Category Archives: Franchises

Random Thoughts: Cold-Call Stalker

I wasted a perfectly good Saturday wormed in front a couple Nico streams for ACE. It’s something I probably have never really done before, although I may have had in different variations over the years. I think one of the strongest thing NND has over Youtube is precisely this sort of live content programming, the sort of stuff that resembles more like sports programming than, say, some pre-produced thing someone uploaded to some video service. NND’s coverage of ACE is actually pretty good once you ignore the fact that half of the content happen in the wee hours of the day for EDT and some of the better stuff is either not streamed or geoblocked.

As much as I casually (or maybe beyond “casually,” I’m not objective enough to tell) follow these new-comer seiyuu scenes, these ACE streams mark the first time I’ve seen some of them live with any prolong period of time. I guess it’s kind of interesting seeing Kayano do her little Menma corner in that interesting getup. Interesting, because I don’t really have another word for it.

It was enjoyable to see Mizuhashi and Shintani pimp the new Hidamari Sketch TV show. Man, I remember Shintani when she was like, 18 years old. Time flies. Mizuhashi was interesting and pro. The Madoka stage was rather uneventful other than seeing your favorite seiyuu on stage. In my case it’s mostly just Nonaka. I really need to dig out more videos of her, she’s like tailor made for my weak points. And I guess that’s the thing: I just don’t spend the time to watch seiyuu videos and the like, so there’s a sense of wonder left when I subject myself to this sort of manufactured marketing drivel.

On the other hand, you kind of have to be all keyed in to that stuff to enjoy, say, the iM@S x YuruYuri x Milky Holmes variety show. I was pretty happy about NND broadcasting that one in their US portal. Also, you can tell iM@S team is just more together, having better chemistry and more experience. Not too surprising given that they’ve been around the longest and have done so much together, even including newcomer Asakura/Yukiho.

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Remember that seiyuu phone call app? Originally it started out with a list of A and B rank seiyuu and you have to pay to get the full “calls.” Now it’s flush with a bunch of C rank (I’m not sure why I’m using these letter grades but I hope it gives you the idea) seiyuu that are free. It’s kind of cool because it’s one way to find out about some interesting voices, like Chiyo Ousaki. Definitely a budding eroge queen!

Is this creepy? At first yeah, even for me. But as I go through the various selections it’s actually kind of fun. Fun in the sense that it’s like you get to hear someone new and check out what they sound like, how they act out a scenario–something I think that is fundamental about being a seiyuu person. This along with that card game where you can pick up seiyuu by voice provide an interesting way for new voice actors to get themselves out there and for seiyuu fans to pick up “relevant entertainment” cheaply. Win-win for marketing and consumers IMO.

Then again, you get people like this. Which is kind of neat but, well, LOL. Anyway, you can read about the list of newbies at Seiyuu+plus’s site.

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Anime Boston, PAX East, and Easter are all happening at the same time! As mentioned earlier I’ll be enjoying (hopefully) the first Momoi concert of my life and it is with slight trepidation that I look forward to how the Momoists handle it. On one hand I hope it’s a lot of fun when fans put so much effort and energy into it, but on the other hand I just want to see the crowd being the way they are–lackadaisical and KY–without getting too worked up by wotagei. As much as the calls are part of the whole thing, it feels kind of too stiff sometimes. But then again, con crowds are typically easy and it’s not like I go to the con for the crowd anyway!

And that brings us to the true topic: obviously, I go to Boston for some fresh and tasty oysters. I think if there’s a staple thing to have in Boston, that is it. All the other seafood-y things are a little bit overrated. I mean I can get a perfectly good lobster roll or a cup of chowder in Manhattan today, why even bother doing it when I’m just 4 hours up north?

I wonder if there’s any good oyster omelette place in Boston.

Itou Kanako, I’m looking forward to that show without any reservations. Thank God.

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Back to ACE, and this time, 4/1. I’m as impacted as anyone else about April Fools. I’m fine with people complaining about it, but I think OreImo season 2 announcement on 4/1 is well-played. When the marketing is this self-aware, I have problems with people faulting that. It’s like they just don’t get it. Well, nobody’s perfect I guess.

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I’ve Waited Like, 10 Years, Since That Summer

There’s something nostalgic about Ano Natsu de Matteru. You know, Tommy Lee Jones is in a bunch of Japanese ads. Even a series of ads about him being an alien. So what’s stopping them from adding him to the series finale?

