Category Archives: Zettai Karen Children

Winter 2013 Week 7-8

The Civilization Blaster kids

Just want to do the TL;DR equivalent to reaction faces. I’ll try to keep it spoiler-free. Think of this post like “this week’s anime ‘turning points’ or ‘highlight’ or ‘peak episode’ or whatever.”

Shinsekai Yori Episode 21:

You know it is coming, it’s heavy and painful but yet full of drama potential, dripping with faint hopes, antagonism, despair, and a sense of loss. The watermill bit was brilliant. The writing in the sky is cool and I wonder why they don’t do it more often. The babies, well, are thankfully not as grotesque as it could have been.

The revealing of the key character in this episode was done well. It fooled me briefly but I guess it was kind of what I expected as the “worst case scenario.” The numbers all made sense chronologically. It’s the sort of conclusion you know it has to be. And it was. Yet you are powerless against it even if you knew what was coming.

Zetsuen no Tempest Episode 20:

Speaking of chronology, the biggest clue that wasn’t in this week’s episode was when… How do I talk about the 2nd half of Tempest without spoiling the first half? Let’s just say there is this character who got this power, and when he was introduced he briefly mentioned something about when the power began to manifest. That was a pretty big clue. It’s a clue that I kept in the back of my mind during the “This Week in the Being-Samon-Is-Suffering Logic Quiz Class” discussion as to what is the plot logic problem of the week. However I didn’t put two and two together. I knew whats-her-face is going to do whats-her-other-face in, but I didn’t know it was going to be like this. And let me just say that if you want to enjoy this show, you should do your best to not find out whats-her-face is going to be like this. Because it’s such a delightful surprise.

I ought to highlight Zetsuen no Tempest actually. It’s shaping up to be a very enjoyable watch. I think a big issue is that in order to praise it I have to spoil it, and without spoiling it all I can say is in a couple paragraphs. So here goes.

At heart Zetsuen no Tempest is a plot-logic-driven narrative. The story revolves around a defined boundary condition (or two or three) where the characters have to figure out what is the best thing to do, like a Clue game in terms of determining who is what is like how and when. The characters don’t really “develop” except for, strangely, the character who starts out dead.

The character that does develop is the second reason why Tempest is great. It’s like the one glimpse of romanticism, the Shakespeare quoting girlfriend that drives a revenge plot forward in which two best friends will end up at each other’s throats, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. This beautiful character is at odd with the story’s logic in the same way that too is the part of the puzzle that paints a rational image of irrationality. It’s enough to obfuscate even simple logical conditions; she is the ultimate lampshade, to borrow TVTropes (who just borrows from, aptly, Shakespeare). In a nutshell:

And what’s more, it has some kind of significance in the story. It’s a theme.

Unfortunately, also, it is not an adventure anime, even if it poses as such. It’s a dumb show where the characters tries to figure out some weird mystery that is basically “magic” and unless you’re invested, it all seems kind of trite and you really empathize with Samon. Poor Samon.

gdgd season 2 Episode 8

Best episode of anime of the season. Prereq thing to watch. If didn’t see it before, try reading this. Or the TL;DR version. It also helps if you played Monster Hunter or played Mario Kart or something, but meh.

Da Capo III Episode 8

Oh. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah? Maybe. Only if Senren Kagura was like this? Thankfully Senren Kagura isn’t like this. It’s been a very long time since I last saw an episode of Baywatch but this is kind of like it no?

Vividred Operation Episodes 7-8

The power of friendship is a very sweet set of jets. Akane gives you wings. Vividred Operation, naturally, gives you a lot more than that–all the fireworks, all the drama, the tearing bedside in the hospital. It was, truly, a … self-titled sign.

Vividred Operation... lol

Runner ups:

The Unlimited: Hyoubu Kyousuke Episode 8 wraps up the inevitable flashback arc. It’s kind of a let-down honestly but it got the job done.

Seitokai no Ichizon Lv.2 Episode 7: If you were following Seizon S2 (it’s on air, after all), this week is Ringo’s proper intro. You remember Ringo right?

