This is a little earlier than I typically like to post initial impressions for a new season, since I consider it premature to make assumptions about shows after only a couple of episodes. However, I'm already more or less familiar with most of the shows I'm following this season because they are either continuations or adaptations of things I've read. Only Vividred Operation and Love Live! School Idol Project remain unknowns at this point.(more…)
Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga shuraba Sugiru (My Girlfriend and Childhood Friend Fight Too Much) seems to be doing all right so far in a fairly tough category: The Harem Comedy. I find most fans' tolerance for harem comedies declines with each one they watch. Assuming they ever enjoyed them, enthusiasm quickly transforms into hostility after one too many comely girls inexplicably throws herself at a bewildered, unremarkable boy. The male love interest is nearly always to blame. Despite his harem's collective questionable taste, ol' Potato-kun's lack of assertiveness or any other redeeming characteristic is the reason why viewers find harem comedies increasingly frustrating. In this regard, Eita from Oreshura is at least is off to a semi-decent start.
First of all, he's not "normal" unmotivated slug. He's at the top of his class and aspires to become a doctor. Prior to Masuzu's shenanigans, he studied constantly. Secondly (and technically these constitute spoilers from the light novels and the manga), he's not terrified of girls. Sadly, harem comedy leads literally frightened of girls seem to be the contemporary norm. Why? Is there no other way to drag out a dozen episodes besides ensuring Male Protagonist and First Girl He Sees cannot canoodle early and often? Or is it so a stereotyped target demographic can identify with him? Are Japanese otaku really as "herbivorous" as certain tabloids accuse? It's not even harem comedy leads who act this way; ol' Hero from Maoyuu Maou Yuusha is a potato, and humans in his world didn't even have potatoes until Demon King planted some.
So Eita is not afraid of girls. This is good news, right? Well, you'd think so. It means he doesn't have any reason not to romance his childhood friend except, well, he just doesn't see her that way. Chiwa sympathizers will likely find Oreshura extremely frustrating in this regard, because he friendzones the Bejesus out of her. Sucks to be Chiwa. Personally, I'm pleased with the show so far because it hasn't been about a bunch of airheads vying for his attention. This does mean Eita ends up being the anime-dense one instead, though. And he is pretty dense. I can only assume towards the end of the show (if it doesn't punt with a non-ending ending), there will be some cathartic moment where he realizes he doesn't only love Chiwa as a friend, but also wants to rail her until she can't walk straight. The end.
Sadly, this conventional formulaic ending is probably the best we can hope for. Personally, I'm expecting a non-ending ending (because the anime will run out of episodes before the light novels conclude), but I believe all these early examples of Chiwa's suffering are intended to promote her placement as the principal love interest. Yeah, Masuzu might be better in every way, even though she doesn't wear any underwear, but Chiwa is a sweet kid and her life kinda sucks, so it's better if she wins. That's good, right? I'm not buying it. Fuck Chiwa. And if she wants people to stop calling her "chihuahua," she should stop wearing a dog collar around her neck.
With apologies to ani-nouto for stealing its shtick, let's give this a try.
In re Dokidoki! Precure episode two:
- What are you doing? She'll be fine. I'm pretty sure Cure Sam Spade could survive a fall from orbit.
- Cure White Lie.
- I'm pretty sure introducing gold and spreading it around a closed mercantilist economy with no external trading partners will only produce inflation. And apparently it also kills swallows.
In re Vividred Operation episode five:
- When this baby gets to 200%, you're going to see some serious shit.
- Why didn't you take her to a hospital?
- I'm pretty sure Akane is just using this as an excuse to continue stripping her naked.
- Rei's life doesn't suck enough. It should be more like...Kotoura's life. Well, like Kotoura's life before it got better.
- I'm also pretty sure that bird is Lieutenant Hayase. [P.S. Spoilers.]
In re Oreshura episode six:
- Oreshura, adding a new girl is almost never a good idea.
- This must be the episode where they couldn't spend any money.
- This girl kinda sucks.
- Fight the power.
- This is a pretty lackluster episode.
- Chiwa still sucks.
- I'm going to be really disappointed if there isn't more bullying this episode.
- This girl actually sucks more than Chiwa.
- It's kinda comical how little effort the bodyguard has to expend to keep Eita away.
