White Album 2: final episode

Most shocking scene that we went,
Most shocking scene that we otaku went, “gyaahhhhh!!!”

After all, White Album 2 the animation just ended. So, the anime only covered “introductory chapter” of the game. That’s just high school part. But it was very sad. School Days was really bad because Makoto was an @sshole. But White Album 2, at least, the main character dude has conscience, thank God that there’s no “nice boat.” And, college part of the game is kind of “crime and punishment,” which I should think they should animate as 2nd season!  Continue reading White Album 2: final episode

12 Days of Christmas: WHATTA TWEEST, Gen Urobuchi

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And finally, to close the 12 Days series for 2013 here at Anime Diet, we bring you this year’s works written, co-written, or story supervised by Gen Urobuchi–and their increasingly cheesy 3/4 mark twists! Needless to say, spoilers abound for Psycho-Pass, Gargantia, and Madoka Magica 3: RebellionLeave now if you wish to remain plot virgins.

First, to start off the year, there’s Psycho-Pass. Much has been made of the seemingly omnipotent Sybil System, which determines whether a person is fit to be in society or be stuck in brainwashing therapy. Eventually of course, we were going to find out who or what that System was. And eventually, Urobuchi gives us the answer:

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The vat of brains is actually not so surprising. What makes it unbearably cheesy, though, is whose brains those are: it’s the brains of psychopaths. The Psycho-Pass system is being run…by psychopaths. Get it? Get it??? And it’s up to, uh, Kana Hanazawa to stop them. From within, of course.

Next, we have Gargantia. Actually, this twist, about the true history and origin of the Hideauze, is probably the least problematic out of the bunch this year. We were set up quite early on with the idea that the Hideauze were sacred to the people of Gargantia, that Ledo’s militaristic society was not entirely to be trusted, and that somebody is hiding something. That’s par for the course for an Urobuchi story. And the big reveal was, all things considered, smoothly told through found footage and old documentaries, though even right before Ledo sees them, this shot pretty much gave the game away:

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And true to his unofficial “Urobutcher” nickname, the baby Hideauze are soon slaughtered indiscriminately, with one particularly moe one squeezed to death, Eva-style, complete with requisite scream but minus the BL overtones/fujoshi bait. This is supposed to be brutal and shocking, but for a veteran anime watcher steeped in the cliches of the past 20 years, it was also eye-rollingly typical.

Finally, we have what was clearly intended to be some kind of tour-de-force by Urobuchi, Shinbo, and the rest of SHAFT of their sacred cow: Madoka Magica 3: Rebellion.  Up until the 3/4 mark, we have been taken through a thematically consistent continuation of the series, which both expands and reiterates the central themes of the TV series: the limits of good intentions, the sadness and despair that can drive a person beyond the edge, and the redeeming power of unconditional love. We once again see the grand, tearjerking irony of the protagonist and would-be savior, Homura, instead become the saved through the ministration of Madoka, the very embodiment of the Universal Law (of Cycles). It was, in short, a genuinely Madoka Magica story.

Then, we get this, at the very moment when salvation is literally at hand:

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Homura, seemingly inexplicably, yanks Logos Madoka’s outstretched hand, and drags her down from heaven so she can wholly possess her, and in so doing, becomes, also literally, an incarnation of evil. (Her words.) The movie, which looked almost done, goes on for another half hour, as it slowly dawns on the audience that the story is far from over and that more movies and/or series are coming.

Granted, this twist, which upset many fans and seems driven by commercial than artistic desires, is more on Shinbo than Urobuchi. He cooperated, however, long enough to pen Madoka: Rebellion, though he appears to have washed his hands of the franchise altogether and will not write any more stories in that series. (Source: this interview, translated by feral_phoenix.) Perhaps so he can  go and make more Psycho-Pass and continue, with mixed success, to gain cyberpunk cred by quoting William Gibson and Nietzsche over and over again.

Does this make Gen Urobuchi the M. Night Shyamalan of anime? Well, he hasn’t sunk quite that low yet–it would take a disaster of epic proportions to approach the depths of The Last Airbender. And Urobuchi rarely works alone, so the blame can be justifiably shared with many others. Nevertheless, judging from the stories that came at least partly out of his imagination this year, I’m going to be looking at his future work and expecting the moment where I can say: WHATTA TWEEST!

