2011 Fall Anime Second Thoughts
Phew! Here it is, finally, completely complete and edited and everything! Except for the images, which haven’t been modified in any way except for some resizing. So here it is, over seven thousand and five hundred words later, my twenty-eleven fall, anime, SECOND THOUGHTS! YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH *party music*
Please, don’t read this all at once. Symptoms of reading this all at once include boredom, ennui, disinterest, fatigue, indifference, apathy, lethargy, dullness, monotony, tiresomeness, and death.
Well, well, well. Turns out I couldn’t finish this in time. I’ll write the Chihayafuru, Fate/Zero, and concluding segments tomorrow.
Don’t bother reading through this mess. At the moment, it’s over 6000 words long, and, well, completely unedited – that’s right, even I haven’t read through this mess of a post. So don’t bother, and I’m not even trying to use reverse psychology on you. I’ll finish editing this tomorrow. Then, I’ll start to spam it on every single blob in the history of ever and wait did I just say blob
well here’s a blob
But at least I made a not-very-pun-thing in the title of this post! Get it? I had First Impressions, and now I have Second Thoughts! Still debating what to call the third post in this series
(the Third Coming?), cause fuck if I’m going to write 11 Half Season Reviews after being 2 months late on every single show.
I’ll focus on two issues in this post – how Japan deals with gender differences and how people exhibit different personas depending on the situation. I’d like to word that in less pretentious terms, but unfortunately, I’m in a pretentious mood right now. :( EDIT: I’m not in so much of a pretentious mood anymore – this post is just an anime editorial, a long piece about my opinions about my opinions about my opinions about how vainglorious I am (I am (I am (1 am (which is after midnight (12:00 am))))).
Not to say that I’m not going to be reviewing each show’s first three episodes, which is how much of each show I’ve seen this season. I know, I’m late, but not as late as some people… yet.
Of course, please don’t read this all in one sitting. I’ve interspersed plenty of tl;drs to remind you that my thoughts usually have nothing to do with the anime, especially since I’m going to be talking about sexism and personas. The only shows where they would actually be relevant would be Persona 4 the Animation and Sexism the Animation, but Persona 4 isn’t about personas and Sexism isn’t a show.
tl;dr: why are you reading this by Einstein you have no principal
Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai!
Majikoi’s first episode was brilliant, but episodes two and three made me want to gouge my eyes out in pain. Were those the two episodes where absolutely nothing happened, with the fighting only resuming in episode four? Whatever, it sucked regardless.
Majikoi sparks the discussion for the first topic: male superiority. Back in 60s and 70s anime, males were physically superior, being strong and cool and strong and cool. Back in 80s and 90s anime, males were mentally superior, being smart and intelligent and intelligent and smart. Now in the new decade, males are emotionally superior, being calm and collected and collectible and clams.
Even though the girls in Majikoi are physically superior, they all emotionally rely on Yamato. This shit is as unrealistic as shoots on a coconut tree, but that’s not what matters (one could say ‘BUUUUUUUUUUT ANINIME ISNT SUPOSED TOO BE RELISH-IC’, which I heartily agree with, as only hot dogs are suposed too be relish-ic). What matters is that every single girl in Majikoi acts like that, even that Kaguya copycat.
tl;dr: majikoi is based on an eroge why am I even talking about it
Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai! Preliminary Rating: 1/10 (Horrible) – Blogging
Instead of those stupid light effects and random laserbeams, why not censor everything with McRibs?
(To be fair this screenshot is from episode six but WHATEVER)
Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai
Don’t get me wrong. I loved the manga. But the anime?
Man, talk about art ruining everything.
Apparently, this art style is the same art style as the art style in the art style of the art style from the art style in the light novels. The manga’s art style is the odd one out.
Whatever, I hate this art style. The art style in the manga masked all the flaws the light novels had – how none of the characters actually had any personality, how the character interactions are so blatantly dull (even Sena vs. Yozora is boring), how Kodaka was the sole ‘manly man’ in a sea of ‘girly girls’, and how the whole ‘no friends’ business was merely a front for the standard boring harem fare of 103% of all anime, 204% of all manga, and 306% of all light novels. Sukunai (I’d rather steal your science textbook than call it Haganai, or should I say, hag-anal) betrayed me, just like Majikoi. Both pretended to be something they’re not. Fuck you. Not even emperorj can keep me watching.
That said, the art style in the manga did indeed mask all the flaws the light novels had, so I’ve no problem with the manga. Only the anime I have beef with. Get it? Beef? McRibs?
tl;dr: everything good in the anime is also in the manga because the manga’s good and everything bad in the anime is only in the anime because the anime’s bad. thus the manga is good and the anime is bad. also:
Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai Preliminary Rating: 1/10 (Disgusting) – Dropping after Episode Two
It’s now that I notice how many droppings I had this season. Strangely enough, it evaluates out to one per day, and always when I’m on the toilet…
Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon
Horizon isn’t as sexist as you may think. Appearances aside (because this art style is as art style as the stylish art of Sukunai), it’s actually a decent show with a solid base of material, a decent budget, and a… uh… ‘competent’ director.
