversary project for P.A. Works, so they decided to go with a mecha series since they’ve never made one before. In other words, it’s a deliberate step out of their comfort zone. :D

  • July 16, 2018 at 6:58 amSMinstrel

    A funny thing is that Darwin didn’t actually say that “survival of the fittest” quote. It was Herbert Spencer.

    • July 16, 2018 at 7:21 amPasserby

      Funnier still, while Spencer may have coined ‘survival of the fittest’, he didn’t actually source the quote used in this episode either. It should rightly be attributed to a paraphrase by one Leon C. Megginson.

      Just goes to show how quotations work. To quote Mark Twain:

      It is my belief that nearly any invented quotation, played with confidence, stands a good chance to deceive.

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