All posts by Ray

I'm a hardcore Anime Fan and I'm proud of it. I know so many things and I've acquired so much knowledge you wouldn't believe. But my love is anime. I've been drifting in this world for so long that I don't even know what an anchor means. I've seen so many shows that I've lost count. The only thing I'm sure of myself is that I care for the lowly and disenfranchised. I hate the rich and powerful and I love what I do, or what I can do. I like anime and I don't mind watching different types of shows. I have experience in different types of Japanese animation. I would be called an "expert" in a bizzaro world. One day, I'd like to start a revolution. I love the US, pizza, beer, sashimi, Chinese food, and steak. But I love freshly baked bread more than a well-aged steak. In reality, if I were born Japanese I'd be a real, hardcore Otaku. I love to love and I can hate strongly. I'm passionate in nature and I don't mind shedding tears. I can be reached at rayyhum777 at animediet. My Twitter is rayyhum777 at twitter.

Audio Face Off: Tari Tari

We didn’t think it would end up being as good as it was! Ray and gendomike sound off in another audio Face Off about one of summer 2012’s sleeper hits, Tari Tari. We talk about how it beat our low expectations of the genre and its initial first impressions, where it turned around, and why it succeeds as a feel good show. And Sawa. Oh, yes, Sawa.

As a gift to you, here is a GIF that you may enjoy which encapsulates the virtues of this series.

(HT: notsuki. There really is an awful lot of this…)

Audio Face Off – Humanity Has Declined (Jinrui wa Suitaishimashita)

In our second Audio Face Off (see our previous one on Kokoro Connect), Ray and I talk about the merits and the limits of this season’s original satirical series, Humanity Has Declined (Jinrui wa Suitaishimashita, or Jintai for short). We go through the major plot arcs, what the fairies and other bits symbolize, and whether there is any ultimate value to cynicism without solution in this series. The discussion gets a bit heated sometimes so enjoy!

Audio Face Off: The Problems and Promise of Kokoro Connect

Ray and I are back in our first entry in the Face Off series in years…and this time we’re talking about one of the most talked about shows this season, the high school body swapping drama Kokoro Connect. The strengths and the weaknesses of the show are well-known by now—the great acting, the questionable resolution of girls’ problems, among other things—and Ray and I cover a lot of that ground, and more. We especially discuss the impact of the 5th episode, which contained many shocking events and threw into question some of the assumptions we’ve made about the characters—especially “selfless freak” Taichi.

For the time being it’s going to be audio-only, but I’m going to try to see if I can do an auto-transcript with the new transcription abilities on my computer and tablet sometime later. In the meantime—enjoy!

What if I had never gotten into anime?

Have you ever wondered where you’d have gone if you hadn’t become an anime fan?

I’ve always wondered if I hadn’t gotten into anime, what would’ve happened to me?

If you had met me back then, you would’ve met a very different person.

The year was 1995, when I graduated high school, the best year of my teenage days. I went to the prom with a pretty good looking gal, hung out with friends in a limo, ate at an expensive French restaurant (aren’t they all), and then went on a nice retreat the next day.

I was a high school senior: a veteran of the war of adolescence, battling shyness, struggling with my feelings for the opposite sex, avoiding  bullies, shutting myself off some times, and dying to be a club maniac at other times. You know, the usual stuff that almost all adults go through in their younger days.

I remember right after graduation, after we tossed our hats in the air, and I was on my way home with my parents, on our way to a Chinese restaurant for celebration. I knew exactly what I wanted to listen to on our way; I inserted the cassette tape (wow, did these even exist) of Top Gun’s soundtrack; I had already fast-forwarded it to the Top Gun Anthem. I felt like I was going to soar into the sky.

Somewhere in the sky, my dream, whatever it was, was waiting for me. I was flying somewhere, or so I believed.

I was not outgoing, but I was not reclusive. I knew how to be, for a lack of better word, ippanjin (can be translated as normal crowd, perhaps). I was pretty positive about life because I had became a Christian one year earlier, and I had gone to Life ’95, a huge Christian party, in Orlando, Florida. Filled with positivity, I knew how to tell a good story—my favorite was the one about how my prom looked disastrous but worked out well in the end, and I attributed its success to God’s blessings.

I simply believed then.

Fast-forward (3x the normal speed), and here I am, in 2012. I’m rather cynical about life, less hopeful, have weak faith, don’t know how to act like an ippanjin, am an otaku, and watch anime as my primary means of entertainment.

I’ve gone through years of alcohol addiction; I wasted my college years drowning in booze, porn, and a lot of 90’s anime. I was once wealthy, but now technically in the category of being poor (but far from it in reality). I’m no longer simply trusting.

All this time, two things have always accompanied me, and they have almost never been at odds with each other, oddly enough. These things are anime and God.

