Category Archives: Shokugeki no Soma

Random Thoughts, June 2018

Just some free wheeling thoughts.

  1. Eventing is expensive, but it is a good stress relief for me.
  2. Unfortunately eventing causes backlogs on my weekly viewing. I’m slowly breaking them down, but I really need to prioritize Hinamatsuri, so it’s up next. When I went to Japan last month and saw Rietion do her solo stuff, it was really good that I had been up to date on Hinamatsuril. It also had been good that I was fond of the show, and her character Anzu. It made the event just that much more better. But what was surprising was that Hinamatsuri wasn’t even the most crass anime this season. That title belongs to Golden Kamuy.
  3. Golden Kamuy is a western. I didn’t know I wanted a western as an anime until I started to watch this. It’s a great blend of cartoon humor (of the dick and poop variety) with good world building and a compelling overall story, but also these elements that are undeniably Western, such as a “white man” working with a “native woman” surviving outside of the civilization. It’s even got a murder hotel episode. It also makes me think of the Quintin Tarantino films that evoke this kind of a feel but going at it via “cool” rather than “soul.”
  4. Soul is what I’d use to describe Megalobox. It’s a bit of a regressive work thematically because it wants to have two dogs fight each other, no matter what. If salvation of our souls come down to this kind of depiction it is no surprise humanity can’t have nice things. At the same time it is a pretty somber homage to the whole Ashita no Joe concept, even not including the literal homages. The package overall felt like it has a lot of soul going for it, whatever that means, so I guess it is okay. I just slightly struggle with its science fiction roots.
  5. Maybe this is kind of like Hisomaso, where the story is very clearly about women in the JSDF (and in Japan generally) with what they do with their lives, but I cannot be bothered with it because of 1) fighter jet dragons, 2) fighter jet dragons, 3) this aesthetics + fighter jet dragons. So goes the level of discourse.
  6. Which is also to say, Shokugeki no Soma this season does a better justice of Hokkaido than Golden Kamuy arguably, and that’s a feat worth celebrating. In as much I want to give a SO to food celebrity Tony Bourdain and his passing, it is works like his, and this, that really brings out the soul of why people eat the way they do.
  7. Recently I’ve seen people refer to IP/cartoons/games with idol characters as idol things. I see why, but I feel people are not really using those terms to describe those things while understanding the differences between the two. It bothers me because the performance of people pretending to be fictional characters is different than the performance of people who are, as described best as, idols. An actor acting as an idol is going to do the same thing as real idols on stage, but they’re not the same. One goes home from a job, the other is in actual idol industry. More importantly, one is fiction, the other is reality. At best it is some kind of reality where fiction plays a role, and it deserves to be recognized differently than the other kind of reality that I’m referring to.
  8. This is also a funny way where fiction and reality blurs, and a lot of Westerners don’t seem to realize the difference–it is admittedly not the easiest difference to keep in mind, and part of it has to do with the way language evolves. This headline is one example of what I’m talking about, and it’s probably the most egregious mistake I’ve seen (partly because it’s just wrong, like if this was written by a JP site it would probably get corrected by industry). On twitter people casually use the term but that’s where it also happens.
  9. Otakon this year will coincide with a demonstration involving that Charlottesville white supremacist group in downtown DC, which will likely draw not just counter-protesters, but a lot of police. It’s reasonable to be aware and concerned about it, but it is unlikely to repeat the same tragedy last summer because, frankly, the police failed big time in Charlottesville. The DC police will unlikely repeat–it has protestors just about year-round.
  10. Otakon…I guess summer is here. Back to worrying about the party I will throw at AX and how I’m dying trying to break even! LOL. Are you going to AX? Please come to my party and have a good time. We are even trying to bring a new JP DJ to the lineup and I’m dying to announce him.

The Hardest Things to Animate, Fall 2017

Are cute girls cooking.

Before my mental gear switches into “all retrospectives, all the time” for the rest of the month, let me just talk about this season’s slate and other related things. As a bonus for each episode I will give it two ranks, how much I want to watch the episode as it airs, followed by how often I do end up watching the episode as soon as a new one is available. For both values, 1 is the highest/soonest and 5 is the lowest/slowest. The goal is to give a numerical representation on how competing time and interest factor in how I view these shows. Some week/weekends I’m out all day and have to prioritize my down time, you know!

