Nova on Cinderella Girls 01-13

May 7th, 2015 by Author

I didn’t think he’d stay with it to the end, but have a look at that:

The show’s biggest issues revolved around the character cast. The New Generations girls were the only ones given a proper introduction, which would have been okay if they’d actually been the lead trio as I expected. But the show pushed them into the sidelines pretty quickly, and the rest of the run was spent on the other Cinderella Project groups doing their respective debuts. […] Cinderella Girls can’t really decide what its overarching theme is or who the lead characters are […]

Called it.


Why nobody watches Grisaia

May 4th, 2015 by Author

While the game for Android is holding the #1 rank at AniGema.jp’s store, people are starting to notice that leading animebloggers ignore the series (currently simulcast at Crunchy). Here’s one suggestion why:

I stopped watching the first season when they killed a cat in a horribly graphic way.


Build Your Anime Blog, the book

May 3rd, 2015 by Author

Not a joke: someone (self-)published a book with such title, an someone else paid money for it. Of the author’s 12 select anime blogs, I only heard of one.


The AnimeNation John on 2015 Spring season

April 11th, 2015 by Author

He says it’s super derivative:

The first episode of Re-Kan seems practically like a reverse clone of Kotoura-san. Sougeki no Soma appears to be an updated version of Yakitate Japan that focuses on dinner cuisine instead of pastries. Omakase Miracle Cat Dan looks and feels an awful lot like a non-crude sibling to Urayasu Tekkin Kazoku. Denpa Kyoushi is GTO for otaku.

He missed Plastic Memories being a clone of Najica Blitz Tactics, as some say. I didn’t watch it and put it for a replay of Mahoromatic at first, although in full knowledge that such analogies often miss the mark by thousands of kilometers. Remember how a number of people thought that ef was like the Hollywood movie “50 First Dates”? In any case, if these two imply that there’s something wrong with being derivative in anime as such, I’m going to dismiss them both. After all, RahXephon is much better than EVA (since we’re on topic, see how Izubuchi explicitly discusses copying — it’s quite remarkable).

P.S. One other guy says:

I just saw the first episode of Plastic Memories.

Employing the most emotionally wringing moments and then trying to inject deviant humor on top.

It really didn’t work.

If this was supposed to put a brake on things, it didn’t quite work. I’m still determined to see for myself. Well, maybe determine a few other suckers try it first for a few more episodes…

P.P.S. And there we go: “Plastic Memories episode 2 is significantly more ordinary than episode 1 was and as a result leaves me rather less interested.”

P.P.P.S. Ubu says they are not the same:

In Najica, the Hummarits were learning to be human and independent, and that’s what the story was really about. In Plastic Memories, the Giftia are already “human” and remarkably independent, though they’re designed to be companions to humans.

UPDATE: Jason does the blink thing:

I kind of wish Plastic Memories is yet another shitty anime about a magic high school or even a fanservice harem action police show, but the show is really about watching your dog die, over and over, week in a week out.

From the spoilers that I saw about 02..03, he’s completely wrong because of the misdirection in the 1st episode. In a sense, PlaMemo is the opposite of Natsu no Arashi, where the first episode was a hilarious comedy, and the rest of the show was a diet version of Grave of The Fireflies.


Avatar on Lesbian Bear Storm

April 2nd, 2015 by Author

In comments at Wonderduck:

Yurikuma has a completely different DNA than the Noitamina block – it’s Ikuhara being Ikuhara for an audience consisting, these days, almost wholly of Ikuhara. So think Utena and then Penguindrum, but without the usual mask of reality that later fractures.

Honestly, it’s just bad. Okay, some stories you need to break the world in interesting ways without describing to the viewers what’s going on – but you’ve still got an obligation to entertain in the meantime, and this show just -doesn’t-.


Cinderella Girls anime is not very good

April 1st, 2015 by Author

On the cusp of iM@S CG being broadcast, I went on the record with my concerns about history repeating itself twice, first time as tragedy and second time as farce (and Omo dismissed my worries). Now that we’ve seen 11 episodes, things are even worse than I expected.

To be sure, the series opened on a high note. Rin, Rin, Rin, Rin, Rin. And Producer! Genzai, kikakuchuu desu won the fans the world over instantly. Uzupaka wasn’t bad either. But after Mio’s tantrum, things completely unraveled into a series of unit introductions of idols who perhaps should not be debuting. The stalvarts tried to find endearing qualities in Kirari Godzilla and the like, but if you step back for a wider view, this whole parade was horrible.

