27 CommentsMonthly Roundups / By Scamp /

May Roundup

He won't think that when he starts looking up fanart of him and his roomates on Pixiv

Oh dear, I’d forgotten a big problem I used to have with these monthly roundups. I can never think of what to write for the intro. Hmmmmm….Ah, I know! Want to listen to a hopelessly drunk Inushinde at Anime Boston?

What’s Hot

Scamp: Attack on Titan

Have you ever heard of the Aristocrats joke? This is them halfway through that routine

Boring choice, but sometimes what’s the most popular also happens to be the best. I really love the presentation of Attack on Titan, with its incredibly bombastic approach that manages that right balance of being kinda silly, so I laugh at some of the stuff it does, and yet I can still take its whole-hearted dramatics completely seriously. While it does still-frame filter shots that scream “we spent too long animating the other bits so forgot about this bit”, I can forgive that when it nails the important scenes. Particularly any scene with the Rogue Titan. I was a bit wary when they introduced the Rogue Titan, but the reveal was so well shot and its pure seething anger so well-realised that I’m willing to roll with anything this anime does from now on. Don’t let me tell you how you should do your own anime Attack on Titan, because you’ve been doing your own thing much better and proving me wrong so far.

Shinmaru: Valvrave the Liberator

Tying me up, fine. But leaving on a 10-hour loop of Nyan Cat is banned under the Geneva Convention

I have no idea whether I think Valvrave is good or not. All I know is that each episode piles on more nonsense, and that I’m loving it more and more. I’d also argue that it’s doing so purposefully; the tone of absurdity is so assured, and the way every character acts so silly, that I find it difficult to believe that the creative team stumbled into it all out of sheer ignorance. Is there any purpose to it all other than, “This really amuses us”? I’m not sure. Perhaps there will be some grand plan revealed when it’s all over. For now, it is enough for me to sit back and appreciate Saki gleefully rejecting her humanity and soaring through the ship as a vampiric mecha pilot, Shouko’s endearingly corny pep talks and leadership, and L-Elf Karlstein (Karlstein!) executing bizarrely intricate, convoluted plans that he somehow has the resources to cobble together even though it’s been well-established that this ship is in a bad way. Never change, Valvrave. Never change.

Inushinde: To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S

Ah so this skirt is machine washable

It’s amazing what a fresh perspective can do for a story. The first season of Railgun proved this by taking the interesting universe of the boring-as-grey-shit Index and imbuing it with a sense of weight, giving the actions of the characters greater interconnectivity and purpose. It’s hardly perfection, but it proved that by focusing on other elements of a particular work and by dispensing with horrid writing, something fresh can be found amidst tedium and incessant monologuing.

Fast forward to season two, and things are looking even better, with the potentially interesting clone arc of Index being fleshed out from Misaka’s perspective. Just like the first season, there’s greater involvement here on the part of the protagonist, even constituting the closest thing that the series has had to a character arc. So once again Railgun, thanks for making the Raildex universe what it was always meant to be: Cool, fun, and without Touma punching shit being the end to every conflict.

What’s not so hot

Scamp: Majestic Prince

Descendants of the Armstrong family

I don’t really have any broad criticism of Majestic Prince that can be summed up in a simple fashion. It’s more that it keeps having boring or badly done scenes and episodes. The whole graduation episode was very weird because it made this big deal about how emotional it was to be graduating, even though we saw about 5 minutes of them in school for the entire show. They didn’t earn the right to do this melodramatic graduation scene. The giant pitched battle was really boring because the choreography was so bad. It was just a load of incomprehensible beamspam, the worst kind of mecha battle. Then there was the really bizarre shift to the alien’s civilization where suddenly I was transported into an early 90’s terrible fantasy OVA where the main villain is voiced by Norio Wakamoto in Japanese and a drunk intern in the English dub. The jiggle physics are distracting. The main character’s ‘hero’ shtick got old very quick and he has very little beyond that. I guess the biggest criticism is that, while I’ve got lots of little niggling problems, I also don’t have anything big I can praise it for. I’m only watching it because I’m a sucker for giant robots.

