Don on New York Times writing about anime

May 12th, 2017 by Author

Poor Don, having to read NYT:

Writer Glenn Kenny […] name-checks the movies Akira and Ghost in the Shell, thereby gaining negligible credibility as an otaku. He plainly knows nothing about anime series, which comprise the vast majority of Crunchyroll’s offerings, and he can’t be bothered to do minimal research. Of all the series, excellent and lousy, that Crunchyroll streams, the only one he mentions is Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor, one I had dropped in less than five minutes. I would guess he picked that one because it is in the top row of the “simulcasts” directory and features a character named “Glenn.”

I thought everyone knew these days that New York Times equals Fake News. But I guess not:

I never thought I’d be nostalgic for the irresponsible and wrongheaded Charles Solomon, but at least he knew something about Japanese animation.

Hey, let’s not get too hasty here.


Musaigen no Phantom World cancelled

May 5th, 2017 by Author

Think of me as turning into a Aroduc-like hater if you will, but I just cannot stomach Phantom World. It seems… dull. Production values are rather good, but absolutely nothing of interest is going on. And yes, I know that there’s some kind of plot thing happening by the end, but it was 10 episodes and nothing of any interest happened, not even in a slice-of-life sense. The monster of the week went downhill: each dumber than the previous one. Most never made any sense to begin with, pure convenience to showcase cast’s magic abilities. I didn’t see a debacle like that since Tamako Market. On second thought, a glance at the staff lists for the two series explains a lot.

UPDATE: Looks like I’m not the only animeblogger with a similar reaction. Steelbound:

Kyoto Animation was never failed so badly and so thoroughly as they did with Myriad Colors Phantom World.

That said, he faults “horrible, terrible characters” and the animation of fighting scenes. I’m not sure that either is a problem. Looked fine to me!


Elf Yamada in Eromanga-sensei manga and anime, bis

April 23rd, 2017 by Author

Just one more thing from ep.3 — did you see the sequence of Elf shooting? A screencap cannot give it justice, but still:

It reminded me about Evirus’ comparo from K-ON, "Mio as she appears in the show versus Mio as fans see her". Only this one is in-show. Also, it probably is how Elf sees herself. She also missed her target just a bit, don’t you think?


Elf Yamada in Eromanga-sensei manga and anime

April 18th, 2017 by Author

As Elf arrives on the scene in ep.2, Zane is not impressed:

The third girl Masamune encounters is perhaps the worst, Yamada Elf, a thoroughly unpleasant, petulant, arrogant young author who couldn’t be more different from Masamune (or Sagiri for that matter). She lets her “#1 on Oricon” standing go straight to her head, believing she isn’t just the Savior of LNs, she IS light novel. Yikes!

As it happens, manga (which is derivative from LN, of course, but FWIF) gives Elf an in-source review in Chapter 31. Here it is, as translated by scanlators:

Chris: By the way though. This may sound a little biased, but I think my sister would be an excellent choice to consider.
Masamune: Eh..? Yeah, I guess.
Chris: You think so too, huh?
Masamune: Yes.
Chris: In addition to her good income, she’s cute, she loves tidying up, her cooking tastes great, and she’s fun to be around. I think she’ll be an excellent wife. I’m glad you agree with me.
Masamune: (distracted by a creak)
Chris: Although she may not look like the type, I think she’s someone who will devote herself to the person she likes. She’s been praised as a very gifted girl, with talents from playing musical instruments to speaking foreign languages. I can even go so far as to say she’s mastered almost all the skills it takes to be a good wife. All that was taught to her as part of our family’s upbringing.
Chris (continues): Which leads me to ask you. What about my sister you aren’t satisfied with?
Masamune: Umm… If I have to say it, it’s everything else about her that you purposely didn’t bring up in our conversation.
Chris (laughs): You sure know her well. Good answer. My sister’s many strengths are all put to waste by her weaknesses. She never meets her deadlines. She’s arrogant. She throws money about. She’s afflicted with the incurable disease of chyuuninbyou, which is part and parcel of her talents, not to mention she’s stupid.
Masamune: Yeah, she’s stupid. But, I feel that both her strengths and weaknesses are two sides of the same coin. That stupid side of her kinda makes her cute, and her cringeworthy chuunibyou comments do make her look cool at times. We’ve had disagreements about attitudes towards work, but I did feel she had a point {about inspiration-based writing — Author}.
Masamune (continues): Elf is such an amazing person, it makes up for all of her weaknesses. She’s an attractive girl. She’s a dependable sempai. That’s why I think I’m where I am now thanks to her. If I didn’t already have someone I liked, then I probably would have fallen for her five times over.

The author’s intent is fairly clear, I think. But it remains to be seen if anime is able to follow through on it.


Eromanga-sensei begins

April 14th, 2017 by Author

The opening episode was everything I wanted, and more. The production values are amazing. The character design is an excellent riff on the manga, animation beats Lucky*Star, attention to detail is everywheere. No obnoxious 3D! Remember the terrible fingers of iM@S? Much improved and pushed to the off-focus areas. Good job, A-1.