 


Problem with Mutants Is the Problem with Anime

So I was watching The Unlimited — Hyoubu Kyousuke as it slowly turns into this psychological study of the backstory of Hyoubu Kyousuke, the namesake character at the center of the story. We see how there’s all this ZKC trapping to the show and for the most part that is the fun and game part of ZKC and Hyoubu Kyousuke. It also turns from this internationally-wanted terrorist group slash Psi-user humanitarian effort into this made-and-born-in-Japan episode about where a human experiment project (in the form more like the X-Men) come about.

What I’m trying to say is that as the show progresses, it gets increasingly Japan-centric both in terms of the setting but also in terms of the characters. I guess it can’t be helped that ZKC is mostly a Japan-based thing so the characters and their organizations and the underlying government ploys are tied to that geography. It cannot be helped that Kyousuke is this foreign-born (from Manchuria in the 1930s) Japanese in the first place. Just as it cannot be helped that anime is really a made-for-Japan sort of thing.

I don’t really think it is particularly problematic, but it’s interesting to point out how over the course of the series, the age of the characters appearing and having lines slowly decreases on average. At first it’s basically Kyousuke, Andy, and the guys and girls who are in the tough business of whatever international-spy-intrigue things. Then it gets the Japanese kids involved, like the ZKC themselves. Then the little girl character Yugiri gets a lot of screen time. Then now we go back to the past when Kyousuke is just a wee lad.

I’m not sure what to make of it, I just want to know how did my bro-tastic, superpower-intrigue genre anime turn into this.

Episode 7, Hyoubu Kyousuke

You know, if the War on Pants came AFTER this show, I might be more receptive to it. At this point, however, I’m just hoping the ending to this doesn’t suck. Which is probably a futile thing to wish for, given how it is sort of a prequel-slash-spinoff. Just like how Hyoubu Kyousuke is probably struggling with some deadly condition, in which every time he goes “Unlimited” it robs some of his life, maybe this anime is also the slow decaying mess that slowly loses part of what it’s good for with every passing episode. I don’t know.


Winter 2013: Played Out

I think we’re at the point of the season where new shows are either cleaning up from their explosive and intriguing pilots, or holding on to its cards until the final stage of the game. I feel the lull.

AzusaShiori

I think this is where a lackluster anime can really fly its colors and get people’s attention, now that the TV anime mix has stratified from sedimentation; the unforgiving centrifuge of short attention span will float those Senren Kaguras on top and hard campers like Shinsekai Yori and Psycho-pass on the bottom. Not that either is particularly value-assigned good or bad, mind you, and certainly that means the Jojos of this world is probably somewhere in between. Man, what a show that is.

But is there anything really outstanding? It’s kind of like how all this people who harp on Magi, either way? I mean, yea, I see animation mistakes and the like, but I wouldn’t call it bad. Or else nobody would watch anything SHAFT makes (at least on first pass). At least there has to be that proverbial cabbage, and it wasn’t there anywhere this season. But anyways, why do people chime after Magi, besides that it ended a story arc in the middle of the season? Maybe that was it. At least it didn’t do what Chiyomaru’s Robotic;Notes (almost) did, which is grow a little too long in the tooth. No matter how moe Frau is, we want to know what happens next.

It reminded me of that show with flying panties a few years back. I mean, all you need is just a little bit of whack. Maybe Kyoto Animation can make Tamako Midori burst into a tango duet with Dera? Or in Magi’s case, a cute Haruka Tomatsu character doing a gap moe dance routine (and unlike Frau, that clip is spoiler-free and context-free). Or maybe what it takes is Urobuchi killing some more people gruesomely in his Psycho-Pass (surely that is tired). Maybe it has to do with gothloli maid character bouncing around in a dance routine with a bunny sharing the same rack size with Kurokami Medaka (complete with hair color change)? I’m looking forward to that. (And I hope someone tells me Medaka’s are larger, because they may be.)