Shinmaru: Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet

The Alliance also demands that all male fighters shave their armpits

Honestly, I haven’t outright hated anything I’ve watched this month. Even Space Brothers, which I lambasted last month, did exactly what I predicted and immediately pumped out a stretch of episodes that were quite good. So it falls to me to write about the series I connected with least. I do love Gargantia’s setting dearly; it’s so bright, colourful and beautiful. The idea of it — a character who knows how to do just one thing entering a world where that talent barely has any use — is something I can dig, as well. The main problem for me, though, is that I can’t connect with any one character all that much because I don’t find them all that interesting. Likable, sure. Amy is a pleasant person. Bellows is cool. Ridget might get more interesting with her newfound responsibility. Chamber … OK, Chamber is awesome. Ledo? Eh. Stirring up stuff with the giant squids is more interesting than his pallid romance with Amy, at least. Other than that, I feel like I’m watching a group of good people carve out a nice existence for themselves, and that’s about it. That said, I bet the rest of the series will be really good to prove me wrong.

Inushinde: Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ Maji Love 2000%

I will now proceed to pleasure myself with this fish

Where’s the fucking episode dedicated entirely to Wakamoto? Why isn’t he the main character yet? Nobody cares about music drama or the lead’s creepy, hypnotizing eyes. Everybody watches this show for their Weekly Wakamoto Wackiness. Just give us what we want already so I can rate you a 10/10 and christen you the second best anime of the year next to Senki Zesshou Symphogear: In the Distance, That Day, When the Star Became Music…

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27 Comments

  1. Madu_Scientisto
    Posted June 1, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    But Scamp, Majestic Prince has Griffith’s long lost twin brother IN SPACE, how can it not be good? Jokes aside it’s true that the show doesn’t really have anything solid going for it, I kinda like that the MC is not quite as boring as the standard Yuuji Everylead but it’s not like he’s a particulary interesting character either.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 2, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      Griffith is nothing without a Guts to fall hopelessly in love with

  2. Posted June 1, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    > “Tying me up, fine. But leaving on a 10-hour loop of Nyan Cat is banned under the Geneva Convention”
    > You don’t do that to my Aochan.

  3. Erif
    Posted June 1, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Although my favorite anime this season is Aku no Hana, Attack on Titan is the show it I look forward to weekly with a passion. Shit hits the fan every week.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 2, 2013 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      Flowers of Evil’s biggest problem for me is that it can’t seem to realise that you are allowed to have more than 1 thing happen per episode.

      • Erif
        Posted June 4, 2013 at 8:28 am | Permalink

        I dunno, I’d say that the pacing in near perfect in Flower of Evil. Nothing ever seems to slow or to rushed, and the plot flows seamlessly.

  4. Nazaren
    Posted June 1, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Attack on Titan is barely edging out Aku no Hana for the top spot in my books, simply because it’s the only show I scramble to watch every week.

    Chihayafuru 2 feels like it’s returning to form, after its terrible recap and snail’s pacing, but it’s no first season.

    Gargantia is becoming a gray amorphous blob of apathy for me… but I don’t dislike it, I guess?

    And Valvrave was dropped halfway through episode 4… I just… I just couldn’t do it anymore.

  5. oldfag
    Posted June 1, 2013 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    Everything about Majestic prince, outside of the CG and Hirai face, feels like something straight out of the 80s. Its essentially a tokusatsu show with villains ala Yamato, and its not ashamed of that. Its not trying to be a deconstruction or satire, like many “retro” shows these days do, but tell an honest story. That probably doesn’t mean a lot to most viewers, but it makes me nostalgic.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 2, 2013 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      I thought it was more early 90s but I see what you mean. Thing is, those shows weren’t particularly good at the time either. Hence the comparison to the terrible 90s fantasy OVAs. It’s certainly in the spirit, but it’s copying something that was never particularly good anyway

  6. ANON
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 2:29 am | Permalink

    and strangely, the series I look forward to the most, to the point that I was the same episode 3-4 times, is maou-sama. Titan is nice but not “shit I have another week to wait for another episode of this” nice.

    Also Inushinde, I commend you for watching the shows you have as your team in FAL.

  7. Daaaaan
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Just watched Valvrave… and, well, drinking coffee will never be the same again for me .__.

