Recently I’ve finally been able to put into words what I have felt about watching anime over the last 13 months. At first, the question after this season’s tremendous amounts of drops was Do I Even Like Anime Anymore? I can’t say I stopped liking it since I still watch some shows, but that would probably now put me in the filthy casual category. Instead, the question has now become, is White Album 2 going to end up being the last anime I will ever fall in love with?
Back in January with the sole purpose of expressing just how much I did not like the first episode of Space Dandy, I thought it would be funny if I could go through the entire calendar year with that being the only show I dropped. That was a terrible idea, and as one who tends to lack perspective on most things I needed a reminder. Fortunately, Freakonomics Radio chose to re-broadcast their episode on quitting. Which reminded me of how I made this terrible mistake to begin with. I got caught up in trying to make a dumb point about a show I didn’t like.
The name of this post (minus the Pointless Debate portion obviously) was derived from an idea for a panel I had for conventions. Now, the whole idea of me standing in front of a bunch of people telling them to not watch something in the middle of a commercial event devoted to people who watch it seemed rather absurd. Also, knowing how Baka-Raptor’s attempt at stand-up comedy at the closest thing to a local convention for me went, I just couldn’t pull the trigger. So instead, you get a blog post with a sample of some things I would have hypothetically said in front of the 3 people who went to my panel so they could use a room to eat on a Sunday afternoon before the organizers pulled the plug on me for spreading propaganda.
2. Future Diary
3. Big O
5. Madoka Magica
7. Serial Experiments Lain
9. Wolf’s Rain
10. Neon Genesis Evangelion
11. Darker than Black: Ryuusei no Gemini
12. Sailor Moon
13. Squid Girl
14. Devil Survivor 2
15. Angel Beats
16. Zero no Tsukaima ~Futatsuki no Kishi~
18. H2O: Footprints in the Sand
19. Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito
20. Pokemon: The First Movie
56763. Being stuck in a time loop where you are run over by a train repeatedly forever
56764. Clannad After Story
Back when I was really intensely studying such things, the ideas of “soft power” and in particular “Cool Japan” were popular in the international political scene. The idea for those who don’t know is that by spreading one’s culture around to other countries and gaining a foothold there, it can have longer term positives as the perceptions of one’s country becomes positive as a result. You can see this in the present day in American movies being rushed into Chinese cinemas with added footage specially for that audience and to ease it past the censors there. Then, of course, there’s the repeated attempts to try to sell anime and manga to Western audiences over the years with mixed success in the case of Japan.
This has been a rather interesting season so far from my perspective, even if I haven’t found any single series to be particularly outstanding. Recently I’ve been coming across a theme in a number of things. That would be the simple concept of quitting. Let me just clarify that as of the writing of this sentence I don’t have any intention of doing that as far as writing this blog is concerned. That doesn’t mean I’m above using it as a topic in this little installment of my not often run Pointless Debate series.
This edition of Pointless Debate was inspired by the Animusic Tourney being conducted by the members of the Anime Instrumentality blog. Nominations recently opened up on the tournament blog with fans able to submit a list of up to 15 songs for consideration. These will ultimately determine which ones make it and the tournament seeds if you get the gist of it. I did make my 15 selections which you will get at the end of the post, but the story I want to tell is how I ended up there. Continue reading Pointless Debate #35: Ranking Anime Songs
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.
There was this post game thing that was going around back in August. I answered a few of the questions, but I never actually got around to publishing it. Basically is was some questions proposed by someone followed by my own proposed questions to go on to the next person, but as the time is long since passed, that last part never happened. Unlike someone who wants to see Ryan Giggs answer the unsolvable question below some District 9 fanart, I tried the best that I could to legitimately answer these questions..
It’s certainly been a long time since I used the term “Malaise Era” to refer to anime. Actually it goes back to that terrible idea of writing 40 posts in 40 days about the anime of the 00s. I can’t help but do a lot of revisiting that time period since much of the terribad anime actually predates the period I’m talking about. I’m referring specifically to the period from roughly 1997 through 2005. Continue reading Pointless Debate #32: Remembering the Malaise Era
As this seems to be a day where some are making ridiculous arguments about preferences in their favorite anime, I figured I may as well jump on this bandwagon before it leaves never to return (or in 4 months). I’ve also decided to use the mighty power of Twitter to try to come up with ideas in this post to try to defend based on the title. Needless to say, I may have picked a bad day to do this. (Note: none of the views expressed below represent my real opinion on views, they are just my attempts to defend indefensible views on specific topics)
Recently there have been a few moments this season that have I have found a plenty of interest. These go far beyond thinking that I had watched something that was merely cool or amazing on the surface. Then again, I could also be reading far too much into this again, but there is a reason why this is Pointless Debate. The question is this: what makes a scene transcend the medium itself?
