Category Archives: Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!

Truth in Reporting: Winter 2014 Report Card Meta Edition

I am watching them anime. Other than Buddy Complex being the most notable omission, I think I’m ready to roll.

I just want to take a minute to point out Miao’s thin slicing this season. It’s your formulaic ANN-style review trolling which is to say, it’s based on narrative truths that reasonable people find agreeable rearranged without sense (or all the sense, on the other hand). I want to just highlight it for that–this is a relatively “weak” season in a long time. I think part of it has to do with a general shift in late night TV anime. Just compare it with 2010 (or even 2011). But ranking it seems like a futile exercise at best, so there’s no symbolic gesture of not putting Nisekoi in the first spot.

FWIW, he called Wake Up Girls Movie an OAV.

New shows (and long-absent sequels):

World Conquest Zvezda Plot – I’m on the hook for this show. The magical reality unnerves me. It’s uncomfortable. It’s too good to drop. Its vintage too accomplish to expect a “turn off the brain and have fun” show. Except when I try to run this by the grey matter, it is giving me all kinds of warning signs.

Wake Up, Girls – My favorite of the season. I’m not sure if I like them as an idol group however, even if by all means the anime has done its job. I also like how they sneaked in that Tohoku disaster reminder in there. Also blogging over at Jtor.

Seitokai Yakuindomo 2 – I marathoned the OVAs or whatever they’re called just before episode 1. So I went in with a lot of feels and fresh memory. I wonder if this is why nobody licensed it, by the way–the book publisher must own the rights of episodes 13-18. Is this the new licensing hell (say hello to YZQ)?

Wizard Barristers – So far so good. Miss Piggy is a very nice touch. What kind of a man gets nicknamed Hachi Mitsu? A Honey & Clover dropout?

Witch Craft Works – I am glad to be able to lay my eyes on this show. The manga is a terribly boring thing but the anime is a blast to watch; the comedic timing and direction are great. It is fun also to see by how much can the anime exceed its source material. Manga usually is created by one person or a small team of people; maybe half a dozen even for some weeklies, plus some editorial staff. On the other hand up to ten times more people work on an anime adaptation. Odds are any anime production team have at least enough creative power and experience to do the same, simply because so many more people work on any given project, and the core creative team are made up of some or all fire-tested veterans. So what happens when a lame but popular manga gets animated? Speaking purely from a point of view of “animators are people who draw a lot” I think this is what actually happens.

Nisekoi – Similarly. Although it isn’t comedy but just well-executed character drama, see also Bakemonogatari. You know Shaft.

Sakura Trick – Surprisingly engaging in the yuri fanservice way. Not sure if there’s enough to keep me interested, because unless they escalate it’s all a little boring. And if they do escalate every episode, they would be spending half the episode kissing each other by episode 12. Not that is a problem I think.

ImoCho – Okay, it’s actually kind of fun watching the timid, confused and probably traumatized girl trying to climb out of it. I’m rooting for her. It’s also kind of fun watching an anime trying to depict this communication gap between the two step-siblings. I wonder which kind of boys would take note?

Nobunagun – Surprisingly fun to watch but I think this anime belongs to the 1990s.

Nobunaga the Fool – I would watch this if it was actually faster paced. Right now it’s like Horizon S1 eps 1-4, which is just kind of confusing, dreary, but minus the shock factor of huge balloon boobs and the trope pandering. Jeanne is attractive looking and all but so far she is not really a part of anything because the show hasn’t revealed anything that interesting. It’s gotta hurry it up before it loses all its viewers. Needs its clinching moment.

Space Dandy – It’s hard for me to watch–I canceled my DVR service some time last year so it’s week-late Hulu for me. On the other hand maybe it allows me to try watching it like a normal person, which is…I guess people my age group generally don’t watch Toonami. I mean, I don’t remember the last time I was watching cable TV on a Saturday night other than the Space Dandy premiere. Anyway, it’s okay, I’ll probably ride it out if there’s an easy way to watch it.

Noragami – I would be repping this hard if it was on CR. I guess I will give Funi’s EVS some prop for having actually a good enough lineup, but what can they do to earn back my trust? I guess they did have that great holiday sale. I suppose the worse I could do is pirate it, because it sure is better than not watching it at all, right? Maybe? I guess it’s important to note that I basically don’t buy shows I haven’t seen before (other than, say, Mardock Scramble, because I read the book).

