Archive for July, 2009

SDB on Bakemonogatari 01

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

I was unable to get a key quote from the post proper, but Ubu shaked out a comment:

After one episode I found it original, unique, and even intriguing. But it hasn’t seized my imagination the way something like Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou has. It’s kind of a “I can take it or leave it” feeling.

That’s a relief. I started wondering in the background if Bake was rejected properly, and a reinstatement would add to the season’s bandwidth trainwreck, but we’re safe.

Taishou Yakyuu Musume begins

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

I was sold on the show after watching the musical insert. It’s like the best parts of Oh Edo Rocket, Sakura Wars, and Abenobashi, backed up by the most amazing animation in the season and led by a transplant from Bamboo Blade. She is even reluctant to participate!

I don’t even khow what to put into the lead picture. I snapped 39 shots, which is a higher rate than the previous champion had (Nodame provided 640+ off 23 episodes). Might as well use a random one: they all are gorgeous.

More complete report later, maybe. It’s too overwhelming.

UPDATE: Shockingly, TYM went under Sixten’s radar, at least initially.

Jason Miao on 2009 Summer

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

I bet him by one day, accidentially. Anyway, here comes (mind, I’m skipping many of thin slices; for example, Jason doesn’t say anything about Juuden-chan that I didn’t say many times prior):

[Taishou Yakyuu Musume:] I’m willing to accept the premise of little Japanese girls wanting to play baseball in 1920 Japan. I’m willing to accept that people will actually allow them to play. But… I’m not willing to accept that said little girls would be pitching overhand. And I don’t accept that said little girls would be using equipment that wasn’t even in common use in the Major Leagues yet (webbed gloves not invented until 1920s anyway). See, this is why even though I enjoy sports, I don’t enjoy that many sports anime.

The above is not the peril of knowing too much, but the peril of not having the right state of mind. Look, I am not complaining about LOX-oxidized hybrid in Rocket Girls and the presentation of its cost properties. Ironically, Jason opened my eyes on the importance of finding the frame of mind that made anime enjoyable (see MKM/RFM).

BTW, I already opened the show, but it’s so intense, that I had to stop at 8 minutes 25 seconds in, before the webbed glove appeared.

[In Kanamemo] Yui as the airhead lead, Horie Yui voicing a raging drunk lesbian, a lesbian that looks and acts like Kaede from Asura Cryin’, and even more lesbians. Not terribly exciting, and the characters feel like caricatures instead of actual characters.

No wonder nobody I know blogs this. Trash, pass.

Fortunately, GA is nothing like Hidamari Sketch. Instead of focusing on the day-to-day lives of the students, it focuses on the art – a refreshing change of pace!

This is an interesting observation. Everyone says that GA:GADC is different, but why? Here’s one answer.

And, finally… preview quiz 4tw! I have a question for you… what is your #1 series for summer 2009?

See, this is the kind of low-brow comment trolling that insecure bloggers craving for feedback employ (e.g. Otaku Dan). For Miao to fall so low is just pitiful. Stay strong, Jason. Stay strong.

UPDATE for Icy and DiGi on topic of Dan’s comment baiting. Look at the post about his new girlfriend. It begins like so:

If you guessed by the title, I’m currently dating a very nice girl. How we met was interesting, she attended the blogging panel I hosted at Metrocon. Every single time our eyes would meet, I would lose my train of thought. After my panel was over, I gathered some courage and asked her if she wanted to hang out with me for the rest of the day, she said yes. We talked and had a good time. When the day ended, we exchanged cell numbers and emails. We did some more talking and we confessed to each other.

Awesome, right? Concise, even modest! But then it ends like so:

By the way, my girlfriend is going to start writing posts here once a week. So, how is the dating scene for you?

What is this?! The celebratory post was certain to bring out the messages of joy and congratulation. But the habit was too strong. At least he didn’t end with “Discuss”.

Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou begins

Monday, July 27th, 2009

What is up with the idea of episode zero recently? It used to be uncommon, but after Haruhi it became the norm.

I cannot say that I’m very happy with all the yelling and exaggerated reactions. Both representatives of previous generation of busty women are defective (petty crime on one side, bad temper and stupidity on the other). And my imagination is not being grabbed. But then it’s only episode zero. I still remember vividly how much the frolics of Arashi’s opener contrasted with the real meat of WWII horrors. If I survived Master, I can survive two dumb bints.

Art reminds strongly of Myself;Yourself. I suspect we have Yasuhiro Kuroda to thank for that. The master looks really washed and some colors are rather weird (e.g. Yumiko’s skin tone), although it may be a defective broadcast or broadcast capture. It’s watcheable if one doesn’t ask for too much.

UPDATE: Steven replies with explanations. Apparently the color of Ichinose’s skin is even a plot point.

2009 Summer

Monday, July 27th, 2009

This is an unbelievably full season where I feel like watching a whole bunch of shows. This is, of course, impossible. That said, I’m in denial and keep an official list that is far beyond my ability to consume.

Charger Girl alias Juuden-chan: This is a deeply conflicted show that uses the formula of Strike Witches: use sympathetic, complex characters and a promising story to force watchers to endure repulsive “fanservice”. The way Arresta was developed is not to my liking. After Toradora, I call this “the Ami effect“, only Toradora had fewer bad parts. I’m going to see ep.4 that Aroduc praised, and then drop this.

GA:GADC: I watched one episode, it was ok. I didn’t finish either Sketchbook or Hidamari (neither original nor x365), but who knows, this may work better.

Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou: It’s a theoretical possibility, but it’s an SDB’s pet, and I’m not sure I’m so eager to follow after the Macademy thing. Blogging generally suggests it’s not bad. {Update: Crap? No, not crap. But I’m not very much into magic for magic’s sake. It’s like the “most spectacular magic ever” in Magic User’s Club. It was great, but does not define the show or compensates its failings for me.}

Taishou Yakyuu Musume: Maybe they have exposition on baseball and so educate me on its mysterious and opaque nature. I suspect (hope even) that watching TYM for baseball is like watching Nodame for classical music, but hey, they put it into the title.

Umi Monogatari: Jonathan Tappan writes:

Cute story with two magical girls. One is a mermaid (actually she looks more like a nereid), the other is a grumpy human girl. They are forced to fight a twisted lesbian evil spirit whose plan to conquer the world involves sending nasty sea creatures that try to kiss them.

Sounds like Simoun. The question is, if it’s any good as an anime. {Update: Jonathan calls the above description “whimsical”. I thought it was “crudely trolling but darn hilarious”, but “whimsical” is sure laconic. I realize that the two have nothing in common, but the repulsive effect on me is the same.}

Sora no Manimani: Sounds quite nice, although IIRC Hinano liked it.

Umineko: I heard it’s quite violent and brutal, but I’m intrigued by the costume design in Digi’s strip. What? It’s no worse than watching Ikkitousen for Chizumatic’s top rotation.

Sainunkoku Monogatari is suspended

Monday, July 27th, 2009

The suspension of Saiunkoku is exactly the same thing that happened to 12K. The opening segment was great, but as the show plateaued, I searched for an escape.

Don’s foresight was spot on:

I don’t think that there is likely to be any real in-depth consideration of the challenges of governing an empire. … Instead, I expect that the remaining 36 episodes will focus more on court intrigues, treachery, assassination attempts, bromides and whether Ryuuki really does prefer guys.

Ana-sempai says that, based on fanfics at least, they aren’t yet married a few novels down the road. Meh, been there with Ranma, not interested.

GA:GADC begins

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

Right off the bat, I’m going to disagree with the esteemed Aroduc about GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class. He proclaimed:

If you were expecting this to be some kind of slice of life show similar to Sketchbook or Hidamari, you’re out of luck. It’s sort of like the hyperactive and ADD child of Pani Poni Dash, Azumanga, the Muppet Babies, and perhaps a cocker spaniel.

I don’t only disagree because I hate PPD passionately, and GA didn’t give me an excuse to hate it. But I do think it’s similar to Hidamari and Sketchbook, and belongs into the same generation with them. I call the long-haired girl who teaches everyone “Kuga”. Heck, Kuga even reminds me of Mei Etoh. So yeah, it’s totally the same thing. Jokes may be better, but characters are not as engaging as Yunocci, so it all balances out.

BTW, dancing chibis.

Kurogane Communication begins

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

Althought I’m a big fan of the modern anime, it’s nice to look back sometimes and admire how they used to make it. Not every series of “back then” is Patlabor or To Heart, but Kurogane Communication is not bad. And it’s quaint.

Aroduc reminded me that Kurocomm was the breakout performance for Yui Horie. How time flies!

53RG10 on Juuden-chan

Friday, July 24th, 2009

On OYM:

This dude needs to go to some anger management classes to deal with his anger… or some domestic violence classes so he could learn that BEATING UP GIRLS IS NOT FUNNY!

Normally the sexist discourses like the above are welcome on Ani-nouto, but in this case I do think it’s funny. The key difference with, say, mistreatment of haremmetes in H2O, is that Plug does not suffer from beatings. She is not happy about it, and complains to Arresta, but seem otherwise not worse for the wear.

I kinda get pissed every time he brings out the bat and hits Plug. It’s really uncalled for…killing the ‘mood’.

Why is “mood” quoted? Is he hinting on interrupted masturbation here?

But I must admit, SOMETIMES the beating is funny… ’cause IT FITS the situation… like with Aresta, that masochist.

The double standards, how we love them.

UPDATE: Steven comments further. I suspect he missed that the double standard in question is between objecting to beatings of Plug and approving of beatings of Arresta. Having two standards for men and women is a given!

Theowne on Haibane Renmei

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Just a few notes on a review:

Over my years of browsing anime forums, I’ve seen that there is generally a pattern in terms of how people respond to “Haibane Renmei”. There is one group of people who have watched the series and rave about it, ranging from calling it exceptional to deeming it a masterpiece. Then there is a second group of people, who always reply that they dropped the series after a few episodes, and found it uninteresting.

This is not unique to Haibane. How many people dropped Gurren-Lagann at ep.4?

It’s quite a unique series. It brings you into a strange setting but does not go into detailed explanations about what or where this setting is.

RahXephon does the same thing — to talk about series which excel at it.

The concept of sin and forgiveness plays a major role, but no direct references to any religion are made, although the angelic wings and halos have clear implications.

Don’t forget that Christianity is an exotic religion for Japanese, not known well by most. By necessity, ABe has to refer to the erzatz Christianity in his imagery, not the real one.

BTW:

The opening theme is called “Free Bird” and is a wonderfully bittersweet instrumental theme, which is a wonderful break from the pop music that usually opens anime series, and would have been completely out of place here. The piece revolves around a melody played over a repeated chord progression, I-v, that is, a major chord followed by the minor chord of the fifth. Here is G major followed by D minor, repeat. I only mention that because I’ve always liked this chord change because it has a lot of nuances that can be manipulated by a composer to reflect sadness, joy, and as in the case here, a nostalgic, bittersweet quality.

Pro.