The Lost Backlog of Summer 2014 #1: Simoun

simoun26aSeeing as I had no confidence in the summer season, I decided to invent a backlog of shows to watch from one of three different areas. First up is Simoun, a series that aired back in the spring and summer of 2006, and was a show that I had previously dropped. I went back and marathoned it, and these are my thoughts on it.

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Ranking 10 Shows from 2013

So hyped for Season 5…oh this is about anime isn’t it?

2013 was definitely a show filled with many shows of assorted variety. It probably says a lot that I can think of tons of shows of appalling quality yet struggle to come up with more than one show that I genuinely loved. Anyway, let’s rank these things and move on with out lives in 2014 because that’s truly for the better.

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12 Days of Something III: The Definitive List of Best Girls, 2013 Edition

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This isn’t a post intended to raise debate. The answers have already been settled. These are the best, acceptable and worst girls from harem anime this year, objectively.

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Needless Attention to Detail in Walkure Romanze

The better onsen episode this week was White Album 2, but that would be too easy to write about

The better onsen episode this week was White Album 2, but that would be too easy to write about

By most reasonable subjective measures, the eroge adaptation Walkure Romanze is not a very good series. It’s so derivative that it could also be considered Infinite Stratos with horses and armor in place of personalized mecha suits. The harem lead in this piece, Takahiro, is just as overpowered as Ichika is in that series and just as oblivious to the emotions of others, but still has all the girls after him for pulling off moments of brilliance. That’s not what I’m here to talk about in this post, though. Instead, there is an incredible (by the standards of harem anime) attention to detail in the show’s universe that is undermined by the quality of everything else.

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In Which I Ask, Do I Qualify for Aniblog Citizenship Now?

Tsk, looks like it's that time of year to do this post again.

Tsk, looks like it’s that time of year to do this post again.

So it’s that time of year again where I am legally obligated to point out how long this particular blog has lasted. It’s now reached the point where in many nations I would now be qualified for citizenship for simply being able to hold down a job and not commit any crimes that would see me deported. The caveat to that being that I’m working in the aniblog fast food joint washing dishes while others who emigrated with me are now captains of industry.* That’s enough for the depressing bits in this post (and the many other drafts that are far worse than that you will not see). Instead, I’m going to keep things simple with five things I’ve learned since this blog started.

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Pointless Debate #39: Reset Endings, Ranked

yns11b

1. RahXephon
2. Future Diary
3. Big O
4. [C]
5. Madoka Magica
6. Mai-HiME
7. Serial Experiments Lain
8. Abenobashi
9. Wolf’s Rain
10. Neon Genesis Evangelion
11. Darker than Black: Ryuusei no Gemini
12. Sailor Moon
13. Squid Girl
14. Devil Survivor 2
15. Angel Beats
16. Zero no Tsukaima ~Futatsuki no Kishi~
17. Magikano
18. H2O: Footprints in the Sand
19. Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito
20. Pokemon: The First Movie

56763. Being stuck in a time loop where you are run over by a train repeatedly forever
56764. Clannad After Story

A Look Ahead to the Fall and Why it Doesn’t Really Matter

There's the big image you come to expect from me at the end. I, of course lead with this under-appreciated character.

There’s the big image you come to expect from me at the end. I, of course lead with this under-appreciated character.

I will get this statement of fact out of the way quickly. There are 47 series airing in the fall. Only 2 of them are continuations of series that began in the summer. One of them is Kingdom which doesn’t really count. When you have that many shows I think it’s kind of pointless to write a lot on each and every series. I think I wrote about 3000 words on 20 organizations engaging in a competitive business against each other over the course of 9 months. That’s the most distant description I could write of describing sport I could think of by the way.

Not even having a popular voice actor can make minor characters popular.

Not even having a popular voice actor can make minor characters popular.

I’m still going to look ahead to the coming season for the reason that it presents an interesting case. There is a hell of a lot of noise when it comes to looking at what’s being released. Light novel adaptations, sequels, sports anime, game adaptations and combinations of those 4 are the dominant shows. I think one can’t go wrong with a known quantity with this much going on. I don’t blame anyone for that because inevitably there’s going to be a ton of crap. Hidden gems are extremely unlikely because everything is known beforehand in this blogosphere. When a series is announced, it seems like a perception takes effect based on just a few facts about it and its either terrible, great or forgotten entirely. I’m still going to watch most of these to get an impression of where they are coming from and I present these to you knowing that I’m just as biased as everyone else. I’ll try to keep it short since I don’t think you want to 5000 word walls of text.

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The Return of the Recap 44 – Apache Chief Glows at Night

Even if it fires death lasers out of its eyes, I can't take it seriously as a bad guy.

