Winter season shows I’m probably going to follow: “Cast the first Stone” edition

I was at the store the other day and walked past the magazines, when I eyed a peculiar looking one called “Otaku USA.” I bought it thinking “what the hell I like anime.” When I got to the “fujoshi” reviews, one of them opened up with the sentence, “Single dad Shuji owns a neighborhood candy store,” and laughed heartily out loud. Shuji later meets and falls for a pediatrician. Now if I were a stone cold fox who read BL mangas, I probably wouldn’t need Otaku USA to tell me about this as I’d already be reading it. But for a second I thought, “Glad I’m not someone who falls for that kind of tailor-made, wish-fulfillment, fantasy crap!” It was then I cut my body open on the glass house shattering all around me.

ImoCho: Even I believe I have limits of some sort. And although I watched the whole first episode, I did wince at some of the more incontinent fanservice. The OP was like aural play-doh. Somebody turned a crank and it came out shaped like a star, through a process identical to a bodily function.  Cute and lovable all the same, though I do get the feeling that this show is going to have a weird mix of seriousness down the road. The MC just strikes me as being a little on the “gallant” side of the spectrum. The animation is pretty bad, and the show is just dumb it’s all dumb.

Tonari no Seki-kun: First off I should reveal my unlimited bias: I absolutely love Kuromajo-san ga Tooru. So right from the start I was pleasantly surprised by this. The premise is great, HanaKana’s in it, and the songs (just like in Kuromajo-san) are catchy as all hell. Yep, I hope this one sticks around for a few years.

Witch Craft Works: JC Staff can do no wrong in my book. Wow, that’s actually a pretty bold statement, but seeing as how I love almost 100% of everything (new and old) I’ve seen of theirs’ it’s looking more and more to be true. The animation in this show actually looks great. I typically dig the general “look” of all JC Staff shows, but this one is above and beyond that. Aside from mere surface-deep elements, the plot is pretty shabby. On the plus side, a few hilarious moments were well understated, so if the humor aspect stays this way it won’t totally be mere almost-porn. Nicely done JC Staff, though the South Park looking ED sequence kind of freaks me out a little.

D-Frag: This show seems pretty cool. It’s all about high school and the golden times of having some fun being the only dude surrounded by beautiful girls of all stripes. It’s kind of like GJ-bu except not as charming of an art style or head honcho. The lead girl in this is too boring, the one in GJ-bu had a little more pepper (pronounced pyeh-paw) and fire (pronounced fiee-yaw.) I do however, like it when an anime has a real “comic strip” looking character. Heck, that’s half the reason I watched all of Accel World after all.

The Return of Golden Time:

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… is what my face looked like when I watched this new episode. Holy sweet mother of mackerel dinosaur gingers, the whole two weeks I had to wait for more of this show were like an emotional version of that “polar vortex” that happened last week. The new OP is so bold and daring, I love it to death! JC Staff get a little out there with their theme music if not down right freaky, and the new OP blew me away like a twig in the wind. Such intensity! I honestly think the music director of the show read my mind from thousands of miles away and said, “We have to start this with a splash, you know, something with a little pyeh-paw.” I’m pretty sure I would’ve been disappointed had the new OP of this show not been so steep. Such a swift change in artistic direction!

The Return of Nagi no Asukara: The new OP for this was underwhelming. But hot damn!!!! Forgive me padre for I have sinned!!! I hereby strip Manaka of the golden encrusted “rage-queen” tiara, and give it to the all grown-up Chisaki!!! This show is going to kill me. I simply wasn’t ready for all the new, deeper rage scenarios that could unfold! The creator of this show is a regular rage genius.

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Christmas in January: 5 best Minami-ke Tadaima gags [spoilers]

I was in the bathroom  most of the time watching Minami-ke Tadaima. And I still shit my pants.

1. Kana f**ks minds,

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and when it’s April Fool’s Day, everybody’s in for a rude awakening! Kana once again proves she is the uncontested Tony Danza of anime. She transforms  confusion, self-doubt, fear, repression, anxiety and dishonesty into upside down frowns!

2. Hatin’ for life

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Call me Mr. Andy Rooney, but I’m also a big fan of “tellin’ like it is.”

3. The Hnnngher Games

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I went into diabetic shock a little after seeing this. Not bad for someone who used to be the banchou from hell.

4. A love… Tadaifor!!!

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5. The virtual reality bug from the OVA

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Although not a part of the initial season, this was the hardest I’d ever laughed during an episode.

Borderline pornographic musings aside, studio feel really knew how to roast my chestnuts here with this show. Let’s all hope they continue making Minami-kes.

Oreimo was the first anime I ever watched

front to back, streaming fan subs marathon style. This will be the first installment of: Chronicles of Shit-taste, a journey within: legitimate sentiments of being stoked on anime.”

This year I started an anime blog. Nothing much to say on that, other than the fact that I intended on expressing the many moods, colors, emotions, etc. that anime fills me, much sooner than I’ve actually started blogging. What started my yearning to let free the thoughts and feelings bubbling up inside of me with every episode watched? Well it would have to begin with my predilection for anime, having grown up in a “golden age” of shows like Dragonball Z and Pokémon. Much more obsessed with the the former than the latter, I remember where I was and what I was doing when the clock struck midnight on December 31st 1999, going into the brave unknown of the 21st century: stayin’ up on the family computer updating my GeoCities DBZ fan site!!!! OH YEAH! 

