Category Archives: Watashi ga Motenai no wa dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!

Some Summer 2013 Season Thoughts

Shoot first ask questions later style post.

Honoka Mutsu

I generally like Servant x Service. I think in a lot of ways it is an improvement over Working, but it lacks magnetic characters. I think taking on adult sensibilities gives it a new flavor but at the same time brings too much into play that shaves away the charm of a simpler punchline and makes it harder to embrace. “It” here being both the jokes and characters.

I think Silver Spoon anime comes across just a little heavy handed, but at the same time that’s probably necessary to drive the deeper points of the story. I’m not sure how the manga handles it, but this Silver Spoon feels like it is a pretty deep work. I also think that this could have been a very cultural-specific sort of a thing, but the saving grace is that processing basic raw ingredients in agriculture isn’t so different this day and age, across different countries, thanks to scientific advancements. In other words, the core message is somewhat universal, and moreover a lot of them don’t have anything to do with agriculture. The pizza episode was a great example of a modern day stone soup story and it definitely was the best one out of them all.

Out of all the shows I couldn’t make it out of episode 3, I’m most intrigued by Kaminai and Monogatari series. I’m pretty sure I will catch up on the latter series.

I really enjoyed Tamayura ~More Aggressive~ episode 6 and 7. In the end of 7 Potte took a photo of the fireworks and the backs of her friends. What ISO was that film? Did she change it from her camera at some point after the competition? That said I’m kind of behind so hopefully I’ll get to catch up in the coming week.

MJPR ending was a sea of flags. I mean, it totally pulled an Evangelion in terms of the joke flags. Too bad the story came across as too simple, for me. It’s like a Hollywood cliche. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t executed well enough to be enjoyable. It was enjoyable, for sure, but a little too shallow for my tastes.

The two Oonuma Shin series were a riot to watch. Good for him. They executed well, and despite the obvious and usual resource-saving techniques used everywhere, Illya delivered all that action and Watamote was a very clever show. They exceeded expectation in a good way, but that forces me to examine my expectations for Watamote and Prisma Illya to begin with–admitted they were somewhat low. Still there were some obvious bright spots in both shows. Izumi Kitta simply was perfect as Tomoko. Besides the convincing action scenes of Illya, Mai Kadowaki by now has a ton of Illya speaking time, so she wears that role like a comfy sweater.

Compared to her performance in Genei Taiyou, at least, Ilya was simply delightful. It’s not to say Day Break Illusion would’ve been helped by that, but in the end it was a weird way to highlight how different the two magical girls show were. The weird thing is, as bad as Genei was, it still had a lot of good points to it. Otaku media, I guess.

Titan and Railgun remain as the two top least serious business anime on my watch list. Especially Railgun. I see people taking it seriously all the time, though… I don’t get how people can do this without making a fool out of themselves.

Free is a fun watch on its own merits. The manservice for the most part can be side-stepped easily. I don’t think the rest of the show is really that noteworthy–about on par with Tamako Market I guess. My complaints still stand, but the animation and story is enough to keep my attention.

Kaminomi is also a lot of fun, as a non-manga reader. It’s not often you hear Asumin and Ayachi in roles like these. This third season of Kaminomi changes the gambit of the show for me–my favorite episodes in the last 2 seasons were the filler ones. By pumping the plot forward like season 3 they removed some of my complaints about the forced pacing, but it also took those charming down-time moments away. I guess I can’t say I like it, but it certainly can be a lot worse.

Eccentric Family is my top show this season and easily a top 5 candidate for 2013. No need to waste my breath at this stage, lots of other people are doing it. I’ll take my time to think about it…

The surprise hit this season is actually Love Lab. I really dig the way it gives a normal girls-be-girls kind of a setup, a backbone. It also has boys. It’s overall just delightful. If anything it could be funnier.

Genshiken Niidaime is as good as I expected to be, which is a high bar to clear. It’s still one of the best meta anime out there in recent memory. But because I expected this, it’s not particularly delightful since it can’t quite surprise me. Even if I have the manga and have been saving it until I’m done with this anime. I really enjoy some of the cross-cultural jokes especially.

Well, I probably should watch K3 before making those claims about Genshiken. I saw some cool caps from that show. But it doesn’t distinguish itself beyond the really nonsense stuff. Is this show any better than Kinmoza?

