Beanie level: Noble idiot

Back in full procrastination mode. cc for lyrics in EN.

5
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Bad detective/Lesser evil: gave it a try but found it lacking. It\’s not that I mind the changes from the original – in fact I like some things better here, e.g. the links to the past, or the portrayal of the wife. It\’s that that the mesh of old and new does not come together in a logical whole. It’s mainly a problem with the writing; but have issues with some of the acting as well.

The biggest departure is that they fundamentally changed the Luther-Alice dynamics. Alice\’s character was lost in the rewrite process. Old Alice was a psychopath who has found her one true obsession in Luther. Her misguided attempts at being his friend were a fascinating aspect of the show. Not knowing how to show affection except by staying true to her nature… The pet tiger who loves her master but could at any moment eat him up instead… Also Luther is perfectly aware of her true nature; he fears her but cannot help liking her too.
There’s none of that here. The remake makes his behavior all about guilt; he feels responsible for her turning out that way, and the old desire to protect her from the time she was a victim that was hurt on his watch.
This does not work as well. And I am finding myself bored.

1
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Red moon, blue sun: I dislike pretty much every character, but cannot stop myself from watching. Strange mood.

2
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    I don’t know how to feel about the characters really, but I want to see where the writer will take it.

    1
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The giddiness of spring in December. Silly grin on my face. #Encounter

3
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“Once in a while I see her smile; and it totally makes my day” – “That’s not a casual relationship…”

And so Encounter totally makes my day… I must like this show. a lot.
There’s a perfect simplicity to everything. They work because they just do; their relationship is uncomplicated – despite all the external factors. Sometimes romance is just that – day to day compatibility, no frills required.

9
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Encounter #5:
The feeling of missing one’s chance, the regret of not loving someone when one could, and now being too old for experiencing it… the unfairness of it all. That epilogue captured everything with barely a single word.

What is most telling is that when they are having a hard time, be it him being suffocated by the gossip at the office, or her trying to escape her mother and the chains that go with that relationship, they end up running straight to each other. It is certain that they have grown to need one another. And it’s there, at the point where doubts give way to certainty, that love begins. They are not even attempting to pretend it’s anything different. And I love every minute of it.

11
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    I agree… I like how they quietly comfort each other. I like how the male lead is not afraid to take on the challenges, as long as he can get to know her more and explore those feelings he’s feeling. I like how much of a gentleman he is, and I like that PBG seems to have finally settled into his character (I don’t feel he’s forced any longer starting with this ep). The last scene of ep 5 was the first time where I felt strong chemistry between them. I hope that this show will be a little passionate (even if she is married in real life).

    As for the heroine, I really feel for her, she is being suffocated by her mother and by extension her passive father who is benefiting. She is also being suffocated by her ex-husband and ex-mother-in-law. I felt like crying with her when she pondered about the timing, and in the epilogue. These quiet moments carry a depth to them, that I didn’t expect this show to have. I really hope that the show will continue to get better with every episode, and won’t disappoint.

