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Welcome again, all. We will this time be discussing The Asterisk War, another in a long line of tales involving high school students battling each other with magic. Why, that’s two columns in a row! you might think, and you’d be correct. But I have my reasons. You see, whereas last month’s subject series, Anti-Magic Academy: The 35th Test Platoon, hit the ground running with strong storylines and interesting characters, The Asterisk War had to grow into a show with its own story and sense of self. All of the unfounded fears I had concerning Kancolle–following as it did upon Arpeggio of Blue Steel, a strong show with at least vaguely similar premise and characterizations–came home to roost with The Asterisk War: weak initial storylines; unoriginal characters; being buried beneath the weight of its [genre’s] tropes. It seemed to favor imitation over originality or effort. But then something amazing happened, and I watched spellbound as this ugly duckling transformed into a swan. Now, how did that happen?
The Asterisk War follows Ayato Amagiri as he transfers into Seidokan Academy in search of his missing older sister. But this school is far from ordinary, being one of six academies within the city of Rikka dedicated to preparing their students for fearsome gladiatorial-style combats called Festas. It happens that Ayato lives in a post-apocalyptic future in which the earth was struck by a giant meteorite, which collision killed countless people and destroyed many cities and large tracts of urbanized areas. That same collision also released into Earth’s atmosphere extraterrestrial contaminants which then mutated a small portion of the surviving humanity, granting them enhanced abilities. These people are collectively called Genestella and are subject to great prejudice by most others. After all, this is a world still mourning those lost to tragedy, so what else but contempt for those who benefited from it, however inadvertently? But as bad as that sounds, an even more sinister aspect underlies the Festas.
Not only people and cities died because of the meteorite–governments did, too. Government at all levels worldwide was overwhelmed by the magnitude of destruction and could not effectively respond, thus creating a power vacuum as desperate people sought sustenance. The organization which arose to address these needs was the Integrated Enterprise Foundation, a virtually autonomous global corporate venture dedicated to profit and possessed of quasi-governmental powers, reminiscent of the old East India Company. [Founded by English Royal Charter, the East India Company operated as a de facto government in India and other Asian territories (particularly China), passing laws, enslaving local populaces, and maintaining their own armed forces to ensure native submission and protect trade monopolies.] Furthermore, IEF leadership also seems especially fond of another lesson from history, the Roman axiom: “Give them bread and circuses.” To wit, the secret to maintaining power is to ensure that the masses are fed and entertained. And if that entertainment just happens to snuff out certain individuals of enhanced ability who might otherwise help better mankind’s state and thus free them from corporate dependency, then bonus!
Enter Ayato. The trail left by his vanished sister leads him to Seidokan Academy, where he quickly finds other girls who are ready to coax him from his past and tie him to their present.And so he begins assembling his accidental harem: Julis, an impecunious princess; Claudia, the student council president and daughter of an IEF board member; Saya, the obligatory underdeveloped childhood friend; and Kirin, the likewise obligatory overdeveloped young innocent. But as the series progresses, these ladies begin to outstrip their archetypes and find their own voices, greatly contributing to the development of not just individual storylines but also the overall plot. Their personal growth acts as a counterpoint to Ayato’s stasis–he remains very much the person that he was when he arrived, but it is this continuity of his character that helps his friends grow as they do. He is the constant to which they know they can return. But even that staid role signals danger to the IEF; such quiet strength marks Ayato as a leader, one notunder IEF control.
I was not impressed with The Asterisk War when I first saw it–thank goodness I kept watching! It initially seemed to have too many borrowed elements while lacking any coherent vision through which to unify them; I dared not hope for originality or sense of self. But I began to take the show more seriously with the emergence of its themes of prejudice and oppression. We are reminded that evil exists, but that to combat it we must first recognize and name it. Add some teenage emotional hypersensitivity and some great fight sequences, and you’ve got yourself a show! Watch episodes 1-12 on Crunchyroll; new episodes are scheduled to air in April.
WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. . (WSAZ) — Waverly Entertainment Inc., which runs Camden Park in Huntington, has been slapped with 45workplace safety violations.
On December 10, OSHA cited Camden Park with 40 serious violations and five other-than-serious violations.
OSHA says they initiated an inspection in June, in response to a complaint.