  8. Outcast
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    “thanks for making the Raildex universe what it was always meant to be: Cool, fun, and without Touma punching shit being the end to every conflict.”

    Oh, the next roundup will be ugly, won’t it? :P

    • JD
      Posted June 2, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      Well, of course at some point Railgun S is going to have to devote some time to Touma punching Accelerator. Hopefully it’ll be quick enough. (I’d find it hilarious if they shifted the whole of it offscreen, though.)

      On the other hand, Index’s original Sisters arc left a huge gaping hole that Touma spends in a coma and during which the Evil Conspiracy becomes “not a problem anymore”, according to Mikoto. I’m looking forward to that part.

  9. Stef
    Posted June 2, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Attack on Titan and Valvrave are good popcorn anime. Both are funny too, but only one of them intentionally.

  10. Shadow
    Posted June 3, 2013 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    I wonder what you think about Gargantia now, after watching episode 9.

    That ending scene was so moe, just like Psycho Pass XD.

  11. Ana
    Posted June 3, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Dropped Attack on Titan after the first episode bored me with its incredible predictability and overblown melodrama. I thought the opening was cool though. Should I pick it up again, or is it just going to be more of the same?

  12. Sataniel
    Posted June 3, 2013 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    Wow, I didn’t expected anime-only Railgun-only fan here. When it’s true Level Upper Arc in it’s anime version is better than what we was shown in first season of Index even with some stupid things added (eyebrows girl, more Saten). But then there were episodes 13-14 and 17-19 which were about absolutely nothing and two weak arcs.

    As to reason of contrast between Index and Railgun. Railgun (manga) started in May 2007, just after 13th volume of Index which was second volume of Academy City Invansion Arc (eps 17-23 of Index S2) when Index stopped jumping from being fine to very good and started to being consistently great. Of course this was effect of Kamachi getting better at writing, wchich affected also Railgun. In addition Railgun got more competent people handling adaptation (even if they can’t write solid fillers even with outlines).

    But the core of the matter is something other. I just can’t understand Railgun only fans because of it being supplemental to Index. It’s not like ZKC: Unlimited which can stand on it’s own. Railgun don’t have united story instead having loosely connected arcs which are enhancing characters and ideas from Index often introducing things from Index with nearly no explaining for Railgun only readers. Anime makes is somewhat more easily accessible but still…

    Did I just wrote something nobody cares about just because Raildex?

    • Inushinde
      Posted June 4, 2013 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      While Railgun is supplementary to Index, I’d say that it stands well enough on its own to not be tied down to Index’s bullshit. Watching the latter definitely helps in the enjoyment of the former, and possibly vice versa if you’re feeling masochistic, but Railgun’s direction keeps it both accessible and free of the banal trap that Index found itself in time and time again.

      • Sataniel
        Posted June 4, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        I’m interested. What problems are you seeing in Index but not in Railgun. As I like both and can’t really see that big differences aside from those that resulted from difference in medium.

      • Posted June 5, 2013 at 2:02 am | Permalink

        Coming from someone who shares Inushinde’s point of view on this franchise, the only reason I liked Index was because of the setting. There’s a lot to be discovered when you dig into a setting like Academy City, but Index treats its setting like something that doesn’t need explaining and attempts to sell it to us as a well-established side of an imaginary debate against the world of magicians. Additionally, by making the entire narrative a science/religion dichotomy from the get-go, the worldbuilding aspect of Academy City became wasted potential in favor of loli harems and punching bad guys mid-monologue.

        Railgun in comparison feels more focused and streamlined because everything I didn’t like in Index, the banal exposition regarding magic and Touma’s long-winded monologues, vanished. It was replaced by the more tolerable issue of “cute girls doing cute (and sometimes awesome) things.” All of a sudden, the fact that people lived in Academy City mattered in the story. Railgun may not make as much of an effort to worldbuild as I would like, but it sure makes a mightier effort than Index did.

      • Sataniel
        Posted June 5, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        “the only reason I liked Index was because of the setting”

        I agree that setting is strong point of Raildex. It was one of reasons why I started reading Index’s LNs and Railgun’s manga.

        “There’s a lot to be discovered when you dig into a setting like Academy City”

        Academy City is only part of Raildex’s setting. Very interesting part but still only part.

