Monday, December 17, 2007

Closure Problem

Closure Problem is an odd series. Action-wise it seems to be reminiscent of StrikerS. Though this time the magical powers come from something called an "energy cascade" The cascade is a mechanism where magic from a person's unique geometry (soul) filters down and down into smaller and smaller vortices, (shown by glowing glyphs of decreasing size).

This process is how the unique geometries can be taken down to a dissipation range, where they can be used by spells common to everyone. The process is helped by "models", the expected fairy-like cute sidekicks. Stokes the main character has a brash tomboy model called Newt.

One annoyance is the use of a level system to measure power. In this case an I2 or Internal Interference. This is the difference of a user's actual performance and their actual results. Such rigamarol is common and reminiscent of Full-Metal Alchemist in offering a veneer of explanation to magical explosions.

Indeed the vastly gas-lamp world is reminiscent of this, though with more of a Victorian English hitch. Many of the names are English and references are made to prominent Lords that are masters of the energy cascade.

Despite this, the series does have its charms. Indeed the world itself has its amusements. Sir Reynolds, a main "science" advisor to the Langarian court in his waistcoat and shaggy goatee is a menial mentor that seems obsessed with the Closure Problem. Namely the means that unique geometries can interact to become universal (perhaps a not so subtle nod to an AT field), and why only some people can bond with a Model.

Reynolds is the mentor to Stokes, who is refreshingly mundane. A classic straight man Stokes tries to simply go about his research, but is forced by duty into intrigue.

This is where the series actually gets its interest. As expected the circumscribed, ornate, and declining Langar is opposed by the up and coming Eularia, a former Langarian colony that is mostly uninhabited wilderness. The painfully obvious American, English reference can be forgiven by the charm of the characters.

Stoke's opposite is a Eularian girl named Navier. Her model is Lorenz, who most of the time is human-sized and pretends to be her guardian. Here comes the true enjoyment of the series. The dialog is crisp and fast paced and is accompanied by a unique camera work. The Eualeain scenes have a mobile camera view that follows the characters, while the Langarians have a more static presentation.

When you get past the magical battles, it comes down to situations that the rules of society (be they Eulerian or Langarian) do not address. A quite enjoyable find.

Added: Since Pale Wolf asked. Yes there is a trap. It's not spoiling because young Duchess Tensor is far too feminine to be anything other than a cross-dresser. "Her" clothing resembles a cross between a bridal dress and the matching cake, with a complex structure of hair that could only exist in animation, and the pink... god the pink.

The expected conventions are followed and the overly demure and lacy Tensor has the strongest Model. Another fairy style like Newt, Les is refreshingly unadorned, though that may just be relative to her "mistress."

Tensor rounds out the initial relationship triangle. Physiology aside, the Duchess is a prize catch due to the connections of her family in the Langarian court. Reynolds would enjoy the political benefits to his research that a marriage between his protégé and the duchess. There are very strong reasons why Tensor is well... Tensor.

Tensor's "secret" gives Stokes the potential for blackmail, but once they are engaged it would ruin him as much as her. He could flee to Euleria, but that has issues with Navier. Tensor for her part would find Stokes a perfect cover to add legitimacy to her situation, and leverage for her own dreams of power and a way to escape her family.

So Stokes rapidly gets the expected multiple suitors. Though both the gas-lamp magical-cowgirl tomboy and the elegantly coifed "lady" are after him for political reasons. The Eulerian cannot take him without starting a war, (given the extreme value and rarity of working Models), while the Langarian has to make herself seem an appealing prospect, difficult given what Stokes knows.

Edit2: Since it was asked here's Duchess Tensor Kolmolgorov's situation. It's a bit convoluted and pretty spoilery. So don't read unless you really want to know.

First the background to explain it: twenty years ago a Langarian Queen was petitioned with a problem. To many families in the court were loosing their lands, as the required dowries had been slowly concentrating lands and money to fewer and fewer hands.

The Queen, preferring a broad feuding court that she could veto, but not wanting to do away with the taxable dowries came up with a solution. Money and titles would follow along patriarchal lines, but land would follow maternal.

Tensor was the youngest at 13 and had an older sister and a much older brother, who was married to a Eulerian woman. was keen and into sport. Showed promise to be able to use a Model. Then two tragedies befell the Kolmogorov's. Duke Andre and his daughter Ivanova died in an accident. Without a male figure the family could not make another daughter.

So, after her husband's death, the elder Duchess came forward and admitted a grave sin. That they had lied about the gender of one of their children to get around the inheritance. The duke was worried that his son Pavel would defect to Eleria negating their funds, so he forced Tensor pretend to be a boy.

After her apology the elder duchess revealed Tensor to the court and queen, and begged forgiveness. The queen agreed, and declared Tensor to be a prime example of Langarian womanhood.

This is why Tensor is... Tensor. Including the curled piles of shocking pink. She is a woman because the Queen said so. The biology is just a bit of an oversight, and why she is so keen on getting Stokes. Mindful of her shameful past, she makes sure no one would mistake her for a boy again, and revels in being herself.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Blogger Bugs

"Fist of the Moon" by Penguin-sa updated with ch12

I would have updated the entry itself, but Blogger is being buggy today.

Edit: Test