Category Archives: Gundam

TV Anime Thoughts: 2020 Autumn

Just freestyling about in and on a particular Autumn afternoon. A lot of shows I won’t mention despite that I am still watching them, and some I don’t watch might get mentioned.

Is this season good? I think so–Corona has done a number to a bunch of shows this year, so even these low-budget-feeling programs like The Boy Who Loves Slimes and Standing on a Million Lives anime with Lantis OP/ED but actually Isekai are surprisingly good Entries. Actually The 1M anime is worth a deeper look. It’s probably the most overflowing-with-kindness take on a pretty deep introspective subject, not to mention it’s one of the weird isekai anime that has a non-isekai slant that isn’t someone logging into an online game. Except it kind of is someone logging into an online game. Anyways, it’s odd and unique. Ever think about the Great Filter? This is getting to that.

Boy Who Loves Slimes, or By The Grace of the Gods, is like a male-centric take on the healing isekai subgenre. Kamihiro is basically a lot messy and clumsy take compared Iguchi Yuka’s little Myne (Main?) from Ascendance of a Bookworm. Koroazu is serviceable here (I guess it is hard to play a child who used to be a worn-out salaryman) but way less spirited than Moroha from the Inuyasha full-blown sequel. I mean this is how you do a proper franchise reboot. I kind of didn’t bother with the original Inuyasha but I am enjoying the Yashahime anime quite a lot. Maybe it helps that there isn’t this Fushigi Yuugi template it tried to walk on. Thinking back it is really hard to like a series when you don’t really care for the two main characters.

The new formula is also breathing life on Major 2nd. Major is one of those popular baseball manga/anime that I would never like despite it being a popular (in Japan anyways) baseball story. Because it is the most hollow, pointless baseball story that manga-fying everything came to represent. Like, you can (and people have) create a manga about just about anything, including various sports and even more mundane or weird stuff. However Major 2nd is not like Major at all in my estimates. It actually respects the sport instead of bending it for the services of its characters.

The other interesting thing about Major 2nd is the whole male-female physical development thing and how puberty is a weird time for athletes trying to compete, to say the least. Like, talk about a topic that isn’t represented much in anime. But this is great. This is the wholesome afterschool TV program that I crave, not that I care particularly about this one item, but the way Major 2nd pivoted completely from its diehard post-reconstruction rhetoric to something people would actually care about in the 21st century is a good study at any rate. In that it actually cares about its authenticity. If you are going to be a story about something extremely real, ie., baseball that everyday kids can play in school, it really helps to also be extremely real in the portrayal. At least, as translated into the medium.

This is also a thematic issue that I’ve seen in recent years. A lot of original TV anime programs fail to capture viewers despite being very interesting. I think two great picks here are Deca-dence and Listeners. But on the flip side you look at (really dumb) serial works turning into anime, they tend to have more of a pull. Major 2nd is good, to something more bling-y like Jujitsun Kaisen, or genre-changing to the likes of Tower of God anime. I think that other Korean cartoon adaptation is the epitome of this–God of Highschool is basically everything nobody cares about but would gladly turn off the brain and watch. It’s like, maybe something to fill the gap between Kengan Ashura adaptations (now that is a fun fighting “anime”).

(For a point of contrast, compare God of Highschool with Akudama Drive (an anime original), man, the difference is clear.)

Is it just that, having the first editorial and publishing go-around culls the silly stories that you’ve seen from top creators? Tomino needed G-reco TV to make the G-reco films, I guess.

There may be some types of works in which we can be easier on. Wandering Witch provides that once-a-year kind of experience, where you can also shut off the brain to enjoy some thought-provoking fable chill-vibes. In this particular case the stories don’t cut as deep as, say, Kino’s, but it is also somewhat positive. It’s like social media is full of luls, but people end up being more glam and positive than they typically are, just because it’s good for engagement. In other words: We live in a society. Indeed those works engage us from that side of life.

The pure-pure fantasy side of life is good this year too. Media-mix projects (original anime works, let’s not forget) like Sigururi and Assault Lily are bringing the heat and excitement, or as much as you can get with a bunch of girls. Sigururi is particularly noteworthy because it reminds me of Garupan without all the problematic stuff you get from, say, another season of Strike Witches.