I’ve always wondered why God allows me to watch anime, and he doesn’t tell me to get off of it. After all, anime has very little or nothing to do with Christianity, or at least I still believe that today. People would probably tell me Eva this, Alucard that, Trigun this, or whatever.

Once again, oddly enough, I’ve learned a lot of Christian lessons through different moments in different anime. Some of these anime were funny, but most were serious (without taking themselves too seriously, thank God), and almost none of them said a direct word about God, Jesus, or Christianity. Actually, most of them had nothing to do with religion. They were simply great works of animation. Great stories.

I’ve always wondered about that. Why is it that there are Christian anime watchers, and even Christian otakus (is that an oxymoron?). Recently, I even met a woman (no, we’re not dating, just working on a project together) who shares a very similar background in that she grew up in Taiwan, went to the US to study for college and graduate school, and watches anime as entertainment.

I wonder if it will take a lifetime to discover why.

Or is the question “why” even relevant at this point in my life, with our (Mike, Jeremy, me, Linda, MLM, Dan, and a group of awesome folks) site, Anime Diet, being a major indie press in the US and our Facebook page having close to 8,700 likes.

I am wondering exactly this: if I were to meet the me that just graduated from high school, toe to toe, in the middle of Rockville, Maryland, what would I say to him?

I take all that in with another gulp of beer, and I’ll leave you with that and bid you good night

or good day.

Review: End of Summer 2011 Season and Still Standing

As we’re closing in to the end of 2011, we are entering the end game. The game to end it all. The time to both looking forward to how the prophecy would turn out as well as dreading any of the possible outcomes that have been secretly laid beneath the waves of time since the ancient times…

Ya, sure! The serious truth is that the Summer 2011 Anime Season is coming to an end, and some new shows from the fall are starting. And here at AD, we still don’t have ONE f’ing preview post for Fall 2011 Season up. To be honest, I don’t even have a goddamned clue how to distinguish the Fall and Winter seasons of anime, because although the shows that begin in late September / early to mid October always goes into early next year, which makes it confusing to me (Winter of 2011??? You mean Spring of 2012??? Don’t we go by temperature????). But anyways,

This has been a strange year and this summer has been a strange summer. Here we go:

 

Kamisama Dolls – What can I say? This show really showed promise. But dramedy is bad unless the show is called “Gintama”.

I know I said I really liked this show and I didn’t have any bias toward it. However, after several discussion with Mike, I realized that I was just bullshtting myself. I wanted real, undiluted drama after all – that is, if I’m already watching more than 3 episodes of a 12 episode show, and it shows dramatic potential from time to time. But there is the problem. It’s only potential and not a completion.

I really like the arc (do two episodes constitute an “arc”?) where we learn why Kyohei and Aki seems to be perfect enemies to each other, and just why is it that Aki is so obsessed with Kyohei and why Kyohei hates him so much. In the hands of the old Gainax, dealing with an older Otaku audience who saw the glorious Eva and of course, classic Gundam (forget the copout endings of Gundam Seed Destiny and Gundam 00), this could’ve been another powerful and raw exploration of deep and dark emotional stuff. Of course, we’d have to put up with Anno-angsty stuff and psudo (even lame-o) religious symbols that allowed Mike to have his field days just picking it apart. But at least, the emotions fully exploded, the characters deeply developed, and the pain really defined a lost generation of young folks in Japan, and ignited a new genesis in fujishi-dom. But the point is that, although disjointed in the first half, Eva was consistently emotionally raw and psychologically demanding. All the babble aside, Eva’s second half was great at what it did. It left all the lame-ass humors and references behind and went straight for the heart (corny line, I know).

Back to Kamisama Dolls. There have been times where that raw emotion, the anger, and all that real drama that shined. Together with Ishikawa Chiaki‘s sad ballads, the thread weaved among Kyohei, Aki, the teacher, and the village was almost perfectly sewn. I mean, the director went a little heavy-handed and made the barely involved boobnaut Hibino shed a obvious silent tear, which just ruined the balance. But other than that, the plot among the three aforementioned people made me sit up and take real notice. Unfortunately, the show then goes back to wavering among comedy, fan service, some drama, little angst, and so on. You want something that can juggle all that stuff right? Watch Gintama. This show is not Gintama and it never really decided to be brave and go down a single path. I get the feeling It wanted to define this generation, but in the end, because it was too cowardly to charge down a set path and failed to impress many. That’s why we have the last episode that obviously scream: there could’ve been more had more people cared to watch!

Bottomline: it’s a watered-down drama that makes cowardly young Otakus breath sighs of relief for they don’t have to deal with real and painful stuff.

 

Blade – great for US Sunday mornings, so-so for hardcore Otakus.