    5
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I got home, was lazy, could not find anything to watch, so I took a tour down memory lane. Complete (am much as my bad memory serves) list of finished dramas since I’ve started watching (which turns out to be 2005, damn I’m old):
2018: INAR, Are you human too, Player, Switch
2017: Circle, Forest of secrets, Lookout, Mystery queen, Tunnel, Voice
2016: Wanted, Weightlifting fairy, W, Bring it on ghost, Marriage contract, Mrs Cop 2, Page turner, Police unit 38, Signal, Solomon’s perjury
2015: Imaginary cat, I remember you, Girl who sees smells, Missing noir M, Mrs Cop, Oh my Venus, Sassy go go(?), Splish splash love, Cheo Yong 2
2014: Witch romance, Bad guys, Dr Frost, Ghost seeing detective, Healer, Bride of the century, Legend of the witch
2013: I hear your voice, Master’s sun,That winter…
2012: Faith, King of dramas, Ojakgyo Brothers, Ghost,To the beautiful you, Ten, Vampire prosecutor 2
2011: My princess, 49 days, City hunter, Vampire prosecutor
2010: Sungkyunkwan Scandal, Pasta, Queen of reversals, The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry, Stars Falling From the Sky, Oh my lady, Coffee house, Prosecutor princess, My Girlfriend Is a Nine-Tailed Fox
2009: The Man Who Can’t Get Married, That fool, You’re Beautiful, City hall, Shining Inheritance
2008: Who Are You?, Beethoven Virus, Last Scandal
2007: I’m Sam, Oh Dal Ja’s Spring, The Devil, The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince, Time Between Dog and Wolf
2006: Goong, What’s Up Fox?, Fantasy couple, My girl
2005: Loveholic, My Lovely Sam-Soon, Delightful Girl Choon Hyang, Biscuit Teacher and Star Candy
Conclusions:
1. I have a very limited attention span; I hadn’t really noticed but it turns out that I have been dropping dramas quite frequently for years now.
2. I watch way too much dark stuff and I am decreasingly likely to finish a straight out romance; which is probably a sign of me becoming grumpy and jaded with old age. Interesting (or is it predictable?) that so far Encounter works for me despite the stats … Hmmmm
3. The quality and diversity of dramas has increased dramatically over time.

11
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My end-of-year drama tally is unusually scarce in 2018. Stats below.
The main development is that I have finally stoped being a completist.
Basically life’s too short for boring dramas.

*Started (watched at least 4eps) but dropped along the way:
-Time (the one character I deeply cared about died, and couldn\’t care less about the rest)
-Life on mars (did not work for me for some reason, could not connect to the characters)
-Secretary Kim (went from intriguing first 2 eps to run-of-the-mill lightning fast)
-Beauty inside (bored)
-Secret Terrius (faulty logic, bored)
-Mrs Ma (liked it but got distracted; might pick it up again sometime)

*Saved for later (can only watch small bits at a time, and I am rarely in the right mood):
-Mother
-My ajusshi
-Live

*Currently watching:
-Encounter (I like its wistfulness, but high risk for future story derailment)

*Planning to try at some point soon:
-Memories of Alhambra (I’m a W2W fan, not all this writer\’s stories work for me –see eg Nine— but when they do they really do; not getting the greatest vibe at the moment but I’ll give it a go)
-Red moon blue sun (maybe too depressing but my default-watch genre)
-Bad detective (just marathoned 4 seasons of Luther, curious about the Kr interpretation)

*Finished:
-I am not a robot (my drama of the year)
-Are you human too (my favorite scene of the year)
-Player and Switch (the world sucks and it’s nice to have at least a few scammers on the side of the little guy)
[yeah, I can see a pattern here]

8
1

Encounter Ep. 4 – the body language and symbolism were nicely done. To me, this is not a story about chaebol dramatics and grand gestures; it’s about taking a tiny step, about smiles that mean a thousand words, or listening to the sound of the waves while the outside world is raging on. It’s in the little moments when the show shines.

Thoughts: their relationship is getting more even with him fussing about her and bossing her around; also making sure that he clarifies that, whatever they are, their relationship is not just that of boss-employee. Him feeding her a piece of radish kimchi, sitting micrometers away from her on the rather wide bench, letting himself sleep on her shoulder or buying her lipstick as a bday present (because he thought it would look better on her lips)… those gestures are more intimate and speak more to their relationship than the public show at the company. And SH knowing rationally that this is going to end badly (for both) but still not being able to shut him out the way she knows she should… She can’t let him go because she needs him too badly. He knowingly refuses to let her go, because even if temporary he thinks their feelings are too important.
It’s cute that among the many things they have in common one is being willful, eccentric and kind of stubborn. They balance each other out quite nicely.

