Category Archives: Wizard Barristers: Benmashi Cecil

Wizard Barristers Is a Great Procedural, But Just Okay for Anime

Procedural as a genre is a little less vague than slice-of-life as a genre, I concede, but I think Wizard Barrister is a pretty solid example of a procedural.

Cecil & naughty frog?

The one biggest issue about procedural as a general category is that it’s too “monster of the week.” I think this is actually one of the biggest problem that anime and manga narratives have overcome since the early ’00s. A good procedurals doesn’t mess with that stuff. In that sense Wizard Barristers go the other end–it doesn’t mess with that stuff (much), but at the same time it feels very much not-quite-a-procedural. Far majority of the episodic plot lines follow the “incident-investigation-trial” pattern to discount Wizard Barrister on a technical level, but you have people complaining that it doesn’t? Except it’s totally like that. Even the finale … is just like that.

So we have a procedural that is by the book, but it feels like a bunch of giggling school girls talking on a school trip. In this sense, Wizard Barristers play with another little often-seen complaint about anime characters not being adults. Except they act like not-adults?

I mean, yeah, what a great representation of adults in a professional environment! Or I should say, all the fun stuff people like about procedural shows, where is it in Wizard Barristers?

Speaking as someone who is interested in the actual procedures of criminal prosecution in this context, I have mixed feelings about the show, to say the least. But let me just say this: most, far most, people do not have any kind of a clue or interest in that, so maybe I come out ahead on Wizard Barristers because I actually do have some interests in the more arcane, and how different elements in the show try to evoke those details.

Today’s audience is pretty demanding, lacking of a better phrase, in terms of what they want out of a procedural. So in that sense there’s little you can do for a procedural as anime. I mean, what, Witch Hunter Robin and Conan are really the two shining examples of this genre, and neither are really all that great for what it’s worth in this context. It’s definitely a gap–the question is just that if this gap is too small to bother to fill.

Truth in Reporting: Winter 2014 Report Card Meta Edition

I am watching them anime. Other than Buddy Complex being the most notable omission, I think I’m ready to roll.

I just want to take a minute to point out Miao’s thin slicing this season. It’s your formulaic ANN-style review trolling which is to say, it’s based on narrative truths that reasonable people find agreeable rearranged without sense (or all the sense, on the other hand). I want to just highlight it for that–this is a relatively “weak” season in a long time. I think part of it has to do with a general shift in late night TV anime. Just compare it with 2010 (or even 2011). But ranking it seems like a futile exercise at best, so there’s no symbolic gesture of not putting Nisekoi in the first spot.

FWIW, he called Wake Up Girls Movie an OAV.

New shows (and long-absent sequels):

World Conquest Zvezda Plot – I’m on the hook for this show. The magical reality unnerves me. It’s uncomfortable. It’s too good to drop. Its vintage too accomplish to expect a “turn off the brain and have fun” show. Except when I try to run this by the grey matter, it is giving me all kinds of warning signs.

Wake Up, Girls – My favorite of the season. I’m not sure if I like them as an idol group however, even if by all means the anime has done its job. I also like how they sneaked in that Tohoku disaster reminder in there. Also blogging over at Jtor.

Seitokai Yakuindomo 2 – I marathoned the OVAs or whatever they’re called just before episode 1. So I went in with a lot of feels and fresh memory. I wonder if this is why nobody licensed it, by the way–the book publisher must own the rights of episodes 13-18. Is this the new licensing hell (say hello to YZQ)?

Wizard Barristers – So far so good. Miss Piggy is a very nice touch. What kind of a man gets nicknamed Hachi Mitsu? A Honey & Clover dropout?

Witch Craft Works – I am glad to be able to lay my eyes on this show. The manga is a terribly boring thing but the anime is a blast to watch; the comedic timing and direction are great. It is fun also to see by how much can the anime exceed its source material. Manga usually is created by one person or a small team of people; maybe half a dozen even for some weeklies, plus some editorial staff. On the other hand up to ten times more people work on an anime adaptation. Odds are any anime production team have at least enough creative power and experience to do the same, simply because so many more people work on any given project, and the core creative team are made up of some or all fire-tested veterans. So what happens when a lame but popular manga gets animated? Speaking purely from a point of view of “animators are people who draw a lot” I think this is what actually happens.

Nisekoi – Similarly. Although it isn’t comedy but just well-executed character drama, see also Bakemonogatari. You know Shaft.

Sakura Trick – Surprisingly engaging in the yuri fanservice way. Not sure if there’s enough to keep me interested, because unless they escalate it’s all a little boring. And if they do escalate every episode, they would be spending half the episode kissing each other by episode 12. Not that is a problem I think.

ImoCho – Okay, it’s actually kind of fun watching the timid, confused and probably traumatized girl trying to climb out of it. I’m rooting for her. It’s also kind of fun watching an anime trying to depict this communication gap between the two step-siblings. I wonder which kind of boys would take note?

Nobunagun – Surprisingly fun to watch but I think this anime belongs to the 1990s.

Nobunaga the Fool – I would watch this if it was actually faster paced. Right now it’s like Horizon S1 eps 1-4, which is just kind of confusing, dreary, but minus the shock factor of huge balloon boobs and the trope pandering. Jeanne is attractive looking and all but so far she is not really a part of anything because the show hasn’t revealed anything that interesting. It’s gotta hurry it up before it loses all its viewers. Needs its clinching moment.