Now here is a small gem. Not that it’s a diamond in the rough, but a small gem that shows precisely why Madhouse and Marvel collaboration failed miserably and why fucking Madhouse should’ve listened to people who loved Claymore and make a second season of Claymore. Disagree? Let’s see you buy all the Blu-ray (DVDs just don’t make a strong testament of your fan fever) of the following collaborative efforts – Iron Man, Heroman, Wolverine, X-men, plus Blade – when they come out in the US or your country. For me, Blade is actually a better show, albeit only ever so slightly better, than the other ones. At least Blade talks and the show has a real plot. Even though every element in this plot is predictable, the plot itself is at least watchable. Blade doesn’t just fight every other scene; he reminisces long enough to let all the newcomers of Blade (remember, this show is aimed toward the Japanese) to understand the back story. Also, he shows adequate  intelligence in dealing with others.

However, the animation, the music, not to mention the character chemistry, just don’t cut it. And I don’t need to see Wolverine and Kikyou making guest appearances; I suspect great shows outside of Clampverse don’t need outside character supports. Blade is bad ass, all right, and he’s a brother. That’s refreshing to me. But they gotta make the show better than this mediocre stroll in the park. the final three episodes were pretty good, but overall, the show only makes a good American Sunday morning cartoon, but not much as an anime. It certainly doesn’t impress this Otaku veteran.

Bottomline: I do recommend a viewing of it. But I suspect you may not care to watch it a second time.

 

Blood C – (Edit: this show sucks. There’s too much blood and gore) Uh…Catching up to the current trend in Japan of discovering that everything is just a conspiracy game can be is bad.

Damnit! It’s a show with Nana-chan in it! By default, I’d give any show with Nana-chan in it an automatic pass and heaps of biases. I’d praise it like I’d praise shows that I love only for certain elements while knowing they suck. And this show has Nana-chan  voicing the main character! On top of that, it’s a production IG work with what I felt was great animation most of the time, minus the usual face-deforms done by the subcontractors. Also, the plot seems to be interesting enough. Amnesia, conspiracy, intrigue, mysteries about the town…This is supposed to be a winning formula for the often lackluster summer season! But the bleeding started. Oh yes, I’m talking about the kill ’em all episode, where all the characters we came to care for just fucking died miserably, and there was Saya, holding her fucking head and just can’t turn red-eyed and Shiki-awesome asskicking. She moaned and wobbled around like a stumbling bum, barely surviving the episode and holding the fort down. And then later, as I unfortunately suspected, it all turned out to be a conspiracy straight out of the current Japanese dramatic trend of shows about trickery and mystery games.

I mean, yeah OK, at the end of day, even without having to force a Mizuki Nana-banzai! bias, it’s not a bad plot. It’s competently done, and I was fairly impressed with the characters and how they interacted. But the curse on me is that I have a strong nature toward distrust and suspecting things, so after a while, I wondered if the owner of the Cafe and the teacher aren’t some part of a huge conspiracy messing with Saya. I even thought, hell! The owner must be the final boss!

And I curse myself for not turning my brain off in advance, and figuring things out. I do hope the last episode will have a great twist. (Update: NO Twist…sigh…it was just a bloodbath to the end…)

Bottomline: This is also worth a viewing avoiding, but the mileage will vary greatly. Nana-chan Banzai!!!

(Edit: Oh and, EXCESSIVE BLOODINESS IS EXCESSIVE!!!)

 

Baka Test 2 – Decide to be serious is OK but awkward.

All right, this is the show out of all the shows I watched that hits the consistency mark. It’s funny in most episodes, the timing is still great and the gags are humorous. That what the show does best when it doesn’t take itself too seriously. That’s what it aims for most of the time. However, with the introduction of drama, a problem arises.

I just can’t mix and mesh it all together in my mind.

I mean, now I think about it, the dramatic episode about Minami is brilliant. It’s frank and shows the difficult road, full of misunderstanding, that Minami had to face when she first returned to Japan. Just forget the god-awful English and the entire episode shows some mastery of mis-en-scene, juxtapose, and other stuff that the show itself favors. This show seems to be full of Shinboism and doesn’t saturate the screen with pointless Dali-image-copycats.

But the whole season just doesn’t mesh well together. It just seems a little jarring to me.

Bottomline: This season is either brilliant or awkward. Again, the mileage will vary.

 

Kamisama no Memocho – hurrying is bad, mmmk?

Sigh…I get it, they’re testing the waters with a 12-episode run, to see how people like it. And yeah, it’s quite likable. The scooby-doo gang detective team of “NEETS” doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb. Narumi, the main guy, is sensible and likable enough. The white haired gang leader as well as his old friend in two of the episodes can get some sympathy (and fujoshi screams) out of the audience. Alice, the NEET detective, is moe and lovable. Ayaka is cute and energetic. Ming-san…well, there’s a waste of character potential. But she’s not awful.

