Archive for February, 2012

Idolmaster Confessions

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Idolmaster Confessions >> Stuff White People Like. Because it’s a meme based on love, not on hate.

Haganai begins

Friday, February 17th, 2012

I came to Haganai with a load of misconceptions to be shattered in the space of a couple of episodes. Some of them were minute, for instance the name “Haganai” and nickname “Meat” were not 2ch/4chan inventions, but were canonical. Some were bigger. In fact my idea of this show was completely upended.

It happened because J.P.Meyer built the biggest misconception with his quote: “it was like [Haganai] was filled with hateable sex objects rather than awkward cute girls”. And he meant it, too, since he claimed it was the reason to drop the series. Now, I know better than believe these things when they are posted by some feminist hater of all things good in anime. But J.P. usually cuts through the spin and dogma.

He was, in my humble opinion, wrong about the fanservice, too. In the post where he expounds on SDS, he choses to argue the “opportunity costs [of] the fanservice”. When I read him, the narrative seemed extremely convincing. But when I watched the anime for myself, the impression was completely different. The character development was all there, nothing missing. Sena’s chest was well within the parameters and made complete sense. They even managed to include her gorgeous bottom in a convincing manner. Perhaps the moment when they did the same thing with Yozora’s bottom previously[2] tripped J.P. and left him disappointed, but even for that completely useless shot, the opportunity cost was very much negligible.

I should note that sexualization is extremely overt in the OP animation and perhaps it offended J.P.’s sensibilities. Clearly it was an attempt to sell the show to men who think with their penises, hard. But is it a part of the story?

On a completely unrelated topic — or possibly a very related one — it looked like the ‘sphere went hard for Sena, mostly on the account of Yozora’s character ostensibly being nasty. That would be understandable, but for me they look very evenly balanced in rudeness, at least for the first 3 episodes. I cannot understand why the disbalance. The two are given polar stereotypes of anime beauty. Sena is West: blond, buxom, sluttish. Yozora is East: dark, slim, bookish. Perhaps it may suggest something that Hikago summed up his impression thus: “it was mostly me thinking how terrible it [anime] is while drooling over meat [Sena].” I cannot deny that she was ridiculously cute when she started unwind a little. For me, however, the story of friendship thus far was handled as well as in, for example, Railgun or Dai-Guard. Of course, I am only 3 episodes in. Maybe Sena does something to win the hearts of watchers, or they bungle the story and turn the whole anime into a mess from which only Sena’s natural advantages help escape. We shall see.

UPDATE: Sabas twittered that it may not just Sena’s cup size, but that she’s a gamer which sways the audience. Possible! On the other hand, Ryan says he’d go for Yozora. Well, he’s not seen it yet. Maybe I am deceiving him now like J.P. did before.

Omo comments:

I am sympathetic [for the post above] because I didn’t agree with the general discourse on the topic from the blogs I’ve read either. Like, the whole thing comparing the anime to the manga. I thought the anime was slightly more authentic in that the girls are genuinely unlikeable, versus some kind of semi-tsundere moe that gets you in the manga.

Unfortunately he liked Ichizon. I don’t think that either Yozora or Sena were as bad as those characters.

[2] When Yozora and Sena were in perfect agreement, suddenly.

Haganai Portable

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

This was completely unplanned, but my imaginary girlfriend, who is not known for initiative, talked me into watching Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai (aka Haganai). Apparently she was insulted by someone on IRC saying that a Haganai character Sena “looked like a hooker” because she wore a sparkling dress… I found that FUNi provides easy legal streaming at YouTube, so I thought: “sure, why not”. Imagine our surprise when Haganai opened with an arc dealing with imaginary friends. I had no idea. I told my wife about this, and she replied: “An unlikely coincidence indeed! But nobody will believe you, dear”.

Another thing they dealt with in the anime were VN-style games for PSP, which reminded me how Toradora Portable was a barrel of fun. I immediately went and pre-ordered Haganai Portable. Aside from the game itself, I may need reading glasses, as my eyesight is getting poor, but we’ll deal with it in due time. I hope the protagonist is voiced there too.

