12 Days of Anime #4 – Too Old For Shounen and my Mahouka Blog Flamewar.

Mahou Sensou (Magical Warfare), Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei (The Irregular at Magic High School), Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works, Fairy Tail 2014, Gokukoku no Brynhildr (Brynhildr in the Darkness). This year had a lot of shounen shows which made me realize some things about how I watch these shows, and what I think of them. I still like these shows, or I wouldn’t watch them, I always have high hopes, and sometimes they are met, such as with Hunter x Hunter, or even Tokyo Ravens, but more often, I realize I’m not enjoying these shows as much as I wish to, and as much as I once had. It didn’t help most of the shows mentioned earlier were either outright bad, lacking, or just lacking in a certain way.

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei / The Irregular at Magic High School  - Shiba Miyuki loves her brother

Darn straight, you tell them, /sister/! – Mahouka

This realization actually started more towards the tail-end of 2013, with shows such as Unbreakable Machine Doll and Strike the Blood, but back then I ascribed it to the bad art and over-reliance on fan-service, in part. But it’s more than that, it’s also more than just me being too old and tired of these shows (my love for I spoke of before, more than once) – it’s the difference in how I watch them. Shounonsense (the female version would be “Shoujunk”, thank you AniTwitter) often just don’t have enough happen every episode, and you need to watch several episodes in one go to get anything out of them, and hopefully think slightly less on the episodes as you go, which my note-taking interferes with.

But no, some of the aforementioned shows are definitely not up to snuff. Continue reading

12 Days of Anime #11 – Sometimes, It’s Really That Bad – Pupa.

Sturgeon’s Law states simply, “Ninety percent of everything is crap.” And well, it’s certainly true of anime. We have certainly had shows this year with promise that simply fail to add up to anything meaningful (Kyoukai no Kanata / Beyond the Boundary, see episodic write-ups), shows that just don’t know what to do with all the material they do have (Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta / The Pilot’s Love Song, see episodic notes), or shows that didn’t know what to do with storytelling and contained poisonous subtext (Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei / The Irregular at Magic High School, see episodic notes, see editorial on its subtext).

Pupa Anime - The Monster

Behold Barney the censored smudgy purple monster thingy. Scary.

But if 90% of everything is crap, then not only is the average thing crap, but being crap is being average, and nothing out of the ordinary. But every so often comes along a show that fails on every single account, that you’d be hard pressed to find a single positive thing to say about it. This year, we’ve had such a show, and its name was “Pupa”. Yes, indeed, the sign was on the wall, with a name all too similar to “poop-ah” as some people referred to the show (not really, but they certainly should’ve). This show was terrible on all fronts. How terrible? That I dropped it 12 minutes in.

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Media and Social Commentary – The Shows and the Fans

The following two answers had been given on ask.fm. I sometimes answer questions off of the blog and I think they’d make for good pieces. Specifically here, as following my almost infamous piece on how Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei is an “Ode to Meritocracy” I was asked or accused of condemning fans of the show for liking it. So I think this answer will be useful. The second question looks at a specific example of a show and whether it has subtext, and what it means if it does.

Do you think that, when making an evaluation of a piece of media, you are also (at least in part) making some statement about those people who enjoy that piece of media? e.g. thinking that Mahouka promotes a toxic message – does that mean you made a negative evaluation of it’s fans, on some level? Maybe sometimes somewhat?

Look. We are what we consume. Sometimes we realize what it is and ignore it. Sometimes we realize what it is and embrace it. Sometimes we don’t realize what it is and we’re affected to varying degrees.

Akame ga Kill! anime teaches bad morals

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Spring 2014 Anime Season Overview

The Spring 2014 anime season had come and gone, and it’s time to look at the wreckage, see what was worthwhile, and what wasn’t, as well as give some thoughts on each of the shows. Some of these might yet get editorials, depending on energy levels and interest on my part, but if not, I’ll always be able to point at this!