And that’s the problem – the show doesn’t do that much. It’s not great and it’s not awful. It just feels like a shadow of something. That, it definitely is. As an avid reader of the novel and having seem all the arcs fully expanded and in the right order, I really can’t stand how much of all the important but not flashy bits are cut out for the sake of TV length restriction. I love the novel, despite its humble beginning and nearly indistinguishable whisper from the noisy world. It grew on me and I came to care for the characters. The TV show, while having good animation, decent music and pretty good voice acting, just doesn’t cut it. But for what it tries to do, it meets the goal.

Bottomline: Read the novel if you can find a version somewhat floating on the net or if you’re fortunate enough, in your local comic shop / bookstore. If not, the anime is likable enough. It just won’t stick with you.

 

Nekogami – this shows heart! It just gets ignored by the majority.

Here’s a real little gem of this season. And it is upheld by two great seiyuu, namely Horie Yui and Tomatsu Haruka. I’ll simply get to the point: it’s a cute little slice-of-life drama that gets it right by hiring the right people to do the right job, and it matches all elements perfectly. Bits and pieces of this small tale about a seemingly useless Cat goddess gently and joyfully add up to a good, short story concerning the daily lives of common people and dare I say, common gods. Having down to earth characters, these gods and goddess could truly be your neighbors in a warm, small town. Their presence may not create earth-shattering dramas and great heroics, but they being there sure makes you smile. The pre-arc and the main story of how Yuuzu took over the family business is really touching. It made me go “awww.”

Bottomline: God must be tired. But Good job!

 

R-15 – it’s shamelessly focused and un-bashfully pleasing! No pretend-plots!

Gosh, it’s so raunchy, isn’t it? I mean the main guy really doesn’t have any redeeming values, and he’s a genius at writing porn novels! But it’s the second part of the last sentence that makes this absurd show not so absurd. After all, it never takes itself seriously and it’s proud of that! No stupid dramedy, just comedy and comedic romance. No sudden turn into serious territory, just a slow development of fondness between the porn novelist and the flute player. It’s quite a match, wouldn’t you say? XD This show knows it will sell based on its silliness and IT’S UNCENSORED PANTIE SHOTS and NAKED GIRLS ON BLU-RAY VERSION. But take all that aside, and you see a well-executed ero-comedy with fun and quirky characters that generate great chemistry. They’re practically electric at their best! Ritsu, Taketo’s MALE best friend, has not failed to make me chuckle with his mistakes about Taketo’s intentions toward him. And Taketo has a personality, not to mention is a funny guy. The pacing is quick, with nothing ever dragged on and no heavy-handedness. The humor is fast and gets to the point. No Otaku-only insider jokes that really can miss; no desperate attempts for drama; no wavering among seriousness and wackiness. I dunno why, but it just does what it does the best. And it manages to do it right just about every episode.

Bottomline: to watch this show, ignore the fan service and enjoy its refreshing ecchi-comedy.

 

Mayo Chiki – Damn good comedy!

Oh yes, together with R-15, this show makes to the top for one of the best comedies of this season. Although some of the neta (jokes, tropes, whatnot) can be rather culture specific (3, 2, 1…Nakuru Nakuru XD), it’s mostly funny. Bright, light, fast paced, it’s makes a wonderful relaxing watch. It’s also another twist on the classic anime plot – a guy who is super shy around women, and some times even get rashes / nose bleeds / panic attack / masochistic cravings. There is actually not too much to talk about plot-wise, but the chemistry among the seiyuu certainly works well. And the 2D girls are cute, and so are their real life counter parts.

Bottomline – An A+ watch for ecchi comedic laughs!

 

Sacred Seven – At least make it fun or grow a personality…

OK, here’s Sunrise’s/Bandai’s problem: it wants to make original shows from time to time, but when it misses, it just sucks bad. Sacred Seven is a show that shows some promise. Evil rocks, powerful heroes that could fall into the dark side; A rich and pretty girl crazy about saving the world for the sake of her little sister who’s frozen in time…

If only the show did something that broke the stone coffin that encased it. I can picture Bandai (sponsor and the real owner of Sunrise) telling the director, producer and the staff: “Make it big, but not so huge that people who dislike huge will hate it; make it pretty, but not so beautiful that people who wants ruggedness get offended; make it dramatic, but not hurt the weak and young Otaku who can barely deal with the real world; and finally, make it easy on the eyes…and stick with THAT so WE CAN SELL MERCHANDISE to boys and fujoshi girls!!!”