- Does this mean that everyone is now aware of Eita's chuuni past? I'm not exactly clear as to how that all played out, and I'm not familiar with the corresponding sequence of the original light novel.
Because Mazusu accomplished her only known goal before the end of the first episode of Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru, it leaves the subsequent episodes of Oreshura with a troubling lack of direction. Since Masuzu hasn't stated any other objectives, the viewer is sort of left watching stuff happen instead of being engaged in wondering what will happen.
This is particularly problematic for viewers like me who consider Masuzu the only girl in the show worth rooting for (although Ai is starting to grow on me now that she's willing to also be honest with Eita). So even though Masuzu is the only character in the show I can actively root for, I can't actually do it because I have no idea what she wants. This in turn makes it difficult to follow Oreshura because from a narrative standpoint it no longer has anything worth watching. It has Masuzu spending all her free time fucking with people, but that's not a narrative. I suppose you can kinda describe Eita's efforts to reconcile with his chuunibyou past a narrative. Some may also call it "symbarrassing," but I just don't care.
I think the real problem with Oreshura is one common to many harem comedies in general. I think the author was inspired to develop ideas for various female characters that he really liked, expecting that they would be very popular, and subsequently shoehorned them all into a single show. [Episode nine spoilers for the rest of this paragraph: I think the idea of a childhood friend who—instead of being treasured forever like every other osananajimi ever—was forgotten entirely and, in fact, vilified upon reunion is sympathetic enough to support a show on its own.]
The problem here is that when it comes to determining which girl will prevail, the answer ends up being none of them. Had Oreshura simply been about one girl and her relationship with Eita, it would probably be a much better show, but having so many individual characters competing with each other simultaneously diminishes all of the characters collectively. At least this is the case with Chiwa, Masuzu, and Ai. (Not Hime because she sucks and and would remain dead weight regardless.) A show about Eita and one of those three falling in love despite his general-principle opposition to romance would be much better than having him pulled in different directions by all three and going nowhere.
I have no idea how Vividred Operation will wrap itself up in its remaining three or four episodes. Seeing as how it's still introducing and developing the relationships among the characters, it will either feel really rushed or we'll be blessed with a second cour of clenching butts in tiny short shorts. It's possible my expectations are a little too high for this show, now that I think about it. Either way, this is still far and away the best show of the season, even if Princess Kraehe never performs any ballet.(more…)
Okay, Google Reader isn't quite all dead. It'll be around until July. My dismay at its loss is based on pretty much the same reasons everyone else who used it is upset to see it go. In particular, I use it to follow feeds that update irregularly and ones I don't want to miss. Attempting to extract this kind of same functionality from some sort of short-attention-span Social Media Buzzword ephemeral construct is pretty undesirable from my point of view. Unfortunately, I have to admit I'm the only person I know in real life who even knows what RSS is, let alone used Google Reader, so I'm not entirely surprised to see it go. (My own subscription list has been linked on the sidebar for years.)
According to the statistics Google Reader provides, I have a little more than a hundred subscribers, which I guess isn't very many. I don't know how many readers use different RSS clients (I'm transitioning to Akregator), but I doubt it's more than that combined. (In fact, I don't even know how much traffic this site gets anymore since I disabled my web logs several months ago.) Still, I've been providing bonus content for more than four years specifically for these subscribers. I intend to continue doing so (even though I've now officially blown the lid off this poorly kept secret), but I wonder if I'll have to identify another segment of quasi-techno-savvy curmudgeons to cater to after July?
No, this update didn't really have anything to do with Oreshura.
I'm undecided as to whether or not the final two episodes of GIRLS und PANZER qualify as part of the winter 2013 season. They were delayed from the autumn 2012 season and should probably belong there with the rest of the series, but then again they did actually air late in winter 2013. There are only 40-some minutes of new material, but that's more than Teekyuu, so it arguably has as much right to be here as the various two-minute shows. Whatever the case, these two final episodes of GIRLS und PANZER were far and away superior to any of the other shows from winter 2013.(more…)
Chuunibyou has changed. I supposed technically it's evolved. Or perhaps ascended to a higher plane. If you associate chuunibyou with its roots, it's apparent the term's meaning had already transformed beyond its original usage by the time it started appearing prominently in anime. Nonetheless, when I say it has changed, I'm referring more generally regarding how chuuni characters themselves have appeared within anime over time.(more…)