Week in Review, 1/13 – 1/20

challenge accepted nagisa

You must do a post about the stuff you’ve watched this week before kick-off for the AFC Championship Game. Are you willing to accept this challenge?

Having gotten all the premiere episodes out of the way, I’ve already settled in fairly comfortably at a grand total of two new shows to follow (and one of them is a sequel, so it’s not even really new). I’m only carrying one show from last season (From the New World). Thin seasons for me! Of couse, I’m hardly wanting for anime, given how many older shows I’m re-/watching at the moment.

Last night I found myself at loose ends – should I watch more anime? Read some manga? Read some not-manga? And if I watched more anime, what would I watch? There was a lot to choose from… so I basked in the dim glow on my computer, mindlessly watching OAVs from the 80s, because it was easier than making a decision (no, passively allowing bad OAVs to wash over you doesn’t count as a decision).

From the New World, episode 14

I feel habitually guilty about From the New World, as I continually fall behind despite enjoying the show quite a bit. It definitely has had weak spots, but overall I find the world-building fascinating, as well as the moral questions it raises. I also realllllly like Saki a lot; it always pleases me to have young female characters in anime who are competent and don’t spend the entirety of their existence trying to craft the perfect bento to catch the nebbish milquetoast in their class. I’m also impressed with the show for not taking the easy way out; the actions of the village seem repulsive, but Tomiko is very sympathetic, in part because the system she helps perpetuate does have legitimate reasons for existing – with a population of 50,000 – 60,000 people for all of Japan, humanity can’t really afford missteps when warning signs are given. I still chafe against such a suffocating system, but I can’t pretend that it’s just a horrible, mean system with zero upside to it.

Speaking of the population figure for all of Japan, I have wondered how things are outside of Japan. Have other societies developed different ways of dealing with the issues Cantus raises? Do people even exist in other lands? Did people in other lands successfully wipe out Cantus users, so they don’t have to worry about leaking Cantus or people becoming Karma Demons?

The only thing that continues to seriously stick in my craw is how badly Maria has been handled by the show; I feel that she’s been inconsistent as a character because she’s been stuck just as a means to service the plot in whatever fashion is necessary. Her ultra-focus on Mamoru feels totally shoe-horned in, like it was done only to maneuver her into a position where it makes sense that she ends up dead (because, let’s face it, almost all of Saki’s friends have to die to get her to wherever she needs to be – Satoru may be excepted… but I also wouldn’t count on it). I want Mamoru to get run over by a snow-plow, but it irritates me that Maria will be as well. I wish she’d at least found her own way to death’s doorstep.

Getbackers, episodes 1 – 7

Woo, Getbackers! I watched this show a while back, and I really enjoyed it, so I finally kicked myself in the pants and picked it up during RightStuf’s sale this past December. A wise investment! There’s really nothing to say about it, other than that it is Very Shounen. The cast of characters is likeable, the humor is decent, and the ED is great. I’m not into shounen, but I still like it quite a bit, whereas old standbys I used to enjoy (hi Bleach) are unbearable to me now, so even if shounen generally isn’t your thing, you may like it.

Oh, and, yeah, this is the show that you have art from as the header image on the Anime Ho Yay page on TVTropes. Just so you know.

Tamako Market, episode 2

Basically, a Very Special Episode. While I think well of the fact that KyoAni obviously doesn’t intend to use Midori as a titillation factor, the handling here was pretty damn clunky. Hoping they can play things with a bit more subtlety in the future. Either way, folks getting excited over the prospect of yuri are missing that Tamako Market is about as likely to delve into actual romance as it is to take up an interest in astrophysics. Adjust expectations accordingly.

Anyway, Tamako herself endured herself to me more this episode. I loved that her focus on Valentine’s Day was as a means to an end for the shopping arcade and her family’s mocha shop. We saw her get smacked in the face last week with a baton, but we see here that she’s got a budding business sense and a solid work ethic.

AKB0048, episodes 14-15

Going with the numbering scheme that Satelight uses for the sequel, since its official and all that jazz.

