12 Days of Something III: Moments of Anime

spacebros42a1. Space Brothers moon accident (Episodes 40-43)

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.

haganai20h2. Sena and Kodaka talk over coffee (Episode 7 – Haganai Next)

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.

Older Maid Sister is in fine form3. Older Maid Sister’s Speech (Episode 9 Maoyuu Maou Yuusha)

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.

htms01b4. A Demon Lord and His Minion Land in a Rough New World (Episode 1 – Hataraku Maou-sama!)

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.

yuyu07a5. Pikachurin (Yuyushiki Episode 7)

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.

muromi11b6. The Quest for Happiness in the New Economy (Namiuchigiwa Muromi-san Episode 11)

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.

c3bu04b7. Yura’s Imagination Comes to Life (Stella Jogakuin Koutou-ka C3-bu Episode 4)

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?

hsdxds207b8. Akeno Makes Her Move (High School DxD New Episode 7)

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.

kinmosa12f9. The Kinmoza Musical (Episode 12)

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.

noukome01b10. Noucome‘s History of the World Through Choices (Episode 1)

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.

wa207a11. A School Festival Concert (White Album 2 Episode 7)

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.

oc12a12. Outbreak Company takes on ‘Cool Japan’ (Episodes 11 and 12)

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.

12 Days of Something III: Maou-Economics

maoyuu05bThis 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.

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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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Pointless Debate #34: Watching with Anger

This is not that kind of uplifting post.

This is not that kind of uplifting post.

In the course of watching a series, it’s generally good if something leaves an emotional impact on the viewer. To be honest, I am rarely moved by something I’m watching unless I see that it is making an honest attempt to make a point. To give a recent example, I would point to Older Maid Sister’s speech in the 9th episode of Maoyuu Maou Yuusha. While it lacks in cultural relevance on a basic level, the point was made that all people who try to improve their lives should be treated with respect. A nice positive, uplifting message that can appeal to a wide audience.

If you are looking for discussion of episodes like that, this post isn’t for you. Instead, I’m here to lower the tone of discussion and talk about the shows that made me angry. Not just because they were bad, but because they went beyond that. I wished for terrible things to happen to the characters. I didn’t want a happy end for these characters. Admittedly, these shows worked on a level that I didn’t drop them for one reason or another. It instead became the equivalent of cheering against Duke at basketball. The show may suck, but it’s popular enough to win some fans inexplicably like Duke. And finally, Fuck Duke.

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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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The Return of the Recap 26

Damn it, it is that time of year isn't it?

Damn it, it is that time of year isn’t it?

As is typical of this time of year, it was a completely uneventful sort of week. There was a bit of snow around here, but it wasn’t anything like feet of snow. I also made another one of my absurd twitter promises during the week in a desperate attempt to take my mind off of certain things this coming Thursday. At least this one won’t cost me a bunch of money like one of them last year. Although, that one did end up being a pretty nice experience.

So what do we have on store for this week’s recap post? Space Bros begins to revert back to the mean, there’s several holiday-themed episodes and an historically bad terribad anime from the team behind Ice. That one got licensed and dubbed, so that screams quality, doesn’t it?

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The Return of the Recap 25

There's something captivating about asshole characters talking to the audience about why they are assholes.

There’s something captivating about asshole characters talking to the audience about why they are assholes.

After last week, I have to admit the knee is feeling a bit better. Not well enough to do anything strenuous on it, but I’m no longer like certain immobile Welshmen. Elsewhere, I’ve also been watching that new Netflix remake of House of Cards. Kevin Spacey is a delight to watch when he is playing asshole characters, and a member of the US House of Representatives would definitely fulfill that role. I just wish the writers would have put some thought into having the policy positions of the respective parties make sense unlike the comical mess they seem to be in that series. However, I digress in taking away from the usual Japanese animation that this blog takes up.

If I’m perfectly honest, it was a fairly tedious week, but it wasn’t entirely uneventful. Psycho-Pass finally drove me over the edge in the first minutes this week, so it will no longer merit a place in these recaps. I can only take so much hack writing before it becomes entirely without merit after all.

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The Return of the Recap 24

This is such a dangerous week.

This is such a dangerous week.

Lately I’ve been struggling with a couple of things. The first is this little injury to one of my knees. Well, it probably wasn’t little as I couldn’t extend it for about a week. However, it’s effectively killed one of my non-anime hobbies for at least a few more weeks. Then to top all things off, there is no terribad here this week as a 2 hour project at work turned to a 10 hour failure with all of the addressing failure that will come with in in the next few days. At least I’d get a couple of life-affirming episodes from this week. Also, next week will see the return of the average chart, that I’m going to try to make a bit more accurate.

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The Return of the Recap 23

Senran Kagura is going to be written on elsewhere, but I am writing on it.

Senran Kagura is going to be written on elsewhere, but I am writing on it.

If I were to describe this week in a single word, it would be bland. I think it’s just the very nature of life in this part of the world having to stay indoors most of the time because of the weather conditions. It’s not the oppressively hot conditions of Australia though. After the two weeks of trimming the waste from my winter watching schedule, I should have been able to have some proper enjoyment, right?

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The Return of the Recap 22

This post brought to you by friendly spiders.

This post brought to you by friendly spiders.

The 2nd week of the new season pretty much finished off most of what new shows were airing this season. The last one remaining is next month’s start to the new PreCure series, but I defer to others in hyping that one up. It was also another week where I happened to continue to pull the trigger on some shows too quickly. It’s become a little cliche out in the community to say that this season is terrible, but for whatever reason it does seem like it’s a little worse. At least there was a returning group of shows to make everything seem better, right?

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The Return of the Recap 21

I think this could be referred to as an eyecatch image

I think this could be referred to as an eyecatch image

A new year has arrived and with that the start of the winter season. Also, as is my usual custom, I end up dropping a ton of shows that end up being popular. Prepare to be amazed at my disappointing taste in shows I keep around. There was also a bit of a dead period early in the week where I actually caught up on some of my backlog. This will be a long post indeed. Continue reading