Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.
karmaburn.com karmaburn.com

Dated 9 April 2018: I'm looking forward to Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory

Tessa and Leonard
I guess you need to watch The Second Raid
to know who the person on the right is.

There has been a running gag for years about Full Metal Panic! fans in anguish about Kyoto Animation working on other projects instead of animating another sequel to follow Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid. To some extent, I fit that category of disgruntled fans in the sense that I did want another FMP season, although it's not accurate to claim I harbored Kyoani any ill will, if only because I had long ago concluded no such sequel would ever be forthcoming. Surprisingly, there is going to be a fourth season after all: Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory. (Get it? Full Metal Panic! IV. Anyway....) Xebec is making this one, and it starts on 13 April. Do you need to watch the first three seasons before watching FMP IV? I dunno. Probably?

(more…)

Dated 6 November 2014: I'm so stoked Cross Ange is going to be two cours

Ange
All things considered, Angelise is taking this rather well.

I should probably be blogging about Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo (Cross Ange: Rondo of Angels and Dragons) on a regular basis because I think it has the potential to provide as much mileage as Gundam SEED Destiny did. Let's be clear. I am not watching Cross Ange "ironically," okay. This show is shit, but it is great shit. It's never boring and you'll stare in disbelief at some of the idiocy that transpires, but I still enjoy it a great deal. It's got Banana Mizuki stabbing dragons in the face, for crying out loud!

(more…)

Dated 10 November 2013: I'm not sure if I should be enjoying IS Infinite Stratos 2

Houki and Cecelia
I don't remember why the ears were necessary.

As sequels go, IS Infinite Stratos 2 plays it pretty safe, offering mostly filler around a fairly uninteresting plot. It knows its bread and butter involves inspiring (somewhat facetious) arguments about the relative merits of the bevy of girls surrounding Potato-kun as he fails again and again to notice his harem's interest in him.

(more…)

Dated 5 August 2013: Love Lab and Genshiken Nidaime are both about getting it on with boys

Enomoto and Maki
I heard Love Line started out basically the same way.

Love Lab is about a student council at a girls' school that secretly dedicates itself on the side to the art of pursuing boys. Genshiken Nidaime harks the return of a college circle dedicated to the artistic pursuits of anime, manga, and video games. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the first anime adaptation of the Genshiken manga when it aired in 2004, I did not say much about it at the time. Since then, the series spawned a number of OVA and a second television season, making Genshiken Nidaime the third or fourth season rather than the second part, depending on how you count it. (A quirk the anime itself acknowledges.) Love Lab is newer on the scene; it's the first anime adaptation of an ongoing manga (Renai Lab) that has run since 2006.

Riko
It does not appear as if Riko was prepared for this..

I'm finding Love Lab tough to sell, but easy to enjoy. This is mostly because the series doesn't sound like much from its description, but the execution is excellent. The jokes are funny and the characters are likable. One aspect I haven't quite gotten my head around is casting Numakura Manami as Riko. I associate her voice so much with her character Hibiki from iDOLM@STER that it's hard to accept her as anyone else. The best solution, obviously, would be to re-work Riko's character design to actually look like Hibiki so I could pretend Numakura Manami is voicing Ganaha Hibiki the 765PRO idol in a starring role portraying Riko in a production of a Love Lab television show broadcast within the iDOLM@STER universe. (I'm only partly kidding.)

Madarame
Drinking alone.

Speaking of seiyuu, Genshiken Nidaime replaced basically every voice actor from the previous anime adaptations. I could sort of understand if the intent was to replace them with brand new talent, but as that doesn't appear to be the case at all, I find the change rather perplexing. It's also quite jarring to hear completely different voices from what I'm accustomed to, even though it's been a few years since I last watched any Genshiken. In particular, replacing Kawasumi Ayako with Yukana has been quite difficult to accept even though I like Yukana quite a bit. Madarame's new deeper voice also takes some getting used to.

Hato
Hato not in drag.

Some fans of the original Genshiken anime expressed disappointment with Nidaime because the Genshiken club itself has changed. Previously a boys' club of openly geeky males, it has transformed over the years to one dominated by fujoshi members and their pursuit of male-on-male erotica while the alumni and their interests are presented as more incidental to to the main plot. Naturally, this is because the old members are no longer students, thus no longer part of the club, and likewise occupied by other "grown-up" interests as their original fervor wanes.

Hato
It's a boy dressed as a girl pretending to be a boy.

Nevertheless, Genshiken Nidaime appears to be just as much about personal growth and acceptance as it has always been. The first season focused on Sasahara as he grew more comfortable with embracing his otaku side, and on Saki as she discovered she could still love one otaku in particular (Kousaka) while still loathing otaku in general. Later, Genshiken focused on Ogiue as she came to came to grips with her identity and the parts of her life that previously mortified her. Although I have not read ahead in the manga, it appears Genshiken Nidaime will focus on the cross-dressing Hato as he deals with the challenges of being a straight male (allegedly) who masturbates to yaoi (i.e., 2D gay porn).

Madarame
Being a grown-up is hard.

Notably, it appears this season will also spotlight Madarame. This former club president (now three terms removed from the current head, Ogiue), was previously depicted as the savvy, veteran otaku who was completely comfortable with being who he was. However, he clearly still carries a torch for the Genshiken Best Girl, Saki (previously Yukino Satsuki, now sorely missed despite Satou Rina's talents), and he refuses to publicly acknowledge this most heinous of perversions: Attraction to a three-dimensional woman. In this regard, perhaps Madarame has the most growing up to do.

Maki
Good luck, Maki's future boyfriend.

Through five episodes, Love Lab is better than Genshiken Nidaime, but I suspect that the latter will be better remembered years later if both shows continue to progress as they have. I suspect Genshiken resonates more with aging male anime fans, even though this season is mostly comprised of female characters. Incidentally, if you know anything about Genshiken, you should already know Ogiue Maniax is its leading resource 'round these parts.

Dated 12 December 2011: The Infinite Stratos OVA is a harem comedy so pure you could use it for titration

Charles and Cecilia
Cake goes in here.

The IS: Infinite Stratos OVA dispenses with the robots and powered armor hijinks almost entirely in order to focus exclusively on The Only Boy in School and the girls with the best chances at doing him. Well, at least in theory. Surprising no one, I'm sure, ol' Potato-kun is completely oblivious to their charms and absolutely ignorant of their intentions. Charles, Cecilia, Laura, Rin, and Houki pile uninvited into Ichika's home one day for some wacky good times. It's not top fuel hilarity, but the OVA is a pleasant diversion that relies heavily on the characters to amuse the viewer. It's anime junk food, but it tastes all right, and it won't spoil your dinner. (Wisely, the cast is united in their opposition to British cooking.)

Charles and Laura
Why does every party end up in the kitchen?

Unfortunately, this OVA basically ensures Charles will not be 2011's Girl of the Year. She had a good start, and was understandably a fan favorite throughout the series, but the non-ending ending all but doomed her chances. The Infinite Stratos Best Girl deserved better than to be lumped into such a cliche harem comedy ending. This OVA was her opportunity to come from behind and salvage her hopes of landing the 2011 title.

Laura
That eyepatch is still funny.

It didn't happen. All the Char scenes in the Infinite Stratos OVA are all right, but nothing to distinguish her in the way most of her scenes from the series made her so popular. What the OVA does do, somewhat unexpectedly, is convince me that Ichika's best match is Laura. Her straightforward no-nonsense nature and general assertiveness complements Ichika almost perfectly because, let's face it, he's a "bottom." Good luck, Potato-kun. You're going to need it.