Category Archives: Franchises

Wolves and Koko Puffs

When I was reading about people’s first reactions to Jormungand the animation, some compared it to Spice & Wolf. I didn’t really see the comparison being valid beyond the superficial similarity of having a strong personality of a woman in the context of the intrigue of bartering. But after 3 episodes, I see where the real similarity lies.

Koko is a wolf. In fact she is the wolf that Horo never seems to be, at least after 3 volumes of the novels. It’s how far I’ve read in Spicywolf before giving up.

By wolf I mean, perhaps, the best example of wolf that anime keeps on using: the fable of the Little Red Riding Hood. This is the human wolf–a wolf pretending to be a person in order to achieve the wolf’s wolf-y goals. Which is usually about being a wolf’s survival, or desire to eat somebody, or some such.

An example of the Little Red symbology in play is Jin-Roh. And Jin-Roh is, by all means, the best fictional depiction of what it means to be a wolf, in my humble opinion, in the context of Japanese pop culture. It’s a little more psychologically edgier than the simple “ronin” or lone wolf concept, which is more about the individualism that we Americans associate with our cultural heritage. Indeed, in order to appear wolf-like, these individuals have to exist alongside with normal human beings, and even work with them. It is very hard to act aloof and deceptive if there’s nobody close to you. It’s why the Big Bad Wolf gets to have a conversation with Little Red Riding Hood. The culture of fitting in, as it is in Japan, makes the wolf blend in to his or her environs easier. It’s the wolf’s disguise.

Koko is rather the exception in that regard. She stands out like a sore thumb at a glance. Her manic smile is clearly a sign of something is odd about this one. Some might even consider her moe, which is probably running against the grain in a Black Lagoon-like setting. Koko’s wider-than-usual mouth makes me asks why she has such a wide mouth. The childish and girly exterior betrays the calculating and pragmatic mind it carries. To that extent it is already less of a wolf-in-sheepskin as much as just a wolf (as opposed to Jin-Roh, where the “wolf” is actually a wolf pretending to be a sheep inside a wolf’s skin). She is clearly a wolf among wolves, except this wolf looks like a sheep.

Indeed, Koko, why do you have such a big mouth?

The setup is pretty nice given that we’re seeing the story developing as a relationship between Koko and Jonah. Jonah looks like a wolf, too, but I suppose we’ll get to see if Jonah only looks the look or not. For starters, he might not even rock the look that Koko does.

There’s a lot to like, for me, about Koko and Jormungand the anime. It’s great to see Iwasaki being fun to listen to again. It’s unfortunate that the radio drama cast didn’t carry over again but I’ll live. Koko’s shotacon ships also adds to that wolf-ness, don’t you think? Like, she’s gonna eat him whole? LOL. I think White Fox’s got a solid hit on their hands again.

PS. If you’ve never seen Oshii & Okiura’s masterpiece Jin-Roh, go knock yourself out on Hulu. Or import the re-release Blu-ray!


Lorejacking for Nubile Virgins

Is this a spoiler? You all know about King Author right? This is kind of like that, but spelled better. But if you’re watching Fate/Zero this is then not a spoiler.

  • Dusk maiden of Amnesia – Casper is now some hot 15-year-old grandma who likes to strip naked and hug you, but still maintains her ghastly side upon viewer’s choice. (Also, she is Takane.)
  • Nyaruko-san: Another Crawling Chaos – Nyarlathotep is now a cute alien girl trying to get inside your pants.
  • Upotte! – Assault rifles are now cute, military girls.
  • Sankarea – Is this a zombie? I mean, the tragically beautiful girl you share a secret with is now your undead girlfriend.
  • Is This a Zombie? – You became a zombie, but the necromancer who raised you from the dead is this quiet, timid and cute girl who now lives with you to take care of you. You also live with a magical girl who is more like your long-lost childhood friend, and this vampire ninja who looks like a pin-up model that part-times as a dominatrix helps you care for the home.
  • Mouretsu Pirates – Well.
  • Fate/Zero – Saber is King Arthur? “You’ve got to be kidding me” is what I would say, if it was year 2001. But to spell it out for you, man summons the kight of Britons, who is a cute if stoic girl who is bent on business and, well, in Fate/stay night, also gets in bed with the protagonist. Thankfully in Zero she just stands pretty for Archer, for the most part.