PS: yay for second leads that are not selfish jerks. That makes for a nice deviation from expectations. (I wonder when did I become so jaded that I automatically expect the worst of people? Must be all the nasty chaebol mothers…)

PPS: the dress vs. rice cakes as present. They were delivered with exactly the same message but one present was self-centered and obtained by throwing a roll of cash around while the other was about what she likes and a reminder of a shared memory. While nice as daddy long legs SH’s ex is still very much a product of his world. That’s the main reason why they’ll never work.

8
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Back from watching Shoplifters. Take-aways: life is colossally unfair and a kid is sometimes better off with a thief/murderer than in the care of clueless social workers. Color me upset and angry.

2
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Reading a friend’s take on Encounter:
\”You know, Encounter is amazing not because of mood or acting (even though they are great) but because it takes one of the often done narratives – our protagonist experiencing mid life crisis/feeling about meaninglessness of life until they meet someone exciting and rediscover themselves – and makes it new by switching out the genders.
How many stories are there about powerful middle-aged women, with past relationship baggage, high social standing and constant ennui who meet free-spirited and poor young men who make them see the world anew through their manic pixie dreamboy qualities?
Yeah, I will wait.
Still waiting.
It’s also perfectly acted and shot, but what stays with me is the melancholy yet hopeful mood and the story set-up.
As someone who has neither a douchy ex nor a CEO position, I still found myself relating deeply to Song Hye Kyo’s burned-out character. The regrets are relatable, the possibility of an emotional miracle inspiring. But I am a lot closer to her age than the average kdrama watcher. I wonder if this drama works for someone who is a teen or in their early twenties or if it just appears a lot of fuss over nothing”.
I just had a bit of an epiphany: minus the chaebol ex and CEO position, I am her – mid thirties a successful career woman, who is single and used to it, but who hasn’t completely abandoned the possibility of happiness and wonder. Scary stakes.

21
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    Yes I think the drama works for younger viewers as well because Park Bo Gum. But I do believe you(/we) might be enjoying it – dare I say it – a little more. ^-^

    2
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    Sign this girl up for Dramabeans! That was well-written, thoughtful, and relateable!

    2
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    I’m glad that we’re watching another drama together. Always love reading your thoughts. I, too, relate so much with Soohyun because of the things that you mentioned.

    1
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I’ve been in a weird watching mood in the last couple of months, not being able to stick to any kdrama; instead I binge watched a whole bunch of Chinese historical series (turns out if you watch selectively only the fun bits and skip the stupid third quarter and the depressing endings, they can be quite entertaining). Eventually these also lost their appeal, so I am back and -happy to report- in a more positive mood. Some thoughts on the new batch of dramas.

Clean with passion for now: KYJ is the soul of this. On the plus side: I like that despite the over-the-top-ness there is a core of genuine emotion that anchors the relationships; I also like the mains, the secretary and dad. On the minus side: I hate everyone else, in particular all the interchangeable side boys (badly acted and emotionally vacuous second lead, pink overalls gang, etc). Bonus points: my house had been in a mess for weeks and this got in the mood to do some serious cleaning. May give it a couple more eps before deciding.

Encounter: I love almost everything about it – the fairytale undertones, the gorgeous cinematography, the two leads and their first meeting. I like that both are genuinely nice people, who are smart and driven each in its own way. I adore Soo-Hyun, from her workaholic ways, to her relationship with her secretary and driver to her direct way of shutting off her annoying ex. What I love most is that she is not a doormat (unlike the main in Noona who buys me food). I get the feeling that she chose her ice queen existence for the sake of her father, but when push comes to shove she is capable of breaking through the chains of her public image. I also like Jin-Hyeok’s carefree ways, his love of books, and his stubbornness in living each day on his own terms (also I love, love, love his drunken antics, he\’s cuter than a whole basket of puppies). There are many challenges in their relationship and it looks like it will get bumpy from ep 3 on; but I am already invested in their happy ending and curious what will take to get them there (which is all one can hope for from a first week). I don’t know what will happen as the story progresses but I’m on board for now.
Tried and dropped: Happy if you died (while I like the female lead a lot, I don’t like KJH and I detest the character he is playing), Mama fairy (can’t connect with the characters, not much seems to happen, overall too weird), Top Star YB (not my taste)

Saved to check out during Xmas break: Red moon, Blue sun and Memories of Alhambra.