Even if it fires death lasers out of its eyes, I can’t take it seriously as a bad guy.

This past week I did try something different with posts elsewhere. It quickly reminded me that single-digit view counts are pretty much expected when starting fresh. Even when you write on Sword Art Online to start. Then, I did my annual off-site preview of the Premier League season on my personal blog I hadn’t touched in over a year. That was about the same level of interest after blowing 3500 words. Maybe I should have just posted a bunch of screencaps from Attack on Titan and bitched about the episode not meeting my standards. You’re actually here for the few screenshots of shows that I do watch and bitching about those shows, right?

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The Return of the Recap 43

I have a feeling anyone who says this girl is the worst will have missiles launched at them from New York.

I have a feeling anyone who says this girl is the worst will have missiles launched at them from New York.

In recent days, I’ve thought about changing up the design of this blog. Basically it’s been about 2 years with this current look and I have a constant reminder of how unpopular this place is every single time I look at it. Unfortunately, the one thing I can’t seem to change is this dumb title that pretty much inhibits any potential growth (and the writing – self ed.). I wouldn’t really be starting over if I moved this to another .wordpress.com address would I?

There’s this small little convention going on somewhere on the east coast of the United States this weekend. I went to it last year, but the person I went with last year seems to have fallen completely off the face of the Earth. There have been any number of people that I’ve mostly just followed on Twitter or in this particular sphere of blogs that have withdrawn or simply moved on with their lives. That’s just something that tends to happen with the passage of time; people get lives, girlfriends, spouses, children and spend time with new groups of people. I don’t think a conscious choice is made to cut people off in situations like that, but this is the era of the declining social community. Yes, people can communicate with each other online, but how long is that going to last between nations?

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The Return of the Recap 42

It’s time to bring this feature back for the 599th post on this blog. I suppose I should do something special for that one. I’ll get around to coming up with something this week. This is the first time I’ve done a roundup collectively of the summer. I hope that’s been enough to separate the bad from the good. Unfortunately, I’m almost certain that’s eliminated any other series that my readers are still watching. I have a tendency to do that almost every single time.

But first a little digression on what’s happened this week tied to the man I’ve pictured above. That would be Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun. The undoubted superstar of the club in Major League Baseball’s smallest market, 2011 National League MVP, 5-time All-Star and as of this week admitted drugs cheat. In the midst of that season, I had the unusual luck of catching the same cross-country flight as him, but as it was 2am I really made no note of it other than the coincidence of being on the same plane. This is more about fandom though. While the figures involved in creating something may go on to be a future disgrace, the thing they created will still exist. Urobuchi may now live on overhyped projects that chop women to bits and have characters say funny things just for laughs, but Madoka will still always exist. And while the season may be lost for Milwaukee now, come March 31st next season there will still be baseball played, and Braun will probably be starting in left field.

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The Return of the Recap 41

Oh, you thought you could get away from Origami this week did you?

Oh, you thought you could get away from Origami this week did you?

Sigh. It’s a week where someone forgot to tell these people that their final episodes were this week. The amount of mailing-in was at historic levels for a week that should have concluded this week. Instead, the creative talent decided to go on summer vacation and sent in whatever they could get in as a conclusion. Anyway, as a courtesy to you my loyal single reader, I’m going to put in a bit more effort than that on recapping the week in shows I watched. Not much more than that though.

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The Return of the Recap 40

Yeah, this isn't the sort of thing that makes my top 5.

Yeah, this isn’t the sort of thing that makes my top 5.

In a little under 2 weeks time I will be heading to one of those other popular conventions with at least a couple of those unidentified figures I used in the Anime Boston post. In the meantime, that means having to deal with making sure I’m not going to end up with a building on fire when I return from work and at least getting somewhat comfortable with the shoes that people are actually watching.

Also on my mind this week was the topic of discussion of anime. My views just so happen to be so far out of touch as to not get anything like that on social networking sites or forums. Then again, those people have to want to care that I exist so it’s really a complete failure on my part. My own relevancy is something I’ve touched on here many times before, but it seems more than ever I watch shows no one else is, and of those I do watch no one else really can be bothered to express a simple opinion. I guess that’s my lot in life.

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The Return of the Recap 39

Cosplayer A and Cosplayer B (yuri scene not used)

With a screenshot like this, it’s a shame Photo Kano had to disappoint this week.

The idea of passion was on my mind this week as I was reading posts on Valvrave of all things. Flawfinder in his post on the episode, really couldn’t be bothered with something that hadn’t earned the right to do a rape scene. It’s all pandering to fans and that sort of thing. The discussion on Twitter took a turn to the classic moral quandry of a series that is Yosuga no Sora since that also had a rape scene in it as well. I really wanted to say that it didn’t handle it badly, but I didn’t think it would find much of an audience. I think it feels like there is just little desire on my part to try to make any sort of passionate argument, so I think of making fence-sitting contrarian crap arguments instead.

