“Chuck Norris doesn’t fire guns, the bullets run away from him.”
Before readers get the wrong idea, no, I’m not planning on doing episodic reviews for GochiUsa at present. The rationale for doing an independent talk for the second episode is simple enough: there are some details in the second episode and the ending sequence that are worth mentioning before the series proceeds any further. The second episode continues on in the same languid, carefree pacing of the first, with Chino doing her best to fine tune her craft when it comes to telling ghost stories. Sharo arrives with supernatural experiences at her own place, seeking refuge with Chino and Cocoa until the next morning. She enlists Rize and Chiya to help her with this “ghost” and learns that it’s a wild-looking feral rabbit who’s taken a liking to Sharo and Rize. Later, Rize’s sprained ankle appears to be worsening, so Cocoa and Chino pay her a visit and wind up playing together as maids. There’s not too much to be said about the second season thus far, but GochiUsa is exploring different devices and locations in its story to enrich the girls’ world: up until now, Rize’s home has not been shown in great detail, and similarly, Rize’s father had never made an appearance before.
There are two things I will aim to bring up in this post. The first deals with the ending sequence: Tokimeki Poporon♪ has quickly developed a sort of notoriety over the past few days for its immensely adorable animated sequences and lyrical composition. It’s a reasonably well-choreographed sequence with the aural properties approaching that of ultrasound, and the ending sequence concludes with Chino playing rock-paper-scissors with the audience. This is probably intended to act as a modality of interaction for the audience, further personalising it and contributing to GochiUsa‘s engagement, and consequently, is expected to be different in each episode. Insofar, Chino’s played scissors and rock (in that order for episodes one and two, respectively), which is consistent with switching moves, in clockwise pattern from rock → paper → scissors if they lost a previous round. Knowing this, I predicted that Chino would play rock and thus would counter with a paper, although with only two episodes, the sample is far too small to do much with it. Consequently, I’m rather curious to see whether or not a computer algorithm, armed with data about common patterns for rock-paper-scissors, can pick up the sequence of moves Chino uses, and if so, how long it takes before the algorithm begins to take the advantage. I’ll be using this applet as the tester; while I’ve no idea whether it uses genetic algorithms, frequency counting, pattern analysis or Markov chains to work, I do know it has a large dataset we can test against. At the end of the season, I’ll return with the full results, alongside a more technical account of my methodologies and how I define what constitutes as an advantage.
Screenshots and Commentary
- It’s two weeks to Halloween, and I’m reading some articles in both the newspaper and online about some haunted locales in my region, including the legendary Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, which features a ghostly bride and the phantom of Sam the Bellhop. Closer to home, there’s a haunted bridge near the zoo, the legendary Deane House of Fort Calgary and the Prince House at Heritage Park. I love ghost stories, as they allow the mind’s eye to paint vivid images, but strangely enough, I don’t really like horror movies.
- In response to Sharo’s “haunting”, Rize brings some equipment to take it down. Rize and I share the belief that sufficient quantities of firepower should work against the supernatural, although as is obvious in any game where there are supernatural elements lacking collision physics, bullets and explosives are of little use against ghosts. If this weren’t the case, horror stories would lose their edge: a part of the fear component rises because readers know the protagonist lacks the means to deal with them, and this powerlessness, is a strong contributor in fear: humans intrinsically fear what they can’t control.
- It turns out the “ghost” is really just a feral rabbit with a wild hairstyle who’s decided to take up residence in Sharo’s home, paying rent through various plants. Because of his general badassery, I felt that “Chuck Norris” would be a more appropriate name for the feral rabbit, but Rize dubs him “Wild Geese”, which is the name of one of her own stuffed animals. By coincidence, it’s also the plural form of name for one of my friends at AnimeSuki.
- And so, after learning he’ll be needing new accommodations when Sharo declines the herbs as rent,
Chuck Norris Wild Geese hops into the sunset, at least until Chiya and Rize suggest that she allows Wild Geese to stay to help her overcome her leporiphobia. Coupled with what is seen in the opening sequence, it looks like that Wild Geese will join Tippy and Anko’s ranks as the named rabbits of GochiUsa, possibly acting as the mascot rabbit for Fleur de Lupin.
