Archive for December, 2007



Despite Appearances, This is Really a “Have an Enjoyable Non-Denominational Winter Solstice Celebration” Post

Replace “メリー・クリスマス” with whatever you feel like putting in there. You could even put “俺の歌、聴け!” in there. Or possibly “お前はもう死んだ。”. It’s up to you!

Also I think the grammar is bad, so if you know better, let me know how to fix it.

(Original image here. Or possibly here.)

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This has got to be the creepiest thing ever

Every time this…thing….comes on screen, I want to crawl out of my skin.

I genuinely think that Ghost Hound is significantly improving. We’ve gone about nine episodes now, which is a long run for a show to go from “this is interesting” to “this is actually quite neat” but I think they’ve finally set all the pieces in place and the rest of the series can just chug along by its own devices.

Or maybe I’m just really creeped out by that…thing…up there. But that…thing…was not the only creepy moment of this episode. The mandatory TOCK….TOCK…TOCK… part with the psychologist character (I will never get tired of that sound effect ever, it’s STILL menacing) was excellent, and it’s nice to see him, with his scientific mindset, get actually involved in the weird going-ons. And I think further evidence that Kakuriko is leaking–Makoto’s father saw worm-things surrounding his daughter (wife?) while she played Tetris or Puyopuyo or something like that.

I think this show is finally hitting its stride. Let’s all hope it doesn’t trip and fall over its own shoes on the way.

Minami-ke is a great comedy

Spot the trap.

I honestly didn’t expect much out of Minami-ke when I fired up episode 1. I figured I’d like it, but I didn’t figure it’d smack me in the face with an absolutely bizarre and brilliant sense of humor. It rises up out of the “schoolgirl comedy” subgenre by being completely absurd. The best part of episode 2 had to have been the running televised loincloth competition joke. I mean, it made so little sense that I thought the series was never going to be able to top it. But then…

SENSEI!

NINOMIYA-KUN!

*screeeeeeech*

and the show skyrocketed into totally hilarious territory.

Granted, the random TV bits are the best example for why I respect the comic ability of this series. The series as a whole strikes me as just plain absurd. Nothing in the series makes any kind of literal sense. Kana and Chiaki somehow turning a love confession letter into a letter of challenge was a stroke of genius. Later episodes, such as Haruka’s classmate having bizarre fantasies of her as a mother (with her two children being Kana and Chiaki) just plain out had me in stitches. Not bad for a show I thought would just be another mildly amusing schoolgirl comedy.

The series does tend somewhat to the more sexual-innuendo laced kind of jokes somewhat a bit too often, which isn’t really a problem, but it feels kind of jarring, given the rest of the show. It almost feels tacked on, since the author of the manga is the same guy who did Today in Class 5-2 seemingly can’t do a series without lacing it with sexual innuendo. Sometimes, however, the tendency towards the ero-ero makes for pure and definitely not ero-ero hilarity. Which is always a good thing.

And the last episode I watched (6) did something I never thought possible–I actually found a guy dressed as a girl kind of cute. I assume it’s just because I’m weak vs. hairclips and failed my saving throw. There’s no other explanation. Now there’s talent.

Gundam X, more like Gundam x Macross

Seriously. It’s like the “epilogue” part of Super Dimensional Fortress Macross had an illicit affair with Universal Century Gundam and had a bastard child and named it After War Gundam X.

I started watching it last night, and am already on episode 8. It started out really slow, and really kind of…I guess “silly” is the best word for it. It’s hard to explain what the first few episodes are like. You watch it and you’re like “Wait, is this supposed to be Gundam?” It’s the same kind of feeling you get from Mobile Fighter G Gundam (my personal Best Gundam Ever) and Turn-A Gundam (my personal Second Best Gundam Ever, although really it’s a tie) except it feels more like a standard mecha show. However, after I realized that the first few episodes were just intended to be setting up characters for the actual plot (most importantly, Garrod, Jamil, Tiffa, and the Frost brothers) the show stopped seeming “silly” (again, that’s the wrong word for it) and started really grabbing me. I don’t know what happened–I guess I just got used to X’s particular brand of Gundam.

