Summer 2014 Mid-season Check-in

What style of hip hop is this? I mean, what it sounds like is that there’s a basic melody that somehow got strong-armed into a southern hip-hop style by whoever is arranging this mess of skinny-arsed girly Japanese idol seiyuu talents? What ftmm I mean seriously. Keep it at “ニー to the ソ” please. Anyway. It’s j-trap?

I just want to begin with an anecdote. During the weeks leading up to Otakon I was pretty burnt out of going to cons and doing “have to do” things that aren’t really “have to do.” Namely like, blogging, writing for Jtor, etc. I kind of just want to stay home, watch lives, play OFA, catch up on anime. But that wasn’t meant to be. Instead I ended up doing cons and all the stuff associated with that, plus a lot of hours at the day job. The result was for at least a couple weeks I had to really pick and choose what I watch on a Thursday–that’s often the last day I can watch anime freely (as weekend meant partying it up somewhere) and for all of my backlog, I have consistently went to Locodol as the show of choice.

I want to think that is a ringing endorsement for Locodol. The cute show is surprisingly educational and it really does a great job managing my expectations. That is, I didn’t expect much to begin with, and still don’t. In that sense Locodol is even thematically consistent–who expect much of local idols anyway? Turns out the anime about local idols educate you as much about them, and is surprisingly competent and enjoyable, just like a good local idol act.

At the same time I want to compare that with Nozaki-kun. For me that show is the same schtik but with an entirely opposite approach, as it lampoons a hallowed genre of anime/manga that leaves me with a lot of unmet expectations. Yea, I already “got it” that it’s all the same, because unlike local idols, shoujo manga as a genre has been around the mainstream consciousness for decades. By episode 3 I was already dead bored of it, and it sounds like things hasn’t changed. With that said, by all means it’s an enjoyable show, just not worth my time.

Which is again, to say, I don’t think that endorsement for Locodol is actually that big of one. I don’t know about you but when I watch anime I think about what fits my present state of mind and condition so I can enjoy both the time I spend watching said anime and the anime itself as best as I can. Given a tired, fatigued, and burnt-out person, something light, humorous and mentally engaging works well. Which is to say, again, when I only watch Zankyou no Terror when I am bored doesn’t mean it’s on the bottom of my favorite-things-list this season, it just means it cures boredom because having Megumi Han talk down like a psycho villain is kind of fun. And honestly learning about hipster anime is somewhere not very high on my list of to-do. I still have a lot of Space Dandy to catch up to.

So it shouldn’t surprise you that I haven’t caught up to Dandy (see earlier comment about “have to do” but aren’t really) and instead I’ve been watching Argevollen. It’s the sort of show that I like in the 00s, so it’s nice to see that here despite the rocky start. I basically dropped that show and picked it up again because episode 4 was so much better than 1-3 (put together)–or that the first three episodes were kind of terrible, and episode 4 was okay. And things kept up with that pace at least up to where I stopped last.

Similarly I’ve been watching Akame ga Kill. It’s not terrible, it’s not great, but quite rewarding to watch. Similar to Aldnoah.Zero, I guess, minus the neck-breaking pacing and silly writing. The quality of writing on Aldnoah.Zero is a mystery. It’s clearly not bad, in the English-teacher-grades-your-paper-a-C kind of bad. It might be bad in a tumblr-is-problematic kind of way, but it hasn’t tripped any warning flags for me. So I guess calling it silly is the most accurate thing. On the other hand, there aren’t such internet nonsense to distract you from Akame ga Kill.

I’m kind of watching Sabagebu, but it’s gotten a little old so I’ve put it on pause. Maybe if I have to plan a road trip or a long flight and have to catch up on shows, I might give that a shot. Sure doesn’t put me to sleep as fast as Monogatari series. Also I appreciate that it’s an anime relatively devoid of sexual fanservice. That makes watching the show easy in public, like on a train.