The 11 was the worst because it was Miku’s turn, and it highlighted what could’ve been. In the initial episodes, Miku shined, and very unexpectedly. If you do not read her manual very carefuly, she’s just a crazy furry who wears nekomimi and says “Nyan”. The anime explained briliantly that she’s not, in fact, a furry – but plays one on TV. The way Miku keeps her stage persona separate from her own was a sign of professional maturity, which put her above her cohort. It is a truism that the thing idols sell first is their personality, their singing or dancing talent second. And it’s a well-known aphorism that “nothing is as valuable [on stage] as sincerety: if you can fake that, you have it made”. Nobody else in this group of n00bs is sophisticated enough to make something to sell – even something as basic as nekomimi-nyan (footnote: Riina tries w/rock). Therefore, they have to sell themselves. If they’ve got good wares, like Rin, it’s great. If they don’t — the picture is rather pathetic. And then the series spends a half of its screen time to wade through that shameful display.

Meanwhile, Miku is postponed into the last unit. The show did not go as far as to imply that she was bumped into the final slot as a retribution for the labor action. She could be a great rival for the main trio, but nope, that would be much too good for this series. What a waste. Mrs. Takao seriously fumbled the ball on this.

UPDATE: Omo: “I actually like this interpretation. I just think you sell some of the others short.” He is a master of being concise.

Evirus: “My only real beef with Cinderella Girls 11 is that Miku didn’t fall into despair.” If you think that it was mean, remember that it’s the man who wrote:

Part of me sincerely wishes Vita had killed Nanoha in episode one of A’s, with Fate arriving too late to save her but still in time to clutch her still-warm corpse. And then A’s could have been about FEITO losing her mind, hunting down and brutally butchering the Velka knights while useless TSAB pinheads desperately try to get her under control and end her reign of terror with impotent lines such as, “Killing more people won’t bring Nanoha back, Fate!”

It’s the same spirit that animates both fantasies. It’s a protest against mediocrity, if you will.

Note that some people are despair-resistant. The only good character of Muromi-san, Otohime, is like that. But we weren’t shown that in case of Miku. She was pushed off into background and muffled while everyone else debuted for several episodes.


Danny Choo is building Chobits

April 1st, 2015 by Author

This is not an April Fool’s joke, he was going at it for a while. I merely saw pictures at his Twitter today:

Danny is an interesting guy. He started out as a fellow animeblogger, but managed to build an impressive website empire, a portal beyond a mere anime blog like this one. From there, he poked at various pursuits, even tried to make an anime (called “Chinka”). When that failed, as did Mirai Millenium, he rode the popularity of his website’s mascot, Mirai, into making little figurines of her. These figurines presently mutated into a 3/4 size sexbot, er, “smart doll”. I expect that Mirai has greater intelligence than Furby by now. You can help to bring about this new future by buying his wares.


NovaJinx on Shirobako

March 29th, 2015 by Author

Nova finally posted the article, which apparently took some pains. Characters were praised, of course:

The characters don’t appear as string puppets acting out a set script through rigid archetypes and a strict division between the good and bad guys, but as concrete people with proper personalities, aspirations, and motives.

Also included was an auto-biographic segment, illustrating how Shirobako can hit home for any salariman, even a Finnish one. One curious bit that was omitted is Nova’s relationship with the character of Oukura. Initially, Nova wrote: “Shirobako finally delivered a character I can truly call my own.” But today, he said at #animeblogger: “I can relate to a whole bunch of characters in Shirobako. Can’t really call any one of them my own.” Everyone who watched the series knows what happened. And I guess that Nova felt better kinship with Oukura’s evident actions at first more than with later ones. It’s telling, really, and is a reason why I don’t blog with excessive personal focus. Doing that could add an attractive personal touch to the blog, if handled well, but you never know where this information leak is going to end. So, while I have a Shirobako character that speaks to me in particular, I’m not going to share who that is publicly.

UPDATE: A surprisingly respectable, but deeply misguided comment from a hater, prompted Nova to comment thus:

First of all, it’s pretty odd to call an anime show out as wish-fulfillment. For one, it’s saying that wish-fulfillment is fundamentally wrong, even if majority of entertainment is more or less just that at heart. It seems to me that ever since Madoka brought the Urobuchi-style double negative to the wider audience, positive overtone in storytelling has become somehow sinful, as if a story cannot be deep and engaging without being gritty and pessimistic. I’d approve the term with shows like Guilty Crown, Accel World, and Sword Art Online, which are clearly designed to appease the teenager ego, but with Shirobako it’s superficial at best.

Sure, I would have loved to have a workplace like Musani. The Corp was nothing of the sort. But to hint that Musani is a whitewashed fantasy dream of a workplace is just naive. There are a lot of companies just like it, usually in creative sectors where most people are in for the job for their personal passion. I’ve seen these small to medium sized firms dominate the work satisfaction polls where heavy industry corps don’t even qualify, and the reason why they never will is exactly the double negative attitude that dominates rigid corporate workplaces that stems mainly from bad management. I’m not saying that Shirobako is strictly realistic or depicts a “typical workplace” (I don’t even know where you got that from), but I find none of its setting to be completely outlandish.