THE IDOLM@STER SideM – When I returned from Japan after attending IDOLM@STER 10th anniversary event, I felt that the franchise has become a “home” where my “heart” returns to. SideM’s Jupiter-focused episodes are a great summary of this concept, this past week and from the start. In some ways this show is exceedingly watchable for a male-idol franchise, for a more general audience. Watchability rating: 1, 2 – Because I want to be in a good state of mind when I watch it, so I don’t always do so ASAP.

Wake Up Girls Shinso – The franchise reboot without Yamakan now gains Yamakan as the most annoying cheerleader. I think the series does feel different without his involvement, and it unfortunately suffers from some severe production issues. The focus on MayuC is okay, as with the introduction of RGR (Ranga…neo ranga…) and looping in the large I-1 cast and all the spinoffs. It’s still WUG and it’s still something channeling the ideas presented from the original, but more tightly written because it doesn’t have to couch itself with depicting a post-311 Tohoku. As a fan I have a lot to say about this show but nothing is really important? LOL.Watchability rating: 2, 2 – Too many live action episodes that don’t get streamed on CR, because of production issues, throws off my timing on these.

Imouto Sae ga Iire ba – I know it’s written by the Haganai guy, and I found Haganai generally disturbing and at times offensive. ImoutoSae is like the same pivot the Oreimo guy did to bring us Eromanga Sensei, and I am really enjoying it. It feels like instead of debating politics of shooting people and blowing up things, it’s much more interesting to debate video games where players shoot people and blow up things, as an analogy? This is the meta level take on an already really meta thing, which is “that database” I occasionally refer to. It deserves its own post later. Watchability rating: 1, 1 – My favorite this season.

Kino’s Journey is good for just being something very easy to watch, can’t say the content is good or bad…probably because it’s a mixed bag. Watchability rating: 3, 2 – Easy to watch does mean I end up watching it sooner rather than later.

Food Wars is always a delight, a modern shonen battle story. Not much to say besides this new turn of event is kind of meh.Watchability rating: 2, 1 – Not top of my list but such a page turner, plus I can watch this with company.

Netjuu no Susume is a ton of fun in a good J-drama kind of way. I call it the soul food anime this season.Watchability rating: 2, 1 – What happens next? LOL.

Just Because is good on a technical level, but a little hard to watch. It’s great once you can get into it though, and I like how it manages around the typical pitfalls of adolescent romances. And that animation…Watchability rating: 2, 2.

12 Taisen is a fun, filtered Nisioisin thing. The upside is people die, the downside is that it becomes a guessing game, and not a story? The high production value makes it not that annoying, with somewhat a toned down Nisioisin-ness? Watchability rating: 3,2 – I kind of dread watching it, but once I start it goes down easy.

Blend-S fanservice is top notch, but I hope they lean into that shipping stuff which made Working compelling. It’s doing it so very slowly… Watchability rating: 2,1- Mostly compelled due to social networks.

Girls’ Last Tour – I picked up this show from SNS word of mouth. I am slightly biased against this seiyuu cast, but the story is a little compelling and it’s a good show to relax to. Also, I’m not up to date on it, LOL. Watchability rating: 3,5 – 5 because I’m behind by like a month plus.

Urahara – Another show high on concept and I like it for that, but execution is lacking–not in the way you think. It’s just the fully lack of tension makes it a little hard to follow. And it isn’t because nothing drastic happens in this show…well, maybe nothing is really that drastic. Like when aliens invade earth in Kekkai Sensen versus when aliens invade earth in a Barbie movie? I don’t know. Watchability rating: 3,4 – I’m a little behind.

Kekkai Sensen – It’s going into “same o same o” territory which means it’s great for fans but so so for everyone else. Still fun animation, as TV anime go. Watchability rating: 3,3 – I just don’t feel the compulsion to watch this, and at the same time you can pick up or drop this series at any time in any fashion, it’s so easy to get in and out.

