Archive for December, 2010

Shiki 22 – Burnin’ Away (END)

Posted in Shiki with tags on 12/31/2010 by Shinmaru

I know this was a serious scene, but I could not help but burst out laughing at this. Oh, Ozaki . . .

It’s very strange to know that Shiki is finished; yeah, there are the two extra episodes that will come out when Shiki is released on DVD in Japan, but for all intents and purposes, the show is over. It’s pretty sad, but at the same time satisfying because it has been the best show I’ve followed weekly for a good while now, and while the final episode is not perfect, it’s about as good as it could have been given the course of the story. A solid ending for a damn good series, possibly my favorite of the year.

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Bakuman 13 – Bleh.

Posted in Bakuman with tags on 12/30/2010 by Shinmaru

GANBATTE, MASHIRO-KUN!!!!!!!!!! p(^^)q

Kuragehime 10 – She Don’t Wear Jelly

Posted in Kuragehime with tags on 12/27/2010 by Shinmaru

I’ll take “Scenes in anime that make you question your sexuality” for $1,000, Alex.

So I’m still wondering what sort of resolution we’ll get with Kuragehime. Shuu has seemingly shut the door on Inari after a joke on her end that goes too far for his tastes, and is ready to go abroad for a while. Kuranosuke and Tsukimi have completed the first of their jellyfish dresses, but of course they have to get it noticed first before they can sell it. (And how would they keep up with the demand afterward?) And, uh, I guess someone is moving quickly on obtaining the apartment building since it’s all covered up now! Yikes!

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Shiki 21 – Expressway to the Most Depressing Ending Possible

Posted in Shiki with tags on 12/26/2010 by Shinmaru

Digiboy pretty much hits the nail on the head when he writes that there is basically no way the vampires had a shot once the humans got going. This episode makes that quite clear. Whatever advantages the vampires have are negated by severe weaknesses. And you can’t discount the anger of a bloodthirsty animal backed into a corner, and who will do anything to survive.

Every close relationship is basically destroyed. Masao’s sister presumably kills him when he goes into his former home (either that or she is about to give him the most painful okaeri ever). Tohru’s father has to see his son’s corpse dragged out unceremoniously with a stake driven through his heart (and as a lovely bonus, his beard is there too!). The vampire’s powers are turned against them when it is heavily implied that Yuuki bites Seishirou and orders him to kill a werewolf. Muroi’s father is killed after turning his back on his religion. And on and on and on.

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Twelve Moments in Anime 2010 No. 1 – ROW ROW FIGHT THE ANGELS

Posted in 12 Moments, Neon Genesis Evangelion with tags , on 12/25/2010 by Shinmaru

I haven’t really been writing these posts with any idea of a set order or real thought about what I consider to be the “most important” anime moment of the year for me; it just so happens that Evangelion 2.0 ended up in the final spot. But I can’t think of many better moments to end on, considering Evangelion was one of the more important series in getting me hooked on anime for life.

Even now I’m still not totally sure what I think about the second movie in the Evangelion Rebuild quadrilogy . . . and, at least for now, I see that as a good thing. Evangelion should be spontaneous; it should keep us on our toes and leave us not knowing what the hell is going to come next. Anyone with eyes could tell that You Can (Not) Advance would be different than the original series simply due to the presence of a new character (Mari Makinami Illustrious), but I don’t believe anyone could have predicted the radical shift in tone and character that the second movie brought. You could cherry pick just about anything from the flick as an example (Rei standing up for herself against Asuka?! Asuka actually being honest with her feelings?! An almost family dinner with the Ikaris?!), but none to me stands out more than the very end.

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Twelve Moments in Anime 2010 No. 2 – Mamiina’s Haircut

Posted in 12 Moments, Simoun with tags on 12/24/2010 by Shinmaru

If Planetes was the best series I saw for the first time this year, then Simoun was the second best. A complex story, fascinating world and amazing characters made for a fantastic series. And of them all, Mamiina is my favorite.

She’s initially off-putting, but it didn’t take me long to identify with her journey because it is tied so inextricably to the social problems that exist in Simoun‘s world. Mamiina has to work so hard and take advantage of so few opportunities to get where she is (and she’s still viewed as a lesser person despite this) that it’s not difficult to see why she has such a chip on her shoulder in her interactions with Roatreamon (even though it is not totally deserved). But Mamiina is an ultimately good, kind person, as she shows in her interactions with her fellow Sibyllae. And she has a lot of empathy for those similar to herself, as she shows with her final act.

During a battle, Mamiina and Neviril crash onto an enemy ship; Mamiina is OK, but Neviril is unconscious. They’re surrounded by enemy priests who surprisingly reveal themselves to be sympathetic to the Sibyllae. The priests help Mamiina and Neviril to escape, but as they are leaving, Mamiina realizes the priests will be executed for their actions. Mamiina then makes sure Neviril is safe, cuts off part of her hair (the classic symbol of change) and then jumps off the Simoun to join the priests. She’s certain to die along with the priests, but Mamiina cannot let them die alone and in such a blasphemous manner.

It’s a powerful, heartbreaking end for Mamiina, and the aftermath of it made me legitimately angry (in a good way, because that is what the story intends). She affected me in a way I won’t forget any time soon.