A fistful of Suspensions and Rejects

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

I burned through a bunch of anime recently, blogging which was uncomfortable. But I’m going to collate the list here, without getting into a lot of detail (maybe less than last time).

Actually, first up is a bunch of former Suspensions that I retired into Rejects after all.

B-Gata H-Kei was sitting in there for more than a year, if I remember right. At some level, I really wanted to watch it, but every time I restarted it, I stopped in seconds, literally. The total accumulated time is 7 minutes 57 seconds. Just something about it rubbed me the wrong way. Decided to face the reality and retire.

In Sora no Woto I reached a bit further: up to Konata unloading from the train. I hoped to restart it after CKS assured me that the supposed horrors of ep.8 were a joke. I thought it was some kind of lesbian rape or whatever, but it turned out nothing. Still, I am just not interested.

Angel Beats I am afraid to continue. I stopped after the mabu tofu segment, and I think it may be better to leave it on a positive note. Jun Maeda is no Yoshitoshi ABe.

Now, the new items.

Tiger and Bunny: seen 1. Ana made me do it. It was nicely dynamic and well-set, but frankly, Tiger sucks and ruins everything.

Kurau: Phantom Memory: seen 1. A poster in the restroom made me finally see it. Nick initiated it, but you know… Try to look at male Kurau hugging Christmas every time you pee. Unfortunately, I hate shows with agents (like GiTS, but its movie was at least a classic). And then the thematic concerns were significant.

Uta~kata: seen 1. It clearly shows promise or an almost-masterpiece anime, but is supposed to be nasty. I rejected the goddamn Madoka for that, so what chance did this have?

Working and Working 2 (Wagnaria): seen a bunch, maybe 5 and 3. Its humour was rather good at first, but all characters were defective, and I do not appreciate that. The second season was a fairly uninspired continuation. Nothing was ever happening, too, and I saw enough Simpsons to learn to avoid endless series. Matt Groening even had the temerity to brag how Bart never needs to graduate from the 4th grade — he thinks it’s an advantage!

Chuu-Bra: I don’t remember anything about it. Probably saw 15 seconds before dropping.

Mai-OTOME Zwei I actually completed, but wish I didn’t. Were two bucks wasted? Well, insomuch that I am now able to badmouth the show in full knowledge, $2 is acceptable. But the bad overload by useless characters for contrieved fanservice reasons left a very bad taste. I am dismayed how apt my comparison with iM@S OVA was, only they managed to waste 4 episodes, not 1!

Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon: seen 3 (yep, gave it a good chance). It’s nicely intriguing, which I like, but Touri is unbearable and I’m not exaggerating. Ignoring the setting is like work, and all the middle-age stupidity pollutes everything anyway. Heavy thematic concerns, too — not playing as bad a role as in Kurau, and I liked Masazumi a bit, but existing nonetheless. This is a Reject. I even stopped before it was revealed who exactly Touri targeted (not necessarily the robot as per OP).

Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi: was rage-suspended at 10 minutes in, when the first boob-faceplant occurred. Still hope to continue one day.

Mouretsu Uchuu Kaizoku: after a couple of episodes I understood that I was only watching it in order to participate in discussions, so I stopped. Supposedly ep.5 was awesome. Hopefully the ending does not suck and then I marathon it.

DiGiKerot on Dearly Stars and regions

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

DiGi made the following startling claim in Omo’s comments:

You know, I’ve had a copy of Dearly Stars since it’s release, and I’ve still not got around to playing it. Part of this is that it’s one of those annoying DSi-enhanced games that are region-locked (therefore, won’t play on my larger-screened EU DSes).

I must confess that I have no idea what he is talking about, because my Dearly Starts runs just fine on a U.S.-market DS:

The print on the box does not say a word about DSi, and if I remember right, the game came out before DSi. It does mention some mysterious Wi-Fi feature though…

Coincidentially, IM@S2 for PS3 works just fine on U.S. console too.