- While Sharo is trying to pet him, Wild Geese jumps up and knocks Rize over, exacerbating the latter’s bad ankle. This forms the basis for the episode’s second event. Blue Mountain makes several short appearances in this episode, while Maya and Megu are only mentioned by Chino as being the audience for her ghost stories.
- Sharo constructs a small home for Wild Geese out of cardboard, citing that it’ll be her hideout if she feels frightened by Wild Geese after Chiya calls Sharo a tsundere; a somewhat ironic reaction given that it’s exactly how one might expect a tsundere to react.
- The seasons gradually shift to spring: while the trees still lack leaves, the gradually greening scenery in and around Cocoa’s town suggest that the weather is warming. I predict that a full circle will be depicted this season, with the finale dealing with Christmas once more. The basis for this prediction is that that ten weeks from now, it will be Boxing Day. I’m hoping that by then, most of the infrastructure and components of my simulation will be ready, and all that will be left is testing for the virtual reality components, as well as the thesis paper itself.
- I included this scene deliberately because it’s quite similar to Nanako and Fubuki’s reactions in Locodol and Kantai Collection, respectively. Here, Cocoa is reacting to her initial impressions of the security staff at Rize’s place: despite their appearances, they’re quite friendly, and consequently, Cocoa wonders if she’ll make a suitable waitress for being too hasty in judging appearances. Rize’s home is depicted as a large, stately home that rivals Wayne Manor in grandeur.
- Who didn’t see this coming? The moment that Rize was depicted with a sprained ankle, I knew that Chino and Cocoa would visit her. A sprain of any sort is no fun: a few years ago, I sprained my wrist while lifting weights, and while it took a week for the pain to disappear, I was unable to lift my usual weight for several months after that. This outlines the importance of observing proper lifting techniques: one of my favourite reminders for good form is “I see light” for bench press, where the bar should be touched lightly to the chest (and not bounced off the chest). Some lifters I see usually do not touch the bar to their chest, allowing for light to be seen underneath the bar.
- My talking about weight lifting techniques in a post about moé probably suggests I’m running out of things to talk about, but this is how I roll. If I did YouTube commentaries for video games, chances are, I’d start talking about food, fitness, history or science out of nowhere while doing something completely unrelated on screen, because I saw a single game object that reminded me briefly of that subject. Here, Chiya’s spinning ’round and ’round, causing her semi-circular canals to register dizziness. These liquid-filled structures contain hair cells that impact the nerves for balance, and disrupting the fluid increases the sense of dizziness.
- Chino is operating under the impression that she’s still a waitress at Rabbit House, welcoming one of the security staff at Rize’s house and causing him to blush. This effect arises from the fact that Chino is clad in a maid outfit and is still playing the waitress’ role, a popular thematic element in maid cafés.
- Tippy’s ability to talk is passed off as Chino’s ventriloquism, but one must wonder how Rize came to that conclusion when Chino’s not visible at all. It’s unlikely that the truth behind Tippy’s state will be revealed in future episodes, on the grounds that leaving it a secret could drive the narrative forwards in terms of comedy and leave a permanent change in GochiUsa‘s atmosphere following the revelation. Here, Tippy suggests that Rize show more of her personal interests to the others.
- This suggestion allows viewers to see the extent and scale of Rize’s model gun collection, providing a decisive answer as to whether or not Rize’s Glock was real or not. Amongst the weapons visible include a SPAS-12 shotgun, M16A3 (modified as a marksman rifle with a heavy barrel and bipod, one has a suppressor), another M16A3 (with a foregrip and laser sight), SCAR-L, M249 SAW, G36, AKS-74U, M16A3 with underbarrel M203, Dragunov sniper rifle, Barrett M82 (characterised by its standard magazine position, as opposed to the M95’s bullpup design), Colt M1911A, FAMAS and a suppressed Uzi. I’m actually not able to name all of the weapons owing to their diversity, attesting to the size of Rize’s collection: perhaps the well-versed reader would be able to name the rest and make any corrections for any weapons I’ve misidentified.