Its only problem is that it’s only one cour long.
Which happens to be a humongous problem for a show with such a humongous cast of humongous (did I mention fat lolicons yet?) characters.
You act differently around different people, right? Any good story will explore the different relationships between all of its characters. In a story with one character, there are no interpersonal relationships to develop. In a story with two characters, there is one relationship. In a story with three characters, there are four relationships – A’s relationship with B (AB), B’s relationship with C (BC), and A’s relationship with C (AC), as well as the relationship when all three are together – ABC. In a story with four characters, there are ten relationships – AB, AC, AD, BC, BD, CD, ABC, ABD, BCD, and ABCD.
Now, how about a story with 15 characters?
That’s 560 relationships right there! Have fun developing that in one cour.
Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon Preliminary Rating: 2/10 (RAINBOW SPARKLES EVERYWHERE) – Blogging
Of course, you don’t act completely differently around similar people – you probably act the same way towards your mom and your dad, or your brother and your sister, or one good friend and another good friend. It’s not the relationships that matter – it’s the personas each character puts up. One persona for your parents, one persona for your family, one persona for your friends, one persona for your teachers, etc. – but not one persona for every single one of your friends.
What is a persona? Well, everybody has a personality, right?
Everything you do is a result of your personality, but it’s filtered through the social context of the situation. You’re the same person when you talk to your friends and when you talk to the principal after ripping that picture of Einstein on the wall, but you act differently, right? Different social contexts create different social filters. Different social filters create…
Damn right. Different personas, and every single one of those personas is still \ you /.
Let’s expand on this whole personality business.
Everybody has one personality. Developing this personality results in characterization. Characterization mixed with relationships (between characters, between situations, between social contexts) results in personas.
Rintarou of Steins;Gate is a fully characterized fellow. However, he still acts differently towards Mayuri than towards Daru, because he has different relationships towards different people, and thus has different personas – one for Mayuri, one for Daru.
However, characterization and relationships can be separate. You can develop characters without developing relationships (if somebody’s completely antisocial), and you can develop relationships without developing characters (if somebody acts so differently towards different people that he doesn’t have a personality at all). But without both, you can’t create personas. In the first case, the person acts the same way towards everybody – he has no other personas, he only has his personality. In the second case, the person doesn’t have one personality – he’s not one person with different personas, he’s multiple people who have no other personas, but only their own personalities. Everybody has multiple personas; not everybody is a hermit, and not everybody has dissociative identity disorder.
Guilty Crown is forgettable. I would have dismissed it if not for Scamp’s hype over the entire thing. Similar to Majikoi, the only reason I haven’t dropped it is to see just how low anime can go – and also because I haven’t missed a single noitaminA show since Fractale. It’s definitely interesting to see what happens to noitaminA over the ages, with things such as Fractale, No. 6, and now Guilty Crown, as well as with things such as AnoHana, Bunny Drop, and now UN-GO.
Why is it forgettable? The main character is forgettable. In the industry’s quest for ‘relatable’ main characters, it seems to have forgotten why a character is a ‘main’ character in the first place. Why make every supporting character so flamboyant, so diverse, so interesting – and make the main character a blank slate that isn’t even written on? Majikoi, Sukunai, Persona 4, Working!!, Ben-To, and even Mirai Nikki! Why not make something like Fate/Zero or Horizon, where every character is interesting? Why not make something like Chihayafuru, where every character interaction is interesting?
But – is it good for something to be interesting? What if being ‘normal’ or ‘ordinary’ is also a good thing? People used to be like ‘man, I wish this person acted more normally’, and now they’re like ‘man, these people act TOO normally’.
Here’s the catch. There are those who are normal and ordinary; there are those who are abnormal, yet realistic; and there are those who are completely unrealistic, who are those who seem to act too normally. People like Kodaka are normal and ordinary – people who you’d meet anywhere. The type of person that most people are. They’re not perfect, and they’re not perfectly average, either. They’re better than the average person at some things, and worse than the average person at other things. They don’t stand out.
That’s the type of person you are, the type of person I am, and the type of person everybody reading this blog is. Few shows have an ordinary main character, because it’s bland. However, a realistic show will have ordinary main characters. Few shows are realistic. I’ll talk about realistic characters later on, in the Mirai Nikki section.
People like Yukiteru are abnormal, yet realistic. They’re people who stand out, but people nonetheless. You definitely know several of these people – that guy in class who sits at the back and never talks to anybody, that girl who goes out to parties every single night, that person who answers every one of the teacher’s questions instantly. They’re not normal people, but their actions are normal in their situations.
Now, people like Shu are completely unrealistic blobs of nothingness. What is Shu? What is his personality? Oh, that’s right – he has none. The industry line seems to be that otaku want to ‘project’ their own personalities onto these types of characters, and thus, 92.18% of all harem/eroge leads are this type of character. Hey, this is fine and all, but when you do this, it ceases to be a story about a character. It becomes a story about yourself. This is wonderful if done artistically, but when this is done simply for profit…
Shu isn’t normal. Normal people have lives. They do stuff. They go to parties, attend extra-curricular classes, meet up at clubs, post on anime blogs, pursue careers, and do what they want to do. Shu has no life. If Inori did not come in, Shu would be a mindless drone. Nobody is a mindless drone.