The serious violations include:
- Employees exposed to fall, electrical, chemical and amputation hazards
- Obstructed exit routes that were not visibly marked
- Lack of machine guarding
- No written hazard communication plan for workers that use or could be exposed to chemicals
The other-than-serious violations include:
- The company’s failure to record occupational illness and injuries on the OSHA 300A form
- Require employees to use personal protective equipment
- Conduct a monthly inspection and annual maintenance check on a portable fire extinguisher
- Prevent water from entering an electric panel box
OSHA says the proposed penalties could be $65,000.
“Establishing and implementing a comprehensive injury and illness prevention program is critical for protecting workers from hazards. Many of the hazardous conditions we found could have been identified and corrected had recommended program elements been in practice here,” said Prentice Cline, director of OSHA’s Charleston Office. “Employers are responsible for ensuring a safe and healthful workplace and will be held legally accountable when they fail to do so.”
Click the link to see the citations.
WSAZ has a call into Camden Park for a comment.
Riot Games, the developer of League of Legends, has sold its remaining equity to Chinese online company Tencent Holdings. The news comes from an update to the studio’semployment page, in which it announces new compensation plans for staffers as a result of the ownership.
“As a result of our continued growth and changing circumstances, we’re shifting to a new structure to recognize and reward Rioters’ contributions,” the post states, “and that first involves a big change to our existing equity program.
“As part of this effort, our majority investor, Tencent, recently purchased the remaining equity of Riot Games.”
Now, thanks to Tencent’s purchase, members of the studio will be able to participate in a “cash-based incentive program” that rewards them based on the company’s overall success.
This is one of many changes the company has announced of late, both internally and for its most popular title. Major changes are coming to League of Legends in 2016, the company detailed earlier this fall, with the traditional sports world serving as major inspiration for the multiplayer online battle arena title’s upcoming update.
Along with Riot Games, Tencent is an investor in Activision Blizzard and holds a stake in Epic Games, as well. The company also distributes the hugely popular mobile gameCandy Crush Saga to Chinese audiences.
ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) — Nearly 600 people are being laid off at AK Steel, starting this weekend, according to the United Steel Workers Local 1865.
The layoffs were announced in October. At the time they issued the WARN notices, the company said it was a result of challenging domesticmarket conditions. 733 were expected to be impacted.
“We are taking this necessary step due to the onslaught of what we believe are unfairly traded imports of carbon steel that have been flooding our shores. These imports have substantially reduced order intake rates, production rates, shipment volumes and selling prices,” said James L. Wainscott, Chairman, President and CEO of AK Steel. “We will continue to closely monitor market conditions and run our overall operations as efficiently as possible to continue to meet our customers’ needs.”
Union President Scott Conley tells WSAZ 599 workers will be laid off.
Starting Thursday, workers are being notified of the layoffs.
The first round of layoffs will impact 250-280 people.
Conley tells WSAZ the layoffs impact several departments.
No word at this time of the layoffs are temporary or permanent. Conley says they are being called temporary, but a call back date has not been issued.
At the time the WARN notices were issued, the company said the layoffs could last six months
Posted by FUNimation Entertainment on 12/14/2015 at 6:10pm
FLOWER MOUND, TEXAS – December 14, 2015. FUNimation announced today that it is ending its content and brand partnership with Olympusat on December 31, 2015, to distribute the FUNimation Channel. After that time, Olympusat will no longer be broadcasting FUNimation titles. FUNimation confirmed that it will be relaunching the FUNimation Channel in 2016 with a renewed focus on delivering fans the very best selection of anime content in the market. Further details on the relaunch of the all new FUNimation Channel will be announced soon.
“We’re committed to making it easy to discover and connect with anime, and our new cable channel will provide the best in anime entertainment that fans have come to expect,” said Mike DuBoise, COO of FUNimation. “We are grateful to all subscribers who have supported the FUNimation Channel over the last 10 years. While we finalize the new channel for launch next year, I encourage viewers to subscribe to our streaming service now at FUNimation.com – so they don’t miss a single episode of their favorite titles.”
Happy Holidays everyone! It’s definitely getting festive around the Crunchyroll office here, and we wanted to let you guys know that we’re bringing back our digital membership cards again this year!
Don’t know what to get for that friend or family member that already has all of their favorite box sets and figures? Why not get them the gift of Crunchyroll!
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