Its formulaic good guys and almost disappearing bad guys just don’t cut the stone. And the show goes stone cold after episode 3. Look, doing all the standard trope that include a high school, a maid commando team, couple of handsome and tall fellas and a otherworldly beautiful rich girl is perfectly OK. Haruhi had things like those (save the rich part and the maid commando team – there was only one “maid”), and there have been other shows that did those. But please, at least try to make it fun. This show can be so dry on the inside that it becomes soulless. And it’s definitely not fun. I’ll make a leap and make a comparison with another Sunrise/Bandai original – SoraKake Girl AKA the “Girl Who Leaps Through the Sky”. I thought it was a show trying to reference to the famous “the Girl Who Leaps Through Time”, but it turned out to be something completely different. I don’t remember much about the show, but I do remember one thing: it was a fun. It was a fun summer blockbuster that entertained me well. It didn’t make me purchase it or anything else related to it, so I suppose that made it a failure in merchandising, but TBH, if I found an official version selling in Taiwan, I would’ve bought it, since I’ve been living in Taiwan for the past few years, but Taiwan never licensed it. Anyway, back to Sacred Seven. One last thing; the Kajiura OP was so generic that I didn’t care much for it. And the line “Stone Cold” always makes me scream “STEVEN AUSTIN”.

Bottomline: This show fell stone cold, and THAT’S the bottomline! Cause Stone Cold said so!!! XD

 

Yuru Yuri – It’s a Yuri show that ate my brain within the first five minutes of episode one and I’m TOTALLY AS BIASED AS HELL toward it.

What else is there? It doesn’t make any attempt to be serious, and it’s yuri fan service all the way without ecchi. I’m a yuri fan so all the minor flaws are pretty invisible to me. But honestly, there are very few flaws to this show anyway, because it sticks what it tries to do and never aimed very high – and you know when you aim low, you’ll always hit the (ouch)? But it’s pleasing anyways. And I’ll buy the OP single when I find it. I may even get the legal version if it ever comes out wherever I live. I doubt I’ll find it though, unless I live in Japan some day and can understand Japanese perfectly.

Bottomline: there is not much to say about it, but the dynamics among characters is perfect for yuri fans. Of course, your mileage will vary.

 

Boy, you girls sure are cute!
Itsuka Tenma no Usagi– Oh spare me, spare me of the so-called dramedy!

Oh boy, here’s a great one to dissect. This is a show that takes pretentiousness and fan pandering to a new level. It simultaneously incorporates the following into every episode: sickening melodrama; suggestions of BL to hardcore fujoshi (probably the doujin artists); senseless death times 6, sometimes 7; multiple accounts of OH-MY-GOD-THEY-KILLED-KENNY-ism; slow to retarded growth of character attributes – emotionally, mentally, or just plain come-on-beat-the-guy-already-ness (Taitou is so fucking weak that the number of facepalm I performed is astronomical); and last and unfortunately not the least, lack of conviction to stick to serious drama or serious comedy. The story begins with Taitou, the main guy, dying and becoming immortal ala highlandersomewhat of a magic character. Then, he remembers about the magical little girl he met during childhood, when they made a promise to be together…I mean geez, where have we seen that a billion times before? All right, that’s OK. Then, the absurdity starts. She’s free, she comes to him, he remembers and swears to protect her – here’s where in the anime world, he has enough powers to protect her – but no, someone almost kills her. All right, it’s the process of creating frustration. That’s…all right, too. But then, we discover that Taitou really has NO POWERS WHATSOEVER, except he’s like a cockroach and doesn’t really die. He gets beat up and unlike Saint Seiya, who becomes stronger within every time he falls down, Taitou fails miserably. And I fucking forget what happens after because everything is so unmemorable. Then I remember the episode where Taitou dies often…Wait, isn’t that every episode??? Doesn’t he just die over and over again? Then, there’s the Gekko and Mirai dynamic duo of pretentiousness and annoyance. Gekko, the loser who can’t  beat up his little brother even once, and Mirai, who’s always showing off panties and fights so un-brilliantly compared with Biribiri from Railgun and Index, shows up just to abuse and annoy Taitou and us the audience. The artificially manufactured fujoshi-bait Gekko and the “artfully”stupid Mirai always manage to kick the dumbness of this show up a few notches, creating massive headache and puke-friendliness in this anime veteran.

If it weren’t for Mirai’s cute shimapan clumsiness, as well as Saitohimeya (Saito Hajime’s distant cousin from bizzaro world???), I’d drop the show already! And yes, Mirai is cute! But she’s nearly the only bright spot of this show. As other heroine’s plots are never fully fleshed out (read the novel, the staff says), the show really isn’t all that deep. And I suspect even though the author of the novel has a male pen name, she’s really a female, because at the end of the TV show, we get two more pretty guys! Ugh! You gay FOCKER!

Bottomline: Mirai Pantsu – good, but not make show great watch. Other things, not make show watchable enough. And I’ve got shimapan on my mind.

 

Dantalian no Shoka – I want to enter Miyukichi’s Heavens…I mean, her character is 99% destructively annoying, but that one fucking brilliant percent always gets to me. Love Hugh Disward. Uh, before Miyuki fans kill me, I’ll say this: I hate her…Wait, I think I just made it worse.

