Weekly Round-Up, 7/22 – 7/28

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.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Weekly Round-Up, 7/22 – 7/28

  1. illegenes says:

    As someone who does episode blogging, I can definitely feel your pain at certain points- there have been often times where I just sit at a blank page and wonder “What on earth do I WRITE” because there wasn’t much to say, and the way I handle that is usually grouping the episodes together so that overall I can see something to write about. But I do really love this format as well!

    Tari Tari has been having its ups and downs for me but it’s surprisingly fun to watch when it hits the ‘ups’. As for Hyouka…I tried sticking to it, but I couldn’t halfway throughout (I think I stopped at the School Mystery Video arc or whatever). Should I pick it up or is it the same sort of generic, bland mess that I thought it was?

    • A Day Without Me says:

      I disagree with you completely on your assessment of Hyouka as a “generic, bland mess”, but I also don’t think you’ll like it if you didn’t get into it during the Murder Movie arc or the earlier Niece of Time arc.

      • illegenes says:

        I tried getting into it- and I did like the Murder Movie arc, but other than that, it’s too slow for me. There’s rarely any character development, and everyone but Oreki functions more as a nothing but a device to ask questions about the mystery. I’m rewatching the last couple of episodes as I had dropped it previously; hopefully I’ll be able to find something new, but for the most part Hyouka comes across to me as a show that doesn’t mix its elements of slice of life and mystery well enough so that it creates an interesting, dynamic atmosphere. Each to their own, of course.

        • A Day Without Me says:

          I couldn’t disagree with you more about the characters being “devices” for Houtarou’s mystery solving. Hyouka’s been fairly subtle in its development of its supporting cast, for the most part, but the last few episodes themselves argue more obviously against that, as there’s been very little screen-time for Houtarou, while we’ve spent quite a bit of time with the other three, and inside the heads of Mayaka and Satoshi.

          But, again, I really don’t think you’re going to suddenly change your mind if you dropped it during the murder mystery movie arc. Maybe the time spent with others in the cultural fair arc will change your mind, but I’m not expecting it to.

          • illegenes says:

            (ugh, WordPress cancelled my response three times, so I’ll just make this short)

            I fail to see this ‘subtle’ character development you speak of- I’m at episode 11, and Chitanda and Ibara are still their same selves. Chitanda is still annoyingly inquisitive while Ibara is still a sort of tsundere at heart. My main issue is that the secondary characters function within the vacuum of the story- that is, we don’t see their lives outside the club, or their thought process when they talk (which is only when they are trying to figure out the mystery). Without seeing their POV I don’t really understand who they really are. And as such, all they do to me, is function as roles in understanding the mystery, nothing more. If the show was trying to focus on the relationships in the club, a better way to do that would have been examining the thought process of each member and showing their life outside the club (just like they do with Oreki’s). But the show constantly shields away from that option and instead comes to focus on how the three solely contribute to Oreki’s attempts to solve the mystery. It’s very similar to the show, House, where House asks his employees to help him understand the medical illness, but it’s like a show where it only shows the debating inside the room, not the interaction of the employees with the patient, or their personal lives and how they approach medicine. Without those factors, the characters come across as nothing but flat to me.

            Of course, I still haven’t seen the last few episodes- the ones that you say, have those POV points in them- so I’ll take your word on it and hope that this show does offer that variety. I do hope so! Don’t get me wrong; I want to enjoy Hyouka (and I think it shows a lot of potential), but the structure and execution of the show just isn’t letting me do so.

  2. E Minor says:

    Episodic blogging owns bones.

    It’s weird that I watch a lot of anime, but I don’t watch half of the stuff you watch. After all, I’m about to drop Tari Tari. It just feels like complete fluff.

    • A Day Without Me says:

      Well, but, conversely, I don’t watch half the stuff you watch (all the shows in Harem Hill, SAO, Natsuvous, to name a few).

      Tari Tari’s been pure fluff to this point, but excepting the last aired episode, I have enjoyed it. The teenaged female characters sure are a hell of a lot better than the ones in Hanairo (idiot, bitch, and doormat).

Comments are closed.