Archive for March 14th, 2008

Shigofumi: Mandatory Beach Episode with Stave Fanservice

I am now officially moe for Kanaka. Not only does she take baths, she surfs, too!

This episode was totally filler from start to finish, but I don’t mind–it was a hilarious and fun episode. That’s one of the strengths of Shigofumi, I think. It’s capable of being both deadly serious and riotously hilarious, and, occasionally, this occurs in the same episode. That’s a hallmark of skillful writing and direction, there. It’s one thing to have a series be serious, and directed/written well, or to have a series be comedic, and directed/written well. It’s something entirely different to be able to handle both par exellence, which is exactly what Shigofumi is doing. It’s not a groundbreaking series by any means, but it’s solidly done.

As a filler episode, this episode was primarily focused on the “comedy” aspect of Shigofumi. I found there to be several jokes done throughout the episode that were done well; my favorite from the episode has to be the interaction between Kaname and Matoma. It was  just so delightfully absurd that I had to giggle uncontrollably at their perfect foil to the wild antics of the four girls. While there’s a wild pillow fight going on in the next room, Kaname offers tea to a stave. Tea. How can a stave drink tea? I don’t know, but that’e exactly why Matoma’s affirmative response was hilarious. I was expecting him to point out the obvious, that he couldn’t drink tea (which would have been exactly what Alastor would have done, had this been Shakugan no Shana instead of Shigofumi) but, instead, he agrees. I don’t know if it was the fact that it subverted my expectations or what, but the three cuts to them in the room, alone, being stoic and manly and professional while the girls throw a huge party next door, were absolutely brilliant.

The series truly has everything you could want in an anime: cute girls, check; thought-provoking episodes, check; excellent comic relief, check; surfing staves, check. I’m finding it hard to believe that we’re only starting the year and already we have two strong contenders for best-of 2008 (Shigofumi and true tears). And next season looks nuts. Best year in anime history?

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Spice and Wolf: There Be Gold in Them There Sheep

THE PLAN: smuggle gold in sheep.

THE PERPETRATOR: Sweet, innocent, cute Norah.

THE CHANCE FOR SUCCESS: 10%, but with courage we can make it 100%!

My only question for Lawrence is, how do you plan to get the gold out of the sheep? I mean, I assume the easiest way would be to butcher the sheep, but…they’re sheep. They’re cute. They’re also dumb, but that’s okay, because they’re sheep. They wouldn’t be sheep if they were smart. Sheep are considered smart if they discover the amazing fact that all grass does not taste the same. The Albert Einstein of sheep, however, broke new ground in the field of Grass Research by assigning a name to this phenomenon: “grass” and “tastes-like-grass-but-not-really”.

Sheep jokes aside, this plan is probably going to succeed (natch), and probably Norah is actually a magician, and probably the Church is an evil entity. I’m no anti-religion person, but it’s nice to see that the church in whatever the name of this fantasy-world is isn’t exactly completely upstanding. As was the case in our own medieval times, the church is somewhat corrupt. This doesn’t mean good people don’t work for it, but it does mean that they have an agenda to push, like a kind of independent government that operates in multiple areas at once. And we can’t forget the burning of heretics. Nasty, nasty heretics.

We, or at least I, also gain some more insight into Horo’s character. It occured to me after watching this episode that Horo, prideful as she is, is actu8ally an extremely lonely wolf-person-thing. I think her prideful, self-centered exterior is a way of denying to herself that loneliness. Lawrence, of course, breaks the loneliness, but as he is, well, human, he doesn’t necessarily always suit Horo’s needs. We saw last episode that she got mad at him for accusing her of ruining his chances at finding the money he needed, yet at the beginning of this episode, she’s crying and wondering why he’s such a “softy”, to borrow BSS’;s translation. Being the lone god of that one village at the beginning is certainly a fun prospect at first, but, after a while, even the largest of egos gets tired of constant groveling and worshiping. Fortunately for Horo, Lawrence is a kind person, and no matter how much they may bounce one-liners off each other all day, at the end of the day there’s still a sort of bond between them.

The series gimmick of character interaction and depth mixed with hard-core economics is, as I’ve said before, quite charming. It works well–there’s depth in the characters here, at the same time that there’s economic education of a sort. I like it for both, even though sometimes the economics escapes me.

And Horo. Yes. Wolf ears and tail. Can’t discredit that. Nothing makes economics more palatable than a wolfgirl.


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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