Nourin – I can take it or leave it. It’s one of those shows that I would probably watch it if it’s on CR. I guess maybe next year or next sale, EVS or not. 

SoniAni – Kind of like, the show I would drop except if I don’t watch all these shows on EVS, I would have time for this. So I do have time for this. And it’s hardly the most horrible anime. It’s like the most model anime, heh.

Pilot’s Love Song – Same. This show is weird in that while watching it, I’m okay. But after I’m done watching that week’s episode I kind of regret the use of my time. Probably would dropped it a long time ago if not for said EVS issue since this is a CR show.

D-Frag – EVS problem but it’s a pretty okay show. Very “bro” I guess. I think the problem is that it’s a little to convoluted and if you miss the internal logic it’s not that fun to watch.

Chuunikoi Ren – 2chuu2koi as I’d like to call it, but this is a nice change. Much more interesting right off the bat than season 1.

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha – I’d pirate this any day.

Mahou Sensou – Dropped because I don’t have the time. Seems okay though.

Hamatora – Dropped because I don’t have the time. Seems okay though. Actually fun to watch in episode 2, if a little predictable.

Houzuki no Reitetsu – Good, solid comedy. Dropped because I got over my Dilbert phase back in the 90s. This stuff is kind of like remaking it for kids going into the workforce in this decade. As an anecdote, when I find some kid at work who falls into all of the usual Dilbert traps, I just sigh and “berate” him directly. Watching Hozuki is like a waste of time.

Saki – Magical girls meets mahjong, the “we don’t have enough episodes so we’ll compress all that we skipped between S1 and Achigahen in 3 episodes but now we can get down to business” edition. Also a Jtor item.



Ace of the Diamond – This is a pretty okay koshien baseball anime. Literally.

Samurai Flamenco – It’s still interesting enough.

Silver Spoon – Yep. One season is hardly a break.

Magi – Yep.

Gundam Build Fighter – This is the Gundam of our generation.

Tokyo Ravens – Okay.jpg

Log Horizon – Finally, story.

Golden Time – Dropped because I don’t really have the time and can’t really be bothered with that Ghost Banri stuff.


Enjoying them all. Even Pupa (whose OP has that “Fantasista Dolls” effect). I think Strange+ and Seki-kun are neck to neck.


And that’s all for now!

PS. Several blogs I follow waxed poetic on Space Dandy after watching the first few episodes. Basically they all say the same thing, like what I said earlier on. I guess the thing is, it’s just a TV show, like everything we’re watching, you can take it or leave it, and you certainly don’t have to watch everything. Only tortured fans of the medium would, beyond “a thin slicing.” As long as you’re mindful of the usual disclaimers (ie., judging books by covers etc) you are okay. It’s not about “right enough” but knowing what you are in for and getting things working for those purposes. And I think with that in mind, 11:30 PM is way too early for Space Dandy. Proper late night anime is like, 2AM! Imagine watching an anime about putting your arm inside a cow’s anus at 2AM…

The Cocoon of Chuunibyou

Kumin was the best

There are a lot of different things one would and could say about “chuunibyou,” or literally translated as the 8th grade disease. In the anime adaptation of Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai, it paints a story about the pain of facing reality. But I think it’s just a story about growing up, where the subject matter of said disease is akin to a cocoon.

In fact, thematically, Haibane Renmei is the one title that comes to my mind as the closest associate to Chuu2koi. Unfortunately there is nothing as elegant and thoughtful as what 00-era masterpiece had, that could be found in Kyoto Animation’s last TV anime. On the flip side, Chuu2koi is not a dreadful inquiry about life and death, but a cheeky remembrance of something more of us can get behind–the things that occupied our playful imagination from our early days.

After all, children play; adults don’t. It’s not so much something we hold true today but it’s a stereotype of considerable heritage. We occupy ourselves without the cares of the world, and instead things that are simply otherworldly. In the case of chuunibyou, the term otherworldly is no longer a figure of speech. The connection between that we know as chuunibyou and the innate flights of fancy all of us take at various points in our lives is a nice hook, but maybe that’s not enough for some of us.

The finale to Chuu2koi felt like an all-too-earnest Japanese indie flick. I don’t think that is problematic per se but it misses the opportunity to explore in profound ways on why we dream. It could’ve gone deeper, I guess. As much as I might like to explore how Rikka’s disease is similar to someone’s imaginary friend, it just wasn’t “koi” enough for the story. Will it be the force of reality or the lifeline of romance that pushes Rikka out of her shell? Will she turn out to be a butterfly? I think some of us was cheering for that monster from Shin Sekai Yori? I am trying to not make a Mardock Scramble joke.

