Author:
• Monday, June 27th, 2016

New research indicates creativity is inversely proportional to viewer enjoyment. An article published by an undergraduate student has isolated the variables believed to be the cause of objective consumer satisfaction. To illustrate his point, he has dissected some of anime’s most popular titles from the past nine years, and what made them so successful despite being mediocre at best:

Monogatari Series

This product of Nishio Ishin’s masturbatory ejaculation has garnered a huge cult following despite its lack of humor or any semblance of a story. Its lead character, Araragi Koyomi, acts as the humble medium through whose eyes the viewers observe the events that unfold around the girls that make up his harem. To be accurate, the “story” (monogatari) is not about him, and never will be. The most accurate summation of the anime is that there are “cute girls doing things” which may or may not be important, depending on how much you actually care about the series.

Thanks to its use of brightly colored cue cards in lieu of traditional transitions between scenes, usually full of intermittent text that test our visual acuity, and the oddly erotic Popotan character designs, it is not hard to see Monogatari as a one-hit wonder that should have burned out as soon as people realized it is written by the “genius” behind Medaka Box. Yet this has yet to pass. Every new iteration of this series follows the same tiresome directing and fast-paced dialogue-heavy script, laden with esoteric references most of its fans have no way of understanding. Fortunately for the people who watch this anime for its “animation”, “creativity”, “humor” or “storytelling” there is at least one guarantee that accompanies this predictable refuse: oddly erotic Popotan fanservice.

Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai

I actually enjoyed this anime; and there was nothing groundbreaking or exciting about it. If anything, its success can mostly be attributed to its solid script, and the lack of anything new or exciting that could potentially have ruined it. The heroine, Kirino, was a flour tortilla wrapped around all that is wholesome and good about anime: lesbians, incest, hot loli sister, perverted girl gamer and short pants. Essentially nothing that exists in real life. Anime is widely believed to be a method of escapism, and nothing fits the mold quite like Oreimo for this purpose.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica

This is an example of history repeating itself. During the magical girl boom of the late 90’s, people were looking for new ways to define their magical girl product and merchandise to stand out from those of their competitors. Like all anime with a target demographic of “preteen girls”, most of these series end up being watched by middle-aged men. However, it was not until the turn of the millennium that people started realizing the true potential for magical girls. In the wake of the international success of magical girl series such as Sailor Moon, Saint Tail, Wedding Peach, Fancy Lala, Cardcaptor Sakura, Ojamajo Doremi, Full Moon wo Sagashite, Futari wa Pretty Cure and Mermaid Melody Pichipichi Pitch; and the ensuing onslaught of pornographic doujinshi based on them flooding the market, big business realized it was time to get rid of that ignominious subterfuge of “shoujo” branding.

While parodies have existed for a while, such as Tonde Buurin and Nurse Witch Komugi-chan, nothing signified the death of the Magical Girl sub-genre more so than Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. This Seven Arcs production sported a technology-based magical system accompanied by over-the-top explosive magic and aerial battles. This was a turning point in magical girl anime, as it was no longer an option to keep things sparkly and clean. The next year, Futari wa Pretty Cure featured a magical duo actively engaged in fist to fist combat with their opponents. Moyoco Anno introduced her Sugar Sugar Rune, an innocent series about two childhood witch friends competing to win the hearts of boys, a strange narrative on society’s expectations of females. Notorious ecchi mangaka Peach-Pit soon entered with Shugo Chara!, filled with an unprecedented level of perverted jokes and fan service. It became evident the only logical course of action in the ever escalating world of magical girls was to have it explode at the apex like the festering super robot genre of the 90’s that preceded it: aka Evangelion.

This is where Urobuchi Gen stepped in with a series that he trolled on twitter would be a heartwarming series families could enjoy together… After episode three, he admitted he lied. But to anyone who grew up in the angst-filled 90’s, this series was nothing new, like the many reboots of the Batman franchise. There are many small reasons for Madoka’s success, including a generation of young fans that didn’t grow up in the 90’s, but I believe the primary reason for Madoka’s success is just a matter of timing. Madoka aired during the middle of a series of natural disasters in Japan including tsunamis and earthquakes, and any show that depicts scenes of destroyed cities is considered poor taste in the face of real life tragedies. Fortunately for studio SHAFT, misery does enjoy company, and the two month delay in airing only helped build up anticipation. It’s questionable whether Madoka would be so venerated had it followed through with its original airing time, which is to say the only evidence is the lack of evidence, but it is certainly an angle worth approaching.

Author:
• Friday, April 22nd, 2016
Our token genius protagonist.

Our token genius protagonist.

Okay, I’ve been busy with real life so I haven’t had time to review or watch anime. But these past three months I’ve done my best to catch up on what’s hip and cool with all you youngsters. One particular title I felt required a comment is Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm.

The discovery of anti-gravity particles and its utilization to create “Anti-gravity Boots” spawns a new sport in a not so distant alternate future called the “Flying Circus”. It is essentially drone racing meets roller derby… in the sky. Nothing wrong with that.

For the most part, the anime is fine and healthy. It avoids romantic subplots and other unnecessary annoyances, much to the chagrin of the ten-year-old girl in my head, and takes the sport to levels of seriousness where I actually felt like rooting for teams in this fictional sport. The rules are incredulously simple: earn points by either touching buoys or your opponent’s back, and whoever has the most in five minutes wins. Yet these simple rules and augmented Newtonian Laws spawn incredibly complex strategies, aerial maneuvers and techniques, and breed competitiveness to new heights. In this respect, Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm is a carbon clone of Prince of Stride: Alternative. Another anime that aired this season. I could actually copy and paste this post for Prince of Stride, and no one would be the wiser.

