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.

Continue reading 12 Days of Something III: Maou-Economics

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.

Continue reading The Return of the Recap 41

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.

Continue reading The Return of the Recap 40

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 39

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.

Continue reading The Return of the Recap 38

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.

Continue reading The Return of the Recap 37

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 36

Hataraku Maou-sama 07 – The Second Layer

Chiho playing the comic role
Sorry Chiho, you’re shamefully underused this week.

The arrival of a new neighbor ushers in new conflicts and divisions in the seventh episode of Maou-sama. Having been invited by their landlord, Kamazuki Suzuno moves in next to Maou and the others. Meanwhile, Emi gets a gift from Ente Isla in the form of a vitamin drink that actually replenishes her magical power. After everyone runs into each other at Maou’s apartment, Emi quickly deduces that Suzuno is also after Maou’s affection. Eme then catches her up with proceedings back in Ente Isla where people may be trying to pursue Emi all the way to Japan. This turns out to be the case as Emi is attacked that night, though she is able to survive with the help of a convenience store worker. Finally, Chiho and Maou make a shocking discovery in the bento provided by Suzuno to Maou.

Continue reading Hataraku Maou-sama 07 – The Second Layer

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?

Continue reading The Return of the Recap 35

Hataraku Maou-sama 06 – The Lesser Known Phone Hacking Scandal

Among swimsuit photos, this is probably among the worst.
The horror, the horror…

Maou, Ashiya, Chiho and Emi go on a late-night adventure at Chiho’s school in a quest to solve a school mystery in the 6th episode of Maou-sama. With a conspiracy raging in Ente Isla, Maou celebrates his promotion to shift supervisor at work with some restaurant fare with Ashiya. However, his money is quickly being evaporated by his new roommate Urushihara (Lucifer). In continuing their quest for more magic, Ashiya and Maou head to a high school where Chiho happens to be a student. Emi joins them in an attempt to stop them from regaining their magic, but eventually they find that the whole thing was just a ruse.

Continue reading Hataraku Maou-sama 06 – The Lesser Known Phone Hacking Scandal

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?

Continue reading The Return of the Recap 34

Hataraku Maou-sama 05: Caught Between Two Places

Fashionable!
Emi combines armor and formal business attire well here.

The 5th episode of Maou-sama saw some unusual alliances form as Emi, Ashiya and Maou combine to save the city from Lucifer’s reign of terror. The episode immediately began with the confrontation at the end of the last episode, and Maou deduced that Orba Meier from the Holy Church on Ente Isla was working with Lucifer. A battle then progressed throughout the city before Maou teleported to a location with many people around. He appeared to be mortally wounded, but the despair of the people around him brought his powers back. The final battle occurred as Chiho watched and afterwards Maou returned the city to its previous unharmed state before returning to work in his quest to win Employee of the Month.

Continue reading Hataraku Maou-sama 05: Caught Between Two Places

The Return of the Recap 33

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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.

Continue reading The Return of the Recap 33

Hataraku Maou-sama 04: Out Goes the Comedy

There's a sadness behind Emi.
Emilia was much different a while back.

The plot kicks into another gear this week in Maou-sama as more and more people cross over into Japan from Ente Isla. As Maou finishes rescuing all the survivors from the attack underground, Emi remembers her youth with being forced to fight against the Demon King because she was the daughter of a goddess. Then her father was killed as her village was torched by the general Lucifer. Now, Emi has to deal with the fact that the one she was trying to kill turned out to become a decent person once he learned about humans. After Maou’s landlord comes in after Chiho misunderstands Emi and Maou’s relationship, she reveals that she knows exactly what’s going on between the two worlds in a not so subtle way. Chiho ends up running into Lucifer, who destroys another building as two of Emi’s allies from Ente Isla prepare to arrive in Japan.

Continue reading Hataraku Maou-sama 04: Out Goes the Comedy

Hataraku Maou-sama 03: A Different Kind of Attraction

Hero Emilia is a bit upset.
I’m really liking the subtle character design change when Emi gets serious.

The 3rd episode of Maou-sama reveals a plot to kill the Overlord and the Hero, but also reveals Chiho’s attachment to the other world. The episode starts with Chiho preparing for her big date with Maou, while Emi takes a call from a semon from the old world who wants to kill both of them off. Later, she has to bail Ashiya and Maou out of jail, before ending up stalking Maou on the date with Chiho. Then, Chiho reveals that she can understand communication from Ente Isla before Emi interrupts the date to warn her to stay away from him. They fight until there is an earthquake which traps Emi and Chiho. After Emi uses some magic to put Chiho to sleep, Maou emerges from the rubble in demon form and wants to save everyone.

Continue reading Hataraku Maou-sama 03: A Different Kind of Attraction

Hataraku Maou-sama 2: Adventures in Real Life

Insulting Maou, or the group having dinner.
You’re very much different, Emi.

The 2nd episode of Maou-sama presents the reunion between the Demon Overlord and the Hero in a most unusual fashion. The Hero, who goes by Emi in this world, confronts Maou and threatens to kill him with a cheap knife. After some police intervention, they go their separate ways, though Emi continues to monitor how Maou lives his life. Finally, she offers to stop bothering him in exchange for his not wanting to return home, but they are interrupted by a sniper who is able to use magic bullets. Losing her purse on the way home, Emi has to ask Maou for a place to stay for the night.

Continue reading Hataraku Maou-sama 2: Adventures in Real Life

Hataraku Maou-sama: A Quick Take

Ship.
A promising start to a relationship

A pair of demons are defeated and battle and run away to an alien world where they struggle to survive without magic in the first episode of Hataraku Maou-sama. Demon King Satan and Alsiel run away after being defeated by the humans in battle. They arrive in modern Tokyo, now as humans and having to learn how to survive on their own. They eventually secure a place to live and the Demon King Satan, now called Maou, works while Alsiel, now Ashiya, works on figuring out a way to get their magic back. In the meantime, they are discovered by the hero who was responsible for their defeat.

Continue reading Hataraku Maou-sama: A Quick Take

We Don’t Need Another Spring Preview Post

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I’ve always tried to make my preview posts a little different. Whether that is through projecting my own ending based on the title name, or just writing crap all over a chart, I’ve tried to make them all different from each other. To be honest, you shouldn’t really go to me for season previews since I hardly know what I’m talking about, and there are better options available. I’ll try to do my best to make this interesting since there are a small number of you out there that subscribe. Fortunately, the anime getting the most buzz is

SEED Destiny Remaster

I had to try that once. There’s no way in hell this is getting 13 comments let alone 130.

Continue reading We Don’t Need Another Spring Preview Post