Archive for October, 2010

Bakuman 5 – Our Manga Is Going to Be Totally Awesome

Posted in Bakuman with tags on 10/31/2010 by Shinmaru

Haha, should have known we wouldn’t any real creative clashes yet. Mashiro and Takagi are still feeling out their individual talents, so they don’t have quite enough confidence in themselves to clash with each other yet. It’s more like a dual circle jerk at this point: “Oh man, you’re so awesome!” “No way, man — you’re awesome!” Which I guess makes sense. We’re all our own worst critics, and many are slow to criticize others because of wussiness. But they’re also excited about starting on a new venture, so whatever. Not like I could have written anything better at Takagi’s age, anyway.

(Although admittedly I did enjoy the blind pitcher concept because it seems like the kind of silly, unrealistic idea that could nonetheless be fun.)

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Shiki 13 – Everyone Is Going to Die

Posted in Shiki with tags on 10/30/2010 by Shinmaru

OK, so we can’t say that for certain yet, of course, but with the way Shiki has been developing so far, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario where that does not occur. The anti-vampire movement is losing allies left and right, while those who remain are fragmented and mostly operating on their own. Ozaki is holding down the fort at his clinic (and is so overwhelmed that the vampires were pretty much able to waltz in and have their way with Kyouko), Muroi has his duties to attend to and the kids are kids whose family has already been turned against them. Definitely not looking good for the vampire hunters.

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Kuragehime 2 – Bribery Is the Best Policy

Posted in Kuragehime with tags on 10/29/2010 by Shinmaru

I’m 100 percent convinced that this part of the OP is indeed a reference to the 1973 movie Emperor of the North. Even watched the movie myself to confirm it! (By the way, it’s not a bad flick at all — can’t really go wrong with Ernest Borgnine as a crazed railroad conductor who bludgeons hobos to death with a hammer, and Lee Marvin as a competitive hobo who will ride on one of Borgnine’s trains at any cost.) Once again, good on Taka for catching that reference and inadvertently giving me another good movie to see!

Anyway, jeez, noitaminA is sure taking quite a few breaks these days, isn’t it? But you can’t rush quality, so I won’t complain much. This episode pushes the awkwardness between the “hipsters” and the “nerds” to a higher level (I like E-Minor’s comparison of Kuragehime‘s characterization to one of those teen comedies where most characters fit into a certain group and then their traits are exaggerated to fit the group). Kuranosuke is completely outgoing, curious about other people and totally ignores all those social barriers people like to put up, whereas all the nerds are utterly insular around anyone but each other and consumed by their particular interests.

. . . OK, maybe that second bit isn’t that exaggerated!

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Bakuman 4 – Work to the Max

Posted in Bakuman with tags on 10/26/2010 by Shinmaru

As someone who tried to draw once upon a time but gave up because I was terrible at it, I don’t exactly lack in respect for artists. To draw down to every detail — whether doing so realistically or not — is fucking hard. But I was ignorant about the actual start-to-finish process of creating even one manga page (and probably still am, since I doubt this episode covers everything); this shit is ridiculous. Then again, doing anything at a high level takes a truckload of work, so with that in mind, it’s not especially surprising to see that even one drawing on a single page takes a lot of patience to see through.

Have to say it’s also cool to see Mashiro and Takagi be practical and hard-working about this even though they’re utter goofballs with just about every other aspect of their lives. The “pride/arrogance, effort and luck” bit especially strikes me as valuable for them to know. Obviously you have to believe in yourself to succeed; if you go into something expecting to fail, then you set yourself closer to failure. And effort is a big “duh” too. If you’re talented enough, you can probably coast on your skill for a while, but eventually a wall is going to come, and the more you coast, the harder that hit will be.

Luck, though . . . Takagi is skeptical about that aspect, but I think it’s because he is viewing it the wrong way. While I’m a believer that people make their own luck (by being flexible enough to adapt to unexpected circumstances, for example), I also believe that is true only to an extent. There are many circumstances and conditions that either aid or hinder people (age, economic condition, location, etc.) that are simply out of people’s control. Certain people exist in better conditions for success in certain areas, and they achieve success by having the foresight to see their advantages and push them as far as possible. That might not be exactly what Mashiro means by “luck”, but I think that’s how it best applies to their situation — if an advantage falls their way, they have to be ready to use it.

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Star Driver 4 – A Whole New World

Posted in Star Driver with tags on 10/25/2010 by Shinmaru

Now we know the main plot of Star Driver: Takuto has to stop all the dudes who want to gangbang Wako so that he can bone her himself and whisk her away to Tokyo, where she can become a singer and be one half of the most fabulous couple in the nation. It all makes sense!