I guess I could say something about Tsuritama but that one is pretty tricky. Maybe later on it’ll reveal itself more to make this simpler a comparison.

I think if I go back every season I’ll probably find a handful of anime that follows this sort of tact where you take a existing genre trope and spin it in some weird way to make a new story that eventually gets made into an anime. It is nothing new. It’s the sort of stuff Hiroki Azuma put in his book over 13 years ago. What I want to point out is also nothing new, but is there any reason to believe that there are some people out there who likes girls like these? It’s one thing to see someone like Rea or Yuuko as attractive human beings, but I see it as otaku pandering. I mean, when confronted with the plot elements of the undead, am I suppose to be more amused with this setup? And it doesn’t have to be undead. It’s like anything (a horrific elder god from Call of Cthulhu is as good of an example as any) can turn into your moe-moe girlfriend. And in the land that is culturally animistic, that means anything from doorknobs to the parking lot can have some kind of deistic representation and that mechanism enables the possibility of a matching moe mascot to go with, well, just about anything.

All that separates from scenes from a daily life and a moe harem is corporate funding and backing.

On the bright side, a lot of the times these shows do make a big effort tying in those strange database decisions (lack of a better word) to the core narrative so it is somewhat meaningful. This is why, for example, Nyaruko-san is a reference-heavy show. Because how can you possibly work in the fact that Nyaruko is Nyarlathotep? It’s immeasurably easier to see how you can like Rea before and after her passing; it’s even written into the plot, the secret of her resurrection. On the other hand, in Yuuko’s case, I think we’re kind of given it as taken, the idea serving as the part of the mystery driving the overall story forward. But will it actually explain why Yuuko is who she is?

Is this why we were asked “Is This a Zombie?” in “Is This a Zombie”? Because, well, that show gives it to you in the title and that is it?

It’s times like this that I appreciate books by Nasu or Kyogoku because they drive at this sort of thing. And are also the biggest offenders at this sort of thing. I mean, Nasu made King Arthur into a moe-moe character. I suppose that might be not so bad compared to what went on in Fate/Extra. What am I saying? It’s horrible.

There is clearly no escape. Or rather, what do you want to see next? How can you tie the act of moe-ification to the story?

PS. Certainly, doing this with little sisters seem awfully mundane these days.


Spring 2012 TV Anime Impression, Season Preview Style

The need to write this down is greater than ever; just so I don’t keep forgetting about shows that I want to follow up on. Go, exhibitionist memo pad of a blog!

Some things to keep in mind: I ask myself the same three questions for these shows to illustrate some kind of judging-by-cover that I’m applying. There are a lot of shows I think that are good this season but I won’t even like all of them, or even half of them? I don’t know, it’s too early to say. But just because I won’t watch them or I don’t like them doesn’t mean you shouldn’t either. Hopefully the three questions illustrate the idea I’m trying to get across for each shows.

Also somehow this turned out more like a season preview than anything. It makes me wonder how the hell do people do season preview blog posts without just doing mostly an info-dump and looking at who is doing what, or what is the source material. Which, is to say, kind of helpful but kind of different. As much as I think that exercise is at best a pat on the back and at worst outright misleading and harmful, massive props belong to those who do a good and thorough job of it.

Zetman
Quality anime, lots of fun, dark and …American-y? It will have its appeal, but given a tough season it is probably not going to get watched by me.
Is it good? Pretty good.
Can you eat it? Yep!
Will I? 3 eps.

Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna
I haven’t finished Michiko e Hacchin yet. Not because it’s bad, but because my interests with the show dwindled to the point, after about the 16th episode, that it became a matter of willpower in order to finish the show. I think I still have 4 or 5 eps left. It’s kind of like, listing to some girl talking about her life, ranting. Except I have no real reason to be interested in what she will say. Maybe it’s a man thing. I think at this point in Fujiko (I think it is best to call it that to avoid confusion), my problem is that if the show is going to focus on Fujiko (the character) the whole time, I’d rather go finish Michiko e Hacchin first. It really is a lot of the same, just wrapped in a different candy shell. There were some really outstanding episodes in Michiko e Hacchin, so hopefully we’ll run into the equivalent in Fujiko sooner rather than later.
Is it good? Absolutely.
Can you eat it? Got milk?
Will I? Totally on the fence on this.

