John on American Otaku

January 10th, 2019 by Author


The default Japanese image of an otaku is the opposite of outgoing, active, and youthful. Yet particularly in America, especially in the two-thousand-teens, anime has taken on the image that watching anime makes one cool. The entire point of the “Stay Crunchy” ad is to illustrate the idea that immersing in anime makes viewers popular, trendy, special.

I have to ask though, is Japan is ripe for the change as well. At work, I have to interact with the Japanese, and the number of anime watchers and gamers are higher than in U.S., if anything. They are not particularly asocial. One iM@S P among them has 3 kids.


December 17th, 2018 by Author

Why am I watching this trash? It’s even made by GONZO, and didn’t I have a strict no-GONZO policy? The basic answer is, I tend to want to switch off recently.

The concept of the show is this: the protagonist is transferred to another world, where he has to seduce 12 maidens and sire 12 children. Said children then fight some monsters or other, in order to save the world. Children are clearly not human, but they are mostly antropomorphic little freaks. They pop up without any pregnacy or childbirth, as soon as very sex-like "Love Ritual" is concluded. Their mothers do not have any kind of special attachment to them, off-loading them into a boarding facility (see the screencap). GONZO’s depravity is such, that these little freaks have rather normal personalities of human children, but in an attempt to smooth it over they don’t suffer from combat injuries, either to bodies or to minds.

To add the insult to the injury, maidens are a low-rent bunch, with crudely developed personalities. The hero is the most relatable of them all, in that he generally goes with the flow, while trying to keep a facade of respectability.

I realize that I am not in position to complain about GONZO brushing aside all the oppression of the world’s end, the nature of love, the morality of children soldiers, and the humanity of the characters in general for the sake of pumping out game-style courtship episodes, because I was somewhat unhappy with SukaSuka being too real. I’m sorry, allright?

The Otome Game Villainess

November 12th, 2018 by Author

I almost do not watch anime recently, but when Otome Geimu no Hametsu Flag etc. etc. comes out, I’ll give it a try for sure (the failure of Rimuru the Slime notwithstanding). The manga is that good.

Elon Musk is discovering anime

October 27th, 2018 by Author

The rocket mogul has taken to Twitter with expressions of love of anime that left heathens shocked. What’s particularly interesting about it, we’re talking about a guy who’s in with the Hollywood so much that he even got a cameo in Iron Man 2. And yet he’s not a snob enough to dismiss anime. Honestly, I’m a little jealous. The feeling of discovering something this amazing is incomparable, and he’s doing it right now.

The Black Healer as the pinnacle of Chick Isekai

October 8th, 2018 by Author

In our days, when Rimuru the Slime anime succeeds Death March and Dorei Majutsu on air, the traditional isekai is well established. Everyone loves frolicking in a slave harem. However, it’s not the only defined form of isekai. Its antagonist is, for the lack of a better term, the chick isekai. Its properties are basically a girl who BAMFs, like in the days of 12K, but instead of conquering everything, she sells potions, or works as a healer, in a world full of bishies. Some instances of it are downright weak and/or formulaic, but not always. I think the Black Healer is my favourite at present. I expect the adaptations of chick isekai to pour in as soon as the standard isekai jumps the shark.

Honestly, I’m a little concerned. I heard that even Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken was not well received, and there’s basically no better source material. Never underestimate the ability of anime creators to screw it all up. But we’ll see.

Meow-Meow Japanese History

October 5th, 2018 by Author

Also known by its original name of Neko-neko Nihonshi, the cat thing is a delight. Although, truth to be told, I’m not entirely sure about some of the characters, most are quite recognizeable. Shinsegumi commanders, for example, or Ryoma Saotome. The episode of Sei Shounagon is my most favourite, with the narrative of her breaking with the establishment told to perfection (I have never read The Pillow Book, mind).

The OP and ED from the 1st season were phenomenal.


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