Archive for August, 2014

Omo on Locodol

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

If anything, he’s even more positive than other bloggers:

The result … was for at least a couple weeks I had to really pick and choose what I watch on a Thursday – that’s often the last day I can watch anime freely (as weekend meant partying it up somewhere) and for all of my backlog, I have consistently went to Locodol as the show of choice.

I want to think that is a ringing endorsement for Locodol. The cute show is surprisingly educational and it really does a great job managing my expectations. That is, I didn’t expect much to begin with, and still don’t. In that sense Locodol is even thematically consistent – who expect much of local idols anyway? Turns out the anime about local idols educate you as much about them, and is surprisingly competent and enjoyable, just like a good local idol act.

Surprisingly educational? Actually.. Yes! In surprising ways though.

One really odd thing that I noticed about my Japanese colleagues is that they still record TV broadcasts. It is really unthinkable in this post-TiVo age, but it’s a fact. They do not use VHS anymore: it’s usually some kind of rewriteable optical disk like DVD-RAM. Still, they set a timer by hand. The most advanced technology available to them was portayed in Carnival Phantasm: a DVD recorder that can also save video to a built-in hard drive. Nonetheless, it’s manually controlled (by the hapless Rin with Archer’s help). I even came to think that TiVo was outlawed in Japan.

Well, come 2014 and Locodol 08 introduces… a DVR! It is still a “crazy thing” to the poor locodol, but it exists and is within the means of a middle class family (possibly barely). The things you learn about Japan from anime.

BTW, I prefer Yama no Susume this season. Its iyashikei power is far greater that of Locodol.

Steelbound on Hanayamata

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Is not enamoured:

Did I miss a memo where it was decided that series involving cute girls doing cute things would redefine cute to mean annoying? I was so set to enjoy this series – Madhouse animation of a visually interesting topic combined with a fluffy, probably heart-warming story – because it couldn’t possibly miss. Except it did. Annoying characters and annoying vocal performances by a couple of the seiyuu started this anime in a serious tailspin that the lack of actual dancing just exacerbated. I tried to hold on, hence giving it six episodes, but it was a very painful six episodes.

Hanayamata ended in suspension at Ani-nouto as well, after 3 episodes. We don’t have a problem with its voice acting. Instead, we chose to get irked by the diamond-shaped eyes. More importantly, however, the way Yaya defined big problems of little girls seemed overwrought, and the rest was uninteresting. When Student Council entered action, it was our cue to cut the losses.

SDB on Locodol

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

While scanning quickly to add more boobies to the top rotation… he finds:

Locodol was a complete waste of time. Not for me; I got 56 grabs out of it. But I can’t imagine anyone watching it and wanting to finish it. “Locodol” is short for “Local Idol” and the idea is that there’s kind of a farming system for idols, where individual towns have locodols, and the good ones get to move up to the big time as they establish themselves, or something kind of like that.

Emphasis mine.

It’s one thing not to like a series, but to deny that someone could like it goes one step too far. I thought AsoIku and Mouretsu were disappointing, but I can imagine someone liking them.

Certainly, Locodol lacks a tightly sprung plot, heart-wrenching drama, astonishing visuals. But the girls are nice and cute, and that counts for something, right? I can imagine someone focusing on that.

Yama no Susume S2 is suspended at Crunchyroll

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

The only information thus far (apparently mentioned in a Reddit AMA at unknown URL):

lugiamania_CR 31 points 5 hours ago [On around July 18 — Author]
The contract details are not quite finalized, but we wanted to clear the rights to at least get the first episode out so we wouldn’t have to delay the whole series. We try our best to provide as much information as we can regarding delays, but sometimes we are contractually bound until everything is signed and stamped.

The season 2 comes out with 13-minute episodes, which means a dramatic upgrade in storytelling capacity. But the first thing they did with it was to run a story arc for 3 new episodes.

Dear Evilest Chairman Kadokawa or whoever, please stop depriving us from the cute.

Dog Days season 3 is coming

Friday, August 15th, 2014

(h/t @vivio_t)

It’s anybody’s guess if they want to get back on track after the filler season 2. I bet they won’t. It’s going to be more nonsense, like extensions of the original Hanaukyou Maid Tai, or what the heck, Zero no Tsukaima.

In a funny coincidence, the 2015 Winter season is going to run The Idolmaster Cinderella Girls, Kantai Collection the animation, and DD3. That’s packed.

Steelbound on Studio Ghibli

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

In which he demonstrates a superior knowledge of the subject (not sure about the merits of his recommendations, but). Even explains the origins of the “Goro Miyazaki is using computers to destroy anime” meme — it’s Ronia.

Ginban Kaleidoscope

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Due to various circumstances, I watched this on a TV and took no notes. So, here’s what I can remember from this modern fairy tale (if I may borrow the formula from Tappan).

