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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LMT’s Best of 2012

I think they got some things reversed here.

I think they got some things reversed here.

After yesterday’s rather absurd end-of-year ranking based solely on week-to-week viewing, I thought it may be best to provide a real ranking of the series that finished in the year 2012. Rather than just settle for just a simple top 10, I went over the top and just went for all 37 I completed this year. The first 27 of these will just be short descriptions of why I did, or did not like a particular series. After that, there’s a bit more detail. I hope you enjoy this, and feel free to let me know how wrong/right I was about the anime that aired in 2012 in the comments. Continue reading

Mouretsu Pirates 26 – Normal End

That over the top suit that Marika is sporting is one of the major plot points in this episode.

The final episode of Pirates sees the fleet of assembled pirate ships face off with not 1, but 3 Grand Cross ships. Marika successfully guides the fleet through a complete tactical victory over the outclassed Quartz Christie. She then confronts her opponent and answers the question of why she is a pirate. Finally, Quartz Christie manages to escape with her pride in tatters before an epilogue that overtly hints at a future continuation of the story.

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Mouretsu Pirates 25 – Why Are They Fighting Again?

I’m a pirate who hunts pirates. Does that make me a cannibal?

The 25th episode of Pirates is a setup episode to next week’s clash between the ships with Letters of Marque and the Grand Cross. This week, Quartz Christie appeared in the pirate’s nest once again only to reveal that she was also a pirate, albeit one representing the Empire. While all of the pirates assembled calm down and eventually let her go off unharmed because of Marika’s desire to have a fair fight, one group to try to finish her off anyway, but are stopped by Ironbeard’s crew containing Ririka and Kain’s twin brother. The party continues until planning for the battle begins.

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Mouretsu Pirates 24 – Shout Inducing Plot Twists

And Coorie now completes that objectification of all women in this show. Well played writers.

The 24th episode of Pirates begins with a clash between the Bentenmaru and the Grand Cross and ends with confusion on all counts. The story in this episode is essentially one of the Bentenmaru somehow escaping, and finding out how that had come to pass. They make it to the meeting point where Kenjo Kurihara gets Marika up to speed on what will happen. As she has plans of her own, she is confronted by the captain of the Grand Cross who doesn’t reveal much except that the Bentenmaru has a spy. Ultimately, this will hang over the crew’s head as more and more ships with unexpected guests continue to arrive.

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Mouretsu Pirates 23 – Surreal Flashbacks

The writers put in a similar level of effort in this episode

The 23rd episode of Pirates is largely devoted to flashbacks as Marika tries to bring together a Pirate’s Council. In the conclusion to last week’s battle, the pirate hunter ship Grand Cross is driven away stylishly by the Parabellum, which is a pirate ship registered with the Galactic Empire. Chiaki returns to get Marika to share battle data on the pirate hunters and to search for a legendary chef. Marika immediately knows where to look and the Pirate’s Council is called. However, the Grand Cross would reappear before the Bentenmaru could get there.

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Mouretsu Pirates 22 – Sheer Helplessness

All this state of piracy conversation is hard for me to understand.

The 22nd episode of Pirates dives straight in to the next plot in dramatic circumstances. Marika’s future still remains an open question even as she was made the new president of the yacht club. In the meantime, she has to maintain the pirate license for the Bentenmaru, take exams for school and much more seriously deal with a rumored pirate hunter. In the process of trying to take care of 2 of those 3 situations simultaneously, she learns more about the pirate trade and those involved. The Bentenmaru ends up escorting another pirate fleet when they encounter the pirate hunting ship, and this time things may not work out so well.

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Mouretsu Pirates 21 – Briefly Reading a Constellation Book Gives You Perfect Navigational Skills

I’m in your base, stealing your dinghy.

The 21st episode of Pirates sees the dinghy race take place as well as presenting the first true signs of danger for Marika. The yacht club arrives for the race taking place at Planet Calmwind and are targeted by every one of the other teams as well as the organizers. The incident that occurred six years earlier is revisited as well as Lynn’s involvement in that incident. Marika also arrives to provide security for the event, only to be targeted by one of the organizers as well as a company after her personally. After some brief danger and the Bentenmaru’s surprise appearance, the race continues to its conclusion.

