Day does weeks.
As a blogger, I’ve always been wary of episodic blogging, as it tends to take the fun out of most shows for me, instead turning them into a chore that must be completed as opposed to entertainment to be enjoyed. But there’s been some tension always inherent in the thing for me, as I often wish to talk about shows that I am watching. Sometimes, I give in, and I take up episodic blogging, although to date I’ve only completely blogged one show (Prince-sama!). Nabari no Ou got licensed back in the Dark Ages, which is to say, pre-simulcasting and -streaming, so I had to drop it, and I picked up Shiki halfway through it’s run. I just flat-out dropped my blogging of Mawaru Penguindrum, since it was ruining it for me.
The problem with episodic blogging is that it essentially demands that you have something to say every week about a show, and, quite frankly, I often do not. What could I have said weekly about Aquarion EVOL other than “ZOMG THIS SHOW IS SO CHEESY I LOVE IT”? I had neither substance nor humor to immortalize in a blog post my feelings about that show every week, despite my loving it. There are also often times when I would like to comment on an episode of something, but don’t feel like I have enough to say for an entire post.
Thus, weekly round-ups at GAR GAR Stegosaurus were born.
In these round-ups, I’ll be covering whatever I watched the preceding week that I felt like commenting on, to include anime that isn’t currently airing, or episodes of shows currently airing that I didn’t watch that week. Excluded are any anime I do cover in separate posts, so don’t expect any Arcana Famiglia here, nor will I go over things I plan to review or already have.
So, without further ado, and in no particular order:
Hyouka Episode 14
What I really liked about this episode, was that cooking was presented more as a skill than as “something girls are good at”. Yes, Satoshi asked Mayaka and Chitanda to be part of the team with him, and didn’t ask Houtarou, but it didn’t come across as “oh, you’re girls, so you must be good at this”. I loved that the reasoning behind why Chitanda was a good cook was that she comes from a farming family, so she’s got a really good understanding of food, and knows the proper way to prepare it. And there was nary a comment about housewifery! Hooray!
Mayaka’s last-minute effort also underscored this conception of cooking as a skill and not as an instinct, as she obviously struggled initially over what to do with the few ingredients left. She didn’t just waltz up, activate her girl powers, and make the most amazing dish ever. Instead, she had to think very hard about it, and the bag of flour from Houtarou was what enabled her to finally put something together. In non-cooking anime, there’s very little middle ground when it comes to cooking – its almost wholly done by girls, and they either are horrible or wonderful, with the implication that you’re either born with it, or you’re not… and, if you’re not, its ~moe~ because, silly girl, you’re deficient! All girls are born with cooking skills! There’s something wrong with you! But that’s what makes you cute~, because you can’t even meet a basic of need of being capable of feeding yourself or your future husbando~! Moeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
But Hyouka 14 was a rare admission that cooking is something that takes effort, and that one becomes good at through practice; it isn’t a have it or you don’t, a take on it which really just dismisses the work that a good cook puts into their dishes. Of course the food is good, she’s a girl, girls just know how to make good food! And, if they don’t, again, its because moeeee. Effort has nothing to do with it in this paradigm.
So, woo, good on Hyouka. I also would never snub an episode where Satoshi defies stereotypes as usual, and in which Houtarou looks totally moe himself. Hnnnnngh. I also had a shipping opportunity in this episode with Chitanda and the Empress herself, and Satoshi talked to Tanabe, of the student council, which means there was a whole lot of shipping happening. Day was happy.
Tari Tari Episode 4
Pretty weak episode, honestly, and this coming from someone who has enjoyed the show thus far. The whole thing with Konatsu being starstruck by the mariachi band and having a spat with Sawa over it was pretty stupid; it was very abrupt and wasn’t developed at all, so it felt like a cheap attempt at tension. I would’ve preferred that the episode had focused on Wakana, given the connection between the band and her mother, than to have split the focus. At least we don’t have to watch the borderline-creepy (because I know it was supposed to be funny) scenes of Wakana being chased by the member of the mariachi band anymore.
Humanity Has Declined Episode 4
I don’t think we’re ever going to get the “next step”, so to speak, from this show. We’ll get criticisms of things, and cynicism about things, but I’m not expecting at this point that it’ll go any further than being blunt about stuff that others have criticized before it. I’m ok with that, though; I think its funny enough without doing so, even if it does reduce its “value” a bit.
I liked the apparent Revolutionary Girl Utena nod, however brief it was, in the manga panel with the starry walls. It was the juxtaposition of Watashi’s long, pink hair, with her in pajamas that made me think of it – I half expected Y to look Anthy-ish, although she didn’t. May’ve not been intentional. Oh well.