Well, Road to Berlin is fine. I enjoy it and every girl is great in that show. It’s just a bit tiresome after so many years? Maybe my tastes have evolved since then–between Kancolle, Azure Lane, and the barrage of similar bin of things in this very niche. It’s not like “isekai” where a whole world of themes can be explored…literally. Strike Witches first aired in 2007, that is a long run for a limited set of themes!

(As an aside, the gay formula in all these Bushifam works and others just reminds me of Golden Kamui which resumes this season but it gets even gayer than before. In some sense these shows all follow the same formula? I guess even Aachi & Shimamura.)

Other media-mix original anime works also seemed to hit their stride this season for me. A big, big one is D4DJ First Mix. I should write about this separately. The third Bushi-fam-linked-work in anime for this season is NijiGaku anime, and that one is also turning out way better than its predecessors. On that note, even Ochifuru is a lot of fun and I’m enjoying this collective of personas. Drop Out Idol Fruit Tart is a bit like a wonky 00s show but with updated and modern sensibilities. The cast is interesting too, with the cross section of interesting new seiyuu-idol talents.

If there was a miss among all the big gun media mix shows this season, I would say that is going to be HypMic. But even as it stands, it’s serviceable enough and fun to watch. I guess it helps to explain the characters to people who are not neck deep in that fandom, despite the songs were so hype 18-24 months ago. And yes, it can be really CRINGE. But that isn’t anything we didn’t know going in from the very start.

That and Dai no Daibouken are the two shows that I didn’t expect to enjoy this season, but ended up following them beyond 3. It feels like Cygames really should learn from Dai no Daibouken in terms of how to create a compelling RPG story that is between all the Rage of Bahamut things they made (see above regarding interesting original stories that failed) and The Grand Blues which I support as an anime series purely on the Teekyuu Principle but it is the most extravagant waste of time and resource I’ve seen lately. At least the Cingekis and whatever Bushiroad made can serve on its face. This is utterly worthless for non-players and except eccentrics like myself.

Actually, the problem is pretty clear once you’ve taken a moment to think about it–Granblue and Cygames in general spends way too much time grandstanding on their own junk. Maybe it’s kind of atmospheric, but this is kind of a shell game that isn’t selling to people who were not already buying.

I really enjoyed the One Rooms this season so far. I really miss this particular version of Rietion, and that Tomita Miyu act is quite enticing.

The dogeza anime is amusing enough, once you remember it used to be shittweets and now it’s an anime short. But I think the Joy of Sugita Tomokazu can be better found in Sigururi because they’re their own unit there. I mean, Sigururi E4…

It’s a funny coincidence that we got Iwakakeru anime this season, which just reminds me of this. That said, the rock climbing JK team is compelling because it’s something I don’t know about (competitive bouldering in Japan) and the main girl is interesting. That it is over the top is OK, keeps things fresh I guess, but the other characters seems really oddball and maybe the tone of story has to play into it, which makes it also oddish and over the top.

If thinking about adaptation gets this rant to this point, the one main counterpoint this season is Tonikawa. It is also kind of a cringe show but if the entire original story is a mental gymnastic trick, what does the anime have left to do? That said, I liked the OP a lot (possibly my pick this season while Jujitsu gets the ED) and, well, the source content is solid. If I had a nitpick it would be just Akarin’s version of Tsukasa is not a great fit in my opinion. She does a fine job here, that said.

A fitting way to end this post is thinking about the Maeda Jun anime this season–it isn’t that frequently we get a show of this heritage or caliber. It’s decidedly less grim than Charlotte, but way more compelling already. I think that might be due to the animation and direction being really spot on? The timing works. The characterization works (especially on the supporting cast), that the low-key skit nature of the dialog between characters work. The Day I Became a God is probably both in the running for a late-inning comeback homerun, or forgotten to the test of time like other interesting, well-made, original anime TV series. That in itself is kind of exciting.

If there is a thing about finesse in telling a story via animation, this year showed it to us what it means. It’s hard!


Bandai Namco Festival 2019

It was a thing.