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Moribito – All for One

Posted in Moribito with tags on 10/22/2010 by Shinmaru

What really stood out about Moribito when I watched it a couple of weeks back — aside from the gorgeous visuals, of course — was the collective intelligence of the characters, not just on the side of the heroes (Balsa’s crew), but also on the side of the supposed villains (those in the royal court who at first try to kill Chagum, and later try to capture him once it is clear he is still alive). In fact, what really intrigued me is that, as becomes clear as the series goes along, the intelligence and ability to reason of the “villains” is such that there really is no real, traditional villain in Moribito.

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Posted in Bakuman with tags on 10/18/2010 by Shinmaru

This may or may not have been an actual scene from this episode; I can’t remember at the moment!

Seriously, though, I did lol that Mashiro’s first reaction to see Mrs. Azuki is, “Whoa, so Miho is still going to be this bone-worthy when she’s in her 40s?! AWWWWWWWWWESOME BRO YEAH” I’m shocked he didn’t high five Takagi at some point. This scene is yet another representation of how men are like stegosauruses, except our second brains are in our dicks and not our (non-existent) tails.

(Also, I’d include the “Damn, when we’re married, I’m totally not letting Azuki wear her hair like that” in the lolsexism argument, but frankly, I had the same thought myself. Sometimes you just need to put your foot down against bad hair, regardless of gender. And Mrs. Azuki’s Ladies vs. Butlers hair rolls are some damn bad hair.)

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Star Driver 3 – The Hammer Is My Penis

Posted in Star Driver with tags on 10/17/2010 by Shinmaru

Or the sword in this case.

This episode is kind of funny but also kind of boring since it’s doing the whole Utena “Hey, guys, let’s use the same episode structure in each arc!” thing, but it doesn’t have quite the same sizzle yet. Mrs. Watanabe tries to make up for that all by herself, though. I laughed at everyone being so eager to clean her damn pool. Doesn’t anyone have anything better to do after school?

Was kind of disappointing to see that she actually meant that they would be literally cleaning the pool, however. That had porn scenario written all over it, especially with multiple boys and girls joining in. I had the bad ’80s music queued up and everything. Guess that shows what Mrs. Watanabe really thinks of them — they’re cleaning the pool so that she can dirty it up during her next tryst. At least she was paying them, though considering the innuendos this show has been throwing out, that could have meant anything. Double pay, you say? Ooh la la.

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Kuragehime 1 – All Glory to the Jellyfish

Posted in Kuragehime with tags on 10/16/2010 by Shinmaru

That’s right, pulling double duty on noitaminA here!

So from what I’ve been reading blogging-wise, on Twitter and forums, the first episode of Kuragehime seems to be near universally-loved, heaps of praise abound. I don’t want to go too over-the-top with my own praise, but I do believe it is the most well-executed first episode of the fall season. The animation, characterization, flow and comic timing all hit the mark right from the start. I’d compare the show’s first episode to its crossdressing “princess” — totally confident in what it is despite its abnormal (for lack of a better word) appearance.

(Plus, you know the show hooked me from the start with its movie parody-based OP sequence. That is right in my wheelhouse. As a big ol’ movie geek, though, I’m somewhat disappointed that I didn’t get every parody; really, I knew only the ones everyone else has pointed out thus far — Sex and the City, Star Wars, Singin’ in the Rain, Mary Poppins, James Bond, Kill Bill, The Graduate and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I’ve seen it suggested that the train scene might be a North by Northwest (since its final shot famously shows a train speeding into a tunnel to suggest some rabu rabu time), but I’m not totally sold on it myself . . . but no other suggestion I’ve seen has come any closer than that, haha. The dice/shell game bit is still throwing me too. Alas.)

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Shiki 12 – So Much Yaoi Bait

Posted in Shiki with tags on 10/15/2010 by Shinmaru

Like Tohru with blood, my Shiki withdrawal was reaching its limit during the past three weeks. But unlike Natsuno, I cannot make any sort of fujoshi-pleasing blood offering to a TV series; this paltry blog entry is the best I can do. Sorry.

Anyway, uh, Natsuno? Damn, did he ever give up easily. What a softie. Perhaps once he saw his bestest friend in the whole wide world come back as a vampire and be used as a weapon against him, Yuuki resigned himself to the futility of fighting against the Risen and decided to help keep his friend alive in the slashiest way possible. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) Physically, I get why he’s not fighting; he comments that the anemia as a result of getting his blood sucked hits him harder than he thought it would. Yuuki is in no condition to do battle with bloodsucking beasts.

Mentally, though . . . jeez, I guess that attack really took it out of him. Yuuki was all ready to fuck some shit up, and then Tohru shows up and blows everything. Sad. Seems as if he’ll become a vampire sooner rather than later (unless he just straight up dies; what a twist that would be!), so maybe he’ll feel a bit different once his strength returns to him. Or maybe he’ll just go all Tohru on everyone and suck blood left and right. Who knows.

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