The truth is, I’ve never cared much about Sawashiro Miyuki. Her roles that impressed me the most are Shinku from Rozen Maiden and Celty from Durarara (rararararararararara). Other than that, I’ve never been impressed with her acting skills or voice. Her looks certainly DO NOT appeal to me AT ALL. But all that aside, I’ll admit it. Yeah, I have a bias against her. But I’m human, and critics are humans. Some of us may say we’re (or we try to be) fair, but like hell we are! All right, so for this show, she’d have to be a perfect 11 to gain 1 point from the scale of 1 to 10. Why? Because I had already given her a -10 to began with. But you know the problem is?

Even without my Steel Defense, which denies all her efforts, she’d still gets a -5 from me.

Her character, Dalian, is annoying at least, fucking irritating at most. At this day and age, there are two seiyuu that can do either side of Dalian’s personality – tsundere and loli-queen – better than she, namely Kugimiya Rie (Kugyuuuuuu!) and Yuuki Aoi (Vampire Queen from Vampire Bund and Victorique from ). I mean, these two are perfect in their roles, and in order to combine their roles, you’ll have a difficult time. Miyukichi fights well, but fails miserably. At the end of the day, I just can’t help but find Dalian annoying, disgusting, and pretentious. However…

In the last few episodes of the show, her character finally shines. She stopped being annoying, and start being more down to earth and sympathetic. And I really love her deep baritone voice saying: “I AM heaven.” She has redeemed herself with great emotions.

All right, moving on to Hugh Disward. What can I say? He has characters. He is intelligent, and he can fight. Unlike many other worthless male leads that leave all the intelligence and powers to the female lead, Hugh is useful and does good things. He can fight.

Overall, the show has some really good stuff, however, being a heavily episodic show, it’s hard to redeem it. What I’m curious to read, is the novel. The author, Mikumo Gakuto (三雲岳斗), also did Asura Cryin’ novels. And Asura Cryin’ 2 anime had a great episode that struck me hard. Therefore, I’d love to read the novel and see everything that’s left out. But for the show itself, I’m rather torn.

Bottomline: It’s surprisingly pretty good, but with Miyuki involved, I stay biased against it…And since I don’t get paid, I ain’t gonna be fair ANYWAY!!!!!! XD XD XD

 

The IDOLM@STER – it has some heart…

I totally forgot that I’ve been following this show this season. Just watched episode 13. Well, you know, this is a show aimed for people who played the game and wanted to see screen time for their Waifus. I get it. At the beginning, I felt this show was pointless. It didn’t do much of anything and it wasn’t particularly interesting. However, at episode 13, I can honestly say that at least the voice actresses really put their hearts into acting. The good thing about this show is that at the very least, the chemistry among the cast flows just fine. Nothing jarring and nothing stood out (good or bad). It’s competent mediocre show for the rest of us, but for the fans, I imagine it has been an interesting ride. The episode about the girl with a large family was actually pretty decent. Oddly enough, I can’t really pick this one apart. Oh well.

Bottomline: it’s probably a boring show for non-fans and a pretty good one for fans. I wish they allowed Kugyuu to do her awesome lines about hentai, but this show is obviously the much-cleaner version of the game.

 

Other shows…Uh, I don’t remember watching anything else! I honestly hates Penguin Drum with a personal reason, and for other shows, I never care to follow them, so there. And No. 6 is so gay that I felt unhappy watching it.

Bottomline: This summer has been an interesting summer. TBH, it probably has enough variety to please many fans, but for critics, it was not an easy summer to like. However, I’ll say this, the overall production quality and dramatic elements of this summer seem to be better. I don’t mean like the production was outstanding; I mean like in this economy, what has been done this summer has actually impressed me quite a bit. Odd, ain’t it?

 

 

Kami-sama no Memo-chō 10 is why

That I wanted to watch this anime and like the light novel very much. This is where everything begin. This is why the show, the light novel, and whatever else means so much.

Ayaka‘s story.

This is where it all begins.

This is when Narumi really met Alice and the Scooby-Do gang for the first time. This is where the real meat and potato filled up my plate.

This is why I wanted to watch the anime.

I’ve been watching the anime and to be honest with you, I’ve been disappointed with it. There were dialogs, feelings, revelations, and other things that were cut out. The characters never got to express their true selves (found in the light novel) properly, and the fact that Okura Yui‘s Alice is flat really doesn’t help much. All the ingredients they decided to keep have made this show a common place in Blandville. Where everything and happenings easily flow from ordinary not to mention over-used Otaku theater, and if you weren’t a fan of the light novel to begin with, you’d have a difficult time sitting through it all, especially if you were looking to find meat and potatoes, but only found empty cans of “Dokupe”. Dr. Pepper would’ve been acceptable, but “Dokupe” is just a poor imitation of it all.