Magus’s Bride – Sleigh Beggy? More like Slight Boring. When people hyped this up in the early goings of this season I was interested. Now I’m just letting out some giant yawns. It’s not even a let down, I expected this too self-important of a show to miss the mark, if the 3-episode OVAs are any indication of the story. So far it hasn’t really deviated much, if anything, it was better when the story came and went without all this magic-setting pretension. Maybe the manga is better. Maybe people should have just not hyped this show. Watchability rating: 2,2 – For healing type anime it works pretty okay, a little more upbeat than your usual variety.

Konohana Kitan – I like it but more for seiyuu and for cute being cute, otherwise this story of otherworldly hotspring hotel run by foxgirls is sort of just okay. Tho if it can produce episodes like episode 8, consistently, it would get promoted. Watchability rating: 2,2 – Maybe 1.5, 1.5 rather?

Houseki no Kuni would be higher tier if not for the most uzai Kurosawa Tomoyo ever. This is one of those cases where while I appreciate the acting, having pre-animation dubs removed some limits on how annoying she is. Also the story is just kind of silly even half way through? Like, yeah I know Phos is different later I still cannot take this show seriously. It’s not even a matter of the visual language (eg., oh noes she’s gonna go Kizuna Ai on us), but just the attempt at tonal shifts in the show is not something I can take seriously. Watchability rating: 2,3 – I end up getting to this later because it’s not on CR so I have to pirate it the old fashion way, sigh.

Anime-gatarisBig bang theory the anime. It’s full of really peak jokes, so just for those I can say I am glad Anime-gataris exists. But it’s got a taste of what I remember from the late 90s when Japan makes anime with a western audience in mind. Now it’s China, I guess. Watchability rating: 3, 2 – I end up watching it because it’s on CR and I tend to have more free time on Sundays, after all.

Two-car is by no means bad, but yeah who would watch this show? Other than me? Or yuri fanatics? Or people actually into the sport? It could be more of a comedy I think, and that would really make this show ring. As is, it’s got a mandatory low-conflict tension every episode and I’m not sure if anyone should care. It’s kind of an elaborate exposé, maybe. Watchability rating: 4, 4 – It’s not bad, just hard.

Ousama Game: LOL what is this trash. I guess it’s fun but it sits at the bottom of the “I have no time to watch anime” ladder of shows to cut. Watchability rating: 3, 5 – I’m a month behind I think.

Fate Apocrypha – A bigger yawn than slight yawn. To be fair I’m only halfway through and haven’t watched any in a couple months. Watchability rating: 3, 5 – This is an Anime Strike show, and you know how that is.

Mahoujin Guruguru – I’m still like, just 1/3 of the way into the series. Probably because I want to marathon this and have not had the time. Watchability rating: 2, 5.

Some other random stuff this season:

Pri Pri Chi-chan still delivers. The Rietion anime is really fun and even not totally stupid always, just sometimes. I don’t think I would watch this show not for seiyuu purposes, but I can see myself doing so if it’s something I end up watching on regular TV for some reason. Watchability rating: 1,3. – It’s short.

Cingeki S2 is fun. More of the same from the first set of episodes but I like how it gets awfully meta. Watchability rating: 1,1. – It’s super short.

Osomatsu-san S2 – When I saw that first episode I knew it was time to call it quits, and the subsequent episodes played out my expectations. You can’t go over the top the same way twice. Open to coming back to this show if it gets better though… No rating for shows I’m dropping.

Welcome to the Ballroom – It’s a good show but I think I’m going to drop it, despite the delicious interaction between the dancers. I’m not opposed to catching up but I don’t like this particular angle they’re going with in terms of the sports and character development. No rating for shows I am dropping.

I watched that Blade Runner anime. I would not dissuade anyone from watching it but it’s just okay. No rating for movies and one-shots.

Man I wanted to watch Heaven’s Feel but missed the local show dates. It’s still going to be in theaters when I go to Japan though, so lol. I guess the new Garupan movie series will start this month as well, so that’s something to look forward to. No rating for movies and one-shots.

I finally got to watch Genocidal Organ, despite missing it earlier this year (twice?). It looked good. It is a bit neutered compared to the book, not for graphic violence but for the implication it makes at the end. Also, the effect of the plot device doesn’t really come across to me that well, which is unfortunate. Otherwise it’s a solid action vehicle for animation? For all the fun we make of the verbose expositions you see in Type-Moon works, sometimes that is exactly what’s good about the thing and it’s nice to have a heavy dose of it as long as it doesn’t ruin the film. No rating for movies and one-shots.