When I lampooned the summary of Ginban Kaleidoscope at ANN, I had no idea that I would watch it, let alone like it. But when Evirus called it “surprisingly good”, he was right. Despite the premise, it is an unpretentious anime, employing competent storytelling, acted out by tolerable characters. The only part where I felt that something was missing was the final arc. It was underfilled like the final episode of Banner of The Stars: so many important events happened, the characters travelled and engaged into a high-stakes contest, but everything not directly related to the story was trimmed away mercilessly. Not that doing so damaged anything in the story, but the pace changed noticeably. Perhaps that is what made Evirus to wish for more episodes. I certainly would not like any more episodes tacked at the end.

After the finish, I researched Shizuka Arakawa a little bit. The anime was broadcast before the Olympics, and her outstanding gold was still in the fiture. So, it is unclear to me if Tazusa was supposed to represent her, e.g. if Miss Arakawa was a star enough to prompt a manga and a quick adaptation to TV anime. Yulia Lipitskaya was not a household name in Russia before Sochi.

One persistent schtick of this anime is that Tazusa (almost) always finds it necessary to reply to Pete’s voice in her head, which typically leads to confusion and aggravation in those nearby. She can stop it if she focuses, like in a press-conference, but usually she mouths off before she has a chance to fight the urge. It was irritating, just not irritating enough to ruin everything.

The instruments in Pete’s airplane showing nonsense were not irritating either. Disbelief, suspense!

Liked: Yes
Rewatch: Possible

P.S. Another anime with a ridiculous premise that was pretty good is Midori no Hibi (even has a category at Ani-nouto). Ginban Kaleidoscope, however, is more focused on the story and thus superior, IMHO. It fits da feels better, too.


Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Although Pixy compared PuPiPo to Haibane Renmei, what he really meant is the progression of the escalation in the story. Watching it, I went like so:

01: A little girl can see ghosts, how cute
04: An adventure in the otherworld, nice
09: Future adults, this is getting interesting
13: Now they are kicking ass

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t see that coming.

Unfortunately, the anime is spoilable, so I cannot relate the details… But the episodes are only 4 minutes, so we’re talking about 2 normal episodes worth of the story here. Anyone could watch for themselves. And they probably should.

Liked: Oh yes
Rewatch: Not impossible.

UPDATE: Don calls PuPiPo “funny and poignant”.

Kancolle PV is awful

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Two news items from Kancolle hit recently: 1) anime is delayed into 2015, 2) PV is available. The video in particular took over the Twitter by storm as dozens of surfing montages were shared (static and animated).

I managed to stick with the PV for about 2/3 before giving up, so I saw the surfing, arrows splitting into airplanes, and a battleship firing. It looked terribad (and my Area 11 friends agree). An animeblogger (I think either Kuro or Sabas) tweeted: “they could’ve easily adopted [the] 4-koma, but they chose to be dumb”.

Still, Wonderduck blogged “I am so aroused right now”. If I were still Russian, I would’ve employed a special offensive proverb about family composition that those rude people produced just for the occasion, but as an American anime fan I am for the big tent. Kancolle is kinda like iDOLM@STER in that it aims for a diverse franchize, parts of which appeal to a particular fan. I found that I’m not fond of the core iM@S games, but I love the music. Likewise, I love charming comic strips inspired by Kancolle. Here, have some Samidare:


Locodol 05

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

Episode 5 of Locodol feels like a rather clumsy filler, but when I watched girls praying to the lesser-known god, I figured that it needs to be considered from the right angle. I remembered the Stellvia 09, the episode ahead of the Great Mission, where nothing much happened either.

The episode’s best expression, I think, was the scene of Shipon calling her family[1]. While the school is clamping down, she walks into the empty gymnasium and pulls out her cellphone. Her brother answers. A casual conversation follows. Shippon informs him that she’s on standby[2] starting the next day and promises to call the day after, that is after the Earth undoubtedly survives. Both of them understand the implications, but they exchange the promises and Shippon hangs up.

Now that’s how you make the night-before-battle episode. Creators of Locodol do not quite measure to Tatsuo Sato, but that is to be expected, and they did what they could.

UPDATE: On a completely unrelated note, the 05 is where Saori makes an observation that I wrote down an episode before: the actual goal of locodols is to attract economic benefits from outside of the community, as opposed to advertising local businesses to locals. To be sure, a local economy is not a zero-sum game, but lowering the taxes is not in locodol’s power or charter. Fortunately, our heroes and their management manage to keep their eyes on the ball after all.

[1] The 09 is also the episode where Shipon finds her mother’s secret message, which is pretty heart-rending, and the timing is perfect, of course. But it’s not playing into the overall calm before storm theme of the episode. It’s more about Shipon’s demons that she has to face. A wonderful part, but not quite the parallel with Locodol 05 that I am building here.

[2] Althogh selected to fly in Great Mission, she’s assigned to a standby reserve. Well, given this is anime, you can imagine how that goes.