No, of course that’s not a fair assessment. At least, the caricatures from the light novel have been planted into the anime. As a light and airy hit calculated for summer audiences, the anime works in its own way. But the big problem is that the characters are missing. And those are what make the light novel, the source, work.

I have this big speech about the appeal of the light novel to a lost group of people and all that. But I can’t really bear to put all that crap on. All I can say is that, the plain opening of the light novel really works. After all, everything just seems so ordinary.

But it’s not, and that’s the magic of it. There’s always a place that you want to defend, no matter how small, plain, and worthless it seems to any outsiders.

Unfortunately, for the anime, even that gets reduced to some hasted introduction that throws Narumi into the mix. It doesn’t give us time to get the feel of the place. It doesn’t show us the true motive behind all the plots. It’s like the anime has the face of the light novel but didn’t even inherit its true nature.

However, episode 10 is here. With the time constraints of a TV show, I’m not that hopeful. For the fans of the light novel at least, episode 10 captures some of the small sparkle and magic in the novel.

I can only hope everything manages to show me most of what I like about the novel at the end.

Blood C – kill ’em all Tomino hiding among the staff?

THIS IS FUCKING ENOUGH!!! NOW TURN RED-EYED ALREADY!!!

 

Good God, man! Stop the overflowing of blood! It’s massive and tiresome. And stop the kill them all plot line! I mean, sure, for the drama, THIS IS BLOOOOOOOOOD C! Right? But sheesh, this type of nearly complete overturning of character list by killing nearly 98 % of them is just way too fucking much.

This totally reminds me of Ga Rei Zero’s first episode, where we are introduced of a bunch of characters and starting to learn about them, on pretty decent terms, and then…

KillKillKillKillKillKillKillKillKillKillKillKillKillKillKillKillKillKillKillKillKillKillKillKillKillKillKillKill…

They all fucking die! WTF???

And this time, we had over 7 episodes (before the death of one of the twins) to get to learn and like all the characters, before Tomino the show just decides to kill them all and pour buckets of blood upon us. I mean, Shit! This is so close to what B- flicks would do that it isn’t interesting, at all.

OK! We get it! It’s Blood C! But jesus, stop raining down blood on us! Or at least declare a formal WWIII on Saya and the audience first before the God of character-kill KILL THEM ALL TOMINO shows us his powers! Who the fuck summoned him, anyway?

The plot is supposed to be cranking up and becoming more and more relevant and clear, but the over-bloodiness is just too distracting even for this anime veteran. After all, there’s only so much killing that one can take in a non-B flick before he calls “mercy” or “give up”.

There was so much blood and so many established characters that died that the show became shitty. Spare us, please, but more importatntly,

Kill ’em all plots just doesn’t work in 2011. Please don’t fucking pull that shit again; it was even quite tiring when I saw it for Gundam V, which was made in 1989-1990.

Of course Tomino isn’t in this show, but this style is just so…sigh…

P.S. found the screen cap from the good reviewers here. And these people have great reasons to be angry about this shit!

Sacred Seven Fell by a Stone Cold Stunner

And that’s what I hated to see. But it has happened. Yes, the show is nearly stone cold. And not in a good way…

All right, a little confusion (not to mention cheesiness) on my part. However, I’ll list the things I like and not like about it. Then I’ll explain why I feel it’s gone cold on me.

Continue reading Sacred Seven Fell by a Stone Cold Stunner

Kamisama Dolls – the issues of being a B+ Anime

Let me get this out of way. Yes, I like this show. And no, I’m NOT biased toward it, even with Hibino and her big (and yes, holy and wonderful ) bosom going around mesmerizing me. Or the moe little sister Utaou doing a little tsundere and totally stuck on Kyohei, our nearly totally flat and pretty bland protagonist. Even with all that, I’m not biased toward it.

It’s a decent show with decent plots and OK drama until episode 7. There, the drama picks up. We get to know why Kyohei hates Aki, the gray-haired (BL bait) bishonen. We learn about their past in the village where they came from. And, we the Otaku get our dreams of pure virgins, in this case, an upbeat and positive-minded young woman teacher, who receives false accusations while being totally innocent of all wrongs, smashed.

(Side note: Kill Miyuki character, PLEASE KILL this FUCKING annoying and worthless sack of shit.)

There was so much delicious drama and character development / interaction that went on that the rest of the show just seem so…forced.

For the rest of show, every moment, every character seems to try so hard to be cool but ultimately likable in one way or another. Even Aki, who supposedly is blood-thirsty, has reasons why he is that way. And what bothers me is that the show tries so hard to make that known to us. It’s like the show is saying: “Hey, he’s a bad boy. But yes, he’s got a great reason to be bad and yes, you fujoshi can totally put him in your doujinshi and not feel guilty about it.” Oh and,

Never mind that he was supposed to be a Freddy Kruger-like character who loved torture and kill animals as a kid; he was influenced by the young teacher (the subject of school BOY’s fantasy) and he almost turned good. Now that’s not bad. I honestly felt bad that some fucking bully in the village tried to hurt her, and one thing led to another, the teacher died, and Aki finally went totally over the edge. I just wish the show doesn’t make Aki so bad-ass likable in every way and being so obvious about it. And that’s not the only gripe. It’s like the show tries to make everyone likable, so much so that even when they try to act like real people and nearly baring their unlikable moments, the show stops them dead in their tracks and say “hey, that’s enough for now.”