12
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Beauty inside: There is something about the show\’s depiction of human interactions that really gets to me. Today\’s episode ended in sniffles and a strong desire to call my mother.

11
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I guess I should at least say hi to everyone. 안녕! 오랜만이야
Still very much caught up in real life issues but recently I had been hoping for a good kdrama distraction. alas no can do. None of the rom things remotely appeal. I was really looking forward to Terrius – on paper SJS babysitting twins should spell a clear winner – yet I find myself bored. Bad sign if I find the villain to be the most entertaining character. Then there’s Million stars… which I could not bring myself to watch because the knowledge of the original keeps interfering with my perception of the now. [Where’s a nice selective amnesia when one needs one?]. Still watching Player and Miss Ma, but with limited emotional engagement. Back in the slump for the time being.

10
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There’s a full moon tonight.
[still traveling, swamped with work and kind of overwhelmed by everything]

4
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    Beautiful moonlight. Awesome cover to slow your pace a bit. Hang in there.

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    I’ve been hearing the overwhelmed word a lot this week. You’re not alone. Good luck!

    1
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color me grumpy.

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The noble idiot’s anthem on a day when tear ducts come in handy.

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AYHT – 끝

Liked – if not completely loved the last episodes. I still think that Shin\’s arc could and should have been handled a lot better, but given the very limited time left, it was ok. He needed complete proof of someone caring and it’s unexpected yet fitting that it was his replica’s ultimate sacrifice that got the job done (good job backing up Shinnamon’s memory, David! this reminds me I really need to sort out my new bkup server). Still really sore about the pointless death of mum and that Shin never got a chance to mend their relationship. Both OTPs being safe and together helped improve my mood. Would have liked to see some brothers interactions – I bet grumpy Shin and overcheerful Shin would be a hoot together. And they should play some nice robot games with their nephew too.
________________
As the title suggested from the get go, AYHT is ultimately not about robots but rather a fascinating exploration of humanity — at its worst and best. It did not shy away from showing some of the ugliest parts of human nature. Also, by starring a more-humane-than-humans robot, it forced me to think about what drives the best in people as well.

Even if it lost its way a little towards the end, the show was one of the most intellectually stimulating stories I have seen in a long while. I loved how it forced me to take apart feelings, to break them down to their very essence, and to ask what why we have them in the first place. I loved it even when it hurt, when trying to view the world from the characters’ perspective felt like permanently staining one\’s soul. But I am not surprised that others feel very differently. At the very least, the moral relativism is hard to swallow. Still, I’ve enjoyed the discussions about the show; they proved extremely educational about human nature in themselves. To me, the diversity of opinions is testament to the show asking some important but difficult questions, where there is no clear-cut answer to be had.

What I am taking away from all this: we’re all faulty breakable machines trying to find our way within the constraints of our biology, our experiences and our limited perspective. The challenge is to find a way to not only tolerate but also truly care for, respect and love people despite all that. Not because they are perfect. But because they are not.
______________
AYHT not only solidified my love for Gong Seung-yeon and Lee Joon-hyuk, but brought along a couple of unexpected discoveries. First, the writer Jo Jung-joo – I’ll for sure pay attention to any new script coming from him. Second, Seo Kang-joon. Going into this I had zero experience with SKJ and thought him just another overhyped idol-turned-actor whose fame stems mostly from having an overly symmetric face*. Boy, was I wrong about that one! His performance was a true tour de force. It put him on my very short list of actors whose work I pay attention to.

