Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Too excite for coherence

Oooh people Mirai Nikki is *awesome*

It's like somebody read Battle Royale and thought to re-do it except MAKE IT FUN. Do away with damsel in distress Noriko, gimme Ax Crazy yandere, fuck the popular kid, and dystopian message, and evil authorities, because messing up with your psyches could be much more fun with the Deus!

EXCITE! More on that later, gotta catch up with the released eps.

Other things I should come back and write about - Bleach, you bishounen jump whore (I was bought off easily<3, am on Arrancar arc now and bought two volumes of manga), Michiko to Hatchin (go go Manglobe!), Hanasaku Iroha (I liked you much much better that I expected). Will do that as soon as I get over my hysteric marathoning of whatever instead of writing my thesis.

Who cares about growing up when you can put it off, amirite?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

It must be their demonic panache

because otherwise I can't possibly explain why I gave up on Mitsudomoe after 2 episodes and finished Yondemasu yo, Azazel-san in two days. Both of these seinen comedies border on gross for comedic relief, but somehow where middle-school triplet girls couldn't make me stay a bunch of perverted chibi monsters from hell did. Okay, one of them had Izaya's voice, but that sure isn't all of it! Maybe I prefer my butt jokes without kids, thank you.

What I liked about Yondemasu yo, Azazel-san is probably how they managed to serve some spot-on observations on human nature in a purposefully gross nature, and made fun of both characters and the audience. For example, there is this Belzeebub demon, supposedly a prince of hell who looks like a penguin (and talks in Izaya's voice, yes). In the beginning he mostly grosses you out, then you get used to him, then he shows some amazing princely potential (of the twisted kind, obviously - at his best moments he reminded me of fic!Dracos of the realistic kind) skyrocketing to some tragic levels and then he plunges back into a - quite literally - pile of shit. It's like the storytellers are making fun of you and your expectations and stereotypes in the first place while pretending to toy around with the characters.

Belzeebub in his penguin and princely forms. I like it how he essentially looks the same *giggle*

And somehow many characters managed to have some character growth withing 13 half-sized episodes. Sakuma, who starts of as a sensible yet naive college girl working part-time as a detective assisstant by the end of the series is halfway to the crazy and dark that all other cast are. She's turning (or revealing herself to be) quite greedy, manipulative, better at summoning and considerably less green behind the ears. The only one who doesn't change from minute one is Akutabe the detective. He is one helluva grim-looking expert on the demonic stuff, and looks like he just came from hell more that all the demons togethers. At one point I thought he might harbour something for Sakuma, but it seems that no, he was still mostly just the grim short-tempered boss he seemed to be.

Don't try to read too much into either the anime or my musings on it, and you might enjoy it. Just keep the kids away from it:)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Boy time, y'all

Kimi to Boku is what I've been wanting ever since I saw K-On - a decent slice-of-life featuring boys. They don't sing Fuwa Fuwa Time, obviously, but boys lounging around is a nice way of approaching the genre, methinks. I have no idea where it is going, since I haven't read the manga, but I hope for some romantic conflict and lots of friendship goodness. Kaname does crush on his girl-next-door's onee-san, doesn't he? Always the sucker for older women, that one *chuckle* And it seems I can never leave alone any piece of fiction involving twins (JKR, is that the trauma you gave me?!)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Durarara! and my brain goes lalalala

I have just finished marathoning Durarara!!

I have these thoughts in my brain, but they are mostly incoherent and and essentially impressions, so please bear with me.

The summary of a summary - it was ond  helluva fun ride, but I have no clear idea what it was about (but I have my guesses). You should watch it too, because chances are you'll be just as perplexed and entertained - and glued to the monitor - as I was.

I might come up with a more coherent post later, but for now for the purposes of scrambling together at least some words and stringing them into sentences a list will have to do.

1. This anime rocks the warped wave so proficiently that I'll never agree with its shounen tag. The sheer amount of creeps, freaks and weirdos per capita threatens to overwhelm the capita in question. You're in for a fest of dysfucntional relationships, and the scariest bit is that by mid-series you'll be growing mushy on some of those (some, okay? Because I can never endorse an ototo-complex, for obvious personal reasons). The unrivalled cherry on top of this wacko-fest is Izaya the creepypie, the mastermind of all things Durarara whose motives, I believe, all boil down to I-was-bored. And you'll totally get why 99% of Durarara fanmixes are Shizaya. Just saying. I can recommend the best ones, too *hoho*

1.2. To Hei fans: Shizaya is a canon slash, too. Dotachin's sidekicks said so.

2. I have no idea what was the main point of the show (except providing excellent entertainment). Was it about gang wars? Internet? Mythology? Creeps? High school life being the epitome of abnormality? Love to humankind and bazillion ways it can go wrong? *I wish I was kidding*

3. The diversity of the cast is really commendable. There are some recognizable types, but they're not prevailent, and you really enjoy your show one creep at a time. I meant, one character at a time *ahem* The greatest part is changing your opinion 180 degrees about one or another character every second episode - that says something about the coolness of plot twists and character depth, methinks. My best friend who marathoned with me can testify to the fact that I was exclaiming "This is the most warped guy in the whole of the series!" or "They can define dysfunctionality!" about different characters every time.