And that is the Achilles’s Heel to Chuu2koi. It’s like multi-classing in D&D; there are some inherent synergies but overall is not where the smart money is. In the end Rikka had some personal difficulties and Yuuta helped her to deal with them. The colorful ways these kids expressed their youthful lives was what got us interested in the show, but I don’t know if I would’ve stayed over for dinner. Or rather, it’s like eating too much candy before dinner and how that kills the appetite. Most of us were left wanting to see more Kumin or Dekomori, these adaptive changes that were not in the source material. Even the final scene upon the “Eternal Horizon,” while evocative and reminded me some of the better confessions under similar, starry circumstances, felt closer to a lovers’ double suicide than the emotional capstone that sates and empowers viewers as they walk away from the show. Like Rikka, I preferred the Dark Flame Master that carried the show, not the full-of-starch Yuta Togashi; and like their delusions, these moments of joy were equally fleeting and leaving us wanting. It was not for lack of drama, it just wasn’t as good as the stories beside it.

Maybe that is some form of satire? Just like how we don’t want to settle for the ordinary in Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions? I guess we’ll just have to settle for this pedestrian TV animation.

Autumn 2012 Mid-season Checkpoint

I voted for more shows dropped and more time shooting aliens this November, but I got wet from Konya wa Hurricane. The net total is this post about random observations. If I didn’t mention a show here I probably dropped it, or on hold until whenever like E7Ao.

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! – It’s less mentally offensive than Hyouka because it doesn’t try to engage me on higher level of analysis and thought, so it is much easier to watch. But in a lot of ways it’s definitely inferior. I suppose this is why Dekomori and Kumin exist. I said most of what I wanted last post.

Teekyuu – What I watched: Teekyuu. What I expected: Sofuteni. What I got: Zero Punctuation. Also, this is Mappa? Good on them. About 3000 yen for all of it on Amazon! [Side note: man, pagerank for CR on this keyword is horrible.]

Seitokai no Ichizon & Ebiten – I lump the two together because clearly both are being screened on Nico first (how about that US merger huh) and then picked up by a TV station the season after. HOPEFULLY this means CR will stream it starting in Jan 2013. As far as Seitokai no Ichizon goes I’m pretty okay with the new season, once I got used to the new Akaba voice. It was easier to deal with Mafuyu’s voice because it’s a very neutral tone, although I miss the very subtle tonal acting that was present before, that gave it an extra edge of melancholy. Oh, I probably should mention Seizon Lv.2 Episode 0 was AWESOME, because man, I miss Houko.

Oniai – On the merits, it’s probably worse than NakaImo, and it is more or less the same schtick–crazy girls tries to get into main guy’s pants, entertain mostly with OTT antics and not with so much fanservice, hides its plot/character chops. Takeaways are the two underage seiyuus in Ibuki Kido (as the main sister girl) and Sumire Morohoshi (the 12-yo manager genius). Kido is actually a year younger than Akiko, and Morohoshi a year older than Arisa. My favorite gag has to be the T-shirts. It’s like “Primary schoolgirls are great” but even better. Because I can wear something like Che Akiko and not get arrested.

Zetsuen no Tempest – I’m fascinated by this show, but it’s not the most engaging thing. All the characters are mysterious and hard to read, and you don’t really know what’s going on. How can they build a compelling plot on that? Just turn a bunch of people into metal and have giant eyes float out from the ground, I guess. Oh, add a romantic triangle involving some really messed-up interpersonal relationships. What’s the best about all of this is that it’s done with the precision of a Shakespearean play, instead of something more, well, relatable and visceral. What’s the worst is that it’s all posturing and TL;DRs, with the reasons and rhymes in thoughtful dialogues and monologues. Yeah, it can be kind of dull. It’s no surprise that I like Tempest; I’ve always liked shows like this. Having Bones behind it just make it a lot easier and makes it possible that I can talk to some people who may be drawn in for those superficial reasons. Book of Bantorra, anyone?

Hidamari Sketch S4 – Really digging it so far. Although, as others pointed out, unless they do something with the new first years in a major way, this is going to be pretty much more of the same for another 13 episodes. What they did in episode 6 is exactly what has to happen for Nazuna and … the girl with the PC.