Fast forward to those god awful times of pre- to post-pubescent fits of angst, and what I was watching? FLCL of course. Those were truly mind-blowing times, watching adult swim, and trying to figure out just what the hell was going on in this crazy anime. Now this sounds like a pretty radical trajectory assembled to insure that I wouldn’t become a plebeian dilettante in this field… so how in the shit was Oreimo my first real anime??? (real in the sense that I watched the entire series, and thought about it for awhile a long time.)

After what maybe feels like a 7-8 year sabbatical from all things anime, I let sentimentality get the best of me and decided to watch some FLCL on netflix. After watching an episode or two it was more or less exactly how I remembered it; I set out on a search for “more anime like FLCL.” Fat chance. In my search, I stumbled upon a blog completely dismissing the show as trash. I thought, “okay Mr. Smarty-Pants, what is your favorite anime?

Some initial thoughts that ran through my head as I watched the first few episodes of “My heavy breathing has nothing to do with my little sister”:

-What a bitch.

-What crisp, clean, quality this animation has. This feels ‘hip’!

-Is this hentai?

-Are these types of games not referred to as ‘dating simulators’?

-I know incest is kind of a big deal in hentai, but is it now totally acceptable to have an entire series center around two siblings takin’ it to the boff-trough?

Many more questions were pondered, and answers soon followed. Watching this, I received a crash course of sorts, in all things otaku. It was pretty magnificent. I felt the warm embrace of a world where no one thinks I totally suck for watching an entire series just to find out if the two siblings actually boffed in the end.

I was floored. Just as I had been at 14. Here’s this snooty Ms. Popular-Pants, but she’s actually into the most rotten stuff! Oh brother! What a pickle! Not only that but she effortlessly realizes her dreams of writing her own anime, much to the chagrin of the die-hard Kuroneko, whose destined to write fan fiction all her life. Deepness abound.

After learning all two types of ‘deres, and how easy it is to catch an entire series on streaming, it still took me two years to find out about Kiss x Sis.

Random Thoughts on new Fall Shows!

Kyoukai no Kanata: I have to agree with what everyone else is already thinking about this show. I also have to agree with everyone else on the fact that since it’s KyoAni, it’s hiney is special and different from everyone else’s. Except not. This is their grab at the “dark fantasy” genre. Didn’t really find out about this until right before I watched it, after only a few seconds of research. I’m not too stoked on this to be honest. I don’t think the “dark-creature-hunting-hat-under-bread” vibe will jive with their trademark slapstick moe. Looks desperate.

Kill La Kill: I don’t fancy myself much of a combat/action person, but holy christ this is going to be sweet. The hype and the buzz around this one isn’t even proportional to how good it actually is. I never even bothered to take the 5 minutes out of my day to watch Little Witch Academia, and now I’m glad I didn’t! How else could I be this blind sided? Kill La Kill’s academy setting, and the fantastically evil student council remind me of Medaka Box (good thing). I love every single minute detail of this first episode, it’s amazing. The slapstick violence, the real violence, the wit, it’s all a gas.

Golden Time: This one’s going to be pretty good. It’s J.C. Staff who’re solid in my book, so just the way it looks will be good. That’s more than half the battle. Also the fact that it’s set in college gives it bonus points. It’s also supposed to be the second coming of Toradora!, so who cares about anything else? My eye bladder’s not gonna be ready.

Little Busters ~Refrain~: Pancakes. What a great way to start this one off! As I was finishing up season one did it dawn on me how frickin’ awesome this show is. It started off slow, really slow. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride though right around Saigusa’s arc. And now I think this season may have something to do with time travel? It’s never that simple. What started off as  a bubbly Pancake brunch of smiles to celebrate the Little Buster’s baseball match (because sometimes when you lose, you win), ends with some serious Higurashi faces. Whoooooaaaa! …my expectations climb higher and higher. Don’t let me down, J.C. Staff!

Nagi no Asukara: So…. much…. rage potential…. Oh, P.A. Works only you have the balls to crank out some crazy bastard show like this, and still make it look kinda lame and boring (Uchouten Kazoku need not apply). But what’s with all this rage potential? I’m actually kinda stoked now which is ridiculous. The rage is strong in this one.

Feel something.

I started an anime blog to express my feelings about the shows I love, with very little intent behind it other than to simply get it out and into the ether. I’ve thought about doing this for the past year or so but only started recently. Sadly, I haven’t had much time on my hands, and haven’t posted as much as I’d like to at all. But sometimes I have no choice, and after finishing an episode I’m moved to write.

