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March 2018



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"Alcatraz", "Endgame", "Grimm", "The Finder", "InuYasha"

I've been watching TV shows on Hulu and Netflix.

"Alcatraz" is weird. The premiss is that the prison was not closed down, the prisoners and staff just disappeared one night, and now they are reappearing. That isn't the weird part. People disappearing in the past and reappearing in the present is a Sci-Fi trope. The weird thing is that prisoners are presented as remorseless killers, but at the same time they are presented as being abused, tortured, and used. The Alcatraz warden was a sadist and the head guard was a bastard. And not even the prisoners know who is sending them into the present, or why.

"Endgame" is going well. It's a Canadian productions. I could tell. Aside from taking place in Vancouver, things happen that would never happen in American TV. Apparently it has been cancelled. Which is a shame. I have been enjoying the characters. The plot is very character driven.

I still like "Grimm". It's a shame the main character is so bland. Homicide detective Nick Burkhardt is necessary to move the plot forward. But the characters and the stories are all about the criminals, and his sidekick Monroe the reformed werewolf. I love Monroe! I would totally watch at TV show about him. Monroe just wants to live a quiet life with his cello and his clocks, but this do-good cop keeps dragging him into dangerous situations.

I have also been enjoying "The Finder" is a more conventional American detective show. "The Finder" is another defective detective, ex-military with brain damage that makes him find things. Sort of a cross between Monk and Psych. It has a lot of humor. I like humor.

On netflix I'm watching "InuYasha" from the beginning. There are 167 half hour episodes! For some reason netflix has not divided them into seasons. But occasionally the opening or ending credits will change. I'm in the high 60's now. T he credits are almost two minutes long and there is a lot of recapping. At 24 minutes there is not a lot of time per episode sometime a battle lasts two or three episodes. All the recaps and long credits feel like filler. When I was visiting Songs's family I watched episodes 147-148 "The Tragic Love Song of Destiny". It explains the whole back story of InuYasha and Kikyo. I had never seen it laid out like that. I didn't know that these two episodes were a recap. We learned the whole back-story in detail in the first 50 episodes. I can see why they might want to recap 100 episodes later.

I understand that I should not try to learn Japanese history from a cartoon TV show but I spend a lot of time looking at the clothes and houses in Japanese anime. The Japanese built an empire out of bamboo and rice paper! That is pretty impressive. No wonder they are so good at paper folding. I love the clothing too. It's so versatile even though it is made out of rectangles. They didn't even have knit textiles, they made socks out of woven fabric!

Something happens in episode 26 "Secret of the Jewel of Four Souls Revealed". That I hope is important (but might not be). Midoriko, the ancient priestess sealed in the cave of the Demon Slayers, created the jewel (of four souls) by sealing her four "souls" inside it with the soul of the demon she was fighting. When Miroku describes the "four souls" each one is pictured with one of the regular cast. Aramitama, Courage, is Miroku. Nigimitama, Friendship, is InuYasha. Kushimitama, Wisdom, is Sango. Sakimitama, Love, is Kagome. Miroku also tells a story that implies that Kirara was Midoriko's companion. My theory is that Kagome, InuYasha, Miroku, & Sango are all reincarnations of one of the four souls of Midoriko which is why they have to work together to complete what she started. So the "soul" that Kagome received from Kikyo was Midoriko's Sakimitama.

I don't know much about Shinto theories of the soul. But in Hindu philosophy the soul is made up of lots of parts that get mixed and matched between incarnations. But InuYasha really brings into question the whole idea of what it means to be "reincarnated". Kagome is the "reincarnation" of Kikyo. But the resurrected Kikyo is wandering around (souless) powered by the souls of others. Can the resurrected Kikyo really be Kikyo without her soul? Isn't the soul what makes you who you are? What does it mean to be reincarnated if you are not your soul? Who are you if you are not your soul?

I prefer to think that the resurrected Kikyo is not really Kikyo. She has Kikyo's memories but she has no soul. So if she really did drag InuYasha to "hell" she would just crumble and disappear because her existence is purely physical. She wants to spend eternity in the underworld with InuYasha but she can't because her soul has already moved on. InuYasha loves her because she is the incarnation of his memories of Kikyo.


You pretty much just listed every reason for my not watching Inu Yasha. I read the first 'ehhhhhh 5-7ish manga and maybe the first 4 or 5 episodes and was quite done.

To be fair, the manga is quite a bit better than the anime.

Bamboo and Rice Paper

Japan is a very earthquake-prone area. They want buildings which can take some shaking, are less likely to hurt you if they fall down, and are easy to repair if damaged. Paper works better than stone for that.

That said, Wikipedia says that Japanese architecture is dominated by "wood in all it's forms", be it planks, straw, posts, paper, etc. The walls are not typically load-bearing, and can easily be rearranged or removed to utilize the space differently.

The downside is that fire was a major problem.
The impression I got from watching was that everyone disappeared and then the prison was closed and the people in charge spread the story that they had transferred the prisoners and closed the prison to cover up that everyone disappeared.

It was not just the prisoners who disappeared. Everyone who was on the island disappeared (staff who were not on the island at the time did not disappear). The Indian psychiatrist and the prison doctor both have not aged, implying that they both were transported through time to the present.
I went back and re-watched the pilot.

The opening says that on March 21, 1963 the prison was closed and all the prisoners were transferred off the island. "Only that's not what happened. Not at all". Which I admit is not very specific.

The boat arrives at Alcatraz on March 20, 1963 and they find it empty. They say that "Two guards always meet the transfer". I interpret that to mean that the boat is a daily transfer of whatever needs transferring to and from the island. It seems to be a regular daily event not a special event. Also, they are only expecting to be met by two guards, not two guards and a group of prisoners waiting to be transported off the island.

I found no evidence that they were planing on closing the prison before they found it empty. I didn't find any scene where anyone says that the prison was being closed before everyone disappeared.

Why do you think they were getting ready to transport the prisoners? There is nothing in the opening boat scene to indicate that. Is it in some other scene?

Oh gods, InuYasha

InuYasha is a blithering idiot and needs a good rap between those cute, cute ears in the possibly vain hope of opening those sexy gold eyes and SEEING that KA-GO-ME is the RIGHT choice. Zombie Kikyo is a waste of good grave dirt.

I want an inu-hanyou to lay his head on my lap and purr while I pet his ears.