FLAG 1: Living Through Lenses

Pictures capture moments in time. They can evoke feelings and start serious discussions. Saeko Shirasu photographed a flag and that world-famous picture now has a serious chance to resolve a civil war. Peace talks were reaching their final stages when the flag was stolen. She has been assigned as a cameraman for the Special Development Command (SDC), a UN force that uses the HAVWC (High Agility Versatile Weapon Carrier).

One aspect that differentiates this anime from most others is that the action is always seen by the viewer through a camera. This unfortunately puts an invisible a feeling of seperation from the characters because there is an intermediary device, whether it is a video camera or a fuzzy black & white webcam. It’s an interesting storytelling device that works in calling to mind wartime journalism and “embedded” reporters; however, it isn’t perfect as the protagonist — the intended target of the audience’s focus — will take a backseat to the larger story of regional conflict.

Talking about regional conflict, Shinsen-Subs’s timing on their release was came off a little strange to me considering the current situation in the Middle East. At 5:00 AM UTC (11:00 PM PDT) August 14, Israel, Lebanon, and Hezbollah all agreed to a ceasefire after a month of fighting; we’ll see how long that lasts but hopefully the area will remain peaceful for many years.

The broadcast schedule for this anime is an episode every other Friday so overall it will span the amount of real time that a 24-26 episode series does. The episode count is thirteen so the final episode should air on December 1st, if you follow the pattern. Shinsen’s sub featured a Bandai Channel watermark on it and I assume that the rest of their releases will since the first DVD won’t come out until September 29.

The country Saeko is sent to, Uddiyana, is fictional but you can still speculate where it might be found on a present-day map. I’m guessing India or Bangladesh. The writing on the flag looks like Sanskrit, a language associated with the Indian peninsula. Also there are shots of people on top of elephant statues.

I’m going to continue watching this show for the story and for the style. Sadly I don’t think I will care much for the individual characters. All the different methods of presenation have made me think about taking another Technocultural Studies course in my next two years of higher learning. The introductory course was fun and taught me new ways of manipulating technology to produce media.

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