Speaking of trains, I am actually up to date on Rail Wars. It’s terrible, cliched stuff, but the production values are okay and there are some interesting aspects to the show. And by interesting I just mean Vania600 (and trains, obviously) and the nice seiyuu cast. I still wouldn’t recommend this to anyone, but it sure beats watching Blade Dance or something for the seiyuu. [I am not watching Blade Dance (drop at 2). I’m not watching Momo Kyun either (drop at 0).]

Now the best, and I mean that in a very sincere way, seiyuu vehicle this summer, if not all of 2014 (except WUG perhaps), is Hanayamata. It’s outright the best of what Chihayafuru can offer visually, and on top of that you have moe out of the nose, and then there’s that music video for the OP. I think I died a few times watching it. The anime itself is heartful, if also clumsy. But that just adds to the moe. I recommend it for people who like that kind of shoujo-y material. It’s like back during the Love-Hina days people would either ask or state outright that Love-Hina is shoujo. Would people do the same for Hanayamata? I hope not. But that shows how far we’ve come along. Oh, there’s this music + dance aspect to Hanayamata too, which is more like cake on top of cake than icing on top of cake.

I also can’t help but to make comparisons of Hanayamata to Chihayafuru. The Madhouse production styles and influences aside, both are about very Japanese things that foreigners probably don’t know about. Both are about forming a club and all that jazz, too, but one is probably less accessible than the other, and one has that sports stuff the other doesn’t care for.

I also can’t help but to make comparisons of True Tears and Glasslip. That one is fully warranted, if not almost intended. It has so far all the problems with True Tears except the two worst things (harem structure, incest…although for some those are desirable I suppose) and most of the good stuff about True Tears except several of the best things. It has upgraded from “none” of the best to “several” because last week’s episode there was a repeat of naked unseen gymnastics. Unseen fanservice is by far the most extreme. Unfortunately I’m not sure what else to say about this twister from Junji Nishimura. I suppose you can chalk one up on writing a script that is realistic yet unrealistic, which is something all too rare in late night anime.

As for the other non-sequels that I’m (not) watching this season, I never got back to Barakamon, although I think enjoying it at episode one is good enough. I did get back to Jinsei, Tokyo Ghoul and Tokyo ESP. I think I will enjoy watching them, should they be on Crunchyroll or something. Sorry, FUNimation. This season especially, pretty sure I watch 90% of my anime via CR Chromcast, Android app (LTE streaming works like half the time on my commute), or at other people’s homes. Only when I watch Terror and cap Hanayamata on my PC, that I watch anime on the PC. Or when I work from home and can have that luxury, I guess. I’m not going to pay an extra $10 so I can watch some average-tier anime ad-free when I’m streaming on the go, mainly because I can always watch CR shows already that way.

Not to mention they’re finally bringing over more Vita games I enjoy. Better remember to preorder Project Diva 2… For what it’s worth, Akiba’s Trip (2) is not incredibly terrible. Just like the anime I like to watch?

Anyway, Tokyo Ghoul is the one that intrigues me the most, but I didn’t really enjoy the first two episodes at all (other than Hanazawa being who she was). Tokyo ESP got me with the first episode, but it’s the only episode any Ga-rei fans need to watch out of obligation. I might try both shows once more of it comes out and I have a gap of free time (yaominglaugh.jpg).

Jinsei, on the other hand, has this.

Which reminds me, I better work on that idol presentation, I finally got the narrative down. I haven’t got my eyes set on any of these five, but they tend to drift to Ayaka Suwa, whose Million Live character I happen to main.

PS. I am watch a lot of continuing shows too. Some feel like stand-alone 1-cour things like Ilya and even SAOII. Speaking of which while Kiriko doesn’t cut it alone, SAOII is not a bad watch so far. Also glad we’re finally on the TIM WAKEFIELD arc in DiaのA. I have my own thoughts on the knuckleball in this context, so I want to compare notes thematically here. I’m also dropping some second seasons, like Free S2.

One Response to “Summer 2014 Mid-season Check-in”

  • omo

    Just want to also note, re: Youtube Embed number one, that @paranda_update attended one of the stage events for Blade Dance and saw the seiyuu unit perform the rhyme live. As per his report, they have the dance with the gang signs down, even.

    Ibuki Kido is SIXTEEN YEARS OLD right…

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