        “but Index treats its setting like something that doesn’t need explaining”

        Blame JC Staff

        “and attempts to sell it to us as a well-established side of an imaginary debate against the world of magicians”

        It may be my poor English but I don’t understand why is imaginary used here.

        “Additionally, by making the entire narrative a science/religion dichotomy from the get-go, the worldbuilding aspect of Academy City became wasted potential in favor of loli harems and punching bad guys mid-monologue.”

        So if I understand you don’t like fact that setting isn’t restricted to Academy City. But if this is correct then I don’t understand why.

        But yeah definitely too many lolis especially on magic side (they make sense on science) and monologues should be cutted down in anime. They don’t work well in this medium. And how really punching bad guys is much different from zapping bad guys?

        “Railgun in comparison feels more focused and streamlined because everything I didn’t like in Index, the banal exposition regarding magic”

        So you complain at lack of exposition regarding science, and then complain that there is too much still cut down exposition regarding magic? Why?

        “and Touma’s long-winded monologues”

        Blame JC Staff for not knowing difference between mediums.

        >>It was replaced by the more tolerable issue of “cute girls doing cute (and sometimes awesome) things.”<<

        I wouldn't call this more tolerable issue (in case of anime of course because in manga this is nearly nonexistent).

        "Railgun may not make as much of an effort to worldbuild as I would like, but it sure makes a mightier effort than Index did."

        Well Railgun focus on giving backstories to characters, better exploring ideas for which lacked time in Index etc.

        Still Railgun does more of world enhancing than world building.

        So in conclusion. Are Railgun-only fans magic side haters? If yes then there is unpleasant surprise waiting for you.

  13. Posted June 5, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    It may be my poor English but I don’t understand why is imaginary used here.

    That’s just ill-intentioned hyperbole.

    So if I understand you don’t like fact that setting isn’t restricted to Academy City. But if this is correct then I don’t understand why.

    What I have against Index is that it focuses on things I’m not interested in, namely every single arc that doesn’t have to do with Academy City, which is why I came to the conclusion that Index would be better if its stories included Academy City in its narrative, rather than be reduced to a neutral setting for the story to unfold. What I mean by “neutral setting” is that the arcs I’m complaining about do not explicitly have to be in Academy City; they can be anywhere else in the world and still have the same impact. Which makes me wonder why they have to be told in the first place.

    So you complain at lack of exposition regarding science, and then complain that there is too much still cut down exposition regarding magic? Why?

    This goes back to my first point again. I have no interest in the magic side of Index because it’s irrelevant to the setting.

    Blame JC Staff

    I have no knowledge of the light novels, so I can’t really blame them for stuff I’m not familiar with, but that doesn’t make a difference in how much I don’t like the anime anyway.

    I wouldn’t call this more tolerable issue (in case of anime of course because in manga this is nearly nonexistent).

    I’m aware that Railgun spends more time with the “cute girls doing cute things” shenanigans than the manga does, but that’s what I prefer in comparison to what I was given in Index.

    So in conclusion. Are Railgun-only fans magic side haters? If yes then there is unpleasant surprise waiting for you.

    I may claim to share the position of a Railgun-only fan, but I don’t speak for them. This is my personal opinion as to why I enjoy Railgun more than Index, and should not be assumed that anyone else would share my views for precisely the same reasons.

    • Sataniel
      Posted June 5, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      How do you do those cool quote boxes? I tried [quote][/quote] some time ago but it didn’t work.

      “This goes back to my first point again. I have no interest in the magic side of Index because it’s irrelevant to the setting.”

      It’s crucial to the setting. You may not like this part of setting but this don’t make it less important.

      “I may claim to share the position of a Railgun-only fan, but I don’t speak for them. This is my personal opinion as to why I enjoy Railgun more than Index, and should not be assumed that anyone else would share my views for precisely the same reasons.”

      Shhh… It’s my weak attempt at provocation to make those of other opinion state it.

      • Posted June 5, 2013 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

        Put “blockquote” in between arrows rather than brackets. In fact, all the HTML tags you can use on this site are right under the comment box.

      • Sataniel
        Posted June 6, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

        I’m an idiot…

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