Jormungand S2 – Eh, it’ll do. A lot of the suspense is gone with the second season. Maybe I should write a blog post about sequels like this. And Hidasketch.

Space Bros – It’s gotten to the point where the anime just has to make one more mistake before I drop it (for the manga). Invariably it makes a mistake and I’m like, man, I don’t want to read manga, because I just don’t have that mode of consumption handy in the way my routine is. But invariably, also, Space Bros redeem itself in some minor way for me to keep putting up with it.

Psycho-Pass – I can put up with this. At least it rewards with some pretty cool ideas. And a strangled Ayanyan.

Robotics;Notes – This anime is my Yoshino Nanjou coming-out-of event. Granted at this point it’s all kept in the dark, plot-wise, so I can’t really say anything about this anime besides that it’s already seeding important details, as all non-linear narratives invariably do. I’m not sure it has given me enough to go on but I’m just blindly rolling along with Tall Robot Nerd Poplar. And is Kai a jerk? Who cares?

Magi – I think this is my top show this season. But it’s one of those “watch but don’t buy” kind of thing since the show itself is just excellent, but not something I’d obsess over. Maybe it will change and upgrade into something worth owning.

Busou Shinki – This is pretty lame. Limp, even. Especially when it’s less like Strike Witches and more like… Infinite Stratos? At least that’s how I’m watching it–for the mecha battles. The animation is what I like best, along with the tech/setting. But I’m not sure how else it appeals to the cute-girls-do-cute-things demographic. Maybe I’ll punt it after all?

K – The music is so pimp that I feel like playing Persona 4 Golden. Might punt it. And yes, this show works great as a comedy…and that’s it.

JoJo – OMG. On the other hand it’s just as I expected from David Pro.

Girls und Panzer – This show is brilliant. Not only it capitalizes on what is obvious as the concept became a thing, it did enough of a twist to make the whole venture seeming worth the while. Its ensemble-cast style organization yet focusing on a handful is a gamble ultimately, not because they’re doing that, but they better be focused on the best five girls out of that lot of dozens.

Medaka Box S2 – I guess this anime took the Negima turn? Not that I mind; Medaka makes a good protagonist, although it’s really just a 2-person show between her and Zenkichi vs. the world at this point. Not that I mind that, either.

Shin Sekai Yori – It’s the “different” anime this season, although how it’s different is unclear. I think it’s at least something interesting for a more “mainstream” audience (because it isn’t really mainstream) but this is definitely overrated. If I had to criticize it, two things–the pace is horrid and the direction and scripting is clumsy. Usually these two things cause me to drop shows, but the setting sort of redeems it. Or the underage sex, I’m not sure. I predict at least one commentator at the end of this cour will complain how it does not fully utilize its setting.

Muv-luv Alternative: Total Eclipse – Lots of BETA action in the first half. Second half is more about Total Eclipse of the Heart amirite.

Little Busters – It’s the sort of moment when you recall every Key/VA anime event you’ve personally experienced since the beginning and you go, “we’ve came a long way.” It isn’t to say the visual novel to anime mechanism has improved to the degree that those products are something worth while–maybe it has. But Little Busters was originally the concept, and now it has arrived; perhaps its only flaw was this anime existed starting after Angel Beats. None of that, however, heals its deadly pangs of boredom.

Initial D Fifth Stage – I guess no one sleeps in Tokyo in the night of fire about love and money. And I still would like to test out a FR-S/BRZ sometime.

Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo – The Pet Girl of Sakura House? Inn? Guilty Crown? I enjoy the roomful-of-lunatic approach to the series and it is very much got everyone looking at the characters as characters, and that is already a win for the anime. As usual I have a harder time buying in, but the array of otaku references makes the low production-value pill easy to swallow. [LOL I forgot about this show srsly…now it is included!]

I really want to keep watching Kamisama Kiss, but I have to drop something in exchange. I might.

At a glance you can tell Funimation is pushing a lot of new titles this season. It’s a promising thing because in the past 18 months they are major slacking on new acquisitions in my opinion, given the share of home video releases they put out. On the other hand, while I have been test driving their premium account across my phone and PC (mostly on the PC), their quality of service is still rather lacking. It’s better than just embedded Hulu streams that TAN is doing, but that’s like comparing your current self with yourself in 2002. At least I can get things to work after enough experience “jiggling” the various nobs and switches. Like how in Chrome when you change resolution to 720 it autoplays, and half the time it tries to play 2 streams in the same player if you hit the wrong buttons in the wrong in sequences.

