FranXX begins

July 20th, 2018 by Author

Initially, [Darling in the] FranXX came on my radar because everyone latched on the supposed sexual innuendo (even Evirus). Later, Faust came strongly in favor, although on Smug.Loli instead of his own blog:

Do you like Trigger’s Darling in the FranXX? Their early work was a little too cartoonish for my tastes, but when Darling in the FranXX came out in 2018, I think they really came into their own, commercially and artistically. The whole show has a clear, straight plot, and a new sheen of consummate professionalism that really gives the episodes a big boost. They’ve been compared to Gainax, but I think Trigger has a far more bitter, cynical sense of humor.

But what really pulled me over was the 4koma, which provided enough spoilers.

I think the largest feature of the early FranXX is its eclecticity, to the extent that it’s difficult to identify any new element at all. Now, I was long on the record being okay with anime re-hashing and hopefully refining its tropes. But usually there’s something… a key element. Not here. FranXX deliberately goes all out to make disturbing and fun show without bothering with a token inventiveness. And it may be better off by focusing on implementation.

Now, the setup itself is not all that amazing. I mean, sure, children soldiers. We saw that before, just off the top of my head in Stellvia, Shingu, Shingeki no Kyoujin, YuYuYu. Stellvia combined it with the lovebird crew. The level of the disturbing is about SukaSuka (which also featured wasteland with islands and the absurd monsters). But details were great. One thing that struck me in the opener episode was how the mecha and architeture design were used to impart a sense of large scale.

A full year of suspensions

July 16th, 2018 by Author

In the time-honored tradition of never dropping anything, but suspending series forever, there were more in the year since Flying Witch fell flat on its face.

Planetarian: Seen 3. It’s very short, but it’s basically the suffering porn, like Grave of the Fireflies, which I dropped 2/3 in too. It wasn’t that bad, although the only worse thing that I watched in the genre was Plastic Memories. But meh.

Getsuyoubi no Tawawa: Seen 0.7. Looked at it thanks to Evirus, but there wasn’t much in there, just the hook. I hear that the comics still run.

Sweetness and Lightning: Seen 2. It didn’t hold my attention and the reasons were pretty much blogged right in the opener bracket post.

Orange: Seen 3.5. It’s chewing and chewing on the stupid suicides. The topic is real, but the drama they chose was hollow. The flashforwards became exceedingly annoying after the third one or so. I ended dropping it in a middle of an episode. Yamakan could direct a better series than this.

Fuuka: Oops, the suspension was blogged, in an update. Seen 5.

Minami Kamakura: Seen 7. This failure was unexpected as the anime chose its path. But it comes down to: if I wanted a shonen, I would watch Yowamushi Pedal. At least the sports drama there was gripping. Remember the 2nd year losers? They were so good in that show. Here though? The creators could not decide if they want us watch girls or bicycles, so they gave us neither.

Saiki Kusuo no Psi Nan: Seen 18 (!). Really liked it at first, but it was going nowhere and overstayed its welcome.

Kemono Friends: Seen 1. It’s impossible to overstate the enthusiasm online that accompanied this anime. It might have been as big as Madoka, at least in Japan. But the 3D was just too bad, and the journey of self-discovery too overt. The best part I remember was actually not the anime, but the story of Grape-kun the penguin.

Tsugumono: Seen 5. The story of a magical towel that turns into a cute and boisterous girl… was decent. But not enough to stay.

Tsuki ga Kirei: Seen 2. The plot twists in this love story were toothache-inducing (meaning, the lost beanie).

Konohana Kittan: Seen – unknown. And I don’t remember a thing about this. The only note preserved was "supposed to be sweet, but is weak". And I absolutely do not remember what it means.

Monster: Seen 35. Please, Tenma, just shoot me. I cannot take this anymore. BTW, 35 episodes long was only 50% through! I guess the only good thing about it was that one guy had a SIG P226 and the other guy had a Beretta 92.

Girlish Number: Seen 2. All this blogging, and came to nothing.

Hisone to Masotan: Seen 0. My reaction was violent: "minutes until full idiocy, dragon’s flying is shit". People who were in tune with the style of it, really liked the series. But not me.