And the SDF Macross epilogue comparison is truly accurate. It takes place, well, “After War”, after what is probably the most devastating colony drop in Gundam history (that’s because just about EVERY SINGLE COLONY got dropped, though) and left the Earth a hostile environment unable to support life. What brought about this end was the appearance of the Earth Federation’s secret weapon, the GX-9900, which–you guessed it–is the Gundam that Our Hero, Garrod, finds himself piloting. There were like 50 of them in the prologue bit, which, when you realize what their power is, is just absolutely frightening.

I haven’t watched enough of it yet to give it proper treatment (it is a 39 episodes series) but it’s starting to win me over. It’s Gundam, and, what’s more, it’s a Gundam that approaches Gundam in a novel way (even 00 doesn’t quite get as bizarro Gundam as X does, although it’s certainly up there). It’s true that every Gundam series approaches Gundam in a novel way (that’s kind of the purpose of the alternate universe series) but it’s just fascinating to me to see so many series–all of them titled Gundam–to approach the same kind of concept in such a different way.

Gundam X seems to be telling a kind-of love story, with Garrod’s love for the mostly unemotional Tiffa. (Eureka Seven fans, are you seeing a similarity here? She even applies MAKEUP!) This is Tiffa:

The image does not show off Tiffa’s extremely long (and extremely sexy) ponytail. She’s unfortunately very delicate–the first time Garrod uses the mega-huge beam cannon, she essentially falls into a state of shock, since she is a Newtype and can read the thoughts and feel the pain of everyone around her. So she’s a bit more useful than Eureka. Kind of.

This is one of those Gundam series that no one who claims to be a Gundam fan should pass up (but, then again, why are you claiming yourself as a Gundam fan if you aren’t interested in watching every Gundam series?), and it’s certainly got enough appeal outside of the Gundam name to merit a look by someone not a Gundam fan. And Macross fans who want an entire series based on the epilogue of SDF Macross. Except not Macross. Yeah.

Why You Should Perhaps Watch Zettai Shounen

I’m too lazy to hunt through 26 episodes to get screencaps, so you get to watch the OP instead. Apologies. Also, there’s absolutely no way I could explain the plot of the series to entice you to watch it, so I won’t even try–ANN and other places have decent enough plot summaries.

I am a huge Mochizuki Tomomi fan, and this would be the series of his that really struck me as unique. I didn’t know much about it when it aired, so I kind of glossed over it, but eventually I noticed a few of my INTERNET FRIENDS were talking about it, and talking highly about it, so I gave it a shot.

Finished it in about three weeks. That’s fast for me. (Blazing blink-and-you-miss-it fast with me would be the time I rewatched Revolutionary Girl Utena in three days, last two arcs in one day. Not the best thing to do, in retrospect)

I’m going to start out by saying that the series certainly isn’t for everyone. It’s so slow-paced that lesser men than I have collapsed after a few episodes, screaming “So boooooored….” The whole series is founded in the interpersonal interactions between the major characters of each arc (there are two arcs, one taking place in Tama and the other in Yokohama, a year and a half later), and if watching people act like…people isn’t your thing, approach with caution.

That said, I genuinely think that the actual interpersonal interaction is fascinating. It’s hard to express why in words, for me, but there’s just a kind of feeling I get from the show–both times I’ve watched it–of just slipping and becoming utterly engrossed in the lives of the characters. It’s based on a pair of light novels, and, from what I can tell by watching the anime of it, the author is a great writer. Things may seem to just happen, but that’s the charm of the series–things just happen, and they’re incredibly interesting. The character development is subtle, and it’s entirely done without any kind of exposition dropping whatsoever–and, speaking as someone who’s actually attempted to write fiction, that’s a skill I can respect.

The other thing I like about the series is that there’s the overall plotline dealing with the interactions between the supernatural entities in the series, and it’s also just kind of…there, for lack of a better phrase. The focus of the series is the interaction between characters, and while there is an overall plot, it operates independently of the characters, but at the end, it ultimately ends up affecting them immensely.

Speaking of the ending, it was just as impressive the second time through as it was the first time. It still made me feel immensely satisfied, even though it really doesn’t explain a whole lot. It’s one of those shows that just reveals to you something new every time you watch it, and things start clicking better. I think it’s truly a vastly underrated series, one that I’d love to see licensed (even though it has zero sales potential, outside of the obvious market of me).

One more thing–I absolutely adore the visual style of the anime. They remind me a bit of Baccano!’s designs, now that I think about it, although I wouldn’t swear to it that they were the same person. I still know so little about the light novel that it shames me.