Medaka Box
I might have snoozed in an episode or two. I’m with the consensus when it comes to Toyosaki’s voice. I really don’t care too much but at least the setup is kind of interesting.
Is it good? Nope.
Can you eat it? Lickity-split good.
Will I? If time permits.

Fate/Zero
Yeah, more shining, well-framed, rich-looking pretties. Enjoy your F-15s and and V-MAX.
Is it good? Game of Thrones good, minus the nudity (I always feel the irony while making this comparison).
Can you eat it? Kind of disgusting but yes.
Will I? Every Saturday morning!

Uchuu Kyoudai
This is one of the first series this season that, I think, depends on your engagement with the manga material, can give you an entirely different outlook on the anime. Key word is can. For some people it makes no difference. I’m loving the mainstream-dumbed-down, warm fuzzy feel of this show. Also, Sawashiro again?
Is it good? Pretty decent.
Can you eat it? If you like a face full of hair, but some people like it.
Will I? As a proud ex-owner of several space shuttle toys I have no excuse not to.

Saki – Episode of Side A
More Saki, but with an entirely new cast. I’m not sure at this point because the old cast has pretty good chemistry and when the tourney begin it was a flood of interesting side characters to keep things, well, interesting. We haven’t gotten far enough in Side A to make any real calls.
Is it good? Probably as good as the original, minus tacos.
Can you eat it? Again, minus tacos.
Will I? Probably.

Sankarea
It’s a cute show, the lead chick is appealing. Interesting crossover of different elements. It goes the “utena” way with thematic exploration in the character development context, which I guess can be hit or miss.
Is it good? It’s not that good.
Can you eat it? Yes.
Will I? Maybe for a while.

Tasogare Otome x Amnesia
Besides being the Takane-as-a-ghost template…and Yuuko is just like a few other Yuukos out there. The Oonuma Shin connection makes it more like, wait, isn’t that Arashi? A real oujo-sama has better upbringing than the less-than-proper Yuuko here. How does x translates to “of”?
Is it good? Probably not.
Can you eat it? Somehow, but it is kind of weird.
Will I? At least for now.

Tsuritama
Nakamura’s most normal anime yet. Anchored by the high school hijinx framework it is also probably the least exciting one, but I think it’s exactly why it’s the most exciting anime this season for me. It’s liquid crack for visually-oriented database animals.
Is it good? As per usual Nakamura.
Can you eat it? You’ve been warned.
Will I? Raw? Sauteed? Simmered? Boiled? Broiled? Baked? Fried? Stir-fried? Deep-fried? Steamed? Nuked? However it takes.

Sakamichi no Apollon
I find this show overrated but when contrasted with Fujiko, I come to appreciate this style a little more. It feels like, hey, this is a shoujo manga taken seriously. Done by a guy who is probably best for his HK Blood Opera-inspired stuff. I noticed that the first two episodes have a huge gap between the way the animation and music interact with each other. The first one was super-stiff, but the second one was like a page from Hachikuro. Nice job I guess.
Is it good? Undoubtedly at this point.
Can you eat it? Yes. Delicious Yoko Kanno is delicious.
Will I? Yep.
Bonus: Just need to figure out how much of this anime is just an ad for various albums.

Polar Bear Cafe
Cute computer bears are pretty amusing but the humor just doesn’t work for me.
Is it good? Worse than Mitsudomoe. And don’t take it the wrong way–I liked Mitsudomoe. As an aside, now that could be the best setup for a Sphere anime.
Can you eat it? Just don’t eat too much.
Will I? Nope.

Kuroko no Basuke
Typical sports manga-turned-anime. Interesting protagonist being the proverbial 6th man. Except he has the figurative power turned literal! Hahaha.
Is it good? I don’t know.
Can you eat it? Maybe.
Will I? Nope.