*(I still find his face too perfect, to the point where it feels slightly unreal and almost disturbing)
______________
PS: So does the robot have feelings? No and yes. To me the feeling-like things that Shin has are just as real and legitimate as human feelings, not just a simulacrum of them. Are his kind of feelings different from mine? Yes? Does it matter? No. As SB pointed out love is a doing word. Robot or not, try show some to someone who matters. I will.

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    Beautiful 💕👏👏👏

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    Aw, that’s lovely.

    I was so glad they gave the last opener to Ro Ra, and so sad when I saw her last dream of her boys together under her loving gaze. I have hope for a brotherly future–and it’s so true that Shin wanted the 1000000% bulletproof evidence of love, but most people don’t come back from that, fool–but it’s so sad it will be without her. But lord did she raise her boy right. I refer, of course, to Apple Shinnamon Blini.

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    THIS.

    All your reasons are why the series is now #1 on my list (Sorry, W, I love but now you’re #2 lol). To me, the show has been a masterpiece despite all its flaws. It’s unfortunate that others could not see beyond the robot concept to grasp the real meaning the show was trying to convey. I agree that I will definitely keep my eyes out for the writer, GSY and SKJ.

    As for your comments about SKJ’s face being too perfect that its disturbing, hahaha. I guess I see a lot of that: people with perfect faces (in real life) and I mean perfect as in overly symmetrical that I actually don’t think its impossible. Also I didn’t find his face overly symmetrical nor extremely perfect. I think his left side is better (slimmer cheek fat, more defined jawline) from a 3/4 angle as I saw a lot of shots on that side. I think there were times the right side with a 3/4 shot was used to differentiate NS from NS3 (his right eye sit slightly lower and his cheek’s a bit flabby and slightly wider on right side). I’m not completely sure tho. Plus there are other actors who kind of look like him too, so he’s not unique nor memorable. He looked almost exactly like Sang Yeob in that scene where NS3 sits up front with David as they go to the market in Czech. I think SKJ’s straight nose and defined jawline (probably had braces as a kid) gives us the illusion that his face is near symmetry. I guess because most people here (I live in America) have straight noses and wore braces as a kid (contributed to defined jawlines), that I’m used to it. Hence why I didnt find it disturbing at all. lol

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AYHT thoughts:
1. 지비서가 왜 그럴까? Why would YH think that revealing the world the truth would force Shin to sit down and reflect on what he really wants? Is it because power in the hands of an angry Shin would put him on a path of no return? What they did is essentially telling the truth but why does that feel like such a betrayal? With the company in Ji’s hands, Shin did lose interest in it and he did get out of Seo’s power but… at the cost of (seemingly) losing the person in the world he most cherishes. The way Shin was pleading with YH to explain and not to leave him just broke my heart.
2. After losing everything it\’s no wonder that he focuses on his fixation with Shinnamon – what else what there left?
3. It’s interesting that he used the other Shin’s love for KSB as the argument to get him away (Shin now acknowledges that he does have feelings, despite him trying very hard to see him as just an object that cannot be deserving of anyone’s love — for obvious reasons). He also trusted him to say his goodbyes and come on his own rather than to try anything to serve himself (so Shin also acknowledges that he is honest and a man of his word).
4. I am not sure that Shin would have gone through with it had it not been for his mother
5. Apart for the setup of staging a murder and turning humans against the robot I don’t quite see how LO’s death helped with the greater narrative purpose. It’s stupid and pointless. This felt like a let-down for an otherwise tightly written script.
6. Some positives: dad buying Shinnamon seaweed soup for his bday was so sweet.
7. The robot who does not understand love or death – learned a new important lesson – time is short; cherish whatever happiness comes your way. Glad that Shin got his wish-to say I love you and mean it.

One episode is so little time to do what still needs to be done – have Seo get his comeuppance, have human Shin get back to YH and sort out some sort of peace agreement with his family and the other Shin. Hopefully the writer will not waste the entire time on Shin-false-accussed-murderer anti-robot humans drama. We also have very little time. Let’s cherish it and use it wisely, Jo 작가님.