- After a mishap where accidentally Cocoa frightens Sharo into spilling tea on Rize by mistake, Rize changes into a maid’s outfit and surprises the others when she appears to have the mannerisms to play the role well. It’s quite the contrast to show moé in close proximity to military hardware: this is apparently a form of fanservice for fans like myself, who love moé as much as they do military hardware and history.
- The number of weapons depicted here formulate the basis for the page quote: we’ve got my calling Wild Geese Chuck Norris, and there are enough guns here to almost rival the “Guns. Lots of Guns” scene from The Matrix, so I picked a Chuck Norris joke featuring guns. Similar to the final Sabagebu! OVA, the girls wind up playing a variant of the Ousama game, where a single player draws the “king” (“lady” here) and can issue orders to the other players. Chino draws first, and orders Cocoa to generally be a better staff member at Rabbit House. Notice the hat placement here, where Chino wears Tippy as a hat, who himself is wearing the crown.
- Continuing the trend from episode one, Chiya is very elegant when the moment calls for it, and even references the infamous line “Let them eat cake”, which is erroneously attributed to Marie Antoinette. The inequality between the peasants and royals formed powerful motivator for the French Revolution, but scholars state that there is no concrete evidence that Marie herself said it; the phrase is mentioned Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s autobiography, but the text is said to be unreliable.
- In playing along with Chiya’s joke, Rize is quite convincing as a maid. The extent to which she’s willing to display this side of her personality to Cocoa and the others illustrates the strength of their friendship: a year or so has passed since Cocoa arrived here, and by this point in time, she’s warmed up to everyone, allowing the different jokes and moments to flow quite naturally.
- Rize’s father is shown on camera for the first time: when I saw him looking into the room, I thought “wouldn’t it be nice if they depicted him?”, and this was answered moments later. It’s a nice touch, and although he’s unnamed for the present, this moment subtly shows Rize’s father as someone who cares greatly for Rize without the need for any dialogue. One must wonder if Sharo and Cocoa’s parents will be shown: Chiya was deliberately omitted because it appears that she lives with her grandmother at the Ama Usa An.
- Behold Rize’s reaction to noticing her father: blushing Rize is surprisingly adorable, and she glows with the same intensity as that of Gundam 00‘s Trans-Am system. The second episode two passes very quickly to the point that I had not even finished my lunch today (Korean BBQ chicken with rice, sweet potatoes and a shrimp skewer) when the credits began rolling. I was on campus today to do some additional work on my project, by adding minimaps to the other scenes of my simulation to help users orient themselves. It works on the same principle as the minimap I used for the Giant Walkthrough Brain, and my algorithm allows for the appropriate minimap to be drawn depending on which scene is active within my simulation (before, it only drew a minimap to the HUD for one scene).
- With this post, I’ve dug myself into a small hole. For next week, I’ll need to come up with twenty more screenshots and descriptions for the third episode, while simultaneously looking back at the first three episodes and providing a general set of impressions. With that being said, if this post is anything to go by, I’m sure I won’t have too much difficulty in finding something to say. At some point in the near future, I’ll need to write about the Yuru Yuri summer OVAs, as well as my impressions of Call of Duty: Black Ops, which I’m close to finishing.
The second aspect deals with the series of speculations I’ve made for the second season of GochiUsa, using the manga as the basis. While I’ve not read the manga cover to cover, I did outline a sequence of events for a handful of episodes in an earlier post. It turns out I was totally right in that Cocoa and the others do wind up visiting Rize after the latter suffers from a sprained ankle. That’s one for the books, and if the sequence is still correct, the next episode will deal with Aoyama’s difficulties with her writing. The title, “The Legendary Twirl Dancing Duck Squad”, might hint at the sort of ideas that Aoyama eventually comes up with; thus, I predict that Mocha’s presence might be felt as early as episode four; a letter that Cocoa receives from her will wrought a remarkable change, and she’ll spend an episode acting contrary to her normal self. It’s not unreasonable for Mocha to formally appear at the episode’s end, and she’ll likely stick around for a fair portion of GochiUsa. Thus, Mocha’s arrival will doubtlessly be quite fun to watch, and this part will be greatly anticipated. I’ll return next week to do an after-three on GochiUsa, and from there on out, it will be a post every three episodes.