Acchi Kocchi
Konata-level cuteness. Unfortunate I don’t have a thing for Konata. Or I should say, I kind of like her in the “I kind of like to punch her in the face” kind of way.
Is it good? Below average.
Can you eat it? I guess you can eat candy.
Will I? Probably not. But who knows?

Upotte!
The characters are anthromorphs of assault rifles; I should rather say, they are normal-looking school girls, but somehow they have attributes that relate to the firearm they are named after. And somehow they are students in an escalator school and their grades determined by the biggest ammo they can accommodate. I guess this means nobody graduates from this school. That is also probably the least weird fact to realize from this ridiculous series.
Is it good? Nope.
Can you eat it? Very well! Or as some would say, “Eat lead!”
Will I? Probably as long as there are enough humor elements to keep me laughing. I like the gun talk just enough to realize “Wow, I think I understand, just barely, what they’re saying! I am probably not a gun otaku.” Positive self-affirming stuff.

Kore ga Zombie Desuka? OF THE DEAD
Also a “continuation” from a previous work. Season 1 was a dark horse because it’s an unknown quality, and season 2 still is a dark horse, just by happenstance of who is in the running. I enjoyed the first series so I look forward to the next. Iori Nozomu owns this show pretty hard. Mousou Eu is everywhere.
Is it good? No, but you would be surprised at how good it really is.
Can you eat it? Good question.
Will I? Probably. Although I will most definitely if there’s a Sankarea crossover.
Note: Where’s your simulcast FUNi? Your google fu is entirely missing, to boot.

Queen’s Blade Rebellion
I did and only planned to watch the first episode of the third season of Queen’s Blade to see if anything outrageous happen. Not so much. Although DAT HORSE LOL. And Itoushiz pirates. And the other Sheryl Nome anime of the season.
Is it good? Nope. But it is stable and steady breastservice.
Can you eat it? Yes.
Will I? No.

Nazo no Kanojo X
I read a bunch chapters of this manga back when, it was a very nice hook but it really failed to capitalize on it I think. The manga was still pretty solid, and the anime seems like a straightforward adaptation, something that should be acceptable for most. Get over the drool thing already.
Is it good? It’s not bad, but probably not good.
Can you eat it? Probably not the best question to ask when the show is about drool swapping.
Will I? For now.

Leiji Matsumoto’s Ozma
This retro sand-submariner anime is pretty cool actually. I used to read the manga for this for the setting, like, when I was little. Don’t remember much now. But I do remember the original manga was cooler because paper books can’t talk so the whiny feeling didn’t get in the way.
Is it good? It’s kind of average.
Can you eat it? Not really but YMMV.
Will I? Probably not for now.

Sengoku Collection
It’s a good, solid moe-chara show. I think it’s like the one moe anime every season or two that does something I really like, but nobody watches it.  Also will eventually make a cheap Zombie ADV license down the road, as they tend to be invariably the case. Sencolle episode 3 featured a Mamiko x Nakahara Mai duo performance that took me back to the mid 00s. Man. On the other hand, given the setup, Rumi Ookubo isn’t going to get a lot of lines despite being the main character, isn’t she.
Is it good? I think it’s good enough!
Can you eat it? Like spider-sense-tingling candy.
Will I? As much as I can fit it.

Jormungand
If I were to recommend my RL bros an anime to watch, this would be it. If they want less crazy or less violence, it’ll probably be Apollon or Space Bros. Also, Koko “Lovely” Morishima indeed.
Is it good? Passibly.
Can you eat it? Don’t let the brass shell get in the way.
Will I? Yep.
Note: By process of elimination, this is going to be a Funimation or NISA license isn’t it. And either would make a lot of sense.

Eureka Seven Ao
Okinawa vibe is nice so far. Like any other BONES project of this sort the long haul view is the only one that makes sense, but that isn’t going to stop people from dropping it (or picking it up). It’s a nice visual treat at least. And like any other BONES original project these kids are gonna tour the world right? Ao so Bleu w.
Is it good? Ask me again in half a year.
Can you eat it? Maybe.
Will I? On the fence.