That said, if there’s anything reassuring in Winter 2013, it is that boobies only get you so far. Who’s still watching Senren Kagura again? Maoyu’s sacs of fat is a somber reminder that boobs are really no big deal in the real world–we all have them, it’s more about how you use it. It’s much like how SHAFT, try as they might, can only do so much in Sasami-san episode 5 because that material is so Haruhi in this post-Haruhi environment, that the Based God herself (CV: Asumi Kana) goes meta over her own desires, in which becomes the plot driver. At least now we can claim that the combination of Haruhi anime with incest is actually a thing, or Haruhi with untranslatable puns is a thing. Plus the only booby character is the loli (who is fully clothed at all times, God willing). On the other hand, adding the right amount of boin (and it could be in all forms, from Kanade “Boin-chan” Oue to the cast of Da Capo III–Da Capo Sakura Drift) does give your show a little bonus juice. It’s about time we’ve gotten that formula right. (Is calling Kana-chan “boin-chan” the, uh, the 1000AD version of “Titty-ko”?)

On the other hand maybe this is why Aniplex is going for butts in Vividred and Lantis & ASCII Media Works are putting money on the surging idol trend. It is free market at work, folks; the industry is growing to meet your ever finicky and ephemeral demands. The only question is which people group are they taking feedback from? Surely not from people not paying any money into that exorbitantly problematic financing model. Maybe the final hook from Vividred would be the “OMG my body is an elite combat machine from the future and I’m just a plucky 14yo girl who wants to make friends using world-destroying weapons, but now I can’t do anything because I’m a zombie like Grandpa and I will never get married.” That would be such a cop-out. A more direct way to make sales is to just give us some bonus throw-ins, like how they deal with those rednecks from Osaka.

Or if you’re like me, you’re still glued to this show called Hyoubu Kyousuke, because it’s actually the most anime-y and best anime-y anime on the air. Why hello there Aya Hirano. If I had any regrets, it would be that shipping Hyoubu and Hinomiya is probably the canon thing to do, even if one (or both) of them is a real lolicon. I almost regret to be able to introduce the show for those “oh why are anime full of teenagers” crowd, but Hyoubu Kyousuke does work for them.

What is up with all these lolicons, anyway? I think there are probably a couple more than usual this season. Not that I actually keep track–it just feels weirder. It’s just like how Oreshura takes that oddish turn as it continues to introduce the girls in a mid-flight attempt to boost its solid if lackluster drama, borrowing from both Haganai (which continues to be problematic, for better or worse) and maybe even Chu2koi? I don’t know and I don’t even. It’s probably way too hopeful to expect it to be like Sakurasou, since I think a lot of us were expecting Sakurasou to be like Tora Dora, which is already way too hopeful. Does that mean Hocchan > Asumiss > Yukarin? It feels that way certainly when it comes to luck of the casting draw.

I’m starting to think Asumiss is the Morgan Freeman of the otaku anime world. でんがなまんがな! Or maybe more appropriately, PUCHIM@S!


Winter 2013 on Short Attention Spans

Maybe it’s because there’s almost a dozen short form anime this season that is getting unrivaled amount of attention, but there are not too many things keeping my attention, speaking purely from an anime perspective. Here are a few things that I’ve been gnawing on mentally. Bullet-bolded style?

I really enjoy Maoyu, but somehow it falls short of compelling. I guess it wouldn’t be right to say it is not compelling, as after each episode I wish I had the next one queued up ready to go. To me this is the #1 healing anime this season, partly because it models this really romantic take on a couple whose lives are driven by what they do, not by the romance between them. It is illustrated best by Maou’s hug pillow, both in a literal way but in a way where you actually see what’s going on. In my own experience interacting with people like this, it’s not always obvious. It’s kind of how two working couples can stand their time apart but really treasure when they are together, and the hug pillow is a short hand for that togetherness. It is also some other things, but Maoyu can speak to that itself. I also love how it’s just straightforward, unabashed plot and setting crap 80% of the time.

However it’s not compelling in a way where the Zettai Karen Children spinoff is–that’s just some solid anime. If there’s a quotient for “anime-ness” in anime, this show is full of it. The direction is competent and the plot, while somewhat veering into the path of way-too-familiar, stands enough between the ZKC references and that the setting does have some meat to it. It’s a great primer for people who want to engage the franchise and story without their skeevy-radar go off too much. Not that is a real problem for me anyway. It’s one of those rarely-sung title that somehow pops up on my to-do list every time a new episode comes out, and I make the time to watch it as soon as I reasonably can. For the record, I watched all of 2 episodes of the original Zettai Karen Children.

