Category Archives: Tsuyokiss

School Days -> Tsuyokiss, Singers and Singing, And Other Seasonal Checklistings

End your pilot episode with a strong kiss…

Needless to say I really dig School Days the anime so far. Also needless to say it’s way better than all of Tsuyokiss put together at episode 1. (Still want a collection of all its eyecatches…) I think I’m enjoying it even more so because I’ve already seen what the game had to offer, at least for a tiny fraction of it (namely the introduction part (where episode 1 of the anime covered) and some of the LOL endings). I have hopes for this show now, even if the delivery came off a bit like a shaggy old man who may had the charms when he was a mere … 29 years ago. That alone will probably alienate any good will for the greater anime viewing demographic in this post-Haruhi generation of TV animation. Well, that’s to keep (mostly) silent about how to adopt this tricky animated visual novel.

But while I was singing my heart out in my car to (some of) these tunes sometime this week, It only dawned on my then that Summer is con season, and con season means karaoke season. And because this year, unlike of my prior few summers, I haven’t been to a con yet. I am so ill prepared…

And that’s just one MORE party I’m late to. At least this party should be on DVD…? I so have to hit up Animelo one year. We can all scream our hearts…and lungs and intestines out in public.

Sigh. I have a lot on my plate between now and end of this month, so don’t expect a lot of entries from me. I will be at Otakon, though, and more of that nonsense will come…

As well with that music video. It’s still on the plate just…no room to do anything with it or to it.

I’ll end this strange mid-week rant with a couple questions:

1. What should I karaoke at Otakon? I really want to do SKILL at Otakon (again), but that require at least 2-3 people, but ideally 6. (Are you interested? Let me know!) On the plate are all my old songs that I’ve done at various cons before, but I want to hit up a new one. The problem here is that all the new songs I want to sing I can’t really do–I still want to do Break the Cocoon but I’m lacking an off-vocal track nor the English part of the lyrics near the end. I sort of want to do Gravitation but Angela is…not an act I should follow. I can always do God Knows again, but I rather like the Momoi’s cover more in terms of arrangement and how it has very little breaks in the middle…except that we’ll have to rip the voice out.

2. Questions for Mamiko Noto? I’ve said it before, if you want to have fun at a con panel, think up questions ahead of time. I’m probably going to ask at least one question about Touka Gettan, but that’s just the beginning. I’ll take your suggestions! Help me get my brain juices going.

Trying to Get Simoun Out of My System, Attempt #2

With the shows I’ve been following coming to an end, a quick review is in order. Maybe it’ll remind me that there’s more to life than the girls onboard Arctus Prima.

If you didn't get it, it has to do with Otome

Simoun vs. Ouran High Host Club

It’s not that I am not afraid of comparing apples with oranges, but it struck me that what is missing in Ouran Host Club is exactly what makes Simoun so good.

I like to criticize Suzumiya Haruhi no Uuutsu on the basis that Kyoani, outside of maybe Air, has generally gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to adding that “feel” to a show. I have a hard time putting it to words, but it can be said that the same effect can be replicated when you cook chicken breasts the wrong way, that they come out tasting like soft chalk. Granted, the effect is nowhere nearly as bad. FMP: TSR was as bad as it gets, and it isn’t that bad at all. Maybe it’s the consistency? Does it lack “soul”?

But I feel that is exactly what makes Ouran Host Club remind me of Suzumiya Haruhi no Uuutsu. Ouran, as visually impressive as it is, fails to reach that visceral-ness Suzumiya Haruhi did. But like Suzumiya Haruhi, Ouran is a very cerebral experience, it is very smart. The characters are both flat and round in order for the gags, both visual and mental, to work, and I think the show did a decent job of that. That’s not to mention my favorite part of the show–the direction. It’s sharp and clever. Even in its weaker moments it doesn’t fail to impress. In some ways it surpasses most anime that I can remember on the technicals, even if it couldn’t hit those “we pour love and money into this episode!” peaks that shorter, TV anime this past year did.

I can foresee that in the near future I’ll come around to enjoy Haruhi again. But for now, this show is the diametric opposite to Simoun: it’s clean, it doesn’t leave you attached, it impresses visually and mentally, but leaving you a little longing inside.

Tsuyokiss vs. Simoun

In some ways Tsuyokiss only reached the first step of what Simoun did, but since it gambled all 13 episodes on that one thing, it came out pretty well when we look at Tsuyokiss on that one thing, and only that one thing. That one thing, well, it is probably best described as a dialogue the anime production people have with the audience. It tries to tease you, it tries to please you. It knows what it has to work with is crap and it doesn’t care even if it is the worse case of original-adaptation-cide ever. It is unapologetic about it, but in a way it expects you to know that much. In the end it delivers on a platter of something that is like a B- high school group project, but since you were a part of the group, you get sentimental over it.

