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 Lower Mid-Table Summer (of Failure) Season Preview

This chart should only be indicative of the fact that I can think like I’m 10.

The start of summer (or winter Southern Hemisphere folks) brings with it plenty of things. Where I’m at that means heat, humidity and ridiculously inflated utility bills in a quest to maintain some adequate level of comfort. On a much more relevant note, it also means another new season of series to watch. I think in the past, the summer season has largely been dismissed as inferior to the spring and fall seasons. So I decided to look back 5 years to see what came out of that summer. Continue reading

Pointless Debate #11: Favorite Characters

I was really close to putting one of these 2 for a favorite character, but I didn't pull the trigger

After ghostlightning once again set the agenda over at the creatively named THAT Anime Blog, and with followups from Rakuen at Borderline Hikikomori and Caraniel’s…Ramblings, I thought I may as well have a go at something like this too. Categorization of the characters in these posts have broken down into words like admirable, complex, entertaining and relatable. I would also think there are other ways to have favorite characters, which could even be in reaction to the favorites of others; positively or negatively. One could even have characters that are favorites for irony.

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Pointless Debate #3: Second Season Syndrome

Have you ever gotten to a stage in life where you have reached a goal and then complacency set in? There are plenty of examples of bands making second albums that are garbage or the exact same in comparison to their first, athletes playing hard on a contract year and then mailing it in once they have their money or politicians ignoring their constituents with re-election seemingly in the bag. This being an anime blog after all, there are plenty of examples from that world too. Continue reading

40 Seasons in 40 Days: Fall 2009

Aoi Bungaku, best watched after taking large quantities of hallucinogens

Wrapping up this 40 season retrospective is the season that has just finished. I will probably have to revisit this season in the future to give a full opinion on it as a whole, but I am not too terribly optimistic. My trademark poor taste in shows to finish strikes yet again, though I would struggle to find anything outstanding this season that I’ve missed.

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40 Seasons in 40 Days: Summer 2008

Now this is the kind of interior design I can do.

The summer of 2008 was a bit more interesting than the previous seasons I’ve been through recently. Namely in that I watched a decent number, alright maybe just 1 or 2 more. Pretty much a typical summer for me then, I sort of wish I watched more though.

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Watching Anime With Extreme Prejudice Part 2

Seitokai no Ichizon is actually lower mid-table in the MAL ratings for this season, but does the concept show a lack of ambition?

Seitokai no Ichizon is in the top half of the MAL ratings for this season, but does the concept show a lack of ambition?

A few months before I started this blog, I decided to take a trip back in time and find out if I had in fact been living a lie, or if anime really was better back in the day. Ten years seemed a decent enough cutoff, so I watched all of the Summer 1998 new shows , all three of them.

This number wasn’t all together too surprising to me, as the explosion in number of new shows had a clear starting point, so watching all 3 should have been easy enough. Turns out it didn’t quite work out like that.

Serial Experiments Lain was something I had always intended to go back and watch at some point anyway. I definitely wasn’t disappointed, but as the best of these shows it looked worryingly dated. A symptom of trying to use technology as the defining plot element in all likelihood.

NightWalker ended up simply being an episodic rehashing of various Western monster cliches packaged into a short series. The ending is also shockingly ruined in the final minutes while hilarious alluding to a second season that never happens.

Shadow Skill seemed a pretty average fantasy/action series with an animation budget that seemed to approach zero with each passing episode. I ended up dropping this before I got to the supposedly awful ending.

So 1 out of 3 dropped, which is about on line with how I am in general, but I don’t think it really means anything here. It could mean I could not want to watch anything longer than 13 episodes (Shadow Skill being 26). More likely, it means I simple watch for the purpose of being entertained and nothing more than that. Instead there was something else that struck me about these three shows. There didn’t seem to be any catering toward a niche audience.

Because steam always follows people as they walk and has defined edges...

While the steam may be opaque the attempt to drive DVD sales is as transparent as ever

The hallmarks of a lot of more modern anime that I watch like token onsen episodes, blatent attempts to sell more DVDs, casts of characters with no depth so they are easy to write for. Instead it seemed like was about trying to put out the best product possible within whatever meager constraints they had and hoping the quality would sell the show. Essentially all three showed ambition even if 2 of the 3 utterly failed to make a mark on me.

The conclusion I ultimately reached was that in 10 years anime had slowly gone from something desperately trying to reach mass appeal to something that was just content with the safety of a niche audience in 90% of the cases, but lacks confidence in selling itself to that niche. What does the new product say about its intended niche audience though?

The Overanalysis of Nogizaka Haruka

Dismissing itself as disposable content in the first minutes of the OP, or perhaps a reflection on the subculture it is catering to

Dismissing itself as disposable content in the first minutes of the OP, or perhaps a reflection on the subculture it is catering to

I hinted at it in the weekly recap…which no one reads:*(, but I’ve decided to push on with a little look to see whether anything interesting can be extracted from Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu. It’s been nearly 9 months since the series started airing, so any effects of hype should be out of my system and I can look at this as a neutral.

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The Week That Was March 11-18

Lack of feedback has left me looking in unusual places for social commentary. Mmm. Pancakes.

Lack of feedback has left me looking in unusual places for social commentary. Mmm. Pancakes.

Yes I crammed a bunch of this in on Wednesday night when I normally write this (though it’s always Thursday for my UK and Philippines-based readers), but at least I can offer a bit more from my weekly recap than normal. Continue reading