The Infernal Cop skit where they’re shooting underwater is still the best.

Is it me or Osaka Mama is actually a really serious moe anime? I mean it is serious about moe, not that it is serious.

Magi on CR seems uncensored. Magi on TV, maybe not?

There is no fog layer

That’s some choice words, Alibaba, for your animator-gods. That got me wondering–if we were to treat Crunchyroll (and by extension TN and FUNi) as channels of their own rights, shouldn’t fansubbers actually care more about raw sources? A Girls und Panzer with and without Katyusha is a world of differences. The broadcast’s calls impact these things, things that can drastically impact the viewing experience  (besides givens like the translation).

Cancer watch: I mean, is there some kind of cancer that is killing anime this season? Vividred Operation? Oh hey. I think if people actually cared about “moe cancer” they would’ve long figured out that it’s just the same handful of people making all this stuff they’re supposedly peeved about.

I thought Sasami-san episode 4 was wonderful, as usual. But I have no words for it this time because there wasn’t any room to talk about it outside the meta. Unless you got a creation tale or some legendary myths about Amaterasu’s body splitting into two or something. You would think given enough time, Shinbo’s work might actually approach that FLCL-esqe sensibility where it only makes sense because you’ve seen the anime in this exact way. This might be the closest he has gotten to that, yet. I mean, it made sense, right? I think another reason why I had little to say about Sasami-san episode 4 was because it is full of fanservice.

Anko mochi is the sweetest. And by sweetest I don’t necessarily mean taste. Tamako Market made sure of that, although in the end it may still sell short of its universal status as the default combination between mochi and filling.

Confession: I was never a Yukarin fan. Outside of Galaxy Angel I just never had anything to latch on. Her solo performer act is a spectacle but for me it was more relatable as an incubator of wotagei moves and an area of study of 2.5D culture than the content. I was still impressed at her moves in Oreshura though. As for Oreshura, unfortunately besides the Jojo references and how the girls may be cute, I’m not sure what else it has going for it. Oh, right, I love the color designs in the OP and ED.

It’s just the me who wants to play Ni no Kuni talking. He knows there’s no way I can watch all this anime and finish the game before 2014. The other me says that Kurousagi deserves my time every week. I’m inclined to agree. It’s not just that she’s a, well, bunny girl in the purest sense. She also is a very alpha-female kind of character that fanfictions would ship for protagonists and self-inserts. I mean, perhaps, if SAO had her instead of Asuna, I might have actually finished watching it. Maybe that’s it–I like girls who are treated like guys by the story (as opposed to the narrative)? I would ice her any day (speaking of games).

It’s kind of like, when people compare Maoyu with Spice & Wolf, I would say, “Horo would’ve eaten the two serfs.” I am kind of glad I skipped on Dog Days completely to go to that camp with Mondaiji. Maybe it is for the best.

Vividred Operation: Vivid Green is Miku, Vivid Blue is Kos-Mos, and Vivid Yellow is Mami (with a hint of Saber). I think that is really cool and I am almost shocked, after the fact, that it took this long for an anime to pull it together.

And that’s the end of my blogging attentions span. Maybe playing long, grinding JRPGs help to grow that. Somehow I doubt it.

PS. I’ve got to stop reading Peter King on Mondays. With the American foosball season over, maybe I will.


Bookcover Scratchpad #1 Winter 2013

Two very important things that shouldn't be missing

 

Just to keep track what I watched:

Maoyu – The only new anime that piqued my interest that I wasn’t already interested in. I think it has more to do with the presentation than anything at this point, but let it be said that when it comes to animation, getting the presentation right is perhaps the best thing you can do in the first episode. The future is dicey because I think there’s some kind of genre warfare going on. I smell a post.

Love Live – Totally lukewarm. Might be because I haven’t really watched the live shows much. Approaching 2.5D is tricky, I guess. It’s one of those cases when we break Love Live down by element, it checks all my boxes but the finished product doesn’t do anything for me. But because it checks all my boxes and does nothing for me, it intrigues me in some weird way. Maybe I should just watch some live shows first.