Ryuou no Oshigoto: Seen 2. The recorded complaint was: "The show took a ridiculously formulaic turn with mother declaring a seemingly impossible challenge." This is one that I might actually revisit in the future. But it’s not likely — only more likely than the rest of this list.

Uma Musume: Seen 1. Needed something more than Silence Suzuka than production values in order to stay.

Amanchu: Seen 1. That was hanging on the queue for more than a year. But there’s always something more interesting. BTW, everyone says that thematic concerns were overblown about it, and it anything it’s a modern Aria. Oh well.

Animegataris: Seen 3. On reflection, I think this was just a little too weird. Omo hated it.

Hakumei to Mikochi: Seen 4. I followed the manga, and perhaps I was poisoned, but the anime somehow completely screwed the tone. Early on there was a moment when Hakumei almost falls to her death in a workplace accident, and Iwashi saves her with a prompt action. You would never know how good it was if you were watching the anime, the scene was so dull and clumsily executed. I started to get the picture when the story of the joint concert with Konju was super dumbed down for the anime. The only time the anime became thrilling to watch was the scene where Hakumei meets Orochi. That was some Hedgehog-in-the-Fog level stuff, for a couple of seconds. The online reaction was much the same, complaints that the anime was boring came thick. At first I was anticipating coming back to the whiners when the adaptation reaches jucier parts, like the hand-to-hand fighting with the criminals in the slums where Konju lived (Chicago and New York had nothing on that place, maybe Hong Kong would be comparable). But then I dropped the anime myself and now I suspect that anime managed to screw that arc too. And I cannot be bothered to check.

The isekai (death)march

July 5th, 2018 by Author

I received postcard from a reader that took an issue with the narrative of the impeding isekai breakout, citing "Konosuba, Gate:JSDF, Outbreak Company, Re:Zero, even Fushigi Yugi". Yes, of course. Twelve Kingdoms, too. It’s just that I feel something missing from all of those.

Comic Girls

July 5th, 2018 by Author

What do you watch when nothing else goes on? There’s always a CGDCT nowadays. And for an empty season’s fodder, Comig Girls do not disappoint (h/t DiGiKerot). I just wish they didn’t make poor Kaosu to cry so much. Her self-doubt and imposter syndrome are familiar and even endearing, but she is also badly neurotic about it.

Thematic concerns were ever-present, but never catastrophic.

Production values were quite impressive in the beginning. But the 3D got out of control by the end. Probably production difficulties, as explained in Shirobako ("Can we make 100 horses in 3D?").

Like: Okay
Rewatch: No


June 30th, 2018 by Author

There’s a video on Youtube, captured from BBC that reports on Doki-Doki Literature Club. It’s a shitty game that I meant to bash from the weaboo perspective: Yuri setting tea kettle for “212 degrees”, then reading a book left-to-right. But really it’s no worse than all such excreta (RWBY, Katawa Shoujo). BBC’s breathless commentary, however, appears to be calling for banning DDLC on the grounds the general British cuckery. I’m pretty sure BBC increased the game’s popularity, good job.

Death March kara

June 5th, 2018 by Author

In the past year or so, my intake of anime was trending down steadily, being displaced mostly by the isekai manga. I literally went to a pirate scanlation site and searched all manga with “isekai” in the name, as well as “dorei”, “tensei”, collected the results, and been busy reading ever since.

The Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku was caught in the big sweep, too, obviously. And it was okay. Not one of my favourites, but it had some good features. The harem with a (wobbly) sacred cow was relatively well designed, in two layers: 3 possible interests: Zena (sacred cow), Arisa (foil), and Lulu (for the outside), surrounded by the backup dancers: beast children, Liza, Nana, etc.. It had some balance problems: the main foil, Arisa Tachibana, was much too overpowering (I thought she was a redux of Elf Yamada), whereas Lulu was so worthless that author even had to manufacture a couple of chapters to make her do something artificially. So, an okay manga. Not stellar, but okay.