Natsuiro Kiseki
It’s not terrible, but it’s not very good. I think it can be fairly okay, iyashikei-sort-of-thing, but I don’t know if I can recommend people to wait it out, at least not with a straight face. Maybe it will surprise me down the road.
Is it good? Probably not.
Can you eat it? Kind of reminds me of Hatsukoi Limited, that Saki.
Will I? Yeah, taking the bullet for the team.

Accel World
If .hack//SIGN was like this I would have watched it.  In a way I see this as finally, these video game anime about online video games have reached a point where it doesn’t just intrigue by concept, but also by execution. I don’t know when we got there but I am not complaining. Chunibyou notwithstanding this show is fairly solid, if nothing out of the mold and nothing out of the ordinary.
Is it good? Probably not.
Can you eat it? Mmm baby back pork ribs.
Will I? Maybe, going to give it 3.

Shining Heart: Shiawase no Pan
The Tony Taka design looks fine except for their faces, which just…translate stiffly for some reason. At least Nishimata’s faces aren’t too weird looking when animated? I’m not really in a position to criticize. The anime feels awfully iyashikei-appealing, which is a good take for something like this. Itou Kanae helps to sooth the pain.
Is it good? Probably the worse Production IG anime in a while.
Can you eat it? OH YEAH BABY
Will I? Probably will give it 3 and drop.

Haiyore! Nyaruko-san
Nyarlathotep has never been so cute. And you know what, I learned how to spell its name because of this show. Yes, Asumi Kana carries this show, but she didn’t just carry it, she made it hit in America. The source material is also very funny, which helps a lot when it’s faithfully translated in such a way.
Is it good? Nope!
Can you eat it? Ufufufufufufu.
Will I? LET’S NYAA

Random stuff:

Akibaranger – Hahaha, I enjoyed it, but the fact that it is live action kind of bothers me. This is so manga-ish, it might as well be.

Kuromajo-san ga Toru!What happened to these? Anyway, this is actually very fun to watch because of the straight humor it applies. It is also a great example of quality voice acting.

Yurumates 3Dei! – I kind of zoned out on the original series, but this reboot is a little more spirited.

Only Hyouka and AKB0048 left.

PS. I’ve listed 24 shows (not counting the miscellaneous/random stuff), three I dropped on one episode. If I do the 3-ep test for the rest that means in the span of maybe 4 weeks (I actually watched Ozma 1-3 back-to-back when ep3 aired) I would have watched 66 episodes of new anime. Not including the shows I’m following that are not new. It seems like a lot, but I guess that’s just how I roll…

PPS. How many sequels can you see? It’s less than 25%! THAT is why Miyako’s bowl is empty? Color me impressed. But I guess given the 1-2yr lead time, it’s about right that we’re reeling from the sequel-itis flooding from 2010-2011.

PPPS. Tsuritama > Space Bros > Slopes > Fate Zero > Bodacious ~ Jormungand ~ Nyaruko-san > Sket > Sencolle > Fujiko > Natsukise > Saki ~ Medaka ~ E7AO > Korean ~ Sankarea ~ Dusk > Ozma > Kuroko > Upotte ~ GFX > Accel > Zetman > QBS3 > Bread ~ AK > Bearbros > ??? > profit. Actually Akibaranger is pretty funny, and I normally don’t dig tokusatsu stuff. Kuromajo-san is a riot too. Maybe I will supplement the humor shows I’m planning to drop this way.


Nyarlathotep And the RPG Sausage Maker

I’m not really a fan and I am not familiar with Lovecraft’s creation, but it seems that Nyarlathotep’s transition into anime/light novel (in the resulting Haiyore! Nyaruko-san property) is via the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game. There were no “SAN” points in the novels, I think?

I think the first time I heard about Japanese tabletop RPGs was almost around the time when I first heard of 2ch. Of course, that just means I didn’t find out about something that geeks everywhere have enjoyed since who-knows-when, in Japan, until then. There were, as expected, games that are popular and exported, and games that are domestic. Queen’s Blade is probably the best example out there in terms of an anime based on a tabletop game. Nyaruko-san anime is actually based on the light novel of the same, which I assume got its inspiration from Call of Cthulhu.