So I’m going to try to be different in this week’s recap. Tell me if I fail in the comments to be passionate in my views on any of this week’s entries. Continue reading

The Return of the Recap 38

aiura38topA certain incident of what was called aniblogger drama, which I’m not going to talk about specifically here, had me thinking of opinions on anime in general. I personally try not to come off as cynical about some of the series I’m watching. There’s the odd Urobuchi hating women moment from time to time, or occasionally there’s a show that I think can do much better than it is capable of. Ultimately, I hope to avoid the whole looking jaded thing as I write for you few readers out there.

Regardless, it got me thinking of opinions in general, plus it also helped that the book I’m reading recreationally covers the same area. Nuance is something I try to value when discussing anything I’ve miraculously happened to be watching at the same time as someone else. Being able to justify the existence of a series I’m not particularly a fan of, which could be something like the Tokyo Mew Mew dub, and convincing someone it isn’t a crime against humanity is a fun exercise. However, what I would say is that it is much easier to build a readership by holding views that have no nuance at all. A world that is black or white is easier to grasp in a brief read than one with nuance. What a terrible world that is.

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The Return of the Recap 37

muromi_top37

I’ve really been thinking hard about this blog lately. Mainly the new season is coming up and on some sites there are polls where the audience is asked what shows should be blogged for the coming season. My big concern is that if I were to do something similar I’d end up with around 4 votes total. I’ve dealt with the relative unpopularity of this place before, but from a perspective of someone writing for an audience it makes it hard.

I can put it down to a single word: expectations. I basically do not have any. No one is holding me to any sort of standard. So I could just post a pile of horribly argued garbage filled with strawmen and it wouldn’t matter a bit. It really makes me wonder if I’m actually any better of a writer than I was when I started this back in 2008. So while I do enjoy writing, I guess I question whether it is doing me any good here. Especially with completely dropping the posts on Maou-sama and no one saying a word on it.

Anyway, on to the actual weekly recap. I’m actually getting really tired of writing on the shows that continue to be bad every week, so I’m going to a top 5 and a list of the rest. If there’s terribad, I’ll throw that in too. If anyone comes in expecting me to cover all 11 shows, you probably should have said something at some point. These will probably be more detailed in later weeks if they stick around, but for now, it’s probably best for my state to only stick to the normal level of detail. Sorry everyone.

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The Return of the Recap 36

pk36topSurprisingly, or maybe not, it’s actually really hard to find pictures of some characters from Photo Kano that aren’t perverted. That above was the best I could do with a few minutes effort from a certain popular Japan-based artist’s hub. It wasn’t a particularly different week or interesting week, rather I’d think of it as just another week in the middle of the season. That didn’t mean there were no standout episodes, there were 2 of those this week, but the spring season is turning into a bit of a letdown.

Also, a bit of news. Next week I will be blending into the scenery at various locations in downtown Boston, so I will not be doing the recap. Also the Maou-sama post will be delayed if I post it at all. No repeats of the 3-state Koichoco post from last year. Continue reading

The Return of the Recap 35

pk35topI decided to do something a bit different than I’ve normally done this season when putting together the weekly rankings. Instead of keeping a running ranking as I have done, I waited until the end of the week to put them together. Then I came to find out that I’d rated 2 series in my top 5 for the first time this season, including the number 1 vote. So why not do something entirely different for the whole post? This won’t end well will it?

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The Return of the Recap 34

Since it's Cinco de Mayo, may as well throw in Mexico's greatest anime character.

Since it’s Cinco de Mayo, may as well throw in Mexico’s greatest anime character.

Yet another week has passed in the world of animation from Japan, as well as real time of course. It’s safe to say that we are now firmly entrenched in the middle of the season. Typically, I find that this isn’t a very interesting part of the season. Usually, the really terrible shows have been weeded out by now. Those that do fail in the end will be known about 5-7 weeks from now. So what we are left with is a bunch of shows trying to make things interesting. So how did they do this week?

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The Return of the Recap 33

35232263_m

Since the last installment of this particular feature, the following has happened to all of the shows I had been watching:

  • Oregairu – since picked back up after I dropped it on episode 1, see I can change.
  • Space Brothers – Dropped after the 3 consecutive recap episodes reminded me of how badly this series has been edited.
  • Devil Survivor 2, Attack on Titan, Aku no Hana all dropped for being too boring in my opinion

I sometimes worry about stuff like this, probably too often. I find a series boring, it then becomes popular. Or the reverse, I like a show so much early only to have it go in a terrible direction. It feels like I cannot win sometimes. It just becomes a problem having my finger so far off the pulse of what the rest of this community is watching  that I just kill conversation, or get left out entirely. Perhaps I intentionally isolate myself when it comes to the series I watch. Yet it just feels like I’m insulting people by responding “oh, I dropped that” when a show comes up in conversation.