Oh mannnn the fanservice has shot up! What a let-down! I was always fairly impressed with the degree of restraint the first season displayed as far as fanservice went, and in these two episodes we’ve gotten more fanservice than there was in the entire first season. Blech.

Speaking of things I’m not crazy about, not really fussed about the elections being introduced to the storyline. I couldn’t explain quite why, it just doesn’t click with me at all. Maybe it’s that I find the idol minutiae shades of dull and sleazy (gravure photo shoot and variety shows, ho hum).

Otherwise, though, I’m happy enough with the progression of the show, although Makoto should really be dumped in a volcano, the sooner, the better. Whiners are so obnoxious.

Bobby’s in Deep

This was disappointing; I wasn’t expecting the sun and the moon, but I’d been assured that while it wasn’t a perfect OAV, it was worthwhile in its own way. Terribly predictable, which wouldn’t have been such an issue if the runtime had been a bit longer, as when the kicker comes, it feels weak – who cares what happens to the titular Bobby? We hardly know him. All we know is that he’s not terribly bright, and that his father takes the salaryman father stereotype to the extreme; he asks Bobby’s sister if Bobby is planning to go to college, and expresses complete shock when Bobby states that his grades are too bad for it.

It’s all mildly sad, because you know Bobby doesn’t have a chance in the real world. But put the emphasis on “mildly”, because one doesn’t feel badly for Bobby so much as, “Sheesh, this idiot hasn’t a prayer.”

California Crisis

Here’s another disappointing outing. I was expecting it to be ridiculous, but it was only so briefly, much of the OAV instead comprised of dullness and unilluminating conversations. It has all the makings of great entertainment – spaceship crashes in California, a girl snags some alien tech, and then everyone is after it. But, no, instead we get what is really best described as an extends commercial for American motor companies, as the protagonist (Noera) and the girl (Marsha) bounce and thud their way across California in a convertible before switching to a pick-up truck that somehow manages to still drive even after being strafed by a helicopter, rattled over pointy rocks, and had its roof torn off. Damn, gimme that truck! It ends up underwater, but I’m willing to bet it still would’ve run had they raised it from the murk.

I did like Marsha, so there is that; she has no depth, but she’s definitely better than Noera, who spends much of his screentime drinking too much, and whining. I also liked the cat a lot; it appears from nowhere, and manages to hold its own much better in fights than Noera or Marsha.

But, shit, what a waste of time!

Magical Girl Pretty Sammy OAV, episode 1

It has been about, hmm… eleven years since I saw the Pretty Sammy OAV. So my memory was pretty hazy… and my memory DEFINITELY deleted the disappointing and skeezy pantyshot from Sasami in the OP, and the boob-bounce that accompanied it (and which is really weird because Sasami doesn’t have breasts at any other time). Man, Tenchiverse, I’m feeling pretty let-down here, because I always gave credit to the fact that Sasami isn’t sexualized in the original OAVs or the TV series. Sigh. So much for that.

Anyway, having talked to people while watching the first episode, it became clear to me that Pretty Sammy OAV is one of those shows where people either really enjoy it or really hate it. I really enjoyed it; the plot and set-up are silly, but as this was the parody with the TV series as a more faithful example of the magical girl genre, I certainly didn’t take issue with it. Goofy things happen, ugly magical girl costumes make appearances, and Sasami’s mother is an enka nut. There’s nothing of substance here at all.

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2 Responses to Week in Review, 1/13 – 1/20

  1. joshspeagle says:

    Ravens! Ravens! Ravens!

  2. Fencedude says:

    The fanservice in AKB0048 is a bit odd since its been almost entirely concentrated on Chieri, other than Mimori’s PHEROMONE stuff, but that hasn’t really changed from how she was in season 1.

    While Chieri is lovely and all, I really do think I’ve had enough gravure of her to last quite a while.

    I believe we discussed this already, but you can definitely add me to the “do not like” camp for the Pretty Sammy OVA. I adore the TV series to death, but the OVA was always just so…irritating. Perhaps because by the time I saw it I’d pretty much grown completely tired of Tenchi/Ayeka/Ryoko and their associated shticks.

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