Year in Review 2016: N-listing

I’m putting this out first because the other post can stand by itself, introspection or not. Hey, it’s not March yet.

Continue reading


Autumn 2015 Anime

But first some thoughts for the last season:

Sore ga Seiyuu: It was good, but I’m not sure how they lined up their use cases. It felt like if we enjoyed things like underground idols, it would be more fun. But I think that could be said in general, if we enjoyed everything like idol otaku enjoying underground idols… Where does fantasy end and reality begin? Where does consumption end and…non-consumption begin?

Overlord: My favorite of the season, but it felt like it didn’t have enough time to breath.

Charlotte: My other favorite of the season, but it could’ve used another cour.

Classroom Crisis: My guilty pleasure of the season, but this one definitely needed another cour.

So yeah, what the hell Japan. Two of them are even original.

I still enjoyed Ace of Diamond, I have not fallen behind, and it is the first 100+ episode show I’ve watched since a god-knows how long ago. It didn’t go the way of Space Brothers, so that’s something very positive to be said about that project.

Monmusu was great. Fanservice-harem anime will always be welcomed if they are executed like this.

Non Non Biyori is still excellent. I think it might even be better than the first season.

Rokka is terrible and you’re all terrible for liking it?

GATE was OK. Not that good to be honest but worth watching for some highlights.

Food Wars was lovely, and I hope more of it happens.

Still need to wrap up on Million Doll (2 eps behind lol), Working S3, Gatchaman, Ilya, and Shimoseka. I don’t know why I stalled on Ilya, probably because there is no drive for me; I don’t really get it on watching this particular gang of little girls, and Rin’s side is not much better thanks to all this exposure lately from UBW. (How do you top that last episode?) Shimoseka is a really weird watch for me in terms of how to position it as both comedy and entertainment, and as a serious work of narrative. The first half (where I stopped) seemed like a good stopping point, and I don’t know if it gets any better. I might brave on if I go on a trip. Working just makes me sleepy which is why I’m a few episodes behind, and Gatchaman, too.

Well, there’s more.

Tokugawa matsuri

Now, new stuff…

Osomatsu-san and One Punch Man are both shows that probably won’t sustain the vigor episode 1 has showed us, so I’m not saying much about those besides, go watch the first episode. I like them also as gateways to explore these cultural artifacts, so you can get that even at 1 episode.

I enjoyed both Asterisk Wars and Chivalry (of a Failed Knight or) whatever, but not enough to take them beyond 3 episodes. I think the latter is more interesting because it is more different and more self-conscious, but that’s jaded people talk. What I found problematic, heh, is the execution of the fanservice elements in Chivalry is weird? I don’t know, had a hard time putting a finger on it. Asterisk War feels more sterile and tepid, kind of like Mahouka minus the obvious setup.

The real action for me is in Lanmas. The show features Suwa Ayaka as a horse (and has speaking lines) whose name is Shirohime. I cannot pass this up. There are also other factors to make the show compelling so far, even if at core, it still surrounds a potato and a bunch of girls. Holding my breath on this one in case it degenerates into a duty watch rather than for enjoyment as well.

The best show overall this season has to be Utawarerumono False Faces. The rebirth of Underwater Ray Romano is so far delightfully self-aware and curiously curated to please. Can’t ask for much more.

The new Gundam is what old fogies liked. Why do people hate 8th MS Team? I guess we can find out soon. For the record I enjoyed all that stuff. I even enjoyed 00 and Wing. I like Gundam, I think.

I tried watching DD Fist of the North Star II, I don’t get it.

Comet Lucifer is the first show that reminded me of those Bones original IP in a long while. But I guess this also means I should say I haven’t caught Concrete Revolutio yet. Maybe tonight.

Heavy Object: How can you screw up this badly. Oh wait nevermind, Index-heritage. Sigh. The concept is interesting but only because it triggers my Mechwarrior internal logic.

More Yuruyuri is always good.

K – Hahaha that action sequence.

Thanks to this post now I can’t stop making boner jokes about that Bone Detective anime. Sakurako anime. Whatever. It wasn’t bad, but I’m not sure I am in the mood for something like this. Maybe.

