12 Days of Something VI: On Never Finishing Anime Again

A screenshot from Makai Ouji, which happened to be randomly selected.

2016 was a rather interesting year when it came to being able to stream anime and view translated manga online. Thanks to a deal between Funimation (booo) and Crunchyroll (*crickets*) it is now possible to view both of their libraries instead of having to pay for 2 subscriptions or pay for 1 and pirate the other, not that I’m ever going to advocate for that. There are still a few exceptions like the inferior versions of Asobi ni Iku yo! being unavailable on Crunchyroll, but that’s to be expected to be honest. A lot of this is being driven by larger companies coming in and seeing that there was a chunk of money to be made on this particular fandom. Amazon’s deal with Fuji TV to make the noitaminA block exclusive to Prime subscribers is just one example of things heading this way. The money flying around from foreign companies meant that more series could be made than ever before. Yet, I get the sense that no one really knows how to make actual money from this stuff.

In the meantime, in recent months I have been revisiting the a lot of shows that I have dropped in the past along with those I never would have tried. This was done through the random feature on Crunchyroll’s site (why isn’t this available on their apps?). What it means is that it’s extremely unlikely that I will actually finish a show this way because the available list of shows is so massive now because I don’t stick with a show beyond the next episode.

Nekogami Yaoyorozu, a show I didn’t even know existed until it popped up.

I may never be caught up with a show ever again if I keep this method up, but that feels strangely okay. It feels better to me than simply being caught in the same loop of shows over and over again with each season. It’s probably a totally different way of experiencing the fandom from most anyone else.

As far as manga goes, it’s in a bit of a different place. To me it feels like I’m more aware of what has been licensed for legitimate distribution yet shocked when something I never would have thought would be licensed is. That was the case with the two manga/light novels I mentioned before in the first post of this year’s 12 Days series. There is also the conflict on those licensed series between legitimate publishers and scanlations/pirates.

I’m always one to say that piracy is a sign of a market failure, yet on this issue I’m not so sure. Publishers can’t really compete against people offering their services for free or in ad revenue/donations. Even contracting out translations has its own costs that the other group doesn’t have to worry about. There are no salaries, publishing costs and marketing budgets to worry about on the illegal side.

I’d like to think that there is more that can be done to solve this problem, but I’m not sure what can be done. I think the legal side is at least slightly dependent on the illegal side, but the latter has too much power at the moment. I think publishers could do a better job of at least making people aware of what they have released or licensed. Too often it just feels like they are catering to the hardcore fan who knows all about manga released in the West. On the other side, there needs to be more done to reduce revenue streams for the pirates. I have faith that a proper balance will be found eventually.

Makai Ouji: Devils and Realist: A Quick Take

William is but a puppet in his butler's gamble.
Just look at that blushing, there are no women in this show.

An intelligent young man finds himself in a supernatural succession battle while trying to find some tuition money in this first episode. After discovering that his uncle had run his family’s estate out of money, William goes searching for other places where something of value could be hidden. He ends up finding a portal to the demon world and a demon named Dantalion tells him he is the elector of the interim king while Lucifer rests. Being the realist, William chooses not to believe anything that is happening right up until another demon tries to steal him away. Dantalion comes to his rescue, though William uses a mysterious power of his own to prevent him from utilizing his full power. Once back in the real world, William finds his tuition paid and a familiar face transferring into school.

I’m going to start with a little bit on the production. The director of this series has been shunted onto a career path of doing shounen ai series ever since her work on Nodame Cantabile wrapped up. However, her vision of frantic fights from on Higurashi no Naku Koro ni can be seen here. The battle between Dantalion and Gilles De Rais has a physical quality to it that is rare these days. There’s really nothing bad I can say about how this looks and feels.

As for the story itself, it does feel like it will be a pretty generic shounen action story. William will be fought over by all of the successor candidates for the throne. He will be put in danger a bunch of times and Dantalion will bail him out each time. While he could just choose one, William’s character will still refuse to believe he has that sort of power so it will drag on until either Dantalion has earned that right or Lucifer ends up waking up.

The characters in this series are basically made for different types of BL shipping, but unlike Brothers Conflict this has already earned the right to do that. William is the weak character who will be undeniably linked to the stronger Dantalion. Being taken by whoever ends up being the villain of the week will not be much of a threat to him, but his interactions with them will be lighthearted enough to make both parties come out better in the end. Also for the philosophical out there, I think that title makes for interesting reading. William can be the devil for controlling Dantalion’s powers while Dantalion is the realist for wanting to stick close to him to win the throne. It’s classic game theory in a silly sort of way and damned if I didn’t actually manage to find another fujoshi oriented show that I found watchable.

Reasons to Continue Watching

  • Battles have an excellent look and feel
  • Comedic timing is appropriate even if not always funny
  • Strategic relationship between William and Dantalion is very debatable

Reasons to Drop

  • It’s not very hard to find the fujoshi fanservice
  • Plot structure appears to be extremely cliche
  • References to The Bible have no bearing to anything

My Verdict: Probably the first show of this type I’ve found watchable since the infamous Sekaiichi Hatsukoi, notably by the same director. While I think it will fall into a series of cliches by the end, it’s done enough to earn a 2nd episode comfortably.

The Picture Because I Quit Summer Season Previews

Will this win?
Will this win?

The Summer Preview Because I Quit Spring

I needed an image to fill this, and no you don't need context.
I needed an image to fill this, and no you don’t need context.

This is probably the first post where I’ve actually tried to get assistance from other people in it’s creation. For the most part this is just a fairly standard preview with my opinions in it plus some other information. I wish I could have been a bit more creative with that, but I can only work with what I’ve got.

Continue reading The Summer Preview Because I Quit Spring