Category Archives: Tari Tari

You Had Me at Episode 3: Summer 2012

Coming in, I thought this season is a weak season. But after looking around, it’s probably not that bad; maybe even slightly over average. It’s not as great as last season for sure, but looking around I see a lot of bloggers thinking this season is weak. I don’t know. If we throw all these shows on the wall and see which sticks, there might be an average amount of winners in that bunch. Wish times like this I have a magical power that summons empirical studies of whatever at my command. Like, “Magical makeup! Summon science!” [Of course, if you are one of those people who think Fujiko was the best anime last season and only one worth watching, you can save us some time and just go die in a fire.]

I’m ordering this by no order, and shows I don’t list are either ongoing, dropped before I get to 3, or in a couple cases, I didn’t even try them. Hopefully I didn’t miss anything [edit: now that I added Joshiraku].

  • Jinrui wa Suitaishimashita: Thumb up. Solid satire with some bite, and easy to go down like all good satire. So good, I can do episodic, and tempted to do so!
  • Total Eclipse: Thumbs missing. My initial impression of Muv-luv Alternative: Total Eclipse was actually this “pervy” figure of Cryska, followed by Yui with a SMG. You can tentacle some armada if you are interested in more details, plus some backdrop to the Total Eclipse story. I got my first real piece of the action at AX where we got backed-to-back episodes one and two right after a Kurinoko/ayami performance. I think I liked that more. But to be fair, the first episode after the two set-up episodes felt like kind of like this, where it’s trying to “throw back” to a Top Gun-ish narrative. I’m going to wait to episode 5 before really risking for a call since to me the story didn’t quite begin until ep3.
  • Tari-Tari: Thumb up. It paves its own path, which is reason enough to watch if you are interested in the subject matter at all. Looks sharp and entertaining for the most part; just waiting for the story to gel and the CDs to come out.
  • Oda Nobuna no Yabou: Thumb up. Probably the one dark horse anime this season. It’s surprising competent, production-wise. Studio Gokumi x Madhouse = woah. Kanae’s performance props the show up as much as the good pace things are going. Its only drawback is that some prerequisite knowledge about history through the games really helps your enjoyment.
  • Campione: Thumb down. The only things going for it are the delicious fanservice and voice cast. The concept could be interesting but it’s executed in a very dull way.
  • Kokoro Connect: Thumb up. Character drama needs good acting and we have it. I feared Hisako Kanemoto would be the weakest link but with the Yui episode come and gone, she actually did a pretty good job. The animation seems like that knock-off Kyoani style but there’s nothing offensive about it.
  • Sword Art Online: Thumb down. I don’t like it but it’s a compelling watch. The production value is nice and I can empathize with the grief…as in, oh hey you just got trained sort of grief. Or in episode 3’s case, some one in their guild went Leeroy. I suspect though at the end of the series that might become true for actual viewers of this anime, at least the griefing part. The best strategy is to enjoy what little kernels of joy each episode provide you now, rather than later.
  • Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru: Thumb down. Nakaimo is a trash show you can drop but it’s definitely the one good trash show out of the rest of the trash show this season. Main credit for being interesting in terms of plot and presentation. Conceptually it is way worse than most shows this season…if not THE worse. Which also is a credit to its favor if you look at it the other way.
  • Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate: Thumb down. I like this show’s approach to politics and elections but it’s not going to cut it. Only for harem/visual novel types (eg., this is kind of trashy). Not thrilled about the art style, but it does the job. I’ll probably end up watching it LOL.
  • Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai: Thumb down. Sorry to say, Aya Endo fans, but this is worse than QB season 3 I think.
  • Natsuyuki Rendezvous: Thumb up. Why? Because I like the persistent take from the NTR angle. It really juices up this otherwise kind of boring josei fantasy. I’m also impressed how it can fit both manservice and womanservice in that tidy package. Kou Matsuo and his crew aside, it’s back to the basics of noitaminA, which is usually worth at least a look.
  • Binbougami ga: Thumb up. Another show with a potentially downward outlook, the opening episodes have a big impact but it’s the kind of show that often will settle into a pattern and it’ll get repetitive quick. I won’t be surprised if I end up dropping this show in a few weeks. It’s good to hear Hanazawa in an unusual role but I’m not a big fan of this performance. Toilet-level slapstick comedy, however, scratches my itch. It’s like the companion piece of Jintai.
  • Hagure Yuusha no AESTHETICA: Thumb down. Speaking of toilet humor, this one reached bottom first. I think I probably would enjoy this show if it can crank up the level of ridiculous over time, but that also means this show is not for most people. Perhaps if it looked better, a few of the more voracious viewers would give it a chance and get as far as the Kanatan-voiced, stoic-dere loli character….which is to say, yeah, you’re not missing much. If you’re on the Kana Ueda yuri-kei train of thought, though, consider Hagure Yuusha that bullet train from Yuriseijin taking you to heaven. If you like the populist nonsense in this show…well don’t get too serious.
  • Utakoi: Thumb up. Because it’s kind of the dirty josei/shoujo stuff some of you like, but also it’s better than average for its category (edutainment). I probably should drop it, but given how all the shows I want to watch airs between Thursday and Sunday, it fits into those empty Tuesday-Wednesday slots.
  • Joshiraku: Thumb up. I have a soft spot for the stuff that goes on in the ED, but that aside, the jokes tend to come at a good clip and enough of them hit. And sure, I like the girls enough, but more as people than as cute girls. (Are they even cute? Even Kigu?) I realized I can enjoy enough of the jokes raw (which is to say, not very many at all) but the tedious buildup to the punchline makes the whole thing not fun when you’re mired with the not-funny stuff. So I guess dropping this show would be the thing to do if the fansubs stop.