The production is helmed by Ryohei Tekeshita, who is not a suprstar director, but has distinguished himself well, helping with New Game and Nozaki-kun. He decided to add some foreshadowing, so we get glances at Elf Yamada (my favourite in the manga, if not LN) and Muramasa Senjuu. Elf might be just a tad too bouncy and impertinent in the anime, which is worrying. Just recall what they’ve done to Yukiho in Idolmaster TV. Senjuu didn’t distinguish herself in her 1 second of screen time, there was no omnious aura. But with her being there, I expect the anime run through the competition arc. We may even get a proper ending.

P.S. The Japanese in this show is easy to understand, so far.

UPDATE: Draggle:

Despite the terrible subject matter, this was a pretty strong first episode. It did a good job setting things up, establishing both siblings’ characters, and kept my interest.

So, yeah, I’m surprised, but I actually liked this. Somewhat looking forward to the rest.

Peter S.:

But the show itself goes light on the ero stuff and focuses instead on Izumi and Sagiri’s relationship, siblings not by blood, living under the same roof, having a shared interest, but Sagiri is too shy and traumatized by her past to truly open up. … If they continue with this path, with a little eromanga silliness mixed in, this could be a nice little series.

Zane for Rabujoy:

… I really admired the way Sagiri’s condition is portrayed. She’s not slob; her room is neat and tidy, and there’s no denying she’s an immensely gifted artist, especially considering her age. She just … can’t leave her room … We all process grief in different ways, she did so by shutting herself off from the world that took her mom away.

UPDATE:

Omo caught up, with the seiyuu-centered twist:

The light-hearted take on this is that, when Ibuchan was a wee little girl, did she (or her guardians, perhaps more importantly) imagine that she would be voicing a precocious light novel character (the type she’s been quite adept at playing) and saying “girls like dicks” on TV, in a distant day in the future? I mean, the bigger question that some of us have already made peace with is, why do eroge seiyuu exist?

When I saw the anime rendition of Megumi, I thought that she really needed a good punch in the face. Bad memories of Iroha from SNAFU. But observe that professionals playing these characters play them regardless.


H.Faust on Kuzu no Honkai

April 13th, 2017 by Author

At Dullahan Club:

Being gritty and edgy and bringing twists to conventional love stories is not enough to create an interesting story.


Demi-chan ends

April 4th, 2017 by Author

Nice harem, but dullahans are a dumb concept, there’s no good way around it. Sakie-chan is the BEST GIRL. She needs her own anime. A shoujo, maybe!

Here’s the famous painting they were referencing:

As you can see, it’s not even a dullahan.

Liked: Okay
Rewatch: Not likely


ACCA ends

April 2nd, 2017 by Author

I found it best to enjoy ACCA by disconnecting from the manifest impossibilities of their world, such as massive government monopolies doing anything right. Mussolini making trains run on time is a myth after all. But then it’s a myth people want to believe in. ACCA is like that too, a creature of fiction into which one indulges. As myths go, this is a pleasant one.

Characters made the anime as usual. The little sister was just enough of a naive airhead, but not too much. The lead was surprisingly kickass, for a guy who only walks around, smoking cigarettes. Villains made sense and did their jobs, mostly. Mauve, Chief, idiot prince, and the supporting cast all the way down to Knot, Warbler, and even Rail — everyone contributed.

Liked: Yes
Rewatch: Quite possible.


ACCA begins

March 28th, 2017 by Author

Already blew through 5 episodes and so fast that forgot to take screencaps. Yeah, ACCA turned out to be everything that I wanted it to be. It’s imaginative and different. There were series where various factions maneuvered, but not at this level, at least recently — I have to reach back to Manabi Straight and Legend of Galactic Heroes to a reference.

Not everything is top notch, of course. The cigarette thing is overwrought, IMHO. Regions are much too cartoony in their characteristics. In particular, the isolated district is bogus, although possibly less so for someone who internalized the pre-Meiji Japan. Even North Korea has cellphone service nowadays. But I don’t have any beef with the main idea and its execution.


Широбако

March 21st, 2017 by Author

Недавно я в очередной раз пересмотрел Широбако [1]. Это феноменальный сериал, один из лучших среди сотен, которые я видел за мои 50 лет (начиная со Спид Ресера 1967-го лохматого года). А ведь сначала я к нему отнёсся с подозрением. Дело в том, что сюжет основан на жизни в мультипликационной студии, а это явный намёк на интеллектуальное банкротство. Но оказалось, что широкий охват и крепкая режиссура легко превзошли ограничения сюжета. Там даже есть убойный эпизод для старых программистов.

Впрочем любому офисному планктону будет полезно, да и весело, даже менеджерам по продажам. Конечно, на ведущих ролях в Широбако – анимешные тян с гигантскими глазами, но что поделаешь. Без этого нельзя. Впрочем они неплохо реализовались как герои.

В США Широбако подвергся определённой критике из-за некоторой фантазийности и положительной концовки. Никто не то, что не покончил жизнь самоубийством, но даже не попал под машину. Так не бывает, говорили циники. Но на мой взгляд они тут не поняли главного. В России об этом есть поговорка: “Сказка ложь, да в ней намёк — добрым молодцам урок” (я знаю, откуда эта цитата, но сейчас не об этом). По-моему, она вполне здесь пременима и оправдывает некоторые удобные ходы сценария.

[1] Зачастую встречается как “Сиробако”, “Белая коробочка”, “Белый ящик”, и пр. Официального или общепринятого названия нет.