Archive for January, 2014

Girls und Panzer suspended

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

Few recent shows came with such recommendations. Incessant beat of Garupan drum was emanating from Chizumatic for months (using “masterpiece” and such). Nova called it a “very enjoyable and fun show with solid execution”.

Blogs aside, there was a serious public interest:

According to Rocket News, a blog that seems to report mostly on Asian pop culture, 110,000 civilians applied to watch the exercise, held on August 25 at the foot of Mt. Fuji. Rocket News attributes some of the increased attention to “Girls und Panzer,” an anime show where five ordinary-seeming schoolgirls participate in “the way of the tank,” depicted in the show as a traditional modern art, and compete in tank competitions with other schools. It’s all very traditional Japanese anime, except for the military aspect. Since its release last year the show has climbed to the top of Japan’s media charts. Tank figurines base on the show are apparently extremely popular.

Wisdom of the crowds, man. Imagine my surprise, then, when the anime turned out to be insanely pedestrian. I’m not talking about the pacing here. The events unfolded at a lively speed. It’s not about being cliche either, although, of course, the setup of a reluctant protag was not terribly innovative. Garupan‘s writer even gets full marks for making Miho lose once [1]. But the overall story outside of the battlefield was a farce, and the characters were cardboard cutouts. Even Hana getting disowned was a complete flop. How is that even possible?! GONZO could make a better show than this!

I’m not cancelling this outright only because it could a fodder for the “anime for rednecks” in 2014.

UPDATE: Steven rushes to explain. The characters were made in caricature on purpose, you see.

[1] Mechanically, Miho’s win in the initial mock battle was fully magical and senseless in a major way, especially over Erin’s team. The tradition of Yu-gi-oh style railroading continued throughout. I only award these marks for the particular zig-zag of the plot railway.

Uchouten Kazoku suspended

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

In this raft of cancellations and suspensions, we’re coming up to more disastous ones, and Eccentric Family was gunning strongly for the win. The pain of betrayed expectations made it the worst. It started with Evirus’ secret messages, and then Nova quipped how it was “like the chemo to cure all the edgy and preachy pseudo-intelligentsia shows that have been all the rage recently”. No. It is the cancer, not the chemo. But the cancer that is pretending to be the cure.

No disagreement about the qualities here: the storytelling and direction are supremely competent. The way Uchouten Kazoku is put together is level with Katanagatari. It’s that good. The problem, however, is that just about everyone involved is a massive asshole. Which they ought to be, because tanuki are supposed to be mischievous. Obviously. Still, I spent 8 episodes hating everyone to bits — most of all Benten — and it wasn’t much fun at all.

Another, smaller, issue was that the supposedly interesting life was very uninteresting, because it was so worthless. What have you accomplished, guys?

I only lasted so long because I hoped that Kaisei would redeem this stinker, but she didn’t.

Vividred Operation suspended

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

Vividbutts had everything seemingly going for it. The infamous butts were nowhere near as obnoxious as same in Strike Witches. The docking wasn’t thematically concerning at all (so much so that I am considering giving Simoun a chance). The characters were nicer than those of Lagrange. So, what happened? Just vague uneasiness about the future direction, feeling that it can only go downhill from the end of introductions. The idiotic “operation” that Professor tried to run provided the excuse.

Let’s face it, the suspension here is largely irrational and capricious. I’m just afraid to death that they’ll ruin everything, now that I’ve seen Himawari. Feels a bit like the way AKB0048 was suspended.

Ana-sempai has heavy spoilers if anyone is interested.

Non-Non Biyori is suspended

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Not much to say here. The original assessement proved to be correct and the anime gradually petered out. BTW, manga is losing steam too.

Yowapeda fails

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Just as I start thinking that perhaps hating sports anime may be as silly as hating mecha, this happens. Most striking feature of Yowamushi Pedal is how annoyingly didactic it is. Even if we insult Initial D by comparison with its sport anime peers, we have to observe how unobtrusive the explanations of FF and FR drive systems were in it. Here, however, bicycles are a topic, if not the topic. They have episodes fully built around the effects of wind and use of derailer.

I watched 01-04, quit on the aforementioned wind, fast-forwarded to the training camp at 12, which was not that bad, returned to 08 and 09, and understood that it was a waste of time. The story is just completely amateurish and worthless. Protag is a cartoon, empty suit.