I think that’s it. Other shows of note:

  • Eureka 7 Ao: Episode 12-13 kicks things up a gear, which is sooner than the first series. The setting plays a bigger role than ever, which is nice for long-time fans. I wonder if they can actually tie this in with Xam’d setting-wise wwwwww.
  • Rinne no Lagrange: In Stellvia we have the group-cry episode. Now we have the group-yuri episode. Thanks, Tatsuo Sato. At least you are consistent!
  • Space Brothers: Yawn.
  • Yuru Yuri: Yawn♪♪
  • Sengoku Collection: At least I have no idea what the next episode is going to be about! But it’s getting kind of boring, at least in the past month; they need to spice stuff up.
  • Moyashimon Returns: Put me in the camp of people who think season 1 was special and season 2 is missing that special something. Nonetheless it is still a decent watch.
  • Dog Days: Hopefully season 2 will way surpass season 1. So far it has. But I’m not watching this show~
  • Accel World: I was hoping to see this plot concept earlier, but I guess it’s okay to have this story now.
  • Hyouka: Still really dull, even if the school festival episodes have been really a treat.
  • Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere 2: The barometer is, “will I doze off during any of their long exposition/tirades?” If yes, it’s a so-so episode; if no, it is a good episode.  So far the count is about 1 to 2 and I suspect by the end of season 2 it’ll come close to even.

And I’m still watching Sket Dance. It’s still my type of humor.

PS. What is amazing (again) is that other than Hyouka and Joshiraku, every show on this list is getting a North American “stream.” (Funi’s 2 new shows aside, which I presume they will play catch up at some point in the very near future.) I wonder why…

PPS. I’m actually keeping up with over 20 shows at the moment. And I thought it would get better after last season….time to cutcutcutcut. I guess I did with AKB0048 already…

PPPS. Yep I missed a show. To make up for it, here are some links to peeps from GG and their notes on Joshiraku. It’s pretty fun to read. Check it out.

PPPPS. I went back and watched Joshiraku 3 and slotted it in. And removed Ebiten because, well, it’s just clutter at this point. So yeah. By the way, Ebiten HP is LOLs.

Books And Covers, Summer 2012

From a consumption perspective we can look at our intake of anime like a diet, where some semblence of balance and moderation go a long way to make what you watch more enjoyable. But that’s kind of not applicable to describe the voracious: people like me, who are always following a dozen or more shows at any given time. The episodic grind, to some, probably parallels more to a race. Each racer is some title and whoever makes it to the end, in first place, wins. I find this survival-of-the-fittest paradigm easy to latch to real-life practice. Take AX weekend–the 5-day ordeal significantly limits my anime intake. It happens to take place at the week where a lot of shows are ending and some shows are starting, so I have a slimmed pool of finales to choose from. Those I reach for first (in this case Tsuritama if you wondered) “wins” this figurative race.

Honestly, both analogies sound like jokes from Jintai as human society declines through its overly sophisticated detachment from reality and greed-based irreverence of consequences, from commercialism to consumerism. Anime is not created for the sake of people consuming anime, right? Chicken are not born because people would eat them, right?

Where is my sentient toupee?

I think people who are capable of this kind of introspection will get a kick out of Humanity Has Declined, or Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita. Or just Jintai. Mai Nakahara’s wry delivery is dry and grit-free like the pastel artwork and children’s storybook-style designs, evoking enough of a dissonance once the viewer gets beyond its seemingly candy shell. Or in this case, chicken skin.

PA Work’s next original high school rom-com Tari Tari does not disappoint. Granted, I didn’t expect very much of it going in–much like how I didn’t expect very much of True Tears at first–but so far the show simply has a mind of its own and blazes its own path. The characters remind me of my friend Vinny, who does not take whining for an answer and would only bitchslap someone in his head, not in real life. (Let alone on the butt.) In this case Sawa-chan is a superior creation worthy of his adoration. I, on the other hand, find the entire experience on the oddish side of things and, as Hyouka would have it, 気になります. Also, you do note that Sawa is treating Konatsu like her equine friend, right, with that “pat on the back”? I guess that is C83 material.

