Archive for February, 2011

Fractale 6 – Wait, Those Guys Are Actually Jerks!

Posted in Fractale with tags on 02/27/2011 by Shinmaru

I don’t know about you all, but I was absolutely SHOCKED that this faction of Lost Millennium violently coerces people to fight with them! What meanies!

With each episode, I find myself less interested in the big picture conflict (Lost Millennium vs. the Fractale system) and more interested in the personal stuff . . . when it’s done well, anyway. These new folks are just so melodramatically evil that I can’t help but laugh. When they gunned down the deserter in cold blood? HILARIOUS. They lure people in with soup and vaccines and force them into becoming freedom fighters. How is that not funny? The execution is just unbelievably silly. I can’t take it seriously.

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Kimi ni Todoke 32 – Dino Saucers

Posted in Kimi ni Todoke with tags on 02/25/2011 by Shinmaru

Can’t believe I have never written about this before, but has anyone else ever noticed that when the characters in Kimi ni Todoke are in profile, they look like freaky dinosaur people?

Seriously, it’s like the eighth ending of Chrono Trigger up in here. This has bugged me since I first watched Kimi ni Todoke. They look fine in all other instances, but when in profile . . . ew, just creepy as hell. What the hell is up with that? (Also, the disappearing eyes when characters’ hair flips in front of their face freaks the hell out me as well. This happens to Kazehaya a lot. It looks like his skull has caved in. Yuck.)

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Level E 7 – Baka Always Gets His Way

Posted in Level E with tags on 02/22/2011 by Shinmaru

Stupid, sexy Baka. Stop taking advantage of being a princess . . .

I haven’t been that high on this arc, but this closing episode is pretty damn funny. The best part is the kids actually getting in a few shots on Baka by using the logic of his game universe against him. When Baka started describing this awesome, godlike attack he invented to tempt players to be as destructive as he is, you just knew that he’d get a Golden Hammer to the face like he deserved. (Except I bet the GaoGaiGar fans among us — myself included — were shouting, “GOLDION HAMMER” instead. :p)

Also love how Baka’s plans fall apart because he didn’t play test his world enough. See, this is why you need proper game design! If Baka had taken the time to make sure his Demon Lord filled its role properly and didn’t go rogue, then the kids would have been fucked; instead, they took advantage of the game’s bugs and stomped the crap out of the game. These kids will make a fine quintet of nerds.

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Fractale 5 – Dance Break!

Posted in Fractale with tags on 02/20/2011 by Shinmaru

Two things we need more of in this world: Random dancing and high fives. Fractale has taken care of the former; now, please, do the latter.

Fractale has been a frustrating series to watch because it feels as if it’s underachieving, wasting the good stuff it has. The show has this interesting setting with interesting technology and a potentially interesting conflict, and it’s content to fill it up with nonsense and stupid, unfunny jokes. It’s basically the A Certain Magical Index of noitaminA, right down to me giving it the benefit of the doubt for way too long and for no good reason. I’m actually glad for once that a noitaminA series is just 11 episodes. Who knows how long I would go hoping beyond hope that one day Fractale cashes in on its potential?

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Kimi ni Todoke 31 – This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Posted in Kimi ni Todoke with tags on 02/18/2011 by Shinmaru

Apologies for this post being slightly later than usual. Been a bit busy the past couple of days.

Anyway, I read Roger Ebert’s Your Movie Sucks about a month ago. In his review of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Ebert writes something that succinctly separates the difference between good fictional romance and bad: “The easiest thing at the movies is to sympathize with two people who are falling in love. The hardest thing is to sympathize with two people who are denying their feelings, misleading each other, and causing pain to a trusting heart.”

Bingo. I can’t speak for most people, but I like seeing two people who deserve each other fall in love. I’m a sap like that. What I don’t like, though, is when love is denied through contrived, artificial means. When two people who clearly like each other are kept apart by cheap drama and idiotic misunderstandings. That’s not compelling; that’s bad writing.

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Level E 6 – I Could Use a Battle Pocari Right Now

Posted in Level E with tags on 02/14/2011 by Shinmaru

why does this geodude have a rock cock and stalactite pubes i don’t understand

Haha, of course Baka has the kids move from one staple of anime comedy — the sentai parody — to another staple: The RPG parody. Next week: dating sim?! I’m pretty sure Edward Elric is already working on one of his own, that saucy little player.

As far as RPG episodes go, this is fun (I enjoyed the robotic NPCs and the shot of the tedious numbers puzzle), though I’d be lying if I said I didn’t prefer the episodes before the kids came along. But meh, enough of me being a wet blanket; at least there is a hint of the alien teacher perhaps joining in next week (who would be a better ally than a hot alien assassin?), which would make things more fun. Especially with those tentacles she keeps under wraps . . .

