Archive for April, 2012

Bitchin’ Space Pirates 17 – … Sorry, What, I Was Distracted

Posted in Mouretsu Pirates with tags on 04/29/2012 by Shinmaru

Hey, I’m not posting this out front because I’m a male chauvinist pig! I’m doing it because I celebrate all forms of love, especially when it’s two teenage anime girls kissing!

Self-mocking aside, I do like how this episode goes about establishing Jenny and Lynn as A Couple. The fawning from the peanut gallery is a bit much, but otherwise everything is refreshingly straightforward. There’s some embarrassment with Jenny and Lynn being so open with the ol’ PDA; Chiaki is so darn tsuntsun that she can’t stand to look at anyone being so up front with their feelings. But the big feeling around the room is, “Wait, you two are a couple? Pretty cool!” rather than, “TWO GIRLS KISSING GROSS/HOT” (I’m sure that feel was supplied in abundance by the audience, however). It’s kind of sad that approaching the relationship in this way is rare for anime in general regardless of whether the relationship is same-sex or not, haha.

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Hunter x Hunter 28 – Silence Is Golden

Posted in Hunter x Hunter with tags on 04/24/2012 by Shinmaru

I feel like I’ve brought this complaint up in various places, but I can’t remember if I’ve bitched about it here . . . but oh well! It colored my view of this episode — and Hisoka’s scene in particular — so deal with it.

Anyway, my qualm is with the background music. I like Hisoka’s theme; it’s a cool, snappy song, it’s of a flavor you don’t often get in anime, and it even works for him in a weird sort of way. The song works just fine when Hisoka is introduced during the Hunter Exam. Here, though? Doesn’t work at all, and here’s why: The scene is supposed to be carried by Hisoka’s menace. He is the roadblock keeping Gon and Killua from advancing. Their fear of Hisoka’s power and the ease with which he could kill them using it is the entire point of the scene.

But how menacing can Hisoka be when you’ve got a catchy Spanish tune in the background distracting the viewer?

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Bitchin’ Space Pirates 16 – Cosplay Pirates

Posted in Mouretsu Pirates with tags on 04/22/2012 by Shinmaru

Totally laughed out loud at this reveal. I thought that might have been chii on the far left, at first, but I’m pretty sure she has a green dinosaur outfit! She could be branching out, though. Gotta have a nice outfit for every day of the week, after all.

But, yes, a fun, spirited performance by the temporary crew of the Bettenmaru that was interrupted only occasionally by pedophiles. Seriously, I did not expect those two dudes to so brazenly hit on someone who is clearly pretty fuckin’ young, haha. I can already hear them in court: “Well, I thought the pixie outfit only made her look young, and she was with pirates, so I thought she was of age!” The other dude was probably already on his way to prison. You can’t have a mustache like that not behind bars.

Yep, anime fans, this is what we look like to everyone around us, except fatter and not as nicely dressed.

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Hunter x Hunter 27 – OSU!

Posted in Hunter x Hunter with tags on 04/17/2012 by Shinmaru

I gotta say . . . Gon, Killua and Zushi are kinda super adorable in this episode. How could anyone not love Gon and Killua immediately taking on Zushi’s silly martial arts mannerisms? They’re not even doing it ironically; well, Gon definitely isn’t, anyway. The jury’s out on Killua. At the very least, though, Gon thinks it’s awesome.

Anyway, Nen. I’ll write a bit more on that subject when it’s more appropriate, since the series has just introduced the concept and will lay out all the rules and intricacies as the show goes on. I will say, though, that while Nen has the surface appearance of every bullshit shonen anime power-up you see, it does differentiate itself in key ways such as the actual rules guiding its use, the number of people who can use it and the different types of powers available. In many ways, it is a traditional shonen power-up, but done in a way that makes sense and adds to the story rather than providing an easy way out for the writer.

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Bitchin’ Space Pirates 15 – We Come from the Planet K-On!

Posted in Mouretsu Pirates with tags on 04/15/2012 by Shinmaru

They’re looking at enough sweets to fill an entire cours!

Before I begin this post, I just want to say that this has been a friggin’ awesome week for anime. I vote in the Anime Power Rankings each week, and normally I try my best to watch everything I’m keeping up with before sending in my ballot. This week, though, there’s so much of quality that I didn’t even wait to watch this episode of Pirates before filling out my ballot. And this is a good, fun episode of the series that would have made it many other weeks! Hell, I didn’t even think about putting Fate/zero on my list, even though I’m sure it’s in no danger of falling off this week.

There’s a bunch of stuff of quality that I’m not watching, too, simply because I don’t have the time . . . seems to be more on my plate by the day, but you don’t come here to read me bitch about my life (not that I have much about which to bitch). I was skeptical going into this season, but once again anime shows itself to be solidly healthy. I’ve got realistic standards (give me three-to-five enjoyable shows in a season and I’ll be more than happy), and this season is definitely delivering on that for me. That’s not counting the good shows continuing on, as well . . .

(For the record, I voted 1) Lupin III, 2) Mobile Suit Gundam AGE (really need to write a post on that soon), 3) Future Diary, 4) Tsuritama and 5) Sakamichi no Apollon.)

