Balance of Power: Koko’s Peace, and International Politics in a Nutshell

Some people may laugh at Koko’s claim that she’s selling weapons for world peace as just a ridiculous quirk from our favorite psychotic arms dealer, and it does seem counter intuitive.

While Koko’s methods and true intentions are debatable, the reasoning behind the idea isn’t that ridiculous. In international politics there are a variety of paradigms for looking at the world, and each has its own method of bringing peace and stability to the international system. Here’s a brief explanation of Liberalism and Realism, the latter of which Jormungand seems to follow.

Liberalism (EXTREMELY SIMPLIFIED)

Collective security is advocated by Liberals (the liberal paradigm in international relations isn’t the same as what is commonly used with domestic politics), where if country A invades country B, every other country C D E etc will all attack A. This is how the League of Nations and its successor the United Nations is supposed to function, but oftentimes there isn’t approval to invade a country when Russia or China choose to veto it in the Security Council. In some historical UN-backed deployments like the Korean War, usually the bulk of the forces come from the United States – which raises the question of what would be done if the U.S. decides it doesn’t want anything to do with a conflict.

Realism (EXTREMELY SIMPLIFIED)

The other major paradigm is Realism, which advocates balances of power as a way to keep the international system stable.It won’t remain stable forever and there will be conflicts, but it will keep the stability for long periods of time. Realists say that it is in the state’s best interest to obtain more power, as stronger states will boss you around and you never know when another state will turn hostile. In the words of my professor, “There’s no 911 to call” in the international system. You can’t always rely on other countries to help you out of goodwill if you’re attacked or threatened into disadvantageous treaties. When there’s a balance of power, the states will be reluctant to go to war but will be likelier to cooperate and negotiate because they know that in a conflict neither will come out in good shape.

Jormungand

In the first episode of Jormungand, Koko helped create a part of the balance of power by upgrading the unknown country’s MiG-29 Fulcrum squadrons. The people who tried to stop her were likely the country’s intelligence agency or interior ministry, who probably thought that the neighboring states would become more aggressive when they see a buildup of forces. This just shows how there’s no clear cut line on these matters. Since there is no way for states to know the true intentions of another state, a buildup of power could be interpreted as a sign of aggression.

I’m merely explaining (in VERY brief terms) a few of the paradigms (there are others), and I’m not claiming that Jormungand is enitrely accurate either. The second episode had a balance of power between the Russians and the rebels, but for the Red Bear to be deterred by such a small force it would probably have to already be occupied and have their forces tied up by fighting with both the Chinese and Japanese. However, in the show’s canon and ignoring real military levels, the principle of Realism is there in how the region stabilized after a build up of forces to a comparable level. 

Personal Thoughts

What am I? I’m a realist. Liberalism sounds cute and pretty, but it’s not how humans and the world work.

(Warning: Tangential ramblings coming up.)

My ideal system is one ruled by a single Earth Federation. One where there’s a single federal government for the world, and countries are semi-autonomous sub-states that have different governments for people to choose. Ideally the federation would have a set of core universal inviolable human rights, that all the countries have to respect. There would only be one military, and disputes would be settled by the federal government. Existing states would lose their sovereignty, but as individuals we would be more free. There would be no oppression, discrimination, and we won’t be as confined by borders and problems of citizenship. Of course, that all hinges on how liberal (ideology, not paradigm) the federation government becomes. If an oppressive regime takes control then things will be even worse since there’s no place to run to.

I think we’ve seen a steady concentration of power throughout history, from the many powers of Europe, to a few strong states (U.S., U.K., U.S.S.R.) between WW1 and WW2, to the bipolar system of the Cold War. Now that the Soviet Union dissolved, the U.S. is easily the strongest state in the system. Maybe the U.S. will take over the world, or maybe some other state will rise up. It’ll take decades, maybe centuries, but I think we’re headed down this path. 