Senyu – P. alright. Yamakan notwithstanding. I think there was something about short anime said by some people that is slowly becoming a thing. I guess this is why I am still planning to finish Poyo and Wooser. And Kuromajo-san ga Toru. And maybe Yurumates. LOL.

Mangirls – I think I got over the language joke in the first 5 minutes of seeing this title. Sadly that was funnier than anything in the show. But it’s short, I don’t think it hurts to follow.

Yama no Suzume – The Encouragement of Engrish is pretty strong with this one too but it presents a slightly more otaku-friendly atmosphere.

Amnesia – It could be worse. I guess I’m about as interested in it as I was with Hakuouki. Which is to say…well, the OP/ED were nice. To recap a conversation I had elsewhere, the whole otomege adaptation genre is still developing, so expect mediocrity for some time. It would help to have a good otome game first.

Oreshura – It’s a good example of how this “genre” evolved to be slightly more interesting on each subsequent iteration. At the very least there are some meat on this dry bone, versus shows like Oniai. But maybe some people prefer that instead?

Ai Mai Mi – Not Strawberry Eggs. I think I prefer Tekyuu slightly more.

Da Capo III – Well, really no opinion at this point. Besides that, man, Ms. Charles “Ruru-nee” Yoshino sure is…Ruru-nee-esqe.

THE UNLIMITED Hyoubu Kyousuke – It’s fun, but I can see if you go into this show expecting something else,  you might not like it. Me?  I had nothing against Zettai Karen Children, but I dropped that for a reason. So when I started Hyoubu Kyousuke I was expecting something a lot worse, and didn’t get it. It’s certainly more fitting of its Manglobe association.

Osaka-Okan – See above comments about short anime that I would watch but haven’t. Actually this one might be the one to beat in 2013 winter. And still wondering why the Osaka native is not voicing the Osaka immigrant and we’re left to see Asumiss trying her hand at something lols.

Bakumatsu Gijinden Roman – Bakumatsu Lupin is wholesome fun, but unless it does something interesting soon it’ll get tiring real quick. I don’t know, I’m not usually big on era pieces.

Ishida & Asakura – Ha. Well, it wasn’t really funny. It also reminds me that I didn’t ever get around to finish Cromartie (what is this with short anime and I), to its credit.

Minami-ke Tadaima – I remember why I stopped watching this show. Not bad though.

Tamako Market – It’s cute and fuwafuwa and made of gohan. There is no curry. The bird is really the one redeeming feature to this show–he’s like the lotus filling to some mad expensive wagashi. This anime is bleeding sakuga kyun-ness. Well, it’s an original, and I’m weak against originals. Not expecting much but I’m sure at the worst it will be overindulging. At best, Dera might rival the legend that began in the 12th century…

Sasami-san@ganbaranai – Probably my most anticipated anime of the season. Probably my favorite. It’s all too early to say, but in traditional Shinbo style he checks all my fetishes boxes. Only problem is that all I hear is 765pro Shacho voice every time Onii-chan speaks.

GJ-bu – You know what? It’s okay. But I can’t imagine you’ll miss out on much if you didn’t bother. I don’t know if I will bother.

Kotoura-san – The emotional whiplash aside, it makes a strong statement. I can argue with how it did things but at this point I’ll just enjoy the light-hearted comedy.

Vividred Operation – Too bad this isn’t SUNRISE making an anime that gives SUNRISE a new meaning. Also, best magical pet concept yet.

Mondaiji tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru soudesuyo – Also known as “Problem Children are Coming from Another World, aren’t they?” I uh… let’s just call it Mondaiji. It’s okay, I guess. Maybe it’s because of the bunnies, but I find myself liking the show more when I’m not watching it. Which means I might not bother with it either.

PuchiM@S – I’ll probably marathon this, but sufficed to say it’s exactly the kind of crap anime for sad folks like me.

I will surely try the other stuff, too, like 2GD2GT. Except maybe AKB0048.

PS. I pseudo-dropped Koichoco half way in. I ought to finish it.