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Mouretsu Pirates 20 – Endangering Lives for Laughs

While Sandaime’s collection grows and the doctor is piloting the ship, on the ground Kane is humming “Trolololo”

The 20th episode of Pirates sees the return of Kane to the yacht club as advisor just as preparations begin for the club to take part in a dinghy race. They come across some prior history of the club participating in the race which resulted in a 5 year ban, which has the organizers reaching out to Show to prevent more Hakuoh rule breaking. That eventually leads to the Bentenmaru being in charge of security for the race. Eventually, the story moves on to Kane staging a windsurfing race to determine who will represent Hakuoh at the dinghy race.

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Mouretsu Pirates 18 – Getting on the Wrong Side

This is probably a strange question, but why did Jenny decide to put the wedding garb back on?

The 18th episode of Pirates sees the conclusion to yacht club’s protection of Jenny amidst help from a few sources. The Bentenmaru is caught early on by the fleet of the Hugh and Dolittle shipping company, but they are able to craftily escape after thinking up a plan of attack for taking down Jenny’s uncle. Meanwhile, the original Bentenmaru crew are able to dig up information on the uncle and have it delivered to Marika as they head to the ship run by Jenny’s fiance. Finally, a pair of showdowns concludes the crisis.

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Mouretsu Pirates 17 – When Implied Becomes Overt

Do I have your attention now?

The 17th episode of Pirates features much of the same light-hearted threat that has been a staple of the series with easy resolutions, at least until the very end of the episode. The idea to kidnap Jenny hits some resistance first from Chiaki, then from the fact that Jenny heads to the Bentenmaru herself. Politics then creates the next level of conflict, but that is resolved through business negotiation. Finally, wanting to really end this conflict for good, Marika takes even more risks.

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Mouretsu Pirates 16 – It Was Really a Side Quest

This could so easily be shopped for marketing purposes.

The 16th episode of Pirates devoted to the yacht club’s first attempt at piracy with a bit of drama about what the club president was up to. After a dinner in which she is reminded by Chiaki of one of her basic duties, Marika works herself to exhaustion. The next day, when planning the attack on the cruise ship, Marika has to instill confidence in her new crew. They manage to hash together some successful pirating, but it all turns out to be a distraction from what club president Lynn wanted to do all along; kidnap Jenny from wherever she was held captive.

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Pointless Debate #28: 1 Week and 19 Episodes

This was high quality over the last 6 months

I’ve heard it said somewhere that after a while of blogging anime, you reach a point where you either hate everything or you think everything is pretty good to the point where it all gets the same score. Needless to say there were specific examples of those 2 when someone pointed that out to me and I think some of you probably know who those are, but out of respect I won’t name them.

One character I did find consistently entertaining in Nichibros

In the post Legend of the Galactic Heroes world of Lower Mid-Table I was probably heading in a world where I overrated stuff I really didn’t like and tried to find reasons to hate on anything good. This isn’t healthy because it’s pretty much denial of how you really feel about things. Do I really like Highschool DxD as much as I made it out? I think it was a good genre piece fitting of ecchi harem, but if I were to put it out against everything it really isn’t that good. Did I think Nichibros was terrible? There were some segments that dragged on-and-on, but overall it was a good situational comedy.

Then, came the week that began on the 9th when being stretched by a number of projects (Anicorpse and FAPcast) as well as getting new posts in for Apollon, Pirates, and Upotte meant there was little time to catch up on series I watched purely for entertainment. When I did, however, I was in for what was probably the best week of currently airing shows I’ve seen in at least 4 years.

The 20 fantastic episodes I got in this week were as follows:

  • 2 episodes of Mysterious Girlfriend X
  • 2 episodes of Sengoku Collection
  • 2 episodes of Space Brothers
  • 2 episodes of Sankarea
  • The 15th episode of Mouretsu Pirates
  • The 5th episode of Ozuma
  • The 2nd episodes of Kuroko no BasketNatsuiro Kiseki, and the new Lupin series
  • The first episodes of Dusk Maiden, Nyaruko-san, Apollon, TsuritamaJormundgand and even Shining Hearts: Shiawase no Pan

I think many people who have seen a lot of visual media have had a certain feeling. A feeling I would describe as “I wish I could see that again as though it was the first time.” Over the last two seasons, I’ve generally ended up watching 6 or 7 currently airing shows, finished them and quickly forgot that they existed. The last really memorable one for me was Steins;Gate that really stuck around. I wasn’t expecting much out of this season either to be honest.

