Week in Review, 8/1 – 8/

nightwalker 5c

Speaking truth to power there – anime is addictive, and it will kill you.

Macross Delta, ep. 18

I sneakily watched this episode by myself so I wouldn’t have to wait at least a week before watching it.

I’m impressed with just how well the show is depicting young love. Even as anime features boatloads of “romance” and crushes, I think its honestly rare for them to handle it with much finesse. Watching Freyja fall in love and try to figure out and then navigate how she’s feeling about Hayate has felt painfully true to life. I already really liked Freyja, but this has made her even more compelling to me as a character.
But, ah, I giveth and taketh away – I’m a bit troubled by what is coming across as the show trying to make Kaname and Messer’s relationship into something it wasn’t. Admittedly, it may be more that Arad is the one trying to do this so as to avoid having to deal with something potentially difficult (i.e. the way Kaname feels about him), so my fears my be for naught.
By the way, I keep forgetting to bring this up, but I believe that Hayate’s surname is supposed to be a nod to Max Immelmann, one of Germany’s WWI aces. He tends to get overshadowed by the cult of personality for the Red Baron, but his name nevertheless describes a flying maneuver, the Immelmann turn (which, amusingly, isn’t actually a tactic he ever utilized).

Nightwalker, ep 5-9

I mentioned last week that Nightwalker’s history was a bit odd as it was originally done as a four episode OAV, and then AIC decided they wanted to run it as a twelve episode TV series, which they achieved by tacking on eight additional episodes. Even if you had no idea that this was the case, you would certainly notice that something odd must’ve happened as, at the very least, episode five marks a sharp degradation in the visuals; it also includes an eyecatch which the first four episodes lacked.
While the structure means that we got the climax of the show in episode four, the show’s overall quality is only a touch lower than it had been before. A couple of these episodes present stories that are, on paper, pretty decent and have potential, but aren’t executed particularly well. Episode five should feel weighty, as it concerns someone’s adjusting from having been human to being a vampire, but instead it just ends up being hilarious. The central conceit of episode five seems to be “kids, don’t do drugs… made by questionable Chinese herbalists”, and involves teen girls chowing down on pills (the latest craze!), all set to some melodramatic music. It’s extremely silly but trying so, so very hard to hammer home that our new vampire can’t just keep going to classes and chilling with their human friends.
The biggest problem, though, with this string of episodes is that there are patches that are so massively, monumentally, stunningly boring. You’d think a story which involves a woman cutting off people’s faces, or one in which a conniving woman and her son run over their father-in-law and grandfather with a compact car couldn’t be, but you’d be wrong.

Gakuen Heaven, ep. 1

Here’s another re-watch for me! When I saw that Crunchyroll had picked up the streaming license for Gakuen Heaven, I knew I had only one option, and that was to re-watch it. I originally saw Gakuen Heaven way back when it aired, and even bought it on DVD for a friend who possessed clearly similarly discerning tastes. But this is no rosy re-watch! I thought the show was pretty bad when I watched it in 2006. If anything, watching this first episode, I found that it exceeded my expectations, as they were so very low. This isn’t, though, to say the opening episode is any good – it’s a slave to all the conventions one associates with first episodes of high school harem series – but I was expecting it to be far, far worse.
What did really stick out, though, was just how washed-out the visuals are. The animation is standard stuff, and for the most part manages to avoid looking janky, but the backgrounds in particular look faded, as do some of the characters whose designs involve less bold colors.
By the way, and if you want to read me going on a complete tangent, while CR has this labeled as being provided by Discotek, I actually cannot find any evidence that this is accurate. I know, I know – who cares? Well, I note this because Gakuen Heaven started running on Toku (the station formerly known as the Funimation Channel) late last year. Funimation cut ties with Toku also late last year, at which point Toku started running… only Media Blasters shows. Considering Media Blasters spent several years more or less as a corpse, and that their catalogue is, hmm, let’s go with “quirky”, this fascinates me. Discotek has picked up several licenses of shows which were formerly licensed to MB, but I can’t find anything at all to indicate that this has been the case with Gakuen Heaven…

Haunted Junction, ep. 1

Wow, was I watching anything new this week?! This is one of the very first anime I saw, and I’m pretty sure it was my first sub-only show. Unusually for when it was released, it didn’t have a dub – I think Bandai Entertainment was trying out releasing lower-interest titles sans dub to save on cost at the time, as CLAMP Campus Detectives got the same treatment at the time (although Haunted Junction managed to get onto DVD much faster – CCD only finally wound up there in 2009).
I’ve been wanting to try a re-watch for a while now, but was admittedly held off by my suspicion that it would prove to have aged very badly. To my surprise, it’s held up fairly well. This was never a gorgeous show, but it looks a lot better than I recalled (maybe since I saw it on VHS and this time was DVD!), and certainly better than some of the other TV anime of its era do. As for the humor, it’s all pretty low-level stuff, maybe not *quite* toilet level, and most of it hits the mark, even if only for a smirk. The one really good gag is used twice, though, which is regrettable.
That being said… so, the heroine, Asahina, has a shouta complex. She is seventeen years old, aaaand she won’t bother with any boys over the ripe age of twelve. It’s supposed to be funny. At eleven years old, this didn’t seem questionable. As a twenty-seven year old, WOW, THIS SURE FEELS REALLY CREEPY. You know the “creepy old man in a cute girl’s body” thing like one sees with Oreimo’s Kirino, or with, say, Bleach’s Chizuru? Asahina is that, but apparently back in the 90’s they hadn’t yet discovered they could spice it up on the yuri frequency or just use it as an excuse to show more boobs, so instead she creeps on little boys. If this were my first time encountering this show, I would probably drop it over this, so I guess that’s nostalgia for you. (And I already own it on DVD and have since about 2001, so the vote with my dollars was cast a looong time ago.)

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2 Responses to Week in Review, 8/1 – 8/

  1. Artemis says:

    I’ve never attempted a rewatch (and I’m not sure I’d ever want to), but maaan do I have some serious nostalgia feels for Gakuen Heaven. It was probably my first BL anime after Gravitation.

    • A Day Without Me says:

      I’ll give it this – it steered clear of nonconsensual crap, and its couple was convincing as a romantic couple. It is a bit sad that these count as achievements, but, well, it is something to be said for it.

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