Quite often these days you will find a show that is so into itself that it seems completely unaware of what passes for entertainment. The poor god figure desperately looking for work is overdone and it takes something special to bring additional value to that type of story. Noragami simply doesn’t have it.
There’s not really much to say about this series since it is incredibly high concept. The fact that Hanakana was cast as the main character here says that it was mainly about getting someone who sounds excited easily. Basically, all it comes down to is a series of segments of Hanakana playing William Shatner in that famous Twilight Zone episode where there was a monster on the wing of the plane. Except that it is a boy with a little too much time on his hands in class and an endless supply of equipment.
On the plus side, I did like the ending theme. It’s the 2nd best one I’ve seen so far (first being a show that hasn’t officially aired yet.)
It figures I kick off the new year with this newest addition to the IMOUTO genre (capitalized because Who is IMOUTO? is the masterpiece of the genre).
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.
In January when I was still watching Space Brothers, there was an event I knew was going to happen from watching the live action movie last year. Hibito did end up crashing the lunar rover into a massive crevasse. What happened with the next few episodes was the series at its very best. The dumb light moments were gone for that span and it was replaced with a drama where the threat felt real. Hibito did get out of that situation, barely, but the scars would last. The conclusion of that arc later took a hit in my mind when I found out the inspiration for the astronaut figure left on the moon. After that, the old Space Brothers returned and I could no longer enjoy it in the same way.
Sometimes the best insight into characters can come at the most surprising times. When the Neighbors Club took a shopping trip there were the usual antics that come with a harem comedy. In the middle of this was a conversation at a coffee shop between Sena and Kodaka where we learn more about the latter than all previous episodes prior. It’s brief, but we learn that he has a massive inferiority complex. He doesn’t feel that he deserves to be loved by anyone and at that point it’s obvious that he is willfully ignoring the feelings of the girls around him. This conversation really marked the transition of the series from one about girls falling in love with Kodaka to a show about helping him find his confidence.
While this show disappointingly ended with Hero subjected to Female Knight and Demon King shoving their chests into his face, there were moments of genuine quality in Maoyuu. Having taken Crimson Scholar’s place in being subjected to public execution, Older Maid Sister gave a speech that wasn’t so much a call for her own safety as much as a call to destroy the existing order that was drawn from her own experience of being taken in by Demon King. Even as she is being beaten her will shines through and she will not have her spirit crushed.
The spring season opened with a 2nd show involving a demon king only this time they ended up in modern Japan. There wasn’t much glossing over what happened on Maou and Ashiya’s arrival though. Here were two foreigners who did not speak the language trying to figure out a way to make some money and find a place to live. Their social support network consists of just the two of them and their mysterious landlord Miki. A long struggle to survive in low-wage hell looked set to begin.
Yuyushiki is at it’s heart a show about 3 cute girls doing cute things as friends. Their club activities fittingly involve looking things up on the internet revolving around a theme of the day they come up with on their own. The moment I think that best summed this up took place in the 7th episode. When talking about Yuzuko’s unusual eye color she ended up coming across a Wikipedia article for the protein that sends information from the eyes to the brain. Yes, Pikachurin. In this show of many tangents, a discussion that begins with cat’s eyes concludes with speculation on the gender of the children a scientist has. That’s Yuyushiki research in a nutshell right there.
It’s not much of a stretch to say that Muromi-san isn’t exactly heavy in social commentary. What little there is is run through the character of Otohime the former business owner under the sea who has to work in a fishing shop. The episode is about much more than that though. There’s the convenience store worker who had dreams of his own, but with his girlfriend now pregnant those dreams may be permanently on hold. Otohime herself is looking to stand on her own terms after she lost her business, but it doesn’t look like that is happening. Her frequent fights with Muromi always seemed to be about how Otohime had fallen, but this episode revealed that they were really a frustration with how things change. Life can’t simply go back to how it was before the economy tanked. The episode ends fittingly with an all-night drinking session outside of the convenience store talking about business in an unstable economy.
