It would be hard to imagine a show being ignored more thoroughly (in the West) than Kai Byoui Ramune, but Tenchi Souzou Design-bu fits the bill.  As far as I know I’m the only online presence even talking about it (apologies to those I’ve surely missed) and even here, the posts generate no discussion.  To me this series is way smarter and funnier than the Cells at Work franchise, with which it shares some structural and thematic similarities, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.  Smart and funny is a good combination.

  • Good scientific content – that bit about why you wouldn’t be able to see if you yourself were invisible (it’s the retinas).  I feel as if I should have known that but I don’t think I did.
  • Throughout that whole sketch I kept thinking “This is a really interesting take on this series’ God, because you realize that he’s watching and seeing everything we are though we never see and rarely hear him”.  And then Shimoda made exactly the the right comment – that the animal they were designing sounded a lot like God.
  • “Kenta-kun’s First Love” was a hilarious chapter on so many levels.  And it’s always great to see Inoue Kazuhiko get the chance to really stretch, because he’s an absolutely amazing actor.
  • That alien design was a great template for a discourse on evolution.  I love the way we see the give and take here – every advantageous trait has a trade-off somewhere.  In biology there are no free rides – it’s a matter of which trait offers the most survival advantage, and literally adapting to the environment.
  • The bit about the importance of the sternum was especially interesting.  Again, very good science.
  • Elephants hearing with their feet – again, should’ve known that and didn’t.  Anime as education.  Edutainment?
  • The only thing standing between the owl being cute as heck and being terrifyingly creepy is feathers.  As you know if you’ve watched a lot of owl videos.
  • Finally, the denouement – the horned owl.  Its decorative “horns” seem to serve no purpose except being cute – and this is written off to God being mysterious.  A nice morsel of food for thought to close on.

 

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Guardian Enzo

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