20 CommentsMonthly Roundups / By Scamp /

January 2015 Roundup

[HorribleSubs] Parasyte - the maxim - 16 [480p].mkv_snapshot_04.42_[2015.02.01_20.57.20]Another month past, another month with no laptop or no internet. By this stage surely I’m in dire need of a peacekeeping mission from a powerful nation to prevent this deprivation of human rights that’s going on here. I’ve had to download anime at libraries and motherfucking McDonalds. Still I got to watch some pretty great anime this season. Anime continues to be good and Inushinde still has bad taste.

What’s Hot

Scamp: Yatterman Night

[HorribleSubs] Yoru no Yatterman - 03 [480p].mkv_snapshot_17.10_[2015.02.01_19.51.50]I very nearly wrote ‘anime’ as the What’s Hot this month due to how many currently airing anime I’m enjoying this season, but I eventually decided to stop being hyperbolic and instead stick with Yatterman Night. It’s the story of Team Rocket told in the style of Gurren Lagann. A group of cartoonish yet lovable villains battle against extrordinary odds to fight against injustices in the world. It can get a touch mawkish at times but I can forgive it because it can deliver on that slightly overbearing emotional side by being genuinely uplifting when the characters get in their elaborate forehead flicking robot and start their dramatic speeches. The show gets me genuinely emotional as I watch them cycle away in mid air on their tandem bicycle.

Shinmaru: Rolling Girls

[HorribleSubs] The Rolling Girls - 03 [480p].mkv_snapshot_17.42_[2015.02.01_19.53.33]Even if the rest of the series doesn’t have the colorful joy and wild verve of those first two episodes, I feel like I’ll be able to look back on them and think, “Damn, that was something!” If a world has that much energy and glee, then I don’t mind being thrown right in the middle of it and forced to suss out what’s happening, or else. It’s a world where people who are lucky enough to have magic just wreck the place up, and everyone else has to deal with it and clean up the mess afterward. It sounds an awful lot like ours, if you ask me, but this one has punches that explode into flowers and hearts. The folks in Rolling Girls got a better deal. Really, though, the best part of these first episodes is seeing the rivalry between Macha Green and Kuniko Shigyou blossom into something equal parts explosive and cartoony. When they lock eyes in the ramen place, it’s destiny. The rest of the show can be about whatever it wants as long as those two get just a little bit more.

Inushinde: Milky Holmes TD

milky-holmes-tdAfter one season of Milky Holmes being really terrible, it looks like there’s finally a return to form. Not a full return, mind—Twenty’s nipples are unjustly being denied the screentime they deserve, and there’s a pronounced lack of lard and sea cucumbers. But it’s done a really good job at making Milky competent in theory, and having them meet that competence through stumbling ass-first into success. The overarching idol plot is forgettable, but it’s a good way for Milky to bring out the best in their incompetent competence. It’s not as lovably manic as the first couple of seasons, but I’ll take it.

What’s not so Hot

Scamp: Expelled from Paradise

fishsubsrakuen-tsuihou-expelled-from-paradise-mkv_snapshot_00-08-47_2014-12-21_10-10-57With this season’s actually good TV anime offerings being numerous enough in number to mean I’ve been able to pass over the crappy light novel adaptations and other crap, I instead had to turn to a random anime movie that came out recently. I was first made aware of Expelled from Paradise when it was announced Seiji Mizushima, the director of the original Fullmetal Alchemist and Un-Go, was directing a movie with Gen Urobuchi doing the writing. I was stoked until the trailer came out later and showed it to be a CG monstrosity with KuguRie loli lead and I lost interest. Then I saw it was proving to be a surprisingly big success in Japan so decided to give it a shot in case there really was something to it. Turns out the reason it was big in Japan was because they figured out how to do jiggle physics in CG anime. The camera and framing is remarkably similar to that of Cross Ange. There was one scene where the camera panned back behind the girl in her robot, then shot right up through her ass and out off into the horizon to something she was looking at. It’s such an ugly film visually that it nearly distracted me from its irritating characters and bland writing.

Shinmaru: Kancolle

kantai-ep3-scr2In a way, I almost respect how much this series is zeroing in on people who already like the game and are familiar with all the girls and the particulars of the experience at the expense of literally anyone else who might watch the series and become interested in the game. It seems as if everyone I follow on Twitter who plays the game likes this show a lot. Me, I’m just baffled. (For those who are saying, “Why don’t you just drop it?” I’m watching with a friend of mine; it was mutual curiosity, since neither of us is familiar with the game at all. At least I’m not constantly slamming it on Twitter, which I imagine would get annoying for both me and whatever followers would remain afterward.)

I mostly thought the first couple of episodes were boring because none of the boatgirls stood out to me like, say, the Idolmaster girls do. Their personalities so far just aren’t colorful or fun in a way I appreciate, nor am I interested enough in the overall scenario to bridge that gap. The third episode … it tries so hard but telegraphs everything in a hilarious, heavy-handed way. I feel like a big jerk for this, but the ending made me laugh way more than it made me sad. Those two boatgirls standing out in the sunset waiting for their boatgirl friend who sank is too funny to me. Lock me up and throw away the key.

Just ignore all my boat opinions if you like this show. I swear this will be the only time I write about this show unless it turns into Psycho-Pass 2 or something. Actually, that might make me enjoy it more, but it probably wouldn’t appeal to the folks who actually care about it.