C3-bu ended up turning into a sort of gunsoft version of Rambo when the protagonist Yura was questioning why gunsoft didn’t love her as much as she loved it. Early on in a quest to improve her skills the club goes to a temple and sets Yura a goal of being able to shoot a single 5-yen coin from across an archery range. After failing for the day and having left her gun at the temple, Yura returns and enters one of her vivid delusions. The next day she returns and imagines herself in the middle of an ancient battle and fires a shot through an incoming arrow. Did it really happen? Was Rento also sucked into Yura’s imagination? Or did she simply shoot into the hole of the 5-yen coin?
Having saved his friends from Kokabiel in the last episode through force of will, Issei and the rest of the Occult Research Club embarked on a more pedestrian mission; cleaning the school’s pool. The feelings of those around him had swung fully in his direction. When even Yuuto is confessing his feelings for him, you knew Issei was in the form of his life. So when he had to have more of his dragon energy sucked out of him by Akeno, the audience was in for a show.
Having wrapped up the series proper, Kiniro Mosaic started a take on chuunibyou and ended up turning it into a short musical number. Going completely off-script in the adaptation happened to yield the best of this series. The musical number relied on being interested in these characters and their idiosyncrasies, but the case could be made that the musical number could stand on its own. I’d be interested to see if anyone who did not watch any of Kinmoza would understand the musical bit.
For a high-concept harem comedy about a character who is forced into making ridiculous choices, the opening scene is one of the most ambitious narratives of the year. They try to tell history as a series of choices made by people who would go on to be famous for those decisions. Unfortunately, it’s hardly a successful story as it drags on for far too long and it is followed up by Furano, Ouka and Kanade being involved in dirty jokes. Failed ambition is better than not even trying.
There were hints of this in the opening episode that the relationship between Setsuna, Kazusa and Haruki would hit its peak. The concert’s three songs sum up the series perfectly. The first was the song that brought them together, the second was a dialogue between Kazusa and Setsuna about romantic conflict and the third was about love lost. The performance captures everything that made this series the surprise of 2013.
Outbreak Company was one of the better shows this year with its attempts to portray a divided society and in the final episodes the attention turned to the Japanese government and the place of otaku in society. Imports of anime and manga were restricted early on in the 11th episode. It became clear that this was the dark side of trying to spread culture. Matoba revealed that it was all a plot to have the people learn Japanese and to become more interested in anime and manga than developing their own culture. When Shinichi learns of this he and Minori become expendable because they do live on their own. Ultimately, he uses the ties that he has forged in his new land to get protection after he tells Petrarca they should make their own anime, manga and light novels. That was a potentially dangerous thing to do.
This Secret Santa thing has been going on for some time thanks to the Reverse Thieves. For some reason, they continue to let me recommend stuff to other people even as I decide to torch relationships with other anibloggers by giving them utter crap. I try, honestly. Anyway, let’s get on to the review. Continue reading
For ideal reading experience please play the embedded Soundcloud clip:
Think about that for a minute. There are just so many things that can be said about the mayor of Toronto in title only. I will just let this list of stories do the narrative work for me.
I literally took one headline per week in constructing all of that above. There was no shortage of headlines to pick from most weeks. I even had to leave all the stuff about his being stripped of powers by the city council because of the other stuff he was doing at that time. Anyway, I have to give a special thanks to this post to Tim whose Twitter bio was the inspiration for the title of this post. He also does great work in making the politics of North America’s 5th-largest city as funny as they are.
This was a strange year for the fact that there were three series with a very strange common element. Yes, judging by the title of this post, they all have to do with demon kings venturing over to a different world and having to deal with the economic consequences of their actions. Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, Hataraku Maou-sama and Yuushibu deal with this concept in different ways even as they are filled with light-hearted moments throughout. For the purpose of this post, I’ve decided to evaluate them on how deeply they get into the realm of economics.
At the beginning of the fall, players everywhere prepare for the epic contest that is Fantasy Football. In the quest to choose the best players to build a title contender, there are many hours spent researching who will succeed and who will fail with late round draft picks. That’s generally what happens with fantasy football leagues. But, what would happen if you made things different and rewarded failure?