All semblance of life would be drained away anyways. When Inori came in, she stole Shu’s life away. Even if Shu wanted to do something of his own, he can’t anymore, because he’s now obliged to fight against the government/whatever. This happens with so many other lame anime. In Ben-To, Satou has no life – he has no passions, nothing. Yarizui just comes and takes his entire life away, so that now, Satou’s not defined by what /he/ wants to do, Satou is that guy who fights for food because somebody else told him to do it. In KamiMemo, Narumi has no life. Alice comes and takes his life away, forcing him to do detective work. Thankfully, this was subverted wonderfully by Durarara!! – Ryuugamine seemed to have no life, being forced by others to do stuff, but turns out that he was the leader of the Dollars, and that he did all this cause, well, he had nothing to do. He found a life by himself.
Yet, Mirai Nikki shows Yukiteru, a person whose life was whisked away. Perhaps he doesn’t count, as his life used to be all about Deus anyways? Or because he acknowledges that his life was taken away?
tl;dr: I have no life thus I am main character of anime
Guilty Crown Preliminary Rating: 3/10 (Neutral) – Watching until Episode Six
P.S. out-of-context pictures – but wait, THERE WAS NO CONTEXT IN THE FIRST PLACE
Next, here’s a main character (no, not the wheelchair girl) who’s physically unrealistic, but mentally… uh… yeah, also unrealistic.
Hunter x Hunter (2011)
People watch Chihayafuru for the character interaction. That’s why the character interaction is done so well, while it doesn’t have much action. People watch Mirai Nikki for the suspense. That’s why the suspense is done so well, while it doesn’t have much realism. People watch Guilty Crown for the art. That’s why the art is done so well, while it SUCKS at everything else.
People watch Hunter x Hunter for ADVENTURE. That’s why it’s so adventurous, why its characters are so unrealistic, and why I’m rating it so low.
I watched Hunter x Hunter because some random aniblogger somewhere said that apparently, it was DEEP and DARK, alike a well off the coast of Finland. Maybe I just need to wait, like with fine wine and Horizon, because now, all it seems like to me is a well-done One Piece rip-off, complete with DRAMATIC OPENING NARRATION. Of course, One Piece doesn’t focus on its characters, either. However, One Piece does focus on the relationships between its characters; what about Hunter x Hunter?
Time (which is money) is a key factor in many shows. Horizon sucks because it doesn’t have enough time. Hunter x Hunter would suck if it didn’t have enough time, but it seems like it’ll have a lot of time to develop things. So, even if the characters seem unrealistic now, at least they have the potential of becoming more realistic, or at least more interesting.
Why does Hunter x Hunter’s characters have this potential, while Guilty Crown’s doesn’t?
Shu is not a character. He’s a template. Templates cannot develop, because there is so much rooted in a template that changing it a tiny bit would screw up the entire balance. A template is made out of the most uninspired tripe, which on its own would elicit revulsion and scorn, but put together… would still create loathing and disgust. However, someone, somewhere managed to find a mixture that wasn’t /as/ bad. Others gradually built upon it, slowly and piece by piece, until eventually, a template was created, an intricate recipe of a million different pieces. If even one of those pieces were missing or another part added, it would revert back to shit, seeing as all of those pieces are shit. As character development requires cutting away and piling up different pieces, it’s impossible to develop a template.
Yeah, I don’t get it either. But I get it more than the ED, which sounds like an eldritch abomination of autotune composed by gay SHINee wannabes and then this happened. Still, why must screaming? :(
Hunter x Hunter (2011) Preliminary Rating: 4/10 (Good) – Following
Oh boy, I continue talking about different characters!
Narukami seems to be a template character in these first few episodes. But will he continue to be?
Persona 4 The Animation
I’m not sticking around to see, because his development is truly glacial. What truly offends me is that ‘stat pentagon’, reminiscent of my experiences with Ragnarok Online. That’s not saying that RO offended me (…man, I want to play it right now again), but that the anime obviously thinks we cannot sense Narukami’s character development, and must be shown it instead.
Either that, or maybe it’s just a true-to-game adaptation? This does pique my curiosity about the game, as I do want a stat pentagon in every one of my games. However, the anime is just way too slow! That’s rather interesting, seeing as these fight scenes are on par with Fate/Zero’s fight scenes. Too bad Fate/Zero doesn’t have any fight scenes yet :(
Narukami seems to be a mere ‘template character’, as most game adaptation protagonists are, but not quite. He exhibits a personality of his own, when he says things like ‘It’s making me cry.’ or ‘I wish I taped it.’ in such an indifferent voice. I’m expecting Persona 4 to stay true to its title, developing Narukami’s personas. Yet, this pace…
It’s enough to warrant a dropping.
brb going to the toilet
That’s pretty sad, as apparently, Persona 4 is regarded as one of the better shows of this season. Maybe this season really is underwhelming… if I also dropped Horizon/Ben-To/Majikoi instead of blogging them, this season would seem so boring…
The whole SHADOW being your TRUE SELF was pretty cool, but… uh… really? All you have to do is ‘accept’ your true self? If it’s your true self already, your true self has already accepted your true self… why should your ‘fake self’ accepting your true self matter? And is a simple ‘yes, this SHADOW thing is my true self lololol’ sufficient? Why does everybody have to undergo this ordeal except for Narukami, who doesn’t do anything at all?