The history behind the CoC game, though, is still the game adaptation of the source material. Tabletop RPGs make good use of fantasy material given their wordy and rich world building necessary to field games like this, at least in a way that will sell to the same crowd. A lot of IP can be contextualized and translated into some existing game system and the various RPG systems and frameworks enable role playing, a way for players and fans to interact with the IP.

The amusing thing in Nyarlathotep’s case is that it not only allows for player interaction, but localization. It’s easy to localize a system. I can play New Love Plus because all the moonrunes come at me with a steady, player-regulated pace in a way shared by other games of the same genre. A 3DS is not so different, from one region to another. I have context, I have the help of user interface designs, and I have experience from using or playing other games. If I can play Dominion, I can play Tanto Cuore, or the Nitro+ version of Dominion. But that’s still just another form of lateral translation of experiences. It is still one step further to get to the case of how I relate to Nyaruko-san–someone who plays table top games in general and enjoys anime, versus a specific regurgitation (the anime) of a localized-for-foreign IP (CoC (game and books) Japanese ver.) based on a local IP (CoC game) that was adaptation of another local IP (CoC novel), and the IP itself. I mean, seriously. I haven’t even gone into the Azuma-style of database elements about Nyaruko-san yet. This is all very dicey, in a chopped greens sort of way.

So in my mind, I think of how sausages are made. This is it. This is cultural sausage. The game system provides the proverbial sausage grinder. The anime/database elements is like, the sausage skin. What’s inside will probably drain you of your sanity points. What’s amusing is that Nyaruko-san makes whole sale references to Lovecraft text, starting with the tagline “Crawling Chaos.” This is some special sausage if that much of the original can get through.

PS. When I game, it’s usually a sausage party, get it?

PPS. After writing this post I washed my hands. With soap.

PPPS. (」・ω・)」うー!(/・ω・)/にゃー!


Upotte!! Is Not a Crime

The other day I found that my childhood buddy has finally landed a job of his dream/calling, which is to work as an attorney working on gun ownership related litigation in the state of New Jersey. Just a blurb about gun ownership, it’s something of an American tradition; living in the land of excess you do see people abuse their rights and go overboard with their firearms. On the flip side, for every 10% of bad apples there are probably a bunch more good apples, more victims of circumstances than anything, now having to navigate the varying firearms laws of each individual state, plus the federal one. It can be tough especially if you live in a state that progressively restrict certain weapons that you own (and NJ is one of the more difficult ones); something legal that you bought 10 years ago may be illegal now and you might not even know about it, or can do anything legal to make it un-illegal again. It’s interesting to see how not each instances of grandfathering work as flawlessly as designed, and regardless of your position on the issue of gun ownership, enforcement is always never perfect. That’s why my friend has a job, I guess.

While he doesn’t quite fit the pigeonhole of your average libby gun nut, my attorney friend does have a modest firearm collection that he has probably left in some degree of neglect due to work. He also grew up in the country and the ‘burbs, and is not a city person at all. Well, it’s all good to me because I know he is a responsible and trained individual when it comes to this, to the degree that I know the kind of, uh, misdeeds he has committed that he probably won’t be doing anything dangerous.

That said, would he enjoy Upotte!!? I’m not sure. I’m not much of a gun nut at all (although I do enjoy skeet shooting on occasion) but I find Upotte entirely a riot. I mean, in a post-Qwaser world, Upotte is light-hearted and fun stuff that is easy to get in to and get the joke. If you’ve never seen Qwaser, this may all be a shock. I’m pretty sure my friend had not, so Upotte might be shocking to him in the “right” way, which is the shock of seeing how boobies now are analogues to barrel protective covering for guns that he know. I mean, there’s little anyone can say about that, and more about emoting the unspeakable, that “mfw,” that jaw-drop.

Upotte is about assault rifles, for the most part. Those weapons are generally heavily restricted in America today. I think that takes the show’s military otaku context up a notch in the sense that most Japanese gun/military otaku don’t own guns, contrary to their American counterparts. But I think no matter if you are Japanese or American or any other nationality, Upotte’s blend of moe and firearm is more of the point, the gag if you will, than any kind of contextual gateway to appreciation of someone’s favorite weapon. I mean, it’s basically what this is all about.

