So, the usual.
Category Archives: Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Love Comedy wo Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru
Aside from my complaints on pretension, there’s a lot of fun going on at Digibro’s blog about Kill la Kill episode 3.
And in some ways, with OreTsuba now on US home video (Funimation, I respect you for at least this) maybe it’s good to revisit what this really means.
The past few years has been a turning point in terms of late-night otaku anime fanservice. On one hand, I think the overall quality has gotten better. It’s like with shows like Ladies x Butler and Kanokon, we’ve kind of scratched all the itch left to be scratch for any demographic whose itching is worth scratching, monetarily and in terms of popularity. 2009 to 2011 was high time to start to pivot, for various reasons, but also this reason.
Did anyone watch Yozakura Quartet Hana no Uta 2? My goodness. And Kill la Kill episode 3 has that…windboobzone thing?
I would take a step back and say that the fanservice in Kill la Kill is authentic and unpretentious in a way that fanservice is just fanservice. But it is kind of annoying in the normal moral high ground sort of way, as if it is saying something that is more worth saying than, say, Arpeggio. [I mean, if this was part of the discourse, I would respect Kill la Kill more. Like how I respect Panty & Stockings slightly more at this point, over Kill la Kill.]
Arpeggio is a good example in this regard because it’s in a lot of ways the polar opposite of Kill la Kill. The 3DCG use looks great when they are stills but terrible when moving in Arpeggio, and in KLK it’s great when things are always moving, and not as much when things stops spazzing. The story in Arpeggio is serious, but the fanservice is baked into the conceit of the story. The story in KLK is a commonly run trope full of hooks for reference bait, but it takes itself very casually. Arpeggio is the fulfillment of this concept, except trading jokes for fanservice (of a different kind). Kill la Kill is a drama vehicle about fanservice (so far).
So in a way, it’s appropriate to talk comparisons between a good anime and a questionable-at-best anime (just ask an Arpeggio manga reader).
And let’s talk about sexy for a second. Take this post for instance. I am not sure how many Bentens will appear in Kill la Kill. Or even the simple, next-door-girl type, Aika Fuwa. But this is one pivot. Short of going all the way home, thematically and in terms of consistency (best example off top of my head would be Yosuga no Sora), fanservice’s native advantage is that it is database-modular, you can pick it up and drop it in, or you could co-opt it wholesale. So YZQ and KLK are on the two opposite sides of this spectrum (although neither is at the ends, I think), while Infinite Stratos is very clearly going for just sexy characters, as an example of the middle ground.
Which is to say, it’s not really about pretenses, because that’s just a method. Pretension is necessary in a story like Kill la Kill, if we want to talk about shame, rape, the Nth reference to Utena-esque uniforms, or whatever. (Every time someone makes a reference to Utena in a blog post about KLK, God kills a kitten.) It’s why Madoka is pretentious or Evangelion is pretentious. Not a big deal, really, but, the story in Kill la Kill has to rely on pretend conceits and presupposed frameworks that can be challenged, like the whole Satsuki thing–the dress, the clansmanship, the class differences, the way her underlings work, the power structure, how she manipulate things to her own ends, and finally, her character construct. In as much as LordGenome (really?) and Kamina’s SOP is kind of a conceit, it’s easy to see the same sort of narrative style in Kill la Kill in which we have to ride the amusement park ride and see the theme fly by before our eyes, along with all the eye candy and Hell Yes moments.
How can an anime that casually drops the rise of Hitler to power not be pretentious? That’s like the Corollary to Godwin’s Law if such a thing was to exist. You know what’s not a pretentious fanservice anime? High School DxD. Infinite Stratos. Probably Yuusibu. Maybe even Freezing. In some ways, also those usual high school hijinks shows like Kyoukai no Kanata and Nagiasu. Why? Because it’s just normal fanservice, served up the way they know best and most appropriate to the work. It’s not some kind of pretend imagery that empowers women or whatever. I mean, nothing wrong with that, but that is pretension by definition. It’s a pivot.
PS. Chris B. reviews Funi’s Blu-ray and finally gets it, but is nonetheless marred by his first impression.
PPS. This post is brought to you by the word “pandering” which is the onii-chan of the word “pretentious” because like, give me a break. I would rather talk about moe (which I haven’t in a couple years?) than any of this.
This past weekend I had maybe half a dozen ideas to write up. I only retained this one only because it’s the only one I still remember. Also probably because it’s the newest one.
So there’s NouCome. The jokes write themselves when the premise is a joke. The Excel Saga-like insanity to episode 1 is supposedly no different than when Excel Saga pulled the exact same trick. “Put it in” it said. Well, that explains why all of the choices tend to have something in that line of thought.
Fast forward to today. NouCome still has some roots to these types of games. The character profiling and presentation come across the same. The choices play off known tropes and genre conventions. It, however, opens up a new world of orthogonal surprises.