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    I know! I am so worried about having only one episode left: hopefully the murder accusation will be like the amnesia, swiftly dealt with!

    –I love Young Hoon, applaud taking power off those who use it for evil, and I know he wants only the best for Nam Shin, but I too don’t understand the rationale for his perceived rejection. Keeping his promise not to talk to Nam Shin if he hurt someone? If he was super angry about Nam Shin strangling So Bong and couldn’t look at him, I’d get that! But it seems like YH’s behaviour is part of a plan to help him and I don’t see how it does that–drive him away into his mother’s arms to effect a reconciliation? *wrings hands* What is going onnn?

    –I too was super sad that Nam Shin’s only thought was to run to Young Hoon and beg for an explanation: he really does just want love. (He really is sandblasting opportunities to BE loved, mind.) Maybe Young Hoon, also abused, doesn’t value himself highly enough to know HOW bereft Nam Shin would feel? Trying… to… fathom…

    –It is possible Nam Shin wouldn’t have gone through with the kill switch/button push! He had a definite air of bravado, like he was hoping Nam Shin III would talk him out of it by making him feel better/ceding him power, but I fully get Nam Shin III being brave and fed up: Nam Shin would’ve kept messing him around, with the power of life or death hanging over him. Agreed that Nam Shin does reluctantly perceive Nam Shin III as a person, which both further infuriates NS and makes what he does more awful.

    –I am wretched about Ro Ra, her life was so terrible and she was such a genius! I was hoping Dr Mother Frankenstein and her creation would both live. I worry her going means Nam Shin III is doomed too–can David repair him? Can he repair himself? If both the creator and the creation disappear, the world doesn’t get disrupted… so that may be where they’re going? I don’t know. I hated seeing her go. I loved her calling Nam Shin III ‘my kind son.’

    –I don’t know why a super genius robot would hide a kill switch behind a sofa cushion!

    –I do love love. I wish So Bong had touched him back during the kiss, oh dramas, but I’m happy they both got that moment. And her dad’s blessing! I run around in tiny circles, here almost at the end of all things.

    4
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      I agree with all of that, but the one thing I didn’t understand (okay, but it’s a kdrama, yeah, yeah…) if Shinnamon was so intelligent why couldn’t he open the kill switch and disable it?
      Obviously, it wasn’t locked or Shin couldn’t have opened that case so easily… really?????
      I’m still loving this show…..

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    YH is only human, also. I think it’s a combination of being hurt by Shin, being angry at Shin, wanting to do something drastic to help Shin, and being mentally worn out. It’s all tangled up, his motivations aren’t going to be cut and dry. Maybe along with thinking it would help wake shin up, it felt good to be cold and ignore Shin after all he’s done to YH. I wouldn’t blame him. I’m happy he’s treating Shin like an adult for once.

    Laura’s death seems fitting to me. Like, no one should die, of course, and I’d have been thrilled if she’d lived, but fitting for her arc. She’s been a tragic character from the get-go, powerless and with few options. She was in an impossible place, really unable to forgive herself for either abandoning Shin or creating Shin III and loving him as much as her own son. She seemed unable to save either, so really her only course of action was to sacrifice herself for her sons. This only works really well if this is the impetus for Human Shin to finally turn a corner towards redemption. I guess we’ll see.

    But yeah… who’s gonna repair and built the other robots? I guess Shin III can repair himself…?

    Lizard and his whole character I find so weak compared to the others. I don’t think Writer needed him–he could have accomplished everything with the other characters. Why have a silly villain when we have a great anti-hero already? Gah.

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The battle of the Shins is the inner battle between the good and bad in human Shin. If he decides to kill Shinnamon he is effectively (and cf. David literally) killing the good kid that he used to be.

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    I think he crossed that bridge when he tried to kill grandfather?

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