Imagine my surprise, when someone selected Death March to lead the invasion of the isekai into anime. When the idols burst into the scene, it was a real flagship, The Idolm@ster. This, though… Well, it’s not like there weren’t any kinda-isekai shows before: Dog Days, Campanella, SAO. Log Horizon came very, very close. But they were different. Maybe I was wrong expecting a similar establishment of a new genre and its attributes. Just like a Magical Girl anime offers specific things like secret identity, animal companion, transformation sequence, talisman, and so on, I thought a proper isekai anime had to arrive at last, bearing level system, cheat abilities, adventure guild, and above all — the slave harem.

Well, it looks like there’s not going to be a breakthrough. The Log Horizon made it 70% through, and now we’re going to receive middling series that chip at the niche. So, Death March is just a footnote in this journey. It was quite bad, honestly.

About the only good thing to be said about Death March is that it follows the manga rather closely. But it does so with such poor writing and direction, low production values, that I cannot see many people enjoying it. I only finished it because I wanted a representative isekai.

I think the only good moment was when the dude wanted to give a name to the homunculus No.7, and he named her "Nana". Arisa is the only other person who speaks Japanese in the other world, and so she’s appropriately horrified (pictured). The only decent moment was when the dude visited a brothel, and Arisa was steaming with "why did you have to do that when you have us?!" I’m surprised they didn’t cut it away from the broadcast.

Liked: No
Rewatch: No

And so. But yesterday, Faust tweeted that no less than 4 isekai shows are scheduled to run in the Summer season. The journey continues, even picks up the pace!

Uma Musume 01

May 28th, 2018 by Author

Remember how bloggers said that we had cute Producer and cool Producer, and we needed a passion Producer? We have one now, albeit in a wrong show and called "Trainer".

When Trainer was checking Special Week’s thigh muscles, he should’ve also checked her heart and lungs. A missed opportunity!

Silence Suzuka is the only good part of this horseshit. I would brush her mane like Tycho did Felicia Day.

P.S. I suppose I had expecations set incorrectly by sources such as Whomp and online whiners, some of which even promised slavery. Instead, it’s merely a world creation that wasn’t thought through, a bland sports story and unnecessary idols thrown in. Just to add insult to the injury, production values are high.

Renai 3D Debut manga

March 23rd, 2018 by Author

For whatever reason I often re-read the silly thing (well, the 6 chapters currently available on scanlations). It’s just so nice, and everything about it is adorable: the arrow stuck in her head, how she turns into a lion and roars, and even the normie interlocutor (despide being a fujoshi, as we find out). Yes, it’s autobiographical. But then Shirobako was meta too, so this excuse does not work anymore.


March 22nd, 2018 by Author

Thanks to a passing notice at Smug, I was made aware of the 4-episode OVA that came out for ReLIFE. It includes the rest of the story, and by necessity it is quite terse: it covers more manga than the original 13. For example, the disappearing money part was cut ruthlessly. Still, it’s a nice way to round out the story.

Tsurezure Children

March 7th, 2018 by Author

There wasn’t much to blog about this, but most importantly — it was good: a very nice and proper adaptation of the outstanding manga. The art was just as good as the original. They cut out some of my favourite couples for the lack of space, but I can understand that. The most missing were the pokerface couple (Toda/Sunagawa) and the teacher/student couple (Chiba/Kirihara). I know Kaji’s boobs were everyone’s favourite, even though the scenes with her mother were published after the anime and didn’t make it.

Some highly anticipated scenes could carry more impact. In the manga, the confession of the ugly otaku dude (Yamane/Kurihara) was timed pefectly. The two got into their heads so much that they forgot that they were in the middle of a Comiket, and came to their senses to the sound of applause from the surrounding crowd. Somehow, it went by somewhat muted. Also, I loved how Gouda and Kamine decided to make out and triggered a chain reaction, which naturally stopped at Toda and Sunagawa — obviously too much of bother for them. But in the anime they had to cut it rather badly. But at least Kana/Chiaki delivered (pictured above).

Liked: Yes
Rewatch: Maybe

P.S. The voice talent was high caliber, but in the heat of the moment I forgot to pay attention.