Spoilers, incoming.

I think it’s safe to say that ultimately NatsuMachi is the distilled essence of the contribution to Toradora from the team that brought you both. Does that mean it is better? Or worse? It depends if you like Toradora for what it is–a light novel adaptation into 26-episode anime-ness. I am inclined to say that the reason why you ought to like NatsuMachi is because of the parts of NatsuMachi that isn’t Toradora–a lovingly crafted tribute to Ano Sensei from 10 years ago. I think that is what is great about NatsuMachi; it’s about a part of my memories from DAT SUMMER. It’s, yes, about I’ve Sounds, about that quaint Japanese rural area with DAT LAKE and seeing various spellings of POCKY on the screen, snickering at the canned romance/magical girlfriend trope playing out, before such a thing as TV Tropes.

This is not even to mention that an original tribute is probably more whole-heartedly wholesome than a reboot or a sequel. We can use more of these things.

The question, then: is there anything else like to love about Ano Natsu de Matteru if you take all of that away? Probably; it’s an enjoyable romcom romp, but in this aspect I think the original two series had it slightly better. I still expected that at least one pair of the dominoes that made up the romantic polygon would’ve matched and made it official, other than the main pair. I wonder whose idea was that originally? The good girl was great, the sidekicks are amusing and enjoyable. The hijinks are appropriately over the top–but only if you were in on the joke. I suspect if you weren’t, the whole Ichigo/Remon aspect would not be nearly as fun.

I think the reverse is also true; I’ll confess yet again that I am no fan of Toradora; I think it’s a great show but it was nowhere near as enjoyable as the hype was. In that sense, what was a  distill of Toradora in NatsuMachi felt and taste just as, well, distilled. I guess I can run with that analogy. It’s like vodka, in that it may be fine in a mixed drink (eg., what we got in Toradora) but I doubt anyone would order a screwdriver just because they enjoy the subtlety between different top-shelf vodka. I think for the handful of people who truly enjoy anime like this, are so starved that we don’t really let the little details bother us. For the rest of us, those of us who are less committed to this sub-category of romantic comedies, well, the mileage will vary on how much you like watching the distilled essence of Toradora.

In case it isn’t clear to you–by distilled I mean it is filtered out of certain, more fruity flavors.

And for me, unfortunately, it remains a curious execution on subtle twists and turns, in plotting the characters, and in the application of wit. On those grounds I find NatsuMachi inspired, but still well short of excellent. Much like it is comfortable to wrap yourself around Taiga and Yuuji’s embrace like a comfortable blanket on a chilly afternoon, you probably won’t wear it, or likewise Ichika and Kaito’s fantasy, to the prom.

I mean, after all, who brings a warm and fuzzy romantic relationship to a fight against aliens? At least bring a robotic van.


Life Beyond 8th Grade: Guilty Crown’s Gravest Sin, And a Movie with A Really Long Name

The blog title says it all. Let me break it down:

8th Grade is a reference to “chuu-ni” and in the context of Guilty Crown, that refers to chuunibyou. Chuunibyou, literally 8th grade disease, refers to a, well, trend (now) in regards to a certain kind of mentality that’s pervasive in pop media.

Guilty Crown’s gravest sin… well, that statement is a joke. I think it’s easy to talk down on the show, and not praise it for all the things it did right. FWIW I think it did a lot of stuff right–that’s why so many people watched it to the end. But I’ll leave the white knights and people who wants to thrash against an 8th grader to their work. I mean that’s my biggest issue with dismissing Guilty Crown, it’s like stealing candy from a kid.

Or at least, nobody I think has mentioned the problem I have with Guilty Crown. The problem I have with guilty crown can be summed up in a sentence: it’s a story about someone who struggles with chuunibyou, rather than a story about how cool it is to have your chuunibyou cake and eat it too. I think characters like Okarin, Ed, Leolouch and Light have deep, psychological issues. Shuu? He doesn’t. And as a result he ends up doing things in a way that’s not really fun to watch, and it comes out in the way the story has to write him into these preposterous situations that probably shouldn’t happen given who he is.