Inushinde: Maria the Virgin Witch

[HorribleSubs] Maria the Virgin Witch - 03 [480p].mkv_snapshot_03.55_[2015.02.01_19.54.15]It was a choice between this and Yurikuma, but Maria is one that I don’t think I could get as much mileage out of an extended post about, both because I actually really enjoy it, and because I can totally see it ironing out the current glaring flaws over its run. But at the moment, it has enough problems that I can make it part of our monthly Hotty/Notty roundups, the most glaring of which is its inability to give the Hundred Years’ War any sort of relevance unique to such a bizarre, drawn out conflict. It serves as little more than set dressing for Maria to occasionally prod at to make more interesting things happen. Past characters giving exposition, there’s little that gives the war a feeling of relevance. It could be replaced with a fight over a plate of lime Jello, and the result would be more or less the same.

Now, it is doing enough right that these faults don’t drag the show down to the depths of incomprehensibility. It has a strong lighthearted tone, and the depiction of Maria’s staunch opposition to the apathy and pervasiveness of the Catholic Church, at the time entering the nadir of its spiritual guidance to crippling bureaucracy ratio, is probably its greatest strength. If it could properly integrate this dynamic, the oddities of the Hundred Years’ War, and Maria’s humanist sentiments, the show could be something special. It’s definitely ambitious, and I’d like to see this ambition better realized. And hey, we all have our off-days.

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20 Comments

  1. Madonis
    Posted February 1, 2015 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    I’d say the relevance of the Hundred Years War in Maria is meant to be mainly thematic rather than purely contextual.

    The war has been going on for so long that many people haven’t experienced peace time within their lives, such as Joseph and Ann. The mercenaries, as pointed out in the latest episode, literally need war to make a living and resort to banditry when conventional battles aren’t going on.

    You could argue that Maria might be unintentionally prolonging the war too, since her efforts tend to delay the main conflict rather than actually resolving it. You can’t exactly create peace so easily either. The futility of this has been pointed out to a degree.

    • Inushinde
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      My thing is that I feel it needs some kind of a greater presence to be thematic. It’s a fascinating conflict with a lot to draw on, and the show isn’t utilizing it much at all. There’s still plenty to enjoy, but it could be handled far better.

  2. Posted February 1, 2015 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    Scamp, either we’re having the exact same thoughts, or you’re totally nicking my summation of Yatterman Night. Although to be fair, I added ‘in North Korea’ at the end of the Gurren Lagann/proto-Team Rocket part.

    Also, I’m waiting for the next arc until I make definite judgement, but my fears about The Rolling Girls seems to be coming true. It’s still pretty good, but if the show thought super-powered battles was enough of a hook to get people to check it out, why not focus mainly on that? The K-on road trip adventure aspect is nowhere nearly as exciting or interesting as what it could be focusing on.

    Kancolle just seems utterly soulless to someone with no experience with the game. Not terrible, just something that feeling so artificial & committee based that it may as well be made out of cardboard, just like the characters.

    Inushinde, once again your tastes hurt my delicate brain-box

    • Shinmaru
      Posted February 1, 2015 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      Ain’t nothin’ wrong with this season’s Milky Holmes, buddy.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      I’ve been comparing to Gurren Lagann since episode 1 but the latest episodes have been pushing the comparisons even further what with them building the team. I now wish it was going to be airing for longer since it seems to be only 1 cours

  3. Dark Kain
    Posted February 1, 2015 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    The world clearly needs a weekly Yatterman corner.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      I was already full with DRRR and Parasyte. Plus my lack of knowledge on original Yatterman doesn’t help. But hey, I’ll still probably write something more lengthy on it later.

  4. Just an inquiry
    Posted February 1, 2015 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Hey, which other animes are a must watch this season?
    I watch all the top three you wrote down but you keep praising this season as “the best ever” and yet, besides Death Parade and the three you mentioned, I don’t see much interesting going on :/

    • zoamelgustar
      Posted February 1, 2015 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      Not enjoying yurikuma? Even when the kid got thrown into the volcano??

    • Shikamaru
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      You don’t watch Durarara!!? You really should watch it.

      • FelixL
        Posted February 2, 2015 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        I’d watch Durarara, but I’ve never seen the first season and Crunchy only licensed the second season in my region.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      Yatterman, Maria, DRRR, Jojo, Rolling Girls, Death Parade, Yuri Bear, Shirobako, Parasyte, Garo and Aldnoah Ze-haha nope. But yeah, all those other shows are ones I’m watching and really enjoying.

      • Posted February 2, 2015 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        Certified Garo fanboy here. Glad to hear that you’re enjoying Garo, which seems to have flown under most people’s radar (last season and this season).

        Aldnoah is a trying exercise in suspension of disbelief, though Slaine keeps things entertaining.

  5. Maxulous
    Posted February 1, 2015 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    You lot need the wooden spoon. Atrocious.

    • Inushinde
      Posted February 3, 2015 at 5:08 am | Permalink

      Atrociously perfect*

  6. T1g
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    I convinced a friend to watch yatterman night and got a text back later saying “man, FUCK yatterman.” I’ve actually been hoping you guys would cover it weekly. Same with most of the shows this season they are great

    • Posted February 2, 2015 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      Yatterman Night makes my eyes wet after every episode. I don’t like this feeling, and I just want Doronjo to win.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      At first I thought your friend was saying fuck yatterman because he thought the show sucked and was going to tell you to get new friends

  7. Shikamaru
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Inushide has bad taste because he likes Milky Holmes, a good anime? People who don’t like Milky Holmes have a bad taste. It’s not as good as the first two season seasons, but it’s still really funny. Just forget the horrible third season.

    • Inushinde
      Posted February 3, 2015 at 5:09 am | Permalink

      Probably because I put Maria as a Notty, and not a Hotty.

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