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Nihon Reviewing

Posted in Meta Sucks and Yet I Am Doing This, Shameless Whoring on 02/12/2011 by Shinmaru

So I’m now one of two new staffers at The Nihon Review, along with Eternal of Memories of Eternity. (By the way, he’s coming to Los Angeles for Anime Expo during Fourth of July weekend for anyone who needs more incentive to attend! As if meeting me weren’t already a transcendent experience.) I’m definitely looking forward to spamming the site by giving 10s to everything I review! Just kidding, Sorrow-kun, ol’ buddy, ol’ pal.

I’m mainly looking to contribute to the anime reviews section and occasionally to the live action section (I need to watch more Japanese flicks). Whenever I come up with ideas that are better suited for shorter posts than my long-winded rambling here, then I’ll pop up on Behind the Nihon Review as well (and, obviously, I’ll be on the staff-wide posts). My main hope is to review series that don’t get as much attention as the more popular stuff, and to one day pick up the torch as the resident mecha dork on staff. Too bad Kavik Ryx already reviewed a lot of what I have seen! My dopey Macross and G Gundam references on my profile will have to suffice for now. :(

Anyway, for the curious, my activity there will not affect my posting habits here. I wouldn’t have accepted the position if I didn’t think I could also continue posting regularly here. UNMEI KAIHEN ain’t going anywhere.

By the way, my first review is up at the site. I felt sort of weird being like, “THIS IS A 10, DAMN IT” my first time out, but fuck it, Rose of Versailles is just that damn good.

Kimi ni Todoke 30 – This Pissed Me Off in Escaflowne too

Posted in Kimi ni Todoke with tags on 02/10/2011 by Shinmaru

If I keep hammering away on the same points that frustrate me about Kimi ni Todoke week after week, then writing and reading these posts will become an awfully tedious experience, so I’ll try my best to avoid turning into a broken record. (It would be nice if the series evaded lame plot developments, but at the moment, this seems like too much to ask.)

Has the “guy who likes girl ‘accidentally’ happens upon girl with other guy” plot device ever worked decently for anything? It probably has, but off the top of my head, I can’t think of anything that pulled it off with any style. The one that pissed me off most was in Escaflowne, because I was super frustrated with the romance in the series, hated just about every character at that point (aside from my beloved Dilandau, of course, and he hadn’t been around for ages) and it was smack in the middle of an extraordinarily crappy run of episodes. Definitely the worst possible time for such a desperate plot twist.

So at least it’s not quite that bad in Kimi ni Todoke, but it’s not far off. In retrospect, though, it almost seems like destiny that this is how the story culminates, considering how the story has been handled to this point. But I won’t say more about that!

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Level E 5 – It Ain’t Easy Being a Power Ranger

Posted in Level E with tags on 02/08/2011 by Shinmaru

I swear that’s Edward Elric at the far left . . .

This is a pretty well-worn idea (if you’ve been an anime fan for more than a few months, then you’ve probably seen some sort of Sentai send-up episode at some point), but it’s still fun in Level E, more so than usual because the kids don’t actually do anything worthwhile with their newfound identities. They transform, curse their benefactor and use terrible powers that completely suck unless they are leveled up. Baka enjoys RPGs just a bit too much, I think.

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Fractale 4 – Getting Mixed Signals …

Posted in Fractale with tags on 02/05/2011 by Shinmaru

I’m enjoying Fractale, but I’m not quite sure how to feel about how it is mixing tones — the end of last week’s episode was a sobering attack that saw both sides lose lives. It’s a fairly serious moment. But this bit at the end of Fractale 4 seems to be the polar opposite: It’s not really super serious; it’s part of a rousing adventure, and it comes off as if the audience is supposed to react like, “Hell yeah!” after Mr. Douchebaggy Priest Guy and his guards are blown up (and the priest gets up and shakes his fist like he just stepped out of The Simpsons). The guy isn’t hurt, so of course it’s hilarious! Just ignore the bodies strewn about the cliff . . .

I do wonder if it’s intentional. I’m liking the series, so I want to give the creators the benefit of the doubt, but it’s probably still too early to definitively say, “Fractale is trying to subvert (whatever)” or “Fractale is a giant mess that has no idea what it’s trying to do”. But it’s just weird to see a scene like that (complete with rousing adventure music) after last week’s ending and the opening of this week’s episode where the dead are being mourned. Wouldn’t anyone question it, even a little bit? I’d like to believe in the competency of the creators and hope that they figured the viewers would see that kind of thing and react like, “Huh?”

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