Continue reading Pointless Debate #29: Moments of Transcendence
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.
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 Basket, Natsuiro Kiseki, and the new Lupin series
- The first episodes of Dusk Maiden, Nyaruko-san, Apollon, Tsuritama, Jormundgand 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
I was inspired slightly by another post into doing this. That post was largely about the boring male leads that have become synonymous with anyone who has seen a decent amount of anime series, but it really got me to think about the modern harem anime scene. If there is any genre that is known for boring, pointless leads, it’s harem anime.
Before I get started with eliminating some of the candidates, I must admit I was surprised at how much negative connotation the idea of something being considered harem is. There are a number of series Haruhi, Kanon, and Clannad amongst others that I would consider harem that are not because the mods at MAL do not consider them so. Since I chose to go only from their select pool, I was limited to a large extent, but it was still surprising that I had to add another candidate just to make 64. Continue reading Pointless Debate #26: Most Pointless Harem Lead
In my last post for Haganai, I had a comment mention something about the fact that I should do a season preview before picking any show to write about for the winter. I would have responded in the comments there, but 18 months ago I had my say on season previews. I didn’t really understand the point. Most relevant bloggers these days have preview posts of some sort. I should at least point to Scamp’s well written one since I pretty much relied on it heavily when categorizing these shows. My comments in the above aren’t entirely serious if you couldn’t tell, but I had to carry something over.
So ultimately I’ve decided to begin the year by putting together a legitimate attempt at a season. I’m not going to include opinions on sequels of shows I haven’t seen since that’s really unfair. Let’s hope this turns out respectable.
There seems to be something about making lists that appeals to a lot of people. Recently the aniblogosphere has been engaged in their yearly 12 Moments lists, while many get prepared for listing what series they look forward to next year or even which 366 school uniforms they plan on presenting next year.
Last night on twitter, Vucub Caquix (part of the duo who write the definitive posts on Penguindrum) was simply interested in knowing what others’ favorite series of the year were. Coinciding with end of season and year votes at Kevo’s Power Rankings (I’ve been setting a record for futility in getting my votes to make the ranking), I actually found myself with 4 lists which covered 2 different time periods that told entirely different stories of how I interpreted what I had watched. Two lists cover the whole year, while the other two fall in the last 3 months; the period in which I was voting in the Anime Power Rankings.
I recently completed my 500th anime according the database over at MAL, so I thought it would be time to put together some sort of tribute to reaching that milestone. So rather than trotting out a top 25 or some other list based on a rankings list I had, I decided to go with a list of the most memorable. These are in no particular order with simple reasons for why I personally found them memorable. Feel free to disagree because you probably will, but that’s what debate is all about isn’t it?
It can be said that using something like a mailbox for a post is really scraping the bottom of the barrel. In that spirit I have grabbed a spoon and am prepared to dive right in on various topics that were sent in over the last day or 2.
It’s been several months since this feature was last used, and someone out there actually admitted they liked it. Regardless, I thought I would take the inspiration from ajthefourth and go back to the roots of this feature with a simple look at the end game results in Honey & Clover.
In trying to rank who won and who lost at the end of it all, I quickly realized that in reality there were a whole bunch of winners and definitively 1 loser from where I stood. Call it a case of a reverse Anna Karenina. I stress that this is just a subjective ranking, and feel free to disagree in the comments.
1. Mayama – Rika
This relationship represented an ideal ending from my point of view. Mayama’s sheer persistence in chasing after Rika, even to the point of quitting his previous job and essentially hiring himself to work with Rika. She got the ability to continue her work with someone determined to support the both of them, and finally she appeared to be able to move on.
2. Nomiya – Yamada
I actually liked how this one came about. Nomiya seemingly went in trying to force Mayama to make the decision between Rika and what seemed to be his 2nd option in Yamada. Then over the course of their frequent interactions between each other, something happens. The playboy finds love and Yamada is able to move on from her unrequited love.