The natural reaction I had with this, when I realized this, was just why was Shuu so abnormal in this way? What thematic purpose does it serve? I think it’s in this sense that Guilty Crown is actually redeeming and likable. Well, likable if you have a thing for hating on chuunibyou (for example, hating on fans who take RailDex too far). Unfortunately a normal protagonist doesn’t work with this formula (Bandai/Sunrise formula?), just like how no matter how uplifting Soranowoto was or the interesting issues Fractale explored there are probably a truck load of naysayers and dissatisfied customers. Which is, I guess, just another season of TV anime in the bank and life goes on, etc.

The movie with the really long name is actually billed by its sub-title: The Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below. I wanted to rewrite this post in order to open with “In order to say goodbye to Guilty Crown I went on a journey to NYC” and catch the last screening of it at the NYCIFF, but that sounded too corny. Anyway it’s great to see that film on a big, proper screen. Let’s just say that unless you got some pimp TV setup, your Blu-ray or Blu-ray rip of it will not do it justice. It is just gorgeous to see it the second time, now that I can dispense with paying attention to the stuff in the film that I already know, and instead focus my attention to the animation.

The story of the movie also comes into the clear better the second time around, at least I guess I kind of figured it out before I watch it the second time, and seeing it the second time affirms what I was thinking about. But then it struck me while I was watching Asuna saying goodbye to Shun–she is not only saying goodbye to a stranger she barely knew, but to a part of her youth. Given that she is the Ghibli-esqe protagonist in a Ghibli-esqe film, it’s kind of ironic that she would go on an adventure in order to say goodbye to her version of Howl or Porco or Pazu or whoever. It’s like she is bidding her to-be chuunibyou life, bidding her once-in-a-lifetime adventure goodbye…by going on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. And naturally, the adventure she went on is a forbidden one.

I heartily support this message. I also heartily support this film. But like I said earlier about Soranowoto or Fractale or, heh, Guilty Crown, I don’t know, man. Do you like Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below? Will it sell? Can you eat it?

PS. During the screening of Hoshi o Ou Kodomo, I still felt like as if I was watching “Char and Squid Girl go on an underground adventure.” I guess nothing can cure this.


What Ends Well

Anime and ending is a tough topic, because in order to talk about it to people who speak English you have to first talk about eastern and western storytelling modes, just in case. But I can talk about something about endings that ought to be universal–or rather, the opposite of judging a book by the cover: judging a book by almost the entire thing except the very, very end.

I think there are a lot of wasted ink spilled on why it is okay to justify crapping on a show with only the first, second or all three of the first three episodes. To be honest I don’t care; fact remains you are making a call with just (at most) three episodes, and I’m hoping your wager is equally tempered with how you’re rolling your odds against the other 9 or whatever episodes that you haven’t seen yet. That’s not my business, anyway. However I think the equal if not much stronger argument can be made with the last, next-to-last, or three episodes from the end (or any 1-3 episodes in the middle, for that matter). Some shows, rather, really need to end on a strong note in order to have a shot at being “good.” I’m thinking we have at least a couple this season, for various reasons.

Take Another for starters. [I totally picked it first so I can avoid making another pun.] It is more or less a classic Hollywood-styled and paced horror anime. It’s also the kind of horror anime that wants to play the entire spectrum of happy and sad scares. Its final-destination-esqe deaths are one of the biggest booms. I can’t help but to compare it with Angel Beats. I think all the Angel Beats naysayers would have had a great time if the cast in that show actually died in those comedic ways. Too bad they were already dead.

Anyway. I think a show like Another really, really needs to end on a strong note. It’s that sort of poetic/thematic redemption that can make or break a show where it bankais on all the emotional chips it built up over the season. So it had to end well. Or else all that emotional ride comes crashing down, and people will leave the theater with a bad impression. I’d say it’s because this precise thing that made Shiki at all a bearable show (I didn’t think it was very good, except for the climax and the end), so I have high hopes, given how it’s written by the woman’s husband.

The other big one riding on the end is Lagrange ~ The Flower of Rin-ne. Technically Lag-Rin (or Kamojo or w/e) is a Fate/Zero-style hack–it is doing just the first half this season and I’m assuming it’ll get a break and resume in the summer. But for people to care about this show, it has to go all-in with this ending. This week’s build-up was beyond expectation in terms of quality, so hopefully we’ll go into the break with some positive feeling about this show, despite how it really tried to squander all that good will by its lackadaisical character development.