12 Days of Christmas: Season of White Album

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Yes, Xmas season, when you go to Starbucks or Walmart or K-mart or any capitalist markets, you hear Xmas songs. Yes, SinatraNat King ColeBing CrosbyGeorge MichaelMariah Carey. Those romantic songs, especially Mariah Carey, reminds me of adolescence, all the girls I fell in love from my high school loved this song, yup, even Amuro Namie was a huge fan of Mariah. Every time I hear this song, I so crave for skinship horribly! But instead I listen to John Lennon’s Happy Christmas, this isn’t a romantic song, so I don’t need to feel ko-hi (孤悲= lonely sadness) or saudade or sehnsucht. But still…guuahhhhh, X-mas itself makes me uhh, ahh, what is English expression? In Brazilian, it is “estou morrendo de saudade (I’m dying of saudade).” That celesta is so depicting twinkle Snow! In Japan, X-mas is the climatic day when riajuu get laid. Some sad folks go to Soap Land (old Turkish bath) to ease their solitary night, but that’s just first-aid treatment, only emergency care. And of course, Obamacare won’t cover that. So, I go to 2D… Continue reading 12 Days of Christmas: Season of White Album

12 Days: Where’s More of Gintama?

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Yes I am cheating on this post with an image from season 5’s conclusion and Kondo’s heavily censored a** saying “sorry.” But where’s more of Gintama? I expected or wished for the anime to continue with a 7th season in the fall after the 6th season aired in the Spring. Did the movie that was promised in Japan for the summer flop? These are questions that, as an American fan, must be finally written about..

I do know that the manga is still continuing, but I am sad that Viz discontinued the English manga at vol 23, and knowing that the manga in Japan has released 50+ volumes frustrates me.

Granted, I do hear the seiyuu of Gintoki, Tomokazu Sugita, loud and clear in other 2013 anime like Gingitsune and Samurai Flamenco. But how I long to hear Gintoki and the rest of the Yorozuya.

I can’t help but say that I really buy into this series’s formula. Are there any other longish series that you want never to end?

12 Days of Christmas: The Ink Orgasm of Evil

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For those of us whose first exposure to Aku no Hana/The Flowers of Evil was the odd, willfully different anime adaptation, this bravura scene–which occurred in Episode 7–seemed to have come out of nowhere. In a show that, at first, seemed to revel in its aggressive “ugliness,” as well as willful slowness, the final five minutes was an explosion of orgasmic ink, charged with the release of all of Kasuga’s pent up sexuality, resentment, and anger–while Nakamura dances in ecstasy. The odd and foreboding ED, when slowed down and with string backing, took on a surprising majesty. As Kasuga and Nakamura paint the classroom black, one senses that what they are experiencing–and what the audience is experiencing with them–is nothing less than the true meaning of catharsis: a purgation or purification of emotion. (It was so overwhelming, it’s no wonder that the subsequent episode spent minutes just depicting them walking home together, as if to recover from such an explosion.)

After the first episode, I challenged the creators of the anime to justify the rotoscoping and the offbeat character designs with content to match. The depiction of this moment, as well as some other scenes of high drama later on, fully met that challenge. Aku no Hana became one of the most searing depictions of both the ridiculousness and the depth of teenage angst in anime. Real angst, not the manufactured kind of most shows. Sadly, it is not likely to continue and adapt the remainder of the manga, which takes even more bold turns that are only hinted at in the final episode’s close, given its low sales figures. But like Kare Kano, even the fragment that was left is a thing of beauty, albeit a twisted and incomplete one. That such a show is even made today is a wonder.

12 Days of Christmas: Passion Supports Yowapeda

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Yowamushi Pedal has been my top anime for the fall. This is a sports anime on bicycling, so there are the typical themes of competition, the underdog and of course a fiery passion. The protagonist, Ononda, happens to be an otaku who pedals on a utility bicycle weekly or daily from his school to Akihabara. He unsuccessfully tries to re-form an anime club, but fails; so he ends up joining the bicycle club where he becomes the unexpected hidden talent among the other more serious bicyclists.

The screen cap is from a moment at Ononda’s welcoming race, as he races to be the first on the top of the hill. In a race, there are critical moments when the body is exhausted, and to beat the other competitors is vital. The need to find motivation is clear, so this was his way of finding that last bit of energy.

What makes this heartwarming for me is the fact that Ononda finds solace in his niche hobby, and this can translate in reality as a passion or support for enriching life. I remember reading an entry MangaTherapy wrote on his blog that speaks about challenges. It is like choosing a career. Typically a person chooses what they find the most happiness in completing. But the harsh reality is how many would succeed in a field of their passion? Having multiple hobbies and passions makes life easier.

For me, Yowapeda brings inspiration and fun as I think about the various slashable couples and anime moments that make me a fan.