Anyway, that’s obviously not of much concern to you my readers, you want my thoughts on the shows that I’m still watching instead, so here you go.

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The Return of the Recap 32

I don't want to be shy/Can't stand it anymore/I just want to say 'Hi'/To the one I love/Cherry blossom girl

It’s that time of year isn’t it? Though it’s too cold here to support that sort of life.

This may be the last installment of this feature for a few weeks. I’m not sure whether I should pursue a policy of continuing this in the spring as normal, or if I should do the typical thing done by aniblogs with a readership in 2 figures and write on each first episode. My most popular post (with 0 comments until I mentioned 18 months later) was from writing this way, and it also allowed me to briefly have the top Google search for a term. Damn you ABC News, damn you.

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The Return of the Recap 31

Kud does not need clothing apparently.

Stay classy, Key. Stay classy.

I’m not going to humor you much with tales of how my week went. Needless to say, this post will go up on St. Patrick’s Day. Most of you will know what kind of activity typically happens on that day. I will undoubtedly be engaging in a much sadder version of that, without people. That’s what I would normally say but for the fact that I’m actually feeling a bit under the weather. Sober St. Pat’s for me. In the meantime, I can still pass the time playing Pokemon LeafGreen while doing the Nuzlocke Challenge. Eleven hours in, and I’ve only killed one of the anibloggers I’m using as names for different roosters in Japanese Legal Video Game Cockfighting.

As for the anime this week, the season is beginning to wind down. Or in the case of the Noitamina block, it just comes to an end which feels like the series director was only told they had 22 episodes last week. The terribad viewing actually did happen this week as the group finally decided that hard drive space needed to be cleared after watching Anno attempt to direct real actors. And as a side note, I’m out of town attending a small gaming convention, so won’t be doing a recap. I’ll try to throw something up on next week’s conclusion of Robotics;Notes in 2 weeks.

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The Return of the Recap 30

Such ample plots

I’m not trying to attract attention with this picture, nope.

I never thought this recap series would make it to 30 installments. I was due for a week of shows so bad that I would be embarrassed to write about it and then I would eventually stop as it would seem like I hated anime. This was very nearly that week.

So what exactly set the stage for this. First, Maoyuu didn’t air a new episode this week, just some recap special episode 9.5 or something like that. It’s probably a compilation of Female Knight and Demon King in various states of undress trying to seduce Hero. Second, there was epic bed-shitting when it came to shows that were even mildly okay. Third, the prospect of watching live-action Anno-directed terribad was so bad that the time was spent talking about the silliness of societies based entirely around one staple food, deconstructing deconstruction and some sort of music quiz. On the plus side, you get a new show cracking my top 5 this week for the first time. I hadn’t even written more than a comment on it prior to now.

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The Return of the Recap 29

Jill can write, but not speak Japanese?

Japanese-Canadian relations took another hit this week.

The mundane is something that I’ve had to deal with a lot recently. It has reached the point where late night grocery shopping can now be considered adventurous. I don’t really live in an area where that would truly be the case though, although I could give one of those places near work a shot. At least with it being near the start of baseball season, it means that spring is just around the corner.

This week there was not a wide spread of episodes. There was an epic monologue, romantic comedy centering around films and a swimsuit episode that never ventured outside among other things. As for terribad, it had as catastrophic an ending as any in recent memory.

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The Return of the Recap 28

Junichirou is a fan of Bruce Lee

We’re getting into Enter the Dragon type stuff this week

So I find myself with a little bit more spare time this week. Unfortunately, I happen to live in a place that is little more than a frozen wasteland which basically means I get to sit inside for most of the time. At least winter seems to be coming close to an end since the days are getting noticeably longer now. Or to some it up briefly, it’s cold outside, I want it to be warmer.

This week, there’s not much in the groundbreaking animation front. It’s about as midseason a week as there possibly can be. Though I would not be surprised if there was a magnificent episode of a show I’m not watching. But that thought happens every week.

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The Return of the Recap 27

I'm not angry, just disappointed in you Maoyuu.

I’m not angry, just disappointed in you Maoyuu.

I was doing some cleaning this week post-Valentine’s Day and all, when I came across one of them myself. I can’t say it was entirely meaningless, but rather it ends up feeling more like a sign that I still haven’t paid this person back. That’s probably a personality flaw on my part that I keep a running tally on debts or favors owed even if the other person was not expecting anything back. I also found some other strange items along the way, but the most tragic were the Canadian pennies. RIP.

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