I did watch the first two episodes of Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse at Anime Expo, so with episode 2 now airing this past weekend I can spoil some beans. Well, first off, it was not a huge shock that we’re rid of Yui’s friends, but it’s kind of gruesome. The real show doesn’t start until episode 3, so I really have nothing to offer here besides a good luck to those of you braving the games as a result of the anime adaptation. Oh, I guess I really like Kuribayashi’s ending theme. Finally something that doesn’t sound like every song she does.

Oda Nobuna no Yabou so far is inoffensive. Any show with Kanetomo-sensei deserves at least 3. That said I’ve only dropped one show thus far after 1. But watching 2 concurrent shows featuring warring-state generals as nubile anime girls may be too much; we shall see. At least in Nobuna’s show there are plenty of dudes, even old ones. Having at least tried my hand at the game (oh gosh which platform was it IDK), the whole thing is not entirely unfamiliar.

I dropped the Chiaki Kon-directed La storia della Arcana Famiglia, because Mamiko might be the only thing worth watching for me in the show. The lead girl is a bit too much like a typical reverse-harem lead. It’s not my sort of thing anyway.

If I needed more crappy Italian riffage, there’s Yoko Hikasa in Campione! if you swing the other way. Action, fanservice, a bit of a potato-kun action, it’s not much to riff on, actually. At least there’s some car-service. I mean, seriously, let’s put the “sha” in itasha. Or Pikasha for that matter. A bit of a personal anecdote: On Friday, I picked up this month’s Super Dash & Go! for the Yoko Hikasa photoshoot. I didn’t realize she was actually wearing some Campione-inspired outfit in that shoot until I saw the first episode about 12 hours later. Great way to leverage that 2.5D stuff in your mix-media focused mag, yeah? I think they’re doing it right if I am buying this magazine. Which now means I can take a look at how horrible the new ROD reboot is.

I rather enjoyed Kokoro Connect. It doesn’t look as stunning as, say, Hyouka, but if Hyouka was half as interesting as Kokoroco it would already be the show of the year. That said, Kokoro Connect is also an off-beat piece, and besides the plot device that makes me kind of cringe on the inside, I don’t see anything wrong with it. The voice cast is solid and I think they’re set up for some pretty cool drama. My only real concern is just how will they handle the humorous streaks…so far it’s kind of too subdued for my liking. If you can get through Natsukise, this is easy-peasy.

Like Jintai, I enjoyed Utakoi in a real-life kind of way. It’s by far the most educational anime I’ve seen in recent memory. However unlike Jintai, Utakoi just makes me cringe half the time. Plus, traditional love stories are usually not that funny; in that sense I applaud the show’s attempt to spiffy them up for entertainment. It’s way more palatable than Folktales from Japan.

Natsuyuki Rendezvous is a solid romance that represents the rock noitaminA is built upon. I’ll keep along; the Kuo Matsuo direction + Ken Muramatsu music combination is easy to go along with. Too bad I get the feeling there won’t be a spontaneous musical episode? As long as it’s not too sappy. The NTR joke is well-done.

So, I Can’t Play H is not quite the same as Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai, so “I Can’t Do H” sounds much better. There’s a lot of plain nudity in this show; it’s kind of the schtik (in a High School DxD sort of way). I admit the “transformation” scene when the fire burns away Risara’s clothes is pretty cool actually. But is it cool in a “LOL Guilty Crown” sort of way or “LOL Queen’s Blade” sort of way? I think it might be the latter. Aya Endo lending her voice probably does not help.

Sword Art Online is probably my least favorite new show this season. It’s way too chuu2. From what I understand the first episode is just set-up, so I’m perfectly happy to give it three. So far there are little else that bothers me about the show, but nothing grabs me either. I guess with Accel World airing at the same time, I have another source to tap into that fantasy genre-turned-shounen-formula. The plot and device of SAO is better fit for a joke than anything actually intriguing. I mean, how can people take it seriously? I enjoy the jokes way more than the anime thus far. Like the one about Korea. Or Brazil. Or China.

Nakaimo is… WHO IS IMOUTO? THERE IS A SISTER AMONG US. Who is imouto indeed! I mean, this. It’s a harem anime this time, straight-up with the Mom character saying “Dude, bag a girl, get married, win your massive inheritance, you’re already deemed talented enough.” It’s not my favorite sort of setup for harem, but I’m going to take it like a man for Jtor here.

Koichoco is short for Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate, which means love, election and chocolate. It makes no sense unless you watch the show. I guess going in the show I know it only by name and by heritage, which is to say I was expecting something closer to this. But I should’ve known better and see it may be more like this. Well, the voice cast is intriguing so I’ll give it a spin. Most likely I’ll be entirely off base anyway, why fret?

That’s it for now. Meanwhile I’l leave you some food for thought about the decline of humanity.

PS. I was going to link it for the Tsuritama post, but odP’s PV about fishing that debuted at AX is appropriate in the decline of humanity sort of way.