So why do I put one of the people who ends up with nothing on the romantic side so high on this list? For a start he’s able to help in his brother’s revenge plot. He had already made a ton of money from his work in Hollywood. Even after he loses the battle, he still has the freedom to create whatever he wants, where he wants and whenever he wants with whomever he wants to work with. It’s not an ideal end for him, but the possibility of being tied down really didn’t suit him as a character.
4. Shuuji – Hagu
My reaction to this happening was a rather audible “What the hell is that?” when I first watched it. I guess it was really the visible age difference between the characters, but with Hagu that would have been the case with anyone. On a different level, this sort of represents compromise to its fullest extent. She gets someone to take care of her without having to worry about holding back, while he finally seemed to realize what gave his life meaning in the first place. This no doubt ranks far too low for many, but the manner of it being forced by the sudden injury to Hagu really bothered me a lot.
Takemoto is a character with whom many identify. His ending is given a relatively soft touch. He’s able to find a job with the group he came across during his bicycle trip, and most importantly he seems satisfied that he lost. What this seems to conveniently ignore is the fact that Takemoto would probably be doomed to a life of subsistence living which would have made it most unlikely that he would have come across another opportunity at love as great as he had. He offered all he had, but it wasn’t much at all.
With that little ranking out of the way, you’re more than welcome to comment on anything here. If I’ve missed anything out from here, you can also point that out too if you want.
For as aspirational a story as Planetes is, there was always one particular arc that bothered me. That would be the back story of Fee Carmichel and the tragedy that befalls her uncle, which goes into territory very rarely seen with its examination of racism. Essentially, her uncle has his tree house he lives in burned down by a mob who believe that he kidnapped a girl. Reading this at about the same time I was watching H2O deal with the outsider Kohinata Hayami by burning her residence in the woods down, I couldn’t help but think that it was a rather Japanese interpretation of racism in America. Though, to be fair, my biggest complaint was more on the timing of the story, more than anything else.
As the protagonist in Ladies versus Butlers!, Hino Akiharu is far from the most genre-defining character. He essentially goes around and gets into various sexual misadventures with the variety of girls who also happen to be both have feelings for him, and represent simply character types to attract the interest of a wider part of the niche audience that watches harem anime. Akiharu is really just a typical main character in a typical harem anime. Perhaps that was typical of 2010.
So I bring to you the story of the year in anime presented here in three acts. First is the story of one man and the variety of fates that come about as the result of one seemingly insignificant decision. The second is the story of a group of friends and the creation of memories that can be passed down to others. Finally, the story of two characters pushing boundaries in the hardest way possible.
Given the fact that chii has recently posted on the meeting of the great characters Reinhard von Lohengramm and Yang Wen-li from Legend of the Galactic Heroes and pointed out that I’ve been blogging the series, this next post will probably baffle those who have a particular taste in heroes. So with the image above which pretty much cuts into the Basil Exposition-esque level of writing in the series, my opinion of To Aru Majutsu no Index protagonist Kamijou Touma stands out a little. This post poses my own reasons why I like this character while at the same time questioning my own beliefs in said appreciation.
About 2 weeks ago, a few people on twitter were discussing relationships on the internet versus real life. What happened next was my being sucked into (though obviously voluntarily) a group on Google revolving around group viewing of some shows on Skype. So out came the headset, and into the wilderness I went.
After reading ghostlightning’s 2nd anniversary post, I wondered whether I should even bother at all with one of my own. The response when I raised it with others ranged from either jokingly ragequitting or not even bothering with one at all since 3 years is some sort of true mark of blogging. The fact that this post even exists means I decided to discard that advice and proceed to do an anniversary post of my own.
As it has come up several times in various conversations on Twitter, I have this complete wall of separation between my real life and my guise online. I don’t know when or how that came to pass, but it’s rarely ever been something I talked about. With My Sister Can’t Be This Cute (or the romanized version in the tag if you lean that way), the subject keeps coming up in my own thoughts as much as the desperate and ultimately pointless quest Kirino endures to maintain separate lives.
As this post is really going to be personal experiences relating to the title of this post, I doubt it will really get to the root of anything.
In a community of people, it’s very much possible for common understandings to develop without needing to elaborate the idea in words. One of ideas I was thinking of earlier is the ability of certain things to be recalled just with the word “that,” mainly capitalized as THAT for emphasis. For instance, someone could just refer to an episode of a series they have both seen just as THAT episode, in such a way that a particular episode is more memorable than any other. So I wondered, what exactly gives an episode that status?