Uchouten Kazoku is the show this season that makes all the other shows look like shit. It’s the rare kind of anime that actually comes across as being inspired. The level of imagination at work is astounding, it almost reaches that heightened sense of reality I felt watching cartoons as a child.  This whimsical childlike vibe of the show however is counterbalanced by some real melancholy themes. There is a harsh truth to the world within Uchouten Kazoku, where there is a primitive division of classes in which tanuki, humans and tengu live together, with tanuki being the bottom rung. Tanuki get eaten by humans. The “Friday Fellows” to be exact, a sort of upper echelon of influential people that wine and dine together, with tanuki hot pot on the menu every new years. This is the major crux of the show and with  Yasaburou’s father having faced this same demise, there is a powerful “life’s not fair” kind of feeling at play.

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Perhaps what I love most about this show is that it leaves me a bit of an emotional wreck by the end of every episode. There’s so much beauty to be had, but the underlying feelings of sadness and defeat bubble beneath. It’s very polarizing really, and Benten is the palpable manifestation of this emotional paradox. She’s very well composed always carrying the air of laid-back certainty, and has the essence of a “charmed life.” She’s the femme fatale, which I think they say outright in the first episode. Despite being in the elite “Friday Fellows” and having so many privileges, she’s a very very troubled person, going to the well every now and then to have a good cry. She takes a shining to Yasaburou, despite wanting to eat him, and in turn, Yasaburou is helplessly in love with her.

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This show also gets the distinction of having the best damn ED of the season. That works wonders on my opinion of a show. I would venture to say that I’ve watched shows the I regret ever having completed because the ending theme was so good (Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon comes to mind). But Uchouten Kazoku’s ED is so heavy, especially after the events of the past few episodes, it really amplifies the atmosphere of the show. Despite all of this melancholia I’ve been dwelling on, there is still a spark in this show that drives it’s characters. A very fierce determination and cautious optimism, especially within Yasaburou, who knows not the carefree lifestyle of Benten, but the life of being second class, and has gone through several trials and tribulations by himself, and with his brothers.

All in all this show is brilliant and actually makes me feel something when I watch it.

Kitakubu Katsudou Kiroku

 

What a terrific show. I was watching it the other night and I swear I got deja vu so bad, it scared the living shit out of me! I watch a lot of slice of afterschool club shows.

 

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One thing exceptional about this show is the comedy. We got some pretty nice gags at work here! This is a very special thing for me, I love a good gag anime. After my disappointment in Yuyushiki last season, I’m totally lady for some real gags! The going home club is probably the best we’re gonna get all season. Let’s see… out of all 18 shows I’m following- how in the hell that’s going to work I have no clue- there are only a few comedic girl time shows, the only real competition I can ponder would be Love Lab? Ah, but the season is young.

 

One legit complaint though, is the fact that Kido Ibuki, the super young seiyuu who voiced Himenokouji Akiko in last Fall’s incest smash, has a bit of a distinctive voice. And in some scenes it can be a bit exasperating. To be fair though, I quite enjoyed her in that bro-con show for sick fucks, as well as the other imouto role in GJ-bu. Her character in this show however, is definitely the weakest link. It’s not like I really mind Natsuki so much, it’s just that some of her reactions can be a little embellished, and her “captain obvious” remarks can adulterate some of the jokes. Having said that there are still some fantastic jokes on display here, and I’ll be waiting with bells on every week for recycled idea #11012!

 

 

I’m not going to pretend

that I fully understood every nook and cranny of the plot to Red Data Girl. In fact, somewhere along the way, I was just along for the ride. Lately life has been consumed by all things not anime, so I will admit that I haven’t given this show the chance it deserves, but that still doesn’t make this show the easiest to comprehend. I partially want to chalk it up to the themes being somewhat steeped in Japanese folklore and mysticism, in which I have zero grounding in. The show was enjoyable enough though, and even had a beautiful ED song by the wonderful Masumi Ito to help weather me through it.

With all that said, I hope I’m not the only one who found this particular show’s plot to be slightly incoherent. I couldn’t make heads or tails out of the direction of the story, and could never fully understand the motives of the characters and what they were going for, especially the antagonists. When I think of all the P.A. Works shows I’ve seen, I’m split down the middle on my opinion of them. Angel Beats! and Hanasaku Iroha were both amazing, while Another and Tari Tari left me feeling a bit conflicted, but not nearly as much as RDG. Tari Tari’s pacing was odd in that the story seemed to move really fast in some parts and really slow in others. As far as Another is concerned, it’s big “mystery” element was solved rather anti-climactly. I feel like RDG has similar issues, but they’re more noticeable, and the show is worse for it.

One thing about recent anime by P.A. Works is their art style has a very dainty feeling to it. All of the characters have a degree of gentleness. Some of the voice acting plays this up a bit, and maybe the fact the RDG has an unbearably shy protagonist is giving me this bias outlook on the way they portray their characters. This dainty art style is all well and good, but in RDG’s case, some of the scenes are underwhelming because of it. I understand the notion of subtlety, but it didn’t help me understand the show.

Overall, a part of me wants to marathon this show later when I have the time, and see if it falls together neatly in that viewing context. Another part of me found it to be rather boring past the first few episodes, and would instead catch up on the immense back log of other shit from this season. Perhaps the title should’ve been “Ghosts and shit: The anime (fuck you, you’ll watch it)”.