Archive for July, 2011

2DT and Yi, sitting in the tree

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

The special effort to dig deeper was better pre-meditated than my random musings (e.g. about Azusa), but I only extracted one thing from it: the documentary questions that I took for the lines of dialogue from the player’s avatar, may in fact be more related a standard of documentary instead. Once reminded about it, I remembered that I saw those silent questions a few times. Note, however, that in IM@S 01 they are not only questions, but a full dialogue, and one of the screencaps even captures that. I do not recall that happening in documentaries or interviews.

P.S. The remaining parsing of what’s manufactured and the fascination with genesis of similacra is not for me. Anime is a fantasy world to begin with, so I’m used to it. Now, of course there is an angle of IM@S representing the struggles of live people. But just to add an oddity to it, one of my few accidential Japanese friends is a burnt-out idol, who retired to her hometown in Hokkaido and lives a life of OL. I don’t even want to think about what’s real anymore. If it resembles our world somewhat, it’s all good.

Metanorn on IM@S 01

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

In the middle of the typical retelling, which perhaps is not as dull as most of them, we find this:

Apparently after eating her hamster’s lunch (um, what?), it got mad at Hibiki and ran away. They go after it and we see some other idol and Makoto in the kitchen.

It is Yukiho! YUKIHO HAGIWARA. Seriously, people, she was in Xenoglossia — with ridiculous boob pads, but…

… oh. I see what may be the problem.

P.S. On the other hand, if Yukiho sees Producer one too many times, snaps and goes on rampage… Anime of the year, right there. Thank you, Evirus, for giving a voice to the “part of me sincerely wishes” line.

Azusa’s tragically worthless life

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

I rewatched IM@S 01 with subtitles to see if I missed anything, and sure thing: not that I missed all that much, but being relieved of the effort to decypher, was able to put 2 and 2 together. In particular, I was reminded that Azusa had a backstory. Not a large or dramatic one, but nonetheless, she graduated from a junior college and found herself unneeded by the society. The only difference with millions of young women with liberal arts degrees that are our contemporaries on both sides of Pacific, she ended in employ of Namco Pro instead of Starbucks. Also, instead of developing a depression, becoming religious, or hooking up on drugs, she is dreaming about the destined person — but is not doing much about finding him.

There is no special message in any of it, I’m afraid, and actually Azusa was developed for original games, before the higher education bubble became this apparent in America. But if creators play their cards right, she may become more popular than ever. Many people might relate, even in Japan.

UPDATE: Omo counters:

I don’t think IM@S’s narrative cares about self-identification as much as drawing affection (and in the real idol industry, in the mind space) from the audience. Granted in these kind of things, usually there’s some kind of back story in which identification helps to disarm the audience and buy into whatever story that is being sold. But the core of an idol identity is one that is still just a step different than just you or me.

I’m idly wondering if we can ever know what actually works, for example by studying idol rankings and have them broken down by sex of voters. If numbers of her female admirers start pushing those of Mikoto’s…

UPDATE in 2013: About MomozakiP (桃邪気P).

Nichijou 14

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

The ep.14 of Nichijou was an amazing departure from the routine, with amazement stemming from how almost nothing has changed. Magic! But I enjoyed any time when characters from different plotlines interacted before, and this delivered the best synergies ever. And of course, I hated the Nano and Prof sequences the most, but ep.14 marks a significant change in its dynamic, even if Hakase cannot help herself one time (when Nano is departing to school). Could it be that Hakase is growing up? We cannot be so lucky, do we now?

On top of the red plotline, the main girls provided a stellar segment for our and Nano’s benefit, and even the intermission characters were on a roll (note that Igo Soccer linked the clubbies with the teacher who was hitting on Sakurai-sensei).

I’m afraid to hope for any continuation. I was only watching this anime as a brain-off Crunchy stream.

P.S. I recognized the new ED (it’s “Tsubasa wo Kudasai” from K-ON).

P.P.S. Hanners wrote:

It isn’t wall to wall hilarity, but in terms of pacing, layout and its overall comedy value this felt far more satisfying that your average episode of the series. Of course, we’ve had false dawns from this hit and miss comedy before, but bringing Nano into the Mio/Yuuko/Mai circle of friends could really freshen things up big time while also allowing the series a chance to be more focused without having to concern itself with jumping between character groups quite as often. At last, Nichijou seems to have some rich potential to mine.