Shows organized by how much I liked them or thought they were good, order doesn’t correlate 100% to the scores given. So, let’s go from worst to best!

15) M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane / M3 The Dark Metal:

M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane Anime overview

Look at this gif, it’s so terrible it’s hypnotic, I call it “boobie-balls”. It’s the best worst part of this show. This Mari Okada show is a take on NGE, as the other is a take on Madoka. This isn’t to say they’re actively trying to mimic those other luminary shows, but the point is it feels tired, it feels trying too hard.

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Summer 2014 Anime Season Expectations

Summer 2014 is nearly here, and the season actually begins on Wednesday, July 2nd. So time to see what I’m more interested in. I wasn’t very good with my Spring season predictions (M3 2.5/3), but it’s more about my interest levels, than how good I think it’d be. Shows that “didn’t make it” are usually shows I’m slightly less interested in, or find it interesting to remark on.

As always, organized by days of the week, because I might pick a show on an empty day or cut shows I enjoy on days already overfilled with other shows. Order is by expectation within that day. I plan to do write-ups for no more than 3-4 shows this season. Furthermore, I’ve realized I don’t enjoy action popcorn shows (shounens) as much when watching them weekly, so more are likely to only be watched when the season ends.

Descriptions will be short, more on why I find them interesting. “Didn’t make it in” could also be seen as shows I might pick up after dropping others based on buzz or free time. Most of the information about the shows can be had from RandomCuriosity’s page, the helpful Neregate Chart, and what I’ve happened to see on various sites, such as The Cart Driver. Check them out if you want more information.

I’m liking the shape of next season, even if not a lot truly stands out to me.

Sunday:

Akame ga Kill! animeAkame ga Kill! – A battle shounen in a medieval setting, corruption and mystery, reveling in over the top action and “grimdark”. I actually like this sort of thing. That’s what B-Movies are made of. So long the material knows what it is and embraces it, why not? Yes, the quest for “Maturity!!!” is usually pretty immature, but so long you know it. It looks pretty, and that’s the most important thing.
Interest Rating: 1.5/3. I’m not expecting anything great, just some fun. Might go on hold after a few episodes since popcorn shows do better in a burst.
Airing Date:
July 6th.
Write-ups/Notes: Nope. Almost tempted to watch it after it airs. Trailer.

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Spring 2014 Week 10 Impressions – (Anime Power Ranking)

As usual, shows listed by order of my enjoyment of said episode, links to longer write-ups. Mushishi was here this week! But due to tests and such I had a bit less energy for this season, as it’s winding down, rather than winding up for exciting finales. Two episodes’ worth of Chaika, since I’ve missed it last week.

1) Ping Pong the Animation episode 9

Ping Pong the Animation anime Episode 9 overview

 

This episode is about the return of the past. Sakuma and Beach guy? Sure. But how about two friends who are going to fight for the top spot (assuming Peco beats Kazama), where one of them has knee-problems, and the other doesn’t want to harm his friend’s dream? Reminds you of Coach Koizumi and Kazama’s grandfather, eh? Smile had also been told that he’ll harm his opponent if he gives him the win, and Obaba had said Smile has no mercy, and is a monster.

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Spring 2014 Week 9 Impressions – (Anime Power Ranking)

As usual, shows listed by order of my enjoyment of said episode, links to longer write-ups. Another week without Mushishi leaves us orphaned. Drama had been fairly good this week, while popcorn was being its normal popcorny-stuff.

1) Ping Pong the Animation episode 8

Ping Pong the Animation Episode 8 overview

This show isn’t messing around. It doesn’t throw surprise punches at you, but sets up the characters logically, and then lets them act out their natures.

Kazama doesn’t believe in heroes, which means that not only does he not look up to others, but he also doesn’t see himself as a hero. He doesn’t seek to lead his team as a “leader”, but as a symbol of unflagging prowess. He cares not for the psychology of it, and it seems he doesn’t care for them either. No heroes, but there is money, and there are symbols, symbols such as the school. His is a cold world, one of powers, and not people.

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