C3-bu, on the other hand, is a big surprise  in a different way. I also really enjoyed it but I had a hard time talking to people about it because following that show on CR is basically following it a week behind. It comes out on Mondays and the new episode airs Thursday–given how busy I was this summer I basically end up watching the episode usually on the weekend, Thursdays being the earliest. Sorry Crunchyroll, please never do this.

As for the show itself, in a way I like how it approaches the pathos from the “negative” side of things. You can state the problem in a negative way or a positive way, and the solution would feel very different depending on how you approached it. I think it’s a great litmus test. I also love how it gives Yura all these “reality marble” sort of way to show whatever it is C3-bu was trying to get across. Anime no Chikara yo. In a lot of ways this is a great show, in the way that, for example, MJPR fails to achieve.

I thought I would be all over Kinmoza, but this show didn’t have a higher gear to kick in to so it lost against the other shows of this season for my viewing time. It’s like I need to save certain times of the day when I am awake enough to take in these low-tension shows like Tamayura and Uchouten Kazoku (at least earlier on) to enjoy them fully, bumping out shows like Kinmoza and K3.

Gatchaman Crowds is the odd ball of the season. I guess that is only expected given that it is a Kenji Nakamura anime. However it is also a pretty fun show carrying the same kind of weirdo-yet-progressive ideas Nakamura has been sprouting. Whoever lets him have the freedom to make weird shows like this, God bless you and I hope you keep doing it for another 50 years.

Anyways, Gatchaman Crowds is also kind of the show that could “go wrong” really easily. It’s like Fractale, basically, that if the execution dropped something important, it’ll lose all credibility. I guess we have one more week to find out.

If there is one guilty pleasure this season for me, that would be Ro-kyu-bu SS. SHOW YOU GUTS COOL SAY WHAT saikou daze. No, more like because it is a koushien story after all. Kanae Itou is being her usual self in that show too, which is something getting rarer by the season. I also have to say it has a weird effect watching this right before/after MJPR. Iguchi!

I’m going to marathon Rozen Maiden…from episode 6. It’s fun. But probably less fun than marathoning Senyuu and Teekyuu back to back. Or interweaved. Which is something I’ll have to do too.

Bonus round:

  • Favorite OP: Servant x Service. However C3-bu’s final sequence is woaaah moeeeee. Also, kz song is so kz.
  • Favorite ED: Drowning in saudade in fhana’s Che Sera Sera, although I will reserve 10% for LOLI LOLI GROWING, whatever that means.
  • Most surprisingly good: C3-bu
  • Most surprisingly bad: MJPR
  • Funniest: Love Lab…or Teekyu.
  • Most surprising: Gatchaman Crowds
  • Most Mamiko: Uchouten Kazoku
  • MVP: Rento Kirishima

A Wall-top View on Reference Humor

So, in Watamote ep2, there’s an elaborate Whisper of the Heart reference. You can see some of it here. I want to look closer at it.


The scene starts at around the 13:10 mark. For the unfamiliar let’s just say that our naive protagonist had a run in with a strange boy and she suddenly got into the frame of thought, a frame that becomes possible after several repeated viewings of Whisper of the Heart. The trigger is that Tomoko mouthed off a chain of “jerks” not unlike when Mr. Concrete Road sang along earlier on in Whisper and threw its female protagonist in a similar fit of consternation.

Suddenly, Tomoko realizes that she can make a Whisper of the Heart reference.


Please bear with me if this is obvious to you (in fact, please tell me so in the comments if this is the case). The joke, here, is not so much that Watamote makes a reference to a classic Ghibli flick. Well, that is a big part of it–the animation reproduces the lampoon accordingly. That in itself is humorous. The fact that it is a reference is also humorous, much like those Genshiken Nidaime viewers feel about Sue, assuming they enjoyed Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari. Or insert whichever reference of reference humor you prefer.

The funniest thing about this scene, for some, is that how Tomoko is self-aware about the reference in a way similar to how the audience finds such a reference coming across something they’re watching. In reality she is just daydreaming about some idealistic romantic encounter (thanks Ghibli) because of her own disposition. She isn’t actually making a joke (like Sue, again). However the joke-ish daydream Tomoko makes is natural, and the one Sue makes is superfluous to the plot and story.

So to diagram it–you have the joke/reference, you have the level of actualization of the reference, and you have the degree of self-awareness of the reference. It’s rather complicated once you take a serious look. We know reference humor runs the gamut from chalk drawings on a blackboard to shaping an entire episode to match, so in 2013 terms there is a wealth of things we can draw from analyzing these sorts of references. In Watamote’s case, it clearly speaks something about people like Tomoko. But what does it say about people who watch Tomoko enjoy herself? Do I (or anyone) want to think about this?