Chihiro is messed in the head. I mean, seriously.

Well, then.

It seems that my prediction for ef totally came true: the ending of Chihiro’s arc (or at least this episode) is ridiculously tragic. I did not weep tears, much to my dismay, but, yes, pages scattering to the four winds was really quite…wrenching. When Chihiro says she’s going to break up with you, she MEANS it. LIke, seriously. You don’t mess around with her.

I, personally, am having issues with Chihiro’s logic here, though. She loves Renji, so, therefore, to cause him no heartbreak, she’s going to forget about him? :???: I mean, the sentimentality is fine, but it’s just plain wacky that she wants to break up while she can still say “I love you”. It does, of course, make for a compelling and wrenching scene, but man, she is just totally screwed up in the belfry.

Of course, in traditional SHAFT/Shinbo style, the best scene in the whole episode was Chihiro naked the pages fluttering in the wind. Effective direction lesson #56409: let the audience figure out what’s happened before or instead of you telling them what happened. As soon as you see those pages leave Chihiro’s pocket you, the viewer, if you have been paying any attention whatsoever, thought “Oh shit no.” I’m guessing pages to the wind is what happened to the last person that got too close to Chihiro. It’s kind of sad that she’s so caught up in her condition so much that she thinks she’s a burden on whoever cares for her. If I were Renji, I’d be plopping her down on the ol’ recliner couch for a bit of armchair therapy. Of course, she’s an anime character, so I can’t do that.

At least she didn’t jump off the roof. That’d be even more underscores in the ;____________________________________________; face. And that face seriously doesn’t need any more underscores. Have pity on a poor emoticon, Shinbo.

Genshiken: Hope for Otaku

So, pressured by my overly Ogiue-obsessed friend SDS, I’ve finally gotten around to reading all nine volumes of the Genshiken manga. It’s amazing how much character development Shimoku Kio crammed into those nine volumes. Ogiue gets the most attention, of course, to the delight of tsundere fujoshi fans everywhere. Strangely enough, Sasahara is just kind of…there, most of the time, which is perfectly fine, because him just being…there reminds me a lot of myself (I’m the one in the back of the room that never talks to anyone unless spoken to), although, tragically (or not) my outward personality is Sasahara, and my inward personality is Madarame (his classic speech on the sanity of people who don’t do it to anime porn is still one of the most awe-inspiring moments of manga and anime ever, and it’s even better that he’s voiced by HIYAMA NOBUYUKI).

Ogiue is a wonderful girl, and Sasahara and her make a good match. The whole sequence leading up to Sasahara confessing his love to her (from the beginning of Ohno’s clever plans to stick the two together) was wonderfully done, and as any astute follower of this blog (all five of you) knows, I am a big fan of romance. The relationship was convincingly done, and given my aforementioned tendency to behave like Sasahara, Genshiken reads a bit like “Dating for Dummies: The Manga”. It’s certainly along the lines of drawing circles around each other for a long time that I foresee for myself eventually.

Hopefully, however, in my case, the girl won’t be drawing yaoi starring me. That wouldn’t go down as well as it did with Sasahara.

On another note, I think my favorite Genshiken girl would have to be Saki. I really don’t understand this myself–she’s the exact kind of seemingly airheaded, fashion-obsessed person that I couldn’t stand to be around, and, certainly, at the beginning of the manga, that’s how she acts. However, and this, I think, is Shimoku Kio’s true talent, she turns from hating everyone in the Genshiken to actually respecting them as people. In a sense, she rises above her prejudices and “normalness” to accept people for who they are, not denigrate them for what they do. And there’s something about that I find incredibly inspiring, like a statement that there’s really not that much difference between otaku and non-otaku, or between any nerdy-type person and a non-nerdy-type person. At the end of the day, Genshiken says, throughout its nine volumes, we’re all just human beings trying to find a place in the world.

I think that sentiment is why Genshiken is so well-liked, and I find it interesting that a series that started off as a kind of modern-day Otaku no Video-esque comedy turned into something with a message for just about everyone.

Say it with me, people: BEHOLD…THE POWER OF MANGA.

(I miss those cheese commercials)


NOTICE SHAMELESSLY STOLEN FROM G.K. CHESTERTON

I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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