At times like this I wish I was the kind of otaku who only watched anime off the tube, so I can cut it loose and just stick to this sort of services, paid or not.

There are three fronting shoujo series this season. Two go to CR, one to Funi and AN gets one of the two from CR. Not sure which one wins but that sounds at least fair.

Overall a pretty mild season without a smash hit, unless that boring Urobuchi show turns out to be a gem or Sakurasou becomes the second coming of Toradora. The various continuing series are all pretty strong and they will entertain, where as new series will have to flounder a bit before they find their footing. We’re at the half way point now, but I think shows like Garupan and Oniai have no real grasp on the audience at this point. Maybe that’s okay for those kinds of shows.

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Chuu2Koi 7 Is Fleeting, Alternate Reality

Much like Hyouka, I have a love-hate relationship with this season’s Kyoto Animation product, Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! I love it because visually it is a cornucopia of all things that power anime and make it an enjoyable medium. I don’t like it because ultimately it’s the same tiresome teenage-coming-of that Kyoto Animation has done a dozen times before…most recently in Hyouka. Its saving grace, probably, is in the two anime-only characters. Dekomori, specifically, simply made the show a lot more fun as far as her fast-pace personality and those gags for a character smarter than her pay grade.

I want to specifically talk about episode 7, because throughout this episode the dreamy Kumin-senpai reminded me how things would be like if Kyoto Animation animated The iDOLM@STER. This random post is brought to you by the seiyuu connection between Kumin and Yukiho, Azumi Asakura.

Isshiki probably did not say that Kumin looked like a Showa idol in the novel, but in the anime it is quite the trigger, at least for someone with my disposition. It means Kumin channels those old-timer (well, ’60s-80s) TV and stage personalities (I suppose the term applied to only women) who stood tall and sang, giggled gracefully as they mingle with various MCs on variety shows or visiting soldiers on tours of duty. It’s that kind of image you see inside run-down Japanese bar restrooms, on beer posters. It also personifies, today, a kind of lost past that some people long for. A lot of ink has been spilled in the recent years about Japanese idols generally, but this kind of thing is more about a class of people who conduct themselves in a certain way? It’s charming.

[This blog post is also brought to you by Animazement, an anime con that has consistently brought over Japanese voice guests that personify this idea.]

As a matter of comparison, Yukiho Hagiwara is no Showa idol. She’s more like your timid AKB48 understudy, except proficient with the shovel. Someone like Takane or Azusa is closer to that concept. Kumin, on the other hand, is slowly getting enough screen time to show off her after-school regalia, complete with a strategically placed mole. As Isshiki said, Kumin fits that ideal to a tee, right down to her white, one-piece swimsuit. How quaint, I guess.

And it is quaint. Dekomori and Rikka may be in a world to themselves, but Nibutani sets a different kind of ideal–the one I’m more used to. I’m not sure how realistic Nibutani’s attitudes are, as far as what goes for “normal,” but it seems reasonable. Here we have a totally someone from the left field in Kumin and, well, it’s kind of nice, not to mention it is entirely natural. It’s like having a visual (Rik-)kei idol next to an ’80s idol, and then you have Britney Spears-tani right here. To that end I’m not sure what the show has to say about any of this, besides that Isshiki would shave his head for any one of them.

For North Americans, you can catch Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!, Ep 7 “Reminiscences… of Paradise Lost” at the AnimeNetwork, with a subscription. The translated episode title happens to describe Showa-era nostalgia too, doesn’t it?

PS. There is one strangely technical aspect about Chuu2 that I like: Nijine is the composer. I previously stumbled on his work from Hatsukoi Limited, and the same weirdly fitting music came across in Chuu2 as, well, weirdly fitting. I really like that overly sentimental take from Hatsukoi Limited but as far as I know I am the only person ever who took note from that show’s music (outside of the OP/ED and Marble connection). In this anime, well, I’ve not made up my mind yet. But I think this Nijine person really has it together, given this pretty impressive list. Impressive only because I like a lot of these songs.

PPS. Seiyuu X-COM is kind of on hiatus, partly because of the approaching holiday, and also because I have a current-season backlog that I’m trying to hack away. It is as if I’m barely getting by and keeping my face above the surface, but only to be overwhelmed on every Thursday. Losing a week of broadband internet because of Sandy certainly didn’t help. With Thanksgiving coming up hopefully that means I’ll have time to catch up for good. Or maybe I’ll drop even more shows.