In a bid to stave off jet lag and fatigue, and partly motivated by procrastination, I want to tackle the two-day festival taken place last weekend at Tokyo Dome now rather than later. I tweeted it enough, but in summary:

  • Bannam has a lot of stuff! But IM@s is where it’s at, for this show.
  • All the idols in under one roof is all one.
  • While it was short on the collab department, there were still some great ones.
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Spring 2018 Anime Selections

Here are some impressions, as per usual. On a personal note, I recently signed up for HiDive, and it doesn’t have Apple TV support, which is what I use to watch probably 75% of anime these days. It also doesn’t have Chromecast support, which is what I use to watch ~15% of anime these days (only usually because I’m at a friend’s house or Apple TV is having issues). The two technology platforms are kind of interchangeable, since I use both at home for various things. The rest of the time I watch either on my phone (because I’m on an airplane) or on my PC (because I happen to be in front of it), in that 10% remainder. It also means HiDive is kind of worthless to me right now.

The problem with HiDive is that it doesn’t support how I watch anime most of the time. If it takes less effort to me to XDCC some files and watch it on Apple TV via Plex, than load up the video I want on HiDive, cast my whole phone, then hit play, this competing product is just a waste of my time that happened to cost money. Would it be OK for me to subscribe and not use it? I guess so. For now, the only real way to watch stuff on HiDive, short of inside a browser, is that I can dial up a video on my phone and stream my phone Airplay/Chromecast-like, but this sucks if all you have is your phone, and not a second device to play with in your living room. It is very much a first world problem, but this entire blog is more or less a first-world-issues only site.

That’s not even mentioning all the bugs in the Android app. And how the web version is making the same mistakes that plagued FUNi’s website back when they were solo on the streaming. Anyways.

On a less ranty, but still ranting, note, I picked up the EN version of BanG Dream game, administered out of Singapore. It’s perfectly fine and provides an updated experience than my first run-ins with the original JP version so long ago. They fixed most of the tuning issue with stamina usage and event point system. The more fleshed out exchange system now has some balance with grinding up character training mats. There are more songs you have access to right out of the gate, if just the newer covers alone.

Playing it also reminds me what I didn’t like about the game, which is having to put up with songs you don’t like or don’t want to listen to during multiplayer. This is why I almost never choose Random for song selection, anyway. Oh, and the usual abusers in the game that coast or outright cheat.

Then again, I get why some people instant-disconnect after the song selection screen. I really don’t have to want to put up with one more listen of Shuwarin. I’ve not fallen that far yet but it’s getting close. It would be really great if the game lets you blacklist a few songs!

OK, enough sidebars. Here are the initial offering (which is bound to shrink as the MLB season wears on).

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Iron-Blooded Orphans

You know what makes people cry? Dead children, sure. But also onions.

Spoilers ahoy! Both seasons!

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Winter 2017 Anime

So instead of going about things normally, I have been watching Legends of Galactic Heroes on a binge. That said this is sort of a weak-ass style of binge where I am only 40 episodes in after starting 3 weeks ago. With that said, LOGH episode 40 is a good place to take a breather. Just to say the obvious: This show is great and I’m glad I am doing it. In years past I’ve casually tried to start, and last Cyber Monday I picked up the translated novels on Kindle so I started reading the first book–only to stop because it feels kind of lame. Kind of like how Guin Saga initially felt. But there’s this epic anime I could watch instead, hmm.

Interspersed between all this are my usual eventing and at least one work-related trip, disrupting my usual viewing schedule. Such is life.

Kemono Friends – This is setting my meme world on fire. It’s a bit like MLP set in Humanity Has Declined. Or rather, the last humanity inside a dead mobile game? It’s tanoshi and sugoi and all that, and this friend who likes to blog recommend approaching this janky anime on its face. It’s nothing really special, until you unwrap this layered zoo to get the meta. It’s actually not a bad show, but it’s definitely not meant for everyone. The amazing thing about Kemono Friends is that I don’t think there is anything to “get.” If you just think about it, there’s enough content and bread crumbs to get you going.

Gabriel Dropout – I sort of enjoyed this show, but it’s not as funny as the play time warrants. And I don’t even mean this kind of sand-counting sense of humor. I enjoy the jokes but they are too little for too high of an investment. I’ll probably trudge on.

Chaos;Child – This is kind of why I trudge on Gabdro because the alternatives is to watch more dreary things like this. That said I’m a few eps behind so I’ll try to catch up, because I like the concept. I think this is the kind of stuff these semicolon IPs do best, except somehow only Steins;Gate had a decent anime…? O;9 was such a wasted opportunity…

Yojo Senki – This is hilarious, but also kind of dreary. I think the main weakness is the occasional focus on some existential BS, and not a little girl doing ruthless war stuff. [His Yang comparison I find a bit in poor taste, in fact.] Thankfully the balance of it leans heavily on the latter so it’s good so far. As far as these kind of fantasies go this is very satisfying. It would be even better if it wasn’t Y.Aoi behind the helm though.

