Category Archives: Blue Drop

Hard Yuri Saves the Space?

So there was this anime called The Legend of Black Heaven (by the way the Japanese name of this show makes a great pun), which the schtick was some mid-ager, in his crisis, saves the future with rock and roll. Oji, the main character, reunites with his old band and rocked on (sort of). A very anime-like premise, I suppose.

That paints the perspective that I have with Blue Drop. It’s not that I watch and laugh at the silly antics of some newbie playwright, or the embarrassing coming-to-know-your-feelings drama that so commonly peppers the landscape of TV anime. Rather, the strange homosexual undercurrent of the show became an outlet for some of the more honest, heartfelt human feelings that was in the show. Sort of like when Tanaka strokes his 6-stringer like nobody’s business (and hey, it was also LOL fun).

But I kid as well. There is no hard yuri in Blue Drop: Tenshi-tachi no Gikyoku. Supposedly this anime is an original take based on a setting with two other manga series in the same time line as the anime, but about other characters doing other things. That’s really just the hook, the setting in which makes this show an anime rather than some strange Japanese TV drama that features an all-girl cast.

And some guy that looks like Yanni…

The science fiction part of the show is actually creative, but thoroughly an afterthought beyond the “genderbending alien invaders with better tech” premise. The anime makes little use of it, as it took place before the alien invasion. We began Blue Drop anime with a retrospective of an older woman on her way to somewhere for a meeting. Later, we find (at the very end of the series) out that she is a key supporting character, on her way to the alien mothership, even if we cannot recognize her at first. Nevermind that I just spoiled the show somewhat, but as the audience find the very first scene of the series a distant memory in the back of their heads, 12 episodes later, we can come to recognize the same woman as her teenage self in a happy yuri trio just moments before the “30 years later” overlay appears on the screen.

The funny thing is, to me, that whole retrospective thing is saying that there are some of these aliens who have enough ‘good’ in them that peace is possible. Throughout the series the mysterious Arume (or whatever they’re called) exhibited a wide variety of emotions and morally-driven acts (and apparently 90% of those emotions are various shades of embarrassment? I kid). Love, yes, both the platonic, heroic kind as well as the amorous and vengeful-jealous kinds.

It’s about looking back. Perhaps one through an extended penis analogy (/zing), the other as a couple holding hands, playing in the school pool, illustrating interconnectivity and reconciliation.

But also how no matter the sort of bitterness and difficulties we go through later in life, what happens during those pivotal moments in your youth will set you straight for good, or not. That’s probably not so funny.

Why Am I Still Watching Ninomiya-kun?

I don’t know.

Wrestling for Ninomiya's affection...?

Well, fanservice was never really my forte. I think over the years I’ve learned to enjoy it, and at the very least the fanservice in Ninomiya-kun is not terrible… To be precise it’s not really very serious fanservice–it gives you all the frills but it doesn’t give you much thrills. For some that’s a serious problem, but for me it’s just the right amount.

But even so, I think I’ve always stood firm on the line regarding the value of fanservice. Regardless if I can appreciate the sort of fanservice in a show or not, it has to serve a greater purpose. There has to be meaning behind the fanservice. It is not not in the sense that fanservice has to be a part of the plot–no, that is nonsense for a requirement–but fanservice has to serve some overall purpose in terms of the writing and direction.

For example, a recent episode of Blue Drop showed off some of the protagonists (notably, an all-girls bunch) but it was in line of the direction of the series–a balance of slice of life and strange alien mecha…crap. But it was clearly fanservice in some of the way things worked out, such as Miichi’s contemplation in the bath, and Hagino’s response to our spontaneous heroine as she jumped into the ocean. It was up to the viewer to find those things distracting or not.

Switch to Ninomiya. He is constantly tortured by his classmates and his sister and put in compromising situations. The international super agents that he and his sister are, the show has plenty of “reasons” to have the Ninomiya entourage dressed in skimpy wears suited for the tropics. And they do. But what was much more powerful was, say, episode 7’s prelude segment with Rika’s strange 4th wall fantasy about propaganda. It’s both satire and a joke rolled up into a fanservice package! That’s the stuff I like.

Needless to say I was less amused later on in the same episode when Mayu went bonkers and changed clothes. It was a silly joke, I suppose, but it didn’t really serve much beyond what it is–suddenly you have this girl dressed up like a cheerleader crossed with a nurse and crossed with a dominatrix, trying to stab you with a syringe full of unknown chemicals. I guess for some that’s amusing enough in itself, but it doesn’t cut it for me.

I laughed harder when Reika’s meeting with some unknown Arab-looking man was interrupted. So, yeah. I know Ninomiya-kun is one of those low budget crap shows on the menu right now, but it had some substance going into the series at first. The chemistry is right. But it looks like the show’s going nowhere right now, and that’s just too bad.