Tokugawa Ieyasu, big in Japan...again

Then came this week, when I felt reborn as a fan by the end. Mysterious Girlfriend X had me completely lost in the best way possible on how the relationship at the center had progressed so quickly. Sengoku Collection is the genderbent Warring States warrior series that doesn’t actually pander. Space Brothers reminds me of my childhood when I thought making it to space was but a matter of time rather than an impossible dream.

Don't worry Jigen, you'll find your place in the world

On the other side, Sankarea made me disgusted with how cruel the world can be and how people who do nothing to help those in danger can be just as bad as those committing evil. The story of Fujiko Mine served as a reminder that for certain people love really is impossible. Ozuma provides a the textbook case of how sticking to purity of ideas over all else doesn’t really work in a changing world. Jormungand shows the tragic after effects on a child who has only ever known how to kill, but he has hope.

I see Tony Taka character designs and wonder why they are still wearing clothing.

Which is where I choose to end this on a lighter note for the rest of the crop that reminded me of just how the normal can still be entertaining. Kuroko gave us the first of the legendary crop of players and for a shonen show he was surprisingly likeable, even if on a totally different level from everyone else. Natsuiro Kiseki had a fantastic chase through town involving 2 characters magically stuck together, what will they wish for next? Pirates had THAT Chiaki face. Dusk Maiden was all about Okonogi’s amazement at the vast school even if she’s not the main character. Tsuritama had the coolest grandmother ever. Apollon reminded me of discovering a new kind of music that you love for the very first time. Nyaruko-san felt like the comedy that didn’t take itself seriously at all in the best way possible. EvenBread: The Animation as I call it felt like the slice-of-life show where nothing happens that I could feel like watching.

I just had to run this pic again. It's required now for all Chiaki mentions.

That pretty much summed up one of the rare weeks where it felt like everything clicked. Has anyone else had a run of shows like that out there?

Mouretsu Pirates 15 – The Joys of Manual Writing

Chekov's Ring gets its intended use

The 15th episode of Pirates sees the yacht club take control of the Bentenmaru before they run into the problem of actually making it work. The yacht club sets off initially in the Odette II with a pair of stowaways before they break off for the Bentenmaru. The actual Bentenmaru crew realizes what the yacht club is up to and then scrambles to prepare manuals on how to operate the ship. Even after they get those finished in time, Marika and the yacht club are forced to improvise on one last important piece of operating the ship.

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Mouretsu Pirates 14 – The Bentenmaru Youth Team

Insert flashback to Star Trek: TOS Season 2, Episode 15

The 14th episode of Pirates brings with it a bit of a quandary for Marika. Absurd circumstances dictate the need to bring in a new crew. What does she look for? Why does she not notice the ready made replacements that she’s known for sometime until the very end? Why can’t Gruier properly write a check? The next arc truly begins with this episode and may be Marika’s biggest test to date.

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Mouretsu Pirates 13 – The Dinner that Became a Diplomatic Incident

At least Grunhilde wasn't partaking in the cinnamon challenge.

The 13th episode of Pirates evokes more of a slice-of-life feel as it hits the halfway point. Marika returns home as a local celebrity for her exploits for Serenity. However, change is in the air as the new school year starts and brings with it a change in status for much of the cast. Then, Marika invites Gruier and Grunhilde over for dinner where they all have fun, even if their was nearly a diplomatic incident involving hot mustard. The episode ends with much of the cast moving on to the next job at hand.

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Mouretsu Pirates 12 – Everything Works Out

Serenity's very own Royal Family Creation Machine. (Genetic material sold separately)

The 12th episode of Pirates brings a rather abrupt and bizarre ending to the quest to find the treasure on the golden Queen Serendipity. Most of the episode consists of the Bentenmaru crew going from point-to-point on the ship and revealing much of the secret history of Serenity and those who lived on the ship. Eventually, they are confronted by the crew of the other Queen Serendipity in front of the grand treasure. The very device from which all members of the royal family had been made. A short time later, both crews were safely heading back together to deliver the ship to Serenity.

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Mouretsu Pirates 11 – Gold is Worth Nothing for Serenity

That is surprisingly well catered for a pirate ship. Also, I'm loving the wood floors.

