Tag Archives: winter 2011

Chiming in on Yumekui Merry and Madoka

The former tries to be surreal but it’s very concrete with standard concepts; the latter tries to be concrete while being clothed with surrealism, but fails to grab me where it hurts…

(Oh, wow, epic fail XD)

Wait, wait, let me back up a minute so you can withdraw that 10 foot pole. All right, let me explain.

My colleagues have already expressed their views on Madoka (see here and here). I more or less agree with them, except from my angle, what I think really fails is the lack of true excitement from it, on top of a failure to work my emotions. I honest don’t think the characters interest me that much; I like the concepts enough and it certainly is pretty new in the magical girl genre. Of course, I never finished Nanoha S2 or Nanoha Strike or whatever. So, I feel that it’s new to show the true nature of a magical girl contract. I dunno, though. I remember that even Sailor Moon hinted and touched upon territories where her friends were harmed because she was involved in the magical girl thing. So, I don’t really find the concept in Madoka that refreshing. It is true that very few anime talks about what essentially the contract in Madoka is, a contract with the devil.

I watched episodes 3 and 4, and the only reason I was feeling anything was because of the soundtrack. You have to understand, I’ve seen so many sacrifices, deaths of friends and other things IN ANIME (thank God not in real life) that a show really has to do its characters right in order to grab me when a character dies. Madoka lacks that. I’ve been lamenting that the problem with shows with less than 26 episodes is the lack of development for characters. In today’s anime world, the lack of budget and our attention span makes 26-episode-shows nearly impossible (though a lot of that is also because the waste of budget on unnecessary fan service episodes). What’s even worse is that a lot of 13 (or sometimes, 11) episode shows waste episodes on fillers that really don’t develop characters.

What I’m saying is that Mami or what’s her name dies too early.

What doesn’t help is the monster that kills her. Surrealism is one thing, ridiculous looking monsters that makes me laugh is another.

Before you accuse me to being insensitive, let me refer you to shows like Gunslinger Girl, or some episodes in Gundam Seed and Gundam 00, oh and Mike’s favorite show, in which there’s an episode where Shinji is forced to crush possibly the only person who really said “love” to him. For that episode, the fujoshis in Japan cried rivers for it not just for BL.

I know Madoka is not the same thing as Gunslinger Girl, but the ability to really create crushing sadness can be done in either genre. I just wanted more.

Now, onto Yumekui Merry.

It’s not a show that really stands out, even with its concepts about a nightmare trying to defeat other nightmares and sending them back to dreamland. At its core, it’s really a shonen show with a hero and heroine fighting and fighting some more. Of course, she finds out something that challenges their belief (in the most recentl episode).

I’m not a good guesser and when other people see something coming a mile away, I often miss it. I think some people already guessed the outcome of episode 5.

That said, my problem with the show is more about it’s presentation. It tries to be surreal with an interesting concept at its core, but it ends up being more normal than usual. People get possessed and they go out to save them.

There is one thing I really liked about episode 5. It’s when Merry answers the question about how long she has stayed in the human world. She gives an interesting answer and it does create a good impact on the audience.

Other than that, nothing much about the show strikes me. It’s a little slow. I’ll say this, though, because it is lower profile, my expectation for it isn’t as high.

My bottomline for these shows is this: I’ve never been a fan nor a hater of Shinbo’s work, so having Shinboism go surreal won’t make me squeal in joy. As for Merry, it needs something added to it.

Freezing 04 rulez and scares the lolicons away

BH:huh huh huh huh huh…Whoa…I saw some…titties!

BV: Where? Where! Where?!

BH: It’s…right there, dude!

BV: Whoa! Yeah yeah yeah…I see them!

BH: This is…possibly…THE BEST SHOW EVER!!!

OK. Now I’m over the B&B reaction frenzy, let’s talk about why I like this show so far (does anyone really need to hear more).

1. Awesome fighting action

Are you kidding me? I thought for sure they’d skimpy…I mean skimp out on everything, but when Satellizer is in a bath and totally naked, I mean you can just see her floatation device. but when these ladies fight, they mean serious business. AND CLOTH BREAKER REALLY HELPS. And it’s so cool that each lady stands her ground I AM FAPPING LIKE A HAPPY OTAKU in order to keep her beliefs. After all, that’s why people fight, riiiiiiiight? Forget clothes, there’s skin!

(Oops)

2. The pacing of the show works for me.

It’s obviously going to be a 13 episode series so everything is introduced pretty quickly. That said, because there is really not much to follow they really follow the manga pretty well and I read the manga (fappingly happy), I can follow everything. They DID skimp out the emotional parts where we get to learn exactly what happened to Marin and Ingrid in the past. Other than that, the show kicks nearly everything up a few notches.

That said, I HATE the Pandora mode here. It’s ugly and it sucks unless the girls are going to fight naked later in Pandora Mode and I wish they just give them the armored look.