Space Dandy – It’s hard for me to watch–I canceled my DVR service some time last year so it’s week-late Hulu for me. On the other hand maybe it allows me to try watching it like a normal person, which is…I guess people my age group generally don’t watch Toonami. I mean, I don’t remember the last time I was watching cable TV on a Saturday night other than the Space Dandy premiere. Anyway, it’s okay, I’ll probably ride it out if there’s an easy way to watch it.

Noragami – I would be repping this hard if it was on CR. I guess I will give Funi’s EVS some prop for having actually a good enough lineup, but what can they do to earn back my trust? I guess they did have that great holiday sale. I suppose the worse I could do is pirate it, because it sure is better than not watching it at all, right? Maybe? I guess it’s important to note that I basically don’t buy shows I haven’t seen before (other than, say, Mardock Scramble, because I read the book).

Nourin – I can take it or leave it. It’s one of those shows that I would probably watch it if it’s on CR. I guess maybe next year or next sale, EVS or not. 

SoniAni – Kind of like, the show I would drop except if I don’t watch all these shows on EVS, I would have time for this. So I do have time for this. And it’s hardly the most horrible anime. It’s like the most model anime, heh.

Pilot’s Love Song – Same. This show is weird in that while watching it, I’m okay. But after I’m done watching that week’s episode I kind of regret the use of my time. Probably would dropped it a long time ago if not for said EVS issue since this is a CR show.

D-Frag – EVS problem but it’s a pretty okay show. Very “bro” I guess. I think the problem is that it’s a little to convoluted and if you miss the internal logic it’s not that fun to watch.

Chuunikoi Ren – 2chuu2koi as I’d like to call it, but this is a nice change. Much more interesting right off the bat than season 1.

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha – I’d pirate this any day.

Mahou Sensou – Dropped because I don’t have the time. Seems okay though.

Hamatora – Dropped because I don’t have the time. Seems okay though. Actually fun to watch in episode 2, if a little predictable.

Houzuki no Reitetsu – Good, solid comedy. Dropped because I got over my Dilbert phase back in the 90s. This stuff is kind of like remaking it for kids going into the workforce in this decade. As an anecdote, when I find some kid at work who falls into all of the usual Dilbert traps, I just sigh and “berate” him directly. Watching Hozuki is like a waste of time.

Saki – Magical girls meets mahjong, the “we don’t have enough episodes so we’ll compress all that we skipped between S1 and Achigahen in 3 episodes but now we can get down to business” edition. Also a Jtor item.



Ace of the Diamond – This is a pretty okay koshien baseball anime. Literally.

Samurai Flamenco – It’s still interesting enough.

Silver Spoon – Yep. One season is hardly a break.

Magi – Yep.

Gundam Build Fighter – This is the Gundam of our generation.

Tokyo Ravens – Okay.jpg

Log Horizon – Finally, story.

Golden Time – Dropped because I don’t really have the time and can’t really be bothered with that Ghost Banri stuff.


Enjoying them all. Even Pupa (whose OP has that “Fantasista Dolls” effect). I think Strange+ and Seki-kun are neck to neck.


And that’s all for now!

PS. Several blogs I follow waxed poetic on Space Dandy after watching the first few episodes. Basically they all say the same thing, like what I said earlier on. I guess the thing is, it’s just a TV show, like everything we’re watching, you can take it or leave it, and you certainly don’t have to watch everything. Only tortured fans of the medium would, beyond “a thin slicing.” As long as you’re mindful of the usual disclaimers (ie., judging books by covers etc) you are okay. It’s not about “right enough” but knowing what you are in for and getting things working for those purposes. And I think with that in mind, 11:30 PM is way too early for Space Dandy. Proper late night anime is like, 2AM! Imagine watching an anime about putting your arm inside a cow’s anus at 2AM…

Wizard Barristers: On Consent Searches

In the United States, the Fourth Amendment puts a limitation on what the government can or cannot do when it comes searching a private individual. TL;DR – what cops can or can’t do to take your stuff. And it’s actually not that hard to get a good grasp of what governs when can a cop take some evidence from you in order to use it against you in a government proceeding (read: trial/prosecution/hearing). The rule of thumb is probable cause. TL;DR #2 – is there a reason to be suspicious of you?

In Wizard Barristers, Cecil basically recites this in front of the two officers who wanted to look into her bag after learning that she’s a Wud. I’m glad Umetsu didn’t use “Wug” because HAHAHA. Aside from that, it kind of occurs to me that anyone who can spit back the general rule for consent searches in a spot like that is probably pretty cool. From a law nerd point of view. And she did it with just a couple sentences.

I mean I can’t do it.

Cecil & Familiar

That said, all I know about Japan’s laws in terms of consent searches is that they’ve modeled their constitution with part to the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution, which includes the Fourth Amendment. (See Article 35.) Which is probably why Cecil spit back the same legal rule (at least, in the Crunchyroll subtitles) as the American version of the issue.

You guys have your guns and tanks. I have my law stuff. Can I get a Penumbra-of-Rights-chan mascot? How about Ford v. Dodge-chan? But I guess since Cecil is just an average anime character, we have yet a long ways to go. By combining a crim-pro procedural plot and a magic sub-class of humans we are maybe half way there. Maybe the Butterfly partners (Chouno & Chouno?) have special powers regarding to law. That’s one level of meta that Umetsu can overcome for sure. It might be dumb, but I’m ready.

Episode one? It’s great, I like it, both jarring and unpleasant yet surprisingly fulfilling at the same time. This is the Umetsu that I know. It also takes the crown for the most “IT’S NOT FOR KIDS” anime this season in terms of the “ADVFilms” era of anime barometry. [Of course the most family unfriendly anime this season is Nourin.] So much for Watanabe’s new show.

PS. The site is kind of useful?