Too bad, I kind of liked Imaizumi and older club members.

Golden Time suspended

Friday, January 24th, 2014

It was an underwhelming affair, and I was only happy when final moments of Golden Time 09 gave me an excuse to ragequit. I actually came back to it later to learn that the idiotic plot device was short-lived, which only made it explicit that the Twitter meme “Ghost Banri is a dick” was spot on.

The core problem with this anime is really that it’s nothing but a romcom, and it’s not interesting. Characters had such intense struggles and brilliant accomplishments in Nodame. Heck, even the miserable Honey and Clover acknowledged the real world. Not here, however.

And then the idiocy with the ghost. It’s like that other anime about “ceiling ghost husband watching you”, only somehow I ended watching this.

With 11 episodes down, nobody can say I didn’t give GT enough chance.

P.S. Why the suspension and not cancellation? Umm… Oka, maybe.

P.P.S. I hope everyone realizes that Ghost Banri is not actually a ghost. It’s merely his old consciousness, corked up.

iM@S Concert Wreath Fundraiser

Friday, January 24th, 2014

It came to my attention that Omo and his co-conspirators are running a hardcore meatspace project for American P’s. Basically: 1. Give Omo money and a short message, 2. MAGIC HAPPENS, 3. Asami Imai may read your message. Omo blogs the progress at the 059Pro site.

They also run a tee-shirt campaign (design pictured). It’s unclear to me if anyone from 059Pro is going to be present on site, or they arrange for the flower vendor to deliver the wreath remotely. Mostly the shirts commemorate the project. I didn’t know what to write for a message, so I ordered one. That eagle! Note, however, that while your message will end in the booklet, tees are only going to happen if 20 or more P’s request them.

UPDATE: Received an e-mail update, including the following:

The books we will print for these messages will be translated bilingually into Japanese and be given to the staffs at the concert for each of the idol!

From the unsurprising coincidences department

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Took me a little while to realize it, but I saw this today:

Does that name sound familiar? Waaaaait a moment… Isn’t it the seiyuu from Garupan, who’s gone on a crazy Russian bend?

And it is her!

I hope it works better for her than Para-para worked for Yoko Ishida.

(Some of) elected AKB(00)48 people

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

As soon as I wrote “Rewatch: Doubtful”, I went back and rewatched some of the more exciting parts, for the feels, as they say. One such part was Yuko and Co. at the election gala. It looked like the creators went whole hog to express the girls’ personalities, so I went to Youtube and watched some of the old election coverage to compare.

Yuko herself did not look as boisterous, but she was smiling even in an old election where she pulled 6th (she is still active and ranked 2nd in the 32nd round). Oddly enough she’s one of the most stable individuals among the winners, belive it or not.

I don’t know about pheromones, Kojiharu is pretty indeed. And yes, she was disappointed with the low rank (IIRC her highest was 6th, she is 9th in the 32nd).

Takamina is, well.. very robust. And it may not be immediately apparent, but she used to wear the very haircut that the anime portrays (if not lampoons), or at least something very similar.

I’m sure the characters would seem very recognizeable to any fan of 3DPD versions, should they check out the anime. But on the flip side, I have to wonder how well the anime is going to age. Kojiharu and Tomochin are slipping in rankings. Acchan and Mariko-sama graduated (she was 27). In a few short years nobody will even remember who all these people were.

iM@S Cinderella Girls PV

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

Late last year, a PV for Cinderella Girls was floated, made in iM@S TV anime style. I am sure every true fan had watched it already, but I wish to save a few screencaps, with appropriate saddness. Like the pilot of Rocket Girls, it is surely destined to remain a glimpse of what can never be. {Update: Hah!}

Note that the video had very little panning over stills, and was fully animated for the most part. Naturally, screencaps cannot capture that.

The original trio open up the PV.

Same, in action.

Same, transformed.

Rin is making her best Chihaya impression.

Scores of already-voiced girls were present too, if even briefly. I freely admit that I cannot remember them all. The rightmost is Anastasia, who makes me cringe really hard by inserting well-spoken Russian words in most unnatural way. Third from the right is Mrs. Kawashima, the oldest idol of them all, who is professionally obsessed with anti-aging remedies. I only recognize the rest vaguely.