Archive for July, 2013

Evirus on Valvrave

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

I’m going to quote the full para because guys, it’s gold. Reading Evirus’ critique of Valvrape is better than watching it. It’s like Lem’s critique of fictional books:

Kakumeiki Valvrave is a ridiculous mecha show by Sunrise which is incredibly aggravating when it is promoting the triumph of teenagers over adults (even when it does it satirically) and decidedly myopic when it naively focuses on the importance of the school as a social construct. I actually can’t tell if Sunrise is making fun of its (presumably teenage) audience, or if it is honestly trying to sell a story about youth empowerment to a generation for whom school is almost literally its entire world — a generation that grew up knowing approximately zero-point-fuck-all about war. I mean, the SCHOOL seceded? Really? And they elected a flibbertigibbet as their leader? Seriously? And the deepest desire of the refugees is to engage in traditional school functions after reaching safety? I think Sunrise is trying to coyly accuse teenagers of being simpletons, but a part of me suspects a solid portion of its viewers actually embraces these preposterous developments unironically. Remember that an early extended scene actually used the confiscation of cell phones as an example to depict the horrors of war. Japanese teenagers would likely be appalled at the prospect of having their beloved keitai taken from them, but surely even the most self-centered of these youths understand that actual refugees and displaced persons from real-world war zones would not sympathize with this particular loss even a little bit. But like I said, I can’t tell. This is what makes Valvrave so bad that it’s good, I guess.

And he’s not even using the chuu-word that I can’t spell.

On a personal note, all this reminds me about Shingu, where the school was equally the center of the world, but in a mature way and a for a good reason. Difference between pandering schlock and the best of anime, I guess.

Kaori Shoji on idols

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Reading the article in Japan Times, one gets an idea that the author is not very enthusiastic about idols, but interestingly, the complaints are centered around poor working conditions and compensation. There is not a word of whining about “graduation”.

The best part of the article is perhaps this personal narrative:

Fast forward some four decades from the ash and rubble years. The 1980s spawned the aidoru būmu (アイドルブーム, idol boom) supported by an industry that held countless kōkai ōdishon (公開オーディション, public auditions) and employed legions of scautoman (スカウトマン, talent scouts) to comb the streets and look for that genseki (原石, unpolished gem) of looks and talent. Rumors abounded as to where exactly these scouts did their combing — some of my friends walked up and down in front of the Laforet Building in Harajuku, while others took the train to hang out on the platform of Tamagawa Gakuen-mae station — the school known for accepting the prettiest, most well-bred girls in the Kanto region. Hiroko Yakushimaru (the princess aidoru of the decade), was a Tamagawa Gakuen graduate, and back then my oldest brother’s biggest boast was that he had dated a Tamagawa girl.

Just so the gentle reader can appreciate ep.1 of Xenoglossia better.

Yuyushiki ends

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Considering myself an independent expert in CGDCT since 2002, so much in fact that I feel comfortable rejecting Hidamari, I am here to proclaim Yuyushiki to be excellent — in its own way. It is not the second coming of Azumanga, because nothing can be. And it does not have the steady, unyielding excellency of GA:GADC. But it recovered from the mediocre start and delivered the happiness.

Plus, it has set the new standard for animation for our times. By myself, I was only able to see the overt, such as the ear color in 09. But the Internet is full of explanations.

Once the story started rolling, it was really the straight-up cute, sometimes ladled up quite thick, as in the scene of the double standards about cold hands. The 4koma edges were somewhat noticeable, but I find it difficult to complain too much about that, because what is the alternative? Only a full-blown story like K-ON.

As far as characters go, the straight-man Yui (Ichii) has to carry most of it, but her friends weren’t too bad. There was also a trick. While searching for the not yet stomped ground, creators often look at making characters eccentric. In Yuyushiki the main trio is somewhat dysfunctional, but just as we start thinking that Yuzu might be perhaps too much of an idiot, we find out that the other trio is really screwed up, and the main characters are paragons of normality by comparison. Then, everyone is happy and refocus on the cute for the remainder.

So, basically, it’s a modern replay of all the tropes. The yandere lesbian pays a favour back with her idol’s boobs, for example (in ep.8). Kaorin, you have changed so much, and yet so little.

Liked: Yes
Rewatch: Quite possible

AIURA ends

Friday, July 5th, 2013

In the end, it was the same thing it was in the beginning: an advertisement for the newly-hatched animation studio. Steven called Kanaka “not even slightly amusing”. Not sure if I want to go that far, but yes. Unfortunately, there was no space for others to take from her.

Okay, Ledford, you win this one

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

The notorious anime businessman and fan-hater did something good for once: judging from the flag, he sponsored a tank for a display at AX (not exactly matching, as even I can see that the gun is different, bug no matter) (via Moy).

Muromi-san fails

Monday, July 1st, 2013

I protest-dropped Muromi-san with one episode remaining until the end (thanks to Fuji-san), so in some way it almost counts as a completion. And frankly it was way too late. The series wasn’t all that great even as an absurd comedy. Worse, it slided badly through the run. The attempts at social commentary and satire were pathetic, not only compared to the jerk fairies, but even to Sunred and Joshiraku. Yes, Otohime was so moe that she broke the blog, but even her episode offered some clue about where all this was heading, when she was imagining being violated. So, whatever. With the benefit of hindsight, I think it was a mistake to pick Muromi for torrenting. Should’ve focused on Yuyushiki instead, but who knew.