Is one’s actions determined by one’s SHADOW in every situation? Then why isn’t everybody a giant ball of hatred, jealousy, and scorn? If a SHADOW is only the ‘negative’ parts of a person’s persona’s personality, then where’s the ‘positive’ side? How can only the negative side of yourself be your true self?
Who the heck are the people in the Velvet Room, anyways? Are they talking to us, the viewers, or Narukami, the protagonist? How does the protagonist get into the Velvet Room, then? Why do the song of the soul of the all of the people of the sound of the so of the good?
BET YOU CAN’T ANSWER THAT MR. NOTHING-FAZES-ME
Persona 4 the Animation Preliminary Rating: 4/10 (Good) – Dropping after Episode Three
What about Takanashi? He’s the rarest of the three types.
He’s a normal guy.
Working’!! is one hell of a normal show.
You have a normal cast working normally in a normal restaurant.
“What?!” you may ask, “How is a sword-swinging girl, a homeless orphan, a human androphobic indiscriminate cannon, a blue-haired Izaya-wannabe, a failed lame novelist in depression, and a Daphnia-loving lolicon a normal cast?!”
“Woah there,” I may reply, “You’re a hopeless fanboy! Also, feel free to laugh at my writing from two years ago, I won’t spend sleepness nights crying over criticism from nameless strangers, I promise you.”
But I won’t reply like that. Instead, think about yourself. You think you’re a normal person, right? If you think you’re a ‘special’ person, guess what? You’re not, get over it.
So now that everybody thinks themselves a normal person, think about things that make you different from other people. Maybe you talk to complete strangers online about childish Japanese cartoons. Maybe you spend three hours a day practising your xylophone-playing skills for the talent show next next next year. Maybe you can drink more beers than a wild baboon that just awoke from an hour-long nap in the middle of the Australian winter night. Hey, maybe you carry pepper spray with you as a result of childhood fears of being bullied? Maybe you sleep overnight at your workplace every other day because the commute back home is too long? Maybe you were always scared of men as a child, and consequently never interact with them? Maybe you’re an Izaya wannabe!
If we realize that you are normal, boom – all those possibilities become normal. Remember – a normal person is not one who is average at everything. A normal person is a person who is good at some things, bad at others, and awesome at specific ones. Everybody is different in some way. There can only be a maximum of one person who is perfectly average, who is simultaneously in the top 50% and the bottom 50% of every single category of mental, physical, spiritual, social, and emotional ability. There’s a 99.9973% chance that nobody is perfectly average, and there’s a 99.91% chance if there is a person who was perfectly average that within the next five seconds he’s not going to be perfectly average anymore.
tl;dr: Working’!!’s about as funny as this post
Working’!! Preliminary Rating: 4/10 (Good) – Following
I’m sure you’re tired of me typing so much, so here’s a big mass of white space.
use this break
to go outside
go eat some steak
and have a life
the rest of this post
are walls of text
if you want to boast
then go have some sex
just go away
cut me some slack
is that okay?
now, welcome back!
You’s a normal person, right? Everybody likes you, right?
NOBODY LIKES YOU
Well, actually, correct. However – too many people are like You. Not real life people, but people in too many light novels. Even though You is normal, in a few years, when every otamot becomes You (right now, every otamot is like You-ki Rito), we’ll start to hate You. Even though You’s normal.
We don’t hate otamots for being normal/dull/personality-less/extravagant/what-have-you. We hate otamots because there are way too many of them, and because we’re tired of seeing the same person over and over again in every single anime, only with a different hair colour. That’s why they’re an otamot.
otamot [oh-tah-mawt, -oh-]
noun, plural -s.
1. A main character of an anime/manga/light novel/visual novel who exhibits the same personality as many other main characters of an anime/manga/light novel/visual novel.: “There are way too many otamots!”
2. A backwards tomato.: “Otamot Sdrawkcab!”, plural: “Sotamot Sdrawkcab!” (British: “Seotamot Sdrawcab!”, American: “Sawtemo’ Stro-cab!”, International: “Saw them old straw cabs?”)
Ben-To Preliminary Rating: 4/10 (Good) – Blogging
This didn’t have anything to do with Ben-To. I realize this after the fact. orz
I’d gladly swap out UN-GO to episode-blog instead of Majikoi, but I’m afraid it’s TOO LATE I CAN’T GO BACK ANYMORE ;___;
So I’ll leave the meta-ists to properly dissect UN-GO while I talk about characterization not mattering, once more.
In Hunter x Hunter, characterization doesn’t matter at all because it’s a kid’s show. There’s no reason to focus on characterization. Just like Luffy or Ichigo have no real personality, Gon doesn’t either. Even if it becomes a darker show later on, that’s when it’ll start to develop its characters.