I’ll also say it’s necessary for the world to be united under one government. Issues that individual states can’t solve by themselves – or that other states won’t let them solve – could be handled better. Global warming. Space. The human population would overrun the earth, and we’ll have to expand to other planets at some point down the line. The universe is constantly trying to kill us too – at some point an asteroid will come our way, and if the current world system is in place everyone will probably be bickering about other states launching something to stop the asteroid as a pretense to put weapons in space. Or something.

Well that’s my two cents. What are your thoughts?

Spring 2012: Combined Impressions

Bang. Oh Koko you quirky psychotic batshit insane white haired arms dealer, I love you.

Jormungand 

This is probably my favorite show out of all the ones that begin this season. I mean, Koko is just fucking awesome. She’s a cold blooded arms dealer traveling with a gang of soldiers, and picked up an orphaned child soldier who lost his parents because of arms dealers. The dynamic between these two is interesting, a weird mix of sister-brother, commander-soldier, revenge-redemption relations. She’s incredibly confident in her ability to read the boy, enough to go in a car full of weapons alone with him despite knowing that he loathes arms dealers. The time she told him that she’ll teach him to love guns is interesting too. The other characters also have their own quirks, and I also like the knife wielding yandere with an eye patch who has the serious hots for Koko. There’s also the group of soldiers whose eyes went completely insane with excitement when Koko told them to go hunt… kyaaa~. There’s a lot the show has to offer, with a lot of different factions with conflicting goals and a crapton of military hardware (AN F-22 AND A MIG-29 SHOWED UP UWAAAA), but the awesome ragtag band gathered around Koko are what the show is all about.

Coincidentally, apart from her hair, Koko is very similar to my character Flan. Especially those eyes.

Zetman

Zetman is an interesting dark superhero show, and raises questions about justice and what is right. Save the children with a high chance of success and leave the mother behind, or risk them all dying for the chance that they will all survive? Prioritize catching the culprit or saving victims? The world has a very dark mood to it, and the first episode made me tear up twice. I really like the woman that took ZET in, though after the second ep I wonder what will happen to her…

Definitely following this anime, not sure if I want to read the manga now or after the anime finishes airing though.

Accel World

Stupid piece of shit pig MC. It only took a few minutes for me to hate his guts, though he does force a rather ugly look of myself. Maybe I’ll write more on that later – for the show itself, the world it builds is pretty intriguing and it caught my interest on what the details of the Accelerated World will be. Will keep watching for now.

Acchi Kochi

It’s cute and sweet, but I get bored of tsundere characters easily. It’s also very obvious to everyone, the male lead too unless he’s a stupid fuck, that the girl likes him. Makes me wonder about what exactly is their relationship, though I guess I’ll just watch the cute stuff without thinking too much about it. The show gets rather slow and boring at some parts though.

Haiyore! Nyaruko-san

MOE CHTULU MYTHOS GOD! This anime had the most simultaneously bloody, badass, and MOE opening scene I’ve ever seen. Nyaruko is unbelievably cute, and does a lot of funny hyperactive things that makes this show with a weird premise incredibly awesome and FULL OF WIN.

Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? OF THE DEAD

It’s stupid and funny, like the first season. However, one thing is different. WE HAVE A CUTE PINK ASYMMETRICAL HAIRED LOLI!

Kuro Majo-san ga Tooru!!

Short low-budget show about a kid that accidentally summons a black witch, and being trained by her. Very boring, not going to keep watching it.

Lupin III : Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna

I never watched any of the other Lupin III stuff before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I dove in (apart from nipples. Twitter went crazy over the nipples.) The show has a very…. not sure what word to use, classic? retro? OLD-PEOPLE? feel to it. It’s a good thing, and the unique art style is a plus. It’s exciting and keeps me on edge throughout the episode, but is also very exhausting to me. It’s great, but I probably won’t watch it if I’m feeling stressed out or need to relax. Save it for times with low workloads! Though since I’m writing a story I always have stuff I need to do even when the classes start to let up…

Medaka Box

Medaka’s naivety and extreme good-ness really pisses me off. The show is stupid, but it does have a few moments that made me laugh a bit. Maybe I’ll keep watching it, it’s good for blowing up your brains and forgetting everything.

Natsuiro Kiseki

DRAMA EVERYWHERE. ARGH.