Not as dire as the previous two, but the romantic throwback Ano Natsu de Matteru also needs a very strong ending. The biggest reason why would be that it already has expended most of its chips; it may be safe to say the emotional climax has come and gone. What remains is largely people’s expired expectations. If it were to merely meet these low hanging fruits it would have made the show unremarkable on its own. But given how people lowered those expectations it is precisely the time to strike. It would be easy to surprise us with something clever when we’re least expecting it. I think a car chase is a good beginning to the end! Actually, given how close Natsumachi is to filmmaking in general, I’m not going to be surprised if it makes a real push at the end. It would be a pleasant thing.

Among these, however, the show that really, really needs a good ending is Guilty Crown. It hasn’t quite lost the audience it picked up from the very beginning, but it’s beginning to thin. We’ve had a good run of the show as a joke but if it can’t cap the dramatic climatic turns that this high-energy, high-budget formula has typically provided in times past, it will soon be forgotten. Maybe it’ll get as much creds as Star Driver?

As for what I’m watching…that might be it. Or at least I’ve come to expect these handful, for better or worse. I guess if a show is really dire I probably wouldn’t think a great ending could do much for it, so maybe there is something to be said about that.


Disabled Girls

Not a Katawa Shoujo post, although that game project and the whole shebang surrounding it is kind of neat. And it’s a great chance for disabled gamers to have a dialog.

I’m more about the two episodes from the anime series of The World God Only Knows, episode 4 season one and episode 12 in season two. I mean, it was White Day. And my Rinko’s got the bug.

Do I mind? Not at the least. I mean I know if I had experienced the White Day event that I spent some time preparing (as all good BFs amirite) it would be all moe and memorable and whatever. But it’s okay to know that Rinko (and Manaka and Nene) suffered a bug and couldn’t behave as originally designed. [And instead, you did something on the 15th.]

I got New Love Plus a few weeks ago. At this point I’m already pretty much used to the issues with New Love Plus. Sparodic freeze? Yeah, happened 3 times so far. Performance problems? That drives me nuts. I spent almost more time waiting between loading and menu graphics animations than actually playing the game sometimes.

But that only makes every face to face interaction with Rinko that much more rewarding.

And somehow, those two episodes in Kaminomi are by far my most favorite episodes. It doesn’t surprise me.


Anime OP: Part 1

I was just thinking how well encapsulated anime OPs are as both a pleasing thing, a teaser, and a pitch about what the show is. It’s also a pace setter and even at times a way to mislead the audience. It is a marketing tool, as well.

It naturally goes on that I thought about my own top 10 anime OP under those lenses. I used to update my top 10s, as they were actual lists of things, not just vague recollections or rose-tinted nostalgia disguised as some metric about how #1 is better than #10.So I’m going to just talk about a few of these OP that I like. I will try to proceed systematically for greater fun and enjoyment++ but this is probably not going to turn out to be a “your OP is worse than my OP” kind of ranked list.

This is part 1 of a two-part post, mainly because it’s taking me a long time to just come up with them, and the older I dig the harder it gets? Maybe it’s just that I have been not getting enough sleep (damn you iM@S). Who knows?

And maybe I’ll think about the other categories at some point later. No promises.

The Idol Master OP 2

Since I’m listing by date, some of my “honorable mentions” (it’s not like I’m doing a top 10 at any rate, so maybe it doesn’t matter) gets mentioned first. This OP is something I thought about a lot before putting it in here. Mainly, I just didn’t think it’s got a lot of staying power. So it’s just an “honorable mention.”

What it has, though, is catchy direction, solid character animation, and a very cool bridge. You don’t hear many cool bridges in anison. Yes, OP1 is catchier and the song is probably better. I just don’t think it’s got what OP2 has overall. Plus, they dance a lot more! That must count for something right?

  • Pleasing? DANCING!
  • Teaser? Well, not much left to tease.
  • Pitch? 8/10
  • Pace? Very spot on
  • Marketing power? As much as Takane’s hair is white

Rank: A-
Rank comment: ENCORE WA NAI LIFE

Hourou Musuko OP

I think this one is listed here because it’s one of those story-element things where it does a superb job setting the mood for the show, but also hides within a possible narrative that says something about the story itself.