I’m quite certain that they will continue jumping as before, and in fact this very episode demonstrated how it’s going to be done, but now there is a definite purpose to it all, and that’s the key. But it may be a false down, yes.

Nova on IS

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

While Madoka Magica and Yumekui Merry are trawling the depths of emo and suffering, and Freezing is busy mutilating poor girls with pointy things, Infinite Stratos just goes “Hey man, why so serious? Here, have some slick CG mechas and a comedy harem. You’re welcome.” It was a weekly breeze of fresh air that I grew to appreciate, even if it did smell a bit like mold.

I think he’s selling IS a little short, but it is a valid way to look at it, and the one with which I sympathize.

BTW, there was one fall-and-accidentally-grope moment – on a teacher.

Infinite Stratos ends

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

And so! it all passed so quickly. Although I finished watching yesterday, I haven’t decided yet, if it’s a keeper; should I rush to buy R2 DVDs, or wait for R1s.

The reason for the hesitation is that although IS delivers what’s promised, I want even more. For example, back when I and Steven hashed the “SW+man” concept, he was adamant that Japanimation is institutionally incapable of delivering on anything that is not a harem in this context. He was right, of course. But still, disappointing. Even within the confines of IS, there was space for improvement, I felt. For example, I wish that Charlotte did not join the rest of the cockblocking gang in the end. I expected more from her, under Mike’s bad influence, even after I noted in ep.10 “Charlotte’s superiority is not as dramatic as I thought.”

All this is perhaps grossly unfair, since with anime decidedly drifting into nasty recently (see Madoka), IS stands out in a nostalgic way, a reminder of what we lost (well, AsoIku was supposed to be that too, but you know…). So, I am going to be inconclusive here.

Liked: Yes
Rewatch: Undecided

UPDATE: Evirus says:

How things would have been different if she had been absent from the series’ final scene!

Great minds think alike or what?

Intro cards in IM@S

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

A minion at RP remarks:

The Idolm@ster gives you their name in big kanji right off the bat. Although it does seem to make sense as a way for the audience to “engage” with the characters, there’s just too many girls in this show for me to remember each and every one of their Japanese names. How can they expect me to remember their names when I just got to know what they look like!

As anything in anime, this approach is not new. Pani Poni Dash did the same introductions. The names were impossible to remember back then, and they are now. It’s not the name card as an introduction that is a problem — Mitsudomoe had nicely done ones — it is the number of them. When in IM@S 01 these cards are justified as being a part of the mockumentary, it only means the film itself is poorly directed. So, even though I knew all their names beforehand, I do not approve.

Also, the creators chose ugliest colors, and the least contrast colors for the names, making them hard to read. I see no artistic intent in this, only lack of competence on the part of A-1.

Mr. Otou on Yumeki Merri

Saturday, July 9th, 2011

In passing at Sea Slugs:

It was a good looking, imaginative series with a big (sometimes misplaced) heart and tasteful fanservice. But it got weaker in its story toward the end.

He duty-blogged it under Kabitzin’s slave-driving whip and probably wrote much more, but I was semi-retired back then and didn’t pay attention. Also, love capsule summaries.

Kylaran on Miku

Friday, July 8th, 2011

When reading his post at The Behind, the most interesting side was how a normal person analizes something that comes out of nothing, hereto unknown. It is surprisingly level-headed. The non-normal people dominating the online are either too in the tank for Miku to explain anything, or feel threatened by Miku’s popularity and lash out with “fecaloid” and the like. Hence, the surprise. He speaks for the silent majority.

UPDATE: Omo was running his own series of essays (on pt.3 now), but he is a sophisticated insider.

SDB and Campanella

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Steven is warming up to, of all things, Shukufuku no Capanella. This got me remembering if there were many shows that teetered at the brink but made themselves accepted, with R > 1.

Shingu was one of these. It clearly was well made, and I do not even remember precisely what my objections were. Setsuna, yes. But it was such a great anime, that it was really silly to hang up on details. It was inevitable for it to take its rightful place in the pantheon.

Sunred is another example. It’s not a Shingu caliber show, and I actually dropped it at first. But these days I rewatch it often, for things like the Sunred’s walk in the rain in ep.13 (I even identified every location of the walk by using Google Street View and created a custom map).

But nothing else comes to mind. It does not happen often.