Nazo no Kanojo X

This is one hell of a weird show, and that time when the guy first tasted the girl’s drool gave me a very violent gut reaction and I nearly threw up. As in, I was coughing and heaving while trying to hold my stomach acid down from flooding up through my throat. The other times didn’t have that gag reflex though, so I guess it’s not gross if he does it with her consent? My mind is weird. Drool aside, Nazo no Kanojo X is fun. I’m not quite sure what about it makes me like it, but I do.

Saki: Achiga-hen – Episode of Side A

It’s a sidestory of Saki, which I loved, so I’ll definitely be watching it. The first was just introducing the characters so nothing really happened yet, but I’m waiting for the ton of yuri that’s sure to come.

Sankarea

Another show that I really like. The visuals are great and feel a bit SHAFT-ish, and the MC and Sanka Rea are pretty cute together. Rea has a few of the common rich girl problems of not being free, and her father takes naked pictures of her on her birthday and  molests her or something. It’s not clear from the ep and I didn’t read the manga, but something seems to have driven her to kill herself. I really want to see how she ‘lives’ after being resurrected as a zombie, and whether she’ll stay with the MC and hide from society or try to blend in. Maybe I should just read the manga, but I’m not sure if I want to spoil myself on it before the anime ends.

Sengoku Collection

This was… rather stupid, it’s a typical random-girl-from-different-universe/environment/species/whatever-adjusts-to-normal-life kind of thing. Her being Nobunaga or whatever his name was doesn’t show up most of the time. At the end they did reveal that the various trapped-in-wrong-dimension people will have to duke it out to steal energy to travel back, so it might become more interesting later. Some of the other girls’ designs were cute, so I’ll at least stick around to see that.

Shirokuma Cafe / NICHIBEARS

Boring. I really don’t see what others on twitter are seeing in this show.

Tasogare Otome x Amnesia

This one’s also very cute, similar to Sankarea. The ghost girl can only be seen by a few people, so it’s funny when she flirts around with the MC and the bystander only sees half of what’s going on. I will definitely keep watching it, and the ghost’s amnesia means there’s potential for a lot of mystery and adventure with this show.

Uchuu Kyoudai / SPACEBROS

I really like the execution of this show, from the premise it sounded like it would be a rather serious and heavy anime but it’s actually light-hearted and funny. I really like how it handles the older brother going from being fired and having no hope, to being accepted to JAXA’s tests and steadily regaining it. I also like how he goes to visit Sharon and reminisce about when as a kid he would try everything that is hard to stay ahead of his brother, and he gained the motivation to take the JAXA tests and try to make it to the final round.

Upotte!!

Assault rifles that are moe girls. Do I really need to say anything else?

Yurumates 3D

Another short comedy, the first ep was okay but nothing special. Probably won’t watch.

Sakamichi no Apollon

Kaoru, a nerdy looking guy transfers to a new school, and quickly befriends Sentaro, a trouble maker. Their relationship is still in the awkward stage where they can’t seem to stand each other yet, and their tastes in music (classical vs jazz) clash which makes it even more interesting. The class rep Ritsuko who Kaoru fell for on first sight is also the childhood friend of Sentaro, and acts like a glue between them. It’s cute to see the budding of a fresh pure newborn crush within Kaoru LOL. It’s really enjoyable to watch.

Tsuritama

Another shy-guy-meets-eccentric-friend show, though this time the eccentric friend is very annoying and is an alien. While watching the first episode I was either a) bored out of my mind or b) want to punch Haru (the alien) in the face. Supposedly they go on to save the world or something later, but I don’t think I’ll be watching this for much longer. I’ll give it maybe an episode or two to see if it gets better, but I doubt it will.

 

What about you readers, what shows are you going to follow this season?