Twelve Moments of Anime 2010 No. 2.5 – Garzey’s Wing Is Amazing

Posted in 12 Moments, Garzey's Wing with tags on 12/24/2010 by Shinmaru

I’m totally cheating with this, because I plan to post a real 12 Days post a bit later today, but whatever. I will bend CCY’s event to my will!!

Anyway, I am the newest recruit into the cult of Garzey’s Wing. Absolutely loved the hell out of this utter garbage. I’d read about it several times before — most notably on ANN and Digiboy’s site — but reading does not hint at even 1/100th of the enjoyment Garzey’s Wing provides. Don’t believe me? Watch the video and be amazed.

As you can no doubt hear, Garzey’s Wing is a remarkable achievement in bad dubbing. It is glorious. There are a lot of fantastic lines in that video, but my favorite exchange isn’t in it. (“It’s what we call a drug in my world.” “If you taste it or smoke it, you get happy and do crazy things!” Again, text cannot accurately portray the hilarity of this.) The actors in this were born to play the characters of Garzey’s Wing.

If you love so bad it’s good anything, then you owe it to yourself to watch Garzey’s Wing. In English. Because if you don’t, the Baby Jesus will cry. And would you be so heartless as to make the Baby Jesus cry so close to Christmas?

I My Me! Strawberry Eggs – Brilliance Surrounded By BS

Posted in Crappy Reviews, Random Shit, Secret Santa, Strawberry Eggs with tags on 12/24/2010 by Shinmaru

(This is my review for Reverse Thieves‘ Secret Santa event.)

Hibiki Amawa dreams of becoming a teacher; to pay the rent, he applies for a job at a local junior high school, Seito Sannomiya Private School. However, his application is rebuffed because the school’s principal refuses to hire any men, believing them to all be base, lecherous creatures. To help Hibiki pay the rent, his landlord, Lulu Sanjo, concocts a way for Hibiki to dress and sound just like a woman so that he will be accepted. Hibiki begins teaching and combats the streak of misandry running through the school.

There is an identity crisis that defines Strawberry Eggs, and it isn’t between Hibiki’s identity as a man and a woman.

Strawberry Eggs is a frustrating series because streaks of brilliance often race through each episode. There are many great moments of gender identity satire: Take, for instance, when the school’s few boys are forced by the principal to clean the school pool. Hibiki helps out because he sympathizes with the boys; when some of the girls pass by, Hibiki asks them to help, but they respond, “What?! Why should we do a man’s work?!” The men are the ones being forced into a specific role (even if physical labor is “traditionally” the domain of men), while the women are free to do whatever the hell they want. Just a small taste, but the boys get a feel for how unfair socially-enforced roles are.

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Twelve Moments in Anime 2010 No. 3 – Making the Leap

Posted in 12 Moments, Planetes with tags on 12/23/2010 by Shinmaru

Planetes is a magnificent series, probably the best I watched for the first time this year. I was often surprised at how human and hilarious it is, but what really stands out to me about the series is when Hachimaki decides to go from a man who is comfortable with his position as a galactic garbage man to someone who wants to push his talent to its limit and see how far he can go, to see if he can achieve his dreams at all costs.

For me, even though the series prior to that is very good, this is the point where the quality spikes from “very good” to “amazing”. Hachimaki straddled the line between sympathetic and unsympathetic beautifully; he acted like a total douche to everyone around him, but at the same time, I couldn’t help but be enthralled with someone who saw what he wanted and pushed himself at the highest possible level to attain that. Whatever you can say about Hachimaki, he didn’t take the easy way out for himself.

I love seeing characters with ambition wrestle with fulfilling those ambitions and the consequences those same ambitions have on their lives. To make one’s ambitions a reality, something in one’s life must necessarily be sacrificed. Hachimaki sacrificed his friendships to get that spot in the Von Braun that would have ensured him immortality. If he had stayed completely on the path he chose (instead of finding the balance he does at the end of the series), only he would have known whether it was truly worth it. But it was fascinating to watch nonetheless.

Bakuman 12 – A Great Cure for Insomnia

Posted in Bakuman with tags on 12/22/2010 by Shinmaru

It seems appropriate that I write about this episode after today’s 12 Moments post. If G Gundam is a shining example of sappiness done right, then the ending to this episode is an example of sappiness gone terribly wrong.

What reason do we have to give a fuck about Mashiro and Azuki? They’re an empty, soulless ideal. They barely interact except to blush and to reaffirm that they’ll never see each other until their dreams come true. Way to substitute retarded romantic notions in place of meaningful character development, Bakuman. Real bang-up job there. Mashiro’s main motivation for becoming a manga author is so that he can bang Azuki, who is content to be like Beauty and the Beast‘s rose in the glass, wilting eternally in wait for that oh so proper moment of True Love. Fuck. Makes me want to gag. And yet we’ve got 12 episodes of this bullshit so far. Wonderful.

You know why G Gundam‘s sappiness works? Because we can feel the passion between Domon and Rain. There’s real feeling there. What feelings are there between Mashiro and Azuki? Have they had even one moment where you thought to yourself, “Wow, these two genuinely love each other”? We have to be told all the time that they have these SUPER DEEP feelings for each other and that, man, we just can’t understand their love. Oh, I understand. I understand that the anime has to fucking tell us about their love all the time because there is absolutely nothing to show. It’s not there. I feel nothing when I see them other than an intense desire to fall asleep on my keyboard and drool.

Fuck this shit. I’m glad Azuki is moving away. I hope she stays away forever. She can take her creepy ass mom with her too.