Archive for February 21st, 2008

How NOT To Stop Bullying, Lesson One

Do not stab bully with a screwdriver. This is counterproductive.

I feel very, very unclean right now. I think I need to have a mini-Passover or something. I didn’t think Shigofumi would be able to top the second episode’s father-selling-daughters-for-sex-and-money revelation, or would even try to top it.

It did.

Episode 6 was horrifyingly uncomfortable to watch, and i was never really bullied that much in school. Maybe it was because I was never bullied in school that made it so uncomfortable to watch. The “bullying is bad” storyline has been made before, of course, countless times, but that’s unimportant as Shigofumi does a really good number showing the brutal effects of bullying, in part because the writers aren’t trying to shy away from the, well, brutal. From people giving horrible “sympathy” to the bullied, merely making their problem worse unto death, and then turning the tables on the somewhat hapless bystander, and then hapless bystander turning the tables AGAIN. It was quite a ride.

The clever mechanic of letting Morishita see inside the head of Kikugawa through the anonymity of the Internet was a clever device, as it lets the bullier (even if a relatively passive one) get a glimpse inside the mind of the buillied. Of course, then again, he feels the pain himself later on, and responds in a quite different manner than the passive Kikugawa. Everything about this episode screamed “quality” at me while I was watching it, although I was too busy feeling icky to quite properly notice. I wasn’t even planning to talk about it here, but, uh, well, you see how well that went.

true tears may be my favorite series of this season, but Shigofumi is getting a close second, just for this. I’m surprised winter season has been so good–normally, there’s not much to watch. Maybe I’ve changed, or maybe this is just an unusual winter season. Whatever it is, I think 2008 will be a wild year.

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Tarou and Miyako’s Secret Love Tryst in the Woods

They seem to have lots of these. Eagerly awaiting romance subplot.

Ghost Hound continues to please me; I think in some ways it’s a kind of more sinister Zettai Shounen: you’ve got the same glacial, relaxed pacing, mysterious events surrounding the main characters, and oddball background music (or, in Ghost Hound’s case, no music at all but sound effects). The two invoke similar moods at times, but Ghost Hound is laced with that edge of creepiness that Zettai Shounen didn’t have. Not that it needed it, because it was still a good series, but there you go.

I was talking with a friend of mine who accused the series of being “over-produced”, a term which I hadn’t heard before, but which he explained meant that the series was trying to appeal to as broad an audience as it possibly could, sapping the soul of the creator out of it. I don’t think he’s right; checking online, the term “over-produced” gets applied to films like Memoirs of a Geisha and Alexander and other kinds of movies I’ve never seen that had enormous pre-release studio-generated hype and were an attempt to snipe the Academy Awards, at which they failed horribly. Call me crazy, but I don’t get this feeling from Ghost Hound. It is the 10th anniversary series of Production I.G., after all, so yes, it has a high production budget, and it certainly looks very good, but I think the series has only improved over time. The first few episodes weren’t especially enthralling, I will grant everyone that, but I felt somehow oddly compelled to watch more, and the series has opened itself up since then. I think my friend was going by the first several lacklustre episodes, for which I can’t fault him much, but he’s still wrong. The series clearly isn’t trying to grab as many demographics as it possibly can–it’s far too unlike Higurashi no Naku Koro ni to really be effective at that. The only “cute girl” character we’ve got is Miyako, who is suitably cute, but there’s no obvious otaku-bait moments, which I would take as a sign of “over-production” in the “grab every demographic” sense. Plus, no-one is watching it. Another reason it’s like Zettai Shounen! So watch it already! But you probably are! Exclamation points!

“That’s the highest compliment I could hope for.”

Well, it certainly doesn’t take much to please Setsuna, in the end.

We finally get some more tenuous light shed on Setsuna’s situation in life, as well as Nerd Dylandy Neil Nudity Neil Dylandy’s (can’t you say it properly, Felt)…or, err, Lockon’s. I’m guessing this is what MIzushima meant by the Meisters being fairly fleshed-out characters by the time the season closer pops up, an event which is getting dreadfully closer by the day. We’ve even learned a bit about Tieira Erde, and, while there’s still no explanation as to why he’s a humorless ass, he’s very obviously still human, somewhere in that ice cold heart of his.

The satisfaction of having pieces of the puzzle we call Gundam 00 slowly slide into place is nigh-on incomperable. It’s a great conspiracy series, made all the better because it’s a Gundam conspiracy series. With hot girls. I won’t say it’s the best Gundam ever oh my God you have to see it (although at times I might want to) but we’re six episodes from the end of the first half, and the series has only improved with each episode. Or, rather, not necessarily improved, but it’s kind of a Eureka Seven effect: you start out more intrigued than enthralled, and as the series slowly doles out bits of plot and what-not you find yourself loving it more and more. Of course, it hasn’t really “improved” per se, the standards of quality were there in the beginning, and the rather inauspicious start was just a clever prank by the writers to make lesser mortals abandon ship early. The Eureks Seven effect is, of course, why I rarely drop series whose first episode is lacklustre but intriguing anymore: it’s not really failed me much yet. Ghost Hound falls under this category as well (speaking of, need to watch next episode for my dose of creepy psychology) , so it’s a good sign that it’s in there.

Now I’m just sad that I have to wait until 2009 to find out how 00 ends. Curse you, Japan. At least we have Code Geass conclusion to watch in the interim between series. God bless Taniguchi Goro.


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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