Demi-chan – I don’t really know where this show is going so I’m along for the ride. It has harem aspects but also plainly focused on these half-human, daily life issues, and I think it does an admirable job on that. The characters come together in a way that isn’t terribly annoying and I really enjoy the cast, so it’s on the short list.

LWA TV – LOL licensing. Why Netflix…

Minamikamakura – The setting really wins here but I’m a little slow on this. Maybe I’ll catch up. The first couple episodes reminded me some stories I heard when Lawson took some anibloggers there to find obscure temples, up and down the mountains…

Kuzu – Is it me or this show is a lot of boring? I guess naughty sex is all there is for it? I’m curious so I might stick with a few more.

BanG Dream – It’s basically Love Live but better. Forget Aqours. So far I like it except that Arisa character is like a less charming Nico and as the characters say sometimes, Kasumi can be really annoying. I guess she’s just a Friend who likes weird guitars. I actually enjoy it except for literally Arisa, and the need to get myself to ignore the Hard Push. If gorioshi had a name, it’d be called BanG Dream, in that this is the least natural and most artificial story of a band coming together since forever. And it airs in the same season as Fuuka. That said I think there isn’t enough to make a call on this show yet, outside of the production issues.

Chain Chronicles – The characters were a little familiar but that’s where the show ends, considering my history with the game. The story is familiar, however, so I had fun following it along. I’m not invested in the characters so I think it’ll get dropped (currently at 5).

Rakugo S2 – Same o’ but more seiyuu rakugo is good?

ACCA – It’s like LOGH but without the charm, which is probably not a normal comparison but at this writing, attention span burnt on ACCA probably fills the same need as a couple episodes of LOGH. It’s curious enough to keep following.

Konosuba 2 – Still good.

Hand Shakers – I would watch it if I had more time, but not so much lately. After 3 episodes at least the girls are cute? After K I don’t know why people complain about Go Hands, other than some of the business practices. Yeah it’s a bit of eye torture, but so was K.

Maid Dragon – I like this enough for the animation, but the story doesn’t require the deft hand of comedy to play on beat every time, which is a bonus in this case because I’m not sure if humor is one of Maid Dragon’s strengths. A hint of plain nerd works like a dash of vanilla essence in a simple custard and it makes everything come together.

School Girl Strikers – It’s alright. Not sure if I’ll watch beyond 3.

Seiren – It’s not as much a brain-press as PhotoKano but it’s not that good. The gamer girl so far is at least beyond garden variety attractive and so far Seiren has done a good job with the side characters. I’m not sure I can stay with it without at least a back-of-the-knee moment. The deer mating is cute but not enough… (BTW Shikaco is in this anime as bus-ko which is, what, this joke almost tells itself.)

Idol Incident – Partly what inspired me to watch LOGH, gonna be honest. It’s not terrible but unless you’re into that political narrative it’s not particularly fun, since that’s where the jokes are. I might keep going but it needs to have some good jabs! Too soft so far.

Akiba’s Trip – It’s technically partly what inspired me to watch LOGH too, because it’s not that different than Idol Incident. The collabs and cameos are great in the show though. Is it any good? Saa…

Tekketsu – Ooops she did it again! Joke aside I really enjoyed the catch-up from last season, and kind of am glad, in retrospect, that I did it now and not at the end of the second season, for spoiler dodging reasons. It definitely is the “least” Gundam of recent memory, just something about it is different, and it’s hard to put a finger on it.

Fuuka – As a stereotypical example of a fan of Seo’s works, I can only deeply apologize that it exists, and it’s going to egg on some cool seiyuu collabs (as it has already done so). The main story is just a side dish. FWIW I stopped following his crap after I”s so Fuuka is mostly new (but yet so familiar) to me.

I tried Masamune-kun, and it was OK but I’m not in a mood for something this substantial. The two Granblue Fantasy episodes were spot on, except one might wonder if the right characters are going to appear. One Room was LOL.

A fairly fun season of shows that I look forward to every week, I’d say. Kemono Friends, Yojo Senki, ACCA, BanG Dream and Demi-chan probably are the ones I mind the most.