You basically get a draft like you do on the right here. Brandon Weeden first overall didn’t quite pan out as planned, with him suffering injuries and being replaced by Jason Campbell.
The actual fun part of participating in this league had to do with the scoring. 25 points for interceptions run back for touchdowns will do that. Cheering for interceptions to be run back against your own team does have a downside though. It’s much easier when your own team sucks than if they are competitive.
Also, it goes without saying that it actually turned into a mutual love fest on the weekly calls admiring the bad quarterbacking throughout the league. When Matt Schaub was on his historic run of interceptions returned for touchdowns, it was like the Chicago Bulls run of NBA titles.
Blaine Gabbert started only 3 games this season and averaged over 50 points a start. This would make him the Wilt Chamberlain of the Bad Football League. However, no one would be able to stop the rookie bad quarterbacking sensation Geno Smith. The Jets quarterback leads the league in interceptions and is the joint leader in interceptions run back for a touchdown.
Those weekly calls are really the big reason I participate in ventures like this. They provide a seemingly endless source of fun on my Sundays. It doesn’t matter if we discuss the state of our respective fantasy football teams or the latest anime that we have watched (This is a group of anime fans after all) or how Linda from Golden Time is the worst human ever if she really existed.
While basking in the glorious failure of well compensated athletes paid to throws an oblong leather object can be fun. I can safely say that it’s really about the community involved in doing so. Mainly, I need to do more stuff like this in the future.
I probably don’t talk about the manga I read as much as I should on this blog. I do read much more than the average person on MyAnimeList.That would be 63 different manga at the time of this post being written. Almost all of them seem to fall into the realm of unlicensable, borderline eromanga . That said, I do believe there is some quality in that list that I’m going to use this post to highlight.
With the advent of the next generation consoles complete, it is now possible to more easily stream gameplay and commentary to audiences on sites like Twitch or Ustream. I bring this up because it’s very much relevant to the history of this blog and my social presence on the internet in general. Mainly, it’s impossible popularity to be attained when the potential pool grows beyond a certain size.
Earlier this year, I had tried briefly to stream some gameplay of a game I owned on Steam on the Twitch channel that I had set up. No viewers at the time and that didn’t really matter because who really wants to see me fail at Surgeon Simulator 2013? Fast forward to last month and with it now being easy to use to both view and stream on a new console. The end result. No viewers and my being left wondering what the hell the point of the new technology is.
The way I see it is that it will be much more common. I’m not alone in thinking that.
There is an inherent advantage that those who have built up an audience have. They have the networks to publicize their work playing games and even to get paid money to do that. I don’t see anime blogging ever getting to that point since the audience simply isn’t there to enable that, but the fact of the matter is that those who are able to first leverage technology get the full benefits from it. It’s completely just that it is that way. So best of luck to those trying to pull in an audience streaming on your PS4 or XBox One in the near future. Try to keep it small and social. It’s better that way.
I had this idea before when I went through all of the dropped anime I had to find whether I would watch the next episode and actually like it. This post shall imbibe some of the holiday spirits and expand on that even further by including even those shows that I dropped. Streaming anime makes ideas like this possible, whether that is a good thing for one’s health and sanity will be found out below. The following is my day of randomized anime sampling.
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.
In the last couple of spring and fall seasons, Fantasy Anime League has taken place on MAL. While some people out there take this deadly seriously or devote entire pages of coverage to how they are doing in that particular edition, I haven’t much talked about my own entries into the competition. That’s because I enter each time without any sort of clue what the hell I’m doing.
During the course of a normal year watching anime, I drop a lot of shows. It ends up being about 9 out of every 20 from my reckoning. That said, I make many, many mistakes in the eyes of my readers, followers on twitter, or people who even think of the name Emperor J. That includes those who have lived in mountain monasteries their entire lives and have no concept of blogging in their minds. So to further their confirmation bias of my taste, I present to you the list of my worst drops as rated by MAL and other comments throughout the year.
