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

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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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei Episode 9 – Doing it All

(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page, this write-up spends some time explaining explanations glossed over in the anime, and talking about basic story-structure, which this narrative doesn’t execute well.)

With every episode, we move towards episodes that don’t have less info-dumps, but where the non-infodump section is actually action, or where the infodumps are about action, rather than just theory! So close!

Yeah, last episode was bad in a different way, it had clearly shown that the author does not know what invests conflicts with weight, and how to make a conflict feel meaningful, and overcoming it a success. Well, new week, so new chances to impress us, right? Welp.

(It turns out I took 42 screenshots this episode. I have no idea how it happened. Here’s the album.)

Thoughts and Notes:

1) King Tatsuya Assumes His Natural Position:

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei anime episode 9 notes / The Irregular at Magic High School anime episode 9 notes - History is being made at the FCL labs

There are no photos of “The Chief” in the LN. I was sure he’d look older, somewhat short, and chubby. I can’t be bothered to check if they describe his physique in all of the books, but hey, doesn’t really matter.

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Spring 2014 Week 8 Impressions – (Anime Power Ranking)

As usual, shows listed by order of my enjoyment of said episode, links to longer write-ups. This was a pretty good week! While most popcorn shows had somewhat bored me or failed to do as well as they did in the past, everything else did really well!

1) Mushishi Second Season episode 7

Mushishi Second Season anime episode 8 overview

After a week without it, Mushishi is back, and boy does it come out swinging. I think it’s my favourite episode of the season, after the marvelous second episode. There’s not a lot that happened in this episode, there’s not much symbolism, or characters taking action, or anything you can point at and say “This! This is why this episode, and why Mushishi are so great!” – it was a story of human loss, of a human being swept away by the grand forces of Mushishi, emotions, and loss.

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Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei Episode 8 – “Nothing is Impossible!”

(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page, this write-up spends some time explaining explanations glossed over in the anime, and talking about basic story-structure, which this narrative doesn’t execute well.)

Well, the first arc is finally over! The second arc is here, and it’s going to be fun, and have action! Just as soon as we finish preparing for the Nine Schools Competition and swallow some more magic jargon :P

Thoughts:

1) Highschool Comedy:

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei anime episode 8 notes / The Irregular at Magic High School anime episode 8 notes - Yoshida Mikihiko is afraid of bloomers!

They’re talking about ‘bloomers’.

1) “BS Magicians” always made me laugh – “They’re such “BS Magicians!” (Bullshit, for those not familiar with this acronym). Referring to magicians with a special inborn talent.

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