“Every desperate situation always gets solved” is a statement that I find especially weird, as if this is supposed to be a bad thing. This is how I found the working life to be vast majority of the time. I’ve faced pretty much every equivalent situation to what are depicted on the show, and every one of them got solved one way or another no matter how dire they seemed at first. The worst people on the job were those who believed there was no way out and chose to rather sink than struggle, and try to push the blame for the failure on someone else (Shirobako touched on this with Titanic, as you should know). As for the few individual resolutions that you brought up in a belittling wording, I don’t see why they wouldn’t work for the given situations. A change of pace and scenery is extremely beneficial for creative process, as any blogger worth his salt knows. That’s also why my 3D-animator friends have ball pits, nerf guns, and general freedom to come and go at their workplace, which I could have only dreamed of.

And as I tried to say on the post which you hopefully at least read, in my professional experience jerks always have backstories, just like everybody else. I really hope you aren’t in a managerial position, because the worst bosses are those who believe that they don’t. Bad bosses subscribe to the simplistic belief that people are rigidly bound to their respective character archetypes (the jerk, the slacker, the honor student), and that’s how most entertainment, anime or otherwise, depicts people. Shirobako does not, which is already something that sets it apart from the rest. Having a backstory does not “justify” douchebag behavior, but it does explain it.

I’m not saying you should enjoy the show if you honestly didn’t, but I don’t really agree with any of the points you raised. To me it seems that you’d rather wanted Shirobako to be like those terrible dime in a dozen American reality TV occupational shows with their heavily dramatized content of people yelling at each other and the situation being irreversibly fucked up 90% of the time.

There’s no getting away from the fact that a number of people prefer the negative entertainment, but what Nova’s defence of Shirobako touches is a productive ad-hominem: the analysis how this entertainment taste is deeply rooted in the individual’s basic outlook.


Shirobako ends

March 29th, 2015 by Author

There’s no wishy-washing it, Shirobako is an outstanding series. I had a small trouble accepting it at first, because of the meta premise. Anime about anime is inablity to see outside of one’s cocoon, is it not obvious? How many Hollywood writers set their flicks in New York and L.A. because that’s all they know? And did they have to wrap it around a large-eye japanimation moe protag? Intellectual bankrupcy, I’m telling you! And yet, so much love for the people making the final art possible went into making Shirobako, that it went far beyond a comedic pseudo-documentary. Competency in every aspect, too, of course, but primarily the characters were the attraction.

One extra note is that I said many times, “truly excellent anime cannot be spoiled”. That applied to Shirobako in full, as I watched the waves of enthusiasm on Twitter and knew about everything in the week’s episode. It only worked to whet the appetite.

Liked: Absolutely
Rewatch: Yes, R2


Oto and Pon on LL 07

March 25th, 2015 by Author

They are proclaiming the Nico turnaround already, with some choice analysis:

Oto. […] This reminds me: I kinda like Nico now. Not because of anything the show has done, but because of what you’ve been saying about her off air.

Pon. Yeah, in the posts I’m just saying what the show does with her. I’m not ready to unroll the Unified Nico Theory yet. Last time my suggestion was that not liking her in the beginning is part of the effect. It’s something I do a lot … I’ll dislike a character, and then they’ll become my favorite.

Oto. That’s weird. You’re weird.

Pon. Fuck you. One thing I like about this show is the blocking, or, I don’t know what you’d call it … the positioning of characters relative to other characters, especially when there are several on-screen. That part where Nico’s inexplicably in the closet or in a classroom or something is pretty good.

Oto. It occurs to me that the show has done one thing to make me like Nico. She’s the joke character. We’re supposed to like when “funny” things happen to her. Like how her position on stage is the closet. Well fuck you show. I tend to feel bad for those characters and thus start wanting to protect them.

Pon. They got you. No saving you now. Gonna have to leave you behind.

Oto. Oh god. It was all part of their twisted plan all along.

Pon. It’s a pretty normal plan. Par for the course.

Good times. However, they are only on 07. It’s much too early to like Nico! At that time, I (ani-)noted “My problem with Nico is that she’s ballast. Her otaku sense was not terribly useful thus far.” That was the focus. Yet already they’re talking about a turnaround. But not to spoil too much, Nico’s stature is going to grow from now on. I wasn’t as receptive, so only I changed my mind about her at the time when her love of the idols was put to the test and was found greater than Honoka’s, way in the final arc. What are these two going to do then? Declare her the Best Girl?