UPDATE:

Dearly Stars works fine on a regular DS, regardless of region. The problem is that, when Nintendo introduced the DSI (and the XL), they created something of a double standard – most DS games are region free, but any which use any of the additional functionality of the DSi will only work on consoles of the same region.

Dearly Stars as some additional functionality which can utilise the cameras on the DSi – something to do with scanning QR codes, as I recall – and as a result, non-Japanese DSi/DSiXL consoles refuse to so much as acknowledge that there’s anything in the cartridge socket. I mean, it’s not like I’ve not got a regular DS (both Lite and Phat), but the screens are a good degree smaller than on a DSi or even a 3DS. It’s kind of hard to go back at this point.

Quiet Morita-san OVA

Monday, February 6th, 2012

So, I was watching the OVA to see the moments of martial infidelity Zyl was talking about, and pretty soon I was into the show in general, despite the ridiculously simplistic art.

Pretty fun little anime, all things considered.

Popularity at GR

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Horrible performance of Liferea made me migrate to Google Reader gradually. I move blogs one by one, starting at the top of the reading list. This way less interesting blogs are left languish in Liferea, which I rev up once in a few days. Like Twitter, GR shows the subscriber counts. Here’s a sample distribution (for one reason or the other, I do not read heavyweights like Instapundit or Danny Choo though a reader):

Blog Subscribers
Small Dead Animals 927
International Liberty 511
2DT 436
Omonomono 225
Animanachronism 183
Karmaburn 107
Chizumatic 44
Ani-nouto 27
CKS::anime 8
zaitcev.mee.nu 6
Beta-Waffle 3

So:

  • Conventional wisdom is that anime blogs are insignificant compared to political blogs. Not so: a dead anime blog still has 436 people clinging to it, or well within striking range of fairly well-knowin political blogs.
  • Beta-Waffle has three people reading it [on Google]? Seriously? What is wrong with humanity?

UPDATE: Omo says that GR shows 45 subscribers to Beta-Waffle for him, which would be in the right ballpark. I suspect some sites may have a problem splitting a feed into Atom and RSS.

When is Idolmaster going to abate?

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

A few days ago, Omo posted this:

What is left is trying to know all the songs, and that is a task too tall even for me, lest I get serious. But I just want a short fling with iM@S! I don’t want to turn into [Author] (I jest).

When I saw it, I thought that he only needs to be patient and the urge will pass. However, here’s Shin, a new convert, twittering:

iDOLM@STER ruined Berserk and BRS. For some reason it makes good artists forget about their current projects and focus on im@s instead.

It is difficult to say how far the franchize can go. Who knew that Miku is going to be that amazing? And I do suspect that Kadokawa expected more from Haruhi.

I thought IM@S was going to burn itself out long ago. I looked how Hibiki was a PETA-addled Makoto, and thought that the creators were scrapping the bottom of the creativity barrel. And the crazy trio? A victim of teenage pregnacy, seriously, is that what it takes now?

But that was before the TV anime. It was before Shinkan Shoujo. Before Omo knew Ami from Mami. Before Haruka questioned what it was being an idol.

I bet Pirates run for 2 cours

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

What are chances that whatever was going with Mia’s hands was a hook?

Both Shingu and Stellvia were either truncated from an unusual 3-cour format, or had extensions proposed, depending how you look at it.

P.S. On second thought, Martian Successor Nadesico was a plain 2-cour affair with no drama attached. Only had a movie, like everything else.

P.P.S. Widespread misunderstanding makes it clear that I should have put more thought into the title. I toyed with “Pirates were destined to run for 2 cours before anime was green-lighted”, but it was too long.

One of the two

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

Either Zyl is a king of trolls or I am gullible in the extreme. He told me that OVA of Quiet Morita-san had definite proof that Mayu’s father was actually unfaithful to Yumi. I downloaded the two episodes that are not available at Crunchy, and he’s not in either of them. As far as I’m concerned, Yumi’s groundless jealousy is the source of funny hijinks in the anime canon. She is also a little broken in the head. I say that on the basis of sitting in seiza overnight in front of the door just to give the guy a good earful.

UPDATE: OVA (thanks, Zyl).