Smile Precure 09: USOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Ahh April Fool’s. I even wrote my own post for that. Yayoi got the brilliant idea to tell Miyuki that she’s transferring soon, but Miyuki ran off before she could say it was a joke. Honestly, I don’t know who I blame more for this mess. The whole group catches wind of the lie, and everyone tries to comfort Yayoi – who was too quiet and shy to be able to tell them to stop talking and explain that it was a lie.Soon the entire class knew about it and threw her a congratulatory goodbye party, complete with a board of signatures. Welp. Really got out of hand there. Yayoi runs out and has the usual battle with the Red Oni, who “tricks” them by telling the Akanbe to do one attack and have it do the other.Really? Girls? You’re gonna listen to what he says and act based on that? And calling him out on a “dirty trick”? It’s a battle, use misinformation to your advantage! Hell, Cure Beat outright trolled the bad guys! Ellen’s awesome <3 *cough* Ahem. Where was I? Oh right, Red Oni let the Cures discuss the lie for several minutes. Then yawns and whines about it instead of attacking when they were distracted. DUMBEST VILLAIN! EVER! INCLUDING ALL THAT CRAP GUILTY SHOE CHURNS OUT! Peace becomes determined and takes care of the Akanbe herself (YAY SOMEONE WHO’S NOT MIYUKI GETS THE SPOTLIGHT THIS TIME) while the other 4 Cures stand by looking dumb. Neither Beauty’s intelligence nor March’s speed kicked in to make any difference. Of course everyone makes up and is Ul~tu~ra Happy!

The lesson that Peace said is to not tell lies that hurt other people, but personally I say just don’t tell any lies (unless you’re skipping class/homework, but you didn’t read that here). My April Fool’s post outright says that it’s a joke post at the bottom, though apparently people didn’t scroll down to read it. And believe it or not I actually had many points I made by writing that post, some explicit and some unwritten.

The writing for the latter half of this episode didn’t sit well with me again. The parts leading up to the battle were good, and I can easily believe someone like Yayoi being unable to tell the truth after being swept up in the momentum of the other four. The battle, however, was stupid. As previously mentioned, the Cures are crappy tacticians for falling for the misinformation, the Red Oni let them talk out the lie, and everyone becomes useless to give Yayoi a chance to shine.

Otherwise, it was pretty enjoyable (I feel like I say this every week, I don’t know why but I just really like watching Smile even when it has stupid moments) and Yayoi’s cuteness throughout the episode really made my day shine.

Smile Precure 08: Beware of Rings

The Freaky Friday Flip episode! A pair of rings swap Miyuki and Candy’s minds into each other’s bodies, and hilarity ensues. One can only question the logic of trying to have Candy pass as Miyuki at school instead of just returning home. Candy makes an absolute fool of Miyuki in every class, utterly destroying her reputation, failing her tests and giving her a bunch of extra homework to do. It was funny at first, then it just made me cringe (I have a fear of embarrassing situations).

Her friends have to keep looking out for CanMiyuki, and were exhausted by the end of the day. It is then revealed that the creator of the rings was OBAAAAAAA-CHAAAAAAAN and that the red oni accidentally dropped them on earth. 

Candy couldn’t transform in Miyuki’s body, and the 4 other Cures were taken out of the battle by being turned into sushi rolls. This leaves Miyuki in Candy’s body to go against the Akanbe, fighting with Candy’s ears.

Oh and Akane does a spectacular sushi roll attack on OBAAAAAAAAAA-CHAAAAAAAN.

Everything works out fine, they steal the potion to dispel magic (why would oba-chan tell them how to dispel it in the first place?) and return to their bodies.

It’s a pretty straightforward comedy episode, with a little bit about understanding how hard Candy is trying hard for Miyuki that I didn’t really like. Just because there were good intentions doesn’t mean any mess ups should be completely forgiven. But it’s Precure, everything’ll just be happy happy.

The small high mobility Akanbe and Cure Candy remind me of a Gundam game I saw people playing a loooong time ago, where the only thing I remember about it was that the Acguy was extremely overpowered since it was so small and fast that no one else can hit it. Oh come on, it’s me, of course I’m gonna see similarities to Gundam without even trying.