4. Did I mention it was riveting? You never know everything that's in store for you, even with setting your imagination loose and making the wildest guesses (ah, whatever brilliant mind allowed the Japanese to defy common sense in storytelling? Bless'em)

5. It certainly deserves rewatching, even probably more so than Darker than Black did, because I'm sure I missed a lot of plotpoints. And as someone said, the master magician can make you enjoy the same trick twice, first showing the trick and then explaining it. I think seeing the story come whole by noticing the important - in hindsight - elements might make it an altogether different kind of fun.

PS. Did you know how hard I tried not to post spoilery pictures here? There is just so.much.awesomeosity in stock, just you wait! *gleeful*

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Am I losing my touch?

Lately I am making mistakes telling apart the demographic designation of manga/anime, which surprises me to no end. I thought I had a grip on that - leaving aside the issue of the source of publication which defies common sense in the final analysis.

But seriouslly, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai is seinen? I was going to bet my head it was shounen! And I agreed that yes, maybe Chihayafuru was indeed josei, but that was more of a wishful thinking on my part at the stage when I've read all the scanlated chapters (10) and saw three episodes released to date.

Oh well. For now I've edited the labels, hoping that the confirmation is not too far ahead.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Seinen heartbreak, AGAIN

Oh god. Oh seinen. Oh the gods of seinen.

I thought a seinen mecha comedy would take it easy, being, you know, comedy. Riiiight.

I'm on episode 15 of Tiger&Bunny, and a heartbreak in the middle of otherwise satiric action series came as a kick in the shin.

It's not even the protagonist, you know. Just the corniest of the superhero bunch unknowingly falling in love with a malfuctioning android, getting emotional help from her and then just as unknowingly ripping her to pieces as a part of his job. And then looking for her all over the city to say thank you for restoring his self-confidence, y'all.

Hate you, seinen. Love you, seinen. Aren't you the best?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Battle Royale meets Kore wa Zombie desu ka?

Ok-kay, so... Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai!! is...ridiculous? Ridiculously funny?

Based on the first episode, I can't say if it's horribly cliched or making fun of horrible cliches. You know how difficult it is to tell the different with Japanese ideas of spoof - take Kore wa Zombie desu ka?, that was so darn hilarious in parts that mocked the mahou shoujo and harem cliches, and then got perplexingly bad when it forgot it was supposed to be making fun of itself and started its ~ srs bzns~ thingie (and I mean the other zombie plotline and the second vampire ninja gone all wifey)

So far apart from the romantic plotline I didn't really get (are they or are they not siblings? why do they call her onee-sama?) nor did I appreciate much, they had this grand Battle Royale-meets-Kore wa Zombie style all-out war between classes, and so many stereotypes are players in the game - eyepatch and bondage girls! ninja maids! evil kimono girls! smartass strategist boys! yankee boys! ridiculously-named finishing moves! ninja ma..I mentioned these already, didn't I? At some points I was laughing out loud, forgetting to look for common sense, and at times I was so perplexed that I was tempted to turn it off.

Did anyone else see it? Cuz I'd like to hear what you make of it. As for me, I'll reserve my final judgement until a coupla more episodes are out.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

omg my dreams of Kyoya-centic shoujo came true!

Before you get too taken in by the imagery, I probably need to apologize. The anime is not about him, BUT DARN IT doesnt he look just like baby Kyoya of your dreams?

Ahem I might be getting carried away here, sorry.

Let be start from the beginning. It's my first year of discovering a new season - meaning the season when most spring-summer animes get their finales and new ones start airing - as it slowly unfolds. Never before have I seen first episodes for anime only days after they started airing, sampling various projects to see which ones I liked enough to continue watching. To tell the truth, the experience feels great, since there wasn't time for any of the shows to get enough reviews to establish either a positive or a negative reputation and therefore letting me make up my own mind about them first.

I've decided to give a few of the shows a try - namely, Tamayura, which had lovely OVAs, Phi Brain, Kimi to Boku, Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai, and Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai which I already wrote about.

Of this season's premiers I was probably expecting least from Chihayafuru, and that's why it took me by surprise. The annonation gave me a really vague idea, showed me some startled-looking girl in a kimono and promised some youthful romance. What I got in the first episode was so many things I like: childhood friends harbouring romantic feelings, one girl-two guys triangle, cute boys (seriously, smart, pale and outcast boy in glasses vs outgoing, doomed-to-be-friend firy one - what else do I want for my shoujo triange?), a pretty but really goofy girl (I liked how they straightaway acknowledged both facts), and a poetry card game called karuta that looks surprisingly hot for such an innocent pastime. I have to say I like the stories that incorporate traditional Japanese activities like tea ceremonies, calligraphy or ikebana into romantic stories, and I remember I liked this game from one of Motomi Kyousuke's short stories, One Thousand Year Love Song. Funfact: it also features my all-time favourite best friends to lovers romance.