In UN-GO, characterization doesn’t matter at all because it’s a sociological show. There’s no reason to focus on characterization. The characters aren’t characters; they’re plot devices. Except, even the plot is a plot device. There’s a reason they were able to adapt a Meiji-era crime series into the modern setting so seamlessly. No matter what era you’re in, human attitudes remain the same. You can swap out the setting, the characters, the plot devices, but the core of the story will remain the same, just as West Side Story feels exactly the same as Romeo and Juliet.
I wonder if I would think of this differently if I hadn’t read 2DT’s post?
The only thing that matters in UN-GO is the core. Even a thousand years in the future, when everybody lives on Mars/on ST&RS (stairs), people will still be able to make an UN-GO.
It’s the long-awaited sequel to Dantalian no Shoka.
And just like Shoka, I’ll have to watch it all.
UN-GO Preliminary Rating: 5/10 (Great) – Following
I couldn’t talk about personas in UN-GO since its characters didn’t matter, and sexism was hardly an issue, as the sex of the characters can’t matter if the characters themselves don’t matter!
So let’s move back to PER-PER-PER-PER-PER-PERPENDICULAR SWIMMING
Shinryaku!? Ika Musume
First of all, subs.
This (scroll down to Fansubbing Groups section) is the largest debate over a linguistic aspect of subtitles since the great honorifics battle… which seems to also waged over the battlefield of Squid Girl. Someone should start a ‘SQUID PUNS OR NO SQUID PUNS’ debate on /a/ and see the MILLIONS of angry replies flooding in before somebody comes and informs the infuriated mass of maddened squiddlers that, hey, Shinryaku!? Ika Musume is over.
Next, topic at hand.
Let’s skip what happened at episode two, where Nagisa realized that her disquize as a man would not help her overcome her true self/persona/SHADOW. No, Squid Girl executes a change of persona far more subtly. In fact, it is Squid Girl who changes her persona… subtly.
Notice how she actually does put on different personas for different people. Her obvious act a maturity around the elementary kids is, well, obvious, and her ‘normal’ persona of childishness around her adult peers at the Lemon House is also obvious. What is interesting is that even though she changes personas, her maturity remains the same. She /tries/ to be mature around kids, but her maturity is no more and no less than when she (sometimes) /tries/ to be more immature around adults. Through situations of every conceivable kind, Squid Girl remains squid girl. Even if her personas change, her personality doesn’t. It is her personality that shapes her personas – every person has multiple personas, but only one personality.
Compare this to Luffy, who only has two personas. He acts the same happy-go-lucky way among friends, among family, among nakama, among Marines, among pirates, and even among people who obviously want to kill him. His only other persona is being SUPER MAD ENRAGED. That’s all! Even Kodaka acts differently towards Kobato than he does towards his friends. Luffy fails as a character. Squid Girl isn’t even a character. She’s a person.
inb4 ‘ika-chan’s mai waifu go away from her u creepy mushrom guy’
Shinryaku!? Ika Musume Preliminary Rating: 5/10 (Great) – Following
I wanted to say something about sexism and all main characters being male in Mobile Suit Gundam AGE but all I could do was create some lame semi-narrative image-story. Let’s take a break from serious discussion for a while. (TL Note: this is what actually happened)
Mobile Suit Gundam AGE
Grodek: “FLIT, HERE IS YOUR NEW MISSION. THERE IS ENEMY AND YOU MUST KILL WITH YOUR ‘LASER BEAM’ wink wink”
Grodek: “THATS RIGHT. YOU MUST PENETRATE WITH HASTY”
-fifteen minutes later, flit’s ‘laser beam’ is not ‘charging up’-
Grodek: “YOU ARE MAN NOW FLIT THINK BACK TO YOUR PAST”
Flit: “yeah i am energy, now time to finish this”
Flit: “ohhhh my laser beam is getting hot”
Flit: “oh yeah im going to fire my laser”
-after an accidental discharge-
Grodek: “LOOK AT WHAT YOU DID NOW FLIT
Nora: “im crying, sob sob tears tears cry cry weep weep moan moan sob sob”
Flit: “its alright nora im pulling out my ‘gundam'”
Narrator: And then, Flit piloted his Gundam out of Nora, who subsequently exploded. The end.
Mobile Suit Gundam AGE Preliminary Rating: 5/10 (Great) – Watching until Episode Four
I wanted to say something about personas and Gisey being creepy in Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam but all I could do was upload some creepy semi-person head-face. Let’s take a break from serious discussion for a while. (TL Note: this is her actual face)
Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam
I was going to drop this at Episode 2 – the art was amazing, but I felt nothing for the characters, the direction was quite boring, and the plot – what plot? I felt ashamed and stupid at my foolish ignorance, for while everyone else was gleefully absorbing the long-awaited sequel to a great series, I couldn’t make heads or tails of what was going on.
And then Episode 3 came out and, uh, giant flying moons.
I am OK with this.
Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam could continue with lame direction, simpleminded characters, and innumerable references to the original Last Exile that I could not possibly decipher. It could also continue with epic world-building from the ground up, complicatedminded (I know…) characters, and direction that confirms the holistic hypothesis that the value of something must be equal or greater than the sum of the values of its components – that is to say, Last Exile must be as good as FLYING SPACE PIRATES that fire LASER BEAM GUN CANNON BULLETS, giant FLYING SPACESHIP MOONS which KILL ENTIRE COUNTRIES with TEN THOUSAND SPEARS COMING OUT OF ITS MOONLINESS, and some small ship nobody cares about going into the propeller of a big ship because, hey, that’s a smart thing to do. Never mind that last bit.
Here’s some nice semi-spoilering backstory, for those who want to feel as knowledgeable everybody else. Before you know it, there’ll be a CliffsNotes for aspiring anibloggers who just don’t have the time to actually, well, watch anime.
tl;dr: there are a lot of exiles
all of them are going to die
except for one
she’s the LAST EXILE and thus creepy
Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam Preliminary Rating: 6/10 (Amazing) – Watching until Episode Five
And now that the breaks are over, let’s continue talking about female not-so-leads.
Nonoha is like Majikoi’s leads – physically strong, emotionally normal, and mentally weak. However, there’s a difference between the two.
Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle
Consider Majikoi as a reverse harem, with everybody’s genders flipped. Yamako is a girl who strives to be a politician to get the attention of her super-macho bisexual childhood friend, who does nothing but flirt with young boys and fight with old boys all day. Her childhood friend also hit her as a child, which gave her incredible agility and endurance from which to resist his attacks.
Uh… I think it makes a lot of difference who’s abusing who. Gender does matter, here – if Momoyo were a boy, his actions would not be tolerated. Even worse is Miyako’s situation:
Yamako is constantly stalked by a lovestruck blue-haired guy, who replaces the faces on all of her porn magazines with his own face. One day, the blue-haired guy has had enough, and resolves to have sex with Yamako by tying her up against her will. Just before he rapes her, some robot android thing saves her through some lame misunderstanding. Yamako later dismisses the whole thing, and continues to be friends with the blue-haired guy, who continues his attempts at raping Yamako.
Let’s not go into the cesspool of sexism debates yet – this is still an anime editorial, and the point is still to contrast Majikoi and Phi Brain’s female leads.
Consider Phi Brain, with everybody’s genders flipped. Kaiko is a creepy girl who can solve any puzzle known to man. She’s accompanied by her childhood friend, Nonoho, an athletic guy with a photographic memory that can’t solve puzzles for the life of him. Kaiko and Nonoho journey to an underground maze, and the brash Nonoho accidentally sets off a trap that they narrowly avoid.
So far, so good. There’s nothing weird about Nonoho’s behaviour, right?
Kaiko and Nonoho eventually make it through the maze, and enter a giant room. The door clangs shut behind them, and water begins to leak in the, uh, waterproof room. The only way to stop certain death is if Kaiko pulls the correct rope to stop the flow of the water.
But Nonoho doesn’t think that, and instead, rushes with all his might to try to break through the door. Eventually, he is faced with not only the prospect of death, but of uselessness – he wasn’t able to do anything, his survival hinges on Kaiko’s actions. Thus, he emotionally breaks down.
Here is the difference between Nonoha and Majikoi’s female leads. Majikoi’s female leads /must/ be female – if they aren’t, the entire story falls apart. However, Nonoha does not have to be female. She just happened to be female.
Which situation is a better one? I don’t know. I’m giving Phi Brain a high score for awesomeness, not for the strength of the female lead.
The only thing I wouldn’t want is for a female Gammon.
tl;dr: the baka ‘morse code’ wasn’t even a morse code
it was gibberish
P.S. the park ‘puzzle’ made no sense either. i mean, i could make a puzzle with my computer desk:
hmm, my monitor’s a rectangle with four sides so that’s ‘4’
oh, there are three buttons on a mouse so that’s ‘3’
there’s eight jacks into my computer so that’s ‘8’
finally, here’s a keyboard and there’s a number of keys on it and so the final number must be ‘103’
Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle Preliminary Rating: 6/10 (Amazing) – Following
Yes, I know! You’re tired of me writing! There’s actually no real point to reading on, as all I do is hammer the same two questions into your brain, and I’ll prove it by
killing you talking about normal people, once again.
We’ve come a long way now, and can delve straight into the root of Yukiteru’s very being. He’s a normal guy, just like the cast of Working’!! – you’ll always see one person like him in school, that guy who sits at the back of the room, who doesn’t participate in any clubs, who rushes straight home after school, and uh I should stop describing myself
Being normal brings the connotation of realism – a normal person is a realistic person. Yukiteru’s not only a normal person; he’s also a realistic person.
If you throw an inflated balloon into a garbage bin, it’s still the same inflated balloon – unless it pops.
If you burn a piece of paper, it’s still the same piece of paper – unless it’s burned to ashes.
If you transfer a student to a new school, he’s still the same student – unless he quits school.
If you thrust a realistic person into an unrealistic situation, he’s still the same realistic person – unless he stops acting realistically.