The magic is in the music, yes, but it is also in that strangely distilled, but masterfully directed framing. When combined with witful color direction and a restraint that you will only find in anime for actual adults, the end product is remarkable just like that, even if there’s nothing to remark…or is there?

  • Pleasing?  I love “less is more”
  • Teaser? Kinda, yeah
  • Pitch? It’s really opaque but it’s there.
  • Pace? Slowly and methodical
  • Marketing power? 5/10

Rank: B
Rank comment: For srsbzns OP analysis and OPED types only

MariaHolic S1 OP

This OP barely makes the inclusion mainly for so succintly and stylishly express the overall concept of the story. Majority of the animation in the OP is 3D CG, and it looks fairly competent, if oversimplified. The song and the visuals just merged like a couple that were made for each other.

There is violence and anger but also fun and just the right amount of sarcastic despair that signifies the average SHAFT adaptation. Don’t take it so seriously.

  • Pleasing? Sorta
  • Teaser? Totally
  • Pitch? Parabola
  • Pace? Just like the song
  • Marketing power? 7.5/10

Rank: A-
Rank comment: Kobayashi’s big break

Xam’d OP 1

I think the song was the most striking thing about this OP. It is not your everyday anime with an electric-rock pumping the animation engine. It helps that the Xam’d had an unique presentation, being one of the only anime available to Americans before it was available to the Japanese, digitally available. It was the one watershed moment where I can now point and say “the future is here.” The future was also $4 a pop. It definitely served well as a marketing tool, and I have a couple t-shirts and an autograph from Boom Boom Satellites to prove it. Sony made the OP the primary trailer for the show, and I guess that goes to show the OP being, well, good.

The animation, however, is actually the crown jewel for the OP. It’s worth repeating that animating the OP animation is time consuming and relatively expensive compared to the remainder of a TV series. I’m not sure if Xam’d counts as a TV series, that said. It is a pleasing thing visually, especially given the moving camera treatment, the perspective changes, the way the mailman ran. It kind of sets up your expectation for some mysterious action slash Nausicaa naturalism nonsense, which Xam’d was. The pacing, though, I guess is up to debate.

  • Pleasing? Yes
  • Teaser? Sure
  • Pitch? 8/10
  • Pace? Fast and explode-y
  • Marketing power? Lots.

Rank: A
Rank comment: I’d loop it. Repeatedly.

Kannagi OP [LOL gimme a link]

It sure is plain, that OP. This is what I would also consider as “honorable” mentions but taking digital pens to a choreographed idol dance is probably old hats by Kannagi standards. The post-Haruhi ED generation (that probably should also be a honorable mentions) craves this nonsense, just like how the special episode 6 ED of Kannagi was kind of one of a kind. Or how the two OP for the idolM@ster was just the…best?

The song is catchy, if plain. The dance is simple, but the animation makes it outstanding and mesmerizing. The end result is that it kind of hampers the overall experience? You feel like there can be so much more to it but in the end it’s kind of just a plain anime OP.

  • Pleasing? Sure.
  • Teaser? Like a whore
  • Pitch? 95mph
  • Pace? 9/10
  • Marketing power? Some

Rank: B
Rank comment: There are a lot of better OPs out there.

Manabi Straight OP

It’s probably the last Megumi Hayashibara song that I will sing to myself fondly, marking the end, hopefully, of the era when I didn’t really know any better. Well, I probably don’t still. The more important thing about this OP is that it is similar to another quality work in recent memory, Hourou Musuko OP, where the OP tells a story if you dig deep enough. Perhaps a controversial story, even. It did stir up some legit controversy at first when people complained that it was outright glorifying graffiti, tagging up a school. Most people opt not to dig any deeper than Manabi Straight’s strangely deformed exterior and moe/kuukikei style filling.

But as someone who did, the OP was rewarding beyond expectation. There’s a beautiful thematic symmetry within the show and the OP expresses it just as well. It sums up the soul of the show. It’s only then that the lightness of the OP theme song made sense, under the harsh light of reality that it parodied.

For clarity’s sake, the OP I linked is the original; a “digital ink” version replaced the original OP after the graffiti complaints.

  • Pleasing? JET SET RADIOOO
  • Teaser? It doesn’t leave a lot to the imagination at first, but much more in context.
  • Pitch? 5/10
  • Pace? Just like the show
  • Marketing power? It cries forget-me-not.