PS. If you haven’t seen Whisper of the Heart yet, do make time. It’s probably my favorite Ghibli movie, although 18 years might not be long enough of a test of time  yet? It’s neck and neck with Porco, which is my default answer when asked about my favorite Hayao Miyazaki movie. Here goes hoping that Kaze Tachinu topples Porco.

Summer 2013, < Three Episodes After

The anime blogging ritual continues.


Overall I thought this season yet again features a lot of solid shows. Even questionable entries like Fantasista Dolls or Inuhasa (for different reasons) give me reasons to want to watch it week after week, even when I wish just the opposite. The problem, if there is one, is that the shows with the most potential, the ones I like best, can only be engaged at an arm’s length.

By that I mean it’s hard to cheer for them. Let’s take Genshiken Niidame or Watamoe or the Monogatari series as a counterexample. These are pure otaku fodder. I can sleep with them in bed, carry it with me and read it on the train, what have you. That’s the typical case for late-night style anime. But entries like Gatchaman Crowds and Uchoten Kazoku, both fascinating pieces of work, require a level of rigor in order to engage them fully. It feels wrong, for example, to indulge in making dirty doujinshi of, say, Benten (but maybe not Utsutsu). Not that it won’t be done, of course, but there’s just something off kilter about theses two works. Maybe it’s the visuals? Maybe it’s just me? Probably it’s just me. It makes me want to watch them in theaters, or talk about it at cons with like-minded people. Or blog about them in a way to distinguish them.

I can’t say how it feels to engage all these works from a distance further than that, though. It must feel kind of ordinary and boring when, at a large enough distance, invariably everything seems to be the same thing, day in and out.

Continue reading

Double Duty

It’s one thing to be prominently credited in an OP, it’s another to be prominently credited in two OP in the same season.

Prism Iliya


Oonuma Shin. He even storyboarded the OP for Watamote.

How does this work? I know this occasionally happened for some SHAFT guys but really now? If this is not a red flag, I don’t know what is.



I watched the first episode and… To answer this

I’m going to say yeah, this reaction is not unusual. What’s weird is that my reaction was like Author’s. I think when I was a kid I didn’t have that kind of experience–to be honest it’s hard to see who did, at least on some sliding scale, because it’s not a binary determination. We homely and quiet nerds are often put into situations like this, and different people have experienced/suffered varying extents. What we see in Watamote is albeit an exaggerated version of something, but at the same time it’s easy to see how real people can have had it worse than Tomoko.

It “hits home” for some people, that is why they like Watamote. It “hits too close to home” for others, that’s why they think it’s humiliating.

But don’t you feel humiliated when you watch, say, Love Hina? I definitely felt that way about the nth time Keitaro walks into a half-naked girl, and I don’t really have any connection with K-taro in the way that Watamote is building things up. The odd thing is, the Watamote anime reminds me vaguely of B Gata H Kei, which is actually a story premised on the core idea of embarrassment (and I definitely don’t relate to Yamada). Watamote, so far, is more about self identity and pride. Well, that’s kind of related. But the tone of the two shows can’t be more different. Probably because one show is actually funny? In the riotous, raunchy teenage sit-com kind of way?


The irony, though, is that Watamote is the story of someone who struggles to connect with people because this “society” reacts to that sort of a narrative with embarrassment and shame. I didn’t really hear anyone get angry or passionate about Watamote, other than those who “hit home.” For those people God bless your souls and what not. For the “hit too close to home” people, please realize you are what Watamote is actually about–either as part of the problem (eg., society) or as a victim who just hasn’t quite gotten over it. I’m inclined to think all of us are one of the two types of people at some point.

Personally, I think this is all the by-product of self-depreciating humor for a crowd that don’t enjoy hurtful and self-depreciating humor. Basically, can you 8man? And it’s true–it certainly doesn’t have to be enjoyable and it isn’t for a lot of people. But the same goes for everyone else who can (including the people who created Watamote, who have the same problems, and wrote about them in such an open way) enjoy the humor in Watamote, the slow burn, the helpless flailing of arms. There’s a sense of helpless at play here, and you know how that goes.

TL;DR – One man’s joke is an insult to another man’s mom.