Simoun, on the other hand, has gotten that bit over with when Mamiina broke out with fists and claws. Since it is twice longer than 13 episodes, it can’t afford to do the same either. Their first tour with Wauf was all about it.

Simoun vs. Blood+

Blood+ is a very clean show. The production value shines through. It is intelligent yet it has the pacing of a typical 90s anime that aims to dramatize. The story, in retrospect, is a powerful one. However, most of the power was robbed by its mechanical, one-fight-per-episode formula that is as mediocre as it gets. There is some sense of overall planning and vision, but on the ground it doesn’t please or tease or amuse anyone. It tries too hard being cool the whole way, when it could have gotten a lot farther by shedding the drama and just get things done, and offer up some twists.

On the other hand you can look at it as a sign of respect. Blood+ knows we know what it has up its sleeves, and it’s just a matter of waiting it out. However it feels like all this formalistic pretense just gets in the way of me trying to enjoy Saya’s plea.

Simoun vs. Honey & Clover 2

I hope Mamiina didn’t mistake rats with hamsters.

The concluding 12 episodes of Honey & Clover was rather good, I thought. But the break between episodes 26 and the recapping episode 27 really spoiled things. As here we were, all ready to accept things as it was with how the first 26 episodes ended (and it was a decent way to end something that “doesn’t end” I thought). Yet now there’s real closure.

Of course, by episode 26 you get a good idea how Takemoto is going to take things, and what happens between Rika, Mayama; Yamada, Nomiya; and obviously Hagu… Can’t say I am NOT surprised but somehow how it ended felt right; things ended as it should (save for the little oddness with Hanamoto-sensei that will boggle and mislead a bunch of fools).

But was it all just ending for having an ending’s sake? Is it really just a long-ass ending thing? It would certainly make Honey & Clover one hella unique anime. Not only as a romantic comedy it was rather unconventional, it has the longest ending sequence ever.

Higurashi no Naku Koro ni vs. Simoun

Satoshi visits the Spring, only to realize boycotts and local conspiracies murdered Onashia and her relatives over dam construction at the ruins. Add drugs, dogfighting, gruesome torture, and identity crisis. Tempus Spatium makes a guest appearance in the form of Mion’s tatoo.

Higurashi was great up to episode 5. From then on it tries to explain and continue to add more to the wholesome mix of loli horror, but it never quite reaches the same peak. A mostly linear downhill ride, I’d say. Admittedly this genre is fairly NOT my bag of tea but I enjoyed what little there was to enjoy about this show. The OP itself was awesome for setting the mood and all.

Bokura ga Ita vs. Simoun

One makes me feel gay, the other doesn’t? And while I think I would be pretty comfortable watching Bokura ga Ita with other, non-anime people, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with myself watching Bokura ga Ita even if I was by myself. Those times I wish I was watching Ouran High instead. Less yucky, more pretty.

But nonetheless it’s a nice, alternative take to the same genre. I’m just not sure if I can take it…period. It drives me insane.

And let’s not forget. I’d rather have other people walk in on me watching Neviril kissing some other equally “moe-looking” chick than stick-figure Yano and Bokura ga Ita’s simple visuals. It’s that bad. Or it’s that good? I suppose that’s shoujo anime in its bare form.

Simoun vs. Coyote Ragtime Show

I’d be pretty happy if Angelica hooks up with Amuria or Onashia or something. She is a pretty, enlightened, old fashion gal and I think without her the Coyote Ragtime show would be only a shadow of its current self. I enjoyed the show, that said, because it has this die hard feel to it. Too bad objectively the show kind of tanked in some major aspects. I blame it squarely on Katana, Bishop, and Mister themselves. Being such important aspects to the show they are really pretty … lame. Swamp, being the token black guy, at least did his job well enough. Considering we have three (to 4 to 5 if the Coyotes break up) narrative perspectives, at least 2 out of 3 involves something less lame, like the 12 Sisters or Chelsea and Angelica, the show wasn’t too terrible to watch. But as a proof of concept I think it fails terribly. Maybe it would have been better if Bishop and Katana had more going on rather than being sidekicks.

Simoun vs. Aria the Natural

An episode of Aria is like an episode of Simoun once you remove any trace of conflict. The girls do not kiss each other, but they might as well. I think what really makes Aria works is the SD. I hated Aria-prez when Aria first got animated a while back, and now that’s all but a remote memory–it shows just how powerful your brain is in ignoring or filtering out stuff that it really doesn’t like. And that can include those girl-on-girl kisses. It would be just as an irritant as Aria-prez’s incessant whining.

And some might even like that!

A Cheap Trick Is Cool x Sweet Anyways?

Tsuyokiss is a crappy show, but I don’t regret watching it one bit. Why?