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Lupin III – The Hard-Boiled Bullet

Posted in Lupin III, Random Shit with tags on 04/12/2012 by Shinmaru

Like a fair number of Western anime fans, my main experience with Lupin III is with the classic flick Castle of Cagliostro and a few TV episodes here and there. Always meant to watch more, but it’s always been unfortunately easier for me to put aside long stuff like Lupin III, Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Urusei Yatsura or whatever in favor of short series, movies and OVAs that build up on the ol’ to-watch plate. Maybe this new series will be the kick in the ass I need to plunge full-on into Lupin III whether it’s only partially representative of the Lupin experience or not.

The second episode of the new Lupin III series struck me hard because it’s so god damned noir in tone, style, look, story, character . . . you name it, this episode has it. I know only the most surface things about the Lupin III characters, but from what I do know, Jigen and Fujiko strike me as being the most at-home in a film noir. (Goemon is, of course, a friggin’ samurai, and Lupin himself is maybe a bit too free-flowing and fun for a super hard-boiled story like this . . . but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were several tales that proved me wrong.) Jigen in particular I could see being a detective in an L.A. noir in another life.

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Bitchin’ Space Pirates 14 – The Best Crew Is Underneath Your Nose

Posted in Mouretsu Pirates with tags on 04/09/2012 by Shinmaru

I doubt there was a single person watching this episode who wasn’t like, “Hey, Marika, you’ve got a perfectly serviceable, loyal crew in the Yacht Club! They’re even semi-proven sailors — they helped you through that initial skirmish and everything! Pick them! You know you want to!”

That’s probably the biggest reason this episode doesn’t really work for me despite being decent enough all around. It’s a foregone conclusion that the Yacht Club pals will become Marika’s temporary crew. Why introduce a host of new characters when you have a bunch of characters waiting to be used who also already have an in with Marika? And who also oh so perfectly fit the theme of the episode (trust)? To the episode’s credit, it at least avoids going through the motions of Marika and Gruier in a “we’re interviewing a bunch of pirates!” montage. Aside from hooking Marika back up with the gals again, this episode is a not-so-subtle excuse to introduce Chiaki’s pops. Not that I’m complaining!

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I Like Gyo, But I Also Like Writing About Horror

Posted in Gyo, Random Shit with tags on 04/06/2012 by Shinmaru

When Gyo made the rounds a little more than a month ago, much of the reaction was not surprising but nonetheless left me scratching my head a bit.

I can understand not liking Gyo for the plot; it is, after all, utterly ridiculous on the face of it, and gets more ridiculous as it goes on. The events that occur are downright stupid and certainly not interesting in and of themselves. And the characters aren’t super interesting, either, which I think is a bigger problem. But the thing that makes me wonder is why anyone looking for an engaging plot would look to horror for that in the first place.

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Hunter x Hunter 25 – Flippin’ Coins

Posted in Hunter x Hunter with tags on 04/04/2012 by Shinmaru

It’s such a small thing, but I love that the remake adds the ridiculous shonen touch of smoke lifting from Gotoh’s hands because he is flipping coins so quickly. This is the type of detail you’d never see in the original series because so much of it was straight and serious, sometimes to great success and other times to failure (which I discussed a bit last week). Whether the remake is of the same quality as the original is debatable, but at the very least, little details like this make the new Hunter x Hunter fun to watch.

I remember liking this episode in the original because Gotoh is the type of archetypal character where you see him and immediately know what he’s all about. There’s a menace to him, and you believe he could kill any of these three intruders if he wanted, but in true Hunter x Hunter fashion he simply wants to play a coin-flipping game. (He’s like Anton Chigurh before Anton Chigurh. No word on whether he’s hiding a cattle gun somewhere.) For such a short scene where you basically know that the heroes will make it through just fine (it’s just a coin game, after all), it’s surprisingly tense.

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Bitchin’ Space Pirates 13 – Slicin’ Life

Posted in Mouretsu Pirates with tags on 04/02/2012 by Shinmaru

This is a nice transitional episode after the sleight-of-hand plot tricks of the previous episode. I don’t have too much to say that others haven’t already pointed out, but I will say one thing: Mouretsu Pirates is notable for having a Chiaki Omigawa-voiced character who 1) isn’t purposefully annoying, or 2) makes me want to detach my head from my body and launch it full force at a brick wall. How could I hate on anyone who makes a sweet cape like that? Mami knows exactly what it means to be a stylish pirate. And she also handles Chiaki’s tsuntsun with such a deft hand. It takes someone with real skill to so easily sooth the savage tsuntsun.

I also like that she’s used exactly when she needs to be. No more, no less. Need someone to keep Chiaki company when Marika is out hunting for treasure? Mami has your back. Want some sweet upgrades to your pirate threads? Mami has that shit covered. She doesn’t show up often, but she’s always getting something done when she does. Mami is efficient at this slice of life business.

So, hey, congrats to Mami for being a Chiaki Omigawa I can get behind. (If you know what I mean.)

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