It’s a great escape B+ anime. But it’s inhibitions, not to mention the lack of conviction to firmly establish itself into drama/action territory prevents it from venturing into A territory. And that’s a shame, because Ishikawa Chiaki’s songs do deserve something a little bit more firmly serious and moving. In the end, her songs serves to add the flavor of sadness, but doesn’t lift it up into prime time category.

Bottomline: yes, it’s a good light drama for anyone that doesn’t want the too-heavy stuff, but it may possibly leave you wanting just a little more.

Watch it at Crunchyroll.

Yuruyuri 8 spins me right round baby right round

Either way, Ayano will end up in doujinshi!

 

Chitose and Chizuru – what a sister combo! It’s just f’ing awesome that Chitose and Chizuru both fantasizes like crazy. And I feel like Ayano, spinning round and round trying to wipe their bodily fluids off their faces!

Wow! That imagery was so wrong! But that’s part of what I like about this show, cheesy and not afraid to be cheesy, and never forgets not to take itself serious at any moment. Most important of all, it’s (bad but good) chicken soup for the Otaku soul!

It simply caters to me and others like me and it throws reasons out of window, and does it with energy and vibrancy, how can I not love it? All the yuriness leaking and dripping from all corners of the screen and yet not obnoxious or overtly sexual, it’s the perfect summer show for me to chill out,  I say, “why not”?

And episode 8 is actually pretty funny. GREAT!

Watch it here at Crunchyroll.

Blade – a good action anime for a Japanese Sunday morning

I’m not a comic book guy and never read the comic, nor did I watch the movie, so I can only comment from an anime watcher’s point of view:

First of all, this is a good anime. It’s good not because of powerful emotions or particularly smart plots. As for the drama, it’s competently done without anything dragged out or overtly lacking. The overall feeling of the show is clean. There’s action, and there’s character interaction. It’s not nearly non-stop fights (like Wolverine), and it doesn’t talk too much without doing what’s at the core of this show. After all, this is a vampire action anime, and that’s what it delivers.

For people who read the American comic, you know more than I do. For people who are like me, you can simply find the background on wiki or ANN or MAL. So I won’t bother with that. I’m just going to give an honest opinion on this stuff.

I’m not a big fan of any anime with a male lead unless it’s harem. An anime about a muscle dude that kicks ass appeals to me even less. However, Blade is not just any other muscle guy that kicks ass. He is the definition of the line “always bet on black”. No, not the cheesiness and exploitation of color, but the fact that he always manages to find a way to win. However, compared with wolverine, I feel the show makes it so that Blade tend to just overpower his opponents at the last second. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the fluid animation (when it’s not still shots) shows that this man can battle, but I don’t see the finesse of a swordsman. I’m probably the minority here, but what I’m trying to say is that, because it’s mostly he goes out and cut down the monster group of the week, there is a  sense of lacking in substance in the fighting department. I dunno, maybe I’m just picky (that’s what I do). After all, Madhouse animation equals top-notch quality, nearly flawless fights, right?

This show is certainly no Claymore. And it lags far behind Ninja Scroll. It probably doesn’t even hold up to the much-less known but awesome Kurozuka…or many other Madhouse fighting shows. It’s competent and good, but it doesn’t quite get there.

The reason I’m harping on the action because it’s an action anime.

But see, for what it is, it does a great job doing what it promises. It does give us the fight, the drama of Eric (Blade) having to deal with the evil within. The stuff about how he had to kill the most important person in his life, how he remains unconvinced of any possible salvation or saving graces, and all that. I get the feeling comic book fans would like this anime just fine. It’s another good Sunday morning cartoon except for the Japanese audience.

With Akio Ozuka, a good veteran male seiyuu with years of experience, as Blade, adding a likable female lead, played by the pure-voiced songstress Maaya Sakamoto (unfortunately she doesn’t sing in this show), an easily identifiable villain, some encounters with people affected by vampire events in different ways, and a cheesy but understandable cameo (I mean, Clamp does cameos and cross-overs all the time), you have a winsome formula. And that’s what the show is trying to do, really.

It’s just I want more from Madhouse.

Bottom line: it’s a summer blockbuster without real solid substance and it’s obvious that Madhouse is fulfilling its contract with Marvel and doing a great job at it. And sometimes, that’s all we ask for.

It’s just that this is a little bland.