It’s better explained using “expected” and “unexpected.” In most situations in an anime plot, you probably only expect a few things to happen at any given time. With enough foreshadowing and quality storytelling, the audience can be expected to expect a given set of choices of things to happen at any given time. Usually this is done to eliminate possibilities so the audience can be intrigued and surprised (in a good way). NouCome does that in the opposite way by telling you it’s not just going to draw on its canvas, but also on the floor, on the wall, on your nose, on your mother, on the bus, in the air, wherever it can. It’s built in with that mechanism. Since you are expecting everything, you become more susceptible to surprises, which is kind of counterintutitive but that’s how it works.
It’s easy to call NouCome random. Well, it is. But when you draw a dick on a canvas or on your notebook or on your Pictochat screen, it’s still a dick. It’s like I can’t explain if the face I see when I saw the close-up of that maggot candy with a >_< face is any different than any other “manga-style” emote I usually see, despite that I laughed a lot at that little visual gag. It’s just a face that you will see on your average LINE sticker or whatever. So, it isn’t that the randomness is in the content; it’s in the context. The story in NouCome is really nothing too special, at least outside of the initial montage about choices. (That little vignette is pretty special, though.)
To take a huge step back and look at it as a data point in a progression, NouCome is no different than Log Horizon or Arpeggio in that the story is always the same, but the context keeps going up, raising the stakes. At some point we will end up playing some kind of dating sim in your late night TV anime, or buying ships, or actually playing as an Enchanter; or I guess that is the joke. Note that I left out the average incest romcom… It makes you wonder what would happen to the actual things these extremely orthogonal and meta works will be when it happens.
It neatly segues to another idea I had over the weekend: wouldn’t the ultimate sports anime be the one that turns you into an American? Because it would make the transition of sports drama from totem worshiping to an actual way of life. Can’t ESPN do one of their docu-shorts on these Japanese imported pitchers or something?
I am going to be at NYCC for a day, just because there are still too many interesting industry guys. Some notes about that at the bottom. First, anime!
The surprise hit of the season at one episode has to be NouCome. Confession: of all the shows I rewatched this new season at this point, only NouCome was done just because. I rewatched parts of Kill La Kill to partake in internet arguments. I rewatched Arpeggio to cap. And that’s it. It’s a riot all the way through. I mean, your mileage will definitely vary but it had me at the handstands. It had me with the TV show in a TV show. It had me with the coodere. It had me with the maggot candy. It had me when the girl fell out of the sky and landed with a bridge. It still had me by the time Kohime was talking it up. I mean, it’s not perfect, but it’s at least a 9. From what I read it is also just the intro part of the first novel that was in episode 1. Well, don’t take my word for it.
There was a weird problem for Crunchyroll viewers with the audio. I’m not sure if it’s because of a surround sound stage issue or what. Listened to it on stereo, it wasn’t as bad as when I was playing it via the PS3 through my surround sound system.
Arpeggio is surprisingly military action stuff. It’s not a fun time at the tankery field but I like how this is serious in a full-of-holes kind of way. Scratches my Guilty Crown itch I guess? Actually it’s just playing up fanservice in the normal way. As much as I enjoyed Vividred Operations that was too much of a fetish in comparison. In a way, despite the extensive use of computer-generated animation and graphics, it felt normal. Well, there were still quite a bit of 2D stuff put on top. So it isn’t all uncanny.
Unbreakable Machine Doll… Yeah. Not bad but not much of a hook for me. Yaya comes off as a fun and slightly appealing character, and that goes a long way. Especially when she is the type of character that “pushes” it.
Yowapeda is a fun show. I like the main guy but I can’t take the rest of the bikers seriously.
Freezing is Freezing. Ironic bonus points for taking place in Alaska.
NoitaminA left! And VVV!
NYCC 2013 – Generally speaking, this year’s con spells death for NYAF in its entirety. There are still anime-related programming but it’s basically all sponsored material, basically whatever Aniplex, Viz, FUNi or Daisuki is throwing up there. There are actually a cool list of guests from Wikia, featuring some big names. Crypton will be there. Sunrise will be there. Ryu Moto will be there. The usual vendors will be there. Getting a sketch from Ryu Moto/Bkub and GSC’s booth are the two things that excite me at all for NYCC. It’s real sad.
Food: Some local highlights this year include this pretty simple deli near my office on 35th between 7th and 8th. It’s not super special but it’s good stuff for lunch and breakfast. For more special deli stuff, try any of the 9th Ave specialty places. Sergimmo Salumeria is really good, for example. Not a sit-down place though. Well, speaking of Italian, there’s now this to scratch your crazy pizza itch.
If you have a small group and want to go to Ippudo, the Midtown West location is a good choice. But if you have more than 4 in your party then go to one of the larger places, unless you want to wait a while. I haven’t been to Totto in a while, maybe it’s time. Ramen is the one food scene that changed rapidly between last year and this year. So many quality options now.
Anyone up for dinner tonight? LOL.