Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.
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Dated 23 October 2012: The swords in Sword Art Online are neither artistic nor online, discuss

Kirito and Asuna
I couldn't think of a caption that involved sex, DEBAN, or Mount Doom.
I think those buckles are just for show, though.

It turns out it didn't take me long at all to catch up with Sword Art Online. Perhaps it's because I already read through the corresponding portions of the light novel, but I found the show much less objectionable on a whole than most of its critics. The biggest complaints I see tend to fall into two categories. First, Kirito is accused of being a "Mary Sue," and second, Asuna is characterized as too compliant or unassertive or lacking independence. I agree there is merit to these complaints in that the factors exist, but I'm not convinced they qualify as reasonable concerns to care about.

Kirito
At least Kirito is better than Tsukasa.

With regard to Kirito's "Mary Sue" qualities, it's true he has the abnormally good fortune of being better at basically everything than anyone else he encounters in the game, but that doesn't especially bother me. I guess anime has bombarded me with so many incompetent, weak-ass milquetoasts that even a potato with good stats is preferable to average spuds. So I don't care if Kirito's battles are tensionless because I know no real harm will to come to him. Other lead characters in various television shows and movies have plot armor too; he's no different.

Asuna
Now you're gonna get fish juices in your hair and sweater, sweetie.

So what about Asuna? I guess as Primary Love Interest she doesn't get much opportunity to do much except carve up chumps and soy sauce the shit out of some fish, but nobody else does much when Kirito is around either. So to me, the criticism about Asuna's contributions aren't so much directed at Asuna, but more towards that first issue regarding Kirito again. At least Asuna doesn't spend all her time being wined, dined, and supined, despite being Primary Love Interest—a genuine concern given that Kirito not only has the mysterious pull of a harem comedy protagonist, but also the willingness to pick a Best Girl and go with her. Given my track record for lamenting about the notoriously asexual proclivities of ostensibly male anime protagonists as a whole, I'm all right with giving a pass to one of their main squeezes even if she's best remembered for shacking up with one of them. It can't be helped.

Dated 19 May 2010: Angel Beats! episode seven is one part crap, one part awesome

Yuzuru and Kanade
Tenshi, your slip is showing.

Angel Beats! is fun to watch because when it's bad it's fun to mock. Somewhat unexpectedly, it can also be legitimately good at times. I'm referring to gags like the broom bit during the baseball episode and the entire second half of episode seven. But yeah, when Angel Beats! is bad, it's dog shit. [I feel obliged to offer a spoiler warning at this point, even though everything revealed about the first half of episode seven will be transparently obvious to anyone with the slightest familiarity with Jun Maeda, Key, or anime clichés in general.]

Yuzuru and his sister
Potato-kun kills his kid sister. Good job, guy.
Did you not watch Clannad? Kanon?

The first part of Angel Beats! 07 finally reveals Otonashi's back-story. Like the other previously revealed back-stories, it is a tale of woe and sorrow. It also happens to be a tale of idiotic melodrama. I don't know why Jun Maeda has a vendetta against snow. The sad-girls-in-snow motif has transcended its status as a mere trope and can now be considered a straight-up base anime stereotype. With that in mind, there couldn't possibly have been a single person watching Angel Beats! episode seven who thought it was a good idea for Otonashi to carry his sickly good-natured little sister (hospitalized for years due to some vague, undefined illness) out into the snow on his back on Christmas. Why not build an asbestos snowman while you're at it?

Otonashi
Otonashi trades his acceptance notice for a mapo tofu food coupon.

So, yeah, snow does to Otonashi's little sister what snow does to all of Jun Maeda's sickly girls. However, Otonashi finds new purpose in his life and strives to make something of himself so he can Protect Other People. Unfortunately for Otonashi, SNOW has different ideas. This brings us back to this present misery where the story makes a drastic change in tone and turns into a comedic fishing farce out of nowhere. Cue Operation Monster Stream, a "zetsubou no carnival."

Saitou, Kanade, and Yuzuru
There sure are a lot of Kanade petticoat shots in this episode.
[Spoilers: Petticoat shots are the new panty shots.]

Angel Beats! is getting a lot of mileage out of Tenshi Tachibana Kanade and her quiet deadpans. I haven't seen a fishing episode like this since Sky Girls. Like the Sky Girls fishing omakes, the second half of Angel Beats! 07 does not have any bearing on the plot as far as I can tell, but is instead merely an excuse for the characters to do goofy things for silly reasons. It works, as a matter of fact. Angel Beats! really needs a lot more of this sort of thing. Episode seven ends on a cliffhanger, so presumably the next episode will return to the main story and plot development. I'm not entirely sure that's a good thing.