Category Archives: 30-sai no Hoken Taiiku

Year in Review: Team Iri Wear Pants – Comedy Reigns in 2011

If Mawaru Penguindrum can be explained by the transfer of fates via the vehicle of an allegorical apple, then Fate/Zero can be explained by the wearing and ownership of pants. The idea here is that, well, what did Rider work to get? What did Saber wear? What did Iri wear? In Urobuchi’s world, people wear pants. I mean that is typically what happens during winter in Japan anyway. Without spoiling it for you, the winner of the Holy Grail War this time also wear pants. All who survived as participants wore pants. Pants is clearly necessary for survival in the Holy Grail War.

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I’m going to say that 2011 is the return of the comedy. There were a lot of funny shows in 2010, but it feels like the funnies have for the most part stayed for the year as well. What is notable is seeing more of it in serious shows. I think if OreTsuba can bust my guts laughing, anything can. The potential is there.

I mean, talking about Mawaru Penguindrum again, was it funny? It isn’t epic funny like those Nanami episodes in Utena, but there were good chuckles all along the way. And man, Ringo. Ringo!

I watched Nichijou and Sket-Dance this year, so that may have skewed things. I think Hanasaku Iroha sometimes is really funny, although I don’t think some of those instances were intentional.

Working!! returned, which is usually solid for a few laughs. Bakatest, too, had some really big ones, despite season 2’s more somber tone. Squid Girl S2 also was solid, again. Majikoi and Horizon had laughs, and the latter is as serious as Fate/Zero is. Haganai, for the most part, was still funny. Oh wait, I’m suppose to laugh at the manual stereo mage orbit talk was I?

R-15 was pretty funny, despite being more hetare-funny half the time. Twin Angel was all hetare-funny all the time (but it wasn’t THAT funny unfortunately). Yuruyuri had a couple gut-busters, which is pretty surprising. And in 2011 we learned the true meaning of being a mage.

Going back to the start of the year, we did have Mitsudomoe S2 (which was pretty funny for the most part). OreImo True End was funny enough. Level-E was epic. And, well, there was Qwaser S2.

Looking back I think I ended up watching more comedies this year than what is fairly represented, but that is probably because they didn’t suck, like, say, in 2009.

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This year I read both the fan-translated Kara no Kyoukai series and fan-translated Fate/Zero series. They are available here and here, respectively.

As a result, over large stretches of 2011 my mind is full of Type-Moon-ness. It is like a keg of kerosene to react to some spark from Type-Moon. But Fate/Zero isn’t that spark.

Carnival Phantasm is that spark that blew my mind. I’m not too sure what to make of it besides that I have to fight that urge to import the whole thing. Because it doesn’t seem to make sense especially since I missed the boat on all that Take-Moon stuff way back when. I mean this is before Fate/Zero, sorta, and Fate/Zero’s been around the block once or twice already.

There is so much that goes on in that show. The visuals are engrossing and varied. It is funny. What the hell is going on? I don’t know. Does it matter? Not really.

The only regret left is that Fate/Zero content is not represented in Take-Moon, and thus missing in Carnival Phantasm. I mean, take a look at this to get an idea.

PS. #cp_dateall ftw.

PPS. ALTER! ALTER! ALTER!

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The Melancholy of Azusa Miura

You’re such a meanie, Author:

In particular, I was reminded that Azusa had a backstory. Not a large or dramatic one, but nonetheless, she graduated from a junior college and found herself unneeded by the society. The only difference with millions of young women with liberal arts degrees that are our contemporaries on both sides of Pacific, she ended in employ of Namco Pro instead of Starbucks. Also, instead of developing a depression, becoming religious, or hooking up on drugs, she is dreaming about the destined person — but is not doing much about finding him.

There is no special message in any of it, I’m afraid, and actually Azusa was developed for original games, before the higher education bubble became this apparent in America. But if creators play their cards right, she may become more popular than ever. Many people might relate, even in Japan.

The immediate reaction is, well, such a person probably doesn’t exist in that particular format. The 30-sai version of Azusa is a much more likely candidate (she works in a library? Slightly a step up from Starbucks, but obviously a destination of liberal arts degree holders). But the truth remains; people unmatched remain unmatched unless something happens.

But I think the better angle is that Azusa isn’t someone we can identify ourselves with; she’s more like the leftover meal from this generation of herbivore males. Here is the alternative take. We can say, via simple supply versus demand, that the consequences of single folks working longer hours and deeper into their lives, with more people getting married later in life, is that there will be people who may want to get married at an earlier age, but couldn’t because the supply is lower. It is a weakly negatively reinforcing cycle. Weak in that people tend to want to get married, and just because it is more difficult it doesn’t usually stop them from continued pursuit. For those single folks seeking out there, the lesson is:  Don’t give up; Carpe diem and all.

I like this angle better because ultimately IM@S is about, well, admiring young ladies while they entertain us. In a sense that is not too unlike what you would do with your spouse. Or so I hope. At least at some point in your relationship (when applicable)? I don’t think IM@S’s narrative cares about self-identification as much as drawing affection (and in the real idol industry, in the mind space) from the audience. Granted in these kind of things, usually there’s some kind of back story in which identification helps to disarm the audience and buy into whatever story that is being sold. But the core of an idol identity is one that is still just a step different than just you or me. Even the girl-next-door types is not exactly the girl-next-door in the urban, isolated sense; more like the childhood friend that you really didn’t know is a knockout until she debuted in some gravure magazine.

For the record, I also agree with ani-nouto about the general idea behind the character; but I can also imagine Azusa projecting a pretty fierce AK-Field IRL.