Archive for August, 2015

I’ve got nothing

Monday, August 31st, 2015

This season is pits.

Cinderella Girls is almost unbearable. Omo seems to think that I need an idol to latch on (if I understood him right). Not true, I already have Miku and Rin. Sorry, I meant “RIN RIN RIN RIN RIN”. Anyway, it’s somewhat of a nightmare, although a very well put together. By now the overall plan have become clear: Noriko Takao aims to give a gazillion idols their cameos, while using their appearances to drive various facets of the story. Omo highlighted perhaps the greatest success of this strategy: Mika Jougasaki’s episode 17, where she uses tactics of resistance to deal with the company management railroading their idol employees. In a way, her approach was more mature than Kaede’s, and she’s only 17! Generally though, I’m not pleased. Keep promising to drop it, but then every time they show me Sae or pull some other trick.

JitsuWata is simply poorly made, especially in the art department. But it’s less horrible than its in-season competitor Monster Musume, just enough to stick with it. Nagisa is the best, BTW.

Wakako-zake is great, but it’s a 2-minuter.

Anyway, here are a few pictures.

Wooser was already blogged. Miss Monochrome is playing Liberty in this prudish re-enactment.

Wakaba*Girl shares the main problem with Watamote: the lead chearacter is an idiot. Granted, she’s a friendly and kind idiot, not a sociopatic jerk. It should make a bigger difference than it does in practice.

The DannaWakaranai thing is better than it has any right to be and I rewatch it a lot (been blogged, too — should’ve created a category from the start, but who knew).

The Opposites Game

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

About a week ago I played an opposites game in a mixed group with native speakers. It’s a game where participants form a circle and ask their neighbour to name an antonym for a word. Americans go heavy on adjectives at first: takai-yasui, semai-hiroi, and so on. Japanese endeavour to be above it. For example, did you know that the opposite for yama (mountain) is kawa (river)? But either way, in a few revolutions the vocabulary gets drained and players start getting creative. I didn’t want to do it, because it ran a risk of revealing the power levels, but eventually I resorted to the question from Danna 02. My relay neighbour was a native speaker, BTW.

Wooser S3 05

Friday, August 21st, 2015

Wooser is as uneven as Nichijou. Fortunately, it’s similarly brilliant at its peaks. I thought ep.5 of the current season was pretty amazing, although not in the way of some kind of dramatic or artistic quality. Here’s how it works.

At its core, Wooser is an advertisement machine nowadays. Well, it always was like that. For instance, the greatest episode of S2 was the collaboration with Idolm@ster, where Wooser praises the adjective “slender”, while Chihaya is projected in her movie outfit. Still, the creators learned to run with it even better than before.

As an aside, the whole thing reminds me of Danny Choo a lot. It’s the same absolutely relentless push of merchandaising, that miraculously fails to become crass and worthless.

So, nowadays, when they turn to the good old comedy content, it attains a quality of eerie suspension above the reality, while referring to whatever it is they are mocking. Allow me to illustrate with retelling — not that I would ever hope to match the IKnight, the greatest anime reteller of all time, but yes, the same idea.

We begin with Wooser creating an own multi-clone, Wooser 53, who in turn meets Miss Monochrome. The two hit it off immediately and form an idol unit. You can already see the cameo, aka “collaboration”, serving as a basis for what’s to come. As they start to hit fame and fortune, Wooser 53 and Miss Monochrome split, with the former flopping and the latter continuing her raise. It is a lifetime for the two, compressed into 10 seconds. Finally, we are shown a scene where Wooser 53 and Wooser’s Companion attend a Miss Monochrome’s gala. Wooser 53 dies there and then, and the last thing he sees is Miss Monochrome’s idol brilliance.

But that is not all, oh no. When Companion sees that Wooser 53 is dead, she starts talking to him, saying “Wooser no baka!” and “Look how she’s shining” (she’s not clutching his limp body, but it’s basically that kind of scene). I think the greatest touch about it, you cannot even tell if they are lampooning this popular tear-jerking move, paying a homage to it, or aiming for something else entirely. It is a thing in itself and in the same time it derives its power from the connection with its context.

They unwind the emotions by cutting to the scene of Wooser 53’s funeral, where a Companion eulogises him as “a real trash of a man”.

Knights of Sidonia ends

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

The most important thing to know about Sidonia is that everyone who promised a great ending lied. Not only it’s deus ex machina ending, it’s also OreTata ending (yes, I learned that term from Shirobako).

The rest of the series was faulty all over, starting with a completely senseless alien threat (about as bad as one in Attack on Titan). The world creation did not pass a smell test — worlds even have floating islands from Dog Days. Only characters were okay, but it wasn’t enough.

Oh well. At least we supported “anime” “industry” by watching it dubbed on Netflix. Except that it was a B-list 3D flick that perhaps did not merit supporting.

Liked: Very meh despite exciting battles and nice harem hijinks
Rewatch: God, no. Not even if they resurrect Shizuka in Season 5.

Evirus on Cinderella Girls

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

From the department of "I told you so":

How about spending more time with the ostensible lead trio in New Generations? How about that?