Unfortunately, here’s the spoiler, in the final episode during the last battle the opponent, Inui Saki, cheats. She removes the limiters in her shoes allowing her to fly in ways no one thought possible up to that point. However, instead of disqualifying her, everyone comes to the same conclusion: the only way for our ditzy genius protagonist, Kurashina Asuka, to win would be for her to cheat as well. So they remove the limiters in her shoes and she ends up winning thanks to this game-breaking strategy called ignoring the rules.

Activating Aggravain?

Activating Aggravain?

Why? Up until this point, Flying Circus was a sport anyone could pick up, and hopefully “git gud” at with practice and hard work. Yet the ramifications of allowing this heresy to continue now limits the game to whoever can cheat better than the rest.

It’s like baseball, where you have no chance of competing in the majors unless you dope up on steroids like the best of them. It’s not right, and I personally believe Asuka should have been able to win without resorting to this kind of crap. This also introduces other unsightly elements, because as was clearly stated in the anime, the limiters exist for the sake of preserving the safety of the users. It is evidently life-threatening, yet not illegal during actual matches. Furthermore, there was no reason for anyone to remove them because no human could control it. Yet lo and behold, here’s two people who can. Then there’s the issue of equipment modding; because regulations don’t exist to prevent this, wouldn’t it be feasible for someone to just program shoes to do all hard maneuvers for you?

And where does that leave us regular folks, who actually want to enjoy a honest game once and for all? For those of us who believe everyone has the opportunity to succeed, and it’s just a matter of effort and training? It’s too much.

Seriously, fuck this shit.

Author:
• Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

YouTube Preview Image
Not just leaving this here because I’m a Green Party or Bernie Sanders kind of liberal, but because.

Category: Anime Coverage, Humor  | Tags: ,  | Leave a Comment
Author:
• Sunday, May 31st, 2015
A picturesque image of Japanese Nadeshiko

A picturesque image of a Japanese Nadeshiko, Tougou.

A firm unyielding spirit and well-toned abs.

A firm unyielding spirit and well-toned abs.

With this thrust she ends her plight.

With this thrust she ends her plight.

But THIS Tamagotchi won't let her.

But THIS Tamagotchi won’t let her.

Seppuku, Hanging, Jumping, Carbon Monoxide, Drowning, Poison. Oh my.

Seppuku, Hanging, Jumping, Carbon Monoxide, Drowning, Poison. Oh my.

I’m a bit late in forming my post regarding the series Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de aru, otherwise known as YuuYuuYuu. But because I waited so long, I can go ahead and post spoilers with no ramifications.

Like most viewers of the post-Madoka era, I expect all anime featuring a group of girls and friendship to end in dark tragedy. Three episodes in, I knew it  was just a pipe dream… or was it? Like a blind samurai slashes at air until he hits something, I continued watching until I got sick of the stupid death flags in all the earlier episodes. Then I stumbled upon episode eight, and was happily rewarded for my sacrifice in time. Finally the grand cogs in the conspiracy slowly began revealing their oil-stained workings and I began thinking maybe there was hope for this show after all. That is, until the last episode. more…

Author:
• Sunday, August 24th, 2014

My reaction when...

…something I like is licensed.

Good thing that never happens since I prefer physical releases. Most anime companies of the west are very conservative when choosing which anime or manga they want licensed. They pick up what is new and prefer further what is already in great discussion online to play it safe. Most are not like Discotek Media where they prefer to re-licensed older anime or the boy-love niche company Digital Manga Publishing. Just what is easy. more…

Category: Anime Coverage, Manga Coverage  | Tags:  | Leave a Comment
Author:
• Friday, June 20th, 2014

A couple days ago big news hit that Japan has made the possession of child pornography illegal. Most big countries already have such laws, however this law differs in that fiction such as animation and comics are excluded. Big media companies like CNN state the exclusion is from large powerful lobby groups that protect the interests of the anime and manga industry. The law is also much softer than most countries in where the person charged faces a year is prison or a $10,000 fine. In many countries people have much harsher penalties like Canada’s 20 years of imprisonment or public online databases.

People do not want children harmed or abused, but there is a lot of bias and assumptions floating around. Two big ones are animated or drawn depictions of children are real children and that people who like fictional characters are also attracted to real children. Comic Book Legal Defense Fund debunks the views they oppose from the CNN article linked above and what they believe what the law will do in Japan. One side accepts that fictional works are still pornographic and the other suggests there needs to be scientific evidence that such creations are harmful.

With that said the political satirist Jon Stewart from the cable show The Daily Show took a stab at the news. His views are known as liberal, but in my opinion he has always seemed “Democrat.” Someone that is on the left of center and leaning towards liberal, but not by very much since the US is not very liberal. In the video he states the new law is embarrassingly late and “How can a lobby for a harmful, destructive industry take precedence over the protection of children?” He then compares the industry lobby groups for anime and manga to be similar to The National Rifle Association in the US. They are supposedly trying to defend companies that are willing to make money at the cost of children’s lives and well-being.

I am pro-gun regulation and a fan of anime and manga, so I find his comparison of media to weapons designed to kill to be outrageous. Both have differing worlds of psychology, science, and societal factors behind what the industries produce.

Category: Anime Coverage, Manga Coverage  | Tags: , ,  | 2 Comments