12 Days of Christmas: Otakon Cosplay Fail?

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This anime moment is not exactly a fond one. It was Saturday night at Otakon and I was hanging out with Linda at Jenag’s and Hazu’s hotel room where a who’s who of anibloggers were throwing a party. It was rather amusing because someone had to remind the group to keep our voices down every five minutes so we didn’t get busted.  Unexpectedly, I ran into Yuyu there of all places, which was cool. (We did get busted eventually but that’s not the sad memory for me.)

Mike Toole was there. He had no shortage of those seeking conversation with him. I waited until there was a lull before approaching him. I placed my medical mask on before proceeding to fish out the karuta cards AnimatedInk generously lent me earlier that morning to complete my cosplay. I showed Mike the cards. There was a quick twinkle in his eye before he cheerfully announced to the room that I had karuta cards on me. The room did not care. Still, this did not bother me. We introduced ourselves and I waited for him to comment on my cosplay.

Instead, he stared blankly at me. He had been drinking the entire time so I guess that had an effect. I was still very downtrodden. At a con as enormous as Otakon, it’s already depressing enough that no one cosplays the anime of the year but I can grudgingly accept that. Mike, however, is a big Chihayafuru fan. He tweeted about it regularly when the show was airing. Of all the people, I expected him to recognize my cosplay. Maybe it sucked and he didn’t want to hurt my feelings XD After all, GendoMike didn’t recognize it either ;_;

Anyone who is still wondering about my cosplay should watch the show again!

12 Days of Christmas: Coppelion’s Countdown to Mediocrity

Spoilers for the early part of Coppelion.

It was about time for a good anime that reflected on the aftermath and tragedy of Fukushima. For the first few episodes, Coppelion, whose manga actually predates the disaster by a few years and now seems awfully prescient (along with Tokyo Magnitude 8.0), seemed like it was a serious candidate for that title. Its decayed and detailed backgrounds contrasted perhaps a bit too strongly with the thick-lined characters, a hallmark of the new Go Hands studio, but there was plenty of intrigue and sad realizations as we discovered that Tokyo had been ruined by a nuclear accident of some sort. There were scientists who were atoning for their sins, a few people who refused to leave their homes despite the devastation–just like in northern Japan at the time–and politicians and industry leaders passing the buck. Sure, the girls sometimes seemed a little too jaunty given the setting, but there was real pain and anguish in the people that they rescued in the early parts, and there seemed to be direct, pointed statements intended to resonate to a public still dealing with the memory of such large scale failure…

Then, in episode 4, the timer appeared.

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The timer counted down how long until a certain character’s radiation suit gave out and he would die from the fallout poisoning. In its bombastic, over-the-top way, it was also intended to illustrate the brevity of life and the urgency of the situation. Instead, it was more like the cheesy bomb timer that the movie Galaxy Quest mocked years ago, that timer that you know will never actually reach 00:00–which, of course, it doesn’t, there or here.

Worse, this timer appeared in an episode where we discovered that somehow, stealth bombers had machine guns, lots of vegetation can exist in fallout zones, and these superpowered, radiation-proof schoolgirls can declare mission accomplished and treat all their outings like a school trip. It was, in short, the crowning moment where I could no longer take Coppelion seriously. And in my opinion, the show never recovered from that moment. For what might have been a semi-serious meditation on disaster, working together, and confronting the mistakes of the past, Coppelion became an action romp with cartoonish villains, silly characters like Aoi (one of Kana Hanazawa’s most grating roles yet), and a Vice Principal/Commander who looks like Saddam Hussein. Really!

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I am the told the manga, which is available on Crunchyroll’s new manga channel, is considerably better. But despite its best efforts, the great post-Fukushima anime has yet to be produced. Coppelion turns out to be, sadly, just another anime.

 

12 Days of Christmas: Echoes of Reality in “Silver Spoon”

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What a series…Okay, Silver Spoon is definitely not a revolutionary anime, but it is a simple coming of age tale. A slice of life story that I would have definitely have enjoyed if I were 10+ years younger.

Hachiken finds himself burnt out by exams and makes a life altering decision to move to the boonies, where he attends an agricultural school. He becomes surrounded by classmates that basically are expected to inherit family agricultural businesses and farms.

Being an urban kid, this is definitely different, and his experiences of being thrown in as a new kid makes this one of my top anime for 2013. In my own life, I have learned that trying to gain employment in my chosen career field is difficult, with bittersweet temporary working periods. Knowing about Hachiken as he makes his life choices makes me feel like we are comrades. Hence my choice for this screencap, since he realizes that reality is not that easy, nor is it fun and games.