I wanted to write here how much I relate to Mika because the same “corporate forces” made me to dust off my C++ and travel to Oregon; and that adults do what adults gotta do, but eh. Evirus describes highlights of Cinderella Girls and my disappointment with the series overall perfectly, so why bother. RTWT.

Pon on Hyouka 02

Saturday, August 8th, 2015

To give a good example of the things that propelled The Bros up the ranks, here’s what Pon saw in Hyouka:

What you need to do now is pick out specific examples. Like, it’s interesting how Oreki’s thought processes, even considering that the show has to convey them visually because it’s a TV show, are based in language. You get instances of people whose bodies are partially or entirely replaced by kanji. And then Chitanda is the notable exception to this. She’s always a jorogumo or a dog or has light shining out of her face, but she’s never occluded by language. There’s something more primal about his attitude toward her. Which, you know … makes sense.

Long time ago, I saw an article that collected descriptions of their thought process by several intellectuals and scientists. Very few used language-based symbolic thinking, surprisingly. Most tended to employ the visual cortex and see the abstract thoughts and objects, only using the language to “tape out” checkpoints and final results. The advantage of kanji in such use is that one can imagine them where Western advanced mind has to invent the whole apparatus from scratch. One of the article subjects, for example, used collections of dots.

When I watched Hyouka, I missed the meaning that Pon collected, in part because assgning kanji to people is rather commonplace. Here’s an example from Shiroboko:

Rapp against Blogrolls

Saturday, August 8th, 2015

Recently, Ron Rapp, a pre-eminent aviation blogger, was dispensing blogging advice and dealt with blogrolls severily:

Sure, the idea of a manually curated list of high-quality sites is attractive… in theory. But in practice it always falls short. The longer the list gets, the harder it is to maintain […].

Every blogroll I’ve seen ends up as a wasteland of marginal link exchanges, a needless cluttering up of web pages. Blogrolls fell out of favor several years ago, and I say good riddance.

If you want to keep a roll as long as Pixy’s, I can see Rapp’s concern apply. Fortunately, Ani-nouto keeps its blogroll trimmed, and updating it once in a while is no problem at all. The latest addition is Bros Before Shows. The Socratic siblings displaced good old Altair and Vega in its dotage. Usually, the blogroll maintenance at Ani-nouto is not announced, but the temptation to roll eyes at Rapp was much too powerful tonight.

The animation lapse in Exodus

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

There’s only one animated moment in Shirobako really gets my critical juices going, and I suspect they might have done it on purpose, in a meta way that’s the hallmark of the series.

Generally, the creators of Shirobako try to get every little bit of detail, within the budget. A great example is Mrs. Okutsu’s drift, where she does the thing that Kyoichi Sudou mentioned about his underling, Shinji: the mastery of the 4WD drift is the mastery of steering while keeping the right foot planted on the gas. So, first you have to understand the steering with the gas (of which poor Shinbo was a big fan). Once you grok that, you cease doing it. And when the keeper goddess of Musani demonstrates it, you can actually see her steering inputs — in the outside shots! — and they make complete sense.

However, when we see the footages from the finale of Exodus, this happens:

The maneuver onee-sama is performing here is called a “side slip” and it is very natural under the circumstances. A pilot cannot see anything under the nose of the airplane and she must bank in order to look down. However, once you bank, the airplane starts to turn, and you must “give it some boot” in order to keep it going straight. You also have to give it a little pull and often bump the power accordingly, as slipping creates a lot of drag. The problem is that none of that transpires and as a result, the motion is terribly unnatural, fake looking.

Why did something so jarring was animated? Because they did not have a Sugie of airplanes who could do it right at Musani.

UPDATE: They fixed it in the BD release. But instead of animating a complex motion of the forward slip, they made onee-sama to side-slip left and quickly arrest the slip with a decisive right stick. Now I’m not exactly sure what the purpose of the maneuver was, but it looks believable.

Rino Juse, the sabinuki kanojo

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Aside from JitsuWata, I find myself rewatching Danna ga Nani wo … Wakaranai KEN often these days (both seasons), possibly for the lack of time. Despite extreme shortness, the anime features an array of quirky supporting characters, one of which is Rino (pictured on the left). I cannot help concluding that she is constructed intentionally as a lolicon wish-fulfillment character. She is exceptionally small, enough for her future husband to take her for a grade schooler initially. She is also high-maintenance and needs to be treated like a child — fed omu-raisu and porridge from a spoon. Also, provided lecture notes that she neglects to take herself. Yet, she’s completely legal. In fact, she’s 2 years older than Nozomu. So, all the attributes a lolicon craves, but none of the social opprobirum. Win-win, as Director Kinoshita said.

JutsuWata begins

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Might as well post an official opener bracket for a series that I’m likely to complete. The outlook is standard: Manga is superior, but the anime is inoffensive. I already dream about a remake, Kanon 2006 style. Characters are allright, surprisingly enough. The harem is actually a triangle with additions that do nothing but comedic hijinks. Pictured above is Nagisa, the noble 3rd corner, who ultimately loses in the manga. Which is a good thing, considering her, ahem… biology. OTOH, with the technology (and magic) available in this anime, anything could be possible, but it is what it is.