The 11th episode of Pirates sees the Bentenmaru reach the famed golden ghost ship. To get there, the crew had to endure many bumps amidst a rough ride through space-time quakes. Once they sighted the ghost ship, the Bentenmaru was hailed by Serenity’s flagship Queen Serendipity, whose captain is Gruier’s younger sister Grunhilde. Marika made the decision to go for it anyway as an internal political battle was being played out between the sisters. After Kane steered them into the ghost ship, they were about to be sent back into subspace.

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Mouretsu Pirates 10 – The Birth of a Legendary Captain

You are so enjoying this, Tsundere Pirate

The 10th episode of Pirates largely focuses on the Bentenmaru’s quest to find the Serenity ghost ship. In the meantime, Chiaki is given a crack at piracy as cover for what Marika was really doing. Marika learns a bit more about how the ship manages to function when she isn’t there. Finally, she begins to make decisive choices as captain when faced with the prospect of real combat for the first time. Continue reading

Mouretsu Pirates 09 – A Club Devoted to the Less than Legal Arts

Lead from the front Marika, that will earn respect from your peers

The 9th episode of Pirates finally sees Marika taking control of the Bentenmaru on her own terms. The crisis at the end of the last episode is resolved quickly by a communication by Gruier. They get some information on the ghost ship that they are trying to find, but in order to maintain appearance they have to go to the yacht club for help. Jenny ultimately agrees to help them; along with Gruier becoming an official member, so they can search for the ship while appearing to be attending class. In the end, the probable route of the ghost ship is deciphered, but Marika is firmly in charge by then.

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Mouretsu Pirates 08 – Prelude to a Real Battle

"This is a story of pirates sailing the seas of space."

The 8th episode of Pirates introduces a new character in the form of Gruier Serenity, a princess of the nation that shares her name. After the last episode in which an intruder had stowed away, the Bentenmaru gets to see that they’ve taken on a princess who came to them with a specific goal. Marika’s schedule, however, dictates that they have to return home so Gruier enrolls at the same school. Finally, they set off on their mission, and not everything seems right as they look to be sucked into a real battle for the first time. Continue reading

Mouretsu Pirates 07 – Losing the Competiton with Time

Trying to stay realistic, the Bentenmaru sends its captain alone to gather recon.

The 7th episode of Pirates is an adventure in time management for Marika as well as having to deal with the consequences that emerge as a result. Marika’s performance in school has declined greatly as she tries to balance going to school and being a pirate. In the meantime, Chiaki pays a visit to the cafe and walks around with Mami to talk about Marika, where she learns more than she can really process. Finally, the Bentenmaru gets to pirating another cruiser as Marika learns more while on the job.

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Mouretsu Pirates 06 – Hilariously Dying in Vain

Beach episode? I think not.

The 6th episode of Pirates takes Marika from a promising day of fun with her closest friend from school to learning how to be a pirate in the space of a few days. Marika has to go through the bureaucratic chain of agencies just to be able to obtain the certification that allows her to go pirating. With a time limit of 50 days to begin pirating as one of the conditions of the letter, she gets to work with the crew of the Bentenmaru about learning what goes into it. Finally, she’s given an easy first mission in which to learn how to be a pirate captain.

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Mouretsu Pirates 05 – The Novelty of Aiming a Beam Cannon Manually

I'm going to call you idiots with a giant grin on my face

The 5th episode of Pirates wraps up a number of plot lines as an actual battle breaks out. The episode begins with a change of flight plan suggested by Marika and other adjustments made to make sure the plan goes off without a hitch. The enemy then attempts to engage in electronic warfare and believing it had done so successfully is foiled by the efforts of Lynn and Chiaki. However, they respond by trying to shoot down the Odette II before Marika’s secret weapon and some help ultimately save the day.

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Mouretsu Pirates 04 – Battles are Fun

Who is this Jenny? Why aren't we recruiting her to be captain?

The 4th episode of Pirates sees the students on the Odette II become ever more aware of the potential trouble ahead as they prepare for battle. Jenny’s radar observation provides the clues that there are 2 ships that are chasing after them. Chiaki and Marika then discover the signature of a ghost ship as one of the two before they ultimately have to take the issue to the rest of the students. Marika finds her audience surprisingly receptive to the prospect of being in a battle and that her troubles were well known.

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