Twin Tail Is Not DOHC

The actors. Tsuyokiss throws a handful of veterans with a bunch of anime voice acting n00bs. Nana Mizuki takes the lead role and I think she alone carried the show. It all works out well because she is really the main character with the majority of lines. Without spoiling the last episode, let’s just say, she really performs. While I’m not sure where to place Mai Nakahara, but Norio and Takehito Koyasu? They shine when they get the chance to, I suppose?

The theme. Granted as a TEROGE adaptation (or an bad eroge adaptation/bad adaptation of an eroge), Sunao’s schtick is acting, which folds right in with the fact that the best part about this show is the acting! And I think it kind of shines through.

The focus. Considering the man at the helm of this directed some…TERRIBLE? GOOD? I don’t know. Mahoraba? Maburaho? But this is a quick & dirty repeat formula with no originality aside from the shift of focus/theme to double-up on the acting cast. It’s done simply and farcically, and people have fun doing it, it felt. Fun both in “lol I get to cut corner in TEROGE adaptation” and “lol I get to mock TEROGE adaptation.” The show was serious, yes, but it walked through the motion only as much as it was necessary.

The feel. Some got pissed because the OP of the anime wasn’t this. What’s worse, and the pissed people have it right, is that the anime OP is downright awful. I’m sorry but it’s so true. However the last episode gave us a little treat when the SFX team and the voice actors got together and aurally annotated the OP for us. It’s got that “energy” the game OP has, despite the crap animation and crap music. It was fun. I guess he did get a bit less Maburaho and a bit more Mahoraba in the end.

And speaking of which; the end. Both for the series and the ending theme. The ending theme is a nice piece written by KOTOKO, and Kaori Utatsuki delivered it sufficiently to carry the feeling across. Ok, well-illustrated naked chicks in tasteful poses does help, too. As far as the end of the anime goes, I’m just not going to spoil it, even if it’s all too obvious. I think it would suffice to say it ended on that positive note with enough wrap-up to capitalize on the full build-up over the course of 12 episodes.

Yeah, in Air Gear terms, Tsuyokiss was a trick. And it’s a cheap trick. But I guess it’s got less love than the equally cheap trick, Soul Link. Boo-hoo. Alas, I did see it, so I merely lament having few to no one to share.

Tsuyokiss Aria REVOLUTION: Genre Kings x Delineation

This Picture Is Protected by OFP! ZOMG

You all have your own opinions on this, so I’ll be brief about laying the foundation and get into the meaty theoretical crap. The premise is simple: as genre is refined and redefined, people start to take cue as to what’s the best way to pitch within a familiar context, and evoking the same feel to reach out to the same demographic. The parallel is drawn from the “genre innovation” model that describes the video gaming industry and Nintendo, so if you’re familiar with that, you should have a good foundation.

From a cynical perspective, it all resulted from some successes like Love Hina or Ranma 1/2, where these genre-breaking/creating masterpieces started a trend. Just like telling your friends that “Trinity Blood is kind of like Trigun” will automatically get some of them to check it out, even if it isn’t really like Trigun… When a show resembles a certain something popular it gives the creators the incentive to mimic.

And there’s nothing wrong with mimicry. But when a genre is so well-defined (enough for a wiki article but not enough for bright line rules) because of the excessive mimicking, that if you toss all the divisible elements of what makes a harem anime into a randomizer and when the result of this mad-lib returns as a familiar premise of a real show, something is wrong. It’s not just because it’s absurd, but it’s so absurd that the work stands not on a creative bedrock recognizable by law. (Or is it?)

Thankfully, there are many ways out of this trap, and I think the anime industry has long since started to climb out of. When people like myself with no prophetic powers can see that, it means others are probably annoyed as well. Tsuyokiss is one example: the harem narrative reversed on its head; a typical bishoujo game adaptation has been spun around by the anime’s core team to draw a familiar story. But even then, such an “obvious” trick doesn’t distinguish the trite attempts at entertaining in TonaGura, for example, with Tsuyokiss. When the dumb shtick slapstick becomes the defining characteristic of your show, you’re not going to go anywhere.

But I suppose what these two shows told me, more specifically, is that people are ready. Sure, shows like Shuffle and DearS may prey on the weak still, but when I see Higurashi or even Negima, the vibe is just slightly different. In as much as in a post-Love-Hina reality we no longer can do a shounen romance show without the harem taint, people are tired of that. People are looking for the same, patently haremic elements elsewhere (looking at the new round of SaiMoe for some clues)–Aria, Rozen Maiden, School Rumble, and Mai-Otome, just to name a few. We want the relationships, the characters, the lightheartedness, outside of the traditional harem context. For some it is the desexualization of the context (Rozen Maiden); or it’s the focus on mood without drama (Aria); or inversely just the drama (Mai-Otome); or even pure comedy with little anything else (School Rumble). These shows all contain, for practical purposes, “harems.” However they do not carry themselves structurally as so typically.

Here is where we’re at a loss. This MMORPG dude says where things are going for them. Where are we going?