People can act realistically even in unrealistic situations. Mirai Nikki’s entire premise is an unrealistic situation, and the ensuing realistic emotional and psychological reactions of normal people. In fact, the core of psychological thrillers (Battle Royale, Death Note, Btooom!) is the psychology of real people, and how unrealistic realistic acts can be.
Confused? Consider the murder of Third. Any realistic person would not just murder anyone. There would be consequences, you would feel guilty, and you have no reason to. Yet, because Third cornered Yukiteru, the only thing he could do was murder – just his luck that his murder left no evidence. In an unrealistic situation (a serial killer cornering you), a realistic person (Yukiteru) will commit unrealistic acts (murder). However, because the situation is unrealistic, the act becomes realistic – in an absurd situation, the right thing to do is to be absurd, right?
So, we have established that Yukiteru is a realistic person.
Just a bit mentally challenged, that’s all
Now, why do we like Yukiteru so much more than we like Shu? We’ve already established that Shu isn’t realistic. Does that mean that we always like realistic people? But isn’t Yuno also unrealistic? Why do we like Yuno?
Wait, wait, wait. Yuno was unrealistic?
Yuno’s /not normal/. Remember, if you’re normal, you’re realistic. If you’re not normal… wait, did we ever say that abnormal people couldn’t be realistic?
Take a look at Stephen Hawking. He’s not normal, is he? Mentally, physically, psychologically – he’s not normal. But he’s a real person. He’s alive and breathing – he’s realistic.
In Mirai Nikki, it’s the realistic acts that matter. Any realistic person would not just kill everybody with explosions. There would be consequences, you would feel guilty, and you have no reason to. Yet, because Minene cornered Yukiteru, the only thing Yuno could do was run down to save him, killing everybody with explosions in the process. In an unrealistic situation (the guy you’re stalking is about to get killed), a character (Yuno) will commit unrealistic acts (kill everybody with explosions). However, because the situation is unrealistic, the act becomes realistic – and an unrealistic character doesn’t commit realistic acts. Yuno must be a realistic character.
Logician: ‘hey mushy you suck at making sense’
Mushy: ‘that makes sense… so I don’t have to make it because you already made sense’
Logician: ‘I know I make sense but you don’t’
Mushy: ‘you make enough sense for both of us’
Logician: ‘you suck at arguing, ok, you have loopholes everywhere and your argument isn’t even an argument’
Mushy: ‘that’s because I miss the point’
‘those loopholes loop around the point’
tl;dr: episode three came out my arguments are invalid
oh right, there were loopholes everywhere and my arguments weren’t even an argument (gotta watch those plurals son)
Mirai Nikki Preliminary Rating: 7/10 (Brilliant) – Following
Two more left! Yes, I’m trudging through this even slower than you’re reading it, fuelled only by the knowledge that someday, somewhere, somebody is going to read this post and think, ‘Man, this guy spent so much time on this post when he should’ve been working on his Socials project that was due the next day!’
Yep, that’s right.
I’m going to go work on my Socials project now, but I’ve a dentist appointment tomorrow and I won’t be able to make another post, seeing as it’s almost midnight. I’ll add up my sections on Chihayafuru and Fate/Zero tomorrow. But for now…
…here’s my face.
And here they are! The final section of my post, which I added in two days after the post was published! Woohoo!
The music really counts with Chihayafuru. Without the music, Chihayafuru would only be about 90% as good as it is.
To be honest, this rating is a bit inflated. I always want to try new anime
because making my backlog longer is a great idea, and so I sometimes always get overexcited whenever any anime displays any hint of originality. This has lead to much grief, sadness, and despair that indeed, ‘original anime’ is an oxymoron.
I don’t know whether Chihayafuru is an original anime, or just a normal anime that focuses on an unfamiliar sport. It certainly seems original, especially with the art – but maybe I just haven’t read enough shoujo manga. Sure, there aren’t sparkles flying everywhere, but by Madoka does it look weird :(
I do like how Taichi is a DOUCHE ASSHOLE IDIOT as a kid – not everybody is like Rin, or even Kouki. Kids aren’t as dramatic as certain manga would paint them, either. Kids are just kids – we don’t need grown men to explore deep into the psychology of children (except maybe Freud). When we want to create realistic kids, we
have sex tell kids to have sex make up their personalities! Kids know kids best. No matter what, adults will never be able to create child-like kids.
Still, does it really matter? Does anybody care about having a realistic kid? If you care so much then just go have se-*shot*
“Ah, I thought there were fifty.”
Seeing as we’re only seeing Chihaya’s past (where boys and girls are basically the same), I don’t know if I can comment on sexism, even with this great opportunity to see a normal female lead. It’s not like they’re any less assertive than most of us are… right?