There is going to be a second season next year and as I wait, I know that I can relish memories of the first season, when there was a pizza party episode, his first road kill, curing Tonkatsu and watching little moments for his sparks of awareness.

My Mental Choices are Completely Interfering with My Critic Skills

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Choose!

  1. Article is a tearful piece of boredom.
  2. Article is a hysterical waste of laughter

Sometimes life is stranger than fiction.

I woke up this morning around 10:00 AM, realizing that I’m three things: NEET, hikkikomori, and a woman-bane. As I remembered the last episode of My Mental Choices are Affecting My School (read: Love) Life, and feeling a powerful urge to laugh hysterically, a voice suddenly came to my head:

“Choose!”

Oh no, I thought, what the hell?

The voice continues. “Choose!

  1. Wear your pants on your head and dance in your underwear on the beach,
  2. or wear your underpants on your head and dance naked!”

I quickly reminded myself that while I liked the show a lot and it really puts a quirky spin on the dating sim scenario, it’s not reality. After all, how is reality connected to a show that talks about a bunch of choices you make as you go through life?

Hmm? Was the show that deep?

All of a sudden, I got a big headache. It was as if my head is splitting apart. A sudden fear seized me as I realized what the hell was going on.

Needless to say, I totally regretted the choice I made after finding myself in the local police station, after being reported for inappropriate behavior in public (OK, don’t quote me or legally analyze this).

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My Mental Choices is a weird show. You won’t find any solid substance at its root that may give you the sincere urge to come to tears and get your soul rocked like H2O, and you’re unlikely to feel a sense of overwhelming joy like you would in Porco Rosso. Though I did cry tears of laughter and laughed with sympathy as I watched Kanade (the main male) be the sole comic relief in absurd and absolutely contrived situations, involving his harem of Chocolat, Yuoji Ouka, and Yukihira. (It’s easier to remember names for me when the show is downright weird and not serious.) I found his situations to be very funny.

There are no deep characters here, save Yukihira, who has a deep complex on having small breasts and is unable to show her shy self. She often talks with a sarcastic voice joking about boobs, while calling Kanade massive number of names involving bugs, pigs, and other female favorite nicknames for men. The writers came up with some inventive ones, for sure.

As for the others, Yuoji Ouka is very cute, funny, and pretends that she doesn’t care much for sexual innuendos, until harem/ecchi accidents happen. Like her forerunners of the harem genre, she is forced to examine her feelings about actually being proverbially naked in front of her favorite guy. Chocolat is another annoying character with an annoyingly big appetite, but is nowhere as competent as other big-appetite type characters. She’s the fanservice character of gluttony, “hiding” a serious side. I feel that all three cute girls are basically hiding their true personalities in this freakish universe to avoid really confronting their feelings toward Kanade and other people.

If you want to read that far into the characters (lol).

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In the end, if you’re passing by, and not offended or bored to tears, then have a seat and enjoy the spectacle. Kanade is like Jim Carrey in 2D without the comedic talent, but is forced to make embarrassments funny for the sake of the Otaku audience, and gets himself a harem despite the creepy choices he has to make. And because I like Ace Ventura, I like this show as well.

Just not for a second watch or a serious purchase. I watched it on Crunchyroll.

B- for comic value, C for everything else. PG – 13 if you have pretty understanding parents. (And B for the design of the girls).

12 Days of Christmas: Love Lab and Soul Sistaas

Not sure if many people actually watched Love Lab, which I feel is one of the funniest anime comedies this season, if only for the timing, the silliness, and the batsu (punishment) game like effect where one is placed in an environment and is on the verge of falling off the edge of laughter–when something outrageous happens right at you, and you’re “punished” for laughing.

In this fine episode, protagonist Kurahashi Riko comes to the student council’s office with the usual stuff on her mind. This is after the Love Lab group read about how having a darker skin complexion gave someone relationship trouble. Now, silly jokes that take race light-heartedly and being totally silly but not mean is fine with me.

In any event, I didn’t expect what happens next. The show seems all normal at first. Then Riko opens the door, and finds a verydifferent Maki outside. I’ll let the picture do the talking.

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This screen shot doesn’t do justice to the whole scene. There’s no way to convey the random, batsu game like funniness without actually watching this episode yourself, or watching the entire show up to this point.

So there you go. I recommend a slightly patient watch, but once the single gals get together and daydream about love, there’s not stopping the laughter!