Moyashimon Returns Episode 4
Dropped. I only lasted about halfway through the episode. I just don’t care about the characters this season has decided to focus on at all. I could’ve lived with the reduction in humor, but the “serious” content that has replaced it is much ado about boring characters and boring things. I’m willing to pick it back up if I hear better things about it down the line, but for now I really don’t feel like wasting my time.
Hanasakeru Seishounen Episodes 1-10
And why would I wanna waste my time on something dull when I could spend it watching something ludicrous? Hanasakeru Seishounen is a reverse harem show that aired from 2009 to 2010, but was based on a manga from the 1980s. Its another of the shows I consider to be crack in anime form, as it never ceases to be totally ridiculous and thoroughly entertaining.
In these episodes, the lead, Kajika Louisa Kagami Burnsworth, is presented with a proposition from her dad – she must choose a husband, and he will send three men he has hand-picked her way, but will not tell her which of the men she encounters are his hand-picked choices. He presents it as a game, and she can accept or reject, but she accepts, seemingly in a surge of competitive spirit.
Hilariousness ensues. Kajika has previously told her (former) classmates that she was in love with a dead leopard. She thinks that the dead leopard has semi-reincarnated into an ultra-depressed guy with hair metal hair who is a total jerk because he wants to die. Later on, a would-be assassin reminds Kajika of her father’s doberman, which makes her like him. This is kind of the show in a nutshell.
On paper, Kajika sounds pretty stupid, although I think its more that a. she’s been raised on an island, isolated from regular human society, and b. she’s just used to getting what she wants. I can’t help but like her for it, honestly; I loathe the weak-willed heroine common to reverse harems.
Personally, I ship Kajika with Rumaty Ivan dai Raginei, the prince from the stereotypically Middle Eastern island nation of Raginei, which is actually an island in Southeast Asia (of course). He’s a jerk at first, but he’s Kajika’s age and he turns out to be a soft-hearted tsundere who is quite fond of her. Given that the competition otherwise so far is five and six years older than the fourteen year old Kajika, the age thing is a bit advantage. It turns out that they’re cousins, but I don’t really care, I’m still shipping them.
Anyway, although I was thoroughly enjoying the show prior to episode nine, that episode really sealed the deal for me, as the depressed leopard guy, Eugene, meets the family of Kajika’s friend, Yui, and it turns out that Yui’s family is pretty much one big gayfest. Yui seemed to have a crush on Kajika beforehand (a classmate even mocked her for it), and then she goes gaga over Eugene. Then her little brother practically passes out after seeing Eugene naked, and tries to take a picture of him wearing a yukata with his chest bared for all to see. Even dad seems to get in on the homo-homo action as he blushes his way through dinner. How the hell could I ever hate a show that played that whole thing straight (no pun intended)?
Refrain Blue OVA
I was going to do a review for this originally, but I just can’t be bothered. Refrain Blue is a rare little chicken, as its a title from Pink Pineapple that is NOT a hentai. Its a three episode OVA centering around a girl named Nao, whose boyfriend died in a plane crash, and Matsunaga, a man who is working as a tour guide for the hotel at which Nao and her classmates are staying, and who had his own romantic mishap seven years prior.
Its not a bad OVA, although the H-game roots are stunningly obvious. One could pretty easily pick out each of the heroines of the original game just from the first episode alone. But I like the relationship that develops between Nao and Matsunaga, and I also liked that both halves of the couple have some issue that they ultimately help each other get over.
I was actually a bit bummed this wasn’t a hentai, as I would’ve liked to see the two have some sexytimes, given the decent development the relationship got. I will deduct points for having the characters have their first sexual encounter in a rotting, condemned inn, though – not romantic at all, and, in fact, kind of blech. But we don’t get to see anything past the two kissing, lying down, and Matsunaga putting his hand inside of Nao’s yukata, so, meh.
Refrain Blue did do a great job of depicting the “Nice Guy”, skin-crawling as it was to see it played out. An upperclassmen has the hots for Nao, and bugs her throughout. When he senses that Nao’s got an interest in Matsunaga, he tears up a photo of the two that Nao has. He then angrily tells Matsunaga about Nao’s dead boyfriend, and states that he won’t let Matsunaga have her, because he’s been such a great guy, he’s waited for her and held off on pursuing her full-tilt because of the dead boyfriend – this despite him being pushy with her earlier in the OVA about her becoming the basketball team manager. In fact, the jerk drives Nao to a suicide attempt, since he drops a picture of Nao and the dead guy down the stairs as she’s coming inside after kissing Matsunaga. He’s a complete ass-hole who thinks he deserves something from Nao because, in his opinion, he’s been nice to her. Typical Nice Guy. I’m not sure I’ve seen this depicted as well here anywhere else, and its surprising that a fairly unremarkable OVA is the one to tackle it so effectively.
Also, Refrain Blue has nipples. So, uh, watch it, or something.
And that’s a wrap.