However, here, I’d like to pose a question – do people’s personalities change as they mature? On one hand, they definitely conduct themselves differently after becoming an adult. On the other hand, they’re still the same person – if you’ve been friends with a person since childhood, you’ll notice that their adult self really isn’t much different from their childhood self, DEEP INSIDE. Notice how DEEP that paragraph was? Well, that’s because I used the word DEEP three times in the same paragraph.
tl;dr: I AM THE BEST IN THE WORLD AT HAVING THE STUPIDEST BLOG IN THE WORLD and also the best at repeatedly firing the same person for the most times in one day
Chihayafuru Preliminary Rating: 7/10 (Brilliant) – Following
And that’s it! No more Fate/Zero because Fate/Zero is a stupid show and –
– fine, fine, alright.
First question: what the hell is a Nasuverse? Everyone’s talking about Nasuverse this Nasuverse that and I DON’T SEE ANY KINOKOVERSE ANYWHERE EH HUH YO??? Nasuverse sounds like something those otaku girls at my Chinese school would talk about because apparently the Nasuverse is a magical place where eggplants and mushrooms and ponycorns roam around eating mais and faux amis because mais in french is ‘but’, not ‘corn’. Turns out amis is an anagram of mais but not maïs.
The only thing good about Fate/Zero is its amazingly smooth art but by Madoka that is some AMAZINGLY SMOOTH ART. If Chihayafuru were Mozart then Fate/Zero is Bach, bringing anime art to the pinnacle of SMOOTHNESS. Someone once said that an anime OP reflects the anime’s contents – an anime that focuses on music will have a musical OP (Angel Beats?), an anime that focuses on plot will have a more static, less animated OP (Steins;Gate), an anime that focuses on selling body pillows to overweight thirty-year-olds will have a ‘cuter’ OP (Madok-oh wait), and an anime that focuses on its huge-ass production budget will have an OP that looks like it was made with a huge-ass production budget.
Of course, that’s not the only thing that’s going for Fate/Zero. Its sheer variety of characters is also reflected in its OP and ED, which change between all of the characters in various scenes. It’s the personalities and artwork that will hold up Fate/Zero.
The plot is a mess, but I’m sure it’ll sort itself out within the two cours it had. I think every episode should be forty-five minutes long – the entire direction is like a long movie. It just doesn’t do itself any justice when such a show has to be cut into twenty-three minute segments every week. Y’know, this is comparable to Horizon – if Horizon had two cours and a huge-ass production budget, it’d be every bit as good as Fate/Zero, albeit both will still have messy beginnings. The novel bases are solid, and all that Horizon needed was a competent director. But noo, of course the director just HAD to take the job that PAID MORE instead of the show about eroge-playing protagonists squeezing the boobs of his teacher.
…I only now realize the stupidity of that sentence.
There’s a good reason why I’m not talking about sexism right now, even when there must be something to say about all of the Masters and Servants being male except for Saber. The reason? I don’t understand it.
I haven’t seen Fate/Stay night or Fate/Eat fright or Fate/Be right or Fate/See heights or whatever the fate is in the Kinokoverse or WHATEVER but I think it’s a visual novel or something. Visual novels are usually ripe for literary and social criticism as sexist pieces of trash that even I can criticize, but… Fate/Zero is different. There must be something to say, but I can’t find anything to say at all! Is this what true lack of sexism is? Something that will stop you from saying anything at all about sexism? The opposite of love is not hate; it is indifference. The opposite of happiness is not sadness; it is indifference. Is the opposite of sexism not tolerance? Is it indifference?!
Oh, wait, I got something: If Saber has to impersonate a man…
…why would she want to wear dresses
Fate/Zero Preliminary Rating: 8/10 (Masterpiece) – Following
Well, how should I conclude this? I’ll leave the whole persona and sexism thing open-ended because I’m too lazy to conclude that, I don’t know how to conclude that, and I don’t actually remember what I wrote about that, so let’s actually talk about the season.
It’s a pretty underwhelming season if, instead of having to drop shows for these reasons, you want to watch shows for these reasons. If a season is awesome, every show is good and you have to drop shows to keep up. If a season is bad, you’ve got to watch every half-decent show there is.
So, I’m watching Majikoi because I hope it gets better (it won’t);
watching Sukunai be-oh, right, I’m not;
watching Horizon because I hope it gets a second cour (it won’t);
watching Guilty Crown because I want to laugh at noitaminA (I will);
watching Hunter x Hunter because I hope it’s DEEP and DARK like a well off the coast of Finland (it won’t);
watching Pers-oh, na-ever mind;
watching Working’!! because it’s a sequel (it is);
watching Ben-To because I hope it’ll talk about the economic conditions of the impoverished (it won’t);
watching UN-GO because I hope it becomes a timeless classic of modern animation (it won’t);
watching Ika Musume because it’s a sequel (it is);
watching Gundam AGE because it’s GUNDAM (it is);
watching Last Exile because I hope PLANES ON A PLANE and MOON ALIENS (it won’t);
watching Phi Brain because I hope it’ll be an engaging, puzzle-filled intellectual brainteaser (it won’t);
watching Mirai Nikki because I hope it’ll become a stunning psychological thriller that rivals Battle Royale in influence (it won’t);
watching Chihayafuru because I hope it’ll give a fresh breeze of originality to the current state of anime (it won’t);
watching Fate/Zero because
tl;dr: wtf did I just write
seven thousand five hundred words eh