Rank: A-
Rank comment: One single tear

…. and I think that’ll do for now. I have like, 9 OPs to mention that I think are worth mentioning but kind of fall below the threshold (I’m not even sure MariaHolic falls above or below that) between Manabi Straight OP and the first on the list in the next post. Sigh. This is going to take forever.


Geometry, Women in Anime, Aquarion EVOL

In order to crank up the hole puns and symbolism to over 9000, Aquarion Evol episode 9 is… well, over the top to say the least. With the facts and concepts presented in that episode you can play some neat thought experiments/assocation games.

So, random rambling incoming.

Phallic symbolism: I think it’s important to remember the genre trope of having a robot made up of combining parts. Voltron, etc., tend to establish this kind of system of symbols. I think Aquarion likewise play with these ideas in the usual postmodern way that the late-night anime of 10’s have been doing. There is the famous Mugen Punch from the first season, but ever since the OTL we know EVOL is out to do something with these attacks that slightly deviates from the original. Well, maybe not so much, if you consider how the Mugen Punch was used in Aquarion S1’s finale.

So what does that say when Mix will fill all your holes? It’s like instead of being cut by Blazing Sword, it gets stuck up your nose and butt and ear? And gave you really bad acne all over? More importantly, is this any kind of thing that could be interpreted as a sex-distinct literary treatment?

Feminism: I guess one thing that underlines Aquarion is that there’s always a sense that men and women are different, but they have to do the same things. It’s like humans and Zentradis are different, but they end up living together. But who is like the Zentradi? If we consider that public education in Japan is closer to a canning factory than a breeding ground of the diverse, new or exciting, it almost seems like Aquarion is a festival that cheers for the difference between men and women in the context that once they leave the school they’re going to get sucked up, helplessly by alien abductors [using lingo from another show: sent to the child boiler?]. And there’s no telling apart between men and women in some figurative sense after that. At least while in school they can entertain fighting these manifestation of real worlds using metaphoric countermeasures.

Rape is definitely a plot device: How about the mind-controlled (I’m guessing this is what it is meant by those colorful eye highlights) solders looking for some nubile women to, uh, abduct? I mean, right, the SF mumbo-jumbo aside, they’re just looking for some women to bear their children, and you get what I’m getting at.

Andy wants to save his first gattai with Mix. Okay, I think he isn’t really isn’t in a position to be picky, but I think he said what he said just to be cool (from the POV of the writer; Andy may very much want his first to be with Mix) and impress the lady. But if we understand what Aquarion’s gattai is, isn’t this back to re: Rape? Well, maybe not rape, since it doesn’t work unless people “consent” by “synchronizing” (see how rape can totally be reworked into a plot device here lol).

My sex harassment can’t be this cute: Compare that with, say, Andy being consistently lecherous. Or is that just a biological thing? Or more importantly, a harmless thing? How does that compared trash talk by some douche fighting game guy?

As an aside, this is kind of not what I want to see how Andy is written. Andy is kind of the guy who moves forward despite setbacks. But it’s the trick that he does so by digging, figuratively and literally. Well, it’s kind of weird that he got the low-down about Mix by eavesdropping, you’d think he would just ask another girl like Mikono. Or maybe they could’ve written a scene where Amata tells Andy what Mikono said. Anyway.

And I think I understand why Andy is called Andy W. Hole. Because all his holes are the same size. Also see: canning factory.

EVOL has, from the start, written it so that Mix does the usual tsundere act. I also think it is no coincidence she looks just like Kirino. It was in a fairly stereotypical way that, like OreImo, you were kind of expecting it but the show rides that expectation all the way to the bank. And Mix’s got bank.

So here’s the real interpretative thing you could do: when Andy was convincing Mix about the hole in her heart, what does it mean in a “fill” context? Is Mix the one filling it? Is Andy trying to oblige? He “digs” into Mix’s personal construct, and I think the symbolically consistent interpretation is that Andy is still the phallic aggressor but it is up to Mix to change her mind. He only showed her the way. It is amusing that in the end Andy doesn’t get any farther and it is Mix that actually takes the dominant position, but with Amata/Mikono. I think this is as close to a progressive/compromise sort of deal as we can get in anime.

Knowing this is Aquarion, I probably should not be expecting any interpretation that is really progressive in regards to sex and gender, but it provides at least the tools to do so.