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.
Scamp: Yatterman Night
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
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
After 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
With 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.
In 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
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.