It’s clearly different than, say, when my aforementioned friend and I watch Gun Smith Cats and Riding Bean, he’d point out the sort of things they were using in the show, the stopping power of human muscle on small-caliber arms, what have you. I think it’s hilarious that we’ve come so far. And I can’t imagine anyone taking this seriously. But I think it is precisely why Upotte can be good entertainment!

PS. Ever look at the ads pixiv serves you when you look at Upotte artwork? LOL.


Biblical View of Death Flags

This idea applies not only to anime but also pop media in general. I’m just sort of amused that a modern treatment of this old, old tl;dr is still relatively applicable. I hope you will take this at face value.

A little context: If you’re familiar of the story of Moses and his merry band of Israeli wanderers in the desert, this is the part where ol’ Mo gives them the how-to on war. As in, when the Israeli go to war, they ask themselves some important questions. NLT for flavor and ease of reading:

“When you go out to fight your enemies and you face horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid. The Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, is with you! When you prepare for battle, the priest must come forward to speak to the troops. He will say to them, ‘Listen to me, all you men of Israel! Do not be afraid as you go out to fight your enemies today! Do not lose heart or panic or tremble before them. For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!’

“Then the officers of the army must address the troops and say, ‘Has anyone here just built a new house but not yet dedicated it? If so, you may go home! You might be killed in the battle, and someone else would dedicate your house. Has anyone here just planted a vineyard but not yet eaten any of its fruit? If so, you may go home! You might die in battle, and someone else would eat the first fruit. Has anyone here just become engaged to a woman but not yet married her? Well, you may go home and get married! You might die in the battle, and someone else would marry her.’

“Then the officers will also say, ‘Is anyone here afraid or worried? If you are, you may go home before you frighten anyone else.’ When the officers have finished speaking to their troops, they will appoint the unit commanders.[“]

See? Even back then they’d know to save your drama for your mama.


Chihayafuru: Anime for Most of Us

We anime watching folks are sad creatures, you know that? I think the more I think about and more I see what happens the less I want to listen to anyone who raises a stink about creativity or how noitanimA is going down the drain or whatever. It’s really just the opposite.

I think there are some serious and valid concerns in terms of industry specific issues and challenges, but a lot of the times these issues aren’t spun in a way in which we look at what the problem is. It’s like looking at pictures of men and women in swimsuits and being unsatisfied with the type of swimsuits you can see, rather than being unsatisfied with the actual models posing them. Putting the carriage in front of the horse, I guess.

The truth is, Chihayafuru is a beautifully and poetically rendition of a long-running manga. The subject matter and characters are really beside the motif and execution of it, elevating something rather esoteric (national, competitive karuta) into the realm of “just yet another sports manga adaptation.” I think there are a lot of great manga adaptation of this type over the years, and it’s great to see something in doses of 26 episodes joining the rank of such (hopefully).

But my bones with Chihayafuru is that it brought very little of new; it’s just an excellent execution of the old for the most part. Chihaya’s voice actor is a neophyte, and she definitely demonstrated promise in her performance and in the ending song she performed. She’s also head and shoulder taller than Kayano Ai which is amusing when you see them line up for the cast photo op, but anyway–there’s not much beyond that. I think there are some very creative use of animation CG pattern overlay in the show (especially in the OP), and the soundtrack is adorable and quite enjoyable if yo’re into that sort of thing.

Maybe this is just another way to say I’m jaded about anime, but I want more out of my anime than just what Chihayafuru provides. It doesn’t take away that Chihayafuru does provide some of what I look for in all anime, but in the end there is nothing groundbreaking or really something to get excited about from the perspective of a fan of the medium, or specifically, late night TV anime. I guess this is a classic case of getting not what I wanted but just what I needed.

That is why I actually find what this crazy social-networking cultural critic had to say striking a chord with me. I have no opinion on Sayo Yamamoto’s new work besides that it is full of naked breasts and it is promising. I’ll probably enjoy it. Because I’m the miserable anime watching type. Because as much as I might like Dezaki’s work they only give me what I need.

[Y’know, what I need is to write a post about Another.]


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