F anime, the one about the Insider? It’s really hip but yet probably ultimately will piss me off in a Nisioisin-can’t-write-well sort of way. I’ll leave myself open to its interpretation of murders and mysteries, because the production is good and it is something very Noitamina-y.

The slightly hard-boiled anime with Ueshama as lead female? It isn’t entirely terrible but I think this is what I dislike about otaku-database-driven stories. I thought we’re well beyond this, so when it’s straight up served it bothers me too much.

I avoided mentioning the shorts mostly in this post but just want to end with Hackadoll. It’s great and the WUG fanclub is selling the OP/ED single LOL.

And we’re not even done yet.

PS. Sakurako is a woman who gets a boner on esoteric bones?

PPS. I forgot to mention but we’re doing a DereSute wiki too. Thanks Rop &co!


Tenth And Beyond

One of these days I’ll have to pin that eventer post again.

The truth is work and 10th prep have killed most of my free time since ANorth. I was able to catch up on some anime still this past weekend, by not going to AX, but AX sounded like it was pretty cool. Only one thing there (that I currently know, anyway) that kind of killed me for missing out was seeing A1 Pictures give away a Goripon Miki sketch and Akai-san’s Asterisks sketch to the random masses. I hope those two found good homes.

I am still going to Otakon. I think of it as winding down by killing myself some more, but I probably will take it easy there. Between now and then remains furious preparation, performing the miracle of packing everything in one not-too-big luggage, coordination of many parties and some live concerts and whatever that I do in Japan. Hopefully not all that much.

I did watch some of the new stuff this season, but let me just put to rest the things I finished:

Fate UBW was pretty okay. It did what I thought it did, which is unable to wrap around the tension of the last two main encounters together in a nice set piece sort of thing, as the UBW movie showed us how it can be done. What made it better was the epilogue. How can we not forgive it after that?

Euphonium – I wish I was at AX. Also Moyochi was great. The best episodes was 11 and 12. Yurigoggle types shed delicious tear which was an unexpected bonus.

Danmachi – This is what anime is for a lot of us. And this one was pretty good.

Etotama – This is what cartoon is for a lot of us. And this one is pretty good. It also is the first anime that I honestly thought the 3D parts were sometimes even more preferred than the 2D. It’s just done better. Rieshon and all the newbie Ponycan seiyuu were bonus. Also, I wish I was at AX. Hanabe looked like she could’ve used more support.

Oreguile 2 – S1 was better.

Triage X – Fun show but I am glad it’s over. Can’t take too much of this.

Plastic Memories – Solid and I like how this anime is not really about robots.

Punch Line – Probably my favorite of the season. It is like making chawamushi or baking a flan, like everything goes in there right but it doesn’t always come out right. Close but no cigar for Punch Line.

I’m still mawing away at Kekkai Sensen, Ninja Slayer and a couple other shows I haven’t decided to drop. Picking up Shoukugeki no Soma is good for health methinks, but the last episode rubbed me the wrong way: if they think a soufflé omelette is a limited timed good, then they have never had good eggs benedict. By all means the shelf life of those things are way shorter than how fast bubbles collapse when fluffy eggs get soggy. IMO they screwed up the science here…

Seems like I’m topping out at 10 shows a season huh. Can I fit enough on my iPad for the round trip to Tokyo to catch up? I think so. Just need to delete some namas and lives on it.

===

As the merchandising for the possibly largest IM@S event approaches its fervent peak, we got to see a lot of cool new illustrations put out on top of things to sell. But the best one had to be this tokuten for Nishigori’s new artbook.

OMG SO GOOD GORIPON

And it’s not just official merchandise. Fans are putting together their tribute. For SSA last year I spent just a meager one hundred American dollars on commissioned artwork. This year I’m about to spend three times that in just American alone, plus about another two and a half 万 to get some semi-pros to do art for flowers. And that’s just me. Which is to say there should be a lot of cool artwork from fans for this special occasion.

[And that pales to the amount we’re spending on the actual flowers themselves. And just the ones I’m organizing (not all of HPT). It adds up to a lot. A LOT. And I’m glad 10th is not going to happen again. So going to not YOLO next year.]