I’m not sure how long I’m gonna keep blogging Smile Precure, I keep putting off actually watching the ep because episodic blogging feels like a chore and really takes away a chunk of my enjoyment. Maybe I should switch back to only writing about anime when there’s something specific I want to talk about. Also, as with this episode sometimes I don’t have much to talk about. On the other hand, sticking to blogging each episode is a way to make sure that I’m writing regularly instead of throwing a random post in once a month or something.

Smile Precure 01: Ultra HAPPY!

The hyped up latest series in the Pretty Cure franchise is finally here! Smile Precure is fairy-tale-themed, bright, bubbly and tastes like the rainbow. Like its name, it puts a Smile on my face! If you heard a lot about the Precure franchise (I certainly talk about it a lot) and never got the chance to get into it, now would be a good time to follow a series!

Smile follows the ‘leader’ Hoshizora Miyuki, who carries on the Precure Leader tradition of being hit in the face by the mascot within the first few minutes.

We’re introduced to the main cast pretty quickly, as they’re all coincidentally in the same class and seem to already be close friends with the exception of Miyuki who just transferred. The characters all look very likeable to me, even Akane (orange haired one) who’s the tomboyish type that I usually don’t like. Yayoi, the yellow one, is a crybaby and looks very cute and adorable. Like Ako/Cure Muse, she just makes you want to pick her up and take her home. Then there’s Nao (green), who has a ponytail LIKE A BOSS. She looks pretty cool and confident, and will probably be my second favorite character. Not really a fan of her hairstyle as Cure March though.

Of course, my favorite is the ojou-sama Aoki Reika, Cure Beauty!

Beautiful, graceful, elegant ojou-sama that doesn’t seem to be a brat, there’s no way that I won’t like her! From the OP she also has an ice sword, which is very cool and I FINALLY get to see a Precure with a sword (supposedly there’s one in Yes Precure 5, but due to production quality I’m moving very slowly in watching that series).

Unfortunately we only see Miyuki transform into Cure Happy, and won’t see the others transform until later episodes (seems like Cure Beauty won’t debut till the 5th episode or later T^T). As usual there’s a group of bad guys that want to make people sad for one reason or another to collect Bad Energy, and drive the world towards a Bad End (I guess the Pierrot guy saw his waifu in his favorite VN die too many times and wants everyone else to suffer too). They turn normal everyday objects into monsters-of-the-week, which in Smile are called Akanbe.

The transformation item is called the Smile Pact, and has buttons with colors that correspond to the current 5 known Precure. There’s also a purple and red button, which could possibly mean an addition of 2 newer cures later as is the trend in recent series. Yes Precure 5! Go Go had 6 Cures, so 7 doesn’t seem that far-fetched. It would start to get crowded and give individual characters less airtime though, and would really be a mess with the already-crowded Precure All Stars movies that bring in all the Cures from all the series. Similar to Heartcatch and their perfumes, the Cure transformation involves Miyuki using a blush brush powder applier ish thingy (as you can guess, I don’t use makeup) to ‘apply’ her costume to various parts of her body. She also uses it to apply actual blush to her face, a process that made Honya really excited on twitter.

Well it is pretty adorable ^^

I really miss hearing Suite’s awesome transformation soundtrack Let’s Play! Precure Modulation! though. Really, nothing can ever replace that song. Ah right I still need to open and rip the Suite OST2 cd I imported.

Again we get a really cute CG dancing sequence for the ED! It’s even better that it has 5 very brightly colored Cures, especially with the addition of another green cure – Yes Precure 5 didn’t have a CG dance sequence (and its ED sucked).

The aesthetics of Smile really remind me of Heartcatch, with the bright bubbly colors and character design. The colors are very bold, and have a slight 3d/cg effect to them from the shadow and lighting contrasts especially in their hair. It’s something you don’t see in Suite but is there in Heartcatch, at least from my memory of it. And there’s the aforementioned ‘application’ of the costume in the transformation sequence. The mascot Candy looks a lot like Potpourri from Heartcatch too (that is to say, very cute!).

Next episode we’ll see the appearance of Cure Sunny. I’m looking forward to it!

What about you, what do you think of Smile so far? If you haven’t watched it yet, are you planning on getting into the franchise? Let me know in the comments!