My verdict, judging solely by the first - and so far only - aired episode: I'll be watching that. Unless they screw something royally, there's always a pleasure of exploring childhood friendship and growing romance inside a triangle, and I'm excited to see more of karuta. And can a girl hope to see Arata (that's what baby Kyoya is called) all grown-up and in a kimono? I mean, they certainly showed us the girl wearing one. Just saying:)

My Lows, or How I Don't Really Mind Harems

For the purposes of this discussion, let me emphasize that I by harems I mean classic ones, a group of girls centered around a boy for various, often romantic, plot purposes. Not to be confused with reverse harems of one girl around a bunch of boys because my feelings on those are quite different (and those are a subject for a different post), and those curious can refer to this regularly updated blog on reverse harem.

As I get it, many girls have little patience for harem stories. It may be due to the fact that often they are shounen romance in genre, and are often really stingy in character depth department for female characters, and even more often heavily ecchi. I might be generalizing here, but hardly too much.

Given like that, the whole genre looks like something I'd never voluntarily watch and happily troll in my free time. Mysteriously, that doesn't happen.

I believe the answer lies in the order of movies that introduced me to Japanese-style entertainment.  I've seen Speedy Racer and Sailor Moon and Transformers (and a mecha series I can't remember the name for and it PAINS me because I was crazy about it so HELP ME) as a kid, but those are firmly rooted in the bulk of the-story-of-my-childhood rather than anything else and thus I don't think of them as animanga much. What really counts starts from my university years, and that makes Love Hina one of the first anime I've seen.

If you don't know the plot, you might easily guess it from the picture above - an average nerdy boy and a set of girl including but not limited to a shy violet, tsundere ninja, tomboy and many more. If you're curious, it also involves corny childhood promises to enter Tokyo University one day (hence the paranoid cramming look on Keitaro's face), a managing job in a female dorm by the hot springs and lots of compromising situations that inevitably lead to the main hero sent flying by Narusegawa's mightly kicks.

(the caption is not something from the anime, I wrote it to make a upic out of screenshot)
It was precisely those kicks that got me so happy about the series. It's hardly a secret now that I strongly associated the poor protagonist of the story with my ex-boyfriend (and not without a reason), therefore each time he went flying and disappeared as a sparlky spec on the horizon I was enjoying my evil glee moment. Hardly something to be proud of, but here you have it:) That's why I took all other things that came with it rather calmly, being pacified by Keitaro's misfortunes already. I was entertained and had little desire to judge anything too much, the same way you don't really lecture yourself on the lameness of junkfood when you've just happily wolfed down a cheeseburger you'd craved for.

The reason I'm saying all that (except to remember the sheer pleasure of seeing Keitaro fly)?

I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt to a new series, even though for all it's worth it looks like yet another harem in the making. I'm talking about Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, whose first episode aired recently.

The harem vibe it gives off is as subtle as a truck, but I think I will give it a chance to win me over because - underdogs, DUH. I'm willing to cheer for the third parties and unlucky ones and left-outs and outcasts and most importantly underdogs in any fiction at all, and the premise of this series is you're-an-outcast-too-let's-be-friends-yay, so you see where my enthusiasm comes from. I'll let you know if it leaves to my expectations or not:)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Kuragehime update, finally!

"It's only natural that to the Amars calling a gentleman is equivalent to an ILLICIT SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP" (c) Clara

god bless their souls!

I've missed you all so much *sobs* And this chapter even features a grossed-out Kuranosuke, a crossdressing Shuu and - pay attention everyone - the Amars are hooked on kdrama LOL

And can I have a personal Mayaya pretty please to comfort me in moments of distress and trash-talk my enemies? I honesly didn't know that the Amars had such great comfort potential. I mean they stay true to themselves - Mayaya yells and makes loud references to the Three Kingdoms*, Bamba's her deadpan self, and Jiji, despite her slightly lecherous ghostly looks, can say the sweetest things.

Kuranosuke is still the brightest star of this universe, though. I wonder how one could think up such a brilliant, brilliant person and make him a crossdresser (that's not the surprising part yet) and make us all love him so goddamn hard to the degree when you're actually endeared by all his quirks.

*On the subject of the Three Kingdoms.

 Before seeing this awesome actionfest by John Woo I quite honestly didn't bother to give Mayaya's ramblings a second thought, and now I'm all like "Cao Cao-san? I KNOW HIM". Whatever we'd do without Hollywood to rely on the basic references to history or culture. Not saying anything on the quality of those references, but honestly, how many times have all of us got a cultural reference based solely on mass-culture products?