3. It’s beautiful grown women fighting, which scares the loli-cons to tears.

What, you can’t face beautiful, well developed women fighting in an anime? You pussies! I feel that it’s great that we get well-developed (heh heh heh) characters fighting seriously in a girl VS girl situation. The tension is unbearable and the seriousness of the issues really gets to me. I mean, you know me. I personally like women with big breasts and nice body duking it out and beating the crap out of each other…

(Oops again)

OK, all right. Look, good fights, decent characters, easy on the eye girls showing you everything that men AND lesbians want. Plus decent plots. There is nothing for me to hate.

I LLLLLLLLLOVE T&A MATCHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SEX! AND VIOLENCE! SEX! AND VIOLENCE!

Hell yeah highly recommended. You bet your ass Scott highly recommended. 20 (forget 10) pistol salutes recommended.

Wolverine 03 04 continues the action

You know there is a point where there is too much action? Well, this show comes dangerously close to it. But anyhow, here’s how I feel about it so far.

A. it’s American.

Nothing wrong with that. I feel that you could put this on Saturday morning cartoons if you want. The drawing is Japanese-style American. Yukio, the ninja woman played by the awesome Romi Park, looks just like an American comic character. Then again, thanks to one of our readers, I learned that the story arc in this show probably comes from an old story from Wolverine (circa 1979). It’s a good plot, don’t get me wrong.

B. it’s action packed.

Hello, Omega Red! For people like me who didn’t know much about Wolverine and Omega Red, the back story/memory segments weaved into episode four was a welcome addition. For other people who know about Omega Red, it was probably unnecessary. In any event, the show never really stops. Wolverine is constantly fighting. There isn’t a moment for real conversation or character exploration. I don’t know, I feel it probably works for people who already know about Wolverine but for me, it’s starting to overload my senses. The shitty thing about being a veteran anime watcher and a critic is that you lose that sense of freshness. If I were 18 again and watching this, I’d give it all 10’s. But now I wish there’s some character exploration and plot progression. The show screams: “I’m cool.” And it is. It’s just not saying anything else.

C. I want to see Mariko does more/I wish Romi gets better lines.

I really wish she is given more personality. Or does more. Or whatever. So far, she’s not had any opportunity to do anything. That’s kind of disappointing. But what gets to me is that Romi, who is an awesome voice actress, hasn’t had many good lines, if any. I get it, it’s all about Wolverine, that’s where Marvel’s funding is. But I honestly wish there’s a little more. For that matter, Wolverine has been fighting nearly every minute for the four episodes that he hardly has anything to say. I get that, too. That’s Wolverine for ya. But even Wolverine has something to say from time to time. In an anime, I expect him to say more. He’s rough and tough but he’s smart and resourceful. Or I think he’s supposed to be.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s great action and great animation. And if you’re not a critic, then forget about what I said and just enjoy the fights. But I’m a hard motherfucker to please and that’s why I’m looking for a little more.

Still recommended.

P.S. I don’t know…is Omega Red ALWAYS CONSTIPATED???

Madoka Magica: The Killing Kindness

Madoka Magica, the best show of this season, is about something deeper than Faustian bargains or even death, grief, and loneliness. It’s about how the desire to do good in the face of such darkness can end up creating more of it.

Continue reading Madoka Magica: The Killing Kindness

Winter 2011 Season: Audio Impressions!

The Cart Driver is to be thanked for his public services.

On a whim, Ray and I decided to record impressions of nine shows from this current season! It’s our first recording of any sort in a while, and so forgive the sound imperfections and other issues. (Technical difficulties prevented most recordings in the past.) In this, we briefly discuss Wolverine, Madoka Magica, Gosick, Fractale, Wandering Son, Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka?, Freezing, Infinite Stratos, and Dragon Crisis. Most are initial impressions based on the first 2-3 episodes at most. It’s also mostly major spoiler free!

Anyways—enjoy this lightly edited recording. More to come…

Show Order/Agenda

  • (00:00 – 02:08) Introduction
  • (02:09 – 05:19) Wolverine
  • (05:20 – 13:54) Madoka Magica
  • (13:55 – 18:28) Gosick
  • (18:28 – 23:51) Fractale
  • (23:51 – 25:23) Wandering Son
  • (25:23 – 30:02) Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?
  • (30:02 – 33:48) Freezing
  • (33:48 – 35:01) Infinite Stratos
  • (35:01 – 39:21) Dragon Crisis
  • (39:21 – end) Conclusion

First Look Fair: Kore wa Zombie desu ka?, Dragon Crisis, Gosick

A first look at some of Crunchyroll’s simulcasts for this season: Kore wa Zombie desu ka?, Dragon Crisis, and Gosick. Which one is promising, grating, or boring? Find out…

Continue reading First Look Fair: Kore wa Zombie desu ka?, Dragon Crisis, Gosick