When Wooser aired last year, I pretty much dropped it immediately and dismissed it as poorly executed perverted comedy on the basis of just a single episode. It wasn’t until recently that I went back and marathoned the series in a single hour. Honestly, though I can’t say that I revisited solely on the basis of curiosity or because some random number generator told me I should. Actually it was more moments like this:
That’s right, the first episode of Senyuu featured Wooser playing with a hula-hoop as one of the prospective heroes. Alright, so the perverted mascot character makes a special appearance in another short anime that was hinted at in the final episode of his own show. That alone wouldn’t be enough for me to be interested. No, he would have to make a guest appearance in a post-apocalyptic show to really do so.
And here’s Wooser making his grand appearance in Miss Monochrome. So in this scene he was locked out of the mascot character festival as the Nendroid version of Miss Monochrome took center stage. While that’s awful luck for everyone involved; Wooser losing popularity as Miss Monochrome only became popular as a Nendroid rather than an idol, that wouldn’t be enough for me would it.
Well what do you know, Miss Monochrome is a post-apocalyptic anime. At least it’s more realistic than Coppelion. So I went ahead and gave Wooser another chance. It was pretty good for the short format if woefully inconsistent. The 2nd season begins airing in January.
In May of this year, Gibraltar became the 54th member of UEFA after over a decade of Spanish protest. I don’t intend to get into the politics of Gibraltarian sovereignty, treaties signed over 300 years ago, European law regarding its border with Spain or the domestic politics involved in the current standoff. No, instead this is about Football Manager and the costs of cheating at a game that is a series of spreadsheets.
“No man really knows about other human beings. The best he can do is to suppose that they are like himself.”
― John Steinbeck, The Winter Of Our Discontent
I suppose I should preface this season preview post as coming on the basis of a rough couple of weeks personally and an evening of impromptu off-road driving. Anyway, winter usually is a dead period for my anime viewing and because of the quote I used above I can only suppose it is the same for you my lone reader. I’ve been in the anime viewing business for a long time, so I’m going to spend the time reflecting on all the great anime that I watched in the winter season of 2004. That’s because everyone gets jaded and remembers how good things were, right?
Let’s see, there was Paranoia Agent, Kon’s TV masterpiece which was surreal and filled with important social commentary at the same time. That really wouldn’t come to air now would it? Then I also watched, what was it…
The winter of 2004 was shit.
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.
Infinite Stratos at its best is a whimsical harem series with a bland protagonist who comes good in spots and the real focus is on the girls who have affection for him. This formula worked well enough in the first season for the fact that it kept the story and character development as simple as possible. With enough demand for more IS, a second season was ordered up and ready to go into one of the most packed seasons in recent memory. I wouldn’t be the first person to say that it has been a disappointment even by the first season’s low standards, but why did it have to be this way?
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.
There’s a key transformative moment in the 5th episode of White Album 2 when the 3 characters that are the focus of the love triangle at the center of the story begin to care about each other as a group. Setsuna and Haruki leave their own classes in order to console Touma after she ran out of class with the score she was working on. Up until that point, these were largely characters that were acting as individuals acting on their own teenage hormones or path of least resistance. So what changed?
Since there’s little in the way to talk about this week from the currently airing shows, I embarked on an experiment yesterday. By MAL’s reckoning, I’ve dropped 362 series and those would have been for a variety of reasons. So what would happen if I gave some of these shows another shot? In all seriousness, it sounds like a better idea than talking about every show that I have dropped this season. So how would this experiment go?
The third episode of Outbreak Company finally sees the protagonist of the series, Shinichi, come under real threat in dealing with the culture of the new world he finds himself. In the episode, the school that he had built to spread otaku culture with the backing of the Supreme Ruler Petrarca was taken over by a reactionary faction that opposed the existence of the school and how it affected the balance between the three races of the Holy Eldant Empire. Eventually a bit of modern technology and magic get them out of the crisis, though not without consequence. After three episodes, I’ve felt the desire to chime in on how this series has dealt with cultural assimilation.
2. Future Diary
3. Big O
5. Madoka Magica
7. Serial Experiments Lain
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~
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